... The damage from Japanese pornographic works is tremendous.  They cause some people to lose their stands.  For example, the legendary hero Chen Jinnan could never get the men to unite to oust the Manchurians and restore the Ming dynasty.  Meanwhile, Ran Asakawa made many more Chinese young men fall in love with her overnight.  When she was rumored to have died recently, many Chinese young men were so sad.   Japanese pornography is also causing some promising Chinese young men to die from anger when they detect Chinese elements in certain Japanese adult games and pornography.  One way or the other, it is all the fault of Japanese pornography.

Finally, I have to explain to Comrade Police Officer.  All the background knowledge in this essay were based purely upon hearsay.  I haven't watched any of it.  I haven't watched ...

P.S.  Who is Ran Asakawa (武藤兰/朝河蘭)?  "Brother, if you don't know Ran Asakawa, then you don't understand adult video no matter how many you have watched."

Singapores Martyr, Chee Soon Juan.  July/August 2006.  By Hugo Restall, FEER.

Striding into the Chinese restaurant of Singapores historic Fullerton Hotel, Chee Soon Juan hardly looks like a dangerous revolutionary. Casually dressed in a blue shirt with a gold pen clipped to the pocket, he could pass as just another mild-mannered, apolitical Singaporean. Smiling, he courteously apologizes for being lateeven though it is only two minutes after the appointed time.

Nevertheless, according to prosecutors, this same man is not only a criminal, but a repeat offender. The opposition party leader has just come from a pre-trial conference at the courthouse, where he faces eight counts of speaking in public without a permit. He has already served numerous prison terms for this and other political offenses, including eight days in March for denying the independence of the judiciary. He expects to go to jail again later this year.

Mr. Chee does not seem too perturbed about this, but it drives Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong up the wall. Asked about his governments persecution of the opposition during a trip to New Zealand last month, Mr. Lee launched into a tirade of abuse against Mr. Chee. Hes a liar, hes a cheat, hes deceitful, hes confrontational, its a destructive form of politics designed not to win elections in Singapore but to impress foreign supporters and make himself out to be a martyr, Mr. Lee ranted. Hes deliberately going against the rules because he says, Im like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. I want to be a martyr.

Coming at the end of a trip in which the prime minister essentially got a free ride on human rights from his hostsNew Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark didnt even raise the issuethis outburst showed a lack of self-control and acumen. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the man who many believe still runs Singapore and who is the current prime ministers father, has said much the same things about Mr. Cheea political gangster, a liar and a cheatbut that was at home, and in the heat of an election campaign.

Mr. Chee smiles when its suggested that he must be doing something right. Every time he says something stupid like that, I think to myself, the worst thing to happen would be to be ignored. That would mean were not making any headway, he agrees.

But one charge made by the government does stick: Mr. Chee is not terribly concerned about election results. Which is just as well, because his Singapore Democratic Party did not do very well in the May 6 polls. It would be foolish, he suggests, for an opposition party in Singapore to pin its hopes on gaining one, or perhaps two, seats in parliament. He is aiming for a much bigger goal: bringing down the city-states one-party system of government. His weapon is a campaign of civil disobedience against laws designed to curtail democratic freedoms.

You dont vote out a dictatorship, he says. And basically thats what Singapore is, albeit a very sophisticated one. Its not possible for us to effect change just through the ballot box. Theyve got control of everything else around us. Instead whats needed is a coalition of civil society and political society coming together and demanding changea color revolution for Singapore.

So far Mr. Chee doesnt seem to be getting much, if any traction. While many Singaporeans dont particularly like the PAPs arrogant style of government, the ruling party has succeeded in depoliticizing the population to the extent that anybody who presses them to take action to make a change is regarded with resentment. And in a climate of fearMr. Chee lost his job as a psychology lecturer at the national university soon after entering opposition politicsa reluctance to get involved is hardly surprising.

Why is all this oppression necessary in a peaceful and prosperous country like Singapore where citizens otherwise enjoy so many freedoms? Mr. Chee has his own theory that the answer lies with strongman Lee Kuan Yew himself: Why is he still so afraid? I honestly think that through the years he has accumulated enough skeletons in his closet that he knows that when he is gone, his son and the generations after him will have a price to pay. If we had parliamentary debates where the opposition could pry and ask questions, I think he is actually afraid of something like that.

That raises the question of whether Singapore deserves its reputation for squeaky-clean government. A scandal involving the countrys biggest charity, the National Kidney Foundation, erupted in 2004 when it turned out that its Chief Executive T.T. Durai was not only drawing a $357,000 annual salary, but the charity was paying for his first-class flights, maintenance on his Mercedes, and gold-plated fixtures in his private office bathroom.

The scandal was a gift for the opposition, which naturally raised questions about why the government didnt do a better job of supervising the highly secretive NKF, whose patron was the wife of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (she called Mr. Durais salary peanuts). But it had wider implications too. The government controls huge pools of public money in the Central Provident Fund and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., both of which are highly nontransparent. It also controls spending on the public housing most Singaporeans live in, and openly uses the funds for refurbishing apartment blocks as a bribe for districts that vote for the ruling party. Singaporeans have no way of knowing whether officials are abusing their trust as Mr. Durai did.

It gets worse. Mr. Durais abuses only came to light because he sued the Straits Times newspaper for libel over an article detailing some of his perks. Why was Mr. Durai so confident he could win a libel suit when the allegations against him were true? Because he had done it before. The NKF won a libel case in 1998 against defendants who alleged it had paid for first-class flights for Mr. Durai. This time, however, he was up against a major bulwark of the regime, Singapore Press Holdings; its lawyers uncovered the truth.

Singaporean officials have a remarkable record of success in winning libel suits against their critics. The question then is, how many other libel suits have Singapores great and good wrongly won, resulting in the cover-up of real misdeeds? And are libel suits deliberately used as a tool to suppress questioning voices?

The bottling up of dissent conceals pressures and prevents conflicts from being resolved. For instance, extreme sensitivity over the issue of race relations means that the persistence of discrimination is a taboo topic. Yet according to Mr. Chee it is a problem that should be debated so that it can be better resolved. The harder they press now, the stronger will be the reaction when hes no longer around, he says of Lee Kuan Yew.

The paternalism of the PAP also rankles, especially since foreigners get more consideration than locals. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund will hold their annual meeting in Singapore this fall, and have been trying to convince the authorities to allow the usual demonstrations to take place. The likely result is that international NGO groups will be given a designated area to scream and shout. So we have a situation here where locals dont have the right to protest in their own country, while foreigners are able to do that, Mr. Chee marvels. Likewise, Singaporeans cant organize freely into unions to negotiate wages; instead a National Wages Council sets salaries with input from the corporate sector, including foreign chambers of commerce.

All these tensions will erupt when strongman Lee Kuan Yew dies. Mr. Chee notes that the ruling party is so insecure that Singapores founder has been unable to step back from front-line politics. The PAP still needs the fear he inspires in order to keep the population in line. Power may have officially passed to his son, Lee Hsien Loong, but even supporters privately admit that the new prime minister doesnt inspire confidence.

During the election, Prime Minister Lee made what should have been a routine attack on multiparty democracy: Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, Im going to spend all my time thinking whats the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this weeks problem and forget about next years challenges? But of course the ominous phrases buy votes and fix them stuck out. That is the kind of mistake, Mr. Chee suggests, Lee Sr. would not make.

Hes got a kind of intelligence that would serve you very well when you put a problem in front of him, he says of the prime minister. But when it comes to administration or political leadership, when you really need to be media savvy and motivate people, I think he is very lacking in that area. And his father senses it as well.

However, the elder Mr. Lees deathhe is now 82is a necessary but not sufficient condition for change. Another big factor is how civil society is able to use new technologies to bypass PAP control over information and free speech. The government has tried to stifle political filmmaking, blogging and podcasting. Singapore Rebel, a 2004 film about Mr. Chee by independent artist Martyn See, was banned but is widely available on the Internet.

Meanwhile, pressure for Singapore to remain competitive in the region has sparked debate about the governments dominant role in the economy. Can a top-down approach promote creativity and independent thinking? The need for transparency and accountability also means that Singapore will have to change. That is the source of Mr. Chees optimism in the face of all his setbacks: I realize that Singapore is not at that level yet. But weve got to start somewhere. And Im prepared to see this out, in the sense that in the next five, 10, 15 years, time is on our side. We need to continue to organize and educate and encourage. And it will come.

He doesnt dwell on his personal tribulations, but mentions in passing selling his self-published books on the street. That is his primary source of income to feed his family, along with the occasional grant. As to the charge of wanting to be a martyr, once he started dissenting, he found it impossible to stop in good conscience. The more you got involved, the more you found out what theyre capable of, it steels you, so you say, No, I will not back down. It makes you more determined.

Perhaps its in his genes. One of Mr. Chees daughters is old enough that she had to be told that her father was going to prison. She stood up before her class and announced, My papa is in jail, but he didnt do anything wrong. People have just been unfair to him.

Explanation: Statement on Singapore Banning the REVIEW  Travellers' Tales.

[in translation]

Renowned scholar Yu Qiuyu (余秋雨) published an essay titled "That is the name I was talking about" in People's Daily Net about the fall of Chen Lianyu, former Shanghai city party secretary.

Yu Qiuyu said that he related something that made him uncomfortable during the pre-recording of his program "Quitu Time" on Phoenix TV.  It was the second half of the year before last and he was invited to attend a Shanghai cultural event after not having been to such events for years.  At the time, many literary experts were there and they kept mentioning a name in an intimate way (no family name, just the given name).  Yu Qiuyu "did not know what was going on."  A man sitting next to him answered his query with astonishment: "That is the top leader of this city!"

Yu Qiuyu said, "I felt strange because this leader is definitely not engaged in research in the humanities.  So why are these scholars and professors referring to him repeatedly?  This is a form of mental kneeling in adoration.  Since the target was not present, it can be said to be a form of 'kneeling in absence.'"  The name that was being invoked with intimacy by the scholars was "Liangyu."

Yu Qiuyu said that he has brought up his concerns over this incident to his friends dozens of times.  On that day, he deliberately emphasized the serious setback in Shanghai cultural activities these days.  But those scholars looked at Yu in astonishment and two of them even interrupted him to say that Shanghai was not only setting cultural standards for China, but even internationally.  They were talking down at on him.

Yu Qiuyu said, "I was thinking at the time that since we are at a discussion of the humanities, I ought to have greater 'speech rights' than your 'Liangyu'?  Your respect for him and arrogance towards me do not represent serious scholarship.  When the scholars and professors engage in shameless flattery, these leaders take themselves too seriously.  A certain university professor said: 'What Liangyu said last month was also said before by the German Enlightenment philosophers, but he was more innovative.'  When so many contemporary intellectuals do these sorts of things, some officials forget who they are."

Finally Yu Qiuyu said that true intellectuals should be responsible for monitoring public power.  But most contemporary Chinese intellectuals are engaged in criticizing those without power and take out their jealousies on their colleagues.  Over and over again, they referred intimately to a certain leader that they do not personally know with his given name because they want to highlight their position and background and to mislead people that it was the leader's desire to trample on his colleagues -- such is their "wisdom of life."

As you might expect, some Internet netizens said to Yu Qiuyu: "Where were you two years ago?" and "See if you dare to publish this ten days ago" (see ChineseNewsNet).

[in translation]

Recently, there was an alleged case of an independent website being censored by ISP's.  The subject in the case was ntscmp.com, which was established in 1997 and is an independent website that made sarcastic jabs at current social ills.  Its position is that it is never afraid of offending people, including Li Ka-shing and his son Richard Li.

