Hong Kong police on Thursday said they had arrested the unemployed 29-year-old in connection with nude pictures purportedly taken of celebrities. These had been posted online earlier this week – a day after an investigation was launched on Wednesday.  Police Commissioner Tang King-shing said during a briefing with legislators on Thursday that an arrest had been made.  The suspect was detained at his New Territories home. Investigators were trying to determine his role in the case.

Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam Tat-wing said there was a substantial amount of evidence connected with the unemployed man.  “The service provider handed us the IP address of the individual whose computer contained some of the photographs,” he said.  Mr Yam also cautioned the public that circulating the photographs was a criminal offence.

Publishing obscene articles on the internet is an offence under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. This also includes the act of reposting the obscene articles or internet hyper-linking to obscene articles, whether for profit or otherwise. Anyone convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for three years.

(Those Were The Days blog)

So the police "made an arrest."  Does this mean that the affair is over?  Will the female stars no longer have to live in fear?  Sorry, no.  Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam said yesterday that "the individual may not be the first person who posted the photographs."  There are certain difficulties in trying to find the source, but he emphasized that the police have the ability to find those who are circulating those photographs ... the police be able to arrest a hundred or a thousand people who are forwarding the photographs, but that does not solve the case.  The culprit is still out there and may continue to post more photographs.  The war against the circulators only creates a White Terror in Hong Kong, where netizens are afraid of posting.  Meanwhile, these photographs continue to be freely available for downloading at any number of overseas websites.  So what good is arresting one or two circulators?  Can the Hong Kong police make Google forbid the search for those photographs?  Or prevent people from using Foxy to forward the photographs?
The police only know to take some minor action and create the impression that "an arrest" seems to imply that the case has been solved.  But they are completely different things.  They have only managed to intimidate the ordinary citizens from circulating or distributing those photographs.  Even they have admitted that until the person responsible for releasing the photographs, then those articles won't even be forwarded to the Obscene Articles Tribunal. ...

Mandatory reading A tale of two storms: mainland emergency reporting and the Hong Kong media freeze  David Bandurski and Joseph Cheng, China Media Project

Recently, people have been posting a simulated photograph of Emperor Entertainment Group artistes Gillian Chung and Edison Chen in bed.  Emperor Entertainment Group has filed a police report.  According to the Emperor Entertainment Group spokesman, that photograph had been manipulated and the person in the photograph was not Gillian Chung.  Therefore, they have filed a report with the police as well as asked their lawyer to seek legal redress.  The spokesperson also said that they have begun an investigation.  When they find the source, they will take legal action.  The spokesperson also reminded people that it is illegal to publicly show pornographic photographs.  The spokesperson called on everybody to cease showing or forwarding the relevant photograph to avoid legal trouble.

This story has already gone through several stages.  At first, someone posted a fuzzy photograph of two persons: a man who looks like Edison Chen and a woman who looks like Gillian Chung.  The woman in the photograph showed her right nipple as well as her vagina.  So was it really those two?  Netizens began a debate over the authenticity of the photograph.  Some Photoshop experts thought that it was nearly impossible to fake a fuzzy photograph because of the difficulty to reproduce the noise in the background in a consistent way.  Other people thought that the photograph sounded fake. 
Then there were other netizens who chose to do detective work on the background shown in the photograph.  Was this the bedroom of Edison Chen?  There was a bed, some stuffed animals, a bed post, a wall poster, etc.  Does anyone have a photograph of the bedroom of Edison Chen?  Someone went to YouTube and pulled down an Edison Chen video with a brief shot of a bedroom (which may or may not be his bedroom).  A comparison showed some similarities, but it is far from identical (e.g. there is a wall poster, but it is a different one; there are stuffed animals but they aren't the same ones; etc).  Another netizen looked at the bottom of the woman's foot and compared it against known photographs of Gillian Chung, and determined the calluses and toes were different.
Later in the day, another photograph emerged.  This one is of a woman who looks like female singer Bobo Chan fellating a man who looks like Edison Chan.   Now you see why the Hong Kong discussion forums have imploded today.
Are you one of the few people in Hong Kong who hasn't seen those photographs yet?  Well, you will have to look elsewhere because I am not posting them here.  I am telling you about this story so that you can prepare yourself for tomorrow's newspaper coverage.  Will you see this as the front page story due to the insatiable, unrestrainable appetite for lurid sensationalism?  Or will you see nothing at all due to self-censorship and/or fear at offending the Emperor Entertainment Group?

At many Chinese government department websites, there is a "public question/answer" section, and the Ministry of Science and Technology is no exception.  In fact, the MOST website has become tremendously popular on account of these Q&A's.  Here is a sample:

Question: My little doggie has fallen ill and not eaten for several days.  Can the uncles/aunties at the Ministry of Science and Technology tell me how I can make my little dog better?

