(Hong Kong Commercial Radio 881093.com)  February 20, 2010.

The Shandong Lanxiang Senior Vestibule School denied that they hacked Google and other American companies.  The school's party secretary Li Zixiang was interviewed by Xinhua and said that they found not signs that the school staff did anything like that.  Meanwhile the students are away for the Spring Festival vacation.  He emphasized that the school does not have a cooperative relationship with the military, they have no military background and they do not have a Ukrainian professor teaching computer classes.  He emphasized that they have never hired any foreign teachers.  He criticized the New York Times report for being completely unfounded.  The New York Times must produce the evidence to show that it is true.

The school said that the school was founded in 1984 and has taken in 20,000 students who learned cooking, automobile maintenance/repair, hairdressing and other skills.  In their computer classes, they only teach basic courses such as 3D drawing and document handling and they do not teach software engineering.  Since 2006, 38 students have joined the military on the basis of their skills in automobile maintenance/repair, cooking, welding and other things.  It is normal for certain people in a certain age group to want to join the military.

Here are the course descriptions for the computer science track at the Lanxiang Vocational School (via hb0724.com, November 22, 2009):

Basic computer class: Two months; 2,700 yuan tuition fees.  Learning basic computer knowledge, the five-stroke character input method, word processing software MS Word, electronic spreadsheet software MS Excel, presentation production software PowerPoint.

Computer art design class: Seven months, 8,080 yuan.  Learning basic computer skills, factors in two-dimensional images (such as shapes, letters, color, etc), two-dimensional image composition rules and aesthetics, two-dimensional design software (PhotoShop, CorelDraw, PageMaker), indoor/outdoor design styles and procedures, three-dimensional design software (3DS, AutoCAD, Lightscape).

Computer network class: Six months, 7,880 yuan.  Learning basic computer knowledge, computer network basic knowledge, Internet network usage, local area networks, network engineering, network security techniques, network management, computer equipment principles and characteristics, equipment installation, commonly found peripheral equipment principles and usage, image handling software (PhotoShop), website building software (Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks).

Comment: As a former student, I sincerely want to say: Don't be stupid (there are too many frank words that I cannot write out!!!!)

(Hoop China)  Netizen comments on New York Times article.  February 19, 2010.

  • This is so awesome!
  • This must be a joke?

  • [Actor Tang Guoqiang is the spokesperson for Lanxiang Vocational School.  He has portrayed Mao Zedong during his career.]
    So Tang Guoqiang heads the Chinese secret agents ...
  • I saw Grand Emperor Tang many times during the Spring Festival vacation ... I grew up watching these ads ...!
  • The Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School.  What a familiar sounding name!  "Which is the best school to learn to operate an earth digger?  Go to Lanxiang in Shandong."  But I never imagined that they are also awesome in computer technology.
  • Watch your mouth!  You must not give out too many details.
  • Uh oh, I have learned too much, and that is very dangerous.
  • Be careful, because the Internet police can cross provincial borders to make arrests ...
  • Oh, that was the reason why the school principal refused to accept me when I tried to register ...
  • Isn't this school just a diploma mill?  Does it really have such a deep background?
  • No wonder the place does not require tuition payment (and they even reimburse travel expenses).
  • This is a commercial advertisement.
  • An advertisement ... hype ...
  • Someone must have paid for the New York Times to run a commercial for them ...
  • Lanxiang must have paid the newspaper to write such a paid advertorial.

(Tianya Forum, March 25, 2009)

I have been out of the Lanxiang Vocational School for more than half a year already.  I really don't understand what made me go to that damned place at first.  Last year, I was home with nothing to do.  I saw the promotional TV ad about the Lanxiang Vocational School.  So I thought that I could learn to operate an earth digger there.  China is developing rapidly and a construction machine operator job pays well.  So I thought that since it didn't seem to cost much, I went over to Shandong.  Once I got to the school campus, all my doubts were removed.  The school campus occupied over 1,000 mu of land.  There were many students there.  So I thought how can there be any doubts when so many students are studying there?  Later on, I found out that these people also had their doubts removed by the television ads for that dick Tang Guoxiang as well as the sight of the campus.

On the first day in school, a teacher took me around the campus and made a brief presentation.  He asked me what I wanted to study.  I said I wanted to learn to operate an earth digger.  He asked me whether I wanted a six-week or eight-week course.  I said six weeks is fine.  He kept pushing the eight-week course but I insisted on only six weeks.  Then their attitudes changed.  After I paid the fee, someone got me a student ID and a card (which can be used to buy stuff and pay for meals inside the school).  Then he took me to get a blanket and a mattress.  In my entire life, I have been seen a blanket so filthy.  It also exuded a strong and unbearable stinking odor.  Then he took me to my dormitory, which is a room less than 30 square meters in area for 16 persons to share.

After putting my stuff down, I was taken to a classroom in which 50 to 60 persons were seated.  A twenty-something-year old man was on the dais telling dirty jokes.  Later on, I found out that he was the teacher.  Then it was noon and time for lunch.  We took our own lunch boxes to get in line.  There were many people there.  I have never eaten anything so disgusting and I threw most of the food out.  So I gradually realized that things were not as great as I previously thought.

In the afternoon, I sat in the classroom to listen to more bullshit from them.  We had to wait for more people to arrive because they were not going to start a class until they got enough students.  Then it was dinner time.  After dinner, we went back to the classroom for more bullshit.  We went back to the dormitory at 8 o'clock to sleep.  I did not bathe that first night, because I had no idea where the bathroom was yet.  There was only one bathroom in the whole school.  It is about 80 square meters.  Some people bathed in the restrooms and others bathed in the water pool by the building.  But it is important not to be caught by the patrolling inspectors who will curse you out.  The water was pumped from the school's own well, which can be cool even in the month of August.  Many students caught colds, and ended up spending hundreds of yuan on cold medicine.

Usually, students are not allowed to go out.  This can be said to be a completely sealed campus.  Actually, they are worried that you can create trouble if you go out.  Therefore those eight weeks were like jail time and made me appreciate how wonderful freedom is.

I took eighteen days of classes of theory.  Then the teachers began to ask which students wanted job referrals.  Many people raised their hands, including me of course.  The teachers said that the school will make job referrals only for those students who studied two disciplines (that is, either (earth digger + forklift) or (earth digger + bulldozer)).  This meant an extra 2,000 plus yuan in fees.  Otherwise, the school will not make referrals.  Many people felt that they were deceived, but they just had to continue because they had already paid in already.

When the teachers saw that many people were resistant, they explained that employers will surely hire someone who knew two disciplines who only knew one.  Besides, one can easily earn the 2,000 yuan back within one month on the job.  So some people paid up.  Events later would show that the smart thing is not to pay up!

