1. Gillian Chung being photographed while changing clothes during a concert.
2. Bus Uncle Roger Chen's short video clip became an Internet hit
3. The scandals surrounding Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and the resulting mass demonstrations
4. Smoking ban in public places was passed by Legislature and will take effect next year
5. Pluto was removed from the list of planets in the solar system
6. Off-duty police officer Tsui Po-ko killed another police officer and was killed himself
7. Margaret Chan became the first Chinese director-general of the World Health Organisation
8. Some Hong Kong middle school students are suspected of cheating in the School Certificate exams via mobile phone
9. Program hosts Sammy and Shiu Yee were suspended two months for running the Ten Actresses That You Would Like Most To Sexually Abuse contest
10. Zinedine Zidane ends his soccer career with a headbutt in Italy, which won the World Cup

According to the Hong Kong School Net spokesperson, there is no economic news in the top ten list and only three political news items made it.  Certain events related to the development of the political system such as the snooping law and Alan Leong's announcement to run for the Chief Executive did not even make the top 30.  This showed that the middle school students lack the ability to read and interpret political news and they cannot grasp the abstract principles behind those events.  The spokesperson recommends schools to put in various types of news as discussion topics in general knowledge classes.

[in translation]

... On the second last Saturday of 2006, Gao Qinrong appeared at a certain Media Opinion Watchdog Discussion Forum organized by a certain university in Beijing.  He was invited to attend and he made a speech.  This was the first time in eight years that he faced the media from all over China and publicly told about his wrongful jail sentence.

... Gao Qinrong's sudden trip to Beijing was at the invitation of two renowned Internet portals.  He held a highly publicized interaction chat session with netizens and he also met with reporters from many print media in Beijing.  This was his first public appearance since coming out of jail.  But on the day before the activities were to take place, the organizing website was informed by the relevant authorities that the event must be canceled.

On the next day, the event indeed took place, but the contents of Gao's speech was not published on the website.  His meeting with the print media reporters was also turned into a simple meal.  Next, the name Gao Qinrong became a keyword on the Chinese Internet.  On the first day, "Gao Qinrong" would generate several tens of thousands of relevant news reports on the Internet.  Shortly afterwards, such a search yielded zero results at one of the largest search engines in China.

... "Just arrest Gao Qinrong first and I can't believe that we cannot find something wrong with him."  After Gao Qinrong was arrested, he head about the instructions from a certain senior leader in Shanxi province.  "The people who ordered my arrest was Huang Youquan and Yan Huoping."  At the time, Huang Youquan was the Yuncheng Administrative Department commissioner, while Yan Huoping was the public security director of of Yuncheng.  Eight years later today, Huang Youquan is the director of the Yuncheng People's Congress while Yan Huoping is the Shanxi province public security bureau deputy director and the Taiyuan city public security director.

... Gao Qinrong denied the charges of bribery, fraud and pimping filed against him by the Yuncheng procuratorate.  "Someone borrowed 30,000 RMB and repaid 25,000 RMB with a receipt.  They said that I accepted a bribe.  In 1996, I brought my daughter who was onl several years old to a hotel to visit a friend and I entered the wrong room.  They said that I was pimping.  This was based upon someone else's verbal say-so from two years ago."  He said that he did not know whether to laugh or cry about the charges.  "As for the fraud charge, I don't even know where to begin to talk about it."

(Next Weekly)


宋 以 朗 係 統 計 學 家 , 佢 濠 江 馬 場 作 過 實 證 調 查 , 發 覺 外 籍 騎 師 果 然 贏 面 較 大 。 西 人 零 舍 有 專 業 精 神 ?
 

宋 以 朗 友 情 提 供 ( www.zonaeuropa.com ) : 過 大 海 搏 殺 , 去 馬 場 落 注 , 買 外 籍 騎 師 贏 面 較 大 。 乜 解 究 ?
聖 誕 前 夕 , 佢 首 度 到 訪 濠 江 , 去 馬 場 見 識 。 老 友 醒 佢 , 有 頭 髮 邊 個 想 做 鬎 鬁 ? 如 果 第 二 度 唔 係 俾 人 釘 牌 , 使 乜 去 澳 門 做 騎 師 ? 雖 然 係 咁 , 外 籍 騎 師 始 終 較 有 專 業 精 神 、 搏 殺 咁 講 , 由 是 贏 面 較 大 。
呢 個 講 法 又 經 得 起 實 證 考 驗 否 ? 宋 以 朗 係 統 計 學 家 , 佢 將 老 友 呢 個 道 理 付 諸 行 動
買 五 重 彩 , 全 揀 外 籍 騎 師 , 果 然 得 米 ? 點 解 西 人 ( 就 唔 用 得 鬼 佬 二 字 矣 ) 咁 有 專 業 精 神 ? 你 問 我 , 我 問 邊 個 ?

I have previously described this as being an "act of treason for profit (賣國求利)" to always choose Caucasians over Chinese.  I can defend this decision, but it should not be mixed up with other situations.
 
Situation #1: Let us say that I want to buy a pair of shoes.  My primary objective is to have a pair of shoes to wear and walk around.  Should I buy one "Made In China" or one "Made In Italy" (assuming that the labels are honest)?  Buying a pair that says "Made In China" shows that I support China and the purchase will provide income to a Chinese manufacturer and secure future employment for Chinese workers.  You can reasonably describe that this was a patriotic action.  You can sneer about this characterization, but you should bear in mind that the Spaniards or Italians did not speak any differently when they burned Chinese shoes in Spain and Italy and demand people to buy their own national products.  This is a case in which the argument has some kind of validity.  I should point out that I personally never ever look at labels or brand names.  For me, a pair of shoes is a pair of shoes and I am only interested in the functionality.
 
Situation #2: Let us say that I want to buy a notebook computer.  Should I buy the Chinese Lenovo or the Japanese Sony Vaio?  What is my objective here?  I want a notebook computer with which I do my work -- it is no good otherwise.  I once had an IBM Thinkpad (Lenovo today).  The monitor screen cracked due shipping.  I took it to the IBM service center and was told that the cost of a new monitor screen would exceed the price of the original notebook computer.  Huh?  Say what?  It turned out that IBM ordered a few hundred thousand monitor screens on a one-time-only basis from a Malaysian supplier which stopped the production line afterwards.  Therefore, it was immensely expensive to obtain one more monitor screen.  The IBM representative assured me that their company was just forwarding the repair cost directly without any mark-up.  Great!  I can actually appreciate that.  As a businessman, I would not have done otherwise.  However, IBM/Lenovo can never expect to get my business again.  I did not get that IBM Thinkpad repaired, because I went out to buy a brand new Sony Vaio.   I am a very simple person.  All I want is a notebook computer that will allow me to do my work, which is fairly straightforward.  I will keep buying the same brand as long as it works for me.  My business is for you to lose.  I really don't care if this was a Chinese, American or Japanese company.
 
