(China Post

The Chinese Taipei silver medalist of the Taekwondo Men Finals for the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games was yesterday released from the hospital after being knocked out — some say, illegally — by his South Korean opponent, who subsequently won the gold.

Tseng Ching-hsiang, the Taiwanese Taekwondo contestant who made it to the 72 kilogram Men Finals Final on Dec. 7, was up against South Korea's Jihoon Song when — only 17 seconds in the square — opponent Song allegedly struck him directly in his throat and caused him to drop to the floor, unconscious.

The judge did not call a foul; instead, Tseng was placed in an ambulance and automatically awarded the silver medal. Song was declared the winner.

In Taekwondo, it is against official rules to hit the opponent's face or neck with your hand or fist. Although the Chinese Taipei team strongly protested the move and urged the umpire to call foul, the judges steadfastly refused, even when later presented with picture evidence of the illegal move.

Executive Yuan minister without portfolio and former education minister, Dr. Ovid J. L. Tseng was shocked at the results. The minister, who was present at the match and arrived back to Taipei yesterday morning, said he was infuriated by what he viewed as the judge's blatant disregard to competition rules. More tellingly, the umpires — including the judges and referee — refused to look at picture evidence of the swelling on Tseng's neck that were obtained shortly after Tseng's fall.

“We can forget the gold medal, but we cannot discard the honor of Taiwan,” declared the Taiwanese minister.

According to Minister Tseng, all those who were present at the final saw clearly that Song had struck Tseng in the neck. Everyone was equally bewildered that the judges failed to call the move a foul. Members of the South Korean team even claimed Song had struck Tseng in the chest, he added.

Before the results were announced, the minister rushed to see Tseng at the hospital. He asked the doctor treating Tseng to provide a medical report and take pictures of his neck. Then he rushed back to the sports center to present the evidence, only to be ignored by judges who bowed after announcing Song the winner, refusing to look at the pictures. Regarding the game results and the judge's decision, silver medalist Tseng admitted that he was vexed; after all his training and practices, he was looking forward to a good fight. Describing how upsetting it was that the finals ended so quickly, Tseng said the fact that there would be no rematch added to his disappointment.

Well, how about letting your lyin' eyes decide for you?


(China Radio International)  Six Caught amid Student Abduction Fear in Shenzhen.  December 9, 2009.

Six people who are suspected of being involved in three cases of student abduction have been caught by police in Shenzhen, Southern China's Guangdong province, Shenzhen Public Security Bureau revealed in a briefing on Tuesday, Xinhuanet.com reports. Two of the three students, all primary or middle school teenagers that were abducted in last two months, were killed by the kidnappers, who had demanded ransoms from parents or relatives, and the other one was rescued, according to the police. 15 people from four separate gangs that were suspected of plannig new rounds of abductions were also caught by police, according to the briefing.

The news came amidst a mounting concern among the parents of the students in Shenzhen, where unconfirmed news on student abduction have been rumored rampantly online in recent months. Earlier, some people have blamed the police for not clarifying the rumored reports and making public the truth, which have added up to the worries of the citizens. Hu Xingdou, a professor from Beijing Institute of Technology, also said, that holding back the truth from the public is harmful to the social stability as it is prone to lead to public panic.

Apple Daily News-In-Motion


(China Daily

8 students die in stampede    By Yani Jie and Feng Zhiwei.  Decmeber 9, 2009.

Xiangxiang's publicity department said the stampede took place just after 9:10 pm when students were rushing back to their dormitories after finishing their evening study session.

About 400 students dashed for one staircase, though there are three others, in the main building because it led to the exit closest to their dorms. It was raining heavily and they did not want to get drenched.

"At 9:30 pm, the lights go off. We had only 20 minutes to return to the dorms and prepare for bed," said 14-year-old Xiao Hong (not her real name), who was lying on a bed in the People's Hospital of Xiangxiang with bruises on her face. "So we had to hurry."

One of the girls lost her footing on the staircase between the second and first floors because rain had made the less than 1.5- m-wide steps slippery, is what most of the witnesses said. As soon as she slipped, the students behind her came tumbling down and ended up on the landing of about 5 sq m.

"There was no light (on the landing)," said Xiao Li (not her real name), 14, from her hospital bed. "Once the students in front fell, the rest crash-landed on them We could only hear cries and screams." Staircases have been overcrowded before, Xiao Li said, but nobody was even injured.

Two of the seriously injured students regained consciousness after more than 12 hours, Central China Television (CCTV) said yesterday afternoon. Three others, who suffered minor injuries, were discharged from hospital after treatment.

A section of the staircase has been cordoned off for further investigation to determine the cause of the stampede, and blood stains could still be seen on the landing yesterday.



Apple Daily News-In-Motion


(China Radio International)  Six Caught amid Student Abduction Fear in Shenzhen.  December 9, 2009.

Six people who are suspected of being involved in three cases of student abduction have been caught by police in Shenzhen, Southern China's Guangdong province, Shenzhen Public Security Bureau revealed in a briefing on Tuesday, Xinhuanet.com reports. Two of the three students, all primary or middle school teenagers that were abducted in last two months, were killed by the kidnappers, who had demanded ransoms from parents or relatives, and the other one was rescued, according to the police. 15 people from four separate gangs that were suspected of plannig new rounds of abductions were also caught by police, according to the briefing.

The news came amidst a mounting concern among the parents of the students in Shenzhen, where unconfirmed news on student abduction have been rumored rampantly online in recent months. Earlier, some people have blamed the police for not clarifying the rumored reports and making public the truth, which have added up to the worries of the citizens. Hu Xingdou, a professor from Beijing Institute of Technology, also said, that holding back the truth from the public is harmful to the social stability as it is prone to lead to public panic.

Apple Daily News-In-Motion


(China Daily

8 students die in stampede    By Yani Jie and Feng Zhiwei.  Decmeber 9, 2009.

Xiangxiang's publicity department said the stampede took place just after 9:10 pm when students were rushing back to their dormitories after finishing their evening study session.

About 400 students dashed for one staircase, though there are three others, in the main building because it led to the exit closest to their dorms. It was raining heavily and they did not want to get drenched.

"At 9:30 pm, the lights go off. We had only 20 minutes to return to the dorms and prepare for bed," said 14-year-old Xiao Hong (not her real name), who was lying on a bed in the People's Hospital of Xiangxiang with bruises on her face. "So we had to hurry."

One of the girls lost her footing on the staircase between the second and first floors because rain had made the less than 1.5- m-wide steps slippery, is what most of the witnesses said. As soon as she slipped, the students behind her came tumbling down and ended up on the landing of about 5 sq m.

"There was no light (on the landing)," said Xiao Li (not her real name), 14, from her hospital bed. "Once the students in front fell, the rest crash-landed on them We could only hear cries and screams." Staircases have been overcrowded before, Xiao Li said, but nobody was even injured.

Two of the seriously injured students regained consciousness after more than 12 hours, Central China Television (CCTV) said yesterday afternoon. Three others, who suffered minor injuries, were discharged from hospital after treatment.

A section of the staircase has been cordoned off for further investigation to determine the cause of the stampede, and blood stains could still be seen on the landing yesterday.



Apple Daily News-In-Motion


(People's Daily)  80 percent of A/H1N1 flu deaths are pregnant women    December 9, 2009.

Statistics show that to date, 80 percent of over 200 A/H1N1 flu deaths in China have been pregnant women, and the majority of them had been pregnant for more than six months, said academician Zhong Nanshan when he visited health service centers in the Jiangnan Zhongjie Community, Haizhu District December 8.

Pregnant women with A/H1N1 flu symptoms should take the Tamiflu as early as possible

Zhong disclosed that statistics show 80 percent of the over 200 A/H1N1 flu deaths in China have been pregnant women, and the majority of them had been pregnant for more than six months.

Zhong added that once the condition of pregnant women who contracted A/H1N1 flu became severe, it is very difficult to cure and there is a high rate of fetal mortality. He suggested that pregnant women who have A/H1N1 flu symptoms such as fever or cough should receive the Tamiflu injection.

(Global Times)  8% A (H1N1) flu deaths were pregnant women: expert    December 9, 2009.

Zhong Nanshan, chairman of the Respiratory Committee of the Chinese Medical Association, and medical consultant to the World Health Organization, said that up until December 8, 8 percent of more than 200 who contracted A (H1N1) flu and died were pregnant women, most of them were over six months pregnant.

He said it would be very difficult for pregnant women to be cured if their conditions became severe and the embryo or fetus has a low rate of survival. Once a pregnant woman has A (H1N1) flu symptoms like fever or cough, Zhong suggests they should take Tamiflu tablets orally.

(Xinhua)  13.7% of China's A/H1N1 flu deaths were pregnant women: ministry.  December 9, 2009.

About 13.7 percent of the deaths from the A/H1N1 influenza in the Chinese mainland were pregnant women, the Ministry of Health announced Wednesday, correcting an earlier figure of eight percent given by a medical expert.

Zhong Nanshan, a medical expert in south China's Guangdong Province, was quoted as saying Wednesday that eight percent of the deaths in mainland were pregnant women. Zhong first gave an overwhelming figure of 80 percent, but later corrected himself.

A notice on the ministry's website said that among the dead patients, 47 percent suffered from chronic diseases and 18 percent were obese. Of the 326 death reported so far, the male gender accounted for 58 percent, the notice said.

(Rose Luqiu's blog)  December 9, 2009.

I found an error in media reporting thanks to the Sina.com microblog service.  The Southern TV host clarified that Zhong Nanshan said 8% and not the 80% as reported in Guangzhou Daily.  He also offered evidence in the form of the tape of Zhong Nanshan speaking.  For insurance, I called up Zhong Nanshan for a telephone interview.  Afterwards, I also read the Yangcheng Wanbao report about Zhong Nanshan calling them up to clarify.  This is interesting.  You might have thought that the media was not at fault but Zhong Nanshan misspoke.