It was the website operator George Adams who revealed the case.  He publicly stated that some netizens cannot properly visit the website, but only Netvigator and Hutchison Global Communication users had those problems.  He called for netizens to complain to the Office of Telecommunication Authority.

The incident then developed with the Internet Society experts tracing the signal paths (a simple command that any user can test himself) and finding that the problem originated from outside Hong Kong.  Famous bloggers such as EastSouthWestNorth's Roland Soong and other experts also explained that the blocking was not due to any actions by Netvigator and Hutchinson Global Communication.  But like the drama in Potato Judge, even if the prima facie evidence does not exist, the Li family has been pronounced guilty.

Actually, anyone who understands anything about the structure of the Internet would not be jumping to a hasty conclusion.  In the Internet world, information communication is bi-directional.  The server is on one side and the end-user is on the other side.  For example, the end-user wants to view a short video hosted by an American server.  The end-user must send a command to the server and then the server will fetch the video and send it back to the end-user.

When one cannot visit a website, it does not have to be solely a problem with the ISP.  It may be that something is wrong with the server or the end-user.  For example, the server may limit the number of users or the restrict access only to some users.  Also the end-user may have problems with the hardware (network card or modem) or browser software, or even infected by computer viruses.  All these things may cause the website not to be properly displayed.

Another reason is that the ISP's cache engine (cache engines are used by ISP's to save the cost of accessing overseas website and increase network speed) has not yet updated its information so that the users are only seeing outdated information, or nothing at all.  This is an issue with the effectiveness of the cache engine, and not because the ISP deliberately censored a specific website.  This time, the two ISP's got the blame because netizens do not understand the structure of the Internet and also because of the negative image of the Li family.

The alleged ntscmp.com censorship case obviously showed that the public was pre-disposed against the Li family.  But the public relations people at the two ISP's chose "silence" and "avoidance" to deal with the prejudices of the netizens.  There are three possibilities:

1. They don't know the truth and they don't have the technical competence to get to the bottom of it;
2. They don't like their two bosses and they share the prejudices of the netizens;
3. They don't know how to deal with the matter and they believe that if they choose the ostrich policy, netizens will forget about it in a few days.

I have been in the public relations field before, and I dare say that (1) is unlikely and (3) is most probable.

But there are very few people who understand the whole affair and the point is not whether the ISP's were censoring ntscmp.  The point is whether the netizens will continue to hold the perception about censorship.  Undoubtedly, several days later, nobody is talking about incident anymore.  But when something else ever happens with Netvigator or HGC again, people will surely resurrect this affair.  At that time, even though this censorship case is still an allegation at this time, it will be treated as fact next time.  I want to remind the public relations people at the two ISP's that it requires tremendous effort to overturn a case, and it is often beyond the means of most public relations people.

When I was in public relations years ago, my boss and mentor said that PR is the abbreviation for "Perception & Reality."  The facts and prejudices are always unavoidably separated.  To bring the two together is the most basic thing that public relations people do every day.  This is so-called "bridging the perception gap."

Unfortunately, most public relations people in Hong Kong have no standing or knowledge.  When nothing happens, they wine and dine their clients.  When something happens, they have no comments.  Public relations people working for companies only know how to read their bosses' minds.  Or maybe they know how to write some press releases.  But how many of them know how to manage the perception gap?

If you cannot even do something this basic, you are better off giving up and going to Marcom to do publicity.  Please do not drag your company down.  These so-called public relations people, whether they like the two Li bosses or not, are guilty of fulfilling the prejudices of the netizens. 

When I asked Peng Ming-min, the godfather of Taiwan's independence movement, to write an op-ed, the chief editor, fearing that it might violate Beijing's position on national unification, removed the piece at the last minute. In fact, up to this very minute as far as I know, there's no law in Hong Kong forbidding the advocacy of Taiwan independence. Better do it before the masters utter the order of course.

People get the kind of press they deserve, I hate to admit. As long as the consumers in Hong Kong, constantly named as the freest economy on this planet earth, choose to support those media which engage in self-censorship, there's not much individual journalists can do to change the tide and alter the big picture. Self-censoring newspaper owners won't have a firmer backbone as along as their pockets aren't hurt.

If you believe that Hong Kong is a free market, then those newspapers that cover the issues that the consumers want will be rewarded.  So what is the market for Taiwan independence in Hong Kong?  If there is a huge and unsatisfied demand, a newspaper can exploit this open space.

Here is a Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme poll (telephone interviews with 1,007 respondents conducted during September 1-7, 2006).

Q: Taiwan independence?
81% oppose; 12% support

Q: Confidence in cross-strait reunification?
59% confident; 34% not confident

Q: Taiwan rejoin the United Nations?
58% oppose; 27% support

Q: "One country, two systems" applicable to Taiwan?
53% applicable; 35% not applicable

What is the market for a Hong Kong newspaper that wants to advocate (or even just discuss in a fair and balanced manner) Taiwan independence?

Related Link: Does Article 23 Really Matter To Beijing?  Letters from China

... will definitely share their films, photographs and reports when their own colleagues are assaulted to achieve maximum impact on public opinion and pressure.  This occurred across the entire political spectrum of the newspapers because no matter what your position is (e.g. pro-China or pro-democracy), it is just wrong to assault any reporter trying to gather news.  Mainland media should note this type of solidarity is a powerful form of protection -- nobody will think about assaulting one reporter when they know that the whole country will know about this the next morning.

Yesterday, in the Baiyuan district of Guangzhou, a vehicle jumped over the barrier on a bridge and fell into the river.  When eight reporters from four different media outlets arrived, they were accosted by men dressed in plainclothes or security uniforms, and roughed up.  Afterwards, the attackers were seen to walk into the Renhuo town government office building.
 
 

 
So what happened afterwards?  The newspapers shared their photographs and interviewed each other's reporters.  Here is the front page story from Southern Metropolis Daily which quotes the individual reproters.

YCWB reporter: I was called to cover this suddenly breaking incident, and I did not expect to encounter this situation.  Apart from anger, shock and depression, I also feel helpless.  Even today, some people think that they can shut everything down and that force is the solution for problems.  That is very naive.

Southern TV reporter: When I was dragged from the dam into the dark room, I was afraid because I did not know what was going to happen.  Three or them grabbed my arms and another wrapped me up with his arms.  I could not see anything inside the room.  Several people pinned me against the wall while another tugged at the equipment.  I asked, "I won't film then" but they still wanted to seize it.  I thought that I had to protect the eqiupment and preserve the evidence, so that everybody can see their ugly performance.

New Express reporter: This was obviousl a malaciously organized assault on reporters.  Throughout the entire incident, none of the reporters did anything wrong.  But I don't know who was directing these steel-pipe-wielding men wearing steel helmets to attack unarmed reporters.

Southern Metropolis Daily reporter:  After being taken into the dark room, someone seized the camera of our photographer and dropped it on the ground.  Then someone else tossed the camera out the door.  We went up to retrieve it but they pushed and punched us.  We slowly backed up out of the room.  In the confusion, our photographer stepped on a nail and started beldding.  (Photograph of nail on board and the x-ray of the foot is shown below).

In the evening, the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter contacted Renhuo town party publicity committee member Chen (who is a deputy town mayor) who said: "According to my understanding, our security people did not assault anyone.  There is no doubt about that."  When the reporter asked him about his view on the attack on the reporters, he said: "You people claimed that there was an incident.  I do not accept that it happened."

Answer: We need a YouTube video!  Five million viewing afterwards maybe Mr. Chen will respond appropriately.  (See CCTV via ChineseNewsNet)

Hi Roland,

I see you have been writing a lot about the [non] censorship of the blog NTSCMP in Hong Kong. But in Beijing there is another blog that has been censored by China Daily.

Not sure if you've been following the blog of one of the China Daily editors, called Positive Solutions (http://www.20six.co.uk/positivesolutions). The guy who did it, Charlie, is an English editor there, but he just got told to take it down or lose his job and get his working visa cancelled. Friend who works at 21st Century (part of China Daily), says this week all foreign staff have been told they must sign an agreement not to keep blogs unless they are "official" China Daily editorial ones like those by Raymond Zhou.

Management at China Daily are not happy about foreign staff bloggers since another foreign editor wrote a revealing blog about the place last year (called State Secrets) and a female Australian former editor has just published a scathing book about the place too [Kirsty Needham, A season in the Red, you might want to review it].

Last I heard, Charlie was looking for "alternative employment", (though he hasn't been fired) and another female editor is refusing to close down her [non-work-related] Beijing blog.

Since you gave so much coverage the non-censorship of a HK blog, is it fair and balanced to show that real censorship is occurring to the blogs of westerners in China?

Wow!  So I go over to Positive Solutions and here is the most recent post  (note: I'm reproducing it here just in case ... you know ... that site gets taken down).

In between (eye-wateringly tedious) stories at work this evening, I started flicking through a few blogs. To my great surprise, I found a story (swiftly removed) on a major blog that Positive Solutions had been shut down, and I had been silenced by THE MAN!!!

In a published email to the author of the blog (which shall remain anony-mouse), someone wrote: The guy who did it, Charlie, is an English editor there, but I heard he just got told to take it down or lose his job and get his working visa cancelled. One of the senior foreign editors on the China Daily website found his blog by chance and saw the negative comments that Charlie and other commenters had made about some of the Chinese staff and the China Daily editorial policy.

He then went on to cite an entirely fictitious person at China Daily dobbing me in. I know it was fictitious, because there is no-one here that fitted the description given. 

The blog author then noted that, according to his source, all China Daily staff will be required to sign an agreement not to blog. He also expressed his surprise that Positive Solutions lasted as long as it did.

All of which, quite frankly, is f**king hilarious. 

Someone has taken the time out of their day to make up a story about China Daily attempting to silence one of its foreign editors, pertaining to have knowledge of the inner workings of the place.

Permit me a few observations:

* This person has too much time on their hands.
* I suspect this is the work of the person who listed this blog on Wikipedia.
* I hope this is not some Han Rui Dismissed From Office-style obscure hint/warning for me to shut the hell up
* This person has obviously been reading this blog very closely, of which Im grateful
* Perhaps Ive got an e-stalker? Discomforting, but not as bad as a real one (Ive had one, and she was ugly. In all senses of the word)
* The thought that the management of China Daily would give a toss about what I have to say about anything is laughable: As Ive said repeatedly, as a 24-year-old white boy, Im the lowest of the low at China Daily.
* Could this be a malicious muck-spreading attempt, aiming to create an online uproar and bring the name of China Daily into serious disrepute.

Now that last one is a thought.

But anyway, Im still here, and Im not going anywhere. 

Maybe Im going to be bundled dramatically out of my apartment at 4am this morning and given the golden bullet? But I doubt it. Im not revealing anything secret, because I dont know anything secret. I have a rant and rave about a few things, but Im 24-year-old male who isnt getting any sex. What do you expectharmony?

Let me also point out one major flaw in this rumour: the suggestion I would sign a contract to shut up. 

I would walk away in an instant if that ever happened.

This would occur either because I had gone too far in my writings and been causing serious damage to my employer, which would be thoroughly unprofessional, or because they were being utterly unreasonable. 

No-one will ever silence me, other than myself. Or my mum.

[in translation]

This incident drew the attention of many netizens, with quite a few being certain that it was censorship.  But I feel that one must base one's conclusions upon the facts and then analyze them carefully.  Absent any proof, HBC and PCCW are both innocent.  But if we are suspicious of HBC and PCCW, we need to be equally suspicious of ntscmp.com in order to be fair.

