According to the police, at around 9am, a male police officer was on patrol duty when he spotted a scantily clad betel nut vendor soliciting a client in a car and showing off her panties.  The policeman thought that she had behaved indecently and approached her.  The betel nut vendor named Yan Ruyi replied: "This is how I am.  What are you going to do about it!"  The policeman warned her but she escalated her response with obscene language.  The entire proceeding was recorded by the policeman.  The girl wanted to pull down the gate but the policeman stopped her.  A physical tussle ensued.  According to the video, the policeman picked up the petite betel nut vendor, pushed her down on the floor, picked her up again and used a judo technique to throw her down on the ground again.  Then he took her down to the police station.

Transcript of conversation:

Policeman: What did you curse me with?  You don't dare to repeat?
Female: Oh ...
Policeman: You don't dare to repeat?
Female (on the phone): Boss, a policeman is XX ...
Policeman: Miss, you are saying that I am XX.  Right or not?  I have recorded it over here.  You said that I was XX.  Go ahead, repeat it!
Female: What did I say?
Policeman: How did you curse me?
Female: You XX!  You XX!
Police: How did you curse me?
Female: If you have the balls, hit me!  Do it quickly!  I am afraid of you!
Policeman: You are interfering with official duties.
Female: XXXXX!
Female:  Don't touch me!  Don't touch me with your hands!  How about that?  Can I not mess with you?
Male witness: "You are going to hurt a lot.  He said that if you scream again, it will be even more painful.  If you move any more, your arm will be broken."




The policeman has been suspended from his duties pending an investigation.

The survey by the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong asked:

Q6.  Do you agree that extreme means should be used to make the government respond to demands?
Agree/agree a lot: 25.9%

Given that the survey was taken among persons age 18 or over and there are 5.9 million of such persons in Hong Kong, the figure of 1,530,000 was derived.

But what is "extreme action"?  You have your definition and I have mine.  You say YES and I say NO or vice versa, but that may be because we are disagreeing because of our different definitions of "extreme action."  How about clarifying things by asking specific situations?  The following is a list that you can use to check whether you approve various levels of extreme actions with respect to either "the vote on the Express Rail Link" and/or "the five district resignation/de facto referendum" as used by IAPS-CUHK:

(1) You organize many people to appear at the Hong Kong Legislative Council/China Liaison Office/Hong Kong Government Headquarters to conduct a silent sit-down/candlelight vigil.  This may mean shutting down vehicular traffic as well as disturbing the sleep of nearby residents.

(2) You organize many people to appear at the Hong Kong Legislative Council/China Liaison Office/Hong Kong Government Headquarters to conduct a physical charge at the police cordon.  This may mean pushing/pulling at the police barriers (also known as the "iron horses") and shoving/pushing/pulling/screaming/spitting at the police officers.  This may imply shutting down vehicular traffic as well as disturbing the sleep of nearby residents.  When the police escalate (such as using pepper spray), you scream BLOODY MURDER to the attending press and you will be guaranteed TV news/YouTube coverage.

(3) You organize many people to appear at the Hong Kong Legislative Council/China Liaison Office/Hong Kong Government Headquarters to conduct a physical charge at the police cordon.  But differently from (2), you actually want to breach the cordon as opposed to staging a media show for TV evening news.  Therefore, you arm your people with baseball bats, steel pipes and anti-rapist pepper spray.  Since the police would never expect this level of escalation based upon past behavior, you overrun them quickly and gain access to the facilities.  Once inside, you will vandalize everything that you come across to show your contempt for their so-called authority.

(4) You organize many people appear to appear at the Hong Kong Legislative Council/China Liaison Office/Hong Kong Government Headquarters to conduct a physical charge at the police cordon.  But differently from (2) and (3), you actually want to cause maximal damage.  Therefore, you arm your people with sharpened steel pipes, homemade shotguns, petrol bombs and concussion bombs.  Since the police would never expect this level of escalation based upon past behavior, they are completely routed and you gain access to the facilities.  Once inside, you will set fire on everything (furniture, documents, etc) and assault all persons (including officials, security guards, janitors) that you find inside.

(5) You organize people to intrude into the police stations, destroy the facilities, seize firearms, issue a general call to arms for a popular uprising and head into the hills (Victoria Peak, Mount Parker, Lion Rock, etc) to conduct a long-term armed guerilla campaign to overthrow the Hong Kong SAR government and the People's Republic of China in support of your Independent Republic of Hong Kong.

How far are you willing to go down on this checklist?  There may be a lot fewer than 25.9% among Hong Kong citizens by the time (5) is reached.  In fact, by the time you reach (5), you will find yourself to be only nutcase who agrees.  So what are we really talking about here?  What kinds of "extreme actions" do the 1,530,000 persons really approve of?

(in translation)

When I saw the topic "Chinese buildings last 30 years on the average," I was intrigued and I Googled the subject.  There were more than 30,000 results.

I was skeptical about this claim, so I decided to track down the source.  The original source seems to have come from a China Daily article entitled "Short-lived buildings create huge waste:.

"Every year, new buildings in China total up to 2 billion square meters and use up 40 percent of the world's cement and steel, but our buildings can only stand 25 to 30 years on average," Qiu Baoxing, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development, said at a recent international forum on green and energy-efficient building.

Could Qiu Baoxing really have said that?  On March 30, the Economic Observer website reported on Qiu Baoxing's speech at the Sixth International Green Building and Energy Conservation Conference:

[in translation]  Qiu Baoxing said that China is the country which constructs the largest number of new buildings per year in the world, accounting for about 40% of all new construction and thus using up 40% of the cement and steel in the world.  "This is due to the rapid construction during the rapid urbanization of our country.  This process will last for another 25 to 30 years.  For this reason, all new construction must adhere to the 50% energy conservation standard."

It is easy to see that the first half of the statement is consistent with the China Daily report, whereas the second key point about the "25 to 30 years" was diametrically opposite.  In my view, the Chinese-language report was more logical and commonsensical.

You can imagine for yourself.  If the English-language report was correct in that Chinese buildings have an average lifespan of 30 years, then many of the buildings that were constructed in 1980 or before must be basically gone?  While some of those buildings have been torn down and rebuilt, they are only a small proportion.  It is mostly the very old buildings that are being torn down in the cities for rebuilding.

The quality of housing construction in China leaves a lot to be desired, and housing prices are indeed ridiculously high.  But most of the houses in China should last more than 30 years.  I understand that what I am saying here may upset certain people.  Therefore I gave careful consideration, but I thought that I have to say this!  We supervise/monitor our government and we hold them accountable because it is our right to do so.  But our criticisms ought to be based upon a credible, reasonable and factual basis.  Otherwise, this is just going to give certain people the excuse to restrict freedom of speech on the Internet!


