[translation]  At 10am on July 27 in Longyangshan village, Shuitou town, Pingyang county, Zhejiang province, more than 500 urban administrators and security guards holding batons clashed violently with villagers over the land requisitioning for the Number 57 Provincial Expressway.  The unarmed villagers were chased and assaulted.  Countless numbers of villagers fell to the ground!


1.  The number of deaths:  The initial number reported in the media was 35 deaths.  Then somebody created a table enumerating the number of deaths in 37 major incidents between 1993 and 2011.  The astonishing thing was that all numbers were between 33 and 35!  The explanation was that if and when the number of deaths exceed 35, then the senior government/party officials would be dismissed from their jobs.  Therefore, the number is always artificially kept under the magical number 35.

Someone actually went back to check the number of deaths in these listed incidents.  It was found that 18 of the numbers were wrong.  However, people remain amazed at the fact that more than half (19 out of 37) of the numbers were correct.  Well, the problem here is that the original author went and looked up major incidents in which the number of deaths was between 33 and 35 (as opposed to "ALL" major incidents) but his/her work was so sloppy that 18 of the numbers were wrong.  Obviously, if you go looking for major incidents in which the number of deaths was between 33 and 35, the number of deaths will be between 33 and 35.  And if you look at "ALL" major incidents (assuming that you know how to define them), the number of deaths will follow a wider distribution.

2.  The hand inside the train compartment.  See the Brief Comment below about how the hand of a rescuer as photographed by Xinhua reporter Ju Huanzong became evidence that someone was buried alive.

3. Hong Kong citizens march to express "deepest condolences to the families of the victims" and to demand a "thorough investigation for the truth."

On August 29, 2010, Hong Kong citizens marched for the hostages who were killed in Manila by an armed kidnapper.  This photo was taken at the time.  Of course, the person who made that post had plausible deniability on his/her side.  Everything in this statement is true: Hong Kong citizens march to express "deepest condolences to the families of the victims" and to demand a "thorough investigation for the truth."  But if you conclude that the Hong Kong citizens are marching in this photo for the Wenzhou train crash victims, then you are just plain stupid for over-reading.

3. "The Wenzhou government refused to bury the train compartments!  They have guts!  Praises to Chen Deyong!  He is an exceptionally fine Party Secretary!"

The above photo shows the "buried" train compartments of D3115 and D301 still visible in plain sight.  After it became known that the train compartments had not been buried, the rumor mutated into: "The three train compartments that were buried were excavated after the outcry on the microblogs and the State Council's Investigation Leadership Team decided to re-examine the cause of the incident."

4.  There was a video in which people said that a "body" fell out of a carriage that was being moved elsewhere.  Indeed shortly afterwards, rescuers were seen to be carrying a body away from the location where the "body" fell.

A close analysis of the video showed that the the object that fell down during the move was not a human body.  There was a body covered in blue canvas  on the ground before the object fell, and it was this body that was carried out later on.

5.  Wenzhou Police SWAT team captain Shao Yerong refused an order by a Ministry of Railroad person and continued to search for victims.  Eventually he found a small young girl who was still alive.  Shao was reprimanded as a result of his disobedience.

(CCTV)  Here are excerpts from an interview with Shao Yerong.

Q: At the time, the detection equipment showed no sign of life.
A: Those instruments of ours cannot be said to be omnipotent.

Q: Did anyone say to stop searching for the sign of life and to move on to the next phase?
A: We did not hear that.  We were only told that every second counts and that we must not give up.  We were to search every corner in every train compartment.

[Explanation: Shao Yerong disagreed with the Internet assertion that he disobeyed an order from above.  He said that they kept working on the rescue effort the whole time, without anyone issuing specific orders (such as dismantling the trains).

Q: The most controversy now is that someone wanted to take the trains elsewhere in order to dismantle them.  You were present at the time.  Was this it?
A: They wanted to lift and lower the train compartments under the bridge onto the ground in order to continue the rescue effort, as opposed to working on the bridge.  With respect to this issue, we insisted on continuing the rescue effort on the bridge.

Q: Who is this "they"?
A: There was a railroad worker at the scene at the time.  He said that.  If we lift the train compartment, we can cause a second round of injuries, because there would be shifts in pressure as the equipment moves and some things may fall into the air.  Under these circumstances, we continued to work under the bridge.  We did not give up, we did not give up.

Q. When did you find the little girl?
A: There was a train compartment on top.  After we moved it away, I and the firefighters climbed on top of the train compartment.  After we moved off one body, we found a small hand still moving.  That motion touched our feelings.

6. On the morning of July 25, a post entitled <The Red Cross of China Society calls on everybody to donate to the 7.23 train crash> appeared on the microblogs and forums.  Recently, the Red Cross of China Society had been plagued by a loss of public confidence as a result of the "Guo Meimei Baby" incident, and this call added fuel to the fire.  The Red Cross of China Society issued a statement: "As of now, the Red Cross of China Society headquarters, the Red Cross of China Foundation, the Zhejiang Province Red Cross Society and the Wenzhou Red Cross Society have not made any call to solicit donations in relation to the Wenzhou train crash."

7. It was reported that the passenger luggage had been buried in order to ensure that the identities (and hence the total number) of passengers stay unknown.  Wenzhou Railroad South Station director Lu Qingxiang said that the luggage has been sorted, numbered and recorded.  Passengers or their appointed friends/relatives can pick up the luggage by calling 0577-56657882 for arrangements.

8. The names of the deceased were not released in a timely manner, leading people to suspect that there must be a cover-up on the total number of deaths.  The explanation is that the deceased must be found, photographed, identified, documented and tested (for DNA) and their families be notified first before their names can be released publicly.  After the initial list was released, scammers began calling the families: "I am with the XXX Hospital.  Your relative was injured during the Wenzhou train crash and he/she needs to undergo emergency surgery.  You must wire YYY yuan to this bank account immediately!"

Meanwhile, "an informed source revealed that 259 persons died, 183 persons were injured and 154 persons are missing."

Meanwhile, an interview with a surviving train conductor led people to conclude that the train personnel knew that a disaster was about to take place and therefore none of them died because they were prepared.  However, the list of deceased persons includes at least one train conductor.