Answer:  We recommend that you take your little doggie to the veterinary hospital for treatment.

The key feature here is that most of the recent questions have been deliberately frivolous, and the answers were delivered in deadpan earnestness that conveys a cool humor.  Other examples are about how to apply for rights to a perpetual motion machine and the future of the Chinese soccer.  When asked about what to do about a "very yellow and very violent" pop-up web page, the answer was to install anti-virus software on the computer.

These Q&A's have delighted netizens on account of the fact that a central government department website is apparently willing to answer every and any frivolous question.  For them, the spirit of MOST is something that all other government departments should emulate.

But there are unexpected consequences.  The appreciate netizens began to cross-post these Q&A's elsewhere, and this drew more visitors to the MOST website to post more frivolous questions.  As a result, the staff has been overloaded with questions.  The proliferation of frivolous questions has actually made it very difficult for the MOST staff to identify and reply to the serious questions that pertain to the mission of the website.

So MOST has taken the drastic action of purging all those spoof questions (and their answers) from the website.  So isn't this strange?  When netizens come to the MOST website to express their appreciation of the spirit and energy of the staff to deal with the most frivolous questions, those questions and their answers have been completely purged.

Q1.  On March 22, the presidential election will be held with the candidates being Ma-Siew (KMT) and Hsieh-Su (DPP).  If the voting was to take place tomorrow, which team would you vote for?
26%: Hsieh-Su
56%: Ma-Siew
18%: Undecided
By political party identification:
85%: DPP
  1%: KMT
  8%: PFP
34%: TSU
16%: Independent
11%: DPP
96%: KMT
92%: PFP
51%: TSU
51%: Independent
(Note: The major shift is this -- in September 2007, the TSU went 79% for Hsieh-Su and 8% for Ma-Siew.  After the Legislative Yuan elections, the TSU is now 34% for Hsieh-Su and 51% for Ma-Siew.)
Q2. On March 22 when the presidential election will be held, there will also be the referenda to join the United Nations?  Will you be picking up those ballots?  If so, are you picking up the DPP ballot to join the UN or the KMT ballot to re-enter the UN?
25%: the DPP ballot only
  9%: the KMT ballot only
  8%: both ballots
43%: neither
16%: Don't know
(Note: So 25%+8%=33% will pick up the DPP UN for Taiwan ballot, while 9%+8%=17% will pick up the KMT version.  If the voter turnout is 80%, then 33%x80% = 27% of all registered voters will pick up the DPP UN for Taiwan ballot, which is a lot less than the 50% threshold needed to pass.  The KMT version is in even worse shape at 17%x80%=14%.  If these referenda do not get passed, it means that ... the Taiwan people are not interested in entering/re-joining the United Nations!  Yet poll after poll have consistently shown that the percentage is 80% or higher.  The problem here is that the people resent the fact that this issue has been hijacked as a campaign tool for political parties, and the debacle must be laid firmly at the feet of the two political parties.  How to reverse the situation?  The presidential candidates cannot be seen to push these two referenda because the people clearly treat these as cynical manipulations and the candidates.)

The first major blow of his political career came in 1996, when he ran as Peng Ming-min'srunning mate under the DPP banner for the nation's first presidential election.  At that time, Hsieh was alleged to have taken inappropriate political donations from sect leader Sung Chi-li (宋七力) who claimed he had supernatural powers.  Hsieh suffered fierce criticism from the public then because he and his wife were followers of Sung.  Sung was charged with fraud in 1997 due to supernatural powers claims and for encouraging his followers to donate money to him.  Hsieh temporarily disappeared from the political scene following the scandal.

(Apple Daily)

Yesterday, the Taiwan High Court held the re-trial of Sung Chi-li.  The 1997 trial for fraud had seventeen defendants including Yu Fang-chih, the wife of DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh, who was charged for helping Sung publish the book <Universal Light Body> to attract followers.  Yu and others were found not guilty, but Sung and his assistant Cheng Chen-tung were found guilty and given seven years sentences.  The second trial and the re-trial ended up with acquittals. 

At issue in the court trials was that the believers believed in Sung and the non-believers did not believe in him.  This was a matter of personal faith and the law cannot decide on who is right or wrong.  Objectively, the court could not compel Sung Chi-li to demonstrate that his spirit could leave his body and move around as he claims.  It was true that Sung had his photographer use computer enhancement to produce photographs of himself with a ring of light around his head.  But the believers testify that they gave Sung their money out of joy and gratitude and not solely on the basis of those doctored photographs.

The court proceedings yesterday were about a re-trial after the Supreme Court returned the last two acquittal findings for a re-trial.  In the 2002 court trial, Frank Hsieh's wife Yu Fang-chih testified: "Both my husband and I still believe in Sung's divine powers to this day.  I witnessed his divinity with my own eyes."  That was why the press mobbed Sung Chi-li when he showed up with an entourage of followers yesterday.  Ordinarily, people cannot get near him because of that entourage.  But yesterday, Sung stopped to speak to the media.

