(Taipei Times)  Labor groups take aim at KMT.  December 31, 2009.

Shouting “incompetent government,” several hundred members of 10 labor unions yesterday threw cow dung and clashed with police during a protest in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters as they urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to review a proposed amendment to the Labor Union Law (工會法). The protesters said they would never agree to the KMT caucus’ proposed version of the amendment, which suggests the government has the authority to disband unions.


Ma, who arrived at KMT headquarters at about 2pm to preside over the KMT Central Standing Committee as party chairman, did not meet the demonstrators.
Failing to receive any response from Ma or other KMT officials, the protesters threw cow dung at the police, who stood behind barricades and shields. The police later held four protest leaders for questioning after they failed to stop the dung attack. Shouting “Release our members,” the protesters later clashed with police as they tried to enter KMT headquarters and did not disperse until after Ma left the building.

TV Coverage:



On December 30, the demolition of a 22-story building in Liuzhou city, Guangxi province failed.  The building was split into two, with one half falling down and the other half standing at an angle.  The demolition was effected by explosives which divided the building into two halves which were supposed to fall down.  Instead, one half fell but the half didn't.  The demolition company sent equipment to take down the standing building in order to prevent accidents.


Are you satisfied with the overall performance of the members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council?
18%: Satisfied
47%: Dissatisfied

Are you satisfied with the Hong Kong Police?
67%: Satisfied
12%: Dissatisfied

Are you satisfied with the People's Liberation Army posted in Hong Kong?
59%: Satisfied
  2%: Dissatisfied

(Oriental Daily泛民鬼打鬼 佗衰立法會

Here is a quiz for everybody: Among the Hong Kong Legislative Councilors, the Hong Kong police and the People's Liberation Army, which entity has the highest satisfaction rate?  The answer is quite interesting because the PLA leads.  According to the latest HKU POP poll, the dissatisfaction with the PLA is near zero.  As you know, the PLA is very scary.  Before the return of Hong Kong to China,  many people were so scared of the PLA that they immigrated overseas.  Nowadays, the PLA is squeaky clean.  Don't you think that this is miraculous?

So which entity out of the three listed is most detested?  The answer is just as interesting, because it is the Legislative Council which is supposed to reflect public opinion most of all.  According to the poll, 47% of the citizens are dissatisfied with the honorable Legislative Councilors.  This is a 13% increase over the previous month.  This dissatisfaction rate is a new high since January 2005.

Supposedly, many of the Legislative Councilors were directly elected by the citizens and therefore they should be popularly received.  So how come so many people detest them?  According to the HKU POP analysis, this has to do with the Kan Nai-wai affair and the constitutional reform proposal.


[Sigh]  When the Legislative Councilors who are supposed to have the most popular support have the highest dissatisfaction rate, then could we be relying on the wrong people?  The people used their votes to elect politicians into the Legislative Council so that they can supervise the government and speak out for justice.  They did not ask them to supervise their pretty female assistants and they did not ask them to toss bananas around!

(Next Weekly)  Ironclad Evidence That Mainland Police Crossed Border To Arrest People, Hong Kong Police Are Useless

"You can get on YouTube and watch everything.  The Hong Kong police was watching all the way.  They stood around and did nothing."  Wong Yan-ping said that she and her friends planned the action during Christmas dinner at a restaurant on December 25.  "The group of us were having dinner.  We were upset to learn that Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison.  Every one of us has signed Charter 08 and we should also be subject to the same treatment as Liu Xiaobo.  So we decided to turn ourselves in."  Wong Yan-ping was one of the planners for the action at the border.  "On that day, we were going to use a rope to link every one of us, like the beheadings in ancient times.  Each of us would carry a cardboard that read: 'Crime: signed Charter 08.'  Then we were going to go one by one across the border over to the mainland side to run ourselves in."

Wong Yan-ping is in her second year in the Hong Kong University Extension Course programme for an associate degree in the social sciences.  She is introverted.  She said: "I have never been to mainland China.  I learned everything that I know about mainland China from the Internet.  My impression is that the mainland is a highly oppressed place with no democracy.  They are savagely eroding my Hong Kong.  Therefore, we must do something to defend what we possess right now."

After seeing more and more injustice in mainland China, Wong first joined the October 1 human rights march and got acquainted with a bunch of other young people who are not happy with the Hong Kong government and the mainland.  They don't have an organization name.  They are loosely structured with a basic core of a dozen or so people.  This time, 21 of them gathered at 3pm on December 27 at the Fanling MTR station to take action to show support for Liu Xiaobo.

The reporter observed that Hong Kong plainclothes police were watching them all the way.  Unexpectedly, the mainland police crossed the border to make arrests.  Among the arrestees was 16-year-old Wong Tin-yau.  He was responsible for using a camera to film the proceedings.  "The police didn't care.  They grabbed me by the neck and dragged me into the room!"  Wong thought: "I am done for this time.  I am going to jail for sure!"

"They were courteous enough to offer me a cup of tea.  Of course I wasn't going to drink it!  I can't be sure if it was spiked!  Then several people took turns to watch me.  They asked me if we knew what we were doing, and what our purpose was!"  Wong said that after two hours, the police began to ask questions.  "Two policemen.  One of them asked while the other wrote.  They kept asking me why I came here, where I live, what my name is as well as everything about my dad and mom."

Wong Tin-yau is a Form 4 student at a Tin Shui Wai school.  He admitted frankly that he joined this demonstration due to his prejudice against mainlanders.  "Mainlanders have destroyed the environment, and they have caused apartment prices to rise.  I was in class one day and a classmate said something good about Taiwan.  Immediately immigrant mainland students cursed him out.  You tell me!  Are mainlanders savages?!"

After four hours of interrogation, the mainland police released Wong Tin-yau unconditionally.  Wong was still scared: "They keep intimidating me.  They said that I was going to jail.  They said that they would run surveillance on my family.  They said that I have no chance of leaving!"

Law Fong-hung was also arrested as the first man in the line.  He is a 24-year-old who teaches guitar and offers private tutoring.  He said: "When Hong Kong people do democracy, it is usually marches, hunger strikes and memorial services.  They have done that for years without affecting the government.  I saw these people (note: those protestors who use extreme methods) use methods that troubled the government since the Star Ferry protests, causing delays in many things."

At the protests about the High Speed Train last month, he got to know a few extremists.  In December, Henry Tang received an honorary doctorate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and he was there stopping the security guards off the stage.  When the Democratic Party voted down the five-district general resignation, he knelt outside to demonstrate.  When asked if it was too extreme to demonstrate in the restricted area on the border, he answered: "Adults have family obligations.  They are also afraid of their bosses.  So it is hard to take such action.  I want to do this while I am still young.  I cannot guarantee that I won't have to provide for my children later on.  Therefore, I come out now while I still can."

Law said: "Article 23 may be enacted.  When that time comes, the crime of 'subverting the state' may apply to us.  We support Liu Xiaobo now for the sake of our generation and the next one."


[Q&A with respect to the boycott of the French hypermart Carrefour before the Beijing Olympics]

Q: When a foreigner slaps you in the face, would you stand still and do nothing in order to show that you are magnanimous?
A:  No foreigner has ever slapped me in my face.

Q: Han Han, would you protest if your mother is raped by a foreigner?
A: No foreigner has ever raped my mother.

Q: The motherland is your mother ...
A: The motherland is the motherland and my mother is my mother.

Q: How can you be worthy of your land ...
A: I don't have my own land and you do not have your own land either ...

Q: You are not Chinese.  A Chinese must boycott Carrefour.
A: The Constitution does not require so.  You are enforcing a thuggish form of patriotism.

Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the overall performance of the Hong Kong Legislative Council?
18%: Satisfied
47%: Dissatisfied

Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the overall performance of the Hong Kong police?
67%: Satisfied
12%: Dissatisfied

Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the overall performance of the People's Liberation Army based in Hong Kong?
65%: Satisfied
2%: Dissatisfied


At just past 11am, on Jingde Road in Suzhou city, a woman pleaded, "Husband, I won't dare to do it again" to no avail as the man stabbed her repeatedly until she fell down in a pool of blood.

Nobody dared to intercede as the woman died.

A man lies with a serious head injury on a bridge.  He is reportedly the adulterer.

But this is China and most of these sensationalistic stories are fabricated anyway.  The photos about the adulterer were about a thief dating back to February 16, 2009 (The Suzhou University Incident).

(China DailySanlu lied, hidding facts for months - investigation   September 23, 2008.

China's dairy giant, Sanlu, lied about its contaminated baby formula for months while tens of thousands of infants got sick and three died.


A number of Chinese officials have been dismissed or resigned in the wake of the scandal, including the CPC chief of Shijiazhuang, Wu Xianguo, and the nation's top quality control official, Li Changjiang.

(China Daily)  Tainted milk official in new role  By Chen Jia  December 28, 2009.

A government minister who lost his job over last year's tainted baby formula scandal has been appointed deputy head of a department leading China's war on porn. Li Changjiang, 65, former head of the top quality agency, is now vice-director of the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. He was in Jiangsu province for his first campaign last Thursday and Friday, said a report in Southern Metropolis Daily yesterday.

Li resigned as minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine days after the Sanlu milk scandal was exposed last September. The State Council had made a statement that the quality administration had to bear "supervision responsibility for the milk food contamination". The tainted formula killed six children and led to more than 300,000 more suffering urinary tract problems, such as kidney stones.

Wang Yukai, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, yesterday said he believes Li's appointment is in line with the official accountability regulations.

However, Dong Shiliang, a father in Yunnan province whose 2-year-old son became ill after drinking tainted milk, said he felt "angry and helpless" after hearing the news of Li's appointment. "My boy is still suffering as he has a stone still in his body, and Li bears responsibility," he told China Daily yesterday. "The government should have asked the victims' families about Li's comeback first."

(Beijing News)

Panel 1: It is not easy to cultivate a cadre
Panel 2: You can't be blamed for the poisoned milk powder matter.
Panel 3: Besides, you don't drink powdered milk yourself.
Panel 3: Hmm, you can come back and clean out pornography.

[Question: Will <Beijing News> be punished for this cartoon?  You can find out by linking on the Beijing News link above and see if this link has gone dead.]

(South China Morning Post)  Police crossed border, dragged us into Shenzhen, detainees say  By Phyllis Tsang and Eva Wu.  December 29, 2009.

Mainland police crossed the border and dragged activists and journalists to their side of the crossing at the Lo Wu immigration control point on Sunday, the detainees claim.

Hong Kong police said they did not see the incident.

Four activists and two journalists from Hong Kong were detained by mainland police for three hours after a protest at the immigration control point in support of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo .

Photographs and videos allegedly show plain-clothes mainland officers crossing the border at Lo Wu Bridge and grabbing activists' banners.

Tsang Chun-ying, one of the four activists detained on Sunday, said men he believed to be mainland police approached them on the Hong Kong side of the border. When the first protester in a chain was pulled across the border, Tsang was also pulled over to the Shenzhen side.

"They did not tell us who they were, even after they took us to a room. We questioned their identities but they kept refusing to tell us," he said. "It was obvious they were plain-clothes officers as they worked with mainland police at the scene."

Ming Pao said photographer Yip Hon-wa was pushed across the border by plain-clothes officers and detained with colleague Leung Wai-kin, even after revealing their identities.

Hong Kong police Chief Superintendent David Ng Ka-sing said he did not see any mainland officer exercising jurisdiction in Hong Kong, after reviewing video and photos from the scene. He said the situation was chaotic and several protesters crossed into the mainland side.

(Ming Pao)

Top illustration: 13 demonstrators in a row, Hong Kong police officers and photographers on the side, mainland police lined up across the corridor, Ming Pao reporter in pink, red line separates Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Bottom illustration: Blue mainland Chinese plainclothes officer, yellow demonstrators arrested plus one yellow cameraperson, brown mainland plainclothesman pushed Ming Pao reporter across the red line, at least five men carted Ming Pao reporter across the line.

Top photo:
Previous story: An alleged mainland plainclothes policeman (indicated by red arrow) obviously stepped over the red line and removed the cardboard placard on the back of a demonstrator
Yesterday's story: A police spokesperson acknowledged that since this person stood in front of the Hong Kong police officers, it can be reasonably inferred that he was on the Hong Kong side of the border.
Middle photo:
Previous story: The alleged mainland plainclothes policeman stumbled during the tussle, but a Hong Kong police officer lent a hand to hold him steady.
Yesterday's story: The Hong Kong police officer saw this photo and remembered that he instinctively held out his hand to support a stumbling person, but he did not remember anything special about this individual.
Bottom photo:
Previous story: Ming Pao reporter Yip Hon-wa was pushed by a beige-clothed mainland plainclothes policeman across the red line and then carted away and detained.
Yesterday's story: The Hong Kong police officers at the scene did not notice Yip being pushed or detained.  The video tapes of the Immigration Department and the police did not provide a clear record of what transpired.

On the evening before yesterday, the Hong Kong police had said, "Our understanding is that the mainland law enforcement agents did not cross the border to enforce the law."  But the police public relations spokesperson Ng Ka-sing said yesterday evening that the previous statement was based upon asking the front line law enforcement agents as well as reviewing the video tapes.  This meant that they "did not see" any mainland law enforcement agents crossing the border to enforce the law.  When asked "when something wasn't seen, does that mean it did not happen?" Ng Ka-sing said that the officers present at the scene said that the situation was very chaotic and they did not observe any mainland police crossing over the border to make arrests.  He also said that the police was paying attention to the demonstrators and therefore did not notice how <Ming Pao> reporter Yip Hon-wa was taken across the border and arrested.

Concerning the photo in <Ming Pao> of Yip Hon-wa being taken away by force by uniformed mainland police officers and one brown plainclothesman, Ng Ka-sing said that the identity of this man is unknown and there is no way to determine whether he is a law enforcement agent.  Concerning the assertion that Yip Hon-wa pushed by mainland police over the border and then arrested, the police does not dissent (but does not agree either).


Yesterday our reporter went to Sanmenxia to interview Jiao Zhimin, who admited that he wrote the Internet post <Violent demolition/relocation at Sanmenxia> but he denied that he wrote <Henan officials toss child off the roof>.

