Beijing Youth Daily front page: (in red)  Bailong boss's villa was forcibly demolished yesterday

Legal Evening News: (in red) Bailong boss's villa forcibly demolished

<Beijing Youth Daily>, <Legal Evening News> and other newspapers all thought that they had a great story that they deemed enough to put on the front page.

On the Internet, the story was also popular!  After all, the story had all the key characteristics of forced eviction/demolition, with the extra ingredient being the fact that the victim was a corporate chief executive (Sun Yingui of Bailong) instead of a powerless civilian:
- More than one hundred urban administrators were responsible of supervising the demolition workers and maintain order.
- 230 persons from real estate companies, developers and neighborhood offices in Haidian district held a meeting to discuss this case!
- It was reported that the neighbor of the Bailong boss bore a grudge and reported the illegality of the villa.

However, the real story may be something completely different as shown in this bill prepared by a public relations company.

Title: Bailong Travel print media promotion fees
Date: 2010-01-07 11:43:59
Dear president Huang,
How are you!
The public relations result report on the "demolition of Sun Yingui's villa" on behalf of Bailong Travel has been completed.  Many mainstream Beijing newspapers reported this as their front page story.  The total advertising value exceeded 1 million yuan.  In addition, the major Internet portals are also carrying the report.  Details are provided in the attachment.  Please pay the total amount of 169,060 yuan, which is itemized as follows:
1. High-level media public relations fees: 50,000 yuan (for five Beijing newspapers)
2. Newspaper headline stories: <Beijing Youth Daily>, <Beijing News>, <Beijing Times> and other pages for 8,000 x 6 = 48,000 yuan
3. Newspaper inside full page stories five times for 5,000 x 5 = 25,000 yuan
4. Newspaper inside partial page stories 18 times for 2,000 x 18 = 36,000 yuan

1. Online game

2. High cholesterol reduction drink

3. Ladies brassiere

4. Consumer savings campaign

5. Green tea

6. Consumer electronics repair/maintenance

7. Isabelle wedding cake

8. Home decoration

9. KFC egg custard tart

10. McDonald's

In China, many cities including Changsha, Zhuzhou and elsewhere adopted payment of bus fare with mobile phone.  Recently, a short video showed what happened in one case.  In the video, the passengers got on the bus and either used their mobile phones or tossed coins.  A young woman wearing sunglasses and a low-cut dress got on with a bottled drink on her right hand and a cup in her left hand.  How was she going to pay the fare?  She wore her mobile phone around her neck, so she thrust her chest forward towards the scanner and made the payment.

Behind this woman came a middle-aged woman wearing an old-style jacket.  She also thrust her chest forward towards the scanner and wiggled twice.  Nothing happened.  The male driver used Shanghainese to tell her: "Are you trying to use their mobile phone to pay?  If you don't have one, you should toss coins in!"  The woman replied: "What is the matter with you?  The girl in front of me thrust forward and you let her pass.  I've already done this twice but you won't let me pass.  What's up?  This is too much!"

The male driver lost his patience: "Alright, alright.  Go ahead.  The other person was using a China Unicom mobile phone."  But the middle-aged woman would not give up.  Even as she walked ahead, she turned her head back and said contemptuously: "What brand?  Never heard of it.  I use an Apple mobile phone!"  Laughter could be heard from inside the bus.  The girl with sunglasses gave a smile.

This video has been watched more than 1.7 million times so far.  Of course, some netziens raised doubts about the authenticity of the video because they thought that it was a commercial to promote the use of mobile phones to make payments.  The likelihood of such a coincidence was simply too infinitesimal.  But other netizens feel that even if this was a commercial, it was still very creative in reminding people: "The times are changing rapidly.  Some people aren't even aware about mobile phone payment.  Comrades, keep up with the times or else you are OUT!"


(Reuters)  Jailing of China gang lawyer alarms legal world.  January 8, 2010.

A Chinese lawyer for a suspected mafia boss in one of the nation's most high-profile trials was jailed on Friday, drawing warnings from lawyers worried the government is trampling rules in its zeal for convictions.

A court in the southwestern city of Chongqing gave Li Zhuang two years and six months in prison on charges of falsifying evidence and jeopardising testimony.

Police arrested Li, the defence lawyer for alleged gang leader Gong Gangmo, late last year. Li was accused of telling Gong to lie in court by testifying that he was tortured in detention, state media reports said at the time.


Chinese newspapers have dubbed the case "Lawyer fake-gate."

Chinese criminal defence lawyers have complained for years that laws give scant protection for the accused and their advocates, and in particular that provisions on evidence fabrication are vague and open to abuse by police.

Zhang Kai, a Beijing lawyer who has been campaigning for Li, said the sentencing set a bad precedent, threatening to further limit access to the law for people charged with serious crimes. "Some people have said Li Zhuang was helping criminal gangs. But all we are trying to do is help the development of a proper legal system," he told Reuters by telephone.

(Liu Hongbo's blog)  January 8, 2009.

The legal field and the general public are paying attention to the Chongqing trial of Li Zhuang for falsifying evidence.

The voices are actually highly similar.  Outside Chongqing, people tend to lean in favor of Li Zhuang.  Perhaps like-minded people think alike, or perhaps people with different opinions are unable to let their voices be heard.

I have read the various doubts raised in the case against Li Zhuang, including whether Li Zhuang was monitored illegally, or the suspicious nature of the denunciation of Li Zhuang by his client Gong Gangmo, or whether the evidence of crime is sufficient.  This showed that the doubts about the case cover just about every aspect.  Some people are saying that if we cannot get Li Zhuang off today, we may be the ones facing the same kinds of charges tomorrow.

What an exaggerated statement!  Is there a connection between what happens to Li Zhuang and us?  Are we the same type of person as Li Zhuang?  Even if I believe that the charges against Li Zhuang are unfounded, will saving him protect all of us?  Even if Li Zhuang is just a commoner, he could not mean so much; in reality, there is so much distance between Li Zhuang and us.

The law and its study are professional subjects that I am not qualified to discuss.  I am not qualified to analyze whether Li Zhuang committed any crimes in his capacity as lawyer.  No matter what happens to Li Zhuang, it does not affect the legal status of commoners.

I have always thought that being a lawyer is an awkward profession.  To become a lawyer, one has to pass professional tests and undergo annual reviews.  In a courthouse, a lawyer is also in a peculiar position.  On one hand, the trial may have little or nothing to do with any defense statements made in court, and this restricts the usefulness of lawyers.  On the other hand, the lack of judicial independence makes lawyers important as lobbyists, especially if they have connections and backgrounds.  Their ties with judges or others who can influence judges will have a huge bearing on the economic and social rewards as lawyers.

What kind of lawyer was Li Zhuang?  How did he come to be charged?  We already know that Li Zhuang previously went from Beijing to many places to "salvage people" with many successes to show.  What kind of people did he salvage?  Why did he salvage these people?  Perhaps, you say that you don't consider this to be a problem -- you don't care who he salvaged or how he did it as long as it was legal.  But I have to ask whether the successes of Li Zhuang was because he was capable and imbued with a passion for justice, or something else?  How much did the "background" which Li Zhuang mentioned himself play into it?  And what kind of background might that be?

