Please!  You can't be thinking that it is the Jasmine Revolution as drummed up by a small number of western media reporters.  That "non-event" was attended by hundreds of Chinese police officers and dozens of western media reporters who tried to elevate the "non-event" into a national uprising.

Instead, the real happening was about the lives of Richard Li and Isabella Leong.  If you have never heard of these two persons (and that third party), then you are just OUT OF IT with respect to pulse of the real China!

First, let us remind you of today's front pages of the top two paid circulation newspapers in Hong  Kong:


Apple Daily: Richard Li and Isabella Leung splits up


Oriental Daily: Richard Li and Isabella Leung break up: HKD 3 billion in alimony payment for three children

(South China Morning Post)

Former actress-singer Isabella Leong Lok-si has split with entrepreneur Richard Li Tzar-kai just months after giving birth to twin boys in June. The 22-year-old announced the news in a press statement last night which read: "This new year has marked a new chapter in my life: I have parted with Richard Li. I will always have fond memories of our time together and will continue to share custody of our children. We will ensure the kids' happy and healthy developments." Their first son, Ethan Li Cheung-chi, was born in 2009. Leong's spokeswoman, Michelle Loo, said their relationship ended earlier this year and the decision was personal. No details were given. Li, 44, is chairman of PCCW, Hong Kong's biggest telecommunications provider, and the younger son of Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest tycoon.

Loo told the Sunday Morning Post last night that their separation was completely unrelated to an article that appeared in Next magazine 10 days ago, which reported that Leong was dating a man in Toronto. The magazine published a series of photo shots with Leong sitting in a bar and chatting with a young man. Loo said the man in the photo was a childhood friend of Leong's from school who was also known to Li. Loo said the pictures were taken last year, long before the couple split up. "The article is unfair. Even rich people can have friends," she said. Asked whether Leong had made any plans for her future, such as returning to showbiz, Loo replied: "Those issues are not Leong's priorities." Leong is now in Toronto with the couple's three sons. Li could not be reached for comment last night.

Lawyer Lau Kar-wah, an expert in civil disputes, said when two people were not married it would be almost impossible for one party to claim assets from his or her partner after they split up, especially if the relationship had lasted for only a few years. Lau said the only possible dispute would be over the children's custody. "If the issue of custody has been resolved, there is basically no room for further legal dispute." The lawyer said that in such cases the natural father would have a legal duty to provide maintenance for his children even if they were born out of wedlock. Under the law the children would also have a claim on their father's assets. Leong, 22 years younger than the billionaire Li, was often described in media reports as a Cinderella. The couple reportedly met during the filming of Hollywood movie The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, in which Leong had a much-ballyhooed supporting role.

(AsiaOne

Isabella Leong announced to the media recently that she and partner, Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, have spilt up. She told the media: "For 2011, I will be starting over a new page in my life. Richard Li and I have split up. We have had wonderful memories of our times together. We plan to bring up our children together. Hoping they will grow up happily and in good health. We also hope to have less media pressure and to live our lives in peace."

The 44-year-old youngest son of entrepreneur Li Ka Shing and the 23-year-old former actress, who have been rumoured to be secretly married last year, have 3 sons. There is speculation that their sons will reside with Richard as the main guardian, but he has not publicly responded to this. There are also rumours that Isabella wants custody of their 3 sons for a sum of HK$30 million (S$4.9 million), reported Oriental Daily.

The news has shaken the showbiz industry in Hong Kong as the couple, who was in a 8-year-relationship, was thought to be a perfect match. They met on the film set of 'The Mummy 3' and was introduced by actress Michelle Yeoh. 

While the couple have been the object of envy to many for their true love, their relationship was apparently not smooth sailing. A 'photograph on Facebook' incident reportedly caused dissatisfaction among the Li family when Isabella uploaded some private photographs of herself and her sons on Facebook for family and friends to admire. The media attention she draw brought the Li family into the limelight, and her actions were disapproved by Richard and his family. More problems arose when there were rumors Isabellas led a vibrant life in Canada. She allegedly met up with a tall guy and stayed overnight at a hotel. The couple have tried to resolve their misunderstandings, but to no avail and it seems the break-up could be a done deal. Also, it was reported that Li Ki Shing had built a mansion in Deep Water Bay with plans for Richard's family to live on the 4th floor. Richard had reportedly started shifting furniture into this unit but there were no indications that Isabella would be moving in too.

All of this may be factually true but completely overthrown by a widely and wildly disseminated Internet rumor -- the breakup of the blissful relationship of Richard Li and Isabella Leong was caused by the presence of a third party.  I won't name this name due to libel considerations, but it is a well-known actor.  The catch is that he is not said to be Isabella's boyfriend (which means that he must be someone else's boyfriend).  That is why the Chinese microblogosphere is going haywire.  Can you imagine anything more sensationalistic?

As for me, I can't tell you what is true or false.  But I can tell you that this is what the Chinese microblogosphere is going haywire over ...

I am interested in the question of which Hong Kong mainstream media outlet would dare to be the first to name the third party and describe the rumored relationship.  It is already old news to netizens by now, but it may still appeal to those who are not regular Internet users (such as housewives).  The action will probably trigger an immediate libel/defamation lawsuit.  As far as I can tell, the case is indefensible because there is nothing but hearsay rumors.  I have seen nothing concrete so far.  Can the media outlet shield behind the claim that it is merely reporting whatever is on the Internet?  Unfortunately, that is no excuse.  That maybe the Boxun model of news reporting ("we are only an information exchange platform and we are not responsible for the content"), but it won't work in Hong Kong.  If you say that X is the kept boyfriend of Y and you have nothing whatsoever to support that claim, you are screwed.  No wriggling will get you out of this.  Especially if you contact the other party in order to get a semblance of fair-and-balanced appearance and you are told in no uncertain terms that you are wrong but you proceed nevertheless in order to sell more copies, then you are screwed with no possibility of redemption.  It will be time to fold up your media outlet ...

Dear Friend,

My name is Tony Chan Chun-chuen, friend and close confidant to Nina Wang Kung, Who passed away on the 3rd of April 2007 . I will save your time by not boring you with all the details at this time, Which has already been disseminated by the international media during the Controversial dispute that erupted between her and her late husband s Relatives concerning the huge estate he left behind. To save my time and yours I ask that you go to this link,

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/asiapacific/features/article_1294743.php/Fortune_teller_heir_to_billions_faces_uncertain_future 

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/271533/1/.html 

As you will learn after going through the link above, all sorts of stories Have been assumed concerning the huge sum of money she left behind. Some Stories even say she left the bulk of her estate to me. But the truth is, Although I am the sole custodian of a huge sum of her estate, she left strict Instructions that I hand over the money to charity and also that under no Circumstance should I let any of her late husbands relatives and even her own relatives lay their hands on the money. Contrary to media reports, she made Sure her immediate family is well catered for since she had no children of her Own,Before her death Nina Wang went ahead to dispatch the sum of Eight hundred and Twenty Million British Pounds (BP820, 000,000.00) in cash with the assistance Of a foreign diplomat who now resides in Europe, but I will ensure to make her Wish comes through. Now the reason why I have contacted you is that there is also some other Funds in the tune of $12,000,000.00 with the Hang Seng Bank China,and I want Your assistance for me to transfer these funds in your name to your account for Both of us I will agree to share with you in a negotiable percentage as far as You agree to take part in this mutual benefiting opportunity. Please I count on your absolute confidentiality, transparency and trust while Looking forward to your prompt response this Business transaction through my email address as follows:

Thanks & May the Stars Guide us In the Right Path, I remain yours sincerely,

Tony Chan Chun-chuen

2.25 11:24  How is everybody?  I am starting a microblog.

2.25 14:37  I am Hu Xijin, chief editor of <Huanqiu Shibao>.  I was in the army for 11 years.  As a reporter, I covered the Serbian war and the Iraq war in the frontlines.  I love my motherland.  I know the hardship faced by this nation.  As chief editor, I hope that <Huanqiu Shibao> can report the truth and not evade the sensitive issues.  We want to use the sum total of all our reporting to show a complex world and an authentic, complex China.

2.25  19:01  I thank you for your support.  I say hello to you.  Having lived for fifty years over various periods and places in China, even many foreign places, I came to know this nation of ours through the expressions and feelings of others.  Today I have come to "Weibo China."  I was just thinking about what an interesting extension of Chinese civilization this is.

2.26  00:11  I just finished work.  I get off work every day around this time.  I opened my new Sina.com Weibo page and I saw that I had more than 5,000 followers in half a day.  This was truly astounding to me.  I saw many comments, most of which are critical of me.  Frankly, I was less shocked about the latter than about the number of followers.  Someone told me this morning that I must be more open-minded on Weibo or else I should not bother coming.  I thank every one of my commentators.

2.26  00:13  I hope that Weibo can be a place for exchanging ideas and feelings.

2.26  00:24  I respect the world of Weibo.  Therefore I have come here to learn and to enrich my life.  I also want to say to the people here that the "world" formed by the <Huanqiu Shibao> editors and reporters and their readers is one that is respected in the west.  Many people in the world want to understand it.  Therefore I recommend that people should learn more about it before they launch into their criticism of <Huanqiu Shibao>.  I especially recommend that people who think that they are smart should learn to do that.

2.26  00:35  I am the person who has the final say on every <Huanqiu Shibao> editorial essay.  We have a small group.  Everyday we set the topics for the editorial essays.  The drafter has to call many experts to ask for their opinons.  After the essay is drafted, it will be sent to different experts for their opinions.  <Huanqiu Shibao> has several hundred special reporters and correspondents all over the world.  Their knowledge and experiences are worthy for a whole book.  Do you think that a newspaper like this is "light weight"?

2.26  00:53  I am the chief editor of the Chinese edition of <Huanqiu Shibao>.  At the same time, I am also the chief editor of the English version <Global Times>.  Both newspapers are guided by the principle of telling the truth and not evading the sensitive issues.  <Huanqiu Shibao> is moving forth.  The reason why we have so many readers is that we seek the "largest common denominator> among various ideas in Chinese society.  We may not be doing great work, but we are sincerely trying.  We never try to appease the public.

2.26  01:00  Once again I thank those people who care about <Huanqiu Shibao>.  I have read most of the criticisms which will give me thought.  I believe that most of my critics would not want only supporting voices alone in Weibo and that they will tolerate "differences" and "diversity" in Weibo.  It is late tonight, but I will come back often.  Good night!

2.26  13:00  I am a patriot.  Right now people are attacking patriotism.  They equate patriotism with "loving the government."  This is wrong.  The China that I love is the one that the Americans and the Japanese know exists and are wary about.  It is not just the Chinese government.  It also includes the economic successes and social progress of China, it includes the exploration of the Chinese model of development.  This "China" really exists, and it deserves our love and protection.

2.26  13:01  I believe that most people here are patriots.

2.26  13:40  "Nationalism" is the derogatory term that foreigners use to condemn China with.  When the Chinese people accept this charge and conduct self-criticism, they must seriously take into account the international political significance.  Right now, people criticize <Huanqiu Shibao> while this term.  I think that they are just sloppy and they have not thought it through carefully.  No matter what, we live in one nation and we have the same "national interests."  We cannot turn our nation into an '-ism' and fight each other.

2.26  14:12  I was in the army for 11 years.  I have seen how some nations were torn apart.  Those experiences are bound to affect my views about the significance of "nationhood."  I believe that the nation is the outermost wall to defend the rights of each and every citizen.  We don't normally feel the existence of this wall but it is very important.  A strong and rising China is a positive environment for the well-being of the people, not a negative one.

2.26  16:42  The masses can decide whether <Huanqiu Shibao> is serving the interests of the people.  <Huanqiu Shibao> is one of the newspapers with the largest circulations in China.  We have several million readers each day.  They trust <Huanqiu Shibao> and they have broad representativeness of Chinese society.  This representativeness already has the respect of the west.  I hope that the new friends that I meet here will not overlook this fact.

2.26  18:19  I have been here only one day and I have learned a lot already.  It is a totally new feeling.  In particular, it does not matter what I say or how sincerely I say it, there will always be someone who "throw bricks" at me.  This is far too interesting.  I think that I need to accustom myself to Weibo culture.  I should also say that I didn't delete any comments.  This is my first day here and I don't know the operations well enough.  Perhaps someone went too far and even the Weibo editors had to intervene.

(KDnet)  Here is a sample of comments on Hu Xijin's microblog

  • Someone like Hu Xijin deserves to be studied and analyzed thoroughly.  The mindset and actions of such people should be set up as an exemplar.  Just like there is a statue of Qin Gui kneeling before Yue Fei at West Lake, he should kneel before Zhang Zhixin and Li Zhao.
  • Your newspaper recently published some ultra-leftist bullshit.  Therefore netizens are angry.  The consequences are serious.  I hope that you correct yourself in time.
  • So you want to report on a 'complex' China?  Then why are you so simple-minded whenever you report on America?  Do you know that America is actually quite 'complex'?
  • It is because you spent 11 years in the furnace that you know the temperature inside.  Therefore, it will be hard for you to tell the truth.  You can only wish that you could tell the truth.  If you tell the truth,  you can't be chief editor for long.
  • Do you feel bad about saying this kind of talk every day?
  • Your arse decides for your brain.  I pity you.
  • The Chinese edition of <Huanqiu Shibao> produces a false picture of peace and stirs up nationalism.  It creates the false impression of internal harmony and external crises in order to fool the people.  The English edition <Global Times> sometimes shows the dark side of society and creates the false impression of editorial independence and watchdog journalism for foreigners.  Whenever I feel depressed, I must thank your newspaper for restoring my confidence.  When I read your newspaper, I realize why mentally handicapped children are happy.
  • People like you are not worthy to work in journalism.  You have no sense of justice, you have no ideas and you have no soul.  Chinese civilization is trampled by your newspapers.  You are extending the Cultural Revolution.
  • In your eyes, China is the Party.  There is no place for little fart people.
  • <Huanqiu Shibao> must be held accountable for the popular nationalism and depredation among Chinese middle school students.
  • You acquired so many followers already with just three blog posts.  I thought that it was because you were popular.  Then I saw that people were criticizing you.  Your magic newspaper does not seem to be very popular.
  • Chief Editor Hu, you must feel bad after reading the comments?  Do you know that the majority of the people in China are not so easily manipulated?  Aren't you anxious about what you do at your job every day?
  • You are just a cog in the corrupt machinery of the state.  You will be drowned in the historical wave of freedom and democracy.
  • The chief editor of the <Shit Blog Times>, you sounded like a mad dog in your interviews with foreign media.
  • I read <Huanqiu Shibao> for four years from third year junior high to third year senior high school.  Apart from snatching some tidbits from foreign media reports to suggest that China is strong, fan up nationalism and demonize America, what good is the <Global Shit Newspaper>?
  • If you were a small reporter, I can still find an excuse on your behalf.  But you are the chief editor, so you can't possibly be worrying about your existence.  A person can do anything, except to do evil.  You have done evil and you deserve to have your whole family cursed out.
  • One of the worst mistakes in my life is to have bought this newspaper a few times while I was still in high school.
  • You have such thick skin!  I admire YOU!
  • You can find all the news that you want in the <Fantasy Times> but you can't find any conscience.
  • Some people say that it is not easy for you report from all over the world, especially when it comes to reversing black with white and vice versa.  There are not too many people in the world willing to do that!
  • Why don't you contemplate why so many people are cursing you!  A person cannot be too shameless.  The media can have tremendous influence.  You ought to be cautious.  At a minimum, you must not inflame, lie or incite.  You should pay more attention to the joys and sorrows of the grassroots and move China forward.
  • Whenever I see <Huanqiu Shibao> on an airplane, I throw up.
  • <Huanqiu Shibao> works hard every day to find obscure sources of information from all over the world in order to confirm their conspiracy theories.  There is an obvious market for conspiracy theories.
  • I salute chief editor of the ultra-leftist fifty-cent newspaper!

 

... Compared to the Jasmine Revolutions that have been taking place in the Middle East over the past few weeks, the assemblies in Beijing and Shanghai on February 20 may be relatively small but the impact was very big.  The shock emanated from Durham, North Carolina where the news website Boxun is located.  The website founder Wei Shi said: "It was around February 19 ... at around 2am Beijing time on February 19 as I recalled it ... that was when we at Boxun released the article."

Someone released information at the Boxun news website about the times and locations for the assemblies in 13 Chinese cities on February 20.  Many people gathered at Wangfujing in Beijing.  A large number of police officers also showed up.  People became focused on the likelihood of a Jasmine Revolution in China.

Wei Shi said: "Let us state first that Boxun did not initiate this incident.  Afterwards Boxun still does not know who these people are, or what they are working on.  Boxun is a free media platform.  It is just a channel."

... Wei Shi began in late 1998 to try to learn to run Internet media.  At first, he only offered email news service once a week.  Two years later, he founded the Boxun news website and added blogging services soon.

Wei Shi said: "The original intention was that I want it to be relatively open and free.  Then it became a grassroots model which relied on many persons to maintain the website."

Compared to traditional media, Wei Shi and his editors do not have enough resources to conduct quality control.  But this did not affect the attractiveness of this website, which gets 500,000 hits a day.

Wei Shi said: "A few years later, people began to use the term civilian reporter.  The term came into being in English.  But when I founded Boxun, the term did not exist yet.  Later we found out that our model was that of civilian reporters."

...  At the Jasmine Revolution assemblies in Beijing last weekend, Boxun posted three exclusive videos.  As a result of the Jasmine Revolution assemblies, the Boxun website came under hacker attacks.  It was not normally accessible for five days in a road.  Wei Shi set up a temporary website to post updates, including new information around the jasmine flower.  He thinks that the utility of new media has been realized by this incident.

(Boxun News (temporary websites))  February 26, 2011.

Reader friends, people in various sectors of society:

Thank you for your attention and concern for Boxun recently.  Although Boxun merely posted the Jasmine notice as sent to us, Boxun has come under tremendous pressure.  The severe attacks on Boxun since February 19 has made it difficult for Boxun to operate normally.  The dissemination of the Jasmine incident has also caused uncalled for hard to countless numbers of activities and netizens in China.  In order to ensure that our readers can see the normal Boxun and read about the analysis of current affairs in China, we think that it is necessary to suspend the publication of the relevant notices.  We hope that our readers and people in various sectors of society will understand.

At the same time, we hope that the relevant authorities will cease the persecution, intimidation and harassment of certain people and t heir families, as well as stop the attacks on Boxun as soon as possible.

(Tang Baiqiao's blog)

Influenced by the democratic revolutions in North Africa and Middle East, the courageous Chinese people (the young people in particular) are promoting a Jasmine Revolution in China.  We who are overseas are deeply enoucraged and we want to be able to contribute our share of efforts to promote democratic revolution in China.

Over the past several days, the overseas news website Boxun has published a vast amount of information about the Jasmine Revolution, serving a very important role in promoting this democratic revolution.  But today Boxun made a public statement to the effect that it will no longer publish the relevant information: "Because Boxun was attacked, we are unable to continue to publish information about the Jasmine flower," "Boxun has come under a tremendous amount of pressure," "we hope the relevant authorities will cease their persecution, intimidation and harassment of certain people and t heir families, and the attacks on Boxun should also stop as soon as possible."

We are deeply sympathetic towards the attacks on the Boxun website.  We also strongly condemn the Chinese Communists for attacking the Boxun website as well as intimidating and persecuting the Boxun workers and their families.

For this, we held an emergency discussion which led to our decision to establish a global information platform for the Jasmine Revolution in China.  We will take on the task of disseminating and spreading information about the Jasmine Revolution activities.  We welcome all netizens inside and outside China who support and participate in this Jasmine Revolution to forward information, exchange ideas and help each other.  We welcome all Internet media to join us to support this Jasmine Revolution and work together to serve the Jasmine Revolution in China.

Democracy shall prevail!

[Tang Baiqiao's Wikipedia entry: In an August 2009 interview with The Epoch Times: "I resist [CCP violence], not only for myself, but for all the dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners...all the people of this country [who wish] to be free, everyone has freedom of speech, [and should be able to] express their views." Tang is a frequent on-air special commentator for New Tang Dynasty Television. He is a spokesman and officer for the China Interim Government.  In the Chinese version of Wikipedia, 唐柏桥 is a Radio Free Asia special commentator, a NDTV special commentator, an Epoch Times columnist and a Kanzhongguo columnist among other things.]

 

(Time DG)

Here is the live microblog broadcast:

20:28  The airplane is on the runway and ready to take off.  Two passengers said they were ill.  They were not satisfied with their seats.  The stewardess spoke to them.  They said, "I know the chairman of Air China.  I can cancel your flight."  There was an argument.  They said that they were not satisfied with the service.  They asked to disembark.  In the end, the airplane turned back to undergo security check again.  Everybody had to get off.  The two people have Air China Platinum Cards.  Passengers are upset.  The stewardess looked helpless.

20:33  Basically, one passenger was seated in first class and another passenger requested an upgrade but was told by the ground crew that there were no seats.  Once they got on, they found that there was an empty seat.  Their request for an upgrade was turned down.  They said menacingly: "I know the Air China chairman."  We are on flight CA 1894, Air China flight from Shenzhen to Shanghai.  Please forward this post.

20:37  Everybody is getting off.

20:40  Angry people have surrounded the vehicle.  The two special privilege passengers are using newspapers to cover their faces.

20:46  The passengers have kicked the bus door open and they are demanding an apology.

20:53  The two persons were hauled off from the bus.  The male passenger is lying on the ground.

20:56  They took shelter in the police car.  The passengers have surrounded the police.

20:57  Many passengers are refusing to embark.  The police won't let the passengers go near the two special privilege persons.

21:59  The problem is getting worse.  We waited forty minutes on the airplane.  The pilot announced that the flight has been canceled due to bad weather in Shanghai.  People are in an uproar inside the cabin.  People are saying that this is a lie.

22:05  The pilot said that the flight was canceled due to poor visibility in Shanghai.  Everybody says that this is a lie.  We don't know what will happen next.

22:35  The passengers have been sent off to the hotel.

23:19  A passenger said that what happened was Air China sold an extra economy class ticket and they had to upgrade one of the two passengers to business class but not the other one.

23:31  I want to ask a lawyer whether I ought to seek redress from Air China and for how much.  None of the passengers have had dinner yet.  We were sent off to a decrepit hotel with three persons per room.  I forgot to say that the first class passengers got single rooms.

What kind of news story can you write from this?  Do you just report a summary from these microblog posts?  Do you embellish with your fantasizing?  Or do you actually try to interview the principals in order to be fair and balanced?

(Apple Daily)

A man and a woman took an Air China flight from Shenzhen to Shanghai.  They claimed to be Air China Platinum Card holders and were acquainted with the chairman of Air China.  They requested upgrades to adjoining first class seats without success.  As the airplane headed towards the runway, the man claimed to be ill and insisted on getting off.  So the airplane turned back to the terminal and all the passengers had to get off for safety inspections again.  After getting off, the angry passengers surrounded the "special privilege guy" and administered a beating.  The airplane did not take off.

Flight CA1894 was carrying more than 40 passengers.  It was scheduled to take off from Shenzhen for Shanghai at 8pm on the night before yesterday.  Due to the incident about the "special privilege guy," the passengers were transferred to another airplane.  Due to foggy weather in Shanghai, the flight was canceled and the passengers were sent off to spend the night at the airport hotel.  The airplane finally left yesterday morning.

Many passengers were posting the incident live on microblogs.  After the passengers were ordered to get off, they surrounded the bus carrying the "special privilege guy" and demanded him to apologize.  "Some passengers got mad, pushed the bus door open and dragged the guy out."

According to information, the "special privilege guy" was thrown to the ground and he got kicked a couple of times.  An eyewitness passenger claimed on microblog: "The angry passengers beat up the young dude!  I thought that those two kicks were quite pleasing."  The police came and took the man and the woman away.

(Shenzhen Business News)

Yesterday at 21:50, our hotline received a tip about an unusual incident.  At 22:00, our reporter arrived at the airport and came across several passengers on Air China flight CA1894.  According to some of the passengers, they boarded the airplane around 19:30 normally.  At around 20:00, the airplane started its engines and moved towards the runway.  Suddenly there was an argument in the cabin.  A man and a woman were scolding the cabin crew over "seats."

According to the eyewitnesses, the man and the woman claimed to be Air China Club members who have upgrade privileges and they wanted to be seated in adjacent seats.  The service workers said that they could not comply with the request.  Even the pilot came over to explain.  But the two passengers were not mollified.  The other passengers waited patiently and quietly.  But as time passed, people got impatient.  The passengers said that the airplane crew told them that they were trying to deal with the situation.  However, there was no public announcement about what was happened and different crew members provided different versions of what was happening.

At around 20:00, the pilot asked the passengers to disembark.  The discontent which was permeating the cabin was now ignited.  According to eyewitnesses, the man and the woman were led into a medium-sized bus.  But some of the other passengers surrounded this bus.  According to a passenger from Beijing: He heard some passengers demanding an apology from the man, but he sat there and refused to come out.  So some passengers went berserk, pushed over the windows and door and dragged the man out.  According to a passenger:  The man fell down on the ground and appeared to have been kicked a couple of times.  The man's female companion tried to protect him.  Some passenger took out a professional SLR camera to film the couple, who used paper to cover their faces.  The police came and took the man and the woman away.