In conjunction with the findings and analyses of other netizens, I have the following points of suspicion:

1. I have never visited ntscmp.com before and I began to pay attention only after this incident.  According to data from alexa.com, ntscmp was ranked 1,306,455 three months ago and today it is ranked 33,330, for a rise of 1,775,537 places.  If you think the ISP's are censoring this site because HGC and PCCW users cannot connect to it, then I think the above is even more suspicious.  Is it possible that someone pulled a trick in order to attract eyeballs?

2. Some netizens using HGC and Netvigator were able to enter the website.  So why does that website insist that HGC and Netvigator users cannot go there?

3. As the two largest ISP's in Hong Kong, why would they bother to block a relatively unknown website?

4. If some netizens using HGC and Netvigator can still enter the website, then why kind of censorship is this?  I think the two system administrators must be busy looking for new jobs!

Since yesterday, our technical experts in Internet Society Hong Kong has investigated into the incident, and here's what we have found so far:

- Users from Netvigator and HGC cannot access ntscmp.com, but users from most other networks can.
- Using "telnet ntscmp.com 80" to test the connection over Netvigator, we observe that in general the user can connect to the site for less than 1 second, but the connection was closed gracefully (no error message of disconnection) shortly. The obvious possibility is that the site accepts and then closes the connection from Netvigator.
- From the fact that our testers from these networks can get connected to ntscmp.com for a short moment, we have reasonable evidence that they did not impose a simple firewall blocking on the IP of ntscmp.com.
- Reading the results from tcpdump on the connection, it was a FIN packet that closes the connection gracefully.
- Normally a FIN packet is sent from the server to end a session, but it is technically possible for any administrator with sufficent privilege between the user and the network (ISP) and the endpoint (website) to send such a FIN packet to the user.
- Unless we can plant a sniffer at each segment to see which segment originates the packet, it will be virtually impossible for us to know where the FIN packet comes from. In other words, technically it is entirely possible that some third party (other than Netvigator and ntscmp.com) sends a RSET packet to clear the connection.
- But normally such behaviour happens when the end site closes the connection from Netvigator etc., because it maintains a blacklist of networks that they do not want to serve, e.g. if these networks may be a source of worms or viruses.

In summary, our conclusion is that we cannot find any evidence of a block imposed by the accused ISPs on the website in question. Connections from these ISPs to the website are flagged and closed gracefully and this can be caused by any third party who gained sufficient privilege or the endpoint website. But it is also virtually impossible for us to be able to investigate as a third party without such privilege to sniff into all the segments on the network.

Because of these observations, at the moment we do not believe the accused ISPs imposed any block on this website. We welcome any further input so that we can further investigate.

[in translation]

Anson Chan finally announced that she will not run in the Chief Executive election next year.  At the press conference, she said that she "had never thought about" entering the CE election.  Few people believe that.  Her famous words "I'll take one step at a time" and "Who knows what will happen in the next few months?" had unavoidably made people speculate about her plans.  Even if she had not decided to go ahead, she could not be said to be totally disinterested.  If she really was uninterested and only wanted to study the development of the Hong Kong political system in order to come up with some constructive recommendations, she would have an easier time if she had come out earlier to say that she was not running.  That would have lessened the suspicions of the central government and the SAR government senior officials and also persuade more people to become her partners.

She explained why she said nothing about her intentions with respect to the CE election: "In politics, everybody has learned not to take a position until the most critical moment."  This saying is peculiar and unconvincing.  No wonder the media are saying that she "gave up" or "backed down."

Mrs. Chan clearly knows that many of her friends in the pan-democratic camp were hoping for her to run and thought that she might run.  Therefore, she needs to say "sorry" to those people who are disappointed by her decision not to run.

But the pan-democratic camp are even more disappointed, because Mrs. Chan expressed two points at the press conference:

1. She said that she will not help the CE candidate chosen the pan-democratic camp;

2. She said that she will support "a person who acts responsibly for Hong Kong, who will rule Hong Kong with openness, transparency and public trust and who will implement 'one country, two systems'" as CE.

These conditions do not include supporting the implementation of universal suffrage in 2012 (or as quickly as possible), or acting responsibly for democracy.  These two points should disappoint the pan-democrats.

This has to be an obvious turnabout in Mrs. Chan's political attitude.  Since her unexpected participation in last December's "Anti-political reform demonstration march," Mrs. Chan has spoken many times about supporting democracy and universal suffrage.  She stood with the pan-democrats and urged people to participate in this year's July 1st march.  She openly called for Chief Executive Donald Tsang to "do his best to get democracy for the people of Hong Kong."  In late July, she was interviewed by CNN and she said that she is planning to form a "core group" in order to promote universal suffrage.  She said "it is necessary to persuade more people to join the democratic ranks so that our voices are louder.  Otherwise, we cannot convince the central government and the Hong Kong government to implement universal suffrage."

Mrs. Chan's current position is clearly to draw a line between herself and the pan-democratic camp and cool down her own "fight for democracy."  Her core group does not have any pan-democratic representative.  According to her own explanation, the core group "will be mainly studying the model and route to universal suffrage" and "the work will be complicated and is estimated to take months or even years to complete."  This meant that the core group does not plan to do anything during the critical period leading up to the election of the Chief Executive, especially with respect to applying pressure on the CE candidates about the time table for universal suffrage.

The objective consequence of this turnabout was that Mrs. Chan is at a longer distance away from the pan-democratic camp and this creates some room for her to mend her increasingly tense relationship with the central government.  Outsiders can only speculate as to why she chose to change the attitude that she held for most of the year.  If she were ten years younger, the current changes may lead people to speculate.  But time is not on her side, and it is difficult to think that the Mrs. Chan of today still has any long-term plans.

(Ming Pao)  Lee Peng-fei is a National People's Congress representative and a member of Anson Chan's core group.  He said, "It does not matter how good a proposal is.  As soon as it is connected with the pan-democrats, it has no future!"  According to his analysis, first of all, the pan-democrats cannot even visit Beijing.  If Beijing thinks Anson Chan is in the same camp as the pan-democrats, they won't even look at the proposal from the core group.  Secondly, the people in the core group can rationally consider the degree to which Beijing might accept the proposal for political reform whereas the pan-democrats will not.

ntscmp.com is hosted on a web hosting company in the U.S.  Its IP address is 69.49.101.19 [reverse DNS - hostedc10.megawebservers.com] and at least 5,439 other domain names are also hosted on that IP address.

That is right: at least 5,440 domain names, including ntscmp.com.

What about 69.49.101.19?  Is there anything special that merits special attention?  So I googled "69.49.101.19."  There are several entries of interest.

Internet Defense (Phisery):  A phishing email was sent on July 22, 2006 from Italy.  The purpose of the email was to get customers of Halifax Bank (UK) to enter their security information at a fake website.  The resource used was at 69.49.101.19.  It is noted: "The details will either be fake, or belong to another authority which owns a web server which has been compromised by the attacker."

Internet Defense (Phishery): A phishing email was sent on August 10, 2006 from the United States.  The purpose of the emil was to get customers of Bank of America to enter their security information at a fake website.  The resource used was at 69.49.101.19.  It is noted: "The details will either be fake, or belong to another authority which owns a web server which has been compromised by the attacker."

Escrow Fraud Prevention: A note was posted on July 31, 2006 about Transporters Worldwide Mobile at http://www.transporters-worldwide-mobile.com (IP address 69.49.101.19).

Escrow Fraud Prevention: A note was posted on August 26, 2006 about Mobile Shipment Company at www.szeiec-road.com (IP address 69.49.101.19)

Artists Against 419:  A note was posted on August 10, 2006 by about Europe Auto Delivery at www.europe-auto-delivery.com (IP address 69.49.101.19).

Trend Micro: A note was posted on June 8, 2005 about a phishing email for SkyBank customers to enter security information at a fake website (iskyfi.com at 69.49.101.19).

[in translation]

The verdict on the "Flash Rape Mob" case was rendered last week in district court.  The male netizen who was calling on others to form a "rapist gang" was found guilty on two counts of violating public morality.  Less than one week later, the police has arrested a 21-year-old netizen who claimed to want to have a suicide human bomb attack on "Didiney."  These two cases were discussed widely in the real and virtual worlds, with some commentators getting concerned that these cases are setting up bad precedents of speech as crime -- whereas the Internet provides the maximum freedom for speech, it has become the warehouse for law enforcement personnel to spot trouble.

It is perhaps an exaggeration to say these Internet-related crimes are setting a precedent to criminalize speech.  "Freedom of speech" is not an absolute right.  The current Hong Kong criminal law criminalizes certain kinds of speech, such as criminal libel, aiding/abetting/persuading others to commit crime, or even something as simple as obscene language in public transportation.  Anything inappropriate may make the speaker criminally liable.

Although the Internet is a virtual world, this does not mean that the law becomes virtual.  Internet crimes carry the same liabilities but the same law applied to the real or virtual world may be vastly different.  The virtual world is different from the real world in that the reach of a speech is much higher than in the real world, and its power to incite is therefore much more.  Legislative Councillor and barrister Audrey Eu pointed out that Internet speech can incite others to commit crimes, and therefore it is understandable that the law enforcement authorities would want to handle the Internet more carefully.

But when the police arrested the netizen who claimed to want to bomb "Didiney," the circumstances were different from the "Flash rape mob" case.  In the "Didiney" case, a self-proclaimed "Hezbollah terrorist" netizen posted at a discussion forum in a joking manner that he wanted information on bomb construction in order to launch a suicide bomb attack on "Didiney."  There was no discussion about any actual tactics.  Although another netizen gave him instructions on how to build a home-made sulfuric acid bomb, nobody would have treated this as true.  But the police arrested the netizen for "attempting to cause an explosion" while not finding any bomb-making materials at this home.  This may have been an overkill.

Obviously, one should not encourage terrorist activities, but the police must have "probable cause to file charges" when they arrest someone.  Based upon the case details, the police had reason to investigate in order to ensure that there was no bomb attack, but there was no reason to make the high-profile arrest.  When the case is dismissed, one feels that this was an overkill even as the feeble Internet free speech space is irreparably hurt.  The law enforcement authorities need to be extra careful about Internet crimes.

Netizens and law enforcers both have the duty to protect healthy Internet speech.

Hong Kong: Pacific Net: connection was broken at 217.239.40.78 (Deutsche Telecom in Germany) (see screen capture)
Powerbase: connection was broken at 217.239.40.78 (Deutsche Telecom in Germany) (see screen capture)
Sum.com.hk: connection was broken at 217.239.40.78 (Deutsche Telecom in Germany) (see screen capture)
 
HKFTP: connection was broken at Cogentco.com (see screen capture)
Zonasa: connection was broken at Cogentco.com (see screen capture)
Hutchinson Global Communications: connection was broken at Cogento.com (see screen capture)

To summarize all my experiments, my requests from Hong Kong were dropped at Telus.com, Cogentco.com or Deutsche Telecom before they could reach NTSCMP.com at IP address 69.49.101.19.  No Hong Kong ISP should be blamed for these events.  And all three relayers (one Canadian, one American and one German) failed to reach the next point.
 
What if we attempted to run TRACERT from North American academic sites to NTSCMP.com?  There is no reason for these access attempts to go through Netvigator or HGC in Hong Kong.  Here are my results:

Princeton University (Princeton, NJ): connection was broken at Cogento.com (see screen capture)
Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA): connection was broken at Cogento.com (see screen capture)
Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA): connection was broken at 217.239.40.78 (Deutsche Telecom in Germany) (see screen capture)
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR): connection was broken at telus.net (see screen capture)

I believe that something unusual is happening in North America, and this has nothing to do with any Hong Kong ISP.  While TRACERT is not necessarily equivalent to web page access, someone somewhere had to have taken the extra step to make TRACERT fail.  Why?
 
