Yesterday morning, the Huizhou city Department of Industry and Commerce held a press conference over the October 26 incident: On October 26, more than 140 e-city workers charged into office building, surrounded the department leaders, overturned desks and chairs, and assaulted security guards and police officers. In short, this was "a serious incident that was an organized, large-scale assault on a law enforcement agency, a disturbance of public order at a state agency and battery of law enforcement officers."
At around 9am on October 26, the building management workers noticed that people came by private buses, cars and motorcycles to assemble in front of the office building. Soon more than 100 persons were present. These people included senior citizens and pregnant women, but the majority of them were men in their 20's. When the workers asked them for their purpose, no response was given.
The management workers notified the reception room, which sent people out to talk to the people. These people then said that they are with the e-City information stations. The Department of Industry and Commerce workers asked for representatives to come in and talk, but the people said, "Everyone of us is a representative" and refused. They began to shove and beat the security guards and police officers.
At around 10am, some people destroyed the stainless steel movable gate and entered the first floor lobby of the building. The building manager shut down the elevators while several policemen formed a human wall to block the stairway. The crowd shoved and beat the police, broke through the wall and went up to the second floor. The deputy director came to meet with the crowd, which booed, pounded the table and threw tea cups on the floor.
At 10:30 am, the department director who had been outside for a meeting returned to the scene along with other department leaders. The Huizhou police sent in more than 100 police officers and took control of the scene. By 12:30pm, the incident was over as the intruders were taken away by the police.
Yesterday, Huizhou Department of Industry and Commerce director Zhang Shuisheng told the media that their investigation showed that these people were affiliated with the e-City information stations.
The e-City model exists only in Huizhou. None of the other cities in Guangdong province has Internet service providers of this form. In Huizhou, there are more than 2,000 e-City information stations but only 577 legal cyber cafes. The original intent of these e-City information stations was to provide government information that would be convenient to citizens. People could buy tickets, refill their phone cares, get service, etc. But instead, these stations have evolved into illegal cyber cafes that charge money to admit elementary and secondary school students 24 hours a day. Whereas the legal cyber cafes are patrolled by the Department of Culture and therefore would not dare to admit underage users, these e-City information stations are not subjected to those regulations. That is why youngsters congregate there.
For some time, the Department of Industry and Commerce has been accused of doing nothing or, worse yet, acting as the protective umbrella of these e-City station. So when the Department started to take action, the illegal operators fought back.
(Taipei Times) Man charged with assaulting woman to stop campaign. By Shelley Huang. October 30, 2009.
Changhua District prosecutors charged a man yesterday with extortion, assault and other charges in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a woman in a bid to deter her from running in a county councilor election.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday that a woman was tricked by a man into going to a motel, where she was sexually assaulted and photographs were taken of her naked.
The man had reportedly worked on several election campaigns, across party lines. The man allegedly threatened to release the photographs and further harm the woman if she did not back out of the county election.
The victim, who has chosen to remain anonymous, at first insisted on submitting her candidate application, but finally backed out after receiving repeated threats that she would be physically injured if she didn’t withdraw.
The Changhua District Prosecutors’ Office identified the suspect only by his surname, Hung (洪). His alleged victim was rumored to be a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), although prosecutors have declined to confirm this.
Prosecutors have requested a prison sentence of two years and six months for Hung. Hung reportedly said that his actions did not constitute sexual assault because “the feeling had been mutual.” He also denied he was working for a rival politician. However, he reportedly admitted to taking nude photographs of the woman and “discouraging” her from running in the election.
(Apple Daily) October 30, 2009.
Yesterday, 48-year-old Huang Shu-li appeared at a press conference wearing a baseball camp, a mask and sunglasses. She wailed that she had entered to the election for idealism but was entrapped and forced to withdraw. She had no comments about the prosecutor's decision not to press changes of sexual assault against the perpetrator.
Huang said that she met 65-year-old Hung Foo-tao about the election. She emphasized that they did not have a romantic election. She cried and said that her personal sacrifice mattered less than getting society to give women a fair chance.
But yesterday Hung Foo-tao showed up to say that he was the victim who was framed and jailed for almost two months. He said that Huang ran for village mayor 15 years ago, after which they became romantically involved. On this occasion, Huang wanted to run for the town legislature. Hung was concerned that she might want more money from him and told her to quit.
Hung Foo-tao said that he has taken nude photos of Huang, and vice versa. As for the NT 1 million that he was charged with extort, he said that was money he had loaned to Huang. Over the more than one decade of relationship, Huang took a lot of money from her. "The whole case was about our relationship. I don't understand why she tied it with the election."
(Apple Daily) October 31, 2009.
Democratic Progressive Party Fangyuan town party director Huang Shu-li made a complete reversal on her case. Unlike the day before, she showed up without the hat, mask and sunglasses. She said: "Everything that the other party (namely, the 65-year-old man Hung Foo-tao) says is false. This has harmed me, my husband and my family. In order to defend my name and innocence, I choose to face this squarely."
48-year-old Huang said that she is just an ordinary friend of Hung. In May this year, she wanted to gain the nomination by the Democratic Progressive Party to run in the next county legislature election. But Hung supported another female candidate and threatened her many times to withdraw. Those threats included guns and arson. She withdrew out of concern for the safety of her family. Huang swore solemnly: "If he can produce a nude photo of me, I will jump into the harbor."
With respect to her own statements at the press conference on the day before that Hung had demanded NT$ 1 million to get her nude photos back, Huang was evasive. She said that she had no idea who the story came out that the two of them went to a motel to discuss campaign helpers and ended up having nude photos taken.
Huang said that Hung showed a nude photo to the prosecutor to prove that they had a romance going on. "But all you can see in the photo is a woman's leg, which is not even mine." She also said: "I am not blind. How can I love someone that ugly?"
Yesterday, Hung Foo-tao characterized what Huang said as: "Rubbish!" He said that he has known Huang for more than a decade and spent more than NTD 4 million on her (including her son's tuition fees). "I have never threatened her with guns or pouring gasoline."
The Fangyuan police said that they referred the case to the prosecutor because Huang stated to the police that she was sexually assaulted by Hung. The Changfa county prosecutor has charged Hung with coerced imprisonment, issuing threats and violating the election laws, and recommended a prison sentence of 30 months. The prosecutor said that it does not matter that Huang is changing her story today, because their evidence is based upon what Huang told the investigators before.
(NOWnews) October 29, 2009.
The issue of imported American media is an important one in Taiwan. Taipei University Department of Sociology doctoral candidate student Chu Cheng-chi has uploaded a video "I ate cow dung, I protested!" in order to communicate the idea that "American beef is even more poisonous than Taiwan cow dung."
In the video, Chu was shown to have personally went out to obtain the "raw material" in order to show that the cow dung was authentic. He tasted a bit of the cow dung first, picked it up from the grass and proceeded to the President's Office to express his demand.
With the President's Office as backdrop, Chu took out a hamburger bun, spread a layer of cow dung, added lettuce and tomato and ate it in front of the camera. "The Ma Ying-jeou administration chose to let American beef come in. They lied to the people to say that it is safe. But once American beef comes in, it will be everywhere. Do not think that you have a choice."
Because the cow dung burger tasted so horrible, Chu knitted his brows and kept drinking water. But he persisted and finished the whole burger. He yelled: "I offer the pain in my body to this indifferent government!" At the end of the video, Chu is shown puking.
After this video appeared on the Internet, two opposite sets of reactions showed up. Some netizens felt that he was brave and decisive in using actual action to protest. Other netizens felt that the action was too disgusting and Chu was too close-minded. "At worse, you can refuse to eat imported American beef! Why make yourself suffer!" Another netizen noted: "So telling people to eat shit may not be a curse!"
Last Wednesday, the Cococody blog was registered at the oeeee.com portal. Each of the blog posts is about the love woes of the female blogger (Coco) with a man (Cody). Coco said that she got pregnant and then aborted spontaneously. Then the man turned coldhearted and broke off contact by claiming that he was on business outside the country. But she found out that the man had never left town and, worse yet, that he is a married man. So she wanted to kill herself.
Yesterday Coco wrote the post "I am going to hand you my life" and then proceeded to the company where Cody works. At the company, Coco cried and pleaded her case.
Yes, there are plenty of stories about "third parties" in China where the population is 1.3 billion. The surprise about this story is what happened at the company.
The news of Coco down at the reception area was quickly spread among the workers via the Internet. Coco's latest blog post then began to see comments from company workers such as: "The girl is crying down on the seventh floor. Many colleagues have seen her." "I just saw her down in the tea room on the seventh floor. She looks so sad and pitiful." "Girl, all the workers on the eighth floor of the company support you!"
Workers also added new information: "We just got the video inside the company ... it seems that everyone in the company is talking about the case ... at the same time, the personal brief of a certain man used to list 'love pretty girls' as a trait but it has just gone blank five minutes ago ..." The matter closed with the girl "being taken away by the police."
Name: Tian Zhaobin, Research and Development Management
Self-presentation: Refuse to buy Japanese goods, 'love pretty girls' ~ Don't postpone joy
School: Harbin Industrial University
When joined company: 2007
Date of birth: That was a very good year
Because netizens kept leaving comments at the Cococody blog, oeeee.com was subjected to a traffic surge. Other websites and portals also began to carry this story. This is now a sex scandal that all netizens know.
The netizen comments is clearly completely one-sided for the girl. Other netizens have published the name, telephone number, photos and other information about the man through "human flesh search." Most netizens ask the girl not to commit suicide over an unworthy man.
Here is an excerpt from Cococody blog on October 28, 2009.
On August 6, I began work at a new company. You told me that your job has changed and you have to go to work in Hong Kong with less time in Shenzhen. You suggest that I move to somewhere closer to my office. Then you use the excuse that QQ is inaccessible from Hong Kong and telephone charges are expensive in Hong Kong (3 yuan per SMS and even higher to speak) to communicate less with me. I had just arrived at this new company and I gave my attention to the new job. I was very busy, so I didn't think much.
On September 13, you came to see me. You looked grim and you said that your younger brother borrowed more than 3 million yuan from a loanshark. In addition, your company is sending you to work in Pakistan. In order to help your younger brother, you had no choice. You must accept the company's arrangement if you want to keep your job.
On September 14, I left Shenzhen on a business trip. When I got back to Shenzhen, I called you but you wouldn't speak to me. You only sent short messages to me. When I was away from Shenzhen, I always thought about you. On September 16, I almost threw away my work to return to Shenzhen. On that day, you gave me a touching phone call during which you said that you were afraid for me. You told me not to be so anxious. Let us work together for a beautiful tomorrow!
On September 17 at 8:23am, I received your SMS that the three of you have arrived so that I don't have to worry.
At September 20 at 19:33, I received your SKS: "I am right now working on a project in a remote rural area in Sri Lanka. There is neither telephone nor Internet here. I will contact you after I get back to the city in Sri Lanka."
At September 27 at 15:15, I received your SMS: "I finally found a place where I can send an email. My mobile phone was submersed in water so it does not work anymore. Don't worry. I am quite safe here, but I am not free. There is no Internet here, and I cannot go out on my own. The Internet here is super-slow. I cannot get on 163.com to check email. It is a good thing that I got the email password back. There is no holiday there for National Day. Today, the boss gave us a half day off to rest. Where did you go for the National Day vacation?
On October 5 at 21:02 you called my mobile phone and said that you are staying in a rural area in Sri Lanka. This place is like a university dormitory with neither telephone nor Internet. Mobile phones purchased overseas do not accept Chinese phone cards. So you have borrowed the mobile phone of your boss to call me.
On October 9, three friends and two colleagues told me that you had not gone overseas on company business. To convince, one friend forwarded your QQ (RTX) photo to me. Another colleague provided the numbers of the main company line and your extension. Upon their advice, I called your company's mainland and asked whether you were there. The answer was, "You are working there!!!!!"
Work in progress
Idlers do not approach
Reporters do not ask questions
At the conference on traffic management on October 27, a reporter asked the Tianhe District Traffic Police Division captain whether the decision to close off vehicular traffic on certain streets should be based on consultation with citizens. After a response was given, the reporter followed up with a question about whether the closing should be made known to citizens beforehand. At that instant, a middle-aged man interjected and told the reporter: "If I want to crap (note: defecate), do I have to inform you? Do I have to tell you whether my crap stinks or not?" The reporter asked, "Which department do you belong to?" The man did not reply. He merely grunted, picked up his bag and left.
"This is incredible for this man to say something like that in such a setting. If this were a private event, we can only say that this is a character issue. But this was a public event and he was speaking to the media which represent the public. To utter something so 'awesome' obviously has implications on how to deal with watchdog journalism." One netizen said; "If you crap inside your home, you don't have to tell anyone even if you crap on your bed. But if you crap on the street, you deserve to be spanked, fined and sent to the mental hospital." Another netizen said, "As this man said, you don't have to tell anyone that you crap and you know very well whether it stinks or not. But as public authority, every move that you make (especially those that affect people's lives) should be told to the public. This is the basic respect for the public that modern governments set as their goal."
Yesterday, our reporter learned that the mysterious man was a project leader for the Xinguang Express Road Company, and not a government official. The company has asked this employee to reflect deeply on what he did and also suspended him from his job. According to the general manager, "This comrade at our company is generally nice to people and also quite capable. We really did not imagine that he can say something so brainless."
Renowned mainland Chinese folk singer Chen Sisi will hold her first music concert in Taiwan at the invitation of the Taipei Performance Arts Agents Association.
Chen Sisi's credentials include being a National First Class actress, the best folk singer in the Worldwide Chinese-language Music Hit Parade and a principal singer at the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony.
However, she works for the People's Liberation Army Second Artillery Division performance art troupe. She was also a National People's Congress delegate. At the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, she dresses up in military uniforms and sings patriotic songs in the company of dancers dressed in military uniforms as well.