According to the passenger from Beijing: The airplane crew asked everybody to re-embark and they waited almost an hour in the cabin.  Then the passengers were told that the flight was canceled due to weather factors.  So they disembarked at 21:50.

Our reporter checked the Shanghai Weather Observatory website and learned that an orange fog alert had been issued at 21:55 on February 27: "It is predicted that there will be fog in the area from tonight to tomorrow morning, with visibility as low as 200 meters."  So it is understandable that the flights to Shanghai were being canceled.

But the passengers of CA 1894 may not think that way.  They were upset because they could have gotten to Shanghai before the weather turned bad.   This farce occurred only because a so-called Platinum Card customer claimed to "feel ill."  So by the time that the farce ended, the fog came, the flight was canceled and they end up staying overnight.

There was no public announcement about what was happened and different crew members provided different versions of what was happening.  But the versions basically indicated that a male passenger wanted to sit next to a female passenger but the crew could not satisfy that request.  A stalemate ensued.  Some passengers said that this kind of explanation will direct anger towards those two passengers.

Also, when the passengers disembarked at around 20:00, some of them were concerned that the couple would be harassed.  But the airline took no security measures.  There was only a driver on that medium-sized bus.  As a result, the man was maltreated until the police arrived.

When the passengers re-embarked, they waited and then they were told that the flight was canceled due to "weather factors."  There was not even a "sorry."  That made the passengers very unhappy.

(Time DG)

According to a Shenzhen Airlines spokesperson named Li, one of the two passengers held an Air China Gold Card which entitled him to an upgrade using reward points.  This passenger got the upgrade prior to boarding.  The other passenger did not have a Gold Card and requested the same upgrade.  The request was rejected (because the person did not own a Gold Card).

On the Internet, it was said that the two passengers found that there was an empty first class seat and requested a seat change.  But the spokesperson Mr. Li said that availability has nothing to upgrades.  "Even if there is an empty seat, the regulations will still have to followed."  He said that the passenger asked to leave the airplane because he was feeling ill.  According to the regulations, a passenger has the right to request to terminate his trip.  Once the passenger leaves, the security regulations require all passengers disembark with their luggage so that the security staff can re-check the entire airplane before the passengers are allowed to re-embark.  Mr. Li said that once the passengers re-embark, it is still up to air traffic control to decide when the airplane can leave.  He said that the airplane waited 40 minutes for clearance.  Then the change in weather in Shanghai forced the cancellation.

Yesterday afternoon, our reporter interviewed the Shanghai netizen Mr. Ding who made the live microblog broadcast.  "I never imagined that this incident would have such an impact.  At the time, I was just very angry and I made a live microblog broadcast."

Mr. Ding said that the passengers heard from the cabin crew that the two passengers held Air China Platinum Cards and they claimed to know the Air China chairman.  However, the dozen or so passengers that our reporter interviewed had different understandings.  Some heard that the cabin crew say that "they are members and they have special privileges" while some said that they did not hear anything like this.

Was the male passenger manhandled by the other passengers?  Mr. Ding told our reporter that when the male passenger was pulled out of the medium-sized bus, the first thing that he said was "I have a bad heat condition."  "I should say that we were very restrained.  I don't know if anyone kicked him."  Other passengers told our reporter that the male passenger claimed to be ill but some passengers thought that he was just faking it.  A passenger called our newspaper and said that the male passenger rolled down on the ground on his own when he got off the airplane.  The female passenger had a newspaper to cover her face, but the male passenger did not.  So he laid down on the ground and covered up his face.

Our reporter tried to seek the contact information for the male and the female passengers, as well as published information on how to contact us.  We wanted to get their direct response.  But there has been no feedback so far.

...

So far this incident has many reverberations.  At the Sina.com Weibo, the term "I have a platinum card" because popular.  Many netizens expressed their discontent with the so-called "special privileges."  Some netizens think that if these two passenger really hold platinum cards, then the airline should have provided the appropriate services.  Some people suggested contacting Air China chairman Kong Dong through his microblog to see if he knows the two passengers on flight CA 1894.  Others have begun a "human flesh search" on the two "special privilege passengers."  As a direct result, a renowned media personality has issued a statement on his microblog that he "definitely does not own an Air China Platinum Card" ...

In China, a doctor named Li Conglin at the Shantou City Hospital was making Sina.com Weibo posts.  Here are the relevant posts:

"The fact is that my character is too good ~ last night, the family requested several times to remove the intravenous feed tube and let the patient depart peacefully.  I refused again and again.  I insisted that she be kept alive until today.  By the time that I got off duty, she began spitting out blood.  I think it is a matter of hours.  In any case, it is none of my business now because I am getting off duty.  Oh yeah yeah yeah."

"This is the moment for a character test.  The blood pressure of this patient is falling down quickly.  It is likely that I have to get up at midnight to deal with a death ... it is a cold night and it is not easy to keep the blankets warm.  Can you wait until I go off duty before you die, okay?"

"When I got to work tonight, I got the best possible news!  The attractive point is in the last two lines: the patient was pronounced dead at 2:10pm ~ tonight, I can sleep well!  Tomorrow I will go on a tour trip!"

These three posts were made at Li Conglin's microblog.  Based upon incomplete statistics, these blog posts have been forwarded several tens of thousands of times and several thousand comments have been made.  In an almost completely one-sided manner, people called her "cold-blooded" and "immoral."  But some netizens thought that "she only told the facts" and "it is understandable that one can become indifferent after having seen too many deaths."

Our reporter contacted the Shantou City Hospital.  Deputy director Lin said that the hospital is beginning an investigation and Dr. Li is denying that she made those microblog posts.  But the hospital's preliminary opinion is that "it is more likely that Li made those posts."

What kind of person is Li Conglin?  Deputy director Lin said that she is a young daughter hired by the hospital three years ago.  "She is not an outstanding performer but she is not the target of complaints."  "After the 'Cold-Blooded' Gate affair became public, she seemed earnest and she was willing to apologize to the public for bringing disgrace to the hospital and the medical workers."

Deputy director Lin said that Li Conglin is presently suspended from making prescriptions and temporarily assigned to the laundry room.  "This is a very severe measure which is normally made only during serious medical incidents."  Deputy director  Lin said that this was done in order to help her reflect and to pacify public anger.

The Guangdong provincial Ministry of Health deputy director Liao Xinbo is also a renowned micro-blogger.  He said that if Li Conglin made those microblog posts unintentionally, then "it is a form of ignorance."  "She might have said that she wanted the patient to die after she gets off duty in jest.  But when this is magnified by the media, it became a serious immoral act."

Liao Xinbo said, "The 'Cold Blood Gate' affair has a negative impact on medical workers.  In the end, this is a problem about individual world views and values.  It may be that she is immature.  But even if she wanted to complain, she should not have done it in this manner.  This is no reason for the media to blow this up either."

 

Before the Spring Festival, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Research Institute professor Yu Jianrong launched a "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" campaign at the Sina.com Weibo.  This campaign drew broad attention.  Netizens actively joined in and the mainstream media followed up quickly.  "Taking Chance Photos" became the top search term at Sina.com in the initial stage.  Yet, things did not go smoothly afterwards.  During this period, Peng Gaofeng was able to be reunited with his son who was missing for three years.  While this was miraculous, the son Peng Wenle was not a street beggar and his rescue had nothing to do with any chance photos.

Up to the moment when this essay was completed, there was not a single instance in which a child was liberated via the "Take Chance Photos" campaign.  On the contrary, the actions of these photographers raised the ire of the beggars.  People began to ponder whether "taking chance photos" was a violation of human rights.  The "Take Chance Photos" campaign began to fade.  This was the second stage.  Because the Two Congresses were upcoming, the campaign launcher Yu Jianrong used the "anti-abduction" imperative to propose legislation for a "total ban on child begging."  This was opposed by many participants in the initial "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Abducted Children."  A vigorous debate followed.  This was the third stage.

These three stages of the "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" showed that there are internal rifts inside Chinese society.  The rifts are increasing and point to the emergence of two clearly defined camps.

According to Professor Yu Jianrong, the campaign began after the parent of an abducted child asked for help.  There must be a certain socio-psychological groundswell in order for the campaign to take off so quickly.  According to the columnist/commentator Hecaitou, the emotional trigger point for the anti-abduction campaign was a single sentence: "Uncle, use the knife to slash me because the acid hurts too much."  This sentence showed the barbarity wrought upon the abducted children and the psychological hurt to the families of the abductees.  The combination allowed the campaign to take off explosively.  Unfortunately, this combination did not have a firm factual basis.

If you walk around city streets, you can easily see child beggars.  Some of them are physically handicapped, which may be either real or simulated.  According to statistical data, as many as 200,000 children are abducted in China each year.  So it is easy to link the two pieces of information together.  This linkage is reinforced by the frequent news stories about how begging creates wealth.

Under the current welfare system in China, the grassroots citizens are forced to rely on their children to take care of them in their old age.  This is where the abducted children are going.  According to the most recent news reports, it is a myth to say that beggars get rich.  As for the physical mutilation, it is rare because of the medical knowledge required.

According to the statistics from the Baby Come Home Volunteers Association, 5 out of 180 rescued abducted children were found to be begging and none of them were mutilated.  The inability of the "Take Chance Photos" campaign to liberate even a single abducted child is further proof.

So a mass social movement turned out to be based upon non-existent facts.  This is incredible, but it is the inevitable product of the state of information communication and the ineffectiveness of spontaneous self-organization in Chinese society.  In China, the media are not independent because they are directly supervised and controlled by the propaganda departments.  Therefore all the released information have to serve political needs.

In order to play up the great achievements of the economic reforms and to show the progress made in this flourishing era, the lives of the grassroots are usually kept out of the mainstream media.  The occasion reports are usually about panorama views, or curiosities, or sympathy applied from above.

In this information environment, everybody only have their personal experiences and a small island of filtered information.  They don't understand how the others live.  Netizens think that beggars form a foreign nation.

Also, the Chinese society lacks self-organization and self-management.  They don't have an effective public place.  They are alienated from each other in an increasingly fragmented society.

Therefore, the "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" took off on the basis of tender loving concern and sympathy.  But it also showed that because the Chinese people live fragmented lives, this campaign was able to emerge based upon speculations.

After Professor Yu Jiangrong announced the key points about the "total ban on child begging" in his blog, there were many opposing views.  Generally speaking, the Yu Jianrong camp emphasized the role of legal restraint and looked forward to use legislation to form a social consensus.

Yu Jianrong himself said: "The government and the society can only accomplish breakthroughs when a goal exists.  So why not?"  But Xiao Shu, Xiao Han and others formed an opposite camp.  They emphasized that the current social welfare system is inadequate with scant attention to grassroots administration.  To ban child begging is to chase all those people who are trying to survive by begging away from the cities.  This will not necessarily improve the well-being of poor rural children.  Xiao Shu wrote: "I don't disagree with a total ban on child begging.  But the primary mission should be to establish a children welfare system.  It is hard to accept that the primary mission should be banning child beggars."

Superficially, the two sides have the same goals and they are merely arguing about priorities.  But behind these priorities are different attitudes and understandings about the system.

To emphasize legislation in the expectation of achievements being made is a positive view of the present system; to be concerned about children welfare first is a deep skepticism about the present system.  After incidents such as the collapsed schools in the earthquake area, the Tan Zuoren case, the Sanlu milk powder scandal, the Zhao Lianhe case and so on, more and more people are inclined that the system does not care about children.  The opposing camp definitely incorporates this view.

And it goes even further than that as the opposing camp has even deeper worries.  A "total ban on child begging" will necessarily include a system of compulsory custody of child beggars as well as compulsory classification of the adults who accompany the child beggars.

Although only a special group of people is being targeted here, it may re-open the back door for the previously eliminated system of compulsory custody.  This is not necessarily far-fetched given the current emphasis on maintaining stability.  The commentator Wen Kejian described his worry: "Although we want the same thing, we have different narratives.  We may end up with something that is completely opposite."

According to the "total ban on child begging" narrative, the powers of the government will be enhanced with respect to private space.  Under the present power structure, this effort will ultimately be opposite to the stated goal."

So this was how the debate shifted from a specific issue to the present power structure: Do you trust the existing administrative system, or are you wary?  Do you expect it to produce results, or are you wary about its interference into private space?  This choice also exists for the reform of the existing system itself.  Do you want some minor changes, or do you want a complete reform?

In recent years, almost all the similar kinds of debates carried this hidden theme.  On one hand, this theme causes divisiveness among people.  On the other hand, people also form camps on the basis of their positions with respect to this theme.  After the repeated debates, two clearly defined camps have surfaced.  The controversy about the "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" campaign on Sina.com Weibo is merely one part of this long process.

It's 1pm.  I changed my clothes and got ready to proceed to the Starbucks Plaza in People's Park at the heart of Guangzhou city.  Today, there just might be the first Jasmine Revolution in China.  I don't know who issued the call, but I am going to carry out my ideas of freedom and democracy.  I am not going to miss this opportunity for a peaceful revolution.  I am going to do this no matter the hardship.  I also put on some of my better clothes, because if I should lose my freedom for the first time in my life, I would like to do so with dignity.

There was an interesting sideshow from the very start.  After I got out of my home and walked for about ten minutes, I remembered that I left something home.  So I turned around and walked back.  I spotted eight uniformed police officers who were following me.  When I turned around, they immediately dispersed and pretended that they were doing something or the other.  I tried to establish eye contact, but they avoided looking at me and they scattered.  I laughed.  Why?  If they were coming after me, why didn't they act directly?  If they were not coming after me, why did they disperse?  It was amusing to see eight uniformed police officers following me; it was even more amusing to see them scatter.  Ho ho, it was fun.  I am thinking: Am I the only person in China who publicly stated beforehand that I was going to participate in the Jasmine Revolution?  This is interesting in itself.

It is exactly 2pm.  I arrived at the Starbucks Plaza in People's Park.  My initial visual impression was that there was a large group of police officers!  This small plaza just 1,000 square meters in area had more than 100 police officers, more than the passersby.  Several dozen of them stood in the middle of the plaza, creating an invisible atmosphere of oppression.  Uniformed police officers were everywhere.  There were probably even more plainclothes police officers.  Isn't this normal?  The call to assemble went out openly on the Internet.  So the police must have known immediately and got prepared.  Maybe they were here last night already.  What will happen?  We will have to wait and see.  Whatever happens, I am psychologically prepared.

So I entered the plaza and I began to assess the people that I see.  I was trying to find fellow travelers.  Since this is an assembly, I need to find my fellow travelers and then see what we can do.  There were quite a few people in the plaza.  Some were passersby and some were standing or sitting with unknown motives.  I looked at them one by one and attempted to establish eye contact.  Everybody was avoiding eye contact.  My eyes were tired after looking for more than ten minutes.  I have never stared at people for such a long time.  So I decided to walk towards the police and look at them.  One of them glanced at me with a look that is not hostile, but he quickly turned his eyes away.

So I was foiled.  I began to stroll around.  If I can't find a fellow traveler, then whom am I assembling with?  It is not true that these people were here for no purpose.  Some of them were looking at their mobile phones or reading books.  Or they were just looking around.  But nobody wanted to establish communication.  Yes, there are many police officers around.  So it is possible that people are wary.  So I entered Starbucks.  I walked down one level and then the next level.  But I was still unable to find anyone who looked like a fellow traveler.

I wondered if we needed a herald to make the call?  I went back to the center of the plaza.  I looked around again and I still could not find anyone who looked ready to answer my call.  Should I shout aloud in the plaza: "Is anyone here for the assembly?"  Should I start shouting slogans?  That seemed too embarrassing.  I couldn't do it on my own.  So I went and bought a newspaper.  I pretended to be reading the newspaper and I looked around.  Many people keep coming over and taking photos of the Starbucks sign with their mobile phone cameras and then they left quickly.  Meanwhile quite a few people around me were looking at their mobile phones or reading books without any attempt to make eye contact.

2:30pm, 2:40pm, 2:50pm.  The pedestrian traffic was thinning out.  All those people like my type have left.  I knew that there would be no show today.  That was all there was today.  So I strolled around the park.  I spotted some signs.  The police were everywhere in the park.  During my walk in less than half the park, I saw several hundred police officers and several dozen police vehicles.   My former company was located in a building by the park.  One morning, I saw a large group of police officers in the building lobby.  I asked my colleague who told me quietly that there was a sit-in demonstration.  I realized that we were right next to city hall and the police were reserve forces who were staying out of sight.  So I figured that there must be over one thousand police officers in the surrounding buildings.

I went back to the plaza.  Apart from park tourists, there was hardly anyone around.  So I had to go home.  On the subway, I began to think about why the jasmine flowers didn't bloom today.  Fang Bingxing is the main perpetrator.  The Great Firewall kept all the news out of China.  The news was originally posted at the Boxun website, which has been inaccessible for several days already.  Even a veteran wall-climber like myself only saw it at Epoch Times in the middle of the night.  So others are even less likely to know.  Not many people in Guangzhou would know, unless they work for the government.  How many people can come?  If too few people show up, nobody dares to take the lead.  So this bastard Fang Bingxing is evil.  Someday we will hold a public trial for this old bastard and send him off to jail for the rest of his life.

Some people say that the Chinese are cowardly and feeble.  This is an excuse.  If you read the Twenty-Four Histories, there is nothing except for rebellions.  The entire history of China is about rebellions.  We have five thousand years of rebellions.  Xiang Tang started it, and Liu Bang, Xiang Yu, Zhu Ruanzhang, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong were all rebels.  There are far too many Chinese persons who are unafraid to die.  The key is whether they can be mobilized and organized.  We don't want a violent revolution that will smash everything.  We want a peaceful revolution.

On this day, the jasmine flowers did not bloom in Guangzhou.  That is okay.  I will be returning next Sunday at 2pm.  And the week after that.  As the news spreads, more and more fellow travelers will come.  There will be more and more of us.

The People of Guangzhou, see you next week at Starbucks Plaza, People's Park.

(VOA News)  China Tightens Security Ahead of Calls for Nationwide Protests  Stephanie Ho.  February 20, 2011.

In Beijing Sunday, a few hundred people gathered quietly in front of a fast food restaurant near Tiananmen Square in the center of the city.  The only real noise from the demonstration was uniformed police officers moving through the crowd to try to disperse people. Eyewitnesses say the demonstrators did not chant slogans nor display banners, and did not talk to journalists at the scene.  

...

Meanwhile, the demonstrations in China were making their mark on the Internet social network, Twitter, where a hashtag set up for that topic received one thousand messages a minute by Sunday evening.  Many tweets about the Beijing demonstration agreed there were "lots of people," but that it was hard to tell who among them were actually protesters.  One tweet implied that nothing happened and joked that everyone should just go home because the crowd was all made up of plain clothes police.

(China Rises)  China cracks down on protest threats, rounds up dissidents  Tom Lasseter.  February 20, 2011.

... When Sunday came, the protests fizzled into almost nothing. The overwhelming majority of Chinese residents probably had no idea theyd even been called for -- the websites used to advertise the protests are either blocked or heavily censored in China.

In Beijing, a crowd of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people showed up in front of a McDonalds at the large Wangfujing shopping district downtown. But most of those present appeared to be journalists, plainclothes police or curious shoppers wondering why there were so many cameras.

One woman wearing Dior sunglasses stopped to ask if a celebrity was going to make an appearance.

After a few minutes, uniformed Beijing police began to file in, filming the crowd and asking people to move along. A man in a grey coat and black hat walked up the stairs of the McDonalds carrying a handful of white flowers apparently a nod to the Jasmine theme and was grabbed by a plainclothes security officer and pushed to the side. The incident happened so quickly that many in the crowd didnt see what had happened. A scrum of media and onlookers, holding cameras aloft, ran after the man and the plainclothes security contingent shoving him down a side street.

The Associated Press reported on Sunday that beyond the crowd in Beijing and a smaller one in Shanghai, other Chinese cities stayed quiet.

Standing in the crowd in Beijing on Sunday, one onlooker said hed come hoping to see, or perhaps even take part in, a real protest. The young man, who asked that his name not be used, took a look around and said It didnt work.

(Tom Spender)  Beijings Jasmine Revolution    February 20, 2011.

I got there late, at about 2.30pm. There was a crowd milling around, although it was hard to tell who was there for the demo and who was simply spectating to see what, if anything, would happen. There were also a lot of police and media. Soon after I arrived the police cleared the crowd by simply walking into it in small groups and ushering people away, telling them to get going. I didnt see any shouting, pushing or shoving. I was quite impressed with the way they handled it they were obviously aware that any roughing-up of people would only have made the demo a bigger story.

Apparently though there was a minor fracas when someone threw a flower. Another guy went to pick it up and was then bundled off by the police. He was later released (looking a bit shaky, according to someone who saw him) and was promptly pounced on by the media. He told Reuters he was simply a tourist.

I had just been visiting the Forbidden City as a tourist and I passed by here and then these people took me away, said the man, who was wearing a grey coat, black cap and black glasses. Why would they take me away? I was just a passer-by, said the man, who declined to be named. What democracy is there?

I milled around for a while. One Chinese guy came up to me and started telling me in English that he was sympathetic to calls for greater freedoms. But I got a bit freaked out when a load of other guys started standing near us listening and was relieved when a policeman came along and herded us off.

So it was something of a non-event. The media and the police were there, drawn by the online hype the only thing missing was a mass of Chinese demonstrators. The call for the demo first appeared on Boxun, an overseas Chinese website (which called for protesters to chant: We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness) and seemed to be spread by overseas Chinese, not Chinese inside Mainland China.

(Associated Press)  China tries to stamp out 'Jasmine Revolution'    Anita Chan    February 20, 2011.

On Sunday, police took at least three people away in Beijing, one of whom tried to lay down white jasmine flowers while hundreds of people milled about the protest gathering spot, outside a McDonald's on the capital's busiest shopping street. In Shanghai, police led away three people near the planned protest spot after they scuffled in an apparent bid to grab the attention of passers-by.

Many activists said they didn't know who was behind the campaign and weren't sure what to make of the call to protest, which first circulated Saturday on the U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website Boxun.com.

The unsigned notice called for a "Jasmine revolution" the name given to the Tunisian protest movement and urged people "to take responsibility for the future." Participants were urged to shout, "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness" a slogan that highlights common complaints among Chinese.

The call is likely to fuel anxiety among China's authoritarian government, which is ever alert for domestic discontent and has appeared unnerved by recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya. It has limited media reports about them, stressing the instability caused by the protests, and restricted Internet searches to keep Chinese uninformed about Middle Easterners' grievances against their autocratic rulers.

On Saturday in a speech to national and provincial officials, President Hu Jintao ordered them to "solve prominent problems which might harm the harmony and stability of the society."

China's extensive filtering and monitoring of the Internet meant that most Chinese were unlikely to know about Saturday's call to protest. Boxun.com, for example, is blocked as are Twitter and Facebook, which were instrumental in Egypt's protest movement. Still, young tech-smart Chinese are savvy about getting around controls.

One person sitting in the McDonald's after the brief protest in Beijing said he saw Sunday's gathering as a dry run.

"Lots of people in here are Twitter users and came to watch like me," said 42-year-old Hu Di. "Actually this didn't have much organization, but it's a chance to meet each other. It's like preparing for the future."

With foot traffic always heavy at the Wangfujing pedestrian mall, it was difficult to discern who showed up to protest, who came to watch and who was out shopping. Rubberneckers outnumbered any potential protesters. Many wondered if there was a celebrity in the area because of the heavy police presence and dozens of foreign reporters and news cameras.

As the crowd swelled back and forth and police urged people to move on, 25-year-old Liu Xiaobai placed a white jasmine flower on a planter in front of the McDonald's and took some photos with his cell phone.

"I'm quite scared because they took away my phone. I just put down some white flowers, what's wrong with that?" Liu said afterward. "I'm just a normal citizen and I just want peace."

Security agents tried to take away Liu, but he was swarmed by journalists and eventually was seen walking away with a friend.

Two other people were taken away by police, including a shabbily dressed old man who was cursing and shouting, though it wasn't clear if he was there because of the online call to protest.

In Shanghai, three young men were taken away from outside a Starbucks coffee shop in People's Square by police, who refused to answer reporters' questions about why they were detained. They trio had been shouting complaints about the government and that food prices are too high.

A couple dozen older people were drawn to the commotion and started voicing their own complaints and saying they wanted democracy and the right to vote. One woman jumped up on a roadside cement block to shout, "The government are all hooligans," then ran off, only to return a bit later and shout again at the police and others crowded in the area before once again scampering away.

Security officials were relaxed toward the retirees and the crowd eventually drifted away.

There were no reports of protests in other cities where people were urged to gather, such as Guangzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan and Chengdu.

(New York Times)  Chinese Security Officials Respond to Call for Protests    Andrew Jacobs    February 20, 2011.

..

In Beijing, a huge crowd formed outside a McDonalds in the heart of the capital on Sunday after messages went out listing it as one of 13 protest sites across the country. It is not clear who organized the campaign, but it first appeared Thursday on Boxun, a Chinese-language Web site based in the United States, and then spread through Twitter and other micro-blog services.

