A Civilian Investigation Team In Yueqing (12/31/2010) With respect to the death of Yueqing village director Qian Yunhui, several teams of self-organized civilian investigators either have arrived or will be arriving at the scene to interview people and examine the evidence. This story is being continuously updated at The "Accidental" Death Of A Village Mayor, with many of the previous allegations already being debunked. Here are the Weibo updates from the first civilian team which includes Wang Xiaoshan, Dou Hanzhang and others.
Dou Hanzhang 15:39 12.31.2010 I have arrived in Yueqing. I am discussing the incident with several young reporters.
Dou Hanzhang 15:52 12.31.2010 A reporter posed the question about the death pose of Qian Yunhui. Why wasn't he sent flying upon impact? Another reporter actually used to be on the traffic beat and he said that it was quite common to see people swept underneath a big truck after being hit.
Dou Hanzhang 16:05 12.31.2010 These young reporters are quite familiar with the background of the case. According to them, there has been discontent against the local government over land compensation since 2004. This is the backdrop of the incident. Qian Yunhui worked hard to petition on behalf of the villagers and is greatly esteemed by the villagers.
Dou Hanzhang 16:25 12.30.2010 Young reporters have been under a lot of pressure over the past few days. On one hand, they run into villagers getting down on their knees in front of them to plea for justice when they go into the village. On the other hand, if the evidence that they cite in their articles tend to show that Qian Yunhui died in a traffic incident, they may be criticized by netizens and peers. It is not easy for them. It is not easy to want the truth.
Dou Hanzhang 16:51 12.31.2010 The reporters present here are mostly leaning towards believing that this was a traffic incident. But some are raising doubts. It seems that nobody witnessed the moment of the collision directly except for the truck driver.
Dou Hanzhang 17:24 12.31.2010 But this question was already answered in yesterday's press conference. There were three security guards who saw the traffic incident. They went over to offer help but saw that the victim was already dead. The security guards called the police and then left.
Dou Hanzhang 11:29 12.31.2010 We are on the way to the public security bureau to meet with the local police.
Dou Hanzhang 12:31 12.31.2010 We are at the Yueqing security bureau. Deputy director Lin of the Yueqing public security bureau political department received us. Right now we are watching the video of the truck in the incident leaving from the stone quarry. Later on, we will meet with the security guards who were at the scene of the incident.
Wang Xiaoshan 12:52 12.31.2010 We just finished watching two surveillance videotapes. The truck involved in the incident emerged from the stone quarry at 9:38:00. It passed by the entrance of Huayi village at 9:42:09. The incident took place at 9:45. In the afternoon, we will be traveling down this route.
Wang Xiaoshan 12:59 12.31.2010 We are meeting with eyewitnesses. They are supposed to the security guards who called the police.
Dou Hanzhang 13:07 12.31.2010 Friends, I am at the Yueqing Security Services Company. I am going to do a live broadcast of our conversation with the four security guards who witnessed the incident.
Dou Hanzhang 13:34 12.31.2010 There are six security guards here: Sun, Shi, Zheng, Wu, Cai and Zhang, plus the security guard company's manager Huang. On that day, the security guard had hired 90-100 persons who were in five buses. On that day, electric cables was supposed to be laid. However, since the Zhaiqiao villagers do not want this project to be done, the cable operators hired security guards to patrol the construction area. Since December 21, about 80 to 100 security guards have been on the road near the entrance to the Zhaiqiao village.
Dou Hanzhang 13:46 12.31.2010 Prior to the incident, the security guards had clashed with the villagers. On the morning of December 21, seven or eight villagers came over to the construction site and said, "You cannot do work here." They were advised to leave. There was no physical contact. On December 25, the security guards were all inside the vehicle because it was raining outside. The first eyewitness Zheng had got out of the bus to urinate when he heard a loud braking sound. He turned around and saw someone underneath a truck. Since the manager had told them not to leave the vehicle, Zheng got back inside the car. The location was several dozen meters away from the actual spot of the incident.
Dou Hanzhang 14:03 12.31.2010 When Zhang heard Zheng said that someone was head, he stopped watching the movie and got out of the car. He got to the scene, took a look and saw that someone was dead. There was a tall man at the scene. The two didn't converse. There was no driver in the truck. The door was slightly ajar. Zhang went back into the car. The police bulletin mentioned Zhang. When Cai heard that someone was hit by a truck, he called Sun and Shi. Sun and Shi came to the scene in the car driven by Ma more than a minute later.
Dou Hanzhang 14:32 12.31.2010 Sun and shi got out of the car to see what was going on. The tall man began to call out in the direction of the village. Sun called the police while standing close to the front of the vehicle (Zhang also called the police from the scene). After calling the police, Sun heard someone say "Here they are ... here they are" and then he was assaulted by some villagers. Shi was also assaulted. The security guards in the vehicle rescued the two with their shields. There was a clash. According to Sun and Shi, the villagers used rocks and steel construction pipes to attack them. The security guards withdrew into their vehicles.
Dou Hanzhang 14:37 12.31.2010 Sun and Shi got to the scene. The door on the truck was ajar. Nobody was inside. The engine was still running. Returning to the car, Sun ordered all their vehicles to leave. On the way back, they saw police cars heading towards the scene.
Wang Xiaoshan 15:09 12.31.2010 We are meeting with eyewitnesses. There are six security guards. They are with the security guard company manager named Huang. We are trying to find out what happened.
Wang Xiaoshan 15:18 12.31.2010 We just tested on site. It took 4 minutes 12 seconds to go from the stone quarry to the entrance of Huayi village at a velocity of 42 kilometers/hour.
Wang Xiaoshan 16:44 12.31.2010 Today, the police satisfied two of our demands: to meet with the security guards who arrived at the scene immediately and to watch the surveillance videos at the stone quarry and the entrance to Huayi village. They denied our request to see the photos of the skid marks at the scene.
Wang Xiaoshan 17:16 12.31.2010 We came across many people, including the villagers and security guards. We have not found any evidence to show that this was murder.
Wang Xiaoshan 10:24 1.1.2011 I want to talk about this. It is basically rubbish to talk about independent investigation in China today. An independent investigation means you can go anywhere you want, talk to anyone you want and access any information that you want. This requires support from forces outside the police and the government. For example, the People's Congress can form an independent investigative team because they have that power. Therefore our team of two (me and Dou Hanzhang) are just a low-grade netizen observer team who represent only ourselves.
Wang Xiaoshan 10:37 1.1.2011 Among the various people that we have made contact with (including police officers, government officials, professors, experts, lawyers, villagers, etc), we trust the investigative reporters the most. These people have seen it all. They will not lose their calm and judgment because the crowd was big or the feelings were passionate. They are veterans. Basically, anyone who can be moved to tears by a tragic sight does not deserve to be an investigative reporter.
The first civilian investigative report was issued on the evening of December 31, 2010. This team led by lawyer Peng Jian, lawyer Xu Zhiyong, citizens Liu Sasa, Zhang Yongpan and Xu Jian came to the conclusion that the death of Qian Yunhui was an ordinary traffic incident. This only became a big public story for a variety of complex reasons.
The investigative team tracked down the activities of the so-called first eyewitness Qian Chengyu. They interviewed his mother and sister. "According to the sister, Qian Chengyu told her that evening that he was in front of the truck where he saw several men behind the truck and he also saw the village chief underneath the truck. But at the time, she did not pay much attention to what he said afterwards. Because of this depiction and her subsequent 'inattention,' we felt that Qian Yunhui is possibly not an eyewitness."
Lawyer Peng Jian said that villagers provided them with an audio recording lasting less that two minutes. In the recording, Qian Chengyu told the traffic police immediately after the incident: "I was staying there. Yunhui had already fallen down ... tripped down. I don't know if there was anyone inside the vechile." This was the earliest and most original piece of evidence and it showed that Qian Chengyu really did not say that some persons were pushing Qian Yunhui towards the truck and he did not see multiple persons holding Qian Yunhui down on the ground.
The investigative team also checked to see if the driver Fei Liangyu might have been hired to commit murder as alleged on the Internet.
In the room rented by Fei Liangyu and his wife, the investigative team found out that Fei Liangyu borrowed money three or four months ago to buy the truck and his wife is due to give birth to a child. The investigative team also saw that the rented room had many Buddhist books on the table, "which was consistent with his demeanor during the CCTV interview."
The investigative team combined this with the skid marks on the video recordings and basically concluded that Fei Liangyu was not a hired murderer.
The investigative team also quoted the information from the investigative team which included Wang Xiaoshan.
Wang's team contacted the six security guards who were near the scene of the incident at the time. One of them heard a braking noise, got out of their car and saw the deceased. Also, the police allowed Wang's team to view the video surveillance recordings of the movement of the truck. The truck left the stone quarry several minutes before the incident. The Peng Jian team traveled from the stone quarry, followed the same scene at about 40 kilometers/hour and took about seven minutes to reach the scene of the incident. This is consistent with the video recordings.
At this point, the evidence basically establishes that this was an ordinary traffic incident." The investigative report said.
Based the various pieces of evidence, the investigative reconstructed the basic facts learned from the investigation: At 9:38, the driver Fei Liangyu departed from the Wandicun stone quarry. He arrived at the scene of the incident at around 9:45am. Qian Yunhui received a telephone call around 9:40 and left home with an umbrella in hand. The driver spotted Qian in front of him, braked quickly but still hit Qian Yunhui. The truck dragged the body for several more meters, eventually ending with the wheel on top of him. Qian's mobile phone and cigarette were behind the truck. After the incident, Qian Chengyu approached the car from the front and saw his village chief underneath the wheel. A security guard responsible for guarding electrical cable construction heard the braking sound. Another security guard ignored orders to stay inside the bus got out and came over. He saw someone underneath the wheel and called the police. The security guard captain also called the police. More and more villagers came over.
The investigators also invited villagers to view a video that was taken immediately after the incident.
After listening to the analyses by the villagers, the investigative team came to the basic conclusion: After the incident, the villagers were very sad and angry. Nobody saw it happened but they subjective believed that the village chief must have been murdered. Some people thought so because of the fact that the truck traveled on the wrong side of the road; other people thought so because of the many years of petition and suppression over land compensation.
After the Peng Jian team report came out, many netizens expressed their disappointment.
Peng Jian said that based upon the available testimony and evidence, they have no proof that this was a murder case. Therefore they can only "reluctantly accept that this was a traffic incident." "Although the facts may be cruel, we feel that we have to disclose what we found out." Peng Jian said that many of the rumors were inconsistent with the evidence that they came across.
Meanwhile Wang Xiaoshan told a reporter: "Basically, there were no clear results. There was no conclusive proof that this was a murder case, and there was no obvious proof that this was a traffic incident. Personally speaking, I lean towards the latter."
What response do you expect the Peng Jian team's report will draw?
On the morning of January 1, a local Yueqing person revealed that these independent civilian investigation teams were bought off by the relevant government departments as soon as they arrived. The price was very high. Reportedly, the "celebrities" Peng Jian and Xu Yongzhi got 2 million RMB each, while their lesser known team members got between 300,000 RMB and 1,000,000 RMB each. Apart from the big bribes, the local authorities told these people that if they don't accept the deal, then they and all their family members are "putting their lives at risk." Under these circumstances, these independent civilian investigation teams had to support the police and come up with the investigation team that "there is no evidence to show that this is murder."
According to this source, the case involves graft worth several tens of millions RMB as well as murder. If the truth came out, many government officials would be jailed/executed. Therefore they were willing to do everything possible ... the members of the "civilian investigation teams" have their unspeakable problems, and most of them are greedy for money and/or afraid to die ...