Jiao Zhimin said: "My daughter saw them tackle me.  So she stood on the ledge.  She did not want to jump.  She only wanted to make them afraid.  They pulled my daughter up.  They did not toss her over the side."

According to information, Jiao Zhimin is a resident of Shijialiang village, Yadi town, Hubin district, Sanmenxia city, Hunan province.  In 2007, Shijialiang village was chosen for reconstruction.  The relocation began in April 2008.  By May 31, 2008, 239 families out of 240 had moved out and Jiao Zhimin was the lone "nail householder."

Today, three thirty-three story buildings have been erected.  But because Jiao Zhimin refused to move, the fourth thirty-three story building has not begun work.  This meant that some of the villagers will not be able to move back.

"The compensation was inadequate."  Jiao Zhimin explained why he refused to move.  "The house ownership certificate states that the plot ratio is 44%.  Since the total area is 1,100 square meters, the relocation proposal should give me back a 400 square meter house plus an additional payment of 460 yuan per square meter for the other 700 square meters.  But they only offered me a 200 square meter house plus additional payment for the other 900 square meters.

Why did the government refuse to oblige Jiao Zhimin?  The Hubin district vice mayor Wang Haiyue explained that Jiao Zhimin was given the 44% plot ratio at first.  But the government received denunciations from other villagers: the true plot ratio should have been 20% and the rest of the area belonged to neighbors.  Furthermore, Jiao Zhimin had used "connections" to obtain a new house ownership certificate.

According to the information provided by Wang Haiyue, the Hubin district party disciplinary committee found that the denunciations were true and they punished the former Yadi town deputy mayor and four other persons involved in the case.

"Based upon what was uncovered in the investigation, we offered a 20% plot ratio to Jiao Zhimin.  But he refused to accept."  Wang Haiyue said that the relevant departments have been trying to persuade Jiao Zhimin while offering him many benefits.  But he blocked the demolition.

"I have visited him for more than 120 times without success."  Yadi town neighborhood office deputy secretary Zhang Gang believed that things have reached a point where forced demolition had become inevitable.

The forced eviction in the photos occurred at 9am on November 7, 2009.  On the day before, Jiao Zhibin had received notice that forced demolition will take place.  He was prepared: he moved liquefied gas canisters and bricks to the roof, and he hired a cameraperson to film the scene.  His daughter Jiao Fang and a male friend also came back from university to Sanmenxia early that morning.

"As soon as the demolitionists approached the building, they threw bricks from the roof.  Zhang Gang said that since he had previously obtained many favors for the Jiao family, they bore no animosity towards him.  Therefore, Zhang Gang decided to go up to the roof with the demolitionists to negotiate with Jiao Zhimin.

Zhang Gang was the first to reached the roof.  Jiao Zhimin gave him no quarters and threw a brick at him.  Zhang Gang quickly sprinted over to grab Jiao Zhimin.  The other workers also controlled the other family members.

"He had prepared liquefied gas canisters, which posed a certain danger to everybody.  Therefore, we controlled the Jiao family.  We did not assault them.  The violence described in the Internet post never took place.  Instead, the Jiao family injured six of our workers and destroyed a piece of equipment."  Zhang Gang said.

The photos in the Internet post were taken during that time.  Jiao Fang saw her father being tackled.  So she squatted on the ledge and threatened to jump off.  The demolitionists pulled Jiao Fang up.

Afterwards, the police took the Jiao family away.  The demolitionists quickly tore down the three-story building belonging to the Jiao family.

"Jia Zhimin's family is suspected of using violence to resist the law  to the point where they could be arrested.  The daughter Jiao Fang pleaded that her term-end examinations are coming up."  Wang Haiyue said.  "If this child is arrested, her university career is finished.  Now that Jiao Zhimin has verbally accepted the relocation proposal, we have decided to not to prosecute them."

On December 17, Jiao Zhipin found someone to post <The violent demolition/relocation in Sanmenxi> from a Zhengzhou cybercafe.  This was quickly circulated and evolved into the post <Henan government officials toss child off the roof>.

After finding this other post, the Hubin district publicity department director consulted Internet experts and decided to handle it in a low-keyed fashion.  So a 23-second video was released onto the the Internet by an "informed person" until the title <Government officials tossing a child off the roof is a fake story>.

This video showed the entire process.  It can be seen that Jiao Fang (the child who was tossed over the side) was kneeling on the ledge and threatened to jump after seeing the demolitionists appear on the roof.  However, she was pulled back up.

After the video appeared, positive voices began to appear on the Internet.  Many websites appended this 23-second video to the original posts.  Things then became clearer.

"Was it a crime to make that post?"  During the interview with our reporter, Jiao Zhimin kept raising this question while stating that he found someone to make that post and that his daughter had nothing to do with it.

In the eyes of Wang Haiyue, this question is irrelevant because the authorities have no intention of holding the poster accountable.

After the post appeared, Zhang Gang went to Zhengzhou to meet with Jiao Fang, her teachers and the Zhengzhou police.  "She said that the post was made by the friend of a friend.  The original post did not say that government officials toss a child off the roof.  She recognized her mistake and she has written a self-criticism."  Zhang Gang said, "Since she recognizes her mistake, what is the point of troubling her anymore?"

Why was the case handled in such a low-keyed fashion?  Hubin district publicity department director Di Gang said that the Wang Shuai affair showed that if they went after the poster, it would be another Internet "gate"-like affair among Internet users who don't necessarily know the truth.

The Sanxiamen city publicity department Internet department director Xu Weimin said that Chinese Internet users are not mature enough and therefore they can be easily misled.  Whenever something like this is reported on the Internet, netizens will follow the standard lines of hating the rich, reviling officials and distrusting authorities.  That is why these kinds of Internet posts become very popular.  <Government officials tossing a child off the roof> is an obvious example.

Q1.  Do you support or oppose Legislative Councilors resigning to have a by-election as a de facto referendum to express public preferences about the constitutional reform?

26% support (27%/25%/26% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
9% half-half (9%/8%/10% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
51% oppose (55%/55%/45% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
14% don't know/hard to say (9%/12%/18% by upper/middle/lower social classes)

Q2. Will you vote for the resigning Legislative Councilors or their recommended candidates in the by-election?
36% yes (37%/38%/34% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
4% half-half (3%/5%/4% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
49% no (53%/47%/46% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
12% don't know/hard to say (7%/10%/17% by upper/middle/lower social classes)

Q3. The Democratic Party has already decided not to support the five-district general resignation.  Do you think that the democratic parties should continue with the five-district general resignation?
27% yes (24%/30%/28% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
51% no (55%/52%/45% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
23% (21%/19%/27% by upper/middle/lower social classes)

Q4. Should the discussion of the status of the functional constituencies be held first before voting on the constitutional reform package, or afterwards?
33% discuss later after vote (44%/28%/30% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
48% discuss before vote (44%/55%/44% by upper/middle/lower social classes)
20% don't know/hard to say (16%/16%/26% by upper/middle/lower social classes)

(Apple Daily)

At 3pm yesterday afternoon, 21 Hong Kong demonstrators gathered at the Fanling MTR station and headed towards the Lowu border with China.  After clearing the e-passageway on the Hong Kong side of the border, they walked towards the duty-free shop.  At that point, they took out black plastic strips to cuff themselves, put on cardboards saying "Crime: signing Charter 08" and walked down in a line towards the mainland side while chanting slogans.

When the group approached the line on the Lowu bridge that marked the border, several mainland law enforcement agents rushed over to the Hong Kong side of the border, ripped away the cardboards and dragged the first three demonstrators as well as the videographer by the neck over to the mainland side.  These demonstrators were released after four hours of interrogation.

According to the demonstrator Tsang Chun-ying, the mainland police violently dragged him into the interrogation room.  They asked him what the purpose of the demonstration was.  Tsang said that he was protesting the sentencing of Liu Xiaobo.  The policeman that he had never heard of either Charter 08 or Liu Xiaobo.  "He said that I was being arrested because I did not have proof of identity.  But they never asked to see anything before I was arrested."  The police also confiscated the books in his luggage.

The other demonstrators went to the Hong Kong police station to seek assistance.  The Hong Kong police said: "We can't help you."  "They said that they cannot help, and they refused to set up a case report.  They said that we can leave a telephone number behind.  They were standing aside and refusing to act.  They watched us being kidnapped."  The demonstrators said that the purpose for getting arrested is to go through a legal process before being found guilty, and they would have walked into the mainland police station themselves.

The Hong Kong police denied that the mainland law enforcement agents had crossed over to the Hong Kong side.  But according to the video taken by our reporter, the mainland law enforcement agents crossed the line many times.  A Hong Kong policeman even stretched his hand out to hold up a mainland plainclothes policeman who was stumbling.

Here are the same stories as reported in other Hong Kong newspapers, which did not have this story on the front page.  Here is Ming Pao's on the detention of their two reporters (Ming Pao; Ming Pao)

At around 4pm yesterday, more than twenty Hong Kong citizens wanted to protest at Lowu on behalf of Liu Xiaobo.  The demonstrators approached the line demarcating the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border at around 415pm.  More than 10 mainland law enforcement agents were spread out in a row.  As the demonstrators approached the Hong Kong-Shenzhen line, the Shenzhen police rushed up to take away the demonstrators as well as their cameraman.

At that moment, Ming Pao photographer Yip Hon-wah was standing on the Hong Kong size of the line.  Suddenly, a plainclothes person pushed him so that he fell over into the Shenzhen side of the line.  Five or six mainland law enforcement agents (including the plainclothes person who pushed him) took him away.

Another Ming Pao reporter Leugn Wai-kin went up to identify himself as a reporter, but he was also taken away.  The two were brought into a room, then interrogated separately.  They were released around 715pm.  The authorities took away their home return permits without giving any explanation.  The two reporters asked for the permits to be returned to no avail.

Journalist Association chairperson Mak Yin-ting said that the Journalist Association finds it unacceptable for border police to cross the border to enforce the law.  Besides reporters should not be arrested no matter which side of the border they were on.  This action makes people think that it was a set-up to take away the demonstrators and reporters.  She pointed out that even if the reporters acted improperly within the restricted area, the Hong Kong border police should have enforced the law.  She was dissatisfied with the mainland border police for detaining the reporters without cause or explanation and confiscating their home return permits.  The Journalist Association found the matter regrettable.

Here is the report in the English-language newspaper South China Morning Post.

(South China Morning Post)  Protesting democracy activists held at border.  By Martin Wong and Albert Wong.  December 28, 2009.

Four activists and two reporters from Hong Kong were detained for three hours by mainland police yesterday after a protest at Lo Wu immigration control point. The four were among a group of 21 protesting in support of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, who co-authored the Charter 08 manifesto for democratic reform.

After his release, one of the activists, Tsang Chun-ying, 21, said: "The officers took us to a room and took statements from us, asking our names, ages and why we wanted to go across the border." He said two Ming Pao reporters who were with the group were questioned in another room.

"We told the officers that we wanted to give ourselves in because, like Liu, we also signed the charter. But then the officers said they did not understand what we meant and that they had never heard of Charter 08 or Liu Xiaobo," Tsang added. They were told they had been detained because they did not have valid travel documents. The group had gone through Hong Kong immigration but had not reached the Shenzhen immigration desk when they were approached by the plain-clothes officers on the bridge. "We did not carry our home return permits as we just wanted to turn ourselves in. We did not go across the border for sightseeing," Tsang said. They were arrested at 4pm and Tsang said officers treated them politely before their release after 7pm.

Raymond Li Sau-hung, a protester who was not arrested, said the rest of the activists tried to find Hong Kong police officers for help. "The Hong Kong police officers just followed us as we walked on the bridge. They did nothing to help us. Do the mainland police have the authority to arrest us on the bridge?" Li said the protesters, mostly in their 20s, were trying to look like convicts. They were in a chain with signs around their necks saying their "crime" was signing the charter. However, Li said that even before they reached the mainland immigration desk, several officers appeared on the bridge and broke them up. "We anticipated that they would either arrest us or return us to Hong Kong once we tried to get through immigration," Li said. "We did not anticipate that while we were still on the bridge we would be virtually attacked by plain-clothes officers and treated roughly."

Ming Pao last night demanded that the Hong Kong government follow up the case to protect press freedom. The Chinese-language newspaper said the officers confiscated the reporters' home return permits without explanation.



So what was on the front pages of the other newspapers?

Sing Tao:
Gavin Kwai also slashed to death by his jealous girlfriend
Suspected of having a new favorite, slashed five to six times in the head and chest

Oriental Daily:
League of Social Democrats' Gavin Kwai
Slashed inside his home

(Oriental Daily; Oriental Daily)

34-year-old Gavin Kwai lives in a Causeway Bay apartment with his 63-year-old mother.  His girlfriend Fannie Wong is tall, pretty, fashionable and wealthy.  Yesterday at around 3pm, Wong showed up at a Causeway Bay bar where Kwai is a shareholder.  When Wong did not see Kwai there, she threw a fit by throwing liquor bottles and glasses on the ground.  Then she called 999 to report a fire on the premises.  The police and firemen arrived at the scene and determined that it was a false alarm.  Wong was taken down to the police station on suspicion of destruction of property and filing a false report.

At around 4am, Gavin Kwai used his mobile phone to post the question: "Is love terrorism?" on his Facebook page.

At around 9am, Wong made bail for HKD 5,000 and was released.  She headed immediately for Kwai's apartment where the two had a loud argument.  Wong lost control, rushed into the kitchen, grabbed a nine-inch kitchen knife and slahed Kwai in the head, chest and hands.  The mother called the police quickly.  Kwai was taken to the hospital while Wong is being held for an additional charge of injuring another person.

At around 9pm, Gavin Kwai explained what happened on his Facebook page: "I thank everybody for their concern.  My condition is OK.  I am only sad for her sake!  Please do not blame her too much.  I deeply believe that she did not intentionally want to harm me.  I am very vexed right now.  I love her a lot but I am also afraid of her."

Here is the very brief story in the English-language newspaper South China Morning Post.

(South China Morning Post)  Girlfriend arrested over attack.  By Martin Wong.  December 28, 2009.