A court in southeastern China sentenced a former doctor to death on Thursday for murdering eight children who were on their way to school, the state news agency Xinhua reported. The former doctor, Zheng Minsheng, 41, admitted stabbing the children with a knife last month in Nanping in Fujian Province. Five other children survived the attack, Xinhua said.

(Beijing Times)

There was a slight drizzle in Nanping yesterday in low temperatures.  The relatives of the dead children were brought by specially arranged vehicles to the Nanping Middle Court.  Most of them were male because "some of the mothers were unwilling to confront the scene."

At 7:55am, there were almost 100 judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, parents, spectators and reporters inside the courtroom.  At 8:00am, Zheng Minsheng was brought into the defendant's seat and the hearing began.  Outside the court house, about a hundred people waited in the rain for the outcome.

At the request of the judge, Zheng Minsheng introduced himself: "My name is Zheng Minsheng.  I am a Nanping resident."

Then the prosecutor read the indictment as Zheng tilted his head and listened.  When the prosecutor came to the point where "Zheng Minsheng lost faith in life after repeated failures in romance and discord with colleagues and relatives and he came up with the idea of killing people," Zheng yelled out: "I dissent!  I dissent very much with the causes and process as depicted in the indictment."

The prosecutor began to interrogate Zheng, who refused to answer.  He repeatedly insisted on addressing the causes and process because "the depiction had been subjective and unfair."  When the judge admonished him sternly, he only said, "I choose to be silent on all questions about what happened afterwards (namely, the killings themselves)."

Thereafter, Zheng interrupted the court proceedings many times.  When the prosecutor read the indictment and testimonies, Zheng talked aloud to himself.  This went on for around 30 minutes.

During the trial session which lasted 4 hours, Zheng Minsheng showed no remorse.  He did not apologize to the relatives of the deceased children.  He said, "The case is unclear.  If they didn't persecute me, the children would not be killed.  I hope that the whole case will be investigated thoroughly to determine the responsibility of the Ye family."

"I am willing to accept responsibility," Zheng Minsheng said in court.  But when the chief prosecutor asked him about what that meant, he said: "This whoel thing was really caused by the Ye people.  They should accept 70% of the responsibility while I accept the remaining 30%."  His statement drew the ire of the relatives of the deceased children.

In his final statement, Zheng Minsheng said: "Actually, I just wanted to lead a simple life.  After I resigned from my job, I wanted to go and sell peanuts and watermelon seeds.  I am an honest person who only wants to do my thing.  If the Ye family did not persecute me, I would never choose to go so far."

A relative of a deceased child said afterwards: "He showed no remorse whatsoever.  He thought that killing people is very simple.  It is even more atrocious that he thought that he had nothing to do with the killings."

Q1.  Where do you think Hong Kong society should aim for?
Democratic freedom: 17.3% (11.1% in 2008)
Economic development: 21.3% (25.8% in 2008)
Social harmony: 58.8% (60.2% in 2008)
Other: 1.4% (1.3% in 2008)
Don't know/hard to say: 1.3% (1.6% in 2008)

Q2. Is Hong Kong a harmonious society?
Agree/agree a lot: 26.5% (37.5% in 2008, 37.8% in 2006)
Disagree/disagree a lot: 26.2% (20.3% in 2008, 22.3% in 2006)

Q3. How significant do the following factors affect social harmony in Hong Kong?  (serious/very seriously)
- the conflict between rich and poor people: 64.4% (61.9% in 2008, 61.9% in 2006)
- the conflict between citizens and huge financial groups: 56.8% (48.4% in 2008, 50.3% in 2006)
- political conflict: 59.2% (38.5% in 2008, 49.2% in 2006)
- family conflicts, lack of mutual love among family members: 43.4% (44.1% in 2008, 40.4% in 2006
- Lack of social tolerance, discrimination against weaker social groups: 39.8% (36.9% in 2008, 38.2% in 2006)
- the conflict between citizens and the government: 56.0% (31.0% in 2008, 34.6% in 2006)
- the conflict between employers and employees: 28.0% (33.2% in 2008, 32.3% in 2006)

Q4. Do you think the following factors contribute towards building social harmony?
- a government that it uncorrupt and just: 94.2% (92.2% in 2008, 92.5% in 2006)
- a good legal system, protection of personal freedom and property: 87.3% (88.3% in 2008, 88.5% in 2006)
- develop the economy, create jobs: 81.8% (84.5% in 2008, 83.4% in 2006)
- promote fair competition, prevent monopolization: 80.5% (78.3% in 2008, 79.6% in 2006)
- protect labor rights and interests: 82.5% (82.4% in 2008, 80.5% in 2006)
- promote multicultural values, respect other cultures: 81.7% (80.1% in 2008, 78.7% in 2006)
- increase family cohesiveness: 74.1% (73.4% in 2008, 78.6% in 2006)
- look after the interests of the lower classes: 73.0% (75.1% in 2008, 70.3% in 2006)
- promote democratic politics: 55.8% (49.4% in 2008, 52.8% in 2006)

Q5. How successful is the government in promoting social harmony with these factors? (% who give a score of 6 to 10 (=passing grade) on a scale of 0 to 10)?
- a government that it uncorrupt and just: 65.9% (71.4% in 2008, 72.5% in 2006)
- a good legal system, protection of personal freedom and property: 63.1% (68.6% in 2008, 69.6% in 2006)
- develop the economy, create jobs: 38.7% (52.4% in 2008, 55.8% in 2006)
- promote fair competition, prevent monopolization: 28.0% (35.0% in 2008, 38.7% in 2006)
- protect labor rights and interests: 35.8% (37.1% in 2008, 41.8% in 2006)
- promote multicultural values, respect other cultures: 35.2% (48.7% in 2008, 52.4% in 2006)
- increase family cohesiveness: 26.2% (35.2% in 2008, 33.6% in 2006)
- look after the interests of the lower classes: 32.5% (34.3% in 2008, 39.1% in 2006)
- promote democratic politics: 24.1% (32.0% in 2008, 33.2% in 2006)

Q6.  Do you agree that extreme means should be used to make the government respond to demands?
Agree/agree a lot: 25.9% (21.4% in 2008)

Q7. How do you think rights should be defended?
Personal rights/interests
- Insist on your principles and never back down: 14.8%
- Each side should take a step back and co-exist: 80.3%
- Other: None of the above/it depends on what the issue is: 1.2%
- Don't know/hard to say: 3.7%
Public rights/interests
- Insist on your principles and never back down: 22.9%
- Each side should take a step back and co-exist: 70.1%
- Other: None of the above/it depends on what the issue is: 1.5%
- Don't know/hard to say: 5.5%

Q8. How do you view the methods used in the following political incidents?
The post-80's having physical clashes outside the Legislative Council over the Express Rail Link vote:
- Very extreme/extreme: 62.4%
- Half/half: 16.6%
- Not extreme/not extreme at all: 18.5%
The slogan "popular uprising" used by the Civic Party/League of Social Democrats in the "five district resignation/de facto referendum
- Very extreme/extreme: 50.1%
- Half/half: 16.9%
- Not extreme/not extreme at all: 26.6%

(Oriental Daily; Oriental Daily)

All seven indicators of harmony have deteriorated
People are getting angrier; the volcano can erupt at any moment

The Chinese University of Hong Kong conducts this survey every other year since 2006.  The most recent survey was done between February 21 and March 1 when about 1,000 Hong Kong citizens were interviewed about their "harmonious society."

