(Apple Daily)  Here are the monthly rental rates (in HKD/square foot) at some of the more famous luxury high-rise apartment complexes.

The Harbour Side, Kowloon Station, HKD 31-42 per square foot

Hillsborough Court, Mid Levels, Hong Kong Island, HKD 27-42 per square foot

No, the winner goes to something completely different at the other end of the wealth spectrum.

Between April and June this year, the Society for Community Organisation interviewed 267 residents who live in "cage houses" and boarded rooms in the Shum Shui Po, Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Tsim Mong and To Kwa Wan districts of China.  The study show that the rent for 10.7% of units rose as a result of the financial tsunami, even as much as 40% in one case.  The median month rental rate for "cage houses"/boarded rooms rose from 23.9 HKD/square foot in 2007 to 32.9 HKD/square foot.  In particular, 20% of the units had month rental rates as high as 93.3 HKD/square foot.

The median area of a "cage" is 18 square feet.  The public areas of toilet and kitchen are shared by 10 persons.

The survey also showed that 40% of the interviewees were unemployed, twice as high as in 2006.  24% of the interviewees said that their income as diminished by over 30% since the financial tsunami.  Most of the "cage house" inhabitants are welfare recipients or low-income earners.  Even among those employed interviewees, their median monthly income is 6,000 yuan, which is 40% less than the media monthly income for all Hong Kong.  The interviewees pay 30% of their monthly income on rent.

The Society for Communist Organisation director said that about 100,000 Hong Kong people reside in "case houses" and "boarded rooms."  Demand is always higher than supply.  Therefore, the rent prices have not gone down during the financial tsunami.  "The occupancy rate for "cage houses" and boarded rooms" is 100%, so the landlords are not worried about not having any renters."



(The Wall Street Journal)  Dalai Lama Begins Controversial Visit to Taiwan   By Ting-I Tsai.  August 31, 2009.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan late Sunday, and said he wasn't pursuing independence from China or intending to interfere with Taiwan's relationship with the mainland.

The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet arrived for what could become a test of Taiwan's delicate rapprochement with China. China opposes the Dalai Lama, saying he promotes Tibetan independence, and discourages countries from receiving him.

But last week, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou approved his visit, which was made at the request of opposition party members. They asked the Dalai Lama to come to comfort the victims of Typhoon Morakot, the storm that this month killed 571 people and left 106 missing.

The 74-year-old, who is considered by many Buddhists to be a living god, was greeted at Taoyuan railway station, where he was boarding a train to Kaohsiung, by protesters who favor reunification with China.

In brief remarks at the station, the Dalai Lama told The Wall Street Journal that the protesters "misunderstood" his political stance. "Tibet isn't pursuing independence," the Dalai Lama said, nor, he added, was he advocating Taiwanese independence: "Taiwan can choose its own relationship with China."

The Dalai Lama's office also sought to ratchet down the tensions resulting from the visit, and on Sunday canceled the only press conference of his five-day trip. The press conference had been scheduled for Monday, and some Taiwanese politicians had been worried that he would use it as a platform to criticize China.

On Thursday, China said that it was "resolutely opposed" to the visit, adding that the Dalai Lama "is not a pure religious figure, but uses the banner of religion to engage in activities to split the nation." But it blamed the opposition party, not Mr. Ma, for the invitation, in a likely effort to keep the improving relations on track.


When the Dalai Lama got to the Taoyuan rail station, he met by a large number of hecklers.  These protestors held protest banners and placards, even the Chinese five-star national flags.  They completely overwhelmed the supporters who were carrying hadas.  "Scram!  Scram!" The protestors chanted.

The Dalai Lama said: "Only some of the people protested in this manner.  On the issues that concern the people of Taiwan (such as the economy), it is possible to avoid these special methods."



Unfortunately, there are others who are bent on politicizing the visit.

(Xinhua) Taiwan political organizations protest DPP invitation to Dalai.  August 29, 2009.

More than 10 Taiwanese political organizations Saturday denounced the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) invitation to the Dalai Lama to visit the island as "unethical" and "politically motivated." They also expressed doubts if the visit would benefit ongoing disaster relief in the wake of Typhoon Morakot and voiced their worries the visit would damage relations between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.

About 100 members from the Alliance for the Reunification of China, the Labor Rights Association, the Labor Party and other organizations staged a protest outside the headquarters of the DPP in Taipei. Among the placards held by protestors, one read: "Strong opposition to the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan." Some shouted: "'Taiwan Independence' plus 'Tibet Independence', damaging to cross-Strait peace."

Seven Taiwan mayors and county chiefs from the DPP Wednesday invited the Dalai Lama to visit the island to join religious activities for victims of typhoon Morakot. However, a joint declaration issued by the protestors said the DPP's invitation of the Dalai Lama had nothing to do with "humanitarian care" for disaster-stricken Taiwanese. The DPP had only attempted to take advantage of disaster relief activities and the suffering of residents for its own political interest, said the declaration. The Dalai Lama has all along been engaged in separatist activities, and has been a questionable figure in regard to humantarian issues, the declaration said. "His visit would undoubtedly cause serious harm to the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations."

Tang Shu, secretary general of the Labor Party, told the crowd that from the very beginning of the typhoon relief in early August, the DPP had been trying to smear the mainland's aid efforts and goodwill. "Now they are trying to join hands with the 'Tibet Independence' force. Clearly, the DPP's intention is to sabotage hard-earned goodwill in cross-Strait relations," Tang said.

Morakot, the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan in 50 years, has claimed at least 461 lives and left 192 missing and 46 injured, say Taiwan's disaster response authorities. The protestors urged Taiwanese authorities not to be distracted by the DPP plot and focus instead on reconstruction work.


(ESWN Comment:  This protest event is strictly made for television.  The protestors had no intention of coming into contact with the Democratic Progressive Party, because the office building is unoccupied on weekends.  The physical jostling is necessary for the sake of 'newsworthy'.)

Early in the morning, 200,000 persons assembled in Tiananmen Square and Chang'an Avenue to rehearse for the National Day parade.  The authorities blocked all the surrounding streets in order to prevent people from getting close.  But a certain Hong Kong television station happened to have its Beijing offices right on Chang'an Avenue.  So they set up cameras on the verandah to film the rehearsal from above.  But the police showed up and stopped them.  They told the reporters that they were illegally gathering news.  They made the reporters turn off and remove the camera.

August 8: In the morning, more than 30 Burmese soldiers suddenly appeared in Yanglongzhai in the First Special Region of the Shan state, which is just a step away from the Chinese port of entry of Nansan.  The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in the First Special Region responded immediately by surrounding the Burmese soldiers.  After negotiations, the commander of the Burmese army in Laogai (who has the rank of brigadier) issued a formal notice to the Special Region government: a certain department chief of the State Council of the Chinese government had asked for an inspection of a certain drug processing plant in Yanglongzhai.  Subsequently, senior leaders from both sides agreed to conduct a search of the so-called drug processing plant in the company of Special Region government vice-chairman Wang Guozheng.  The result was that the factory was an arms repair plant of the Special Region government and contained no drugs.  But the military confrontation between the two sides caused the people to panic.  Lines formed in front of the banks, public order was disrupted in the streets, the shops closed for business and many people and cars headed towards the Nansan port of entry into China.  The line of people/vehicles was more than 3 kilometers long.

August 9: In the morning, the Burmese soldiers in Lashio, the First Special Region government and the Yunnan province Zhenkang county "foreign affairs office" held a trilateral conference in Laogai and reached the agreement for the Special Region government to turn over the arms repair factory to the Burmese army to take apart within thirty days.  The Burmese army then took control of the factory.  In the afternoon, the Chinese negotiators left while informing the people who were fleeing: there is no need to be afraid or flee, because the situation has been calmed down.

August 10: In the night, the Burmese army held six Special Region government negotiators hostage (including First Special Region vice-chairman Wang Guozheng, Laogai mayor Peng Jiarong, Kokang county chief administrative officer Ming Xuechang) and demanded the presence of Special Region chairman Peng Jiasheng in exchange for their release.  When the news got out, more refugees sought to cross over to China by various channels.  The Chinese immigration officers stipulated that people can only take part of their money, which caused the refugees to keep going back and forth to move their possessions piece by piece.  This meant that the port of entry became massively jammed.  Nansan was overrun with people, prices rose sharply, bus tickets which used to cause 100 yuan or so now cost more than 1,000 yuan and instant noodles cost more than 10 yuan per bowl.  Laogai used to be the city that never goes dark, but now it is an empty city.  The Burmese army openly walked in to rob the entertainment venues.  Many criminal elements killed, robbed and committed other crimes.