Situation #3: Let us say that I am at the Macau horse-racing track.  What is my objective here?  To win money.  Based upon previous records, the Caucasian jockeys lead the field in total number of wins and places by a significant number.  If this is a critical variable, then what should I do?  Buy quinellas for the Causian jockeys ten races in a row?  Or buy quinellas for the Chinese jockeys for the sake of showing patriotic support?  My assertion is that if you want to throw your money away, it should not be given to the Macau horse-racing club.  You ought to give it to a Chinese orphanage if you are a genuine Chinese patriot.

[in translation]

This summer, my daughter returned from her studies in the United States.  Her American friend came to visit her in China in the fall, and then they were going to go to Mongolia.  When my daughter inquired at the Mongolian embassy in China, she found out that Mongolia does not accept solo tourists from China.  This severely wounded my daughter's sense of national dignity.  Compared to Mongolia on every aspect, shouldn't China be considered a large nation and a strong nation?  Don't Chinese tourists also spend American dollars in Mongolia?  Later, I found out that people from Taiwan and Hong Kong were not subjected to this restriction.

When I traveled overseas in the past, I was always on business and therefore I had not suffered the pains of getting a personal via.  Earlier this year, I needed to travel overseas for some personal matter.  I found out what a lot of trouble that was.  At these foreign embassies in China, a passport does not establish your citizen status.  You need copies of your hukou registration, you need a signed approval from your unit leader, you need proof of the legality of your unit and you even need to provide evidence of your assets as if all Chinese citizens go overseas to become refugees.  Which country's citizens are harassed this way if they want to come to China?  I also found out that the citizens of certain countries (e.g. Japan) do not require visas to come to China.  Obviously, Chinese citizens should have the same rights but our government was willing to forego.  In other words, the rights of Chinese citizens do not seem to within the protected zone of national dignity.

Among the civilized nations of the world, the treatment of their citizens elsewhere is a major issue in terms of national dignity and diplomacy, even leading to war sometimes.  An American president had even pleaded to another government to spare an American teenager from being caned.

Actually, China has always been a grand nation in the world.  As late as early 19th century, China led the world in international trade.  Therefore, rather than studying the history of how the other nations rose, we are better off reflecting on why China fell during recent history.  One of the most important issue is the system set-up with respect to the position of the people in the country.  If the citizens are still little people with no constitutional rights (e.g. the nation continues to develop nuclear weaponry while millions of its people are starving to death), then the 'rise' of this nation will be highly problematic.

I am a single 20-year-old MOP user.  I want to find a handsome white-collar young man, preferrably a World of Warcraft player so that we can have a common interest.  Please contact me at QQ418923XXX.  Do not bother if you are not in Shanghai, or a middle-aged uncle, or an under-aged boy.

Then the following MOP post from 烈狱孤魂 appeared on December 15, 2006.

I am a 24-year-old man who has been working in Shanghai for over a year.  My monthly salary of 4,000 RMB will only allow me to live frugally in this cosmopolitan city.  I don't have any special hobbies except for World of Warcraft in which I lead a guild of about 100 people or so.  Several months ago, I saw a MOP post from a Shanghai girl who was interested in meeting a male WoW player.  Last Friday, she invited me out.  We went to the BonBon bar in Huaihai Middle Road.  Then she suggested going to a hotel and we stayed there until noon the next morning.
 
Our guild had a raid scheduled, and she said that she wanted to watch.  So we went to an Internet cafe and she stayed with me for about an hour.  Then she said that she had some family matter and she left.  After an hour later, I got disconnected.  When I tried to connect again, the message was "Incorrect password."  My account had been stolen.  Another guild member called me to say that "I" had just signed in again and announced that the guild has been dissolved.  I got back on QQ with that girl and asked her if she had stolen my ID, she wrote, "Do you think Shanghai MM will go to bed with you for nothing?"  I asked why she dissolved the guild after having taken the equipment already.  She replied: "There is only 50,000 G in the the warehouse.  This kind of garbage guild is too embarrassing to keep around."

(Tom.com)  From ヾ洋囡々:

1. I'm ヾ洋囡々.  The MOP account was not registered by myself, although the photograph and the QQ number are mine.  In other words, someone stole my photograph from my QQ space, registered as ヾ洋囡々 at MOP and posted a personal ad using my photo and QQ number.

2. According to the MOP administrator, the IP addresses of ヾ洋囡々and 烈狱孤魂 showed that they cannot both be in Shanghai.  Both ID's have posted just once at MOP.

3. ヾ洋囡々has contacted the Shanghai police and the case has been referred to the Internet Monitoring Department.

I think that you may recall the movie <Breaking News> directed by Johnny To.  This is a movie which combines criminal-police shootings with news coverage.  The people who were interested in digging out the truth were unprofessional entertainment reporters.  The 'truth' of the event was the result of negotations by multiple parties and there would be no final and conclusive version at the end.

The WTO coverage was like "Breaking News."  In consideration of the market for the book, we decided to use the title <Breaking News -- News Reporting about WTO Hong Kong>.

When we began to study the news coverage of the WTO conference in Hong Kong, we were not thinking about publishing a book.  But during the process, we found out that every reporter who covered the WTO had some valuable exeprience.  One year later, the WTO MC6 is faraway and we have the time and space to reflect on certain problems in news coverage in Hong Kong.

Actually, we are all concerned about news coverage in Hong Kong.  Apart from the standard issues of the free space of news coverage, reporters are concerned about various other restrictions such as how news organizations operate, the overwhelming public relations campaigns, the ignorance and indifference of readers and reporters about social and international issues, advertising, marketing, personal livelihood and so on.  Whenever we see journalists being arrested or harassed for their work, we will be extra concerned about the freedom of speech.  At the same time, society must have certain expectations and criticisms of the reporters.  They believe that the media "guess" that "the market" (=readers) must like certain infammatory and entertainment reports which increase advertisements.  Thus, certain publications end up invading personal privacy or mislabeling certain social groups.  Professional journalists are distraught about these accusations, but they find it hard to deal with these problems on their own.

On the other hand, independent media and blogs have emerged in recent years.  Dialogue is missing beteween them and the professional journalists, and the debate became more heated during the WTO period.  Therefore, we hope to create a dialogue through this particular book.  On account of our background as reporters, we believe that we all want better journalistic reporting, whether we are professional or civilian journalists.  The media are the instrument of the civic society and serve the "Fourth Estate" function to monitor the government.  In terms of news gathering and interviewing, the media should proivde fair, accurate and balanced reporting.  It is also expected to show more social concern, to present the diverse social voices and to provide more diversified views and knowledge to the audience.