By 2 p.m., the planned start of the protests, hundreds of police officers had swarmed the area, a major shopping district popular with tourists.

At one point, the police surrounded a young man who had placed a jasmine flower on a planter outside the McDonalds, but he was released after the clamor drew journalists and photographers.

In Shanghai, three people were detained during a skirmish in front of Starbucks, The Associated Press reported. One post on Twitter described a heavily armed police presence on the subways of Shenzhen and another claimed that officials at Peking University in Beijing had urged students to avoid any protests, but those reports were impossible to verify Sunday evening.

...

Most of those who thronged the McDonalds in Wangfujing, the Beijing shopping district, said they had no idea what the hubbub was about. Some thought that perhaps a celebrity had slipped into the restaurant for a hamburger. But a young man, a Web page designer in his late 20s, quietly acknowledged that he was drawn by word of the protest.

Despite the absence of any real action, the man, who gave only his last name, Cui, said he was not disappointed by the outcome, in which police officers tried in vain to determine who was a potential troublemaker and who was simply a gawker. He predicated that many people, emboldened by the fact that an impromptu gathering had coalesced at all, would use social networking technology to stage similar events in the future.

Its very difficult to do this in China, but this is a good start, he said. Im thankful to be able to participate in this moment in history.

(Al Jazeera)  "Call me if there's a revolution"   Melissa Chan   February 20, 2011.

"Call me if there's a revolution."

That's what I told my friend, also a journalist, as he headed to central Beijing. I did not go. Not because I've become a lackadaisical journalist, but because I was pretty certain nothing would happen and that it would be a waste of my Sunday afternoon (instead, I started reading Richard McGregor's book, The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers).

On Twitter and China's more popular microblog Sina Weibo, users were reposting calls to gather across 13 major cities in China to protest and kick off a so-called "Jasmine Revolution", clearly inspired by the events in North Africa and the Middle East over the past few weeks.  It's unclear where this plan initiated - but what is clear is that none of the usual suspects from China's activist and human rights community knew much about the march - some expressing doubt, others simply reposting the plan to gather at squares and city hot spots.

Never mind the culprit though - police officers peremptorily swept in and rounded up at least a dozen dissidents overnight. Sina Weibo censors kicked in, and any tweets referencing jasmines were deleted. There were unconfirmed reports that students at some universities were told they could not leave campus for the day. In some cities, online users told of a greater show of police on the streets.

So at 2 pm sharp, there was no congregation of Chinese - but quite a congregation of journalists and police waiting for this imaginary revolution.

(Next Media Animation)

 

(Agence France Presse)  China web users call for 'Jasmine Revolution'

Postings circulating on the Internet have called on disgruntled Chinese to gather on Sunday in public places in 13 major cities to mark the "Jasmine Revolution" spreading through the Middle East.

The calls have apparently led the Chinese government to censor postings containing the word "jasmine" in an attempt to quell any potential unrest.

"We welcome... laid off workers and victims of forced evictions to participate in demonstrations, shout slogans and seek freedom, democracy and political reform to end 'one party rule'," one posting said.

The postings, many of which appeared to have originated on overseas websites run by exiled Chinese political activists, called for protests in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and 10 other major Chinese cities.

Protesters were urged to shout slogans including "we want food to eat," "we want work," we want housing," "we want justice," "long live freedom," and "long live democracy."

Chinese authorities have sought to restrict media reports on the recent political turmoil that began in Tunisia as the "Jasmine Revolution" and spread to Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Unemployment and rising prices have been key factors linked to the unrest that has also spread to Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.

Searches Sunday for "jasmine" on China's Twitter-like micro-blog Weibo ended without results, while messages on the popular Baidu search engine said that due to laws and regulations such results were unavailable.

Some Chinese Internet search pages listed "jasmine" postings but links to them were blocked.

The Chinese government has expended tremendous resources to police the Internet and block anti-government postings and other politically sensitive material with a system known as the "Great Firewall of China."

(Oriental Daily

Yesterday the Boxun website (which frequently publishes sensitive news stories about mainland China) posted the essay <The assembly points in various cities for the Chinese "Jasmine Revolution">.  The essay was a call for parents of kidney stone babies, laid off workers, evicted households and other citizens to rally.  "Any Chinese person who still have a dream for the future should proceed to the designated locations and watch, follow and shout out slogans courageously.  Perhaps history will chance from this moment."

The essay listed a wide-ranging list of slogans, such as "We want work," "We want housing," "We want justice," "We want political reforms and an end to one-party rule," "We want freedom of press."  The major plazas of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing, Xian, Chengdu, Changsa, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Changchun, Harbin and Wuhan were selected as the assembly points.  The post also said that even if the effort was not successful today, people should return every Sunday at 2pm hereafter to continue.

This incident has drawn the attention of the authorities.  All related posts in the Chinese Internet were deleted.  The Chinese-language Boxun was attacked and unreachable.  The English-language Boxun was still accessible, with a statement that the website did not organize any activity.  All they did was to post a anonymous submission about the event.  According to information, mainland Chinese Internet users had been spreading the information on Twitter, while Boxun posted the details of the assembly points and times.

(Ming Pao)

A recent Internet post called for people to rally today at 2pm in 13 cities (including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) to assemble and shout slogans.  Although there were not many supporters, the authorities took away a number of rights defenders and activists.

The Boxun website posted an essay <The Jasmine Revolution in China> .  "No matter whether you are a parent of a kidney stone baby, an evicted householder, a laid off worker, a petitioner," "no matter whether you are a signee of Charter 08, a Falun Gong practitioner, a member of the Communist Party, a democrat," or if you are dissatisfied with the wrongful cases in Chinese society, "or even if you are just a spectator" ... at this moment, you and I are all Chinese persons, you and I are Chinese people who will still have a dream for the future.  We must act responsibly for our future, we must act responsibly for the future of our descendants."  This essay was originally posted on February 17.  Yesterday, the Boxun website came under attack and is inaccessible.

The essay also said that the participants only have to "proceed to the designated location, watch from afar, follow the crowd and courageously chant out slogans.  Perhaps history will change from this moment on."  The essay listed some recommended slogans such as "We want housing," "We want justice,"  want an end to one-party dictatorship," "We want an end to newspaper control, we want freedom of press" and "Long live freedom, long live democracy."

The essay asked the participants to look after each other.  If they are treated badly, they should show the "maximum tolerance."  They should not leave garbage behind because they want to show that the Chinese people "have high-level qualities and are fit to seek democracy and freedom."  The essay included the list of assembly points in thirteen cities.  As for other cities, the people are asked to "go on their own to the plazas in the centers of their cities."

Although it is hard to know how many people responded, the authorities took it seriously.  At the Sina.com microblogging service, the term "Jasmine" was censored with the note that "the search results are not displayed due to relevant laws, regulations and policies."  At the Baidu Post Bar forums, even "tomorrow" was replaced by "**".

In Hangzhou, the microblogger Wang Wusi was brought down to the police station on "suspicion of disrupting public order."  He said that it may be because he "forwarded information about the Jasmine Revolution on Twitter and Sina.com Weibo."  He was interrogated for two hours, and the state security agents and police chilef spoke to him for another four hours, demanding that he not participate in any event today.

The Beijing rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, the Chengdu blogger Ran Yunfei, and Shanghai rights lawyer Li Tiantian were also taken by the police to meet with state security agents.  In mainland Chinese, these sessions are usually referred to as "drinking tea."  This time, this became "drinking jasmine tea."

The Beijing writer Mo Zixu said that this event is merely 'performance art."  "In China, there is no revolutionary atmosphere like in Egypt or Tunisia.  The Chinese economy is moving on decently, the mainstream society wants economic development and social reforms as opposed to drastic social changes."  But he said that if the government refuses to reform in the long run, "that day will come eventually." ...

(Apple Daily)

The Chinese netizens are quietly starting their own revolution.  At Twitter and other social networking websites, the relevant information said something like: "No matter whether you are the parent of a kidney stone baby, an evicted householder, a petitioner; no whether if you don't like someone saying that his father is Li Gang or if you don't like the performances of the best movie actor Wen Jiabao; no matter whether you are a signee of Charter 08 or if you are a Communist Party member ..."

The assembly locations are in 13 Chinese cities and the time is 2pm.  The netizens said that the assembly will consist of mainly strolls.  Some say that the earlier assemblies should not include slogan-chanting because of the fear of suppression.  Strollers should maintain silence.  If conversation occurs, it should be directed more about inflation, livelihood, welfare benefits, corruption, etc and less about the end of one-party dictatorship.

This event has touched the nerves of the Beijing authorities.  According to Internet rumors, the People's Liberation Army soldiers are warning their friends not to spread any information about the Jasmine Revolution.  The soldiers are also complaining that their rest days have been canceled as they stay in alert status.

Bao Tong, who was the secretary of former Chinese Communist Party secretary-general Zhao Ziyang and went to jail for opposing the suppression of the 1989 student demonstrators, said yesterday by phone that he was "very encouraged" by the mainland netizens starting the "Chinese Jasmine Revolution."  He said, "Although the final outcome is unknown, it showed that the people are righteous (in the quest for democracy).  They should be praised."

The China expert Lin Heli said that the Beijing authorities have absorbed the lessons from the 1989 democracy movement and the 2008 Tibet disturbance.  They have installed large numbers of surveillance cameras all over the country, and they have co-opted intellectuals into the party/government organizations.  Thus they have reduced the ability of the masses to assemble.  He said: "In Tunisia and Egypt, the intellectuals led the revolutions.  In mainland China, many intellectuals are beneficiaries of the system.  Without them, it will be hard to start the Jasmine Revolution in China."

Chinese Jasmine Revolution slogans:

At first there was this microblog campaign against child abduction.  That is, we want to save abducted children.  This was a righteous and reasonable rallying call.  We can fully imagine the pain and despair of the parents of abducted children.  There is no worse human tragedy than this.  It would be a great thing to help these unfortunate people!

The convenors put forward some very concrete ideas -- whenever you spot a possibly abducted child, you use your mobile phone camera to take photos and post them on microblogs.  At the same time, we build a database of the photos of missing children.  By comparing the photos, we will find the clues to liberate the abducted children.

I thought that this was a good idea and I forwarded those microblog posts to others.

Then came a piece of encouraging news.  A certain civil charity foundation indicated that it would support this campaign financially.  Money is needed to hire professionals to build and manage this database.  If financial support is present, things will move faster.  We who have been encouraging civil charity foundations are encouraged by this quick response.

Civil charity foundations are one part of the broad market system.  The quick response here show that the market system works very quickly.  If we have many different kinds of civil charity foundations in China, then all sorts of charity work will be done by the specialized foundations -- just like all kinds of businesses will have specialized companies to cater to them.  Our society will be so much better for it.

So far everything is normal and proper.  I was very delighted to see the civil society grow through these steps.  Microblogs and other new technologies play important roles, and that is encouraging.  As technologies grow rapidly in China today, how far can a true civil society be away?

But I didn't imagine that things would change.

Based up some logic that I still cannot fully comprehend, the campaign to liberate abducted children suddenly became the campaign to liberate child beggars.

The superficial reason is: Many child beggars were kidnapped and even intentionally mutilated to garner public sympathy and hence maximize returns.

In a world where conspiracy theories abound, this small theory got a high level of credibility.  The public was immediately awash in righteousness.  So the campaign to take photos of abducted children became the campaign to take photos of child beggars.

Some sensible people pointed out: It is very unlikely for someone to abduct, maim and sell children as beggars because it is not worth the effort.  There has always been a strong market for healthy children.  If you abduct a healthy child, the normal "profiteering" channel is to immediately sell it to some family as adopted children.  To maim an abducted child for begging is to forsake the immediate payout and take on huge future risks instead.  Nobody is so stupid.  People who intentionally abduct children aren't that stupid.

At the same time, it is not hard to find children with various physical and/or mental handicaps.  If someone wants to use such children to garner public sympathy, it won't be hard to find or rent them.

These are plausible analyses.  The ensuing police investigations support these analyses.  Under the pressure of this photo-taking campaign, the police investigated the relationships between a number of beggars and the accompanying children and found them to be biological parents begging with their biological children.  So far, there has not been a single case of anyone maiming children for begging.

But the mass movement has been pumped up.  Once that happens, there is no room left for dispassionate objective analyses.

Even though some people keep pointing out that abducting children is not the same as bringing one's own children to beg, the campaign went ahead to change the goal from liberating abducted children to liberating child beggars regardless.  It is one thing for the masses to ignore logic, but the original convenors also change the campaign to "liberation of child beggars" without explanation.

It is inexplicable that these convenors want to introduce legislation to criminalize child begging.  They want to use public authority to eradicate the phenomenon of child begging.  They were not content to be charity workers -- they want to become politicians.

Nobody thinks that it is a joy to be a beggar.  Nobody thinks that the experience would be good for the mental and physical health for children.   Everybody agrees on these points.  The disagreement is: Do people have the right to beg?  Do they have the right to bring their children along when they beg?

It is a frightening proposal to insist that people have no right to beg, or that they have no right to bring their children along when they beg.  If they criminalize such activities for whatever reasons, there can only be one of two outcomes.

Firstly, the previously eliminated system of compulsory custody will be revived.  The police and other authorities will find "customers" for these custodial centers.  Obviously the taxpayers will be paying the bill.  These custodial centers will become the hell-on-earth for poor people.  The "customers" will be bullied by the "service workers" and other more vicious "customers."  It will come as no surprise if many terrible things happen there.

Secondly, many people will be separated from their families just because they were poor or too lazy to work.  The children will be send to government-run child welfare institutions which are no better than the custodial centers for adult beggars.  Those institutions will become the breeding grounds for future generations of criminals.  When that time comes, the media reports about the dark truths of these child welfare institutions will once again "shock" all of China.

Of course, there can be a third outcome: the law is enacted, but nobody enforces it  in a serious manner and nobody obeys it either.  This "third way" may be good for the beggars but it hurts the rule of law.  Also, since the law exists on the books, any government official can invoke it at any time just to harass a beggar.

Wouldn't that be a tremendous irony for the charity foundations and civil organizations!  The police are chasing and arresting beggars in the streets, children are painfully separated from their parents and the custodial centers are replete with dark evil.  We only see the brutality of the state apparatus and we don't see any charitable purpose; we only see the tiny people writhing under the big boots of the state and we don't see any civil society emerging.

This is a boring process that is repeated again and again.  Every time that we have a social issue or crisis, it is turned into an opportunity for the government to expand its authority.  The major reason is that we have infinite trust in the government and infinite distrust in society.

I wish the "charitable people" would stop turning into politicians;  I wish the public would calm down and shift the focus back to the abducted children.  If we want to combat child abduction, we should adhere to the rule of law.  We should avoid these superficially passionate but actually chaotic mass movements because the outcomes may be messy.  In this aspect, China is the country which has learned the deepest lessons in history -- nobody in the world can match us.

(Kanzhongguo)  February 1-7, 2011

In the second issue of <Looking At History> of 2011, there was a story on <The last of the heroes is found>.  This report was about the story of 90-something-year-old Yang Genhui (Yang Yaohui) who was the last of the 800 heroes.  According to the report, Yang Genhui returned home and changed his name to Yang Yaojun.  Due to the changing fortunes of politics, his former glory brought "endless torment" for his family ...

Presently, Yang Genhui is living in a precarious state.  He had eight children and he lives with his youngest son.  "He lives off his son, he has no medical insurance and he has no pension."  This youngest son does some odd jobs in the neighborhood.  The house is basically empty, "with nothing whatsoever."

This pressure brought some pressure to the local Chengdu government.  The Chengdu city Jintang county publicity department issued a statement about the medical insurance that Yang Yaojun had.  Netizens were not satisfied because they believe that the so-called insurance program was useless.

The Chengdu city publicity department said that <The last of the heroes found> was a "fake news report" and dismissed <Looking At History> editor Ma Lan from his job.

To critics, Ma Lan was a victim in the recent campaign against "fake news reporting" conducted by the Central Publicity Department.

... There is no question that Yang Genhui is living under difficult circumstances at this moment.  Ma Lan published this article to show that the Chinese Communist won't even refrain oppressing war heroes.  They will also label any reporting as "fake news."  This incident reveals the true face of the Central Publicity Department's campaign against "fake news."

(YCWB)  January 23, 2011

It was previously assumed that the last of the 800 heroes had passed away.  But on December 4, 2010, a 90-year-old man came to the Jianchuan Museum.  He took over the tour guide's microphone and announced: "At the time, I was defending Shihang ..."  Then he described what he did: "I grabbed a pistol.  I attached four hand grenades to my belt.  I led more than 40 soldiers to charge.  A Japanese ghoul poked his rifle bayonet at me.  I turned my head aside.  The bayonet caused a gash on my left forehead.  I blew him away with my pistol."  The old man re-created the famous battle with his Sichuan accent.

The old man claimed to be Yang Genkui, 90 years old, a soldier who participated in the defense of the Shihang warehouse ...

(Growly Wolf blog)  February 10, 2011.

The Sohu microblog chief editor Liang Chunyuan wrote: I was very delighted to see that another of the 800 heroes Yang Genkui has appeared in Sichuan.  I retrieved the information that I gathered the year before last.  I was able to find the name of Yang Genhui (age 37, from Zhejiang province) in the list of the 800 heroes who received aid from the Republic of China government in 1947.  In the news report, Mr. Yang's narration has many discrepancies from the historical materials, but it may be that his memory is faulty.  But the name of Yang Genkui appears in many documents.  The documents say that Yang Genkui but this may be due to recording errors.  However, the age of Yang Genkui in 1947 was 37 and that is consistent with his being 90 years old now ...

[ESWN Comment: Do you see the problem that Liang Chunyuan failed to spot?  No?  Re-read and try again.  Here is the answer: If Yang Genhui was 37 in 1947, then he was born in 1911.  In 2011, he should be 100 years old.  Not 90 years old.  There is also a documentary trail about the military career of Yang Genhui.  For example, at age 27, he was promoted to lieutenant.  Would they make the 17-year-old Yang Yaojun a lieutenant?]

So why was Ma Lan dismissed from <Looking At History>?  Was it because of his implied criticism of the failure of the government to provide pension and medical coverage for a senior citizen?  Or because he failed to do fact-checking that can be done with several minutes of elementary Internet searching.

During the Spring Festival, there was a "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" campaign on the Internet.  From the beginning, this campaign muddled "child beggars" with "abducted beggars" and triggered certain ill consequences involving human right violations.  The police are reminding the campaign activists to be cautious in what they do.

Shortly after the "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars" campaign began, some famous microbloggers were forwarding a post about the famous "beggar village" Gongxiao village, Taihe county, Anhui province.  Many people there became rich courtesy of begging and now own brand new houses.  These people even deliberately maimed and mutilated child beggars.  When I saw this microblog post, I immediately replied: This is an old report from seven or eight years ago and the situation today needs to be verified.  Several days later, I was going to a friend's place and I turned on the car radio to hear a Voice of China report.  A reporter named Wang Jing made a field investigation.  She spoke live from the field to describe the awful things going on in Gongxiao village.  The two studio hosts made righteous denunciations.  At the time, I wondered if the reporter really went to the village during Chinese New Year?  If so, that this is not easy and deserves respect.  If the report is true, then nothing has changed in Gongxiao village over the past seven or eight years.  If anything, things have gotten worse.

On February 7, the written Voice of China article appeared on the Internet.  I read it carefully.  The reporter was Wang Jing, which was a very usual name.  The reporter said: "Recently the stories of abducting, maiming and coercing children to beg has been widely spread around the microblogs and websites.  People are paying attention.  Gongxiao village, Taihe county, Fuyang city, Anhui province and the surrounding area are well-known as the strongholds for large-scale child abduction and coerced begging.  Where do these children come from?  What kind of cruel torture were given to them?  How come nobody cares about these appalling acts for such a long period of time?  Our reporter conducted a field investigation."

The report was followed by a large number of statements like "the old people in the village said," "information from a relevant person," "the tip provided by an informant" and so on.  It is not going too far to say that this is hearsay.  There was another error in the report, because the article used xiang (=town) as the term for the physically handicapped child beggars instead of the correct xiang (= joss stick). That is not a big problem, because all it says is that the reporter and editors were not knowledgeable enough.

But the report also contained certain shocking descriptions that would raise make the problems in Gongxiao village truly appalling.  How so?  The reporter said, "At night the children are locked inside cages like cats and pigs.  This is called 'training the xiang.'  The training period for a xiang depends on the results.  According to information, the most important goal is to make the xiang obey the master.  A disobedient child during training will be beaten.  In order to make the physically handicapped children look even more pitiful, the trainer would demand that they wrap their legs around their heads.  Many children can't perform this feat.  The trainer uses  force to bend their legs so that many children become maimed.  In order to make the children look more pitiful, some masters will use knifes to slash the limbs, body and faces of the children, even pouring acid on them."

If this report is truthful, then Gongxiao village is hell on earth.  On February 9, the <East Day> reporter filed a report from Taihe county.  The local police had conducted door-to-door canvassing about the phenomena described in the Voice of China report.  This report said that the police has not yet released their results.

On February 14, <Information Times> special correspondent Xiong Xiangfan published <Gongxiao village (Anhui) was once reported to lead child beggars, villagers sigh that a bad reputation is hard to eliminate>.  This report is more fact-based as the reporter stated that he "re-visited" Gongxiao village "several years later."  [In other words, his report was based upon something that he did before the current microblog campaign began.]  With respect to the social criticisms, the villagers complained: "That was a long time ago.  Nowadays nobody does this anymore."  When the reporter got there, a villager sighed and said: "This is a joke to outsiders, right?  It has been many years ago. Who is still going to perform these evil deeds now!"  The report pointed out that the "Taihe county government organized almost 100 police officers and more than 60 town/village cadres to canvass and investigate everybody in Gongxiao village and surrounding areas.  ... To date, they have been unable to find any child abduction organizations or strongholds.  They have not come across any children tortured by means of acid, knife slashings, confinement in cages, etc."  Clearly the contents of this report are very different from the Voice of China report.

We have two explanations.  Firstly, the Taihe county government says "so far" so they may yet come across the shocking events in the Voice of China report.  Secondly, the Taihe county government is unable to come up with anything after an extended period.  In that case, we have to ask which is true -- the Voice of China report or the Taihe county government's statement?  I hope that the Voice of China report can confront the Taihe county government.  Instead of vague statements such as "the old people in the village said," "information from a relevant person," "the tip provided by an informant" and so on, the Voice of China reporter should bring out ironclad evidence to show that the cages, acid and maiming are true.  This will shut the Taihe county government officials up.

But I think that the Voice of China reporter won't be able to come up with the evidence.  She only had hearsay.  In the Voice of China report, there was one noteworthy sentence: "During the several months of investigation of the xiang in Gongxiao village, this reporter noticed .."  When I read this, I realized that I was fooled.  At first, I had doubted whether the Voice of China reporter Wang Jing hurried over to Gongxiao village during the Chinese New Year.  But the "several months" showed that this reporter was there during other times.  What other time?  I think the Voice of China should tell us.  Was it several years ago, just like the <Information Times> reporter did?

Yet this has been a sensational story.  The Voice of China was able to immediately release a report which looked suspiciously like an old story but the audience got the impression that the reporter went into the field after the Internet discussion began just before the Chinese New Year.  This report confirmed the allegations that had been going around the Internet.  I think the Voice of China should conduct an internal investigation.  Otherwise, either the Taihe county government or the Voice of China is lying.  Who do we believe?  Either way, it would be shameful to lie.  If the Taihe government is lying, the reporter ought to expose their lie without any hesitation.  If Voice of China is lying, they should apologize to the people and sanction those responsible.

(Global Times)  February 10, 2011.

Authorities in Taihe, Anhui Province, admitted Wednesday that some local residents forced disabled children to beg for years but denied news reports child beggars were physically abused. An unidentified Taihe Public Security Bureau official said Tuesday night that the local government reported two cases in which people forced disabled children to beg. They also said the government rescued two disabl ed kids and detained five suspects after a house-to-house investigation in Gongji town, according to China News Service. The official denied disabled children were beaten or locked in iron cages. He also denied that criminal groups kidnapped and sold disabled children used for begging, the report said

China National Radio reported Monday that residents in Gongxiao village in Taihe have forced disabled children to beg since 1993. The villagers bought, abducted or kidnapped young children in surrounding areas, used deadly force to disable them, and sent them to beg in different places, said the CNR report. Similar stories have been reported in Beijing and other cities. Many villagers became wealthy from the abusive practice in which disabled children are injured and used as beggars. It became a phenomenon due after word spread of the high income earned, the CNR report. At least six abducted child beggars had been rescued as of Tuesday after photos were posted on a microblog that attracted the attention of local police, according to China News Service.

The Global Times' calls to Taihe Public Security Bureau went unanswered Wednesday.

An insider who monitors the problem in the county told the Global Times Wednesday that the police announcement was more like a warning to villagers, but said that more villagers are using disabled children to beg. "The situation of disabled child beggars is just the same as before in the local region," He said. "More efforts from the local government are needed."