In 2006, 37.8% thought Hong Kong was a harmonious society.  The figure fell slightly to 37.5% in 2008.  This year, it well 11% down to 26.5%.

There were seven factors that affects social harmony in Hong Kong:
(1) the conflict between poor and rich people;
(2) the conflict between citizens and big financial groups
(3) political conflict
(4) family conflicts, lack of trust and love among family members
(5) Lack of tolerance in society; discrimination against weaker social groups
(6) the conflict between citizens and the government
(7) the conflict between employers and employees
The numbers (for "Somewhat severe/very severe") in 2006, 2008 and 2010 are shown in the above table.

The survey also showed that 25.9% of the respondents agreed with using extreme/violent methods to express demands.  This is 4.5% higher than in 2008.  With respect to specific incidents, 62.4% of the respondents that the physical contact between the police and post-80's demonstrators outside the Legislature during the Express Rail Link vote was "extreme/very extreme."  By comparison, only half thought that the slogans such as "popular uprising" and "five district resignations, de facto referendum" used by the Civic Party and League of Social Democrats were "extreme/very extreme."

(Ming Pao)

The survey found that 25.9% of the respondents agree/very much agree that "in Hong Kong today, only extreme means can make the government respond to your demands."  Based upon the fact that there are about 5.9 million persons age 18 or over in Hong Kong, this means that 1,530,000 adults approve of extreme means.

The government was rated on nine different types of government efforts that promote social harmony.
(1) Promote political democracy
(2) Enhance family cohesion
(3) Promote fair competition, prevent monopolization
(4) Look after the interests of the lower-class
(5) Promote multivalent values, respect the cultures of various groups
(6) Protect labor rights and interests
(7) Develop the economy, create jobs
(8) Maintain a good legal system, protect personal freedom and property
(9) Maintain non-corruption and fairness
The above table shows the percentages of scores between 6 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.  The first number is the percentage of respondents giving the government a passing grade while the second number is the change from the 2008 survey.

On November 13, 2009 in Jinniu district, Chengdu city, the resident Tang Fuzhen set herself on fire when the house of her ex-husband was being forcibly demolished.  She died as a result.  Afterwwards, the Jinniu district urban management bureau director Zhong Changlin who was in charge at the scene was suspended pending investigation.  He was said to have "made poor judgment and improper handling."  However, nothing seemed to have come out of the investigation.  There are two versions of the outcome.  In one version, Zhong Changlin is still working at the urban management bureau but his position was reduced by half a grade.  In the other version, Zhong merely received a warning on his party record but continued as before.

Here was the interview of Zhong Changlin by Southern Weekend on December 5, 2009.

Q: When Tang Fuzhen began to pour gasoline on herself, what were you thinking?  Why didn't you take timely preventative measures?
A: At the time, our two groups of people continued to speak to her about now going too far.  At the time, I didn't think that she would do that, because it was irresponsible to herself and society due to the associated dangers.  The team members carrying fire extinguishers were still quite far away from Tang Fuzhen and therefore they could not spray her with foam to prevent the fire.  If we used a water cannon, we might knock her off the building roof.  Therefore, we did not try that for her sake.

Q: When fire rose from her body, what did you feel?
A: I was very shocked and very sorrowful.  A person only lives once, but here she is fighting against life and the law.  She only had junior high school education and she had little knowledge of the law.  She does not understand the laws of the state and she took such extreme action.  I found it incredible.

Q: The bulletin said that "made poor judgment and improper handling."  How would you assess your performance at the time?
A: On the basis of the perfect standards in law enforcement and the specific detail, one may feel that it was improver.  But one has to look at this from the overall needs.  At the time, we were already speaking to her and trying to get her to come down.  When our law enforcement workers went up, they did not demolish anything.  They were just trying to persuade her in a protective manner.  As for improper handling, it referred to certain details but not to the overall process.  That is to say, I did not imagine that when the firemen went up, they were delayed by the fact that all the passageways were doused with gasoline.  Even more incredibly, her son and her brother-in-law were right next to her but they did not prevent her from pouring gasoline on herself.  They showed no love or concern.  (Note: the relatives dispute this depiction).

Q: Did you think that someone could die?  Why did you continue to demolish the building?
A: At the time, I did not think that she would die.  I did not study medicine.  I did not know under what circumstances people might die or not die.  After she got to the hospital, the district leaders asked for the best experts, equipment and medicine for her.  They formed a team of medical experts.  She underwent two skin transplants.  At the time, I did not think that her life was in danger.  We followed normal procedure to carry out the demolition.  In front of the law, which is greater?  The law, authority or compassion?  I had to defend the dignity of the law.

Q: How did you feel when you learn that she had passed away?  If you were Tang Fuzhen, what would you do?  If your family was the target of the law enforcement, what would you do?
A: I feel sorry about the death of Tang Fuzhen.  There is no comparison between us.  I am a state worker and I have a strong sense about the law.  First of all, if a relative of mine were to own an illegally constructed house, I could not be the law enforcement bureau director.  Secondly, if the law had to be enforced against a relative of mine, I am required to excuse myself according to procedure.  But the house must be demolished.  Everybody is equal before the law, even if they are my relatives.  When the public and private interests clash, the law and the public interest should rule.  This is the principle of my work over the years.

Q: You lost your job because of the death of Tang Fuzhen.  What do you think is the crux of the case?
A: I am under huge, unprecedented pressure.  I hold misgivings.  I acted in accordance of the law.  I did not much propaganda and persuasion.  I spoke to Tang Fuzhen so many times.  I gave her the demolition notice ... I was still misunderstood after all this work.  I hold misgivings.