August 11: In the early morning, the Second Special Region government (the Wa state) gave formal notice to the Burmese government that if the negotiators from the First Special Region are not released, then the Wa State United Army will wipe out the Burmese army stationed in Kunlong.  In the morning, the Burmese government was forced to release all of the detained First Special Region government negotiators.

August 12: The Burmese army once against asked to negotiate with the First Special Region government.  But the First Special Region government indicated that they will not negotiate with the Burmese army anymore.  If the Burmese army wants to negotiate, they can come to the First Special Region.

August 13: More than 500 family members of the Burmese soldiers living in Laogai left the city.  The situation grew more tense.

August 14: The Burmese government asked the First Special Region government representative in Kunlong to call Peng Jiasheng to express the willingness to settle: Let us forget about the unpleasantness and revert to the original state of affairs.  Peng Jiasheng replied: "The action of the Burmese government has created chaos in the First Special Region and caused more than 1 billion yuan in direct economic losses.  So how can we go back to the past?"  The two sides were stuck in a stalemate again.

August 15-18: U.S Senator Jim Webb visited Myanmar.  Kokang was calm in a rare moment.  Some Kokang people returned from China.  Some of the shops in Laogai re-opened for business.

August 19: In the morning, the Burmese government suddenly proposed to send 50 military vehicles each carrying five fully armed soldiers to go to Yanglonggai to remove the equipment at the arms repairs factory.  In addition, no interference or inspections would be allowed on the journey.  The First Special Region government held an emergency meeting and decided that 3 vehicles with two unarmed and uniformed Burmese soldiers per vehicle would be allowed.  Neither side budged, and the situation became tense.  The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said that China will not interfere with the internal affairs of Myanmar.

August 20: The Burmese army used 30 military vehicles to ferry troops to Kunlong.  Once there, the troops got off and the empty vehicles entered the Kokang area.

August 21: The Burmese police in Lashio issued an official letter to the First Special Region government in which they claimed that the arm repair factor was the private property of the First Special Region chairman Peng Jiasheng, the National Democratic Alliance Army commander-in-chief Peng Jiafu, the First Special Region vice-chairman and National Democratic Alliance Army deputy commander-in-chief Peng Deren and the Kokang Special Region Bank president Peng Deli.  Since this violated Burmese law, the four are listed as wanted criminals, whom the military junta will be sending police into the First Special Region to arrest.

August 22: Many Burmese police entered the First Special Region.  The First Special Region government issued a formal protest letter which claimed that the government action was false accusation and political persecution.  The letter also exposed the Burmese military junta for incitement and division.  At this time, the First Special Region government vice-chairman and Democratic Alliance Army commander-in-chief Peng Jiafu was arrested by the armed border police in Nansan, China.  This scared the other First Special Region leaders.

August 23: The First Special Region vice-chairman and National Democratic Alliance Army deputy commander-in-chief Bai Souqian and the Kokang county chief administrative officer Ming Xuechang rebelled against the First Special Region government and joined the Burmese military junta together with more than 100 rebel soldiers.  They took over Shangfeng city in Laogai and said that they will help the Burmese military junta arrest the Special Region leaders headed by Peng Jiasheng.  The First Special Region government was forced to withdraw to Yanglongzhai which is right next to Nansan in China.

August 24: At noon, Doctor Huang (whose ancestors came from Fujian province in China) led some National Democratic Alliance Army soldiers to surround the rebel soldiers of Bai Souqian and Ming Xuechang.  More than 80 of the rebels gave up.  The Burmese army quickly assembled troops and entered east Kokang and faced off against Doctor Huang's National Democratic Alliance Army.  The Second Special Region (Wa state) government dispatched troops quickly to take over Qingshuihe port at the request of the First Special Region government.  As more Burmese army soldiers poured in, the First Special Region government ordered Doctor Huang to withdraw from the city because they did not want the civilians to suffer in battle.

August 25: In the early morning, Peng Jiasheng learned that his third son Peng Deli was detained by the armed border police in China.  He was afraid that the Chinese might act against him as well, so he moved the command headquarters to the Burmese side of border post number 127 and made preparations to break out of the siege or else negotiate with the Burmese military junta.  In the evening, the Chinese released both Peng Jiafu and Peng Deli were released by the Chinese.  The National Democratic Alliance Army morale soared, and they broke out of the siege easily.

August 26: The First Special Region government moved into the southern Wa area of the Second Special Region to continue their struggle against the Burmese army.  At noon, Peng Jiasheng's mentally handicapped son (nicknamed "Big Buddha") was detained by the Chinese armed border police along with five or six aides/nurses and about to be turned over to the rebel troops led by Bao Souqian.  The National Democratic Alliance Army was demoralized.  The Burmese army sent troops through Chinese territory for the purpose of raiding the residence of Peng Jiasheng in Yanglongzhai, but the Chinese captured more than forty people.

August 27: In the morning, the Burmese army once again sent soldiers through China to raid Peng Jiasheng's residence in Yanglongzhai.  The National Democratic Alliance Army routed them.  The defeated Burmese soldiers fled into Chinese territory.  The Chinese border armed police released "Big Buddha" and his entourage, but restricted their movements in Nansan.  In the afternoon, the Burmese army attacked the National Democratic Alliance Army in Yanglongzhai, Laoxiangtang, Qingshuihe, Bajiaohe, Daqingzhai and other locales.  Many refugees entered China.  More than twenty injured persons were sent to Nansan Hospital.  Most of these injured persons were Chinese nationals, with some Kokang Burmese civilians.  In Qingshuihe port, there were many civilian casualties still lying in the streets.  The Burmese army fired artillery into Chinese territory, causing some injuries to Chinese civilians and border defense personnel.  According to the National Democratic Alliance Army, the Burmese army suffered losses of more than 100 dead and several hundred captives.

August 28:  Battle resumed in the early morning.  The Burmese bombarded the various National Democratic Alliance Army positions, especially Qingshuihe.  THe National Democratic Alliance Army resisted stubbornly, but their ammunition and supplies were running low.  At around noon, the Burmese army sent heavy artillery, armed vehicles and two divisions of soldiers to reinforce their forces.  The Second Special Region Wa Alliance Army joined in the National Democratic Alliance Army to defend Qingshuihe and fight the Burmese army.  Fighting is still going on.  Some of the bridges along the supply lines for the Burmese army from Mandalay and Lashio have been destroyed.

Dai Guoshen had been the director of the Wenzhou Economic and Technology Development Zone Management Committee.  On March 27 this year, he was placed under "double regulations" by the Wenzhou Party Disciplinary Committee.  He was subsequently arrested by the Procuratorate.  In July, he was ousted from the Party.

Investigators searched his home and found more than a dozen home ownership certifications, more than a dozen LV bags, tens of kilograms of caterpillar fungus among other stuff.  On August 19, the Wenzhou auction house posted a notice about an auction of the illicit gains by Dai Guoshen.

In total, 114 items were put for auction, including brand name handbags, diamonds, jade, ivory, gold bars, paintings, wine, fungus, bird's nest, etc.  The auction house set the total base price at 458,000 yuan.

More than 690 people registered to attend the auction.  Due to the big attendance, the auction house had to move the venue to a bigger facility.

Among the auction items, the 22 handbags (including LV, Gucci and other internationally renowed brands) drew the most attention.  It was because of them that netizens gave Dai Guoshen the nickname of "Handbag Dai."  The 22 handbags fetched more than 88,000 yuan in the auction.  Of these, the 12 LV bags drew the most intensive bidding.  The bags were sold at prices between 3,000 and 6,500 yuan, with an average price of 4,750 yuan.

In the afternoon, the almost twenty paintings drew attention.  The auction house and other painting experts have stated in very clear terms that all but one of the paintings are forgeries.  So the base prices were under 200 yuan (with the lowest price being 40 yuan).  But these paintings drew bids that were many more times the base price.  The painting with the 'signature' of Fan Zeng had a list price of 60 yuan but was sold for 50,000 yuan!

The total take of the 114 times was 1,178,000 yuan.  It was the first auction event for many Wenzhou citizens, and they found the scene quite exciting ("it's really like a battle!").