At this point, I would like to inject a personal opinion.  And I emphasize that this is a statement of personal opinion which is protected by the freedom of expression in Hong Kong and the United States of America.  What is my impression of FortuneCity.com, which hosts NTSCMP.com?  I think of FortuneCity.com as one of the worst ever in the history of the Internet, along with Geocities, Tripod and Lycos.  I have no reason to believe their declarations over those of Netvigator and Hutchison Global Communications.  At this point, the FortuneCity.com administrator may say that he has no problem accessing NTSCMP.com, but why is everybody having such problems doing a TRACERT?  Maybe it is something that FortuneCity.com is doing or maybe it is something happening upstream.  But it is not the Hong Kong ISP's for sure.

P.S.  Additional information:
...  

(in translation)  

Several days ago, just like Dukedom of Aberdeen, I received an email from Letters from China about how it was impossible to access ntscmp.com via Netvigator and HGC.  I am a Netvigator user and I attempted to access the website.  I was unsuccessful.  But I attempted to access the website again between two days ago and now and I was successful.

In this age in which politics meant everything, it is expected that the ntscmp story would be called "censorship" and "blocking."  At the time, I was ready to call this censorship, but then I thought that is was premature to "jump to conclusion."  In order to reach this conclusion, it is necessary to show that not only Netvigator/HGC users cannot access but all other users (in Hong Kong and elsewhere) can reach the website.  According to Sidekick and EastSouthWestNorth, the problem is in the United States and not with the Hong Kong ISP's.

At this moment, the incident has been characterized as a "censorship incident" (in the two Apple Daily reports), with scary terms such as "censorship" and "blocking."  Whenever such matters involve the top wealthiest families in Hong Kong, everybody should be "wary" and just condemn first before anything else.  I don't know about that.  Several days ago, I was unable to access ntscmp.com, but I can now do so easily.  Is this because of the exposure?  But I think that I still have to give the accused party the benefit of the doubt until accurate evidence is available.  Or else I can become a laughing stock.

... Chinese ecnoomic data often contain a little bit of black humor.

The latest example is this: in August, industrial production grew by 15.7%, which is 1% less than last month and also a new low since March 2005.  But for the same month, electricity consumption increased by 16.4% compared to the increase of 13.5% in July.  This created the "single highest increase in the 21st century."  These two sets of incompatible data are black and humorous, because our national economic development has defied normal logic: electricity consumption goes up while industrial production goes down.

Why?  Because it is extremely difficult for two different departments to coordinate their data.  That is, one side may be inflating or deflating the numbers while the other side does not do the same.  This meant that some numbers are heading in opposite directions.  Relatively speaking, electricity consumption is fixed and hard to fake.  For the August industrial production, the macroeconomic control policy to cool down the economy gave the government the motive to adjust the numbers downwards.  At the same time, environmental protection and green GDP are receiving increasing attention and becoming important indicators of political accomplishments as well as economic interests, and so the local governments are motivated to overstate energy consumption for now.  Thus, the statistical data become science fiction ... 

(Apple Daily)  Anti-Li Ka-shing Website Blocked, Central Government Possible Suspect.  September 23, 2006.

[in translation]

The matter of the website ntscmp.com that is critical of Li Ka-shing and Richard Li being blocked is still unresolved.  As of yesterday, the Office of Telecommunications Authority has received 34 complaints.  Netvigator and Hutchison Global re-iterated that they have not done any blocking.  Hong Kong Internet Society chairman Charles Mok said that more investigation may show that a third party could be stopping Hong Kong netizens from accessing that website, while the company that is hosting the website said that they suspect the Chinese government is involved.

Charles Mok said that more tests have shown that Hong Kong users can reach the website, but then they are immediately interrupted from viewing.  Therefore, the "superficial evidence" indicates that this may not be due to blocking by the Hong Kong Internet service providers.  It is possible that the website caused the incident by adopting certain procedures to prevent intrusion, and it is also possible that a third party is involved.  The matter is inconclusive at this time.

ntscmp.com owner George Adams said that this hosting service Fortune City is saying that the blocking originated from Hong Kong and netizens outside of Hong Kong can view his website normally.  He said that he could do nothing after the denials by Netvigator and Hutchison Global.  Local website InMediaHK cited Fortune City which hosts ntscmp.com as saying that the company does not block Hong Kong users and that this is possibly something that the Chinese government is doing.  But the company did not explain further.

According to engineers who are familiar with Internet technology, this incident is very unusual.  If the blocking does not orignate from Hong Kong, it will be hard to track down and it will be even more difficult to find out if the Chinese government was involved.

As Charles Mok noted, the headline was bad because there is absolutely no evidence or motive for the Chinese government to do any blocking.

From InMediaHK, here is the email reply from Fortune City:

From: Chris Ferry <chris@corp.fortunecity.com>
To: "Shu Hung (Koala)" <my email>
Cc: dns@fortunecity.com
Date: Sep 22, 2006 4:00 AM
Subject: Re: Have you blocked our access to your server

Shu Hung,

We are not blocking these IPs on our routers. It is most likely the Chinese Government. If you require access to these sites may I suggest an anonymous proxy server. But I imagine most of those are blocked as well.

Good luck,
Chris Ferry
Director of Operations
FortuneCity.com Inc.

It is likely that Chris Ferry does not understand Hong Kong's position in the context of China ("one country, two systems").  He suggests that this Hong Kong user should use an anonymous proxy server, which he imagines might be blocked as well.  That is a total misconception about the state of Internet access in Hong Kong (with the exception of this one peculiar case right now).  The term Chinese government usually means the central government on the mainland.  The technology does not exist for the central government to block Internet access in Hong Kong, least of all selectively among some (but not all) Netvigator and Hutchinson Global users.

(in translation)

Tycoon Li Ka-shing and his second son Richard Li may not coordinate with each too well in business, but they are unified against outside insults.  A website critical of the Li's appears to have been blocked by Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Global Communications and Richard Li's Netvigator.  The users of those two ISP's have been unable to access the website.  The Office of Telecommunications Authority has received 24 complaints.  The two companies both denied blocking their users from accessing the website.  A Legislative Council member pointed out that there is suspicion of interfering with freedom of information flow and asked the government to investigate.

The website suspected of being blocked by the two large ISP's is ntscmp.com, which was started in 1997.  The website uses sarcasm and humor to poke fun at social ills without being afraid of the rich and powerful.  As such, it is relatively well-known.

The website owner George Adams stated recently on the website that some netizens claimed to be unable to access the website recently.  After his investigation, it was found that only Netvigator and Hutchison users were affected.  He suspected that those two companies were blocking the website and called for netizens to complain to the OFTA.

Netizens were outraged by large financial groups blocking independent websites.  Many well-known blogs such as Mister Bijou and EastSouthWestNorth have commented on this case, and the local website InMediaHK has also reported on this.  The HK Golden discussion forum carried heated responses, with people saying that this is the typical Li style.  But there were also users of those two companies who claimed to be able to access the website.  Our reporter tested yesterday with Netvigator and Hutchison, and failed to get on.

George Adams told us that he checked his computer and server and both were working normally.  Furthermore, netizens outside of Hong Kong were not affected, so the two ISP's are the most likely culprits.  He has inquired at both ISP's.  Netvigator said that everything is normal while Hutchison has not replied.  He said that his website uses humor mostly to comment on the Li's without being malicious.  The most recent creation is a collage of photographs that referred to Richard Li as a "twat," and that may be the cause for the blocking.  He also described this affair as "disgusting censorship."

Both Netvigator and Hutchison have denied blocking their users from visiting anti-Li websites.  They said that some users can visit that website normally.  The OFTA has received 24 complaints so far, and the OFTA spokesperson claimed that if ISP's deliberately block information flow against the law, the highest penalty is a fine of up to HK$20,000 and two years in prison.

Charles Mok, Chairperson of the Internet Society Hong Kong, said that he heard about the case and preliminary investigation showed that several Hong Kong ISP's have encountered similar situations for unknown reasons.  "It may be that the ISP filtered the information, but another possibility is that there is a problem with the website itself."  He said that it is easier to trace from the server side.  Fan Kwok-fai, executive director of the Hong Kong Information Technology and Network Engineers Association, said that ISP's can easily block users from visiting certain websites and it is hard for third parties to do so.  However, the actual situation can only be determined after investigation.

Sin Chung-kai, Hong Kong Legislative Council member and chairman of the committee Information Technology and Communication Affairs, pointed out that the incident involves possibly restraint on the free flow of information and the authorities should investigate it quickly and prosecute if appropriate.  "If blocking combined.

[in translation]

(update on September 21)

During the day, I tried to use Netvigator to access ntscmp.com.  Failure.  This evening, I went home to Aberdeen and use i-cable to access it.  Success.  Before coming home, I had dinner with a friend who said that he tried it with Netvigator at work and he succeeded.

Based upon the above results, this thing does not seem to be the result of censorship/blocking.  On the contrary, there seems to be a problem with that website that made it impossible to go there.  I found a tool known as Mutliple Traceroute v0.96 which can test the routes from places from all over the world.  I started off with Telstra (203.50.2.177) in Melbourne.  Failure.  Next, I started from Finland's Center for Scientific Computing csc3-infor-a (193.166.0.1).  Failure.

It would seem that more than Netvigator users cannot access ntscmp.com.  Did ntscmp.com fool us?  I don't know.  I don't particularly like to clear Netvigator, but I must respect the facts.  The facts are that there is insufficient evdience to support what ntscmp.com says on its website:

1. No one can access ntscmp.com using Netvigator or HGC in Hong Kong.
2. Every other server can access ntscmp.com.

Those two points do not correspond to reality.

EastSouthWestNorth recommended that Netvigator (and other ISP's) state clearly that they will not block any website.  I believe that it is obviously a wonderful thing for the ISP's to say so.  But from the position of Netvigator, this highly visible statement will cause the mainstream media (such as newspapers and radio stations) to report and therefore lead to more people going to ntscmp.com, which is perhaps what the Li's do not want to see.  Presently, if there are only a small number of bloggers discussing this subject, it may be more advantageous for them to do nothing.

I do not have a firm position on this matter.  If this was a false alarm, we may be somewhat at a loss.  But in the end, we must respect the facts.  Perhaps I am wrong, and I hope someone will point out my mistake.

But I want the ISP's to know that people care about freedom of speech and information.  I care.

(in translation)  As far as I can tell, most local Hong Kong blogs are personal blogs.  So who is worth the most amount of money?  I tested several relatively more popular blogs at this website and here is their ranking:

1.東南西北 $1,296,658
2.
港燦筆記 $827,837
3.
聞見思錄 $475,566
4.
通寶日記 $101,278
5.PK_
日記 $88,070

The top-ranked EastSouthWestNorth has a "market value" of $1.2 million.  At a conservative return rate of 7%, there is a monthly income of $7,500.  That does not mean that you don't have to work anymore because it is going straight into your pocket from the buyers.  The condition is that you must keep on writing.  But if someone offers this price, should you sell?  Based upon the current circumstances, even if you outsource to Google to sell ads, it will be hard to make $7,500 per month.  Therefore, it would be worthwhile.  But the amount is not that big.  If you don't need money right now, you can wait because the space for development may be bigger than currently.

Related Link: 港燦筆記值 $827,837 ??????  港燦筆記

(in translation)  It would not matter how much you offer this blogger.  I have no intention of selling ads here.  Besides, if you write in Chinese, the Google ads will only be "public interest" ads.  I don't think that I am good enough to publish a book of collected essays or write a newspaper column, and I have no intention to do that.  I write this blog purely to for mental rest/masturbation.