Then we moved into the classes on practice.  It became apparent why they wanted me to sign up for eight weeks instead of six.  If you signed up for eight weeks, you get to practice 30 minutes a day on a machine; if you signed up for six weeks, you only get 15 minutes a day on a forehand machine (when most industrial machines are backhand machines nowadays).  So I paid another 700 yuan to get into the eight week course.  After the 30 minutes of practice a day, I worked on chores for the school without pay.  Anyone who didn't do their work could be beaten by the instructors who can punish you by not letting you practice on the machines.

When we first arrived, the teachers told us that we were going to live in a brand new building during our practice period.  It was true, except that we were going to live in the basement.  Even in August, you have to use a blanket at night.  The floor was always damp.  If you didn't dry your blankets out in the sun during daytime, you will have a wet blanket at night.  People with skin problems were in trouble here.  As I saw people graduating, I was jealous and I wished that I could join them soon.

I heard from the graduating students that an additional 100 yuan was charged for the diploma.  But you can choose whether to have it or not.  When I first got here, I was immediately reimbursed with 100 yuan for travel expenses.  So this diploma fee was the way that get their 100 yuan back.  I have never heard of any school charging for a diploma which is just an A4 paper document.

Actually, everybody here knew that they had been conned.  But who can we complain to?  Who will defend our rights?  Many people spend more than 10,000 yuan here.  They are people without much social experience.  They saw on television that the campus has movie houses and libraries.  That is true, except they charge 2 yuan for each movie and 1 yuan to read a library book which cannot be taken out.  They charged 2 yuan at the bathhouse for each visit.  You are going to spend at least 7,000 to 8,000 yuan during the two months there.

How can such a school be allowed to run ads on television?  Doesn't the Jinan government know that such a school cannot help those who really need a job?  I know that some of the students were survivors of the Sichuan earthquake, so this whole thing is like adding ice on top of snow in their lives.  They only wanted to learn a skill to rebuild their homes, but they came across this in Shandong!

(Tianya Forum)  September 29, 2009.

I lived in the countryside.  I saw the Lanxiang Vocational School commercial on television, so I went there to learn how to operate an earth digger.

There is a reception booth at the train station.  As soon as you register at that reception booth, you won't be able to escape from them.

They will take you by car to the Lanxiang Vocational School and inspect the campus.  You will be overawed by the campus and its facilities.  Then they will prompt you register.  I didn't have any money with me.  So I paid a 100 yuan registration first.  Then they took me to another place where I waited.  I couldn't do anything there except to call my family to send the money over.  I can only wait until the money arrives before I can attend school.  The earth digger course does not have trial classes, even though the television ad said that there free trials.  At the waiting place, there are no current students around so that you cannot find out what it is really like until after you paid.

After I paid my fees (5,180 yuan in tuition + 520 yuan in living expenses + 50 yuan deposit for the blanket + 65 yuan in bedsheets - 100 yuan travel reimbursement = 5,780 yuan, but they will charge you 100 yuan for the diploma later), they gave me a student ID and a charge card which carried my expense money.  All my expenses will be deduced against that charge card.  I asked for a receipt, but they said that there was no reason why such a large school would be unable to honor its obligations to me.

I was then taken to a dormitory.  Conditions were bad with 12 persons per room, one restroom per floor which also served as the bathroom.  Each time, you bring your food back to eat in the dormitory, you will see people with naked butts washing themselves.

Then I went to the theory class.  The teacher was telling jokes to the students, because he was not going begin a new class until enough students arrive (it usually takes one to three days for seventy students to arrive).    The teacher is a 20-something-year-old guy.  You can read any book on earth digger and give the course yourself.  The teachers do not get good wages and they mainly count on the commission (which I will explain later).

The food in the school was unspeakable.  They claimed that living expenses were 7 yuan per day.  Well, you can do it if you only eat steamed buns.  If you want a dish of vegetables, it is 3 yuan; rice is 1.5 yuan per bowl.  While 4.5 yuan is not expensive for a meal, this food is disgusting and I often spotted flies in the food.  I wanted meat sometimes, so I ordered an 8 yuan braised pork dish.  Well, the pork meat still had black hair and it smelled as if it was rotting in the summer heat.  The school's supermarket was very expensive.  They charged 1 yuan for ice cream that sells for 0.50 yuan outside.  I spend 2,000 yuan or so in living expenses during my two months.  This was not because I was not frugal, but that was how much it costs.  You cannot buy from the outside because the school campus is completely sealed -- they don't want you to spend money outside.

After a few days of theory class, the teachers told us that the XXX company is hiring earth digger/forklift/steamroller operators to build the Burmese expressway.  The construction period would last three years and eight months paying between 380,000 yuan and 450,000 yuan.  They were only looking for people with multiple skills (that is, who can operate two or more types of machines).  This implied that we must learn another specialty.  Two skills earned 380,000 yuan, three skills earned 450,000 yuan.  They told us that most of our parents have had hard lives trying to farm the land, and this was the chance to repay them.  This touched many of the students from the rural area and more than half of them signed up for more specialties.  I signed up for three skills, adding forklift/steamroller at 4,660 yuan.  (Once again, I did not get a receipt.  I got a student ID several days later which stated that I was learning for free!)

Then we went to the practice base.  We learned from students already there that they were also conned to sign up for multiple specialties.  The reality was that while they promised to assign you to jobs, they will actually just tell you to go home and wait for someone to contact you.  So you go home and wait ...

The theory class should have been 10 days.  But it took 18 days to complete.  For the 9 hours of class per day, 5 was spent on bullshitting (including dirty jokes).  We figured that the actual course material only took four days or so to complete.  They only wanted you to drag it out as long as possible.  An extra day of practice would have cost them more gasoline!

After 18 days of theory, we went to the practice base in north campus.  Conditions were even worse.  We lived in a work shed with 48 students in the same space.  The roof leaked when it rained.  We only got to operate the machine 30 minutes per day.  After practice, we had to work in school (such as tending to the cows, sheep, chickens and ducks).  We had to take turns to act as nightwatchmen to look out for thieves at night.  If we fall asleep on duty, the instructors beat us or ban us from machine practice.  Because the instructors can expel us from school, we made sure not to offend them.

In order to go to the practice base, we have to pay for 500 yuan for a practice permit.  I paid 1,000 yuan to practice earth digger and forklift.

Although we were told that school would last two months, we graduated in 55 days.  When we graduated, we did not get jobs assigned.

If you want a job, nobody will hire you if you don't have experience (unless, of course, you have connections).

I looked for five days in Jinan.  I could not even get an apprentice position.

I was desperate.  I had spent 13,000 yuan in tuition and expenses.  My family does not have any connections to get me a job.  I don't want to go home and be idle.  So I am going to look for some other kind of work in the interim.  All my schooling was a waste.

