(Southern Metropolis Daily)
On July 17, <Huaxia Times> female reporter Chen Xiaoying published an article titled <Shenzhen State Enterprise Company chairman denounced by mistress for misappropriating assets>. The report was based upon a woman who claimed to have been Shenzhen State Enterprise Company chairman Li Jinquan's mistress and who provided 17 years worth of evidence about Li's corrupt activities.
On the day before yesterday, Chen Xiaoying's telephone rang around 16:00. "The man identified his name as Liu. He said that he had read my reporting on Wanke before. He has just left Shenzhen State Enterprises Company and he has some insider secrets to tell me. He wanted to know if I was interested." Chen Xiaoying agreed to meet him for dinner near the Shanghai Hotel at 18:30.
At around 19:00, Chen and her male friend arrived at the meeting place. Mr. Liu called to say that he had a car collision near the Huaqiang Group building. He told Chen Xiaoying to go ahead and eat first. But he did not show up even after they finished eating. Chen and friend went to the Huaqiang Group building and asked around. There had not been a traffic accident there. So they decided to leave.
"We were not suspicious. We got into the subway. When we reached the Convention Center, Mr. Liu called again and said that his car is fixed. He wanted to meet me near Hongli Road." So they agreed to meet at the Tianhong Shopping Mall. Chen Xiaoying arrived before 22:00. She called Mr. Liu who did not pick up his phone. So she sent a SMS to say that she would be leaving within ten minutes.
"I waited with my friend. I saw several men looking around and speaking to their mobile phones. They came up past me and back again. I wish I had left by taxi." Chen Xiaoying recalled. "After ten minutes, I got ready to leave. Then this man came up to me and swung a punch at the left side of my head. He followed up with several more punches while uttering obscenities. I was wearing high-heeled shoes. I could not even duck."
The man quickly fled after making the attack. Chen's friend gave chase but lost him. Chen has filed a police report.
<Huaxia Times> issued a statement that "this was clearly a pre-planned retaliatory act." Meanwhile Shenzhen International Company issued a statement: "Before reading the news report, our company had no knowledge of the attack on <Huaxia Times> reporter Chen Xiaoying. This incident has no relation to our company. There has been no employee named Liu leaving our company in recent times."
(Southern Metropolis Daily)
Since July 19, a post <Hunan province Yongzhou city, 3 women knelt before a government official to plead apprehension of attackers, but official was unmoved> appeared at Internet forums such as Yingchu, RedNet, Tianya, etc. According to the post, family members of these three women had been attacked. One family member was seriously injured, two crippled and three mildly injured. But the attackers bribed the government officials and the police to do nothing. So the attackers are still safe and sound in their own homes. The three women begged and pleaded with the government official for as long as half an hour. An old woman even fainted. But he couldn't care less.
The post also had a photo with two women kneeling before a man in police uniform. Another woman was lying on the floor tugging at the foot of the policeman. Two other persons are shown carrying a banner.
When a Yingchu reporter called up the Qiyang police station to verify this story, the police station worker said: "Why are you sticking your nose in this? What is your motive?" Finally, this worker told the reporter: "You don't have the right to know the truth about this case."
This last response by the Qiyang police became a hot phrase on the Internet as it got posted, re-posted and commented by countless number of netizens.
One netizen wrote: "What are they trying to hide? No wonder they talk about the masses who don't know the truth. Of course they don't know the truth because the police don't bother to tell it." Another netizen wrote: "We have the right to know about this case! Because we are the masters of this nation, because we are taxpayers!"
<National Business Daily> issued a statement on the afternoon of July 30: "Recently, <National Business Daily> reported on the story about Bawang shampoo being accused of containing carcinogenic substances. At around 4pm on July 30, four young men who claimed to be employees of the Bawang Group entered the premises of the Shanghai office of <National Business Daily> without permission for the purpose of seeking out the reporter who made that report. When the reporter met those men, they threatened the reporter with curses, pushes, etc. Our newspaper called the police who came and took those men away for interrogation."
According to <Wen Wei Po> in Hong Kong, the Bawang public relations director Yang Zhengshu was very shocked when the company found out about this incident through Internet reporters. They have dispatched senior personnel to Shanghai to investigate. If true, the company will deal severely with those employees.
(Southern Metropolis Daily)
For almost one month, <The Economic Observer> Qiu Ziming had published articles to question whether the Zhejiang Kan Group had illegally appropriated state assets and other problems. The Kan Group asked the Suichang police to investigate a case of damage to its business reputation.
On the basis of the contents of Qiu's reports, the Suichang county police determined that Qiu was under suspicion of damaging the company's business reputation and therefore Qiu should be detained on suspicion of crime. This decision would cause Qiu Ziming to go into hiding while he and his newspaper mounted a public opinion campaign.
The Lishui city police entered the case and determined that the Suichang county police had not acted in accordance with the law. At 10am on July 29, the Suichang police rescinded their former decision.
Yesterday it was made known that the Suichang police representatives were proceeding to Beijing to apologize in person to Qi Ziming and <The Economic Observer>. As a result, the office building <The Economic Observer> was surrounded by hordes of reporters. These reporters waited from 2pm to 6pm without spotting the "emissaries" from Zhejiang (who were known to have boarded the plane at 2pm).
We learned that due to the heavy media turnout, the meeting was moved to the Guolin Hotel one hundred meters away from <The Economic Observer>. At 630pm, Qiu Ziming and his supervisor came to the hotel.
After some negotiations our reporter was able to enter the conference room. Three tables had been hastily put together so that the team of 5 to 6 persons from the Suichang police and other local government departments could meet with <The Economic Observer> managers and Qiu Ziming.
Apart from apologizing to Qiu Ximing, the Suichang public security bureau deputy director Li Jianhua said that there were problems about how they had processed the case. He said that an investigation is being conducted by the city police and they will cooperate to determine if any of their own had been derelict in duty.
Even before the Suichang police came, Qiu Ziming had already forgiven them. He told our reporter that he describes himself as "kind" and "tolerant." He said that he does not plan at this time to sue for mental stress compensation.
Recently there are some questions about Qiu Ziming's work status. Some media have even challenged whether he is a bona fide reporter, because his name cannot be found in the Chinese journalist database or the directory of <The Economic Observer> . They concluded that Qiu Ziming must be a fake reporter.
However, a member of the Chinese Journalist Association said that one should not determine the status of a reporter in this manner. When someone is hired as a reporter (no matter how much previous experience he/she already has), there is a time-consuming process to obtain that General Administration of Press and Publications reporter's pass. As a result, many of the frontline reporters today still have their GAPP passes being processed.
<The Economic Observer> deputy chief-editor Wang Shengzhong was angry. He said that the main problem with the Chinese media and government organization is that "they have deliberately forgotten about their own social roles." It was disappointing to see these people made the wrong inferences because they don't understand the corresponding regulations. "Qiu Ziming's interviews were all based upon formal letters of introduction."
At around 16:15 on July 30, an explosion occurred inside the Tax Bureau in the Furong district of Changsha city. So far there has been 4 deaths and 19 injured persons. The preliminary indication is that this explosion was man-made.
According to a motorcycle taxi driver named Hong, "I had just stopped across the street at 4:15pm. I heard a loud band. Glass shards began to fall from above like rain. I was a bit stunned by the loud noise. I did not know what happened. There were three other motorcycle taxi drivers close to me. The glass shards came down quickly. Two of the drivers and an old woman were cut. I immediately called 110 and helped them manage their wounds."
Mr. Hong looked up at the third floor of the building where the explosion occurred. "A few of the windows were blown out. The third and fourth floors were affected. Five or six window frames were lying on the ground. One of them was almost 30 meters away. After the explosion, no sound was heard from the building." Mr. Hong said that he dared not enter that building. He did not hear any calls for help from there.
Five minutes later, the fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances arrived at the scene. Mr. Hong saw five or six persons being carried out of the building. "Most of them suffered leg injuries."
The more interesting side story is the result of a poll at QQ.com:
How do you feel after reading this news report?
Yesterday, there was a Huge Gas Explosion In Nanjing. There were hundreds of casualties. Many homes and businesses were rocked by the explosion and suffered damages. If you were a Nanjing citizen waking up the next morning, here are front pages of your local newspaper.
Yangzi Wanbao (Yangzi Evening News)
Nanjing Ribao (Nanjing Daily)
The first two newspaper had nothing on the explosion on their front pages. Nanjing Daily has one text paragraph to say that there was an explosion and the fire is under control. Modern Express has a big headline: "Sudden explosion/fire tests Nanjing." Apparently, in addition to the emergency services and the citizens, the media are being tested as well.
But the citizens actually have a choice of reading out-of-town newspapers, which amazingly have better coverage of a Nanjing incident.
Southern Metropolis (Guangzhou)
Beijing News (Beijing)
Dongfang Zaobao (Shanghai)
The heading of the post is: "An Old Man Wants To Jump Off The Building While The Reporters Eat And Drink Downstairs."
Word on the front and back of the white t-shirt is "Injustice."
Policeman tries to persuade the man to come down.