To a certain degree, when Beijing lawyers like Li Zhuang travel all over China to salvage people, it is a sickness in the rule of law in China.  It showed that connections, social resources, power protection and other factors are influencing the course of justice.  The emergence of this sickness is not due to the so-called "Beijing lawyers" per se, but these highly successful "Beijing lawyers" must have at least actively and consciously leveraged these factors to their own advantage.

It is clear that these Beijing lawyers would not have gone to "salvage" a commoner.  The friends of these Beijing lawyers -- such as those in the legal field and the general public -- are more willing to offer their support for people who have deep pockets.  They are more willing to write "expert opinions" for people like Shenyang gang boss Liu Yong and others.  If you have money, you can hire experts to deliver "expert opinions"; if you have money, you can hire "Beijing lawyers" to use various social connections and influences to "salvage" you.

To a certain degree, the arrest of Li Zhuang is only one setback for the "Beijing lawyers."  If Li Zhuang is convicted, it will affect the profession of lawyer negatively, especially the businesses of the "Beijing lawyers" and the "Beijing legal field."

Of course, no matter what Li Zhuang did, he can only be found guilty and punished in accordance with the law.  Even if "Beijing lawyers salvaging people" is a sickness of China, his case should still be handled in accordance with the law and we will not praise anything else.

People have said quite a bit about whether the Chongqing authorities have improperly prosecuted Li Zhuang, or whether this case will erode the rule of law.  I am willing to harbor reasonable doubts the case of Li Zhuang and his defenders: If Li Zhuang is convicted, it may not be a victory of the rule of law -- it may be precisely the defeat of the rule of law; if Li Zhuang is found not guilty, it may only show the importance of "background" once more.

Li ZHuang is Li Zhuang.  He may have been prosecuted because he got in the way.  But he may get off because of some kind of trade.  There may not be much difference between someone with a background and someone with no background.  If someone with background like Li Zhuang can be treated this way, it is easy to imagine what happens to people with no such background.  But you should not think that if people like Li Zhuang can get their way as they please, then it would be a good thing for commoners.  That is the so-called "if we cannot get Li Zhuang off today, we may be the ones facing the same kinds of charges tomorrow" mentality.  How naive must you be to think that?

(The Standard)  Legco shame   Colleen Lee, Beatrice Siu, Kaylene Hong and Nacchi Ma   January 8, 2010.

A stand-up row between two maverick lawmakers erupted in the Legislative Council in scenes more suited to Taiwan's incendiary parliament.

As a stunned chamber looked on, Raymond Wong Yuk-man and Chim Pui-chung stood toe-to-toe yesterday trading swearwords, personal insults and political abuse for an astonishing four minutes. At the height of the raging row, the pair went for each other's Achilles' heel with words such as triad, convict and beggar being hurled.

It was not until Finance Committee chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing warned they could be thrown out, and security guards moved in, that the pair backed off in the unprecedented bust-up. They later apologized and shook hands for the cameras.

But last night parents' and education groups said the incident - which was quickly posted on YouTube and later taken down - had set a bad example for young people and damaged the reputation of the legislature.

The row flared during a debate over whether think-tank Professional Commons should be allowed to express its views at today's debate on funding for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Referring to something League of Social Democrats member Wong said, financial services representative Chim murmured: "How can you bulls*** like that?" Wong replied: "I didn't."

Then, just as pro-rail link lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun was about to speak, Chim jumped up from his seat and dashed to Wong, slammed his hand on the desk and shouted: "What the hell do you want ...You think the three of you [League Legco members] are the most supreme?"

Wong did not respond, but as Chim walked back to his seat he said to Wong: "You think you are powerful being a triad?" Furious, Wong stood up and yelled: "You better take back your words."

Lau tried in vain to suspend the meeting as Wong called Chim "a convict." "Yes, I was," Chim retorted. "And you will be one sooner or later." More insults and finger pointing followed with Chim calling Wong "a triad affiliate" as the pair appeared close to blows.

Their confrontation continued as calls for order were ignored, Wong called Chim a "dead convict" and Chim shouted: "How dare you call me a beggar?" claiming Wong owed him money. In 1998 Chim spent 10 months in jail for forging share certificates and was stripped of his Legco seat the same year.

Subsidized Secondary School Council vice chairman Liu Ah-chuen said: "This anti-authority behavior will have a bad influence on the younger generation. Teenagers tend to follow such bad models." Alliance of Parents Associations chairwoman Chan Siu-chu said lawmakers should be aware of their behavior. "Young people will initially think this is fun but in the long run it will pervert the virtues of society," Chan said.

However, Youth Union convener Kong Kwai-sang disagreed.  "First and foremost, youths will focus on what they were arguing about in the Legco," Kong said. "In politics arguments are quite normal so I don't think this kind of behavior will have a great impact."


(Apple Daily)

Yesterday at the Legislative Council, the pan-democrats supported hearing the testimony of NGO experts about the Express Rail Link project, but councilor Poon Pui-chyou (Federation of Trade Unions) said that this would be unfair to other organizations.  This led councilor Raymond Wong Yuk-man (League of Social Democrats) to yell, "Give us some help with the stall tactics, councilor Poon!"

Councilor Chim Pui-chung was clearly displeased with the interjection from Wong and began to grumble from his seat.  "How can you just rant?"  This displeased councilor Chan Wai-yip (League of Social Democrats) who traded barbs while interrupting the speech by councilor Tse Wai-chun.  Chim then got out of his seat and walked towards the three League of Social Democrats councilors.  "What do you people want?  Are the three of you so fierce!"  Session chairwoman Emily Lau pleased: "Please do not quarrel.  Councilor Chim, get back to your seat!"

But Chim had no intention of withdrawing.  Wong then said, "Try again.  I will offer you a cup for you to throw."  Chim responded to the provocation with: "Do you think you are fierce because of your triad background!"  This caused Wong to stand up and demand Chim to withdraw his words.  Chim continued his torrent of words.  Emily Lau then announced an adjournment because the situation was getting out of control.

But the pair had no intention of holding a ceasefire.  Chim pointed at Wong: "If you are triad, you should admit it; if not, you should deny it."  Wong replied: "Of course I am not!"  "But you used to be!"  Wong called Chim a "jailbird" to which Chim responded: "Yes, but you will be one sooner or later!"  Wong said angrily: "Do I look scared?  Am I scared that you have teeth!  You drop dead in the street!  You go quickly and drop dead!"

Wong then called Chim a beggar.  Chim said, "I am a beggar, but I don't owe anyone money!"  "So what if I owe people money?  What's it to you!  I owed your mother money!"  The security guards surrounded the two men.  Then Chan Wai-yip joined in and said: "I formally challenge you.  If you don't resign on January 27 with me, you are a turtle hiding inside its shell."  The episode lasted more than 4 minutes.  Finally Emily Lau pounded the hammer and said: "If you want to disrupt order again, you will be ejected."  Chim wanted to continue but Lau said: "Stop talking!"