A woman surnamed Wong was charged with wounding and will appear in Eastern Court today after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend, a League of Social Democrats member who came to public notice in 2004 as a hero when he tried to stop an arsonist who started a fire on an MTR train. Gavin Kwai Sze-kit, 34, was allegedly attacked by his 26-year-old girlfriend during a dispute at his Causeway Bay home at about 9am yesterday. Kwai's mother called police. Kwai was taken to Ruttonjee Hospital with head, chest and hand injuries and was later transferred to Queen Mary Hospital. Wong was also treated at Ruttonjee and discharged.

(Agence France Presse)  Chinese bloggers fined for defamation: report.  December 26, 2009.

Two Chinese bloggers were ordered to pay about 290,000 yuan (42,478 dollars) in compensation to the widow of film director Xie Jin for claiming he died in the arms of a prostitute, a report said Saturday. The claim by the bloggers was picked up by numerous Chinese internet sites after Xie's death in October 2008 at the age of 84, Beijing News said.

A Shanghai court on Friday ordered the two men to pay the compensation to Xie's widow Xu Dawen and also ordered them to write a letter of apology to be posted on the internet.

"This trial is unfair, I will not apologise, I will not pay the money and I will appeal," one of the bloggers, Song Zude, told the newspaper. Song has in the past said he had proof that Xie lived a dissolute life, but has not produced the evidence.

Let us go back to last October to review what Song Zude had actually written:


... October 17, Kangqiao Company shareholder Li Xinda was asked by the company headquarters to study the market in Shangyu city.  That night, he and his assistant checked into the Shangyu International hotel.  Sometime between 8pm and 9pm, Liu Xinda called to tell me about the results of his trip.  Over the telephone, he mentioned that he spotted Xie Jin in the hotel.  At the time, I did not pay too much attention.  So what if he saw Xie Jin? ...

Liu Xinda is a night owl who usually goes to bed at 2am or 3am.  He claims that it is easier to write poetry in the still of the night.  At around 2am on October 18, my mobile phone rang.  I did not want to answer but I saw that it was coming from Liu Xinda.  So I sat up in bed and chatted with him.

Liu Xinda said that something was wrong.  I asked him what.  He said that his room happened to be next to Xie Jin's.  He was hearing wild sounds made by a young woman from next door and Xie was panting very hard.  ... He said that he thought that Xie Jin must have called a girl to keep him company at night ...

The next morning, before I even got a call from Liu Xinda, an entertainment news reporter had already called to tell me about the sudden demise of Xie Jin.  At noon, Liu Xinda called to confirm the death of Xie Jin.

I would rather prefer to think that nothing Liu Xinda told me that day was true.  I would rather prefer to think that Xie Jin did not went to perform that wanton act in spite of his old age ... China has entered an era in which the population is ageing.  I call on all old people to maintain their virtues.  I call on all children to protect their elders like young children and not let them suffer sudden deaths.  Even if they die suddenly, they should not imitate Xie Jin!  As a so-called veteran artist, Xie Jin should have stayed away from booze.  Even if he drank, he should not let his lust run amok and get a call girl.  Inevitably, the tragedy occurred.  Actually, I have always been contemptuous of the character of Xie Jin.  This man played the role of a bold and unconstrained elderly statesman who behaved wildly after imbibing alcohol.  Therefore, his children are unhealthy, with his son dying before him.  But he had no compunction and continued to consume alcohol.  It is one thing to get drunk, but he should have avoided hard exercises in bed in a drunken state.  But he had to go for it ...

Even back then, there were doubts about his account:

On October 19, the reporter had called Song Zude after his blog post about Xie Jin appeared.  Song Zude guaranteed with his character that it was the truth.  He also provided the mobile phone number of Liu Xinda to the reporter.

Liu Xinda gave the same account basically.  But his explanations to the questions raised by the reporters were somewhat stretched.  First, the reporter asked Liu Xinda for his hotel room number in order to confirm that he stayed next door to Xie Jin.  But Liu Xinda refused to provide the information.  When the reporter said that he could check with the hotel anyway, Liu Xinda said that he registered under the name of his assistant.  He said that he needed to protect the privacy of his assistant.

Liu Xinda told the reporter that he heard the sounds around 2am in the morning.  When the reporter pointed out that the autopsy showed that Xie Jin died at 1am, Liu Xinda immediately said that he forgot when time it was.  Liu Xinda said that he had accidentally made a recording of the sounds that night.  When the reporter asked for the tape, Liu Xinda refused because only the court was going to get the evidence.

(People's Net: Tienjin Window)

During the actual court hearing, Song Zude and Liu Xinda did not produce any of the evidence that they previously claimed to possess.  Instead, Song Zude said that his blog had been hacked by unknown persons who posted the libelous essays.  Therefore, he said that he bears no responsibility at all.  In the court verdict, the judge said that the plaintiff provided detailed and adequate evidence which the court accepted fully.  As for Song Zude's hacker claim, the court did not find it credible (note: Song Zude should have made that claim on day one).  Thus, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

At around 5pm yesterday, our reporter spoke to Song Zude.  "I will file an appeal.  I am even considering a counter-suit."  Song Zude said that the verdict was unfair, but he did not explain why.  What is the basis for the counter-suit?  Song Zude said: "Xie Jin's wife and her lawyer said many things to the media which affected my good name."  As for the compensation imposed by the court, Song Zude said: "I will not apologize and I will not pay compensation.  The verdict from a first trial is unenforceable because it is not the final trial.  I believe that a fair verdict will come from the final trial."

Will Song Zude quit the entertainment industry if he loses the final trial?  Song Zude said: "I will not give up!  I have the entertainment industry's disciplinary committee secretary.  I will expose all improper acts within the entertainment industry!  I will not give up just because of losing one or two lawsuits.  That would not be in the character of Song Zude."

After the court verdict was announced, Song Zude updated his blog with this post:

From the letter of thanks by old lady Xie, she must have reached out to many leaders to make appeals on her behalf.  She is actually not living well.  In that era, Xie Jin did not make a lot of money.  It was like earning money from a job.  Compared to the hundreds of thousands or even millions that directors now make, Xie Jin made just several thousand yuan to direct a money.  It was not easy for old lady Xie to come up with the lawyers' fees.  Zude is very sympathetic to her.  If the old lady is experiencing hard times, Zude is willing to help her financially.  Unfortunately, the old lay came across some bad people who stirred up trouble without cause.  Zude advises certain lawyers that they ought to have minimal professional ethics.  It is beneath contempt to exploit old ladies while acting as lawyers.

Actually the old lady should be grateful to Zude.  Because of this lawsuit, the old lady had hopes and expectations.  The old lady was in poor physical health.  Because of the hopes and expectations, the old lady can live another couple years more.  From this point of view, the old lady should give Zude 1 million yuan for enabling her to live longer.  Of course, Zude would not actually take the money.  The benevolent and righteous Zude treats money like dirt!

(CCTV Forum via Soufun.com)

The following photos are screen captures from a video about an eviction in Henan province.  In the fourth photo, the two eviction team members let their hands go so that the child fell down from the roof to the ground below.  It is impossible that two adult men could not hold on to a boy, so they must have released their hold deliberately.

In second photo, the family relatives of the boy have just rushed out from the building but they were quickly subdued and pinned on the ground by the eviction team members.  The body language of the family relatives is tragic!

Congratulations to the Henan eviction officials.  You have succeeded!  You have completely surpassed the Tang Fuzhen affair in Sichuan!

Your actions are likely the last but also the most vile scene of the year 2009!

The status of the boy is not known at this time.  Let us pray for him!

The masses who don't understand the truth are watching

The struggling boy was shoved over the side of the building

They hold on to the hands of the boy to threaten the parents

They release their hold on the boy to let him fall down to the ground

The parents are held back

The parents are heartbroken and fall to the ground, but the evictors continue ...

Oh, wait!  Since this is China, why would you believe it anything that people tell you?  How about verifying it first?  If there is a video, then it can be found somewhere.  Here are some of the copies.  So instead of the evictors throwing the boy off the roof, they pulled him off the ledge back to safety.  It is just that the photos were posted in reverse order and then the text is written to inflame people to condemn the authorities.


At 2:50pm on December 8, Jiangsu Mobile worker Gu Yuwei spotted a batch of 100 yuan notes lying on the street in front of the Jinbang Group building on Hanzhongmen Street.  The money was bounded by rubber bands and already rain-soaked.  At almost the same isntance, Nanjing Auditing Academy student Zhu Peng also spotted the money.  The two stood near the money and waited for the owner to appear.  Then they called the police as well as the media.  The police told the two to take the money down to the police station.  But the two were worried that if they touch the money, the owner may cause them trouble by claiming a different amount.  So they did not touch the money and waited for the police to show up.  The police patrol officers arrived.  First, they took photos of the batch of money.  Then two police officers counted the money separately right at the scene and agreed on the amount.

On December 9, Yangzi Evening News published a report titled <There is a batch of money on the roadside.  Will you pick it up?> about the two young men waiting for the owner of a batch of money bills totaling 11,000 yuan in the rain.  Surprisingly, eleven different people called up the police to claim the money.

According to the police, a 60-something-year-old man said that he lost more than 10,000 yuan in September.  But since this was more than 3 months later, the money was clearly not his.  Another citizens called up because his niece had stolen more than 10,000 yuan from his home and therefore this money must be his because his niece lost it.  This was also deemed not to be plausible.  The news was then reported on CCTV, which drew even more claimants from around the country.  A Hebei citizen said that he lost more than 10,000 yuan while vacationing in Nanjing.  He was fairly consistent with media reports on the location, the amount of money and the wrapping method.  But when he was told that it was a crime to make false claims, he hung up the telephone.

The police said that they took detailed descriptions from all claimants.  A 40-something-old Nanjing woman showed up in person to claim the money.  She gave a detailed description about how she went to a certain bank to take out the money and where/when/how she lost the money.  The police reviewed the bank and street surveillance videos and told her that she was wrong and may be liable for criminal responsibility.  The woman left and never came back.

According to the police, "Actually we held something back.  The media report was accurate insofar as the location, time and method of wrapping.  But the actual amount was 11,200 yuan and not 11,000 yuan as reported.  The claimants based their stories on the media reports!  The more certain claimants are about the amount being exactly 11,000 yuan, the more skeptical we became of them.  It was easy to eliminate them through technical means.  But these are funny people too, because they knew enough to back away when things don't go well."

The reporter found the actual owner named Zhang.  According to him, he went to the Jiaotong Bank on Hangzhongmen Street to wire some money for a business trip to India.  When he got back to the office, he found that his bundle of cash was gone.  "I went back to the bank and immediately ascertained that I did not leave it there.  I did not imagine that the money would fall out of my pocket.  I had no hope at the time, so I did not even file a police report.  On December 9, a friend showed me the media report and I realized that it was my money.  So I went down to the police station.  When asked how much the amount was, I said approximately 11,000 yuan.  Later on, I worked out that it was 11,2000 yuan.  I knew that I had taken 20,000 yuan to the bank to wire the money.  I gave the bank worker some money.  I was told that more would be needed.  So I took out some more bills from the stack and I put the rest into my pocket.  Later on I deduced that it must have been 11,200 yuan."

According to the police, there was a surveillance camera at the spot where the money laid to show the route where Zhang traversed.  They also checked with the bank, reviewed the video there as well as check the transaction.

The police did not give the money back to Zhang immediately.  That happened after Zhang got back from India.  In the meantime, other people came forth to claim the money.

Yesterday, Zhang personally received the 11,200 yuan back from the police.  He immediately took out 3,000 yuan to give to Zhu Peng and Gu Yuwei in gratitude.  The two declined the money but said that they were willing to become friends instead.

Confessions of a murderer

How much danger does online games with violent content pose to young people?  Recently, our reporter went to interview the convicted murderer Li Qin (note: a pseudonym) at the Beijing City Juvenile Offenders Detention/Re-education Center.  Seven years ago, he was involved in eight murders committed during robberies when he was not even 18 years old.  He personally killed five people.  The reason why he went into a life of crime was because of his fascination with online games with violent content.

According to the Beijing City Juvenile Offenders Detention/Re-education Center, 65.8% of their detainees were involved in violent crimes.  Among them, 70% to 80% directly or indirectly became criminals due to violent online games.

Ever since Li Qin dropped out of middle school, his greatest pleasure in life was to advance in grade within online games.  In order to realize his goals, he had to find real money in order to buy equipment for his online character.  He said: "I did whatever it took.  If I didn't have the money, I would have to find it.  I did everything possible to advance in the game."  He recalled that the Dragon Slayer Sword was the best weapon at the time.  There was only one in the entire play region.  When he asked for the price, he was told: "Two apartments."  Li Qin had to give up.

Although he did not buy the Dragon Slayer Sword, he bought hundreds, even thousands, of weapons.  Moreover, he had to furnish himself with the new weapons that were introduced continuously.  The game that Li Qin played was nominally free, but he and the other players had to invest an unlimited amount of time and money in practice.

Digital entertainment industry analyst Wang Tao told our reporter that many online games charge for equipment.  These games are nominally free.  But unless you spend the money to buy equipment, you can't go anywhere.  Therefore, users need to spend a lot of money to buy equipment in order to enhance their sense of accomplishment.

Li Qin confirmed this.  He said, "In order to advance, I spent thousands of yuan.  You can't do it without spending money."

Following the advance in technology, the online games are becoming more and more realistic.  The role-playing games make the players more involved with their games as if they live in the same world.  They provide the excitement and emotions that go beyond what the real world can provide.

When money affects the survival of the player in his game, he begins to look madly for real money.  For the sake of the glory and honor of his game character, Li Qin went down a path of no return.  He began by extorting his classmates.  He went on to join a gang of robbers and eventually committed murder for money.

Li Qin was a daring person.  The violence in the games not only satisfied his physical needs, but also enhanced his violent tendencies.  The PK rules in online games also applies to killing real people, and Li Qin mixed up his judgment of  thereal versus virtual worlds.

China Youth Internet Association secretary-general Hao Xianghong has been paying close attention to these types of influence on young people.  He believes that online games cause young people to lose their sense of direction as well as the moral bottom lines.  The online games have set up these traps for human weaknesses and they offer huge temptations and influences for young people, especially juveniles.