I want to tell anyone with ideas of going to the Lanxing Vocational School not to bother.  Frankly, you can spend a few thousand yuan to get a veteran worker to teach you for a few months and get you a place afterwards.  Construction work requires experience.  Nobody will hire you if you don't have experience ...

(New York Times)  Two Chinese Schools Said To Be Tied To Online Attacks.  By John Markoff and David Barboza.  February 18, 2010.

A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation.

They also said the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. Google announced on Jan. 12 that it and other companies had been subjected to sophisticated attacks that probably came from China.

Computer security experts, including investigators from the National Security Agency, have been working since then to pinpoint the source of the attacks. Until recently, the trail had led only to servers in Taiwan.

If supported by further investigation, the findings raise as many questions as they answer, including the possibility that some of the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources.

Tracing the attacks further back, to an elite Chinese university and a vocational school, is a breakthrough in a difficult task. Evidence acquired by a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google has even led investigators to suspect a link to a specific computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at the vocational school.

The revelations were shared by the contractor at a meeting of computer security specialists.

The Chinese schools involved are Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, according to several people with knowledge of the investigation who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the inquiry.

Jiaotong has one of China’s top computer science programs. Just a few weeks ago its students won an international computer programming competition organized by I.B.M. — the “Battle of the Brains” — beating out Stanford and other top-flight universities.

Lanxiang, in east China’s Shandong Province, is a huge vocational school that was established with military support and trains some computer scientists for the military. The school’s computer network is operated by a company with close ties to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China and a competitor of Google.

Within the computer security industry and the Obama administration, analysts differ over how to interpret the finding that the intrusions appear to come from schools instead of Chinese military installations or government agencies. Some analysts have privately circulated a document asserting that the vocational school is being used as camouflage for government operations. But other computer industry executives and former government officials said it was possible that the schools were cover for a “false flag” intelligence operation being run by a third country. Some have also speculated that the hacking could be a giant example of criminal industrial espionage, aimed at stealing intellectual property from American technology firms.

Independent researchers who monitor Chinese information warfare caution that the Chinese have adopted a highly distributed approach to online espionage, making it almost impossible to prove where an attack originated.

“We have to understand that they have a different model for computer network exploit operations,” said James C. Mulvenon, a Chinese military specialist and a director at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis in Washington. Rather than tightly compartmentalizing online espionage within agencies as the United States does, he said, the Chinese government often involves volunteer “patriotic hackers” to support its policies.

Spokesmen for the Chinese schools said they had not heard that American investigators had traced the Google attacks to their campuses.

If it is true, “We’ll alert related departments and start our own investigation,” said Liu Yuxiang, head of the propaganda department of the party committee at Jiaotong University in Shanghai.

But when asked about the possibility, a leading professor in Jiaotong’s School of Information Security Engineering said in a telephone interview: “I’m not surprised. Actually students hacking into foreign Web sites is quite normal.” The professor, who teaches Web security, asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

“I believe there’s two kinds of situations,” the professor continued. “One is it’s a completely individual act of wrongdoing, done by one or two geek students in the school who are just keen on experimenting with their hacking skills learned from the school, since the sources in the school and network are so limited. Or it could be that one of the university’s I.P. addresses was hijacked by others, which frequently happens.” At Lanxiang Vocational, officials said they had not heard about any possible link to the school and declined to say if a Ukrainian professor taught computer science there.

A man named Mr. Shao, who said he was dean of the computer science department at Lanxiang but refused to give his first name, said, “I think it’s impossible for our students to hack Google or other U.S. companies because they are just high school graduates and not at an advanced level. Also, because our school adopts close management, outsiders cannot easily come into our school.”

Mr. Shao acknowledged that every year four or five students from his computer science department were recruited into the military.

This story has catapulted the Lanxiang Vocational School into worldwide celebrity.  For example:

Why should Chinese students bother attending CalTech, MIT or Stanford when there is a world-class technology school right at home?  Here is a brief introduction to the Lanxiang Vocational School:

The homepage of the Lanxiang Vocational School is at: http://www.lxjx.cn/

At the Lanxiang Vocational School, there are eight academic tracks:
- Automobile maintenance/repair
- Digital factory tool control
- Computers
- Bulldozer/Forklift/Earth Diggers, etc operations
- Welding
- Professional cooking
- Beauty/hairdressing
- Electrical/mechanical machine maintenance/repair
Under "Lanxiang news," the entry says "undefined" in English.

"... The computer specialty has two sets of equipment: multimedia and practical computer usage.  Both theory and practice are emphasized.  All students will take at least four courses on multimedia classes.
The practical computer usage classes are conducted in ten huge high-standard laboratories equipped with 2,000 Founder brand computers.
The Lanxiang server room is also the world's biggest room with the largest number of computers.  It has been certified by World Guinness as the top in the world.
(Note: the record has been broken since)

"Professional management: In order to ensure that the students will truly learn a skill, the students will use their personal cards to log onto the computers in order to guarantee that they complete all the coursework."

Here are some photos of uniformed students training in the computer laboratory.

(315 Hotline)

Recently Zhang Yingyue of Jinan city (Shandong province) complained to us: "My younger brother is studying at the Shandong Lanxiang school.  We saw their TV ad and we thought that they were not bad.  So he sent him there.  But the school's ideas of education as well the environment was completely not what we expected and different from the ads on TV and the Internet.  Based upon my understanding as well as the personal experience of my young brother that this school is running false advertising to rake in money.  The worst part is the "free trial" which has tricked many people.  Actually, as soon as you step in the front door, you better not expect to get out.  After your "free trial," you better pay up and continue or else you will be in big trouble.  This is completely a hooligan school.  I can't imagine how such a school can be allowed to exist in this law-abiding society today.  They even had the nerve to run TV ads and openly deceively people.  Zhang Yingyue hopes that the media and the relevant government departments will pay attention to this matter and follow up.

With respect to our questions, the Lanxiang Vocational School has made no replies.

TV ad for the Lanxiang Vocational School

Recently, there has been plenty of Internet talk on genetically modified food.  As an ordinary citizen, I am very much concerned.  Because there is little information, I have looked up several dozen articles that provided detailed discussions with respect to safety, reliability, environment, nature and other aspects.  My sense is that the majority of the articles were against genetically modified food, while the supporters were limited to a bunch of experts and scholars who have vested interests.  At forums such as China Youth Daily, International Pioneer Post, Liaowang, People's Daily, China.com and others, people are worried about genetically modified food.