[in translation]

... I returned [to Hong Kong] yesterday and I hurried over to Star Ferry to attend the first People's Planning Meeting and try to find out what happened over the past week.  My friends seemed to be in a tense battle-ready state.  All our mobile telephone calls are being monitored.  All important matters have to be communicated through the most primitive mouth-to-mouth method.

Wow!  Is this paranoia?  Is there a police man behind every bush?  Is that click that you hear when your call gets connected just random noise or Big Brother listening in?  Or is this yet another publicity stunt to game the media (which have been gamed often enough already by all sides)?

Here was an empirical test: According to Star Ferry: The Beginning of a New Social Movement?, many of the actions taken were improvisional.  Upon information and belief, two persons came up with the idea of showing up at Suen Ming-yeung's place and they began calling a dozen of their colleagues to converge at the location.  When they arrived there ... surprise! ... the police got there first!  What were they supposed to think?  Were their telephone calls being monitored, or could one or more of them be police informants?  Who knows?
 
What surprises me is the nonchalant attitude of the purported subjects of the surveillance plan.  "Oh, the same thing happened during the WTO demonstrations in December last year.  The surveillance stopped after three months."
 
It is likely that I am trapped in this surveillance network as well, as I happened to have made one innocuous telephone call to one member of the network.  If my telephone phone calls are monitored over the next three months, they will probably be boring, confounding, irrelevant and facetious.  In fact, I would suggest that the people in the network to make as many facetious telephone calls as possible and overwhelm the system of monitors.
 
Given my interest in signal processing with respect to homeland security in the United States, I immediately proposed setting up a trap for the police -- that is, you make a telephone call to your network about meeting at a certain place to engage in a certain action.  Instead, you tell the press to go there first and set up to wait for the rushed arrival of the police!  I was told instead, "Yeah, somebody mentioned that already.  But we have some genuine matters to deal with instead of playing games."  So that is where I came up very short again.  I was more interested in the media game than anything else ...

ESWN and Danwei appear to be substantially more important to correspondents than other English-language China-focused blogs. Of the 48 people who responded to this question, 66% said they read ESWN at least weekly; 61% read Danwei at least weekly.  38% said they read ESWN "daily," with 25% claiming to read Danwei daily ...

As you will see by clicking on the chart and looking at all the other blogs, none is as widely read by journalists answering the survey than ESWN and Danwei.  One respondent wrote: "ESWN is so much more important than other blogs that it almost deserves a category by itself. No other blog comes as close to serving as a bridge between Mandarin and English media." People also cited several story ideas they've gotten from Danwei. One journalist said she finds Danwei particularly useful because it follows Chinese media regulations very closely and links to original regulations ...

"Reliability isn't what draws me to some blogs. For instance, I look at Roland Soong to see what's cooking in all sorts of spheres that I would never see otherwise. It's a virtual news tip sheet. Some of it is translation, so reliability may be a big question. But Roland does a huge service by bringing it to our attention."

... This is very much the way I have tended to describe the relationship between blogs and journalists: journalists approach blogs as raw sources. Thus asking whether blogs are reliable is just as useless as asking whether people are reliable. Each tipoff or story idea coming from any human source must be judged in a very specific context: Does that person have any real expertise in the subject at hand? Is his/her knowledge first, second, third or fourth hand? Does he/she bear a grudge or conflict of interest? What is his/her agenda in telling you the information? Etc.   

[in translation]

Inside an upscale restaurant, there is a conversation between a senior administrative official and an Internet Service Provider person.

"It is like this, Ricky.  I am hoping to get your support over the issue of the criminalization of BT downloading.  We are seeking public feedback and we are interested in your opinion as a service provider.  In the final analysis, we are neutral towards whether legislation should be enacted or not."
"Of course, you would say that.  Ha ha.  (Aside: Without BT, wouldn't my business be ruined?)"

Then the senior administrative official got up to use the restroom.  By chance, a young waiter walked by and the following conversation took place.

"Hey, bro, I'd like to ask you a question.  Do you use BT?"
"What?  Oh ... sometimes ... occasionally."
 
"What do you download?"
"Me?  Usually, Japanese anime, computer software, also "sweet movies" (
甜片) ... there are no distirbutors in Hong Kong, so these are hard to find and must be downloaded."
 
"(What exactly are "sweet movies"?)  So do you download Hong Kong movies, or songs by local singers?"
"Hong kong movies?  Even my mom does not watch them.  Most Hong Kong movies are garbage.  Forget about paying to see them in cinemas -- I won't waste my time downloading them.  Also, the local singers are awful!  The exception is Eason, and I download his songs and buy his albums.  As for the others, I rarely listen to them ..."
 
"If there is a new service that offers you an online album with new songs and movies that take only 77 seconds to download  (faster than BT) for a fixed monthly fee, would you be interested?"
"New service?  What is the point?  Legal downloading of movies and songs are already available in the United States with peer-to-peer technology (that is, BT).  They have the songs from all the four big record labels as well as the Hollywood movies.  They are also free.  Will your service charge money?"
 
"(Damn, how come no one at the company updated me on this new development?  Do they want to lose their jobs?")  Oh, is that so?  They are for free?  That is, it will have no impact on you if they criminalize BT in Hong Kong?"
"Yes, there is.  I will die if I can't get my Japanese anime.  So I'll just have to buy pirated disks.  Oh, I have some former classmates who entered the piracy business because they could not continue with their education.  They will be the happiest people if BT is criminalized, because their businesses will be booming."
 
"So you won't use BT anymore?
"If BT is really criminalized, who is going to dare do so?  The government is setting up an example.  I don't think anyone in Hong Kong will be using BT.  Also, I don't want people to know which websites I go to, which discussion forums I left comments at and what I wrote on my blog."
 
"(Damn!  The highspeed broadband services won't have an edge anymore.)  If someone tells you that a certain Internet Service Provider will guarantee the privacy of their users and make sure nobody can find them, what will you do?"
"I will definitely switch over to them!  But which Internet Service Provider is going to be so great?"

[in translation]

After Lung Ying-tai's speech, an audience member asked about the "de-Sinofication" issue in Taiwan.  Lung said: "The nation that I identify with should be tolerant, respectful and understanding (including in its understanding of 'de-Sinofication').  After the first 50 years under Tokyo and another fifty years talking about the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, why would 'de-Sinofication' emerge in Taiwan?  What is the reason?  If we trace the footsteps, we will see -- the historical view of people are formed by the most immediate events in front of one's eyes.  When our cultural identity is being suppressed, we will react strongly.  Our hurt feelings make us embrace localization, and the manipulation of these sentiments by politicians makes things even more extreme and overwhelming.  It is only natural that this type of thinking should emerge."