Q. What is the responsibility of you and the urban management law enforcement squad that you lead?  What do you think about the gradual "demonization" of urban managers in the hearts and minds of ordinary citizens?  How do you feel about the rights of those who are being relocated?
A: Demolishing illegal buildings is only part of our work.  Our principal work is to manage the city, maintain public order and maintaining the greening of the city.  You can say that the job of the urban management bureau director is the most tiring and harsh.  We get out of bed at 3:30am to make sure that the streets are clean so that people can live comfortably and neatly in our city.  However, some people do not support our work.
I disagree with the "demonization" assertion.  I can seriously tell you that during my two years as urban management bureau director, none of my team members broke any law or disciplinary rule.  There was a single incident of violence during law enforcement.  We urban managers are dealing with people who refuse to follow the rules and regulations of the city.  A city without urban managers is uninhabitable.  We cannot let the interests of a small number of people hurt the interests of everybody.
The basic rights of anybody (including the rights of those who are being evicted) must fall under the framework of the law.  If we want to talk about personal interests without referring to the law, society will fall into chaos.

Q: As the urban management bureau director who has to listen to the calls of the people, how do you feel?  Have you ever experienced any conflict between your duty and your conscience?
A: Everybody has a conscience.  My conscience is sometimes in conflict.  I have sympathy for them, but I also have to enforcement the law.  When human feelings are tangled up with the law, I must still act in accordance with the law and the public interest.  I Have been working for 32 years.  The two years as urban management bureau director are the toughest.  Sometimes, it has been painful.  We have done so much, but some people still don't understand us.  The people's city is built by the people.  This is not just about urban managers; it concerns everybody.

Q: In any case, a life was lost.  What are the lessons of this incident and its impact on you?
A: I feel that this was a tragedy due to ignorance of the law.  Tang Fuzhen does not understand what we do.  She placed her private interests over the public interest.  We are enforcing the law which is compulsory.  For example, if a murdered chooses an extreme action, should we give up chasing him down?
This incident will show us how we can perfect urban management in terms of standards and details.  People are limited in their thinking and ability.  We can be richer, better and more precise in our judgment and actions.  But I don't think anyone is going to be perfect.
I do not believe that this incident is a lesson by experience.  We can make some overall comments.  At the moment, I am not doing anything hands on.  I want more time to learn and think.  During this period, the number of text messages to me are no less than during the Chinese Lunar Year.  My colleagues and friends show that they care about me and encourage me to face the situation.

Q. Do you know that they are running a human flesh search on you on the Internet?
A: I didn't know.  But this is an improper action.  I will hire a lawyer to sue anyone who employs illegal means to attack me.  I believe that public opinion is just, because our opinion represents the mouthpiece of the Party as well as a society under the rule of law.  Our opinion should serve the Party as well as the progress of society as a whole.  It should no serve a small number of people and others with ulterior motives.

Q: Do you hold any regrets about Tang Fuzhen?
A: I don't hold any regrets.  I am a law enforcement who enforces the law in a serious manner.  There should not be any regrets before the law.

At just past 5pm on March 24, 2010, the Chenzhou entrepreneur Cui Yuanping booked a suite at the Royal Cashbox KTV on Qingnan Road.  After having dinner, he and his friends came to the suite, which they found to be too small.  So Cui went to the front desk and ask for a larger room (specifically, Suite 236).

However, Suite 236 was already booked and therefore the receptionist turned Cui down.  Since Cui had a few drinks during dinner, he insisted on getting Suite 236.  That was when the dispute began.

During the argument, the receptionist said sarcastically: "Here, the boss is whosoever has the money.  So I want to reserve the room for someone else.  What can you do?!"  Losing face publicly in front of his friends and relatives, Cui picked up the "cashier" sign from the reception desk and threw it at the receptionist.  He was also about to charge over and hit her.  But she picked up a stool and hit Cui.  This made Cui mad and wanted to hit her.  The security manager at the front desk went up to stop him, and a physical struggle ensued.

When the other security guards saw their manager wrestling with someone, they came over to help.  So did the two younger brothers of Cui.  There were injuries on both sides during the melee.  But Cui's action drew the ire of the security manager who summoned more security guards.  Under his order, more than a dozen uniformed guards armed with steel rods rushed over.  These newcomers arrived in the lobby and hit Cui's group on the heads, arms and bodies with their steel rods.  Since they were armed and many, the Cui group were bloodied.  The lobby was locked down so nobody could get out.  The security guards continued their assault under the direction of their manager.

During the confusion, someone used a sharp object to cut the vein in Cui's right hand, causing blood to pour on his hand and on the ground.  Cui was forced onto the sofa in the middle of the lobby.  His cousin Li Ming was trying to catch a respite on the other side of the sofa.  But their nightmare did not stop as the security guards began another round of assault.  Although Cui was lying injured on the ground, they did not let up.  The surveillance video showed one guard hitting him with a steel rod, another guard kicking his body and a third guard punching his head.  Cui's girlfriend was crying and pleasing: "Please don't hit him anymore.  He's going to die!"  She used her body to shield Cui from more vicious beating.

At 20:56, the relentless beating had gone on for almost 8 minutes.  A Royal Cashbox owner finally arrived at the scene.  Under his order, the assault was temporarily halted.  But as he took the security guards out, the security manager suddenly came back and began hitting a semi-conscious person on the sofa.  The other security guards returned and continued their assault with steel rods.

Their behavior made the Royal Cashbox owner angry.  He yelled at the security guards and ordered them to stop.  This gave some breathing room to Cui's group.  Cui's girlfriend used her dress to stop Cui's bleeding.  But within two minutes, the security manager rushed back to the sofa and continued to hit Cui and Li Ming regardless of the owner's order.

Cui's girlfriend was down on her knees to beg the security manager and guards for mercy.  Another friend of Cui came over and said something.  He was immediately set upon by the security guards.  During the confusion, a security guard picked up a flower vase and pelted him on his head.  The man fell down bleeding. 

The entire assault lasted for more than 10 minutes. At 21:08, the police arrived.  The injured persons were taken away by ambulance.

According to local media reports, a customer fought with the security guards at the Royal Cashbox KTV after failing to get a different suite.  More than 10 security guards retaliated with steel rods.  However, the video showed that by the time the security guards joined in, the Cui party was already down and out.

Even more incredible was the fact that when the reporter interviewed Cui and his girlfriend, they exhibited more fear than anger.  The girl who got down on her knees to beg mercy for her boyfriend did not dare say anything to the reporter.

According to Cui, he does not even know if the police have detained any of the perpetrators.  The reason may be the fact that the Royal Cashbox KTV has powerful backers.  Local talk is that it is behavior like this that creates a vicious cycle for social deterioration.  The local citizens want the government to clean things up and give them back a harmonious Chenzhou.

Excerpt of surveillance video lasting 10:53

Surveillance video lasting 17:24

Even in a province where coal mine disasters occur frequently, the Wangjialing incident is stunning.  According to official reports, 153 miners were trapped underground.  After many days of rescue work, what must be said to be a miracle occurred: as of the deadline of this essay, 115 miners have been rescued.  Five bodies have been recovered so far.  Another 33 are missing, but they may yet survive.