 Hong Kong History Series Part II (12/31/2010) At 7pm on TVB Jade, the fourth part of this series includes the author Eileen Chang as one of the wartime literary writers of Hong Kong. As the executor of her estate, I make a brief appearance.
 The Mysterious Hong Kong Diplomat (12/30/2010)
(SCMP) Sea haul lands 'HK official' in deep water December 30, 2010.
Stolen shark fins, contraband seahorses and a black bag said to be carried by a Hong Kong official have sparked trouble in paradise in a strange diplomatic incident involving a mysterious Hong Kong person.
A routine luggage check in the picturesque and ecologically protected Galapagos Islands, the Pacific archipelago 970 kilometres west of Ecuador in South America, uncovered 20 dead seahorses and 37 suspected shark fins inside a bag. The luggage allegedly belonged to a man said by officials in the islands to be a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region official named Li Ping-yan.
The contraband animal parts he was alleged to be carrying are all protected under both international conventions and Ecuador's law. But so, it appears, is the mysterious Li, under the Vienna Convention.
No one of that name is listed in the Hong Kong government. But reports from wildlife protection group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - which is heavily involved in work in the area - said the "official" had to be released from detention after invoking diplomatic immunity.
Last night a Hong Kong government spokesman expressed concern about the reports of the alleged thefts of endangered species by someone from the city. He said the government was trying to find out more from the Chinese embassy and other diplomats in Ecuador's capital, Quito.
The Galapagos National Park, from which the animals and parts were allegedly taken, filed a criminal complaint against Li, but he had not been detained, a park spokesman said. The complaint accused Li of possessing and transporting protected species, but did not say when the incident occurred.
Authorities said they found the dried seahorses and 37 pieces of an unidentified marine species, possibly a shark, in his black suitcase. "When Li Ping-yan was informed that what he was transporting was illegal, he said he had freely acquired it," the complaint said.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Quito said it had not been involved in the case "because so far we have not received any notification from the government or from the national park".
But the local Chinese-language press pointed to a perplexing aspect of the original Sea Shepherd Conservation Society report.
(Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) The Galapagos K-9 Police Unit Strikes Again December 24, 2010.
On December 15, 2010, the Ecuadorian Environmental Police was conducting a routine luggage inspection at the Galapagos airport in Baltra, Ecuador. Kipper, one of the dogs in the K-9 unit, identified a black bag containing 20 dead seahorses and 37 pieces of fish that, according to the police report, would presumably be shark fins.
The police conducted a bag inspection in the presence of its owner. The police report informs that the owner of the bag presented a Republic of Hong Kong passport as well as a diplomatic visa. After the police inspection was complete, all confiscated species were delivered to authorities of the Galapagos National Park.
Due to diplomatic status, the owner of the bag was not and could not be detained by the police. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, diplomats have judicial immunity, with certain exemptions. Ecuador ratified the Vienna Convention in 1964. From a legal perspective, immunity was certainly not designed to perpetrate infractions.
(Ming Pao) December 30, 2010.
The Hong Kong Immigration Department is trying to learn more about this incident from the local Ecuadorean authorities. The Hong Kong Immigration Department emphasized that the Hong Kong government does not and cannot issue any diplomatic passports. Furthermore, there is no such entity as the Republic of Hong Kong -- just the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
However, this case has been broadly reported internationally, with the assumption that the individual is a Hong Kong government official or some sort. Even if this person has nothing to do with Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government needs to communicate this point clearly, because people are ready to believe it at this time.
 The Most Popular Video In China (12/30/2010)
The Beijing Cultural Heritage Administration recently held a safety planning conference on December 27 at the Capital Museum. During the meeting which lasted more than one hour, many audience members were caught napping. The conference video was uploaded onto the Internet and became very popular. The Cultural Heritage Administration has promised that they will identify those nappers and criticize them at the next meeting.
 The Internet Follows Up On The Middle Finger Guy (12/28/2010) This refers to the Taipei driver who raised his middle finger while blocking an ambulance which was rushing an old woman to the hospital (see previous comment)
A group entitled <Apprehending 4569-ER> was formed on Facebook. The organizer said that it was going too far to deliberately obstruct an emergency vehicle, and the driver must be found and made to account for himself. The group is formed early morning of December 25. By 11pm on December 27, more than 113,000 persons have already signed up.
When the police checked for license plate number 4569-ER, they found that the owner was a woman. They contacted the woman, who said that her 33-year-old son was the driver. The police asked the son to come down to the police station. But the police station was surrounded by a horde of television reporters. The parents requested the police to hold the interview at a secret location.
The parents showed their son's medical record to the police. They said that the pressure of being a national celebrity may cause him to commit suicide. After the interview, the parents and the son wanted to apologize to the daughter of the old lady and the emergency medical workers in the ambulance. But they were afraid of encountering reporters and therefore canceled the trip for now.
According to the police, the 33-year-old driver will be charged with interfering with official business. He will also be charged with reckless driving and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle in accordance with traffic law.
Did this incident cause the death of the old lady? The ambulance crew and the hospital both said that the old lady was not breathing when they saw her. The daughter of the old lady said that she will leave the matter "in the hands of God."
Things calmed down a bit and then there was that telephone call.
On December 26, the father of Hsiao Ming-li called up the TVBS phone-in program. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:
Hsiao: Do you know that my son is being driven to death by you people?
Guest 1: What are you saying?
Hsiao: My son is being to driven to death by you people. Do you know? Because ..
Guest 1: What are you talking about?
Hsiao: I said that my son is being driven to death by your! Because my son does have a mental illness ... he is feeling very bad about this ... he wants to commit suicide ...
Guest 1: That woman ... that old woman died on the ambulance!
Hsiao: Right! That is the first point. The second point about that old woman is that ... at the time, my son ... firstly, he did not know that she was ill ... secondly ...
Host: She was in an ambulance!
Hsiao: My son heard about that, so he found it hard ... he was panic-stricken ...
Guest 2 (shaking his head): This is so exaggerated.
Hsiao: (sigh) You ... you must ... (sigh)
Guest 2: You can keep talking! You keep talking! I think that what you say is too exaggerated! She was in an ambulance! What kind of person would be in an ambulance! You keep talking!
Hsiao: I am not exaggerating ... I don't think that I have made any exaggerations in what I said!
Guest 2: You keep talking! Mr. Hsiao, what kind of person would be in an ambulance?
Hsiao: No ...
Guest 2: What kind of person do you think?
Hsiao: No ...
Guest 2: Someone with neither illness nor pain?
On December 27, people began to post the personal information of the driver (33-year-old Hsiao Ming-li). He is a doctoral candidate in history at Taiwan National University at this time. The university is shocked by the incident but defers to the police to handle the case. His PTT and Facebook accounts were found, but they were quickly shut down.
Hsiao Ming Li did not say anything, but his younger brother did:
I am the younger brother of the principal
I am sorry that my family has not set an good example for society
I am very ashamed and I apologize to the family of the victim
The action of my relative has caused irreparable harm
I know that nothing can bring the old lady back
But I will do anything possible
that is within my capability
If the victim's family allows, I will surely attend the memorial service
I thought that my parents ought to come out and deal with the matter
After all, I am a younger person who does not know what to do
At first, people believed that I was the instigator
But I have full proof that I was not at the scene that night
You can directly view the surveillance tape of the convenience store
I did not go anywhere to celebrate Xmas
I went to buy something at the convenience store
and the surveillance tape can establish that
I still have to apologize to society as a whole
Here is a spoof of a Japanese cartoon in which a besieged man says, "I am sick!"
The practice of "exposing" is getting more and more vicious. In Hong Kong, a blogger has "identified" Miss A who claimed that political activist Edward Yum sexually assaulted/raped her. The blogger known as Diamond Chan posted the full name of Miss A and a set of her photos onto his blogspot site as well as a video onto YouTube.
Our TV host Michael Mo has begun a campaign to condemn this blogger: "He is going to far, because he is indirectly identifying the complainant. I don't care what happened during the incident and I don't care what Edward Yum did or didn't do. But to expose her this way is causing her a second round of hurt." The campaign signees intend to contact blogspot/Google to complain.
[ESWN comment: Actually, the blogger Diamond Chan is going to argue on technical grounds that he never exposed Miss A as such. On December 19, he made his first post about the case of Edward Yum/Miss A in the form of a commentary. On December 22, he made his second post which contain scanned images of the Next Magazine cover story. The magazine cover contains a photo of Miss A masked by mosaic.
Then the blogger followed up with his third post on December 24 about a certain female soccer fan. The post contains her full name as well as a set of photos. The blogger never said that the person in the third post is Miss A. There is no direct connection between this third post and the two preceding posts. Any connection that you make is because your imagination is running wild and you ought to be ashamed of yourself!]
 Old Man Wang's Blog (12/27/2010) (China Times)
Yesterday morning at 9:30am, the Taipei police received a call from 84-year-old Wang Jing-chih who said that he has just killed his wife. The police almost thought that he was joking because of his calm tone. When the police arrived at the scene, Wang opened the door for them. The police found his 80-year-old wife dead on the sofa with a long screw driven into the top of her skull. Wang said that he had given his wife six FM2 pills to knock her unconscious and then he used a hammer to drive the screw into her skull.
Wang said that this was a case of euthanasia, because he could not bear the pains that his wife was suffering (Parkinson's disease plus a broken hip bone) and he was worried that he would not be able to take care of her.
Wang Jing-chih maintains a blog in which he identifies himself as a writer. On December 5, he posted this blog post:
Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang decided to die by euthanasia more than a decade ago; but they didn't want to do it immediately.
Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang decided to die by euthanasia more than a decade ago. The main reason is: they have lived long enough.
More than a decade ago, Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang already felt that they have lived long enough. They knew that they are advanced in age and they can on longer traveling. They cannot expect their children to take care of them. They can only live alone for the final stage of their lives.
More than a decade ago, Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang already felt that they have lived long enough. They can only be lonely old people. If lucky, they will suffer neither infirmity nor pain, they won't get strokes, they won't trip over, etc so that they become physically disabled or even fall into a vegetative state with an awareness that other people do not know. They can only live alone for the final stage of their lives.
More than a decade ago, Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang already felt that they have lived long enough. They don't want to lose their sovereignty and dignity in suffering various pains as well as being a burden on their family.
*** *** *** ***
In 1999, Old Man Wang's son footed the money so that Old Man Wang could sell the thirty-something-year-old fourth-story apartment for a new apartment in a building equipped with an elevator. That was because he was getting old and could not walk up to the fourth floor -- young people couldn't guess his motive and they only thought that he wanted a cozier place.
More than a decade ago, Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang already discussed the matters of old age and death.
Old Man Wang told Old Woman Wang: "A wife is lucky if she dies before her husband does." Old Woman Wang said: "I feel the same way, but what can we do?!" Old Man Wang said: "If necessary, I can kill you."
Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang decided to die by euthanasia more than a decade ago.; Old Woman Wang was going to die first.
That was their best of the plans -- but what happens if Old Man Wang gets sick or has an accident first!
Old Woman Wang did not think too much about that prospect.
But Old Man Wang is a smart aleck -- after all, he tricked Old Woman Wang into marrying him way back when.
*** *** *** ***
More than a decade ago, Old Man Wang and Old Woman Wang discussed the matters of old age and death.
Old Man Wang told Old Woman Wang: "A wife is lucky if she dies before her husband does." Old Woman Wang said: "I feel the same way, but what can we do?!" Old Man Wang said: "If necessary, I can kill you."
How to kill? ... It is easy: He has a Mauser 7.65 gun. He can give her some sleeping pills and blow her brains out.
But the government "requisitioned/borrowed" the gun -- Old Man Wang "voluntarily" let the gun be "requisitioned/borrowed." The gun was never returned, along with the forty plus bullets.