The problem here is that the Southern TV report and our program's report have much less audience reach the the print media.  That 80% figure was sensationalistic and the news portals put it on their front pages.  Since this is carrying someone else's report, they bear no responsibility and they never have to think about whether they paid attention during the process.

In a resourceful media, there are health/medical care reporters.  With their specialized knowledge, they could have served as the initial gatekeeper and reduce commonsense errors.

Amongst all the reporters gathered in Copenhagen, how many have even a rudimentary knowledge about climate change?

At around 11pm two nights ago, someone made an anonymous post at Oeeee.com titled <Shenzhen traffic police: Hand me the money!> along with two photos.  One of them showed a police officer counting a stack of 100 yuan bills.  Another photo showed the police officer making a gesture with this right hand.  The text simply said: "At 21:05 on December 5, 2009, Shenzhen Traffic Police conducted law enforcement at the traffic light in Yantian by Bao'an Boulevard.  They used their authority to detain a truck and took money from the citizen."

As soon as this post came out, many netizens raised their doubts.  How could a traffic policeman be counting the money in front of a crowd?  How could he make a pose for the camera?

Yesterday afternoon, the Shenzhen Police Traffic Police Department held a press conference about the preliminary investigation results of this incident.  According to the police, Operation Tiger Hunt 30 was carried out on the night of December 5 against drunk driving, illegal trucking, etc.  At around 8pm, two overloaded trucks were intercepted including one driven by He Mengyang.  When the police asked He to drive his truck over to the weighing station, he refused and called seven or eight people to interfere with law enforcement.  He Mengyang took out a stack of money bills and handed it over to police officer Li Shihong, who declined.  Police officer Wu Dejun called the traffic police supervisor to notify him about what happened.  In front of the driver and the surrounding crowd of spectators, Wu counted the money to be a total of 3,000 yuan.  During the process, one of He's companions took photos.  The traffic police supervisor came to the scene and Wu Dejun handed the money to him.  Wu Dejun and the driver then went down to the police station to get their statements taken down.

According to the police, someone threatened Wu Dejun during the incident: "We have taken photos of you detaining the truck and taking the money.  Let us settle this in private, or it will be bad for you when the reporters show up.  Or else we can post the photos onto the Internet.  Our company has more than 100 million yuan in assets.  It is very easy for us to cause two police officers to lose their jobs."

Wu Dejun was also at the press conference held by the Shenzhen Traffic Police Department.  He said that he saw people taking photos and he knew what their intention was.  In addition to making a report to his supervisor, he also provided a very detailed statement down at the police station.

When Wu Dejun got to the press conference, he had not yet seen the Internet post.  When he saw the two photos, he said that his mouth was indeed opened in the first photo: "At the time, I was saying out aloud what the count was.  I counted the money bills aloud one by one in order to let the surrounding crowd hear clearly."  As for the Internet post about him taking money from the driver, Wu Dejun said: "This post is too fake.  This was a disgusting act.  It is impossible to use this sort of method to make us back off.  I will continue to enforce the law strictly and maintain traffic safety."

A female Taiwan student at Silla University (Pushan, Republic of Korea) displayed a Republic of China flag on stage during a Korean language competition foreigners and was surrounded by mainland Chinese students.  Fortunately the organizers and her friends protected her and escorted her out.  Afterwards, a Chinese student wrote on his blog that she was an extremist Taiwan independence advocate and called her a "stupid c*nt" and "Taiwanese trash woman."

Apple News-In-Motion


Zhang Chang is currently the honorary chairman of the Hunan Province Writers Association.  As a result of books such as <The Second Handshake>, he holds some influence in the literary scene in Hunan province.  At 66 years old, he should be playing with his grandchildren.  But there is a recent shocking rumor that on November 23, Zhang Yang went to the Hunan Province Writers Association and assaulted the 52-year-old office director Peng Kejiong in front of the workers.  Many people were angry, "How can a man beat a woman?"

Our reporter saw that on November 25, an Internet post was made with the title <Fight broke out again at Hunan Province Writers Association, <The Second Handshake> author Zhang Yang let loose>: "At around 10am on November 22, a fight broke out again inside the Hunan Province Writers Association office building.  Zhang Yang, the author of <The Second Handshake> charged into the office.  In the presence of several workers, Zhang assaulted 51-year-old office director Peng Kejiong and caused injuries to her.  110 was called.  But the perpetrator fled the scene and has refused to meet with the police ..."

On the evening of November 25, Zhang Yang described the incident on the blog.  Our reporter noted that although the blog belonged to Zhang Yang, the essay was written in the form of a news report and also described as "the first in a series of reports on the Hunan Province Writers Association."  This essay said: "At around 10am on November 23, 2009, Zhang Yang went down to the Writers Association and proceeded directly to the fifth floor.  He entered the office of the office director and punched 51-year-old Peng Kejiong who has held six different job titles for more than a decade and is known as the 'Old Lady' of the Hunan Province Writers Association.  The former Party Organization secretary Zhao Wenzhi and a young woman were present during the entire incident, and did not react at all.  In particular, Zhao Wenzhi kept a smile on during the entire incident.  After Peng Kejiong was soundly beaten, the workers at Hunan Province Writers Association went around in glee to tell each other what happened."

This essay also said, "After Zhang Yang administered a sound thrashing to Peng Kejiong, he tapped Zhao Wenzhi on the shoulder and calmly walked out.  He smiled at the people who had heard the story and crowded the hallways.  Hunan Province Writers Association Party Organization Secretary Gong Zhengwen invited Zhang Yang into his sixth floor office with a smile on his face ... before the incident, Zhang Yang had already prepared a full set of materials for the police ... during the 45 minute conversation between Zhang Yang and Gong Zhengwen, the police never came."

So both reports said that Zhang Yang beat someone up at the Hunan Province Writers Association.  Our reporter called up the Hunan Province Writers Association, but nobody picked up the phone.  Our reporter reached Zhang Yang to confirm the incident.  Zhang Yang made no evasions when he got our call: "Yes, I beat up Peng Kejiong.  I wanted to beat her until her face is black and blue."

Why would an illustrious and esteemed elderly writer beat up a woman?  Zhang Yang said that he wanted to expose the corruption problems at the Hunan Province Writers Association.  "This is not a case of a man beating up a woman.  This is a case of an old man beating up a bad person!"  Zhang Yang said that he has been reporting the problems at the Hunan Province Writers Association to the supervisory units since 1996 without any results over the past 13 years.  "I had no choice.  I have very detailed information in my denunciations.  But nobody comes to investigate after I file my denunciations.  Under such circumstances, I had no choice but to use this method.  This could be considered a street scandal.  I can only draw attention through manufacturing a street scandal such as this, so that the superior disciplinary department will come and investigate."  Zhang Yang said that he is not afraid of being sued for libel.  "I am prepared to be held accountable for any libel or the physical assault of her."

Zhang Yang said that on the morning of November 23, he wanted to encounter Peng Kejiong in the hallway and assault him.  "I wanted to beat her until her face is black and blue.  But she was inside her office with other people present.  She also had a very large desk.  So I picked up a hardcover book and hit her, injuring her only on the shoulder."

Our reporter was unable to verify if the corruption problems at the Hunan Province Writers Association really exist as Zhang Yang alleged.  But Zhang Yang said that he will be posting a series of exposés on his blog.

An open letter to Chengdu city Party Secretary Li Chuncheng.

Secretary Li:

How are you!

I congratulate you on your jurisdiction for becoming the focus of the people of our nation -- seven days ago, a woman living within your jurisdiction set herself on fire and died during a forced demolition!

Seven days later on December 6, I as a legal citizen of the People's Republic of China, was restricted by force in Sanhe town, Xindu District of your city by four public service workers from the Jinniu District Department of Publicity.  I had to dial 110 to summon the police to free me.

This sort of thing makes people angry, humiliated and stunned.  At the same time, it causes people to be deeply worried: In a city with more than 10 million residents such as Chengdu, are the safety and liberty of ordinary people being guaranteed?

Let me tell you what happened:

At around 13:00 on the afternoon of December 6, I went by car from Jinhua village in Jinniu District to get photocopies made in the nearby Sanhe town, Xindu District.  In a photocopy shop across the Sanhe town government office, I was making copies when four persons who refused to show identification restricted my personal freedom.

One of the four persons claimed to be a worker with the Jinniu District Department of Publicity.  He did not show me any identification, but he wanted to examine my identification.  I refused.  My logic was that in an era of so much fakery, why didn't they show their identification whereas they wanted to look at mine?

I told them that they can look at my identification provided that they first produce work identification or other documentation that can prove their identities.

The disappointing and shocking thing was that these four people did not show their identification and they pressured me to show mine.  If I didn't, I would be restricted in movement.  They kept me inside the photocopy shop and prevented me from leaving.  The four of them stood firmly by the door and blocked my passage.  They prevented other customers from entering and me from leaving.

During the stalemate, the female store owner asked the four persons repeatedly not to interrupt her business.  But the four people ignored her and continued their unreasonable and illegal behavior!

During this time, I attempted twice to walk out.  But these four persons who refused to show identification used force to prevent me.  I wanted to take photographs to document the incident, but they used force to stop me as well.  In order to avoid bloodshed, I told the four: "It is against the law for you to restrict my personal freedom in this manner.  I am calling the police!"

One of them replied: "As you wish!"

Several minutes after calling the police, three plainclothes persons arrived.  One of them told me: "I am the police.  Follow me!"  For safety reasons, I asked him to show identification.  This person showed me police identification from the Jinniu District public security bureau.