February 12 15:11  Today I saw a man and a boy begging in front of Red Army Street No. 88 (Harbin city).  I don't know if this is true or false, but I took photos.  Since I did not bring a card reader, and I have to wait until I got home tonight before uploading the photo.  I have called <Nightly News>.  I am waiting ...


February 12 17:10  I am home.  I am going to upload the photos that I took at Red Army Street No. 88


February 17 17:11  Second photo


February 12 12:11  Third photo


February 13  22:011  To "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Child Beggars":  How are you?  Yesterday I posted photos of the beggars in front of Red Army Street No. 88, Harbin city.  Today I went back there at just past 10am.  They were still there.  I immediately called 110.  The police came and verified that they were father and son.  Because there was a leukemia-afflicted daughter back at home needing medical treatment, the father had to come out to beg with his son.  Let me clarify: the child was not abducted and the family has a hardship.

This is what the Harbin Public Security Bureau microblog has to say about the case:


February 13 23:10  We thank you for your enthusiastic support.  After getting your call this morning, our 110 command center dispatched police officers to the scene and took the beggars down to the station.  We checked their identities and we contacted the authorities at their place of origin.  Everything is as you said.

This led to a comment about the proposed legislation to criminalize all child begging.  This will lead to (1) the father being sent to jail; (2) the son being sent to an orphanage; (3) the daughter being left to die.  This gets back to the point that child begging should not be completely prohibited unless there is a social security net in place already.  And it is not there right now.

Here is a concise summary of what has happened so far: The "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Abducted Children" was quickly transformed into the "Take Chance Photos To Stop Child Begging", which was quickly transformed into a call for the National People's Congress to introduce legislation to take compulsory custody of all child beggars.  This spontaneously organized civic campaign to stop child abduction has rapidly become a rally to get the state to eradicate specially designated groups in Nazi-like fashion.  Question: Was this your original intention?

(CRI English)  Toxic Gas Blast Rumor Triggers Mass Exodus    February 11, 2011

Residents in a county in east China's Jiangsu Province left their homes in a mass exodus early Thursday following rumors about a chlorine gas leak at a nearby chemical plant and a possible explosion, "The Jinling Evening News" reports. People of various ages carrying luggage were seen busy making their way towards the county seat as early as one o'clock on the streets and roads of Chenjiagang and Shuanggang areas of the county in Yancheng city. Anonymous local residents called the Jiangsu-based newspaper in the early hours, saying they abruptly left their homes after a rumor surfaced that a chemical plant in the Chenjiagang industrial park was leaking chlorine and an ensuing explosion could occur.

A mobile video shot provided to the newspaper showed the gridlock that ensued after residents tried to flee the area on foot and by car. The newspaper cited an anonymous netizen who estimated that more than 10,000 people were on the roads trying to leave the area as quickly as possible. Other media reports put the number at more than 100,000.

 

In the chaotic scene, a motorized tricycle with more than 20 people onboard fell into a river, resulting in the deaths of four, including a three-year-old boy, a resident surnamed Pan related to the paper in a telephone call-in. A few relatively minor accidents also occurred in the rainy-snowy weather.

 

(Xinhua)  February 13, 2011.

Afterwards, the police immediately began an investigation.  With the support and guidance of the provincial public security ministry, the Xiangshui police tracked down the rumor mongers.  On February, the suspects named Liu and Yin were detained for manufacturing and disseminating false terrorist information; two other lawbreakers named Zhu and Chen are under administrative detention.  The police is continuing to investigate several other suspects.

 

In Changsha city, some netizens began to take photos of a young girl and an old man begging in a stairwell.  When the old man saw the photographers, he got up and punched them out.  The male photographer called the police.  The said to the reporter with a smile on his face: "I was just taking photos of the child.  I don't know anything else."  When the police came, the old man said: "You come and take my photo stealthily.  Aren't you violating my human rights?"  The police officer said: "This is not secret filming.  This is just gathering evidence."  The old man and the little girl were taken back to the police station to assist in the investigation.  The police checked the registration information and confirmed from the ID photos that the two were father and daughter.  (Also, the father is registered as a physically handicapped person.)  A police officer said to the reporter:  "Under the law in this situation, we can penalize him.  If he turns down help, we can penalize him.  But if we detain him, what will happen to the little girl?  Who is going to look after her?  That is very real problem."

Opinions differ on what should be done.  One camp says throw the old man in jail and ship the girl to an orphanage.  Another camp says that the last thing we want is an even bigger government with more power over people.


Apple Daily: Naked men jumps two women in busy city street


Hong Kong Daily News
Sharp increase in mental case breakouts
There is bound to someone right by  you


Original microblog post: [The peoples of China and America are shocked: Mayor arrested for taking USD 25,000 in bribes]  In 2009, two mayors, one deputy mayor, two state legislators and 44 Hasidic Jews in Hoboken, New Jersey were arrested by the FBI on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.  The mayor Cammarano was charged with receiving the highest amount at USD 25,000.  This is one of the biggest corruption case in American history.]
Renowned investigative reporter Wang Keqin's comment: Mayor Cammarano charged with receiving with receiving USD 25,000 in bribes and this is one of the biggest corruption/bribery case in American history.  This is stunning!


Renowned sports commentator Li Chengpeng: Only 25,000 dollars!  And that is the biggest in history ... America, I look down on you.

This post has been going around for a while (see, for example, ChinaSMACK), usually to make the point that corruption is much less in free and democratic USA than in authoritarian China.  In China, USD 25,000 is nothing.  But this is a fake story.

First of all, the original story appeared in the New York Times:

A two-year corruption and international money-laundering investigation stretching from the Jersey Shore to Brooklyn to Israel and Switzerland culminated in charges against 44 people on Thursday, including three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen and five rabbis, the authorities said.

The case began with bank fraud charges against a member of an insular Syrian Jewish enclave centered in a seaside town. But when that man became a federal informant and posed as a crooked real estate developer offering cash bribes to obtain government approvals, it mushroomed into a political scandal that could rival any of the most explosive and sleazy episodes in New Jerseys recent past.

It was replete with tales of the illegal sales of body parts; of furtive negotiations in diners, parking lots and boiler rooms; of nervous jokes about patting down a man who turned out to indeed be an informant; and, again and again, of the passing of cash once in a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000.

This may be one of the biggest political scandals in the state of New Jersey but only in terms of the number of suspects and the degree of sleaziness.  But it is by far not the highest bribe amount, not even for mayors.  Just Google for "corrupt mayors" and you can easily find former big city mayors and now convicted felons like Buddy Cianci, Sharpe James, Kwame Kilpatrick, etc.

If there is a comparison to be made between China and America, it is not about the highest bribe amount.  It is about how corruption is monitored, exposed, handled and reported in the two countries.  It is about the roles that watchdog journalism play in curbing corruption.


February 10 17:17:  Let us act together so that the human traffickers have nowhere to run or hide.
Forwarded microblog post: Please note these characteristics of human traffickers: 1. They ignore the children when they cry; they refuse to feed milk or water.  2. A suspicious-looking man is carrying a child in his arms without the company of a woman.  3. Many females each carrying an infant, with a companion guarding the luggage.  4.  The child keeps crying for daddy and mommy.  5.  A man brings one or more women along, with the women looking scared and uneasy.  If you see any of the above, call the police immediately.  Please forward this on microblogs.  [Forwarded 3,497 times]


February 12 12:36:  Microblogs help to act against abduction.  Netizens, grab your cameras now, go outside and help the police to look.  If you find any child beggars, please let us known immediately (or call 110).  The police will hurry to the scene immediately.  Take action now!


Netizen microblog: Is this woman the bitch who abducted Little Weijin?  A netizen took this photo at the entrance of South Putuo Gate in Xiamen city on the afternoon of February 10.  At the time, this woman was begging with a child.  The child was probably tired from lying still and wanted to move.  The woman held the child forcibly and struck her harshly while cursing loudly.
Xiamen Police Online:  The netizen's denunciation has been thoroughly investigated.  The Xiamen Public Security Bureau Bishan Police Station officers found the two persons in the photo on the morning of February 11.  The woman is named Li XX and the daughter is called Qiao Qiao.  The police contacted the local police station where the woman came from and reached her husband too.  The little girl is confirmed to be her natural daughter.  At present, the police have sent the two individuals off to the rescue station.


[Operation Spring Thunder police bulletin]  As of 12:00, the Huli police have nabbed three persons who are suspected of coercing minors to beg/perform and two minors.  At this time, the police are verifying the identities of the minors and their companions.


[Operation Spring Thunder police bulletin]  Here are the two suspects from Gansu province nabbed by the police and a physically handicapped child.


[Operation Spring Thunder police bulletin]  Here is the suspect and the rescued child that were nabbed in the underground passageway to the ferry.


[Operation Spring Thunder police bulletin]  The police officer is drawing blood samples from the suspect and the rescued child.

The above microblog posts were severely criticized by some netizens because these 'suspects' were forcibly detained, had their blood samples taken in unsanitary open-air conditions and their images were posted on the microblog.  Here is a subsequent post.  The faces of the individuals have been masked and the police are showering kindness.


[Operation Spring Thunder police bulletin]  At noon, the police provided hot food for the beggars under investigation.  The three persons have had their identities verified.  There was no coercion involved!  We are relieved, but the police will still have to lecture the two adults because a minor is involved.  We thank the netizens for their understand!

The "Anti-Abduction Microblog Campaign" has galvanized a countless number of people.  But when the law enforcement agencies found that most of the "suspected abducted children" were accompanied by their parents, it is hard to describe the complex feelings of netizens with just one or two words.  A campaign against abduction should be professional and enduring, but it was turned into a mass campaign that the Chinese can easily recognize in past history.  While certain individuals achieved fame, not a single abducted child has been confirmed to be rescued by this campaign.  Instead many street families have been harassed and hurt.  Is this the pride of Chinese microblogs?

We believe that most netizens who participate in the "anti-abduction microblog campaign" are kindhearted people.  But their kindheartedness became distorted in the process of interaction.  The important thing is that this is the job for the police but many netizens became volunteer police officers.  Their intentions may have been good, but they have received no training and they just go ahead to "enforce the law" in the city streets where child beggars appear.  The bad results can be foreseen.

Even so, we should not condemn well-meaning people and websites who want to stop child abduction.  We should condemn those who realize that the campaign may go awry but use their speech rights to incite others.  They wanted to create and demonstrate their appeal.  They were not prepared to accept the actual consequences of this campaign.

...

The "anti-abduction microblog campaign" was later shifted to become the "anti-child beggar microblog campaign."  Child begging is a blemish on any society.  But it would take a lot of effort than sloganeering or taking chance photos to eradicate this problem.  Just as the Chinese economy cannot go through another "Great Leap Forward," the Chinese society cannot fantasize about a "Great Leap Forward" to deal with this social reality.

An important question: The problems with the "anti-abduction microblog campaign" were quickly exposed, but why weren't they corrected in time?  Certain renowned public intellectuals told us privately that they are opposed to this campaign. But why won't they public state their views?  Also, all the media reports appear to be supportive with very little skepticism?  Is this normal?  Is this what a healthy opinion area ought to be like?

The Internet and microblogs have an unique role in advancing democratic politics.  But that does not mean that there are no flaws with Internet opinions.  In this case, Internet opinion stopped the skeptical voices about the "anti-abduction microblog campaign."  For a long time, certain active netizens do not tolerate dissident voices and they will jointly surround and criticize "dissenters."  They create tremendous pressure on the freedom of expression.  It is no exaggeration to say that this pressure constitutes a special "Internet opinion filtering."

For the Chinese Internet (including microblogs) to develop healthily, there must be a rational, tolerant atmosphere for discussion.  We should deplore emotional sloganeering, infallibility and omniscience.  We should praise humility and open-mindedness.

One of the main features of Internet democracy is equality of speech rights.  We oppose letting a small number of people lead the emotions of the majority.  Internet opinion should have a self-correcting function.  Key Internet opinion leaders are subject to "opinion supervision" because their speech rights must not be misused just like any other power in society.

In Chinese society, there have been many tragedies that arise from ideological struggles.  There have been many tragedies that came in the form of mass movements.  We don't want these tragedies to repeat themselves on the Internet.

Global Times:  Downsides unseen of child-abduction blog, online rogues

[ESWN Comment: This is the blowback against the "anti-abduction microblog campaign."  At first, the campaign had been positioned as the "anti-abduction microblog campaign."  The point was to collect photos of street child beggars for parents with missing children to identify.  It was easy to stir up emotions with anecdotes such as the young abducted girl pleading: "Uncle, don't disfigure me with the acid because it hurts too much.  Cut me up with the knife instead because it hurts less."

After a few days, there was no documented success to show for this photo-taking campaign.  In some news reports, six successes were cited.  But there are no details except for the sixth case which is definitely unrelated to this campaign.  The only known action was a case of misidentification in which a father-and-son were compelled by the police to undergo DNA testing.  The fact is that most abducted children are sold off to parentless people in rural areas and not as child beggars in the cities.  Therefore taking photos of street child beggars will not uncover many abductees.

Quietly the campaign was re-positioned as the "anti-child begging microblog campaign."  At present, there is no law in China directed against child begging in the company of the parents.  Therefore this campaign was just harassment to chase beggars off the streets. (e.g. a citizen calling the police who take the beggar parents/child down to the station because of suspected abduction, checking parent-child relationship either through household registration records or DNA testing, parents/child are eventually released, thus wasting everybody's time but increasing the "cost" of operation for the beggars).

There are many other ways of chasing beggars off the street.  In New York City, the mayor Rudi Giuliani wanted to chase the Squeegee Men away as part of his quality-of-life campaign.  But according to the New York penal code, it was not illegal to clean windshield.  So Giuliani instructed the police to charge them for traffic violations instead.  Mission accomplished.

Does chasing beggars off the street solve the problem?  Visually, there will be beggar-free streets in the cities.  The city police will be happy to claim the credit for improving the quality of life.  But what will happen to the beggars?  For the background, see The Pauper Towns of China: Kaili and Minxian.  What will happen?  Will the children decide to go home and stay in school, complete university and get jobs as senior managers at Google and Microsoft?  I don't know, of course.  Neither do you.  But my guess is NOT.  However, the city police won't care because they have beggar-free streets now.

P.S.  Here is an example of the kind of paroxysmal mass movement that the Huanqiu editorial was referring to: The Chinese Sparrow War of 1958.

P.P.S.  Here is a microblog post from Xiaoshu about an anti-abduction conference yesterday:


Yesterday Yu Jianrong (note: who initiated the "anti-abduction microblog campaign") gave three recommendations over the phone: 1. The state child welfare system should take first priority (that is, the so-called "milk powder subsidy" to cover all basic essential needs) or else we can forget about everything else.  2.  The anti-abduction campaign and the street photo-taking should be limited to liberating physically handicapped child beggars and not extended to all street child beggars.  3.  Do not prohibit begging, especially when the beggars are only trying to survive on their own.]


Text: The urban administrators target the most weak and vulnerable city dwellers most of the time.  They are either peasants who live on the fringes of the city, or they are retired city dwellers, or they are old, weak or physically handicapped.  These people try hard to earn a meager income to support their families and themselves.  But they are so puny and weak in front of the urban administrators.
Caption: A old scavenger was beaten up by urban administrators who left amidst condemnations from the public.

This is an old picture.  For example, it was posted by Zhao Mu as part of a series of photos on violence by urban administrators (see Global Voices Online, 2008).

But where did it happen?  When did it happen?

This photo first appeared in September 20, 2005.  The accompanying text was: "9月20日上午在单位楼下一位天天摆摊的98岁老人惨遭石泉大楼上某居民高空抛下的瓶子袭击,血流全身." (translation: On the morning of September 20, a 98-year-old man who sets up a stall daily downstairs was hit by a bottle tossed from above by some occupant in the Shiquan Apartments.  He bled all over this body.)

The issue when this photo first came out was about why none of the spectators helped him, either to stop the bleeding or call the emergency service.  Later, it was re-purposed to show how bad the urban administrators are.  Someday somewhere someone will re-purpose it for other things ...

Recently, the "Take Chance Pictures To Liberate Child Beggars" microblog has drawn tremendous response around China.  Many concerned people have gone out to take photos of child beggars.  In Dalian city, many citizens have joined in this campaign.  Some people believe that this campaign will have excellent results like that of the anti-drunk-driving campaign.  However, as this campaign rolled on, netizens are finding that there are some difficulties ...

At around 15:00 yesterday, 4-year-old Nan Nan laid in the arms of his mother who was seated in front of a pharmacy on Xian Road, Hekou District.  A stainless steel rice bowl lied before him, filled with coins.  It was cold.  A cold breeze came and Nan Nan sneezed twice.

According to an informed source, Nan Nan has been begging on this street for almost six months.  Nan Nan is accompanied by his mother and his maternal grandparents.  "Nan Nan's mother is only 27 years old.  She is of sound body and she should be able to find a job.  But she does nothing except to beg in the streets with her child, taking turn with her parents."

A 50-year-old woman walked over, exchanged some words with the mother, took some coins out of the bowl, put them into her pocket and walked away.  "That was Nan Nan's grandmother."  The informant said.  "She will come and remove the money after a certain amount is reached."

About ten minutes later, a police car came over.  Three police officers approached Nan Nan.  Several minutes ago, a concerned citizen had called the police to report a possibly abducted child.  "How come it is you again?"  The police said to Nan Nan's mom.  "Would you like us to take you down to the rescue station?"  Nan Nan's mother shook her head, stood up and left quickly with Nan Nan.

On this day, the police have already received four calls about Nan Nan from concerned citizens.  Each time, the mother left with Nan Nan and continued to beg at another spot.  This happened over and over again.  Every patrol officer in this precinct knows them.  "We have checked their identities.  They are mother and son.  He is not an abducted child."  A police officer said.

At the Dalian City 110 Command Center, our reporter learned that the police have been receiving 50 calls ever since the "Take Chance Pictures To Liberate Child Beggars" microblog campaigns began.  This is almost 5 times more than previous numbers.  The police followed up on each and every call.  So far they have not found a single abducted child yet.  "Basically, the situation is the same as Nan Nan -- parents taking their children out to beg."

According to a worker at the city's Anti-Abduction Office, they began building a DNA database for street child beggars last November.  "The purpose of this DNA database is to identify abducted children."  This worker said: "The police will interrogate every child beggar found in the streets.  If there is any suspicion, the police will take a blood sample and do DNA testing."

In January, the police found three women begging with four children at the Victory Plaza near the train station.  They found them suspicious and conducted DNA testing.  The results show that that the women and children were related as mother-child.  "So far we have collected DNA samples for 182 street children.  To date, none of them were found to have been abducted."  This worker said.  "With respect to parents taking their children out to beg, there is nothing in the law against that right now.  The only thing we can do is to persuade them to leave."

(Associated Press)  February 1, 2011.

Relatives of a patient who died rampaged with knives through a Chinese hospital, seriously wounding six people and trying to throw a doctor out a window in the city of Shanghai, news reports said Tuesday.

The 20 relatives of the patient, identified as Liu Yonghua, stormed through Xinhua Hospital's thoracic surgery department after Liu died Monday, according to website Eastnet and broadcaster Dragon TV. The family members tried to throw the department's deputy director out an eighth-floor window, but other employees stopped them, Eastnet said. It said one person suffered a stab wound that came within half an inch (1.5 centimeters) of his heart. Police detained six people, Eastnet said.

Dragon TV showed a wounded physician in a hospital bed being treated for his wounds. The reports gave no details of Liu's illness or cause of death or why his relatives might be angry at hospital workers. Employees who answered the phone at the hospital's public information department confirmed the attack occurred but did not immediately release details.

Here is a more detailed investigative report.  However, it is a Rashomon case.

(Observe Orient)  February 11, 2011.

The initial news report went something like this: "At 10:30 that day, about 20 relatives of the patient Liu Yonghua charged into the thoracic surgery department director's office.  When they found nobody there, they turned to attack the deputy director in the office next door.  Without allowing any explanation to be given, the attacker stabbed the doctor twice in the left chest.  The doctor fell down on the ground.  The attacker then hauled the doctor to the eighth floor window and tried to throw him out.  At the same time, other medical workers who were on duty at the hospital were also assaulted.  Ten medical workers were injured, including six doctors whose conditions are serious enough to require hospitalization ..."

According to the Thoracic Surgery Department director Mei Ju, this is what he saw:

Patient Liu Yonghua was hospitalized at the Xinhua Hospital for more than a month.  On the evening of January 28, he died in spite of medical efforts to save him.  This was a "normal death."  The family may have their doubts, but they did not go through the normal complaint channels.  Instead, they "inexplicably" set up a mourning hall outside the next morning and unfolded a banner.  There were about twenty to thirty people.  Most of them were "professional hospital troublemakers" and only a small number of them were relatives.  So the news reports were wrong to cite "about twenty relatives."  They caused trouble on January 29 and 30.  The incident took place on January 31.  Afterwards, the very experienced "professional hospital troublemakers" fled.

Mei Ju said: "They came in several groups.  One group proceeded to the administrative building and blockaded the place.  Another group came over here.  They began to look for people in the offices.  They kicked open my door.  I wasn't in.  Another group came in ..."

He said that some of those were relatives, some were "reserves" and someone was taking a video.  The hospital had called the police earlier that day.  Because there were so many of them, the police were divided.  When the attacks began, the police were downstairs either at the administrative building or the main lobby.

Mei Ju said that there were "professional medical troublemakers" hanging around the hospital.  They usually wait around the morgue.  Whenever some patient dies, they would say: "We can help you take care of this."  After they get money, they divide it with the relatives.  These people offer full services including wreaths and elegiac couplets.

He speculated that the knife-wielding son Liu Peng of the patient must have lost his mind.  Mei does not know why he acted this way.  He thinks that Liu Peng may have been incited by the "professional hospital troublemakers."

According to the anonymous relative of a different patient, this was not what happened at all:

The relatives of Liu Yonghua did not start trouble "without cause."  The family had spent all its savings to pay for the hospital bills.  Liu Peng had pleaded the hospital to allow for delayed payment, but the hospital unilaterally cut off further treatment.  Two days later, Liu Yonghua died.  That was why the relatives went to the hospital seeking justice.

The hospital representatives were cold and indifferent, and the deputy director Ding Fangbao did not say any nice words.  That was why a quarrel ensued leading to a fight.  A relative stabbed Dr. Ding who ordered the other staff to "beat them up."  The other male doctors then joined in the melee.

Before the melee, the son of Liu Yonghua grabbed the wounded Ding Fangbao and charged to the eighth floor window saying: "You treat us this way!  Let us jump down together!"  This was not the same as the news report about "the attacker hauling him in front of the eighth floor window and tried to throw him out."

At the same time, this source was skeptical about the news report that "ten medical workers were injured, six of whom were serious enough to be hospitalized."

Several questions were posed to the Shanghai police.  Here are the answers from the Shanghai Public Security Bureau Information Office.

1.  There were no "professional hospital troublemakers."  Only family relatives were involved.

2. Our police officers arrived at the scene as soon as we received the call.  After we apprise ourselves about the situation, we did not apply any extreme compulsory procedures because we found out that there were reasons.  Our initial role is to persuade and mediate.  The family relatives do not cause trouble "without reason."  They are regular people.  We must consider the positions of both sides and enforce the law in a humane manner.

3. What caused so many injuries?  The simplest answer is to read our injury reports.  It was nowhere as serious as the news reports say.

A police officer told our reporter: "Maybe what I say is not too polite.  The Xinhua hospital ought to find out the reasons themselves.  Why did the family relatives resort to such extreme actions?  If you are a truly white guardian angel, they couldn't thank you enough?  Why did they do this then?  The family relatives were extremely emotional and they did not act rationally.  But what was the reason behind that."

He said: "Normally the police has good relations with the hospital.  Do they have to say that we didn't do anything in this case?  That we only went there to watch?  This is impossible.  I don't know if Xinhua Hospital told you why these family relatives would want to cause trouble.  This is because Xinhua Hospital unilaterally cut off the medications for two days due to lack of payment ... do you think that the hospital can do that?"

According to the Yangpu Police Precinct which handled the case itself:

The number of family relatives was at most 12 or 13.  According to the surveillance video taken at the entrance of the Xinhua Hospital as well as the witness statements, only six family relatives took place in the incident: two sons, one daughter, one younger brother, one nephew and one young sister of the deceased.  The son has been arrested, three others are detained and two were admonished before being freed.

According to police officer Gao Jun, the second son Liu Ming of the patient runs a small restaurant in Fuyang city (Anhui province).  His father sometimes help out with carrying and washing dishes.  This time, he sold his home to pay for the medical bills.  So far he has spent more than 300,000 yuan.  The family can be said to be bankrupt.

The elder son Liu Peng stayed with his father while at the Anhui Hospital.  Then he asked Xinhua Hospital doctor Mei Ju to operate on his father in Anhui.  The operation was not successful, so the father was moved to Xinhua Hospital for further operations.  Liu Peng also stayed with his father everyday.  But in the end, he was even told that his father was in dire conditions and he did not get to say farewell.