When she found out that the gun was "requisitioned," she asked: "What to do now that there is no gun?"
He answered: "Nothing is ever impossible for Old Man Wang. Isn't using an electric drill on the head just as good?!"
*** *** *** ***
Then Old Lady Wang really got sick again (Parkinson's disease) and had an accident (broken left hip bone from a fall). She had difficulty moving around the past two months.
When she gets sick, it is hard on him.
*** *** *** ***
You say: Can't the sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren help?
They are all in America; they have green cards but they haven't gotten their citizenship yet.
Besides, the daughters-in-law are not healthy either; the sons have to work; the children are still students.
They can barely take care of themselves, they are not rich and the mortgage isn't paid up yet!
*** *** *** ***
Everybody wants to go to America and become Americans.
What is so good about going to America and becoming Americans?
I don't know what is so good about going to America and becoming Americans ...
I only know that it is a bad thing for the old people when the children have all left for America.
 The Suzhou Bus Gate (12/26/2010) (Daqi)
Previously, YZWB reported an unusual quarrel on a Route 33 Bus in Suzhou city: the intimacy between a young couple caused the bus driver to order them to leave. There was a quarrel at the end of which the couple filed a complaint with the bus company. This incident caused a controversy on the Internet.
So what happened? Well, let us listen to what the principals have to say for themselves.
Our reporter spoke to the female student Xiao Tang. She said that she and her boyfriend are engaged. "I was born in 1989, so we are not of the 1990's as Internet users are saying. We are engaged. This is absolutely true." Xiao Tang said that their families can testify to that, and they have even taken bridal photos already.
Xiao Tang said: "On that day, we were seated in the two front seats. I had a very big pimple on my jaw and my boyfriend thought that the pimple should be squeezed out. I was wearing a tall-collared coat, so there was no question of it being pulled down. I did not squeal either." Xiao Tang said that one of the school teachers was also on the bus, and can testify that she was telling the truth.
"Actually, the driver kept cursing us until we arrived at our stop. My boyfriend could not restrain himself and got into a quarrel. The driver said that his contract was up and he didn't want to work here anymore. As we got off the bus, he pointed at us and said that he was going to stab us to death. All the passengers witnessed that!" Xiao Tang said that it was the driver who said he was quitting, and she did not "force" him to quite. Afterwards, the bus driver has yet to apologize to her. A worker at the bus company said, "If he doesn't want to apologize, what can we do?"
Our reporter also spoke to the bus driver named Fan by telephone. Fan sounded fatigued and despondent. According to him, the bus set off after 7pm on December 18. At one point, a young couple got on the bus and sat on the front row to his right.
"The young man was tugging the young woman's dress down. Meanwhile the young woman was moaning and groaning loudly. I really couldn't stand it anymore. I thought I had to maintain order. So I stopped the bus and lectured them about proper behavior in public. I told them that they must not go too far." A quarrel ensued.
"I don't think that I did anything wrong. After the couple complained, the company told me that I was wrong. I am tired and I am under a great deal of pressure. So I submitted a letter of resignation." Fan said that his two children are still students and he really does not want public opinion directed against him and his family.
Our reporter contacted the bus company and a worker told us that Fan had not quit. In addition, the company has not fined Fan nor does it intend to dismiss Fan. "He is still working normally."
Our reporter also interviewed another driver named Dou with the same bus company. Dou said that everybody in the company knew about this incident. The company has issued a notice to Fan that he was due to be fined. Dou said that if someone was tossed off the bus because they were squeezing a pimple, he would think the driver was nuts.
Nowadays, many people are used to seeing such intimate acts in public. How should one react? During the Cultural Revolutions, such acts would be pilloried as "rotten capitalist lifestyle." But after the reforms began and the Chinese people are exposed to American-European lifestyles, such scenes are not so unusual anymore. Such expressions have gone from underground to aboveground.
Legally speaking, people can kiss and pet in public as long as nobody else's interests are violated. According to the viewpoint that "it is allowable if there is no law explicitly against it." However, morally speaking, this may be offensive to some members of the public. As such, people can only make a moral condemnation. In the case of the bus driver, he has no right to oust those two passengers off the bus. After all, the driver does not own the bus, which is a public transportation vehicle.
Many citizens were supportive of the bus driver, because they want to be moral guardians. Unfortunately there can be no such thing as a moral guardian. Morality is formed naturally and can shift over time. As we become more tolerant over time, our moral standards change. It would be wrong to enforce old standards on our new society.
In this case, neither the bus driver nor the young couple were wrong. This has nothing to do with morality and much more to do with the generation gap. Twenty years ago, the young man would have been arrested for hooligan behavior. Today, what he did is nothing unusual. It is not that I am particularly liberated. But in a reform era, everybody has his/her own standards and mine happen not to be particularly high.
In a society where we no longer know where the mainstream values are, what right do you have to denounce me for immoral behavior? I can say that while these two young persons were not wrong when they got intimate in public, they were wrong to offend other persons. But what more can I say? When they calmly went ahead to complain to the bus company about that bus driver, I am more impressed with the awakening of their awareness of their civil rights.
37-year old Li Xiaoming is the regular host of the CCTV program "News 1+1." When the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Liu Xiaobo on December 10, Li Xiaoming posted an "empty" photo on her microblog just like many other microbloggers.
Yesterday at 2pm, Li Xiaoming wrote on her Sina.com microblog about her recent business trip. Because she had accumulated many frequent flyer miles, she got upgraded to a first-class seat. She selected a window seat. When she got on the plane, she found a man sitting on her seat with a coat on the adjacent seat. Li complained to the flight attendant who acknowledged her but did not do anything about the situation. "The man arrogantly lifted his eyes and said: Do you want a window seat or what? I thought: Fuck, is this negotiable? Still I said: You can sit there." The two didn't converse during the journey. When the plane landed and the cabin door opened, Li heard greeters said: Governor, you work very hard. That was when Li realized the truth. "The indifference of the flight attendant and the arrogance of the man are now understandable."
By the evening, this microblog post has been forwarded more than 7,000 times. Netizens began a "human flesh search" on the man. They checked the recent travel itinerary for Li Xiaoming against which they checked the travel itineraries of all provincial governors/vice-governors. They found that Li Xiaoming lectured in Huzhou city, Zhejiang province on December 15-16, so that this man might be Zhejiang province vice-governor Chen Min'er. This caused the traffic volume to the Zhejiang provincial government website to soar to the point where it was paralyzed for a while.
Li Xiaoming then blogged again: "This was no big deal. I just wanted people to note." She does not want to identify the man via "human flesh search" because "media people should not use their public power to seek personal revenge."
Netizens also criticized her for being timid in not fighting for her rights and chasing the man from her assigned seat. She explained: "My dad frequently tells me: More and more people recognize you now, so you must keep a low profile, even to the point of conceding if necessary." By the evening, the original microblog post had been deleted but many copies can still be found.
The Zhejiang Online reporter checked with the Huzhou city event sponsor and learned that Li Xiaoming left Huzhou for Shanghai on flight CA1957 on December 16 and transferred from Shanghai to Beijing on flight CA1522 on December 17.
The Zhejiang Online reporter contacted the Zhejiang provincial government office and learned that none of the Zhejiang leaders were on those two flights on those dates.
On Christmas Eve in Taipei, a 86-year-old woman was experiencing a massive cardiovascular failure. The ambulance rushed her to the hospital. On the way, most cars yielded way to the ambulance except for one car with license plate 4569-ER. This driver cut in front of the ambulance, paused at the traffic light, raised the middle finger to the ambulance crew and ignored the pleas of a motorcyclist to yield. When the light turned green, this driver continued to weave, bob and brake in front of the ambulance.
The woman was dead by the time that the ambulance arrived at the hospital. The ambulance crew posted this video onto the Internet. Netizens who saw this video swore that they were going to locate this driver through "human flesh search."
The 33-year-old driver has emerged. His explanation was that he has a problem with sensory over-stimulation. Whenever he hears siren sounds (from emergency vehicles), he loses control. He says that he has no recollection of what happened that night.
 Ms. "A" versus Victoria Park Big Brother (12/25/2010)
(The Standard) Leagues' Yum unbowed despite rape claim. December 20, 2010.
League of Social Democrats member Edward Yum Liang-hsien, who was arrested in connection with a rape and indecent assault case last week, said yesterday "the truth will speak for itself."
Dubbed "Big Brother of Victoria Park" for his frequent presence and loud remarks in the audience at City Forum, Yum said he has confidence in Hong Kong's legal system. "The truth will speak for itself. I am confident about the laws of Hong Kong," he said before the forum, which was held at Polytechnic University. "Right reasons bring right actions. I came to the City Forum today as it is something I normally do."
Yum, 31, was arrested on Wednesday after being accused of raping a 29-year- old woman in Sha Tin. He was released on bail. He denies all the accusations.
Yum, who claims he is the victim of a smear campaign, said it is unethical to attack his private life on the basis of an incomplete investigation.
Yum, the son of former legislator Lawrence Yum Sin-ling, said he reserves the right to take legal action against wrong reports on his private life.
(East Week) December 21, 2010.
According to information, the woman (referred to as "A") who claimed rape/sexual assault is a 29-year-old resident of Sun Tin Wai, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong. Several months ago, she attended a public forum and drew the attention of Edward Yum who approached her. She was also impressed with the eloquent Yum. They exchanged telephone numbers at the time. Thereafter Yum called/messaged her and met her several times on the outside.
On the evening of December 12, this person had dinner with "A" and went back to her place. The two chatted inside the apartment. "A" claimed that someone lost control, pushed her onto the bed and raped her. Afterwards, "A" spoke with her ex-boyfriend and went down to the Tin Sum police station the next day to file a report.
(Next Weekly) December 22, 2010.
(Note: This is based upon what Edward Yum told the magazine reporter)
On December 12, "A" and Edward Yum had lunch at the KFC restaurant. Since Yum has to attend a forum in the afternoon, "A" suggested that they eat dinner at her place. Yum thought that it might be take too much time and proposed to eat out instead. "A" insisted on home cooking and so Yum went to her place in Sun Tin Wai that evening.
According to information, the two of them bought food at the market first and then beverages at a 7-11 convenience store. After dinner, the two sat in the living room for a while. Then they went into the bedroom and had their first sexual intercourse. But Yum did not stay the night. He left on his own. There was no argument between the two.
But according to the police, "A" filed a report at the Sun Tin Wai police station the next morning to claim that she was sexually assaulted/raped. The police took down her statement and sent her to the hospital for a medical examination. The police took away certain evidence (such as sperm-covered clothing) for examination.
(Apple Daily) December 25, 2010.
December 18, 2010.
Victoria Park Big Brother Edward Yum Liang-hsien
Arrested for (alleged) rape
December 19, 2010
Another female victim makes revelations
Charges Edward Yum sexual aggression
December 20, 2010
Victoria Park Big Brother
Counter-attacks scandal leakers
Image takes sharp dive
Makes public appearance to salvage name
Claims to seek legal redress
Rape victim makes charges on Christmas' Eve
Edward Yum's five minutes of joy
Hurt me for five centuries
Early yesterday morning, "A" made a blog post which was deleted by 4pm. By that time, more than 35,000 persons had read it already.
"A" revealed that she took a morning-after pill and felt physically ill. "Do you know what it is like to have to take a morning-after pill in the critical hours afterwards, feeling dizzy but nevertheless having to show up at work? Do you know what it is like to ask for time off from job, but not being able to state the reason? Do you know that what it is like to have the whole world know what happened to me but my family overseas still know nothing?"