(Taipei Times)  Editorial: Dalai Lama visit puts Ma in quandary.  August 28, 2009.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has given the Dalai Lama permission to visit Taiwan to comfort the victims of Typhoon Morakot. The government’s decision to allow the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to visit came after Ma rejected a similar request last December, a move that at the time was widely interpreted as a nod in the direction of Beijing and part of Ma’s strategy to improve cross-strait relations. Ma could afford to do so at the time because he enjoyed strong support in opinion polls.

But things have changed drastically and Ma’s popularity is now at its lowest ebb. With the economy at rock bottom, his administration’s botched handling of Morakot, the bad press he received after several detached encounters with survivors and growing criticism of how he is dealing with a possible swine flu epidemic, the Ma camp has had to reassess its options.

Rejecting the visit of such a respected religious leader in the face of human suffering would have made the government appear even more heartless and could have dealt a fatal blow to Ma’s 2012 re-election hopes. However, allowing the Dalai Lama into Taiwan sets back Ma’s pro-China agenda, which will be a problem for him at a time when Chinese officials appear increasingly impatient with what they view as his middle-of-the-road opportunism. The Dalai Lama decision will make him unpopular in China, but Ma and his advisers have come to realize that how he is perceived by people in Taiwan is much more important than what Beijing thinks.

When he was elected by a landslide last year Ma was obviously confident he could win a second term, and he has made numerous predictions about his economic and cross-strait plans post-2012. But for the first time in his political career, Ma is having to come to terms with the fact that he is electorally vulnerable and that if he continues in this manner he stands a very good chance of losing.

Damage control must take precedent over policy.

The Democratic Progressive Party chiefs who invited the Dalai Lama no doubt did so with good intentions, but in the back of their minds they must have been excited about the dilemma this would create for Ma. The outmaneuvered Presidential Office must be quietly fuming. The next test for Ma will be whether he meets the Dalai Lama, but that will be a bridge too far. Ma may have had his hands effectively tied behind his back when deciding to allow a visit, but a meeting between the two would be an almighty slap in the face for Beijing.

This will be hard for Ma, because not meeting the Dalai Lama will further harm his image in this post-Morakot era. The problem is that having tied up all his political capital in improving ties with Beijing, Ma will at some point have to tow its line in order to ensure the continued flow of “goodwill.”

The folly of Ma’s China policy has once again become glaringly apparent.

(China Daily)  Dalai Lama Taiwan tour denounced.  By Xie Yu.  August 28, 2009.

Beijing Thursday denounced the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan while accusing the island's opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "evil motive" to damage cross-Straits relations. "No matter under what form or identity Dalai uses to enter Taiwan, we resolutely oppose this," the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou Thursday approved the visit by the Dalai Lama next week to "comfort victims of the deadly typhoon" earlier this month, after seven DPP mayors and county heads in south Taiwan extended the invitation on Tuesday. "We've ... decided to let the Dalai Lama visit because he is coming here to pray for the victims, as well as the survivors," Ma told reporters while visiting typhoon survivors.

The DPP politicians said the invitation was sent since "Dalai Lama experienced similar natural disasters in India and he can use his religious power to boost the victims". About 650 people are feared dead after Morakot, the island's worst typhoon in 50 years, which soaked Taiwan from Aug 7-9.

But the Taiwan Affairs Office said: "The Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure and he has all along been engaged in separatist activities under the pretext of religion." It accused some DPP members of plotting the visit of the Dalai Lama to "sabotage the hard-won positive situation in cross-Straits ties" and not for the sake of disaster relief. "The DPP's evil motives will definitely be opposed by compatriots across the Taiwan Straits," the statement said.

Taiwan allowed visits by the Dalai Lama in 1997 and 2001. Ma last year quashed hopes for a new visit by the Dalai Lama, saying the timing was bad.

Here are some alternate interpretations in today's Apple Daily.

(Apple Daily)  Editorial: Ma Ying-jeou is the winner in the Dalai Lama affair.  August 29, 2009.

China is strong objecting to the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan.  If the Dalai Lama voluntarily cancels his trip in order not to embarrass Taiwan, or if Ma Ying-jeou refuses to let the Dalai Lama come, then China is the loser because the whole world will think that it is being barbaric and unreasonable, in addition to "interfering with internal affairs" in Taiwan.  The people of Taiwan will resent China even more.  So if Ma Ying-jeou refuses to let the Dalai Lama come, he will lose the respect and trust of his people.  All three outcomes are detrimental to China's interests.

So Ma Ying-jeou is being smart when he agrees to let the Dalai Lama come in spite of China's objectives.

Scenario #1: The Dalai Lama voluntarily cancels his trip.  Ma Ying-jeou will still gain the support of the people of Taiwan because he did not back off.

Scenario #2: The Dalai Lama comes and Ma Ying-jeou ignores China's objections.  His courage and integrity gain public approval and erase his previous cowardice on issues related to China.  It will also vindicate him over the slow reaction during the early phase of disaster relief.

Scenario #3: China stages a show to object and does nothing more.  In the end, Ma Ying-jeou will actually gain points.  The protest from China's Office for Taiwan Affairs only deplored the Democratic Progressive Party and mentioned nary a word about either Ma Ying-jeou or the Kutomintang party.

Therefore, Ma Ying-jeou will win as long as he does not rescind the order.  This outcome means that the Democratic Progressive Party has actually outsmarted itself.

(Apple Daily)  Opinion column by Wang Ming-yuan.

Last year, the Dalai Lama expressed the wish to visit Taiwan.  President Ma Ying-jeou refused on the grounds that the timing was not right.  At the time, the Democratic Progressive Party and certain other organizations criticized Ma Ying-jeou for failing to respect human rights and freedom of religion.  Ma Ying-jeou's main concern was surely the China problem.  However, Ma Ying-jeou did not say that the Dalai Lama could not come.  It was a matter of timing.

This means that Ma Ying-jeou basically agrees that the Dalai Lama can come.  In the past, when Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian were president, the Dalai Lama had visited Taiwan.  As mayor of Taipie, Ma Ying-jeou had personally met with the Dalai Lama and even gave him the key to the city.  So Ma Ying-jeou was only thinking about the appropriate timing.

At this time, the Democratic Progressive Party proposed to invite the Dalai Lama to hold a religious service for the disaster victims.  They didn't think that Ma Ying-jeou would let the Dalai Lama come, in which case they can criticize Ma for refusing to let a religious leader come to comfort the disaster victims, neglecting the humanitarian spirit and freedom of religion and ignoring the lives and safety of the people of Taiwan.  But if Ma Ying-jeou actually allowed the Dalai Lama to come, they can continue to work on whether Ma actually meets the Dalai Lama, the form of such a meeting, the response of China and Ma's handling of it, etc.  The Democratic Progressive Party will use what Chen Chu is saying, "We invite the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan out of humanitarianism, benevolence and concern through praying in the disaster-stricken areas.  Everything that we do is for the sake of the disaster victims."

However, I think that the Democratic Progressive Party has miscalculated thoroughly.

Whereas Ma Ying-jeou was only trying to find the right moment to invite the Dalai Lama moment to visit Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party has now created the best moment for him.  If the Dalai Lama comes to Taiwan now, it will be good for Ma Ying-jeou in several ways.  First, it can actually please the people.  Secondly, it shows that Ma Ying-jeou respects humanitarianism and freedom of religion.  Thirdly, the political significance is less.  China will always object strongly to any visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan.  This time, the Dalai Lama is coming to visit the disaster victims.  Therefore, the religious overtone is a lot stronger than the political overtone.  Although China will officially object, it may be unofficially objective.  Thus, the Chinese Communist are accusing the Democratic Progressive Party for inviting the Dalai Lama to divide the Chinese people.

The Democratic Progressive Party had wanted to create trouble for Ma Ying-jeou.  Instead, they have provied a way out.  Ma Ying-jeou has always stated that he regards human rights and freedom of religion as important.  Therefore, a visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan has always been on his time.  Last year, Ma turned the offer down.  This year, he might not have done so either.  By next year he might have to do so.  But now the Democratic Progressive Party has tossed him a ball which he gladly catches.  The question is where the ball is going to land on the Democratic Progressive Party side.  Already, certain DPP members are publicly saying that it was improper to invite the Dalai Lama at this time.  The media are also criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party for being too politicized.  And now the Democratic Progressive Party have to deal with another outside voice: How come only the monks from faraway know how to say prayers?  (Could it be that the local monks don't do it as well?)