In response to a question about "Taiwan actually has a limited understanding of mainland China, because Taiwan tends to focus on economic development while ignoring culture," Lung replied: "Actually, 'de-Sinofication' was most extreme in mainland China during the past 50 years.  At first, it was total Russification as Marxism ruled China.  Today, capitalism is the mainstream.  Both sides of the straits should be doing a lot more for Chinese culture."  Lung said that she established the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation for the purpose of finding a third fresh and free space to generate new ideas and bring out people with international concerns and visions.

In response to the question about "the impact of the Freezing Point affair on the progress of democracy in mainland China," Lung said: "For those Taiwanese who still do not know about this affair, they ought to do more to understand mainland China."  Then she summarized the Freezing  Point affair briefly, and stated her understanding of and sympathy for mainland Chinese intellectuals.  She said: "The ability of Freezing Point to publish again shortly after being banned showed some progress, but mainland China is a long way from respecting public opinion.  The forces of evil cannot be underestimated.  This affair showed that press control on mainland China was worse than during the Jiang Zemin era.  But we need to understand and appreciate mainland China and use our power to influence the good forces.  Taiwan will have better chances when mainland China becomes more open, peaceful and rational, and that will help to promote world peace too.  With respect to this, tiny Taiwan can have a huge impact."

An audience member asked: "The Chinese culture had made a tremendous contribution towards the world over five thousand years.  What do you think that the Chinese people in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan can do for the world?"  Lung said: "Facing a world that is plagued with wars, diseases and poverty everywhere, China's main contribution would be to deal with its own people.  One quarter of the population in the world lives there.  China is facing problems about human rights and inequality of wealth.  Solving those problems will be a contribution to the world.  Since the 1980's, China has made some contribution in terms of the elimination of poverty.  Secondarily, China can contribute towards bringing peace within its powers."

In response to a question about the civic movement in Taiwan, Lung said: "The civic movement in which a million people participated showed that Taiwan is maturing.  The whole process shows the development of a mature civic society."  She believes that a mature civic society must develop only gradually from chaos to realization.

An audience member asked about the future trends in mainland China and Taiwan.  Lung said; "I cannot predict.  It should be universal to respect life and human dignity.  Thus, mainland China should go quickly in the direction of respecting human rights and rationality.  The core values of both sides of the straits should be human rights and rationality, which are even more important than unification."  When asked about her views on politics she said: "If you don't care about politics, you will be hurt.  The ultimate realization of politics is concern for people.  Although everyone thinks politics is disgusting, it is a noble conduct in which one's hands have to be dirtied."  Someone asked about Ma Ying-jeou, but Lung said with a smile that she declines to answer all questions about Ma.

An audience member asked Lung about her other pursuits beyond her writing.  Lung said: "An individual is insignificant in the almighty flow of history.  I only move along following my own moods, interests, concerns and curiosities.  I am often muddled.  Presently, the most important thing for me is to spend time with university students.  Unfortunately, we only have three years together and we will split apart.  Do not be fooled by my essays.  I like to watch movies, grow plants and make friends.  I'm a normal person."

Finally, Lung said: "Human nature is such that everybody lacks tolerarance and gratitude.  Hatred is caused by ignorance.  We need to understand the things that we hate and oppose.  The two sides of the straits do not understand or care enough about each other.  They should both see the global trend, or else they will be rolled over by the wheels of history."

Prior to departing, I had posted some long translations.  While I was away, Musing Under The Tenement Palm provided a detailed comparison of the ESWN translation of the Panyu government statement on Taishi village with the China Daily version.  The conclusion: "I think we can safely say that ESWN was in fact plagiarized. If a student handed this in, Id bust em."  Next, Musing Under The Tenement Palm produced another line-by-line comparison in ESWN Vs. China Daily Round Two: This Time Its Not Just About Grammar about an article on a hair salon girl and concluded: "The editors of this article, however, were not editors of style. They were censors, much like those who snipped sensitive sentences from the Washington Post and International Herald Tribune ..."

What was I going to do?  Nothing.  If I were a journalist and those were my original work, I might be indignant.  But all I did was translate something from Chinese into English without the permission of the original owners.  So who am I to complain then?  In the proper perspective, I went through the effort to translate those kinds of articles because they appealed to me in some way and I wanted to share it with the English-only reading world.  If China Daily is able to introduce these articles to an audience not reached by ESWN, even though it was with some minor editing and censorship, then that would be to my satisfaction.

The Gao Qinrong case was all the more amazing.  While the rest of the mainstream media and the Internet portals and forums contained nothing on the name, the China Daily website apparently never received the order and proceeded to publish my translation.  Why would I not be happy to see that?  After all, I spent hours translating those two interviews and posted them on my own website for zero revenue (direct and indirect).  I did it because the articles moved me and I felt that the rest of the English-reading world should also read them in their entirety.  If that China Daily article reaches people that I don't, then I am quite happy.  Please keep doing this, China Daily!

[in translation]

It is no secret in politics than blue and green politicians frequently go to guesthouses connected to businesses.  When the DPP government officials and legislators were caught on tape visiting the guesthouse this time, there was no conclusive proof about any government-business collusion.  But still, presidential aide Kuo Wen-pin and DPP Central Review Committee chairman Gao Jyh-peng obviously did not learn from the case of former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang.  How can the DPP which holds itself to the highest moral standards have members who fail to be careful about they do and say?

Hsu Hsin-liang once said something famous: "Anyone who has not been to a bar is not a man."  He said that during his term as DPP chairman, and he was strongly criticized by women's organizations.  Whether it is visiting bars or private guesthouses, it is regarded negatively by society.  If one can help it, one should avoid trouble.

The DPP members are believed to have been at a guesthouse in which "spice girls" were their drinking companions.  Even so, this is not a crime.  But the DPP should not lower themselves down to the KMT standards.  The Central Review Committee is the organization for party discipline and Gao Jyh-peng is its chariman.  Although he claimed to be visiting Tsai Ming-chief's office and not the guesthouse, it is hard to quell the imagination of the outside world.  The chairman of the Central Review Committee should hold himself to the highest moral standards, for how else can he convincingly discipline others?

Kuo Wen-pin is a public servant, even though his work is mostly related to liaison and communication with the outsdie.  Certain DPP legislators are sympathetic with his job-related need to socialize, but when he was filmed driving away with a "spice girl" early in the morning, it will trigger an adverse social reaction.

After the mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, the DPP proclamed that it will continue with the reforms.  But a political party that emphasizes non-corruption and holds itself to the highest moral standard should have all its party officials restrain themselves in actual actions, and that is how to win the trust and support of the people.