The accompanying text is: "On July 28 at the Yingxiong Shanrenfang Shopping Plaza in Jinan city, an old man wanted to jump down from the roof of the 6-meter tall glass house. The police tried to persuade him not to. Meanwhile the reporters from Jinan TV sat right underneath and ate KFC and drank Pepsi."
Should this clear? It is time to conduct "human flesh search" on these two shameless reporters?
I was there at the scene.
Supposedly the old man had an unsolved problem, so he came to petition in Jinan city. He believed that he was done an injustice. So he climbed up the glass building to draw attention to himself, and that will lead to the problem being solved. Therefore, jumping off the building is a "means," and not an "end" for him. The old man disrupted social order in order to reach his goal. Of course, you may think that the old man was forced to choose this method because nothing else was open to him. We can agree to disagree on this. But if the old man really wanted to die, he could have done it anytime anywhere.
The old man started at just past 1am and did not come down until 1:30pm. If you were working at the scene, would you take lunch? The person who took the photo probably ate lunch himself first and then he took photos of others and made fun of them. How can a person be so shameless?
The reporters who were shown eating lunch only made the mistake of eating right next to the scene. As a result, they became the sacrificial victims of someone with ill intentions.
Many people have pointed out the many mistakes in the movie <Aftershock>. For example, the bedroom scene; the product placements; the body movements in apparently dead people; ... Someone even said that the number of mistakes has got to the point of being unbelievable (such as Fang Deng coming out with no body injury after being trapped under the concrete slab? Wasn't 5,000 yuan somewhat expensive for a home telephone line in 1986? etc).
Actually, the most serious mistake is the fact that the son Fang Da was operating a motor vehicle without a license!
After the July 1976 earthquake in Tangshan, Fang Da's left arm was amputated. Fang Da gave up this studies and left home to work, including a stint as a tricycle cab peddler. He earned some money later. By the end of 1996, Fang Da was driving a BMW to bring his wife back to Tangshan to see his mother.
At issue is whether a physically handicapped person like Fang Da can have a license to operate a motor vehicle? If not, that would be the most serious mistake in <Aftershock>.
According to the <Decision of the Ministry of Public Security with respect to "license application and operating regulations of motor vehicles"> that went into effect on April 1, 2010, the applicant must have these qualifications: "Thumbs on both hands; at least three other fingers on each hand; normal function of limbs and fingers; finger tips may be missing. But persons who are missing fingertips and/or right thumb are allowed to apply for licenses to operate small vehicles or small automatic shift vehicles."
According to the <License application and operating regulations of motor vehicles> that went into effect on May 1, 2004, the applicant must have these physical qualifications: "Thumbs on both hands; at least three other fingers on each hand; normal function of limbs and fingers." The 2010 requirements are less strict than the 2004 requirements.
According to <People's Republic of China regulations on administrating motor vehicle license> that went into effect on September 1, 1996, the applicant must have these physical qualifications; "All persons who suffer ailments or physical defects that may impede traffic safety ... are not permitted to apply for motor vehicle operating licenses." It can be seen that 2004 is less strict than 1996.
By making a comparison of these requirements, it is easy to see that the state is paying more attention to the right of physically handicapped persons to drive motor vehicles and the corresponding regulations are becoming less strict over time. In this case, Fang Da is missing his left arm. This level of physical handicap means that he is not allowed to apply for a driver's license in 1996, or in even 2010. Therefore Fang Da was driving without a license, even if he is driving a BMW.
Fang Da began by peddling a tricycle and he eventually bought a BMW; he went from a manual worker to become a company boss. Through this big change, the scriptwriter showed how an earthquake survivor could rise from the rubble and achieve success through hard work. This is inspirational and educational. But the scriptwriter was ignorant of the fact that physically handicapped persons cannot have driver's licenses. That is the biggest mistake in <Aftershock>. Furthermore it sets up an example for physically handicapped persons to drive without license, because the fictional character Fang Da could do it with impunity.
Nevertheless, this mistake was not a total loss. The scriptwriter also brought in a related detail that was a clear message against "drunk driving." Fang Da was first seen driving. Then Fang Da took his mother out to dinner where they drank wine. But before they began drinking, Fang Da said that the driver must not drink. So Fang Da told his wife not to drink wine, because she was going to have to drive them back home. The scriptwriter was reminding people that safety should always come first which means you better not drink if you are driving. In this sense, the mistake was quite "lovely." This is akin to a public service message.
Even as the case of Hong Kong female tourist guide "A Zhen" has barely settled, there is now a case of a mainland female tourist guide scolding a tourist group in Zhuhai.
According to a member of the tourist group, he got a special travel club card as a gift and he signed up with a 5-day Hong Kong-Macau trip organized by a Nanjing travel agency. The card gave him a discount of 500 yuan so that he only had to pay 1,480 yuan. On July 18, he set off with his group. They spent four happy days in Hong Kong and Macau. This group of 12 persons made purchases in Hong Kong and Macau.
Following the itinerary, the group entered Zhuhai from Macau on the fifth day. A Zhuhai female tourist guide named Wu led the group to a jewelry store. On the way, she tried to get the tourists to buy cigarettes which contain caterpillar fungus, which were said to be refreshing. "You can buy one carton per person. Only 300 yuan. You will get an additional pack for free." When nobody bought any, this genteel female tourist guide said angrily: "I have to sell these cigarettes today."
When they got to the jewelry store, nobody made any purchase. Wu said grimly that it was alright not to buy any jewelry, but they have to buy the cigarettes because that was the "mission" that the travel agency gave her. She threatened to dump the group in a desolate area somewhere, so that they have to find their own way to the airport to go home.
When threats didn't work, Wu told the driver to stop in front of a farm in the rural area. She chased all the tourists off the bus and cursed them. "She said that we are all poor bastards. We are getting food and beverage through deception. The confrontation lasted more than one hour until the driver agreed to take us to Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou."
According to tourism industry insiders, these Hong Kong-Macau tour groups are usually zero-fee, even negative-fee. The only profit comes from the tourist making purchases. Therefore it is guaranteed 100% that the tourists will complain. According to a senior manager named Liu from the relevant travel agency, he has seen the video on the Internet and their agency will deal with this matter in a serious manner. But he said that the conflict between the tourists and the female tourist guide was only a verbal argument which resulted when the tourists questioned the authenticity of the cigarettes.
The Nanjing Tourism Bureau reminds citizens that prices for plane tickets and hotels usually rise during the summer. Therefore a Hong Kong-Macau trip costing less than 2,000 yuan should be a signal to be wary.
Liu Anping is the director of the serology department at the number one auxiliary hospital attached to the Guangzhou Chinese Medicine University. Earlier in April this year, he saw the CCTV program on how Peking University Number One Hospital professor Xiong Zhuowei died suddenly during a lumbar vertebrae operation at her own hospital. Liu proceeded to express his own thoughts on his personal website in a post entitled <Thoughts on the controversy raised by the death of the Peking University Number One Hospital female middle-aged professor>. On April 12, that post was cross-posted to BBS's by some unknown person who changed the title to <First person to tell insider medical/health secrets emerges in Guangzhou, as great as Zhong Nanshan>. (Translator's note: Zhong Nanshan was the first to expose the scope and perils of the 2003 SARS epidemic) This post became "hot" at an astonishing rate.
Our reporter found out that although Liu Anping is a very busy department director who is also professor/doctor, he writes well and he uses acerbic language. It was precisely this bluntness that proved popular among netizens. In the more than three months since the post went up on the BBS's, there have been more than 170 million page views already. This is an amazing number compared to the voluminous information on the Internet already. This is supposed to have set the record for page views of a single post.
As a teaching doctor with many years of experience, Liu Anping expressed his concerns about the original incident itself and he also expressed his own ideas on the current state of health/medical care. His exposé was welcomed by the netizens. In the comments, it was clear that many netizens used this post to vent their own dissatisfaction about the current state of health/medical care.
"The post did not actually contain any detailed secrets. Mostly it was venting the personal misgivings of a health/medical care worker within the system. I am perplexed by why this post should draw so much attention." A hospital manager who wishes to remain anonymous said that the post was hot because its title was right on target with the higher degree of attention that the public is paying to "health/medical care scandals."
Yesterday, our reporter contacted Liu Anping himself. To our surprise, Liu was completely unaware that his post was having such a tremendous impact on the Internet. "I am usually very busy. I published that essay. Shortly afterwards it was deleted. I did not ask why. Perhaps because the website was about health/medical care services and they thought the essay was too sensitive.
Liu Anping could not understand why netizens should be so enthusiastic about the BBS re-postings of his essay. Over the past three months, he has been working normally. "Perhaps not many doctors write about this sort of thing." He thought and then he said, "Frankly, most health/medical workers do not pay much attention to current affairs. This is probably because their own work requires a great deal of professionalism. They don't need to have broad vistas and deep thinking. Given the unfavourable media coverage in recent years, most health/medical workers don't want to speak out. The Internet is a pretty good channel." He said that he not only wrote this one essay but he intends to continue contemplating this issue.