Central China Normal University guess professor Tao Hongkai said, "Inside the game, he is the King and she is the Princess.  He is the Emperor.  He controls everything and he feels good.  This is why this has been called a mental drug.  It is just like opium and heroin."

Li Qin has served seven years of sentence.  He did not wake up from his dream until he lost his freedom and became completely severed from online gaming.  "At the time, I did not understand.  I played the game because it was exciting.  I understand now, but only too late."  He said, "I should have determined the pros and cons of online gaming before I got involved.  I would have been more sensible."

In China, there are 175 million young Internet users.  According to CNINC, almost 10% of them have some form of Internet addiction.  Meanwhile, the online game market has been rapidly expanding in China.

Wang Tao said that the size of the online game market in China was 18.5 billion yuan in 2008.  In 2009, the size was expected to have grown by 40% to 26.0 billion yuan.  This growth rate is not matched by many other industries.

For certain children, the difference between the real and virtual worlds is not very clear.  Adults look to forget about the real world in online games, but the children are learning about reality there.  When children become obsessed with the violence and mayhem in online games, they may easily mix up the rights and wrongs in the real world.  To avoid harming more children, online games should have a classification on one hand.  On the other hand, the industry should take on their own social responsibility.  A company can treat a game as its product, but it cannot treat its responsibilities like a game.

For Chinese cinema, this was the year of lousy movies.  If justice is to be served, then the 400 plus Chinese trash movies made this year will be forgotten soon.  Over the course of this year, the only memorable movie is <Bodyguards and Assassins> directed by the Hong Kong Director Chen Desen and produced by Chen Kexin.  I cannot say but this movie will become a classic, but I can say that this is the movie that is most worthy to watch this year.  From this movie, I can see the professionalism and dedicated pursuit of the story by these cinema people and, most surprising of all, their vision and structure.

2011 will the the centennial of the 1911 Revolution.  In 1911, the Chinese people ended the feudal reign of the Manchurian overlords and attempted to build an independent and sovereign modern nation.  This project went through various twists and hardships and the results were not necessarily satisfactory.  But this is the story of how we got here today.  <Bodyguards and Assassins> told a story about Sun Yat-sen and how the various people around him were swept up in the tidal wave of the revolution and some of them even gave up their lives during the process.  Over the past century, Chinese movie makers had many subjects to choose from.  By choosing Sun Yat-set and the 1911 Revolution, Chen Desen's vision and structure presented a fresh perspective.

There is no doubt that <Bodyguards and Assassins> is a commercial movie which highlights the interesting story line and the exciting fighting scenes.  After watching this movie, I disagreed with the views of others about how this movie was cheering for certain values.  Frankluy, I found all the slogans and pronouncements in the movie to be vacuous, feeble and too literary.  The reason why I still like this movie was that it created an authentic atmosphere in spite of all the flaws in the story details and made it possible to believe that the characters in the movie would make their choices the way that they did.  The scriptwriter gets most of the credit by focusing on the various minor characters and linking them together to form a powerful story line.

Sun Yat-sen was a very hollow and uninteresting person himself.  He penned many essays, but most Chinese at the time were illiterate.  He gave many speeches, but most Chinese audiences at the time could not understand his Cantonese accent.  He organized many revolutionary activities, but he only solicited donations and never commanded from the frontlines.  He did not have the military talents or the required political acumen.  Therefore he failed many times.  The Chinese saying that "when a scholar leads a rebellion, it won't be successful even after three years" refers to people like Sun Yat-sen.  Nevertheless, History actually chose him.  He stood in center stage and countless people converged and rallied around him.  They had their own ulterior motives and they may have no interest in his ideas.  But they converged around him all the same and completed the seemingly impossible mission of overthrowing the Manchurian dynasty.  The hopelessness of the mission is indirectly provided by the successful uprising in Wuchang: Sun Yat-sen was not the first to know about that uprising and he never expected that it would succeed.

History is so very eerie, impenetrable and incomprehensible.  Some people may think that the main theme of "protecting Mr. Sun" in <Bodyguards and Assassins> is weird, but it is not more or less weird than History itself.  Chen Desin offered his personal interpretation by making Sun Yat-sen more abstract and impersonal.  Instead, he used people from various social strata to represent society and explained how they got swept into this in a convincing matter.  Among these people were intellectuals, capitalists, colonial police officers, coolies and servants.  They joined for different reasons, some of whom not even knowing why or form whom they were doing this.  Through family bond, friendship, love and also countless selfish or even trivial personal desires, they got together miraculously and completed the mission.

In movies similar to this one, we might see very clear values and high-minded historical missions for which people willingly gave up their lives to uphold.  This gives the impression that History is the result of rational decisions made by rational people.  The valuable part of <Bodyguards and Assassins> is that it honestly revealed the director's vision of History: When people make History, they have their individual reasons.  Some of them do so blindly and irrationally; others do so out of selfish calculations.  Yet History drove them down in one direction and use their temporal beings to realize its own will.  Perhaps many people will perish even as the survivors watch haplessly.  But History holds no pity or mercy for the countless number of bodies in the wake of its wheels.  At the end of the movie, I did not weep for the departed; instead I was chilled from head to toe.

These are the reasons why I like <Bodyguards and Assassins>.  It tells us about the blindness of people, the lowliness of human nature and the merciless tide of History.  When I saw how each person harbors his/her own private desires, tries to preserve his/her individual happiness and holds on to his/her personal believes and they were all grounded up by the force of history, I realized that the director has gone beyond the simple dichotomy of good/evil or preaching about values.  This is why this movie is so good.

(Central News Agency)  Policeman injured; six protesters detained    Chris Wang   December 23, 2009.

A police officer was injured but appeared to be in stable condition and six protesters were detained in an incident Wednesday night in front of the hotel where Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin is staying, Taichung City police said. It was the first arrest and the most serious injury that occurred since a series of protests were launched Dec. 20 against a five-day visit by Chen, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. Chen arrived in the central Taiwan city Monday for the fourth round of cross-strait talks with his Taiwan counterpart, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation. The talks concluded the previous day with three agreements inked.

Chen Chu-hsiang, a police officer in the Criminal Investigative Corps, sustained an injury to his forehead when he was pushed from a vehicle by protesters as he tried to stop them from launching firecrackers in the direction of the Windsor Hotel, Yu Hui-mao, Deputy Director-General of Taichung City's Police Bureau, said at a press conference.

Six protesters were detained after the incident and are still in custody on charges of endangering public safety, disrupting public service and assault, Yu said. The vehicle carrying the protesters was also seized, he added. The firecrackers set off by the protesters, who were mostly from the pro-independence group "The Taiwan Republic Campaign, " posed a safety hazard for the hotel and the nearby area, Yu said.

An eye witness among the demonstrators told reporters that more than a dozen police officers jumped on the vehicle to go after the protesters and Chen accidentally fell off the truck onto the ground. "No one pushed him. I have a video recording to prove that, " said a graduate student who asked not to be named.

The police also videotaped the incident but the footage cannot be made public because the case is now under investigation by local prosecutors, Yu said. "Our video footage shows that Chen was pushed from the vehicle," he said.

Here is the video of what happened to the injured police officer.


Here is the SETV news coverage which does not include the above video.


In the online game <Happy Farm>, the user can plant various flowers and vegetables and harvest/sell the crops.  The user get to experience watering, fertilizing, de-weeding, pest-killing and other activities.  But most important of all, the user can steal the ripe crops of his friends.

On December 21, pursuant to an order from the Ministry of Culture, the Kaixin001 farm game and the QQ farm game all changed the wording of "theft" to "harvesting" and "picking."  So if you used to "steal" a black rose from someone else's plot, now you "picked" a black rose from someone else's plot of land.

"Dear fellow thieves, there is good news!  The government has re-named 'stealing vegetables.'  It is now known as 'picking vegetables' just like you picking vegetables from your own plot."

On November 18, the Ministry of Culture issued Document #46: <Notice from the Ministry of Culture on improving and enhancing content management of online games>.  This notice asked for "the establishment of the proper direction of cultural values," improving online game rules and adjusting product structures," "increasing tracking and surveillance of online game contents", etc.

The Ministry of Culture did not issue a specific document about the term 'stealing' in the farm games to the SNS websites, but they all knew to change the wording.  At Kaixin001, it became "harvesting"; at QQ, it became "picking"; at Renren, it became "plucking."

At Kaixin001, many people wait around until the plants are ripe.  It used to be that if you were one second too slow, you would see the notice "All stolen" together with a list of who stole what.  Now, the notice will say "All harvested" together with a list of who harvested what.  Previously, all farms have a general warning: "Anyone who steals will have to pay back eventually."  Now, it has become: "Anyone who picks will have to pay back eventually."

The move may have been too hasty, because our reporter was able to detect certain traces of thievery.  For example, Kaixin001 still has the icon of a masked thief; QQ's notice board still says "Labor is glorious, thievery is shameful"; etc.

Some netizens fail to understand why the name change was necessary.  Some say that it was because the people at the Ministry of Culture has time on hand to meddle in such matters.  Others say that "thievery has been legitimized by a name change to harvesting" and recommend that the relevant departments also think of a new term for "taking bribes out of corruption."

(CNN)  Choking in China's polluted city.  By Emily Chang.  December 15, 2009.

On the road into Linfen, the cars seem to disappear into dense smog that clings to vanishing buildings. The sun shines through a murky haze, if at all. The smells of industry are pungent. Just a few minutes outside and your eyes start to sting, your throat starts to hurt. You may feel dizzy or nauseous. For visitors it can be unbearable. For residents, this is life -- breathing the consequences of China's long march toward economic prosperity.

In 2006, the World Bank dubbed Linfen the most polluted city in the world. No similar list has been compiled since then. But no matter where it may rank now, problems remain.

As top Chinese negotiators argue on China's behalf at the Copenhagen climate change summit, Linfen is back in the world spotlight. The town lies in the heart of China's coal country in Shanxi province. It is home to the engines of industrial growth -- hundreds of coal mines, coking plants, iron and steel

Farmer Xue Chunlong tends his sheep in the shadow of chimneys belching out plumes of smoke. "When the sheep eat the grass near the factory, their babies are born with birth defects," he said. Xue, 78, lives in a home he built in Linfen four decades ago, long before big factories moved in. "Nobody cares about us now," he said.

(Tianya Forum)  CNN, you have made a blatant smear!  Today, I have finally seen the evil of foreign media!  December 18, 2009.

My overseas friend sent me a link which can only be seen via a proxy service.  Ah ha, once again CNN is going after China.  Right before the Copenhagen summit meeting, the foreign media are rushing into Linfen.  They took advantage of the nationwide fog bank to call it air pollution.  Is low visibility automatically pollution?  The camera switches over to a newly born lamb and the reporter insisted that it was a deformed lamb.  Damn!  ... I let my biologist wife take a look at it and we agreed that the media "deformed" the lamb ... this is the first time that I have made an Internet post on behalf of my hometown because I just can't stand it anymore.  Once again, the foreign media have labeled my Linfen as the the most polluted city in the world.  This is happening just as the our leaders are attending the Copenhagen summit and the foreign media are up to their tricks of pouring oil on fire in order to tell everybody how awful China is.

CNN, Linfen is my hometown.  I don't care about your other dogfart reports but I can't put up with this.  When I went to university, Linfen was famous thanks to the reporting from rotten media like you.  I became famous too as my schoolmates asked me: "Is there coal piled up everywhere in Linfen?"  I said: "There is quite a bit."  They asked next: "Were you very dirty?  How many times did you bathe a day?"  Me: "... ..."

As a Linfen resident, I have to admit that pollution was a serious problem a few years ago.  But it had to do mostly with the fact that Linfen was located in a basin such that ndustrial pollution could not dissipate so readily.  As a Linfen resident, I regret this piece of history which has brought a bad name to this city.  But we can now reasonably and responsibly say that things are different today.  We have gotten rid of that label.  Today, our hometown has blue skies.  The white clouds in the sky are not longer rare sights.

I have not been to the hometown of CNN.  But I imagine that the United States is also affecting world climate too ... The CNN reporter filmed a fog day in Linfen.  This clever reporter does not even understand climate.  I can only say that CNN is truly gifted in misleading people.  I hope people can display some photos of the blue skies in Linfen.

[ESWN comment: The point about this post is not to say definitively about how things are in Linfen.  I don't have a clue.  I only want to point out that whereas CNN reports on how bad the situation is in the world's most polluted city for its audience, some people in China come up with very different interpretations and reactions.  That's all.]

(China Times)

According to a poll conducted by Want Want/China Times, 19% of adults claim to know what the Economic Cooperative Framework Agreement is.  Of these, only 34% claimed to know the contents while the other 66% have heard of ECFA but don't know the contents.  Among those those who know, 43% thought that ECFA has a positive influence on the future development of Taiwan while 35% thought it has a negative influence. 

According to a poll conducted by Common Wealth magazine released on December 16, about 30% of the people know what ECFA is about, of which 53% thought that it has a positive influence on the future development of Taiwan.

According to a poll conducted by Global Views magazine released on December 18, 54% of the people thought that the ECFA is very important for economic development in Taiwan.

According to the poll conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party released yesterday, 91.5% of the people said that the government has not explained clearly the contents or consequences of ECFA while only 2.6% thinks the government has done so.  The same poll also found that 49.5% of the people opposed the signing of the ECFA while only 29.1% supported it.  Either way, it means that there are plenty of people who support/oppose the ECFA without knowing what it is.  Also, the Democratic Progressive Party found that 48.5% of the peopel agreed with the protest activities at the Chiang-Chen meeting while 39.6% opposed it.

(TVBS)  (1,075 persons age 20 or older were interviewed on December 16-17, 2009 by telephone.  Telephone numbers were randomly drawn from the telephone directory and the last four digits were ranodmized.)