(Apple Daily)  Backlash from religious sector in Taiwan against the Dalai Lama.  August 29, 2009.

Taiwan Matsu Followers Association president Cheng Ming-kun said that all their temples immediate began to solicit donations for disaster relief after the 8.8 flood disaster.  To invite the Dalai Lama at this time to pray for the disaster victims is to diminish the efforts of the religious sector in Taiwan.  Besides, the Dalai Lama's form of prayer may not be suitable for the disaster victims.  He said that this is basically just exploiting the disaster victims "treating them like small children."

Kaohsiung city information office director Hsu Li-ming said that the visit transcends national boundaries, political party affiliation and religion.  The purpose is to concentrate all the forces for post-disaster reconstruction.  As such, the city government respects different opinions and urges people to view the matter with a tolerant attitude.  As for the expenses, Hsu Li-ming emphasized the the Dalai Lama's Tibet Religious Foundation will pay for all expenses and the seven city/county governments are only responsible for coordination "which costs almost nothing."

(China Times)  The Dalai Lama has lost without even stepping foot on Taiwan soil yet.  August 29, 2009.

Taiwan is clearly divided between the blue and green camps.  Any so-called "just society member with a clean image" become lost beyond redemption once they get swept in.  The most obvious example is Nobel prize winner Lee Yuan-tseh who was the President of the Academia Sinica.  In two presidential elections, he supported to Chen Shui-bian and therefore grouped into the green camp.  His academic aura faded as he became known as a "Bian faction member."  When Chen Shui-bian was charged with graft, the image of Lee Yuan-tseh took a deep plunge.

There are many other professionals who were officials during the Chen Shui-bian administration.  Afterwards, they wound up in awkward situation because they can't go back into academia and they cannot find new employment.

Before this particular affair, the Dalai Lama had many Tibetan Buddhist followers in Taiwan.  He has a certain standing as a religious leader.  During this previous visits to Taiwan, he was welcomed by the leaders of both camps.

This time, the Dalai Lama is standing alongside the Democratic Progressive Party.  Politically speaking, the Dalai Lama has become a chess piece by which the Democratic Progressive Party attack Ma Ying-jeou and break down cross-strait relationship.  Although Ma Ying-jeou had to approve this visit, the Dalai Lama is not longer coming simply as a religious leaders.  A large number of political and business figures who clamored for his blessing last time will be staying away this time.

The Ma Ying-jeou administration now has the strategy of treating the Dalai Lama the same as all other religious leaders in Taiwan.  He is regarded as just one of many religious leaders.  Ma Ying-jeou will not be attending the religious ceremony which includes the Dalai Lama.  This is the damage control strategy of Ma Ying-jeou otherwise the green camp is going to demand Ma meet with the Dalai Lama.  In the language of politics in Taiwan, the Dalai Lama has been "belittled" or "dwarfed."  Everybody can see that.

The Dalai Lama must realize that he is deliberately being belittled by the Ma Ying-jeou administration and he must surely be aware why this is happening.  The Dalai Lama is the big loser here.  If he ever wants to revisit Taiwan again, it won't be that easy.  The people of Taiwan will take a thoroughly revised view of him.

... There had been a clash between more than one hundred people and the militia police at a coal mine in Luliang county, Yunnan province.  When the local media reporters wrote their reports, they resorted to the usual habit of writing phrases such as "the masses who didn't know the truth were instigated by a small number of evil elements with ulterior motives to attack the coal mine workers and the militia police," "the villagers attempted to impede the progress of the construction work," etc.

The Yunnan provincial party publicity department found out about the "eye-glaring" language and immediately told the media to correct it.  Furthermore, they issued an urgent notice that when the media report or appraise public emergencies, they should not call people "troublemakers" and they should avoid characterizations such as "the masses who don't know the truth" and "with ulterior motives."

The notice pointed out that even though the causes for these mass incidents are complicated, most of the time the key turns out to be the relationship between the government/party and the masses.  Very often, the party/government policies had been unreasonable, their actions ineffective or their styles improper.  Experience has shown that the demands from the people with respect to internal contradictions are often reasonable, and that most people will listen to reason.  The various levels of government/party should spend more time examining themselves for the cause rather than blaming the masses and handing out labels.  When certain local governments hold press conferences or issue press releases to smear the masses without adequate evidence, the media should refuse to report.

The notice also demanded the media to report the facts as quickly as possible when an emergency situation occurs.  However, the media should be cautious about defining the cause until a conclusion has been made after an authoritative investigation.  When the media use terms such as "evil forces," "troublemakers," "ulterior motives," "a small group" and so on, they will merely intensify the contradictions and inflame the masses.  Before the incident is pacified and the masses have found a satisfactory solution, standard officialese and clichés such as "the masses are presently emotionally stable" should not be applied to the people either.

Yunnan provincial party publicity department vice-director Wu Hao told the reporter that the media is a public tool which should be careful about how they present the news.  In news reports, the tendency was to pronounce the official view from high above.  This has led the people to feel that "the word 'official' () contains two 'mouths', which means that the officials can say anything they want."  Not only is this of no help to pacifying the people or solving the problem, but it frequently intensifies the contradictions and exacerbates the problem; not only does it fail to bring the people closer to the party, it only increases the chasm between them or even sets them up in opposition.  The linguistic practice of assigning labels to the masses should be firmly banned in media reports, but also in documents, conferences, reporters and speeches within the official circles.


Here is an older Chrissie Chau ad for Slim Beauty.  The message was even more harmful because she is teaching people to walk against the red traffic light.


Oh, don't be so glum!  Enjoy this ATV spoof of the ad and have a nice day!


First, there is this popular South Korean music video titled <Sorry, Sorry>.


Next came an Internet video which apparently showed that the Office of the President (of the Republic of China) website had been hacked so that anyone looking for the latest press release would see a video of President Ma Ying-jeou and Vice-President Vincent Siew doing the <Sorry, Sorry> dance instead.



The ensuing investigation resulted in the assertion that the Office of the President had not really been hacked.  Instead, a clever netizen faked the process of the accessing the website by keeping the headings and menus but inserting a newly created video of <Sorry, Sorry> featuring Ma-Siew.  (TVBS) This is by no means certain as there are people who swear that they saw the video when they accessed the website (using Firefox browser because the video cannot be seen in Microsoft Internet Explorer).

(TVBS)  But on this evening, there is a report that accessing the Office of the President website leads to a pop-up window that asked: "Are you an otaku?  Press Confirm if you agree."

According to the law, if anyone should feel publicly insulted by being asked whether one is an otaku, then there could be a maximum jail term of 12 months; if anyone uses a computer program to interfere with someone else's computer then the maximum jail term is three years, with 50% more time added if the computer belongs to the government.

Rui Chenggang and Zhang Yan on <Network Economic News>

As of last evening, Zhang Yan has appeared four times as the announcer in CCTV Economic Channel's <Network Economic News>.  People obviously paid attention to the "miracle" of how she leapt from Shenzhen Satellite TV to a prominent national CCTV program.  But more people were interested in her performance in her new job.

Zhang Yan has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool, which causes pressure on her.  Yesterday, a post appeared at the Tianya Forum: "The new CCTV2 announcer Zhang Yan claims to have graduated from the University of Liverpool in England, but her English was 'stunning.'  When she spoke English, she gave the impression of pronouncing one syllable at a time.  Her pronunciation was not proper either, with 's' becoming 'th.'  When she posed questions, she was still reading right off the script."

As of 7pm last evening, that post had received almost 400 comments as people questioned her English-language skills and noted that she was far inferior to her colleague Rui Chenggang.

As Zhang Yan prepared for her program, she was interviewed and said: "I can understand those criticisms.  It was my first time on air.  It happened quite suddenly.  It was a live broadcast.  So it was normal to stutter.  In the final analysis, I have not used English for five years.  There was little opportunity to speak English ever since I returned to China.  Actually, I want the audience to appreciate that formal English spoken on air is different from the normal daily English.  For example, Chinese people who speak putonghua fluently will run into difficulties as a network news broadcaster.  There is a difference between the two.  I know that people hold great expectations for me.  They want me to be an mature announcer on my first appearance.  They want me to give them the feeling of being 'fantastic.'  But I want to understand that I am human, not God.  Of course, there is a lot of room for improvement in my English."