Q: Do you support Frank Hsieh?
A: I am glad to see him succeed.  I obviously support him.  I wish him success.

Q: You once said that Frank Hsieh has the look of a president?  Do you still think so?
A: I think that he's got it.

Q: Will you get on stage to campaign for Frank Hsieh?
A: (bitter smile)  How can I get on stage with him!  If I get on stage with him, I will be cursed to death!

Lee Yuan-tseh, Nobel laureate and former president of the Academia Sinica, spoke on Taiwan politics again in an interview with Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun on Jan. 22.   Lee expressed support for Frank Hsieh, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ... 

During the interview, when recalling his pivotal support for helping the DPP gain power, Lee criticized President Chen, saying "he has shortcomings, he is not an ideal president." He further commented on the course pursued by the president by pointing out that many corruption scandals committed by his aides have discredited his administration. Therefore, he added, Hsieh must part company with him and walk a different road.


People have their own definitions and standards for intellectuals, but there seems to be some common characteristics.  ... Some people think that true intellectuals ought to have 5 qualities:

1. Intellectuals are mental laborers
2. Intellectuals are experts in cultural matters
3. Intellectuals do not constitute an independent social stratum
4. Intellectuals are detached from politics
5. Intellectuals are the conscience of society

I call those who satisfy 1 through 5 reflective intellectuals.  I call those who satisfy only 1 through 3 but not 4 nor 5 cynical intellectual thugs.

When Taiwan became democraticized, there emerged an intellectual thug -- Lee Yuan-tseh.  A reflective intellectual needs to have a sense of social responsibility even if he is detached from politics.  This sense of social responsibility does not imply that he has to jump into the political maelstrom.  It is about making observations from the outside and then offering social insights and critical comments.  Samuel P. Huntington pointed out that intellectuals are detached from politics -- they are natural oppositionists because they are never part of the existing order.  When they appear on the social stage, they will play the role of revolutionaries.  This means that the intellectuals will always reflect on society.  Only by being detached from the political maelstrom can the intellectual observe society objectively.

In the 2000 presidential election, Lee Yuan-tseh supported the Democratic Progressive Party.  We give Lee the benefit of doubt that he did so in order to achieve the transfer of power between political parties.  In the 2004 presidential election, we give Lee the benefit of doubt again that he wanted to give the Democratic Progressive Party another chance to gain more experience and correct their mistakes.  But here we are in 2008 and we see no plausible reason why Lee Yuan-tseh continues to support the DPP.

I have thought about this for a long time.  The only explanation is this: Lee Yuan-tseh's conscience has been eaten by a dog.  His actions showed that he never cared about transfer of power and he was not bothered by the economic incompetence of the DPP or the disappointment of the people of Taiwan.  He had willingly become a running dog intellectual for the DPP.

It is one thing for Lee Yuan-tseh to become a running dog intellectual for the DPP.  This is his personal decision and outsiders cannot be picky.  But when someone with the aura of "Nobel prize" hanging over this head keeps misleading people, there are bad effects.  In so doing, Lee Yuan-tseh has not shown even a minimal sense of social responsibility.  It is therefore appropriate that we label him an cynical intellectual thug.


But did Lee Yuan-tseh really endorse Frank Hsieh as president?  On January 18, Lee was interviewed by TVBS and asked directly, "Who do you choose?"  Lee Yuan-tseh declined to provide an answer.  He said: "That is because I have still not heard about the political views of the two candidates.  I will have to look at them in detail."  More generally, he said: "I have not said at this time which political party I am supporting.  The KMT party has a super majority in the Legislative Yuan.  Some people think that checks and balances are important in a democratic society, and therefore they say that it would be better to have a DPP president.  This is what many people are thinking."

Regardless, the problem with Lee Yuan-tseh is as follows.  In 2000, he said that Chen Shui-bian would make a good president and that endorsement might have tipped the election in Chen's favor.  In 2008, Lee may yet come out to say directly that Frank Hsieh would make a good president.  But given the track record, is this going to be a helpful endorsement for Frank Hsieh?  Whatever else, it has not been helpful to the reputation of Lee Yuan-tseh.

(Taipei Times)

Well-known former entertainer and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator-elect Yu Tien said yesterday that a man had attacked his son for political reasons.  Yu Tien's son, Ken Yu , 24, told police he was in Wufenpu, Taipei, with his girlfriend on Saturday night when he got into an argument with a driver surnamed Tsai who had almost hit his girlfriend with his car in a parking lot.  Ken Yu said he asked Tsai to apologize, but the man became angry and attacked him. Ken Yu said two of Tsai's friends joined in the assault.  Ken Yu told police the trio had said: "So this is the son of a legislator?"  Police said Ken Yu visited a hospital for treatment after the incident. Afterwards, accompanied by his father, he went to a police station to file charges against his alleged attackers.