As for the supposed concern that this will tarnish the image of legislative councilors, there is still plenty of room left (Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme, December 14-17, 2009)

Satisfied/dissatisfied with overall performance of ...

--- Legislative Council members: 18%/47%
--- Hong Kong Police Force: 67%/12%
--- People's Liberation Army: 65%/2%

Q1.  How much do you know about the discussion of the Express Rail Link (Hong Kong Section)?
  4%: Very much
13%: Fairly much
22%: Half-half
28%: Quite little
31%: Very little
  3%: Don't know/hard to say

Q2. There are different views on the choice of venues and number of Express Rail Link stations.  How much do you know about this?
  3%: Very much
12%: Fairly much
17%: Half-half
30%: Quite little
35%: Very little
  4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q3. The government is seeking Legislative Council funding for HK$ 66.9 billion, which is equivalent to HK$10,000 per Hong Kong citizen, for the Express Rail Link construction project.  Are you inclined to support or oppose the funding, or prefer to suspend it?
47%: Support
23%: Oppose
22%: Suspend
  9%: Don't know/hard to say

Q1.  The government proposes that the size of the electoral committee for the election of the Chief Executive be expanded from the current 800 to 1,200.  Do you agree or disagree?
25.1%: Disagree/disagree a lot
60.6%: Agree/agree a lot
14.2%: Don't know/hard to say

Q2. Do you think that the increased size of 1,200 for the electoral committee is too many, too few or just right?
45.8%: Too little
34.2%: Too many
  7.6%: Just right
12.4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q3. The consultation paper suggests that the newly increased 400 electoral committee members shall consist of 100 each from the original industry/commerce, finance, professional and society/political sectors.  Do you agree or disagree with this decision?
40.9%: Disagree/disagree a lot
47.2%: Agree/agree a lot
11.8%: Don't know/hard to say

Q4. A nominee for the Chief Executive must currently receive 100 votes from the 800 electoral committee members.  The proposed reform would maintain the threshold of 1/8.  That is to say, the nominee must received 150 votes from the 1,200 electoral committee members.  Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?
36.9%: Disagree/disagree a lot
50.5%: Agree/agree a lot
12.6%: Don't know/hard to say

Q5. Do you think that the threshold of 1/8 is too low, too high or just right?
22.6%: Too low
40.4%: Just right
23.6%: Too high
13.4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q6. Some people think that the threshold for nominating the Chief Executive in 2012 should not be higher than that for the 2007 Chief Executive election, in order to allow candidates from different sectors (including pan-democrats) to participate.  Do you agree or disagree?
20.6%: Disagree/disagree a lot
72.0%: Agree/agree a lot
  7.5%: Don't know/hard to say

Q7. As for the Legislative Council, the government proposes to have five more directly elected seats from the geographical constituencies in 2012.  Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?
18.9%: Disagree/disagree a lot
73.8%: Agree/agree a lot
  7.3%: Don't know/hard to say

Q8. The government also proposes to have five more seats from the functional constituencies to be elected by the District Councilors from amongst themselves.  Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?
34.2%: Disagree/disagree a lot
56.7%: Agree/agree a lot
  9.1%: Don't know/hard to say

Q9. Some people think that the government should eliminate the system of direct appointment of district councilors.  Do you agree or disagree?
28.8%: Disagree/disagree a lot
64.6%: Agree/agree a lot
  6.6%: Don't know/hard to say

Q10. Some people think that the constitutional reform proposal from the government for 2012 is "a step forwards for democracy," while people think that it is "a step backwards for democracy."  What do you think?
40.3%: A step forwards for democracy
29.5%: A step backwards for democracy
13.2%: Neither
17.0%: Don't know/hard to say

Q11.  Overall, do you think that the most recent constitutional reform proposal from the government is to fast, too slow or just right?
54.7%: Too slow
36.6%: Just right
 1.5%: Too fast
 7.2%: Don't know/hard to say

Q12. Do you support the Legislative Council passing this constitutional reform proposal for 2012 from the government?
30.6%: Do not support/very much not support
50.8%: Support/very much support
18.6%: Don't know/hard to say

Q13. Some people think that the "proposed constitutional reform from the government is the best  possible under the current circumstances."  Do you agree or disagree?
59.6%: Disagree/disagree a lot
31.0%: Agree/agree a lot
  9.4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q14. Some people think that "if the Legislative Council votes down this 2012 constitutional reform proposal, it will lessen the chances of having universal suffrage for the 2017 Chief Executive election and the 2020 Legislative Council election."  Do you agree or disagree?
43.2%: Disagree/disagree a lot
39.7%: Agree/agree a lot
17.1%: Don't know/hard to say

Q15. The National People's Congress Standing Committee has already decided that there won't be double universal suffrage in 2012, but universal suffrage is possible for the Chief Executive in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2020.  Do you accept or reject this decision?
30.5%: Don't accept/very much don't accept
57.7%: Accept/very much accept
11.8%: Don't know/hard to say

Q16. The Special Administrative Region government points out that the current consultation will only address the 2012 elections as authorized by the central government.  The 2017 Chief Executive election and the 2020 Legislative Council election will be addressed by the next administration.  Do you agree or disagree?
45.0%: Disagree/disagree a lot
44.0%: Agree/agree a lot
11.1%: Don't know/hard to say

Q17. Since the SAR government has not recommended double universal suffrage in 2012, do you agree or disagree with the insistence on implementing double universal suffrage in 2012?
33.3%: Disagree/disagree a lot
52.7%: Agree/agree a lot
14.1%: Don't know/hard to say

Q18. When Hong Kong can have universal suffrage, do you think that the functional constituencies should be retained or eliminated?
49.7%: Eliminated
37.1%: Retained
13.3%: Don't know/hard to say

Q19. Some people think that even when universal suffrage is used to elect the Legislative Council, the functional constituencies can be retained after some reforms.  Do you agree or disagree?
37.0%: Disagree/disagree a lot
44.6%: Agree/agree a lot
18.4%: Don't know/hard to say

Q20. Some pan-democrats recommend to have five pan-democrat Legislative Councilors to resign from each of the geographical constituencies and run for re-election as a de facto referendum to express public opinion to the government.  Do you agree or disagree?
56.7%: Disagree/disagree a lot
28.1%: Agree/agree a lot
15.2%: Don't know/hard to say

(Han Han's blog)

I went to see <Avatar> today.  There were no directors, producers or actors present on stage, but this was the first time that I heard applause in a movie house where the credits came on.  Some Chinese movie critics think that while the movie is not bad, parts of the plot were too mundane.  I completely disagree, because brute-force eviction is unimaginable for audiences in other country because they think that it can only happen on alien planets or in China.  This is a great movie.  I give this movie the full score of 10 if seen in IMAX 3D.