Related Link: 47萬還是55萬?  ...

We are now no longer viewable via Li Ka Shing owned PCCW Netvigator or Hutchison Global Communications Broadband servers (the former being the biggest Internet service provider in Hong Kong) but are freely available via HK public libraries and on other HK servers, and in the USA and in the UK for certain. Was it the (Li Ka Shing supermarket chain) Park N Shop ripoff references or the lovely pic above of PCCW/Netvigator Chairman Richard Li which threw the switch on us? We apologise for this hiatus in the delivery of your NTSCMP. Thank you for your kind messages of support.  Dr George Adams, for NTSCMP.

The Park N Shop reference was based upon this photograph in which the bottle of a cheap wine was marked dowm from HK$45.00 to HK$44.90.  Wow!


 
So did PCCW Netvigator ban NTCMP.com as a result?  I'm not sure.  For a while, I could not access NTSCMP.com as a i-cable.com user.  Had PCCW Netvigator really banned any website in Hong Kong, I am positive that i-cable.com would have taken out full-page advertisements in newspapers to say that they would never do so.  This is because the Hong Kong ISP market is highly comeptitive in Hong Kong and they will seize on any comeptitive edge (see Travellers' Tales).  So perhaps there is a technical glitch that affected some or all the Hong Kong ISP's.
 
As uncertain as I am about whether there is a real story here, as opposed to some Internet-related technical issue beyond the control of PCCW Netvigator, I observed that the Internet is responding:

Global Voices Online: Hong Kong (China), Freedom of Speech, Internet & Telecoms:.  "An alert posted by Mister Bijou on PCCW (biggest telecom in HK and ISP netvigator) decision to filter out a website called ntscmp.  ESWN picks up the story and urges Hong Kong blogger to test the filtering."

Global Voices Online: Hong Kong: GFW in HK?

Mister Bijou: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, The NTSCMP Affair, The NTSCMP Affair: Final Words.

Flagrant Harbour  Is Netvigator censoring NTSCMP?

And I seemed to have pushed this issue onto some A-list bloggers in the Chinese-language blogosphere in Hong Kong:

香港ISP也有網絡封殺  船山筆記 
Some thoughts on ntscmp affair
  船山筆記

我不清楚,但我也關注
  香港仔公國
香港的GFW?  Just A Sidekick
李澤楷法中共封網站乎?  Letters from China
電訊盈科查禁搞笑網站
  InMediaHK
長和系 GFW 疑雲  Perspectives from cubicle
NTSCMP
事件簿  Just a Sidekick

Plus the HK Golden Forum.

Now I am probably as confused as they are about what is happening.  Let me put it this way, irrespective of the technical aspects.  Here are the facts: If you are a Netvigator user, you may not be able to access the NTSCMP.com website.  Why?  This may be either because Netvigator blocked that website or because it was due to an upstream technical glitch beyond the control of Netvigator.  But users of other Internet service providers do not seem to have such problems.
 
Given sufficient coverage of this story in the Hong Kong blogosphere (and I invite everybody to attempt the exercise to access NTSCMP.com and report the results), Netvigator will eventually have to respond to the public opinion wave (and I am sure that Apple Daily and others will pick this up if enough bloggers mention this issue).  For one thing, Netivigator may claim that they did not ban NTSCMP.com and the matter was due to a technical glitch upstream beyond their control.  Fine.  However, I would like to see an unequivocal statement from Netvigator (as well as all other Internet service providers in Hong Kong) that they would never ban any website.  PERIOD.  That would mean accountability and progress.  This is a very low bar -- just say that you didn't do it and you won't do it.  How hard can it be?  Why do you have to wait until every Hong Kong blog is talking about this?
 
Conversely, if Netvigator fails to clear this very low bar, what does that say?

- CTI TV 挺扁暴民攻擊無辜女駕駛轎車
- TVBS 919保扁民眾暴力砸車事件
- 919暴力民進黨&貪腐政府/綠色暴民當街砸車
- 919暴力民進黨&貪腐政府/高雄11位綠色暴民現形

This incident has much more significance than a pure local mass incident.  This is about the survivability of Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who had emphasized that he would leave if public security does not improve within six months.  What does that mean?  Here are the TVBS public opinion poll results on the public security situation in Taiwan:

March 20, 2006:very/somewhat satisfied: 15%
May 19, 2006: very/somewhat satisifed: 17%
July 21, 2006: very/somewhat satisfied: 19%
August 25, 2006; very/somewhat satisified: 20%
September 12, 2006; very/somewhat satisfied: 19%

Of course, Su Tseng-chang runs his own poll which shows that people are satisfied with the progress.  Fine.  They can argue about polling methodology from here to eternity.  But these video clips do not encourage confidence that law and order are being maintained in society.  After viewing these video clips, the question has to be: Where were the police?  They were obviously nowhere to be found.  And then you have the choice: Incompetence, indifference, abeyance or acquiescence?
 
Fortunately, Su Tseng-chang has a savior in the no-nonsense National Police Agency Director-General Hou Yu-ih (
侯友宜), who looked to be mad as hell.  Personally, I am inclined to trust him on account of this press conference photograph plus what he said.

(TVBS)  Pursuant to the events recorded in these video clips as well as other recorded incidents, Hou has issued major demerits to six senior police officials in Kaohsiung and Tainan who had direct responsibility for what occurred.  Based upon what Hou observed, it was unacceptable that only three individuals were apprehended after the fact.  Without exaggeration, the sanctions imposed by Hou were unprecedented.  And Hou warned the police commanders at Tainan and Pingtung where similar anti-Bian sit-in's are scheduled to take place soon that these types of incidents had better not occur again.  The whole world is watching.

As everybody knows, the anti-Bian wave sweeping Taipei has now spread across Taiwan.  When the Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian defeated the KMT-PFP alliance in 2004, no one could have imagined that the promising DPP/CSB team would be stuck in such a serious crisis today.

Actually, this writer can appreciate why so many people in the green camp are marching in the streets.  These people had experienced the heavy-handed KMT rule and the years of power-money politics.  When a democratic political system was finally introduced, DPP/CSB ascended.  Thus, the supporters of CSB hold great hopes for him in the belief that a new team will strike hard at "black gold" and create a new environment.  Instead, there was a series of scandals connected to the family of CSB.  It is therefore easy to imagine the disappointment of the people of Taiwan.  Actually, it was even more disappointing to the people of Taiwan that CSB would try to hold on to his power and position and refuse to resign.  This was what led the people of Taiwan to go into the streets to carry out this tremendous anti-corruption Red Revolution.

Due to the CSB effect, the DPP's accomplishments built over 20 years are being ruined in one blow.  It is expected that they cannot reverse their situation in the upcoming presidential, mayoral and legislative elections.  Given the way things are, what can the DPP do next from way down in the abyss?

In order not to hurt the whole society as well as the DPP, CSB has only one road in front of him.  That would be to resign in order to calm the storm.  When Annette Lu becomes president, she can use the remainder of the term to push through reforms to clean out "black gold," as demanded strongly by the people.  For example, this may entail the establishment of an independent judicial agency in the manner of Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and to actively improve the rule of law in Taiwan.  ...

For the sake of both Taiwan and the DPP, the DPP leaders had better wake up.  The problem in front of them is not whether CSB can hang on until his term ends in 2008.  This is about the survival of the party itself.  Therefore, instead of continuing with those quarrels that are disrupting social stability, it is better for them to stop the problem from getting worse and concentrate on saving themselves ...

Read the text and react to it accordingly -- based solely upon the text itself.  You can agree or disagree with the writer, and you can even call him a Communist dupe/shill/hack if you want, because this is what the Chinese Communist shills are saying in China Times and United Daily News.

I did not tell you who the writer was.  Do you think that should make a difference in how you respond?  Obviously, I thought some of you might and that was why I did not tell you.  If you really want to know, you are going to have to research it yourself (Next Weekly (Hong Kong), issue# 863, September 21, 2006, page 152).  Then you may have to reconcile your initial response with respect to the identity of the writer.

[in translation]

Late last September, we received permission to go to Beijing to visit Ching Cheong for the first time.

I have not been to Beijing for several years.  There are more large buildings and the cars on the roads flowed non-stop, indicating that the materialistic civilization of this city has risen.  But our hearts were heavy as we remembered Ching Cheong who had been detained for several months already.  The superficial bustling scenes cannot lessen the worries in our minds.

Per arrangement, we went to the outside of the Ministry of National Security building at Jianmendongda Street and we met the case investigator to take us to the detention center.  We arrived there by car half an hour later.  We went into the reception room, we were processed and the workers led us to the interview room.  The room was partitioned into two halves by glass.  There were were several chairs on our side and a microphone.  Several minutes later, the guards brought Ching Cheong in.  I had not seen him for almost six months.  He was a lot thinner and looked sallow and sluggish.  I suddenly realized that he looked so much like our dad, who was ill and bed-ridden at the time.  Cheong saw us, he got excited but he kept himself under control.  He thanked us for traveling so far to visit him and then he added this sentence: "I blame myself for loving China too much, and therefore causing trouble for everybody (都怪自己中国情意结太深了,连累了大家。)."  Tears began to flow from my younger sister.  We all wanted to ask him what happened, but the detention center told us beforehand that we cannot discuss the details of the case.  So we could only talk about what happened to everybody since we last saw each other and we ask each other to take care.  The half-hour period went by in this restrained and sorrowful atmosphere.

The next time that I went to see him in Beijing was more than two months later.  It was a lot colder in Beijing and the temperature was several degrees below zero.  We wore overcoats and we shivered while we waited at JIanmendongda Street for the case investigator.  This was the third time that I met this man, but I never found out his name.  I have asked him several times, but he never told me.  Perhaps his name is a secret.

Ching Cheong was still sallow and thin, but his spirit was better.  He started again with an apology to us and then he sighed that he loved China too much.  I imagined that he must be reflecting on this issue nowadays.  I appreciated that this open and upright man must have suffered insults.  It caused him grief to experience the deep significance of "You love your nation, but does your nation love you?"

Later Ching Cheong sent word through his lawyer to ask us to trust that he did not do anything against his conscience or damage the nation.  He hopes that his family can understand him and not feel bad for him.

As family members, we cannot imagine how an experienced reporter on mainland news could fall into this abyss.  We have good intentions, we hope that it was just a misunderstanding and he could come back soon.  But one day becomes another day, one month becomes another month and he has not returned yet.  During this period, many friends and fellow journalists publicly spoke out for him.  The alumni at Hong Kong University formed the Ching Cheong Concern Group to fight for fair treatment for him.  Cheong's employer never wavered from supporting him.  We are grateful from our hearts for all the care and help ...

Related Link: Brother gives glimpse of Ching's patriotic side.  Jonathan Cheng.  The Standard.  September 20, 2006.

[in translation]

... "The Good People of the Three Gorges (三峡好人)" has an English title of "Still Life."  The movie is divided into four sections: tobacco, wine, tea and sugar.  These four things are not only part of the narrative, but they are also the most basic materials that the Chinese people depend on and derive pleasure from.  For example, we saw many families at the Three Gorges which are materially deprived.  Sometimes, we discover certain things on their window sills or desks which have not been touched for four to five years.  The objects are very silent and carry the stamp of time.  That is when I felt that filming the lives of the most ordinary people in China is like filming a still life so that the reality that people are ignoring can be brought out by a film.