Because of her position, the immigration authorities had to consult the Ministry of Defense, which approved because Chen Sisi is engaged in a purely cultural event and will not be visiting any military bases.
Will the Taiwan audience get to hear these types of songs:
A Red Sun
Thank you, my dearest
Or will she sing Taiwanese folk songs?
At 4pm on October 26, 2009, lawyer Hao Jingsong received a call from his client Zhang Hui who said that a judge from the Minheng Court has come down to his company office. Zhang asked Hao to go there. So Hao Jingsong hurried down along with a reporter. At the company office entrance, Hao Jingsong saw the Minheng Traffic Police Division captain Liu Jianqiang, whom he had previously only seen on television. Liu brought along his own lawyer to deliver the <Decision to cancel the administrative penalty> to Zhang Hui, who signed the receipt. The decision stated that the previously imposed penalty was rescinded and Zhang Hui can get his money back.
At 4:15pm, Hao Jingsong was still outside the entrance when he heard someone inside yelling, "Zhang Hui, you must obey! You come back! You cannot leave!" Hao Jingsong charged in and saw a 40-something-year old man in plain clothes yelling at Zhang Hui. The man's face was contorted by anger. He was wagging his chubby finger at Zhang Hui and ready to rush at the equally angry Zhang Hui who was about 5 meters away. Hao Jingsong intercepted the man and asked, "Who are you? Which unit do you belong to?" The man said, "I am a judge." Hao Jingsong asked, "At which court do you serve as judge?" The man said that he is a judge at the Minheng Administrative Court.
[Background: This Minheng court judge had gone to Zhang Hui's company. Ignoring the pleas of the company receptionist and manager, he insisted on "chatting" with Zhang Hui in the company office conference room. Zhang Hui said that he was quite willing to talk, but not inside the company because the matter does not concern the company. Zhang suggested going outside to talk. But the judge exercised his status as "judge" and insisted on using the conference room, even though the company won't let him. His goal was to exert pressure on Zhang Hui and the company. Although he kept insisting that he wanted to talk, he did not seem sincere at all. He kept applying the pressure but it was hard to figure out what he really wanted. Under the law, an administrative charge is not subject to mediation. This judge Huang Jiang claimed to be the chief judge in the case of Zhang Hui. But it is hard to see what he was doing here.]
The following is an audio recording of part of the exchange:
Hao: What is your name?
Man: My family name is Huang.
Hao: Huang? Are you Huang Jiang? (Note: According to Zhang Hui, a man who claimed to be Minheng judge Huang Jiang called him many times yesterday.) I am Hao Jingsong. I am Zhang Hui's lawyer. Why are you yelling at my client?
Huang: When the court is carrying out its work, don't the principal and the laywer have the duty to cooperate?
Hao: Is it necessary to talk at the company office?
Huang: Let us not talk about whether it is necessary or not. Right now we want to talk to him based upon the actual situation. What is inappropriate about asking the company to arrange a place?
Hao: Go outside and talk. Go outside.
Huang: Mr. Hao, you cannot refuse. You are unreasonable.
Zhang: Who is being unreasonable?
Hao (to Zhang): Ask for company time off to talk outside.
Huang: I have to question your intention when you say that. What are you trying to do?! What are you trying to do?!
Hao: You can ask your questions in court! Judge Huang, you can ask your questions in court!
Huang: You know the law. A graduate degree at the China Political University, right? Do you know the law?
Hao: Hmm, that sounds reasonable.
Huang: Right! This is not an issue of being reasonable or not. Please talk in legal terms.
Hao: Let me tell you. Let us both be more rational. Don't yell at me!
Huang: This is not an issue of being rational or not. I will accept responsibility for every word that I say. There is no issue of not being responsible.
Hao: Every word that you say will be sent all over the world via the Internet within twenty-four hours! I am telling you!
Huang: No problem. There is no issue of not being responsible. We are carrying out our work in accordance with the law. You better figure this out. (Huang uses his finger to point at Hao Jingsong's nose).
Hao: Stop wagging your finger around! Please have some manners! Act like a judge!
Huang: You better figure this out.
Hao: Act like a judge! You, Huang Jiang?!
Huang: You are a lawyer. You work at a lawyers' office.
Hao: Stop wagging your finger around, I am telling you! (Hao uses his finger to point at Huang Jiang's nose)
Huang: Fine, I can accept that. No problem.
Hao: Change it!
Security guard: Will you stop quarreling! Stop quarreling, okay?
Huang: Please cooperate.
Zhang: You just said, "You obey." What should I obey you? Our manager said not to do this at our company. Fine, I want to find another place to talk.
Huang: You are looking for an excuse. (Huang uses his finger to point at Zhang Hui's nose.)
Zhang: You are pointing your finger at me. Why are you pointing your finger at me? This is not a courtroom.
Hao: Stop wagging your finger around!
Huang: There are media reporters here. We are asking the labor union leader to negotiate with the company.
Hao: Negotiate with the company? He is an individual.
Zhang: I am an individual.
Huang: Even a company has legal obligations from this viewpoint.
Hao: Can you explain what this duty is? What is the legal basis? You tell me! Which article of law?!
Huang: You should not say that. Every sentence of mine has a legal basis.
Hao: Judge Huang, you are responsible for any sentence that you say. I ask you what your legal basis is? Which article of law? Tell me, aloud!
Huang: You are splitting hairs with those words. The court. You know what my status is. I am asking you to cooperate.
Hao: You can't explain it. You don't know your business.
Zhang: You want to talk. I can sit down and talk.
Huang: Sit down and talk.
Hao: Let me speak to you directly. Do you want him to withdraw his complaint?
Zhang: Yes. I said to find a place outside to sit down and talk. What did you say before? You want to Zhang Hui to obey. Why should I obey? You are not my father. You are nobody to me. Why should I obey?
Hao: Why should he obey you? Who do you think you are?
Huang: Hey, Zhang Hui! (Huang points his finger at the nose of Zhang Hui)
Zhang: What are you doing? You are waving your finger around again. Please do not point it at me!
(Link to audio file)
Strike against illegal petitions, protect social stability
Petitioners should proceed to the designated locations to reflect the problems
Petitioners must not blockage or attack state party/government offices
Petitioners must not block or interrupt traffic
Petition representative team should not be more than 5 persons
(Apple Daily) October 26, 2009.
A controversy rose up over CCTV's coverage of the National Day military parade on October 1. The issue is that when President Hu Jintao set off from Tiananmen down Chang'an Avenue to inspect the troops, there were six seconds in which the Toshiba billboard on the Peking Hotel was clearly visible. A netizen wrote a post that was widely circulated on the Internet. Commentators said that it was irregular to show a commercial advertisement during the military parade; worse yet, it was a Japanese company which will no doubt inflame anti-Japanese emotions. Some netizens even demanded that "all Japanese companies be banned from running outdoor ads everywhere in China" or "Toshiba must re-umburse 1 billion yuan to the Beijing City Party Committee Publicity Department for the on-air exposure."
A netizen charged that three departments should be punished for their negligence: CCTV for not having detected the problem despite multiple rehearsals; the Beijing city Urban Appearance Committee which was in charge of cleaning up the advertisements on Chang'an Avenue; and Peking Hotel which accommodated the sign. These departments should apologize to the people of China.
In the face of these complaints, the Beijing City Publicity Department issued notice to all television stations and websites to stop playing the relevant video. In addition, the DVD of the military parade has this scene edited already. Mainland Chinese media are also not to supposed to report on this story so as to contain its spread.
Toshiba said: "We are unaware that the commercial advertisement had been criticized."
Here is the old YouTube video of the military parade. The Toshiba sign shows up from 3:02 to 3:12.
The updated video at CCTV has the 10 second video clip edited out, so that you don't see those 10 seconds.
However, I note that the Toshiba sign also shows up in a long shot around 4:04 into the YouTube video as well as 8:48 into the CCTV video.
(Southern Metropolis Daily) October 26, 2009.
According to the investigation by Xinhua's <Xinhua Viewpoint> reporter, the passenger named Chen who was in the car of Sun Zhongjie was no ordinary civilian. On the day when the Nanhui Traffic Administration Law Enforcement Division conducted an operation against illegal cab, the location and time of the action were communicated by a person named Jiang to this Chen person. The reporter verified that Chen was a "hook" for the fishing operations run by the law enforcement agency while Jiang was a "hook head" (i.e. the leader of a group of "hooks").
(Southern Metropolis Daily) October 26, 2009.
Xinhua has reported that the "hook" who lured Sun Zhongjie into the trap obtained the news about the operation from a person named Jiang Guohui, who is a veteran "hook head".
According to informed persons who have worked for Jiang, Jiang Guohui is in his 40's and hails from the Fengxian district of Shanghai.
In 1995, Shanghai established regulations about the management of cabs. "Anyone who operates a cab illegally will have all his illegal earnings confiscated as well as fined between 2,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan or ten times the amount of the illegal earnings." In that year, "hooks" began to appear.
Fengxian district was the first to have an inspection team to curb illegal cabs. Therefore, the "hooks" appeared first in Fengxian district. Of the "hooks" in Shanghai, 30% comes from Fengxian. Presently, the biggest "hook head" named Cai is based in Fengxian district and he has 50 to 60 "hooks" working underneath him. Jiang Guohui began as a "hook" working for Cai before he became a "hook head" himself in 1998.
The various "hook groups" have their distinct areas of operation. Jiang Guohui began in the Mingheng district, and he also extorted protection money from illegal cab drivers. About 2001, he was denounced by a "hook" with the illegal cab drivers to the police. He was sentenced to 3 years in jail. Eighteen months later, he was released early and returned to Mingheng district to continue to operate as a "hook head." Later, Jiang moved his territory to Nanhui District. His team is the only one that operates in Nanhui.
According to information, the "pay" for "hooking" cars vary across districts in Shanhai. In Nanhui, the pay is 250 yuan per car. In Jiading and Qingpu, it is 400 yuan; in Mingheng, 500 yuan; in Fengxian, 600 yuan. The money is paid every month to the "hook heads" from the various district traffic law enforcement bureaus. Actually, they only get about 80% of the amount because the bureaus keep a fraction.
In the case of Mingheng district, the "hook head" gets 400 yuan per car. He keeps 200 yuan for himself and gives 200 yuan to the "hook." A "hook" can earn as much as 5,000 to 6,000 yuan per month or as little as 2,000 to 3,000 yuan per month. The "hook head" can easily make 10,000 to 20,000 yuan per month. In this small circle, it is a highly desirable job to become a "hook head."
(Southern Metropolis Daily) October 26, 2009.
According to Xinhua, the Shanghai municipal government will announce at its regular press conference on October 26 that the Pudong New Zone will terminate all "fishing" operations (as in the case of Sun Zhongjie) and apologize to the public. In addition, the Mingheng district obtained evidence improperly in the case of Zhang Hui and therefore the penalty in that case shall be rescinded.
As for the October 20 preliminary investigation findings by the Pudong New Zone urban law enforcement bureau, the conclusion was that they were "unclear on the facts, erroneous in the findings and hasty in the release of the results. The Shanghai municipal government will hold the relevant persons accountable."
(Southern Metropolis Daily) October 26, 2009.
Baits on the hooks: Trust, Love, Compassion, Benevolence, Sympathy
Xinmin disclosed yesterday that the findings of the second investigation may be released today. However, the findings have already been unequivocally made clear by Xinhua yesterday. Xinhua is the national media representative on the second investigation team, and therefore its report must be considered authoritative.
Yesterday, Xinhua published the opinion piece <Brave in rectifying errors, gain the trust of the people>. The author is Shen Haixiong,, who is the publisher/chief editor of the Shanghai bureau of Xinhua. The essay said that the Shanghai city party and government leaders have pointed out improper methods of law enforcement must be rectified and eliminated; and the results must be released in a pragmatic, highly transparent manner to the people under the principle that "mistakes must be rectified."
At the same time, the Pudong New Zone party and government have also investigated the Sun Zhongjie case and concluded that the preliminary findings of the first investigation were not done in any depth or to any detail but hastily released. Those findings were inconsistent with the facts, misled the public and damaged the images of Shanghai and Pudong.
"It is not terrible to make mistakes during the process of law enforcement. What is terrible is the attitude towards those mistakes. Do you want to discover the truth and correct any mistakes found? Or do you want to cover it up or gloss over it? Do you want to stand back and reflect on your mistakes, or do you want to continue repeating those same mistakes? This is a test of the administrative capabilities for all levels of the Party and the Government. Fortunately, after the 'hook' incident occurred, the comrades at Shanghai city Party Committee, the People's Congress, the city government and the city political consultative conference responded and enabled the truth to emerge step by step."
(Southern Metropolis Daily) October 26, 2009.
Yesterday, the two Shanghai news websites took diametrically opposite positions in the reporting/commentary of the case of Sun Zhongjie.
The headline over at Xinmin was <Shanghai upper echelon dissatisfied with Pudong findings and invites various sectors of society to investigate the case of Sun Zhongjie thoroughly>.
The headline over at Eastday was <Should illegal cabs be prosecuted? Gathering advice on how to deal with illegal cabs>. This was accompanied by an essay titled <Do not "demonize" the clean-up of illegal cabs>. The relevant news links did not address the "fishing operation," the "reverse hooks" and "the chopped finger." Instead, they refer to the evils of "illegal cabs": <'Illegal cabs' only care about money but disregard safety>, <Personal experience: female white-collar worker almost thrown out of illegal cab>, <Oral narrative: Driver "seize" luggage to get customer in the middle of the night>.
Both websites also offered Internet public opinion polls.
Xinmin asked <What is your opinion of the investigation findings of the Pudong New Zone?>. 51% of the respondents said that "investigating your own people is not credible"; 42% said "a new and thorough investigation should be conducted"; 2% said "I believe in the Pudong New Zone."