Zhang Yan also said that another factor was the nature of the programming.  When she was on Shenzhen Satellite TV's <Direct broadcasts from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan>, the program content were very much restricted to the three places.  On <Economic Network News>, a more macroscopic approach is required.  "It can be said that I had been working in more specialized subjects over the previous four years, concentrating on cultures and exchanges.  Now I have to focus on the economy, which is clearly different.  For example, if I report on the Korean steel industry and I mispronounce a word, someone is going to magnify my problem.  I think that this is a double-bladed sword.  They are also helping me to advance."

Here is the video clip that led to the Tianya Forum post.  See and listen for yourself.

Do you agree with the Democratic Progressive Party inviting the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan to comfort the disaster victims?
60%: Agree, he is coming to Taiwan and he should be able to comfort the disaster victims
26%: Disagree, this is clearly political manipulation and the Democratic Progressive Party are such hypocrites
14%: Don't know/ no opinion

Q1. Hitherto did you know that the National People's Congress had already decided that there won't be double universal suffrage in Hong Kong?  However, universal suffrage for the Chief Executive is possible to be followed by universal suffrage for the entire Legislative Council.
65.0%: Yes
35.0%: No

Q2. Do you find the decision completely unacceptable, unacceptable, acceptable or completely acceptable?
  6.1%: Completely unacceptable
24.1%: Unacceptable
53.4%: Acceptable
  6.6%: Completely acceptable
  9.7%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q3. Concerning the consultation on political reform that the government will conduct at the end of this year, some people want to continue to insist on having double universal suffrage in 2012 in order to gain the biggest space for democratic progress  Other people think that the decision of the National People's Congress should be respected, in which case the insistence on double universal suffrage should be abandoned in favor of a seeking a consensus on the 2012 reforms through compromises so that Hong Kong can move towards democracy.  Which do you agree with?
38.1%: Insist on having double universal suffrage in order to obtain the greatest space for the development of democracy
51.3%: Compromise on the 2012 reforms in order to reach consensus so that democracy can move ahead in Hong Kong
  1.7%: Other opinions
  9.0%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q4. Is it likely that the Legislative Council will be able to reach a consensus on the 2012 political reforms in Hong Kong?  Are you optimistic, pessimistic or half-half?
54.2%: Pessimistic
26.4%: Half-half
14.1%: Optimistic
  5.3%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q5. What is the main reason why you are pessimistic on Q4?  (Base: Those who answered "pessimistic" in Q4)
32.8%: Too much differences in opinion among the various sides
16.0%: The central government has already made decision and they will no compromise
13.5%: The central government will not give true democracy to Hong Kong
  8.4%: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is unable to bring it off
  5.5%: The pan-democrats won't compromise
  4.0%: The conservatives won't compromise
  2.9%: The Legislative Council and its members are unable to bring it off
  2.2%: Hong Kong people are disunited
  1.6%: The political reforms did not consult public opinion
  1.1%: Nobody is prepared for universal suffrage/not enough time
  4.4%: Other reasons
  7.5%: Don't know/hard to tell

(South China Morning Post)  Disset grows over NPC's 2012 democracy decision.  By Ambrose Leung, Gary Cheung, Albert Wong and Eva Wu.  August 28, 2009.

The number of people who say they cannot accept Beijing's decision ruling out universal suffrage by 2012 has increased, according to a survey, but half of the respondents said they were willing to compromise on an alternative. Pan-democrats believed the findings of the Chinese University poll reflected people's hope that the chief executive election in 2017 and the Legislative Council election in 2020 should be genuinely democratic.

In last week's poll of 833 respondents, 30.2 per cent of respondents said they did not accept the National People's Congress decision which ruled out the introduction of universal suffrage by 2012, but would allow its implementation in the 2017 and 2020 elections at the earliest. The figure represented an 8.8 percentage point rise from a poll conducted in January last year. The latest poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.39 per cent. Those who said they had accepted the NPC decision dropped from 72.2 per cent in the previous poll to 60 per cent. But the latest poll also found 51.3 per cent of respondents said they were willing to drop the demand for dual-universal suffrage by 2012 if a compromise could be achieved.

Both Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said they believed the reason why more than half of the respondents were willing to compromise was because people wanted to see genuine universal suffrage in the 2017 and 2020 elections. "If the government is able to tell us exactly how we are to elect the chief executive and Legco by those dates, then of course 2012 is not a problem," Ms Eu said.

Pan-democrats have threatened to vote down any government reform proposal, as they did in 2005, if it does not discuss how universal suffrage would be implemented in 2017 and 2020. The government has already rejected this demand.

Ip Kwok-him, deputy chairman of the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said divided opinion on the 2012 electoral arrangement would create difficulties in reaching a consensus. He expressed fears that the pan-democrats' insistence on introducing dual universal suffrage in 2012 could discourage public discussion of the reform proposal, which might again hinder political development.


(TVBS; NOWnews; NOWnews; NOWnews)

In Taiwan, Pingtung county magistrate Tsao Chi-hung went to Wandan town to inspect the disaster situation.  He was immediately surrounded by disaster victims who wanted his attention.  This was Tsao's first visit to this part of the county since the typhoon hit.  A 65-year-old man named Shih Sung-ghing wearing a yellow shirt heckled Tsao for "coming so late."  This riled Pingtung legislator Lu Tung-hsieh wearing a white shirt who accompanied the magistrate on this trip.

So Lu picked up an iron folding chair and was about to hit Shih with it.  Fortunately he was stopped by other people.  Shih did not stop his heckling.  He even used obscene language that referred to the parents of Tsao.  This riled Lu even more.  He picked up a rock from the ground and hit Shih with it.  As a result, Shih fell down on the ground.

An ambulance was summoned to take Shih to the hospital for treatment.  He was found to have two 4cm wounds on his outer year and scalp, each requiring 12 stitches.  In addition, he may have a broken bone in his leg.

According to Pingtung county legislator Lu Tung-hsieh, he lost control of his emotions because of stress.  Ever since the typhoon, he has been involved in disaster relief.  Recently, there was an outbreak of fever among flood victims and it made him even more stressed.  With respect to Shih, he thought that this was someone "dispatched" by the Kuomintang Party to cause trouble.  That was why he took action.  Lu admitted that it was wrong to hit someone.  Therefore, he apologized to Shih as well as society at large for his misdeed.  He emphasized that he does not want this incident to be subject to "political manipulation" because he did it in order to defend social justice and general truth.

According to Shih Sung-ghing, the local people had already cleaned up their homes but they have not received the state compensation yet.  Since this was the first visit by Tsao Chi-hung to the area, he could not resist heckling him as "impotent" and "too late."  Shih said: "I wanted to help the people in the three villages to get their state subsidies as soon as possible.  That was my wish."  Shih told the television talk show: "I admit that I was wrong to use obscene language about someone's family.  But I was heckling the county magistrate, not the county legislator.  So why did Lu assault me!"  Shih claimed that to have no political party affiliation.  He also said that nobody has come to see him or offer apologies at the hospital.

According to Pingtung county magistrate Tsao Chi-hung, "There was a reason why the people are angry.  I deserve to be scolded.  Since I am the head of the family, I should be held responsible for their sufferings."  During the incident, Tsao appeared to be unaware of what was happening between Shih and Lu because he was talking to other citizens.

Both Tsao Chi-hung and Lu Tung-hsieh are members of the Democratic Progressive Party.  The DPP had immediately stated that it is wrong to assault anyone whatever the reason is.  DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that when someone does something wrong, they should apologize.

(Ming Pao)

Qiu Mingwei claimed to be a reporter with People's Forum (a magazine under People's Daily).  He claimed that after he participated in the July 1st march in Hong Kong, he was reprimanded by his supervisor and subjected to political persecution.  He fled to Hong Kong.

Yesterday, Qiu Mingwei held a press conference.  Our reporter went there to listen to what he had to say and found many mysteries.  For example, when the reporters asked him to show his People's Daily employee ID, he only produced a temporary building pass.  He said that he lost his employee ID.

Not only was the press conference lacking in any press release or written documentation, but Mr. Qiu was evasive about questions from the media.  For example, he was asked about his future plan (specifically whether he intends to return to mainland China or continue to live in exile).  He said that the topic was "too senstive" to answer.  After a few questions, he said "Time's up!  The press conference is over."  He also said that he is being followed around.  Therefore he could not leave his telephone number for the reporters.