I refused to leave with this person.  I made the call to the police in the Xindu District of Chengdu city.  Why did Jinniu District public security bureau people arrive so quickly in plainclothes?

I was fearful.  I used my mobile phone to call the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter and others to ask them to call 110 on my behalf.

Just as I was about to be taken away by this Jinniu District policeman, the Sanhe town Xindu District police arrived.  They took me and the four persons who refused to show identification down to the Sanhe town police station.  Oddly enough, the three Jinniu District plainclothes policemen left mysteriously.

At the Sanhe town police station, I waited for over more than four hours until around 6pm.  At the urging of the Jinniu District Publicity Department External Publicity Office director Yuan Daishu, Xindu District Publicity Department External Publicity Office director Yang and Xindu District Public Security Bureau Legal System Department director, the four persons finally reluctantly told us their names and work units.

At that point, the Sanhe town police told me that they would not set up a case file because the matter was too trivial.  If I wanted to get an answer, I could go to the supervisory department for these four persons!

I felt hurt, because even calling the police yielded no answer!

So I thought about telling Secretary Li Chuncheng.  I want to tell you what happened.  My belief is that your word still means something in the city of Chengdu.

My questions are basically the following:

1. Is it reasonable for these four public service workers from the Jinniu District Publicity Department to refuse to identify themselves while demanding to examine other people's identification?

2. Is it legal for the four persons to use force in numbers to restrict the freedom of another person who refuses to show identification?

3. The four people claimed that they were controlling the media in order to maintain local stability in conjunction with the Jinniu District Public Security Bureau.  So does that mean that they can use force to demand to check identification whenever they see someone whom they think look like could be from the media?  Besides they even drove into another jurisdiction to do so.

4. The four people claimed to be carrying out official government business.  I want to know just what assignments did the Jinniu District Publicity Department gave them which permitted them to restrict the freedom of movement of others?

5. These four people told the police interrogators (and other Jinniu District Publicity Department also said so) that it was very important to maintain stability in the Jinniu District at this time.  I would like to ask Secretary Li just why this was happening (note: that is to say, why were there risks for instability in Jinniu District at this time)?

6. At the Sanhe Town police station, the Chengdu City Publicity Department External Publicity Office deputy director Cheng Chen did not ask me about how my freedom was restricted.  Instead, he repeatedly asked me about my identity and said that it was hard to verify whether someone is a reporter or not.  I would like to ask that even if I was not a reporter, is it proper for them to demand to examine my identification without identifying themselves?  As a senior Office level cadre, if Cheng Chen is an example of the quality of Chengdu city cadres, then I have to be deeply concerned about the future of Chengdu!

Secretary Li, as a person who harbored good feelings about Chengdu and a reporter dedicated to finding out the truth, I had felt good towards Chengdu, with its attractive cuisine, the scenery of Qingcheng Mountain and Dujiangyan, as well the people who had weathered the earthquake.

But here actually in Chengdu, I felt terror and humiliation instead for my personal safety and dignity as well as every other ordinary citizen like myself.

Someone said that this was a trivial matter not worthy fighting over.  Yes, it was a trivial matter.  They only restricted my personal freedom of movement for a short period of time.  But I was wanted to say that the dignity and freedom form another expression of life for a modern citizen.  A public servant is breaking the law if they so much as restrict our freedom for one minute (or even one second) until the pretense of carrying out public duties!

So I list below the names of the four persons who restricted my personal freedom.  The names of these four people were obtained only after I spent several hours of effort down at the Sanhe town police station.  This really makes people pensive!

They are:
Liu Min, Jinniu District Publicity Department Office
Liu Hanke, Jinniu District Federation of Literary and Art Circles executive vice-chairman
Li Li, Jinniu District Information Centre
Zheng Jieping, Jinniu District Information Centre

I hope that Chengdu under Secretary Li will become safer and freer, public service workers won't restrict the freedom of others in the name of carrying out official duties and the people won't have to share my terror and humiliation.  Thanks!

Southern People Weekly reporter Chen Lei

Q1.  The government has just issued the consultation paper for the 2012 Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections.  How familiar are you with the relevant disucssions?
  8%: Very much
17%: Half/half
68%: Very little
  7%: Don't know/hard to say

Q2. With respect to the Chief Executive, there is the suggestion to expand the current Election Committee from 800 to 1,200 including 100 elected from among the District Councilors.  Also, the threshold of nomination will be set at 1/8-th (or 150 electors).  How much do you support this proposal?
43%: Support
10%: Half/half
31%: Oppose
15%: Don't know/hard to say

Q3. With respect to the Legislative Council, there is the suggestion for adding five four directly elected seats and five more functional constituency seats elected from among the directly elected District Councilors.  How much do you support this proposal?
43%: Support
13%: Half/half
28%: Oppose
16%: Don't know/hard to say

Q4. If during the discussion of the constitutional reform, there are really no other options.  How easy or hard would you accept a proposal that you don't support?
28%: Easy
13%: Half/half
47%: Hard
11%: Don't know/hard to say

The top 10 most popular search keywords were:

1. swine flu
2. Pet discussion forum (寵物討論區)
3. Zhang Ziyi
4. Susan Boyle (章子怡)
5. Noriko Sakai (酒井法子)
6. Chiu Yin Ping (趙燕萍)
7. Facebook
8. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (崖上的波兒)
9. Neopets discussion forum (尼奧寵物)
10. Chrissie Chow (周秀娜)

There are only two Hong Kong persons on this list.  #6 Chiu Yin Ping ahead of #10 young model Chrissie Chow.

The case of Chiu Yin Ping is a cautionary tale.  She made a video of her encounter with a hardware fixture store manager and posted it on the Internet with the expectation of receiving praise and admiration.  Instead, the Internet reaction was shockingly negative to the point where she had to issue an apology.


More recently, there is now the case of "fannyman07" who has been called "the second coming of Chiu Yin Ping."  She made a video of her encounter with a taxi driver who wanted to charge her HKD5 for putting a baby carriage into the car trunk.  She objected vehemently, took out her mobile phone camera and filmed him.  She posted the video on the Internet with the expectation of receiving praise and admiration.  Instead, the Internet reaction was quite negative because people pointed out that she was ignorant of the regulations.  Yes, if you have a baby on the carriage, then you don't have to pay the luggage charge.  But if you only a carriage only and no baby, then it is just like any other piece of luggage for which the charge applies.  Sometimes some taxi drivers won't charge for it, but that is at their discretion but the regulations entitled them to so charge.  Netizens say that the only thing that "fannyman07" has shown is that she is a bad model for her baby.


My pen pal Han Han  Raymond Zhou, China Daily

(Hecaitou's Blog)  A model "fifty-cent" essay.  December 4, 2009.

There are so many 'fifty-cent gangsters' out there who write dreadful essays which can only be described as "hysterical shrieks and flying saliva."  Although this job is low-status with lousy pay, it does require professionalism.  On this day, I am presenting an essay from the China Daily website executive editor-in-chief Raymong Zhou to serve as a model essay for "fifty-cent gangers" in all the other branches in China.

Junior 'fifty-cent gansters' only know to howl, whereas senior 'fifty-cent gangsters' know how to write open letters, act as if "someone helps wants to harm you whereas I am trying to be good to you" and put on a patient pose instead of a stern expression.  Mr. Zhou is one of the best in the business.  This <Letter to Han Han: You fell into the trap that TIME set for you> essay praised Han Han first, but it really wants to say: "See how much I care about you, how must I look after your interests, how much I want you to succeed.  But if you don't do what I tell you, I am going to be very disappointed."  Or even more simply put: "Han Han, you better watch yourself."

The only problem is that Raymond Zhou does not carry as much weight as Han Han.  This type of concern is just leveraging the reputation of Han Han to elevate oneself.  If he has the time to write a letter to Han Han, how about writing a letter to the government leaders instead?  But this is precisely the strength of Raymond Zhou.  If his readers can see only his gentle and mild demeanor, then he will be able to sneak his personal message.  As Jin Yong's famous character Wei Xiaobao said, the key to lying is that out of ten sentences, there should be nine accurate ones and only one lie.  Clearly, Raymond Zhou and Wei Xiaobao are of the same mind.  So all 'fifty-cent gangsters' should pay close attention because this job can pay as much as 125 yuan per piece if you are as good as Raymond Zhou.

By the way, Raymond Zhou also scorned that Heicaitou's blog post about Obama's China trip should also be sent to the conservative media in America.  There is no need to trouble Raymond Zhou, because the American conservative media have already reported this, including Associated Press.  My understanding is that they thought that my viewpoint was one that should be reported and shared.  Oh, but you don't even have to read Raymond Zhou's essays in order to find his viewpoints, because you can just read the Xinhua editorials or whatever.  At least the latter are direct without digression or resorting to open letters.

Finally, that letter was the first media report in China to openly address Li Yuchun as "Elder brother Chun."  Master Raymond Zhou, you have done something that countless number of editors and reporters wanted to do but dared not.  You are truly awesome!

(Hecaitou's Blog)  Anti-TIME.  December 4, 2009.

We live in an imperfect world.  Our media is an example.  Very few Chinese media speak the truth, so whenever a reporter actually does his duty, the readers will consider it as an heroic act.  When foreign media report on things inside China, they are rarely free of biases and misreadings, so that they cannot present the full picture of the vast China.  Their reporters are re-posted elsewhere every three or five years, so that there are very few experts who have deep understanding of China and its people.