EastDay asked "Should illegal cabs be prosecuted?> The questions include "Do you think that illegal cabs pose danger?>, "How do you think illegal cabs should be cleaned up?> and so on. The statement <Make urban traffic perfect so that 'illegal cabs' have no opportunity> gained 72% support. "Increase penalties against 'illegal cabs'" and other choices receive more than 7% approval.
In the comments to the EastDay poll, there were lots of criticisms. "This is a very odd choice of questions. The law enforcement agency worked with hooks to defraud the citizens, and you ask whether this should continue?" "Nobody is opposed to cleaning out illegal cabs, but these questions are switching the concept. Is it alright to commit crimes in order to fight crime?" "The issue is not about whether to clean illegal cabs out or not. The issue is about whether hooks are being used to enforce the law. This is a issue over law enforcement. Will EastDay please revise the topic of this poll."
The emergence of discussion forums on the Internet provided alternate sources of information as well as a platform for citizens to exercise their freedom of speech. On the surface, these forums are not different from regular newspapers. But since the discussion forums can reach the audience much faster than the traditional media, legal problems come up. The most significant issue is libel.
Recently, a very important libel case took place in Hong Kong. The legal points of the decision will have a deep impact on the discussion forums in Hong Kong. Oddly enough, this case has not been reported in the newspapers.
In this case (Oriental Press Group vs. Fevawork HCA597/2009), the Oriental Press Group asked the court to issue "interlocutory injunctions" against the Hong Kong Golden Forum from publishing certain libelous statements. The actual court verdict document is available on the Internet as a MS Word document, so you can go and read the whole thing yourself.
The interesting part is that whatever the judge has to say about a case in court is a specially privileged statement that can never be considered "libelous in the legal sense." When the media cites the judge, they enjoy "qualified privilege" provided that they quote the judge accurately and without prejudice.
Therefore, this also means that if I were to post excerpts from this document here, I would also enjoy the same "qualified privilege." After all, I am only citing what the judge said. If somebody out there is displeased, they can try to sue the judge for libel but that can never pass.
So here are some excerpts from that document:
17. On 27 March 2007, a discussion topic was posted and titled as “點解今日客觀公正既東方同太陽報無霞姐果段新聞既?” (Why is it that the objective and righteous newspapers, The Sun and Oriental Daily do not have the story of Sister Ha?).
18. On 28 March 2007 at 11:02 a.m., in response, one “徐晃” posted/published on the Website his comment : “身有屎”. The same comment was posted/published by one “一時俊傑” on the website at 12:26 p.m. on the same day, i.e. 28 March 2007. The plaintiffs pleaded that a true translation thereof is : “They are guilty.”
19. The liberal meaning of the expression could be “They had faeces on their body,” which might only mean that they have something to hide. The plaintiffs pleaded that the sting of the defamation is that the offending words meant “the plaintiffs and/or Oriental Daily News and/or the sun was guilty of the murder of Sister Ha (霞姐).
20. The background to the murder can be summarised in the judgment of Stuart Moore VP in HKSAR v Lo Hon-Hing & Ors, CACC107/2007 (unreported, 12 September 2008) at §6 :
“In short, the apparent motive for killing the deceased was that a complaint had been lodged with the Oriental Daily on behalf of the deceased by her husband, Mr Lau, to the effect that the local newspaper distributor, ‘Ching Wui’, had introduced a new practice which no longer allowed newspaper vendors to return unsold copies of the Oriental Daily. This resulted, therefore, in the vendors having to pay for copies of that newspaper which they were unable to sell.”
21. On 26 March 2007 the men who were responsible for the murder of Sister Ha were tried and convicted in the High Court.
22. Ms Janice Cheung, counsel for the defendants, submitted that the 1st Offending words are not unarguably defamatory. The murder was initiated only by the distributor, Ching Wui. There is no evidence that the plaintiffs were involved in the murder. However, it is ”connected” with the plaintiffs as the subject matter was that Ching Wui would not allow vendors to return unsold copies of the Oriental Daily.
23. Maybe the best expression to interpret the expression of “身有屎” is in the Chinese expression : “我雖不殺伯仁，伯仁因我而死”。 (Even though you may not have directly caused their death, you are indirectly responsible.) In any event, at this interlocutory stage, the expression of “身有屎” is not unarguably defamatory.
26. On 28 October 2008 a discussion topic appeared and titled : 「[白粉報真係好仆街]報販霞姐被殺案報紙用作洗黑錢」 Translated : “[White powder newspaper go to hell] The murder of the newspaper vendor Sister Ha Newspaper used to launder drug money”.
27. Under the section/heading “報紙用作洗白粉錢” : One “去支” posted/published the 2nd offending words : 「馬惜珍在香港，負責收白粉、洗黑錢，再把賺來的錢投資在一般貿易公司，1969 年，他又創辦『東方報業集團』，旗下主要報紙即是極力親台的中文東方日報，後來發展成為全港第一大報，報紙除了用作洗黑錢外，又作毒品消息通傳。」 Translated : “Ma Sik Chun was responsible for dealing in ‘white powder’ (i.e. heroin) and laundering drug money in Hong Kong. He then re-invested the money in general trading companies. In 1969, he established the ‘Oriental Press Group’, the flagship newspaper of which was the pro-Taiwan Chinese-language ‘Oriental Daily News’, which later became the number 1 newspaper in Hong Kong. Apart from being used for laundering money, the newspaper is also used for dissemination of news for drug trafficking.”
28. In the hearing on 29 September 2009, both parties accepted the following 3 facts which are common general knowledge to the people of Hong Kong :
(i) Mr Ma Sik Chun was the founder of Oriental Daily in 1969 but in 1978 he together with his brother Ma Sik Yu were arrested and charged for drug trafficking;
(ii) before trial, they had jumped bail, went to Taiwan and Ma Sik Chun is still living there; and
(iii) at common law, a person is presumed to be innocent until he is convicted of a criminal offence.
30. On 21 January 2009, one 「湯川學」posted/published under the discussion topic “東方日報創辦人是通緝中大毒梟”, (“The founders of Oriental Daily News are big drug traffickers wanted by the Government”), the following offending words :
(i) 1st paragraph : 「馬廷強乃香港東方日報創辦人之一馬惜如之子，馬廷強之父及叔叔馬惜如、馬惜珍，是仍在通緝中的大毒梟」 Translation: “Patrick Ma is the son of Ma Sik Yu, who founded the Oriental Daily News. Patrick Ma’s father and uncle Ma Sik Yu and Ma Sik Chun were big drug traffickers wanted by the Government.”
(ii) 3rd paragraph : 「東方日報創辦人是通緝中大毒梟」 Translation: “The founders of Oriental Daily News are big drug traffickers wanted by the Government.”
(iii) 5th paragraph : 「馬惜珍在香港，負責收白粉、洗黑錢，再把賺來的錢投資在一般貿易公司，1969年，他又創辦東方報業集團，旗下主要報紙即是極力親台的中文東方日報，後來發展成為全港第一大報，報紙除了用作洗黑錢外，又作毒品消息通傳。由於東方報業集團的創辦人馬氏家族被證實涉及販賣毒品及有三合會犯罪組織十四 k背景，創辦人馬惜珍更旋即匿居臺灣，在數十年一直被香港政府通緝中，通緝令至今有效。所以有部份港人將東方日報和太陽報稱為‘白粉報’，而馬氏後人亦被統稱為‘白粉馬’。」 Translated : Ma Sik Chun was responsible for dealing in ‘white powder’ (i.e. heroin) and laundering drug money in Hong Kong, he then re-invested the money in general trading companies, in 1969, he established the ‘Oriental Press Group’, the flagship newspaper of which was the pro-Taiwan Chinese-language ‘Oriental Daily News’, which later became the number 1 newspaper in Hong Kong. Apart from being used for laundering money, the newspaper is also used for dissemination of news for drug trafficking. The founders of Oriental Press Group, the Ma family, have been confirmed to have been involved in drug trafficking and were members of the triad gang 14K, the founder Ma Sik Chun even fled to hide in Taiwan and was wanted by the Government of Hong Kong for several decades and the warrant for his arrest is effective to date. Thus, some Hong Kong people called Oriental Daily News and The Sun ‘white powder (i.e. heroin) newspapers’, and the offspring of the Ma family are collectively called ‘white powder Ma’.”
48. The defendants contended that it is virtually impossible to comply with the terms of the injunction. In the first place, there is no software which can filter or prevent any messages containing certain keywords.
49. Secondly, it is impossible for the defendants to censor messages before they were published. At any given time, there may lie about 30,000 users online with may be over 5,000 posts generated in an hour. Lam estimated that they need to have at least 160 staff on a 24 hour basis everyday if every message to be posted required to be censored. The defendants’ said they simply do not have the financial resources to do so. Even then, it is practically impossible to determine whether a message is defamatory or not. It is not possible for them to consult legal advisers when something appears on the forum which refers to the plaintiff or other complainants.
55. I accept the aforesaid submissions of the defendants. Accordingly, I do not consider the Court should exercise its discretion to grant an interlocutory injunction against the defendants. The plaintiffs’ summons is therefore dismissed.
At 10pm on the evening before yesterday, a BMW car and an Audi car side-swiped each other slightly at the intersection of Chunfeng Road and Renminnan Road in Shenzhen city, Guangdong province. Many citizens called our newspaper's hotline to report that the female BMW driver was arrogant and aggressive and she had slapped the male Audi driver.
Our reporter rushed to the scene at 11pm. By that time, a big crowd had gathered. At center stage, the female BMW driver named Liu Hong was arguing heatedly with the female passenger in the Audi car driven by Qiu Yangsong. The female passenger said, "In this world, we talk about justice. You should not have assaulted him." Liu Hong turned her ahead and said, "I can't bother to let you speak to me!" Then she turned to Qiu Yangsong and said, "You are going to compensate me." Qiu said, "What am I suppose to compensate you for, sister?"
After the reporter identified himself, Liu denied that she hit Qiu. She asked our reporter, "Who saw me hit him?"
She said: "He had lowered his head to speak on the mobile phone at the time. After the collision, he had a bad attitude. He said that my BMW was not as expensive as his Audi. What about my 318? You can't buy my BMW even if you have 10 million yuan. Why? Even if you have 100 million yuan, you can't buy my one-of-a-kind BMW!"
Her repeated emphasis on "one-of-a-kind" drew laughter from the spectators. Her boyfriend got her to back into the BWM 318 vehicle with license plate Guangzhou X879H.
Spectators surrounded the reporter as many eyewitnesses testified that they had seen the squabble. "She was really unreasonable. She really went too far. I have never seen such an arrogant girl." At least three eyewitnesses said that when people tried to mediate, Liu Hong pointed her finger at them and said, "Would you believe that I am going to hit your too?"
According to a female spectator, Liu Hong was really too overbearing. "She thinks that she can be arrogant and aggressive just because she has money." Liu even claimed to have friends at the Shenzhen public security bureau.
At least ten eyewitnesses confirmed unanimously that as soon as the collision took place, Liu Hong got out of the car and gave Qiu a slap in the face. She also said, "So what if I hit you? My hitting you is like hitting a dog. Even if the police comes, I will still hit you."
The reporter spoke to both parties. At around 10pm, the two cars were coming down the service road on Renminnan Road in the northern direction. The BMW was on the inside lane next to the sidewalk while the Audi A6 (license number Guangdong TES868 from Zhongshan city) was on the outside lane.
Both parties accused the other of passing. Liu Hong said heatedly that she saw in the rear-view mirror that the other driver had lowered his head to speak on the mobile phone and then the Audi came up to her car. When she got out of the car, the man in the front passenger seat on the other side said, "If there is a collision, just pay compensation." That sentence irked her. "Even if I hit him, it was because this sentence went too far!"
Qiu denied that he was talking on the phone. He said that he getting ready to make a turn and therefore he was driving at a speed of less than 10 kilometers per hour. Liu Hong wanted to pass him from the inside. After the collision occurred, the other party got out of the car and charged up to him. I also got out of my car. I said, 'Let's not argue. Let me see if I can back the car out so that we won't hold traffic up.' But she would not let me move the car. I asked her not to block the street. She slapped me."
"My ears and mouth were ringing. But she is a woman. When this is a woman, I have to let her be." Qiu said. "And then she kicked the front of my car."
A woman named Zhang who witnessed the entire scene disclosed a detail that Qiu was reluctant to bring up: "He was very decent. He got hit but he did not strike back. He continued to speak to her with a smile. He said: 'I am a man. Can you please save me some face?' He was very well-mannered."
Liu Hong called the police and the Nanhu police station dispatched police officers to the scene. The recommendation was to reach a settlement under the supervision of the traffic police and the cars could leave.
Qiu Yangsong said that he never said that the Audi was more expensive than the BMW. Rather, someone else in the crowd said that. According to several spectators, Liu Hong asked Qiu Yangsong whether he can afford to pay compensation. Another spectator interjected: "Your BMW is cheaper than the Audi. How can he not afford it?" Based upon the demand of Liu Hong, the traffic police tested the alcohol levels of both drivers and found readings of zero for both.
The police officer said that the conditions showed that both cars were in their respective lanes and therefore the two parties should be held equally responsible under the existing traffic laws. He asked both parties to sign the police statement so that they can leave. But Qiu Yangsong said that he was only a chauffeur and he had to wait for this boss to come. The man in the front passenger seat of the Audi complained that the police were ineffective: "They take advantage of us because we are from the outside and we don't speak Cantonese."
Qiu Yangsong got back into his car, rolled up the car window and ignored the traffic police. The traffic police officer was frustrated: "What can an ordinary policeman like me do? I will have to wait for someone to come down from the division headquarters."
Previously, the crowd was one-sidedly against Liu Hong. Now they saw what the Audi people were doing, and some of them changed sides. They began to speculate that the Audi passengers may be "big shots" or government officials.