Q1. Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the job performance of President Ma Ying-jeou?
27%: Satisfied
51%: Dissatisfied

Q2. Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the job performance of Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen?
  7%: Very satisfied
31%: Somewhat satisfied
17%: Somewhat dissatisfied
  7%: Very dissatisfied
37%: No opinion

Q3. Do you know that Chen Yunlin of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits will be arriving in Taiwan next week for the fourth Chiang-Chen meeting?
80%: Know
20%: Don't know

Q4. Do you know what are the issues to be discussed at the fourth Chiang-Chen meeting?
23%: Know
76%: Don't know

Q5. Since Ma Ying-jeou became president, the two sides of the strait have negotiated and signed many agreements.  Overall, do you think that the signed agreements are favorable, unfavorable or neutral to Taiwan?
30%: Favorable
31%: Unfavorable
13%: No impact
26%: No opinion

Q6. Are you concerned that the visit by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Chen Yunlin will dwarf the standing of Taiwan?
43%: Concerned
45%: Not concerned
12%: No opinion

Q7. Are you confident that the government will protect the interests of Taiwan in the meeting with Chen Yunlin?
  9%: Very confident
26%: Somewhat confident
25%: Somewhat not confident
27%: Very not confident
13%: No opinion

Q8. Some people think that the cross-strait policies of Ma's government lean towards China too much.  Do you agree?
52%: Agree
33%: Disagree
15%: No opinion

Q9. During the visit of Chen Yunlin, the Democratic Progressive Party wants to have a demonstration march this Sunday "against blackbox activities and protect our rice bowls."  Do you support this demonstration march?
12%: Very much support
17%: Somewhat support
30%: Somewhat not support
24%: Very much not support
17%: No opinion

Q10. Are you worried about major clashes during the protests against the visit by ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin?
52%: Worried
39%: Not worried

Q11. What is your preference for the status of Taiwan?
20%: Pro-independence
  4%: Pro-unification
64%: Maintain the status quo

Q12. If a choice exists between either Taiwan become an independent country or unified with China, which would you choose?
68%: Taiwan independence
13%: Taiwan unified with China
19%: No opinion

(South China Morning Post)  Triad trio jailed for plotting to shoot pair.  By Fox Yi Hu.  December 19, 2009.

Three Hong Kong triad leaders behind a US$1 million plot to shoot media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming have been sentenced to between five and 18 years' jail by a Shenzhen court. Tung Nga-man, 67, known as "Brother Kam", received a six-year term for attempting to cause injury. Yu Wai-shan, 63, known as "Fat Yu", was jailed for five years for attempting to cause injury. And Chan Siu-ming, 61, known as "Uncle Seven", was imprisoned for 18 years for attempting to cause injury and possession of illegal drugs. Tung and Yu both denied initial charges of attempted murder and the court later introduced the lesser charge.

In response to the sentencing, Lee said he hoped authorities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland would get to the bottom of the case. "Media reports said a Hong Kong businessman in Taiwan was behind the plot and Tung had been to Taiwan more than once to meet him. I hope Hong Kong and Taiwan police will co-operate to investigate further," he said. Lai could not be reached for comment last night.


In police evidence seen by the South China Morning Post , which broke the story of the plot, Tung and Chan named the Hong Kong businessman as the mastermind. The original plan was to kill Lai and Lee, defendants had said. The attack was initially planned for July 1, when both men would be together on the annual pro-democracy march, the court heard. Tung asked Yu to hire someone for the job, and he found Chan. Chan told the court that although the original intention was to murder them, he later decided to merely wound them, as this would be less risky. "Two prices: HK$5 million for killing and HK$3.5 million for injuring. I said the consequences of killing would be very serious. I decided to take HK$3.5 million and less risk," he told the court.

(Apple Daily)  Main criminal in the Lee-Lai attack case sentenced to 6 years.  December 19, 2009.

Yesterday, Hong Kong and Chinese reporters were kept faraway on the outside of the courthouse gates.  Inside the courtroom, only five or six family members were allowed in.  The hearing went on for 30 minutes.  The judge did not retell the case details.  Instead, he only read out the respective sentences and answered questions from the defendants.  The hearing was over by 3:30pm when the defendants were brought back to the detention centre to begin serving their sentences.

Over the course of several months of hearing, the details of the case had been revealed.  One defendant disclosed that the motive for taking action against Lee and Lai was because "there was too much freedom of expression in Hong Kong and Jimmy Lai has offended certain people."  In the courtroom, the name of a Hong Kong businessman in Taiwan was given directly as the mastermind behind the scene.  Martin Lee said: "I read that the mastermind is a Hong Kong businessman living in Taiwan.  As long as he is not brought to justice, this case has not ended."


(Oriental Daily)  Ten defendants in the case of sharp object to stab buttocks were sentenced.  December 19, 2009.

The case of the mainland male who carried a gun in order to stab the buttock of a certain person (in which Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai were involved) had the verdict pronounced yesterday in the Shenzhen Middle Court.

(Ming Pao)  Charges were suddenly modified in the Martin Lee case; main suspect avoids death penalty and gets only 6 years in prison.  December 19, 2009.

According to information, there were three hearings at the Shenzhen Middle Court over the course of four months.  At first, the prosecutors charged the first and second defendant with "intentional murder" which could earn the death penalty.  However, according to a lawyer who wishes to remain anonymous, this case was very straightforward but also very sensitive.  The first and second defendants disclosed the details about the mastermind behind the scene and were given credit.  As a result, the charge was modified.

When, if ever, will we ever be told who the "Hong Kong businessman in Taiwan" is?  After all, his name was mentioned by a defendant in open court.

Background: New Tools for Suicide: Paper Bills and Shoelaces?  China Hush.  December 17, 2009

Apple Daily News-In-Motion


(Modern Express)  Netizens point out doubts in the Kunming suicide video.  December 19, 2009.

Facial injuries on Xing Kun before entering the detention centre

Xing Kun's clothing before entering the police station

At 19:29, December 11, Xing Kun takes out paper bill

At 4:52, December 12, Xing Kun removes handcuffs



The surveillance video showed the following:

  • At 19:29 on December 11, Xing Kun stood up and used his left hand to take out a paper bill from his left pocket
  • At 4:52:28 on December 12, Xing Kun unlocked the handcuffs with the folded paper bill.  He is able to move his right hand freely.  Xing Kun then got up and walked out of the area covered by the camera.
  • At 4:55:19 on December 12, Xing Kun came back from the blind zone, sat down and used his right hand to unzip the right-hand pocket of his jacket to take out the shoelaces.
  • At 5:20:46 on December 12, suddenly fell from into view on on the left side.  "Kunming city public security bureau spokesperson Yao Zhihong explained: "He fell down on the ground after his first suicide attempted failed."
  • At 5:21:28, Xing Kun walked forward towards.  "Ninety seconds later, Xing Kun entered the blind spot.  Yao Zhihong explained that Xing Kun tried hanging himself a second time.

After the Kunming police released the surveillance video of the late Xing Kun inside the detention centre, netizens raised doubts about the authenticity of the video:

1. What there an actual video?

After Xing Kun died, the police announced that the surveillance camera was placed high up in the interrogation room, which meant that Xing Kun was out of view when he committed suicide.  So where did this video come from?

2. What was only the back of Xing Kun being shown?

During the entire video, Xing Kun was only shown from behind.  Even the moment when Xing Kun took out the paper bill to unlock the handcuffs was fleeting.  Overall, the motion of Xing Kun was stiff like acting.

3. The video was edited because the two sections were more than 9 hours apart from each other.

The first video showed 19:29 on December 11 when Xing Kun took out the paper bill.  Then the scene switched to Xing Kun walking back from the blind zone and removed his shoelace.  The first suicide attempt took place at 4:55 on December 12.  There was a 9 hour gaps between the two.  Clearly, the video had been edited.

Yesterday, the reporter contacted Xing Kun's maternal uncle You Zengqiang, who had raised even more doubts about the video released by the police.

1. The clothes are different.

You Zengqiang told the reporter that Xing Kun does not own a white jacket as shown in the video.  "In the morgue, we found Xing Kung's clothes inside the body bag -- dark green trousers; black shirt; cotton long johns; red underpants.:

"I remembered that Xing Kun wore a black jacket that day.  The white jacket in the video does not belong to him."  When Xing Kun entered the Xiaonanmen Police Station, he was wearing the same clothing found in the body back (that is, a black jacket).  "So why did he wear something else in the video?"

2. The hairstyle and physique are different

You Zengqiang told the reporter: "I saw Xing Kun about ten days or so before he died.  He usually wore a crewcut.  He always wore a crewcut.  The hairstyle in the video is different.  Also, Xing Kun is smallish in stature.  The man in the video was stout and strong.  I can identify the physiques of our children.  The man in the video is not Xing Kun."

3. You Zengqiang shared the same skepticism about the video: What does the video only show the back?  Even if only the back was shown, You Zengqiang thought it was not Xing Kun because "I am very familiar with our family children."

Our reporter called the Wuhua District procuratorate and was told: "We cannot reply.  This case is under investigation.  The press conference was held jointly by the Kunming city procuratorate, the city public security bureau and us.  All facts should refer to the public statements there."  The reporter asked: "We understand the Wuhua District procuratorate was in charge of the autopsy.  Can you tell us who was in charge?"  Reply: "I am unable tell you."

The reporter then called the Kunming city public security bureau's information office.  The worker replied: "I am also trying to understand the case through the media.  My knowledge is the same as yours ..."  "Can you help me get through to the relevant person in charge?"  "I cannot help you on this.  I dare not answer you.  Even you reached the relevant person, what do you think he would say?  He would surely say no interviewing.  If I were you, I would go directly to the procuratorate.  They are in charge of the case."

The reporter then called the Kunming city procuratorate: "Is the Kunming city procuratorate in charge of the case of Xing Kun?"  "What? I don't know.  I have not heard of it."  "You know, the case in which the handcuffs were unlocked by a paper bill?  The one that the media around China are paying attention to."  The worker replied: "I don't know.  There is no information."

At Xici Hutong forum, a Nanjing citizen Mr. Tan wrote a post: <I am even more wronged than Peng Yu, I took my colleague home and I have to pay 100,000 yuan>.  He said that on February 19, he and several colleagues had dinner together including wine.  Afterwards, the colleague Zhu Peixun insisted on going home on his motorcycle.  But the roads were wet due to rain and Zhu had drank a lot, Tan hailed a taxi until they got to the intersection from where Zhu lives.  The lane was too narrow for the taxi to enter and Zhu's home was about 30 meters down the lane.  Tan observed that Zhu was alert while insisting, "Don't bother to go with me."  So Tan left in the taxi.  The next morning, Zhu Peixin was found dead from exposure near his home. 

A month later, the Zhu family sued Tan in court.  Five months later, the Pukou District Court found Tan guilty of failing to carry out his duty to see Zhu home and sentenced him to pay 106,000 yuan to the Zhu family.  "I am so wronged!  I was trying to be kind-hearted and this is what I get!"  Tan said.

Tan said that Zhu Peixun was quite alert at the time.  "He got in and out the taxi on his own."  Tan also mentioned that he had asked a friend to drive Zhu Peixun home.  Along the way, Zhu Peixun told this person about his "family troubles."  Then Zhu said that "his mobile phone fell underneath the car seat" and got the person to stop the car to look for it.  But then he refused to re-enter the car.  "That was when I had to come over to take him home in a taxi."  Tan believed that Zhu must be alert enough to interact with the other person like he did.

Here is the key portion of the court verdict, "Zhu Peixun was fully capable of taking responsibility of his own civil acts.  He should be clearly aware of the dangers of over-intoxication.  Therefore, he must assume the majority portion of the responsibility.  Tan was the escort person.  He knew that Zhu had too much to drink but he failed to complete his duty to escort and assist, and this resulted in Zhu Peixun losing his life in the absence of care.  Tan should therefore bear a corresponding civil liability."

According to lawyer Ge Yingwu, "If the original verdict of the court holds, it will be a huge blow to social conscience.  From now on, nobody would dare take a drunken person home.  That is to say, if I don't take you home, then I have no problems; if I take you home but I don't get you inside the house, then everything will be my fault if something happens to you."  "Apart from conscience, there can't be that much duty legally speaking.  We go out and drink.  When I take you home, it is out of amity and not duty.  If you can move freely and you can get in and out of the taxi, it is reasonable to take you only to your residential complex or downstairs from your apartment.  If you insist that I don't need to accompany you any further, do I have to force myself?  Isn't that embarrassing?"

According to a sociologist at Nanjing Normal University, "The court verdict may comfort the family but it damages the majority of the people.  It is a subtle issue of whether you have to see a drunken friend home.  There are no hard rules and it all depends on the situation.  "If you are so drunk as to be unconscious, nine out of ten people will only take you downstairs from where you live.  Mr. Tan only did what an ordinary person would do, but he is paying an extraordinary price for it.  This may be a surprise to him as an individual person.  But once the court rendered its verdict, it becomes an issue for everybody.  If you want everybody to face things that he cannot complete predict, you are telling everybody to become Ultraman."

28-year-old Little A is from Nanning city, Guangxi province.  She studied Japanese at university in Nanning in the hope of getting a job with a Japanese company.  In 2001, she fulfilled her dream to work in a Japanese company.  But since August 2008, the dream has become a nightmare.

In April 2007, she joined the quality control department of Shanliu Plastic Goods Company in Guangzhou.  In August 2008, Hiroaki Yokohama was transferred from the Japanese headquarters to become the deputy manager of the quality control department and the supervisor of Little A.  "At first, I didn't mind him.  But after a month, he began to touch me.  He caressed my neck and my waist.  When I refused, he complained that I was cold.  At the time, I felt pressured and I was scared of going to work."

Because the company has an open office space, the actions of Hiroaki Yokohama could be seen by office colleagues.  Some of them considered it a joke while others taught her how to protect herself.  "Several times when I was in the middle of my work, he sneaked up from behind to grab me.  I was so scared that I trembled all over."

At the year-end company party on December 26, 2008, Little A decided that she had enough.  The party began after 8pm, and the company workers took turns to get on the stage to sing.  It was a lot of fun.  Suddenly Hiroaki Yokohama came from behind to grab Little A.  She could feel that his hand was on her breasts.  So she struggled to defend herself.  Then his arm was wrapped around her neck.  "I had difficulty breathing.  I was suffocating.  I cried for help in Japanese and Chinese!  I got free, but he chased me around the table.  I was so scared."

