Is China a "Grand Soccer Nation"? No. Not as long as the description of that great third goal was "just like how Lionel Messi does it!"
If you can't watch it on Youku, you can watch it on YouTube to the accompaniment of <The Internationale>.
Meanwhile, the Chinese champion team was playing the Pohang Steelers (South Korea) in a training match which ended in a mass brawl.
As of February 2, 2010, Wang Xiaofeng's blog "You May Not Associate" was no longer accessible due to failure to register. Even the emergency back-up domain name was not usable. For now, Wang Xiaofeng's blog is being run as a sub-domain under his friend's registered website, which meant that he did not have to register himself.
On February 9, 2010, Wang Xiaofeng received notice that his application to register has been rejected: "Your ICP application for www.wangxiaofeng.net has been reviewed by the Beijing Municipal Communications Administration and found not to satisfy the requirements for registration. Your application is now being returned to you for revision."
Wang Xiaofeng's agent Ma Rila who represented him on the application confirmed the story. He said that the information in the application (such as the address, telephone numbers, etc) were verified several times. He really "cannot imagine" why the application was rejected.
Our reporter then called the Beijing Municipal Communications Administration. Before the application for Internet Content Provider is sent to be review by them, it had to pass a preliminary review by the Internet Data Centre. Only applications that pass the preliminary review will be reviewed by the Administration. Wang Xiaofeng's application was rejected by the Internet Data Centre and did not even reach the Administration.
The Internet Data Centre (Beida Fangzheng Broadband Internet Technology Limited Company) confirmed that Wang Xiaofeng's application to register his blog was rejected. The person named Jia who reviewed the application told our reporter that Wang Xiaofeng's application had definite problems in meeting the requirements of the relevant departments. However, this worker said that he was vacation at this moment and is therefore unable to look up the specifics. Besides, this "would be improper to disclose" anyway.
Wang Xiaofeng said himself that this was "absurd." Over the telephone, he said that independent bloggers are applying to register their blogs. In his case, the Internet Data Centre is rejecting his application "because they don't want to be held responsible" and therefore they are using various reasons to "kill off the personal blogs." Wang Xiaofeng said, "When they say that blogs must apply for registration, this is like you opening a photocopy shop and being told that you need a special business permit. This is a unique Chinese characteristic."
Wang Xiaofeng said that he did not want to set up a blog with a web portal because he wanted to maintain independent thinking and continue to express his independent views without being modified or deleted by the web portal. Chinese law permits citizens to set up their own independent blogs. Therefore, he has the right to express himself. Wang Xiaofeng said that he will continue to re-apply until he gets approval for registration. He won't exclude the possibility to seek legal recourse. "Citizens have the right to express their views independently. I will fight back."
My new blog <Tree Hole> www.shu0.net went offline after its first 24 hours of existence. This is the fastest among all the blogs that I have created. It was not shut down as such. Rather, the Internet Data Centre did not want to support an unregistered domain name. Therefore, I can only point that the domain name somewhere else, and then ask my readers to use http://188.8.131.52/ until such time when registration is complete.
With the re-opening of <Tree Hole>, I began to receive plenty of email. Many of these describe how people are feeling low. So I have to think if we were to switch our present positions, how might our feelings change? If you are like me, who had two blogs shut down in one night, the number of visitors dropping from 18,000 to 1,800 per day, and Baidu clearing out the cache on the blogs, how would you feel? Then you set up a new blog and did everything required to register. But 24 hours later, your blog becomes inaccessible. How would you feel?
I am feeling pretty good, because I knew that this was going to happen. I also know that in this country, it will require endless effort and hardship to get a simple thing done. Therefore, I have no time to figure out whether I am feeling high or low. More precisely, I don't have the luxury to even have feelings. Through my RSS feed, my blog can still bring information to 500,000 subscribers. Through email subscription, I gained more than 5,000 readers within one month. Through Twitter, I have more than 19,000 followers and more than 20,000 fans at the Sina.com micro-blog. I lost 16,000 blog readers but I got more almost 40,000 micro-blog audience members. This is how I choose to live my life: if there is a mountain in front of you, you cut out a road; if there is river in front of you, you build a bridge. Rather than weep and despair at the foot of the mountain or by the river bank, you are better off doing something about it. Soon or later, you run across a barrier. But when you decide to get up and do something, you can always find something to do. Afterwards, you may find an infinite number of roads appearing in front of you.
Many people wrote to recommend that <Tree Hole> should not have to be split away from Hecaitou's blog, or it could just be a sub-domain of Hecaitou's blog. Some people think if <Tree Hole> leaves Hecaitou's blog, there will be fewer people interested in it. You know what? This is the part that really made me feel low.
www.hecaitou.net is on the black list. It does not where the domain name is pointed to, it will be inaccessible. So what is the difference between the domain and the sub-domain? If the domain name is blocked, so too are the sub-domains. I am not necessarily condemning the recommendation as being silly. Instead, it is reminding me of how hard the Internet is in China. Whenever I want to do something, I do not begin by listing the possibilities. Instead, I begin by considering what is impossible. After excluding the impossibilities, I look at the narrow space that remains and try to come up with some possibilities. The Chinese people do not really lack creativity or imagination. Of course, they have it and they are perhaps every bit as good as Americans. But after we consider technology, capital, product design, user experience and other issues just like Americans do, we need to consider some more factors that have nothing to do with the aforementioned list. And the latter are more important than the former in deciding how far or how big something can get. We carry two loads of burden. So how can we outrun a country with only one load?
Such are the ways of the world, there is no point in sighing. Instead, we need to pick up the burden and move ahead. But when I read the theme that <Tree Hole> cannot survive independently outside Hecaitou's blog, I felt that all my work over the years was just building sand castles. <Tree Hole> is a place for ordinary people to describe their life experiences. I think this is its greatest value. When each person can express themselves, then we are not far away from the day when people can think independently and develop self-identities. If self-expression is of no value, why would I bother opening such a section in Hecaitou's blog? When so many people harbor strong doubts about the self-expressions of ordinary people, then are they doubting their own value? If you insist on being a brick in the Ten Thousand Mile Wall, what good it is for me to try to talk you out of it?
We cannot wait our entire lives for other people to act, or speak out, or create some space for you. If I wasn't around and Hecaitou's blog wasn't around, would all the problems described by people in <Tree Hole> disappear? Do they no longer need to be told and heeded? If other people are waiting for me, then who should I wait for? When Han Han updates his blog, a group of 30- to 40-year-olds run around and tell each other: "Check it out! Han Han said XYZ today!" Does anyone feel that this is not just cowardly and pathetic, but it is also shamelessness? Why don't you say XYZ yourself? Why is your mouth dependent on someone else's blog? If one day, individual rights and equality should fall down upon everybody, what good are they for a bunch of weakling egg-heads with no sense of self-identity?
I can give you a sword, but I cannot give you the courage. I can give you a creed, but I cannot given you the faith. If you still understand this simple and obvious idea after reading my blog for so many years, then you are better off not reading it. If I blogged so many years without helping you to find yourself but only succeeded in finding myself, then this is my greatest failure. As I wrote very early on: When a person does not esteem or believe in himself, then a sky full of gods cannot save him.
Q1. Do you agree with the "Five district referendum, the people's uprising" slogan used by the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats?