A Benz S350 arrived at the scene, and the driver Mr. Wei introduced himself as a manager from a big company. The two passengers in the back seat of the Audi are company clients, and the driver Qiu Yangsong was supposed to take them to a dinner date. The passengers in the Audi were taken over to the Benz. Mr. Wei then joined in the negotiations.
"Do you want to deal with this? It is hard on us. Seven or eight traffic policemen are stuck here. Hasn't the police already dealt with the dispute? You can always appeal if you think that the decision was unjust. What should such a minor matter take up more than three hours? It is a waste of your gas. It is a waste of public money!"
But the Audi people insisted on getting the police supervisor to come. The traffic policeman said, "It is in the middle of the night and you want the police supervisor to come. Can't you do it tomorrow? Let us deal with this matter now."
At around 1:45am, Qiu Yangsong was finally persuaded by Mr. Wei to sign the police statement.
But now it was Liu Hong's turn to obstruct. "I am not signing. He has to get out of his car and apologize to me. He wasted two hours of my time. It's okay only if he gives me back those two hours of time. This is being fair." The traffic policemen were getting a headache and told the reporter, "Actually, it would be nothing if each side agrees to make a small concession."
Liu Hong was firm on not signing, so the traffic police ended up putting down the annotation "Refused to sign" on the police statement. Then they were going to let the Audi leave. However, Liu Hong put herself in front of the Audi to prevent its departure. So it was back to stalemate once again.
"He is also wasting your time. I am doing this in order to get justice for you people." Lu Hong told the traffic policemen who did not know whether to laugh or cry. "You waste several hours of my time and you want to leave? It isn't going to be that easy."
At 2:10pm, the traffic police gave up and the Nanhu police station sent regular policemen out there again. Almost 20 regular police, traffic police and local patrol team personnel were at the scene, but they could not do anything. The police asked the two parties to return to the station to negotiate, but Qiu Yangsong refused.
At 2:40pm, Qiu Yangsong and the man in the front passenger seat of the Audi got out of their car but the negotiations went nowhere. At 3am, the two entered the Benz and drove away quickly. According to the several patrol team members, "they lost patience and they went to dine."
This infuriated Liu Hong. She reversed the BMW right up to the Audi and turned on the car stereo system to play loud disco music. She told the police, "I am not satisfied with how you handled this matter. If you don't deal with this, I will smash his car. I will ram my car into his."
After pleas from the traffic police as well as the boyfriend, Liu Hong finally agreed for the traffic police to tow the Audi back to the traffic police station and she would deal with the matter the next day.
At 3:50pm, the crowd gradually dispersed. It has been six hours since the traffic incident first occurred.
The traffic police complained about how hard their job is getting. The patrol team members criticized them for "being too weak -- if they brought the tow trucks early on and took the cars down to the police station, the matter would not have taken so much time."
But the traffic police said that they are obeying the principle of civilized law enforcement in accordance with the law. The two cars had barely side-swiped each other without much damage, so there was no reason to summon tow trucks.
"Today everybody is talking about sunshine law enforcement. We enforce the law in front of your cameras. Every move that we make has to be in accordance with the rules and regulations. But civilized law enforcement is only suitable for civilized people. When we encounter people who are either ignorant about the law or not interested in being reasonable, we don't know what to do. Civilized law enforcement can be very tiresome." A patrol team member appreciated this point: "The costs are high in terms of manpower and resources if we insist on civilized law enforcement."
In early 2008, I wrote a blog post entitled <Why I Don't Criticize The United States> to explain to young readers that a nation is making progress or about to make progress when it allows criticisms. Two years have elapsed since and I have continued to regard being critical as my duty and work for progress in China in what I regarded as the correct way. But I can understand that many young people do not understand people like us.
In my blogs (note: Yang Hengjun has blog presence at many Chinese blog service providers), many netizens post "anti-American" materials. Whenever I praise America or criticize China, they would post stuff about how awful America or the west is in order to neutralize the influence of my blog post on the readers. After a while, some of the comments of my blogs are a contest between my criticisms of China and their criticisms of America.
But I don't know if they realize that while they intend to criticize America and the western countries for the sake of China, most netizens get more depressed upon reading their comments. Instead it is my essays critical about China that often give hope to my readers. Many readers have told me that was how they felt.
Why is this happening? In very simple terms, we live in China and who could be so stupid as not to be aware of the problems in China? If there is no basis for comparison, we will feel that we are destined never to rise out of those problems. If a comparison is available, we will think: we still have hope in finding a way out. Most of those critics of America are almost without exception citing "black secrets" that Americans exposed about America. They magnify these flaws which cause certain Chinese people to think: Oh, there is corruption and graft in America too? So this is a universal phenomenon. If corruption and graft happen everywhere, then it is natural too in China. Is there any hope left for the people in a corrupt nation? ...
China is obviously making progress. In China, thousands of official newspapers and other media are publicizing the tiniest progress. Therefore, there is no need for a blogger to pile on. But most of their praises of progress are actually cover-ups for the backwardness. They have failed to mention the true progress in China. I would like to tell you about a recent matter which impressed me greatly. I got this impression when I chatted with overseas media workers, and I got it again when I met with friends recently in Hong Kong.
Twenty years ago, I frequently traveled outside of China. At the time, it was not easy for Chinese people to travel overseas. Each time that I traveled outside of China (including going to Hong Kong), I longed to read the overseas media and publications because I wanted to understand the China in which I lived and worked. At the time, many of the "scandals" in China were reported first overseas and imported back into China. In China, you suffered from these problems yourself but you "were not aware" and you had no opportunity to openly study and eliminate them. At the same time, a principal duty of intelligence service was to collect the views of overseas important government figures on the problems that China faced.
After the 1990's and especially with the advent of the Internet to mainland China, things have quietly undergone a drastic change. Twenty years ago, if the Chinese wanted to learn about the problems that China faced, they'd have to travel overseas or else use overseas media such as CNN, BBC and so on. Twenty years later today, if the Chinese want to understand China, you definitely cannot depend on these overseas media. Instead, you should be looking at the variety of news on the Internet, including blogs, BBS's and netizen interactions.
More than a decade ago, I went to America and I listened to the experts, scholars and government information/intelligence officers talk about the problems in China. I was impressed about how reasonable and thorough they were. A decade later now, I am no longer willing to waste my time talking to them about the problems in China. On the contrary, if they want to understand China, they need to talk to me.
Twenty years ago, I left China to go overseas in order to understand China. Twenty years later today, you have to return to China in order to understand China. How did this come about? This is not about the progress made by one person. This is the progress made by the times, the nation and, more importantly, the Chinese people!
In an era without the Internet, the Chinese media reported only good news and skipped the bad news. They praised the good to make things look swell. But everybody knew that China had many problems areas that needed improvement. However, only foreign media and publications can freely talk about our problems and flaws. In that era, even our senior leaders had to depend on the foreign media to understand about the sufferings of ordinary people. They even had to rely on overseas intelligence experts to understand the social problems in China and the potential solutions.
With the Internet, the Chinese people have a platform for expression to expose the problems around us. So we began to change. This is not a case in which the overseas media began to misunderstand China and "distort" their reports on China. Rather, we understand our nation better and we become aware the inadequacy of the foreign media in achieveing a full and in-depth understanding of China.
This is the biggest progress that I have seen in China. This progress came as a result of criticisms and not because of the effusive praises. The true wonder of America and other western countries is that all their flaws and ills come from the facts that are exposed by their people and even the government itself.
I have thought about the day when all the problems in China were dug out by the people themselves. We may not have become rich or strong overnight, and we still lag behind the west by a far distance. But we will catch up or even surpass them sooner or later. Let us now review the history of the People's Republic of China over the last 30 years. We ask ourselves which advancement did not depend on the efforts (or even sacrifices) of Chinese people who dared to expose and criticize problems ...?
(South China Morning Post) Pressure mounts on bureau to alter 'unfair' light-bulb scheme. October 22, 2009.
Pressure was building on the Environment Bureau yesterday to modify a light-bulb cash-coupon scheme criticised as flawed and unfair. Under the HK$240 million light-bulb scheme, all power users would have to pay 0.5 cent or 0.6 cent per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to finance HK$100 cash coupons to be distributed to each of the 2.4 million residential power users to encourage use of energy-friendly bulbs.
But political parties agreed that the scheme had to be reassessed, though the bureau had still failed to spell out the implementation details amid a conflict-of-interest controversy involving the chief executive.
Allegations have been made that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen intentionally favoured an in-law's light-bulb business when he launched the coupon scheme.
Anthony Mok Kam-chuen, the father-in-law of Tsang's elder son, is one of the biggest distributors of compact fluorescent lights manufactured by Philips, which has up to half the market, leading to allegations that the scheme could have favoured him. Mok yesterday published a statement, saying his green-light-bulb business generated less revenue than the incandescent light bulbs and other lighting products.
"There are both loss and gain under the cash-coupon scheme and there would be offsets in the actual revenue that are far less than the public imagined," he said. Mok also said he had never through private or formal channels learned about the scheme from any official or the chief executive before the policy address.
(Apple Daily) (397 persons age or over were interviewed by interactive voice system)
Do you believe that Donald Tsang was unaware that his in-law Mok Kam-chuen is the biggest distributor of compact fluorescent lights manufactured by Philips?
18.6%: Don't know/no opinion
Should the Chief Executive have acknowledged that there exists an interest connection between his proposed light-bulb scheme and the business of his in-law?
24.7%: Don't know/no opinion
Do you think that the Chief Executive should apologize to the citizens for not having filed a report on his in-law's interest?
20.2%: Don't know/no opinion
(Hong Kong Research Association) (1,022 persons age 18 or over were interviewed between October 17 and 20 by interactive voice system)
Q1. Do you support the compact fluorescent light-bulb scheme proposed by the Chief Executive?
7%: No opinion
Q2. It is reported that the in-law of the Chief Executive is a shareholder of the Hong Kong distributor of a certain brand of compact fluorescent light-bulbs. Do you believe that there is favoritism involved with the proposal of a light-bulb cash coupon?
9%: No opinion
Q3. Do you think that this matter should be investigated by the Legislative Council?
6%: No opinion
Q4. Do you think that this matter should be investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption?
7%: No opinion
Q5. Do you think that this matter has any impact on the trustworthiness of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region government?
2%: Yes, a positive impact
41%: Yes, a negative impact
53%: No impact
4%: No opinion
In Tushan town, Nan'an district, Chongqing city, the local marriage registry showed that 380 couples got married while 285 couples got divorced in May. In September, 1590 couples got married while 839 couples got married. Due to the sudden explosion in cases, the marriage registry workers have had to work overtime every day.
What happened here?
In Tushan town, an engineering project required townsfolk to relocate. An individual town resident is given 135,000 yuan in compensation. If this citizen gets married to an outsider, another 67,500 yuan is given to the spouse. If the outsider already has a child, another 67,500 yuan is given to the couple.
The cost of getting a marriage license is 9 yuan.
If an unmarried resident marries an outsider, the total compensation is 135,000 + 67,500 = 200,000 yuan. If the outsider already has a child, the total compensation increases to 200,000 + 67,500 = 267,600 yuan.
Consider next the case of a married couple both of whom are town residents. Ordinarily, they get 135,000 + 135,000 = 270,000 yuan in compensation. Suppose they get divorced and each remarries an outsider. Their total compensation is 135,000 + 67,500 + 135,000 + 67,500 = 400,000 yuan. Better yet, they marry outsiders who have children, in which case the total compensation goes up to 535,000 yuan.
Particularly popular are outsiders who can be hired as temporary spouses. The pay is more like 10,000 yuan while the town resident keeps 57,500 yuan.
Here are some specific cases:
One couple got married at the insistence of the family. The wife quickly got pregnant and the child came in July, which brought an extra 67,500 yuan. However, the couple had a personality conflict and they quarreled every day. Now that the child has arrived, the marriage was over (although the money is still good).
Another couple had been married 26 years. Their son is works away from home. They were living a simple, tranquil life. In April, they were tempted by the relocation money. So they each married an outsider with the understanding that they will get re-married after they get the money. But after they got the money, the husband said that he was no longer interested in getting re-married.
A 20-year-old young woman got married to a 40-year-old man. On the registry, the man was listed as receiving "primary education" while the woman was listed as "a current university student." The couple is getting a divorce after only a marriage that lasted only 28 days. The young woman is now a divorcee, which may affect her future marriage prospects.
The most astonishing case is a 52-year-old strong man who carried an 82-year-old woman on his back into the marriage registry. When the worker asked, "Do the two of you love each other and enter marriage voluntarily?" the woman was incoherent in her response. This caused the man to be angry and he stormed out with the bride on this back after the process was completed.
I was overawed by the amazing performance at the Deda Private Investigation Agency (reportedly written by Song Zude) today. Here is the story.
The first blog post: "According to information, Yin Tao is from Chongqing and she graduated in 2003 from the Drama Department of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts in 2003. She found herself in an awkward situation because she could not find work. So she returned to Chongqing to make the film <Blow when empty> in the local dialect. It was at this time that she got to know brother Wen Qiang, who was then the Chongqing city public security bureau executive vice-director."
However, Yin Tao appeared in the 1999 film <Blow when empty>. So how did a 1999 movie got made in 2003? Does Yin Tao know how to time-travel?
Once Song Zude got nailed on this detail, he wrote a second blog post to cover up his mistake. "According to what the Deda investigators found out from the Liberation Stele in Chongqing and the Guanyin Bridge in Jiangbei, Yin Tao had trouble finding work after she graduated from the People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts. With her meager income and savings, she could not engage in the expensive social activities required for the industry. Worse yet, Yin Tao's father became ill and spent almost 100,000 yuan at the Number Two People's Hospital in Chongqing. So Yin Tao returned to make the film <Blow when empty> . One of the investors in the film was the Yuqiang Real Estate Company owed by the crime syndicate boss Lai Qiang! According to information, the 21-year-old Yin Tao was a lovely, innocent girl in 1999 who was outstanding like a rose waiting to bloom!"