Here is the wrong way to go about this because this is just pouring oil on the fire in a race to the bottom (via United News Daily).

DPP legislator Tsai Chi-fang was once photographed by Next Weekly as going to a KTV to look for "spice girls."  He said that "What is the fun of drinking without girls?  We are not saints."  He complained that Gao Jyn-peng did not invite him along when there was fun to be had.  At the press converence this morning, he put the blame on Next Weekly and Apple Daily for coming to Taiwan -- previously, politicans can go openly to bars and restaurants.  Today, private guesthouses proliferate because politicans and businessmen can go in privacy while the business have shriveled for bars and restaurants.

Tsai Chi-fang said that most guesthouses are set up like KTV suites.  It is too boring to talk businesses and drink by yourselves.  It is a lot more fun when you have girls there.  This is plain and ordinary.  He emphasized that presidential aide Kuo Wen-pin must have been giving the woman a ride home.  If they were really having sex somewhere, the paparazzis would not have passed that opportunity.

DPP legislator Lee Chun-yee said that Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou has visited the Fubon guesthouse several times.  He later even sold the Taipei bank.  People did not seem to mind.

Sketch of a media blackout  Joel Martinsen, Danwei
The paradox of IPR infringement in China
  Jeremy Goldkorn, Danwei

What if any of these people won?

The Presidential Office yesterday said that it had launched an inquiry into allegations that one of its officials visited a Taipei guesthouse and that the guesthouse's owner had won a project contract with the office.  The action came in response to a front-page story in the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday, which claimed that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Gao Jyh-peng ( 高志鵬 ) and Yu Jan-daw ( 余政道 ), DPP Taipei City councilor-elect Lee Ching-feng ( 李慶鋒 ) and presidential aide Kuo Wen-pin ( 郭文彬 ) had attended separate late-night gatherings at the guesthouse, located on Hsinsheng S Road, Sec. 1, over the past month.  The newspaper said that young women working as escorts had also been invited to the gatherings at the guesthouse.

The newspaper ran pictures of Gao, Yu and Lee each leaving the guesthouse alone before dawn while a series of four pictures showed Kuo giving one woman a ride.  Another picture showed a young woman in the arms of man in a white Mercedes around midnight, but the man was not identified.

Yu told a press conference yesterday that he had been to the guesthouse five to six times, but he did not do anything illegal there.  Yu said guesthouse owner Tsai Ming-chieh ( 蔡銘杰 ) was a friend of his and he only went to the guesthouse to consult his friend.  "I always left as soon as I got the answers to my questions," he said, adding that the only people at those meetings were himself and Tsai.

Gao's cellphone was turned off yesterday morning, but he told reporters yesterday afternoon that he only went to the guesthouse to raise campaign funds for DPP Taipei City councilor candidates.  "I can't say that I have never been to places I should not have been to, but I can say I've never done things I shouldn't have done," Gao said.  He said there had not been any escorts when he was at Tsai's guesthouse.

When asked for a response to the story, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang ( 蔡煌瑯 ) said Tsai Ming-chieh was a supporter of the party.  Tsai Huang-liang questioned the authenticity of the newspaper's pictures, as none of them showed the four men and the women together.

Here are the Apple Daily photos (Page 1 and Page 2):

Here are the Apple Daily photos of presidential aides Kuo Wen-pin and leaving with one of the girls.  Kuo has explained that he was only giving the girl a lift home at the request of Tsai Ming-chieh.

By the way, Tsai Ming-chieh is an important figure in the state affairs fund case for which the First Lady and several others are being tried in court right now.  Tsai, his sister and brother-in-law gave the most number of receipts to the First Lady for reimbursement from the state affairs fund.  Also Tsai's company has received a number of government contracts, so that this incident creates the appearance of government-business collusion.

 Q: In your report back then, you named the person responsible [for the fake irrigation project in Yuncheng].  Was that person punished later?

Gao: Not yet.  He is still an official.  The person who struck back at me in retaliation was a commisioner in Yuncheng for five years, and then he became the party secretary for five years.  He is presently a director for the People's Congress.  His name is Huang Youquan (黄有泉).

These interviews are one-sided stories.  If the name of Huang Youquan is mentioned in a negative way, then the reporters are obliged to contact the subject for his side of the story.  But if Huang is informed about the purpose of the interview, he will just make sure that the story is "executed by firing squad" (i.e. "spiked").  Therefore, the interviews were published without any detailed explorations into how Gao was convicted on false charges.


At Daily Kos:

But as I went to read the piece, a Chrysler ad took over my screen before I could get to the article. And check out the opening line of the ad:

This is somewhat unfair because I should not wish such a fate/experience on any nation/people for the sake of having a valid collective memory.  But I believe that I am leaving you with no doubt that there were no ulterior political or commercial motives behind those historically preserved sites.  Or even if such motives existed, they are overwhelmed by the humanistic issues.  That is, I was quite willing to hand over my money to the commercial organizers on account of what I learned.
 
P.S. Not mentioned in the original description is the following fact.  There were 16 people in the tour group.  On the optional tour to the Siem Reap war museum, the tour guide said that they would require 10 persons each paying US$10 to make the trip.  I and two other women opted in.  It would not have happened.  However, I pulled the tour guide aside and offered to pay the entire US$100 to make it occur (without the knowledge of the two other women).  It was worth my money to learn all that.

A con artist posed as a doctor and an orphanage worker in an attempt to get money from passers-by, police said yesterday.  They believe he may be linked to cases in Wan Chai and Central in which three victims were cheated out of HK$10,000 in recent months.  Police have arrested a man and were questioning him last night.

In one incident yesterday, a man stopped an accountant on the first-floor podium of Sun Hung Kai Centre in Harbour Drive.  "The culprit told the woman that he lost his wallet and he was in a hurry to return to the hospital on Cheung Chau, and asked to borrow money from her," a police investigator said.  The man, in his early 60s, also presented a bogus doctor's name card to the woman but she did not believe his story, the officer said.

About five minutes later, at 3.35pm, he stopped a man and said he worked for an orphanage.  "The fraudster claimed that he had brought a group of orphans from Cheung Chau for an urban tour but had lost his wallet and asked to borrow HK$500 to take the children back to Cheung Chau," the investigator said. The potential victim, a clerical worker, ignored him.

... [The] suspect was arrested when officers from the Hong Kong Island regional intelligence unit conducted an operation against "quick-cash" crime in the Harbour Drive area yesterday.