But this is not necessarily any big deal.  The greatest virtue of the Chinese people is that they can cope with anything.  Over the years, they have learned to read Chinese news in reverse and they can basically deduce the truth.  Whenever is nothing readable, they can look at the foreign media reports which have a high density of truthfulness even though the conclusions are not necessarily correct because they typically write the scripts according to their own ideas.  But this is how the world is and you have to find the answers on your own.  The truth is always a jigsaw puzzle.  Haven't your mom and dad told you that they picked you out of a garbage heap?  Did you believe them?  There has never been a perfect media and there has never been a completely truthful news report.  You must have your own judgment.  There is the saying that "things become clear if you listen to many voices, but things become dim if you listen to just one voice 兼听则明,偏听则暗."  The important thing is to listen to different voices about the same thing.  That is the bottom line.

These is how normal people think.  That is, if you have the brains, you can come up with similar conclusions as a result of certain experiences.  But there is some abnormal thinking too.  For example, some people say that the western media are basically evil because they have always harbored a certain malice against China.  The conclusion becomes: "If you are interviewed by western media, you will fall into their trap."  This is the first-stage of paranoia.  The western media may be stupid, and they may be arrogant.  But if you want to them to band together to do "evil," then not even Stalin and Hitler together can make that happen.

Based upon my experience, no western media will report that there will be no increase in duty fees on stock transactions on a Friday, and then report again that there will be an increase on Saturday after the markets close.  No western media will refuse to report the spread of SARS in their own country and say instead that everything is safe and sound.  It is pure evil to lie to the stock investors and to ignore the people's right to life.  But we have seen this happen innumerable times in China.

Therefore when China Daily website executive editor-in-chief and renowned film critic Raymond Zhou reminded Han Han to be cautious about the trap set by TIME, I laughed.  Compared to the mainland media calling Han Han the Lu Xun of this generation, how deep a hole can TIME dig?  When the hat of Lu Xun is put on a Chinese person, the gallows are already prepared for him including the "national flag" to be laid over his corpse.  Each time that someone is pronounced to be the reincarnation of Lu Xun, there is a crew of malicious cowards following behind.  If this Lu Xun reincarnation should succeed, everybody gets a share; if he should fail -- and most likely he will fail -- then everybody gets to enjoy the spectacle and even write a commemorative essay to earn some royalty payment.

Mr. Raymond Zou published an open letter to tell Han Han not to fall into the trap set by the American ghouls.  Those several thousand words want to say:

1. TIME's report made you look bad and so you were tricked.
2. The western media are evil.  In order to satisfy them, you have to become a human rights warrior.
3. Human rights warriors are clowns.  You have to value your status and not hurt yourself for this reason.
4. In conclusion, don't accept any more western media in the future.  Do not become a human rights warrior as they hope.

But my questions are: Based upon what Raymond Zhou said, should Han Han blog the Shanghai entrapment of "black taxis"?  Should he blog the incident of Shanghai woman Ms. Pan defending her home with firebombs?  Should he blog about the several hundreds of million yuan spend to replace road signs in Shanghai?  Obviously, TIME did not interview Han Han because he was a race car driver, nor because he was a bestselling writer.  They were trying to read from the person of Han Han the specific mentalities of the post 80s generation in China and see if these fit the values that they have defined beforehand.  From the TIME report, they were disappointed.  As I said before, they sometimes write scripts according to their own ideas but reality does not always fit those scripts.  But it is going too far to say that this was a smear.  As for the allegation of an entrapment, there is no need to insult Han Han as if he was an idiot who would be riled up and follow your prescription for action.

There is nothing surprising about this nonsense from Raymond Zhou.  But we have to be wary of the open hostility displayed in his open letter.  The western media were made out to be evil people who want to shove every Chinese people into the fire pit.  At the same time, he tied those who dared to fight for the rights of people onto the chariots of the evil western media:

Or you can bribe government censors to shut down your blog for a month. Have them launch a wide-ranging campaign against you. Organize students nationwide to denounce you. The shortest cut to Western credibility, I must add, is to get yourself thrown in jail. Until that happens, you are simply another "willing participant".

What does that mean?  My interpretation is that: Those whose blogs were shut down, those who were criticized by a mass mobilization and those who were sent to prison did so in order to get a page in TIME and win the approval of the western media.  It has been a long time since that I have not read any such cold-blooded words.  If Raymond Zhou has the guts, he should provide a name list of such people and tell the public:  Did these people think that "the quickest way to gain the approval of the western media" was to go to jail?  Does Raymond Zhou not want Han Han to any more western media interviews?  Does Raymond Zhou not want Han Han to blog about social injustices any more?

(Rose Luqiu's Blog)  December 5, 2009.

Q1. What do you think of the criticism that young people today have no sense of responsibility or duty?

I am relatively well off.  I started to work very early on.  I cannot say that I am rich, but I must say that I don't have a lot of pressure with respect to survival.  As a result, I can afford to be concerned about certain things.  Although our Party is very smart, they live under so much pressure that they don't have the time to worry about those things.  It is good enough to be able to survive and live on.

People have asked me if there is a lost generation or some such.  Actually, I don't think that there is a lost generation.  If a generation is to be lost, then it takes the collapse of the real estate system before a true new generation can emerge.  Otherwise, I think that the current thinking in China is still somewhat traditional and we cannot change that.  We cannot blame the young people: Why must you buy a house before getting married?  Why can't you just rent?  I don't think that these kinds of things can be changed in short order, but housing prices can be changed.  Therefore, when the real estate industry collapses, young people can move into a middle-age mentality directly.  Right now, I don't think that there are any young people.

That is one side of the story.  On the other side, I don't think that young people are at fault.  They did not cause any of the faults.  All the faults were committed by their elders but the young people end up with the burden.  All the huge profits that arise from real estate and other things went to the older generations and not to the young people.  Therefore I feel that the young people are innocent.  In truth, from the beginning of education in China, there has been a lot of brain-washing going on.  But this generation of young people is gradually improving in quality.  Behaviors like littering or spitting in public are getting better than before.  These things are starting slowly.  But I felt that this generation of young people are quite pitiful.  They did not do anything wrong.  They had to accept everything passively, because they hold no speech rights.  Therefore we cannot blame them.

Q2. Why do you persist on blogging and why do you blog about current affairs?

I like to write that way because I can get the quickest reaction.  The blog can be read by many people immediately.  When I want to say something, I can say it immediately.  I find it hard to imagine that if I had lived in a former era, you can write an essay in a magazine and one month later I write a response in one of those monthly magazines.  If that was how it went, I am sure that everybody would have forgotten about the issues already.

I only think that I am doing basically what a writer should be writing about.  This is because I feel that anyone who writes anything should have the most basic responsibilities.  If not, you cannot be called an author or writer.  Actually any writer is going to be someone who gives the authorities some headache, and this is true not matter how great the authorities are.  This is true for authorities everywhere in the world.  The key thing is that it does not even require any deliberate need to focus on certain issues.  In our country, there will always be some unexpected news that will emerge and inspire you.

Q3. More people buy the books of Guo Jingming than the magazine <Soloist> that you edit?

In any society, don't you think more people will buy Honda and Toyota cars than Mercedes-Benz and BMW cars?  Actually our magazine publishing company consists of a group of inexperienced people who don't know much.  We don't know anything, so we are only responsible for putting out this magazine.  According to our views, we will assemble contents that are permissible under our National Constitution and we submit the magazine for censorship review.  If the General Administration for Press and Publications or the publisher say that a certain essay cannot appear, we will obey.  If they say no to a certain essay, we will remove that essay.  Since we do not have other back-up plans, that space will be left blank.  We will set up a tombstone for that essay.

(The Standard)  No Love Lost.  Scarlett Chiang.  December 4, 2009.

Kimmie Wong Lai-chu, the political assistant caught in a sexual harassment squabble, has finally broken her silence to talk about what she claims went on with legislator Kam Nai-wai. According to Wong, she was sacked because she spurned advances from the Democratic Party legislator. Wong told her side of the story two weeks after Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor which had been asked by the party to look into the issue to avoid a conflict of interest dropped an investigation because of her failure to testify. She believes in the sanctity of marriage, Wong said, as she explained that she would neither love Kam nor accept his love as he was married and had a daughter. Saying she was breaking her silence in the hope it would end speculation and bring closure to the case, Wong produced a statement with her story.

It read: On June 15, Kam Nai-wai suddenly asked me to talk to him alone outside. In a high-end restaurant in Central, Kam Nai-wai confessed and said he had good feelings toward me. I was very surprised. I immediately rejected him and said several times I would resign. Kam Nai-wai said he did not want me to resign and asked me to go home and to reconsider our relationship. Despite avoiding Kam after the incident, Wong claimed, he kept inviting her to business meetings. On September 24, Kam and other colleagues were having a staff meeting and I was writing a press release. Kam was dissatisfied and asked the staff to meet in another room The next day Kam said he could not work with me and fired me immediately.

Wong said she asked a former employer, Mandy Tam Heung-man, to set up a meeting with Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and his deputy, Emily Lau Wai-hing. By her telling, they promised at a meeting on September 30 to ask Kam to send her a letter of apology and agreed the sacking had been unreasonable. She said there was no agreement on secrecy and Lau had told her she had the right to handle the incident in my own way, including informing the media. Wongs statement continued: I am serious about love. I strongly believe in eternal love and the life commitment of marriage. From the beginning, I have done only one thing which was to reject my superior Kam Nai-wai, a politician who has a standing under the constitutional system. Besides, he also has a wife and a daughter. She concluded: In the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, I am willing to end this incident with forgiveness. Forgiveness can cure hurt feelings and dissolve disputes. It is also a way for me to ease my burden and to release myself.

But Kam, Ho and Lau responded to Wongs statement by saying her account was only partly true. Kam admitted he had sent Wong a letter of explanation on October 3 but insisted he did not make advances. I must emphasize that I did not fire anyone because of failed advances, Kam added. He also said Wong received HK$150,000 in compensation because he fired her in a fit of bad temper. By Ho's account, Wong stated clearly that she wanted the incident hushed up, though there was no written agreement. I must make it quite clear Ms Wong did make a request that she did not want this incident to become news, Ho said. The three urged Wong to be a witness in a Legislative Council investigation.