As for the nickname "The Second Coming of Zhong Nanshan," Liu was quite embarrassed. "Please don't say that. I merely expressed something that I needed to say."
The reporter found that the most popular posts at almost every website have to do with "health/medical care scandals." At the MOP forum recently, a post by a doctor on "withholding medicine" was very popular as netizens noted the many "black holes" in the current health/medical care system.
"The attention that people are giving to Liu Anping's 'divine post' is largely because he articulated his thoughts about the system. In the past, people had been aiming only at the health/medical workers themselves (and not at the system itself). We just completed a training course today. A medical worker said in tears, 'A single mistake by us could cause irreparable damage to the patient. Once the mistake occurs, it cannot be rectified.' This was a true event. We doctors are not demons. There may be some bad elements among us, but not all of us are bad. We need to maintain self-vigilance and be grateful." The anonymous medical worker said.
(Excerpts from Liu Anping's post)
This author is an insider. The disputes over medical care issues that he encountered or heard of should be as commonplace as minor traffic accidents. They are unavoidable. That is the reason why I have always ignored the media hype over medical care disputes or mishaps. But this particular incident is a rare case when both sides are famous persons.
Today at the various universities and hospitals, there are plenty of professors and PhD thesis advisors around. Sometimes you can even run into an Academician. What are these people going after? They spend less than half their time on treating patients and engaging in academics. Most of the time, they attend conferences, they wine and dine, they strike up connections, some of them are even very good in stock speculation ... they visit all the famous tourist scenes in China, they travel overseas, they go all over Europe and America and then they go to Africa. The world is a big place and they will always have somewhere to go. If they can't get a government position, they can still become a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary-general or standing committee member within their professional associations. At worst, they can become a PhD thesis advisor. This is how to attain social standing.
When a patient enters the hospital, the first thought is not on how to heal him. Rather, the idea is to maximize economic interest. So all manners of tests and examinations, all types of costly medicine and all kinds of imported medicine are prescribed. Obviously, there are plenty of justifications. A full examination will facilitate quick and correct diagnosis; expensive medicine will be more effective with fewer side effects, etc. Besides we are using the latest western health/medical care guidelines when we prescribe the medicine.
But who can say that these so-called latest guidelines are not being secretly manipulated by the various commercial pharmaceutical companies? Were the so-called experts bribed to say so? Yes, everything is supposed to be for the sake of the patient. But have we thought about how many people in China are living below the poverty line? They work at sweat factories to earn meagre wages to feed themselves and their families.
There was one astonishing detail that the media ferreted out. After the female professor died, her family hired a lawyer to seal the medical records for the court case. It was found out that there were plenty of signs of corrections having been made. In addition, many of the records did not have the signatures of the supervising doctors. It was hard to imagine that even the Peking University Hospital committed these types of elementary errors.
It is a common problem for various health/medical care organizations to make stuff up. This is also the hidden rule within the industry. In truth, most hospitals keep electronic medical records. Under many circumstances, the medical history is recorded on the computer and printed every three days, five days or week. Sometimes everything is printed out only when the patient exits the hospital. Mistakes can easily occur. Of course, this provides the opportunity to amend the medical history. This is probably why the medical record of the Peking University professor did not have the signatures of the supervising doctors in many instances.
In economic terms, the deterioration of the medical care system and the mutual distrust by both sides will result in higher costs. In sociological terms, the destruction of the fragile moral and value systems will damage every person in this society. If we still have any confidence left in the law, let us wait for the final verdict from the second trial, even if it is a verdict that neither side will be satisfied with.
Many reporters who went to Shanghang county (Fujian province) to cover the Zijin mine pollution case told China Youth Daily today that they came across the public relations activities by Zijin Mining.
The Fujian bureau chief of a financial magazine claimed that they received a sum of 60,000 yuan wired from Zijin Mining on July 7 or 8. He called the Zijin Mining publicity department to inquire and was told: "This is what we are giving to the folks at your bureau. We were not asked to do anything except to issue a receipt." This bureau chief said that since it was the weekend, they had to wait until Monday (July 12) to return the money. "We returned every single cent back to Zijin Mining.
And so it was on July 12 that Xinhua published the exclusive report on the pollution by Zijin Mining nine days ago.
According to this bureau chief, their reporter happened to be working in Longyan city not long after the spill incident and he rushed over to the scene of the incident. "But our magazine has a longer period between publication, so Xinhua broke the news first."
But an Internet search showed that this magazine has not made any reports about this major pollution incident yet.
At first, this station chief thought that other reporters might have also received 60,000 yuan. Therefore he sought verification from fellow reporters and inadvertently disclosed his case.
Reporters from at least six media outlets confirmed to our reporter that they received "public relations" envelopes that were delivered in person.
According to one national newspaper reporter, he was waiting for information about the press conference at the Shanghang Hotel just after 10pm on July 15. The leader of the Zijin Mining publicity department came to his room. After a brief chat, this person took out an "envelope" which he said was in appreciation of his hard work. "I said that I could not accept it, but he put the 'envelope' down anyway."
This newspaper reporter reported the matter to his supervisor. On the next day before leaving Shanghang, this reporter gave the unopened envelope to a middle-level cadre of the relevant Longyan city government department. The handover was witnessed by the reporter's driver. The cadre was asked to return the money to Zijin Mining.
Based upon the thickness of the envelope, this reporter estimated there was five to six thousand yuan inside.
Today the China Youth Daily reporter called the middleman. He said that the envelope has been returned to the Zijin Mining public department leader.
This was not an isolated case. A certain reporter with a stock market media also received an "envelope" during his afternoon rest.
As this reporter recalled, he was resting in his hotel room on the afternoon of July 16. Suddenly somebody knocked on the door. He got out of bed and opened the door. The visitor took out an "envelope," placed it on his bed and left. "At the time, I was not wearing a shirt and I could not chase after him." So he called the metropolitan newspaper reporter next door, and learned that the other person had also received an "envelope." The two of them teamed together to go to the Zijin Mining publicity department to return the "envelopes". These two reporters both said that the envelopes contained 2,000 yuan each.
Another financial newspaper reporter was writing his article in his room in the same hotel. "I had heard about the matter of 'envelopes' before. So when he took the 'envelope' out, I warned him that I was going to turn it over to the Communist Party Disciplinary Committee. So he did not give it to me."
Another financial media reporter said that he had turned down three different "public relations" efforts from Zijin Mining and other parties.
According to information, more than 20 media outlets had sent reporters to cover the Zijin Mining pollution incident in Shanghang. But not all reporters encountered "public relations" efforts. There is no evidence so far that any reporter kept the envelope.
The Zijin Mining public department leader called the China Youth Daily today. At first, he adamantly insisted that "he absolutely never gave any 'gag fees' to any reporter." He said that the outside talk is "an insult to my character." When our reporter that "many reporters had made recordings as proof," he wanted to have access to those recordings. "If someone really gave money to reporters, we will fire that individual.
In the afternoon of July 20, the Zijin Mining publicity department complained to six reporters (including the China Youth Daily reporter) that certain media were extorting for ad placements during this corporate crisis. He showed a SMS to the reporters. The Fujian-based reporter of an overseas magazine claimed that they will give Zijin Mining an "appearance" in the world's top corporate magazine.
According to a national newspaper reporter, the Zijin Mining publicity department leader told him that certain website operators have called him and offered to delete the relevant forum posts in exchange for money.
Yesterday afternoon, our reporter saw that there was a receipt for the purchase of 150,000 yuan of newspaper advertising lying on a desk in the Zijin Mining publicity department.
(China Youth Daily) July 27, 2010
Yesterday our newspaper published the report entitled <Zijin Mining insists that they did not give 'gag fees' to reporters>. This drew broad attention in society. Yesterday around noon, the Radio France International reporter interviewed Zijin Mining publicity department Zou Yongming by telephone. Zou said that their investigation that Zijin Mining did not transfer 60,000 yuan to the Fujing bureau of <Xincaijing> magazine.
Zou told the RFI reporter that the Zijin Mining publicity department did not hand out "cash envelopes" to the reporters at the scene. He declined to speculate whether the Shanghang county party publicity department or some other department did that.
Our news report also described a receipt for the purpose of 150,000 yuan of newspaper lying on a desk in the Zijin Mining publicity department. Zou explained that this was a receipt for previous ads run in <Minxi Daily> and had nothing to do with pollution incident.
Zou said that the company is weighing on making a statement on the matter of the so-called "gag fees." However, we have not seen any statement yet.
The RFI reporter also called the bureau chief named Deng for <Xincaijing> magazine. Yesterday Deng had told us about receiving a wire transfer of 60,000 yuan from Zijin Mining. But Deng told the RFI reporter that they had not received 60,000 yuan from Zijin Mining and they had not send any reporter out to cover the Zijin Mining incident. He admitted that he contacted Zijin Mining in April over events around the celebrating the 10th anniversary of Zijin Mining.