(A Gan)

<Avatar> affected me most deeply because of the visual impact.  Although the story plot is somewhat corny, the movie is technically flawless.  The CGI technique left us bemoaning our inadequacies.  Yesterday, another reporter asked me what I should learn from <Avatar>.  I didn't think that there was anything to learn, because we are too far behind Hollywood in technology.  Some netizens estimate the gap to be 20 years.  I think more like 100 years.  I use the same camera to film the 3D <Don Quixote>.  From the 3D perspective, we Chinese moviemakers can do what <Avatar> did.  But the technique by which <Avatar> captured the motions is completely missing in China.  I can only pay tribute humbly at this time.  I am concerned that <Avatar> will not do as well as <2012> at the box office, because the latter fawned on the Chinese people and the end-of-the-world prediction/shallow plot may pull in more money.

(Lu Chuan, director of <City of Life and Death> (Nanking! Nanking!))

I felt as if I had gone back to my childhood and became a small boy full of dreams ... but the simple story was flawless and the plot was very engrossing.  <Avatar> let us know that we lack not only just in technology.  Technology can be acquired.  <Avatar> let me realized how far our movies are from simple perfection; how far our movies are from crystal-clear purity; how far our movies from passionate dreams; how far from genuine sincerity are we who are embroiled in grim entanglements and dim vulgarity!  We ought to ashamed in the face of the purity of <Avatar>.  This is a complete defeat that we Chinese filmmakers must collectively witness and concede.

(Ning Caishen)

I went to watch the midnight showing of <Avatar> with several directors and producers.  Afterwards, the atmosphere was eerie, silent and depressing.  Almost nobody talked about this movie.  We were all shell-shocked.

In Binzhou (Shandong province), the Chinese Elementary and Secondary School Logistics Support Forum in progress in a huge conference call that cost millions of yuan to construct.  Within a few minutes after the Binzhou city leader announced the commencement, something incredible happened -- the participants almost all fell asleep even as the experts on the podium spoke!

Cyberbullying can kill.  The video <Hong Kong girl causes stir at Yuen Long construction material shop> had been popular a while ago.  The uploader was denounced as a "Kong girl" and had her personal details ferreted out by netizens.  The female principal Chiu Yin-ping spoke out for the first time yesterday.  She said that after being verbally harangued and exposed, she felt like committing suicide.  A scholar said that most netizens do not realize that their actions constituted cyberbullying that might drive the principal into desperate straits.  Therefore, this is a worrisome situation.

Chiu Yin-ping, who has been denounced as a "Kong girl" by netizens, had an argument with a construction store manager over the price of a wash basin in September and uploaded a video of that episode onto the Internet.  At first, she wanted to use the netizens to go after the store manager.  Instead, many netizens found her aggressive and overbearing.  They dug up a lot of information about her personal life, and posted information such as photos, work details, addresses, etc onto the various discussion forums.

Three months later, Chiu Yin-ping was interviewed for the first time to comment on the affair.  She said that she was emotionally distraught after the exposure and did not dare to see anyone.  "Clinics, banks ... I try my best not to go there, because it is possible that someone there will know that I am that person (Chiu Yin-ping).  I don't know what they might do, such as writing about me on the Internet."  The affair vexed her a great deal, to the point of contemplating suicide.

When she saw the netizen reactions, she was sorry and immediately deleted the uploaded video.  She apologized openly on her blog: "I rashly did something that that hurt people.  I am really sorry for causing those by my side to worry."  But certain netizens had already downloaded her video, and they kept uploading it again and again to generate more discussion.

City University Department of Applied Social Studies associate professor Dennis Wong Shing-wing pointed out that someone of Chiu Yin-ping's age could hardly be suicidal, so it is easy to imagine what a blow it had been.  He said that netizens are often affected by group action -- "if others can do it, so can I" -- and therefore do not think of themselves as cyberbullies who can ruin someone.  This is really very dangerous.

Wong Shing-wing said frankly that this type of cyberbullying is literally "building one's own happiness upon the pain of others."  He explained that many people derive pleasure and satisfaction in cyberbullying others.  Sometimes they think that their action will not have consequences beyond "their suffering is my enjoyment."  Sometimes they even regard the "outing" exercise as a competition to see who could obtain more information and gain recognition on the Internet.

Wong Shing-wing said that some of them may have been bullied in real life.  Therefore, they want to seek redress on the Internet.  Alternately, they feel bored and want to have some "fun" irregardless of how others feel.  Even when something goes awry, they will argue "everyone does it" to lessen their sense of guilt.

(Note of explanation: "Kong girl 港女" means "Hong Kong girl" but, more importantly, it is the derogatory term for a materialistic, greedy, overbearing, superficial, vain, egotistical and insensitive woman.)

TV news: January 3, 2009.

Selected comments from the HK Golden Forum about this news story:

Photo from the movie Bodyguards and Assassins

Wikipedia: Michelle Reis (李嘉欣) is a Hong Kong actress. 

Reis was born in Macau which was then a Portuguese colony. Reis is of mixed ancestry as her father is Portuguese and her mother is a Han Chinese from Shanghai. Michelle maintains, however, that she considers herself Chinese as that was the only culture and language she grew up familiar with. Reis attended Maryknoll Convent School, and matriculated from St. Paul's Secondary School. Reis started modelling at the age of 14. She first came to fame when she won the 1988 Miss Hong Kong Pageant at the age of 18. Reis was also the first Miss Chinese International in the same year. Following her Miss Chinese International crowning, she went on to participate in the Miss World 1988 pageant, where she promoted the image of Hong Kong. She was then supposed to compete in the Miss Universe 1989 pageant but withdrew due to health problems. Reis started to build a career within the entertainment industry in the 1990s. She starred in commercials eventually leading to movies. She has also appeared in music videos and TVB television episodes. Reis married business tycoon Julian Hui on 23 November 2008, following a very public two-year courtship.

Yes, but so what?  Michelle Reis' Chinese name is pronounced Li Jiaxin(李嘉欣), and Jiaxin (嘉欣) happens to have the sound as (加薪) (='salary raise').


Michelle Reis probably never imagined that she would become the spokesperson for the broad masses of office workers in mainland China.  A CCTV news segment said: "On the posters of star Michelle Reis, the words 'I want Jiaxin' are written.  The posters are placed on their desks as well as the walls that the bosses will pass by.  This is the trick by which white-collar workers are expressing their desire for 'salary raises'."


Movie actor Francis Ng arrested for brawl at a bread shop

Suicide bomber kills seven CIA agents in Afghanistan

Suicide bomber kills 300+ persons watching volleyball match in Pakistan

Somalian attempts to kill Danish cartoonist for blasphemy

Ningbo (Zhejiang province) pirates rob ships in China

Taiwan man sentenced to life in prison for murder, necrophilia and dismemberment.

(The Wall Street Journal)  Tiger Woods and the Animation of News   By L. Gordon Crovitz.  December 13, 2009.