Little A said that Hiroaki Yokohama then got on stage to sing.  "He yelled out my name aloud on the stage.  I was so scared that I ducked underneath the table.  My colleagues spotted me but I told them not to tell the Japanese guy where I was.  But he saw me all the same.  When he finished his song, he came over to hug me, to put his arm around my neck and to touch my breasts.  My hands were bruised.  In the end, I held on hard to a chair.  He tried to hug me from behind and pry loose my hands, but he did not succeed."

After that night, Little A cried for two days straight.  Her family told her, "Child, you must not put up with this anymore!"  The next day was a weekend.  On Monday, Little A did not go to work but asked a Chinese colleague to request time off.

On January 4, 2009, Little A officially informed the Sanliu general manager about the incident.  He promised to call back the next day but never did.  On January 6, Little A called the company and made two demands: (1) a written apology; (2) the company will provide a guarantee that she will not be sexually harassed again.  On January 7, the Sanliu company held a meeting with six managers (two Chinese and four Japanese including Hiroaki Yokohama).

Little A said that she was "very disappointed" with the meeting.  The general manager acknowledged that Hiroaki Yokohama acted improperly but he said that Hiroaki Yokohama touched Little A's from behind with purely good intentions after having a few too many drinks.  "If Hiroaki Yokohama writes an apology, it will be a blemish for him."  Therefore, they rejected her demands.

Hiroaki Yokohama explained that he thought that contact with Little A would improve her job performance, but things turned out differently.  "I sincerely apologize for the hurt that I have caused you.  I did not consider the difference between the environments where I grew up and where Little A grew up, and therefore I failed to consider what your feelings might be."

The worst part was the two Chinese persons on the committee did not defend Little A's rights.  They told her "the general manager is giving you face by showing up at the meeting in spite of his very busy schedule."  One of the Chinese persons stated at the meeting that Little A should be fired for frequent absence from work.

Little A then learned the Sanliu company sent someone to her former company to investigate her.  A friend at the former company told her, "Did you break the law at Sanliu?  I heard that the police were investigating you here."  Little A said that the Sanliu company wanted to find bad marks to use against her.

Two days after the meeting, Little A sent a letter to the company to say that an oral apology was insufficient.  The company said that a written apology was out of the question, but "the company was willing to wipe out her previous absence from work if she was willing to continue to work there."

" I went crazy.  I found it unacceptable.  I really cannot accept it.  I consulted lawyer Su Xiaojun and sent a legal letter to the company.  They rejected it."

On January 22, Little A received a notice from the company -- she had been dismissed because she has not been at work during this period.

Little A then decided to file a civil lawsuit.  In March, she filed a lawsuit in the Luogang district court to ask for 400,000 yuan in compensation from Sanliu company and Hiroaki Yokohama, as well as a written apology.

Previously, all sexual harassment cases in Guangzhou have ended with judgments against the plaintiffs.  The reason was always the lack of evidence.  At first, Little A was facing the same obstacle.  Since the office workers were unwilling to testify for fear of their own jobs, Little A had to find evidence on her own.  With the help of her lawyer, she found the most convincing evidence -- three photos taken at the year-end company party that were taken by company workers by accident.

The court ruled: "The photos provided by the plaintiff clearly showed what Hiroaki Yokohama did.  The action violated the human rights of the plaintiff, causing mental annoyance such that she could not continue to work.  The demand by the plaintiff for a written apology as well as compensation for mental anguish are legally valid.  Based upon the circumstances in this case, the court rules that the amount of compensation for mental anguish shall be set at 3,000 yuan."

Little A said: "Hiroaki Yokohama continues to work at the Sanliu company, and the judgment has not been fulfilled.  The 3,000 yuan is just chump change for him.  Will this make him fearless and continue this kind of behavior?"

Our reporter called up the Sanliu company yesterday.  When the telephone operator transferred the call to Hiroaki Yokohama, it was suddenly broken off.  When the reporter called again, the telephone operator said that Hiroaki Yokohama may not be at his desk.  Upon learning that the caller was a reporter, the telephone operator said: "Our company don't want any reporters calling."  The telephone was then hung up.

Apple News-In-Motion


On December 18, the city of Wuhan government organized more than 800 law enforcement officers to demolish illegally constructed buildings that totaled over 40,000 square meters.  These buildings were along the planned railroad route between Wuhan and Huangshi.  It is common for local farmers to 'seed' these houses in order to extract compensation.

The wheels of this truck were removed and then the truck was placed on the road tto obstruct the bulldozers from entering.

The buildings were roughly built with mud instead of cement to seal the gapes between bricks.  According to experts, the farmers 'seed' these houses because they were afraid that their future liveilhood would be affected.  If the government provided early on to re-train them or bring them into the social security system, the farmers would be more psychologically and economically prepared as the participants, the builders and the beneficiaries of urban construction.

The poice kept a woman from going near the houses that were scheduled to be demolished.

(China Times)

After completing <Big River, Big Sea 1949>, Lung Ying-tai turns her thoughts towards the role that science plays in society.  But before she gets into the issue, she has to face the reality of her own poor mathematics marks in the university entrance exam.  For a person in the humanities, why is science so difficult to understand?  She tossed the question at Paul Chu Ching-wu, who recently left his post as Chancellor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Both participants asked the other of some of the elementary questions in their respective fields.  Lung Ying-tai asked: Who wrote the Tao Te Ching?  What did Tsao Hsueh-chin do?  What did Picasso do?  Chu Ching-wu asked: Why can't a person lift himself up?  Why is the shadow under a tree round?  Who is James Watson?

Chu Ching-wu was able to answer all of Lung Ying-tai's questions.  But Lung Ying-tai scored zero on Chu Ching-wu's questions.  Lung Ying-tai attempted to ask the writer Chen Joshi and the Minister Without Portfolio Ovid Tseng about the Second Law of Newton, but they could not provide the answer.  Lung Ying-tai had to ask: When asked about the basic questions of the other's domain, why is science so much more difficult for people in the humanities?

Chu Ching-wu praised Lung Ying-tai for the self-critical spirit of an intellectual.  He said humorously: If a scientist did not know Shakespeare, he would feel embarrassed; if a humanist did not know Newton, he would be proud as if Newton has nothing to do with them.

The two went back to the notion of the "Two Cultures" as proposed by the Cambridge scholar C.P. Snow.  He had said that British politicians most came from the humanities and knew nothing about science.  Therefore, it was dangerous for national policies to be decided by such people.  But C.P. Snow also criticized scientists as being too arrogant and making light of the humanities.

Lung Ying-tai pointed out that the Taiwan society wants its scientists to have humanistic qualities, and this has happened over the years.  At this time, society should also demand the public (especially the politicians) to have basic scientific qualities.

(SCMP)  Tai-tai denies firing 45 maids in five years.  By Joyce Man.  December 15, 2009.

Former Miss Hong Kong runner-up Winnie Chin Wai-yee was having none of it when she was accused of firing 45 maids in five years. Not so, declared the wife of socialite banker Philip Ma Ching-yeung: in fact the number of her helpers who left was more like 30 - and not all of them were fired.

Suggestions that she habitually hurled obscenities at her Filipino helpers, calling them [expletive] idiots with no brains, were also false, she told Eastern Court. Chin was replying to barrister Ody Lai, representing three of her ex-maids.


Chin, the Miss Hong Kong runner-up in 1981, said the "30-odd" maids who had left included some hired for another, 20,000-square-foot family property as well as her home. She fired some for not meeting her standards, but some left by mutual consent or resigned and many completed their contracts, she said.

But Lai, cross-examining Chin, said figures from the Philippines Consulate showed 45 Filipino helpers entered and left her employment from 2004 to this year. She said Chin had earned a reputation for terminations and that many helpers had left because she had a bad attitude. Lai accused Chin of calling her Filipino maids "[expletive] idiots with no brains" about three times a day and saying all Filipinos are "[expletive] domestic helpers". Chin denied the accusations.

What are the deleted expletives?  Wouldn't you want to know?  Well, only Apple Daily News has the courage to tell you through their animation (at 0:53 in the video: "You fxxking idiot.  No brain"  "Stupid, stupid" and "all Filpinos/Filipinas are domestic helpers."


(Xinhua)  December 15, 2009.

    A police officer has been sacked for applying for naming his subordinate, who drank himself to death at a banquet in southern China, a "martyr," the local public security authority said Tuesday.

    Xie Feiyong, head of a traffic police squadron of Baoan District in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province, was suspended of his post on Monday after he applied on behalf of the squadron for bestowing the honor of "martyr" to his subordinate Chen Lusheng, who died of heavy drinking at a banquet, the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau said in a press release.

    Xie took Chen and some other police officers with him to a banquet organized by the Xixiang residential community on Oct. 29. Chen, who was off duty, drank "a lot" and vomited. He was then led to sofa for a rest but was later found breathless. Chen died in hospital after emergency treatments, the municipal traffic police bureau said. The hospital said Chen died of vomit-induced suffocation.

    Chen's family pressed the police department for compensation, saying that Chen had died in a work-related banquet. Xie and some other leaders of the squadron later jointly applied to the district brigade for giving Chen the honor of "martyr" so that more government compensation could be given to the family. However, the brigade turned down the request after a careful study of the case, saying Chen was not qualified for the honor. An application for martyr must undergo further examinations by other senior authorities such as the municipal public security bureau and the municipal bureau of civil affairs.

Apple Daily News-In-Motion


Comment:  Compare the text "Chen, who was off duty, drank 'a lot' and vomited. He was then led to sofa for a rest but was later found breathless. Chen died in hospital after emergency treatments. The hospital said Chen died of vomit-induced suffocation." with the animated video beginning at :10.  There are some differences in detail.  Why?  Perhaps because the actual details would make the presentation less dramatic.

P.S. The actual dinner took place inside a restaurant because the staff was interviewed by the media.  Why was the scene changed?  Perhaps because it was technically easier this way.

(eTaiwanNewsDPP slams President Ma over unification timetable.  December 16, 2009.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party accused President Ma Ying-jeou of dumping mainstream opinion in favor of surrender to China unification yesterday after his comments in a Wall Street Journal Asia interview that the next decade would be crucial.

In the newspaper's Monday edition, Ma was quoted as saying in the Nov. 25 interview that the key period before unification would last ten years.

"Whether there will be reunification as expected by the mainland side depends very much on what is going to unfold in the next decade. This is a question no one can answer at this stage," the U.S. financial paper quoted the president as saying.

Ma had drawn up a ten-year timetable of surrender to unification, DPP lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang said, calling on voters to use their ballots to dump him in the 2012 presidential elections.

Tsai's colleague Huang Wei-cher said Ma was welcome to turn those elections into a referendum on independence or unification with China. Ma was dropping his past campaign promise that the future of Taiwan should be decided by all the people of Taiwan and belittling his own position while destroying the sovereignty of the Republic of China, Tsai said.

On a visit to Japan, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen told Taiwanese reporters that a decision on unification was not for the president to make, but for the whole Taiwanese people.

Acting DPP spokesman Chuang Suo-hang said that most opinion polls in Taiwan, no matter by whom they were conducted, showed that the number of people supporting present or future unification never exceeded 15 percent, while 85 percent were in favor of maintaining the status quo or moving to independence. Ma's words signified a complete departure from mainstream opinion in Taiwan, Chuang said. The DPP also said the interview showed that Ma was planning to decide the country's fate on his own, not taking into account that Taiwan was already a sovereign and independent nation.

Following the widespread criticism of Ma's comments, the Presidential Office held a news conference yesterday to say the newspaper had made a mistake. The office played an audio recording of Ma's interview with the paper to prove its point that the president had said "in the next decades" and not "decade."

Here is the relevant portion of updated version of the interview:

(Asian Wall Street Journal)  Taiwan's Détente Gamble.  By Leslie Hook

"Whether there will be reunification as expected by the mainland side depends very much on what is going to unfold in the next decades. This is a question no one can answer at this stage. But as the president of this country, I believe that the 23 million people of Taiwan want to secure one or two generations of peace and prosperity so that people on either side of the Taiwan Strait can have sufficient time and freedom to understand, to appreciate, and to decide what to do."


Corrections & Amplifications
In a Nov. 25 interview with The Wall Street Journal Asia, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said that, "Whether there will be reunification as expected by the mainland side depends very much on what is going to unfold in the next decades." An earlier version of this article misquoted him as saying "decade."

Over the past several days, an Internet post <State Bureau of Statistics claimed that 87.53% of netizens support the shutdown of BTChina> has become red hot in the forums and blogs in China.  "87.53" is the hottest number on the Internet.  But our reporter found that the State Bureau of Statistics has never published such a figure.  Instead, it was a hoax created by a netizen.

The post began to spread on December 11.  It took the form of a news report: "The State Bureau of Statistics claims that their random survey of 100 netizens showed that 87.53% of netizens support the shutdown of BTChina."  Alongside this statistical result someone else listed 11 other research reports that also had '87.53."  For example, "the State Bureau of Statistics' Anhui research division published the 2008 Ma'anshan public satisfaction survey of urban environment in which 87.53% of the people were satisfied with the environment in the city"; the Jingzhou Bureau of Statistics announced on April 1 that the capital flow index was 87.53% during the first quarter of this year; the Hubei Yinshi Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced that "the total fixed assets investment was 8.753 billion yuan, which was 12.1% higher than the previous year."

Although these 87.53's all seemed normal, they were treated as evidence of a miracle.  "All sorts of research data in all sorts of published information from various government departments show the number 87.53."  Netizens begin to wonder why so much statistical data was connected to 87.53.  Do the government departments like those numbers? Was there a reason why this number was chosen?

The first person to turn 87.53 into a miracle was a blogger named Li. He listed the 11 occurrences of 87.53 in his blog, and he also provided a link: "To find more 87.53%, please click on this link."  The reporter clicked on the link to reach a search engine which generated the 11 occurrences.

But the reporter found out that the Internet also contains numerous other types of statistical data.  If you enter any number into a search engine, you will find a large number of related web pages, including various statistical survey data from various government departments and organizations.  There is nothing miraculous about 87.53.

The next question is: If 100 netizens were surveyed, the answer should by a whole number such as "87%."  So where did 0.53-th of a person come from?

Many netizens scorn at this 0.53 after they read the "news report."  They think that the State Bureau of Statistics cooked the number.  But other netizens point out that it was the "news report" that was fabricated.  "The State Bureau of Statistics does not research this kind of thing.  Even if they did, they could not have made an elementary mistake of showing a 0.53.  This news story about 87.53% is definitely a hoax."