(The Sun)

The suspect named Lam is a 64-year-old unemployed man.  Two years ago, he watched a crime re-enactment television program and saw that someone had posed as a doctor to commit fraud.  So he decided to do the same thing.  On each occasion, he wore a suit, and as well as a stolen doctor's badge.  He would say to the targets: "I'm a doctor.  I just lost my wallet and I need to go to the hospital to conduct surgery."

Yesterday at around 2pm, this fake doctor was working again near Central Plaza in Wanchai.  At that time, the female police officer nicknamed "Big Eyes Girl" saw him and remembered that he was a wanted criminal.  "Big Eyes Girl" used to be a central district accountant, so she is particularly good with remembering numbers and faces.

(Apple Daily)

A man has been posing with fraudulent identities (such as a doctor, a preacher or an orphanage worker) for forty years in order to swindle money from kind-hearted people.  So far, he has 36 cases of prior arrests.  The earliest arrest was in 1966 when he was 24 years old.  In 1995, he was sentenced to two years in jail.  In 2002, he was sentenced again to two years in jail for the same types of offense with the judge saying: "You are a repeated offender without any remorse ... you have been a fraudster most of your life.  You have decreased the citizens' enthusiasm to help others.  You have increased mutual mistrust which will ultimately turn Hong Kong into a heartless society."  In recent months, the police learned that someone has been using the same techniques (e.g. wearing a doctor's white robe and carrying a stethoscope) and therefore they issued a lookout notice.  Yesterday, a plainclothes police woman nicknamed "Big Eyes Girl" known to have photographic memory spotted the man and effected an arrest after observing him in action. 

Here is a file photo from 1996:

The 67-year-old Sing Pao newspaper has been plagued by issues with unpaid wages recently.  Recently, a two-hour meeting was held over the unpaid November wages.  In the early hours of yesterday morning, the workers demanded that the management must state when the October and November wages will be paid and to provide details of specific financing so that they won't have to hold their hands out for alms every time.  They hinted beforehand that they cannot exclude the possibility that individual departments may go out on strike but the bomb appeared to have been defused.
 
According to reports, the management agreed to pay the October wages for upper manangement by December 20th (note: the lower-level employees have already been paid for October).  They will try to pay the November wages of all employees before the end of December.  The employees have no choice but to resume their work based on this response from the management.  Some employees believe that they have to accept the word of the management unless they intend to leave.  As for the next step, they are uncertain but they are glad to have received some of their pay.  It is unlikely that they will go out on strike.  They will probably take it one step at a time.

We wish to state unequivocally and categorically that the photographs we published on the front page of the main section and on the front page of the business section of the South China Morning Post yesterday, October 26, 2006, purporting to be of Charles Schmitt were not in fact photographs of Charles Schmitt. They were of Mr Rainer W. Rommel. Mr Rommel has nothing to do with Charles Schmitt's conviction, sentence or crime.
The photographs were published as a result of an error by the SCMP.
We wish to apologise wholeheartedly and unreservedly to Mr Rommel for the distress and concern that this will undoubtedly have caused him.
Mark Clifford
Editor-in-Chief, South China Morning Post Publishers Limited 

(China Word Of Mouth Blog

I will be moderating comments for the time being until I can figure out how to minimize the spam comments that have been increasing at an alarming rate recently. I promise pretty quick turnaround. 

(Duke of Abeerdeen)

[in translation]

This website uses the Wordpress platform which has the Akismet software against spam comments.  Previously, Akismet has been effective by updating its list of spammers.  The Anti-spam tool has two purposes --it is tolerant but not excessive and it is not severe to the point of wiping out all well-meaning netizens.  Sometimes Akismet has been remiss and let through several dozens of spam comments per day.

I then joined Anti Spam Image, which was very effective.  After all, most spam comments were mechanical in nature and the requirement for all commenters to enter the visual code practically eliminates all the mechnical spam engines.

More recently, spammers are utilizing trackback/pingack spam.  This is impossible to avoid.

For the past two days, I have received almost thousands of trackbacks per hour.  I have put the IP addresses of the spammers on my blacklist.

(...)

[in translation]

Within the past 24 hours, I have been attacked by spammers.  Akismet was not performing and many spam comments were getting through.  At the very worst, more than 1,000 spam comments were getting through per hour.

I am using three lines of defense right now: Akismet, and also Spam Karma and Anti Spam Image.  The situation is under control at the moment, but I'm worried that certain proper comments have been wiped out.  Please let me know if this happened to you.  Thanks.

So maybe I'm a person with lots of time on hand.  But should the time be given to spam patrol?  I voted NO a long time ago.  Instead, I believe in the free market.  I created and kept up a blog as I personally wanted it.  I do not care what the rest of the world thinks (and therefore I rejected the idea of COMMENTS), whether they like it or hate it.  The market will eventually decide.  If people hate it, they don't have to read or mention it.  EVER.  If they like it, they will come back.  I write this blog for me, not for anyone else.  If you are a blogger too, I hope that you share the same attitude.

A Danwei source has sent in some gossip:

I hear that Gallups entire senior management was been laid-off by the US parent on Wednesday last week, following heavy pressure from the local authorities. Apparently Gallup has been somewhat too supportive of a certain government across the straits, despite frequent warnings.

I have no actual information about the situation.  Therefore, what follows are my speculations, which do not pertain to the reality of Gallup China at all.  I repeat -- there is nothing in my comments about the present situation in the Danwei 'gossip.'
 
Professionally, I have used Gallup companies as sub-contractors in various Latin American countries.  My understanding is that the Gallup organization is not a top-down hierarchy, as many of the local foreign companies are independent franchise operators.  Therefore, Gallup China (or Gallup USA) may have zero influence as to how some of the other local companies (such as Gallup Taiwan) run their businesses.  This may be something that the local authorities were unable to comprehend.
 
More interesting is the work of Gallup China itself.  Consider this example from February 1, 2005 (via The Gallup Poll):

Internet Use: Behind "The Great Firewall of China"

Internet use exploding in China 
by Richard Burkholder, International Bureau Chief

As recently as Gallup's 1997 survey, only 10% of all Chinese had even heard of the Internet. Now, 12% of Chinese have actually used it -- including half of all young adults aged 18 to 24. One in 10 say they use the Internet "to access international media," although rigorous government censorship blocks any foreign Web site deemed to be threatening or subversive.

Does this not seem that Gallup China has been running Chinese consumer surveys about public opinions towards government censorship?  Maybe they were not, but this write-up sure sounds like it with the additional qualifier "although rigorous government censorship blocks any foreign Web site deemed to be threatening or subversive."  Richard Burkholder could not leave it with "One in 10 say they use the Internet 'to access international media'" but he had to append the qualifier.

Why would the Chinese authorities take umbrage?  You can invoke the standard forumations about how they are terrified of freedom, liberty and democracy, but you have failed to understand the position of their side.  You can answer the following question:

When Chinese netizens access overseas websites, which of these websites are they most likely to go to?
 