9. Jinan Railway Bureau director An Lusheng was previously relieved of his post as a result of the Jiaoji train crash, but he was promoted to become the Shanghai Railway Bureau director after the 7.23 Wenzhou train crash.  One Weibo VIP blogger wrote: "So one wolf leaves but another jackal arrives -- the people are lamb to be slaughtered."  In 2008, the Jinan Railway Bureau director Chen Gong and the Jinan Railway Bureau party secretary Chai Tiemin were sanctioned as a result of the train crash, along with 37 other persons who were held responsible.  An Lusheng was with the Jinan Railway Bureau at the time but he was not one of those held responsible.

10. For the families of the deceased, "signing an agreement within a short time will result in a signing bonus worth several tens of thousands of yuan."  This report was forwarded by Beijing News and many other media outlet, but the original report at Wenzhou net has disappeared.  In any case, the Wenzhou City Publicity Department said: It is untrue that the victims' families can earn early signing bonuses.

Yesterday at around 16:50, the Sina.com user "Big Brother Treasure Item" posted on his microblog: "I carefully analyzed the photo <High Resolution: From The Scene Of The Train Crash Incident> taken by the Xinhua report.  At the time, several excavators were dismantling the train carriage.  From the windows, two hands can be clearly seen.  These two hands looked soft, so that they do not belong to a dead person with rigor mortis.  So who gave these rescuers the power to bury someone alive?  I strong urge that they be pursued in accordance with the law."  This netizen included the link to the said photo.

"Big Brother Treasure Item" was referring to the photo taken by Xinhua reporter Ju Huanzong on July 24 while the scene was being cleaned up.  In this photo, it can been seen that the carriage was severely damage.  Through one window, one can seen a hand being held in mid-air.

Since it was reported that the train locomotive was buried, this netizen questioned whether people had been buried alive along with it.  This photo was quickly disseminated with the relevant part (in the red circle) being magnified.  The title was "Chasing after the murderers who buried people alive."  Many celebrities with the V (for verified) designation joined in the chase as well.  Gong Weijie wrote: "I thank the camera for clearly restoring this horrific scene!  I am saddened by the fact that in spite of these tragedies, these horrific things will continue to occur!  This microblog post has been deleted many times already."

Apart from the Sina.com microblogs, the Internet user "yigyuB" posted this and other photos to the Tianya Forum under the title <Large movement of the train wreckage, nobody realized that there were people still inside>.  Within ten hours or so, that post was viewed 185,182 times.

At the same time, another photo by Xinhua reporter Ju Huanzong also received attention.  In that photo, the leg of a person can be seen.  The two photos were taken at the same scene.  The photographer probably never realized that his two photos at the scene would create an outcry about murder most foul.

On the night of July 24, the Ministry of Railway held a press conference in which very limited information was released.  So there were many questions about the casualty figures and these two photos only "confirmed" the speculations by Internet users.

One Internet user wrote: "What are they burying?  A whole carriage full of dead bodies?  The number of deaths must be far higher?"  Another Internet user wrote: "Why did they have to bury the carriage?  Why can't they regard the train wreckage as the original evidence for the investigation of the crash?  Why?  Why?"

A Sina.com microblogger requested the photographer Ju Huanzong to come out and explain his photos.  At 17:41 yesterday, Ju Huanzong came out and wrote: "Let me dispel the rumor.  Will you please forward these photos."  There was a series of three photos of which the last one was the one that was being widely disseminated.  The three photos showed that a man had held the cross-bar and then let go.  Ju Huanzong wrote: "This was a rescue who was clearing out the wreckage from inside the train."

But this did not clear up all the questions.  Some Internet users even thought that Ju Huanzong was part of the conspiracy.  Ju Huanzong came back once again and wrote: "In the photo on the left, it can be seen that the hand belongs to a man who is wearing a China Railways safety helmet.  This is normal safety procedure at the scene of an incident.  The photos were taken sequentially within one minute.  It is normal practice for photojournalists to take multiple photos.  There is no conspiracy here."

In China itself, here are the front pages of the national newspapers followed by the local metropolis dailies.  Can you tell the difference?

July 24 (Sunday) 2011

04:30 PM - 06:00 PM

中國文化及經典文學講座系列 - 《我的父親與錢鍾書》
Category :  
Chinese Culture & Classic Literature Seminar Series
Venue :  
Speaker(s) :  
Registration :  

[back translation]  Water that is cold as ice

[back translation]  Cowardly and rapidly growing prostitute

[back translation]  Awkward actor and bamboo salad

[back translation]  The garden becomes green

[back translation]  Cream Italian dress

[back translation]  Green divided pea soup

[back translation]  English-language bacon

[Back translation]
Left: Rules/regulations milk
Right: Composite material consisting of half each of cream

(The Telegraph)  Top Chinese gymnast found begging on the street   Malcolm Moore   July 18, 2011.

Zhang Shangwu, 28, a specialist on the still rings, had even sold the two gold medals he won at the World University championships in 2001 for just £10 in order to buy food. Mr Zhang said there were others like him who had found themselves in a desperate situation after being cut loose from China's state-run sports system.

Speaking on a mobile phone he bought for 30 yuan (£2.90) in order to find work, Mr Zhang said he had received a phone call recently from another struggling gymnast. "He thought I might draw some attention to the problem. But I can barely look after myself at the moment, let alone take on anyone else's worries," he said.

Born into a peasant family in Baoding, Hebei province, Mr Zhang was sent to a local gymnastics academy at the age of five. After seven years of gruelling training, he showed enough promise to be selected to China's national team and in 2001 he was entered by officials into the World University Games, despite not having an education outside his sport.

His gold medal-winning performance was the highlight of his career, and he seemed certain to make the cut for the 2004 Athens Olympics until he broke his left Achilles tendon in training in 2002. He never fully recovered, missed the games, and in 2005 he retired with a 38,000 yuan (£3,650) pay-off from the government in his home province of Hebei.

"The money meant the local team no longer had to take any liability for my future," he said. "After I left the sports system, I got a job as a food delivery boy, but after a while my injury got worse and worse so eventually I couldn't run or even walk for long periods".

His savings were wiped out, he said, when his grandfather had a brain haemorrhage. "That used up all my remaining money, and then I was forced to sell my medals because I did not have any money for food."

Shortly afterwards, in 2007, he turned to theft and was arrested in Beijing, only being released in April this year. "Since I got out, I have been begging and I was sleeping overnight in an internet café," he said.