7%: Don't care
3%: No opinion
Q2. Do you want the five resigning legislators to return to Legco?
8%: Don't care
3%: No opinion
Q3. There will be five by-elections in five districts as a result of resignations. Do you think that this by-election is ...
22%: A referendum to realize genuine democratic elections
10%: An ordinary Legco by-election
52%: A political farce that is a waste of the public's money
12%: A means for political parties to gain political capital
1%: Don't care
3%: No opinion
Q4. The government needs to request HKD 150 million from Legco to run the by-elections. Do you want Legco should ... ?
39%: Pass the request
55%: Deny the request
3%: Don't care
3%: No opinion
Q5. If Legco passes the funding request for the by-elections, should the pro-establishment camp ... ?
38%: Enter candidates into the by-elections
41%: Boycott the by-elections
10% Don't care
11%: No opinion
Q6. On by-election day, will you vote?
3%: Don't care
7%: No opinion
(Hong Kong Journalists Association)
The HKJA condemns the Chengdu police for the violent interference with the reporting of Hong Kong Journalists. Such brutal acts by the police are indefensible under any circumstances. By such actions the Chengdu police suppressed the right of Hong Kong reporters to report on the case.
As the HKJA understands it, the Hong Kong reporters arrived early outside the court building and started to gather news. They were closely monitored by the police. But before the hearing began, numerous policemen came out from the court and violently forced the reporters to enter an office inside the building.
The police clashed with the reporters and some reporters were slightly injury. Reporters were held separately in separate rooms. The reporters were released 30 minutes after the verdict was handed down. This operation aimed at deterring the news reporting of the case.
The HKJA urges the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (HKMAO) of the State Council and the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) to follow up and explain this case. All detained reporters carried the Press Card issued by the Mainland authorities. Nevertheless, the court police still accused the journalists of “illegal reporting”.
According to the rule of the Press Card, journalists can report news without interference in China except in prohibited zones. This rule has been implemented for over a year, but the court police still accused the reporters of not informing the court before reporting news. This excuse is a ridiculous joke. It shows that the HMAO and the ACJA failed in their duty by neglecting to explain to the police the implementation of this policy.
Yesterday morning at 9:30am, a relaxed looking Li Zhuang was escorted into the courtroom by court police. Based upon his expression, he seemed to be full of confidence about the verdict today.
As the verdict was read out, Li Zhuang was closely attentive. When he heard that he would be sentenced to 18 months, he jumped up and grabbed the microphone to yell out: "I pretended to plead guilty during the second trial. The relevant departments in Chongqing came to the detention centre and promised me that I would get a suspended sentence if I pleaded guilty. But you sentenced to serve actual jail time. You broke your promise."
According to defense lawyer Gao Zicheng, the situation went out of control for a moment. Several court police officers restrained Li Zhuang.
Li Zhuang yelled out that the prosecutor(s) came to see him in the detention centre and did the following.
Firstly, the procuratorate wantedLi Zhuang to plead guilty during the second trial and show a good attitude without causing trouble for the prosecutors.
Secondly, the procuratorate wanted Li Zhuang not to use Gao Zicheng and Chen Youxi as his defense lawyers in order to make the trial go more smoothly.
Thirdly, if Li Zhuang does not change his defense lawyers, then the procuratorate should ask the defense lawyer to change the not-guilty plea to a leniency plea.
Li Zhuang yelled out in court: "How many martyrs have written confessions, but it did not affect their martyrdom!? ... I hope that the 160,000 lawyers in China will continue to proclaim my innocence on the outside ..."
After the verdict, our reporter interviewed his defense lawyer immediately. On December 31, 2009 and January 15, 2010, the defense lawyer went to see Li Zhuang at the Chongqing detention centre.
"During the two meetings, Li Zhuang was high-spirited. He wanted us to fight all the way at all costs. He said that he wouldn't plead guilty even if it meant serving jail time. But when the court trial began, Li Zhuang suddenly pleaded guilty. This surprised and shocked the defense lawyers. After the second trial recessed, I went to see Li Zhuang at the detention centre. I asked him why he pleaded guilty. Li Zhuang told me that several days before the trial, two persons from the Chongqing government had gone down to see him separately at the detention centre. However, Li Zhuang was tight-lipped about the substance of those conversations. He said that these were secrets that cannot be disclosed."
The defense lawyer believed that the two conversations affected Li Zhuang greatly and gave him tremendous pressure so that he pleaded guilty at the second trial.
Q1. The Hong Kong SAR government published a consultative document about the elections of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council in 2012. How well do you know about the associated discussion?
9%: A lot
70%: A little
6%: Don't know/hard to say
Q2. Concerning the 2012 Chief Executive election, there is some opinion of increasing the size of the Electoral Committee from 800 to 1,2000 including 100 directly elected District Councilors. The minimum requirement for Chief Executive nomination is 1/8 (or 150 out of 1,200). Do you support or oppose this recommendation?
18%: Don't know/hard to say
Q3. Concerning the 2012 Legislative Council election, there is some opinion of having five more directly elected seats and five more seats from among District Councilors while holding all the other seats the same. Do you support or oppose this recommendation?
19%: Don't know/hard to say
Q4. Five Legislative Councilors from the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party have resigned in order to use the by-elections as a de facto referendum to express public opinion about the constitutional reforms. Do you support or oppose their action?
27%: Support (26% on January 11-13, 2010)
9%: Half-half (12% on January 11-13, 2010)
58%: Oppose (50% on January 11-13, 2010)
6%: Don't know/hard to say (14% on January 11-13, 2010)
Q5. If the Legislative Councilor who resigned from your district enters the by-election, will you re-elect him/her to the Legislative Council?
33%: Yes (36% on November 28 to December 4, 2009)
55%: No (49% on November 28 to December 4, 2009)
12%: Don't know/hard to say (16% on November 28 to December 4, 2009)
Beijing-based lawyer Li Zhuang has admitted to the charge of giving false evidence at the second trial of his case at a court in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on Tuesday.
Ten minutes into the trial, Li Zhuang told the judge at the Chongqing No.1 Intermediate People's Court that he will withdraw his appeal to the verdict issued in the first trial, which he said was based on clear facts and substantial evidence.
In response to his defending lawyer Chen Youxi's inquiry, Li said he understood the consequences of the withdrawal and admitted to the charge of giving false evidence. He was also charged with obstructing a witness.
In addition, Li Zhuang also read from a written final statement which consists of six points (Beijing Youth Daily):
This statement has become the subject of a very "close" reading. There is no need for me to translate these six points, because that is not where the controversy lies. Instead, the key are the first and last words of these six statements.
First, if you string out the first words: 被比认罪缓刑, you get "forced to plead guilty in return for a suspended sentence." Then, if you string out the last words: 础去坚决界诉, you get "once outside, I will resolutely expose this."
Is this over-reading? But what is the likelihood of pure coincidence?
But before you get to this, is this even what he really said in court? After all, this is only a transcript of what he said and did not come directly from him. Did someone make this one in order to make a point even if it will be highly prejudicial to Li Zhuang himself?
On October 7, 2007, Internet communications in the Jinqiao district, Macheng city was suddenly broken. After recovering "automatically," sporadic interruptions continued to occur over the next three days. The Ministry of Telecommunications tried to find the answer.