"For us, we can understand how he felt.  His father had just died and he couldn't take it.  For them, they don't necessarily understand that the matter can be handled through legal and other channels.  Afterwards I spoke to them.  They said that they understood nothing else other than the fact that their father was gone. I told them: Compared to the hospital, you are weak and vulnerable; you must learn to protect your own rights; you must learn how to follow normal procedure to resolve the matter.  They cried and said: We don't know anything about protection ... we only know that we did this out of filial piety ..."

According to the family relatives:

The family relatives only want to get an explanation for the death of their father.  The hospital refused to receive them.  They went to see the case doctor, but he was not there.

At around 10:30am on January 31, four of them went upstairs to find the doctor.  There was a quarrel.  Two more of them went upstairs as well.  After the stabbing occurred, they did not flee.  They just went down on the street and blocked traffic.  Two of them held out a banner and two of them blocked the road.  The son knelt on the road holding the portrait of his father.  The daughter sustained injuries in her leg and could not even kneel down.

1.  My initial skepticism about "taking chance photos"

I have been restless over the past few days because of the anxiety that I feel about the "anti-abduction microblog campaign."

Yu Jianrong started the "anti-abduction microblog campaign."  He is known for organizing a civilian investigation team to look into the case of Qian Yunhui.  Reportedly, this campaign began after a Fujian woman asked Yu for help.  She said that her child was abducted, crippled and forced to become a beggar.  So Yu Jianrong started a microblog to ask netizens to use their cameras to take photos of child beggars.  These photos are posted on the Internet so that parents can look for their missing children.  Yu also called on netizens to call the police immediately if they see a child beggar.

I was immediately skeptical about this kind of call from Yu Jianrong -- if a child voluntarily wants to beg without any coercion, is it a violation of his/her rights to take his photo and post on the Internet?

When I stated this doubt, people cursed me out immediately.  One netizen said that I was a "fundamentalist liberal."  They say that children should not be begging and that there is no such thing as "voluntary begging."  If a child cannot survive, it will be up to the state to provide for him instead of letting him roam the streets and beg.

These arguments from netizens are very reasonable.  They are even totally correct.  Their very correct argument not only failed to dispel my doubts but it also offered no justification for the photo taking.  Consider a child who finds it hard to survive and has to beg in the streets.  He receives no help from the government.  Instead, his minimal dignity is being violated by netizens.  What kind of humanitarianism is this?  If netizens think that there should not be any beggars in society and that the government has failed in fulfilling its responsibilities, they should not be taking photos without permission and posting onto the Internet.  Instead, they should be demanding the government carry out its responsibilities.  But the reality is that it is far easier to trample on weak and vulnerable people than supervising the authorities.  Righteous netizens prefer to do the easier things.

Even with these doubts, I still wanted the "anti-abduction microblog campaign" to have some positive effects.  This is not an issue about how many children are saved by netizens.  Rather, this kind of campaign will pressure the government, and make the Civil Affairs Bureau to build a perfect system of assistance and the Ministry of Public Security Bureau to go after child abduction/trafficking.

But I am finding that the "anti-abduction microblog campaign" is gradually being taken over by a certain fanaticism.  The media and Yu Jianrong speak delightfully about "liberating" six children who were reconciled with their families.  This type of news report increases news readership and earns Yu Jianrong a fine social reputation.  But it also ignored the rights of the weak and vulnerable.  If these types of sentiments are allowed to foster, there will be even more hurt to the weak and vulnerable.

First of all, is it true that six children have been rescued?  If six children were rescued over such a short span of time, then Yu Jianrong and others have accomplished something significant.  But if you pay close attention to this piece of news, you will note that only one of the six children is named.  This is Peng Wenle, who was found because his father persisted on trying to locate him for years and a website carrying the information on his missing child brought in a tip.  This has nothing to do with the current campaign.  Who are the other five rescued children?  How were they rescued?  The news does not provide any explanation.

2.  Fanaticism leads to persecution

In fact, the developments over the past few days show that the persecution has begun.

Case #1:  Some righteous netizens found an adult male begging with a child.  They posted the photos onto the Internet.  A woman thought that the child resembled her missing child.  So the righteous netizens went to take the father-and-son beggars to the police who forced them to undergo DNA testing.  The results showed that the man and the child were father and son.  After the truth came out, the woman thanked the police, the netizens and the media, but she did not have any words of apology for the father and the son.  The netizen who posted the photos on the Internet simply said afterwards: I let everybody down, yes.

Case #1: In the "Anti-abduction campaign" in Xian city, a police was seen wrestling a child from the "human trafficker."  Afterwards it was found that the child and the "suspected human trafficker" were daughter and mother.  Do you see her pain, her terror and her tears?

Case #3.  In Shanghai, the subway police found three male and one female beggars.  Through checking ID's and household registration information, they determined that these children had not been abducted.  Instead the children had been taken to beg by their parents and relatives.  The police lectured the parents/relatives and then had to release everybody because the law does not provide for any penalties.

Case #4: On February 9, the "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Children" campaign set up a Shaanxi website.  A reporter took a photo of an adult woman begging with two children.  When the woman saw the reporter taking her photo, she threw an iron bowl hard on the ground in anger.  The police took the woman down to the station for investigation.  Afterwards, the police confirmed that the woman was the mother of the two children and they came from Minxian county, Gansu province.

Case #5:  A Shenzhen reporter found that child beggars have vanished in the streets where they use to roam.  Not only were there no child beggars, but adult ones were gone too.  A citizen said when she stopped her car at a road intersection, a woman with a child in her arms came over to beg.  The citizen took out her camera to take a photo.  The woman fled with her child.

Begging is one of the oldest professions in human history.  When some people become desperate and before they resort to crime, there is at least one profession that can bring them food.  That is begging.  Today, these fanatic people can make beggars disappear completely.  What kind of terrifying force is this?

A netizen said: You have not lost a child yourself, so you don't know how much pain it is to lose a child.  But I have to ask: Because of your pain, you are willing to ignore the rights of weak and vulnerable people?

3.  Can we take the child beggars away from their parents?

The "anti-abduction microblog campaign" was based upon an assumption: Most child beggars were abducted and sold, and most physically handicapped beggars were crippled/disfigured by these evil human traffickers.  I ask a friend who subscribes to this view: What is the proportion of this among all child beggars?  This friend said: At least 90%.  I ask: What is the basis of your number?  He said: Commonsense.

In fact, the "anti-abduction microblog campaign" is based upon this self-evident "commonsense judgment."  Yu Jianrong and them have not actually investigated the proportion of abducted/coerced children among child beggars.  That is why this campaign has quickly run into trouble.  According to the news reports over the past several days, not a single instance of coerced child begging has been uncovered.  They were all cases about parents taking their children to beg.  At present, the law does not prohibit parents from taking their children to beg.  Therefore the police are unable to mete out any penalties.

There is a certain viewpoint that is close to the Nazis.  They say that if people cannot spare their children from hunger, then they should not be allowed to have children.  I would like to tell you that it is a natural right for a human to have children.  People should not be deprived of this right just because they are poor.  There are many reasons why people are poor.  We form societies and we endure governments just so we can live better.  But in our society, there are still people who cannot spare their children from hunger and live dignified lives.  We ought to contemplating just what has gone wrong with our society.  We ought not to treat poor people even more harshly!

There is another extremely arrogant viewpoint.  They say that when beggars beg along with their children, it is tragic for the children.  Such parents have failed and the children ought to be removed to given to families which can bring them up capably.  Then everything will be alright.  Based upon this arrogance, many netizens are calling for the People's Congress to legislate a total prohibition of child begging; any parents begging with their children will have their children taken into compulsory custody.

This reminds me of what Mr. Yang Hengjun told about an episode in Australian history.  At one time, the Australian government thought that the aborigines treated their children like cattle.  That is, the children did not go to school and they did not lead civilized lives.  Therefore the government decided to take the children away by force and give them to families with better conditions and better civilization to bring up.  When these children grew up, they became "the Stolen Generation."  This generation was better developed but the price that they paid was separation from their natural parents.  For a long time, the Australian government refused to apologize to "the Stolen Generation."  When Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister, the first thing he did was to apologize solemnly to that generation.  He said that the Australian government had erred in this affair.

Those people who advocate taking away the children of beggars ought to remember that even though the affluent Australian families could provide a leisurely life and a good future to these aboriginal children, they were never able to make up for the mental hurt of "the Stolen Generation."  Are you presumptuous enough to think that the "affluent families" of China can bring happiness to these forcibly removed children?

As for the system of compulsory custody, Sun Zhigang paid with this life to eliminate this malevolent system.  Why do you want to bring it back again?  Are you so easily forgetful? ...

Local residents were admitted free upon showing their ID's.  Outsiders had to pay 50 yuan per adult and 10 yuan per child.  The cost is very steep for an extended family of outsiders.  Enter some enterprising farmers who put their ladders to use.  You pay 10 yuan to use their ladder to scale the temple wall.  Children go free.

Recently, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences professor Yu Jianrong set up a "Take Chance Photos To Liberate Beggar Children" microblog to call for netizens and police to pay attention to abducted children.

On January 26, the netizen "Stinky Egg Egg" posted at the Xian Mother website about suspicious activity that she observed that day.  "Today, I saw this man on the Route 106 bus.  There was an empty seat so I let him sit.  The boy got on the bus and refused to let the man embrace him or let the man sit.  So the man hit the boy in the face and head.  He hit him fiercely until there was swelling.  The boy began to cry.  People couldn't stand it.  But he kept cursing the child ("I am going to kill you.  If you don't obey me and you talk nonsense, I am going to beat you to death").  I asked, "Who is this child in relation to you?"  He said that he was the uncle of the child.  The parents are away, so the grandfather asked him to look after the boy.  The boy does not have a grandmother.  He is disobedient and naughty.  Therefore the man has to hit him.

"Stinky Egg Egg" posted two photos taken with her mobile phone camera.  In the photo, there was a thin man wearing a blue knit hat holding a boy in his arms.  The boy wore a white surgical mask and a yellow-white hat.

On January 29, our reporter contacted "Stinky Egg Egg."  She said that they came across each other at 1am on January 26.  The man was in his 50's, about 1.7 meters tall and somewhat lanky; the boy was around 4 years old, spoke putonghua clearly, pale and seemed to have a scalding injury between the right thumb and middle finger.

"I suspect that he is a 'human trafficker' because he was shabbily dressed whereas the boy was cleanly dressed.  The boy spoke putonghua and said in a low voice that he was looking for someone ..."  She said with regret that she was very busy at the time as her phone kept ringing.  She did not know what to do so she only took two photos.  The man and the boy got off at the Mingdemen station.  "... Afterwards, the more I thought about it, the more worried I got.  So I posted the photos on the Internet to see if people can held."  "Stinky Egg Egg" was sorry about her inaction at the time.

The Internet forum post drew a lot of attention.  Most people thought that "Stinky Egg Egg"'s analysis was reasonable and they were worried about the boy:

"Little Little Snow Snow":  This man does not appear to be the uncle of the boy.  The boy was clean and wearing a surgical mask, but the uncle was filthy ...

"Yuyoo":  This is heartbreaking.  Please don't let the man be a human trafficker.  We ought to think about calling the police when we spot suspicious situations.  Even if we are wrong, it was a mere misunderstanding.  But if we are right, it would be unthinkable ...

The photos by "Stinky Egg Egg" were posted to the specialized "Baby Come Home" website.  On January 31, the information was posted onto the microblogs and drew nationwide attention.

"Stinky Egg Egg" forwarded her information to the Anti-Abduction Office of the Xian City Public Security Bureau.  The police said that it is impossible to decide whether someone is an abductor based upon clothes and actions.  Further confirmation would be required.

Late night on January 31, the Xian public security bureau's "Xian Public Security Bureau" microblog posted the results of the initial police efforts: "On January 25, 26 and 27, there was only one case of missing children reported in the whole city.  This happened on January 26 when the police found a 5-year-old boy who got lost.  The police located his family and they were reunited."

On February 2, the police microblog said: "The Xian Public Security Bureau's Anti-Abduction Office has forwarded the information to the 'Baby Come Home' website to solicit further information.  The various police stations, GPS patrol cars and police posts along the bus route 106 have been notified to look out.  The photo of the man has been distributed to the various departments to seek further information.  The Xian public security bureau is actively conducting various investigations."

(HSB)  Feburary 11, 2011.

Yesterday at around 11am, 55-year-old Master Liu, his daughter and a young boy came to our office.  He said that he was the principal named in the Internet post.  "This is my nephew.  How come I am now a human trafficker?"  55-year-old Master Liu said heatedly.

According to Master Liu, he and his 4-year-old nephew Chou Chou went to visit his father.  At around 1pm or so, they took the 106 bus to go home.  "The bus was crowded at the time.  Someone offered me the seat upon seeing me holding a child in my arm.  Chou Chou jumped into the seat immediately.  I wanted to sit down and hold Chou Chou in my arms.  But the child was too naughty.  He refused to let me sit.  He even slapped me in the face."  Master Liu said that he got angry and rapped Chou Chou a few times on his head.  As Master Liu was telling that to the reporter, Chou Chou was running back and forth around his uncle.

Yesterday afternoon our reporter contacted the netizen "Stinky Egg Egg."  She said that she will make another post to explain what happened and clear up the misunderstanding.

Yesterday at around 4pm, several dozen reporters were already waiting at the small Internet bar that Peng Gaofeng operated.  Outside there were many other neighbors and friends.  At around 630pm, Peng's wife Xiong Yini and her brother went to the Bao'an International Airport with our reporter.  When other citizens learned who Xiong was, one of them bought a Bibi bear at a supermarket for Xiong to give to her son.

At around 730pm, Peng Gaofeng came out with his son Lele in his arms.  Xiong rushed over excitedly and hugged Lele.

"Lele, do you still recognize mommy?"  Xiong cried and said.  Lele stared at her and refused to say anything.

"My mom is in Jiangsu," Lele told our reporter with his head lowered and in a very low voice.

Reporter: Your natural mother is by your side.  Do you recognize her?
Lele: I don't recognize her.

Reporter: You have to call 'mommy.'  She is your natural mother.
Lele:  Oh, I know.  (He turned around and called 'mommy')

Reporter: Didn't you just say that you saw that your mother was very hurt?  True or false?
Lele: Oh.  It is true.

Reporter: Do you think that it is fun in Jiangsu?
Lele: It was nice.  It was a lot of fun.

Reporter: If you have a choice, would you rather have your Shenzhen mommy or your Jiangsu mommy?
Lele: (Silence)

Reporter: Are you willing to live in your Shenzhen mommy's home?
Lele: I am willing.

Reporter: Do you still remember mommy? (Pointing to Xiong Yini)
Lele: I don't remember her.  I feel very estranged.

Reporter: What do you remember?
Lele: I only have a vague impression of daddy.

Reporter: What else?
Lele: I remember going to kindergarten.  At the time, I was riding a bright red little car.  I spun around everywhere.  I was very happy.

Reporter: How did you end up in Jiangsu?
Lele:  My dad ... no, my adopted father grabbed me and took me there.

Reporter: Do you remember how he grabbed you?
Lele: I was playing next to the shopping center.  My adopted father used candy to lure me to go outside.  Then he grabbed me and left.  I was scared and I cried aloud.  But it was to no avail.

Reporter: Did you go to Jiangsu by train?
Lele: No.  We took the long-distance bus.  We rode for a long time.  We changed buses.

Reporter: When you arrived in Jiangsu, did you adjust to the surroundings there?
Lele: At first, I was somewhat afraid.  But my adopted parents were very nice to me.  I got used to it slowly.

Reporter: Do you think about your adopted mother?
Lele: I think about her.  I think a lot about her.  Can you help me find her?  I want to see her.

"Our family will never be split up again.  We will be together!"  The family of four posed for a photo by our reporter.

In late January, our reporter saw a heart-rending photo on Sina.com Weibo taken by a concerned citizen at the Number One Market in the Hexi district of Sanya city.  This Weibo-driven campaign to locate missing children has taken off all across China.


Cao Yu, male, 9 years old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Yu Kai, male, 15 years old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Zhai Wudi, male, 15-years-old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Zhang Weibing, male, 10 years old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Li Weifang, female, born December 17, 1991, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Zhai Changchang, female, 8-years-old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Xu Yuchao, male, 8-years-old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province


Xu Yufeng, female, 6-years-old, Taikong county, Zhoukou city, Henan province

On the morning of February 10, our reporter walked from Liberation Number Four Road to Liberation Number One Road in Sanya city, and found that the child beggars have suddenly disappeared.  Only several physically handicapped men were begging.  These beggars told our reporter that the news reports about the microblog campaign has had a tremendous impact and the child beggars have moved away.

Our reporter went to the Number One Market to investigate.  The renowned local writer Lu Xiaohua told our reporter that the market had a large number of child beggars whose ages are from 5 to more than 10.  With Lu Xiaohua leading the way, our reporter spotted three children doing a street performance to beg for money.  When the reporter began to take photos, a somewhat older boy stopped him.  He said that the newspapers are reporting the anti-abduction campaign on the microblogs and he did not want themselves publicized.  Our reporter retreated back and took photos from afar.  A 5-year-old boy approached the spectators to ask for money.  The reporter also observed two young girls singing.  In all, there were 12 child beggars at the Number One Market split up into four groups.

Lu Xiaohua told the reporter that he has been paying attention to these children for a while.  They have been in Sanya city for more than a month.  He has been watching the 5-year-old children performing every day from morning to night.  The spectators gave money, but where is the money going?  Based upon his investigation, the children may be controlled by certain people.  Some of the children may have been forced to live in the streets due to poverty.

Our reporter contacted the Hexi police station to approach the four groups of children and take them down to the station to assist in the investigation.

There was one girl who was wearing a school uniform with the words "Kaili Number Three Middle School 2008" on it.  When she saw the police coming, she folded up her musical equipment and got ready to leave.  The police stopped her but let her go after they found that she was 20 years old.  In another group, one child merged into the crowd and fled.  In the end, the police took 10 child beggars down to the police station.

The police tried to verify the names, ages and addresses of these children.  Apart from the leader Li Weifang who had an ID, none of the other children know their home address or carried ID's.

The investigation by our reporter revealed that Li Weifang brought 6 children (the youngest being 6 years old and the oldest being 12 years old) along.  She said that the children belong either to her elder brother or other relatives, and she had the permission of their guardians.  They were presently trying to earn money to pay for tuition.  When the Spring Festival holidays end, she will bring the children home.  So far they have been in Sanya for more than 10 days and they have wired more than 1,000 yuan home.  Do these children have telephones at home for verification?  Li Weifang declined to answer.

While the police were interrogating these children, a man showed up.  He claimed that he was the father of two of the child beggars and he wanted to take them away.  Apart from providing his own ID, he was unable to produce proof that the two children were his.

This man said that his name is Liang, he is from Guizhou province and he is 35 years old.  He has four children at home.  Due to poverty, he took his eldest daughter and his third daughter to beg in Sanya.  He left his two sons at home.  The eldest daughter Liang Qiuyan and the third daughter Liang Lilai have been in Sanya for more than 10 days and they have made more than 1,000 yuan.  He had been staying at a nearby hostel which charges 40 yuan per day.  He is usually by his children's side.  On this occasion, he was doing laundry for the children who were taken down to the police station.

According to the police, two of the "children" were adults but the other 8 minors have been handed over to the aid station.  The police said that the children have not stated that they were abducted.  So the truth will have to wait for further investigation.  Based upon the information provided by the children, the police will contact their counterparts in the places of origin and confirm their identities and guardianship.


Hedong district, Linyi city, Shandong county public security bureau microblog
At 18:35 on February 5, 2011, on the road by Dongzhangguanzhuang village, Jiuju Office, Dongxing Road, Hedong district, a pedestrian holding a two-year-old infant collided with a vehicle traveling from north to south.  The pedestrian and the infant died immediately at the scene.  The car did not stop.  There is a photo of the vehicle.  The license number could not be seen, but the faces of the driver and the passenger are clearly visible.  We ask anyone who knows these people to contact the Hedong Traffic Police Division.  A reward of 6,000 yuan is being offered.

Unless beggars are prohibited from having children, parents who beg will bring their children along.  What else can they do?  Can they afford to send their children to daycare centers that charge 1,000 yuan per month?  Therefore, most beggar-parents will bring a number of shabbily dressed children with them.  How do you propose to prohibit that?

So you say: "If I cannot ban those snot-driveling tots from trailing behind their parents, I can ban those pitiful little ones who actually stick their hands out and ask for money."  In order to do that, you decide to monitor these beggars 24 hours a day.  As soon as you spot the children begging, you rush up and stop them.

Don't forget that the children love their parents too and they know how to imitate.  Perhaps the parents did not order the children to beg.  But the children have observed enough to know to stick out their hands.  What do you expect the parents to do?  Sternly admonish the children?  Or suffer the pain and ignominy reluctantly, and earn a living together?  When you see the begging, how do you know that this was ordered by the parents? Or the outcome of imitation from example?

You say: "Yes, I cannot tell between the two.  But that is unimportant.  I will stop all children who beg.  I don't care what the reason is."

We city dwellers will have most likely visited small restaurants, snack shops and fruit stands operated by migrants from out of town.  Their children will often hang out at the "work places."  The parents cannot afford to place the children in daycare centers.  Sometimes the children will help out to collect money, sweep the floor, carry plates ... they may even work full-time to help out.  There are many of such instances when rural people come to the city.  What is the difference between these child laborers and the child beggars?  The difference is that they work in different kinds of jobs and they imitate different kinds of behavior.  So why don't you also ban these child laborers too?

You say: "That is right.  Child beggars are like all other child laborers.  They must all be banned.  The children of migrants must not be allowed to do perform any kind of labor.  Child labor is the shame of society.  It is a tumor in society.  It must be banned."

There once was a country.  The rich people ate meat.  The poor people ate rice.  The poorest of the poor could not lower themselves to steal or rob, and they wound up eating feces.  Scientists discovered later that eating feces was not only bad for digestion, but it also polluted the air and was unsightly.  Eating feces was the shame of a civilized society, it was a tumor in society and it had to be prohibited.  The poorest of the poor soon starved to death, and the problem was solved.  Nobody ate feces anymore.

Child laborers and child beggars are not shames.  They are not tumors.  It is poverty which is a tumor in society.  You cannot fix poverty, so you want to use legal means to prevent these children from being able to make a living.  What are your moral views based upon?

You want to ban children from begging.  Fine, let us suppose that you succeed.  What next?  Their parents will continue to beg and the children will continue to go hungry.  What now?  According to a key opinion leader on Sina.com Weibo: "The Civil Affairs Bureau will follow up with their minimum social security coverage and free education."

Excuse me for being dense.  I think that it makes more sense to recommend directly for the beggars to immigrate to the United States of America.  Are there more people who are willing to believe the Government/Party nowadays?  Or are these Sina.com VIP's actually foreign guests who can write Chinese?

This key opinion leader also wrote: "When children beg in the streets, it is violating the law and it can be reported.  Also, the child beggar has come out to beg the public.  Therefore, there can be no privacy or image rights involved.  If they are taken down to the police station and even if they are found not to be abducted, the process will cost the parent beggars and make them not to take their children out begging anymore.  If there is actual hardship, the Civil Affairs Bureau will follow up with their minimum social security and free education."

It is a great that this will "cost" the parent beggars.  Let me add some more: "Confiscate all the money earned via begging."  Or actually ban all beggars from having children.

"If there is actual hardship ..."  Tsk tsk ... What is 'actual hardship'?  The money from minimum social security is enough to allow them to eat feces.  They beg because they want to eat rice occasionally or even have a piece of meat once in a very rare while.  Is that 'actual hardship'?

Also, this key opinion leader wrote: "From now on, we must steel our hearts and not give them even one cent."  Tsk tsk ... this is truly the most brilliantly wonderful formula to relieve poverty.

I don't doubt your kindheartedness for one moment; but after putting your heart in the right place, can you free your brain and give a thought?  Have you thought about anything else besides "Let them eat cake"?

As for the righteous and frenzied so-called VIPS and key opinion leaders, are you stupid?  Or are you just being plain bastards?

[Note: this essay is solely about parents taking their children to beg in the streets.  It has nothing to do with the problem of human trafficking, which is a different subject altogether.  At present, there are several news reports about beggars being taken down to police station, found to be families and released -- in other words, the parents are 'incurring' costs just like the key opinion leader wants.]

Example of child laborers toiling at their jobs late at night:

 

And the one who showed up at 2:15 on this next clip is only 3-years-old!

 

This "Take chance photos to liberate child beggars" campaign is quite meaningful, except that its propaganda value is greater than its practical value.  Getting more people concerned about child abduction must objectively draw greater government attention.  But I am pessimistic that these photos will lead to the liberation of even a few abducted children.

The problem right now is that many people wrongly believe that most child beggars are abducted.  So they are optimistic that they will liberate these abducted children.  In truth, most abducted children are sold off to families which want children and very few of them are sent out to beg.  People are misguided if they look for abductees among child beggars.

Many media, opinion leaders and netizens have been mobilized themselves in this campaign.  So far, there has not been a single instance of successfully finding an abducted child among the photographed child beggars.  I am worried that people will lose their confidence and passion.  After the climax passes, nobody will care about these missing children.  That would be a tremendous waste.