Long after Tiger Woods has been forgiven his transgressions, one lasting legacy of his extramarital activities will be a new journalistic art form: the animated news report. Millions of people have now viewed the online animations produced by Hong Kong-based Next Media depicting the wronged wife coming after Tiger Woods with a golf club and smashing the back window of his vehicle, causing the now-famous accident.

This may or may not be what actually happened, but one lesson of technology applied to information is that every medium finds its ultimate conclusion, from talk radio to reality television. In the case of online video, animated "news" will fill the gap where there is no actual video. (If you've somehow missed this animation, view it at

Journalistic traditionalists tut-tut; animations are not re-enactments so much as a potential version of the news. Even leading new-media journalists are ambivalent. Kara Swisher, who blogs at the Journal's All Things Digital Web site, quipped, "It's not pretty, but it is hard to avert my eyes from the bizarre video report," comparing it to a video game "gone awry." She said she couldn't tell "whether such faux representations of how news might or might not have happened is a good or bad thing."

These animations are the latest brainstorm of Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Media, which launched what are now the most popular Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Reflecting on how newspaper stories have more background about events than television news reports have, as he told me last week, "I thought, hey, why not make those missing images of the background into animated images?" He hired 160 software developers and engineers in Taiwan, who spent more than two years perfecting the technique. Reporters describe their interpretation of what happened to engineers and actors who serve as the models for the animation. Mr. Lai says that his team can create an animated video in 90 minutes, producing about 20 a day.

Mr. Lai says there's no confusing the animation with real video. "The avatars are still quite wooden looking," he said, though he plans to make them more realistic as the technology improves. Still, viewers need to be discriminating, keeping in mind the difference between enactments and real footage.

1. Barack Obama becomes first president elected in the history of the United States of America (70.8%)
2. Superstar Michael Jackson passed away (69.7%)
3. Gao Kun wins the Nobel Prize (55.1%)
4. Corrosive acid dropped onto Mongkok streets, police seek perpetrator (53.9%)
5. H1N1 virus invades Hong Kong as the city braces itself (49.0%)
6. Chen Shui-bian and wife gets life in prison in one of the five greatest graft cases worldwide (46.3%)
7. Military parade in Beijing on 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (41.1%)
8. Yoshito Usui, author of Crayon Shin-chan, fell off a cliff and died (36.5%)
9. School campus drug testing proposal revealed to mixed reviews (36.2%)
10. Hong Kong reporters assaulted in Xinjiang, drawing concern (35.6%)
11. Young female models invade Hong Kong Book Fair, deplored by culturati (34.8%)
12. Policeman suspected of raping women who filed cases, worries over excessive police power (34.2%)
13. Dispute over Nina Wang's estate, controversy over her wills (30.0%)
14. Typhoon Morakot hits Taiwan hard, more than 470 dead and more than 190 missing (27.6%)
15. 3-3-4 school system in action with inadequate support (27.2%)
16. Plastic bag levy officially implemented to mixed reactions (25.3%)
17. Residents put a halt to the planned Zheng Sheng College campus in Mui Wo (24.8%)
18. 200,000 people participated in the candlelight service on the twentieth anniversary of the June 4th incident (24.0%)
19. Kelvin Kwan and Jill Vidal prosecuted in Japan for drug possession (23.2%)
20. Liu Xiang returns to form with a silver in the Shanghai Grand Prix race (22.5%)
21. Japanese actress Noriko Sakai prosecuted in Japan for drug abuse (22.5%)
22. Beijing authorities highly concerned about Han-Uighur clash in Xinjiang (21.2%)
23. Verdict rendered in the murder case of Kimi Wong, as "aided friendship" trend draws concern (21.1%)
24. Technician sentenced to three months in jail in the case of the missing dead baby in Eastern District Hospital (19.6%)
25. Constant stream of incidents at hospitals, authorities asked to review existing system (19.2%)
26. Hong Kong Government holds East Asia Games, administrative arrangements criticized (18.5%)
27. Industrial accident at ICC with 6 out-sourced workers dead (16.7%)
28. Language policies determined "locally" as schools will choose their own language of instruction (15.7%)
29. Twenty nations convene meeting to discuss economic stimulation plans (10.9%)
30. Thai "Red army" demonstrate again, forcing cancelation of ASEAN summit meeting (9.6%)

Here are the annual page views:
2006: 3,190,643
2007: 5,177,033
2008: 5,926,718
2009: 7,566,901

If you take these numbers and divide by the number of days per year, you can the average daily page views:
2006: 11,655
2007: 14,184
2008: 16,193
2009: 20,731

Page views don't mean much to me.  No advertising is shown on this website (unless they be public service notices), nor will it ever be.  By a simple tweak of the website design, page views can easily be doubled or tripled, but life is too short.  I'd rather translate some more interesting things.

(华商晨报)    年度十大好书评选:回望2009年的阅读潮汐    2010.01.04 (translation: Best ten book selections of the year: Reading fashions of 2009 in retrospect)

《小团圆》(<Small Renunions>)

张爱玲文学遗产执行人 宋以朗 (Eileen Chang's literary estate executor Roland Soong)

获奖感言:(comments on receiving the prize)


(I was not surprised that <Small Reunions> was selected among the Best Ten Books Of the Year amid controversy.  Eileen Chang completed <Small Reunions> when she was in her 50's.  As readers or critics, we should accept the evolution of a writer.  After reading something good from her, we should not prohibit her from developing and changing or become unhappy when she does change.  Now that <Small Reunions> has been published, further debate is pointless.  The most important thing at this time is to explore the literary value of this novel and the new map for post-<Small Reunions> studies of Eileen Chang.

[ESWN Comment: This is China, so things do not have to be true just because they were published somewhere.  In this case, I never made any comments to anyone about any Best Ten Book Of The Year List.]


[in translation]

This is a photo that I found on the Internet.  It may have been taken during a police sweep of prostitutes.  I had many mixed feelings when I saw it and I have so many things that I want to say about it.  Let me begin with the information imparted by this photo.

This pair of handcuffed hands is a pair of rough female hands.  This meant that the hands must have toiled in labor. She might have worked in a farm field or a factory.  Perhaps the land that she used to till to feed her family has been sold by the government to real estate developers and she lost her land; or perhaps the factory where she earned her wages has been converted into a private enterprise by the leaders and she was laid off because she was a burden on the new bosses.  Her land is gone, and her means of livelihood is gone.  To feed her family, she has to resort to the most primitive occupation for women.

This is pair of breasts that had fed her children.  Her children waits for her to feed them.  She has to pay the high tuition fees.  This jobless mother had to use her body to exchange for these things.

At her age, she must have elderly people to take care of.  The elders need the daughter to look after them.  Perhaps the elders are ill, and the high medical expenses await the daughter to pay.  In order to pay for the doctor bills and medical fees, she had to go down this path of humiliation.