According to reporters, the investigation/accountability system has been initiated.  The rescue command centre spokesperson Liu Dezheng confirmed last night that they have asked the production operations department to prepare to provide basic information accurately.  In this case, the accountability system is being initiated not just because it is standard routine but also because there are claims that this incident may be "manmade."  An earlier bulletin from the State Safety Supervisory Bureau indicated that the there were problems with the monitoring of water levels, confusion with labor organization as well as missing safety procedures at the mine.  The reason for the water leakage down the mine is unclear at this time.  Since some workers had reported signs of a possible incident before it occurred, the likelihood of a "manmade" disaster is increased.

But at the same time, many scenes that we are familiar with are beginning to take place.

It has been truly a miracle of life for so many people to survive in the mine and await the rescuers to come for them.  By working day and night and risking their own lives, the rescuers were the key to this miracle.  But the stale propaganda style gave more play to the various leaders and their praises for the rescue effort and made the call for accountability somewhat weaker amidst this chorus.

We cannot mix up the pluses and minuses in this incident.  At the same time that we praise the strength and tenacity to live, we must not forget that the strength and tenacity did not voluntarily from the miners.  Instead, they were forced to challenge the limits of human endurance by unavoidable external circumstances.  Behind every such miracle are bitter, tragic tears.

It seems quite inappropriate to feature the hard work and accomplishments of the leaders on the front page at this moment.  Sometimes, we need to admit that "to praise to the leaders" and "to blame to the subordinates" is a cover-up.  After all, the leaders cannot become brilliant only after the rescue work begin.  Similarly, mining disasters cannot have occurred only because of the unauthorized rashness of the subordinates (and it is usually the ones at the lowest levels).  If that were so, there is no way to find the common factor in all these mining disasters.  If an individual case always stays an individual case, mining disasters will recur in the future.

The reason why mining disasters continue to happen may be due to the tendency to cancel the rights and wrongs in such incidents.  It is hard to prove that such a casual relationship exists.  But at a time when people are getting smarter, this tendency to cancel rights and wrongs against each other will cause resentment to a certain degree.  Therefore, people are having some critical words about this miracle.  As such, the propaganda method should be changed sometimes.

Instead, this was what Beijing News actually published under the author's name:

As of April 6, 115 miners have already been saved at the Wangjialing mine.  Six bodies of deceased miners have been retrieved.  Another 32 persons are missing.

There is no doubt that this rescue effort has been successful.  For the majority of the miners to be able to survive under the mine until the rescuers reached them has to be said to be a miracle of life.  The keys to this miracle are the high degree of attention by the national and local leaders, the rescue workers working day and night at the risk of their own lives and the will of the trapped miners to live.

At the same time, the rescue command centre spokesperson has confirmed that they have asked the production operations department to follow up their request for an investigation to prepare basic materials about the incident.  This may be implying that the investigation/accountability system has been initiated.

The accountability system is being initiated not only as a matter of standard routine but also because the information now is that there may be a hint of "manmade" factors in this disaster.  An earlier bulletin from the State Safety Supervisory Bureau indicated that the there were problems with the monitoring of water levels, confusion with labor organization as well as missing safety procedures at the mine.  The reason for the water leakage down at the mine is unclear at this time.  Since some workers had reported signs of a possible incident before it occurred, the likelihood of a "manmade" disaster is increased.

Accordingly, here is what should happen next.  On one hand, we praise the success of the rescue effort.  On the hand, we must be more rigorous to seek accountability.  We must not mix up the rights and wrongs that occurred in this incident.  We cannot deny the "rights" just as we cannot ignore the "wrongs."  Even as we praise the strength and tenacity to live, we must not forget that this mining incident was indeed a disaster, and the strength and tenacity of the miners did not emerge voluntarily.  If we cannot locate the cause of mining disasters, the next one will be unavoidable.

Wuyue Sanren commented:

While I am still listed as the author of the Beijing News essay, virtually none of its contents corresponded to what I wanted to express.  Not only was the flavor completely lost, but it seemed to be a flattering piece of commentary.  I don't make a living off my writing.  Therefore, I consider the publication of something like this to be an immense insult to me.  I have notified the newspaper not to send me the fees, not to disseminate the essay and to terminate our partnership.  I don't have the right to request other authors to refuse to write for them, but people should think about what happened to this long-time partner of Beijing News here.

(Apple Daily)

No fear of oppression
I want true universal suffrage
3,000 persons march to support referendum

The organizers (the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party) claimed that 3,000 citizens participated in the march while the police estimated that about 1,000 persons departed from Victoria Park.

(Oriental Daily)  3,000 persons march as Civic Party/League of Social Democrats push "referendum"

The organizers claimed that the peak number during the march was 3,000 persons while the police cited about 1,000 persons.

(Ming Pao)  Szeto Wah hinted that he won't vote in the by-election; more than 1,000 persons participated in the "true universal suffrage" march

Civic Party secretary-general Kenneth Chan Ka-lok claimed at the end of the rally that the peak number during the march was 3,000 persons.  The police estimated about 1,000 persons.  Our reporter counted along the way and estimated about 1,200 persons participated.

(The Standard)  March reignites 'referendum' row

About 1,000 people marched to the government headquarters yesterday to support next month's by-election and calls for the abolition of functional constituency seats. They started from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at about 4pm and arrived in Central two hours later. The organizer, "Five District Referendum," estimated 3,000 supporters but a police spokesman said the number was about 1,000.

(Wen Wei Po)  Fewer than 800 people in march; "referendum" met with coolness inside and outside.

The so-called "yellow-colored march" to "obtain true universal suffrage" drew fewer than 800 participants based upon observation.  The marchers set off around 4pm from Victoria Park.  By 5:30pm, the last of the marchers had reached Government Headquarters already.  The Civic Party and the League of Social Demcrtas claimed tht 2,000 marchers.  Later, the "Five district referendum campaign" deputy spokesperson Kenneth Chan Ka-lok changed the story and claimed that there were 3,000 marches at the peak.  The police estimate was about 1,000 persons.

(Tai Kung Pao)  Civic Party/League of Social Democrats march desolate.

Once upon a time, the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats said "marching is useless."  Yesterday, they organized a march to support their so-called "referendum campaign".  Unfortunately, only several hundred persons participated and that is a lot less than the 3,000 persons that they originally claimed.

(Sing Tao)  Pan-democrat legislators did not attend Civic Party/League of Social Democrats march

The march was originally set to depart from Victoria Park at 3pm.  However, only about 300 persons were present at 3pm.  Therefore, the organizers delayed the departure for about one hour or so.  The marchers departed at 4:05pm and finished at 5:25pm at Government Headquarters.  The marchers took up one car lane with the column length being less than 300 meters.  Afterwards, the two parties announced that there had been 3,000 marchers while the police estimated the number of marchers to be 1,000 or so.