At that moment, the cybercafe owner Zhao Shuting reported to the Macheng police: "We received a note. The other party said that your cybercafe goes off line frequently because we did this to you and not because of any telecommunication problem. But if you buy our software, your cybercafe will be able to operate normally. If you don't, I can paralyze your cybercafe. The other party asked for 8,000 yuan."
The provincial public security bureau and the Huanggang city public security bureau's Internet supervisory squad quickly joined the investigation. The police believed that the attacker may well be a user at that cybercafe and they were right as they arrested a man named Gao.
Gao admitted that he was dissatisfied with the cybercafe owner and asked the netizen nicknamed "Black Pretty Point" to launch a cyber-attack on the cybercafe. The police then went to Jinan city in Shandong province in search of "Black Pretty Point." But they missed him on several occasions. Finally, in April 2008, "Black Pretty Point" was apprehended.
The police found out that "Black Pretty Point" was not just a computer hobbyist who wanted to play pranks. Instead, he was a sales representative for a "trojan horse chain."
So the police followed the leads provided by "Black Pretty Point" and went four times to Shijiazhuang and five times to Guangzhou/Shenzen. They arrested "Black Pretty Point"s upper link "The Moment When The Snow Fell" and the downward link "Good Mood" and exposed the complete "trojan horse chain."
"Black Pretty Point" is a 22-year-old man named Han. At the time of the crime, he mobilized several dozen "zombie" computers to attack the cybercafe in Macheng. Each attack lasted 5 to 10 minutes. The attack went on for two and a half days. The computer virus that controlled the "zombies" were supplied by "The Moment When The Snow Fell." The latter is a 20-year-old man named Yang who is well known for writing trojan horse software such as "Little Mice" and "Persistent Downloader." "Black Pretty Point" was the sales representative for "The Moment When The Snow Fell," being responsible for the distribution, sales and representation. "Good Mood" is a man named Li who was many responsible for running the trojan horse software to steal people's QQ accounts and online game user ID's to resell for profit.
In October 2007, "Black Pretty Point" got acquainted with "The Moment When The Snow Fell" and offered 500 yuan to buy hacker software. "The Moment When The Snow Fell" spent one week to write the "Little Mice" trojan horse software and handed it over to "Black Pretty Point."
"The Moment When The Snow Fell" also wrote other trojan horse software such as "Persistent Downloader" and "Anger Suppression Test," charging anywhere between several hundred yuan to ten thousand yuan. In order to prevent anti-virus software from erasing the trojan horse virus, "The Moment When The Snow Fell" also provided updates at 1,000 yuan per month maintenance fee. Within six months, "The Moment When The Snow Fell" earned 190,000 yuan.
"Black Pretty Point" earned more than 200,000 yuan in less than six months. But the people under him earned every more. Since the "zombie" computers can be accessed at will, they represent endless wealth. At the hacker websites, "zombies" are openly sold from as low as 0.1 yuan to 1,000 yuan each. Once a hacker purchases a "zombie," he can steal all the bank accounts, game accounts, passwords, game equipment, game currency, QQ currency and so on. These are then resold to "sales people."
It is also possible to use the "zombie" machines to boost up traffic volume for advertisement revenue and website rankings. Conversely, "zombie" machines can be used to extort small- and medium-sized enterprises to pay "protection money."
According to the China Computer Network Emergency Technical Centre, the trojan horse industry generated more than 238 million yuan in revenue while causing 7.6 billion yuan in damages.
After the police cracked the Macheng case, they found out that the three criminals were members of the "Black Hawk Security Network." The police then spent the next six months obtaining more evidence and making preparations. On November 26, 2009, more than 50 police officer raided Black Hawk Security Network locations in Wenzhou (Zhejiang), Huangshan (Anhui), Luihe and Xuchang (Henan). The police arrested the three ringleaders, froze more than 1.7 million yuan in assets and took away 9 servers and 5 computers. The website was shut down.
According to the investigation, two Henan male Li and Zhang started the Black Hawk Technology Limited Company in March 2006. The website "Black Hawk Security Net" then became the biggest hacker training website in all of China.
The website generates revenue through membership fees. In return, members receive training in hacker techniques. The website also provides several thousand different trojan horse viruses for members to download. Since 2005, the website has more than 12,000 paying members and more than 170,000 regular members. Membership dues totaled more than 7 million yuan.
Li and Zhang were formally arrested on December 31, 2009. "Black Pretty Point" and the instigator of the Macheng attack named Gao have already been sentenced to 2 and 3 years in jail respectively.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that our city will have a female traffic police squad, even though they have not made an appearance yet. According to insiders, this squad is in the process of being formed and it is still undecided when they will appear.
According to information, the female traffic police squad was selected first on the basis of physique and education. Our reporter learned that all of them have bachelor degrees, and some even have masters degrees. They are all taller than 165cm (and at least half of them are taller than 170cm). They all look youthful and dynamic. They are all good drivers.
The Chongqing police has also showered special favors on this female traffic police squad. Apart from bright uniforms, they will also provide modern equipment. According to our understanding, the female traffic police squad will drive world-class Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles.
The report today that the female Chongqing traffic police squad will be driving Lamborghini, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz patrol cars is drawing plenty of attention. The Chongqing city public security bureau deputy director Gao Xiaodong has now stated: This report is inaccurate. The Chongqing traffic police are equipped with Ford Mondeo and Volvo cars that are made locally. The public security bureau is presently trying to hold to those who published this inaccurate report responsible.
Nanjing city resident Mr. Wang told our reporter: Yesterday at around 15:15, he happened to look at the national flag in front of the Qixia district procuratorate building. He thought that it was unseemly. So he used his mobile camphone to record the sight and showed it to our newspaper. "The national flag represents the image and dignity of our nation. How can a government department have the flag inverted? And at half mast! This is so unbecoming."
At around 16:00, our reporter called the Qixia district procuratorate office and told them about the situation. They were shocked and said: "Is that so? Let me go and check." Ten minutes later, our reporter called back. The person said that the flag was indeed inverted and he has reported the situation to the leader. Meanwhile the office workers are trying to restore the national flag to the right position.
Our reporter asked how this could have happened. Didn't anyone notice? The person said that the string for the flag had been in use for a long time and may have rotted due to weather elements. It was windy yesterday and therefore the string broke so that the flag fell from the top of the mast until it looked this way. Yesterday was Saturday and everybody was off. That was why it was not discovered.
"I just happened to be in the office. If you had called otherwise, nobody would have taken your call. Thank you for your reminder." So said the worker.
At 15:50 on February 6, 2010, the 13-year-old four star Five Lakes Hotel in Nanchang city was demolished in the presence of tens of thousand of spectators. The former 22-story-tall Five Lakes Hotel will be replaced by a 25-story-tall five star hotel.
One more time:
Related Link: Hu Jintao's "bu zheteng" baffles foreign media People's Daily January 8, 2009
(KDnet) What is zheteng? This is zheteng!
At 13:55 on February 6, the 22-year-old four-star Five Lakes Hotel in Nanchang city fell down after less than 13 years of existence to a chorus of "this is wasting public wealth" and left behind 40,000 tons of debris.