This press conference drew many reporters from television stations, radio stations and newspapers.  In the end, the reporters were shaking their heads.  But Mr. Qiu seemed very enthusiastic about the question from NDTV about FLG.  He was less than illuminating on the questions from other reporters.

As for the statement from People's Forum that "Qiu Mingwei was not a reporter/editor with People's Daily or People's Forum because he was just an advertising distributor," Qiu Mingwei clarified that he was not an advertising distributor and he has never handled a single advertisement.  He said that he was a reporter.  People's Forum also stated that Qiu Mingwei's contract was not renewed in April this year, so that there is no longer an employer/employee relationship.  Qiu Mingwei said that he was still living in the People's Daily dormitory as late as July 28 which proves that he is still an employee of the newspaper.  He demanded People's Daily to produce an "notice of termination of employment."

In the past, pan-democratic Legislative Council members in Hong Kong have given help to democratic warriors in mainland China.  But almost nobody knows this Qiu Weiming.  They have not received any request to help him either.  Some of them are highly suspicious about the fact that while Qiu claims political oppression, he is able to travel between Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau freely.  They are worried about being conned.

(Oriental Daily)

A few days ago, Apple Daily ran a front page story about an alleged People's Daily reporter Qiu Mingwei seeking political asylum in Hong Kong because he was being persecuted after attending the July 1st march in Hong Kong.  But yesterday at a press conference, Qiu Mingwei offered another version.  He claimed that he ended up in this state of affairs because he had helped FLG petitioners.  Qiu denied that he was not a reporter or that his labor contract with People's Daily was not extended.  When the reporters asked to show his press card, he could only show a temporary building pass.

Qiu Mingwei said that after he arrived in Hong Kong on July 30, he switched hostels several times.  But the USB "finger" device that he left on his desk vanished twice while his Hong Kong money was safe.  When asked whether he reported the losses to the police, he was unresponsive.  He also said that he found out on the day before yesterday that he was being followed.  When asked followed by whom, he was unresponsive.

As for the People's Forum saying that he was just an advertisement distributor whose contract was terminated in April this year, he said that he has been a reporter since he joined People's Forum in 2005 and his contract does not expire until early next year.  He said that he has never received a notice of termination.  When asked to show his press card, he said that it was taken away and he could only produce a People's Forum temporary building pass valid until October 10 this year.  Qiu also said that he wants to resign from the Communist Party and sever all ties.

(Apple Daily)

Qiu Mingwei said that he had stayed at two hostels on Nathan Road.  These rooms were broken into by persons who stole the USB devices on his personal computer.  However, his cash was untouched.  He did not call the police for help.  He also said that he is being followed when he goes out and he thinks that his life is being threatened.  However, he will persist in speaking up on for democracy.  He declined to disclose where he will flee to next.  He only asked the media to leave contact information with him.  At the press conference, he also announced that he will break off all ties with the Chinese Communist Party, including resigning from the Chinese Youth Pioneers, the Chinese Communist Youth League and the Chinese Communist Party.

Qiu Mingwei had previously published many articles in praise of the Chinese Communist Party on the official People's Daily website.  But he also claimed to have written in other media outlets articles that are critical of the Chinese Communist Party, such as those related to the "tofu" buildings that collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake and the ban on public discussion of the FLG, etc.  Because he also came to Hong Kong to attend the July 1st march, he believed that was the reason why he is being "beaten and pressured" by the Chinese Communists.

ESWN Comment

Is Qiu Mingwei a reporter?  If so, he is likely to have some news reports with his byline.  Radio Free Asia lists two articles by Qiu Mingwei found through Internet search: "Four universities enter classroom with scientific development viewpoint" and "Fufeng county, Shaanxi province." 

How about actually reading those articles?  In the first article, Qiu Mingwei is only responsible along with two other credited correspondents for writing the caption underneath the photo while four different reporters wrote about the respective universities in their respective locations (Beijing, Chongqing, Hohhot and Lanzhou).  The second article has the byline shared with two correspondents and is about Fufeng county (Shaanxi province)'s effort to be a city with good hygiene/sanitation conditions (via expanding road widths, erecting more traffic lights, planting more trees and flowers, installing street lights in the back alleys, eliminating street vendors, etc).  As a result, the people of Fufeng are prasiing their county government and party ...

So these are not hard news stories, even though they are not traditional advertisements either.  They are soft advertisements paid for by the four universities and the Fufeng county government/party respectively.  It looks good for their respective leaders to be reported positively in People's Daily all across China.  In Hong Kong or the United States of America, such stories would have to labeled as paid advertisements.  In mainland China, this type of situation is more ambiguous. 

So here is a way of reconciling Qiu Mingwei's version and the People's Forum's version of his status.  Qiu Mingwei was probably the salesman for such soft advertisements at People's Forum.  Once he found a prospective client, he was also responsible for putting the story together using People's Daily correspondents.  His problem was that he was not meeting his sales quota and therefore he was terminated.

(Sound of Hope)

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China chairman Szeto Wah pointed out that People's Daily is the most important mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party and its personnel were hired after strict screening and selection.  This time, its reporter Qiu Mingwei fled the country to political asylum.  This showed signs that the Chinese Communists are dissolving from the inside.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China chairman Szeto Wah: "When even such a person flees for freedom, it shows that morale is really low inside the Chinese Communist organization.  There are signs that it is being dissolved.  I believe that there must be more people like that in the other organizations, but they have not come out to declare themselves yet."

Szeto Wah also thinks that this is related to the increased pressures being applied by the Chinese Communists on the eve of October 1st.  Since Qiu Mingwei was persecuted after being photographed in the July 1st march, it shows even more clearly that the Chinese Communist agents have infiltrated Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China chairman Szeto Wah: "We have seen the oppression on dissidents and rights defenders being increased recently.  They want to increase their oppression.  When they even oppress ordinary people, they are bound to be even more wary about the people inside their own important organizations.  Therefore, those people who work in these organizations need to be careful.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China chairman Szeto Wah: "This reporter was photographed at the July 1st march in Hong Kong and then reported.  How many photos can they take in a march?  This shows that there must be many Chinese Communist agents who have infiltrated into Hong Kong.  They are everywhere.  The first thing for us Hong Kong people to do is to be unafraid.  Next, we have to be very careful, especially those business people who have to travel to China for business."

With respect to Qiu Mingwei's public statement at the press conference that he is resigning from the Communist Part, Szeto Wah said that this proves that it is the three resignations (from the Youth Pioneers, the Communist Youth League and the Communist Party) are very common in mainland now.

(Wen Wei Po)

Many weird things occur in Hong Kong and the most recent one is the person who insists that he is a famous Beijing media reporter who is seeking refuge in Hong Kong due to persecution.  According to insiders, the "People's Daily reporter" (as alleged by a certain Hong Kong media outlet) Qiu Mingwei suddenly held a press conference yesterday and insisted that he is a People's Daily reporter.  This is in spite of People's Daily's People's Forum magazine already issuing a clarification to the effect that Qiu was an operations person whose contract has not been renewed.  Qiu repeatedly emphasized that "his personal safety is being threatened."  Insiders said frankly that when someone claims to be persecuted without any facts or evidence, then he is either exploiting the situation for political advantage or suffering a case of paranoia.

Qiu Mingwei contacted the opposition newspaper Apple Daily and claimed to be persecuted for participating in the July 1st march and having to flee to Hong Kong to seek political asylum.  Insiders said that certain people in Hong Kong are highly sensitive to "persecution" and when someone provides this "news," they hyped it out.

But Qiu Mingwei's self proclamation.  Hong Kong's China New Agency interviewed the responsible leader at People's Forum who stated clearly that Qiu Mingwei was hired on April 8, 2008 as its current affairs/politics department deputy director while signing a labor contract and a business goals document.  That department was responsible for advertisement distribution, and Qiu was personally responsible for advertisement distribution.  Because Qiu failed to meet his goals, his contract was not renewed when it expired in April 2009.

The People's Forum leader pointed out that this is now August 2009, which is four months after Qiu Mingwei left the magazine.  During that time, everything that Qiu Mingwei did was his personal action and not related to the magazine.  The magazine does not know what he did, or where he went, or how he went to Hong Kong, or what he did in Hong Kong.  There also could not be anything like "the leader wanted to talk to him."