Mr Zhang's situation has shocked China, which spares no effort in honouring the winners of Olympic gold medals, showering them and their families with gifts. Critics said that it was unacceptable for the majority of athletes, who retire in anonymity, to be left in difficult circumstances.

Xing Aowei, a former team-mate of Mr Zhang and a winner at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, told a Chinese website that he was concerned about the impact his story would have on gymnastics. "With a world champion descending into such a life, who would want to be a gymnast in the future?" he asked.

Other Chinese sportsmen have also struggled after leaving the protective blanket of the national team. Ai Dongmei, a former marathon champion, sold the 10 medals she had won in international competitions in order to support her family after her husband was laid off. Zou Chunlan, the national female weightlifting champion, worked at a public bathhouse as a masseuse.

Mr Zhang said he was now living in a hotel paid for by a Chinese newspaper and was happy to accept charity until he finds himself a stable job.

(Chengdu Commercial News)  Zhang Shangwu, How Can I Believe You?  July 19, 2011.

[in translation]

As more and more media outlets pay attention to the case Zhang Shangwu, the mysteries surrounding this "champion street performer" are being peeled off one layer after another.  Yet even as we learn more about Zhang Shangwu, our doubts have only increased.  After Zhang Shangwu released his account number to the media and urged people to donate money to him, the direction of public opinion has swung.  Previously, people were saddened by his ill luck; now they are angry at him for not trying.  So who is Zhang Shangwu?  Is he a liar?  Is there an Internet promoter behind the curtains?  Yesterday, our reporter interviewed Zhang Shangwu in the hotel room where he is staying.  The more Zhang Shangwu said, the more holes were found ...

Zhang Shangwu is a very busy man at the moment.  According to him, he is taking several dozen media interviews each day, including overseas media outlets such as the Agence France Presse.  But many of sharp questions from reporters have left him speechless.  When he realized that the reporters were questioning the truthfulness of his allegations, he asked the reporters to leave his room because he needed a ten minute rest.  The reporters waited outside for 30 minutes.  When he came out, he said that he needed to get an IV infusion at the hospital.  Our reporter accompanied him to the community hospital.  Zhang told the reporter to wait outside the clinic.  But our reporter witnessed him telling the doctor: "I am a national champion gymnast.  I want an IV infusion."

When Zhang Shangwu got back to the hotel, he told the media that he wanted them to interview him as groups according to a time table.  When our reporter got back to the hotel yesterday afternoon, Zhang Shangwu told our reporter by telephone: "You will have to wait for the 7pm interview.  I am somewhat depressed by the CCTV interview today.  I need to have some time to think about how to respond to the media questions.  I cannot repeat things to every media outlet which seeks me out.  I can't handle this."

So a large group of reporters had to wait in the hotel lobby together.  According to several Beijing-based reporters, Zhang Shangwu had insisted that reporters form queues since yesterday.  "He receives a group of reporters every two hours  I finished up after 10pm last night."  Time passed by.  More and more reporters gathered at the scene, but Zhang Shangwu did not show up.  By 7pm, some reporters lost patience and called Zhang Shangwu.  He said that he was on his way to the World Trade Hotel to meet with Yang Yang of the Champions Foundation and former Olympic champion Xing Aowei.  When the reporters asked him when he can be interviewed, Zhang Shangwu said that he didn't know.  Then he cut off the phone and turned the machine off.

Our reporter called up Xing Aowei.  Xing denied Zhang Shangwu's statement.  Xing said that he had just returned from Shangdong to Beijing in order to meet with certain Foundation leaders that night.  Xing siad that Zhang Shangwu was not one of those persons.  According to a worker with the Champions Foundation, Zhang Shangwu had requested yesterday to meet with Xing Aowei but Xing turned down that request.

When Zhang Shangwu's father heard the news that his son was begging as a street performed, he hurried to Beijing and looked up his son in the hotel.  Zhang Shangwu's father suffers from a physical handicap.  He told his son that the Hebei Provincial Sports Bureau has promised to solve Zhang Shangwu's work problem.  But Zhang Shangwu rejected that offer.  Previously he had claimed that he was staying in Beijing "in order to make some money so that his grandfather can get medical treatment."  But he is now saying: "I want to go home too.  But I have to stay in Beijing now because I have to take the media interviews for the sake of protecting the rights of retired athletes.  I want to use my strength to draw more social help for the unsuccessful/injured retired athletes."

Yesterday our reporter met with Zhang Shangwu in his hotel room briefly at around 5pm.  With respect to the rejection of his father's proposal, Zhang Shangwu said that no such thing happened.  At first, he said that he has not met with his father over the past few days.  Then he said that his father came to look for him but they did not actually meet.  Our reporter persisted and displayed the photo of the meeting between father and son as recorded by a Beijing newspaper.  Zhang Shangwu got mad and said, "This photo is obviously a fake composite!"  When Zhang Shangwu learned that our reporter had gone to Baoding city to interview his family members, he got incensed and said: "What they said is false.  You people should go through me first before you interview my parents."  A female reporter retorted: "So does this mean that we can only have your side of the story?  Maybe this is not the truth."  Zhang Shangwu did not respond and he became silent.

Zhang Shangwu was less concerned about the meeting with the father than with the intentions of the Hebei Province Sports Bureau. After staying silent for a while, he asked the reporter: "Did you go to my home?  Did you see anyone from the Hebei Province Sports Bureau?"  The reporter replied that there was only someone from the Baoding City Sports Bureau.  Zhang Shangwu asked which Baoding city leaders were present.  The reporter said that only the Baoding City Sports Bureau director was there and he brought 3,600 RMB as a gift.  Zhang looked disappointed and said, "They don't want me to hang around Beijing.  An extra day of stay here means that another day of their name getting smeared."  After grumbling a few more sentences, he said that he needed to think how to deal with the interviews and he asked our reporter to leave the hotel room.

On the afternoon of the day before, the Internet user nicknamed "-Langfeng" accompanied Zhang Shangwu to obtain a bank card at the Longtan branch of the Industrial Bank.  In his microblog, "-Langfeng" said that the bank card will be used by Zhang Shangwu to accept donations.  "-Langfeng" also published the account number of that bank card.  This move was met with skepticism and the direction of public opinion begun to swing.  Many Internet users wondered if the Zhang Shangwu affair was a planned marketing ploy with "-Langfeng" being the mastermind behind the scene.