Those people with any memory will recall that the slogan for constructions was "one-hundred year plan, safety first" which meant that buildings were constructed to last one hundred years. The New York Stock Exchange and the buildings left behind by the colonists on the Shanghai Bund testify to that effect even though that they are more than a century old. But for many reasons, many buildings have shorter lives today. But 13 years seem to be very short -- unless this was a "tofu dregs" project.
The reason given for the demolition of the Five Lakes Hotel was to "adjust to urban development." According to the operators, "there were too many basic requirements that could not be made to convert a four star hotel into a five star hotel." Therefore, they decided to demolish the former hotel to make way for a 25-story five star hotel. In 1999, the Five Lakes Hotel was rated as an "excellent building" in Nanchang city. It was "sturdy and reliable." Is it necessary to waste so much money for the sake of "adjusting to urban development"?
Someone people say that corporations should be allowed to waste their own money if they so choose. Wrong! Please don't forget that it is a unique characteristic of China that the demolition costs must contain certain hidden public resources. More importantly, the 40,000 tons of contaminated debris can never be used for organic farmland. So who is going to take responsibility for this environmental cost?
On the surface, this is the case of a business wanting to improve itself. But could the local government also want to have an "image project" to showcase its accomplishments? That is highly likely?
A modern metropolis is not defined by the outward appearance of its skyscrapers. Instead, it depends on the "software" and the combined quality of the government and the citizens. Our cities do not lack money but they do lack quality. They lack the plans and the people for scientific management. As a result, they will repeatedly build, demolish and re-build year after year. They waste money and they create problems for the future. China is not yet a developed country, and our overall standard of living is relatively low. Yet, we waste our public resources while destroying our environment. We sacrifice our reputation and we pay heavy social costs for the sake of "accomplishments" and "face".
What is zheteng? This is zheteng!
Three pieces of news.
Firstly from Guangxi News Net on November 19, 2009: "We analyzed the sperm donated by 217 current university male students from 19 universities and found that 56.7% of them were abnormal." This report was a project conducted by the Guangxi University Hospital for the World Bank. The 217 volunteers are single between the ages of 18 and 25. They had not been tested before and had no idea that their sperm were "sick."
Secondly it is rumored that Guangxi province has been working with the Monsanto Company (USA) to introduce the DeKalb line of genetically modified corn to Guangxi. Corn is the second largest food produce after rice in Guangxi. It is rumored that more than 10 million mu of genetically modified corn have been planted in Guangxi already. However this story has not been verified officially, although no official denials have been issued either. One point of suspicion is the background of the Guangxi Autonomous Region vice-chairman Chen Zhangliang. Chen was a biologist in the United States and was voted by TIME magazine as one of 100 global young talents. He returned to China to head a national plant genetic research centre. So why was a first-rate research geneticist sent out to become a vice-chairman in charge of agriculture in Guangxi? Is there a special reason behind this?
Thirdly, there were the separate press conferences by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Guangxi Autonomous Region government on February 1. There press conferences drew attention because the decision-making authority over genetically modified food lies with the Ministry of Agriculture while Guangxi was rumored to be the first to plant American genetically modified corn on a large scale. Everybody thought that the press conferences would be the place for an official policy statement on the matter. But amazingly not a single word was uttered about genetically modified food. The Voice of America reporter asked two technical questions that even a CCTV reporter would find boring. Here we see how American reporters defend their national interests. At the same time, we could feel the chagrin and sorrow of the Chinese people and we are reminded of the famous saying: "You people count for fart!" The basic message from these two press conferences were: Our achievements are great, our leaders give their strong approval of us and we are the people's hope and salvation.
To date, the only news about genetically modified food from around the world have all been negative, as in white rice reacting poorly after consuming such food. From China, we have a report of poor sperm count among university students. Of course, we are not yet certain that the abnormal sperm account of the Guangxi university students are due to genetically modified food, because no government organization has admitted that genetically modified corn has been planted in Guangxi for a number of years already. We hope that the Guangxi government will provide a statement on this matter as quickly as possible. If the Ministry of Agriculture has already approved the use of genetically modified food, it is official policy which does not need to be hidden. Therefore, the Guangxi government should come out and tell us one way or the other.
Tianya, Bandao and other websites have joined together to form the "Internet Media Alliance Against Public Relations" against the Internet Post Deletion companies which are usually know as the "Internet hatchetmen companies." The reason was the emergence of more and more Internet public relations firms which live off deleting negative information on the Internet. They charge their clients on the basis of the content, quantity and location of the target posts. A post at a small website might cost 100 yuan to delete; a post at a big website or web port may cost as much as 1,000 yuan. The Internet media companies think that these activities lower public esteem for them as well as seriously interfering with their normal operations.
The true harm from these Internet Post Deletion companies came to light from the Sanlu melamine-tainted milk case. Before that, the phenomenon was already there but people did not feel personally affected. During the early developmental stages of the Internet in China, concepts such as "promoters," "hatchetmen," or "Internet public relations" did not exist. As more and more Chinese people got on the Internet, corporations suddenly realized that the Internet had great commercial value. That was when the Internet public relations firms emerge.
There is another more profound reason why the subject of Internet Post Deletion has come to public attention recently. After more than one decade in which the Internet was present in China, one important change is that the Chinese Internet has moved from the very remote memory of "the age of innocence" to the "electronic forest" today. People used to have an idyllic or pastoral romance for the Internet which is expected to correct many of the wrongs in the world and to uncover the truth. The trend in recent years is that the Internet is actually a public opinion arena in which various groups tussle and manipulate. This virtual world is just as complex (and perhaps even more so) than the real world. Under these circumstances, we can't distinguish what is true or false when we run into a crisis. The information on the Internet basically cannot be verified with the principals or any trustworthy third party. Even if parts of it can be verified, it depends on many factors and it cannot guarantee that the truth will be told.
As the Internet grew from a farm plot into a forest, it became inevitable that Internet Post Deletion companies emerge. They are the "flowers of evil" from the earth. When the Internet becomes the public opinion arena for various interest groups, they will use every means possible to push public opinion in a favorable direction. Deleting Internet posts is just one of the many possible actions.
Generally speaking, manipulating public opinion is not something to be put on the table under the sunlight. But in the Chinese Internet, there is something decidedly odd. On one hand, the various manipulations of information and public opinion do not seem to have to be hidden. Sometimes they are even deliberately being flaunted. On the other hand, the recipients of these manipulations seem inured and helpless. So the Chinese Internet has become an absurd place where the manipulations are shameless and the manipulated are indifferent.
There are also different kinds of manipulations. For example, some local governments or departments may exercise their special privileges to remove certain posts. As another example, there are commercial motives. For an Internet Post Deletion company, the logic is that if you pay them, they will delete negative information/posts as well as manipulate the Internet media.
This unhealthy development of the Chinese Internet implies that there is a huge crisis, namely mutual distrust in society. The Internet can bring an environment of equality, democracy, freedom plus a natural sharing. But when the veracity of Internet information is deliberately muddied up, this natural ecology is destroyed. Like any real-life ecological crisis, this will eventual threaten the existence of those who live there. A recent example is when academician Zhong Nanshan said, "I basically don't believe in the number of Type A flu deaths reported for China!" The Ministry of Health spokesperson Mao Jun'an rebutted this well-esteemed expert: "Frankly, I don't trust what Zhong Nanshan says." So who should ordinary citizens like us believe?