Legco is to vote next Wednesday on a motion to censure Kam for misbehavior, making inconsistent remarks to the media and for unfairly dismissing his female assistant after his expression of affection was rejected.

(Ming Pao)




















Then there is Apple Daily's News-In-Motion report -- you don't even have to know Cantonese to comprehend the story.



Which would you rather have?

On December 3, Chinese blogger Hecaitou made a blog post that was a sardonic parody of an advertisement to purchase user ID's at movie review websites.  This essay alleges that in order to gain a foothold within movie reviews, the public relations companies have to mobilize large numbers of "sock puppets" to (1) award full marks to the movie; (2) guide opinion in the discussions; (3) surround and drown out the negative reviews.  However, there is a practical problem in that these sock puppets are probably registered right before the movie came on and will therefore be easily detected.  As a result, the public relations companies are now willing to pay high prices for old and established ID's.

Our editor went on to Douban and checked out three or four positive reviews of the new movie <Hua Mulan>.  We found a very weird phenomenon in that the poster and the commentators all have 'cancelled ID's."  According to Article #5 of the Douban administrative rules, an ID may be cancelled if it is used to "send out spam, maliciously flood the comments, pretending to be other users or engage in other abusive behavior."  So these ID's have committed one or more of the above sins.  Could it be that Hecaitou is right?  Could this be a hidden rule in the movie industry?  Regardless, it cannot be denied that even before <Hua Mulan> was exhibited, people were already giving it full marks at Douban and other webites.


Public relations companies are seeking to purchase used ID's with the following requirements:
(1) registered prior to 2007
(2) written at least three movie reviews
(3) has no less than 50 friends
(4) able to maintain secrecy and have business ethics
(5) including but not restricted to Douban, Shiguang Net and other webites

The price card is as follows:
(1) Base price of 500 yuan.  One yuan extra for every day registered earlier than December 31, 2007
(2) Until December 3, 2009, each additional movie review from the fourth one will earn an extra 5 yuan
(3) Until December 3, 2009, each additional friend from the 51st one will earn an extra 2 yuan
(4) 100 yuan extra whenever the movie review appeared on the front page
(5) 50 yuan extra whenever the movie review appeared at the top spot of the movie review section
(6) 50 yuan for a positive review of the movie represented by the PR company
(7) 50 cents for a comment against a negative review of a movie represented by the PR company
(8) 25 cents for a personal attack comment against the poster of a negative review of a movie represented by the PR company.

Recently, there was a lot of talk about the Thai boxers challenging Chinese kungfu fighters.  First, five Thai boxers challenged the Shaolin Temple, which declined to fight.  Then the Ermei School came out to accept the challenge.  But the truth is now emerging: This is an officially sanctioned commercial competition which is being hyped up by a pack of lies.  The Thai boxers have never issued any provocative challenges, and no Chinese have offered to accept the challenges.

Lie #1: The team of the top five Thai boxers challenges the Chinese martial artists

According to the Chinese media, the top five Thai boxers are: Kaoklai, Fairtex, Singmanee Sor-Seesompong, Naruepon Fairtex and Singhyok Sor-Seesan.

On December 12, the Bangkok Post sports reporter Wanchai Rujawongsant said that the Thai media have not carried a single word about this challenge.  He has never heard of a fighter named Fairtex.  The only Fairtex that he knows is the name of a famous Thai boxing club.  In the Chinese media reports, this fighting club even had very specific characteristics: born in 1986; 65 kilograms; 116 matches with 81 wins (including 36 KOs), 31 losses and 4 ties.

Wanchai Rujawongsant said that only Kaoklai out of the other four fighters is a truly first-class fighter.

Lie #2: The Thai boxing champion promises to knock out the Chinese fighter in seconds

Many Chinese media reports say that "the leader of the five Thai boxes is Kaoklai who said that they will sweep the Chinese 5:0.  While the Shaolin Temple may have a long outstanding history, they are nothing compared to Thai boxing."

According to <Global Times>, Thai boxing chamption Kaoklai is currently participating in a tournament in South Korea.  According to his website, his next match will be on January 16 in Thailand.  There is no China appearance in his schedule.  There is no hint as to when (if at all) he ever said that "it would be an insult to ask him to fight Chinese champion Liu Hailong."

Lie #3: The Shaolin Temple refused to fight the Thai boxing champion

Many media said that the top five Thai boxers want to challenge the Shaolin Temple.  The reports said: "A reporter asked Kaoklai whether he was being over-confident to say that they will destroy Shaolin.  Kaoklin waved his right fist and said: 'Get their master Shi Yongxin inside the boxing ring and see'."  The reports then said that Shaolin refused to accept the challenge.

On December 1, Shaolin replied that they have never received any written challenge and they have never had any contact with any Thai boxing group.

... Actually the National Martial Arts Management Centre Free Style Fighting Division is supposed to be in charge of deciding who will be selected for the matches.  These competitors have to be registered athletes in this completely commercial competition.  The name of the competition is the "Sixth Annual Chinese-Thai Boxing Competition."  In the previous five competitions, China won all the matches.

The promoter behind this "patriotic" farce is Xu Rui.  It is his typical style to invoke patriotism and nationalistic sentiments to draw attention to his events.

According to Guangzhou Daily, they have a huge difference in opinion with Xu Rui.  Whereas they insists on "looking for the objective truth in order to present the bright spots," Xu Rui uses the "typical entertainment news hyping to promote the event."  Xu Rui harangued the Guangzhou Daily reporter: "I spent so much time to come up with these ideas, but you have exposed them.  Isn't this like revealing how magic tricks are done?"


Q1. Some pan-democrat political groups have advocated a five-district general resignation.  Do you support or oppose this action?
20%: Support
68%: Oppose
  7%: Don't care
  5%: No opinion

Q2. If the pan-democrats go ahead with this five-district general resignation, who would you vote for?
29%: Pan-democrat candidate
30%: Candidate with no party affiliation
13%: Pro-establishment party candidate
10%: Won't vote
18%: Undecided

Q3. Do you think that the five-district general resignation will help the development of the political system in Hong Kong?
20%: Yes
65%: No
11%: Don't know
  4%: No opinion

Q4. Do you think that the five-district general resignation will affect the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and the pan-democrats?
54%: Yes
25%: No
13%: Don't know
  8%: No opinion

Q5. The government will have to apply to the Legislative Council for 150 million dollars to run the five-district by-election.  Do you think that Legco should approve this expenditure?
33%: Yes
54%: No
13%: No opinion

Q6. Which political party do you support?
  9%: Federation of Trade Unions
14%: Civic Party
14%: Democratic Party
16%: Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong
  4%: Liberal Party
  7%: League of Social Democrats
  9%: Others
  9%: Don't know
18%: No opinion

(NOWnews)  November 3, 2009.

<Liberty Times> in Taiwan has been recently hitting the headlines for its media reporting.  Following the brouhaha over its front page composite photo of the president's motorcade, <Liberty Times> has landed a worldwide exclusive interview with Tiger Woods' father Earl Woods.  <Liberty Times> reported that Earl Woods broke silence yesterday and made known his position on the extra-marital affairs.  He reflected that when his son Tiger became a global sports star at age 22, he expected this to happen.  He asked the media to take it easy on Tiger.  "Athletes and movie stars are people too. They make mistakes.  They get into fights with wives or girlfriends."

According to Wikipedia, Earl Woods "was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and died from the disease at his home in Cypress, California on May 3, 2006. He is buried in Manhattan, Kansas."


Just as <Dwelling Narrowness> got popular, the 25-year-old university graduate "Jingxin Caiqing" wrote to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on November 25 to request the rescinding of the broadcast permit of the show.  The reason was that as a hepatitis-B carrier, he was depressed by the dialogue in the television series.

"If you don't wash your hands ..."

"... you will catch hepatitis B ..."

"... and then nobody will offer you a job."

On the evening of November 23, Jingxin Caiqing was watching the show at home with friends.  When a friend saw this scene, he turned around and said: "You normally said that hepatitis B is not spread through the digestive system.  This is not what the TV show is saying!"  After the friends left, JIngxin Caigqing went on the Internet and reviewed the TV video.  At around 18 minutes into the first chapter, that was exactly what the sister said.  "I was stunned because I am a hepatitis B carrier.  I usually tell my friends that hepatitis B is not transmitted via the digestive system.  When my friends heard the dialogue, they looked at me strangely.  It was very embarrassing."  Jingxin Caiqing said that friends had various degrees of surprise: "Oh, hepatitis B can be transmitted because you don't wash your hands.  I better stay away from hepatitis B carriers and not dine with them."

After dashing off a letter to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Jingxin Caiqing posted a copy onto the Tianya Forum.  In less than 30 hours, the post was viewed by almost 50,000 netizens with more than 800 comments in support.

Jingxin Caiqing graduated from university last year.  After graduation, he took a test for employment in Guizhou.  Although he got the top score, he was rejected because he was a hepatitis B carrier.  He objected and filed an anti-discrimination suit.

(Tianya Forum)

The case investigations tailed Song Shiming and took photos of him meeting with Haicao.  The time was the morning of March 12.

After the session, Haicao received a SMS from Song Shiming about "Happy to be with you at night."  The date was December 8th.

Actually all SMS in the entire series have the same date of December 8th.

The police car's license plate is the same one as the principal's front plate.

But the principal's back plate is different from his front plate!

The "Beautiful Girl in Black behind Obama" Wang Zifei is now a 2009 Internet celebrity.  After becoming an overnight sensation, this Jiatong University graduate student wrote on her blog that she does not intend to get into the entertainment industry.  But our reporter has found out from veteran media strategists that she has a promotional campaign team behind her!