Today Zijin Mining publicity department director Zou Yongming denied any connections with <Xincaijing> magazine. He sent a SMS to our reporter to say that he does not know any <Xincaijing> reporter. "Nor did any reporter named Liao interviewed our company." But when Zou learned that our reporter found out about financial transactions between the <Xincaijing> Fujian bureau and Zijin Mining, he called our reporter to issue a denial. Then he sent a SMS: "<Xincaijing> will be calling immediately to ask for evidence." But <Xincaijing> has not called our reporter yet.
People are saying that the changing stories of the <Xincaijing> people are casting a mystery on this matter. Were 60,000 yuan wired? The relevant departments ought to investigate the financial records of the entities and provide an explanation.
Today another financial newspaper reporter contained our reporter. He said that while covering the Zijin Mining story in Shanghang, he was handed an envelope containing 2,000 yuan. He was unable to return it, so he handed it to his supervisor.
Did the Shanghang county party publicity department or some other department hand out those "envelopes"? Our reporter called the Shanghang county party publicity department leader. He said that the county publicity department obviously will not violate party discipline. It remains to be determined if Zijin Mining did that.
Yesterday morning at 8:45pm, Shanghai (Fuzhou city) police station police officers and an auxiliary administrator named Chen were enforcing traffic laws at Xiwan Middle Road. At the time, a man named Ip and his wife came by on an electric motorcycle. Chen went up to rectify the illegal action of carrying a passenger on an electric scooter. Ip refused to listen and went right past him. The police officer named Peng behind Chen also came up. Ip refused to listen as well and went right past Peng."
"After he went past the auxiliary administrator and the policeman, there was still another policeman ahead. Ip wanted to go past this one as well, but his vehicle slid and fell to the ground. When the policeman went up to try to get the vehicle back up, Ip took action." The eyewitness named Zhang said that Ip picked up his U-shaped lock and hit the policeman hard in the hip. "When another policeman tried to stop him, Ip began cursing."
The policeman took out a camera to record the evidence. Ip did not back down. He asked, "Are you done taking photos?" Then he raised both his middle fingers provocatively at the camera.
Because Ip refused to produce any identification documentation, the police had to take him down to the police station. At the station, Ip kept humming tunes. When he saw the reporter's camera, he raised his middle finger again. When he gave his statement, he denied that he ever raised his middle fingers at the police. The police showed him their photos. Then Ip became silent.
The electric scooter and the U-shaped lock.
Ip's wife also made a statement to the police. She said that the two were going to visit their son in the hospital. Her husband had a bad temper and that was how things happened.
Ip was given a 10 day administrative detention.
The netizen who made this post raised this question: Ten days of administrative detention? How shall I say? If you want to talk about the law with them, they resort to thuggery; if you want to resort to thuggery with them, they want to talk about the law. That is very much how things go. Everything is always because we fart people have poor civic qualities so that we dare to fight back when the "Police Uncles" want to give us a hand?! Brother Middle Fingers, what made you act so rashly?
Yesterday, the Ersha Island demolitions continued apace. An excavator with a 8-meter arm and a drill/hammer machine were working at Number 12 and 13, Hongda Lane. But because the illegal villa at Number 26 Hongda Lane was too large, an excavator with a 15-meter arm was brought in.
Our reporter saw yesterday that the wall around the villa had been basically taken down. The second and third floor walls were demolished, leaving a big hole in the middle of the building. A large amount of steel cables can be seen. According to the urban administration, Number 26 Hongda Lane will be leveled within three days. "We will work even harder. The workers will work through the weekend 24-hours-a-day until the demolition is completed."
Ever since the demolitions began, citizens have showed up at Hongda Gardens and asked to enter to take photos.
Yesterday, four senior retirees successfully entered the demolition area. "We took the bus to come here to see how these illegal villages are being demolished!" According to Mr. Li, she had read about these villas on Ersha Island in the news and she joined some neighbors to "see with their own eyes." "I want to know how luxurious these villas are. I want to see what they look like after being demolished." But citizen Mr. Lu was stopped by security guards outside the community gate. He told our reporter in disappointment that he was excited by the idea of luxurious villas being demolished.
Construction sub-contractors also showed up. Their purpose is very direct -- they want to see if they can get any business. "I want to see if they need workers or equipment." Sub-contractor Mr. Luo said. In addition, he wanted to see if anything valuable can be salvaged from the rubble.
The demolition of these villas also attracted the performance artist Ou Zhihang. (see Bearing Testimony To Chinese Contemporary History Through Nude Push-ups for more details)
At around noon, the workers left the scene to have lunch. Ou Zhihang set up his camera equipment, took off his clothes in 8 seconds and went in front of Number 26 Hongda Lane to do a nude push-up. The camera recorded all the action. Afterwards, Ou Zhihang quickly put on his clothes and showed the reporter his photos.
"I don't get it" and "Frankly his work may be very creative but also very cynical." Pedestrians remarked about the performance art of Ou Zhihang. Some citizens that they have heard to the "Ou-style push-ups." But they found his appearance in front of the demolished villa to be more of a "spoof."
Ou Zhihang said that he was quite moved to be at the scene of the demolition of 26 Hongda Lane. He wanted to make an "Ou-style push-up" in front of this "most awesome villa ever." As he said so, he was packing his equipment and read to proceed to the other sites of villa demolition.
On the day before yesterday, Mr. Zhang was driving a long-distance bus from Guangzhou towards the Macau-Zhuhai border. He glanced at the surveillance camera and spotted that a luggage case was violently rolling about. "At first, I was perplexed. So I slowed down the bus to take a better look. After a while, the case slowly opened and a young boy got out. He had a screwdriver which he used to pry open the other luggage cases in order to remove stuff." Zhang realized that this was a thief
In order not to alert the thief's accomplices on the bus, Zhang did not do anything rash. He calmly drove the bus to the police inspection station in Zhuhai and then he got off to report to the police.
Three border patrol officers opened the luggage container door. They saw some clothing and other stuff strewn around. But they did not see any boy. At the direction of Zhang, the officrs located the luggage case in which the boy was hiding. By this time, the luggage case was innocently sitting upright in the corner again.
The officers took the briefcase off the bus. They opened it slowly and found a young boy curled up inside. Underneath the boy were the stolen goods (one laptop computer, one camera and 1,700 yuan cash).
According to information, the boy named Li was just 8 years old. His elder brother told him to hide in the luggage case and come out during the trip to steal stuff. His elder brother was not on the bus at the time.
(Sky News) Mosquito Chokes TV News Presenter On Air. July 22, 2010.
A Taiwanese television presenter suffered an asthma attack live on air after choking on a mosquito that flew into her mouth. That set off an asthma reaction that forced TV bosses to air adverts for four minutes while Ms Ching was given treatment and rushed to hospital, China Times media group reported. A colleague stepped in to read the news. "I never expected a mosquito to have such a great power. It really gave me a bad day, " Ms Huang said. The senior anchor spent a day in hospital.
On her own blog, Huang Ching remarked in self-deprecation that "The most ridiculous ever! From making a newscast to the hospital emergency ward!" Seh explained that the mosquito flew into her trachea and triggered off an asthma attack. She was hyperventilating and her limbs went numb. That was why she was sent to the emergency ward.
Huang Ching has been a newscaster for more than a decade. But she really achieved true fame this time.
With respect to her newfound celebrity, Huang Ching said in embarrassment: "This was totally unexpected to me. I had been working for one week straight before, so I now have four days of rest. The company will let me explain what happened in person from the Taichung studio."
She denied that the studio had lots of mosquitoes. She typically works in an air-conditioned studio which would be unattractive to mosquitoes.
(China Real Time Report - WSJ) Blockbuster From China. BY Alexandra A. Seno. July 22, 2010.
An ambitious, emotionally charged, occasionally melodramatic tale, "Aftershock" spans two of China's most famous earthquakes: the Tangshan quake that killed 250,000 people in 1976 and the Sichuan quake that killed 87,000 in 2008.
Mr. Feng's real-life wife, Xu Fan, plays Li Yuanni, who in the aftermath of the Tangshan earthquake is faced with a parent's nightmare decision: Rescuers tell her they can save only one of her 7-year-old twins, both buried in the rubble. Hysterical with grief, she chooses her son, Fang Da, who is rescued, though he loses an arm. The daughter, Fang Deng (Zhang Zifeng), is recovered later, and pronounced dead; the frantic and despondent mother puts her beside the corpse of her husband, then carries their son to find medical help. But the little girl is actually still alive, and when she's found later by a childless couple—army doctors—they assume she's an earthquake orphan, adopt her and take her away. Decades pass, another earthquake strikes, and brother (now a successful businessman, played by Li Chen) and sister (a doctor, played by Zhang Jingchu) both head for Sichuan as volunteers. And then…
(North East News)
The earlier description of "Aftershock" would lead one to believe that this is either a disaster movie (in the manner of "2012") or a tragic movie. Director Feng Xiaogang denied that he made a disaster movie. In fact, the Tangshan earthquake itself only took up several minutes at the start of the movie and the Wenchuan earthquake was not even shown when it happened. This movie is just a tragic personal story.
"Did you cry?" was the question that should be asked of each audience member who saw "Aftershock." At the Tangshan premiere, tens of thousands of people were crying. In the national release, cinemas were distributing paper tissue packets. Crying has become an important part of the show outside the movie.