She said: "That was less than 5 minutes of joy (P.S. I didn't have any of that). But this 5-minute tragedy hurt me more than 5 minutes. Five centuries might not be enough."
During the Next Weekly interview, Edward Yum claimed that "A" took the initiative. But the blog post by "A" gave a different version. She said that Yum asked her for email address and telephone number, and wooed her. Yum claimed that she asked her for help to edit Wiki topics. She claimed that Yum asked her to help him, and then use that as an excuse to come to her place to make the edits and then he violated her.
"Before even viewing (note: the Wiki edit results), you already said that my perfume made you lose your senses and then you groped me. We have only known each other for just a few days and I thought that this was very abrupt. This was going too fast. We ought to know each other better first! You said that you like to be direct, that you respect me. But your body was very honest and want to score immediately. I rejected your very wrongful proposal. You apologized and said, 'Sorry. Let's pretend nothing happened!' I countered: 'You should join the XXX! Nobody died on June 4th? Nothing happened! Nonsense!" She said that Yum called many times afterwards to apologize.
Later, Yum's Facebook account/page got deleted and he wanted "A" to write to Facebook to inquire. They met again for that reason. "We did not go out to eat because we wanted more time to paste the links to the new Facebook group. I hadn't put on any perfume. You came up with excuses the same way that you intercepted the Chief Executive at Admiralty. I kept pleading urgently: I really don't want to ... do not cross my bottom line ... why do you want to turn your most trusted person into your new enemy?" "You really want to take a bet on your political career? If you persist, I am going to report ..." "Yet, in spite of my innumerable direct and indirect please, you cannot stop the movement of your lower body." "At that instant, I shed several tears. You didn't see them. You ignored all my pleas! I cried. The hard-won trust was totally eviscerated because of lust."
The following is a point-by-point rebuttal of Yum's claims by "A":
Yum's version: Yum received a letter of support/encouragement from "A" on December 12, 2010, the day when she filed the police report. Yum's lawyer thinks that this can be used as defense.
A's version: After Yum's Facebook account got deleted, A sent mail to support him. But the mail was postmarked at a later time. "This became evidence that I was 'mentally unstable'."
Yum's version: Yum attended the City Forum on December 19 and spotted A among the audience. She raised her hand to ask to speak and she made sure that Yum saw her. Yum said that this was "an obvious provocation."
A's version: "If you can appear bold and assured, why can't I? ... the subject was ethnic minorities. You and I are both beneficiaries of American policies for ethnic minority students!"
Yum's version: A added Yum on Facebook and passed paper slips to him at the City Forum. She asked to have a photo taken with Yum as well as getting his email address. "A was more pro-active during the whole process."
A's version: Yum carefully put the note of encouragement into his wallet. He also asked her to take his email address and join his Facebook group. He also took down her mobile telephone number.
Yum's version: A told Yum that there were many negative information about him on his Wikipedia entry and she wanted to edit the information. This was how she got to contact him regularly. They had lunch on December 8 when she used the excuse of setting up a Facebook page to invite him to her apartment. The two petted but they did not engage in sexual intercourse.
A's version: "Who said that the Wikipedia entry has information about real estate speculation and divorce? Who said that he looked listless in the recent photo? Who said that it would be narcissistic to edit it himself and therefore asked me to help?" She pointed out that Yum used the excuse to use her home computer to make the edits and then "groped" her but she refused him.
Yum's version: On December 12, Yum went to A's place to eat. They had sexual intercourse for the first time that night. There was no dispute between the two.
A's version: "At that instant, I shed several tears. You didn't see them. You ignored all my pleas!"
Here is the ironic part of this developing story:
（Apple Daily via Hong Kong Golden Forum)
When Edward Yum arrived at the City Forum today, he was surrounded by reporters. He told the reporters that he wished that they could consider the feelings of the principals and not blow the matter up.
A netizen commented: If he didn't want the media to blow things up, then why did he give Next Weekly an exclusive interview in which he presented his side of the case in detail (including the personal details of Ms. "A")?
(Ming Pao) December 25, 2010.
Around midnight yesterday, netizens at the Hong Kong Golden Forum began to post information about Miss A, including her name, photos, job and even the elementary, secondary and university schools that she attended. This post immediately drew a fierce debate that ran for more than 10 pages. Copies of that information were also posted at other discussion forums.
Within ten minutes, another netizen found Miss A's blog. On that night, that blog drew almost 24,000 page views. But in order to avoid legal troubles, the forum administrators deleted those posts.
According to senior barrister Ronny Tong, the law forbids the naming of female victims of sex-related cases. Since Edward Yum has not yet been charged, netizens are theoretically still in a grey area -- they may not have legal responsibility but they have personal ethical responsibility.
Do you trust news reports? A television program explains government policies about new technology, but somewhere back there is a NT$1 million per broadcast hour deal involved. A newspaper gives a full page to cover the activities of government officials, but somewhere back there a NT$ several hundred thousand to several million deal involved. If veteran media workers tell you that 30% (and even as much as 50%) of the contents of their newspapers and television channels are paid news stories, would you trust those news reports?
In recent years, the Taiwan journalism industry is distressed by what is happening, but they are unable to extricate themselves from the quagmire.
On December 13, veteran <China Times> reporter Huang Je-bing wrote on his blog: "I am leaving <China Times> on a jet plane." The blog post caused a stir within journalism circles. In the post, he published his letter of resignation from <China Times> where he had spent 16 years 5 months. Under 'reason for resignation,' he wrote: "Taiwan leads the world in paid news stories; I think I am backwards in this regard and therefore I decide to leave."
The so-called paid news stories refer to news contents that the clients are paying for. As distinct from paid advertisements, these contents appear in the news pages in the form of news stories. Some of them may be noted as "special section" or "commercially edited," but many others contain no indicators that distinguish them from regular news stories. In Taiwan, these paid news stories are called "inserted marketing."
"So news reports become commercial products that are valuated by word count. These public relations essays land on the editor's desk with the instruction: 'This is a commercial deal -- every single word must be printed'." Huang Je-bing wrote on his blog that it is increasingly difficult to ignore "the obvious reality that the newspaper pages are being taken over by 'paid news reports'." "Reporters have become advertising salespeople. The public relations people and the advertisers have become the news writers. The government and the big corporations have reached over to the editors' desks to dictate content. This is an ecstatic masked ball with no hold bars. The readers who are paying for the newspapers have no idea that they are buying business directing marketing messages and government propaganda."
Huang Je-bing emphasized that he was targeting any specific media organization. Instead he was protesting against the entire newspaper industry. "I cannot convince myself that this is an industry that I can work in and live with."
On the day when Huang Je-bing made that blog post, his telephone was overwhelmed by calls. He never imagined that he would receive so much support. His petition campaign <To Oppose The Government Marketing Insertions> drew 1,078 signatures the first day. As of now, about 4,000 people have signed up.
For those media workers who still harbor certain ideals about journalism, Huang Je-bing was expressing their anger for them.
A veteran reporter who has worked for more than 8 years at a large newspaper applauded Huang Je-bing's blog post. In his eyes, the problem of marketing insertions in news reports is a structural problem: "At first, the government departments or commercial companies paid money to buy news reports. For example, when the Labor Commission wants to publicize the unemployment situation, they contact the newspaper business departments. A headline story cost between NT$80,000 to more than NT$100,000. The newspaper business department hands the assignment to the planning group of the editorial department. The planning group gives the assignment to a reporter. Today, the government departments have annual 'propaganda budgets' earmarked for marketing insertions. The newspapers have business targets for their paid news reports. The newspaper business department, editorial department and even individual reporters are evaluated for their paid news reports revenue."
According to an internal report obtained by Yazhou Zhoukan, a large newspaper released the business performance reports each month. For example, "In June, the editorial department carried out 55 actions to the total amount of NT$12,694,100. Compared to the 55 actions in May to the total amount of NT$19,200,000, this is NT$6,606,900 less. The editorial department's business assistance division earned NT$24,330,000 which is NT$9,780,000 more than the NT$14,550,000 in May. The growth rate is 67.2%."
So the paid news reports earned almost NT$37 million for the newspaper ...
"You must remember that we are not talking about advertisements. We are talking about the news pages!" An informed reporter reminded us repeatedly.
There are no differences between "blue" and "green" local governments when it comes to buying news reports. A reporter with a "green" television channel told us that their programs (including the well-esteemed in-depth issue reports) contain as much as 1/3 paid news reporting. The in-depth issue report has even been sold for the price of NT$1,000,000 for one broadcast hour.
"A new government policy has news value and ought to be independently reported. But things have gone to the stage where it won't be aired unless money is paid. Not only does news reports lose public trust, but the total space for news reporting is being crowded out by paid news reporting. When one-third or more of the news are paid for, you can imagine that many issues that deserve attention are being left out." This television reporter said.
A veteran newspaper who had covered local news in Taipei county for many years told us that the problem of paid news story is much more severe inside local news than national news.
He told Yazhou Zhoukan that the law requires that all government purchases in excess of NT$100,000 have to be publicized on the Internet to solicit bids. Therefore placed news stories are often paid for in chunks of NT$98,000. "Everybody knows about the NT$98,000 price per case. When a government sets up to spend a budget of NT$3,000,000 on advertising, it does so in chunks of NT$98,000 each. A reporter can sometimes obtain commission of about 10% for a report."
He provided two detailed cases: "For example, the county education department wants to promote a certain policy whose contents they want the media to propagandize. So they will seek out 'trustworthy' reporters. Two articles about 1,000 words together with a photo can bring in about NT$10,000." In Taiwan, the typical news reporter makes an average of NT$40,000 to NT$50,000 per month in salary."
"I have handled such cases myself." This reporter made no effort to deny. "This kind of income is not included in our wages statement. The administrator will ask us for another bank account number, usually belonging to a friend or relative. We cannot use our own accounts which may be investigated."
"I know that I was not clean. But when all your peers do it, can you afford not to do it? Can you refuse to take this money? What will your peers think about you? What will your boss think about you? What is the point of being so squeaky clean?" This reporter kept making fun of himself. "In the past, we used to scrutinize over every word in our reports. Nowadays we are concerned about the number of zeros in the revenue -- money has become the only thing of importance."
This reporter left the business before Huang Je-bing, but he did so quietly. "There was no point. I didn't even want to tell you about any of this." He is so thoroughly disillusioned about journalism that he was not even interested in exposing the problems.
One month before Huang Je-bing made his blog post, the Control Yuan issued an investigative report on marketing insertions in the Taiwan media.
This report was submitted by Control Yuan member Wu Fengshan. He has more than 30 years of media experience. He told us that he is "keenly aware that the communications industry can contribute immensely to national growth if it is allowed to function in a positive way." At the same time, he felt that "the communications industry is committing suicide slowly by accepting placed these news stories. It is a clear form of downfall and corruption when the government inserts marketing messages in news reporting." Therefore he commissioned this report by the Control Yuan.
In this report, Wu Fengshan offered some specific instances without naming the media organizations: "On October 22 and 23, 2009, the Executive Yuan Hakka Commission took out a full page to report an interview with a Hakka Commission director Huang Yu-Jhen about the basic law with respect to Hakka people. The story included a photo of director Huang Yu-Jhen. Afterwards, director Yuang admitted that one newspaper was paid NT$400,000 and another one got NT$600,000."
On August 8, 2010, a certain newspaper contained a special section on travel in Hunan province, China. The section appearing on page A12 coincided with the arrival in Taiwan of the study group led by Hunan province deputy party secretary Mei Kebao. This story is presented as a news report, but it is clearly a marketing message." There was also a note: "We have in our possession a contract between China and a certain media organization including methods of payment. This shows that a transaction took place whereby a news story was bought with money."