However, these voices of doubt were quickly drowned out by the tide of the miraculous 87.53.

The Internet popularity of 87.53 drew the attention of the traditional media, which even reported the Internet post and the surrounding discussion as news.  But these news reports did not touch on the key question: Is it true that the State Bureau of Statistics claimed that 87.53% of netizens support the shutdown of BTChina?

At noon on December 12, netizen "37733" asked on the Baidu Knowledge page: "Seeking the source of the State Bureau of Statistics' claim that 87.53% of netizens support the shutdown of BTChina."  He had searched on the Internet and found that "there is no official source for that 87.53, but only at forums, blogs and Twitter."

In truth, this research result has never appeared on the State Bureau of Statistics website or any other media.  It was born on the Internet, being created by a netizen who put the hat of the State Bureau of Statistics on it and made it into a news report which became popular on the Internet.

The earliest time/date for which a 87.53 post appeared was at 1:52am on December 10.  But even that post was described as a "re-post."  The story then exploded around noon on December 10 across the forums, blogs and Twitter.

Early morning on December 11, Twitter user "yhog" admitted that he made up that piece of information.  He apologized: "The information about the State Bureau of Statistics was intended for fun.  However, I did not write well and I caused misunderstanding.  I apologize here.  I hope that you will re-post this to dispel the rumor."

[ESWN Comment: I am writing this comment in my role as a professional statistician.  If I were told that "the State Bureau of Statistics claims that their random survey of 100 netizens showed that 87.53% of netizens support the shutdown of BTChina," I would have said that this is a hoax.  Here are some reasons.

Firstly, no government statistics bureau anywhere in the world would report survey results based upon 100 persons.  The reason is that that the margin of error would be too big.  For a sample of size 100 which yields 87.53%, there is a 95% probability that the true percentage is between 74% and 100% (that is, plus or minus 13% around 87.53%).  This is not very useful.  Instead you will find that most quick public opinion polls have sample sizes close to 1,000 (for example, the Gallup polls in the USA or the HKU POP polls in Hong Kong).  For a sample of size 1,000 which yields 87.53%, there is a 95% probability that the true percentage is between 85% and 89%.  That is much better.  By the way, it is quite alright for a sample of size 100 to show an estimate of 87.53% because the sample may have been weighted to age/sex/geography as is often the case.  In practice, the fractional parts are often not reported because they are small compared to the margin of error.

Secondly, there is no easy way in the world (especially not in China) to obtain a random sample of Internet users.  If you set up an intercept survey at one or more big websites, you will get a random sample of their users and not necessarily of all Internet users.  In China, the only way to do so is to select a random sample of households all across the county, knock on their doors, select respondents and ascertain if they use the Internet.  Then you can proceed with your survey of Internet users (such as asking them whether they support the shutdown of BTChina).  That will take several months to complete.]

Q1. After the government offered its proposal for constitutional reform, some people think that Legislative Councilors should resign and run in a by-election as a de facto referendum to reflect public opinion.  Do you support or oppose this recommendation?
26%/9%/51% (Support/half-half/oppose for total sample)
 - 40%/10%/37% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed democrats)
 - 21%/4%/65% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed pro-China respondents)
 - 20%/10%/56% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed neutrals or those with no political leaning)

Q2. If a democratic legislative councilor in your district actually resigned and ran for the by-election and you have the right to vote, will you vote to re-elect him/her into the Legislative Council?
36%/4%/49% (Yes/half-half/no for total sample)
 - 67%/4%/23% (yes/half-half/no for self-proclaimed democrats
 - 10%/0%/84% (yes/half-half/no for self-proclaimed pro-China respondents)
 - 25%/4%/58% (yes/half-half/no for self-proclaimed neutrals or those with no political leaning)

Q3. At this time, do you tend to support or oppose the constitutional reform package from the government?
35%/14%/32% (support/half-half/oppose for total sample)
 - 18%/11%/58% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed democrats)
 - 76%/7%/10% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed pro-China respondents)
 - 39%/18%/20% (support/half-half/oppose for self-proclaimed neutrals or those with no political leaning)

(South China Morning Post)  Democratic Party majority rejects resignation plan.  By Albert Wong and Gary Cheung.  December 14, 2009.

The Democratic Party yesterday rejected by a wide margin a proposal for its members to participate in a de facto referendum on universal suffrage in 2012 through mass resignations by pan-democrat lawmakers.

The proposal was opposed by 229 party members at a meeting, with 54 voting in favour of the motion and one abstention.

... The party's central committee decided to allow party members to canvass for votes for League of Social Democrats and Civic Party members who will stand in the by-election triggered by the resignations, although they will not be allowed do so in the party's name.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan admitted his party and the other two pan-democratic groups had had a "temporary point of departure" on strategy. "I believe the temporary difference will not affect unity within the pan-democratic camp," he said. He would urge the other two groups to reconsider their plan.

Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said yesterday's vote represented mainstream thinking in the pan-democratic camp. "I can't accept the notion that our party has been marginalised within the pan-democratic camp," she said.

Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said he was disappointed with the result, adding that he would assist pan-democrats canvassing for votes in the by-election.

Democratic Party leaders and the "reformist faction", a minority group within the party which backs the resignation plan, lobbied party members before the meeting. Party leaders strongly oppose the resignation plan, which they fear will see the camp lose seats. The "reformist faction" comprises district councillors in the New Territories East constituency and other members who hold influential positions in the party's New Territories East branch.

Tensions ran high before the meeting, with rival groups gathering outside the venue, the YMCA Centre in Yau Ma Tei, chanting slogans at others arriving in the hope of swaying their opinion. About 20 young activists who had mobilised on the internet, some in masks, kneeled on the ground and called on party members to back the resignation plan. But about the same number of older Democratic Party supporters urged members to vote down the plan and strive for democracy through established channels.

Party leader and veteran Szeto Wah criticised the young activists as troublemakers. "Kneeling down is not a meaningful democratic action," he said. "If they knelt before (League of Social Democrats chairman) Wong Yuk-man, do you think he would change his mind?" Szeto said he believed his party's rejection of the plan would not lose it public support, and that he hoped other pan-democratic groups would respect the decision. "Please don't use foul language to attack us," he said.

Szeto criticised Lee, his long-time partner in the democracy movement. "He seems to be flip-flopping with his stance all the time, he said. Lee denied yesterday that he had ever changed his stance, and said he had always supported the referendum plan.

Here are the Chinese-language media coverage, which is a bit more colorful:

(Apple Daily)  The Democratic Party voted by 54 ayes, 229 nays and one abstention to reject the five-district resignation plan for 2012 universal suffrage.  They also voted by 68 ayes and 215 nays to reject an alternate proposal in which 2012 universal suffrage was replaced by elimination of the functional constituencies.  Szeto Wah said: "We will not lose any support; at the same time, we will gain even more support because we are unafraid of unreasonable pressures."  When asked whether the Democratic Party is gutless, Szeto Wah replied in the form of a counter-question: "This is not an issue of guts.  It is like jumping off a building.  Would you call someone gutless if he refuses to jump off a building?"

(Apple Daily)  Retired Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen said yesterday that he was angry at the government's proposal for constitutional reform.  One of the ways to take action is to encourage people to participate in the January 1st demonstration march.  "A demonstration march is useless if there are just 'three or four kittens' showing up.  People really have to respond."  He said that the target is to get 1 million people to march.  He said that he has not yet decided whether he would march himself.

(Oriental Daily)  Front page story: Pan-democrats' general resignation becomes an abandoned unfinished building

Some time ago, Next Media Group chairman Jimmy Lai, Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan and former Hong Kong People's Congress delegate Allen Lee applied pressure during a closed-door meal on veteran Democratic Party Szeto Wah to participate in the five-district general resignation.  But yesterday more than 80% of the Democratic Party members rejected resignation plan.  Thus, the dream of "troublemaking gang of four" is broken.

(Oriental Daily)  Generally speaking, voter turnout will be lower in a by-election than in a general election, and this will make things more unfavorable to the pan-democrats.  Now that the Democratic Party has declined to participate, it will divide the pan-democrats even further so that not all five Legislators will be re-elected.  The situation is grimmest in Kowloon East and New Territories East.  In Kowloon West, the pro-establishment camp is rumored to be fielding the highly popular Chan Yuen-han.  Alan Leong of the Civic Party has a good chance of losing if he does not have the support of the Democratic Party.  In New Territories West, Chan Wai-yip of the League of Social Democrats was the eighth finisher in last year's general elections.  Since then, his banana-throwing act in Legco has drawn dismay and he was also involved in intra-party squabbling.  It will be very hard for him to get re-elected.  In New Territories East, Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrats has a fair chance of losing in a by-election.  In Kowloon West, the local Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood is definitely not going to help Raymond Wong and this will create an opening for the pro-establishment camp.  The only sure district is the traditional pan-democrat stronghold of Hong Kong Island, where Tanya Chan of the Civic Party will be running.

(Ta Kung Pao)  About 20 young netizens knelt outside the YMCA Centre in Yau Ma Tei yestrerday to beg the Democratic Party to back the resignation plan.  Reportedly, there were quite a few League of Social Democrats among them.  Late in the evening, when they learned that the Democratic Party had voted not to participate in the resignation, they yelled: "Albert Ho is a pedarast (何俊仁正契弟)" and Democratic Party 'delay no more'" and other slogans.  They also presented a funeral wreath to Albert Ho who refused to accept it.

(Ming Pao)  The Democratic Party announced the results of their public opinon polls on the resignation plan.

Q.  Some people recommended that the democrats should select one legislative councilor to resign and then run for re-election in each of five districts in order to protest the absence of universal suffrage in 2012?
(Support%/Do not support%)
39.5%/36.6%: September 7-16, 2009
34.2%/40.3%: October 8-19, 2009
29.3%/44.4%: November 20-23, 2009
26.8%/50.7%: December 4-10, 2009

The breakdown of Support%/Do not support% among self-identified pan-democrat supporters:
65.6%/19.2%: September 7-16, 2009
61.7%/27.1%: October 8-19, 2009
51.7%/35.3%: November 20-23, 2009
39.5%/37.7%: December 4-10, 2009


On December 9, the Chinese Broadcasting Television Association's Television Producers' Committee held a meeting in Beijing.  State Administration for Radio, Film and Television Television Drama Management Office director Li Jingsheng criticized the television drama series <Dwelling Narrowness> for "using luridness, government, sex and other topics to hype itself" leading to vulgar and negative influence in society.  He said that SARFT will concentrate on overseeing the uniformity in entertainment, thought and educational values of television dramas.

In 1992, Li Jingsheng bought the following up-scale mansion in the Lijing Gardens, Beijing.  This is not something ordinary folks can afford.

Recently, he spent a huge amount of money to purchase another mansion, which supposedly has 280 square meters in area.

Could this be another round of Internet outrage that will bring down Li Jingsheng, in the manner that the Nanjing housing official was brought down because he was found to smoke very expensive cigarettes and wore very expensive watches?

No.  Instead, the netizen may find himself in legal trouble.  After all, it is very easy to find that the two mansions shown belongs to actress Gong Li (see link 巩俐全球多处上亿豪宅 深圳别墅11套).

(Oriental Daily)

Six foreign tourists arrived yesterday in Hong Kong.  Late last night, the three men and the three women took two taxis to go from Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon to the famous bar district Lan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island.  When the driver who took the three women arrived, he told them that he had forgotten to turn the meter on and so he had to charge them an estimated 400 dollars.  The three women did not think that this was a reasonable amount.  So they called their three male friends, who said that their fare in the other taxi was just over 100 dollars.  Therefore, the three women refused to pay.  The driver then locked the car doors so that they could not get out, and then he began to drive slowly around the Lan Kwai Fong area.  When the taxi reached a bar at Wyndham Street, the three men had rushed up on foot to stop the taxi.  One of the men reached through the car window and tried to pull the driver out.  The driver resisted and continued to drive while using the taxi radio to call his father, who is also a taxi driver, for help.  The car swerved around slowly, causing pedestrians to scatter in terror.  The driver and the foreign men then got into a shoving match in the street.

The police arrived at the scene and separated the two sides. Meanwhile, a group of taxi drivers have raced to the scene.  The driver's father began to curse the policemen and charged the foreigners with fare cheating.  The police told him to calm down.  The driver's father then turned to the reporters: "My son transported them, but they refused to pay!"  The police took the three foreign men aside for questioning.  The father's driver then grabbed a wood stick and a glass bottle and tried to approach the foreign men, but he was ordered to stop by the police.

The police then removed the six foreigners away from the scene.  The driver's father cursed the uniformed police for pandering to foreigners.  The police ended up arresting the driver for illegal confinement.  The driver claimed to have sustained injuries in the left eye and the right shoulder.  The three foreign men were released pending investigation for assault.

John Huang works for a trading company.  In his spare time, he composes animated videos based upon photographs.  Recently, he spent two months to create a short video lasting 3 minutes 54 seconds using 23 photographs every second plus some special effects.  The story is based upon Jin Yong's martial arts novel <The Swordsman's Legend>.


On November 5, 66-year-old female villager Wang Xiuying of the Erdaohe village, Niuquanzigou town, Shuangqiao district, Chengde city, Hebei province went down to the town government office to petition her relocation compensation.  Town Communist Party secretary Shi Guozhong said that he could not meet with her because he was heading into a meeting and he was not familiar with the case.  He told Wang Xiuying: "Don't ask me.  It is useless for you to tell me anything."

Wang Xiuying began to cry: "Secretary Shi, please don't leave.  If even you won't care, who can I go to?  I'd have to jump off a building!"  But Shi Guozhong said: "I can't do anything about that either.  But don't go to the first or second floor.  If you want to jump off the building, go to the fifth floor."  After saying that, he brushed her hands off and walked away.

The Hebei province, Chengde city, Shuangqiao district leaders took the matter seriously when they learned about it.  They investigated and found it to be true.  At the December 8 Shuangqiao district executive committee meeting, Shi Guozhong was dismissed from his post as Niuquanzigou town party secretary.  All party members and cadres in the district were also told to learn from this case to pay more attention to people's livelihood issues and have more sympathy/empathy in dealing with people.