Someone enumerated about twenty spots in the movies that were highly likely to induce crying: The bodies strewn everywhere in the rubble after the earthquakes; the mother's hard choice as to which child to save; the mother sending off her son to live with her in-laws; the adoptive father speaking to the daughter; the Wenchuan mother telling rescuers to amputate her daughter's leg in order to save her; etc. The final scene in which the mother knelt down in front of her daughter to beg forgiveness was also publicly acknowledged as the "must-cry" point.
(Southern Metropolis Daily)
At the pre-release screenings of <Aftershock>, many audience members cried. Therefore, the media reports about this film began to focus on the number of times that people cried during the movie. Feng Xiaogang told the media: "Please do not put the emphasis on crying. This is misinforming the audience that they will cry when they attend this movie." At first, people didn't get the point. Isn't it great to say that a movie moves people to tears? So why won't Director Feng let people think that? But the answer is simple: "Many people won't watch a movie if they hear that it is a tear-jerker." In China today, more people go to movies to laugh than to cry. If this movie is positioned as a tear-jerker, how can it attain the predicted target of 500 million yuan in box office receipts?
When people succeed, it is often for good reasons. Over the years, Feng Xiaogang movies have been very successful. Why? Because he is better than anyone else at (1) understanding consumer psychology and (2) tapping the pulse of the market.
At this moment, Feng Xiaogang has misgivings about the positioning of "Aftershock" in the media. When people cited movie critics who say that the story is flawed, Feng Xiaofang said: "When the forest is big, all kinds of birds can be found. That is why people slash children with knives in kindergartens." But then he backed off and said that what he really meant is that not everybody is compelled to cry over this movie, because there will always be someone who won't. When he got to Shanghai, a reporter spoke about the controversies surrounding the movie and he counter-questioned: "Young lady, was any one of my movies not controversial?"
(Beijing Morning News)
At the Beijing premiere of <Aftershock>, director Feng Xiaogang thanked the media. Yesterday in Chengdu city, his attitude took a 180 degree turn. At first, he was quite calm with the press. Then a female reporter asked about why the wife Li Yuanni in the movie insisted on staying unmarried afterwards. She said that this was retrogressive thinking. She wanted to know why Feng wanted to promote such backward ideas.
Feng Xiaogang replied somewhat sarcastically: "A diversified, multi-cultural society ought to tolerate different values, attitudes and opinions. Faithfulness is one expression of love. It is one form of sacrifice. [ESWN addition: If a person wishes to remain faithful, if she wants to make this sacrifice, it should be her prerogative. We should not demean her decision and prescribe what she must do instead.] I have visited many different places so far without anyone asking this question. Instead, it is in the land of universal love, Sichuan, that someone posed this question. This is quite regrettable."
After this question, Feng Xiaogang became resentful towards the ensuing questions from the media. Someone asked whether the movie would emotionally hurt the earthquake victims a second time. Feng Xiaogang said that he was at the Deyang city screening and those earthquake victims said: "Touching!".
The final question had to do with the busy schedule and possible retirement plans. Feng Xiaogang took the occasion to pour it on: "I am getting fatigued from making one movie after another. It is joyous to make movies. But I really find interaction with the media quite irksome. We hurried over from the earthquake zone to meet with you folks. You people just give me the cold treatment ... you use the Internet postings to attack me. It hurts people's feelings when you do that." At this point, Feng Xiaogang went back to that previous female reporter who asked about Li Yuanni: "For example, this young lady who just posed a question. She very much lacks human feelings."
In a recent Class A national club soccer game, Hengda (Guangzhou) defeated Youyou (Nanjing) by a score of 10:0 in Foshan city. This was the widest margin in the history of professional soccer in China.
In this match, Youyou filed a roster of 12 players only. There was only a goalie on the reserve bench. The number on the back of the reserve goalie's jersey had just been sewed on. Because there were not enough reserve players, substitution could not be made. A Youyou player suffered from leg cramps near the end of the match, but he had to stay on until the game was over.
The overwhelming margin raised suspicions that the match had been fixed. An investigation was ordered immediately. The preliminary conclusion was that there was no suspicion of "passive competition." Instead, it was pointed out that there was dissension within the club, causing the players to be unable to focus on the match itself.
The top 10 players of Youyou did not travel to Foshan to play. Afterwards, they revealed their "internal problems." According to Cui Guanghao who joined the team when it was founded in 2003, they did not throw the match away to Hengda. Since 3 years ago, the team has failed repeatedly to pay the players. The entire team (including the trainers and directors) are owed more than 8 million yuan in back wages. Cui had not been paid for the past 18 months, and is therefore owed 360,000 yuan. Some players are so poor that they cannot even pay their telephone bills and have to borrow money from the local sports writers.
"I am desperate. I have no options left. This is the only thing that I can do. My father is suffering from a serious kidney ailment. My family needs to find money to pay for a kidney transplant." Another player Liu Yunan said that he has been borrowing money from his family to pay for living expenses the past two years.
According to information, Cui Guanghao, Liu Yunan and others went to the Nanjing City Sports Department in May to petition. With the government intervening, the club senior management wrote out IOU's to the team members and promised to pay their back wages by June 30. That date has come and gone, but nothing happened. That was why those 10 players went on strike.
On the evening before yesterday, someone posted a 10,000-word essay on the Internet. This person claimed to be a current Youyou team player. He said that since the club stopped paying wages in 2007, the team director was forced to fix matches (as long as the team didn't get relegated) in order to earn some living expenses for everyone. The essay said: "We don't know what we were doing! We only know that if we throw this match, we can earn some living expenses!" "We don't dare to date women, we don't dare to get married, we would not be able to pay for our wives' clothes or our children's baby formulae! We are so unmanly!"
The former information officer at the French embassy in China, Mr. Henuo (transliteration of name into Chinese) recently grouped me alongside Han Han, Xu Jinglei, Wang Xiaofeng and Hong Huang as the five most famous Chinese bloggers in a French magazine. This is somewhat embarrassing for me.
Strictly speaking, Wang Xiaofeng and I are media workers who share the same concerns. While we have different writing styles, it makes some sense to put us side by side. But I am basically not on the same "path" as literati such as Han Han and especially Hong Huang and Xu Jinglei.
With respect to my skepticism, this French ex-diplomat who speaks Chinese, loves Chinese culture and married a Chinese wife explained to me in a serious manner that he and his assistant spent a lot of time on traffic volume and influence analysis before they came up with this list.
But let us put this aside for now. That essay led to something else which was interesting enough to retell.
A renowned French documentary producer Jean-Michel Carre read that essay and became very interested in making a documentary about Chinese bloggers. He traveled from France to Beijing and interviewed me last Thursday. The interview took three hours (note: an interpreter was required). I explained my views on blogs, democracy and China's future.
I personally thought that there was cause to remember this event, and therefore I have come up with a text of that interview based upon my memory.
Q: You are a traditional media worker. So why did you start a blog? What is the blogging's biggest attraction for you?
A: I started my first blog in October 2005. I was working for Xinhua's Huanqiu magazine. The chief editor Ma Xiaolin had resigned from his Xinhua post which he had held for 17 years to become the chief executive of the Daqi website where he created the first real-name elite blog. He asked me to write a blog too. I asked him, "To write about what?" The answer was: "You can write whatever you want to write." So this was how I became a blogger. In a blink, I have five years of blogging experience now on a number of blogs.
What I want to say is that the main reason why I love to blog is that I can say anything I want about my personal views. Blogs are not tightly controlled like traditional media are. There does not seem to be any censorship system. There is no need to adhere to the so-called main themes and propaganda lines. When I blog, I feel free and relaxed. When I write for traditional media, I have to watch out for a lot of things.
Of course, blogs also have control and censorship systems. But basically these only show up afterwards. Unlike traditional media, it is impossible to communicate with every single blogger on an issue beforehand. Each blogger holds the initiative when they write and post. The blogger does not control how long the blog post will survive. But even if the blog post survives for only a few minutes, it is very likely to have been read and re-posted somewhere by someone. Therefore, it is impossible to control blogs completely.
Q: Many of your blog posts concern international relations. Some of them had a lot of impact. Our understanding is that Chinese individuals had not been allowed to comment on international relations. Only the Xinhua reports can be used.
A: Your impression is generally correct. In the past, other media can only use the Xinhua reports to report on international relations (especially those that are related to China). But there are some exceptions. For example, a bi-monthly magazine titled <Strategy and Management> has many good essays on international relations. But its circulation is only several thousand copies and its influence is limited to certain elite intellectuals only.
It was after the Internet came along that citizens were really able to discuss international relations. The Internet provided the stage and space. The blogs brought this characteristic even further forward. Unlike the blogs, the Internet forums have a mixed bag of different people. When bloggers (especially the well-known ones) discuss international relations, they do so from the own points of view disregarding the main themes and lines. Sometimes they go in the opposite direction as the main theme and get a lot of attention and impact.