Wu Fengshan also cited the data: Through the first nine months this year, the major newspapers in Taiwan published 245 paid news stories from mainland China, more than the 165 for the entire year last year.
This report was originally submitted to the Executive Yuan, Information Office, NCC and the Mainland Affairs Council. However the report was fiercely debated within the Control Yuan because certain members thought that there was no relevant laws. The Information Office also responded that "in respect of freedom of press, any action ought to be moral imperatives" and "it is inappropriate to legislate specifically against political messages or marketing insertions." In the end, the proposal was only accepted by the Mainland Affairs Council.
According to the Control Yuan, the relevant laws have clear regulations about the advertisements for mainland products and services. At present, the mainland advertisements do not appear openly. Nevertheless, the various mainland city and provincial governments are buying placed news stories in conjunction with the visits by their respective leaders. As such, these are placed marketing messages.
"If we can't stop the Executive Yuan, we can at least influence the Mainland Affairs Council!" A Taiwan media worker pointed out that even though mainland organizations are buying news stories in a serious manner, the problem is endemic within Taiwan journalism as a whole. "Marketing mainland China is merely the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that the entire journalism industry is almost completely rotten."
Wu Fengshan told Yazhou Youzhan about the historical cause of this problem: "When martial law was lifted in 1988, two things happened. Firstly, the number and the kinds of media increased dramatically. Secondly, structural economic changes caused advertising expenditures to decrease dramatically. These two conditions intensified media competition. Under these circumstances, placed news stories came into being." Wu specifically mentioned: "Businesses have been placing news stories for a long time. The government only entered into the field four or five years ago."
Five years ago, the veteran reporter and communications scholar Lin Chao-chen wrote the article: <Who is buying off the media?> in which he took aim specifically at placed news stories. Today things have gotten a lot worse. Apart from the factors such as the financial tsunami which threaten media survival, Lin Chao-chen thought that the problem is no longer one about specific media or individual ethics in Taiwan, but the structure of the industry itself.
So who should be restrained? The media or the government? Wu Fengshan and Huang Je-bing both agreed that the authorities should be pressured. Wu said: "On one hand, we must consider the news story placements by the government to be deception. On the other hand, we must emphasize that the government's role is to maintain the market order. Freedom of press must not be abridged, but maintaining the market order is something else. When the government is not doing its job, it is failing." Huang Je-bing said: "The existing administrative regulations does not allow anything to be done. The most viable route is to apply pressure on the government. We can take various civic actions to demand that politicians keep their promise to keep the government out of the media. Then we expand this to companies, including legislation that require the disclosure of any advertising activities."
According to another veteran media worker, "To use a common saying, you cannot stop prostitutes from selling but you can prevent their potential customers from buying!" He had recently left the newspaper of his youth and idealism: "Taiwan won freedom of press after a long and bitter struggle. We can afford to waste it away in this manner."
Citizens must make the freedom of press that they won shine themselves. The action has begun to roll. The latest development is that the Taiwan Journalist Association has met with scholar and citizens groups to form an alliance that will push for legislative to stop the government from marketing insertions in news reporting. <China Times> deputy chief editor Chang Jingwei also said that placed news stories are a problem that affects all Taiwan and a legislative solution is a good direction.
"This is not an easy road to travel on. But many people are at least ready to wage a battle." Huang Je-bing.
It began with a microblog post by Fang Zhouzi on December 12. He exposed the case of the "most awesome reporter in history" Yan Bingguang of the Heilongjiang bureau of the Xinhua News Agency. Since 2004, she had filed more than 30 articles about her husband, daughter, mother-in-law and other family members. Afterwards, Xinhua removed Yan Bingguang from her job.
Yesterday night at around 7pm, the reporter Li Meng wrote on his microblog: "The Xinhua reporter Liu Juhua's first article was titled <Internet genius Fang Zhouzi>. But this Xinhua reporter Liu Juhua is Fang Zhouzi's wife. Xinhua reporter Liu Juhua is a colleague of Xinhua reporter Yan Bingguang. Xinhua reporter Liu Juhua's husband exposed Xinhua reporter Yan Bingguang for interviewing her own family members repeatedly. Xinhua reporter Yan Bingguang was kicked out of her job."
This microblog post caused a storm. Fang Zhouzi replied on his microblog: "Li Meng dug out a report that my wife wrote about me ten years ago. He implied that my wife abused her job position just like Yan Bingguang did. But this essay was never published. It only appeared on the Internet." Fang Zhouzi also said that his wife does not know Yan Bingguang, so there was no way that she could tip him. He said that his information came from a Douban link listed in his microblog post.
Then Fang Zhouzi named more than 20 media workers who "assisted the rumor mongering reporter Li Meng in smearing my wife." He also named the media organizations which they work for. Fang Zhouzieven said that as long as a certain person remained in charge at a certain media organization, he will continue to regard that newspaper as a "rumor mill."
Many of those named by Fang Zhouzi felt aggrieved. Some people think that Fang Zhouzi is going too far.
Netizen Zhang Hongxin said that Fang Zhouzi got acquainted with his wife because (and not before) that article, so this is not violating any conduct code. Li Meng replied that he never said that any conduct code was being broken. But many netizens felt that Li Meng's narrative can easily mislead people into thinking that Fang Zhouzi's wife had the same kind of problem as Yan Bingguang. "There was an implication to cite the article written before Fang Zhouzi and his wife fell in love without indicating the timing." In any case, Fang Zhouzi thinks that Li Meng was "making up a rumor to smear him."
That night, one of the reporters named by Fang Zhouzi complained in a QQ group. He said that he only forwarded Li Meng's microblog post without any commentary, but he was named all the same for "abetting the rumor monger." This reporter did not even register his microblog under his real name, but Fang Zhouzi was able to name him as well as his media organization.
Another media worker said Fang Zhouzi was "vengeful." Fang Zhouzi replied: "When I counterattacked the person who used a rumor to smear my wife, you say I am vengeful. But what do you say about those people who like to spread rumors? What do they do?"
Someone wondered whether Fang Zhouzi should label an entire media organization as a 'rumor mill' because one of its leaders "abetted in spreading the rumor." Isn't that going too far? Fang Zhouzi reasoned: "The quality of the leader of a media organization reflects the nature of the organization. If someday I should spread a rumor about your wife, you can treat my website XYS.org as a rumor mill too. That is the logic."
Fang Zhouzi thought that this chief editor of a newspaper "ought to have checked with the principal before forwarding a microblog post that affects someone's reputation. He should have this basic quality." He also said: "Since he knew about my clarification before he forwarded the microblog post but he went ahead anyway, does this means that he hates my wife and me? Even if you had a run-in with me before like those rumor-spreading reporters, why has my wife ever done to you? Are you a man? Never mind before the chief editor at a newspaper."
The well-known blogger "Brother Dragon" addressed this issue on his microblog: The new media form of microblogs has given us a new issue of whether and how to forward an unconfirmed microblog post that is clearly damaging to certain persons. For the traditional media, posting false news will be held accountable even to the extent of legal liability. But microblogs are "individual media" to a large extent. When a media worker makes a microblog post, they do not represent their media organization ...
The well-known blogger Zhang Hongfeng told our reporter that when he read Li Meng's microblog post that evening, he thought that Fang's wife did something wrong. So he called Fang Zhouzi immediately to check. Then he forwarded Li's microblog post together with an explanation. Zhang Hongfeng said that microblog posts should be checked before forwarding to avoid damaging the interests of others.
Sina.com's Weibo microblogging service allows only 140 words per post. Zhang Hongfeng said that if you can't say everything in 140 words, you can write two consecutive posts. Furthermore, your writing should be logical and it must not be misleading. You cannot claim that you never said anyone did anything wrong while making hints because you can easily defame people that way.
But other netizens were concerned that if every microblog post must be verified before posting/forwarded, then that would be a restriction on the ability of people to draw public attention to injustice. Zhang Hongfeng said that unverified micoblog posts can be forwarded with the note "Seeking confirmation." This does not violate other people's rights and it draws public attention to seek that confirmation. In the case of Fang Zhouzi, many of the media workers who forwarded Li Meng's blog post were "V" class users whose real identities had been verified. As such, these "V" class users are even more "trustworthy" and therefore they should be extra cautious about what they forward.
China Youth Daily's Chen Qiang said that microblogs are "individual media" and therefore the blog posts reflect only the viewpoints of the individuals and not their organizations. But does the fact that someone works for a media organization give extra credibility? Chen Qiang replied that this is obviously true because media workers have received professional training to discover and communicate the truth.
Recently, a video entitled <Dongguan Underwear Company Video: Wearing Underwear at Work> has been popular. The video begins with these written words: "Recently, I went with a group to visit a certain underwear company in Dongguan and I came across an astonishing scene ..." The shaky camera recorded an office in which a couple of dozen female workers sat in cubicles with various kinds of underwear hanging from racks. Initially, the video showed these neatly dressed client service representatives chatting with customers by computer. As the cameraperson walked further down, there were two female workers clad only in underwear chatting with clients.
"Xiao Qin, this customer has the same chest size as you do. Please help out by trying this." The client service representative Xiao Qin deftly removed her brassiere and tried on the new item. Then she sat down, pulled up the panties, removed her blouse, sat down and continued to type on the computer without slowing down.
From the video, it can be determined that this company is selling the Efene brand of underwear and it has a large Taobao shop. Yesterday afternoon, this reporter used a female account to chat with a client service representative at the Taobao shop. When the reporter asked, "Can you try this on to let me see how it looks?" the worker replied, "Sorry, we do not provide any service to try items for clients."
Our reporter also found the company job openings listed "clerk/model" with the requirement of being "hard-working and diligent ... good body figure (75B)."
A Southern Metropolis Daily intern called the shop to apply for a job. She was asked to go in for a personal interview. During that interview, the intern asked: "Is it necessary to try the underwear for clients?" and "Is video chat required?" The response was that "We have special rooms to try out the underwear and we then provide the feedback to the clients. Nobody will see you."
But the company's CEO Mr. Shi said the opposite: "We do have such a step. But we don't do that for every client. We only do it for clients with special needs." "What does special needs mean?" "For example, those with irregular breast sizes which may be bulging or drooping. They need us to show the results."
"Why does the company make its client service representatives try the underwear for clients? Why must they show the result via video chat?" Mr. Shi said: "We are meticulously servicing our clients. We want to satisfy them in every possible way." "Aren't you concerned that this is an erotic service?" "I don't care what people say. Ten years from now, they will see how I succeeded."
Mr. Shi took our reporter for a guided company tour. The three dozen client service representatives were fully dressed and working busily in front of their computers. Nothing like the Internet video was observed.
More than half of the Internet commentators think that the video was a promotional gimmick by the company. Mr. Shi denied this firmly: "We won't do anything like this. Many buyers form groups to visit our company to learn from our experience. They have taken the video."
At 23:32 on December 4, the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Chen Baocheng wrote on his Sina.com microblog: "I was monitoring the Sina.com voting on <People Who Touched China> and I was surprised to see that between 9:30pm and 10:30pm, 92.9% of the votes for Wang Mohua/Tan Liangcai at fourth place and 83% of the votes for Zeng Kai in second place all came from Jiangxi province."
This reporter checked at 18:00 on December 5 and found that Jiangxi residents Wang Mohua/Tan Liangcai have leaped into first place with 95.6% of the votes coming from Jiangxi. Meanwhile, Jiangxi resident Zeng Kai got 83.2% of his votes from Jiangxi province.
"CCTV's <People Who Touched China> selection process is being flooded by large numbers of 'navy'. They are strong and powerful." China Youth Daily reporter Cheng Gang wrote on his microblog. Similarly Chen Baocheng speculated that "Jiangxi is using administrative authority to mobilize voters. The 'navy' is entering the battle."