This crisis can be averted by having a healthy system for expressing public opinion. If public opinion can be more readily expressed, it will improve supervision of the government as well as corporations. In turn, it will reduced the movement space of these so-called Internet public relations firms. We acknowledge that the Internet is a contested field, but there has to be a healthy set of rules for the game that go through legal and normal channels. At the present stage, there are only abominable methods in play.
On April 27, 2009, Internet posts with titles like "Who dares to clean out the garbage in Xunde?" and "Small party secretary has big powers" began to appear at the Tianya Forum. These posts claimed that Xunde District Longjiangxintang village mayor/party secretary Lai Zhenchang had "taken 20 million yuan in graft, sent his children to study overseas and damaged the interests of the villagers." Other allegations included business-government collusion, taking bribes, receiving shares in black-box operations for real estate development, fabricating bidding contracts, raising bid amounts to eliminate the competition, etc. On April 28, another netizen posted something similar.
On May 5, Lai Zhenchang sent a legal letter to the Tianya Forum and demanded the deletion of these inaccurate posts. The relevant posts were deleted on May 12.
On May 13, another netizen made similar posts at the Tianya Forum again. Lai issued a legal letter again, but it was June 14 before the posts were deleted.
In Lai Zhenchang's opinion, the posts were malicious fabrications that were seriously inaccurate. The Tianya Forum had failed to review these posts and permitted these inaccurate malicious posts to be published. As such, they have failed in keeping their obligations and caused serious damage to his personal reputation. Lai Zhenchang went to court and demanded: The Tianya Forum should delete the relevant posts immediately; forbid others to continue to make malicious attacks against him; apologize to him in a prominent spot on the website; pay mental compensation of 50,000 yuan.
The court investigated Lai Zhenchang with respect to the charges made in those posts. In the verdict, the court noted that even though "evidence" was listed in those posts, they were photos and allegations that were insufficient to establish that Lai had committed those illegal acts (such as taking bribes and stealing public funds). To date, none of those allegations have been confirmed.
The Tianya Forum claimed that they quickly deleted the relevant posts when they received the letters from the plaintiff's lawyer. As to the plaintiff's challenge why "they did not review the posts before publication," the defendant said that the posts were made by in the name of registered users and not by the website itself. In the agreement during registration, users are reminded that they are responsible for the content of their posts. The website is unable to verify the contents of the users' posts. All they can do is to delete the posts immediately upon receiving complaints in order to protect people's rights.
The Tianya Forum claimed that they have 20 million users and more than 1,000 webmasters. About 100,000 new posts are made each day with more than 1,000,000 comments. It was not their deliberate intention to fail to discover/delete inaccurate posts.
The court noted that those posts drew many abusive comments from other netizens, and they were also re-posted elsewhere. Thus, these posts defamed the character of Lai Zhenchang. The court emphasized that the Tianya Forum is a website with considerable social influence. As such, they have the obligation not to permit netizens to fabricate information for the purpose of smearing, insulting and libeling other persons.
The court awarded Lai Zhenchang 5,000 yuan in compensation.
This is about a writing problem.
Literally translated into English, this reads: "Denouncing traffic violations and fleeing the scene of an incident will be reported."
However, the sentence was too long and it was broken into two columns in Chinese. If you translate one column at a time, which is the way normal Chinese people would do, you get:
"It is illegal to report traffic,
Fleeing the scene of an incident will be rewarded."
Shortly afterwards, the police showed up and took down the notice. Presumably, someone denounced the notice for "illegal grammatical violations."
Illegal petitioning: you'll be sorry for the rest of your life
Illegal petitioning: first time, warning; second time, detention; third time, labor reform
Sternly stopping pestering, harassing and unjustified petitioning
Illegal petitioning will be punished
When I saw these three photos, I had to wonder if they were taken in China. If so, then I wonder when the state apparatus of our socialist country has turned petitioning citizens as targets of suppression. I perused the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and I read the State Council's regulations on petitions. When citizens petition, they are expressing their demands to the government departments. What do they mean by pestering petitioning, harassing petitioning, unjustified petitioning or illegal petitioning? If they really broke the law, their act would not be petitioning. So where did "illegal petitioning" come from?
Upon further thought, this is not so strange. In recent years, more citizens are petitioning. Government performance reviews have to face with the pressure for "zero petitions" and "one vote to veto." Therefore, many layers of "advice against petitioning" and "stopping petitioning" have become important tasks for local governments in search of "stability." These three photos represent advice to citizens not to petition, using extreme language: if you petition, you won't meet a good end. If I think that you are petitioning illegally, I can detain you, reform you via labor and make you sorry for the rest of your life. This reflects the attitude of certain local government officials who regard petitioners as troublemakers as well as their ability to mobilize the state apparatus against the people at will. Can whoever created these banners be still considered public servants?
On November 24, 2009, former Hong Kong police commander Bonnie Smith lost her judicial review over the suspension of her pay after she left the Hong Kong police to join the Personal Information and Privacy Commission. As she and her son came out of the courthouse, her son suddenly hit the female Apple Daily reporter in the face with his file folder. This was caught on video as well as witnessed by many reporters. When the reporter went up to demand an explanation, Bonnie Smith told her, "Don't dropping a rock on someone at the bottom of a well." The reporter called the police even as Bonnie Smith urged her son to leave the scene. The police came and arrested Bonnie Smith's 32-year-old son.
On July 27, the Apple Daily reporter received a letter from the Hong Kong Department of Justice to the effect that they are recommending the police not to file charges against the suspect. The letter said that the Department of Justice had evaluated the testimonies of both sides, the witnesses' statements and a video. Other factors that need to be considered was whether the suspect intended to commit a crime and whether this was not just an accident, because "the superficial evidence is not sufficient to make the decision to prosecutor or not."
Yesterday, the Jiangmen Middle Court sentenced Huang Yizhong, the operator the 'girldv' movie website to 13 years in prison (plus deprivation of political rights for three years) and a 100,000 yuan fine for the crime of copying and distributing pornographic materials for profit.
The court stated: In June 2005, Huang Yizhong wrote the website code for 'girldv' while living in Jiangmen city. He purchased 12 domain names from www.namecheap.com and also rented server space from www.krypt.com. Huang then downloaded more than 1,000 pornographic movies and broke them down into more than 3,600 smaller video clips which he uploaded onto his website. He then began to register members for paid downloads of those video clips. Huang Yizhong set up bank accounts under the names of Li Haifei, Chen Zhihao, Hu Zejun and others inside China, as well as a bank account under his own name with HSBC Bank in Hong Kong.
This website registered members who paid 190 yuan per month via the Shenzhen PS Electronic Payment Platform for those live in China, or USD 30 per month via www.verotel.com electronic payment platform for those who live in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or elsewhere outside China. Between June 2005 and July 2009, Huang Yizhong had 4,354 people registering and obtained more than USD 230,000 and 1,700,000 RMB in illegal gains. Huang Yizhong was arrested on July 16, 2009.
The court determined that Huang Yizhong copied and distributed pornographic materials for profit. His case was particularly serious, which was why his sentence was so heavy. Huang Yizhong was calm when he heard the verdict, and left the court quietly under escort.