Insiders said that this explanation was clear and fair, so that they all thought that the matter was over and done with.  Instead, Qiu Mingwei would not let go and insisted at the press conference that he is still a journalist/editor with the People's Daily.  He also said that "he felt that his life is being gravely threatened."  When the reporters wanted him to provide concrete proof, he refused on the grounds of "personal safety."  So even the reporters in attendance had to challenge the reliability of his claims.

Insiders say that either Qiu Mingwei wanted to gain personal political advantages (namely, asylum) in Hong Kong or else he is mentally deranged and made up the "conspiratorial persecution."

(Epoch Times)  People’s Daily Journalist Publicly Quits Communist Party   By Lin Yi    August 24, 2009.

Qiu Mingwei, a former journalist for the Chinese communist regime's propaganda news paper, The People’s Daily, who fled to Hong Kong last month, announced in a press conference on August 23 that he quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations, making him the first working employee of an organization affiliated with the regime’s Central Propaganda Department to quit the CCP using his real name.

Mr. Qiu worked as the Deputy Chief of the “People’s Forum” of People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the CCP. He traveled to Hong Kong in late June to attend the International Federation of Journalists’ conference, and during his stay he was photographed participating in Hong Kong's July 1 march, an annual rally supporting democracy and human rights. He fled the mainland to Hong Kong on July 30.

Many media turned out at the press conference when Mr. Qiu made his public announcement, “While working for People’s Daily, I had already used the platform in the office to visit the Epoch Times’ Quit the CCP Service Center website and I had already quit the CCP once. After coming to Hong Kong, I quit it again online. Today, I’m making a public announcement to sever all ties with the CCP, including the Young Pioneers, the Youth League, and the Party.” “I have been working for People’s Daily for many years. Even I could not find any improvement in human rights in China. They did not keep their promises, and the human rights condition is getting worse.” Qiu stated that he faced a series of retaliations after returning to Beijing. His boss told him that the Daily was going to revoke his journalist license and fire him. His phone was wiretapped and his apartment was searched by authorities. He was not free to move around and was charged with the crime of collaborating with the enemy. In addition, he was forced to sign his name on a piece of blank paper, to which anyone can add any statements later and use it as an official declaration when faced with questions from the international community.

Qiu revealed the CCP’s extensive penetration in overseas countries, “The CCP sent out culture spies to penetrate overseas Chinese media and websites, attacking and framing dissidents, including media workers, like us in China, who promote democracy movements.” Qiu said that someone from higher-up told him that the political persecution against him happened because he had done some investigations on the persecution of FLG and helped some FLG practitioners. “He said, ‘I had conducted some negative investigations that were related to land embezzlement, FLG, and local party officials’ corruption.’ I was also told that these problems were not important. However, my investigation of FLG was not a positive thing for me."

Qiu said that he later realized, “It’s absolutely not just because I joined the Hong Kong July 1 march. It’s absolutely not just because I attended those meetings in Hong Kong or because I met with some dissidents. It’s because I dared to help FLG practitioners. That’s why this is happening today. They are trying to settle new and old scores with me.” Qiu said that he had personally witnessed the persecution against FLG practitioners. He once saw a woman being chased by an official who intercepted appellants, and the woman was drowned after falling into a river. He said, “I was not the only one who saw it. Many appellants saw it happen. We were all shocked when we saw it. I asked the other appellants why they were so cruel to an appellant. An appellant told me that the woman was a FLG practitioner.”

Additional Link: 记者?广告销售?   闾丘露薇

On August 13, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced: "China will not force people to install the Green Dam filtering software on personal computers and other consumer products."  Thus ended the Green Dam incident which has been worrisome for the past two months.

What is the truth behind how Green Dam came about?

Let us go back in time to June 16th.  Everything was calm as normal at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology building in Xidan in Beijing.  For one week, an unprecedented concern about the Green Dam software in the outside world had rushed at the MIIT.  But inside the building, "everybody just did their job without feeling too much."  "But we can tell that the software services department is under a lot of pressure."

On June 16, MITT minister Li Yizhong was mad.

"We couldn't understand how things could have reached this point,"  A MIIT official said.   "The MIIT is very careful about carrying out its policies."

Another MIIT official said: "In order to realize a policy, we often ask our departments to provide recommendations and engage in joint discussions.  It is rare that something gets revised only ten times.  More likely, it gets revised more than twenty times.  Then the recommendation is submitted to the supervisory leaders for more recommendations and revisions.  It is normal for something to take six months to come through."

During the Green Dam storm, the backgrounds of the two software companies were exposed and the direction of the software was clearly seen.  But it was always unclear how the MIIT could have issued the May 19th notice to demand PC manufacturers to install Green Dam software.  As more things get exposed, people find it hard to comprehend how such a sloppy policy could have come from the MIIT.

"Actually, the Green Dam software was being installed in Internet cafes and schools smoothly some time ago," said a veteran software company vice-president.  "The government paid 41.7 million yuan to the Jinwei Company (Zhenghou) and Dazheng (Beijing) companies.  They obviously want as many installed copies as possible.  It is a major accomplishment to protect the youth on the Internet."

According to informed sources, Software Services Department deputy director Chen Ying came up with the idea of installing Green Dam software on new personal computers.  "At Internet cafes and schools, the software was compulsory.  The same idea would be extended to all new computers."  When the document was presented to MIIT minister Li Yizhong to sign, he had a question: "Is this feasible?"

At the time, the Software Services Department replied: "This is international practice."  This erased any doubt from Li Yizhong.

Li Yizhong had been MIIT minister for more than a year.  Previously, he was the director of the National Safety Inspection Bureau.  Before that, he was with the State Council State Assets Committee, Sino Petrochem and other state-owned enterprises.  Not being a computer software expert, Li Yizhong had to rely on the Software Services Department and he received an affirmative answer.  This was how the MIIT sent out the document to all the major PC manufacturers to demand compulsory installation of the Green Dam software as of July 1st.

Is this international practice?  How can this lead to such a big controversy in China?  Li Yizhong was perplexed because he did not realize that he had been misled.

"This is international practice" was not just the reply that the Software Services Department gave to Li Yizhong.  At the early stages of the Green Dam crisis, the other MIIT departments also got the same reply from the Software Services Department.

On June 9, the MIIT persons met with the press and told them that it was international practice for the government to pay for filtering software for free use in society.  The purpose was to prevent young people from being influenced by harmful information on the Internet and hence grow healthily.

It is international practice for government to provide free filtering software to society.  But it is not international practice to have "compulsory installation."

European Union Chamber of Commerce in China chairman Joerg Wuttke paid close attention to the Green Dam affair.  In his view, it is common across the world to protect children against harmful information.  But he emphasized that it is up to the individual households to decide whether filtering software should be installed on their home computers.

"Some countries have government-financed filtering software but they do not have compulsory installation."  According to this software industry veteran, "there are are two core issues in the Green Dam affair.  First, the MIIT offered filtering software for free.  This is actually international practice.  The second is compulsory installation, which is the goal of the software service companies.  By saying that this is international practice, both goals are attained.  This is the root of the Green Dam affair."

In Green Dam affair, "in order to promote Green Dam and because they had been successful in introducing the software in Internet cafes and schools, the software service companies developed 'blind spots' because they thought that they have just cause."  The veteran said, "The MIIT people thought that it was okay to do this because this was international practice.  Ultimately they were not professionals."

So it was the assertion that "compulsory installation" was international practice that raised the big storm.  According to Joerg Wuttke, various international organizations went through different channels to meet with government departments about Green Dam.  These separate exchanges did not receive positive answers.  So they decided to join forces to communicate with the relevant departments.

On June 16, Li Yizhong received the joint letter from 19 professional groups.  According to an informed person who has seen a copy of this letter, it emphasized that "this plan has triggered a series of major issues, including security, privacy, system reliability, free flow of information and user choice.  We call for the Chinese government to reconsider these proposals."

These 19 professional groups are "heavyweight" industry players, including the American Chamber of Commerce, the American Manufacturers Association, the American Foreign Trade Council, the American Semiconductor Industry Association as well as Japanese , European and Canadian professional organizations.

According to rumors, Li Yizhong received this letter and sorted out the claim about "international practice, "he blew his top and severely reprimanded the software companies."

At the same time, the safety of the Green Dam software was doubted by various parties.