The case of Peng Wenle is a typical case along the lines of the "Baby Come Come" campaign.  A child is abducted.  The parents authorize the photo of their child to be uploaded.  Through the Internet (especially microblogs), someone sees the photo and the child is found.  This is completely different from taking chance photos of child beggars in the streets and hoping their mothers will find their missing children.

I have a vague feeling that we did something without thinking it through first.  We definitely meant well, we weren't looking after any self interest and we were just anxious to move ahead.  We ran very fast, so fast that we didn't even pause to think or listen to what others are saying; we just did it without thinking about what we should be doing.

We are like the government officials that we criticize.  We define ourselves as action-takers, and we think that our actions are correct and magnificent.  We refuse to listen to doubts and criticisms: if you raise doubts, then I say that you are not a doer and you only know to whine and complain.

In our hasty actions, we reinforce each other.  We allow no room for assessment or negotiation.  We are propelled forward by ourselves, those around us and the Internet, as if this is the only right thing to do.  Will we become a herd of wild horses who get tired after running for a while?

What tune did the pied piper of Hamelin forest play in Germany?  How was he able to lead all the children in town away?  I don't know the answer.

I only know that all it takes is one sentence to lead all the adults away.  For example, "She pleaded: 'Uncle, don't use acid!  Just cut me up with the knife!"  With this sentence, everybody can visualize a small girl who was abducted, crippled and disfigured for begging purposes.  So everybody sets out to fight human trafficking with their hearts filled with righteousness and lofty sentiments, as they rushed towards the fortresses or windmills.

There is no need for sophistry here:  Commonsense alone will allow you to deduce that the abduction/selling of children is not the same as begging.

Why do people abduct/sell children?  Because certain people do not have offsprings.  Why do people beg?  Because they have no other means of earning a living.  To abduct and cripple/disfigure a child for the purpose of begging is highly improbable due to the very high risks and costs.  Right now, the Chinese people are going bat-crazy because they think there is a group of people who are willing to spend several years of their time to come up with physically handicapped children to beg all over China.  This line of business must pay very high dividends because these people are willing to risk execution to do it.  Rationally speaking, these people are better off selling drugs because they can earn a lot more money and waste a lot less time.

Right now the Internet is bloodthirsty for these people.  There is a nationwide campaign to take photos of child beggars to put on the Internet in order to help parents with missing children.  So far, two beggar parents and their son have been forced to undergo DNA testing merely because someone thought that the little beggar resembled her own missing son.  Many people applauded this activity as a tremendous public good -- action is better than talk.

I cannot help but raise some minor issues:

1. Is there any society without beggars?

Beggars are in the lowest stratum in society.  Such a stratum exists in all societies.  Due to illness, luck, setbacks, etc, some people are bound to be pushed beyond the fringes of society.  If parents have to beg, their children are beggars too.

2.  What kind of person do you consider yourself?

You think that you have a regular job, you can get on the Internet and therefore you are like the parents with missing children.  In other words, a normal person.  Therefore you don't see a problem when one of your kind demands the beggars to undergo DNA testing on the basis of a photo alone.  One of these days, someone else will think that your land looks just perfect for their future factory/shopping mall and you are forcibly evicted.  How come you get angry?  How come you want to talk about your rights?

3.  Do you think that you have solved any practical problems?

Abductions and human trafficking occur due to market demand.  Who is buying these abducted children?  What are their purposes?  After taking the photos of all child beggars in China and posting them on the Internet, will child trafficking cease?  Will there be no more child abductions?

People become beggars because they need to earn a living.  Who would choose this undignified way of living if they have a choice?  Why can't they find a job?  After registering all the beggars in China and taking down their DNA information, will they get jobs?  Will they live decently and respectably?  Will they improve their living conditions?  Will the adult beggars not give birth to child beggars?

4. What is your world view?

What is your world like?  Full of blooming flowers and sweet chocolates?  Therefore, you don't understand why some people need to have male offspring?  Therefore, you don't understand why some parents would let their own natural born children beg?  Therefore, in order to preserve your perfect world, you are willing to apply some surgical operations on the imperfect real world?  You are willing to take photos and set up databases for the young beggars as if they are criminals?  You are willing to take the young beggars away from their parents and send them off to child welfare institutions?  ... The reason is that because you can get on the Internet and you can have your say -- that is, you are a fucking middle-class person -- but the beggars cannot.  Is this how it is?

What do you want next?  So far, the fist step has been to take street photos and force the beggar parents/children to undergo DNA testing.  The next step will be to carry out illegal punishment of beggar parents and administer the death penalty to child abductors.  The third step is to arrest all beggars and send them off for labor re-education.  The ultimate solution would be to forcibly sterilize all beggars and to execute those beggars over 50 years old on humanitarian grounds.  Yes, congratulations to you!  This is exactly what the Nazis did back then ...

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

Yesterday, the volunteer "Shangguan Justice Boy" received a tip about three suspected abductees were begging in the street.  So he went to East Gate in Luowu (Shenzhen) and liaised with the informant and the police, who "liberated" two males and one female.  The entire process of the liberation was broadcast live via microblog.

Last evening, the Luowu police said that the three street performers were cousins who came from Zhoukou (Henan province) to Shenzhen to earn money.  The police have contacted their families and there is no case of abduction here.

Meanwhile at a shopping plaza next to the Longhua Road Neighborhood Office in Bao'an county, Shenzhen, a citizen Mr. Xie spotted three young street performers as he came out of a supermarket at just past 8pm on February 7.  Mr. Xie thought immediately about the abducted child beggars that are currently the hottest topic on microblog.  So he immediately called 110.

He told the police telephone operator about the situation.  The operator said that the police do not deal with child street performers, for that would be the job of the urban administrators.  "If the police can't even deal with it, what do you expect the urban administrators to do?  If you don't send some police over, I am going to keep calling 110."  As a result, the police came.  At the scene, the police asked Mr. Xie to state the case again.  Then the police, "Fine, you come down to the police station with us."  Mr. Xie got into the police car but the three children remained at the scene.

Down at the police station, Mr. Xie questioned why the children were not taken back there as well.  So the police had to return to the plaza.  But they only took back one 16-year-old girl.  "The other two children were crying and refused to come with us."  Once again, Mr. Xie questioned the police and argued.  So the police went out and brought the other two children back to the station to have their statements taken down.  Mr. Xie stayed at the police station while all this was going on.

Yesterday at around noon, the Bao'an police said that the three children were siblings.  Because the family was poor and could not afford school tuition, they traveled from Zhoukou (Henan) to Shenzhen to beg via street performances.  The police station said that they wanted to send the three back to Zhoukou.  But the three refused and went their own way.

The Bao'an police said that this was the first citizen report about child abductees.  The police officer on duty in Longhua District Number Three Police Station said, "It is a good thing that citizens are caring.  But each year around the Spring Festival, there are beggars at just about every street intersection.  Of course, we will investigate whenever we receive a report.  But the fact is that most of the beggars do so because they are poor.  We are better off calling society to help them so that they don't have to beg."

(Eastday)

Yesterday around noon at the Xujiahui subway station, the police found three male and one female child beggars.  One male child looked around 3 or 4 years old, and the others were around 10 or so years old.  Inside the subway car, they held out plastic containers or empty hands and mumbled to the passengers: "Uncle!  Auntie!  Have pity, have pity!"

The children looked youthful even as their eyes were filled with terror.  They walked between the cars and knelt before the passengers.  They looked at the passengers while shaking the coins in their plastic containers.  According to the subway regulations, it is illegal to beg within the subway system.  So the police took the four children back to their station house.

Back at the station, the police asked the children, "Where are your families?"  All four children took out mobile phones and called their own parents.  Shortly after a boy in a blue jacket made his call, a middle-aged woman showed up.  She said that she spent 20 yuan to buy the mobile phone for her son.  "Call if the police nab you."

Among the four children, the 3-year-old boy had the most number of prior police records.  He had gone on record 13 times already.

Under the <Law to protect minors>, it is forbidden to "coerce, lure or use minors to beg or to participate in performance activities that are detrimental to their physical and/or mental well-being."  Under this regulation, the police should notify the parents/guardians when they come across children beggars; if the parents/guardians cannot be found, the children will sent to the aid station.

At this time, the child beggars found within the subway system can usually summon their parents quickly.  The police can only lecture the parents and then release everyone.  There is no other penalty.  This is the reason why many children show up again and again to beg on subway trains.

On February 8, a photo of a young girl begging on the Line 2 subway was disseminated across microblogs.  The girl was wearing a blue-and-white school uniform.

Yesterday, this girl was founded at the Century Park Station of the Line 2.  She was merely 11 years old.  Her family was with her: there were four adults and three children.

At the Longyang Road Police Station, the police checked their identifications and household registration information.  They confirmed that the seven were direct relatives.  According to the girl, she was still in school.  During the holidays, she was taken to Shanghai by her parents to beg for money.  She was not happy about doing it.

When the police asked the family if they wanted help, the adults unanimously rejected the offer.  One middle-aged woman said that she had already purchased train tickets for the family to go home on February 12.

(Shanghai Daily)

AT 11:30am yesterday, outside a dilapidated house in Hunan Province's Xiangtan City, eight policemen surrounded the building, blocking each exit and waiting to go into action.

Inside were children thought to have been forced into begging by adults who looked more like human traffickers than relatives, according to Zhang Hongfeng.

Zhang, one of the people taking part in a nationwide campaign to rescue child beggars by taking pictures and posting them online, had been following the beggar "family" for days, gathering evidence.

Zhang believed yesterday's raid would free the children he'd photographed from the clutch of human traffickers. But he was mistaken.

There was no resistance when the police confronted adults inside the house. They found three children and one infant, but the children all said that the adults were their relatives.

With the children, the oldest just 8, too young to hold ID cards, the police could find no evidence to prove Zhang's assertion that they were the victims of human traffickers.

A line was drawn under the case when the police admonished the adults to immediately take the children back home to Guizhou.

It was an embarrassing setback.

Despite tens of thousands of people across the country lending their support online and the campaign being widely reported in the media, not a single child has been rescued since it was launched on January 17.

A lack of evidence could be one reason, Zhang wrote in his microblog on t.sina.com. He complained that the police only asked the children whether the adults were their relatives instead of conducting further scientific investigations, such as comparing DNA.

(ifeng.com)


On the morning of February 9, 2011, the "Chance photos to liberate child beggars" Shaanxi website began operations.  Our reporter began an investigation of child beggars on the streets of Xian.  At around noon, our reporter spotted a woman with two children begging on East Main Street.  When the woman saw our reporter take photos, she slammed her iron bowl down on the ground.  The police took these people down to the police station.  Later the police confirmed that the woman was the mother of the two children.


More beggar women and a child being taken away by the police.


Police later established that the child was the daughter of the woman.


Xian police officer removes another beggar child.  Later it was determined that the woman accompanying her was the mother.  Mother and daughter were released.

(Zhejiang Online)  February 9, 2011.

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Research Institute professor Yu Jiangrong established a microblog for "Taking chance photos to save child beggars."  As of February 8, they have found 6 kidnapped children though these photos.  So far more than 1,000 photos have been posted.

According to Professor Yu Jianrong, a Zhuhai city netizen posted a photo of a beggar child on the morning of February 7.  In the afternoon, a parent who had lost a child in Yulin (Shaanxi province) saw the photo and said that this was his child.  On Feburary 8, the Zhuhai police took action and successfully detained the adult who was in charge of the child.  The Shaanxi parent was said to be heading quickly to Zhuhai.

Another happy story?  No.  This is because the Zhejiang Online report is a story that appears in a printed newspaper (Qiantang Wanbao), and real-time developments have gone quicker and farther.

Here are the relevant microblog posts:


(February 7 21:58)  Urgent call for help!!  At this time, the family of a missing child has found that their lost child is in Zhuhai!  I need to travel from Guangzhou to Zhuhai!  I seek a volunteer (with car) to drive overnight to Zhuhai!!  I can pay for gas and toll!! Thanks!!!  Also, anyone who knows the Zhuhai police should contact me!  I beg everybody to forward and help!  Text me if necessary.


(February 8 12:29)  Rushed from Guangzhou to Zhuhai overnight.  Got up at 8am and stationed myself and other volunteers at various points.  The Zhuhai police also watched with photos of the child in hand.  At around 11am, a volunteer spotted the child and the police made a timely rescue.  The human trafficker was arrested.  The Zhuhai police refused to grant media interviews.  At this moment, the media and I are waiting outside the police station.  I welcome media reporting and help to bring the child home.
Please tell me!!  Why won't they let us in?????  Does anyone know?


(February 8 14:06)  One way or the other, we have rescued the child!!  This rescue has given us many new thoughts and ideas!!  At the present, the child is with the police!  The final test results will be based upon my latest microblog posts!!!  I thank everybody for paying attention!!  I am leaving Zhuhai!!


(February 8 19:27)  I regret to say to everybody that the child that we rescued today is probably the son of the man who was with him!  The Zhuhai city public security bureau has issued an official notice!  We remind parents that a child of this age ought to be receiving education and enjoying childhood!  They ought not to be tools for their parents to gain the sympathy of pedestrians!!  I thank everybody for their attention!

Here are the posts at the Zhuhai police microblog:


(February 8 11:53)  The beggar boy in the microblog photo yesterday has been found.  According to information, the child is 5 to 6 years old, he is from Kaili (Guizhou province), he speaks the Miao dialect and does not understand putonghua.  He did not have scars or birthmarks in the indicated parts of the body (of the missing child).  Thus, his conditions do not match the abducted Shaanxi boy Chang Dongdong.  The adult who was begging alongside insisted that this was his own son.  The case is being investigated.


(February 8 19:59)  DNA testing by the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau Testing Center: The boy whose photo was taken in front of the Haijiang Park on February 7 is the natural son of the adult male behind him in the photo.  At the same time, the mother of the child has also been located.  Further testing will be done to determine if she is the mother of the child.


(February 8 23:14)  The latest DNA test results: The mother is the natural mother of the child.

Here is what another microblogger said about this case:


(February 8 12:47)  Someone tipped me that Yu Jianrong has finally achieved some results in his anti-children-abduction campaign.  They said that the mother of this child found her lost son through the microblog.  But the police are saying that it is hard to tell that the two boys are the same on the basis of the photos alone.  I can tell you accurately that they are not the same.  The boy next to the girl has protruding ears, but the beggar boy does not.  Everyone, do you think this is the same child?
[Note: This microblog post appeared before the DNA test results were announced.]


(February 9)  The father and son in this photo only wanted to earn some money for the Chinese New Year.  Instead, they were forced to undergo DNA testing.  You wanted to do something with your child, and you ended up being forced to undergo DNA testing.  What happened to your human rights?  By my calculation, not a single case in the more than 1,700 child-rights-violating photos has been found to be that of an abducted child!  The total number of successes in the anti-abduction campaign is zero.  Instead there were more than 1,700 cases in which the human rights of these children were violated!  Is this justice?
The anti-abduction campaign on microblogs has proven to be a total failure!  It has completely aborted!  Why did it fail?  Because the wrong battlefield was chosen against child abduction!  The major battlefield ought to be in the rural areas, where the abducted children are sold to rural families as adopted children who will take care of their adopted parents in old age.  So how are you going to stop that by taking photos in city streets?  You can't even find any abducted children!  (Nothing has changed as a result of this campaign; only some breeze has blown past.)

Here is what another microblogger said:


(February 9 08:39)  This photo has touched many people.  Peng Gaofeng was able to go through microblogs to find his son Peng Wenle who disappeared three years ago.  I read the story carefully.  It needs to be pointed out that this was not the result of the "Chance photos" campaign.  The Phoenix Weekly reporter Deng Fei had been posting the photo of Peng Wenle on his microblog since 2009 until a Tengzhou student saw it and helped to find the child.  I was very touched after reading it.  This is of a completely different nature than the "chance photos."


(February 9 12:12)  I read the most recent microblog posts by the volunteer photographer "sesehou."  This is a big joke that is a waste of public money as well as an insult to beggars.  An innocent beggar who brought his son along had his photo taken by an irresponsible netizen.  The father and son ended by being taken away by the police for a DNA test.  The result of the DNA test -- the two are father and son.  This is a big joke and a big insult!  This is a violation of human rights!  If I were the father of the child, I would insist on suing these violent microbloggers!


(February 9 12:37)  I was talking about the human rights of a beggar father, but someone tells me that it is a crime to bring a child out to beg.  Away with your mother!  Should the father send the child off to daycare center/kindergarten first before he goes off to beg?  Do you think that you are living in paradise?  Is your brain filled with water?  I only want to say: Why should a natural father-son pair be forced to undergo DNA testing just because a netizen took a photo of them?  After the results came out, they act as if nothing had happened.  Do you know how to respect a living human being?


(February 9 12:59)  Most people are not concerned about the dignity of beggars, even if they are injured, maligned and forced to undergo DNA testing by mistake.  I haven't seen anyone apologize to the father-and-son beggars after finding out about the DNA testing results.  The mother who misidentified the child merely thanked the police, the media and the volunteers.  She showed no regret towards the father-and-son.  The volunteer "sesehou" who took the photo by chance merely said: "I disappointed everybody, right?"  What kind of world is this?

A couple from Anhui and their tour guide who got into a scuffle on Saturday have had charges of fighting in a public place dropped.

The prosecution offered no evidence against Zhang Yong , 40, his wife Chai Huafang , 40, and tour guide Lam Yu-yung, 37, in Kowloon City Court yesterday.

Principal magistrate Josiah Lam Wai-kuen ordered them to be bound over for a year for HK$1,000. They agreed to refrain from the use or threat of violence.

On Saturday, as Lam briefed the group on their itinerary and shopping arrangements on a tour bus parked in San Ma Tau Street in Hung Hom, a dispute erupted among the defendants, the court heard. In the ensuing scuffle between Lam and Zhang, Lam grasped at Zhang's collar, leaving a minor scratch on his neck. Another tour guide, 27, tried to separate them and sustained minor injuries, the court heard.

On the day of the incident, Zhang accused Lam of using discriminatory language and assaulting him and his wife. But on Sunday, he changed his story and said it had been a misunderstanding and the couple had accepted Lam's apology.

Lam left the court wearing sunglasses and a mask yesterday, 2-1/2 hours after proceedings ended. She declined to comment on the case.

Zhang, a civil servant on the mainland, and Chai, a housewife, stayed in a meeting room for 1-1/2 hours before leaving the building. When he saw reporters outside the room, Zhang slammed the door shut, saying: "Don't come in here."

Outside the court, the couple's lawyer, Steven Liu, said: "In their few days in Hong Kong, they've experienced both the good and the bad. With this court appearance - not usually part of a tourist itinerary - they hope the matter has come to an end."

The couple returned to their home in Anhui province yesterday afternoon.

The incident was widely reported on the mainland. In a story headlined, "Tourism scandal", state broadcaster China Central Television said the case brought "shame on Hong Kong's image as a shoppers' paradise".

But here is the real scandal according to Apple Daily's headline story:

 

On Saturday, female tour guide Ah Yung was accused for calling tourists dogs because they were not shopping.  The Zhang couple retorted and a brawl ensued.  The parties were arrested by the police.

According to information, the Zhang couple had their statements taken down at the police station until 3am.  The tourism agency Good Friendship arranged for them to "negotiate" at the hotel.  They couldn't reach an agreement at first.  According to information, dissatisfaction with the compensation led to threats of public airing of more problems about the tourism agency.  In the end, Good Friendship paid HKD 120,000 to the Zhang couple.  Mr. Zhang signed a receipt which stated that the agency voluntarily paid the compensation and did not stipulate about any testimony by Mr. Zhang.

The Zhang family was upgraded to a better hotel as well as provided a free tour of Disneyland.  Other members of that tour group were similarly upgraded.  Our reporter interviewed Mr. Zhang later that day and observed that his attitude had changed by 180 degrees.  He was no longer blaming Ah Yung.  He said: "There was a misunderstanding with the tour guide over some words.  I am satisfied with the apology from the tour guide and the service provided by the agency."

According to information, Mr. Zhang had started to cause trouble from the first day.  He began with a quarrel with the Immigration Department officials.  Then he threatened to call the police because he was not happy with the service.

In a previous case of mainland Chinese tourists reversing their charges, 65-year-old Chinese table tennis veteran Chen You-ming died suddenly after refusing to shop during a trip.  His family came from Hunan and cried to seek justice.  But they suddenly left Hong Kong without any further word.  According to rumors within the industry, the family received about HKD 500,000 in gag fees and promptly forgot about seeking justice for their late relative.

In mainland China, there have been instances of troublemakers extorting better services or even money from tour agencies.  There is no evidence that Mr. Zhang is such a person.  But tour agencies are willing to pay gag fees because a complaint may result in the suspension of their operating permits which would lead to losses of tens of millions per month.  This situation is bound to draw more troublemakers to come.

(Apple Daily)

More news is coming out.  Zhang Yong was the one who kicked off the negotiations with Good Friendship with this demand: "My family of five came here for leisure.  Things have reached this stage instead.  You give us HKD 140,000 each."

With respect to the demand of HKD 700,000 in total, Good Friendship tried to negotiate.  Zhang Yong who worked in the court system in China used his legal knowledge and produced a list of standard compensation in mainland China.  An informed source said: "He said that if a driver hits someone, he has to pay XXX; if someone assaults and injures someone else, he has to pay YYY.  He was very clear.  He also insisted on the same amount for each person in his family.  But Good Friendship considered the Zhang family to be a single "unit."  After seesawing for several hours, Good Friendship raised the compensation to HKD 120,000 and a deal was struck.  In addition, the Zhang family received non-monetary compensation in the form of hotel upgrades and Disneyland tour.

(The Standard)  February 11, 2011.

The saga of the brawl between a mainland couple and a tour guide took another twist yesterday when the travel agency quoted the guide as saying she was hit first.  The Anhui couple and the guide were arrested after the fracas on February 5, but the charge of fighting in a public place was dropped after they agreed to be bound over for 12 months in the sum of HK$1,000.

Kwok Wai-ming, manager of Good Friendship agency which handled the tour, told a radio program that the husband, Zhang Yong, had hit the guide Lam Yu-yung in the face before she retaliated. This contradicted statements by Zhang and his wife, Chai Huafang, who accused the guide of forcing them to shop and hitting and berating them.

Kwok said Lam assured him she did not hit any one. "The other tourists were getting off the coach," Kwok said. "I heard that the guest went from the back of the coach to the front to hit the tour guide. This is what I heard from the guide." He also read out in the Commercial Radio program a statement from Lam in which she said " [Zhang] walked toward me and hit the right side of my face. After the beating, I could not stand it anymore. So I had to grab his head and his collar. But I did not hit him."  According to Kwok, Zhang also uttered to Lam a Chinese phrase "gou ji tiao qiang" - meaning a dog would do anything if cornered. Lam reportedly retorted by asking who was the dog.

Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators Association chairman Simon Hau Suk-kei, who was also at the phone-in show, said Zhang had been rude to the guide the night before the brawl.

The following day, Zhang showed reporters a red scratch on his neck, saying Lam had hit him.  Several other members of the group accused Lam of insulting them and calling them "dogs."   But Kwok said the Zhangs insulted Lam first. Zhang, who has returned to Anhui, has refused interviews by the media.

In the radio program, Kwok hinted he had compensated the Zhangs for what happened.  "If our guests want us to make compensation we have no choice. If we don't, the matter will by no means be resolved. The TIC [Travel Industry Council] will call us and say, 'Mr Kwok, please settle the problem.' Then we are forced to make, however unreasonable, compensation in order for the matter to be resolved," he said.   But he denied the compensation amounted to HK$120,000, adding that reports the Zhangs had asked for HK$700,000 were pure speculation.

"Think about it. They had five members in the family. If they asked us to pay more than HK$100,000, it's HK$20,000 to HK$30,000 per person. In some group tours, if there are problems, compensation is often made by tour agencies but the amount would only be equivalent to the tour price," he said.


Headline: 1.96 million couples got divorced in China last year, Sichuan, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces led the way
Second paragraph: According to the statistics provided by the Financial Planning Department of the Civil Affairs Bureau as of the fourth quarter of 2010, 1.205 couples registered to get married while 1.961 couples registered to get divorced ...

When the number of divorces exceed the number of marriages, is China going to become a land of singles and divorcees soon?  But before you run off to write your socio-demographic analysis, you should try to check the data source (the Ministry of Civil Affairs)


9. Social matters
- Registered to marry: 12,050,000 couples
- Registered to divorce: 1,961,000 couples

In China, large statistics are usually reported in multiples of 10,000 ("").  Thus, 1205 means 1205 x 10,000 = 12,050,000; 196.1 means 196.1 x 10,000 = 1,961,000.  The reporter here inserted an extra decimal point and turned 1205 into 120.5.  A sensationalistic but erroneous report was the result.

Still, this is not as bad as this other case (via Language Log):

First thing:

At 13:35, Feburary 2, 2011, Mr. Ming wrote at Fanfou:

I just called 10086. The customer service girl asked me how she can help me.  I told her: "Nothing.  I only wanted to say Happy New Year to you."  I could tell that the customer service girl was almost ready to cry.