Earlier the Civic Party/League of Social Democrats gave the number of marchers as 3,000 in their application to the police for a permit to march.  Actually, only 1,000 or so persons marched.  This showed that people are cool towards the "referendum movement."

(Global Times)  115 miners saved after 8 days.  April 6, 2010.

In an extremely rare and unlikely turn of events, 115 miners were pulled out alive Monday from the flooded Wangjialing coalmine in northern Shanxi Province, eight days after being trapped underground, officials said. And 38 more miners could still be saved, according to Liu Dezheng, a spokesman for the rescue operation, at a press conference Monday.


Following the mine's flooding in the early hours of March 28, a team of more than 3,000 rescuers has been working around the clock to pump water from the flooded shafts in order to get to the miners.

The rescued miners were part of a larger group of 261 working in the pit when it flooded. A total of 108 workers managed to escape immediately, leaving 153 underground with any hope of rescue dwindling by the day. "Rescuers are continuing the search for 38 trapped miners. The rescue operation is still challenging," said Wang Jun, the governor of Shanxi.

A live broadcast Monday by China Central Television (CCTV) showed survivors wrapped in blankets and uniforms lifted out of the shaft as clothes covered their eyes. Rescue workers cheered and carried the men to ambulances, which rushed them to five local hospitals.

"It is a miracle in China's history of mining rescues," said Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, who was at the site overseeing the rescue operation. "This is probably one of the most amazing rescues in the history of mining anywhere," David Feickert, a coalmine safety adviser to the Chinese government, told the AP Monday.


Xu Lixin, deputy dean of the Jishan Zhengshen Hospital, said, "A worker told us that he survived the ordeal by eating whatever he could find underground - pieces of paper, bark - and drinking the murky water in the tunnel along with some coworkers." Fearing that he'd miss the chance to be rescued, one miner said he forced himself to stay awake for the past three days, Xu said. Some miners attached themselves by belts to the wall of the mine to avoid falling into the water while sleeping, and they hung there for three days before climbing into a mining cart that floated by, CCTV reported.

A glimmer of hope emerged Friday when rescuers said they heard banging on a metal pipe underground. The first nine miners were pulled out alive shortly after midnight Monday, 190 hours after the Wangjialing mine filled with underground water from what experts said were probably adjacent mines that had flooded after they were abandoned.

(Reuters)  Five bodies found after "miracle" China mine rescue.  April 6, 2010.

Officials said 153 miners were trapped in the unfinished Wangjialing mine in Xiangning, in the northern province of Shanxi, when water gushed in more than a week ago. At least 115 survivors were rescued late on Sunday and on Monday, with media and officials hailing a "miracle" that came on a national holiday to honor the dead. The five bodies are the first known casualties, but 33 men are still missing. The survivors clung on to life in the pitch black pit, eating sawdust and bark from the pine supports used in the mine to sustain themselves and some taking small sips of the dank and dirty water that surrounded them.

Rescuers braved the floodwaters and fluctuating mine gas once officials deemed a week of frantic pumping had lowered water levels enough to make a rescue possible. Tapping sounds on a pipe on Friday had raised hopes some miners were still alive. wall"We reached 200 meters underground by raft only to find that there was not enough space for the raft to continue as the water level was too high. So we jumped into the water, swam toward the trapped miners, and pulled them out," said rescuer Wang Kai.

(Wall Street Journal)  Bark, Murky Floodwater Likely Helped Miners Survived.  By Anna Wilde Mathews.  April 5, 2010.

Survival in a mine-flooding accident like the one in China's Shanxi Province requires a number of conditions, including access to air, water and relatively dry perches that keep miners above the cold flood, mine-safety exerts said.

The men who were brought out of the Chinese coal mine likely won't suffer serious long-term health problems, doctors said, though some may contend with psychological trauma from being trapped underground for more than a week. After nibbling wood because they lacked food, or drinking water that may have been contaminated with chemicals, they probably will be able to recover fully.

The Chinese miners' rescue, while a major achievement, doesn't set a record for long-term survival, according to Rob McGee, secretary-treasurer of the U.S. Mine Rescue Association, who keeps an online archive of world-wide mine-rescue accounts. Some miners have been reported to survive three weeks or more with access to water, he said.

Generally, the first cause of fatalities in a mine-flooding is drowning, doctors said. The next concern is oxygen. It's likely the Chinese miners benefited from a large air pocket or access to air from outside. In certain coal mines, methane gas can gradually displace oxygen, but at relatively low levels it isn't immediately toxic, said Gerry Finfinger, senior scientist in the office of mine safety and health research at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The next peril is hypothermia, which can be rapidly fatal for those who are even partly submerged. The temperature in a mine is typically around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and those who are trapped in water lose their body heat quickly. Some of the Chinese miners tied themselves to the mine shaft to stay out of the flood, while others found refuge on raised wooden platforms, according to local news accounts.

Even those not wearing wet garments may struggle to keep their body temperatures up and can die in less than 12 hours from the cold, doctors said.

In past disasters, such as the Quecreek Mine flooding in Pennsylvania in 2002, the men huddled together to share body heat and used cardboard and anything else available to protect themselves from the damp ground and wet air, said Richard Kunkle, a physician who has worked at more than a dozen mine rescuesand is now professor at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

Trapped miners must then find something to drink, since going without liquid can begin to trigger kidney failure within three to five days. As the kidneys shut down and stop filtering the body's waste, it can damage other organs. Their best option may be to drink urine, Dr. Kunkle said, since it is sterile.

It was not immediately clear what contaminants were in the Chinese mine water, which some miners reportedly drank. Salty water can cause quicker dehydration, kidney failure and other damage, said Alan Ducatman, a professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Other chemicals likely to be present in such water, which include fuel from machinery, "tend not to be hyperacute hazards," at low levels, he said, and people could likely recover from their effects without severe impact.

Food may be the least urgent matter since people can sometimes go weeks without eating. Those trapped in the Chinese mine who nibbled bark off support beams likely did their digestive systems no serious harm if they chewed it completely to avoid splinters. Though wood contains no nutrients the human digestive system can absorb, it may have relieved hunger pangs, filling stomachs and providing something to chew.

Bags of glucose were sent down to the miners Friday, according to China's Xinhua news agency. Those would provide a quick energy boost that could be followed up with food containing concentrated protein and carbohydrates, Dr. Kunkle said

Though some emerging from the mine had their eyes bundled to protect them from the sudden light, their eyesight will likely be back to normal relatively quickly, experts said.