Several years ago in Mengjin county, Henan province, a number of illegal clay brick kilns were constructed.  These kilns used the earth right from the spot, which resulted in huge losses of arable land.  However, the kiln operators had to leave the electricity poles alone.  That was why the landscape had these earth mounds with electricity poles on top.

Based upon the feedback from the people, these illegal clay brick kilns have all been demolished in accordance with the law.  The land has been restored as farmland, and thus the earth is covered in green anymore.  These highly placed electricity poles serve to remind people to treasure their land resources.

"Zhu Bin?  He's dead."  At 1pm on December 8 at the Yucai Middle School in Xiangxiang, Hunan province, a female student have a direct answer to a reporter's question on the whereabouts of the deceased victim Zhu Bin.

"Pitiful Zhu Bin."  She added her opinion, but her tone was very weird because she was clearly wearing a smile on her face.

Another first year male student who had been classmate with Zhu Bin for six years in elementary school was also asked about Zhu Bin.  He smiled and said, "Nothing much."  The reporter pressed, "What did Zhu Bin like?  Like basketball, football, table tennis, painting, singing, and so on."  The reply was still "Nothing much."

I was astonished by the smile on his face as well as the absence of any sign of sorrow.  I asked: "Don't you feel sorry for the misfortune of Zhu Bin?"

He blushed for a few seconds and then whispered: "No."

There were not many anomalous signs on this school campus.  Class was out and the students were playing and chasing each other around just like before.  Some students took the reporter over to the stairwell where the incident took place and excitedly recounted what they saw on that night.

Sorrow seemed to have departed from this school campus a long time ago.  The stampede which shook the nation fifteen hours ago seemed to have taken place many years ago.  The school was as "orderly" as the official statement says, although parents and other people from the area have converged here.  However, the classes were still held according to the schedule.  In Class 139, an English-language teacher used a megaphone to explain the difference between countable nouns and uncountable nouns.  In another classroom, a biology teacher took the model of a tree trunk and explained age rings to the students.

Although there are many people wearing police uniforms on campus, they did not restrict people's movements.  Parents and other people were allowed to complain.  Dozens of reporters were photographing and interviewing everywhere.

Our reporter was shocked as to how the tragedy could be forgotten so quickly.  It seemed that only the brief crying embrace between a mother and a daughter in front of the door to Class 129 and the sobs of some of the teachers, plus a rose that some unknown person has placed in the corner of Stairwell 1 where the incident occurred reminded people that a tragedy had just occurred here.

The children may be feeling pain, but they are accustomed to not show it before people; perhaps they really do not feel sorrow because such is their nature; or perhaps it is better for their mental health to shield themselves from this tragedy and leave no psychological shadow in their hearts.

Even so, this reporter thinks that the children obviously lack reverence for the departed lives and sorrow for their deceased mates.  They are clearly too cold and indifferent.  Their unintended revelations of their indifference to this incident was truly shocking.  This reporter wondered whether they really needed the psychological counseling provided by the authorities after the incident.

The reporter discussed this with several of the visiting parents.  They clearly also detected the indifference of the students, but they could not come up with any explanations.  One parent said that the students only know to study and nothing else at this school.  He placed the reverence for life into the category of things that they don't know.

Why don't they know?  The parents began a discussion.  One parent named Zhang said Yucai Middle School only knew how to "concentrate on academic performance and they don't care about anything else."

(Taipei Times

The Council of Cultural Affairs organized an exhibition at the memorial park on Thursday, including a public art installation. Chen Chia-chun (陳嘉君), wife of anti-Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) movement leader Shih Ming-teh (施明德), tried to attack the artwork and was arrested.

Chen criticized artist Yu Wen-fu (游文富) for displaying his work where Wang Hsi-ling (汪希苓), former head of the Military Intelligence Bureau was kept under house arrest for ordering the murder of Chinese-American writer Henry Liu (劉宜良). Chen said that placing the art work there was the same as commemorating Wang.



(China Times)  An Open Letter To President Ma.  By Chen Chia-chun.  December 12, 2009.

In 1981, you got your Harvard University law degree and returned to Taiwan.  I believe that you must be quite knowledgeable about democracy, freedom and human rights.  Yet you chose to return to Taiwan to become the secretary of the dictator Mr. Chiang Ching-guo, who was ruling via a reign of terror.  During your period of participation in the Kuomintang reign of terror, terrorist assassinations such as the Chen Wen-cheng case, the Chiang Nan case and others took place one after another.  My husband Shih Ming-teh began his "indefinite hunger strike" in prison.  In his statement, he clearly expressed his demand for the government to stop all assassinations.  Mr. President, you must be aware because you (as the Deputy Secretary-General of the Kuomintang Party Central) was the one who sent a note on behalf of the ruler to the Minister of Defense Soong Cheng-chi to discuss how to handle the news of the "Taiwan independence conspirator" Shih Ming-teh's hunger strike.

The day before yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the Formosa Incident (Kaohsiung Incident).  It was also World Human Rights Day.  At the Jingmei military detention centre (in the Taiwan National Human Rights Memorial Park which was renamed by you as the Jinmei Human Rights and Cultural Park) which was used to interrogate, judge, sentence and execute political prisoners of conscience, events were held to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Formosa Incident (Kaohsiung Incident).  As the principals and victims of the incident, we were not invited. We decided to come down in low profile three days before the opening to see.  We never expected that this event would glorify and praise the murderer in the Chiang Nan case, who was the head of the Military Intelligence Bureau at the Ministry of Defense and the executor of the policies of the reign of terror!  My husband Shih Ming-teh took one look, turned around and walked away in silence.  When a strong man who faced death with a smile on this face was insulted so deeply, he can only keep his silence.  I was angry and I could not be silent anymore.  I told the people in the park: "Do you know who Wang Hsi-ling is?  Do you know that Shih Ming-teh announced that his indefinite hunger strike was because Wang Hsi-ling dispatched someone to assassinate Chiang Nan?  Do you know that Shih Ming-teh's elder brother Shih Ming-cheng joined him in the hunger strike and died as a result?"

The government had three days of time, and they don't lack the channels to explain this absurd matter.  But the government is numb and unconcerned.  On the morning of December 10, the President's Office called to explain but they clearly did not want to admit fault  My husband was willing to stand up for justice for others, but he is not a person who complains about his own inner hurt.  For the past three days, we were sleepless because of our sorrows which are bursting out after being buried for so long.

I must stand up now because this is not just about the Shih family, which had three political prisoners of conscience: Shih Ming-teh, Shih Ming-cheng and Shih Ming-hsiung.  In Taiwan, there were as many as ten thousand political prisoners of conscience and they have families too.  They had lost their youth, freedom, lives and opportunities.  Today they are also relatively weak in society.  I must stand up now for the dignity of these tens of thousands of victims of political persecution and their families, because this was the deepest fear of every Taiwanese who ever lived under the era of white terror.  The government can "ignore" us but the government cannot "glorify" a murderer who directed terrorist assassinations.  Certain things must not be tolerated!

After wiping away the tears and gritting the teeth, we still have to face up to this absurd matter at hand: The government has the authority, resources and funds.  It is one thing for the government not to go ahead with "reconciliation with truth" or "transitional justice."  But it is something else for the government to use its resources and public funds to hire artists to glorify the convicted murderer Wang Hsi-ling.  If this isn't 'rubbish,' what is?

In the history of art, no one fought for freedom of artistic expression because they want to praise rulers who rule by terror.  Powerful and rich dictators will never lack their own paid artists.  I have decided to work as a volunteer janitor for one day at the park in order to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Formosa Incident (Kaohsiung Incident).  I will not come to protest.  I will not come here to demand any rights.  I only come to clean out the trash that the government has produced.  On that day, I will bring along a blank check with the President of the Republic of China as the payee.  This is because I respect that the government may have a different value judgment than mine with respect to the "trash."  If the government thinks that the trash that I remove is valuable, then the check represents my sincere offer of compensation.  But isn't what I do also performance art?

Many young people never lived through the era of white terror and they don't understand what kind of nasty character Wang Hsi-ling was.  He was an intelligence head who terrorizes everyone and he was also the only murderer who was convicted.  As such, he is the "symbol" of the terror in white terror.  It is understandable for young artists not to understand the history of scar/hurt and therefore glorify the murderer.  But it is ridiculous for the government to spend taxpayers' money to do this.  This matter must be dealt with immediately.  The government cannot shirk its responsibilities.

When Mr. President won't clean out the rubbish, the people will do it themselves!  I will be there.

"Jiangsu Mobile welcomes you!"

Haiping looked at the SMS that just came through on her mobile phone and a bitter smile came on her tired face.  She had just taken a bus with her younger sister Haicao for more than three hours in order to look at a suburban apartment -- the prices in the central area has rise so high that they were forced to look so far away.

This was one of the "grey humor" point in the television series <Dwelling Narrowness> that drew more bitter smiles from viewers in front of their television sets.  "This is too true!"  The netizens gave their approval.

How far can art approach reality?  This is a very interesting problem for this program that has been showing since the end of October.  People were speculating based upon the the details of the story set in a place called "River City" whether this is about the major case by the Huangpo River that shook the world in 2006?  Could some of the characters in the drama be based upon certain real-life public figures?

Without doubt, the true blueprint of <Dwelling Narrowness> must be the insanity and bleakness of life in China under high housing prices.

Even as <Dwelling Narrowness> tried to challenge the limit between art and reality, it has drawn a formidable of its own.

"We stopped broadcasting <Dwelling Narrowness> because of the public relations effort from real estate developers.

An inside source at Beijing TV who wishes to remain unnamed told our reporter recently.

On November 15, the television drama series <Dwelling Narrowness> finished broadcasting on the Beijing TV Movie Channel.  On November 18, Beijing TV Youth Channel began rebroadcasting the show at 22pm every night.  But after showing 10 chapters over 5 days, it was suddenly terminated and replaced by another show.

This drew discussion and speculation galore.

As one of the investors in the television drama series, trading in the Huayi Brothers Company stock had to be suspended on November 27 as the company announced that this affair has only a tiny effect on company business performance because their return on investment is fixed and independent of variable revenue.

So <Dwelling Narrowness> because the first television drama series in the history of China to affect the stock market.

"This is a very sensitive, touchy matter.  We are dealing with it right now."  On November 28, Huayi Brothers vice-president Hu Ming told our reporter that he did not want to provide any details because the matter involves another party.

The aforementioned person at Beijing TV told our reporter that because <Dwelling Narrowness> painted an "excessively negative" picture of real estate developers.  Therefore certain real estate companies "undertook measures" to convince the television station to stop broadcasting the series.

"The power of real estate developers is much more stronger than you imagine," said that person.

 The other reading within public opinion was that <Dwelling Narrowness> gave a far too realistic portrayal of house slavery under the rapidly increasing prices that it is having a bad social influence.  Thus, the supervisory department recalled it for review.

But the authorities have categorically denied this to be the case.

The State Administration for Radio, Film and Television stated publicly that this television drama series has passed review and there is no subsequent ban order.

"Beijing TV is not stopping the program.  They are just changing the timing."  Shanghai Television Media Company (which is one of the investors in the show) leader Liu Yong told our reporter.  As of the deadline of this report, Beijing TV has not resumed broadcasting <Dwelling Narrowness>.

"The stoppage may be a promotion gimmick from the Internet businesses."  According to a person with SMG New Media: "Many video websites have purchased rights to show <Dwelling Narrowness>.  With the controversy, online viewing of <Dwelling Narrowness> is soaring.  Huayi Brothers Company earns a fixed amount based upon their total investment, so that they have no motive to hype.  We at SMG is a state-owned enterprise and we behave properly.  We would not go and hype this up for the sake of viewership."

Narrow Dwellings: a TV series that slipped through SARFT's guidelines  Alice Xin Liu, Danwei

(Taipei Times)  Editorial: One third of the nation are idiots  December 10, 2009.

Premier Wu Den-yih has once again found himself in hot water and this time it is of his own making. In an interview with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-friendly UFO Network on Tuesday, Wu said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s cross-strait policy continued to abide by the principle of “no reunification, no independence and no war.”

“You don’t have the capability to unify [China] and you don’t want to be unified by it, nor are you capable of declaring independence, which would cause a split domestically, not to mention the possibility of danger from an external force,” he said, using his rhetorical skills to blur the lines and in the end not not say very much. Then came the kicker: “Only irresponsible people or idiots would want to seek independence [for Taiwan].”

... A poll released by Global Views magazine in October showed that 29.3 percent of people in Taiwan would support immediate and/or eventual independence, an increase of 3.9 percent from a similar poll conducted in May. Those who supported immediate or eventual unification with China remained fixed at 8.3 percent. In other words, if we look at the world through Wu’s eyes, about 30 percent of Taiwanese are idiots, while the more than 50 percent who support the “status quo” could be regarded as mildly retarded.

... Dogged by reporters and unyielding at first, Wu eventually admitted that his comments were inappropriate and that he wished he had never made the reference to “idiots.” He then apologized.

(China Times)

In a public meeting in Taichung, someone threw an egg at Premier Wu Den-yih as he got on the dais from behind but missed.  Aides quickly tackled the egg-thrower who yelled: "He called me an idiot!"


(Apple Daily)

A video about an incident in the Shanghai Subway Number One Line quickly became popular on the Internet.  A fashionably dressed female passenger wearing sunglasses sat, peeled and ate an orange while dropping all the peels on the otherwise very clearn floor.  A man in a suit sitting across her noticed that and asked her to stop.  She cursed him out instead.  So he began to use his mobile phone to call the police.  When the train stopped, the woman got up and tried to get out.

"Don't go!"  An elderly couple sitting across her got up and blocked her to prevent her exit.  "You pick up all the orange peels before you leave!"  The old man ordered while the old woman patiently advised: "Young people must not be so uncivilized!"

"What are you doing?  I want to get off!"  The young woman did not appreciate their efforts and started to curse them out.  The man in the suit joined in and the four people jostled for a while.  Other passengers also chimed in against the young woman.  Finally a tall man wearing a white coat silently picked up the orange peels and "asked" the young woman to get off whereupon she fled.  The old woman was still heard to be complaining.