After North Korea test-launched a satellite, I wrote many blog posts to discuss the consequences. The reaction was tremendous, especially the blog post <China ought to abandon North Korea> which had more than 1 million page views and more than 8,000 comments. Phoenix TV's <Current Affairs Debate Forum> even used it as a debate subject for people to argue about whether China should make a major adjustment in its North Korean policy.
That would have been unthinkable before. The North Korean issue is sensitive. The traditional media wouldn't dare discuss "China's new thinking about North Korea." When I wrote that blog post, I was somewhat worried about getting into trouble. But there was no trouble afterwards. Nobody spoke to me and my blog was not harmonized. This showed that there is even some differences in opinion among the senior leaders about the North Korean relations, with some of them agreeing with my viewpoints.
Q: Your blog's slogan is "May China have democracy and rule of law, more than merely thriving and prosperous." What is your idea of democracy?
A: That was the slogan when I started the blog five years ago. It has not changed since. It stated my hopes for China. My idea of democracy is basically the so-called "western democracy": elections, multi-party system and separation of powers. Actually, I don't think that democracy is divided into western and eastern democracy. The regional differentiation makes no sense. Anyone who wants to make the regional differentiation is either stupid or multifarious.
I once debated the so-called "Chinese-style democracy" with someone. I asked him what are the elements of Chinese-style democracy besides elections, multi-party system and separation of powers? He honestly replied: "I haven't thought it through." Democracy is the common fruit of human civilization, it is a universal value, it does not differ by region. Just like the market economy, everybody in the world can borrow it for their own use. You may need to add a qualifier such as "socialist market economy" but it is the same thing in practice.
Of course, I don't agree with the so-called "direct copying of western democracy." This is a false issue. The more proper way is to say that we should not copy the "western democratic system" directly. Democracy is a concept for governance. The same concept can be carried out in different ways. That is quite normal. Under democratic systems, the systems of governance could not be the same everywhere. But as long as the three powers are separate and balanced, it will be alright. In England, the United States and Germany, the prosecutorial system is an independent government department; in France, the prosecutorial system is part of the court system.
I firmly believe and agree that Chinese democracy must have its own unique characteristics. The organizational arrangements must be suitable for the national traditions, customs and cultures. But no matter what, the democratic elements must be allowed to realize themselves. This is different from some people who castrate democracy under the guise of having "unique characteristics."
Q: There is an assertion now that the Internet, including the blogs, is a place for people to let steam off. To a certain extent, this is helping the Communist Party.
A: This is a very peculiar perspective. The logic is peculiar. I think that in any country, even western ones, the more channels for people to let steam off, the more stable the governing body becomes. The assumption is that the government pays attention to public opinion and actively rectifies its mistakes based upon the feedback from the public.
Therefore, it is very normal for blogs to be an outlet for citizens to vent their feelings. As to whether this is helping the Communists, it depends on whether the Communists perceive the social crises based upon the expressed discontent and hence take remedial steps. If so, it will obviously help their rule.
Q: Do you think that the Internet (including the blogs) will help to promote democracy in China?
A: My answer is, Definitely. I have said many times before that I thank God for bringing the Internet to China. The Internet allows information to flow more freely. It has increased the cost of controlling information flow, even making it impossible. There may be mixed messages on the Internet, including large amounts of false information. But at the very least, it has broken the monopoly of communication channels. People can listen to different voices. There is no longer an absolute authority. Every person can make his own judgment based upon the various information in his hands. What I called the age of solo singing has arrived. Individuals, not groups; diverse, not monolithic. This is the pre-condition as well as essential characteristic of a democratic society.
Q: What do you think about the Internet controls of the Chinese government?
A: There is no doubt that all nations and governments monitor the Internet, but there are basic differences. Overall, I think that the Chinese government is somewhat stupid in how it controls the Internet. First of all, it spends a vast amount of taxpayers' money to damage the taxpayers' right to now. This is illegal. Also, this counter-trend action may deliver short-term results, but it is a joke in the long run. Think about what will happen in another ten years. All Chinese middle schools will have computers. Every junior high school student is going to know computer technology. They will know how to jump over the Great Firewall. What can stop them from seeing what they want to see?
Q: Let us talk about international relations. Internationally, people like to talk about G2. Some people say that China has almost caught up to the United States. What do you think?
A: This is a somewhat old topic. Frankly, I am Chinese and I obviously want to see my own country grow strong and carry influence internationally. But I know better and I am clear-headed enough. The reforms have been working in China for thirty years, and the economy has continued to grow rapidly. The overall national strength has increased and the international standing has risen. But China is far from being a strong nation yet.
Firstly, all world strong nations must own both hard and soft powers. The Roman empire of yore and the United States today are like that. They must be super-strong economically and militarily, and they must also be inspirational and attractive culturally speaking. All other nations will admire them. Recently a 100-year-old man named Zhou Youguang said that the development of China follows normal rules with no miracles or a "Chinese model." He was telling the truth. Our development over the years is based upon bringing in the market economy and leveraging our cheap labor to become the factory for the whole world. We are facing the big problem of making a transition. This model won't attract westerners. We even want to give it up ourselves, but we find it hard to do so immediately. So how can we proudly announce the "China model"?
Secondly, all world strong nations must lead and follow global trends. The United States advocates freedom and democracy all over the world. They defeated totalitarianism and conservatism in the former Soviet Russia and became the sole superpower. (Of course, in recent years, American unilateralism has damaged its international image and caused an unprecedented international confidence crisis. Obama has taken steps to change the situation and we await the results.) Who could say that China's practice of democracy has impressed the world? With respect to these universal values, we have always be shy and evasive; when we speak, we need to provide qualifications and explanations. We have been talking about "socialist democracy with unique Chinese characteristics" for many years, but we never dare to bring democratic elections into the cities from the rural villages (which have poor civic qualities). We have been talking about the so-called "democracy inside the party," but we don't even dare to run a competitive election for the party secretary-general. We signed the <International treaty of civil and political rights> in 1998, but the National People's Congress has yet to approve it. The Chinese government has been frequently criticized inside and outside China about its failure to protect civil rights. Overall, it is embarrassing to say that China has not exported any admirable and inspiring values to the rest of the world (beyond the now forsaken "revolutions")!
Therefore, China is not yet a world strong nation based upon the two reasons mentioned above. Its influence does not measure up to that of the United States. It is a regional power at most. Its influence in Asia has increased a great deal, surpassing Japan. But it has a long way to go before it can be a global superpower like the United States.
Q: One final question. Please assume that millions of people will be watching this program. Can you tell us your views about the future of China?
A: Ha ha, this is not a realistic assumption so I am not worried. Back to the subject. I think I want to emphasize that I and myself and many of my friends do not agree with, or even resent, what the Communist Party is doing in reality. But we don't want them to collapse overnight. That would be a catastrophe for China and its people as well as the rest of the world.
The Communist Party has ruled for sixty years. No other political organization is capable of taking its place. If it collapses overnight like the former Soviet Union Communist Party, China will be split up and drowned in chaos. Many of the children of the rich and powerful in China have emigrated overseas. So it will still be the common folks who will suffer just like before. The collapse of China will be a catastrophe for the world economy which depends on China.
We hope that the Chinese Communists can introduce reforms under internal and external pressures, at a rate that can keep with the discontent in society. The construction of a "harmonious society" as advocated by the Communists is not a bad idea but it must be put into action. I believe that harmony requires reconciliation first. First of all, the Communist must reconcile with the people whom they have hurt; they must apologize to the people for their past mistakes (if they did right, then it is what they should be doing anyway and requires no special praises). For example, they must acknowledge the anti-Rightist campaign, the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square incident. Only when they do so can they clear up the discontent and gain the maximum sympathy. By turning over the ancient pages of history, they can proceed to write new pages.
Apart from the reconciliation between the party/government and the people, the various social strata must reconcile. They must not hate each other, they must not hate rich people, they must be wary about populism. They must tolerate dissent and fight together to protect their legal rights as citizens.
The key to the future of China lies in the hands of the Communist Party. It will also depend on the individual awakening of the people. I want the Communist Party to be a responsible political party and I want the people to awaken sooner to give pressure as well as help to the Communist Party.
(South China Morning Post) Catering industry warns of lean times. By Martin Wong. July 17, 2010.
The catering industry will be under tremendous pressure after the introduction of a minimum wage, with four in every 10 eateries in the city already barely able to make ends meet, industry leaders have warned.
As the city's lowest paid vow to push the government for a higher rate, the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades said the prospects for employers in the sector were also bleak. Federation chairman Simon Wong Ka-wo warned against a HK$33 hourly rate as demanded by labour unions. "Labour costs constitute 28 per cent of total costs in the catering industry. And according to our understanding, 40 per cent of the many restaurants in the city only earn enough to cover their expenses," Wong said. "For some small restaurants, the profit margin is only 2 or 3 per cent. With rising food prices and the appreciation of the yuan, there is no way we can afford to pay much more to our workers."
The city's fast-food giants also said the minimum wage would impact their business.
Cafe de Coralchairman Michael Chan Yue-kwong, who is a member of the Provisional Minimum Wage Commission, said two weeks ago the introduction of a minimum wage would affect profits as labour constituted more than 80 per cent of the company's total costs and it might be forced to increase meal prices.