In his microblog, "-Langfeng" said: "I am not the agent/manager of Zhang Shangwu.  I am not the mastermind behind the scene either.  When I last met with Zhang Shangwu yesterday afternoon, he still does not have an agent/manager."  "-Langfeng" was angered by the voices of skepticism.  He said that he was merely friends with Zhang Shangwu and everything that he has posted on his microblog came during the course of "interaction between friends."  Also: "I didn't participate in the Zhang Shangwu affair and I don't intend to do so either."

Yesterday our reporter reached "-Langfeng" by telephone.  When "-Langfeng" learned the purpose of the call, he refused outright to be interviewed: "I am not doing any media interviews at this time.  I am not saying anything."  When the reporter asked him to respond to the doubts from the outside, "-Langfeng" laughed and said: "Let people say whatever they want.  I only know that I feel no guilt myself.  My responses are completely given on my microblog."  Then he hung up the telephone.

In spite of the denials of "-Langfeng", our reporter have found certain clues in the investigation.  According to other reporters who have spoken to "-Langfeng" before, he appeared to be a "very intelligent person" who had worked in media and advertising before.  Another Shangdong reporter who had tried to contact "-Langfeng" before this current affair found that this person did not return telephone calls or SMS.  Yet "-Langfeng" immediately responded when this reporter sent a SMS to ask about the bank account for donations.  More significantly, "-Langfeng" said on July 14 in his first post about Zhang Shangwu that "he happened by chance to come across Zhang Shangwu performing in the subway."  On July 15, in the first interview with a Beijing media outlet, Zhang Shangwu said that he was unaware of the person going by the nickname "-Langfeng."  In fact, Zhang Shangwu said that he had no idea what a Weibo microblog is.  Yet at 23:48 that night, "-Langfeng" posted on his microblog: "Zhang Shangwu telephoned me.  He is staying at a hotel.  I am going over there to see him now.  We hope to come up with a better solution..."  If they didn't know each other before, how did Zhang Shangwu get "-Langfeng"'s telephone number?

According to the Xinhua's report, the Hebei Province Sports Bureau has stated that Zhang Shangwu had signed an agreement with the Hebei Sports Talents Service Center.  From among the options offered to Zhang Shangwu, he chose on his own will to retire with a compensation payment of 63,220 RMB.  After Zhang Shangwu took that money, he is no longer affiliated with the local sports bureau in any way.  Therefore the Baoding City Sports Bureau is going beyond its responsibilities in offering 3,600 RMB more.





(Oriental Daily)  Chinese Internet users used human flesh search to identify the location to the front gate of a certain medical equipment company in Renqiu city, Hebei province.  When the video began, the two children tore at each other without explanation, pulling at each other's hair.  At first, they were evenly matched.  But the boy began to fade and ran away.  The girl chased him, punching and kicking him until he was down on the ground.  At this point, the male adult taking the video began unhappy.  He yelled at the boy: "Get up and hit her!  Hit sister!"  The two started to fight again, but the boy took a beating from his female cousin.  An adult woman heard the commotion and came out to find the boy injured with a cut lip.  The adult male laughed and told the girl: "This is how your father got his training as a child!"  He also said: "Good, you can beat up again later!"

Chinese Internet users call the cameraman cold-blooded for trying to cultivate children who are filled with hatred and violence.  They called for a human flesh search to find this psycho father.  Other Internet users said that parents believe that the fists represent the truth because society is unjust and the law is unfair.

Here "chaff" refers to the rumors that swirl around any major incident on the Chinese Internet.  At the present, most of the rumors are generated independently by Chinese Internet users who are probably looking for traffic and/or seeking to carry out justice.  But there is nothing to stop the practice from evolving into "chaff" -- rumors generated intentionally by the targets of an Internet campaign to distract and mislead.

In the case of "Red Cross Guo Meimei Baby," I mentioned that the case has been clogged with chaff to the point where it is hard to focus on the main points.  The microblogger Wendiluo has listed 20 rumors that gained wide circulation on the Internet.  This will give you some sense as to my frustration about such cases.  The following is a translation which includes some of my own commentary in case the background is unclear.

1. Shortly after Guo Meimei Baby became an Internet celebrity for bragging about her wealth and her relationship with the Red Cross Society of China, the microblog "Guo Changjiang RC" was registered.  Guo Changjiang is a vice president of the Red Cross Society of China, so some people took this microblogger to be that person himself.  Here are the facts: (1) "Guo Changjiang RC" was not a verified ID, so it could be anyone; (2) "Guo Changjiang RC" followed "Guo Meimei Baby" but not vice versa; (3) this user account went by another name previously and became "Guo Changjiang RC" only after the case broke open on June 21.  In so doing, all the previous microblog posts had been purged and only three new posts remained; (4) this account has been deleted by Sina.com with the explanation that the name "Guo Changjiang RC" was misinformative.  In other words, there is no microblog-related information that Guo Meimei is connected to Guo Changjiang.

2. Guo Meimei looks different now than compared to her younger photos, so it is likely that she had undergone cosmetic surgery.  However, the series of the post-surgery face of a young woman said to be Guo Meimei are fake.  The point that Guo Meimei had cosmetic surgery is not germane to any alleged Red Cross misdeeds and lying about it only detracts from the other evidence.

3. Guo Meimei and Guo Changjiang were alleged to have traveled to Australia together.  However, the fact is that when Guo Meimei was in Australia, Guo Changjiang was attending a Red Cross event in China as found in old news reports.

4. There is a group photo of the Red Cross Society Commercial Sector in which Red Cross Society vice president Guo Changjiang was present with many others.  One young woman was identified as Guo Meimei.  The Red Cross Society of China has pointed out that the young woman is a volunteer named Wang Congcong and her resemblance to Guo Meimei does not stand up to close scrutiny.

5. There is a photo of Guo Meimei sitting in a first-class airplane seat.  Behind her is a middle-aged man that Internet users have identified to be a certain deputy minister and/or Red Cross Society of China vice-president named Wang Jun.  The man has come forth to identify himself as a doctor with the Shanghai Chinese Medicine University named Zhang Xiaotian.  He has set up a verified Weibo account, and provided his own photos as well as air-travel information.  That information can be verified independently.