I forwarded this Fanfou post to Twitter and Weibo.  Very quickly, I received a series of condemnations.  Although I noted clearly that I was only forwarding what Mr. Ming wrote, these criticisms were directed at me.  They said that my actions were meaningless and futile, and merely added to the workload of the customer service people.  Someone bluntly said that such calls will jam up the telephone lines.  Why not send them 'red envelops' directly?  Some professional person even said that such calls decrease the "completion rates" for the customer service people and thus reduce their monthly pay which is based upon performance.

Is that so?

Over the next few days, I received more than 700 replies.  Several dozens came from front-line customer service people, including more than a dozen from 10086 workrs.  They expressed their gratitude; they were happy that some people still remember them during the holidays.  One of them said that she personally got such a call while on duty and she was deeply touched.  None of them discussed "completion rates" with me; none of them complained about the increased work load; they were all happy because someone remembered that they had to work overtime during the holidays.

Second thing:

During the Chinese New Year of 2010, I recommended a video titled: <The journey of Cai Ying-mei>.

This was the story of an ordinary Taiwanese mother who traveled several thousand miles overseas to visit her daughter.  The advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather used this true story to make a television commercial for the Ta Chong Bank of Taiwan.  At Weibo, the video was forwarded several tens of thousands of times.  At the time, many people asked me: What kind of trashy commercial is this?  What has this got to the do with the business activities of the Ta Chong Bank?  Who is going to remember the Ta Chong Bank as a result of seeing this video?  What is the point of spending so much money to make this commercial?

On the second day of the Chinese New Year in 2011, the Ta Chong Bank released another commercial titled: <Why do people live?  -- Dream riders>. 

 

This is another true story about several ordinary 81-year-old men traveling around Taiwan on motorcycles.  A netizen friend SoPhia Pan Ming told me:

This is based upon a true story coming from the Taiwan Hong Tao Senior Citizens Welfare Foundation.  This NGO specializes in helping senior citizens to carry out their final wishes which are otherwise impossible to accomplish.  During the period when the commercial aired, two of the old men passed away.  The photo of the late wife in her youth was placed in the front of the motorcycle and they carried the photos of their late friends on their backs, as they sped towards the sea and the red sun.  Heroes never grow old.

This year, this commercial was just as hot as netizens began to discuss Ogilvy & Mather and the Ta Chong Bank.

What is the point about doing this?  What is the point of sending Chinese New Year greetings to the 10086 customer service representatives?  It is to express your good will, it is to let them feel that some people care about them.  That is the point.  This cannot be attained by bonuses and KPI (Key Performance Indicators).  At least, they didn't write me because of their bonuses and KPI.  What is the point about these exquisite commercials from Ogilvy & Mather?  There are no drawings for prizes, no hard sell and no corporate feel-good image placement.  So what is the point?  Well, this bank is insisting on telling us a wonderful human story on the second day of the Chinese New Year.  That is all there is.  I have zero business dealings with this particular bank before or (most likely) after, but I now have an appreciation and trust in this bank that goes beyond any business dealings.  The bank told me these stories, and I approve of the ideas related to human lives in these stories.  I agree with the values that are being communicated and affirmed.

When someone thinks that anything without material payout is meaningless, that person is no different from a tadpole, right?  He lives from dawn to night, always calculating the gains and losses on all his actions.  Any payout has to be immediately realized.  Like a skit by Zhao Benshan or a movie segment by Feng Xiaogang, the laughter and applause have to appear instantaneously.  As for me, I intend to live many more years in this world.  So I elect to make a few phone calls that have no payouts.  Like the Ta Chong Bank, I will wait for the second day of the Chinese New Year next year, the year after, the year after the year after ... and I think somebody will eventually get the point.

Bonus:  Ta Chong Bank commercial entitled: Principal Ma's Choir

 


During the spring, abortions at the shopping malls grew by 10% compared to same period last year

... At the 12 shopping malls owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties, the number of abortions is predicted to reach 6.9 million, which is more than 16% higher than the same period last year.  Total sales is predicted to reach HKD 140 million, which is 18% more than the same period last year. At the shopping mall in Kwun Tong alone, the number of abortions on the first three days of the year reached 1.4 million, more than 16% higher than the same period last year.

... The spokesperson for Times Square said that the number of abortions went up by 10% compared to the same period last year.  The highest single day total was 190,000.  The spokesperson for the Shatin New Town Plaza predicted the number of abortions and the total scales to rise 12% and 15% compared to the same period last year.

WTF!

But here is the same story in Ming Pao:


Sun Hung Kai Properties issued a press release to say that the booming economy has raised sales at their eight shopping malls during the Chinese New Year period.  Between January 29 and February 6, the number of visitors was 6.9 million, which was 24% higher than the same period last year.  Sales reached HKD 288 million, which was 30% higher than the same period last year.  She said that the eight Sun Hung Kai Properties spent HKD 17.8 million on promotions during the period, 19% more than the same period last year.

So what happened was that the Sun Hung Kai Properties spokeswoman was giving out statistics about "人流" which is understood to mean "human traffic flow" in the context of shopping malls.  The Tai Kung Pao reporter/editor took "人流" to mean something completely different: "the artificial inducement of miscarriage."  This is quite ridiculous and points to problems with the writing/editing/proofing/supervising procedures over at that newspaper.  For example, they may be automatically replacing the occurrence of the mainland Chinese term for abortion "人流" (which also means human traffic flow) with the Hong Kong term for abortion "墮胎" everywhere.  And nobody bothered to read the final product.  In any case, it will remain a regular joke for a long time to come.


Oriental Daily
The Copy of Ah Zhen:
She said that the mainland Chinese tourists were dogs


Apple Daly
Even meaner than Ah Zhen
Female tourist guide assaults mainland Chinese tourists


Sing Pao
Refuse to purchase at jewelry shop; cursed out as poor people and dogs
Mainland Chinese tourists/tour guide slugfest

(Headline News)

At around 11am on February 4, a mainland Chinese group of travelers from Anhui province were taken to a jewelry store in To Kwu Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong.  Members of the tourist groups said that the female tourist guide was unable about certain tourists not making any purchases and got into an argument in which physical tussling took place.  According to one female tourist, someone used obscene language to curse them out.  They were told that they were too poor, that they were going to unhappy for the next few days as well as the rest of the year.

The 37-year-old tour guide named Lam and a 27-year-old female named Chen were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.  A 40-year-old male tourist named Zhang claimed to have been scratched on his chest but he declined treatment.  He and his wife were taken down to the police station to have their statements taken down.

 

 

[ESWN comment: In the case of the infamous "Ah Zhen," a tourist used a mobile telephone camera to record her tirade.  So it was a closed case because what she said went beyond civilized boundaries.  In the present case, there was no video.  In China, they say: "No photos, no truth."  So we are left with a lot of hearsays.]

(Oriental Daily)  Purported sayings of this tourist guide.

"You are going to unhappy the next few days.  You are going to be unhappy the entire year!"

"You are dogs.  What are you going to do if I say this?  ... when a dog panics, it can leap over the wall."

"If you don't buy anything, you aren't going to go back to Shenzhen."

"You live and eat expensively.  So how can you not make some purchases?"

"The previous tourists from Anhui were ill-mannered."

(Apple Daily)  How Tourist Guide Ah Yong Butchers Mainland Tourists.

According to information, there are 5,000 tourist guides in Hong Kong but only 200 deserve the title of "butcher" when it comes to forcing tourists to make purchases and thus earn commission.  Last year, a mainland Chinese netizen came on a tour in Hong Kong and wrote up about Ah Yong.  According to that report, Ah Yong forced the tourists to spend two hours at a jewelry store.  The netizen sat on the side but Ah Yong scolded him: "You don't get me face!  You havce to buy something."

The netizen said that when Ah Yong took them to another shop, she threatened them with not providing room and board.  She demanded that the tourists spend HKD 2,500 per person. "It was just like Li Ah Zhen except that she was even worse."

All this interest leads to questions about how pervasive is this evil practice.  The most renowned investigative report was published in 2004 about a certain village in Anhui province.  Here is the translation of this Information Times report.

On January 9, 2004 we published the report: <Female child used to beg in streets>.  The fate of Xiao Xuanxuan drew a lot of reader attention.  During our investigation, we found almost 30 physically handicapped child beggars around Beijing Road, Zhongshan Number Four Road and Zhongshan Number Five Road who all came from Gongxiao village and Wangda village in Taihuo county, Fuyang city, Anhui province.  Why is that place so prolific in producing physically handicapped children?

In order to sort out the reasons, our reporter traveled there ...  On January 11, 2004, our reporter got to Taihuo county, Fuyang city, Anhui province.  At the taxi stand, our reporter said that he wanted to go to Gongxiao village.  A driver rushed over and said: "Gongxiao?  The village of cripples?  I know it well.  There are no buses going there.  You hire my car and the roundtrip will take five hours.  This is the Spring Festival. I won't charge you too much.  300 yuan will do."  After some bargaining back and forth, our reporter got into the taxi driven by this man who also happened to be named Gong.

As soon as our reporter got in, the taxi driver began to talk.  He said: "Gongxiao village has plenty of cripples.  Each year, they move out in groups and then they return in groups."  "Why are there so many cripples in that village?  Do they inter-marry among themselves too often?"  Our reporter asked.  The driver replied: "The cripples don't come from the village.  They are either bought or rented.  When they go outside with the cripples, they say that these are their children.  But everybody knows that these are not their children.  It is very common to take crippled children to beg in the big cities.  The greater the physical handicap, the more money made.  The fact that Gongxiao villagers have crippled child beggars is known not just in Gongji town, but all around Taihuo county."

How were the cripples bought or sold?  The driver said that he wasn't sure because this was a "commercial secret."  But he knew that it was possible to become rich this way.  In the last seven or eight years, Gongxiao village has become a wealthy village within the township ...

... It was around 6pm when our reporter got to the village ... he saw that the people entering the village were dressed fashionably -- the men wore western jackets with fur coats and the girls wore brand name down jackets and high-heeled leather boots.  This seemed incongruous with the motor tricycles that they came in on.

Just then another tricycle came and people began to unload the 75cm color television set down.  The reporter went up and asked: "This is a remote village.  Are you sure that you can get clear reception."  One of the persons glanced at the reporter and said contemptuously: "The entire village is hooked up to cable television."

In Gongxiao village, an old man named Wang told our reporter about some inside information:

He said that Gongxiao village is known as a village of cripples, because its wealth was created by the cripples.  These crippled children are their money-makers.  When things go well, a child can earn several tens of thousands of yuan.  In the beginning, they search for crippled children in the village, then they expand to the entire province, and now they are all over the nation -- Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Gansu, Shaanxi ... the more impoverished places the better the chances.  What parent would give away their child?  Old Man Wang said that a physically handicapped child is a burden to a peasant family and they couldn't wait to get rid of the child.  Sometimes, the parents don't want to give the child away.  So they hired their child out as a worker -- the child is given room and board and even remits some money back home.  Nowadays, these recruiters of "crippled children" are often well-dressed and show up with briefcases and forged letters of introduction to the Association of Physically Handicapped Persons to obtain the lists of physically handicapped children ...

The police in Gongji town are vexed by these business people.  In Gongxiao village, people vie for the more productive cripples.  If someone's cripple makes a lot of money, someone might seek out the family and pay double the rental fee.  When a "transfer" occurs, the old and new renters may come to blows.  The police have to deal with these clashes which frequently end in physical injuries.

According to information, there are two ways to find physically handicapped children.  One way is to rent them with both sides signing a rental agreement.  A deposit is paid up front.  The price varies: if your hand is crippled, the price is lower at 2,000 yuan per year; if your foot is crippled, the price is higher at 3,000 to 4,000 yuan per year.  Generally speaking, the greater the physical handicap, the higher the price; the greater the deformity, the higher the price.  This is because the greater the sympathy evoked, the more people are likely to donate.

The other way is to buy a child outright.  This is more expensive.  You can take the child away for 6,000 to 7,000 yuan and you make your money back gradually.  But this is seldom done.  As the children grow older, they are harder to deal with: First, he may go on strike and refuse to work; if his handler beats him, he will call the police, say that this is not his parent, claim physical abuse and kidnapping!  Therefore, they will typically rent for a certain time.  If the child is any good, he can then go on his own.

According to a local resident named Gong, the people who lead cripples outside to beg don't necessarily abandon their farming activities.  Each year, they come back during harvest time and they hire people to reap the corn and soya beans.  They plant the maize and they go out again with their cripples.  They don't tend to the fields themselves but they hire people to look after them at 25 yuan per mu of land (and 35 yuan to harvest the crop).  Ordinarily the husband and the wife take one crippled child each and they make 30,000 yuan per year.  This is a lot better than farming which will only bring about 4,000 yuan per year.  Therefore, many Gongxiao villagers don't farm anymore because they are much better off taking crippled children out to beg.   But this does not mean that they have it easy.  They have to pay money up front to the parents of the crippled children; they have to take several of them; if something happens (such as a child dying), they have to pay the parents.  But most of the time, they will make money.  Why else would so many people become wealth? ...

... On the morning of December 25, 2010, Zhejiang province Wenzhou City Yueqing City Puqi Town Zhaiqiao Village former village director Qian Yunhui died after being hit by a construction truck.  Afterwards several hundred villagers clashed with the police.

At around 12:50 on December 25, a netizen with nickname "The Government Is Openly Killing People" posted at the local "Yueqing office workers forum" under the title: "(Zhejiang) a suffering Puqi village director, a good village director who served his people was murdered this morning."  He claimed: "The deceased is the director of Zhaiqiao village.  At the time, someone asked him to go out.  Five SWAT police officers held him down on the ground where he was crushed by a vehicle.  I will be posting the photos soon.  It was a case of government officials commanding a murder, but now it has been turned into a traffic accident."  This post appeared later at the Tianya Forum.  One hour later, it was also cross-posted at the local Wenzhou website "703804."

At around 8:40 on December 26, the Tencent QQ chat service which has several hundreds of millions of users began to pop out a news story titled <A Zhejiang Yueqing village mayor died in a collision, rumored that he was held down by five persons to be run over>.  The content of the news story was basically the same as that in the aforementioned post.  The Qian Yunhui affair was quickly disseminated and gained popularity.  Within one or two days, it became a red-hot popular discussion topic.

The Yueqing police conducted an investigation and determined that this was a traffic incident.  They announced the finding on the Yueqing government website.  But more netizens believed that it was murder.  Between December 27 and 29, the Yueqing city public security bureau and the Wenzhou city public security bureau conducted three careful investigations.  They excluded the possibility of murder and defined the matter as a traffic incident.  Many netizens came to Yueqing to Puqi town, Yueqing city and conducted their own investigations, but they were unable to conclude that this was murder.  However, there continued to be doubts on the Internet.

The "murder theory" on the Internet had two "eyewitnesses."  One of them is Zhaiqiao villager Qian Chengyu and the other is Huang Diyan, a villager in a neighboring village.  According to the rumors, Qian Chengyu personally witnessed four persons holding Qian Yunhui down on the ground and ran over.  In the subsequent investigation, Qian Chengyu said that he only saw four persons about 14 to 15 meters away.  He never said that Qian Yunhui was held down and ran over.  The investigation showed that the four persons were Yueqing Security Service Company security guards who were guarding the cable construction site nearby.  They had come over after hearing the noise.  As for Huang Diyan, she later admitted that someone convinced her to claim to be an eyewitness when she was in fact not at the scene.

The Qian Yunhui case was heard in a Yueqing court on February 1, 2011.  The Yueqing People's Court sentenced the driver Fei Liangyu to 42 months in prison for causing a traffic incident.

At around 19:30 on December 6, 2010, it was rumored on the Internet that the master of martial arts novels Jin Yong had passed away.  From 20:00 on, the rumors quickly disseminated over the microblogs.  By 20:30, the "death of Jin Yong" had been forwarded several tens of thousands of times.  At 20:40, the rumor was dispelled.  Nevertheless many netizens continued to "pay condolences" to Mr. Jin Yong.

The renowned web editor Ying Jianjun told our reporter that "acts of Internet violence" such as human flesh search, Internet insults, Internet spoofs and so on are become more and more vicious because of the difficulty in holding the instigator to account.  In the name of justice, people pass moral judgment, infringe on other people's freedom of expression, smear their reputations, invade their privacy, etc.  At the same time, this also damages the public interest.  Within this "culture of hooliganism," someone leads the way to detonate a topic and countless numbers of blind followers rush in.  The result is a situation in which public opinion becomes misdirected.

In October 2009, an Internet post: "Hebei Rongcheng 'AIDS girl' had sex with 279 'patrons'" rapidly became popular in Chinese and overseas web forums.  The post published the telephone numbers of more than 200 people "who had sexual contact with the AIDS girl."  On the morning of October 18, the "AIDS girl" named Yan voluntarily went to the Rongcheng Centre for Disease COntrol and asked to be tested for HIV.  The centre tested two samples and found both of them to be HIV-negative.

On October 21, 2009, the Rongcheng police went to Beijing to arrest the propagator of the AIDS girl story Yang Yong.  They charged him with libel.  According to the police, Yan met Yang Yong in Beijing in March 2008.  The two moved in together.  During this period, Yang Yong took nude photos of Yan as well as videos of sexual intercourse between the two of them.  In June 2009, Yan asked to separate but Yang disagreed.  In late August 2009, Yang Yong set up a Sina.com blog and a QQ space in Yan's name.  He also uploaded photos and texts to say that Yan now has AIDS, that she was raped by her stepfather, etc.  Yang also posted Yan's mobile phone number as well as the telephone numbers of more than 200 persons alleged to be 'patrons' of Yan.  Later he also uploaded sex videos.  In 2010, the Rongcheng People's Court sentenced Yang Yong to three years in prison for insulting/smearing others.

In July 14, 2010, the "Future Star" brand manager An Yong and the Bosse PR Consultancy met to discuss how to launch an assault on the competitive brand "QQ Star Infant Milk."  They decided on an Internet campaign which included: hiring Internet writers to create posts that will appear in almost one hundred different forums; pay popular bloggers to write posts; pay websites to put these posts as recommendations and "most popular"; pose as parents and pregnant mothers to discuss and forward these posts.  The budget for this campaign was set at 280,000 yuan.  According to these posts, "deep sea fish oil" is even worse than "recycled cooking oil" and warned people to be careful about consuming "deep sea fish oil" because the children could develop premature sexual characteristics, etc.  For this reason, products such as "QQ Star Infant Milk" which contains "deep sea fish oil" should be boycotted.  This campaign went on for one month.  The most popular posts in this lot was viewed more than 200,000 times.  The exposure of this incident made netizens more aware of how the hired "Internet navy" can control public opinion and turn wrong into right.

According to Beijing City Public Security Bureau Network Security Protection Office Network Management Office deputy director Zhang Jun, they have found during the course of their investigations that as many as 50% of the posts at some of the larger Internet forums were artificial "hypes."  The so-called "hot posts" and "excellent posts" are seldom spontaneously written and commented upon.  Instead, they almost always have "Internet promoters" actively pushing them behind the scene.

Internet media experts say that many netizens were often led by these malicious Internet promoters to ignore the truth and form unreasonable opinions instead.  As a result, Internet public opinion is becoming further and further away from the truth.

"My dad is Li Gang" was hyped up on the Internet.  A netizen then disclosed that Li Gang owns five houses in Baoding city.  The first one is at Baoding city Nanshi district Mediterranean Villas third section unit D01; the second one is at Diamond Gala Garden in Nanshi district; the third one is at Gelingmantou on Northern Sunshine Street; the fourth one is a 80-square-meter commercial shop at number 357 Gingko Road, Gaoxin District, Baoding City; the fifth is a commercial space on the eighth floor of the Bank of China building at number 59, Chaoyang Road, Baoding City.  The Baoding city public security bureau disciplinary committee and the Baoding city Communist Party disciplinary committee sent a joint investigation team to check these five locations.  They found the Internet information to be inaccurate.  Three of the units were owned by other persons.  The highest street number on Gingko Road is 285, so number 357 doesn't exist; the Bank of China said that the eighth floor of their building is their own office space which has never been rented out or sold.

In late 2010, someone on the Internet said that "a lawyer has disclosed that the Heibei University traffic incident has been settled" and "Li Qiming was sentenced to 3 years in prison served at home."  The Baoding City Public Security Bureau Political Department deputy director Guo Lei said that the case was a criminal case in which the procuratorate has filed charges.  As a result, there is no such thing as a settlement.  It may be that Li Qiming's representative has reached a civil settlement with the family of the victim.  But Li Qiming will still have to face a court trial because he was suspected of breaking the law.  According to the police, Li Qiming was still in detention awaiting trial.  On January 26, the case was heard in the Wangdu county People's Court.  On January 30, the court sentenced Li Qiming to six years in prison.

According to Shanghai City Public Security Bureau Network Security Protection Division captain Chen Chao: "Some people have the erroneous belief that you can do anything you want on the Internet.  They neglect to find out what can and what cannot be done.  All these harmful things on the Internet will eventually create genuine social damage."

China Ethnic University School of Journalism and Communication professor Zhang Zhi said that anyone who spreads false information has legal responsibility regardless of the result.  The Internet service providers also have legal responsibility because they provided service to spread the false information.  All of these will depend on more precise and workable legal clarifications ...

On Chinese New Year Day, Chinese National Academy of Arts scholar Wu Zuolai publicly accused <Chongqing Daily News> of fabricating a news report in which Wu was used to "promote 'redness' and attack 'blackness'." 

On Feburary 3, <Chongqing Daily News> published the report entitled <In 2010, renowned experts praise Chongqing: very modern, very friendly>.  The report quoted Wu Zuolai as saying: "The red songs are an inexhaustible source of spiritual food, an infinite source of inspiration.  The Chongqing City Party/Government unearths and mobilizes this spiritual strength."  Many other scholars besides Wu Zuolai were also cited.

On that evening, Wu Zuolai posted on his microblog to the effect that he never said those words cited in that report: "This is a total fraud.  Will the Chongqing City Communist Party Publicity Department please verify!"  He also said wistfully: "Chongqing media, you can lie like this!!!"

According to Wu Zuolai, this was the third time that the Chongqing media have made up fake information about him.  He provided links to the previous two occasions, but they both refer to the same August 27, 2010 article entitled <"Sing, read, talk, spread" brings out the unique urban spirit of Chongqing>.  Wu Zuolia also mentioned another forged interview about Qinghai.  He wrote angrily: "What do you call this?  Why are you picking on me?  Who is going to help me to file a lawsuit?"

Early February 4, Wu Zuolai posted another microblog post.  He said that he has received a letter of apology from someone identifying himself as a <Chongqing Daily News> reporter who said that he was young, inexperienced and didn't know better.

Responding to netizen comments, Wu Zuolai said that he has never visited Chongqing in his life and he has had no contact with any Chongqing media.  "I have not met any Chongqing government/party officials.  I have never personally gone there to listen to the 'red songs.'  I have no idea what they are."  He solemnly stated: "I don't care who sings the red songs.  But I feel bad about the singing of the red songs.  The era of the red songs was a time when our nation suffered terribly under the cult of personality and impoverished livelihood.  I don't support the singing of the red songs.  Please do no use my name to support the red songs."

Finally Wu Zuolai said sarcastically: "They have done this time and again.  Where do they find the courage?  This must be a miraculous feat in the annals of journalism."  He wrote: "Chongqing wants to go after fake news.  Let us see what they do about this!"

In recent months, the space for free speech has shrunken in China.  Going after "fake news" is one of the most effective means of suppressing free speech.  The <Chengdu Commercial News> reporter Long Can was ousted for reporting on the "Fudan Huangshan gate."  More recently, the <Read History> editor Ma Lan was fired because of "false reporting" on the treatment of veteran soldiers.  Also, renowned commentator Chang Ping was "resigned" from the <Southern Daily> group.  In December last year, the Chongqing government conducted a special educational/mobilization meeting to "enhance journalistic ethics" with a resolute demand to "severely deal with fabricating, editing and hyping up fake news."

The spreading of "My dad is Li Gang" is undoubtedly a joint victory for "group-gazing" in the microblog era and the relentless investigation by traditional media.

Revolving around the phrase "My dad is Li Gang," netizens used their imagination to create sayings, photographs, music, etc to highlight the dramatic nature while expressing their strong dissatisfaction against the children of senior government officials.

The dissemination of these messages also bears the special characteristics of the microblog era.  That is to say, anything that matches current social sentiments will spread out faster; anything that is easier to turn into a symbol/icon will spread out faster; conversely anything that is too complex won't spread out easily.  Therefore, in our microblog age, we need symbolization, conceptualization, signification.  Conversely, anything that is complex needs to be reduced down to symbols, concepts and signs.

In the Yihuang incident, the dissemination depended on the two concepts of "the defense of the restroom" and "the uninterrupted telephone communication" provided by the reporter Deng Fei and others, as well as the long-range photo of a desperate Zhong Jiuyu looking out of the bus window as taken by the reporter Liu Chang.  These are the pieces that lead to successful dissemination.