Early morning February 9, I found something weird.  I went to the QQ.com home page and saw that there was a special page on genetic modification.  I went there and found the dozen or so articles to be uniformly supportive.  This was completely unlike the mainstream opinion elsewhere.  On the top right corner, QQ.com had set up a poll on the subject.  So I went there and cast my vote.  I renewed the page to check the results.  I was perplexed by the fact that the number of supporting votes had surged by several dozen while the number of dissenting votes had only gone up by one (probably mine).  I refreshed that page several more times.  The number of opposing votes remained constant while the number of supporting votes continued to surge by several dozens each time.  Over the next hour, the number of supporting votes went up from 5,900 to 13,000 while the opposing votes went up only from 11,600 to 11,900.

I stopped and then I came back the next morning at 9:30am.  The number of supporting votes had gone past 19,400 while the number of opposing votes was 13,200.  Overnight, the supporting votes gained a huge lead over the opposing votes.  What happened?  I don't know.  But from 9am to 1130am, the votes increased in a reasonable manner, as the supporters went up by 200 and the opponents went up by 1,000.

I have this sense of being manipulated.  After one crazy night at QQ.com, a simple survey question has suddenly rendered all its moral values, corporate culture and expressed viewpoints as worthless as Mr. Zhou's South China Tiger.  Who are they working for in support of genetically modified food?  How many citizens are being 'represented' by QQ.com?  Is it responsible for a corporation to fake data to influence a major issue that affects the well-being of all citizens?

2:23:49 -- 6,293 supporting, 11,648 opposing

2:24:45 -- 6,505 supporting, 11,648 opposing

2:25:26 -- 6,622 supportiing, 11,648 opposing

2:41:53 -- 10,132 supporting; 11,781 opposing

2:42:56 -- 10,410 supporting, 11,782 opposing

3:16:22 -- 13,050 supporting, 11,919 opposing

9:38:43 -- 19,414 supporting, 13,228 opposing

10:28:59 -- 19,492 supporting, 13,709 opposing

Relevant link: Did banker try to rig the vote on Robin Hood tax?  Murad Ahmed, Times Online, February 12, 2010.


After the 2010 CCTV Spring Festival Gala was shown, Sina.com conducted an online satisfaction survey.  More than 240,000 votes have been cast already.  Of these, more than 121,000 persons (or more than 50%) voted for "bad" while only 32,000 persons voted "good" (or 13.6%).


According to CCTV, the market research company CTR used random sampling to interview 2,290 television viewing households on the evening of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  The result was that 96.1% of the households watched this year's Spring Gala Festival.  Of these, 81.6% thought that the program was "good."  But on February 15, <Guangzhou Daily> reported that an online survey at a certain portal showed that 15.2% said the program was "good" while 46.5% said it was "bad."

It should be admitted that while it is normal for different survey companies to have different results, it aberrant for results to be so different.

According to CCTV, "the market company CTR used random sampling on the night of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala broadcast ..."  Could the problem be that people were too engrossed in the program that they didn't bother to get on the Internet or were unaware of the existence of that online survey?  And why did CCTV not use the latest research data but only used a random sample interviewed while the program was being aired?

Web portals are open to anyone who want to express their feelings about the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  I don't know what is the relationship between CCTV and the CTR market research company, which seemed to be either a subsidiary or partner.  If a subsidiary, then there is an interest relationship; if the latter, then they are being paid to do something (such as a 81.6% satisfaction rating).  Such being the case, the self-proclaimed satisfaction survey should not be believed by even an idiot.

Actually, there have always been two versions of satisfaction levels with the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  CCTV is always pleased but many citizens cursed the program instead.  According to Beijing Times, the satisfaction level was 85.5% in 2006; 83.6% in 2007; 81.1% in 2008; 81.1% in 2009.

(People's Net)

In recent years, online surveys have become popular.  I don't know how the researchers came to those results.  But we should be concerned about one issue: although we have several hundred million Internet users, they are only a small portion of our whole population.  Most of them are young people or some middle-aged persons who are more aware of new things.  These people contain both elite members and troublemakers, elders and angry young men of every stripe and variety.  The core "netizens" seem to be filled with a strong affinity for social justice.  Of course, that is a good thing.  However, on issues such as the CCTV Spring Festival Gala which as nothing to do with the basic interests of the people, it is hard to say how netizens can be said to representative of the population.  Instead, they seem to want to say "No" on these types of issues just to show individuality.  We have seen this happen very frequently.  Therefore, it may be absurd to use an online survey to rate the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, because this is only the views of a special subgroup of Internet users.

Are telephone interviews reliable?  I don't think so either, especially when the CCTV Spring Festival Gala does not affect any important issues.  For example, if a telephone interviewer asked you about rising housing prices, non-payment of wages for migrant laborers, deterioration in public safety, etc, we may have very definite opinions.  But what if someone asks you what you thought of a general variety television program?  Many people may not know what to say.  I have not been interviewed for this before, but I can easily imagine how it would go.  So it is Lunar New Year Eve and the family is gathered to celebrate.  Suddenly the phone rings.  Your mother picks up, and it is a nice-sounding girl from CCTV sending her regards to your family.  Your mother is delighted, because it is CCTV after all!  Then the girl asks your mother about her opinion of the CCTV program.  What can your mother possibly say?  Of course, she says what the nice thing that is appropriate for such a night: Good!  Good!  I am sure that if all these respondents were to vote on the Internet, the result will be different for sure!

Before who like to curse have more things to say than other people.  Therefore, we hear more curses than praises.  If you don't like the show, then you don't watch it.  But you insist on watching it because you can't curse it unless you watch it.  The CCTV Spring Festival Gala has been cursed for more than 20 years, but people keep watching it.  This is the reason why the CCTV Spring Festival Gala cannot be judged solely on the basis of audience levels.  Sadly, many people are taking it too seriously.

[ESWN Comment:

This debate recurs every year because people don't understand the technical issues.  Let me retrieve from a 2007 comment.

The bottom line number seems to say that the television rating for the CCTV1 Spring Festival Gala was 93.6%, meaning that 93.6% of all households in China watched this television show.

But that is an incorrect interpretation.

The description is this: Since 1996, the research company CTR has conducted coincidental telephone surveys of Spring Festival Gala viewing.  In 2007, the telephone survey was conducted in 406 counties across China and went on for more than 3 hours.  By midnight, 2,002 households had been interviewed, of which 1,844 were tuned to the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  When the sample results were weighted to project to all of China, the percentage of tuning households was 93.6%.
Does it mean that 93.6% of 1.3 billion Chinese persons watched this show?  No.
There are a number of aspects in this number. 

First of all, this is a household telephone survey.  Therefore, the universe consists of those households that own fixed telephones.  There are still households in China that do not own telephones and they are excluded from the survey universe.

Secondly, if the call reaches a telephone number which nobody answers, it is not counted.  It is possible that the household members have gone elsewhere for a family gathering, or they may be strolling in the streets.  If a call reaches a home with a television set but the set was off, it is not included either.  Thus, the 2,002 households refer only to households with the television set on.  These households are then asked what program they were watching.