According to the strategist nicknamed "Number Two," he became suspicious as soon as he saw the headline, "The Beautiful Girl In Black Behind Obama."  So he asked around.  "As I expected, the whole thing was carefully planned."  "Number Two" said that Wang Zifei is indeed a graduate student at Jiatong University.  "This happened because her businessman boyfriend put up 100,000 yuan to hire a Beijing Internet promotional strategy company to use the opportunity of Obama's speech to hype up the 'Obama girl.'  Wang Zifei is waiting for the opportunity to enter the entertainment field."

"There is nothing unusual about taking off a coat.  Based upon my understanding, Wang Zifei took off her red coat during the speech, and not before as claimed in her blog.  How could a professional photographer take the time out to film a girl taking off her coat while Obama is delivering his speech?  The photos appeared immediately on the Internet the next day.  This was the 'triggering point' for the entire promotional campaign."  "Number Two" also revealed that another organization contributed an additional 100,000 yuan to the campaign and that Wang Zifei's seat was arranged to be one with the most ideal filming angle.

"Then came the descriptions of Wang Zifei taking off her coat lightly and her seducing looks."  "Number Two" explained: "You must use these sensational phrases to draw attention.  The Internet postings formed the second phase of the campaign.  Insiders call it the 'expansion point.'  This expands the force of the promotion and prevents the story from sinking away.  We must also rely on the promotional power of the media."

"Number Two" said that the media must be able to find "news values" and "news points" in order to report it.  This becomes the "explosion point" of the promotional campaign.

"In addition, I have learned that Wang Zifei did not write her own blog."  Our reporter checked that Wang Zifei wrote three blog posts within three hours.  "How can a female graduate student in the eye of the storm update her blog so frequently?  This is the final phase of the promotional campaign -- the 'continuation ponit.'  A blog was created in the name of Wang Zifei in order to interact with the public and the netizens to extend the popularity and value of the news."

As to Wang Zifei's claim that she was not interested in entering the entertainment field, "Number Two" said: "How could she admit that she wants to enter the entertainment field?  That would be tantamount to admitting that this was a promotional gimmick.  Before we run any promotional campaign, we will ask the principal repeatedly, 'Do you really want to do this?'  This is because there are tremendous risks and uncertainties in Internet promotion.  There can be negative impact on the normal private life of the principal."  "Number Two" said: "The promotional campaign team received 200,000 yuan in pay.  The costs was controlled down to about 5,000 yuan."

Related Link: Mystery woman in black behind Obama at the town hall meeting becomes popular and speaks out    ChinaHush, November 24, 2009;  Beauty behind Obama creates a buzz online   Zhang Lei, Global Times, November 30, 2009.

The debate over the resignation/referendum is causing even more confusion about the supporters of the democrats.  Why are the democrats divided internally and unable to present unified goals/actions to the outside?  What went wrong?

I think that the discussion over the resignation/referendum has mixed up goals and means.  The resignation/by-election is a means, which is used if it can accomplish the goals.  Over the past several months, the democrats have been talking about the means without discussing the goals behind the strategy.  This is inverting the priorities and cannot unify or expand support.  I recommend the various democratic groups sit down and draw the democrats' own roadmap towards universal suffrage.  This will unify the democrats to strive for universal suffrage during the consultation period and afterwards.

Why resign?  Does resignation/by-election promote democracy?  There are many views.  Many citizens say, "I don't know what you trying to do."  I believe that there are at least three possible goals.

Possibility #1: The general resignation is a negotiation tactic.  Using the general resignation as a bargaining chip, the hope is that the central government will make some concessions because they don't want the disruptions and international attention.  The "three-part song" of the Civic Party reflects this logic most clearly.  Based upon the reactions of the central government since September, this strategy has not succeeded.  Even Obama could not pressure the Chinese government, so it is extremely unlikely that the central government will make any concessions several months after a general resignation.

Possibility #2: The goal is to give the voters a chance to state their position on a certain issue as well as mobilize society to join the discussion.  The assumption is that the democrats can provide a clear issue for the "referendum."  But everybody knows that even the two parties that support the general resignation (namely, the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party) do not have the same goals.  The League of Social Democrats had a relatively clear goal: support universal suffrage in 2012.  A vote for the democrats is a vote for universal suffrage in 2012.  But in order to accommodate the Civic Party, the goal has been changed to: "Strive for genuine universal suffrage, eliminate the functional constituencies."  This new position does not state any timing.  Even the central government and the DAB party can support it.  No election opponent will say that they "support false universal suffrage."  The Civic Party may very well declare the goal to be a roadmap for universal suffrage, but where is the roadmap of the democrats for double universal suffrage not in 2012?  Is any timetable/roadmap from the government acceptable?  Without a clear delineated issue, a by-election victory won't bring a clear narrative or authorization by public opinion.

Will having a by-election bring together social discussion and lead to greater awareness and support for democracy?  Over the past three months, the public attention has been on the form of action for the resignation/by-election and the positions of political parties.  There has not been a lot of discussion about the true meaning of democracy or alternate proposals.  The discussion of the general resignation has only caused the public to watch the "show" without being mobilized to strive for a democratic political system.

Possibility#3: The goal obtain public authorization through a by-election for the next step in the democracy movement.  The assumption is that there has to be clearly defined issues for which the public give their authorization through their votes.  In western referenda, the issues are clearly articulated and therefore the public opinion is clearly expressed.  A by-election is different in nature because different candidates can participate and define the issues.  Therefore, a victory does not imply clear authorization by the public.

There is some confusion in the recent debate over the by-election/referendum in that some people think that a "referendum" is the highest form of democracy.  Therefore, any opposition to a referendum is opposition to democracy.  Last week at a certain radio programme, the host asked me, "How can an eminent scholar like yourself be opposed to letting the people express their opinions?"  I didn't know to laugh or cry.  First of all, I am just an ordinary citizen and not eminent at all.  Secondly, there are plenty of political scientists who think that a (legally binding) referendum may not be the best method to make policy decisions, never mind a pseudo-referendum that is not legally binding.

Some people think that "direct democracy" is the highest form of democracy.  But many scholars have reservations about using referenda to decide policies.  One very major problem is that a referendum reduces the public policy choice down to either "YES" or "NO."  But in real policy decisions in society, there may actually be an infinite number of alternatives in between.  Therefore, a referendum will not enable us to find the best or the most popular choice.  Among the democrats and their supporters, I believe that there are at least three different positions towards the 2012 constitutional reform (note: I consider anyone more conservative not to be a supporter of the democrats):

(1) Only support double universal suffrage in 2012, and not support any other proposal;

(2) If there is no double universal suffrage in 2012 but there is a guarantee that genuine universal suffrage will be available in the end, support a proposal without double universal suffrage in 2012; this is the current mainstream position among the pan-democrats;

(3) Even if there is no guarantee that genuine universal suffrage will be available in the end, support a proposal that contains significant progress towards democracy.  Of course, different people will have different interpretations about what is "significant progress towards democracy."

A simple referendum cannot cover these three positions.  The democrats and their supporters fall on different parts of the spectrum.  If they don't seek internal consensus first and they only demand unified action, it will only cause internal divisions.  During the consultation period, the democrats will act independently and present different demands.  The public discussion will concentrate on the form of action as opposed to how democracy can move forward.

The democrats usually demand that the government must present a roadmap to universal suffrage, but they don't have one of their own.  That is somewhat embarrassing.  I think that the democrats should present their own roadmap and their own proposal for universal suffrage.  For example, how to phase out the functional constituencies?  Where are the midway stations?  What is the ultimate nomination system for the Chief Executive election?  What is the universal suffrage system in the Legislative Council?  And so on.  This is the way to consolidate the support from the democrats' supporters and let the public have a focus to discuss the constitutional reform and related issues as well as further discussions with the government and other sectors of society.  The resignations later will become a step to continue the struggle at a different stage.

The "five district general resignation pseudo-referendum" has been controversial among the pan-democrats.  The initial question was: To participate or not?  Next: Is the goal universal suffrage in 2012 or a roadmap towards universal suffrage?  Next: Should the resignations take place as quickly as possible in December or wait until next May?  The latest: Should those pan-democrat parties and legislators who are not participating but willing to help consider this a "referendum" or "by-election"?

One huge difference between an election and a referendum is the presence of the human factor.  In an election, the voters do not vote on the basis of the issue alone.  Instead, they will consider the quality of the individuals to see if they "can bear to vote for anyone."  Although the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party talk tough, they must realize this point because they can send out their third or fourth tier teams to run in this by-election and avoid the charge that it was a waste of money for the same people to resign and be re-elected.

But many of the pan-democrats who want to join the general resignation are clearly identified as extremely divisive.  The citizens either love or hate people like Leung Kwok-hung and Raymond Wong intensely, with very few people in between.  If they resign and participate in a by-election, the individual factor will be highlighted during the decision of the voters, even to the point of overwhelming the significance of the issue itself (namely, universal suffrage).

Secondly, the issue in a referendum is written out in black-and-white without any ambiguity.  In an election, the issue will not be defined by one side which the other party must accept passively.  For example, radio hostess Pamela Pak Wan-kam has recently stated that she will participate in a by-election and she will go after the League of Social Democrats for their actions such as throwing bananas, swiping documents, using foul language, etc at the Legislative Council.  It is likely that she won't be the only one who will try to turn the by-election into a referendum about extremist behavior at the Legislative Council, one in which the Hong Kong people will decide on whether they want their legislators to throw bananas, swipe documents or use foul language.  In summary, the masterminds of the general resignation/referendum may not be able to carry their plan out so easily.