Although the eyes are pixelated, her facial expression showed that she has not knuckled under.  She does not think that she is lowly.  She is loftier than the corrupt officials who feed off the blood of the people.  Although she was forced to lift up her shirt and let her breasts be fondled at will, she refused to lower her head.  She showed contempt for the hands that intrude upon her sexual organs in the name of authority.  She knew that he dared to touch her breasts only because he wore a uniform.  He is even more shameless than her.

This is a pair of male hands that would not dare to fondle any other woman's breasts.  The shirt sleeves show that they belong to a male policeman.  They are toying around with their prey.  Because his uniform represents law and authority, he can fondle at will all those spots that are otherwise prohibited by the law.

This pair of hands represents the law.  Not only is it willfully invading female sexual organs that are prohibited by the law, it can also be photographed by his companions for fun in order to demonstrate its power and authority.  This move only insults and invades the character and dignity of the woman even more.

The big character "Police" on the top right hand corner of this photograph showed that this was not taken at the scene of the crime.  Instead, it was a fun photo taken at the police station by the law-and-order enforcers.  The fuzzy shadows on the background appear to belong to a group of police spectators.

I don't want to comment too much.  I only want to tell you about the information that I read from this photo.  I may have misunderstood something, but I want to bring this up for discussion.

Dear friend, what do you see from this photo?  Let us discuss.

[The first commentator wrote: You idiot, can't you see that it was a man?]

[Note: This photo came from a November 17, 2006 story, in which two men wearing wigs and false boobs were arrested after soliciting an undercover policeman in Fuzhou.]

(South China Morning Post)  Why march numbers just don't add up   By Joshua But and Fox Yi Hu.  January 4, 2010

Every time there's a protest march, everyone wants to know how many took part. But police, organisers and neutral observers have never agreed on the numbers, and probably never will.

The inflation, or underestimation, of the size of the crowd was on show again in Friday's march for universal suffrage. Its organiser, the group Power For Democracy, said 30,000 people took part in the march from Causeway Bay to Sheung Wan. Police said about 6,800 people were in Victoria Park for the start of the march and that 9,000 gathered at its destination, the central government's liaison office.

That may appear a big gap, but it is far from the biggest. When the Civil Human Rights Front staged the second big pro-democracy march from Causeway Bay on July 1, 2004, it said 530,000 people took part; police put the number at 200,000. The July 1 march has since become an annual event, and last year organisers said 76,000 marched whereas police said only 28,000 took to the streets.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme have done their own count of participants in the July 1 marches since 2003. The programme estimated turnout in 2004 at between 180,000 and 207,000; last year its estimate was that between 29,000 and 33,000 marched. Both estimates were much closer to the figure given by the police than that of organisers.

Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, convenor of Power For Democracy and a July 1 march regular, said organisers took the peak attendance at a protest as their point of reference and took into account factors such as the number of people that roads along the route of a march could accommodate. Tsoi said the police always tended to underestimate turnout by not counting those who came late or left early.

He conceded, though, that because the group's resources were limited, its volunteers carried out headcounts of marchers on Friday at only two spots in Central and Western District. "We will not say our estimate is the most accurate one but it is a reference for the public and the government, showing that our calls for democracy are shared by the masses," he said.

Police consistently say the figures they issue are not official head counts but estimates for internal use for crowd control purposes. A spokesman said the force's counting method was "very systematic", with observation spots set up on flyovers. The force releases its highest estimate of turnouts.

Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, an HKU statistician and part-time member of the government's Central Policy Unit think tank, said protest organisers and the media were "overly concerned about turnout". He has estimated the turnout for all the July 1 rallies and says his figures are often similar to those of the police, while organisers' figures are often twice or three times his own. Yip said the media often paid more heed to organisers' figures because they were usually more impressive. "Such huge gaps are uncommon for protests in developed countries," he said. "People are not so nervous about protest turnouts in other parts of the world."

(Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme)  Press release.  July 12, 2009.

The following commentary was written by Director of POP Robert Chung.

Whether it is June 4, July 1 or any other mass gatherings or demonstrations, the headcount figures announced by the organizers and government units often show a huge difference. Director of POP Robert Chung have the following impressions after conducting totally 16 headcounts over the past 7 years:

  • All organizers tend to exaggerate their headcounts, while government units tend to underestimate the turnout. Using June 4 vigils as an example, the organizer's headcounts are usually 2 to 3 times that of the police figures.
  • Since both parties do not reveal their methodologies and detailed figures, there is no way people can monitor the process or check the results. The degree of scientificity and amount of exaggeration can hardly be estimated.
  • Interestingly, when measuring the same kind of activities over the years, although the headcount figures are so different from both parties, their trend of change is very consistent. We can therefore infer that the figures announced by organizers must have included some political and psychological factors which blow up their true values, while the government figures must have included some factors which compress the true figures. If there is basically no change in the ways the figures are stretched or compressed, then the direction of change across different years may be true, while the headcount figures themselves are not.
  • At certain times for certain activities, the differences between organizers’ figures and government figures are reduced, probably because both parties are expecting some headcount figures compiled by third parties. “Third parties” here means various scholars and experts who occasionally conducting headcounts. However, because these headcounts are irregular, and not meant to be official audits, they have set very little pressure on the relevant parties.

Before our society takes scientific headcount figures seriously, when reporting these figures, it would be better for our media to add expressions like “according to organizers’ claim”, “police estimates”, and “method unknown” when quoting them.

[Comment: Robert Chung attributed inflation by the organisers to "some political and psychological factors" and deflation by the government to "some factors."  Why do politicians have psychological needs to inflate numbers?]

(Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme)  January 6, 2010.

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong conducted a headcount of the January 1 Rally organized by the Power for Democracy at the Walkway System on the footbridge of Central-Mid-Levels Escalator at the joint of Queen's Road Central and Cochrane Street in Central on January 1, 2010. Headcount figures showed that, excluding those who left the rally before the march arriving the checkpoint or joined the march after it, 8,774 people passed by the checkpoint. According to our previous data, it is estimated that the total number of participants of the January 1 Rally should be in between 10,000 and 12,000.

The adjustment factor was found by making reference to similar rallies out of the 20 mass demonstration headcount projects involving POP since the July 1 Rally in 2003. Although the nature, the route and the checkpoint of each rally may not be the same, the adjustment factor is indeed very similar with other rallies of the same type. Prior to obtaining other data, it should be applicable to this year's January 1 Rally.

Chenzhuang village is located in the suburbs of Liaocheng city, Shangdong province.  The village has more than 400 households with more than 2,000 persons.  The village covers more than 1,000 mu of land.  There are more than 600 housing lots with more than 2,340 buildings.  The Dongchangfu district government wants to acquire the land for commercial real estate development.  However, the demolition/relocation notice did not specify the purpose or title for the project.

The lawyer for the villagers said that the demolition/relocation project is illegal.  All the demolition/relocation notices and the compensation documents came without official stamps.  On audio recording, several Dongchangfu district leaders have said that the project was "reasonable and legal," but they could not furnish the relevant documents.  Deputy district leader Guo claimed first that "the procedures will be completed after the demolition" and then he said "anything that government does is reasonable and legal."