6. Guo Meimei's racecar is registered to a man named Wang Jun, born in 1969 and residing in Shenzhen.  Wang is a very common family name in China and Jun was a very popular given name ("Jun" means "army") at one time.  Thus, there must be at least several tens of thousands of men named "Wang Jun"'s in China, just as there are several tens of thousands of women named "Li Hong" ("Hong" means "red").  The deputy minister/Red Cross Society of China vice president Wang Jun was born in 1958 and does not reside in Shenzhen.  There is another Wang Jun who is the son of a Communist Party senior leader and he is born even earlier.

7. It was alleged that the Wang Jun in the airplane photo was wearing a Patek Philippe watch.  Dr. Zhang Xiaotian has produced his cheap Russia-made watch that appeared in that photo.

8. Guo Meimei's mother Guo Dengfeng was alleged to have sold a subsidized housing unit at the end of 2010.  A magazine reporter tracked down the seller as one Guo Dengfeng who had the same name and lived in the same district.  These two women have different birthdays.  It had been alleged that the state land bureau's website confirmed that personal ID's but the fact is that the website never shows personal ID's.

9.  It was alleged that Guo Meimei attempted to flee to Australia using a Norwegian passport.  The Norwegian passport was faked from an Internet copy posted by a male Norwegian artist.

10. There was a photo of Guo Meimei and another young woman who was identified as Wen Minyi of the Red Cross Society Commercial Sector.  That young woman has been identified as someone named Zhang Zihan who is not connected to the Red Cross Society Commercial Sector.

11. There is a photo of Guo Meimei and another woman embracing each other while the leg of a man was visible.  The accompanying story was that Guo Meimei and her mother are the mistresses of the same man.  No, the other woman in the photo is not the mother of Guo Meimei.  Who is that other woman?  Who cares!?  That is just another mass distraction.

12. A young man named Guo Zihao was identified as the son of Red Cross Society of China vice president Guo Changjiang, and he was seen flouting his Maserati with license plate "Beijing X88888".  Guo Zihao is not the son of Guo Changjiang (and he has identified his father as a retired cadre) and the license plate had been processed by PhotoShop as stated in his own blog post connected to that photo.

13.  The Red Cross Society of China issued a statement to the effect that their vice president Guo Changjiang is not acquainted with the president of the Shenzhen company which supposedly hired Guo Meimei as their business general manager.  Internet users said that this was a lie and came up with a photo of a handshake between the two, except the person in the photo is not Guo Changjiang.

14. An Internet user produced a restaurant receipt issued to the name of the Red Cross Society Business Society.  The receipt was a spoof which was acknowledged as such by the microblogger who did it.  In China, you can pretty much as for a restaurant receipt issued to any entity that you care to name.

15. A photo of the military inspection sticker on a car window had nothing to do with Guo Meimei.  It is true that the photo was taken from the passenger side of a vehicle with a military inspection sticker, but it was taken by a Beijing microblogger who got a ride from a friend who was in the military who drove a military vehicle.

16. Phoenix TV's Ruan Cishan said: The Red Cross Society of China is not a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  This is wrong because the Red Cross Society joined the ICRC in 1952, as stated on the official ICRC website.  One may be skeptical about the quality of the work by the Red Cross Society of China, but the membership status is not beyond doubt.

17. Guo Meimei mentioned a certain Mrs. Cao in her microblog posts.  That Mrs. Cao quickly changed her name and deleted all her blog posts.  However, another netizen assumed the former name of Mrs. Cao's blog and continued to post.  Thus, all those "new" posts are fakes.

18. It was alleged that <Oriental Daily> (Hong Kong) is reporting that the Minister of National Defense Liang Guanglie said that the People's Liberation Army will not be cooperating with the Red Cross Society of China.  No such report can be found.  It was also alleged that when the Hong Kong Legislative Council allotted HKD 10 billion for restoration/reconstruction after the Sichuan earthquake, they deliberately bypassed the Red Cross Society of China.  No such statement can be found in the Hong Kong Legco proceedings.  Besides, the allotment was for restoration/reconstruction (e.g. roads, bridges, etc) and not for relief (e.g. food, shelter), and the Red Cross Society does not do construction work.

19. With respect to the legal representative Wen Minyi of the Red Cross Society Business Society, it was alleged that her husband was the Security Exchange Commission Market Supervision Department director.  Instead, it is more likely that the identity is mistaken with the Red Cross Society Business Society vice president.  These two individual have different names, different birthdays and different residences.

20. There is a photo featuring the word of disgust ""('Pooh') sent by the VIP microbloggers to the Red Cross Society of China.  This post is falsely attributed to these VIP microbloggers, as is evident by checking the microblogs of the alleged senders.

Perhaps nobody deserves the crown to "true bizarreness" than Jiang Pengyong" who made this microblog post.  The microblogger Landlord has annotated his reactions:

If you are Chinese, you must immediately help me to forward this post.
I have come upon a piece of information: Guo Meimei has reserved a first-class airplane ticket from Beijing to Chongqing
She is leaving on July 8th (see photo)
[Make a telephone call quickly]
[Guo Meimei and her mother are running away.  To overseas!!!  Who are they meeting in Chongqing!]
My telephone number is 13811620712
[I urgently need help to get political asylum at the US embassy!  Help me!  Forward to the media]
They are returning on July 10th.
[The evidence is vanishing.  We Internet users have lost everything]
You know what I mean.
I have tried my best.

- It seems that Mr. Jiang has learned that Ms. Guo is flying from Beijing to Chongqing on July 8th an returning on July 10th.  That is all he knows.
- Then Mr. Jiang deduces that Ms. Guo intends to leave the country.  I am confused.  If she wants to leave the country, she should be flying from Chongqing to Beijing and then abroad.  No, instead she is flying inland from Beijing to Chongqing.  Isn't this the wrong direction?
- He seemed to think that someone wants to kill him to shut him up.  All because he revealed that she is flying to Chongqing!  I am totally flummoxed.  She is only taking an airplane, not hijacking an airplane.  Is it necessary to silence him?
- He published his telephone number and he says that he is going to seek political asylum at the US embassy.  Do you think that the Americans are idiots?  Will they believe that your life is in danger because you just revealed someone's flight schedule?  Why should the Americans save your life?  Besides, even if the Americans really want to save you, how the fart is asking the Chinese Internet users to forward your post going to achieve that?  You should get the Americans to forward your blog post, or post it on Twitter!
- "You know what I mean."  So far I know nothing!!!
- "I have tried my best."  So have I, and I still don't understand Mr. Jiang's line of reasoning.  I don't understand why so many people accept his logic.  Let me repeat this once more: "Because he revealed that Ms. Guo is flying towards the interior of China, he is going to be killed in order to keep his mouth shut.  Therefore he needs to get political asylum in America ..."