Thirdly, this is a measurement of household tuning and not personal viewing.  It is only known that the television set was tuned to the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  That is, the television set could be on, but maybe no one was watching or maybe the entire extended family of 30 had traveled from all over China and are watching the show together.

Thus, the proper interpretation is that of all the telephone households with television sets running on Lunar New Year's Eve, 93.6% were tuning to the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  My guess is that telephone ownership is about 60% and rapidly dropping to give way to mobile phone, and percent of household television tuning is about 50%, so that about 28% of all households were tuned to the CCTV Spring Festival Gala on that night.

Fourthly, the tuning households will be asked for their opinion of the program: Is it "very good," "good," "neither good nor bad", "bad" or "very bad."  This is a self-selected sample: if you never liked this program, you would have gone out and strolled in the streets, or got on the Internet instead; if you had to watch television, you could have chosen another program.  So those who are watching the program probably find it acceptable by (or else they would be doing something else instead).

Therefore, the 93.6% is no surprise as well as no big deal.

Disclosure: CTR is a subsidiary of CITV which is a subsidiary of CCTV.  TNS is a subsidiary of my company since 2007.  However, I have never had any dealings with CTR, and I have no plans either.  In any case, there is no conflict of interests in such cases because of the potential long-term risks to the business far exceeds any short-term benefits.  That is, you may earn several tens of thousands of yuan doing a telephone coincidental survey, but you could lose your whole business that is worth several tens of millions a year if you are caught fooling around with the numbers.]

On February 15, the biggest Chinese tourist group in history arrived in New York City.  This group of more than 1,000 tourists were feted by Macy's department store, Continental Airlines and the New York Galaxy Travel Agency with a lion dance performance, and Macy's International Discount Cards and gifts for everyone.

Certainly, some Chinese netizens were proud of the attention that is being showered on these Chinese tourists in America.  It showed that China is being taken seriously.  But the negative voices are even louder.  Chinese netizens said that at a time when the Sino-American relationship is heading downwards, what is wrong with these Chinese tourists who are spending consumer dollars in America?  Do they want to caress the "American muscle" that Obama is flexing against China?  Are they showing their support for America selling military arms to Taiwan or Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama?  Some netizens even called these tourists "traitors," "prodigal children" and other names.

Between the emotional cheers and boos, how should we view this 1,000-strong tourist group that is the biggest in history?

First of all, this tourist activity of "having 1,000 people greet the Chinese New Year in New York City" is a purely commercial event involving civic exchange.  There is no reason to elevate this to the level of nationalistic righteousness.  The organizers are travel agencies and airlines in America and China.  As the standard of living for the Chinese people rises, they should go outside their country and look around.  This type of organized activity should be regarded positively.  Having one thousand people visit America is not a bad thing for China.

Next, the consumer power of these 1,000 tourists are atypical for China.  It is estimated that these people will spend 6 million US dollars on this trip.  The Macy's spokesperson said that "the consumer power of these Chinese customers are as good as any other country."  According to information, most of this group of tourists have household income in excess of 200,000 yuan per year.  But these are just 1,000 persons and they do not represent all of China where the personal disposable income is 17,175 yuan for urban dwellers.  So there is no point in gloating for China as a whole on account of the spending power of this particular group.

In addition, the superlatives used by the media ("the biggest" and "first ever") do not mean as much as they emphasized.  According to the organizers, Macy's held its first ever lion dance; the Empire State Building made the unprecedented move of closing down the observation tower for all visitors in order to accommodate these 1,000 people ...  We should not take these "unprecedented" and "greatest ever" events too seriously because such historical records don't have much value.  We shouldn't be carried away with the unprecedented warmth and respect from American businesses, because what business anywhere wouldn't welcome big spending customers?  The "respect" of the Americans for the Chinese will not stop them from continuing to sell weapons to Taiwan, support Tibetan independence forces or apply punitive taxes on Chinese products.  Business is business, and it is only related to "money."

This tourist trip is just a tourist trip.  It proves nothing and it changes nothing.  Isn't it overkill to cheer or criticize it?

Ming Pao commissioned the Hong Kong University Public Opinion to interview 560 persons 18 years or older between February 5 and 9.  With respect to the by-elections that will be held after the resignation of the five Legislative Councilors, 36% said that they will vote but 50% said that they won't.

The Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats had locked the voter turnout at 50% as one of the indicators of sucess.  But this poll showed that 50% was not reachable in any of the five districts.  By district, the percent of those who intend to vote are 35% in Hong Kong Island, 47% in Kowloon East, 47% in Kowloon West, 26% in New Territories East and 29% in New Territories West.

Robert Chung who heads the HKU-POP said that Hong Kong as well as overseas experiences are that pre-election intention to vote are usually over-stated when compared to the actual voter turnout.  Typically, the actual voter turnout is only 50% to 67% of the percent who stated that they intend to vote.  Such being the case, the voter turnout in the by-elections may be between 18% and 25%.

In the 2000 by-election, 33% of the voters cast ballots.  In the 2007 by-election, 52% voted because of the "clash of the titans" between Anson Chan and Regina Ip.  In the 2008 Legco elections for all 30 seats, 45.6% voted.

Among those who identified themselves as democrats, 26% said that they won't vote; among independents, 60% said that won't vote; among pro-China persons, 74% said that they won't vote.  Robert Chung believes that this showed that the boycott by the pro-establishment camp is effective.

The League of Social Democrats' Chan Wai-yip said that the poll results are better than expected already in New Territories East and West because the two largest political parties (DAB and Democratic Party) are not supporting this referendum.  He also thinks that the referendum campaign has already shown results "because young people who didn't care about politics are now becoming concerned over democracy."  He emphasized that the present goal is not about winning/losing seats but getting universal suffrage.

(South China Morning Post)  Uncontested by-elections still a win, Eu says  By Albert Wong.  February 18, 2010.

The Civic Party will declare a walkover if rivals do not contest the polls and its candidates are re-elected without ballots being cast, its leader, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, said yesterday.

The party and League of Social Democrats triggered by-elections when five of their members quit the Legislative Council. They see them as a de facto referendum on the pace and scope of democratisation.

The two groups initially said they would consider the campaign a victory if turnout was more than 50 per cent and their candidates outpolled their main rivals from the pro-establishment camp. However, to thwart the pan-democrats, pro-establishment groups the Liberal Party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) say they will boycott the polls.

That could mean the groups regain the seats without the public having a chance to vote. If that were to happen, Eu said, "We win."

"If you go to the playing field and the opposition hasn't turned up, it's a walkover," she said. "When there's one side willing to play fairly and another side who isn't, you don't grant victory to the side who plays foul."