On January 1st, the front page of the local news page quoted a Dongchangfu district leader who said: "I will put you in jail!"  According to a village brigade leader, this is the same deputy district leader Guo who was it.

How to get the villagers to accept the deal and clear out?  There are more than forty government workers who have relatives in Chenzhuang village.  They have been told that since their relatives have not signed agreements, they will be "dismissed" from their jobs.

Chenzhuang village number one brigade leader Chen Jialiang does not dare take the telephone calls from his brother-in-law.  He said that the brother-in-law Lu Hongyuan is a deputy director at the Dongchangfu District Petition Office.  On the day before yesterday, Lu came out of a meeting and kept calling Chen Jialiang to beg him to sign the agreement.  According to Lu, the district leader Meng Lai announced to the various department heads that any government worker with relatives in Chenzhuang village will be "dismissed" if they cannot accomplish the mission of convincing their relatives to sign before January 1st.  Lu Hongyuan said that he received a call from the district leader that if Chen Jialiang does not sign today, Lu will be dismissed.  "Don't bother showing up for work."

According to villager Xu Hongdong, the villagers have more than 40 relatives holding government jobs.  All have received the same notice like Lu Hongyuan.

According to villagers, the village broadcasting system continues to broadcast demolition/relocation notices from 8am to 6pm.  Some villagers have recorded the broadcast message.  The message asked the villagers to cooperate with the demolition/relocation, which has more than 99% of the villagers already signing.  It also asked the villagers to recognize the true status and not be "misled by the two lawyers from the outside and harbor any illusions about the compensation."  According to the lawyer, more than 200 households have signed the power-of-attorney form with him.  That would be half of all the households.

British drug smuggler Akmal Shaihk died by lethal injection on December 29, 2009 in Urumqi for carrying more than 4 kilograms of heroin.  Before his sentence was carried out, his defense lawyer and the British government pleaded for mercy on the grounds that "Akmal Shaikh suffered from mental illness."  But the Chinese judiciary ultimately decided that Akmal Shaikh did not suffer from mental illness.  On December 30, a Beijing-based criminal law expert gave a detailed explanation.

Chinese Academy of Society Sciences Criminal Law Research Centre director Qu Xuewu said that there are two standards for determining whether the suspect/defendant has mental illness.  The first is a psychological standard by which the principal is determined to be unable to comprehend the nature of his/her own actions.  The second is a medical standard which includes serious psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia.

"The Chinese court judiciary has its own standards for determining mental illness.  What ordinary people call personality disorders, abnormal personality, paranoia and other irregular behaviors do not qualify under those standards.  Thus, the suspect cannot be excused of the appropriate criminal responsibility as a result of those conditions."  Qu Xuewu said.

Before Akmal Shaikh was executed, his defense lawyer appealed on the grounds that he suffered from mental delusions such that he was tricked by a crime organization into bringing drugs into China.  The Supreme People's Court noted in its public notice on the decision for the final appeal that British government officials and a certain Reprieve organization made the request through the lawyer to have a psychiatric examination done for Akmal Shaikh.  But the material provided by the British side was insufficient to show that Akmal Shaikh had mental illness or that his family members have mental illness.  Akhal Shaikj did not offer any relevant material himself either.

The public notice from the Supreme People's Court also noted that the a defendant cannot apply for a psychiatric examination unconditionally.  Instead the appellant must provide a basis that the defendant may be suffering from mental illness.  The court can then evaluate and decide whether and examination needs to be made.  In the case of Akmal Shaikh, the court determined that there was no reason to doubt his mental state.  Therefore, the application for a psychiatric examination failed to meet the conditions for approval.

Qu Xuewu explained that the conditionality required for a psychiatric examination is based upon practical considerations.  At present, a large number of suspects (especially those suspects who are facing execution) are requesting psychiatric examinations.  Clearly, people want to pretend to have mental illness in order to evade legal responsibility.  Therefore, the courts cannot approve all requests for psychiatric examination unconditionally.

"The public notice from the Chinese judiciary noted that the basic conditions for suspecting whether Akmal Shaikh were not met in order to conduct a psychiatric examination, not to say a reprieve on the grounds of mental illness.  Therefore, the condemnations of the British government about the lack of a psychiatric examination for Akmal Shaikh are completely unfounded."  Qu Xuewu said.

Relevant link: Thoughts in Reaction to the Execution of Akmal Shaikh   Siweiluozi's Blog

(China National Radio)  December 29, 2009.

On December 28, cracks were seen on the Henan Road Bridge over Suzhou River in Shanghai.  The striking part of the phenomenon was that the cracks revealed that the bridge had been stuffed with garbage (such as plastic bubbles, canvas bags) inside.  According to engineering experts, the bridge is structurally sound and the garbage is only padding underneath the decorative façade.


(Xinhua)  January 1, 2010.

Following this popular Internet news story, the Shanghai City Construction and Transportation Commission has determined the reason for the cracks is that there should have been space left between the decorative boards to account for different levels of movement.  However, the constructor did not do so, and this has resulted in the cracks appearing.  However, the bridge itself is structural sound and traffic safety is not affected.  The Commission has ordered the relevant department to improve on the decorative design and make suitable repairs.

At around 3pm on December 28, Shenge Lighting Decoration Factory boss Xu Hao went out to purchase spare parts.  After walking less than 1 kilometer, he felt sharp stomach pains.  So he abandoned his shopping trip to go to the Guzhen People's Hospital.  The doctor determined that he had a case of acute appendicitis and needed to be hospitalized for treatment.  Our reporter saw that the time of admission on his hospital form was 4pm.

Xu Hao said that the doctor gave him an intravenous drip which continued until 1am.  He called his wife to tell her that he was hospitalized.  But before he could tell her to go to the factory, the phone battery was exhausted.  He asked the doctor to call his factory manager, but the doctor said that he should rest and the factory manager can take care of things.

On the afternoon of December 29, Xu Hao's wife Leng returned to Guzhen from her hometown.  She came first to visit Xu at the hospital at 2pm and then went to the factory at 4pm.   Leng said: "When I got to the gate, I saw many people removing my property.  When I went up to stop them, they asked me who I was."  She told the movers that she is the female owner of the factory.  But the movers said that they had bought the factory and therefore they are the owners now.  Leng called the police.  The police came followed by workers from the Guzhen Neighborhood Safety Committee.  The moving was stopped.  Xu Hao hurried back from the hospital.  When he saw the scene at the factory, he fainted and was sent back to the hospital again.

Here is what happened.

Shenge Lighting Decoration Factory has 16 workers.  According to worker Xu Yongqiang, several suppliers came to the factory to demand payment after Xu went out on the afternoon of December 28.  The workers told them that the boss had gone out to purchase spare parts and will be back soon.  The suppliers waited from 4pm until past 5pm but Xu Hao had not come back.  The workers and the suppliers called Xu's telephone but it had been turned off.  Someone became concerned that Xu had fled with the money.  This notion spread among the suppliers as even more of them heard and came to the factory.  At 6pm or so, some of the suppliers began to remove merchandise, equipment and office supplies from the factory.