All of a sudden, Yin Tao now joins the film industry in 1999 to make <Blow when empty>. Unfortunately, it is also known that Yin Tao entered the People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts in 1999 and graduated in 2003. So how could Yin Tao be at school and make a movie at the same time.
Then Song Zude did his what he does best and produced a photo of Yin Tao and Wen Qiang taken in 2004:
Unfortunately, for Song Zude, another netizen found out that the Yin Tao in this photo was previously taken at a press conference for a police story.
While somebody else found this Wen Qiang photo at a meeting:
Oy, brother Zude! What a lousy PhotoShop job which leaves footprints all over the place!!!
(Yin Tao's blog)
Things have progressed to a point where the reputation of me and my family has been hurt tremendously. My agency called up to say that they have preserved the evidence and they are now proceeding to seek legal redress. I ask all my fans now to worry and stay calm. Please do not waste time on this and forget about your studies and work.
(Xinhua) October 20, 2009.
The reporter then called Song Zude who complained: "This Deda Investigation Agency blog was not established by me. I can responsibly tell you that I am a victim as well. All the contents on that blog is unrelated to me. I recommend Yin Tao to join me to sue this rights violator!"
Many netizens read this new post angrily denounced Song Zude and demanded that he shut up forever. But a more meticulous netizen wrote: "This Deda Investigation Agency blog may be under the name of Song Zude, but it is hard to say whether he started it. Someone may be using this blog to frame Song Zude, using his typical exposé style and imitating his writing style in order to ruin his reputation. But it is also possible that Song Zude started it himself. With respect to the case of Xie Jin, Song Zude was slapped with a lawsuit when he used his own name. This time, he got smarter and used a blog to publish without any restraints. Since it may be impossible to prove that he is the author, he bears no legal responsibility for anything published. Therefore, he has found a neat escape trick."
(Ta Kung Pao) October 19, 2009.
According to an informed source, Wen Qiang's case has entered the trial phase. "Based upon the fact that Wen Qiang held a high position and his case was very serious, the trial will be held in another jurisdiction." The reason why the case of Wen Qiang has entered the trial phase so quickly was that "Wen Qiang has made a 180 degree turn with respect to admission of guilt." The informed source said: "His psychological bottom line has been breached. He is admitting to his crimes. He is even volunteering certain details."
Wen Qiang is being held in Guizhou and his attitude towards his interrogators has undergone a 180 degree turn. At first, he had told the investigators: "Let me eat whenever I want to eat. Let me sleep whenrver I want to sleep. Do not try using any other tactics against me. I invented those things!" He also said: "It is one thing if you don't give me the death sentence. If you sentence me to death, it won't be easy. I will spill everything. Let us all wait and die together!"
After being placed under double regulations, Wen Qiang realized that he had to admit to certain illegal activities. He pretended to be very frank and described his affairs with women. He provided details on how he raped young girls and played with movie stars. "He said that whenever female movie stars and singers come to perform in Chongqing, he will try to do them. His methods include paying them or blackmailing them with their private secrets. He always wanted to bed these stars." But Wen Qiang was outsmarted by his own smartness. When his wife found out about these stories, "she began to cry and called Wen Qiang a beast." The informed source said: "Then she began to reveal some of the problems about Wen Qiang. She guided us to the fish pond to recover the hidden cash."
All along, Wen Qiang refused to admit that he acted as the protective umbrella for organized crime. He said confidently: "I interact with the crime figures in order to control them. The only way to wipe out organized crime is to enter deep inside them. If interacting with crime figures is the same as acting as their protective umbrella, then I dare say that every single public security bureau director is a protective umbrella for organized crime!" This posture continued until early September when Wen Qiang learned that his son (a businessman in America) has returned to Chongqing. "Then his psychological defense broke down completely." The informed source said: "He broken down and cried. He said that he had let the party and the organization down. He is now cooperating with the investigators."
"After some ups and downs, Wen Qiang looks relatively calm." The informed source said: "He often tells the police officers ... you are better off by being so ordinary. It is a blessing to be plain."
According to a Taiwan Internet newspaper manager, there has been many cases of mainland netizens showing up to express the typical mainland thinking lines whenever the news discussions involved cross-strait relationship. In mainland China, these people are called the "Fifty Cent Gang" (wu mao dang), and even the ordinary mainland netizens detest them.
This manager said that about ten percent of their discussions in their news forum are written in simplified Chinese characters that are used in mainland China. He believes that since their website is periodically blocked in mainland China, most of those discussants who use simplified Chinese characters must be mainlanders living and/or studying overseas.
According to our understanding, the actual situation may be much more complicated than what this newspaper manager supposed. First of all, the discussants who use simplified Chinese characters may be Taiwan citizens working in mainland China (because they are forced to use the local computers which are based on simplified Chinese characters). Conversely a Fifty Cent Gang member can easily switch over to using traditional Chinese characters or even write in English to pretend that they are overseas Chinese. Furthermore, many mainland netizens how know to leap over the Great Internet Firewall, and so would the quasi-official Fifty Cent Gang members.
The damage of the Fifty Cent Gang to Internet opinion in Taiwan can be seen from their basic working methods. According to the reported Fifty Cent Gang method, their standard job is to work in small groups based upon websites, mainly the more popular ones where credibility is higher. "The first thing is to create a certain chaos by bringing in noise with specious posts, making irrational misinterpretations in the comments, causing misunderstanding and controversy and thus divert the attention of the netizens."
However, overseas (including Taiwan) websites are harder to control than the mainland websites. Therefore the mainland Fifty Cent Gang will make large numbers of short posts, inconsequential posts and irrational posts to flood the bulletin boards in Taiwan. When a forum page is drowned in meaningless chaos, the visitors lose interest. Thus, the "spread of counter-revolutionary ideas is prevented." The fact that many Internet discussion forums often get many "irrelevant," "repetitious" and "pointlessly abusive" posts is consistent with this mode of operation.
At the moment, the importance of "comments" is decreasing at the major news websites in Taiwan. Many websites forward their news stories to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Plurk for the readers to respond and interact with each other. The aforementioned manager believes that there are two factors that affect website management. The first is bandwidth consumption and the second is manpower to monitor the forums. Therefore, some Taiwan websites are placing less importance on their forums really because of cost reasons and not because they are afraid of the Fifty Cent Gang.
Another Internet newspaper manager said that they are reducing the importance of their forum because "discussion forums" are no longer popular. If the other side wants to cause trouble, there is no way to stop them. Right now, they are using the "opinion column" format as used in printed newspapers to publishing readers' letters. They will confirm the identities of those readers by telephone before they publish the letters on their websites.
The original intent of Internet discussion forums was to provide a public space. Due to limited resources, uneven user quality and now the interference from the Fifty Cent Gang, more and more news websites in Taiwan are backing out of this mode of interaction.
(Global Times) AIDS carrier discloses hundreds of sex clients October 16, 2009.
According to an article on huanqiu.com, Yan Deli, a 29-year-old woman from Rongcheng county, Hebei Province, published 279 mobile numbers of her sex clients in her blog and claimed that she's infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Along with these numbers, there are about 400 sex pictures and videos. To prove her claims are authentic, she posted her family photo as well. However, as of 10 pm Thursday her blog was blocked.
"I won't regret my choice. Those men are nothing but my playthings. They disguise themselves as gentlemen, and I should give them a good lesson. I am proud of my decision," Yan said.
Most of the owners of the published mobile numbers say it's a vicious revenge inflicted on the innocent. "I worked in Beijing some time ago to install heating pipes. I don't think I gave my number to anyone," a man surnamed Chen from Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province said with surprise when he was informed of the news. "Nonsense! I have never gone to streetwalkers," exclaimed a businessman in Beijing, found by the human flesh search engine, a Chinese term for crowd-sourcing,
Born in a poor family, Yan never went to school and left home when she was 10. She entered the sex trade for survival, based in a hair salon, she confessed in her blog. "I am continuing to infect different men everyday," said Yan.
For more, see:
Beijing Prostitute Posts Customers’ Mobile Numbers & AIDS ChinaSMACK, October 16, 2009
Girl has AIDS exposing 279 Sex Contacts ChinaHush, October 17, 2009
But here is the latest development:
(China Daily) 'HIV prostitute' blog is hoax cooked up ex-lover: Police. By Bao Daozu. October 19, 2009.
An illicit blog that has swept the Internet and claims to tell the story of an "HIV-infected prostitute" is a sick hoax by an angry ex-boyfriend, police said yesterday. The post, which featured 300 indecent pictures of Yan Deli, along with 279 cell phone numbers of "former clients", emerged last week and rapidly spread across the nation's Web portals. The post claims the 30-year-old was raped by her stepfather at 15 and had become a waitress at karaoke bars in Beijing, and that the cell numbers were published in revenge against society. However, police in Yan's native Rongcheng county, Hebei province, told China Daily yesterday that the blog had been written by the woman's ex-lover - a married man from Beijing.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, had demanded 5,000 yuan ($730) from Yan when they split up but she refused, said a local police officer who declined to be named. The man later told police the woman's brother had attacked him, the officer said. The suspect then returned to the capital and, using the cell numbers he had received at the Rongcheng county police station, began to send indecent pictures of Yan to several officers via SMS. "We have kept those text messages and we will sue him for smearing our reputation," said the officer, whose number was one of those listed on the blog. China Daily was unable to contact the suspect yesterday.
Yan denied ever posting a blog online and said she plans to have an HIV test to prove her innocence, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Saturday. The local center for disease control has also requested she undergo a medical check, local police said. The newspaper reported Yan gave the illicit photographs to her ex-boyfriend, and that most of the published numbers were her colleagues or friends on an old cell phone. The woman's mother told Beijing Youth Daily the incident has embarrassed the whole family and was quoted as saying: "The whole country knows about this. How can we live?" She also dismissed any suggestion her daughter is a prostitute, and explained that she earned 2,000 yuan a month working in a Beijing restaurant. About the rape allegations contained in the blog, Yan's stepfather added: "Whatever is said about me, it doesn't matter because I am old. But how can my daughter live with such rumors?"
Wang Jing, a Beijing lawyer, said that if the blog is real the author has broken privacy regulations. However, if it is a hoax, they have violated laws to protect people's reputations.
(China Daily) 'HIV prostitute' blog hoax zooms on cyber-privacy October 20, 2009.
A blog that falsely proclaimed that a Hebei province woman is HIV positive was a hoax by an ex-boyfriend intent upon revenge - and a case study into the debate about people's right of privacy in cyberspace. The woman, Yan Deli, a native in Hebei province, tested negative for HIV/AIDS Monday by the local disease control center. Police of Rongcheng county in Hebei province said the blog with indecent photos and words was written by Yan's ex-lover surnamed Yang, in a bid to get revenge on Yan. Yan met Yang in Beijing. The local government is considering holding a press conference to reveal the latest development of investigation.
The hoax that emerged on the Internet last week accused Yan of being a prostitute and said that her 279 cell phone numbers belonged to "former clients." The IP address of the blog and the photos' IP address are from Beijing, the police said. Beijing Chaoyang District Police Bureau was not available to comment the case Monday. The hoax has caused worries about the violation of privacy in the virtual world, and raised questions about how much the blogger and the websites should be held responsible.
Yu Guofu, a lawyer with Beijing Sam & Partners Law Firm, said the blogger will face legal consequences, because the violators of laws in the virtual world - an extension of the real world - should be punished as well. But the difference, Yu said, is how quickly illegal content can be spread on the Internet, and how difficult it is to collect proof of a crime on the Internet.
The Internet providers, including portal websites and forums, produce no content but provide a platform. They might have facilitated the violation of people's rights on purpose or by mistake, Yu said. But whether the websites should face legal consequences is unclear.
Chu Meng, with the portal website tianya.cn where netizens posted the content of the blog featuring Yan, said the company has measures to block illegal information with certain procedures. The website company has the right to remove illegal content including porn, violence and anti-government information. Concerning other content, if complaints are made with proof that something is false, the website will delete that posting. Otherwise, the website will be held responsible for the false information being disseminated. Though the massive flow of opinions and information on the Internet has its pros and cons, the Web is still a place for freedom of speech for all people, Chu said. "We count on laws," she said of measures to protect privacy and reputation on the Internet. "We also count on fairness and justice in people's hearts."
(Global Times) 'HIV prostitute' blog is hoax cooked up by ex-lover: Police. October 20, 2009.
Yan Deli, who was said to be infected with HIV/ AIDS and was a prostitute, was found not to have HIV/AIDS after taking the test in Rongcheng county, Hebei Province Sunday. Earlier Yan's pictures and the claims that she had HIV/AIDS and had infected her clients were found on the Internet, including the clients' phone numbers. However, Yan's family alleges the posting was slanderous. Yan told the Wuhan Evening News that she never posted those photos, nor did any media interviews.
Rongcheng police are investigating and are requesting Beijing police to coordinate a file and solve the case.
The local police suspect Yan's ex-boyfriend as the culprit. The married man surnamed Yang works in the Demolition and Relocation office in Beijing may have plotted the scandal. "Yang not only has access to the sex videos and pregnancy diagnosis, but also has the motivation to defame her," a local police officer said.
Yang demanded compensation for their break-up this summer, and started a fight with her family. Later, leaflets were circulated in her village, claiming she was pregnant due to being in the sex trade in Beijing. Printed on the leaflets allegedly were her nude photos and her family members' mobile numbers, as well as a family picture. Her home in Jiaguang village, Rongcheng county, was hit with petrol bomb on August 26, Rongcheng police said.
(DPA) German media’s coverage of China shallow: academics October 16, 2009.