Obviously, the re-location of the people to make way for the Three Gorges construction brought changes, but I am touched by how after the tremendous changes, they were able to generate a life force under difficult circumstances, a life force that everyone from children to old people have.  I do not wish to give an assessment on the project itself.  The project is now a reality, and any assessment is meaningless.  It is more meaningful to show that people's lives were affected and that, under these circumstances, they still maintain a vibrant life force.

According to an online study conducted by China Youth Daily and QQ with 3,226 participants, the typical characteristics of a member of the Internet mob are:

62.6%: A person subjectively wants to suppress others
57.4%: A person employs filthy and abusive language
56.8%: A person discloses other people's personal details without approval by the principals
54.3%: A person threatens the personal safety of the principals
48.2%: A person questions the moral quality of the principals at each step
44.8%: A person blindly follows others' opinions

 (in translation) It is evening on Nanjing West Road in Shanghai.  The street lights are shining on the Louis Vuitton flagship store.  On the 2nd floor of the store, a woman was paying for 16,000 yuan LV handbag with a credit card.

Several minutes later, she is standing at the bus stop.  Like most ordinary Shanghai citizens, she takes buses and the metro subway for her daily transportation.  At that moment, you would imagine that her LV handbag had cost her four months of salary.  There are many women like her, making only 2,000-3,000 yuan per month, but they will take six months of their earnings to buy an LV bag, and then use it wihile going to work on a public bus.

For foreigners living in Shanghai, this is an incomprehensible story.  In their eyes, people who can afford to buy LV handbags should have houses plus luxury cars driven by chauffeurs.  But it is precisely this type of mindset that has made a luxury brand like LV so popular in Shanghai.

Do not imagine that LV (or any other luxury brand) actually appreciates these kinds of adulation.  This sort of talk cheapens the brand and dilutes the brand equity.  Your only defense is to mark up the price of the product even higher (as in, it'll cost two years of ordinary wages and it'll go out of fashion in six months).


In Hong Kong, in the case of The Bleeding Barrister, barrister Chu Tak went to a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel with two girls and got a room.  Then an ambulance had to be called because he was bleeding in his private parts.  Chu said, "Blood started to pour out of my dick like water from a showerhead.  I was not scared, but the girls were and insisted that I be taken to the hospital."  At the hospital, he created a commotion by calling his companions "chickens."  The above photographs showed the two girls coming out of the ambulance.  Can you identify the brand name of their handbags?  Would you be caught using the same brand as these "chickens"?
 
Additional ReadingThe Evil Woman With The Gucci Bag

(in translation)

At Harvard University two years ago, an American scholar wondered: "In today's China, do the leftists have the upper hand? Or the rightists?"

I told him: "Following your standards, neither leftists nor rights have power in China.  For you, your leftists are supposed to hold the rulers accountable; your rightists are supposed to limit the powers of the rulers.  Both these types of people are being suppressed in China.  But the Chinese rulers also prop up the types of leftists and rightists that they need.  They need the 'leftists' to expand their power, and they need to 'rightists' to help them evade their responsibilities.  So it can be said that in China, both 'leftists' and 'rightists' are being favored by the rulers."

This shows that when we observe China today, we cannot use the western "left-versus-right" dichotomy.  It is regrettable that people often do just that.

Within the international scholarly community, especially in the field of international economics, there are all sorts of ideas about China, but the major ones fall into three types.  The first one is the theory of the collapse of China.  It is thought that the high economic growth in China was an artificially created illusion.  Behind the scenes, the internal crises and the pressures of globalization are become more serious every day.  Collapse is therefore unavoidable.  The second and third ones are the opposite.  It is thought that the Chinese economy has created a miracle in growth and prosperity.  The two major camps among western economic scholars offer two opposite explanations.  The traditional liberal economics attributed the "Chinese miracle" to the success of liberal economics or market forces, whereas the leftist economic or Keynesian scholars attributed it to "socialism" or government intervention and control.

I believe that all three of these mainstream ideas are seriously wrong.  The fact is that China is maintaining its high economic growth while adapting nicely in globalization.  Therefore, the "theory of illusions/collapse" is wrong.  But this growth cannot be regarded as "the success of the government" as interpreted by the left-leaning scholars, nor as "the success of the market" as interpreted by the right-leaning scholars, nor does it have anything to do with the so-called "Beijing consensus" about the "combined success of market and government."  Apart from low wages and low benefits, China is able to use its "advantage" in "low human rights" to push down the price of the four major factors (manpower, land, capital and non-renewable resources).  The "cost of transaction is reduced" by prohibiting price negotiations as well as limiting or even eliminating certain trade rights.  China rejects democracy, it suppresses participation, it pays no attention to ideas, it despises religious beliefs, it scorns justice and it uses materialistic stimulation to promote a single-minded desire to chase after the mirage of wealth.  This was how it came to have an astonishing competitiveness seldom seen in open market or welfare states, and all the other liberalizing countries in the world that adopt either "gradual development" or "shock therapy" fall far behind China.

You would think a fourteen year incumbent Congressman would have a lot of positive things to say about his record in a reelection campaign. You would think an incumbent Congressman who claims he's in no danger of defeat would ignore his opponent. Not Peter King. He's kicked off his campaign with a campaign mailing that attacks me! ...

His letter uses an opinion piece in the New York Post to claim that I am being supported by the leaders of the Islamic Center in Westbury, located in the 3rd Congressional District, and that these leaders are Muslim extremists.  Even worse, he targeted his letter to Jewish voters in the district, playing the fear card to try and strip away support from my campaign.

I wish I could say that's the worst of the story, but it isn't. Turns out, Peter King has taken contributions from the very same leaders of the very same Islamic Center.  Let me break that down for you: I accepted contributions from three leaders at the Islamic Center in Westbury, and Peter King has attacked me for taking their money. The problem is, Peter King took their money too, and he even took more than I did! Peter King needs to explain why it's wrong for me to take money from Muslim donors, but OK for him to take even more from the same people. ...

Dave Mejias
Democratic candidate for Congress, NY-03

Is this the way to elect the best representative in the legislative branch of the nation?  The anti-dote is an informed and rational electorate.  But how many of us have the time and energy to keep up with this nonsense, which is financed by gadzillions of dollars from special interest contributions?

[in translation]

... In the name of rule of law, everybody likes certain clichs.  For example, media people often say: "Since the matter has entered into the judicial phase, we should shut up so as not to affect the judges' decision."  I have always considered this to be a Chinese-style idiocy that pretends to have some resemblance to the spirit of the law. Precisely because the matter has reached the hands of the most important judges in a society ruled by law, we should speak up and use our certain viewpoints to influence the judges.  If at this critical moment, you suddenly lose your voice and feel that speaking out will ruin things, you are disavowing your own role as citizen and you have no citizen spirt in a society ruled by law.  

The fact is that in a society that is truly ruled by law, those cases that society cares about are more likely to be topics of heated discussion.  There are many instances in which the passion of the public and the cold logic of the law are at odds.  If the will of the judges can be swayed by others so that a legally incorrect decision is rendered in the face of public pressure, the fault is on the judge and not on the public.  If the passion of the public is aligned with the spirit of the law, the public deserves the credit.  When the public places a person in the important role of judge, he should have the ability to sort out the information and also the courage to adhere to the law even if it upsets the public.  ... 

This list must drive my readers to distraction: Uyghur MTV; the lost war in Anbar province of Iraq; the diary of Susan Sontag in the Paris years; the district by-election in the Tsui Wan area of Chai Wan, Hong Kong; the delayed reporting on the Abu Ghraib torture prison; the presentation of self by Chinese leaders; a Hong Kong'er reflections on the anti-Bian campaign; death squads in Central America; media workers in Baghdad today.  I know that you may want a simpler and compartmentalized world, but this is ME!  And you will have to put up with that here.
 
P.S.  How shall I tell you that in the previously linked
偉大的反共文豪, the mainstream newspaper columnist apparently showed up as a sock-puppet to defend his op-ed piece and was exposed in the 50th comment in this post?
 
The fact is that I am an individual person who lived in a place during a time when I am exposed to multiple levels of information, all of which affected me as an individual as well the society around me.  How shall I not tell you about all these things?  You may not think that some of these things are relevant to you.  But trust me, they matter ...

[in translation]  

There is a very popular doggerel in China: "If you don't go to Beijing, you won't know that your official position is so insignificant; if you don't go to Shanghai, you won't know that you have so little money; if you don't go to Hainan, you won't know that your body is in bad shape."  Then a new phrase was tagged on: "If you don't go to Taiwan, you won't know that the Cultural Revolution is still going on."  Previously, I did not agree with that because the Cultural Revolution was initiated by Mao Zedong and there is no one like Mao in Taiwan.  But recent observations have led me to accept this phrase.

The Cultural Revolution was initiated by Mao Zedong in the name of "Culture" in order to bring down national president Liu Shaoqi.  I have many thoughts about the Cultural Revolution, but the deepest two are: revelatory materials and mass dictatorship.

When Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution, he depended on the "Two Newspapers and One Magazine" controlled by the Communist Party: People's Daily, Liberation Army Daily and Red Flag.  They published editorials and opinion pieces as well as the speeches from the Proletariat Command Headquarters, and these served as the opinion guide for the popular movements.  When the "red signal" was sent out, there was a unified movement across the country and those named immediately became the targets of criticisms.  The various levels of party organizations also offered the file information on the targets in order to protect themselves, and thus many local and departmental people were "swept" up as monsters and demons.

At first, the monsters and demons were known as the "five black types."  This was later expanded to eight types.  The government did not arrest them, but left them in society under the "dictatorship of the masses."  The "five red types" dictated over them, forced them to march in the streets wearing placards, shaved their heads halfway, cursed them, beat them, spit on them and went to their homes to carry out the "revolution."  When people visited doctors, the latter can ask about the "composition" and had the right to refuse treatment or medication to those tainted by blackness.  The entire country was submersed in the red terror.

In order to encourage violence, the Chinese Communist leaders gave speeches such as "When good people attack good people, it is just a misunderstanding; when good people attack bad people, it is justice" and "attack with words and defend with force."  The armed struggles increased the social division, the government was almost paralyzed and the economy was near collapse.  By the time that Mao Zedong succeeded in seizing political power and formed the unification of the alliance of revolutionaries, the leaders of neither factions were accepted by the people.  This led to the power being handed onto a neutral party (still subject to approval from above).  The monsters and demons were eventually vindicated.  The conclusion was that the events happened for cause, but there is no way to get to the details.  So we can only blame whatever the cause may be.

The revelatory materials in Taiwan are rather like the "Doubt everything; bring down everything" during the Cultural Revolution.  Anyone who supports Taiwan independence is attacked and must apologize, just like the "five black types."  What kind of democracy is this?  This type of populism is being manipulated by the Chinese Communists.  Although Taiwan does not have a Mao Zedong, the shadows of the Chinese Communists are everywhere.  In Taiwan, it was not easy to find a political figure such as Shi Ming-teh, who has never been to China.  Therefore, he is a rarity.  But during this entire movement, Chen Yu-hao and many pro-unification politicians, together with many performing artists and gangsters with China backgrounds, caused Shih Ming-teh to change colors.  So the Cultural Revolution is coming back through Shih.  But can Shih Ming-teh really assume power?

The Cultural Revolution created a huge calamity in China.  The Chinese Communists had to sacrifice the glorious image of their grandmaster Mao Zedong and admit that the man made mistakes in his latter years.  Since they knew that neither negotiations nor armed threats affects Taiwan, it created the Cultural Revolution to divide Taiwan in the name of "dump A-Bian" so that Taiwan will fall into a "vegetative state."  But can dumping A-Bian satisfy the ultimate need of the Chinese Communist to take over Taiwan?  The people and government of Taiwan must maintain a clear awareness.