But the policy had been issued.  The MIIT chose to be silent with respect to the letter from the 19 organizations.  At that time, there was still a number of days before July 1st, when the policy had to enforced.

On June 16, the Green Dam storm blew up.  On that day, twenty-two industry and trade associations jointly petitioned the Chinese government to reconsider the decision to install the Green Dam software on all personal computers sold in mainland China.

These inquiries from senior leaders reached the MIIT quickly and increased the pressure.

"The MIIT decided to postpone the installations temporarily," said the informed source.

Under the scrutiny of the outside word, the MIIT stated on June 30th (which is the day before the start of compulsory installation of Green Dam software according to the May 19th notice) in the form of a "reply to press query" that "because certain companies suggested that the workload was too much, there is not enough time and they are not prepared, installation of the Green Dam software has been postponed."

The overseas industry groups that recommended the postponement of the Green Dam software to the MIIT gave their approval.  EUCCC chairman Joerg Wuttke thought that it was a good thing to be able to hold a public discussion on an issue and reach a conclusion.

"The temporary postponement is a face-saving and smart measure.  Nobody knows how long it will be postponed.  Perhaps the matter will be stalled for now.  The stall may imply that it is over and will not be installed."  According to a veteran software industry worker who said with a certain glee: "To a certain extent, this represent a victory for the netizens."

After installation was postponed, the Green Dam software gradually faded out from people's attention.

As expected, Li Yizhong stated at the China Information Office press conference that China will not compel installation of the Green Dam software on personal computes and other consumer products.  But the installation of Green Dam software will continue in schools, Internet cafes and other public facilities.

Li Yizhong emphasized: "The flaw with the document is that it had not fully considered or explained the circumstances.  It gave the impression to everybody that this was a compulsory installation and this led to a tremendous social response.  I feel that most of the opinions are good-willed and they are offering opinions and recommendations for our work."

Li Yizhong pointed out that the Green Dam software "contained certain inadequacies which are being improved.  Of course we do not exclude that there may be better software that offer more choices."

"It is not easy for the MIIT to make such a big change."  The informed source said.  In truth, this was a storm that should never have happened.

(in translation)

When my graduation thesis was due last year, I hesitated between two topics.  One of them was innovative, but there was not a lot of information.  The other has been studied by many others before and there are many similar essays on the CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure) database.  I consulted with my predecessors and I chose the later.  In their experience, it is not a drawback for others to have written about the topic.  The important point was the availability of reference materials which makes it easier to write.  All I had to do was to write the viewpoints of my forebears using my own language.  When I informed my thesis advisor about my worries over the lack of original views in my thesis, he emphasized only that I should not plagiarize by copying verbatim and then there should not be any problems.

During my process of collecting the relevant information, I found many similar essays.  Usually, essay A copied parts of essay B which copied parts of essay C.  As I typed on my computer, I knew that I could not come up with anything innovative but I can guarantee that I wrote everything in my own words.  I began my thesis last November and I wrote several tens of thousands of words over five months.  Of course, I spent part of the time looking for a job.

The university required that we produce a final thesis by the end of April.  A fellow student C returned to school on April 12.  He grabbed a few books, downloaded a bunch of materials from CNKI and knocked off a master thesis in just over twenty days.  Another student could not even be located by his thesis advisor.  Finally, he was located via QQ chat about completing his degree work.

Finally, all our students were back in school on May 4 because there was going to be a lottery on the next day about whose thesis would be send out for external review.  Those theses would be sent out without the names of the students and their advisors being listed.  This was the so-called "blind review."  If you can't pass the "blind review," your graduation will be postponed.  So everybody wanted their theses to be reviewed internally, because everybody knows who the students and their advisors are and therefore they will give "face" to each other.  When we assembled to draw lots, those who drew the "blank" slips were ecstatic and hugged each other while those who drew "external" plunged into darkest despair.  When my turn came, I was nervous but I fortunately did not draw "external."

A few days later, we saw several Internet news reports that about theses being found to have been plagiarized and that even people who graduated several years ago were stripped of their degrees.  A fellow student said: "If you are going to plagiarize, couldn't you at least work harder?"  Because I did not have anything new to say in my thesis, I discussed with my fellow student about my chances of getting approved.  This person relayed what his advisor said: "Each year, many students graduate.  So how can there be so many brand new viewpoints?  It does not matter if your ideas come from someone else.  The important thing is that you write in your own words."  Afterwards, Fudan University came up with the "Detection test for academic impropriety."  The test can obviously detect blatant plagiarism.  But even similar language or citations can be proclaimed positive.  Since everybody knew that only the best master theses are loaded onto CNKI which can be tested, so they all prayed for their theses to be rated "middling" instead of "excellent."

I made my thesis defense on June 6.  My committee chairperson was well-known to be charitable so my thesis advisor told me to prepare well but not to worry too much.  My roommate was assigned to the "group of death" where the teachers were known to pick on one or two students each year.  But this year, the "group of death" passed everybody.  In my group, two essays were evaluated as "temporarily unrated" which meant that graduation would be postponed.  The two students went into tears immediately.  One of them was hired as a provincial public servant to begin work at the end of June and his job would be gone if his degree was postponed.  The university took their future careers into consideration, held two more meetings and allowed these two students to get their degrees at the same time as everybody else.

As for student C who got his thesis in with twenty days of work, his thesis was rated as "excellent."  He was panicky and he asked the teachers not to rate his essay as "excellent" because he did not want his work in the CNKI database.  But he was told that as of this year, all master theses will be posted onto the CNKI database regardless of whether they were "excellent" or not.  This was done for the sake of the reputations of  the students and their advisors.

Everybody is supportive of this move because they are better off being examined up front rather than having to worry later on.  Everybody consults other people's materials to some extent.  The difference is how much and how far.  Some students were required to revise their theses because the similarities exceeded 50%.  My roommate was one of them.  Her thesis was rated "excellent."  But it was unclear how the "similarity" was detected because all her citations were clearly listed out.  Her thesis committee chairperson rated her thesis highly.  But the detection test showed that the degree of similarity was more than 50%.  So she had to make large-scale revisions.  The quality of her final thesis that was uploaded onto the CNKI database was in fact not as good as her original "excellent" essay.

At the farewell dinner, the advisor disclosed  that the personal opinion of the thesis advisors was that the quality of theses this year was the worst over recent years.  Many students could have been nailed.  But since the employment situation is tough out there and people have less time to spend on writing theses (note: about one month for a master thesis), they cannot be too tough. We had spent one or two years to prepare to enter graduate school.  When it  came time to graduate, we spent only one month or so to meet the goal and we get to graduate.

[ESWN Comment:  Here is the relevance of this essay with respect to the study of Eileen Chang, to whom I am the literary estate executor.  This is based upon a recent conversation with a Chinese scholar.  In the past, the most studied writer for Chinese graduate students' theses was Lu Xun, followed by Eileen Chang.  More recently, thesis advisors are telling their students not to write about Eileen Chang anymore.  The reason is not that there is nothing to say about Eileen (as surmised by a certain Shanghai newspaper columnist) anymore.  Rather it is because many students have been recycling about the many things that other people have already written about her, and therefore it is potentially troublesome about getting their thesis passed through the plagiarism-detection software.

When this happens, the problem is not necessarily with Eileen Chang.  I firmly believe that if you assign me with any topic about anyone (Eileen Chang or anyone else), I can always come up with something creative and innovative that you have never conceived before.  It is a matter of imagination.  So if people cannot come up with anything new to say about Eileen Chang, I have to attribute it to lack of creativity and imagination.  Of course, there is no way that anyone can prove this assertion but many people including myself can disprove otherwise by coming up with counterexamples.

Meanwhile I can also say that the reason why students cannot come up with new insights is that some of their cultural leaders are setting bad examples.  When a university professor writes that Eileen Chang wrote in "black-and-white" in her final will to destroy the manuscript of Small Reunions, then her students will write nonsense if they trust her without actually looking at Eileen Chang's actual will (which is easily available on the Internet).  When a Shanghai columnist (who has a column in a Hong Kong newspaper as well) writes that Eileen Chang wants to destroy the manuscript of Small Reunions because she thought the work was inferior, then his readers will write nonsense if they cite him when in fact Eileen Chang has never uttered a single negative word about that novel in her lifetime.  When the leaders fail to lead, the followers will plunge headlong into the abyss.]