Two academics on Wednesday criticized the German media’s coverage of Chinese news as shallow, but a former German TV correspondent rejected the claims in a debate at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“They create the impression among German people that any dissident point of view in China is instantly suppressed,” said Thomas Heberer, a political science professor and China specialist at Duisburg University. “That’s the bias.” Heberer said that hearing about biased and shallow reporting had prompted ordinary Chinese to feel solidarity with the government last year and thus increased the sense of legitimacy of the political elite.
“The main problem is that the media are highly selective,” said the other professor, Kai Hafez of Germany’s Erfurt University. “They don’t report day-to-day politics, but sensational oddities,” he said.
Describing his analysis of reports during unrest in Tibet and the Olympic Games last year, he appealed to German correspondents to interview more ordinary Chinese instead of always calling the same experts, human rights activists or dissidents.
Stefan Niemann, a former Beijing correspondent for ARD public television, rejected the charges, saying reporters for German newspapers and broadcasters were no less fair in China than anywhere else. “Putting a focus on human rights issues during the Olympic Games was appropriate,” he said. He said people who spoke to correspondents were often intimidated later by Chinese secret police.
The debate was organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, a think tank associated with the German Greens party. The Berlin foundation commissioned the analysis by Heberer, Hafez and others, using 9,000 reports in German about China last year. A report is to be published at the start of next year.
(Deutsche Welle) October 16, 2009.
On October 14, the Heinrich Böll Foundation hosted a public forum at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The topic was, "News from the Evil Nation?" The guests and the audience discussed the issue of whether western media coverage of China had predisposed biases and whether the hidden rule of journalism that "only negative news is good news" is still applicable in an era of globalization.
The forum host (Aida Mayer of the Heinrich Böll Foundation) made a brief introduction about the background of the discussion forum: "In recent years, the image of China has changed in the German media. The Chinese and German media are accusing each other of 'brain-washing' their public and charging each other's journalists with lack of professionalism. So we would like to ask, What are the disagreements between China and Germany? The Heinrich Böll Foundation has even conducted a special media research project on this subject. We are holding this discussion forum at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the hope that we can share our viewpoints here."
Professor Kai Hafez of the University of Erfurt is one of the researchers in the Heinrich Boell Foundation research project on media reporting of China. Professor Hafez said that he raised the question when the project began: How much do Germans know about China or its people? Professor Hafez's answer today is the same as what he began with: "Generally speaking, Germans do not know much about China. They may in fact know nothing."
Hafez said that German schools teach very little about China. Apart from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and large construction projects such as the Three Gorges Dam, they present almost nothing about China. It is far from adequate to understand such a large nation based upon so little knowledge. Professor Hafez believes that because the knowledge base about China is so puny, the German media must provide remedial lessons for the German people through their reporting on China.
University of Duisberg political science professor and China expert Thomas Heberer pointed out that have been especially more negative reports about China since the 1990's. This is related to the rise of China and the anxiety of Germany. "The German-language media often only see one aspect of China. In truth, there are other aspects of China. The main angle in German media reporting is the human rights violations in China. But China is also a nation that is developing rapidly socially and economically. But the German media frequently ignore that."
Professor Heberer gave an example about a German magazine printing "Yellow Spies" on the cover with a photo of a Chinese person. This sort of provocation will naturally hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and draw their protests.
NDR TV's international affairs team director Stefan Niemann, who was the Beijing correspondent for the ARD public television in Germany for many years, admitted that the German media have made many mistakes in their reporting. These mistakes are often unacceptable and embarrassing. "For example, in reporting on the Tibet incident, they described the Nepalese police as Chinese police. This is a terrible reporting mistake. There is a lot of rubbish in the media reporting. But this is not just reports about China. The poor reporting also occurs reports about other nations. But I still believe that the German media has raised its level in both quantity and quality of reporting about China."
Niemann also said that some people say that German correspondents always interview the same "familiar" faces (namely, those so-called dissidents) and won't make contact with other Chinese. Niemann said: "We must realize that China is not the same as Germany. They do not have the kind of NGO's which can organize the contacts. As foreign correspondents, it is hard to find suitable people to interview. There are just a few courageous so-called dissidents who are not afraid of retaliation from the government. It is not that we only interview a few dissidents out of 1.3 billion Chinese people. The practical conditions make it hard. But if you observe carefully, you will see that the reports about the economic progress in China will be about the lives of ordinary people. We do not listen only to the voices of dissidents."
Niemann admitted that the media are more willing to publish negative reports to draw audience concern, even to create a sensational effect. To Professor Hafez, this type of hidden rule that "only negative news is good news" is out-moded and even counter-productive. "I can say that 99% of the overseas Chinese are like the Chinese in China in that they believe western media reports of China are negative and biased. This has caused the Chinese government to gain more trust among its people. The German media had the goal of reporting on human rights violation in China in order to trigger political changes. This has not happened. In fact, the actual situation is the complete opposite."
The guests and the audience members hold different viewpoints about German media coverage of China. But when the meeting ended, everybody generally agreed on one thing: The viewpoints propagated by the media are not necessarily the viewpoints of the public. The public has a right to have their own viewpoints on something. They have the right not to agree with the media reports. This is the most basic realization of freedom of speech and freedom of press.
(New America Media) China Taxi Strike Uncovers 'Real Journalism'. By Xujun Eberlein. November 9, 2008.
This week began with shocking news from my hometown. On Monday and Tuesday, an unusual taxi strike swept through all the streets in the urban area of Chongqing, one of the largest cities in China. While international reporters found excitement, local media worried about the city's image, residents experienced inconvenience, and the cab drivers on strike were angry and desperate. My biggest concern was how the city government would react. Never an optimist, I always fear the worst.
I visit Chonqging about once a year, and the taxi is my primary means of transportation in the city. With a writer's habits, I always chat with the drivers. During all these years I don't remember meeting a single cab driver who was content. I learned that many of them were laid-off factory workers. They were bitter with the factory management who sold them out, and, after losing their familiar jobs, driving a taxi is one of the few options left to them to make a living. They complain that they have to make unreasonably big daily payments to the taxi companies, often more than what they collect in fares.
Last year, when I visited Chongqing, I saw a long line of taxies waiting on a street with no passengers around. Chongqing's taxies mostly use compressed natural gas (CNG), and filling up is apparently a slow process, hence the long lines. I remember the tank takes about half of the car's trunk, with insufficient space left for passenger luggage. It is always a challenge to fit in my bags at the airport.
Knowing how hard it is for the cabbies to make a living in my hometown, I often try to pay a bit more than the regulated fee. When I do this, my sister blames me for "upsetting China's market prices." Still, I had never expected a strike. Strike is just not something that happens often in China. The consequence could be dire. Unlike Western countries, there are no unions to represent workers' interests. There is only the official union in state-owned factories, no different from any other government agency from the perspective of workers.
In the early morning hours of Monday, November 3rd, however, passengers in Chongqing waiting to go to work by cab were the first to discover them missing from the streets. At the same time, some drivers unaware of the strike, were stopped by their colleagues. Tempers flared, and some 20 to 30 cabs had their top lights smashed, according to reports.
Within hours, several national outlets of the official media, such as China Daily (China Daily), Xinhuanet.com, and People.com.cn, published the first eyewitness reports, which included interviews with taxi drivers and customers alike. The frankness of those reports surprised me.
While it was good to see a refreshing departure from the familiar bureaucratic style of official news, the real journalism approach was certainly not as widespread as I would have liked. On the same day, another official agency, China News, published a curt and rigid briefing of the situation, in the usual manner that conceals as much bad news as possible. It opens with a description of the all-city strike as "a partial number of taxis that met with obstruction and were unable to operate normally." It ends with the conclusion that "by 4 pm of [November] 3rd, 1,000 taxies had resumed operation," with no mention that the total number of taxies on strike was about 9,000. The strike, in fact, went on for another day, through Tuesday. It was not until Wednesday morning that the government announced the full resumption of normal operation of all taxies.
On Monday, when I searched to see how Chongqing's local papers reported the incident, the only thing I found was the curt report from China News, reprinted in Chongqing's Morning News.
Meanwhile, I watched on-line with great concern as the incident unfolded. The city government reacted quickly. An urgent meeting was held Monday morning, and police began to investigate. When cctv.com reported Monday afternoon that the Chongqing Bureau of Roads and Transportation Management said "a small number of individuals controlled this all-city strike," the familiar gun-powder scented term "a small number of individuals" made me seriously worry about violent conflict. That term had preceded every crackdown and wave of large-scale arrests following mass demonstrations in China.
Instead, on Tuesday afternoon, the spokesman for the city government acknowledged that the main cause of the strike was the recent "illegal increase" in drivers' daily fees to the taxi companies. Consequently, the government ordered the companies to reduce the fee to last year's level. The spokesman also promised to increase the supply of natural gas in response to the complaints that the cabs had to wait for hours each day to refill.
The tension eased after this, and the cab drivers gradually returned to work. I communicated with friends and relatives in Chongqing, and they assured me the crisis had passed more or less as reported. What a relief.
On Wednesday morning, however, I was again alerted by a headline on sina.com.cn: "Chongqing taxies completely recover operation; unlawful elements arrested." Unlawful elements? Another term smelling of gun-powder. I know my Chongqing townsmen. They are upright guys with firecracker tempers and soft hearts. They might have broken someone's top light in anger, an anger that, as a cabbie relative put it, arose from an "unbearable" situation. But they are hardly unlawful elements, and wouldn't have taken the risk except out of desperation. I certainly hoped no one would be thrown in jail.
A careful read of the report, however, indicates inaccuracy of the headline. The spokesman said the government caught some people hitting top lights on others' vehicles, and was "educating and admonishing" them. The government also apologized to Chongqing's people for its ineffective management of the taxi industry. Another thing one doesn't see happen very often.
The latest news was that, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, a top leader held a televised meeting with representatives of the taxi drivers and citizens to discuss their requests. Bo Xilai, who is not only the Party secretary of Chongqing but also a CCP politburo member, listened to the drivers' grievances for three hours (China Daily). This was a gracious move and I applaud it.
I wasn't satisfied that, in the press conferences, the government spokesman kept using the China News expression that "taxis met with obstruction and were unable to operate normally" in describing the strike, though he did abandon the qualification "a partial number."
He also failed to acknowledge that the root of the problem, as many folk analysts active on the Chinese cyberspace have pointed out, lies in the system itself. That is, the government has delegated the power to taxi companies to issue operation licenses. While the only way for a driver to obtain such a license is to become an employee of a taxi company, there is no mechanism to prevent the company from exploiting the driver.
But my overall reaction is relief. I'm relieved by the peaceful ending of the strike. I'm relieved by Chongqing government's benign willingness to solve the problems. Evidently, China is changing. It would have been better if the government noticed the problems before an extreme measure like a strike had to be taken, but that might be too high an expectation of any government.
(Caijing) Chaotic Taxi Strike Pays Off in Chongqing. By Li Weiao and Deng Hai. November 15, 2008.
A two-day strike by more than 8,000 taxi drivers in Chongqing, China’s largest municipality, ended peacefully after the city government pledged to address grievances and allow formation of a long-sought trade union. Calm returned after taxi drivers returned to work November 5. The incident formally closed the next day, after the local Communist Party secretary, Bo Xilai, called for a taxi driver union during a roundtable discussion with drivers and citizens. But tensions ran high in the city of 13 million during the walkout, which began on a Monday morning. Taxi drivers refused to take passengers, forcing commuters into packed buses. Businesses were disrupted, rendering the city dysfunctional. Violence erupted as well. Strikers attacked some of the few drivers who stayed on the job. Drivers who picked up passengers had their cars blocked, or even smashed.
What prompted such a large-scale strike by taxi drivers? The municipality’s deputy secretary, Cui Jian, offered a four-point explanation. First, he said, drivers were upset about the management fees collected by taxi companies. In the past year, Cui said, companies set fees arbitrarily, charging each driver between 10,000 and 20,000 yuan a year. In addition, some drivers think the base fare – 5 yuan – is too low. Fuel shortages, which led to long queues at filling stations, was a third complaint. Another reason for the walkout, Cui said, was the prevalence of unlicensed “black taxis” whose drivers compete against legitimate taxis for customers.
Disgruntled drivers who spoke with Caijing also cited the rising cost of living. “I think the real reason is that living costs are going up,” a driver who refused to be named said November 6. “Our people’s incomes have not risen at the same pace or level (as costs). Instead we earn less than before. We only earn 2,000 yuan per month, no matter how hard we work.”
Wang Shaolong, a driver with the Gaobo Taxi Co., said take-home wages have actually fallen over the past decade. “Ten years ago, we earned more than 3,000 per month,” Wang said. “But now we only earn 2,000. We earn less even though we work harder.” A taxi driver well known in Chongqing for filing a lawsuit against local traffic police, Yang Xiaoming, said reasons for the strike can be found in the official statement as well as on the street. But he argued that a fundamental reason is the method of profit distribution at taxi companies. Tension caused by conflicting interests in the local taxi industry has been growing, Yang said, and the bubble was bound to burst someday. Moreover, drivers lack job protection, which affects their benefits such as social security, as well as labor relations and workloads.
Amid the turmoil, party secretary Bo called in department heads to analyze the strike. Immediately, a plan was launched: Public transportation was expanded, taxi companies were urged to encourage drivers back to work, supplies of the natural gas that fuels local taxis increased, and the city pledged to fight black taxis more strenuously. The party faulted the city transportation commission for “not being responsible for a long time” and said it “should be held responsible.” The party and city administrators ordered transportation chief Ding Chun to pinpoint mistakes, name those responsible for the strike, and impose penalties.
Ding submitted a punishment report to the party committee November 5. Afterward, police said they were investigating persons who allegedly manipulated the strike. In a November 7 interview with Caijing, city government spokesperson Zhou Bo said those involved in the violence against picket line-crossing drivers had broken the law and should be punished. “But we should differentiate between deliberate behavior and the normal appeals of drivers,” Zhou said. “We should not impose theoretical concepts on normal behavior.”