Nevertheless, her party yesterday unveiled its campaign logo, "Our vote, our voice", in the expectation the polls will be contested. More than 1,000 campaign volunteers have been enlisted.

Wong Kwok-hing of the FTU, a vocal critic of the "referendum" plan, said it was the Civic Party that was playing foul and moving the goal posts. "This is laughable. This is a 21st-century Story of Ah Q," Wong said, referring to Lu Xun's short story which serves as a metaphor for the self-deception of those who keep claiming victory even when obviously defeated. "They are always revising their own rules to ensure they win."

Eu said the movement for a referendum was never solely about gaining votes on election day but was part of a campaign to underline that there could not be universal suffrage unless functional constituencies were scrapped. The trade-based seats, with their small electorates, comprise half of the legislature.

She said the campaign already had a concrete achievement - the issuing by the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of a statement that any "so-called referendum" would be a blatant challenge to the Basic Law and the central government's authority. "When you see their strong reaction ... you see that it means we are actually hitting the right buttons," Eu said.

(Oriental Daily)

Yesterday, the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats announced their new slogans for the "five district referendum."  They abandoned controversial terms such as "uprising" and "referendum" and use the more moderate "Genuine Universal Suffrage" and "Our Vote.  Our Voice."

Two years ago, I wrote an essay critical of Zhao Benshan's human trafficking skit for making fun of physically handicapped persons.  Xinhua also published something similar as well.

This year, I paid special attention to Zhao Benshan's new skit <Donation> on CCTV's Spring Festival Gala.  This skit was just as disrespectful to disadvantaged groups in society.  In this skit, Zhan Benshan and his disciple played two donors who wanted to help the child of a single mother to go to school.  They wanted to donate 3,000 yuan but they mistakenly donated 30,000 yuan instead including money reserved for a family wedding.

The skit is about the conflict between the two donors along the lines of "trouble always shows up in front of a widow's door."  His disciple condemns his teacher: "Look, you are always either carrying water for widows or else you are donating money to them."  The most frequently occurring term in the skit was "widow."  When the widow showed up, she was exactly like Lu Xun's character Sister-in-law Xianglin: she immediately kowtowed to her benefactors and then stood around expressionlessly waiting to be told what to do.  The actions and words of the actors as well as the sub-text of the script were full of jokes at the expense of single mothers.

... Three years ago at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, a group of migrant school children in Beijing recited the poem <Words from our hearts> and touched the heart strings of people.  We see that how concern for the disadvantaged groups such as children who cannot attend school should be expressed in a moving and dignified manner.  By comparison, <Donations> showed only prejudices and jokes while leaving no dignity for either benefactors or beneficiaries ...

In the Northeastern school of cross-talk, there is a tradition of self-deprecation and mutual deprecation.  This is very popular within the cross-talk genre today.  Basically, it is using self-deprecation and mutual deprecation to crack jokes.  In a traditional society, artistes are regarded to have about the same social stature as beggars and they used clownishness, eccentricity and vulgarity to earn their living.  However funny they may be, their acts were certainly quite far from humor but quite close to tastelessness.

... The cultural group built around Zhao Benshan is a formidable entity that is directly linked to the highly popular CCTV Spring Festival Gala.  They are practically a common interest group, because CCTV obtains high audience ratings and bountiful ad dollars from Zhao Benshan's skits.  Meanwhile, Zhao Benshan is using the CCTV Spring Festival Gala to present his new disciples so that his cultural group can derive more economic returns in shows all over China the coming year.  Thus, a cultural group is leveraging CCTV's cultural monopoly to realize cultural effects as well as economic gains.  Not only do we need to be wary about this type of cultural monopoly, but we must have effectively restrict the erosion of public culture by this type of interest groups.

The field of cultural entertainment needs low barriers of entry and high levels of dignity.  Cultural renaissance is always connected to human dignity and cultural tastes, but little to do with vulgar economics.

(Legal Evening News)

At the 2009 CCTV Spring Festival Gala, Zhao Benshan included advertising for Sohu.com within his skit.  This year, even more advertising was injected into his skit.  He described. Sohu.com and Sogou.com in some detail.  He mentioned recreational travel in Sanya.  And he presented the impoverished single mother with Guojiao 1573 white wine.  Since these brands were being mentioned several times in a far too obvious manner over the course of the 20-minute skit, netizens think that the most memorable thing about the skit are these four ads.  "Could the skit be designed for the ads?" are asking.




(Apple Daily)  April 12, 2010.

When black-dressed 45-year-old Nancy Ann Kissel heard the verdict, she broke down in tears.  Her mother was not present in court yesterday.  Several of her friends were present and said that Nancy was satisfied with the decision.  She will apply to be bailed out while awaiting a re-trial.  When Nancy was taken to the van to leave, she did not avoid the cameras as she customarily did and she even wore a smile.

Before the trial began, Nancy asked to be bailed out because she was in good mental condition.  During the trial, Nancy claimed amnesia.  Chief prosecutor Chapman questioned her based upon her claims at the bail hearing when the psychiatrist ruled her mentally normal.  Chapman also questioned the reliability of Nancy's testimony and criticized her for misleading the court.  The Court of Final Appeal believed that these criticisms were improper.  As well, the discrepancies between Nancy and third parties should not be grounds for cross-examination.  Furthermore, Chapman spend more than one day with these questions.  The Court of Final Appeal believed that the court had not fairly dealt with this, leading to unfavorable opinions among the jury members.

The prosecutor summoned the friends of Robert Kissel and a private investigator who was responsible for investigating the extra-marital affair of Nancy Kissel to show that Robert had indicated that the marriage was on the rocks and he was afraid that his wife would kill him.  The Court of Final Appeal pointed out that these testimonies were based upon hearsay.  Although such evidence may be introduced to court, the judge did not instruct the jury that hearsay testimony are not necessarily factual.  This was a serious mistake.




(KDnet) Comments on Louis Liu's magic act:

(Wenxue City)

What was the trick?  About 10 minutes after Louis Liu performed the trick of making a coin go through glass, someone posted a video onto the Internet.  This 3:09 video was first posted onto the Internet first in January 2008.  Last night, it was viewed more than 160,000 times within two hours.


Netizens have mixed views about the posting of this video.  Some  people are grateful to the person who posted the video for satisfying their curiosity.  Others thought that it was unethical to violate the "rules" in the field of magic entertainment by divulging the details of a trick.

The other tricks were also explained at this other QQ blog using screen captures.