The netizen Qiangzi replied on the microblog: "I am a member of this 'navy.' Our school told us to cast votes. We have to vote every day." When asked which school he was with and whom he voted for, Qiangzi did not respond.
The so-called 'navy' refers to the netizens who are paid to work for corporate or brand image through forum posts, blogs and even creating news stories. According to the "Navy Net" which claims to have 25,000 'sailors,' they can promote, market, disseminate and eliminate negative talk on just about anything.
Chen Baocheng wrote: "We welcome fair competition in accordance with the rules. We firmly oppose any vote lobbying that uses administrative privileges to engage in unfair competition." Netizen YY wrote: "There is no difference between designating the winner versus either bribing or coercing people to vote for your candidate."
On the afternoon of December 5, our reporter contacted Mr. Wang at the Sina.com News Center which was in charge of the voting there. He said that CCTV is the organizer and Sina.com is merely a partner who provides a link. As such, Sina.com is unable to comment on anything. Our reporter then contacted CCTV. A worker explained that no formal organization has been set up to run the <People Who Touched China> voting yet, so no comment can be made.
(China Youth Daily)
The Jiangxi province Yichun city Yichun Academy sent out a notice to its staff and students that the city Communist Party committee wanted them to vote for <People Who Touched China>. They were instructed to vote for not more than 10 persons, which must include Wang Mohua/Tan Liangcai and Zeng Kai. The Yichun Academy has refused to be interviewed, and the local government has declined to comment so far.
<People Who Touched China> is a top CCTV program which has influence. It is a honor to be a candidate for <People Who Touched China>. Whether a candidate will be voted in depends on the will of the Chinese people and the candidate's actual history.
The Yichun citizens Wang Mohua and Tan Liangcai rushed into the scene of a fire to rescue people. One of them was severely injured and the other died. Their action moved millions of Chinese citizens. But it is immoral to use administrative authority to control the voting. This is an insult to these heroes and against their wishes. It is an abuse of authority and it only highlights narrow local protectionism. It also insults the purpose and spirit of the event, hijack the right of the local people to vote, damage social injustice and fairness and hurt the feelings of the other candidates.
The public want the <People Who Touched China> to serve as their moral paragons. They want someone who is authentic, pure and moving. "Administrative vote flooding" turns this into a fake "touching" moment, because it forces your own people to be "touched" while denying other candidates to "touch" people. How can the Chinese people be "touched" by this?
"Administrative vote flooding" is posing some difficult problems for <People Who Touched China>. For example, should these votes count? If one of these Jiangxi candidates won, how will CCTV cope with the mass skepticism? How can they make sure that future event voting can avoid "administrative vote flooding"?
In this word, there is no love without cause, no hate without cause and no way to be "touched" without cause. The naked "administrative vote flooding" by the local Jiangxi government shows the desire for quick political success. Such accomplishments are illusory, merely showing the specter of Chinese-style voting.
This began with the commentary <The netizens have already crossed the river, so government officials should stop pretending that they are still groping for the pebbles> by Li Hongwen for <China Youth Daily>. Li Hongwen is a commentary section editor for a certain newspaper, and his essay was first published on his Sohu blog under the title <When citizens come across government officials>.
This essay made an unnamed reference to "a certain Yunnan province government official who is an Internet celebrity." This person wrote: "If we want to speak the truth, it is unavoidable to have relocations during the development process. If relocation cannot be eliminated, then our support for every unwilling relocated family is actually encouraging more resistance, more bloodshed and more tragedies ..." Clearly, Li Hongwen disagreed with this government official's viewpoint. Li wrote at the end of his essay: "The national laws and the State Counci have stipulated clearly that forced relocations are not scientific principles in the process of development. There is no need to repeat this common knowledge. Netizens know this, the people know this, but the government officials don't know this. Either they are pretending that they don't know or else they really don't want to know."
The post cited by Li Hongwent was the one that Yunnan province Communist Party Publicity Department deputy director Wu Hao wrote early morning on December 7 for the Sina.com microblog. The difference was that Li Hongwen cut off the last part of what Wu Hao wrote: "Could this be what we want? Our goal ought to be to prevent these tragedies."
Wu Hao believed that his view had been distorted. "The main thing was that he did not accurately present and/or he deliberately distorted Wu Hao's original meaning," Wu Hao's lawyer Jiang Tiansheng told our reporter. At the time, Wu Hao made many microblog posts on the subject and Li Hongwen selected one of them (which was not even presented in totality) and misinterpreted it. "This has affected Wu Hao's image and reputation."
This controversy drew broad attention among netizens. For Li's supporters, Wu Hao may disagree with the commentary but everybody has their own understanding of things. As a public figure such as a government official, Wu Hao ought to be accepting these criticisms. "Suing the media does not solve the problem. It is the right of the media to supervise/monitor the government. Even if the person said something wrong, you ought to defend the role of watchdog journalism." So commented one netizen.
"This has nothing to do with watchdog journalism. This is an issue of deliberately distorting and misquoting to hurt someone's reputation." Wu Hao replied on this blog. Since Mr. Li's essay was published in a newspaper, he has the responsibility to be fair and objective. Mr. Li cannot just use "misreading" to excuse himself. Wu Hao said that he "had always wanted to file a few lawsuits to help social progress and change personal views."
Wu Hao's lawyer said that they are deciding on the substance of the lawsuit but it will mainly be about the damage to reputation. The decision will be made within days.
There is nothing new about false reports on the demise of celebrities. But the recent false report about the death of Jin Yong became a major event, all because of the microblog phenomenon. On December 6, a countless number of Chinese netizens saw the death and life of author Jin Yong in under two hours. It is probably impossible to track down the original source, but the re-post at Chinese News Weekly magazine's official microblog caused its deputy chief editor, a senior editor and an editor to lose their jobs.
It all began around 19:00 on December 6 when a post appeared at the Sina.com microblog service: "Jin Yong, date of birth March 22, 1924, expired at 19:07pm, December 6 at the Saint Maria Hospital in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong due to a combination of encephalitis and callus hydropsy." Although the post contained a mere 46 Chinese characters, it drew unprecedented attention due to the esteemed position of Jin Yong among readers of martial arts novels.
Later on, netizens believed that the news first came from the Jin Yong bar at Baidu. Or at least, that was one of the earlier known reports. The Jin Yong bar post was then posted onto Twitter and Renren before it reached the Sina.com microblog. According to netizen Chumojun, he was the first to relay the information from Renren to Sina.com microblog. Very quickly, other netizens forwarded Chumojun's information. It should be noted that Chumojun annotated his post as :"Seeking confirmation. Not known if this is true or false."
About half an hour later, the item appeared on the official microblog of the Chinese News Weekly magazine. Netizen attention soared. This microblog post said: "(Instantaneous News) Jin Yong, date of birth March 22, 1924, expired at 19:07pm, December 6 at the Saint Maria Hospital in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong due to a combination of encephalitis and callus hydropsy. He was 86 years old." So an item awaiting confirmation became a news story.
It is important to point out that Chinese News Weekly was not the only one who forwarded the story. Many other well-known celebrity bloggers and media workers also did it. Yet, as an official blog for a news outlet, Chinese News Weekly did the most damage. The simple fact is that Chumojun only had 2,000 plus microblog followers whereas Chinese News Weekly had more than 300,000 followers.
But while some netizens were writing their eulogies about the late, great writer, other netizens were more cool, calm and collected.
Phoenix TV's reporter Rose Luqiu wrote on her blog: "Fake news Jin Yong was attending a ceremony for an honorary doctorate degree at Shu Yan College yesterday." Her post was made at 20:41, less than 30 minutes after Chinese News Weekly issued its instantaneous news bulletin.
Rose Luqiu also pointed out that there was no Saint Maria Hospital in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. "The rumor maker was not very professional. You can Google that yourself."
Twelve minutes before Rose Luqiu cleared up the rumor, Chumojun had already deleted his original microblog post. "I have deleted the information which had not been confirmed through official channels. I don't want to mislead everybody and waste your feeling ... sorry, I was too hasty."
Half an hour after Rose Luqiu's microblog post, the ifeng website also formally dispelled the rumor: "Contacted a Hong Kong television reporter for confirmation immediately. This is a false news item. There is no Saint Maria Hospital in Hong Kong. Besides, a television station co-worker saw Jin Yong only yesterday."
During the process, netizens detected another "flaw" in the original story: Jin Yong was born on March 10, 1924 and not March 22, 1924. By the way, March 22, 1924 happened to the birthday of another famous martial arts novelist Liang Yusheng.
"I don't know Jin Yong or anyone close to him. But I can say with 100% certainty that this is a false news item. In Hong Kong where news information is frictionlessly distributed, there is no way that there could be a microblog news story without any Hong Kong media reports. When this happens, it must be a false story." The netizen Wang Xing wrote.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao (where Jin Yong worked for many years) confirmed that this was a false news story.
When the story was established to be false, angry netizens turned their ire against those who spread the story. First and foremost was the "instant news" bulletin from Chinese News Weekly.
At 21:22, Chinese News Weekly issued "a correction/apology" on its official microblog. They wrote: "The story about the demise of Mr. Jin Yong was false. We make our correction and apologies here. We thank all the Sina.com microblog friends for their support and supervision of our work."
But the statement was not enough to mollify netizens. Netizen Tanbainiu wrote: "We deplore the Chinese News Weekly official microblog for spreading the rumor of Jin Yong's death. Due to its authoritativeness, audience size and communication speed, it is no exaggeration to say that they were spreading a rumor."
At 23:28, the Chinese News Weekly official microblog issued its second apology: "Due to mistakes by editors, we spread the false information about the death of Mr. Jin Yong. We sincerely apologize here to Mr. Louis Cha and his family, and we apologize to all those friends who were upset by this false story." They also promised to deal with those responsible.
Later on, Chinese News Weekly deputy chief-editor Liu Xinyu wrote on his microblog: "An urgent investigation showed how this incident occurred. The editor in charge of our Sina.com microblog saw this story on Fanfou and Sina.com and forwarded it without verification. This showed that the editor lacked journalism skills as well as flaws in our management system."
Many netizens were unhappy about Chinese News Weekly's mistake but the timely response was acceptable to many of them. "Subjectively they intended no malice, even though their work was flawed. Now that they have clarified and apologized, what more can we ask for? Do we want dead?" So wrote netizen Xiaocaidisanju.
But things did not end here. Early morning on December 8, Liu Xinyu responded to a netizen inquiry and admitted that he has resigned from his job. When media reporters contacted Chinese News Weekly, they got this statement: "On the morning of December 7, Liu Xinyu requested to resign from Chinese News Weekly's deputy chief editor and new media chief editor. His request was approved that afternoon." It was also confirmed that the microblog editor who made the post was fired, and the Chinese News Weekly new media content manager Tang Yong was fined and demoted.
Even as these events were taking place, more discussions were going around. Many people noted that this was the second time that Jin Yong has been "deceased." In June this year, Jin Yong was reported to have died. He was not the only celebrity to receive this treatment, as actor Simon Yen and writer Yu Qiuyu also received similar treatments.
As the latest Internet interactive tool, microblogs are popular among netizens, media outlets and social organizations because it has certain unique properties. Compared to other tools such as forums, microblogs are instantaneous and far-reaching. On computers or mobile phones, a simple click on "forward" allows the information to be instantaneously forwarded to others.
Yet the repeated cases of false information being spread make us wonder how we should deal with the voluminous information on microblogs.
Many people do not think that microblogs alone should be held responsible for what happened. Famous blogger Song Shinan objected to the view that microblogs are a hotbed for rumors. He argued: "Aren't the rumors also dispelled by microblogs? Why can't we say that microblogs are a hotbed for rumor clearing?" But the comments show that people are getting more wary about information from microblogs.