During the trial, Huang Yizhong's defense lawyer expressed his opinion: Huang Yizhong rented a server located in the United States and most of his members were outside of China. His activities outside of China are beyond the scrutiny of Chinese law. Therefore, the lawyer asked the court to ignore the portion of activities outside China, including any associated profits thereof. Also, member registration required the use of a credit card, which automatically guarantees that the member is an adult who can better control himself. As such, the harm to society would not be big.
The prosecutor said that the Crime Law Code assesses the severity of a case about copying/distributing pornographic materials in terms of the amount of illegal profits and the number of hits. Whether the members or the server are inside China or not is not a standard of assessment.
After the verdict, our reporter interviewed the chief judge Ma Junming who presided over this case.
Concerning the question about whether there was a crime if the server was located overseas, Ma said that one of the traits of those who engage in copying/distributing pornographic materials is to locate their servers overseas. In this case, Huang Yizhong rented a server in the United States and some of his members live overseas so that part of the crime was committed overseas. But this merely says that committing Internet crime is different. The evidence in this case was that Huang was committed the crime while living inside China, and the harm from his Internet crime is clearly widespread. Therefore, his harm to society cannot be denied just because he rented an overseas server or some members live overseas.
Ma Junming said that criminals are become more secretive in their methods. Adult website operators often use commercial payment platforms to collect fees. But the commercial payment platforms often don't care about whether the content of the transaction is legal or not. This leads to greater difficulty in investigating such cases.
The recent popularity of the social networking site Facebook has drawn many social groups to establish pages to recruit new members. Recently, there is a Facebook group titled "14K" that states its principles to be "strength in numbers, targeting young people, welcome to join, no need to pay 3+6 (which refers to the standard initiation fee to join a triad crime gang)." So far, 520 persons have signed up with some of them using gang talk. Certain legal experts claim that the group has broken the law already and the Hong Kong Police spokesperson said that they are follow-up.
This Facebook group was established in mid-2008 with the photo of the robber Yip Kai-Foon on its home page. The site appears to be a joke. But some of the members made obscure comments that most people wouldn't understand. For example, someone wrote: "I love Hong Fa-shan! Ten thousand breaks to Hong Fa-shan!" In truth, the "14K" gang was established by the Kuomintang in Guangzhou during the civil war and its original name was the "Hong Fa-shan Loyalty and Justice Hall". "Ten thousand breaks to Hong Fan-shan" is a homonym for "Long live the 14K.
If you enter the keywords such as "Sun Yee On" or "Wo Shing Wo" for other Hong Kong crime triad organizations into Facebook, you can links to what seems to be these organizations. But so far none has been blatant as this "14K" group.
According to Hong Kong law, anyone who belongs to a triad organization, or acts as a member of such, or even claims to be a member is breaking the law. The first offense may incur a fine of HKD 100,000 and a jail term of 3 years; a repeated offense may incur of fine of HKD 250,000 and a jail term of 7 years.
So let see how long Facebook (Yahoo) will continue to enable a social club to recruit members in the name of freedom of assembly ...
Ten minutes into the appeal hearing of the trial, Li Zhuang suddenly admitted in court that he had fabricated evidence. This surprised the lawyer who was defending Li Zhuang in court as well as the pro-Li camp. But even the anti-Li camp was also confounded. All of a sudden, the Internet was awash with opinions about what was transpiring.
Here is my report on the situation based upon my observations.
Observation targets: The websites Sina.com, Sohu.com, NetEase, Tencent, China.com, iFeng, KDnet, Tianya, Hualong, People, Xinhua, CCTV, Chen Youxi studies.
Observation methods: Reading the relevant news reports at these websites and the ensuing comments.
Observation principles: For the sake of objectivity, I tracked the comments from the pro-Li and anti-Li camps. I focused on how the pro-Li and anti-Li camps changed in their thinking and special characteristics.
Observation report: On January 31 and February 1 before the second trial, KDnet was overwhelmingly pro-Li but there were very few posts and comments on the Li Zhuang case at the other websites. Maybe people were fatigued or forgetful. Or this may represent the calm before the battle.
On the morning of February 2, the news that "Li Zhuang admitted to fabricating evidence" was published at these websites. This triggered netizen discussions that poured in like a storm at the various forums.
The reaction at KDnet was most vigorous. At KDnet, the pro-Li camp had previously maintained an absolute superiority. When it was made known that "Li Zhuang admitted to fabricating evidence," the comments poured in at one new page every 10 seconds. This displayed the passion of the pro-Li camp. At KDnet, the main viewpoints were: behind-the-scene bartering; stall tactics; the Chongqing government is compromising.
At Sina.com, Sohu.com, iFeng, Hualong, China.com, CCTV and other websites, the anti-Li opinion superiority continued to hold. Li Zhuang was suspected of even more crimes. Many netizens felt that Li Zhuang's admission of guilt was an attempt to minimize damage when his other crimes could be investigated. More than 85% of the public opinion was along that direction.
At the websites for the legal professionals (such as Rule Of Law Online, Legal Field, Chen Youxi Studies), there was disappointment and shock.
At NetEase and Tencent, public opinion was flipped. Before Li Zhuang's admission, the pro-Li camp held a considerable proportion at NetEase and Tencent. After it was made known that Li Zhuang has admitted to fabricating evidence, many people in the pro-Li camp reversed course. Many pro-Li supporters expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction. So the pro-Li sentiments dropped rapidly.
The second Li Zhuang trial has been adjourned for the day and will resume tomorrow. No matter what the outcome is, the Li Zhuang case has shown that it has a "dramatic" impact on the rule of law and public opinion reaction in China.
We will wait for a just verdict tomorrow.
How much influence did public opinion have on this case? That is something to think about.
On February 1, the netizen "Pleasant Living" made a post at RedNet including a photo. "Pleasant Living" claimed to be a resident of Fanrong village, Panggezhuang town, Daxing county, Beijing City. On January 13, he was away on business. When he got home, he found out his family home was demolished. He asked around. The Demolition/Relocation Office said that they knew nothing. The police told him to contact the town government. The town government told him to contact the Demolition/Relocation Office. Everybody was kicking the football around. Meanwhile, the housing price in this area are approaching 8,000 yuan per square meter while the Demolition/Relocation Office is offering only 3,250 yuan per square meter.
The Xiaoxiang Morning News reporter contacted the netizen. He said that he was just trying to use every means possible so that the case can be handled reasonably with more public attention. He said, "I built this house in 1989. The new requisition regulations states that electricity/water must not be shut off and the price must not be lower than market price. But they managed to do all that. They even said that there are only three possible outcomes if I don't sign. (1) I can wait for a demolition by force. (2) They will sneak around, steal your stuff and vandalize your house. (3) You can hire a lawyer or contact the media. All of these things are nuisances.
What about that photo? The photos showed a row of brick houses that have been partially demolished. In the middle, there is a red banner with the words: <The revelations of <Avatar>: defend you home to your death!>.
This is my second time in Xiamen. The weather here is great. No wonder people like to go outside and stroll. Hmmm ... I just heard Teacher Deng spoke about certain issues on nationalism. I was reminded of a couple of sayings which I came across them previously. They are other people's words, not mine. The first saying is, "Nationalism is the last refuge of scoundrels." The second saying is, "True patriotism is to protect this country so that it will not suffer any harm."