(Ming Pao)

Graphic illustration of rescue effort
(1) On the day of the incident, March 28, miners tied themselves to the wall by their belts so that they were not carried away by the flood.
(2) On March 31, the water pumps began to work as the horizontal drill holes drew the water our sideways.
(3) On April 1, some workers found refuge in two floating mining carts that drifted by.
(4) On April 2, the 'life pipe' began to function as banging sounds were heard from underground.  Glucose bags, letters and telephones were sent down by rescuers.
(5) On April 3, four divers went down with no avail.  On April 4, divers and rafts were sent down again.
(6) On April 5, the first group of 9 miners were found and taken out of the ventilation shaft.
(7) On April 5, the second group of 106 trapped miners were found in the auxiliary transportation passage.
Number of water pumps: 20
Number of ambulances: 153
Number of glucose bags: 360+
Number of medical rescues: 900+
Number of cubic meters of water pumped out per hour: 2,000 to 2,500
Number of rescuers: 5,000+


On April 1, China Youth Daily published an essay to criticize inaccurate reports from Xinhua and CCTV.  This essay was broadly re-printed and drew a lot of discussion.

This essay addressed the coverage of the Moscow subway explosions and the Fujian Nanping Elementary School murders.  It criticized Xinhua and CCTV for making the Chinese "strong" when it comes to coping with disasters.  Although this seems to be praising the strength of the Chinese people, it is actually demeaning them by making them look numb and uncaring.

A netizen commented: "They are so strong to the point that the gas is poured not against the perpetrators of violence but on themselves instead, and then setting fire without pause ... I have no tears left to cry."

Another netizen comments: "We don't understand why people have to be treated like fools in the age of electronic broadcasting and the Internet.  Does 'publicizing the main theme and insisting on positive reporting' mean that we won't even hold onto the most basic moral bottom line?  In Haiti, the civilians 'fled from their homes'; in China, the masses 'evacuated the earthquake zone.'  In America, the 'great snow storm' 'paralyzed traffic'; in China, the biggest 'snow storm' ever only caused the 'closing' of the expressways.  In England, the pilots 'went out on labor strike'; in China, the taxi drivers 'stopped carrying passengers.'  In the evil capitalist world, people become 'unemployed'; in our socialist world which is brighter than the sun, people are only 'awaiting employment.' ... I am speechless."

Another netizen said sarcastically: Can "disharmony" be called harmony?  Can you stay 'emotionally stable' when your family members are dead?

Here is the China Youth Daily article of April 1 in its entirety:

Let us read selections from two news reports:

"On March 30, the subway was still very crowded.  But passengers were silent and solemn as well as being highly alert.  'The atmosphere in the subway trains was very tense, with no sound of laughter.  There is not a trace of smile on people's faces.'  Moscow University student Elena Tsatova said.  Another student Ekaterina Ivankova said, 'Somebody's electronic watch went off in the subway today and I thought to myself, 'O my God, here it comes again'."  (Beijing News, March 31)

"On March 24, the third-year students at the Fujian Nanping Experimental Elementary School are in class.  At the moment, the students and the teachers are emotionally steady.  The classes are going in an orderly manner as normal.  (Xinhua, March 25)

Let us make a comparison of these two reports.

News background: The first report is about the suicide bomb explosions at the Park Kultury and Lubyanka subway stations in the centre of Moscow on the morning of March 29.  At least 38 persons died and another 64 injured.  According to the preliminary investigation by the Moscow intelligence service, the explosions were caused by two female "human bombs" who came from North Caucasus.  The second report is about the major mayhem that took place at 7:24am on March 23 in front of the Nanping Experimental Elementary School.  Within a span of 55 seconds, 13 students were stabbed.  3 died at the scene while 10 were hospitalized.  The perpetrator was a doctor.

Time: The reports both appeared on the day after the incident.

People: The first report focused on the passengers, most of whom were adults.  The second report was about the teachers and the students (mostly elementary school students).

The main points from the selections: The first report emphasized that the passengers were tense and nervous, whereas the second report emphasized that teachers and students were emotionally steady.

Conclusion: The psychological quality of Chinese elementary school students were higher than that of Russian adults.  Obviously, the Chinese are stronger than the Russians.

At this point, I am reminded of an essay that I read several days ago.  The gist of what the author said was this: One day, he was watching CCTV 4 and learned that prices have risen up by 4.5% in Taiwan and the people there said that they can't live.  Then he switched to another channel where the subject also happened to be about prices.  In mainland China, prices have risen up by 6%.  Several citizens were interviewed and said that they can cope with the price rises.  So I drew the further conclusion: not only are the Chinese stronger than foreigners, they are even stronger than the Taiwan people.

Is this really true?  Let us look at another report on the Nanping incident: "A team for psychological intervention consisting of 35 psychological counselors have been formed to deal with the public safety incident at the Nanping Experimental Elementary School.  15 psychological teachers at the Fujian Normal University and 6 psychology teachers from the Fujian Medical University have also arrived at the school to provide psychological counseling."  This paragraph showed that elementary school students in Nanping are not yet emotionally stable.  They need psychological help and they are not "strong as steel."

Similarly, can all mainlanders cope with a 6% in prices?  Maybe not.  A retired worker who gets 1,000 yuan or so in pension money may find it hard to cope.  Dismissed workers and impoverished families will find it hard to cope.

I don't understand why reporters always want to make the Chinese people, especially the mainlanders, "strong."  Wherever earthquakes, important events or mass incidents occur, they are always as calm as still water.  The reporters may think that they are praising the Chinese people.  In my view, they are actually demeaning the Chinese people.  Superficially, these seem to be praises.  In reality, it is saying that the Chinese people are numb and uncaring.


On average, these men's sperm counts were almost 30 percent lower than in men who didn't drink cola. While most of the sperm counts would still be considered normal by the World Health Organization, men with fewer sperm generally have a higher risk of being infertile. The link is unlikely to be due to caffeine, the researchers say, because coffee did not have the same effect, even though its caffeine content is higher. Instead, other ingredients in the beverage or an unhealthy lifestyle could be involved.

"It's important to note that the men who drank a lot of cola were also different in many other ways," Dr. Tina Kold Jensen of Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, told Reuters Health. Kold Jensen, who led the new research, said only a few studies have looked at caffeine's impact on reproductive health in men. The participants have generally been a very select group, such as infertile men, and the results have been conflicting. Because Danish youth has been upping their consumption of caffeine-containing soft drinks over the last decades, the researchers decided to study how this might affect their reproductive health.