Four press conferences were held by the city government between the afternoon of November 3 – the strike’s first day – and the afternoon of November 5. Thus, city officials on the one hand dealt directly with the matter but, on the other, tried to win media support through public relations. “In today’s Internet era, hiding things does not help,” said Zhou. “It will only make things worse.” Meet the Drivers. By 6 p.m. on November 4, some 80 percent of the city’s taxi drivers had returned to work. And by 8 a.m. the next day, transportation was back to normal. But the city government had more work to do. To defuse the tension, a meeting was arranged by Bo and other government officials with 40 taxi drivers, 20 citizen representatives, five taxi company representatives, and two fuel station representatives.
The discussion was aired live by a local TV news channel, a radio station, the Xinhua News Chongqing channel, the People’s Daily Net and other media. It was also podcast live on the Internet. Bo and other officials sat among the taxi drivers. The atmosphere was relaxed; no one at the table sat behind a name card. The conversation lasted three, peaceful hours. People spoke freely. “We did not arrange (the discussion) or decide who would speak or when,” city spokesperson Zhou said. “Otherwise, the audience would know and feel anxious, which would make things even worse.” Bo brought a stack of paper that a participating official told Caijing was “a collection of the most outrageous critiques from the Internet about the drivers’ strike.” The insurance issue was raised by one driver, even though another driver who attended told Caijing that his “company leader told us we should not raise medical and pension insurance issues at the meeting.” At the end, Bo made several promises, including pledges to “crack down on black taxis,” ease the fuel crunch, and reduce the management fee. Also, government officials said they would continue negotiating with taxi companies in hopes of lowering management fees. The open discussion led to positive media coverage and Internet reviews, and many have argued that it improved the government’s credibility.
One incredible aspect of the strike was that almost every driver in the city was involved, even though none belong to an organized union. A proposal for a taxi driver union was raised as early as 2005. But the plan was rejected. Drivers later repeated their wish from time to time, but never was the request well received. “We thought a labor union would be impossible,” Yang said. “So we did not mention it again.”
So it was quite a surprise when, toward the end of the meeting with drivers, Bo embraced the union idea. “We have an association for taxi companies, but we do not have an association for taxi drivers,” he said. “I think in the future taxi drivers should have an organization to more effectively and regularly make their appeals.” Forming an association for taxi drivers is “a systematic guarantee,” Bo said. Yang said he “will definitely compete” for the position of leader of the future union. Such a union chief should have integrity and represent the interests of drivers, he said.
Would an organized and empowered drivers’ association strengthen to the point of competing against the government, making it more difficult for the government to deal with similar cases? Zhou said city officials don’t think so. “This is surely a difficult question that Secretary Bo answered for us,” Zhou told Caijing. “We will not see a taxi driver association as a rival against the government, but as a communication channel to better understand their wishes and requests. We have confidence and the ability.”
Forward to now ...
(Beijing News via People.com.cn) October 17, 2009.
As one of the earliest private entrepreneurs to enter the public transportation industry, Lai Qiang managed to accumulate more than 100 million yuan in personal worth. In 1992, Lai Qiang founded the Yuqiang Corporation which was involved in public transportation, real estate development/management and driver training. The company had more than 20 subsidiaries.
In addition, Lai Qiang was a two-term Chongqing city People's Congress delegate, a member of the Chinese Communist Party Political Consultative Conference standing committee member of the Banan district in Chongqing city, the Banan district Chamber of Commerce chairman as well as the holder other prominent positions in the business community in Chongqing.
As of 2007, Chongqing began to recuperate the public transportation from private operations to state operations. Lai Qiang's Yuqiang Corporation began to lose its market position. After considering the complicated conflicts over interests, Lai Qiang decided to resort to extra-legal methods.
According to previously disclosed information by the Chongqing police, Lai Qiang was suspected og organizing and directing mafia-like organized crimes. In addition, his wife Wu Shuqin has been arrested for being a member of an organized crime gang. His brother-in-law Wu Shufeng has been arrested for participating in an organized crime gang. His brother-in-law He Yonghong is suspected of being a member of an organized crime gang, running illegal businesses, disturbing the peace, forging an accountant's certificate, making up accounting records, etc. Two more affiliates (You Gang and Lai Deming) of Lai Qiang are suspected of causing social disturbance and other crimes.
According to information, Lai Qigang is suspected of instigating the November 3rd cab driver strike in Chongqing last year. Wu Shufeng and He Yonghong may be the leaders of that incident, and You Gang and Lai Deming vandalized any cabs which dared to operate. On the day when Lai Qing was brought in for interrogation, his mobile phone kept receiving SMS messages from "informed sources" to tell him to flee.
For example, at the 20th second of Part 3, there is a photo of the Urumqi city public security bureau command center and its video screens. Hmmm, id you know that they run Windows XP there?
According to a report in <Guangzhou Daily> on October 17, Communist Party Central Political Bureau member and Chongqing city Party Secretary Bo Xilai attended the World Chinese Newspaper Industry Association's annual conference and presented the latest developments in the anti-crime campaign in Chongqing.
Bo Xilai stated frankly, "We did not get into fighting crime by ourselves. The organized crime powers left us no choice."
"Citizens gathered in front of the city government office. They raised photos of nerve-wrecking bloodshed. The criminals used machetes to hack people just like butchers slaughter animals. It was unbearable to watch. Last year, we confiscated knives and axes which were piled up like a mountain. Those were not ordinary daggers. They were machetes!"
"We believe that that the complaints from the masses must be treated with importance, because they affect the lives and safety of people." Bo Xilai said, "Xie Caiping drew a cut in receipts from a gambling den inside a five-star hotel. This is something that not even the Daoguang Emperor and governor Lin Zexu of the Qing dynasty would have tolerated."
"These crime organizations were so brazen because they have protective umbrellas above them. The anti-crime campaign has been very important to the people, were welcomed it greatly. The government wants the people to make reports. The citizens support the campaign. 80% of the complaints have been made by people using their real names. This shows that the masses love Chongqing a great deal." "There are still many difficulties ahead in the anti-crime campaign. There are many problems. But with the support of the masses, we will win the battle against the crime organizations."
After reading the media report, I sensed that Bo Xilai was forced to enter the fight. "We did not go into fighting crime by outselves." He seemed to be saying that he did not come looking for a fight. However, the criminals were too vicious and cruel when they used knives to hack people "like butchers slaughtering animals." As a result, "Citizens gathered in front of the city government office. They raised photos of nerve-wrecking bloodshed."
So it was the people and not the criminal forces which forced Bo Xilai to fight crime. When the criminals are running amok and the government does not act, the masses will act on their own.
I believe that crime organizations should be actively eradicated as soon as they emerge. If crime busting is not standard behavior until the people suffered greatly in lives and property, it is too late. The reason why the crime organizations blossom to maturity is because no enough attention were being paid to eradicate them during normal times!
Crime organizations proliferate because they had protective umbrellas. Did the protective umbrellas protect crime organizations because they have their own protective umbrellas above them? Let us hope that it is not left up to the people to force the protective umbrellas of protective umbrellas come out.
Examples of the viciousness of the Chongqing crime gangs are found at Chongqing Fisherman Buys Newspaper Ad To Thank Government and China corruption trial exposes capital of graft (Malcolm Moore, Telegraph)
Mainland Affairs Council chairman Lai Shin-yuan and Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (Democratic Progressive Party) debate.
(6park) It is almost impossible to hear anything when two people talk simultaneously. But the pearls of wisdom from Kuan Bi-ling include: "A shameless government!" "Go back and eat yourselves because the people of Taiwan spit on you," "Lai Shin-yuan does not dare to resist even as she is being raped -- Lai Shin-yuan is shameless and has no dignity," "I don't care about my image. Sue me if you like!"
According to the commentary in China Review News, "We are astonished by the speech from Kuan Bi-ling. What interest propel such a political to publicly use such vulgar language on legislative business? This is really giving the next generation a bad lesson. Most citizens, whether 'blue' or 'green,' are not going to like this kind of talk!"
The placard may explain Kuan Bi-ling's 'interest': "The Kuomintang and the Chinese Communists are selling out Taiwan."
(Seeking Alpha) Jim Rogers on the next 10 years. By Heather Bell. October 11, 2009.
I’m moving to China … possibly to live in a bunker. At least that was my inclination after listening to a presentation by Jim Rogers Thursday.
Now don’t get me wrong―Mr. Commodities wasn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, his talk was both informative and highly entertaining. But Rogers doesn’t sugarcoat things―he’s very matter-of-fact about his concerns and projections for the future. And most of them don’t bode well for the U.S.
1. The 21st century belongs to China
According to Rogers, the 19th century was the era of the British Empire and the 20th century was the U.S.’ heyday. But the 21st century is China’s (though the rest of Asia is definitely going to get a boost too).
The reasons for this are many, but some points brought up by Rogers include the following:
- The Chinese want to live like we do;
- They are more eager to work;
- They are better at saving;
- There are 1.5 billion Chinese citizens (and 3 billion people in all of Asia), and we owe them money. They are, according to Rogers, “among the best capitalists in the world.”
There will be some setbacks, of course, Rogers says, but these are opportunities. “If you see setbacks in China, you should pick up the phone and get more involved,” he advised, before adding his favorite refrain, “The best advice of any kind that I can give you is to teach your children and grandchildren Chinese.”
China’s path to world domination started with Deng Xiaoping’s capitalist programs in 1978, and there hasn’t been any looking back since. Rogers views China’s dominance as nigh-on unstoppable except for one little thing: its water problem. There are parts of the country that are running out of water, and when the water disappears, Rogers points out, so does civilization. However, the country is acting aggressively to combat the problem, and he doesn’t view it as that much of a threat.
(Chengdu Business News opinion column, Chen Jibing's blog) Thoughts on the traitorous talk from Jim Rogers. October 15, 2009.
The international investment guru Jim Rogers has once again used sharp words to express his pessimism about the American dollar. This is no doubt going to add even more pressure on the weak American dollar. In early October, Rogers warned the Chinese and Japanese governments in a public speech to sell their American bonds now as opposed to five or ten years down the road "in order to prevent even bigger losses."
To emphasize this view, Rogers said sarcastically: "Actually, the Chinese and Japanese government are continuing to buy American treasury bonds for which I am personally pleased because I am selling them. China and Japan are helping to keep the American dollar strong and this has allowed me to fetch a good price." I remembered that on a similar occasion one or two years ago, Rogers told an audience who challenged this viewpoint: "Fortunately, I still hold some American dollars. I really want to sell them to you. I hope you give me Renminbi."
Each time that I hear this kind of talk, I am pensive. Jim Rogers was born in the Untied States. If his motherland was China, he would have been drowned by the saliva from people criticizing him in the newspapers and on the Internet. As an American citizen, Rogers can say that China is the next superpower and gleefully compare the decline of America with that of the British empire. Apart from being satisfied, shouldn't the Chinese audience reflect that this guy would be branded a total "traitor" according to our standard logic? Over here, Mao Yushi uttered a couple of sentences to express his disapproval of certain government policies, and he was cursed out as "a running dog of hostile western forces" (or even more vicious terms). Yet Rogers had no compunction to reveal the close relationship between his own personal financial interests and his poor opinion of the American dollar right out in public!
Rogers did not have to worry that he might become the Mao Yushi of American netizens. On the contrary, the publicity-hungry Rogers only longed for his words to be strongly criticized in the United States! In checking out the major American newspapers, I only found an article by Michael Shulman in TIME magazine that questioned Rogers' "pro-China, anti-American" position. It was more like a lament than a doubt -- this essay timidly asked: Is China really as perfect as Rogers says? Is American really as worthless as Rogers says? Even with such a theme, the essay was still filled with sentences such as "there is no doubt that China is a superpower," the American political culture is a total mess" and so on.
I want to tell the Chinese readers that America became the world's top superpower after the demise of the British Empire precisely because they kept having people like Rogers and speeches like those. The legal system and the social culture of the United States guarantee that people like Rogers will always have living space in that nation. No matter whether they are right or wrong and no matter what their motives are, their existence will constantly remind the American people and their government that America will never be perfect. In other words, as long as people like Rogers and their critical comments of America exist, America will never go into decline so easily.
This discussion is not merely about "freedom of speech" or "diversity of thinking" within a system. It is more about national psychology and social culture. Of course, system and culture influence and impact each other. In my view, if a nation is strong enough, there is no need to worry about any criticisms (including baseless smears); if it is not strong enough, there is even greater need to listen to criticism in order to improve itself. If we are not psychologically prepared to do that yet, then it shows that we are still psychologically weak. The most important reason why the weak cannot become strong quickly is the unwillingness to listen to different voices.
Therefore I really liked what a Chinese portal once did -- in recommending the essays of Mao Yushi, the editor carefully designed a column titled "a national treasure." People like Jim Rogers and Mao Yushi who dare to articulate contrarian opinions that make people uneasy are truly the treasures of the United States and China, even though I usually disagree with many of their specific viewpoints.
(South China Morning Post) Pan-democrats' little placard joke lost in a grammatical blind alley By Albert Wong. October 15, 2009.
Was Donald Tsang Yam-kuen trying to crack a joke or was he guilty of the very mistake he accused the pan-democrats of? That was the question after the chief executive responded to the placards brandished by pro-democracy lawmakers in the Legislative Council by suggesting they should brush up on their English.
The 23 pan-democrats, who occupied three rows of seats in the chamber, held up placards throughout the delivery of the policy address, with one row forming the sentence, "Bow tie, keep your election promise."
During a break, Tsang observed: "Looks like there's a grammatical mistake. In singular form, there should be an 's' on the word 'keep'."
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan felt compelled later to offer Tsang a language lesson.