A survey conducted by catering industry lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan in May covering 49 companies owning 1,867 restaurants with 75,000 workers found that half of the city's restaurants were operating at a loss. "We can only afford HK$24 to HK$26," Wong said. "Any higher than HK$27 will suffocate the industry."
Although the government has yet to set the minimum wage level, business are already all set with their counter-measures. Here are eight ways:
(1) Lay off some workers (usually those who receive the lowest wages right now), so that fewer people do the same work.
(2) Increase the product prices, so that the costs are passed on to consumers. However, companies are reluctant to do so because they may lose business.
(3) Reduce work hours. In many restaurants, if a part-time worker works 6 hours or more a day, he is credited with 30 more minutes of paid meal time. In the future, the part-time worker will only be allowed to work 5 hours a day, and therefore deprived of the 30 minute credit as well as the company meal.
(4) Eliminate company meals. Many companies pay wages during meal times. In the future, they will discontinue the practice. If you want to go to lunch, it will not be on company time.
(5) Outsource work. Some restaurants will dismiss their cleaners/dishwashers and outsource the work. In all likelihood, the same workers will be the suppliers again. But the restaurants will evade the minimum wage requirement.
(6) Impose compulsory breaks. In many restaurants, business is concentrated around lunch and dinner time. It made no sense to keep a full staff between lunch and dinner, so workers are forced to take unpaid breaks. In the future, many retailers will adopt this practice as well. The net result is that workers get fewer paid hours.
(7) Implement other measures to save money. For example, the property management industry has indicated that they will try to reduce expenses by using less energy. As another example, restaurants may cease serving the special afternoon tea sets and close down completely to save on wages and utility.
(8) Fire elderly workers before the minimum wage law takes effect and rehire them immediately. This is significant because of pension payments which is based upon wages at retirement.
Of course, there are companies that will go out of business rather than continue.
Confederation of Trade Unions secretary-general and Legislative Councilor Lee Cheuk-yun that any company that threatens workers with lay-offs will be the public enemy of all workers in Hong Kong and the trade unions will go after these evil employers.
Legislative Councilor Raymond Wong Yuk-man (League of Social Democrats) supported a minimum wage of HKD 33 per hour, but people point out this beef noodle restaurant hired many workers at less than HKD 33 per hour. As such, he is suspected of being a hypocrite. Wong admitted that the least paid worker in his restaurant is receiving HKD 25 per hour. But he emphasized that he will follow the law once it is implemented.
Wong used to have beef noodle restaurants in Mongkok and Kowloon City. The Mongkok branch was closed in May after the landlord hiked the rent steeply. Wong said that rent hikes were most damaging whereas the minimum wage would be less so. He said that he and his wife hold different opinions over the minimum wage. "My wife keeps saying that the business is finished if the minimum wage is HKD 33. I don't look at it that way. Besides there is no way that the government will approve HKD 33. If the minimum wage is HKD 27 or 28, my wife should be okay with it."
He said that although his beef noodle restaurant is not making much money, he will use other means to cut expenses to meet the obligations under the new minimum wage law.
Recently, a series of photos under the title "The awesome illegal building in Hubei province" was very poplar at the Jingchu Net and other forums. In these photos, a seven-storey red-colored apartment building stands over a roaring river. The recent heavy rains in Hubei had caused the river to swell. The photos showed the building standing precariously as its very few stilts got pounded by the raging waters. The netizen who made the post wrote: "Tielu town, Haofeng county, Hubei province. We have the most awesome, most sturdy private housing. This building is reportedly going to be converted into a hotel. All those friends who enjoy listening to their hearts pound are welcome to check in during rainstorms. Come, the people of Tielu welcome you!"
But one netizen did not think that it was any big deal. "The buildings next to this one are also built on stilts. So what is so awesome about this?"
According to the publicity department director of the Haofeng county party committee, the government had ordered construction halted while the building was still being erected. "All the administrative steps had already been taken. The only step left is to demolish by force." However, the building owner happens to be migrants displaced by the local hydroelectricity project, its demolition "may affect local social stability." That was the reason why demolition has not occurred yet. According to the public department director, the family of the owners live in this building and they even plan to convert the building into a restaurant/hotel.
The Haofeng county government leaders held a special meeting about the situation. According to information, a special committee led by county party deputy secretary was formed. The committee will proceed to the location the next day and order this illegal building to be demolished "within a time limit."
Chinese provincial television stations which have shown this video in their news programmes
(The Standard) There'll be hell to pay By Vivian Chui. July 16, 2010.
Hong Kong's travel industry is reeling after a wild rant by a shopping-mad tour guide went viral on the internet and hit television screens across the mainland. More than a dozen television stations picked up a video posted online and have played it constantly during the past two days. Among them are Guangdong Television, Guizhou Television and Liaoning Television, which serve mass-market areas that Hong Kong looks to as sources of visitors.
The seven-minute clip of the female guide, nicknamed Ah Zhen, berating a group of mainland visitors as cheapskates and threatening to lock them out of their hotel rooms because they did not spend much at a jewelry store, provides a shocking view of what Hong Kong can offer visitors. It follows a series of complaints about visitors being strong-armed by tour guides to go shopping.
Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said last night that investigators have an idea of the guide's identity and there will be a meeting today to look further into the incident.
The video clip went on a mainland website at the end of March but was largely unnoticed until it went on YouTube this week. Ah Zhen is heard scolding the tourists in fluent mandarin after they board their bus. "Don't tell me you don't need to shop," she says. "So later are you going to say you don't need to eat? I will lock you out of your hotel rooms as you don't have enough to stay there. It's okay for you to stay poor at home, but when you travel outside don't be like this. In this world there is no such thing as a free lunch?"
She goes on to talk about how the visitors found money for their airfares and then chides them: "We don't do this for charity. Let me be responsible for charity. I donated 10,500 yuan [HK$12,027] for Sichuan earthquke victims." She then points to shops offering top- quality goods, before adding: "Why did you bother to come to Hong Kong?" She laments that the group does not look good against another group of tourists, who spent HK$137,000. "For a group of 24 people you only just spent HK$13,000. How can you just walk out of the shop like that?"
The man who shot the video said on a mainland online forum that he joined the Hong Kong tour on March 25 and the incident left him feeling bad.
(South China Morning Post) Welcome to HK ... now spend up, or else By Anita Lam. July 16, 2010.
The big attraction on mainland television is a slice of Hong Kong reality: a tour guide hurling insults at her charges for not spending enough. The guide is shown in a video clip berating members of a mainland tour group for scrimping in a jewellery store, telling them "It's OK to be poor at home" but not in Hong Kong.
Shown on more than a dozen television channels, the clip sparked an outcry on the internet, with people saying they would no longer dare visit Hong Kong. "It's you who owe me here, not me owing you," the guide says. "I provided you with food and accommodation but you people will not give. If you don't repay the debt in this life you will have to repay it in your next life." She adds: "It's OK to be poor at home, but you can't act like this when you are outside. Don't tell me you don't need [the jewellery], I say you don't need to eat either. Tonight I will lock all hotel room doors, because you don't need accommodation."
Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said he had asked for the names of the travel agency and tour agent from Guangdong satellite TV and the province's tourism authority so the council could take action.
(Ming Pao) July 16, 2010.
Our reporter consulted an tourism industry insider. Based upon the voice and the vague appearance, this insider believed that Ah Zhen is Li Qiaozhen who works for the Golden Win Travel Company. Our reporter called up Li Qiaozhen. She did not admit that she was the person in the video. But she was extremely vocal about mainland tourists condemning tour guides for forcing them to make purchases. "We don't force them to buy. When they sign up for the tour group, they should act responsibly ... you can see how much the tour group fees are ... you sign up for such a group, then you must go whatever is required. It is that simple. We did not force them to buy anything. We can't force them." She also said: "When they come, they know what they are doing. How much do they pay in fees? How many days are they staying?"
She said: "Everybody has to earn a living ..." "I did this for the sake of surviving, just like you calling me in order for you to survive ... I have to eat. It is very normal for me to tell them about making purchases." She was not happy about the media "hyping trivia" so that fewer mainland tour groups are coming. She also threatened the reporter not to write about her. "I will come and hold you accountable. I don't think there is anything wrong with what I did."
Afterwards, the reporter contacted the Golden Win Travel Company where Li Qiaozhen works. At first vice-president Tsui Kam-ming said that he had not seen the video and needed to speak to that tour guide first. When the reporter called him back later, he said that "the tour guide could not identified" in the video. He said that this tour guide had not complaints lodged against her since 2001.
Cable TV News
Since the League of Social Democrats obviously didn't like what Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was saying, the chief executive thought he might as well give them an earful in Old French. "Honi soit qui mal y pense," he said, meaning "Evil to him who evil thinks." That was a reaction to a statement by the league's Albert Chan Wai-yip, who said people labeled Tsang as useless in talks about political reform. Tsang noted the French motto was on the emblem of the British royal coat of arms that used to hang in the Legislative Council chamber. It was replaced with the SAR emblem in 1997. He said the blast from the past should remind everyone in the chamber to be responsible for how they talk.