More than 2,500 young men were included in their study. Those who didn't drink cola had better sperm quality -- averaging 50 million sperm per milliliter semen -- and tended to have a healthier lifestyle. In contrast, the 93 men who drank more than one liter (about 34 ounces) a day had only 35 million sperm per milliliter. They also ate more fast foods, and less fruit and vegetables. When looking at caffeine from other sources, such as coffee and tea, the decrease in sperm quality was much less pronounced, the researchers note in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

It is still not clear if the cola or the unhealthy lifestyle, or both, is to blame. However, Dr. Fabio Pasqualotto, of the University of Caxias do Sul in Brazil, who was not involved in the study, said the drink itself probably wasn't the most important factor. "I imagine it's the lifestyle," he said.

This story spawned the following front page stories in Hong Kong on a slow news public holiday:

Apple Daily:
Cathay Pacific stewardesses planning to go on strike next week
Cola kills sperms: A liter a day reduces sperm count by 30%

Oriental Daily:
Good Father near death due to kidney failure, hiding the fact from wife and child
Men may be infertile from three cans of coke per day: sperm count down by 30%, fast food eaters at high risk

Sing Pao:
A liter a day of Cola kills sperms
Amazing discovery from Danish research

On April 1st, a netizen named "Zhugeliang" wrote: "At around 17:00 on March 31 in Yuling village, Baihua town, Xiaogan city, Hubei province, a pernicious incident occurred.  Householder Yu Jie was about to be forcibly relocated.  He offered to treat the enforcers to a dinner at his home for the last time and asked them to enter.  Meanwhile his wife locked the door from the outside and ignited liquid gas canisters stored in the house.  Nine members of the relocation enforcers died along with Yu Jie.  His wife has been arrested."  It was also explained: "Chutian Metropolis Daily reporters are on the way.  Hopefully more reporters and lawyers from outside Hubei province will pay attention to this case."  The sensitive content touched the nerves of the netizens.  This post was quickly "pushed" on microblogs as well as Internet forums.

As soon as the post appeared, Chutian Metropolis Daily news director Zhang Ouya began to get calls from everywhere.  "As of 9am, I got seven or eight calls from Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere."  Zhang Ouya said that he wondered whether this was an April Fool's Day joke.  So he got on the Internet to check out the information.  He realized that there was no Baihua town in Xiaogan city.  Caixin reporter Wang Huoyan also discovered the same thing: "I checked on Baidu and there was no Baihua town in Xiaogan city, Hubei province.  There was no Yuling village either."  Meanwhile, the Southern Metropolis Daily in Guangzhou city was receiving the same tips.  Their reporter checked on the Internet and also found that there was no Baihua town in Xiaogan city.  Furthermore, there was not attribution of source in the item.

Other netizens noted, "It is hard to imagine how a wife will assist her husband to commit suicide."  People were skeptical.

At 11:11 yesterday, Zhang Ouya wrote on his own microblog: "Our newspaper has not received any information about the pernicious incident in Yuling village, Baihua town, Xiaogan city."  Furthermore, he noted that there is no Baihua town in Xiaogan city.  Most importantly, the original author has admitted that this was a fabricated story on April Fool's Day.

At the suggestion of Zhang Ouya, microblog administrator "used its official account to inform people who didn't realize the truth" as well as forward the original author's admission over the joke.

"I did not imagine how quickly information spreads across the micro-blogosphere, and I did not realize how decent and kind-hearted netizens are."  Within 30 minutes after Zhang Ouya's post, netizen "Zhugeliang" wrote on his own blog.  He explained that the "Baihua" town is a homonym to "lie" in Chinese and "Yujie" is a homonym to "April Fool's Day."

"Today is April Fool's Day.  Therefore I made up a story that was completely opposite to the real life ending.  I was hoping that the successive series of forced relocations and self-immolation tragedies can draw the public attention as well as the early caution of government officials in order to avoid greater tragedies."  Several hours later, the Internet forums also deleted this fake news story.

"I don't why anyone can make up such a huge lie which is so far away from Chinese thinking."  "This is a major incident in the micro-blogosphere and it will lead to a chain reaction."  Zhang Ouya who was unwittingly drawn into this affair made a several related micro-blog posts.  He believes that this incident should cause further thoughts.

Some netizens realized the problem too.  "These jokes should be avoided in the future.  Someone even called up the Xiaogan city government office director and he took it seriously.  He said that they have looked into the case and found nothing."  Wang Huoyan wrote on his microblog.

At 5:23pm, a netizen Li Tiantian re-posted the news story on his blog.  He added this preamble: "Happy April Fool's Day to everybody!"


Entertainer/singer/actress Gigi Leung found her microblog post deleted yesterday.  She had re-posted a news report about the unreasonable criminal charges against Zhao Lianhai, who was one of the parents trying to defend their rights in the tainted milk powder incident.  She was then asked to delete the post.  Afterwards, Gigi Leung wrote on the microblog: "I don't want to see unfair things happen to ordinary people."  But scholars believed that since Gigi Leung has a huge microblog following, her post could have been re-posted broadly and that was why the authorities acted quickly to delete it.

The deletion occurred around noon yesterday.  34-year-old Gigi Leung had re-posted the Apple Daily article on her microblog.  She was told to delete that post.  At around 1pm, Leung posted again on her microblog: "Mainland has mainland regulations.  So I'll delete it!  But I don't want to see unfair things happen to ordinary people!"

Gigi Leung's microblog has close to 470,000 subscribers.  This incident shook the Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan netizens as they noted how she was forced to delete the report about tainted powder milk.  They wrote: "Gigi was harmonized" "Get used to these rules eventually as we tragically come to learn" "I am under restrictions, and I will be clamped up as soon as I mention 'freedom of press'."

At about 11pm last night, there were almost 800 comments in support of Gigi Leung and in opposition to the lack of freedom of speech.  Gigi Leung did not offer any further explanation.  At 2pm she posted at her microblog again: "I am a person who likes to work silently, toil silently, mourn silently and delight silently.  But my present state is that I could not calm down silently as I wanted to say something!  I am scheduled to play ball with someone!  My opponent today will probably lose to me, because I am burning with 'fire' right now.  Ha ha!"

Chinese University of Hong Kong Political and Administrative Sciences Department associate professor Ma Ngok said that Gigi Leung's blog post was deleted because she re-posted a sensitive news story and because she had a huge number of subscribers.  In order to stop the story from being circulated broadly, the authorities took action quickly.  "If they waited one more day while getting approval from above, the post may have been seen by many people already.  The person in charge of Internet supervision did not want to be held responsible, so the deletion occurred quickly."  He said that if Leung refuses to comply, it may affect her career in mainland China.  "There aren't that many Google companies in the world."  Even if Gigi Leung refused, her record company would have done it."

But yesterday, Gigi Leung's manager Ms. Wang told us that Leung deleted the microblog post herself because she did not want netizens to get concerned.  "Gigi wrote the post in order to release her feelings.  She had no political motive.  Fans asked her not to take a political position in her microblog.  So she deleted the post to please them."