Awesome government official sayings such as "Do you speak for the people?  Or the Party?" also have the required features for dissemination.  Such was the case for "My dad is Li Gang," which was taken out of a complex traffic incident to become a "symbolization" of the special privileges of the children of senior government officials.  To date, almost all of the reporting by traditional Chinese media is premised upon this phrase which was selected out by Internet users.  But it is questionable whether there is a sound basis.

The reason why I am concerned is that I found that there are actually many versions of news reporting about "My dad is Li Gang."  There is no consensus as to which version is closer to the truth.

I must stipulate that I raise these concerns not because I object to watchdog journalism as exemplified in this incident.  Rather I want to remind people that the traditional media have an obligation to report accurately instead of just echoing Internet opinions.  Traditional media need to be cool, neutral and incisive, so as to bring out the best of Internet information and to correct for the erroneous and/or irrational parts of Internet information.

Let us look at the various versions.

Yanzhao Metropolis Daily, Beijing News, China News and other media reported: The driver was a young male.  After being asked to get out of the car by the security guards and students, he showed no remorse.  Many students present at the scene testified that they heard this man yell aloud: "Sue me if you can ... My dad is Li Gang."  The Internet discussion mainly followed this version, because it suited Internet sentiments.

But the investigation by reporter Wang Keqin turned up a different version.  In Wang's version, there was no "Sue me if you can."  There was only "See if you scrape my car ... my dad is Li Gang."  Wang Keqing wrote: Several eyewitnesses said the driver was very "arrogant," he "reeked of alcohol" as he got out of the car and he even "joked with the security guards."  A student asked him: "How can you be so calm after hitting people?"  "What business is this to you?"  The driver replied.  The driver even said: "See if you scrape my car ... my dad is Li Gang."  This version is not as powerful as the original version about the "evil young lord."

Among such reports, Southern People Weekly took a more sober approach: "Under what circumstances did Li Qiming say 'My dad is Li Gang'?  Did he arrogantly threaten those present? Was he seeking help from someone?  Or was it an instinctive response out of fear?  In order to answer these questions, it may be necessary to see the surveillance videos.  Yet the university has not revealed the videos ..."  Unfortunately, Southern People Weekly did not pursue this aspect any further.

The commentator Xiao Shu was more rational and incisive than most news reporters.  He wrote: "Did Li Qiming actually say 'My dad is Li Gang' or not?  If yes, then what were the circumstances?  Did the female victim named Zhang decline to speak out because of certain interests involved?  Many of the crucial details are still hidden under a fog.  As a result, rumors abound.  Crass moral judgments based upon these rumors therefore had a good market."

Did the media miss something about the circumstances under which Li Qiming said this phrase?  According to the most broadly circulated version, Li Qiming uttered it in a very arrogant way.  But the photo of Li Qiming sitting in the car showed him to look frightened and worried.

The principal responsibility for causing these doubts must surely lie with Hebei University.  The Hebei public security apparatus must also bear the responsibility with respect to the father Li Gang.  They are suffering the consequences of their self-imposed silence.  But from the viewpoint of journalistic professionalism, it is wrong to blame everything on the powers-that-be.  Even though the space is limited, journalists still have some likelihood to get closer to the truth.

In discussing the case, the Southern Weekend editorial department thought that they should not be merely interviewing the family members of the victims and the few eyewitnesses like most other media were doing.  Li Gang, Li Qiming (who was being held in the detention center), the fellow students and teachers of Li Qiming, the Hebei University, etc should all be interviewed in order to understand why this son of a senior government official said this phrase.  Southern Weekend reporter Cheng Ming and many interns were unable to interview Li Gang, Li Qiming or Hebei University.  But they were able to interview Li Qiming's fellow university students, his university teachers, his high school teachers and certain Hebei University teachers.

Li Qiming's fellow student at the Hebei School of Journalism provided a defense: After hitting the pedestrians, Li Qiming recognized a security department head and asked for help: "Uncle, my dad is Li Gang."  "The unauthorized security guards wanted to take a blood sample (to test for alcohol levels) and he got really scared!"  Hebei University associate professor Peng Huanping also thought that the phrase was distorted: "There is a completely different effect depending on whether you add 'Uncle' in front."

Li Qiming's fellow university student Wei Sheng said that the Li Qiming was not the "evil young lord" according to Internet public opinion.  Wei Sheng siad that Li Qiming never mentioned his background to his fellow students and he was friendly.  For example, he said that he himself was a poor student who had to go out to buy cakes at night for food.  One cold night, Li Qiming saw that Wei Sheng was inadequately dress and he took off his own jacket for Wei to wear.

A fellow university student named Wang complained to the Southern Weekend reporter: "Someone is dead and Li Qiming must be held responsible.  But the problem is that the case should not be expanded to the whole matter about children of senior government officials, social responsibility, social phenomena, even entertainment.  After this incident took place, no media came to interview those people around Li Qiming.  They did not try to understand what kind person he is.  At present, Southern Weekend can be counted as having done so."  Wang and Li were both with the class of 2008 majoring in radio hosting at the Hebei School of Journalism.

Internet opinion also displayed its irrational aspects.  The high school teacher Wang Qiang taught history to Li Qiming in the third year of high school.  Because he once added Li Qiming as a friend in his personal blog, Wang was found out by netizens and he received a number of threats against his personal safety.

Mainstream Internet opinion even imposes an invisible pressure so that communicators will filter out information that may displease netizens.

The investigation by reporter Chen Ming revealed certain unknown aspects about Li Qiming.  But he was worried that if he published these, he will be pilloried by netizens and subjected to "human flesh search."  The News Department Manager Guo Guangdong believed that traditional media must provide more diverse, objective information precisely under such circumstances.  As an editor myself, I strongly support Guo's viewpoint.  Because Li Gang and his son were not cooperating, Chen Ming could not really describe the specific circumstances under which Li Qiming said "My dad is Li Gang."  But at the very least, he was was able to cover both sides of the story and let the public come closer to the truth.  Regrettably, Chen's report was never published because of orders from above about coverage of the story in general.

But Chen Ming has shown that a responsible media worker can get close to the truth of the "My dad is Li Gang" case.  Chen Ming also showed that apart from Southern Weekend, almost no other media tried to interview informed sources such as the fellow students and teachers of Li Qiming.  In a news story, the media's basic position should be to interview both sides of a conflict while holding a neutral position.  So how come most of the media abandoned this principle in this case?  Were they too hasty to define their position such that they didn't even care about the facts?

In the microblog age, the traditional media reporter/editor may be running into a certain danger: When it comes to a news story with strong emotional overtones, the most important thing is to define your stance and the facts become only of secondary importance.  It may even be possible that when the facts turn out to diverge from the initial netizen expectations, the media won't dare to publish because of the fear of the public opinion pressure.

We can appreciate the grassroots nature of Internet dissemination of information.  Under our present reality, this is even essential.  But professional media workers need to distance themselves from the populism and irrationality that are present in Internet communication.

An alert professional media worker will not be naively led by Internet emotions.  His dedication to the facts will always override his dedication to Internet opinion.  In the long run, only those media/media workers with independent investigative spirit will be respected by public opinion, including netizens.  Even those people who are most emotionally wrought up will eventually come to respect rationality and truth after they clear their heads.

I don't know when people will forget about my father.  When that time comes, my life will become more normal.

I lived in the shadow of my father since I was a child.  I was introverted and timid.  I heard my aunt say that my father was like that too when he was a child, but he changed later.

My old man kept a firm grip on me.  When I went to play down by the river after school and denied it afterwards, he beat me.  He told me to never open the home door unless an adult was present.

I was a boarding student in high school.  Other students got 200 to 300 yuan per week for living expenses, but I only got 100 yuan.  He never picked me up in his car.  He always made me take public transportations  During the festivals and holidays, I needed my parents' permission to accept the "red envelops."  If my old man said no, I could not reach my hand out to accept.

I only have a small number of friends.  The media said that I spent tens of thousands of yuan per month and I drove a racing car.  The truth was that my requirements in life are very little -- I am happy with eating some dumplings and noodles, I drink mineral water, I don't drink alcohol or smoke, I seldom go out, I wear my old man's hand-me-down clothes.  Very few fellow students knew that my old man was Wen Qiang.  My old man instructed me not to show off in front of my fellow students.  "If you want to show off your accomplishments, they should be your own.  You cannot expect to use me."

In 1992, my old man was already the deputy director of the Chongqing public security bureau.  He was very busy.  I moved from the countryside into the city when I entered my fourth year in elementary school.  The Chongqing city schools did not want to take me in.  My mother said, "Wen Qiang, you only know how to solve crimes all day.  The child is about to start class but there is still no school yet."  So he went and got the Ministry of Education to take action.

When I got to my third year in high school, I felt that my father was ageing rapidly.  He had solved many cases -- the Changshou bank truck heist, the case of Zhang Jun and others that I have forgotten.  Each time he solved a case, he came home and said, "You watch the news tonight."  I thought my dad was amazing.

My father told me repeatedly that once we arrive in the city and come across more people, I must be careful about making friends.  He was afraid that he might have offended many people and he was also worried that people were using his reputation improperly.

This was no exaggeration.  On one occasion, my parents and I went out to have hot pot.  About a meter away, a group of people were chatting.  One of them said, "Wen Qiang's son is my good friend.  He is in business with me."  My old man glared at me.  I was befuddled, because I didn't know that person at all.

I never found a girlfriend.  I didn't want to look for one casually because I was afraid of meeting a girl with ulterior motives.  My family said that I had to find someone who liked me as opposed to my family.  Frankly, there are very few girls like that in this society.  I am very leery about making friends in society.  But I am more relaxed with meeting people on the Internet and I can say anything that I want.

I like to use the Internet.  I learned how to do that when I was in university in Canada.  After graduating from high school, I went to Canada for a while.  My father took care of everything.  According to my mom's thinking, our family will eventually go overseas.  But I was not used to living there and I was afraid that I could go bad, so I returned home after a few months.  Chongqing was a better place to be in.

In 2005, I graduated from university.  I wanted to start an Internet cafe with friends.  My old man was adamantly opposed.  He said that he oversaw Internet cafes and people will talk.  Another friend wanted me to start a bar with me.  I didn't even dare mention it, because my old man was even more unlikely to allow that.

I thought about joining the police but I was not tall enough.  Besides my old man would not allow it.  I felt that my old man would reject everything that I came up with.  Therefore I never worked in anything.

My old man wanted me to get a steady 9am-to-5pm office job.  I went to work at a bank office once.  I was uneasy.  I would rather be freer.

Because my godmother Zhou Hongmei was worried that I might go bad, she started a decoration company and made me the nominal manager.  But my heart was not in it.  I didn't go there even once a year.  I never went there to collect any wages.

In 2008, my old man because the head of the judicial department.  I asked, "So can I start an Internet bar now?"  He did not say anything at the time.  After a couple of days, he said, "You go ahead then."  So I invested the capital to start an Internet bar at Dadoukou.  I spent 90% of my time over there.

I frequently visited the Tianya Forum.  Occasionally I read the news that my father had been placed under the "double regulations" (that is, investigated by the government/party).  Such rumors have surfaced regularly since 2000.  My old man said, "I was responsible for several dozen capital cases in addition to other cases with heavy sentences.  I have crossed too many people.  They are bound to take revenge.  So you shouldn't take these matters too seriously."  So my old man was being accustomed to these "double regulations" stories.  I was convinced that the more one does, the more mistakes occur.

More rumors came to the point that even the old man was worried.  One day in 2008, the old man got an emergency call to go in for a meeting at the office.  Before he left, he told my mom, "If I don't come back tonight, throw the money at home into the river."

There was a safety box at home.  But I never paid any attention because this was the adults' business.

In early August 2009, my old man left home early in the morning to attend a meeting in Beijing.  I was still sleeping.  My father said that he was going away.  I grunted a response.  That night, someone came knocking on the door at 3am.  They said that they were from the judiciary department.  I thought that the judiciary department must know that my father was on business in Beijing.  I was worried that it was people trying to take revenge.  I called 110.  There was a standoff for more than ten minutes until they displayed their identification for me to see through the peep hole: "Special Investigation Squad."

My father had been arrested.  The investigators came to seize materials from our homes, working from 3am to noon.  Then my mom and I were also taken down to the detention center, along with my mom's favorite dog "Pear."

At the detention center, I had one call with my old man at Autumn Festival.  He said, "Don't hate society.  If you want to hate, hate me."  He wanted me to become a small businessman when I got out, enough to make a living.

Detention time was alright.  I was not beaten.  The police made up a fake name for me.  I thought that I put on a good act.  On the day that I left, my cellmate told me quietly, "I knew that you are Wen Qiang's son."

At the detention center, I saw on television that my father had been sentenced to death.  I was released after nine months.  I was charged with destroying evidence, but they did not prosecute me.  For a long period of time afterwards, I had no idea what I still owned.  Eventually, they returned my land title deeds, home ownership papers and more than 80,000 yuan in cash.

One month later, my father was executed on July 7, 2010.  On that morning, we were told to visit our father for the last time.  My father cried and said, "Child, give me a kowtow."  I did it.  I was unaware that this would be our final meeting.

I don't hate society.  I don't hate my father.

After my old man went away, some people were still nice to me.  One time, I was in a taxi where the driver seemed to have recognized me (my name and photo were shown in the media).  He chatted with me about the campaign against criminal organizations and Wen Qiang.  He tried to study my reaction.  I pretended to be looking out the window.  As I got off, he told me, "Take care of yourself."

More than half a year has gone by.  I am more open-minded.  I have more friends.  They don't care that I was the son of Wen Qiang.  They don't look down on me and I am not afraid that they could have ulterior motives.  My old man used to disapprove of many things that I did.  Now I decide everything on my own.

I am still frequently affected by my status as the son of Wen Qiang.  For example, I wanted to rent out my house to earn some money.  But the estate manager told me that it is very hard to rent out Wen Qiang's house.  I also have a hard time finding work.  The Internet cafe has gone out of business.  There isn't a lot that I can do.  I will find a job after the Chinese New Year, but I don't know what yet.

I don't know when people can forget about my father.  When that time comes, my life can be more normal.

Q1.  Are you aware that mainland Chinese chairman Hu Jintao visited America last week and met with American president Barack Obama?
73%: Yes
27%: No

Q2. Overall, what is your impression of mainland Chinese chairman Hu Jintao?
35%: Good
28%: Bad
37%: No opinion

Q3. Overall, what is your impression of American president Barack Obama?
61%: Good
  8%: Bad
31%: No opinion

Q4. If war should break out between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, do you think that the United States of America will send troops to defend Taiwan?
19%: Definitely
38%: Possibly
18%: Possibly not
  9%: Definitely not
17%: Don't know

Q5.  Based upon the current conditions, what do you think is the relationship between mainland China and us?
34%: Antagonistic
47%: Friendly
  2%: Neither antagonistic nor friendly
  3%: Both antagonistic and friendly
15%: No opinion

Q6. Based upon the current conditions, what do you think is the relationship between mainland China and the United States of America?
38%: Antagonistic
39%: Friendly
  2%: Neither antagonistic nor friendly
  3%: Both antagonistic and friendly
18%: No opinion

Q7.  Based upon the current conditions, what do you think is the relationship between us and the United States of America?
  4%: Antagonistic
78%: Friendly
  2%: Neither antagonistic nor friendly
  1%: Both antagonistic and friendly
15%: No opinion

Q8.  After President Ma Ying-jeou took office, there have been many agreements signed by the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.  Overall, what do you think of these agreements with respect to the development of Taiwan?
48%: Advantageous
25%: Disadvantageous
16%: No impact
11%: No opinion

Q9. When these economic agreements are signed, are you confident that the government will protect the interests of Taiwan?
  9%: Very confident
30%: Somewhat confident
28%: Somewhat not confident
25%: Very not confident
  8%: No opinion

Q10. Some people say that the policies of the Ma Ying-jeou government are tilted towards mainland China.  Do you agree or disagree?
53%: Agree
39%: Disagree
  9%: No opinion

Q11. What is your attitude towards unification versus independence?
61%: Maintain the status quo
21%: Lean towards independence
  9%: Lean towards unification

Q12. If the choice exists, would you want Taiwan to become an independent nation or to be unified with China?
68%: Taiwan independence
18%: Unification with mainland China
14%: No opinion

Q13. In our society, some people think that they are Chinese while others think that they are Taiwanese.  What do you think you are?
72%: Taiwanese
17%: Chinese
11%: Don't know/refused to answer

Q14.  What would you say that you are?  Taiwanese?  Chinese?  Both?
50%: Taiwanese
43%: Both Taiwanese and Chinese
  3%: Chinese
  5%: Don't know

Q15.  The mainland Chinese tycoon Chen Guangbiao came to Taiwan and handed out "red envelops" to poor people.  Do you support what he does?
50%: Support
38%: Do not support
13%: No opinion

At 8:30 on February 1, 2011, the Yueqing People's Court heard the case of the death of the petitioning village mayor Qian Yunhui.

A couple of days ago, the Wenzhou police announced that they have obtained the multifunctional watch that Qian Yunhui was wearing at the time of this death.  The critical video was presented in court today, including what happened around 9:40am, December 25, 2010.  More than 60 persons including relatives, villagers and reporters were present.

The court found the truck driver Fei Liangyu guilty of causing a traffic incident.  Fei was sentenced to a prison term of 42 months.

The court session began with the Yueqing prosecutor reading out the indictment.  The prosecutor claimed that the evidence clearly pointed out that Fei Liangyu caused a traffic incident.  "All other possibilities have been eliminated."

During the presentation of the evidence, the prosecutor introduced the key evidence -- the multifunctional watch that Qian Yunhui was wearing at the time of his death.  The prosecutor showed a segment of the recorded video running from 9:45:46 to 9:49:23, December 25, 2010.

The video began with a close-up of Qian Yunhui's face.  The video then switched to showing a road while the camera swayed slightly as Qian walked down the road.  It was very peaceful with no pedestrians out there.  After more then two minutes, the video turned fuzzy as there was some violent shaking.  The video then rested in a fixed spot.  Through the rain-soaked lens, it is possible to see grass blades and the back wheel of a truck.  A fuzzy human figure clad in red walked over from the back of the truck.

The only witness who appeared in court today was Huang Biao, the driver who was in the passenger seat at the time.  The villager Wang Liquan (who had custody of the watch) and his family and friends (who had also come across the watch) did not appear in court.  However, the prosecutor read out their testimonies.

This watch drew the most attention in court today.  According to the testimony of Wang Liquan's friend named Kong, "I bought this watch several months aqo in a Yueqing shop.  300 yuan."

 According to the testimony of Wang Liquan, he purchased this watch from a friend on October 24, 2010.  At just past 6am on the morning of December 25, Qian Yunhui came over to Wang's home to get the watch.  Wang showed him how to operate the watch.  "After testing it for a while, we went out on our own ways.  He called me again at some after 8am to ask whether I had any petition materials.  At some time after 10am, they said that Qian Yunhui died after being run over.  I hurried over to the scene.  I removed the watch from the body of Qian Yunhui which was still under the truck wheel.  Nobody saw me take the watch.  I and my son even used the camera to film the scene."

The Wenzhou police issued a report to the effect that they compared the DNA from the blood stain on the watch and found that it matched Qian Yunhui's.

According to the testimony of the son of Wang Liquan, his father brought the watch and mobile telephone of Qian Yunhui home.  The family helped to transfer the videos in the watch to the computer of the elder son.  "I was afraid that if I turned the videos over to the relevant government departments, the villagers will take revenge on us.  After watching the videos, my dad told me not to talk to anyone about it."

Wang Liquan's testified: "I got my son to transfer the videos to a white USB storage device.  When I saw arrested, the USB device was hidden in the back of the car seat."  Among the list of items held by the police, there was a SONY brand USB storage device ...

"This video showed what the deceased was doing in detail.  It showed that the accident occurred at around 9:48:20, December 25, 2010.  This provided further direct proof that this was an ordinary traffic accident."  The prosecutor said.

With respect to this piece of evidence, the lawyer Si Weijiang representing the father of Qian Yunhui offered "six curious observations."

Firstly, the video had not been inspected by any authoritative organization to ascertain that it had not bee edited/modified.  "The watch stayed in Wang Liquan's home for a long period of time.  The public security bureau also had a direct interest in the outcome because they had already drawn their conclusions.  Thus, it cannot be excluded that the video was edited or modified.  We are not experts.  The key evidence needs to be verified by experts."

The prosecutor said that the source of the watch was unreliable.  Various witnesses testified about how the watch went from Wang Liquan to the police.  The video was created on December 25, 2010 and therefore it was authentic.

After a court recess, the chief judge responded to this question by stating that the evidence was obtained properly and is supported by the testimonies of Wang Liquan and others as well as physical evidence such as the umbrella shown in the video.  As such, the lawyer was merely speculating without producing any evidence.  Therefore the court ruled that no verification is necessary.

Secondly, there was a video dated December 23, 2010 in which the head of a person was shown.  "Was this Qian Yunhui?  If so, where did this video come from?  Many witnesses say that Qian Yunhui got this watch only on December 25.  So if his head was filmed earlier, it would conflict with the testimonies.  Therefore, the court should let the family and acquaintances of Qian Yunhui see if they can identify the head."  The prosecutor responded: "The prosecutor believes that the person in the video is not Qian Yunhui."

Thirdly, the testimonies of the witnesses all said that there were materials on the right side of the road and that the security guards wore helmets.  But the video did not show any barriers on the right side of the road and there were no persons wearing helmets.

"Physical evidence overrides human testimony.  If there is a conflict between the video and the witness Qian Chengyu, then the video ought to be believed."  Fei Liangyu's defense lawyer said.

"The road barriers and the helmets are details provided by Qian Chengyu, Fei Liangyu, Huang Biao and the security guard captain.  Could all these people be wrong about the same things?"  Si Weijiang asked.

Fourthly, there was nothing unusual in the surroundings at the time.  So why did Qian Yunwei turned to video recording function on?  "Then he walked on until he was run down by a vehicle.  It is almost as if he wanted to prove that he died in a traffic incident.  So there are still many doubts about this very crucial video evidence.  The court decision must be fair, both for Fei Liangyu and the family of the deceased."

But the defendant's lawyer did not find it curious.  "Qian Liangyu is a special person.  He was using the watch to record the petitioning information.  The authenticity of the video is not in doubt."

Fifthly, why were the witnesses related to the watch not present in court?  The prosecutor replied: "The law states that a witness can appear in court or only have his/her statement read out.  Wang Liquan and others are involved in other criminal charges and therefore they are not appearing in court."

Sixthly, the police had obtained the evidence on January 14.  So why did they wait until two days before the trial after the lawyers had see the video before announcing it?  The prosecutor replied: "The public security bureau is not obliged to announce any evidence every time."

Si Weijiang also questioned how come the telephone call records of Fei Liangyu did not show that he called 110 at just past 9:40.  This is in contradiction with various testimonies.

The chief judge answered this question: "The court has checked with the the Ministry of Telecommunications.  When a call is made to 110 using an outside telephone, it is not shown."  The prosecutor added: "Fei Liangyu's mobile phone was borrowed from someone in his hometown.  According to the local telecommunications department, 110 calls are free.  Therefore it is not shown on the telephone bill."

Si Weijiang also requested for an adjournment because he received 8 files and the video evidence only one day before the court.  The court did not allow his request.

On January 28, the father of Qian Yunhui filed a criminal/civil case in court, adding the Puqi town government, the electricity power plant and the security guard company as defendants.  The court refused to hear that case simultaneously.

The court gave the following reason: "The previous filings did not include the signature of the client.  The proper documents were only received on January 30."

The chief judge Fang Kongqiang said that the case filed by the father of Qian Yunhui was accepted on January 31.  "According to the law, the immediately family of a deceased person may also file a civil case.  Although the defendant Fei Liangyu had reached a settlement with some of the family members of the deceased, the father of the victim may still file a civil suit ..."

Si Weijiang asked Fei Liangyu: "We understand that your family is poor.  So where did you get 1.05 million yuan to pay the Qian family?"  Fei Liangyu said: "I don't know that.  You ask my lawyer."

The court recessed for 30 minutes.  Then the court announced that Fei Liangyu has been found guilty of causing a traffic incident.

Fei Liangyu said in court that he disagreed with the decision.  Si Weijiang said that the trial was too hasty.

In the press conference afterwards, the chief judge Fang Kongqiang explained the basis of the verdict.

"Certain people opine that this was a case of deliberate murder.  The testimonies of the defendant and the witness Huang Biao, the report of the visual inspection of the body, the skid marks and impact marks, the watch worn by the victim, etc, corroborate each other and form a complete chain of evidence.  This showed that the defendant Fei Liangyu was mainly negligent at the time of the incident."

Fang Kongqiang said that Fei Liangyu's behavior was inconsistent with someone actively seeking to endanger someone.  "Just before the impact, Fei Liangyu sounded the klaxon after spotting the pedestrian.  When the pedestrian continued to talk, he veered his vehicle and stepped on the brake.  Subjectively, he did not want to run into the pedestrian and hurt him.  If he wanted to kill or hit the pedestrian, he would not have taken the aforementioned evasive actions.  After the impact, Fei Liangyu got out of the vehicle to see and he called the police.  This showed that he did not try to cover up his act."


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