A Guangzhou-based cartoonist has been suspended over the publication of his depiction of a weeping Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Kuang Biao received word yesterday afternoon from the editorial board of News Express, a local daily that has a progressive reputation, that he would be immediately suspended for one month.  The 40-year-old said he believed it was a pre-emptive move taken by the newspaper to protect him from further punishment by the central propaganda authorities.  "It's a gesture by the newspaper to show that action has been taken against their wayward journalist," he said.  "Sometimes in China, a good offence is the best defence."  Under the largely symbolic punitive measure, Kuang is still allowed to draw for other publications but only by using a pseudonym.

The cartoon printed on Monday portrayed President Hu, with a pen in one hand and a handkerchief in the other, apparently showing a rare emotional side while replying to a letter from the daughter of a Peking University professor who recently died from overwork at the age of 48.  "President Hu was not only writing to the daughter; he's also writing to all hard-working teachers around the country ... He's showing a lot of care for the country's teachers as well as the bereft family," the cartoon's caption said.

While not the same thing as US President George W. Bush being lampooned as a gun-toting cowboy, the cartoon was still unacceptable in the eyes of mainland censors, media analysts said. It is generally understood by the country's press that depicting national leaders in cartoons is politically incorrect.  "China might be the only place in the entire world where a sense of humour is not appreciated when it comes to politics," a media analyst said.  The incident might even bring the propaganda authorities to ban all artistic portrayal of national leaders, the analyst suggested.

It was not the first time that News Express depicted mainland leaders in cartoons. Previous works featured President Hu dining with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and Premier Wen Jiabao shaking hands with coal miners. Those works went largely unnoticed but Monday's cartoon was quickly picked up by the overseas press.

[in translation]

...  Twins have been around for some time and the two have this innocent and cute act.  The audience may be interested for a period.  But after a while, they will see that the two are not up to par on either singing or acting.  So the money tree known as Twins is not bringing in much money these days.  This year, EEG was forced once again to study the possibility of splitting them up and see if a solo career might bring a miracle.  Of the two women, EEG valued Gillian Chung more and so they hatched a plan to hype her up with a truly sensational story.

EEG has its own tabloid magazine Oriental Sunday, but it seems logically indefensible to publish snoop photos of your own actress changing backstage in your own magazine.  It would be an obvious case of hype.  So EEG paid EasyFinder magazine off with the sum of HK$200,000.  If EasyFinder should become banned as a result, EEG owner Albert Yeung would assume responsibility; if nothing happens, then the magazine makes big money.  So why not?  Therefore, the two got together to carry out the farce known as "Gillian changes her bra and gets photographed stealthily".

Thus, in Malaysia, the following occurred: EEG arranged for the EasyFinder reporter to come through the front door and set up the camera.  Then Gillian changed her clothes slowly in front of the camera.  The truth is so simple, without any exciting details and no undercover activity.  It only took a few minutes for the task to be completed.  Once the magazine hit the streets, Gillian began her "campaign of tears" to complain about how she was victimized.  This is like a slut seducing a decent man and then crying "I was raped" in order to show that she was chaste.  Such strange things happen in this world.

To make the show more realistic, Gillian cried everywhere and filed a report at Police Headquarters.  The women's organizations protested, the artistes offered their support, the media reported in waves ... as one thing led to another, the objective result far exceeded what both EEG and Gillian expected.  This time, Gillian profited immensely.  If it were not for such an awful trick, the plain-looking and talentless Gillian would have no chance to be a media headliner!

EEG must be said to be quite successful in hyping up Twins this time.  But before the success is the thorough destruction of moral bottomline.  EEG is acting righteous and condemning the lack of morals in media, but it is actually EEG and Twins who have no morals.  They deceived the public, they deceived many well-meaning organizations, they deceived the police and they deceived artistes such as Jackie Chan and Andy Lau.  People who commit so many sins will end badly eventually.  Artistes like Twins who dependly completely on packaging and hype will soon enter into the graves of history.

Now my opinion is that the blog post is just rubbish, and it is not even good fiction because the blogger does not understand the more complicated issues (see A Taxonomy of the Gillian Chung/EasyFinder Case) such as politics and personality.  Song Zude published his post on August 30.  As of September 13, it has more than 25,000 reads and almost 2,000 comments (such as 你个大垃圾,人渣,你怎么不去死呢!(translation: You big piece of trash!  Human waste!  Why don't you go and die?)).

[in translation]

At 4am on August 18, Rui'an (Wenzhou) Middle School Number 3 teacher Dai Haijing fell down to her death from her apartment.  Due to the resemblance in details with the Gao Yingying case in Hubei and the female teacher Huang Jing case in Hunan, the police once again faced not just an ordinary criminal investigation, but they were also slated to face the customary questioning by the public.

Twenty-two days later, after a joint investigation by the public security bureaus of Zhejiang, Wenzhou and Rui'an, a conclusion was reached about the case: Dai Haijing suffered from mental depression and she committed suicide by jumping out of the building.

Yesterday, our reporter interviewed a Wenzhou reporter who wrote about the details of the conclusions: "Although each detail of the case was investigated over and over and the evidence was powerful, the family of Dai Haijing still cannot believe the outcome was correct!"

Like the case of Hunan female teacher Huang Jing, the death of the pretty Dai Haijing must looked to outsiders that it must be related to her emotional life.  Since she was at odds with her rich and powerful husband, the rumors have been pointing at her husband Xie as the suspect.  Afterwards, while the police investigation was going on, a forum post about "Is Our Teacher Leaving Just Like This?" was distributed around the Internet.  Many people speculated that Xie pushed Dai out of the window, and people linked this with the Huang Jing case: they were worried that the police were paid off to say that Dai Haijing committed suicide.

"It must be admitted that the Wenzhou police endured a great deal of public opinion pressure during the investigation.  Therefore, they tried to disclose the evidence for every investigative detail to the public and let the family of the deceased participate in the analysis!"  The knowledgeable Wenzhou media reporter believed that the police adequately respected the people's right to know during the investigation.

According to the investigative results published yesterday, the police went through careful examinations and analyses and fully responded to all the aspects that the outside world were questioning.

Of course, empirical experience tells us that no matter how cleanly the police wrapped up a case, no matter howreliable all the supra-modern techniques of collecting evidence are and no matter how the final conclusion is flawless, the final word will have to withstand the test of history.  We have observed many such lessons in this county.

At this point, let us not comment on the kind of effort that the Wenzhou police put into the investigation.  If we group this case with the Gao Yingying case and the Huang Jing case, then these several cases that drew the attention of the entire nation have a common characteristic: the police produced relatively transparent evidence in order to close the cases (with the exception of the Dai Haijing case, the previous two cases were investigated and re-investigated several times before closure).

This characteristic should be compared to certain cases that were sloppily closed by certain local public security organizations in the 1990's and resulted in the eventual exposure and overturning of a number of false convictions.  So we can count on this as a form of judicial improvement and democracy.

The reassuring thought here is that this improvement was obtained under the watchful eyes of the people.  It is the minimum requirement in the judicial process to "let the evidence speak for itself," but it was the people who fought to question the evidence and the conclusions.  As the police become more concerned about the public's right to know, the cases will become more transparent.  That is to say, the era in which the people participate in questioning the evidence in the judicial realm has silently arrived!

Comment: This is one of those sea changes in China that you would not recognize while it was happening bit by bit.  Ten years ago, the case would never hit the light of day, whether or not mass incidents occurred.  This time, the police were fully aware of the public opinion wave while their investigation was going on.  When they announced their findings, their worst nightmare was realized with two major mass incidents.  This may trigger a national-level investigation in order to mollify public opinion.  What is the difference between now and ten years ago?  Would you believe -- the Internet?
 
Related LinkSuspicious deaths & alleged coverups in China  Rebecca MacKinnon, RConversation

[in translation]

People who are familiar with Sino-Japanese relationship often have this feelings that even though are many Chinese books about Japan over the past few decades, there are no classical works.  Not only is there nothing comparable to American scholar Ruth Benedict's Chrysanthemum and the Sword, there is nothing even to match Dai Jitao (戴季陶)'s Discussing Japan (日本论) in the early Republic days.  Why is that?  Many people have talked about this subject, but here are some random thoughts of mine.

The most noticeable characteristic of Chinese attitudes towards Japan is contempt.  There are two types of contempt.  One type is absolute contempt because one thinks that one is superior (even though this is just an inflated self-opinion) not just over Japan but also everybody else.  This is a form of "ignorant contempt."  The other type is relative contempt, which depends on the object.  Thus one takes Europe and United States very seriously, and then one cannot take Japan as seriously.  This is a form of "prejudicial contempt."  Basically, there is more of this second type around. 

...  First, it is a historical habit.  Over history, Japan had been learning from China for a long time.  After the Meiji Reform, the diligently learning Japanese had basically set down China in its policies as a target for conquest, even as the scholastic studies of China continued strongly.  Even now, among the reports about foreign countries, the news about China far exceeds all other nations (including the United States).

Second, it is a displacement that occurred as a result of circumstances.  During the early 20th century, there was a great deal of enthusiasm in China about studying Japan.  Many promising young people went to Japan to find the path to make their own nation strong, and Marxism arrived in China through a Japanese translation.  Das Capital and The Declaration of the Communist Party were translated first from Japanese into Chinese.  But following Japan's invasion of China and its subsequent defeat, Japan can no longer be treated as a model to emulate, or even study.  Thus, there was a displacement in Sino-Japanese attitudes.  Although Japan was economically successful after the war, it still does not have high international political standing.  Although China had an uneven path of development, it continued to hold a high international reputation.  This meant that the misalignment has been reinforced. ...

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[translated in summary]

In the autumn of 2005, a story in Southern Weekend about The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China drew my attention to the Tianya Club forum.  From that moment on, I read many more famous posts that fascinated me.  After reading so many interesting posts, I got tempted to get try my own hand.  Since I am decent in writing, why wouldn't I write about what I have seen and read over the years?  Although I am just a low-level government official, I am still more informed than those newcomers or 'excellent' university students.  I should share my experience with them so that they will make fewer mistakes, earn fewer scoldings from the leaders, waste less time on professionally unproductive work ... and to bring them up to become the successors of socialism and build up the eternal enterprise of harmonious society.  Therefore, I wrote The True Life of a Political Worm.  Thanks to the recommendation of a renowned netizen and the attention of the forum master, I was able to garner a large number of page views over many months.  I thank the two of them as well as all other netizens for their support.

After having dozens of sections of this continuing saga, publishing editors began to approach.  They said, "You write well and you make official business so funny.  If you get it published, you may make some money."  I said, "Great, but would you dare publish it?"  As soon as the proposal reached their leaders, it was rejected because the reason was uniformly: this will never make it past the political examination.

Finally, there will be a book published in the autumn of 2006.  The decision-maker just sneered at the so-called problem of direction: "This is just the usual silly stuff that you see in official circles in China.  It can't be that serious, right?"  That was the China Drama Publishing House.  I admire the China Drama Publishing House from deep in my heart.

The book can be summarized as "True" and "Funny."  As for how it is true and funny, you will have to read it.  The book costs 20 RMB.  If you just treat it as what happened during a round of mahjong, it is not that expensive.  The target groups of the book are: entry-level political worms and regular political worms.  It is an excellent book for your own reading or as a present.  When you have spare time besides preparing for the public servant entrance exams, you should give this book a read and you may get some illuminating ideas!

(Apple Daily)  In Ezhou city (Hubei province) earlier this year, the Internet monitoring department of the public service bureau received a tip that someone was running a porno website to fleece consumers.  The police has now arrested 11 individuals.