Q1. In the proposed constitutional reform from the HK SAR government, the size of the electoral committee which is responsible to nominate the Chief Executive is increased from the present 800 to 1,200, with 100 more from each of the four sectors.  Do you agree or disagree?
28.1%: Disagree/Disagree very much
56.4%: Agree/Agree very much
15.6%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q2. The government proposes to add five more directly elected seats and five more functional constituency seats to the Legislative Council in 2012.  Do you agree or disagree?
32.7%: Disagree/Disagree very much
54.1%: Agree/Agree very much
13.2%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q3. The government proposes that the five new functional constituency seats in 2012 be elected by the District Councilors among themselves.  Do you agree or disagree?
32.8%: Disagree/Disagree very much
58.1%: Agree/Agree very much
  9.1%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q4. Some people think that the government should eliminate the directly appointed District Council seats.  Do you agree or disagree?
29.1%: Disagree/Disagree very much
63.3%: Agree/Agree very much
  7.6%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q5. Some people think that the government's proposal for political reform in 2012 is "a step forward for democracy" while others think that it is "a step backwards."  What do you think?
40.3%: A step forward for democracy
30.3%: A step backward for democracy
13.7%: Neither
15.7%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q6. Overall, do you think that the pace of the government's proposal is too quick, too slow or just right?
53.3%: Too slow
36.4%: Just right
  1.6%: Too quick
  8.7%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q7. Do you support the Legislator Councilors to pass the government's political reform proposal for 2012?
29.4%: Don't support/Very much don't support
51.2%: Support/Very much support
19.4%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q8. Some people think that the "government's proposal is the best under the present circumstances."  Do you agree or disagree?
60.3%: Disagree/Very much disagree
28.3%: Agree/Agree very much
11.3%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q9. Some people think that "all government proposal must be rejected unless there is double universal suffrage in 2012."  Do you agree or disagree?
67.2%: Disagree/Very much disagree
20.8%: Agree/Very much agree
12.0%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q10. Some people think that "the government's proposal should not be passed in the absence of a concrete timetable/roadmap towards universal suffrage."  Do you agree or disagree?
43.8%: Disagree/Very much disagree
41.7%: Agree/Very much agree
14.5%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q11. The National People's Congress Standing Committee has decided that there won't be double universal suffrage in 2012, but there may be universal suffrage of the Chief Executive in 2017 and of the Legislative Council in 2020.  Do you accept this decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee?
24.7%: Do not accept/Very much do not accept
63.6%: Accept/Very much accept
11.7%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q12. The SAR government pointed out that the current consultation will only deal with the 2012 elections as authorized by the central government.  The 2017 Chief Executive election and the 2020 Legco election will be handled by the next administration.  Do you agree or disagree?
42.8%: Disagree/Very much disagree
45.1%: Agree/Very much agree
12.1%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q13. Although the SAR government does not propose having double universal suffrage in 2012, do you agree or disagree with continuing to fight for it?
36.0%: Disagree/Very much disagree
50.9%: Agree/Very much agree
13.1%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q14. When Hong Kong has universal suffrage for the Legislative Council, do you think that the functional constituencies should be retained or eliminated at that time?
50.9%: Eliminated
36.6%: Retained
12.5%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q15. Which year should do you think that the functional constituencies should be eliminated as of?  (Base: Those who agree to eliminate the functional constituencies)
43.5%: 2012
26.7%: 2016
11.6%: 2020
  8.4%: After 2020
  0.8%: Other
  9.0%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q16. If the functional constituencies are retained, then does the current election laws need to be reformed? (Base: Those who agree to retain the functional constituencies)
30.1%: No need for reform
61.9%: Need to reform
  8.0%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q17. Here are some ways to reform the election laws with respect to the functional constituencies.  Which recommendation do you agree the most with?
15.3%: Eliminate company/group votes and empower only individuals
29.1%: Allow more industries/occupations to have the right to vote
10.1%: Replace the present functional constituencies by elections among directly elected District Councilors
39.6%: Let the functional constituency voters nominate candidates who will be voted upon by all voters
 1.4%: Others
 4.5%: Don't know/hard to tell

Q18. The Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats have announced that five of their Legislative Councilors have resigned and the by-elections will be sued as a de facto referendum to let the public express their opinion about political reforms.  Do you agree or disagree?
59.5%: Disagree/Very much disagree (56.7% in preceding poll)
28.8%: Agree/Very much agree (28.1% in preceding poll)
11.7%: Don't know/hard to tell (15.2% in preceding poll)

Q19. Will you be voting in this by-election? (Based: registered voters)
39.0%: No
44.8%: Yes
13.2%: Don't know/hard to tell
  3.0%: It depends (for example, on who the candidates are)

Q20. If you do vote, will you vote for the Civic Party/League of Social Democrats candidate? (Base: Those who answered Yes/Don't know/Hard to Tell/It depends in Q19)
23.8%: No
36.8%: Yes
39.4%: Maybe/undecided/it depends

(Apple Daily)  More than half in CUHK public opinion poll insists on have double universal suffrage; scholar call for increasing the pace of democratization or else face crisis of governance

Is the pace of democratization in the government's reform package too quick, too slow or just right?
53.3% too low, 36.4% just right, 1.6% too quick, 8.7% don't know

Should the functional constituencies be eliminated after universal suffrage is implemented?
50.9% eliminate, 36.6% retained, 12.5% don't know

Although the SAR government has not recommended double universal suffrage in 2012, do you agree to continue to fight for it?
50.9% agree/very much agree, 36.0% disagree/very much disagree, 13.1% don't know

Although the Civic Party and League of Social Democrats have been pushing the five-district referendum for some time, the CUHK poll indicated that only 44% of them will cast votes, 39% said that they won't and 16% are undecided.  CUHK's associate professor Ma Ngok said that it is premature to predict the voter turnout at this stage because the candidates are still undeclared at this time.  But he also pointed out that the 44% intended voters is slowly than the 50% to 60% in other polls.  If the voter turnout this time is lower than 40%, it will work against the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats.

For your information on what Ma Ngok was referring to, here are the poll results for the last Legco elections:
[Chinese University of Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, August 6-September 3, 2008 for the September 2008 Legislative Council elections]
Q3. Do you intend to vote in the Legco elections this September?
 9.6%: No
22.7%: Maybe
65.3%: Yes
  2.4%: Don't maybe/undecided

The actual voter turnout was 45.2%

(Oriental Daily)  60% do not support the "referendum"

CUHK-IAPS interviewed more than 1,000 citizens from last month to early this month.  59.5% of them do not support the use of a "referendum" to express opinions about the constitutional reform, and this is 2.8% higher than the previous poll.  Only 29% agreed, less than 1% higher than the previous pole. This reflects that the debate over the past month has caused more citizens to make up their minds, with more of them possibly converted to the opposing camp.

About 45% said that they will vote in the five-district by-elections and 39% said they won't.  Among the intended voters, 37% said that they will vote for the Civic Party/League of Social Democrats, 24% said that they won't and the remaining 40% or so are undecided.