"The sentence is a command," he said. "I don't know what English he learned in which there should be an `s'."
Tsang said what he meant was that the placard should have read, "Bow tie keeps his election promise," but that since it could not be the intention of the democrats to praise him, "I don't know what they are trying to say".
Tsang may have been thinking of George Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language, in which the author noted that "political chaos is connected with the decay of language".
As they did a year ago, missiles flew in the chamber - and this time one of them hit its target, Legco president Tsang Yok-sing. Fortunately, it was only a soft toy in the form of a nunchaku, a martial-arts weapon. It may not have caused any physical injury, but the projectile hurled by League of Social Democrats lawmaker Wong Yuk-man certainly hurt his feelings. The president noted it was the first time such a missile had hit someone in the chamber, and condemned the act.
In early July, a netizen using the name "Xiao Qiang" wrote more than 14,000 words on his blog along with seven telephone conversation recordings. The post titled <Kindheartedness did not gain good retribution> was read more than 270,000 times and re-posted. "Xiao Qiang" described a three-year love affair with a married woman named Liao during which he gave all his savings (totaling more than 1 million yuan) to Liao before finally learning that the whole thing was a confidence game set up by Liao and her husband. Netizens who read the blog post condemned Liao and very quickly used "human flesh search" to find her telephone, home address, company, personal ID number, car license number and photos. Netizens even set up QQ groups for the purpose of setting up a fund to help "Xiao Qiang."
On October 12, Liao Minling met with the press and gave her side of the story.
Liao said that she waited only now to meet the public for at least two reasons. First of all, she and her family have been distressed emotionally as a result of this very public incident. But more importantly, she was working with the police and her lawyer to collect evidence. "These evidence have now been scrutinized by the police and the court has accepted my civic lawsuit. Therefore, I have decided to come out."
Liao showed the press her evidence, which included the title deed to an apartment, bank transfer receipts, her son's tuition payment, loan promissory notes, stock transaction records, etc.
Liao said, "In 2004, I was a nurse at a hospital. I was featured in a newspaper for meritorious work. Xiao Qiang read the newspaper and wrote me a 6 page letter. He is a good writer and he writes very well. That was how we got acquainted." She said that her relationship with her husband was at a low point at the time, and Xiao Qiang took advantage of her vanity and loneliness. During that period, Liao said some amorous things to Xiao Qing over the telephone, which he recorded.
As for the monetary relationship, Liao said that Xiao Qiang had helped her to make money from stock investments. With an initial investment of 50,000 yuan, she made 260,000 yuan over three years. But Xiao Qing suddenly said that all the earnings were borrowed from loan sharks. "He said that he had seven recordings of telephone conversations with me. If I didn't give him 610,000 yuan, I would publish them on the Internet."
Liao said that she struggled for a long time before finally telling her husband. "My husband is a businessman in Panyu. He is not an unemployed crime gang member as Xiao Qiang reported. He understood and supported me. So we signed an agreement with Xiao Qiang to repay him, with the condition that he would leave us alone afterwards." But when the money was repaid, Xiao Qiang continued to demand money. When she refused, he posted the recordings onto the Internet.
As for the other evidence, Liao said: "The housing certificate showed that the apartment is worthy 340,000 yuan. I used my old apartment as collateral to obtain the mortgage. I make money payments. It is not true that Xiao Qiang gave me 600,000 yuan to buy it. The bank statements show that I use a credit car for my own spending. It is not true that he gave me money to buy things. It is the same thing with my son's tuition, the baby formula milk powder ..."
Liao expressed her anger at the "Internet violence." "After Xiao Qiang made the blog post, countless number of netizens ran 'human flesh searches' on me and my family. Without knowing the truth, they made insulting remarks and caused distress for me and my family. I hope that I am the last victim of this type of 'human flesh search'."
Xiao Qiang has not made any public statements ever since the last blog post on July 16. He had told reporters that he had to leave Xunde city because he owed money to loan sharks. So no matter what Liao Minling says, he will not come out due to concerns about the safety of himself and his family.
In the matter of the "most awesome military regiment commander's wife," a response has come from the Xinjiang Construction Army Regiment. The original Internet post had appeared on October 7 and retold the story about an incident that occurred on the morning of October 6. It was said that the Xinjiang 221st Construction Army Regiment's commander had slapped a 19-year-old female guide twice after the latter asked the former not to touch a wall painting in the Mogao Caves.
On October 10, the Xinjiang Construction Army Regiment information office made a response at the Tianya Forum to say that "this incident has draw a high degree of attention from the Regiment's leader. At present, the Regiment is following up with the relevant departments and will announce the results of the investigation in a timely manner. We thank the broad masses of Internet users for their concern and support of the Regiment!"
Yesterday night, the Xinjiang Construction Army Regiment information office sent another message to the Tianya Forum: "With respect to the Internet post about the incident in which a certain Regiment deputy commander and hisi wife clashed with scenic site workers, it is now established that the two principals (Chen Wei and Yu Fuqin) were traveling on holiday driving government vehicles in Dunhuang, Gansu province and clashed with local scenic site workers. The incident has created an extremely bad influence on society. The Communist Party standing committee of the Twelfth Agricultural Division of the Regiment has decided to relieve Chen Wei as the Twelfth Division 221st Regiment deputy director and party standing committee member and Yu Fuqin as the 22st Regiment Hospital party secretary."
Our reporter contacted Zhang Nan at the said information office. He confirmed that the information office had forwarded the information to the Tianya Forum. Due to the emergency to let netizens know the outcome, they posted the information onto the Internet before even the officially stamped document was even ready. A formal notice will be issued today. According to Zhang Nan, they did a lot of work on the three days since they first learned about the incident on October 9.
On October 11, FTV reported on the lax security at the Maokong cable car facilities. The program showed Taipei legislator Hung Chien-yi (of the Democratic Progressive Party), his female assistant and a FTV camera crew of two entering a Maokong facility totally unchallenged. According to the FTV reporter, the station was only secured by wood boards and padlocks, and it would be exceedingly easy to break in and steal all the valuable equipment.
(China Times) On October 12, the Taipei city government accused Hung Chien-yi of staging the FTV news story. At its press conference, they showed a surveillance video in which three men and one woman break a lock to enter an empty Maokong station. The transit company has filed a police report about the break-in. The video showed that at 2:44pm on Sunday, a man wearing the jacket of Taipei legislator Hung Chien-yi broke a lock and led two men and one woman to enter the empty Maokong station. At 2:49pm, the female was obtained to place materials belonging to the station into her bag.
(United Daily News) In response to press inquiries, Hung Chien-yi said that "I opened up the wooden boards" and nobody else did. He emphasized that he did not "kick down" the door. Rather, after he was unable to open the door, he "used his hands to force the door open." ... The Taipei city government spokesperson said that the video showed clearly that "a break-in" had happened. When a legislator brings a man carrying a professional camera, "isn't it obvious that this is staged?"
FTV has issued a four-point response. Point 1: Legislator Hung Chien-yi provided the video of the unprotected status of the Maokong station on October 11. The video was take by the legislator two days ago. On October 11, FTV demanded to go see for itself in order to guarantee the truthfulness. Point 2: The destructive behavior that occurred after our reporters arrived at the scene with the legislator is solely the responsibility of the legislator himself and completely unrelated to our reporters. Our reporters have filmed the entire process as evidence. Point 3: FTV will reflect on how to best collect evidence in order to supervise/monitor the government, protect the interests of the people and give recommendations on government policies. We have intended or engaged to create fake news. The video show on October 11 was taken by legislator Hung himself on October 9. Point 4: FTV reserves its right to seek legal redress against anyone who wrongly accuses or misleads public opinion against us and thus damage our reputation.
(TVBS) Legislator Hung Chien-yi held two press conferences yesterday and another one today. For the first time, he said that he is willing to apologize: "Concerning this part, it would be really inappropriate for me to open that door according to how the Taipei city government described. I am willing to apologize here. But society will make its judgment." However, he insisted tht he was supervising/monitoring the city government and he emphasized that he reserves the right to seek legal redress (including suing city government for libel).
(James Fallows) The speech Obama won't ace (plus, WaPo gaffe follow up) October 11, 2009.
I confidently predict that this string will end with his address in Oslo on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. My argument is probabilistic: of the hundreds of addresses that have been given by Nobel laureates (last year's here), exactly one is frequently quoted or referred to. That is William Faulkner's address on receiving the literature prize 60 years ago. The transcript is here, including the best known line: "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail." It's only three minutes long, and you can hear him delivering it below:
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
I only knew of William Faulkner's speech through Gabriel García Márquez's 1982 Nobel Lecture, from which I extract:
On a day like today, my master William Faulkner said, "I decline to accept the end of man". I would fall unworthy of standing in this place that was his, if I were not fully aware that the colossal tragedy he refused to recognize thirty-two years ago is now, for the first time since the beginning of humanity, nothing more than a simple scientific possibility. Faced with this awesome reality that must have seemed a mere utopia through all of human time, we, the inventors of tales, who will believe anything, feel entitled to believe that it is not yet too late to engage in the creation of the opposite utopia. A new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible, and where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth.
On September 30, the Hunan province Shaoyang City Intermediate Court announced the verdict in the initial trial of former Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture governor Du Chongyan on bribery: Du was sentenced to ten years in prison for taking bribes and having unaccounted for wealth. He was fined 200,000 RMB plus the confiscation of 190,000 RMB received in bribes and 2,509,884 RMB whose source could not be explained.
Du Chongyan was born in September 1962 and had previously served as the Xiangxi Tujia/Miao Ethnic Group Autonomous Prefecture deputy party secretary and governor. He was arrested on December 27, 2007 for suspected crimes. According to the procuratorate, Du Chongyan took advantage of his position between 1997 to June 2007 to obtain interests in matters that relate to job promotions, work transfers, construction projects, mining projects and so on. He obtained illegal bribes totaling 1,500,000 RMB either alone or in conjunction with his wife, younger brother and others, of which he personally took in 190,000 RMB. In addition, he also had 1,958,704.12 RMB for which he was unable to explain the source.
Before the arrest of Du Chongyan, he had been placed under "double regulations" by the Hunan provincial party disciplinary committee on account of a sex scandal that was a sensation in 2007: "National People's Congress representative and Regional Governor raped Peking University female student."
<Law and Life> magazine had reported on this scandal in detail under the title of <A night in Beijing for the Regional Governor>. The report began this way: "The female student in the white cotton dress entered a room on the fifth floor of the hotel. A middle-aged man wearing glasses was waiting for her. Three hours later, they opened the door and came out. On the night of January 22, 2007, nobody else knew what happened inside this room." The man was Du Chongyan and the "female student" was Li Qing (a pseudonym), from Baoqing county, Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture. At the time, she was a 21-year-old female Peking University student.
According to the report, Du Chongyan's son and Li Qing were fellow students at Peking University. When Du Chongyan went to Beijing on business, he would invite his son and his fellow students to dine. That was how Du got to know Li. Afterwards, Du was "very attentive" to Li because he was a "hometown government official."
The first "indication" from Du was to say hello to his university classmate (the Baoqing county education department director) and get Li Qing's mother promoted from an ordinary teacher into the department itself. His further "indications" included a 7,680 RMB diamond necklace and a 2,200 RMB watch for her; he transferred Li's uncle from Baoqing county to Jieshou city; he also sang the love song <Hanging mulberries on the lampstand> to Li over the phone; but that was later.
Back to January 22, 2007. At around 8pm that evening, Li Qing accepted the invitation of Du Chongyan and proceeded to the hotel where Du was staying. According to Li Qing's narration, Du raped her inside that room. Lin said that Du intended to make her his lover. But Du miscalculated on one thing -- Li Qing already had a boyfriend at the time. He would the one to derail Du's plan.
Li Qing's boyfriend was named Chen Baoliang, a businessman selling weight-reduction capsules and other products. At the time, Chen was already married. After the "rape" incident, Chen persuaded Li to take revenge against Du. In early April 2007, Chen began to post an essay titled <[Extra] Prefecture governor/National People's Congress delegate raped Peking University female student>. This post generated a huge storm and pushed Du Chongyan to the forefront of public attention. In the battle between Chen and Du, the latter can be said to be "disadvantaged" -- for example, Du's love song to Li over the telephone had been recorded by Chen; Li Qing took Du to a hotel room, while Chen filmed secretly from the ceiling; Chen also posted "complaint materials" that Li Qing wrote out by hand onto certain Beijing university forums.
The scandal-plagued Du Chongyqn had to try various things to save himself. On July 16, 2009, Du filed a complaint to the Xiangxi Prefecture public security bureau that he had been smeared by these Internet posts. On the next day, the parents of Li Qing went to Beijing. The Beijing Haidian police claimed that the three Li family members filed a complaint that Li Qing was forced by Chen to fill out the "complaint materials." It is not know if Du made them to do them. But the Xiangxi government quickly made this news story their headline titled <Peking University female student clarifies the rumor about "the rape by the Prefecture Governor">. The struggle escalated. At 7pm on July 21, 2007, the Xiangxi TV current affairs channel's <News in 50 Minutes> aired two minutes of a recording of an ambiguous conversation between Du and Li. The viewers sat stunned in front of their television sets. Once again this story shook up the whole city.
In fact, this series of incidents has drawn Du Chongyan to the attention of the higher authorities. On July 23, 2007, Du was ordered to proceed to Changsha city for investigation. The next day, the Hunan provincial party disciplinary committee announced that Du has been placed under "double regulations." According to an anonymous source, Du admitted during the interrogation that he had improper relationship with Li in Beijing that night. But Du insisted that Li was naked on the bed waiting for him to come, and it was not a rape.
- October 1-10, 2009
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- August 11-20, 2009
- August 01-10, 2009
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- October 1-10, 2008
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- September 11-20, 2008
- September 1-10, 2008
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