Yu Tien said he suspected his narrow defeat of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) opponent Chu Chun-hsiao in the Jan. 12 legislative elections might have prompted the attack on his son.  Tsai, 60, told police yesterday that Ken Yu had struck him and his car before he retaliated.  Tsai, who showed his injuries to police, filed charges against Ken Yu.  Noting that KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou had said earlier last week that he would avenge Chu, Yu Tien said "the revenge has now taken place."

(Apple Daily)  According to Ken Yu, the other party said: "So you are the son of Yu Tien?  What is so big deal about having a Legislator as your father?"  He said that there seven people on the other side, and three of them pushed him onto the ground and beat him with their hands and elbows.  According to Tsai, Ken Yu kicked his car and then hit him first.  He also said: "I had no idea that he is the son of Yu Tien."   The police heard both sides of the story and decided that it was a dispute over a parking space.

When Yu Tien stepped out of the police station, he told the press that he believes this has to do with Ma Ying-jeou's talk about revenge on behalf of Chu Chun-hsiao.  "I believe that Ma's words were provocative."  The provocation deepened ethnic hatred, and thus caused his son to be beaten.

(Apple Daily)  According to neighbors, the scene of the incident is right in front of a convenience store owned by a son of Tsai.  According to relatives, "Ken Yu is built like a bull and he has the nerve to complain after beating up an old man!"  As for Yu Tien's charge that this was a pan-blue revenge tactic, the relatives sneered: "Tsai has no political affiliation.  His brother-in-law is deep green!"  This source said that the brother-in-law knows Yu Tien and made telephone calls on behalf of Yu Tien during the Legislative Yuan election.

(Apple Daily)  Frank Hsieh: 國民黨搞仇恨,把民主競爭當成民主戰爭,未來就不只是誰的兒子被打而已,社會無法和解共生,台灣人民將被迫回到街頭抗爭。(The KMT stirs up hatred.  They treat democratic competition as democratic warfare.  In the future, it is not just about whose son gets beats up.  Society will not be able to resolve peacefully and co-exist.  The people of Taiwan will be forced to fight back in the streets.).

(Apple Daily)  580 persons interviewed on January 20, 2008.

Question:  Yu Tien's son claims to have been assaulted and Frank Hsieh says that it is due to the hatred that Ma Ying-jeou caused.  Do you agree?

74.7%: Disagree -- this has nothing to do with Ma Ying-jeou
14.0%: Agree -- Ma Ying-jeou should be held responsible for this incident
11.4%: Don't know/no opinion

The Ilan Prosecutors' Office is dealing with a case involving the illegal entry of a Chinese dissident, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan said on Friday.  Tung was referring to Cai Lujun (蔡陸軍), who entered the country last Sunday using his younger brother's name and disguised as a fisherman.

After arriving in a Chinese fishery workers' reception center in Nanfangao in Ilan County, Cai told a local human-rights association that he wanted to seek political asylum, Tung said.  The Fisheries Administration and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) have handled the case in accordance with regulations, Tung said. 

As Tsai violated the National Security Law and Criminal Code by committing forgery, the CGA transferred the case to the Ilan Prosecutors' Office for investigation, Tung said.  He added that government agencies were checking Cai's background, adding that if his identity and testimony check out, he would not be indicted.

After the conclusion of the judicial process, the MAC would call an interagency meeting, including officials from the Ministry of the Interior, to review the case, ascertain Cai's true aspirations and assist in arranging for him to travel to a third country and help with his application for international refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Tung said.  He added that the government will see to Cai's care during his stay in Taiwan.

What was the "care" that Cai Lujun would receive?  See Apple Daily:

Last  month, Cai Lujun was released and he received a temporary residence card from the Mainland Affairs Council.  He said that he was sent to the Ilan Number One Detention Center.  At the time, administrator Lin Qingbao (badge number 5199) brought him to the cell, where he was promptly assaulted by seven to eight other inmates.  When he called to Lin for help, he was told: "You need to obey the order of the cell leader." Cai Lujun found out that the "cell leader" was a "veteran" inmate who led a group of other mainland Chinese inmates.  During the 136 days of detention, Cai Lujun witnesses twenty to thirty beatings ordered by the cell leader, administered by other inmates and allowed by the administrators (who are either guards or military draftees).  He said that some inmates were physically tortured (see illustrations):

When Cai Lujun was released, he wrote a letter of complaint to the Director of the Immigration Department and was told that: "We will investigate."  The Detention Center director came to see him and said: "We will improve" and then asked him not to have any contacts with the media.  Cai Lujun said: "This is even worse than a Communist jail."