For the traditional media, it is clear that they must emphasize management responsibility if they want to avoid these types of incidents. Chinese News Weekly former deputy chief editor Liu Xinyu said that their editor forwarded this "instantaneous news story" after he left work for the day. "The organization did not stipulate whom he must consult before he forwards something, so this is a flaw in the system."
Liu Xinyu said: "New media is a form of media, and must therefore follow the objective rules of journalism. Confirmation and sourcing are still required. Before making a microblog post, verification must be made through various channels. Minimally, the relevant websites ought to be checked to see which sources are more credible."
Technological advances have made media competition more intensive. We can foresee that media workers will continue to grapple with the choice between speed and truth.
[ESWN comment: In making this translation, the cause of death was 中脑炎合并胼胝体积水. Not being a medical expert, I had to consult dictionaries. I made the translation as "a combination of encephalitis and callus hydropsy." Encephalitis is an acute inflammation in the brain whereas callus is a toughened part of the skin which is hardly likely to suffer from an abnormal accumulation of water. This seemed implausible to me.]
 The Brawl At Java Road
Pao) Recently, a video of a brawl at Java Road, North Point,
Hong Kong Island became popular on YouTube with more than 70,000 hits
already. This video was purportedly film around 11pm on December 5.
In the video, more than a dozen persons were arguing at a road intersection,
eventually ending in an altercation. Netizens complain that the
brawlers were weaklings who fought like small children.
According to the Hong Kong police, they received reports about a brawl at the Java Road Intersection. But by the time they arrived at the scene, the participants had dispersed. Based upon the high-definition video, the Organized Crime Unit was able to identify the perps and make arrests. So far, six individuals have been arrested already.
 Taipei By The Numbers (12/09/2010) (TVBS) (657 Taipei city residents age 20 or older were interviewed on November 26, 2010 between 18:30 and 22:00. Telephone numbers were randomly drawn from the directory, and then the last four digits were randomized. On this pre-election night, Sean Lien (Kuomintang) was shot at 8:50pm at an election rally, and that may have had an impact on the election outcome. The news was immediately propagated on television.)
Will you be voting tomorrow?
75%: definitely for all persons
92%: definitely for Democratic Progressive Party supporters
83%: definitely for Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters
53%: definitely for independents
78%: definitely for all persons
90%: definitely for Democratic Progressive Party supporters
87%: definitely for Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters
61%: definitely for independents
Who will you vote for a Taipei city mayor tomorrow?
47%: Hau Longbin (KMT)
35%: Su Tseng-chang (DPP)
50%: Hau Longbin (KMT)
34%: Su Tseng-chang (DPP)
What is the impact of the USA's second round of Quantitative Easing (QE2)?
On the returns of your financial investments:
17%: no impact
12%: hard to say
8%: no opinion
On your job prospects:
33%: no impact
17%: hard to say
7%: no opinion
On your plans to purchase a home:
26%: no impact
11%: hard to say
9%: no opinion
On your quality of life:
19%: no impact
14%: hard to say
Are you going to benefit or suffer from QE2?
27%: hard to say
17%: no opinion
The International Monetary Fund projects that the inflation rate in Hong Kong will rise to 5% by year's end. How do you think your salary will change for the next year?
10%: increase by more than 5%
10%: increase by 5%
39%: increase my less than 5%
19%: won't increase
8%: not applicable
8%: no opinion
Yesterday at 14:20 in Changchun city, a large number of citizens surrounded a red Mazda vehicle near a shopping mall at the intersection of Gongnong Avenue and Red Flag Street and chanted: "Kill him! Don't let him escape!" Meanwhile an old woman and a young girl sat on the ground while holding their heads in their hands in pain. According to information, a man dressed in a police uniform knocked down the old woman with his car, got out of his car and assaulted the two women while yelling: "I've got money. I can beat you to death and I can pay my way out ..." Local citizens laid siege to the man sitting in his car for three hours. The Changchun city deputy mayor Gao Xuezhang (who is also the Public Security Bureau director) rushed to the scene to take charge. After more than three hours of patient pleading, the people calmed down and the principals were taken back to the police station to assist in the investigation.
At 14:30, the senior citizen Gao Lijie and her daughter were taken to the Provincial Hospital by an ambulance. At 14:50, citizens formed a human wall to block the red Mazda from leaving. The eyewitness Mr. Zhang said: "At the time, I was watching. The man in the police uniform did not get out of his car to apologize. Instead, he viciously assaulted the old woman and the young woman. His female companion did not restrain him. Instead she joined in the assault. I couldn't stand it anymore and I went up to plead for him to stop. He did not listen. When I saw that he was going to flee, I and several other passersby got together and grabbed him. We even hit him a few times. He quickly got into his car and refused to come out. No matter what we said, he refused to come out. And then the police arrived."
By 15:00, there were a thousand spectators. A middle-aged man said passionately: "How come you have the guts to beat up an old woman, but you don't have the guts to come out of your car? Come out and let us see how awesome you are!" Many citizens rushed in and the scene got chaotic. The police set up a police line. Meanwhile the culprit was seen to be making telephone calls from inside his car.
Several young men began to kick the red Mazda. Others pounded the windshield with their fists: "You better come out of your car. We are waiting to listen to your apology." Citizens on the upper level of the shopping mall threw snowballs, bricks and cigarette butts at the red Mazda. The police tried to calm the crowd down. One police officer was bleeding in his head after being hit by an object.
After waiting for another 90 minutes, the spectators started another assault on the "man in the police uniform": "Come out, come out ..." The police tried to persuade the man to come out but he refused. Several young men broke through the police line and began kicking the red Mazda. Very quickly, the side windows were broken. The rear window was also smashed. The police officers were swarmed over by the surging crowd.
The police used loudspeakers to announce: "Please don't stay around to watch. Above all, please do not take extreme action." Three or four citizens rushed up to the red Mazda and kicked it again. The front bumper was knocked off, the two windshield wipers were ripped out and the brand new red Mazda was a messy sight to behold. Three citizens even attempted to tip the car over but they were stopped by the police.
At 16:20, a man in a sweater was saying: "I only want to see what this attacker looks like. I have been standing here in this freezing weather because I want to see him apologize." The police talked to the man in the red Mazda. Then someone yelled: "The attacker must come out." The crowd surged again and chaos broke out once more. Several men came up to attack a man in a black goose-down jacket. The attack went on for about five minutes before the police got the man out. A young women screamed: "You are attacking the wrong person. This one is my boyfriend."
The young man who was attacked left the scene with his girlfriend. The police told the crowd: "We can understand how you feel, but you must not get emotionally upset." At 16:40, citizens on the second level of the shopping floor began to throw bottled water at the car. The police stopped them. "I was so angry that I bought an entire case of bottled water to throw at his car. Didn't he say that he is rich? We want to make sure that his car is totally destroyed." Another spectator at the front said: "The attacker is still sitting in his car cursing people. That is why we are even angrier."
At 16:48, another police car came and the police officers said: "We are police officers from the Chaoyang district. The police will handle this matter in accordance with the law. The citizens please make way." A man in a jacket yelled: "Your dad is not Li Gang. You better get out of your car." It can be seen that the heater was running in the car as a man and a woman sat inside as if in a daze.
At 17:03, the police removed the man in the poilce uniform and his girlfriend from the car. The man is tall, powerful and expressionless. His girlfriend said nothing as she used a scarf to cover her face.
At 17:05, the spectators continued their attack on the red Mazda after the two principals left. The police stopped them.
Meanwhile at the Provincial Hospital, 56-year-old Gao Lijie sat in the emergency room awaiting treatment. Gao is a retired doctor. Never in her life would she imagine something like this could happen to her. She said that at around 14:00, she and her 25-year-old daughter Wang Nan came out of the shopping mall with the intention of taking the No. 25 bus home. "I came down the stairs and walked on the street. Suddenly, a car hit my leg from behind. I turned around and saw this red Mazda. It was a new car." She asked: "Why did you hit me?" Then a man dressed in a police uniform rolled down the car window and said; "Fuck your mother! Are you blind?" She was taken aback. Because of that uniform, she thought that the man must be a policeman. "When you are a policeman, how can you curse people like that?" The man got out of the car and told her: "So I cursed you out. I can even beat you to death. I've got money. I can beat you to death and pay my way out."
The man then came up and gave her a vicious beating. This man was tall and powerful. "I thought that I was going to die. He punched me in the face, he stomped on my body with this feet. I was knocked down on the ground but he kept hitting me. I asked him whether he would beat his mother like this. He didn't care and just continued to beat me."
When Wang Nan saw her mother being attacked her, she covered her mother with her own body. The man got back into the car and got ready to leave. Gao Lijie got up and threw her body on the car to prevent its escape.
When the man saw that, he got out of the car and gave Gao yet another beating. The woman in the passenger seat got out of the car. "She came up and joined in to beat us. She pulled our hair. We thought that we were going to die. I asked him to spare my daughter and hit me instead. Please I begged him ..." Gao Lijie said angrily: "You are a People's police officer. How can you do this?" The man said: "I am not a policeman. But I've got money. I am going to beat you to death. I would rather pay compensation afterwards ..." After this second beating, the man got ready to get back into the car and leave. Gao thought: "I cannot let him leave." So she tried to stop him and got knocked down on the ground again.
Several young men arrived and harangued the driver. He said: "I've got lots of money. If I beat her to death, I can pay my way out ..." The angry crowd surrounded him.
At the hospital, Gao Lijie was diagnosed to be suffering from physical injuries (mostly bruises but no broken bones) and mental stress. She was held overnight at the hospital for observation. A stream of citizens came to visit her: "This is going too far. We will be witnesses for you. He said that he was going to beat you to death and he can pay his way out. We can testify to all that." While this reporter was at the hospital, more than ten eyewitnesses came to visit Gao Lijie and they all said that they were willing to testify.
According to police information, the driver was 27-year-old unemployed male Jiang Xiaodan. Jiang said that his car nipped a female pedestrian, and there was a subsequent quarrel/altercation.
Because Jiang Xiaoguo violated the relevant articles of the People's Republic of China Penal Code about physical assault of other persons and wearing a police uniform without authorization, he has been sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention plus a 500 yuan fine. The police is investigating Jiang's claim of being assaulted by the two women. The police is also looking for the troublemakers who instigated the crowd, vandalized the red Mazda and threw objects that injured the police officers.
Related Link: Angry Changchun Mob Surrounds Arrogant “Police Officer” ChinaSMACK
Myths are fated to be destroyed.
A while ago, Google was blocked by the Chinese government.
Today, Wikileaks is blocked first by the government and the media in the United States, then all around the world.
What's the difference?
Google provided information in China that the Chinese government did not want the public to know.
Wikileaks provided information to the world that the American government does not want to be disclosed, and the other governments around the world are also not willing to see the information disclosed.
The fate of Wikileaks showed that "freedom of speech" is merely a myth.
Irrespective of the political system, as soon as the government's interests are involved, 'freedom of speech' will be labeled 'reactionary,' 'treason,' 'leaking state secrets' and other crimes and then be destroyed by the state government (or even international coalitions).
When Wikileaks was first founded, its founder was charged with rape by the government.
The coincidence of the timing is chilling.
Is the founder a rapist?
Or is the government trying to rape 'freedom of speech'?
Hard to say. Hmm hmm!
Alternately: Why is this surprising? Freedom of speech has always been relative.
Actually, many people believe that freedom of speech is absolute in western democratic societies.
Other people think that freedom of speech ought to be restricted.
I personally believe that freedom of political expression ought to be absolute.