(1) BBC
(2) Boxun
(3) ClearWisdom
(4) RFA
(5) VOA
(6) 99bbs

The correct answer is 99bbs by a wide margin.  Who is 99bbs?  Read The Greatest Internet Crime Trial in China.  Do you believe any of the other websites have those kinds of audience statistics?  And do you believe this piece of reality is adequately covered in the Gallup phrase: "although rigorous government censorship blocks any foreign Web site deemed to be threatening or subversive"?  As I wrote in Hinano Mizuki: The Case for Internet Censoring in China.

The situation is like two trains passing each other on adjacent tracks in opposite directions and not noticing the other.  On one hand, the western world is focused on freedom of speech and media in China, but not addressing any problems with imposing socio-cultural standards (with respect to pornography, for example) on everybody else.  On the other hand, China refers to its own efforts as trying to stem pornographic websites, "phishing" for bank details or other confidential information, and what it euphemistically calls the "spreading of false information."  Neither is paying attention to the other.

To discourage local prostitution, the city and county of Denver are broadcasting mug shots of men convicted of soliciting prostitutes. "Johns TV," which airs twice daily, debuted on July 25 on a local cable channel. The television show is supplemented by a Web site, www.denvergov.org/johnstv.

"The city has given ample warning to those who choose to engage in the crime of prostitution," Mayor Wellington Webb said in a press release announcing the debut of the new service. "If you choose to risk being arrested for prostitution, if you choose to risk catching a sexually transmitted disease, you now also choose to take the risk of having your picture appear on TV and on the city's Web site for the whole world to see."

The city and county of Denver follow in the footsteps of other cities -- including Aurora, Colo.; Orlando, Fla.; Oklahoma City; St. Paul, Minn.; and Kansas City, Mo. -- that print photographs of "johns" in newspapers, on TV or on the Web. They began the practice following requests from residents to help drive prostitutes out of neighborhoods.

Here is the snapshot from the website (for the period 10/3/2006 - 11/6/2006):


 
Do you believe that this is what Shenzhen should be doing instead?  www.Johnstv.cn?  This is completely constitutionally and legally alright in the United States of America.
 
P.S. A reader points out the Chicago Police Department has this web site: "The Chicago Police Department in conjunction with the Mayor's office have now made prostitution solicitors' information available online. By using this website, you will be able to view public records on individuals who have been arrested for soliciting prostitutes or other related arrests."  Please note: The individuals have been arrested but not convicted yet.  The photo and personal data are published with the footnote: "These individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
 
Video Links:
美国是怎样将嫖客妓女示众的(视频)  呆碩傻博, ChineseNewsNet

As the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections are counting down, there is a "I Vote Green Party" typhoon on the Internet!  Some netizens wanted to help the green camp and designed special banners with words like "I Vote Green Party" and "Vote for Green" for "pro-green" netizens to use.  Within three days, more than one hundred Taiwan blogs have responded.  Aso, some netizens have made the speeches of the green-camp legislature candidates into podcast for downloading, as is the fashionable trend among young people.

The problem here is that the "Green Party" is being confused with the "green camp."  The bloggers are supporting the "Green Party" and not the "green camp."  See Wikipedia for the definition of the pan-green coalition.  The Green Party is not part of the pan-green coaltion or green camp.

(A)  In looking at this photograph, can you tell what is the disaster?

Recommended answers:

(1) Why select a tram in order to illustrate intimacy with the citizenry?  Is this for the sake of nostalgia?  Is it because trams use a lot of wood and are therefore as 'wooden' as Leong?  Besides trams only run on Hong Kong Island and not in Kowloon or New Territories.  So is it a wise choice to take a public transport used by a small group of people in order to show that Leong cares about all the people of Hong Kong?

(2) Is it necessary to wear a full western suit?  How many years ago was it that you last saw someone in a suit riding a tram?  Is this one of those east-west crossover advertisements used by brands such as Armani?

(3) The biggest weakness in the image of the Civic Party is their extraordinary righteousness is disconnected from the masses.  In this photograph, Leong is not looking at any citizen and listening.  Instead, he he is standing high and tall, holding on the rail like Moses holding his staff at the Red Sea for the seated lady to look up to.  Isn't this making the Civic Party's negative image even worse?

(4) The worst part is that the seated lady is not cooperating.  She is tilting her body away in order to increase the distance between her and Leong.  She is using both hands to protect her handbag and she shows doubt on her face.  But you would probably also do that in her place.

(B) Please fill in the appropriate words in the white boxes in the photographs.  Then proceed to post them at the popular discussion forums.  The goal is to find the right words that will guarantee the photograph be found and published in Apple Daily's Internet news page.

(C) If you were Leong's spin doctor and you saw the photograph with the words in Apple Daily, how will you defuse the mini-disaster?

Here is an interesting project -- track the appearance and dissemination of the many photographs which will undoubtedly be appearing at the discussion forums.

Lung Ying-tai gave a speech at the John King Fairbanks Center for East Asian Studies titled <The isolated, besieged, marginalized but extremely important Taiwan -- the influence of the democratic experiment in Taiwan on the Chinese-language world>.  During the speech, she spoke about the international isolation of Taiwan today and the historical path of its marginalization.  She described the democratization of Taiwan over fifty years.  She recalled how Lian Chan and James Soong went to visit mainland China, after which China Youth Daily's <Freezing Point> published Lung Ying-tai's article about democracy in Taiwan.  This caused the Central Publicity Department to ban <Freezing Point>.  But already the progress of democracy in Taiwan had a critical impact in mainland China.  Therefore, within the current "China fad," the unique position of Taiwan and its contributions cannot be ignored.

The first audience question came from the viewpoint of Great China chauvinism when Lung Ying-tai was asked if she still considered China to be her 'motherland.'  She said that this is not a complicated question at all.  "Chinese culture is my motherland, but the China that is currently ruled by that kind of government is definitely not my motherland."  Any nation that does not respect the core values that she personally treasures cannot be her "motherland."

Another Chinese scholar wondered why Lung Ying-tai idealized Taiwan democoracy while skipping over the various risible and undesirable aspects.  Also, she does not propose how China ought to implement democracy.  So was she being responsible?  Lung Ying-tai said that Taiwan and mainland China are in different stages and they are facing completely different problems.  Therefore, any discussion should not mix them up.  Mainland China only makes libelous and negative reports on Taiwan democracy and emphasizes that democracy is unworkable in China under the present conditions.  Therefore, she needed to present the non-official view.  As a writer, her responsibility is to point out the blindspots for the readers to think out.  It is the responsibility of politicians to solve the problems themselves.