(The Standard)  Dead wrong
Furious Beijing officials slammed ATV yesterday for reporting that Jiang Zemin has died, describing days of intense internet speculation about the death of the former president as "pure rumor." The Hong Kong television station announced the death of Jiang on Wednesday, citing unspecified sources and giving no details. ATV said it would air a special one- hour tribute, but later canceled it. The broadcaster yesterday withdrew the report and apologized to viewers, Jiang and his family. The internet chatter began after Jiang failed to appear at Chinese Communist Party celebrations and culminated with ATV and Japanese media putting out reports about his death.
The semi-official China News Agency cited a Central Liaison Office official as expressing indignation at the ATV report, describing it as a serious breach of professional ethics. "The report of Asia Television in Hong Kong was not based on facts and was purely a rumor," the official said. "We expressed great indignation at the act of ATV as it was a serious breach of professional ethics in journalism." Xinhua News Agency said in an English dispatch: "Recent reports by some overseas media organizations about Jiang Zemin's death from illness are pure rumors."

(The Standard)  'It's news to me'
ATV major investor Wong Ching denies he is the source of the "Jiang dead" announcement. "I only knew it after the ATV newscast," Wong said yesterday. However, the mainland property tycoon - also known as Wang Zheng - added: "It is difficult to avoid such things in societies like Hong Kong." He made his remarks surrounded by reporters as he entered ATV headquarters in Tai Po. "I hope you do not overreact," Wong said. "From my personal point of view, I hope such news is not true." When asked if he should issue a public apology, he said: "I don't know. Please ask ATV."


However, Hong Kong Daily News and Sing Pao decided that this dead story is dead and chose to cover the TVB soap opera around general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan and the appearance fee rate card for TVB stars:

JZM photos in those front pages necessarily come from the archives.  <Apple Daily> lived up to its reputation as a "hostile anti-China force" by having a photo of JZM doing the big yawn.  But I am most interested in the photo chosen by am730.  You might have glossed over it, so here it is again:

In this layout, JZM is holding a document and looking over his shoulder at the headline: "Sheer Rumor".

Do you recognize the photo?  I do.  Here is the full original!  I had a chuckle and I hope that you do too!

[Note:  I am sure that 99.999999% of my readers won't recognize my title for this entry: "All previous realities have been canceled".  I won't explain any further -- if you know, you know; if you don't know, you don't know and you are better off not knowing.]

Mercedes-Benz M L350

The police car which appears to be a Honda car

Recently, a Chinese Internet user made a post at the Red Bean Community BBS (Guangxi) to the effect that a Guangxi province Fangcheng Harbor Honda CR-V vehicle was actually a disguised Mercedes-Benz M L350.  This created an uproar among Chinese Internet users.  According to the photo posted by this Internet user, the license plate number begins with "Gui P" but the rest of the information has been erased.  The car body had a police insignia and the letters "Public Security" and "Police" (in Chinese and English).  There is a flash-light on the car roof.  According to the information provided by the Fangcheng public security bureau, the car was an ownerless car which was turned over to the Dongxing city public security bureau and turned into a police vehicle.  The netizen claimed that the police car looked like a Honda CR-V in terms of line, axle and lights.  According to information, the Honda CR-V costs over 200,000 RMB whereas a Mercedes-Benz M L350 costs between 800,000 RMB and 2,000,000 RMB.

For making this modification, the Guangxi province Fangcheng Harbor public security bureau has been called "a low-profile, high-intelligence government department."  Another netizen was moved to say: "The Guangxi province Fangcheng city government converted a public service Benz into a Honda using maximum disguise methods.  They must think that we are idiots."

On July 6, our reporter spoke to the Guangxi province Fangcheng Harbor public security bureau which said that the said car was with the Dongxing city public security bureau.

Our reporter contacted the Dongxing city public security bureau which said "Our bureau never had the police car shown in the photo.  We have never purchased or received through allotment such a police car.  We do not have the so-called police car shown on the Internet."

Is JZM already dead, still alive or somewhere in between?  I have quickly scanned the various reports.  So far he has been reported dead "by anonymous informed sources" at various locations at various times from various illnesses.  I know that these reports cannot simultaneously all be true, but I don't know which one (if any) is true.  Frankly, I don't give a damn either.  The man is already 84 years old, and he is dead now or he will die sooner or later.  What is the fuss?  Perhaps this is just another excuse to condemn the Chinese government for not coming out to deny rumors, as if that ought to be their full-time top priority.  If there is a story here, it should be why so many mainstream media outlets fall for this non-event.

[Addendum:  Hong Kong's ATV was the first mainstream media to break the news.  Since the major shareholder Wang Zheng is reportedly a relative of JDZ, it is assumed that ATV must have the inside scoop.  Well, on some other occasion, if Wang Zheng should insist on having a certain story reported, then everybody would be screaming "interference with editorial independence"!  So why is it okay now?  If he is the source, then he has to be cited as the source just like any other source.  What gives?]

[translation]  I just found out that the Hong Kong SAR government had donated HKD 10 billion with respect to the Sichuan earthquake.  The Legislative Council met and decided that none of the donations will go through either the Red Cross Society of China or the Sichuan provincial government.  Instead, they asked the Hong Kong SAR government to form a special work group to assume direct supervision.  As a result, the Red Cross Society of China threw a fit.  But the Hong Kong Legislative Council ignored them because they throught that the Red Cross Society of China was untrustworthy.

Here is what a USA-based engineer-blogger "Landlord" found out after an investigation:

Based upon February 20, 2009 discussion document of the Hong Kong Legislative Council FCR(2008-09)66, the Hong Kong SAR government allotted HKD 350 million immediately after the earthquake, subsequently raised another HKD 2 billion two months later and later raised again to HKD 4 billion on February 20, 2009.  Thus, the total sum is HKD 6.35 billion (or 5.55 billion RMB).