How much money did the criminals make?  120 million RMB.

The gig works like this -- the group took out Internet ads at more than 32,000 different websites hinting that they are offering "one million sensational movies," "100,000 sexy movies" and so on.  Furthermore, the viewing and downloading will be free with a monthly subscription fee of only 2 RMB.  All the netizens have to do is to use their mobile phones to transfer an initiation fee of 30 RMB.  4 million people fell for that.  4 million x 30 RMB = 120 million RMB.  The 4 million people sent in the money and never received a thing.  But what could they do?  Call the police to complain that they never received the illegal merchandise? 

[in translation]

... The Gillian Chung affair may have cooled down for the moment, but this does not mean that the media can rest easy after all sectors of society condemned this type of snooping activity.  Senior government officials privately warned that their internal public opinion polls showed that the citizens are extremely dissatisfied with the media, including some people who support legislation to stop the media from snooping.  "It is no joke" and "public opinion is completely not with the media."

... Although the public opinion has been clearly against the media, the opinion of the media themselves is also clear -- they oppose any legislation.  The various journalist and media organizations all publicly oppose any legislation.  The government sources also said that while the public opinion is presently one-sided against the media, such opinions can shift rapidly.  If the media organizations should then raise the banner of freedom of press and object to the legislation, the public opinion may make a 180-degree turn.  Then the Legislature will probably turn around and ask the govenment, "Why do you want to control the media!"  Thus, we cannot count on the current public opinion.

[in translation]

Yesterday is the 30th anniversary of the death of former Chinese Communist Party Central Chairman Mao Zedong.  There were no official commemorative activities.  More than 10,000 citizens showed up at the Beijing Mao Zedong memorial hall to view his body.  Former editor of Freezing Point (in China Youth Daily) Li Datong said that Mao's deeds were like a "double-edged sword" to the Chinese Communist authorities.  The Chinese Communists will avoid highlighting his rights or wrongs and not change their assessment of him.

Zhou Ruijin, former deputy chief editor at People's Daily who also wrote under the pen name Huangfu Ping, also said that the old scores have been settled and there are no more historical entanglements now.  In 1981, the Chinese Communist Pary Central had offered "The resolution on certain historical problems in the party since the founding of the nation" and assessed Mao as "70% right, 30% wrong."  This assessment of Mao is unlikely to change much now.

Li Datong said that the political legacy of Mao was that "class struggle is the basic engine of social development."  This is absolutely useless to the present political rulers.  When Mao held power, his economic policies were to "run amok" and caused huge catastrophes for China.  Morally, there is nothing much praiseworthy about Mao, unlike former Premier Zhou Enlai who represented a moral paragon.  Therefore, the Chinese Communists are unlikely to publicize Mao's contributions.

Li Datong said that actually, the last 30 years of market economy and social reform in mainland China were fundamentally the result of changes that were "against Mao" and therefore negated his legacy.  But even so, the Chinese Communists will not publicly negate what Mao did.  "Once you get started to talk about it, then everybody played a part in it."  Just like Mao, the present Chinese Communist government is the product of the same autocratic system.  Therefore, they will not turn around to criticize Mao.

This morning China's premier, Wen Jiabao, granted a rare audience to five news publications. The Times was one of those fortunate enough to be chosen for the small group interview before he sets off on a European tour that will take him to Finland, Britain and Germany.  The interview lasted an hour. It was only 13 hours and 43 minutes after it was all over that the government issued its official transcript in Chinese and in English.

Why the delay before I could issue the article? Every word the premier uttered had been recorded on a phalanx of tape recorders lined up by the journalists with military precision on the table beside his armchair.

...

Are there perhaps cautious mandarins busy behind the walls of the Zhongnanhai government compound whose task it is to tinker with the premier's words just in case he didn't really mean what he said? The saga certainly prompts one to ponder. How deep into the system does censorship stretch? I confess I didn't notice anything particularly sensitive, let alone controversial, in the before version or the approved version. But the final text is at last available.

Now I have no idea why this happened.  But, as a professional translator, I noted this bit of Q&A:

Q: What book do you most like to read before you go to sleep at night, and when you put the book down which of Chinas problems most often keeps you awake?

WEN JIABAO: You are actually asking about my reading and thinking. Let me quote you some lines from the poems of famous literary figures, both Chinese and foreign. They will tell you something about me, what is on my mind, and what I read. They are as follows: While I have little possession at hand, I care deeply about my people across the land. Having devoured ten thousand books and drawing inspiration from ancient thinkers, I have the whole world in my mind.

To ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth, to secure life and fortune for the people, to continue lost teachings for past sages and to establish peace for all future generations.

Long did I sigh to hold back tears; saddened I am by the grief of my people.

Lying in bed in my official residence, I heard the rustling of bamboo outside, and it just sounded like the moaning of the needy; There are two things that fill my mind with ever increasing admiration and awe: the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.

You ask why my eyes are always filled with tears. It is because I love my land dearly. 

Now if I was the translator who heard this played back on the audiotape, I would be in total panic.  I would have to go back and research these phrases, because I cannot afford to have a single error (note: there is no worse crime than messing up Chinese poems -- you are supposed to have memorized every single one of them!!! I haven't and that's my problem!!!).  And then I would have to be very careful about the translation.  Perhaps the reporters had let their translators do a draft translation first, and then it should be interesting just how well either their Chinese transcripton or English translation matched the official version. 

Fortunately, if you read Chinese, the 五斗米的BLOG has tracked down these quotations.

[in translation]

[... in the beginning of the essay, Tsui named and described the three Apple Daily essays that are translated at In Defense of the Realm]

... I must say some words in fairness to Next Media.  The truth is that no matter how clearcut a social incident is, somebody will exploit it to achieve their own goals.  Objectively, there are at least four types of people who are interested in using the snooping incident to "attack" EasyFinder and also Next Media:

Commercially: Other weekly publications like EasyFinder; direct competitiors of Next Media in circulation and advertising.

Politically: Pro-mainland and pro-government media and political figures who detest Next Media for "opposing the mainland China and creating chaos in Hong Kong."

Personally: Celebrities (especially rich people and artistes) who are afraid of being exposed by the paparazzis of Next Media.

Morally: Parents, educators, religious figures, youth workers and others who are concerned that the next generation of Hong Kong'ers will be contaminated by pornography and violence.

You don't need me to tell you, but I think that you can take this taxonomy and find many people and organizations that fit these four classifications.  But should we deny that EasyFinder must pay a price because there are so many people who want to see Next Media get ruined?  In the final analysis, it was EasyFinder which started it all.  If you don't want a knife in your head, you better examine your own behavior.  If you behaved poorly and now you want to to use freedom of press and the hypocrisy of actors as a shield, wouldn't that be too easy?  Besdies, if the artistes and the media have a symbiotic relationship, then why do the artistes have to endure all the troubles but the media suffer no consequences?  If we agree that the "black hand" behind the people who assaulted legislator Albert Ho deserves greater punishment than the men who carried out the assault, then shouldn't EasyFinder have a greater responsiblity than the photographer whose photos were published upon the decision of the magazine?

This is to say that I do not agree with any legislation to supervise the media.  I am only saying that behind all the grand talk, there are complex political positions and private interests.  If you just study the florid language, you will miss the point.

[translated with some editing cuts]

Recently, I wanted to borrow a little space from Apple Daily to speak about the Gillian Chung/EasyFinder affair on behalf of a group of netizens who are able to express their thoughts in an independent and untampered public opinion platform that has no interest ties with any parties.  I listed the completely different viewpoints and analyzed the reasons within.  The next day, the so-called "righteous newspapers" hinted that I am an Apple Daily hired help and they also called the Internet public opinion platform as "a small circle for certain individuals to whinge and has no representativeness to speak of."  As a netizen, I must defend the Internet as an independent platform for represenative public opinion.

...

Perhaps the Internet public opinion platform is ordinarily just a place for a group of people to joke, laugh, vent and argue and it has also created many silly and ridiculous stories.  But it has also created certain legends.  For example, a group of netizens once ran their own fund-raising campaign to take out an ad for universal suffrage in a newspaper; as another example, netizens have exposed a certain "righteous" newspaper for staging a farce about how their 'readers' were fighting to claim the free gifts.  The ability of the netizens to think, observe and take action is just as good as any other social group.  Through interaction and exchange, they can often easily take apart certain carefully packaged lies, or else highlight the pathetic nature of certain bad arguments.

More importantly, the Internet plaform is an independent channel for dissemination and exchange, and it cannot be monopolized by individual persons.  So when we find certain mainstream media are attempting to instill the dominant ideology in society, the Internet becomes a more trustworthy barometer of public opinion and a speech platform in which thinking, exploring and speaking are not interfered with.  The contempt that the "righteous newspapers" showed towards the Internet public opinion platform demonstrated that they are terrified of the little child who exposed that they are the Emperors without Clothes.

(Shanghai Daily)  Huangpu's fishes awaiting ungentlemanly "chinabounder".  By Douglas Williams.  September 4, 2006.

The hunt is on for "chinabounder," a blog portrayal of a cad who came to Shanghai as an English teacher and engaged in a series of sexual exploits, documenting each and every one in lurid detail.  This has angered a lot of people, not the least of whom are the many foreigners who call Shanghai home.

The short term-ism of this approach may precipitate an even shorter stay for such a person, but for those of us who plan on being here for a while this blog does nothing but harm, exacerbating an already sore point.  The opinion has been posited that were a Shanghainese man to go to "chinabounder's" native UK and record his bedroom shenanigans nobody would bat an eye.

That may be, but were "chinabounder" to switch location and repeat his performance as "sicilybounder," the chances are he would not be of this world for long.

Not the sort of guy to be stuck next to on a long haul, "chinabounder" clearly demonstrates an idiom he may have taught: Empty vessels make the most noise.  Then there is the nugget of information the blog offers about "chinabounder." Before arriving in Shanghai he had been singularly unsuccessful with women, having had a grand tally of one UK girlfriend by the age of 35/36.

Let's not forget that this is a blog and not subject to verification.  I suggest "chinabounder" is actually likely to be the fantasizing of a frustrated English teacher or even a group of people.  One can only imagine the blog's biggest fans are other similar types who enjoy reading such rubbish.

Let's hope that if there are any fish in the Huangpu the "englishonanist" will soon take a swim with them.

Why was it removed from the Shanghai Daily website?  Maybe the editors found out only after publication that "sleeping with the fishes" means "killed and thrown in a river, ocean, water body" as in The Godfather movie:

[Tessio brings in Luca Brasi's bulletproof vest, delivered with a fish inside]
Sonny: What the hell is this?
Clemenza: It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. 

Monday Sep 4th 7.30pm

Internet Publishing in China: Panel Discussion

Explore the issues and challenges surrounding internet publishing in one of its most exciting and dynamic regions, with three confirmed experts in the field - Jeremy Goldkorn (danwei.org), Roland Soong (EWSN.com) and media mogul Hong Huang.

Free.

Meanwhile, blogging will probably dwindle to nothing.  I think I deserve a break after a most exciting week.  And when I come back, it will be even more exciting with Please join us for interlocals dialogue!.


 
But here is a couple who did not get affected by the hazy, hot and moist weather:
 

 
If I really didn't want to do anything this weekend, I should not have stated that I'm in Beijing.  Michael Anti read the blog, found out that I was here and rounded up a crew of bloggers and media workers to take me down to the famous Liqun restaurant (see Intelligent Being's description in Chinese) to eat roast Peking duck.  There were nine of us and we ordered three Peking ducks -- we couldn't finish because it was just too much!


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