For today's talk, I have brought along a written speech in order to constrain myself. Mainly, I don't want you to suffer any harm because I may stray all over the place. Let me begin.
Dear leaders, dear teachers, dear students, how are you doing?
Do you know why China cannot become a grand cultural nation? It is because most of the time when we speak, we say "Dear leaders" first and those leaders are uncultured. Not only that, for they are also afraid of culture, they censor culture and they control culture. So how can such a nation become a grand cultural nation? Dear leaders, what do you say?
Actually, China has tremendous potential of becoming a grand cultural nation. Let me tell you a story. I am the chief editor of a magazine which has yet to publish. The Constitution states that every citizen has the freedom to publish, but the law also says that the leaders has the freedom not to let you publish. This magazine has run into some problems during the review process. There is a cartoon drawing. In it, there is a man without clothes -- of course, this is unacceptable because the law says that we cannot exhibit the private parts in a publicly available magazine. I agree with that and I don't have a problem with it. Therefore, I intentionally created an extra-large magazine logo that was placed over the illegal spot of the cartoon. But unexpectedly, the publisher and the censor told us that this was unacceptable too -- when you cover up the middle part of a person, you are referring to the "Party Central" (note: "party" is a homonym for "block/shield" and "central" is "middle"). My reaction was like yours -- I was awed and shocked. I thought to myself, "Buddy, it would be so wonderful if you could put your awe-inspiring imagination into literary creation instead of literary censorship!"
I use this story to illustrate to you that everybody has good imagination. Yet we can only imagine many things but we cannot do them, we cannot write about them and we cannot even talk about them in many situations. We have too many restrictions. This is a restricted country. How can a restricted country produce a rich and abundant culture? I am a comrade who has very few restrictions. But when I write, I cannot help but think: I can't write about the police, I can't write about the leaders, I can't write about government policies, I can't write about the system, I can't write about the judiciary, I can't write about many pieces of history, I cannot write about Tibet, I cannot write about Xinjiang, I cannot write about mass assemblies, I cannot write about demonstration marches, I cannot write about pornography, I cannot write about censorship, I cannot write about art ... I am unable to write anything elegant --- I am really incapable of writing anything elegant because I am not Yu Qiuyu.
Internet essays have more room to move around. Many friends write scripts. I know some friends who write scripts (such as Ning Caishen's theatre scripts) and others who write movie scripts. They suffer a lot. Under such a cultural environment, I wonder how can China be a grand cultural nation. Maybe if the world is reduced down to just China, North Korea and Afghanistan. Everybody knows that culture is out of bounds in North Korea. In Afghanistan, the situation within the nation is still unclear so they can't be bothered with culture for now. Even so, they have a writer who wrote <The Kite Chaser>, which unfortunately was not published in Afghanistan. I think that once Afghanistan sorts itself out, it may possibly surpass China.
In our so-called international exchanges, we cannot keep bringing out the Four Great Works or the sayings of Confucius and Mencius. We know that this is like a conversation during a marriage interview. The girl's family asks you if you are rich and you reply that your ancestors eighteen generations ago were very rich. That won't help you now. We did not cause this tragedy, even though it is said that the road to North Korea is paved by the silence of everybody. On one hand, we are better off than North Korea because we know what it is like over there. On the other hand, I think that many of you present today are not silent -- it is just that we are being harmonized.
In the history of the war against pornography in China, many fellow students are aware (even though these facts have been disappeared from the teaching materials) that Teresa Deng and Liu Wenzheng were pornographic, vulgar and indecent once up a time. When too many people listened to them sing, they became pornographic, vulgar and indecent. But when every Chinese person listened to them sing, they were no longer pornographic, vulgar or indecent anymore. If we all oppose cultural censorship so that the the only words left in the database of banned words are anti-human ones, we can create a grand cultural nation. It does not matter if my name or yours get added into the database in the interim. I believe that the database has a maximum capacity and every additional word will accelerate its destruction.
I hope that our news media workers, our students, our teachers, our cultural workers and our cultural lovers will try our best to reduce the censorship, and our leaders (who are not the same as our parents) and our government will have sufficient self-confidence to become more open. I know that our leaders like to export our culture because this is a sign of a strong nation. But I feel that our present culture is not exportable. In this creative environment, all writers/workers are constantly censoring themselves. How can any decent work be produced in this environment? Around the world, you attempt to export Chinese culture by offering works that have been castrated like <Network News> to foreigners. Do you think these foreigners are aliens from outer space who know nothing about Earth? On the issue of whether China has truly risen up economically, I think that we should wait until the real estate industry collapses because we cannot tell right now. But if a nation truly rises up culturally, it will be a strong nation and it will never have any fear of collapsing.
Finally, I want to return to the database of banned words. The more words are in that database, the weaker the culture of that nation will be. But our government gives you plenty of explanations. They tell you that this is being done to protect young people and to maintain social stability. Culture is free, so they have the right to censor any information or culture that may endanger young people or destroy social stability. But if you agree with that, then sooner or later when you complain about what happened to you one day, they will censor got disturbing social stability. Any opinion that is disadvantageous to the ruling class or their interests destroys social stability and/or endangers young people. If we had put up with the Green Dam software back then, we would have Green Dam operating now. When that time comes, we will not just be looking at the demise of culture. Dear fellow students, we cannot let this day arrive. Otherwise, we will be the laughing stock in the electronic history books that our grandchildren will download via satellite many years from now.
Thank you, everybody.
(ESWN Comment: There are many versions of this speech on the Internet. What are the differences? Firstly, Han Han did not release a written version. So various people did their own transcriptions and made different errors. For example, this version at Sohu.com has "有很多写剧本的朋友，比如张爱玲这些写剧本的朋友" which is literally "Many friends who write scripts, such as friends like Eileen Chang who write scripts." Eileen Chang left China in 1952, never returned there and died in 1995 in America. Her last film script was written around 1965. So this has to be a transcription error. Secondly, there are "sensitive" terms in that speech which different people use different substitutions in order to ensure publication inside China. In doing this translation, I have consulted several versions and constructed something that made logical sense. Of course, this is not necessarily what Han Han intended himself.)
(Sydney Morning Herald) One boofhead does not a summer make, but points to a deeper, darker malaise By Peter Roebuck. February 2, 2010.
Australia needs to start addressing the real issues. Indian students killed in Melbourne, Pakistanis assaulted on the field in Perth, blazing headlines around the world, a nation's reputation dragged into the mud, and never mind that the PM is fluent in Cantonese and that many settlers from Africa and the Punjab and elsewhere are as happy as mankind can be. It cannot continue, in cricket or outside.
Cricket is no better or worse than the world it inhabits. Australia has many fine people and fine things, not least the ability to get on with life come hell or high water and look every man in the eye. However, our country also has a dark side that includes a racism that cannot be denied and a fondness for grog that goes beyond taste. A lot of people drink not for pleasure but for the stories told next day. Indeed, drunkenness is glorified. What else is Schoolies Week?