The League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party want to use a by-election as a referendum.  At the moment, they use broad images such as "the Final Battle between Light and Darkness" to gloss over the complications.  They are wishfully thinking that during the election, the issue that they defined will be the focus and the voters will come out in droves to support it with full success.  In that case, all the problems will be solved.

The problem is that things may not work out and the by-election result may be less than desirable.  For example, voter turnout may be low and the pan-democrats may get even fewer votes than in the regular election of 2008.  Worse yet, they may even lose one or more seats.  So how would the pan-democrats explain it?  Shall they say that the citizens do not oppose the constitutional reform package?  Of course they can't say that!  Shall they say that the by-election is not the same as a referendum?  That would be slapping themselves in the face!  On the matter of constitutional reform, how can the pan-democrats argue with the SAR government if they lose the public opinion high ground?  These are the private concerns of many of the pan-democrats who do not intend to join the general resignation and who are looking it from a distance.

On one hand, it is easier for political mobilization to ignore, obscure or simplify the distinction between an election and a referendum.  This may foreshadow a handicap in future negotiations over constitutional reforms.  On the other hand, if they did not do so and if they did not hype this up with political propaganda, it would have been against their original purpose and they could not mobilize.  This is the paradoxical dilemma.

Another paradox is that many people in the government may seem to be opposing the general resignation but they actually want to see the results by the pan-democrats in the by-elections.  They want to see the two parties fail miserably.  Then they can use the result and take away the moral high ground of the pan-democrats, reduce their bargaining chips and even force them to agree at the Legislative Council.

One cannot have it both ways.  If you win, you say that this referendum shows that the citizens support you.  If you lose, you blame other people for not helping you or you even say that the by-election is not really a referendum.  This is unconvincing.  Besides, how to define a win?  how to define the referendum a success?  This is still ambiguous and unclear at this time.

Of course, the two parties in charge of this matter will condemn these types of analyses as "encouraging the other side while discouraging our side."  But a responsible social activist must not only consider how to win but also consider what happens after a loss.

(Apple Daily (Hong Kong))

The animation-illustrated news stories from Apple Daily (Taiwan) have drawn the attention of overseas media such as Sky Sports News, TIME, New York Post, TMZ.com, for permission to carry.  When the News-In-Motion story about the mysterious car accident of Tiger Wood was uploaded onto YouTube, it was quickly cited by overseas media and blogs.  A foreign netizen said, "Even though I don't understand Chinese, it allowed me to understand what happened.  It was very good animation."  The news website Trueslant.com's blogger even called it "the only important news report on Woods."

Here are the four Tiger Woods stories from News-In-Motion.

November 29, 2009 

November 30, 2009

December 3, 2009

December 4, 2009

December 4, 2009

New York Times  In Animated Videos, News and Guesswork Mix   By Noam Cohen.  December 5, 2009.

For example, here is a page from Brad DeLong's blog.  The Chinese-language link goes to the November 29, 2009 YouTube News-In-Motion.

There are plenty more other News-In-Motion over at YouTube.  You can check them out and see if this is how you want your news to be reported.

Wife-beater stopped by 9-year-old son

Indonesian domestic helper robs elderly mistress

Unemployed man summons prostitute, strangles her and commits necrophilia

Grandson kills grandmother who was trying to nag him to find a job

Why was it important to show these other News-In-Motion reports?  Because of the following news report:

(Taipei Times)  Taipei mayor takes jibe from TV show host in stride.  November 4, 2009.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) made an international appearance yesterday as a US TV program poked fun at him, jokingly describing him as “the worst person in the world” for demanding the city’s public schools stop subscribing to the Chinese-­language Apple Daily because of the newspaper’s News-In-Motion program.

MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann show is an hour-long weeknight news and political commentary program with Olbermann, who counts down the day’s top stories with humor and sarcasm and pokes fun at individuals in the stories. Usually the latter do not make rebuttals because Olbermann’s show is known for making comments in a subjective and sarcastic style.

Hau, however, responded on the matter when approached by local media for comment yesterday. Hau said he respected the freedom of the press in making the comments, but said the Olbermann show had selected an animated news clip whose content was greatly improved after the Taipei City Government banned the ­newspaper on campuses.

Hau was referring to the clip of the paper’s News-In-­.Motion segment that Olbermann showed on Tuesday’s show about golf star Tiger Woods’ recent driving accident. “I believe the host would not make the same comments if he had seen previous news clips from News-In-Motion, which contained a lot of sensational scenes of sex, violence and dead bodies,” Hau said.

The News-In-Motion program was launched by the Apple Daily — published by Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) — last month in a trial run as the Next Media Group expands from print to TV. It uses animated graphics to reconstruct news stories. Because some of the stories feature graphic depictions of sexual assault and violence, the program has stirred public anger.

Hau yesterday defended the city government’s decision to demand the city’s public schools not subscribe to the Apple Daily, adding that he would “take all the responsibility and blame” for the decision to keep students under 18 from being affected by the sensational news. Originally, the News-In-Motion program service could be viewed by cellphone users who scanned a bar code printed in the newspaper. It is now accessible only to readers who pay a fee.

In related news, the ­Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) yesterday voiced concern that the Taipei City Government’s demand that schools cease subscribing to the Apple Daily violated freedom of the press. While supporting measures to sanction the Apple Daily because it has allegedly violated the Children and Juveniles’ Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法) for showing violent scenes on its Web site, the ATJ said in a statement it “­believes that such a ban may have violated freedom of the press, and there should not be a ‘restricted’ category for news. “Whether to boycott a media organization should be decided following discussions with ­students, teachers and civic groups — the decision should not be unilaterally made by a government,” the association said.

Several weeks ago, an American colleague went to hold a forum for journalism students at a brand-name mainland Chinese university.  When she got back to Hong Kong, I asked her about the differences (if any) between the students there and the students here in Hong Kong.

Her conclusion was that the mainland students were not as smart as those in Hong Kong.  When she spoke about the Cultural Revolution, those young listeners were not only totally ynembarrassed by their own lack of knowledge, but they did not care.  In fact, they were also impatient about that topic.  Also, just as in Hong Kong, almost all of the journalism students were female.

I know that this was only a forum.  All the impressions came from the interaction between the speaker and the listeners.  That is to say, it depended on the questions raised from the floor and the answers given from the podium which may or may not generate any resonance.

Actually, the Hong Kong students that this American colleague is referring to are almost 99% from the mainland.  Those who raised questions during the forum are probably 100% from the mainland.  The only difference is that the former have been in Hong Kong for almost half a year.  As a result, they have seen and heard much more.  Thus their thinking styles and angles are different from mainlanders around the same age.

Of course, another possibility is that the Hong Kong students were not necessarily smarter but they were only presenting their true selves.  Because they now live in a different environment, they don't have worries.  This is hard for mainland students to do in public.  I have asked the Hong Kong students whether or how they will publicly discuss issues related to the government if they are back on the mainland.  They unhesitatingly told me that they would speak positively about the government because they might want to apply to become public servants and a bad record will kill their chances.  It has become part of the sub-conscious of these students to choose their words according to the audience.

I have a lot of experience interacting with mainland university students.  Most of the time, I sense that they are trying hard to think lively thoughts.  Of course, they don't have the same information access and therefore they cannot make the very direct comparisons that their counterparts in Hong Kong can do.  Or perhaps there is still an issue of the identity of the speaker.

If the disappointment of my American colleague was the result of inadequate information which stopped the interaction, then that can be changed.  They only need to cultivate a thirst for knowledge and independent thinking.  But if the students are deliberately hiding their true thoughts from an American reporter, then this tendency to choose what to say depending on the situation is more worrisome.  If they are already so world-weary as university students, how will they practice truthful talk when they enter society afterwards?

The mainland students that I have contacted are very intelligent but also very practical.  Even this colleague who only had one hour with them can feel the competitive atmosphere among them.  When we discussed the occupation of journalist, they were more concerned about technical aspects and less about values.  Journalism is actually not about techniques; journalism is all about values.

How can young people not worry when society is so competitive, the opportunities are limited and the starting points are uneven?

Background: Female AIDS Prostitute Blog Was A Hoax  October 19, 2009.

(CCTV)  December 2, 2009.

Yang Yongmeng is a 33-year-old Beijing man who had been in a romantic relationship with Yan Deli when she worked in Beijing.  Later Yan Deli broke off that relatioship.  The very upset Yang went to Yan Deli's home town of Jiaguang village in Yongcheng city and distributed fake nude photos of Yan Deli.  Then Yang created the AIDS Girl blog.

This is the first media interview that Yang Yongmeng has given.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of spreading information through the Internet?
A: I did not use computers before.  I didn't know how to use it.  Without thinking a lot about it, I decided that the Internet was a quick way to let many people know.

Q: How did you learn to spread information through the Internet?
A: There were the Cecilia Cheng photos (note: Sexy Photos Gate).  They were all over the Internet.  I felt that it had a lot of coverage.  I wanted to take revenge.  But I never imagined that the effect would be so huge.  Many strangers on the Internet re-posted it.  I chatted with some netizens and they told me that I can check out the number of references to Yan Deli's name.  I searched on Baidu and I found several tens of thousands of links.  Then I realized that this has become a big deal.  Right now, I want to apologize to her and her family through you.

Our reporter learned that the public security agency found these Internet libel cases to be fraught with difficulties.  From the moment that the AIDS Girl blog appeared, the Yongcheng police felt tremendous pressure.  The various condemnations and disputes made them aware that they had the responsibility to investigate and disclose the truth.  But the first barrier was whether they can even establish a case file for an investigation.  According to Article 246 of our national criminal law code, cases about insults and libels are supposed to be filed by the alleged victims themselves.  If someone seeks legal redress, she has to lodge a complaint directly with the People's Court.  If she does not do so, the public security bureau cannot do anything.  The only exception is when the libel has seriously disrupted social order and/or damaged national interests.