Here the blogger emphasizes that the donation from the Hong Kong SAR government was a touching humanitarian act.  He does not imply that he was complaining that the amount of money was not HKD 10 million as claimed.

Did the money "not go through the Sichuan government"?  The document (see also this English-language document) said: "On October 11, 2008, the Hong Kong SAR government signed an agreement "Cooperative Arrangement on the Support of Restoration and Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Area" with the Sichuan Provincial Government.  "For projects directly funded by donations from the Hong Kong side, the Sichuan side should be responsible for the actual implementation, as well as the daily management and supervision of the projects."

Simply put, the Hong Kong SAR government provided the funds and the Sichuan Provincial Government proposed the projects (which are approved by HK SAR) and carried them out.

On the crucial question about whether the Hong Kong Legislative Council decided that the funds should not go through the Red Cross Society of China "because it is untrustworthy", the blogger gave the answer: "I don't know."  That is because the Legislative Council documents gave no evidence one way or the other.

However the blogger does know something else: "In the two years after the earthquake, 19 cities/provinces (Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shandong, Zhejiang, Beijing, Liaoning, Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, Fujian, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Chongqing, Jiangxi and Jilin) have donated more than 64 billion RMB to the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Area and not a single cent went through the Red Cross Society of China."

In other words, the Red Cross Society of China (like Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies in other countries) is responsible for direct relief of victims (e.g. medical aid, food, shelter, evacuation, etc) in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, but it is not in the business of restoration/reconstruction (e.g. building bridges, highways, etc).

The blogger reflects: "All you have to do is move your lips in order to generate a rumor.  For that you can get tens of thousands of forwards easily!  I spent a lot of time and energy to seek out the truth of the matter, but I would be lucky if this post gets forwarded a hundred times..."

It is less clear that the original microblogger should have the full blame.  This microblogger "Xiaoyi in Hong Kong V" (V is for verified status) describes himself as "I am famous as the president of the Hong Kong Mental Patients Federation.  I am interested in sociology, new media, PR communication and business philosophy.  I have a lot of fun along with the mental patients.  I provide free communication consulting: xicinet@msn.com."  If you ask me, this sounds like a spoof.  Who do you blame if you fall for this?

For illustration, here is one example from yesterday.

[Translation]  @Li Yuanmeng: [Yunnan Securities Regulatory Bureau director Fan Hui]  The jade bracelet on her left wrist is made of violet jade and is worth more than 1,000,000 yuan; the watch on her right wrist is a Rolex women's oyster-shaped self-winding calendar watch currently being sold at 176,000 yuan; the ring on her finger is a Piaget green ring worth 125,000 yuan ...!  As a government official, where did she get the money to buy these expensive luxury items? 

This is an old rumor being recycled.  Back on March 22, 2011, CNTV reported on the case:

Recently, there was an Internet post denouncing the director of the Yunnan Securities Regulatory Bureau.  The post was titled <The woman who wears a 1,000,000 yuan bracelet: Yunnan Securities Regulatory Bureau director Fan Hui>.  The director Fan Hui is said to be more extravagant than the fallen bureau director who smoked sky-high-priced cigarettes.  The Yunnan Securities Regulatory Bureau has made a serious investigation and found that all the listed assertions were in fact lies.  In particular, the photo had been created by photo editing techniques and then the Internet post was forwarded anonymously via virtual email boxes and mobile Internet access.

Why do people do things that this?  It is noted that the latest post was forwarded 2,555 times and commented upon 657 times.  You want hits?  You fabricate a sensationalistic story and you get hits.

So why should I keep translating posts such as the one by @Li Yuanmeng?  It may be sensationalistic, but it is also most likely false.

On this day, the renowned journalist Cheng Yizhong (former chief editor of Southern Metropolis Daily) made this microblog post:

In a country where freedom of speech is not protected and the news media are oppressed, rumors are in fact the truth that is buried deep inside people's hearts.  Rumors are one way for the masses to express their wishes.  Rumors are powerful weapons for the masses to oppose official propaganda and lies.  Rumors are not facts, but they are much more real than the facts; rumors do not stand up to scrutiny, but they are more convincing than the truth; rumors are full of holes, but that does not stop the masses from firmly believing them.  At this time, rumors no longer stop with the wise people; they can only stop with freedom of speech.  [forwarded 669 times, commented upon 181 times]

Another micblogger Wu Fatian comments:

My views about dispelling rumors: (1)  If your truth is sufficiently strong, you have no need to employ lies to increase your strength; (2) intentionally fabricating rumors will only raise concern about the information, thus hurting yourself as well as others; (3) the correct viewpoint does not need erroneous facts to prove its correctness; (4) those who dispel rumors can come from the right or the left, because they share the rumors as their common enemies; (5) through dispelling rumors, everybody (and especially the elites of society) will know that they are accountable for what they say and this will revive trust and social responsibility; (6) seeking the truth should be in the blood of every media workers and every legal worker.

Mr. Cheng Yizhong thinks that "Rumors are not facts, but they are much more real than the facts; rumors do not stand up to scrutiny, but they are more convincing than the truth; rumors are full of holes, but that does not stop the masses from firmly believing them."  I believe that most of the intentional rumor mongering has nothing to do with freedom of speech.  On the contrary, they come about because there is too much freedom in Internet speech without any accountability for fabricating/disseminating rumors.

Another microblogger Dianzizheng who is dedicated to dispelling rumors comments:

My viewpoint is that advocating the freedom to fabricate rumors will cause the truth to be covered up by lies and let the facts be buried under the clouds of rumors.  Clearing up rumors is what the people want and it is also the realization of the ability of the Internet to clean itself up.  Rumors are not facts, because they are false compared to the facts.  Because the rumor mongers roam all over the Internet, naturally there is now the counter force arising to dispel the rumors.  Rumors are sheer fabrications; dispelling rumors opens up a brand new world.  Dispelling rumors must not end with targeting unintelligent people; freedom of speech must begin with dispelling the rumors.

Over the past few months, I have seen so many major breaking stories turn out to be rumor-fueled.  The small number of stories that I have written about were largely about rumors.  So I have two reactions on this debate.

My first reaction is that the proliferation of rumors has caused me personally to lose interest in catching up with current affairs.  When at least 9 out of 10 major breaking stories turn out to be rumors, it is not surprising that my enthusiasm is going to wane.  I don't want to be misled and I don't want to mislead others.  I suspect that this applies to many other people.  So how can this be good when people are turned off by current affairs and politics as a whole?