51% said that they support the constitutional reform package proposed by the government, and less than 30% are opposed.  At the same time, more than 60% did not think that the current proposal is the best, 53% think that the pace of democratization is too slow, 42% said that the proposal should not be passed unless there is a clear timetable/roadmap towards universal suffrage.  More than 50% insists on 2012 double universal suffrage and elimination of the functional constituencies.

(Ta Kung Pao)  The Hong Kong government takes public opinion into account to improve the political reform proposal

At the conference titled "Whither political reform in Hong Kong?", the latest public opinion poll results were announced.  56.4% of the respondents supported the increase of the size of the Electoral Committee from 800 to 1,200; 54.1% supported the increase of the number of Legco seats to 70; 58.1% supported the added functional constituency seats being elected from among directly elected District Councilors; 51.2% supported the Legco passing of the proposed political reform package.

CUHK Department of Sociology Associate Professor Chen Kin-man said that there is still quite some time before a Legco vote on the proposal.  So if only about 50% of the citizens support the proposal, "the government has to try to make improvements."

Q1.  Do you want the Legislative Councilors to reach a consensus, pass the political reform package and move ahead with the development of the political system in Hong Kong?
80%: Yes
12%: No
  3%: Don't care
  5%: No opinion

Q2. The consultation document recommends that the Chief Executive Electoral Committee be expanded from 800 to 1,200 with each of the four sectors increasing by 100 electors.  Do you agree or disagree?
62%: Agree
29%: Disagree
  5%: Don't care
  4%: No opinion

Q3. The consultation document recommends that the fourth sector of the Electoral Committee (consisting of Legislative Councilors, District Councilors, Hong Kong People's National People's Congress representatives, Hong Kong's National Political Consultative Conference) gains 100 more electors who will be elected from among the District Councilors.  Do you agree or disagree?
64%: Agree
28%: Disagree
  3%: Don't care
  5%: No opinion

Q4. The consultation document recommends that the threshold for nomination to Chief Executive candidacy be set at 1/8-th of the size of the Electoral Committee.  Do you agree or disagree?
53%: Agree
39%: Disagree
  4%: Don't care
  4%: No opinion

Q5. The consultation document recommends that the number of Legislative Council seats be increased from 60 to 70.  Do you agree or disagree?
63%: Agree
25%: Disagree
  8%: Don't care
  4%: No opinion

Q6. The consultation document recommends that the five functional constituency seats in the Legislative Councilor be elected from among the District Councilors.  Do you agree or disagree?
59%: Agree
34%: Disagree
  3%: Don't care
  4%: No opinion

Q7. The consultation documents recommends no increase in the "traditional" functional constituency seats and also retains the method of election.  Do you agree or disagree?
55%: Agree
35%: Disagree
  3%: Don't care
  7%: No opinion

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' <Social Blue Paper>, the following are the hottest Internet incidents according to the number of posts at five major forums: Tianya, KDnet, Strong Nation, Sina.com and China.com.  These posts addressed a number of major social/public issues and reflect how the Chinese netizens are actively participating and engaging in social issues.






Strong Nation





Deng Yujiao case in Badong, Hubei








Chongqing anti-crime gang syndicate








"Elude the Cat" case in Yunnan








Entrapment cases by Shanghai traffic police








Internet addiction and healing methods








Compulsory installation of Green Dam software








Hangzhou car speeding case








Jilin Steel Company demonstrations








3 Changjiang University students died while trying to save lives








CCTV reports that Google facilitates pornography








Henan migrant worker underwent surgery
to establish occupation-related lung disease








Jia Junpeng is known all over the Internet








Zhengzhou city deputy director asked reporter if he spoke for the government or the people








"Elementary school prostitutes case in Kunming, Yunnan








June 5 bus fire in Chengdu








Netizen Wang Shuo was arrested in cross-border case








99% of netizens were characterized as mentally ill








Luo Caixia's name was used for university enrollment








Diaoshu county (Guizhou) school girls were used as prostitutes








Shishou (Hubei) riots








A couple of days ago, the director Lu Chuan wrote in his Sina.com micro-blog: "There are two street rumors about the banning of Tang Wei.  One says that she refused to attend a meeting with the son of a senior official.  The other says that a certain actress lobbied a certain senior government official and invoked public opinion to carry out a private punishment.  In any case, Tang Wei is out permanently ..."

This blog post was circulated around, with netizens pointing out that "certain actress" is Zhang Ziyi, who has been plagued with bad luck recently.

Here is an interview with Lu Chuan about the matter.

Q: I saw that you supported Tang Wei in your Sina.com micro-blog.  Where did you get the idea?
A: Actually, I don't know her well.  However, we are in the same businesses.  Everybody in the Beijing entertainment field knows what happened to her, but I am bolder and dare to speak out.

Q: What do you look at the "case" of Tang Wei?
A: If a movie gets into trouble, the principal entity who should accept responsibility for the "mistake" should not be Tang Wei.  Why not "ban" Tony Leung?  Why not "ban" Ang Lee?  It seemed to be bully tactics to pick on an actress.

Q: How did you learn about the two rumored reasons for the "ban" that you mentioned in your micro-blog?
A: Actually, there are just rumors.  Nobody can confirm them, but everybody in the business knows.

Q: You said that you are "bolder" and therefore you speak out.  This showed that you also known that this kind of talk could cause trouble.  Why are you doing this?
A: I recently saw a news story in a magazine about Tang Wei, and it reminded me of this case.  Therefore, I wrote my thoughts in the micro-blog.  Tang Wei has a natural quality, she is very tough and very special.  I appreciate her.  I think that it is a pity that such an actress get held back year after year.

[It is one thing for Lu Chuan to be bold and speak out.  But it is another thing for netizens to conduct their "detective work" and conclude that the actress Zhang Ziyi was involved in the banning of Tang Wei.]

Q: Some netizens analyzed that the "actress who lobbied the senior official" is Zhang Ziyi?
A: I admit that I have heard the name of the "actress who lobbied the senior official."  But I guarantee to you that it is definitely not Zhang Ziyi.

Q: So who is this actress?  Can you disclose this?
A: You can ask many people in the field.  They also know.  But you will never heard the name from my mouth.

Q: How do you view the negative information about Zhang Ziyi coming from netizens?
A: I will make two points.  First of all, there is no need for Zhang Ziyi to do this sort of thing.  Next, I think Zhang Ziyi is absolutely not that kind of person.  I cannot exclude the possibility that someone wants to pile more problems on her.  There have been many problems affecting Ziyi's career.  I think that public should think about to held Ziyi solve these problems in a positive manner instead of striking a blow to ruin her, especially about making these unfounded speculations.

What is this about?  This is likely to be an Internet marketing/promotion campaign for the return of Tang Wei, who has completed one movie and is filming another one.