It is hyperbole to say that soldiers have died because of Wikileaks. Ever since Wikileaks began publishing information on the wars that America is engaged in, how many soldiers have died as a result? There has never been any news report of such.
If the American government was really concerned about protecting the lives of its soldiers, it ought to have stopped Wikileaks immediately back then.
Instead, the American government only took action against Wikileaks because the new information affected the images of senior American government officials.
According to information, Wikileaks invited the American government to review the information before release, but the American government adamantly refused. If the American government was genuinely concerned about protecting the lives of its soldiers, why would they decline to review/excise the relevant contents?
Thus, it can be seen the aim of the American government is to block Wikileaks completely instead of selectively blocking war-related information.
Some people think that freedom of speech is determined by whether one can freely criticize the government. From this, they conclude that western democracies have freedom of speech.
Actually, in any society, there is no practical meaning to verbally castigate a government.
It is relatively smart to allow people to verbally castigate the government; it is relative stupid not to allow so.
Apart from this, there is no qualitative difference.
The essence of the issue is whether one can affect the government's interests.
With respect to being smart or stupid, the blocking of Wikileaks point out two things:
Firstly, as soon as the government's interests are affected, it is nothing doing and being smart/stupid has no bearing.
Secondly, smartness has its limits. If you are really so smart, how could the Wikileaks incident ever be allowed to happen?
On December 3, the Liandu district, Lishui city, Zhejiang province People's Court issued a verdict on the case of university students connecting on a suicide pact through QQ chat. QQ chat's operator Tencent was found to bear 10% of the responsibility.
The plaintiffs in the case are the parents of the university student named Fan. In their complaint, another university student named Zhang was alleged to have made a suicide invitation to an unspecified audience via QQ chat, including a mobile phone number. The son of the two plaintiffs accepted the invitation. On June 24, Fan arrived in Lishui and booked a hotel room with Zhang to commit suicide together. However, Zhang found the process too painful and abandoned the attempt. Fan went ahead and killed himself.
The plaintiffs believe that Zhang caused the death of their son through his suicide invitation. Meanwhile the defendant Shenzhen-based Tencent Company provided an Internet service but failed to delete and/or black out the suicide invitation so that the information got out to the public. The plaintiffs believe that Zhang and Tencent bore responsibility for the death of their son.
The court determined that Zhang had posted multiple suicide invitations at various QQ chat groups and that Tencent had failed to take any measures against this sort of activity that was endangering people's lives. As a result, Fan committed suicide at Zhang's invitation. The actions (or lack thereof) of the two defendants meant that they were responsible.
Based upon the facts of the case, the court made this verdict: The defendant Zhang shall pay Fan's parents 101,225 yuan in compensation, funeral and transportation expenses plus another 10,000 yuan for mental distress; the defendant Tencent Company shall pay Fan's parents 50,612.50 yuan in compensation, funeral and transportation expenses plus another 5,000 yuan for mental distress.
Our reporter interviewed many Internet users about the QQ chat groups on suicide. The opinion was that these groups are especially harmful to inexperienced persons and they really ought to be shut down and/or held legally responsible.
Our reporter called up the Tencent Company's customer service hotline and told them about the QQ chat groups on suicide. The worker promised that the company will look into these groups. If the information provided by the reporter is true, those groups will be shut down and the relevant government departments will be notified.
(Guangzhou Daily) December 1, 2010.
On November 15, there was a fire at an apartment building on Jiaozhou Road, Shanghai. 58 persons are dead, another 56 are missing and 71 were injured. All Chinese people were in mourning, including the Shanghai resident Zhou Libo.
Late that night, Zhou Libo expressed his sorrow on his microblog: "I pray silently for the unfortunate victims of the Jiaozhou Road fire disaster! In this unfortunate tragedy, the various government departments responded satisfactorily ..." "The 29 minute Baidu images of the Jiaozhou Road fire disaster made me cried even more sadly than over the Tangshan earthquake! The unfortunate deaths, the sorrowful departures, the rapid response, the heroic firefighters ... my tears have never been as complex! I feel sad ... sad ..."
If that was all he said, there would be no ensuing controversy. But as the government and media probed deeper into the cause of the Jiaozhou Road fire and certain human factors leading to the incident were disclosed, netizens began to call on the government to severely punish those responsible for the disaster.
Running against Internet opinion, Zhou Libo made an astonishing statement on his microblog: "The Internet provides a virtual public platform that is borderless, class-free and status-free. On the Internet, everyone can express their views without accepting any responsibility. This creates a virtual space for anarchy! Please imagine this! If the Internet environment is replicated in the real world, would we want such a world? Maybe it si good just for entertainment, but it would be bad if real! If the government takes Internet opinion seriously, it would be a form of 'self-castration'!"
The controversy arose from the last sentence, in which Zhou Libo completely negated Internet opinion. This clearly touched the nerves of many netizens. This microblog post was quickly forwarded around. "This is spreading salt on our wounds." So said netizens.
Active Internet commentators said that as a public figure, Zhou Libo's speech was diametrically opposite to what the government demands of itself with respect to the people and what the people are strongly demanding. Netizens said that they are "shocked": "Zhou Libo used 'self-castration' to insult the Shanghai citizens who made him popular in the first place."
Afterwards, netizens went back to the Zhou Libo's microblog and documented that his 'self-castration' theory was not a sudden spur-of-the-moment comment. Instead, he has always been contemptuous of Internet users. He has commented several times previously that Internet users are of "low quality."
Meanwhile another previous controversial microblog post was also getting attention: "The Internet is a place to defecate your 'personal feces.' When there is enough 'personal feces' going around, it becomes 'public feces.' In reality, the Internet is a public toilet! If you have spare time, come around and defecate!"
This post drew an even bigger reaction than the 'self-castration' comment. One netizen wrote: "Zhou Libo said that the Internet is actually a public toilet. Let us say for argument's sake that we agree with him. In that case, the fact that Zhou Libo makes a living out of Internet comments means that he makes a living out of digging feces from public toilets."
The renowned English-language teacher Luo Yonghao wrote on his own microblog: "If it were not for the Internet, where would a third-rate actor like Teacher Zhou get a chance to express his asinine ideas about society?"
Shortly afterwards, the number of followers to Zhou Libo's microblog dropped by almost 200,000. Zhou also deleted his 'self-castration' post but he retained his 'public feces' post. Zhou is still being ambiguous about his intentions. He told the local Shanghai media that he deleted the 'self-castration' post because it contained misspellings and not because he thought that the notion was wrong. After he deleted his 'self-castration' post, netizens immediately nicknamed him "Self-castrated Zhou" because he had just castrated a part of his body of work.
On the next day, Zhou Libo put forward a theory of "an abnormal Internet." He claimed: "The Internet offered a platform for both normal and abnormal persons to communicate, explore and debate the same subject. The results are naturally going to be abnormal ..."
By November 24, Zhou Libo began to ease up at last. With respect to the questions from Guangzhou teacher Xie Yong, Zhou replied flippantly: "Your ability to observe and understand are still in the gestation state. Do you know? I am not criticizing the mainstream netizens. I am only criticizing the conscienceless trashy netizens who curse other people's mothers every other word! That are the rotten apples among the Chinese people!" Although Zhou continued to attack, his target was now narrowed down to "conscienceless trashy netizens."
On the evening of November 26, another Internet celebrity joined in the "battle." Fang Zhouzi made a microblog post: "I personally feel that excessively good celebrities should not be messing with the Internet, because they are going to think that the Internet is a shithouse and they are going to end up in the same shithole as the common netizens. For example Zhou Libo ... is an example of a well-known cultural icon whose image is being destroyed thoroughly by his microblogging."
Fang Zhouzi added sarcastically: "Zhou Libo knows that what you dig out from the shithole is not necessarily only feces." He pointed out that some of Zhou's comments bordered on personal attacks. Fang also linked to the video in which Zhou's ex-wife accused Zhou of using drugs. This video was released some time ago and most netizens had forgotten about it.
Fang's combination punches angered Zhou Libo. On the morning and evening of November 29, Zhou raved and ranted against Fang: "Mr. Fang Zhouzi: I expressed my deepest sympathy on your being physically assault. But I am disappointed in the hospital which treated you, because they ought to have sent you directly from the neurology department straight to the psychiatric ward! Do you really think that you are 'spilled-over feces'?"
"Mr. Fang Zhouzi: There is nothing wrong with exposing and denouncing fakery! What is wrong is that you got 'screwed up' in the process! Your mind is as warped as your voice! Please spend some time mend yourself! Don't screw around!"
"Mr. Fang Zhouzi: A Internet troublemaker who seeks fame through exposing, denouncing, harassing and scolding others! A performance art which seems high-minded but is actually full of unspeakable filth and perversion! Don't talk to be about culture, don't talk to me about being high-minded. My worldly bottom line is far higher among the clouds than your high-mindedness! I advise you not to bum around! I want to see you age slowly. Don't disappoint me!"
But compared to the previous bouts, Zhou Libo quit his battle with Fang Zhouzi after making the three microblog posts translated above. At 23:44 on November 19, Zhou Libo made his final microblog post: "The song is ended with tremendous implications. I thank all those netizens who have been paying attention to my microblog! Well-meaning or otherwise, you have been the fountain of my inspirations! We will meet again on the stage! I am leaving!"
So Zhou Libo acknowledged that the Internet had been the source of his inspirations and he also announced that he was quitting. Earlier at 21:51 that evening, he had made his second-to-last microblog post: "Friends! Don't blame me for not being mild-mannered enough. My manners and respect are reserved for civilized people. Darts fired from the dark have no effect on me; arrows fired from the open are picked off one by one! The bad people in the world are created by the good people. I am not in the habit of surrendering!"
Netizens think that Zhou Libo is closing down his microblog. But his manager said that Zhou is temporarily not microblogging because he is presently very busy with his work. "The microblog is a great platform. Zhou Libo won't be giving it up." The manager said that Zhou Libo had just completed a Zhejiang concert tour where the 23 shows were attended by around 100,000 persons (who paid ticket prices that ranged from 180 RMB to 1,880 RMB).
So the curtains are drawn for this Internet battle. Without doubt, the public image of Zhou Libo has suffered due to this incident.
Zhou Libo became popular overnight last year, with varying opinions. Late last year, a well-known weekly magazine named Zhou Libo as the representative of the spirit of the people of Shanghai in its year-end issue. On November 29 this year, the chief editor of that publication made a serious assessment on his microblog: "As the chief editor of the magazine, I must apologize to the people of Shanghai and our readers for our incorrect judgment." Another well-known weekly magazine leader also wrote: "I am sorry that we listed him as an up-and-coming personality last year."
Our reporter interviewed Fang Zhouzi. Fang said that he entered the case not because of any personal grudge against Zhou Libo. Instead Fang thought that he had to speak out because the celebrity Zhou Libo wanted to "strangle the Internet."
Fang Zhouzi said that many celebrities don't adjust well to the Internet. "They are used to being high up there and feeling good about themselves. On the Internet, we are all equals. They are unable or unwilling to adjust to this fact, and therefore end up showing their true natures as not being as fresh and bright as they seem on stage."
At the same time, Fang Zhouzi agreed that some netizens are of "poor quality." But the celebrity Zhou Libo ought to be tolerant instead of appointing himself as the moral judge who clashes vehemently with netizens. If Zhou wants to respond, he should have a reasonable basis. "This time, Zhou Libo has offended all netizens, and showed his own hypocrisy and poor quality. He was a comedian on stage, but now he is a clown on the Internet. Being a comedian on stage entails the art of pleasing people; being a clown on the Internet is tragic and annoying. Zhou Libo has gone from comedy to tragedy."
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