My second reaction is that even the few significant stories with elements of truth are getting destroyed by the insertion of rumors.  For example, the case of Guo Meimei Baby should have led to a serious examination into the workings of the Red Cross Society of China.  Instead people can caught up in a frenzy with calling up the Australian embassy to look out for a fictional Norwegian passport.  And who fabricated that rumor?  A reporter with the newspaper <China Business> who said that he did it because he did not want the story to die down.  If you had forwarded that post, are you upset at being so easily deceived?  Are you contrite about misleading your followers?  At least, it was possible to check on the Norwegian passport and show that it was fake just as I did.  But what about some of the other current assertions about the interlocking directorates of the companies related to the Red Cross Society of China?  What is true and what is false?  I can no longer tell ...

Apple Daily
220,000 persons march in the streets
Thick-skinned Tsang team continues to support bad law

Headline Daily
July 1st 100,000 people in the streets

Hong Kong Daily News
200,000 marchers
Cumulative anger explodes

Hong Kong Economic Journal
July 1st march number reaches new high during Donald Tsang's term

Ming Pao
Civil Human Rights Front: 218,000; Police 54,000
Loudest Angry Howl In Seven Years

Oriental Daily
220,000 people shouted the order
Donald Tsang leave!

Sing Pao
210,000 persons in the streets

Sing Tao Daily
Donald Tsang: Fight On Until The Last Second
Denies "sunset government"; concentrate on fighting high housing prices

Ta Kung Pao (page A7)
Several hundred rioters create chaos in Central District
Deliberate caused trouble after the mass march

Wei Wei Po
Donald Tsang leads team
Fight on until the last second

Here are the titles of western media reports:

Growing Discontent Seen in Annual Hong Kong Protest  New York Times

Marchers vent anger on Hong Kong prices, policies  Associated Press

HK protest over high property prices  Financial Times

Hong Kongers March for Elections, Cheaper Housing  Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong's Annual Anti-Government Rally Over Home Prices Draws Thousands  Bloomberg

Tens of thousands march in Hong Kong pro-democracy rally  Ha'aretz

Thousands march on Hong Kong handover anniversary  AsiaOne

At the Hennessy Street-Arsenal Street pedestrian overpass, a team of seven persons counted the number of marchers passing through by vehicular traffic lane.

Lanes 1-3 are the westbound vehicular lanes, Lane 4 is the westbound tram lane, Lane 5 is the eastbound tram lane, Lane 6-8 are the eastbound vehicular lanes.

If within a period of time P1, the number of persons passing through lane 1 is Y1 per minute, then the total number of persons passing through lane 1 is (P1 times Y1); etc.  The total number of marchers is the total number of persons passing through all lanes through the entire march period.

According to the counters, the total number of marchers passing through the observation point is 41,019.  This count can be audited by checking the videotapes taken.


Start End Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Total
14:40 14:59





15:00 15:19





15:20 15:39





15:40 15:59





16:00 16:19





16:20 16:39





16:40 16:59





17:00 17:19





17:20 17:39





17:40 17:59





18:00 18:19





18:20 18:39





18:40 18:59





19:00 19:19





19:20 19:39





19:40 19:59





20:00 20:19





20:20 20:39





20:40 20:59










The above count does not include those persons who either left the march before the observation point or joined the march after the observation point.  Between July 5 and August 20, 2010, the HKU POP inserted a question about participation in the 7/1 march.  Of those who claimed to have participated, 70.4% said that they passed through the observation point.  This meant that the raw count of 41,019 should be adjusted upwards by a factor of 100 / 70.4 = 1.42.  Thus, the estimated crowd size this year is about 58,000.

Here are the crowd size estimates over the years:

Year Organizers' Estimates Government/Police Estimates HKU POP Estimates
2003 500,000+ 350,000


2004 530,000



2005 21,000



2006 58,000



2007 68,000



2008 47,000



2009 76,000



2010 52,000



2011 218,000 54,000 58,000

[Here is a brief history about the Hong Kong 7/1 crowd size estimates.  In 2003, nobody anticipated the large turnout so the estimates were crude.  In 2004 (The Hong Kong 7/1 March: Crowd Size Estimates), there was a major controversy over the crowd size as the organizers insists on a figure of 530,000 whereas six other independent studies put the number at 200,000 or less.  In coming up with their estimates, the organizers committed an arithmetic error that is well-known in the tree distance problem in elementary school arithmetic class.  The resulting controversy resulted in the focus being turned away from the basic fact that 200,000 persons were stating their demands to a discussion of statistics and academic freedom.  In 2005 (July 1 Afternoon March Estimates), the organizers made an initial claim which was widely reported by the media but had to revise downwards as they had to respect their own research data (which matched the academic teams).  Since 2006, the organizers have made their crowd size estimates without disclosure of methodology.  Their numbers are significantly higher than the numbers from the several academic teams (including the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme) which largely agree with each other and which make full disclosure of their methodology and data.]

[Addendum: Another team headed by Paul Yip Siu-fai, professor of social work and social administration at the University of Hong Kong, set the turnout at 60,000 to 70,000, based on videos and on-site polls. ]

[Addendum: Apple Daily, July 3, 2011

The Civil Human Rights Front, the police and the scholars each have their own crowd size estimates.  In particular, the Civil Human Rights Front's estimate is three times higher than the Hong Kong University scholars' estimates.

According to professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, a team of graduate students counted the number of marchers at Percival Street and found an average of 200 persons per minute going past.  Over four hours, the total was about 48,000 persons.  Adding the number of persons who did not go past the observation point with intercept interviews leads to a number not greater than 64,000.  Yip Siu-fai said: "If 220,000 participated, then there must be more than 800 persons going past every minute.  They can't do it even if they were marching in quick steps in a military parade.  If they walked at a normal pace, the march would finish around 1am if there were 220,000 marches as the Civil Human Rights Front claimed."

The Civil Human Rights Front convenor said that they used eight volunteers to count at Causeway Bay, Wanchai and Central, and that their statistical tallies are reliable.  He had no intention of questioning the counting methodology used by the Hong Kong University.  He said: "We will not squabble over how to count people.  We don't want the focus to be shifted."]