Conversely, unless the public security bureau has established a case, the victim has no means of her own to identify/locate the perpetrator or otherwise obtain more effective evidence for her case.

Thus, when the public security bureau is faced with the case of Yan Deli, they must answer a question first: Has this case seriously disturbed social order?  If yes, the  public security bureau may intercede; if not, it cannot do anything.

According to Yongcheng public security bureau director Zhai Yanqing: "This was the first time that we have ever come across such an Internet case.  We were inexperienced, and this case has a huge impact.  If we act rashly, it can create misunderstanding."  Presently, the law does not provide detailed standards about what are "serious endangerment of social order and damage to national interests."  That is why such cases have caused worries and frustrations within the public security agencies.

According to Crime Division instructor Zhang Zhiping: "The public security bureau is responsible for investigating crimes.  In the next step, you will have to deal with the prosecutor and the court.  What are their standards?  Do we have a common agreement?  We are somewhat uncertain about these types of things."

So should the public security bureau establish a case file in the matter of Yan Deli?  What are the charges?  In the end, Yang Yongmeng was approved for arrest for insult/libel.

Professor Yang Lixin agreed with that decision: "This case seriously damaged the legal rights of the victim and created very bad influence in society.  It definitely meets the criteria for establishing a case file.  I felt that the Yongcheng public security bureau made a very good decision.  I think that it is very good that they dared to explore and carry this out."

Q1. Are you satisfied with the performance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government?
18.2%: Satisfied
48.5%: Half/half
31.9%: Dissatisfied
  1.4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q2. How you rate the overall performance of Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang on a scale of 0 to 100?
51.2: average score for Donald Tsang

Q3.  How would you rate the overall performances of the following senior Hong Kong SAR officials?
52.3%: Chief Secretary Henry Tang
55.5%: Secretary of Finance John Tsang
58.8%: Secretary of Security Wong Yan-lung

Q5. Are you satisfied with the Hong Kong policies of the central government in Beijing?
34.1%: Satisfied
44.5%: Half/half
18.6%: Dissatisfied
  2.8%: Don't know/hard to say

Q6. Which political party best represents your own interests?
10.1%: Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong
  9.2%: Democratic Party
  6.0%: Civic Party
  2.7%: League of Social Democrats
  1.5%: Liberal Party
  6.4%: Others
52.3%: None
12.0%: Don't know/hard to say

(Taipei Times)  DPP slams Ma's campaigning expenses.  By Jenny W. Hsu, Ko Shu-ling and Loa Lok-sin.  December 1, 2009.

... the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus ... lambasted the presidential security detail for hogging the road by telling drivers on a freeway to clear the passing lane for a presidential motorcade heading for Taipei on Saturday — although some media outlets, including TVBS, reported yesterday that Ma was not in the motorcade at the time. There was a traffic jam on the freeway at the time because of an unrelated car accident.

... If Ma is not actually part of a motorcade, then it cannot be considered a presidential motorcade and therefore should not have the privileges that are extended to the president, vice president and premier, DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said. “Nobody can tolerate a president who considers himself an emperor. We are living in a democracy, which means no citizens should sacrifice their right to the road for an empty presidential vehicle,” he said.

(NOWnews)  December 1, 2009.

<Liberty Times> used a front page story about the motorcade of president Ma Ying-jeou abusing his presidential powers to force the people to make way.  However, the National Highway Police Office points out that this photo was a "composite" because the section of the actual highway does not have a shoulder.

KMT legislator Chu Yi said: "This is very serious!  I think <Liberty Times> ought to get out of the business!  If you want around the night long enough, you will run into a ghost sooner or later.  They took a composite photo and put it on the front page to make an issue.  Not just the front page, but the first three pages.  How can someone make such an exaggerated news report from a simulated photo?! Isn't this just like the Funeral Food scandal?!  This is the utmost serious 'funeral food'-like news story!  This is not the first time that <Liberty Times> has messed up.  They never admit fault and society does not censure them either.  This so-called newspaper with the top circulation in Taiwan has openly used a simulated photo on its front page as news.  They also make exaggerated reports on Pages 1, 2 and 3 in order to launch smears.  This is much more serious than a 'funeral food'-type affair.  If <Liberty Times continues to exist, there will be nothing left of public trust in the media.  Therefore, everybody who still thinks of himself as a media worker must condemn <Liberty Times>.  This newspaper must not continue."

In defense of <Liberty Times>, if you just look at the top half of the newspaper, you will get the impression that this was an actual scene.  But if you unfold the newspaper and look at the whole page, you will see a line underneath the photo that states: "This is a simulated photo composed by our art department."  If you didn't see it, you are just a careless reader.


The President's Office indicated today that the presidential motorcade shown in the composite photo in <Liberty Times> was likely that of the Chen Shui-bian era.  The motorcade of president Ma Ying-jeou has two cars whereas the motorcade in the photo has three cars.  Furthermore the car models seemed to date back to the Chen Shui-bian era (the lead car was a Ford E350 and the president's car was a BMW 740).


The <Liberty Times> spokesman denies that the composite photo came from the Chen Shui-bian era.  He said that the photo took elements from three different photos -- President Ma Ying-jeou motorcades from June and November 2009 and another one of traffic congestion.  He also said that the story came from a tip from a citizen.  Since it was impossible to get an actual photo after the fact, a composite photo was used instead.

(China Daily)  Fall kills deputy mayor.  November 30, 2009.

The deputy mayor of Wugang city in Hunan province has committed suicide, according to a statement issued by the city government of Shaoyang, which has jurisdiction over Wugang. Yang Kuansheng jumped from the government dormitory building where he lived at about 6 am on Thursday, the statement said. A team of provincial and municipal police and legal medical experts said on Friday that Yang, who was suffering from depression, killed himself. Yang's family has not accepted the findings and claim that many wounds were seen on his body.

(South China Morning Post)  Official's family angry at suicide claim.  December 1, 2009.

The family of a deputy mayor yesterday expressed anger at the official explanation that he had committed suicide, insisting that the dynamic and hard-working man was murdered.

According to a local government statement cited by Xinhua, Yang Kuansheng - a deputy mayor of Wugang , Hunan - leapt to his death from his apartment in the early hours on Thursday. It said Yang, 47, committed suicide because he was suffering from depression.

"He definitely did not commit suicide," said his cousin Lu Kaihong, who had seen his body. "He had never shown any sign of depression. He was always a very hard-working and active person."

Another relative, Lu Kaihua, who was present at the autopsy, said his left wrist and neck had several deep knife cuts and his back was badly bruised. There were scissors, fruit knives and meat cleavers lying around his flat, he said. "Why would someone who wanted to kill himself do so in such a brutal manner?" He also doubted that the wounded Yang could manage to walk to the window and jump out.

Lu said Yang, who was staying in government staff quarters alone, had returned from a business trip the previous night. When his wife called him, he said someone had threatened his life but said he would be fine. His relatives said once the funeral - scheduled for today - was over, they would petition the government. "We won't give up. He was such an outstanding official, and now he died mysteriously," Lu Kaihong said.

A staff member at the Wugang city government declined to comment. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, Yang had spoken out about the need to close illegal mines. "He was tough on a lot of things; he must have upset some people," Lu Kaihua said.

(Huashangbao via Wenxue City)  November 30, 2009.

According to the documentary statement from the Wugang city (Hunan province), deputy mayor Yang Kuansheng committed suicide as a result of mental depression.  But the relatives of Yang Kuansheng said that they have not seen the autopsy report and they believe that there are many suspicious points about the "suicide."

Yesterday, our reporter received a fax document from the Wugang city government titled: "Wugang city deputy mayor Yang Kuansheng committed suicide due to mental depression."  The text said: "At around 6pm on November 26, Wugang city standing committee member and deputy mayor Yang Kuansheng fell to this death from his dormitory apartment.  Afterwards, the Shaoyang city and Wugang city government quickly formed a special case squad to investigate.  At around 7pm on November 27 forensic doctors, experts and detectives, the Hunan provincial public security bureau, the Shaoyang city public security bureau and the Wugang city public security bureau carry went over the scene and the body, and determined that Yang Kuansheng committed suicide as a result of mental depression."

Yang Kuansheng's cousin Lu Kaihong said that police insiders told him that remnants of some burned cash money were found in the apartment together with a final letter which said something like: "I did not do anything wrong.  I did not accept any gift money from anyone.  A certain Shaodong person wants to frame me up.  I am leaving.  Wife, father and mother, please take care ..."  Lu Kaihong wondered: "If he really wanted to kill himself, why not leave the money for his wife in Shanyang?"

"How did the depression come about?  If it was so bad that he committed suicide, we can check if he has a medical history of depression?  The conclusion reached by the Wugang city government left the Yang family with many questions.  They said that they had seen the body of Yang Kuansheng on November 26, and they saw very clear signs of injuries on his wrists, back of the head, back and waist.  In particular, his left wrist was almost severed.

Yang Kuansheng's cousin Yi Hong said that Yang was 1.78 meters tall and weights almost 100 kilograms.  After almost hacking his own hand off, how could Yang still have the strength to climb over the verandah and jump down.  This was not reasonable to him.

Lu Kaihong said that Yang Kuansheng was in a meeting on November 25.  He told his wife that someone wants to see him in Wugang.  Therefore, he traveled from Shaoyang to Wugang while still prepared to have a meeting back in Shaoyang the next day.  When his wife called him that evening, Yang said that two people wanted to cause him harm and then he added "it's alright."  Yang's wife also said that her husband claimed on November 25 that someone was tapping his phone and therefore he bought a new phone and a new card.

Yang's wife declined to meet with our reporter.  According to the cousin, she said: "For the sake of the safety and future of our child, I have to accept it."  The only son has just entered university.