According to worker Huang Dechao, seven or eight suppliers came on the afternoon of December 28 with seven or eight trucks parked in front of the factory.  They began to move what they regarded as valuable onto their trucks.  The workers tried to stop them, but the suppliers ignored them.  The landlord named Liang happened to pass by and called the police.  The Neighborhood Safety Committee and Labor Department workers also came and the suppliers were stopped.  Most of the materials that were loaded onto the trucks were retrieved, but some suppliers managed to take materials away.

That evening, the Neighborhood Safety Committee and the landlord organized people to keep guard at the factory.  By now the workers were suspicious whether their boss had fled.  Worker Lin Yingjie said that the factory was scheduled to pay people on December 31.  Besides, they all had to post one month's pay as deposit up front.  This meant that the workers were owed two months' pay.  Lin Yingjie said: "We only make one or two thousand a month.  We have families to look after.  This is our blood-and-sweat money.  We want it back."  The 16 workers were due about 50,000 yuan.  BUt Xu Hao was out of contact that night.  His wife Leng does not manage factory affairs and the workers did not know how to reach her.

On the morning of December 29, the workers did not work.  At 10am or so, two workers from the Labor Department came.  The local Neighborhood Safety Committee sent people to maintain order.  According to Lin Yingjie and two other factory workers, the Labor Department worker said: "If we you through labor arbitration or the judicial process, it will take a long time for you to get paid.  If you sell off the factory assets, you can get paid quickly."  A worker told the reporter that the Labor Department worker gave them an agreement and said that their signing would allow them to be paid immediately.  At around 11pm, 10 workers signed the agreement and received 1,375 yuan each.

Yesterday afternoon, this reporter was able to read the agreement document.  It read: "The operator Xu Hao has fled without a trace and is out of reach, while still owing Cao Wen and 15 workers the wages for November and December, 2009.  In consideration of the livelihood of the workers, the various sides have agreed unanimously that the workers will sell off all the assets of the factory for a sum of 15,000 yuan.  The landlord will contribute an additional 7,000 yuan for a total 22,000 yuan to pay for the wages.  The workers have agreed unanimously that the wages will be distributed equally at 1,375 yuan per person.  The workers will go after the operator for the balance.  The workers shall depart from the factory as soon as they receive the money."

In truth, the assets of Xu Hao's factory was sold off to someone else for 15,000 yuan at around 11am on December 29.  In 19 hours' time, Xu Hao's 300,000+ yuan investment in his factory had become someone's else property.

Here are the stories from the various sides:

Xu Hao: The factory assets belong to me.  Without me being aware, they were sold off.  We were absent from the factory for a brief period, but the workers, the landlord and the Labor Department dispose of our assets.  Even if a government department wants to dispose of private property, there should be a due process of law.  They cannot just use an agreement which has no legal basis whatsoever to sell off our factory.

The workers: Out of the 16 workers, 5 are still there.  Workers Lin Yingjie and Xu Yongqiang told the reporter that the workers did not come up with the agreement.  Rather the Labor Department workers gave it to them to sign.  Xu Yongqiang said that the workers were all anxious to get paid and they were not familiar with the law to know what to do.  A worker said that the Labor Department workers told them that it would take a long time to get paid through labor arbitration or judicial process; but they can get their wages quickly if they sell off the factory assets.  Xu Yongqiang said that most workers signed the agreement because they wanted to get paid quickly.

Labor Department: We do not have the right to dispose of assets.  Our workers did not advocate the selling of the assets of the Shenge Lighting Decoration Factory.  Only when the buyers began to move the assets out did the workers show us the agreement.  We went to the factory to tell the workers that they must solve the problem through labor arbitration or judicial process, but they refused to listen.  The landlord called the police to say that the boss had fled.  That was why Labor Department workers went out there.  All the workers, including the manager, did not deny that the boss had fled.  There is presently no legal definition as to how to ascertain the owner has fled (such as the length of absence).

(1) Chinese navy fleet forces submarine to surface

<Huashi Metropolis News> (Sichuan province) and <Qingdao Morning News> (Shandong province) reported in January that the Chinese navy fleet sent to provide escort services around Somalia were followed by an unidentified submarine, but they were able to force that submarine to surface.  This story drew international attention until it was discovered that the story was fabricated by a freelance writer.  The responsible managers at the two newspapers were suspended/dismissed.

(2) Film rating system to be introducted in China

<Beijing Business News> cited State Film Bureau director Tong Gang on February 2 that China intends to introduce a film rating system.  This was found to be a fake news based upon an old story five years ago.  Tong Gang said that he had never been interviewed about any film rating system.

(3) Financially distressed boss eliminate redundant mistresses

<Peninsula Metropolis News> (Shangdong province) reported a sensationalistic story on February 15.  A certain company boss was in financial trouble and held three elimination rounds for this five mistresses in order to keep the final winner.  This was exposed as fiction.

(4) 0.4% of rich people own 70% of the wealth

<People's Political Consultative Conference News> published an article in June that pointed out the trend towards inequality of wealth.  It reported that 0.4% of the richest people control 70% of all wealth.  This report was criticized by the central government for having no factual basis.

(5) Obama gives an iPhone to Kim Jong-il

<Global Times> reported on August 10 that American president Barack Obama will be giving an Apple computer and an iPhone to Kim Jong-il.  The story was originally reported in a spoof column in <The Guardian> (UK) but <Global Times> took it for real.

(6) Chen Yonggui's son arrested for involvement in drugs and gambling

Beijing-based <The Collector> reported that Chongqinq's biggest antique collector and Chongqing Jiangzhou Group chairman of the board Chen Ming-liang has been arrested by the police for suspected involvement in drugs and gambling.  It was also reported that Chen Ming-liang is the son of former State Council Vice-premier Chen Yonggui.  Unfortunately, the two Chen's are not related.

(7) Lusty Big Sister kept 16 strong he-men

According to <Times Weekly> (Guangzhou) in September, Chongqing crime gang female leader Xie Caiping led a wanton, licentious life wherein she kept 16 young men for her own enjoyment.  In truth, she had only one 26-year-old boyfriend named Luo.

(8) Public service worker application success rate is 4700:1

<Beijing Times> reported in October that the most popular public service posts have 4,700 application for each position.  The Human Resources and Social Security Department denied the figure.

(9) C.N. Yang's young wife is three months pregnant

In October, <China Daily> reported that C.N. Yang has confirmed to the media that his wife Ms. Weng Fan is pregnant.  This became a hot news item until Weng Fan came out to deny it.

(10) The snow in Shijiazhuang was taller than a human

On November 12, <New Express> (Guangdong) posted a photo entitled <Shijiazhuang citizens cleaning accumulated snow off the roof>.  But the photo turned out to have been taken in Italy in 2008.