Cricket inhabits a fraught and fractured world, and every nation needs to be on guard. Australia is not alone in its dubious elements but it has a powerful voice and a strong team, and so tends to attract both high praise and harsh censure. Moreover, it is a predominantly Anglo-Saxon nation, and needs to be mindful that other countries spent hundreds of years under the yoke and have emerged with acute sensitivities. And every nation has its pride, especially those whose spirit was long suppressed. Cricket is not played by Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
All the more reason for Australian cricket to put its house in order. Even the attacks on the Indians in Melbourne required a response. After all, India is a close friend, war ally, trading partner and respected cricketing rival. For that matter, it is Australia's best-loved opponent. Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are often greeted hereabouts with sustained ovations that take them by surprise and tell of a country friendlier than it seems.
It's no use Australians pointing out that the Indian students have been attacked by small gangs of malcontents or that they are also assaulted in Durban, or that Indians themselves are far from perfect, or that most Australians are hospitable. The attacks happen, make headlines, reinforce a caricature and need to be confronted. Shane Warne had the right idea. Australians cricketers ought to become messengers of peace and harmony. And the same applies to Indian cricketers. They cannot sit back and watch the game implode.
Strong action needs to be taken against all racism. Recently, a Canadian school banned its own team for the rest of the season after racist remarks were made by its players. Australia needs to avoid defensive thinking and make tolerance a national asset. Cricket Australia has taken steps in that direction at home and abroad, and the game is becoming more diverse. But for an injury Usman Khawaja might have been taken to New Zealand next month - he is an excellent batsman and popular young man. However, CA remains a bastion of old white males, and that needs to change.
CA ought not to tiptoe around the issue. Many of us have complained about the fuss made about minor matters such as beach balls. Behind the wheel and in sporting crowds, hot-headed young males are the problem.
As far as the immediate incident in Perth is concerned, the issues are both national and local. Night matches invite drinking and its aftermath. Everyone knows it's not safe to drink and drive. The truth is, though, it's not safe to drink and do anything. CA ought to consider banning alcohol at matches. It has gone well beyond a joke.
Nor can the WACA escape retribution. By all accounts, it omits to apply the safety codes advised by CA. In that case, it does not deserve to stage any matches under CA's auspices. Plain and simple, the attack on the Pakistanis was dangerous, and insufficient steps were taken to prevent it. Heads rolled when Delhi provided a rotten pitch. Heads ought to roll after incidents of this sort.
By the same token, Pakistan or India cannot complain too long about these matters. At such times it is wise to ignore the stirrers on television, radio or in politics, and every nation has them as well. Better to chart a path forwards than to pour oil on troubled waters. Cricketers do not go to Pakistan because a team was attacked and players were almost killed. A few drunks in Perth are bad but not to be compared to terrorists.
As the strongest cricket nation in the world, with a sturdy structure and a large pool of superb players, Australia has a wonderful chance to lead the way towards the respect between races and religions that has long been the primary aim of the broad-minded. To that end, Australia needs to confront not the event but the cause, not other nations but itself. As far as drink and race are concerned, CA ought to be pro-active not reactive. Meanwhile Pakistan can be given an apology, a warm welcome in Melbourne and a promise that the authorities in Perth will be called to account.
Nowadays, young people are open-minded about sex. A certain Form 4 male student at a Wanchai (Hong Kong) Middle School recently admitted on his Facebook page that he had taken part in a 4-person orgy. He even posted a video on the Internet. His bold act drew criticisms from netizens, who ferreted out facts such as the female sex partner was a minor under 16 years of age.
This male student named Yip wrote on his Facebook page that "4P is awesome" and described the identities of the other three persons, including his girlfriend named Wong and the other couple. He wrote that the four of them spent a happy night in Stanley.
Yip posted the video on Youtube. The video lasts about 3 minutes. The four young persons were in a women's restroom on Stanley Beach. Yip sat on the bench and got intimate with Wong. Yi claimed the video was taken in early morning on December 17, after just having sexual intercourse. The other male claimed that he was going to have sexual intercourse with his girlfriend.
The police said that they are following up on the matter.
Under the Criminal Law Code in Hong Kong, any male having sexual intercourse with a female under 16 years of age is guilty of a crime punishable by a maximum of five years in jail.
Let's see how long this "evil" video will last on YouTube (Google).
I sent an SMS to my colleague Qu Yiping today to check on her progress on a certain explosion case. She replied, "Teacher Wang, I am dining with my driver. He was just punched by someone over an apparent traffic dispute, which was actually aimed at me. There are new developments here that need to be verified. The news gathering activity is running into difficulties. The villagers are unresponsive. I feel terrible. I will send in the report as soon as I am done."
This reminds me of the message that she sent me when she first arrived at the scene of the incident. She send an SMS at 11:00pm that night: "Teacher Wang, the news gathering is not going smoothly. The scene is cordoned off and I cannot approach. The police are watching all the time. Someone dressed in black threatened me against taking photographs. The worst part is that most of the workers have returned home. The remaining few denied that they worked there but insisted that the safety conditions at the factory is perfect ... they have collectively sealed their mouths. I am bewildered."
Oftentimes, when a reporter completes a report, she may face certain awkward situations. First, the reporter hasn't even returned to the newspaper office when the local government or relevant department has already contacted the newspaper to "put out the fire." Secondly, she has finished writing her report, but the supervisory department calls to kill it. Thirdly, the article has already been typeset but a telephone call from the relevant department replaced it with something else. And so on.
Then there is the control on news information. In many places, a special emergency response team is formed immediately after an incident occurs. One of the most important targets are the news media reporters. Many local governments issue written regulations for reporters. Over the years, I have covered many emergencies and I have found that some local governments are becoming more systematic and powerful with respect to dealing with reporters.
In brief, their methods can be summarized as follows:
1. They restrict the reporting by demanding that those reporters who have all three identifications (namely, the General Administration of Press and Publications press identification, the citizen identification and the letter of introduction from the media organization) to register with the local publicity department. Afterwards, they will be "accompanied" by local companions on their news gathering activities. If they don't register, they will not receive the "permission slips" from the publicity department, in which case the relevant departments will not grant interviews.
2. They restrict the principals. They restrict access to all the principals in the case, so that the reporters cannot reach them. Last year, I received this treatment when I covered the case of Deng Yujiao in Badong county, Hubei province. Of course, People's Daily, CCTV, Xinhua and other mainstream media are often granted "special privileges" to interview these principals.
3. They restrict the masses. The people around the incident often spout the identical ideas and stories, so that reporters have no way to get anything new and useful. When reporters cannot conduct normal news gathering, their legal right to gather news is deprived.
4. They use threats and bribes. Many reporters are frequently threatened, beaten or bribed, so that normal news gathering cannot proceed.
The experience of my colleague Qu Yiping over the past few days represents the awkwardness that most "non-mainstream" reporters face during the process of uncovering the truth.
It is in the nature of the media to expose, reveal and communicate, whereas it is the nature of evil to conceal and cover up. One wants to expose evil, while the other wants to cover up evil. The conflict between the two sometimes arise to a level of life-or-death, so that it is common for departments with serious problems to want to halt serious news gathering.
Many people ask why we keep wanting to reveal the truth? This is because social progress and civilization have to start with solving problems and making improvements, and that cannot happen until we know the truth of the matter first.
- January 21-31, 2010
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