She said: "I am not the aide to Hu Jintao.  So why should I be responsible for carrying it out?"  With respect to the saying that the people who are actually running the state have to confront many problems, whereas a writer has it easy because all she has to do is lift a pen, she said: "But it is not as easy to criticize current politics as you think.  The best proof is when offending publications are banned."  She added, "It is the duty of a writer to criticize and it is the duty of a politician to respond to those criticisms."  Applause broke out at this comment.

Supporters of Hong Kongs pro-democracy candidate for the citys leadership on Tuesday accused Chinas government of hacking into his computer and using false information to discredit him.  Lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kits campaign organisers say Beijing went through classified emails, minutes of meetings and survey reports and posted doctored versions of them on the internet to cast him in a negative light.

We have software built in to track the hackers and they all have Beijing IP addresses, fellow pro-democracy lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, who is managing Mr Leongs campaign to be Hong Kongs next chief executive, said.  An IP, or Internet Protocol, is the electronic address code given to a web-connected computer.  It is what we expected and quite common, especially in the run-up to an election here, added Ms Eu.

Ms Eu said the hackers had doctored Mr Leongs computer files before making them available online to cast doubt on his political independence.  The altered documents made it appear as though Mr Leong had received huge donations from Taiwan, Chinas sworn rival, and from the United States.  We are not so concerned, because Alan has nothing to hide everything we do is above board, said Ms Eu. All these allegations [against him] are lies.

For one thing, this is technically wrong, because a good hacker can disguise the IP address (and make it into anything including the White House) if necessary.  The more interesting aspect is how the information gets transmitted in the Internet age.  Previously, the information would have been sent to various newspapers by anonymous postal mail.  Now, the newspapers received emails and, furthermore, there is an anonymous MSN Spaces blog titled Doctor Report (in Chinese).  Will Alan Leong go to the Hong Kong court to ask MSN Spaces to remove that website, just like the Chinese government did to the bloggers Michael Anti, Lian Yue and others?
 
I'm not going to translate from that website.  I do not see anything wrong with hiring a public relations company to assist in a political campaign (note: that standard would have disqualified most candidates for public office in the United States).  But there is one interesting point.  The Doctor Report blog entry of December 4, 2006 contains the itemization of media "promotion" fees:
 
Apple Daily: HK$ 50,000 (discounted)
Ming Pao: HK% 80,000 (discounted)
South China Morning Post: HK$ 189,379 (to be confirmed)
Hong Kong Economic Times: (awaiting reply)
 
In addition, there was HK$ 71,700 for website prodcution, including a brand new server and a personal firewall that guarantees maximum security against hacker attack.
 
Here is what I don't understand -- what exactly is a "promotion" fee paid to a newspaper?  I do not believe that there are any advertisements for Alan Leong at this time.  Does this mean that the newpapers are getting paid for editorial content favorable to Alan Leong?  That would have meant the end of journalism as I understand it ...
 
Of course, I'm whistling in the wind here.  Neither Alan Leong, the Civic Party, Apple Daily, Ming Pao or SCMP will answer my question.  After all, I'm just a "dirty f**king hippie" blogger ...
 
Terminology (from Answers.com) (note: this was necessary because certain people may think that they are all one and the same)

Advertising

  1. The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media.
  2. The business of designing and writing advertisements.
  3. Advertisements considered as a group: This paper takes no advertising.

Promotion

  1. The act of promoting or the fact of being promoted; advancement.
  2. Encouragement of the progress, growth, or acceptance of something; furtherance.
  3. Advertising; publicity.

Propaganda

  1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
  2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.
  3. Propaganda Roman Catholic Church. A division of the Roman Curia that has authority in the matter of preaching the gospel, of establishing the Church in non-Christian countries, and of administering Church missions in territories where there is no properly organized hierarchy.

Public Relations

  1. (used with a sing. verb) The art or science of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public.
  2. (used with a pl. verb) The methods and activities employed to establish and promote a favorable relationship with the public.
  3. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The degree of success obtained in achieving a favorable relationship with the public

So one should hope that this was not a case of buying favorable editorial/comment opinions.  Is that too much to ask in an open and transparent society?  I expect the media to state cateogrically that that willl never ever occur.

Mayoral choice TOTAL KMT DPP PFP TSU IND
Hau (KMT) 54% 83% 8% 33% 0% 37%
Hsieh (DPP) 20% 3% 85% 3% 81% 22%
Soong (IND) 9% 7% 1% 56% 0% 8%
Li Ao (IND) 3% 2% 0% 5% 0% 4%
Ke Tze-hai (IND) 1% 0% 1% 0% 0% 2%
Clara Chou (TSU IND) 0.2% 0% 1% 0% 5% 0%
Undecided 13% 5% 4% 1% 5% 27%

The votes for those who identify with the two major political party have basically been committed, probably a long time ago.  They can only be shifted by dramatic actions such as the withdrawal of a candidate (e.g. Hau withdraws to make way for Soong).  The fight is going to be at the bottom-right cell: the 27% of independents who are still undecided and who account for about 10% of all persons age 20 or over.

According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan, over the past six years, the mean income of the 700,000 households with the lowest income just fell from NT$52,820 to NT$34,866 from year 2000 to year 2006.  Thus, their mean current income is less than NT$3,000 per month.

Meanwhile the mean income of the 700,000 households with the highest income went from NT$1,621,747 to NT$1,741660 from year 2000 to year 2006.  Thus, their mean current income is over NT$145,000 per month.

Meanwhile, the GDP is expected to grow by 4.14% per annum.

Under these circumstances, this is like the M-form society as proposed by Japanese scholars.  With globalization, the rich can seize the resources and opportunities to profit tremendously and increase their weath; the middle-class will lose their competitiveness and become lower-middle class.  This mean that the distribution of wealth becomes more polarized -- more people get rich and more people get poor, while the middle-class disappears.

Rumsfeld spends more time plotting out how to manipulate the American public than how to win the war. Everything is about spin, about giving the image of progress even in the face of a rapid downward spiral into the abyss. Consider these phrases:

' Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. political, economic and security goals to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made) . . .

Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not lose.

Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) go minimalist. . . '

It is about how we talk, how we are perceived to set goals, what is made to look like progress. It isn't actually about getting progress. The point of going minimalist is to reduce expectations among the American public. If you tell them you can only move the ball a yard, you get a lot of points for moving it two yards.

There is nothing in the memo about effectively stopping the daily sectarian massacre in Iraq. Rumsfeld does not even appear to think there is a problem here. He doesn't see the basis on which the fabric of Iraq is coming apart. But God forbid he should be seen by the US public as failing. So let's set some vague "benchmarks" and make it look like progress is being made.


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