When Raymond Wong Yuk-man pressed about the government's role in political talks, Tsang said: "It is hard to respond to such an impolite speech." But Chan and Wong kept bombarding Tsang with questions, prompting legislator Paul Tse Wai-chun to get into the slogan act by parading in front of the pair with a placard that read: "If there is no civilization, how will there be democracy?"
(South China Morning Post)
All three lawmakers from the League of Social Democrats were once again expelled from the Legco chamber, and the chief executive and Legco president used the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter to condemn their questioning. The league's Albert Chan Wai-yip had queried Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's participation in the constitutional reform negotiations between the Democratic Party and the central government. When Chan questioned whether the chief executive was "sold out in the closed-door transaction between Beijing and the Democratic Party", Tsang responded by saying in Old French "honi soit qui mal y pense", or "evil to him who evil thinks". "I was touched after hearing Chan's question," Tsang said. "The motto was in a logo placed above the Legco president's seat in the chamber. But in 1997 it was removed." Chan continued to yell at Tsang, and Legco president Tsang Yok-sing then called for Chan and ally Wong Yuk-man, who had joined in the attack on the chief executive, to leave the chamber. After Tsang Yok-sing gave the order, he also told the two lawmakers: "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
During the question-and-answer session, Donald Tsang had declined to answer a question from Wong on the chief executive's role in electoral reform, and Wong then shouted for a reply. "It is hard to answer such an impolite question," Tsang said.
"Even I, Paul, cannot predict housing prices!"
Paul the Octopus has been very busy. Hundreds of media outlets want to interview him. It has gotten to the point where Paul has hired a public relations agency to represent him. But no matter what the reporters say, the public relations agency will only say: "Paul is very tired and needs to rest" and "No comment."
Paul finally communicated with our reporter for 20 minutes through waving his arms about. Actually, he was pretty serene. He could not understand what our reporter was saying, so he waved his arms. Meanwhile our reporter could not understand his gestures. Therefore the following responses represent our reporter's guesses.
Q: I am really happy to see you still alive. Someone said that you committed suicide when they showed you a Chinese flag and asked you to predict the next FIFA World Cup.
A: Rumors stop among intelligent folks. China is a great nation. Everybody can see its achievements and progress. China is a vast county with many natural resources. The Chinese people like to eat fried octopus. I love this country!
Q: While we are talking about the FIFA World Cup, can you predict the prospects of the Chinese soccer?
A: Next question, please.
Q: Alright, many Chinese have asked me to pose this question to you: Will the Chinese stock market reach 3,000 again within six months?
A: Next question.
Q: About Chinese housing prices ...
A: Okay, since you insist. Perhaps everybody will be pleased if I say that housing prices will rise! But based upon my understanding, housing prices follow market rules. When demand exceeds supply, prices will rise; when supply exceeds demand, prices will drop. So why do you want me to predict housing prices?
Q: As a god, Paul, do you feel a lot of pressure?
A: I did not ask to become a god. I was elected a god by soccer fans all over the world. I can't disappoint the soccer fans all over the world, right? As for pressure, there is none. I have reached an old age already. It does not matter to me anymore. I have never deceived anyone. I am not concerned that someone will expose me for fraud.
Q: What is your favorite color? Many of your fans want to know.
A: Many people say that I picked Spain because I love the color red. They say that shrimps are red-colored too. Isn't this implying that I only care about feeding myself? Do you think that all edible shrimps in the world are red-colored? Have you ever seen boiled red-shelled shrimps swimming in the ocean? All the shrimps that I eat are green-shelled. But I should say that my favorite color is deep-ocean blue. It is the color of freedom.
Q: You seem to enjoy philosophical musings.
A: Yes. Some bloke in your county once said: "You are not a fish, so how can you know the happiness enjoyed by fish?" I don't export terrorism and I don't export ideology. So why do foreigners want to cook me?
Q: Can you predict for us whether the human race will be extinct in 2012?
A: Some time ago some president asked me this question. I asked him: "If the world is destroyed, can you bring me onto the Noah's Ark." He said, "Definitely" because he wanted me to help him predict whether he can win the next presidential election. I said, "Your people are going to be all dead. Why do you still want to be president?" He had no response. I am really worried about you people. So simple! So naïve!
Q: Can you tell us about your personal life? We usually only see you alone in front of the camera.
A: You have so many paparazzis. You conduct live broadcasts of me 24 hours a day. It is not easy being a star, eh? Do you give up your privacy when you become god? You keep taking nude photos of me ... let me warn some of these media people: freedom of press implies freedom as allowed by the law. Freedom is not unrestricted.
Q: Someone told me to ask you: What is the best way to cook you? Steamed or braised?
A: Which media outlet do you represent?
Q: Actually, you have made a historical accomplishment. Tell us how you feel.
A: First, I want to thank my motherland, Great Britain. Her sea water nourished me. I will forever be an octopus of the motherland. I also want to thank my parents! They used their lives to give me life.
Q: According to report, a Singapore parrot, an African orangutan and other animals were also predicting the World Cup. But only you were 100% correct. What do you have to say to your former rivals?
A: I am old whereas they are still young. There are many more predictions to make: When will the next economic crisis arrive? How many degrees will the temperature rise next year? When will Lady Gaga get married? When will Usain Bolt break the 5 second mark in the 100 meters sprint? There are many more problems that are vexing humankind, right? When will we get on the rainbow? When can we eliminate warfare? Why should your oceanfront house be forcibly demolished? Will the world get better? Hey, how about letting me ask you a question instead?
Q: I will be very honored.
A: I want to ask you: Why is the first question from you Chinese people always about either the stock market or the housing market? Why can't you think of something else?
On July 14, Hong Kong-based <Next Weekly> published an article entitled <Bawang Causes Cancer>. Various Bawang brand shampoos using Chinese herbal medicine were tested in Hong Kong and found to contain the compound dioxane. Dioxane is classified as a carcinogen in the United States.
Yesterday afternoon at 4pm, our reporter went to the sixth floor of the Bawang International Hotel located in the Baiyun district, Guangzhou city. The two front desk receptionists were busy taking phone calls from the media. Meanwhile Bawang International Chief Executive Wan Yuhua is chairing an emergency meeting.
Bawang issued a statement: "Our company did not deliberately add dioxane as a raw material. It is a by-product during the production process. Because we used our raw materials and because of other factors, it was technically unavoidable to leave behind tiny amounts of residue. According to the data from the Hong Kong Cosmetics Industry Association, products with less than 100ppm are safe. Therefore all Bawang products are safe."
Previously, Wan Yuhua had told our reporter by telephone: "The amount of dioxane in Bawang shampoos is harmless for humans. Almost all shampoos have it." He said: "Our products contain 10ppm dioxane. The ideal level is 30ppm internationally. The United States is more strict because they require 20ppm. We come in at less than that."
Wan Yuhua also disclosed a shocking revelation: This harmful substance that is present in various cosmetic and shampoo products are unregulated at this time. The State Food and Drugs Administration spokesperson Yan Jiangying told our reporter that there are no international standards on dioxane amounts.
On July 14, Wan Yuhua said that Bawang has already sued <Next Weekly>. Furthermore Bawang will not recall the products because they contain tiny amounts of dioxane. They will not refund the products either.
Our reporter learned that Bawang has sent their products for a third-party to analyze. The test results will be announced on July 15.
According to Bank of America and Merrill Lynch research reports, if the media report is true, then the sales of all Bawang products as well as the company image will be affected negatively.
Bawang said in its statement that dioxane is present in body lotions and shampoos, because it is an unavoidable by-product of the production process. Huanan Agricultural University School of Physics professor Yang Zhuohong told our reporter that Chinese herbal medicine does not contain dioxane. Instead, the dioxane comes from the production process. "In extracting the essence of the Chinese medicine, organic chemicals such as ethanol and propanol are used, leading to the production of dioxane. It is hard to say how much is produced, because this depends on the raw materials and the production equipment."
But Yang Zhuohong pointed out that the supercritical carbon dioxide extraction method avoids the use of ethanol/propanol and therefore does not generate dioxane. However, the method is costly. Therefore companies often use traditional organic chemistry methods instead.
According to Hong Kong Cosmetics Chemists Association's Chen Cangguang, it is possible to substitute the dioxane-carrying alkyl ether sulphates (AES) by alternatives. But the cost will be four to five times more expensive. Therefore many companies are unwilling to use these substitute products.
At just past 3pm on July 13, a post entitled <CCTV hostess Chai Jing was taken away by the procuratorate again today!> was made by someone named "吴静儿1" at the NetEase Forum. The IP address indicated the poster was in Dezhou city, Shandong province.
The post presented a brief resumé of Chai Jing's career and reminded people how Chai Jing was falsely accused of receiving a bribe last year. "Last September, Chai Jing was taken away by the procuratorate for investigation of a 1,000,000 yuan bribe from a textile manufacturer. Chai Jing dispelled the rumor on her blog and claimed that no such thing happened."
At this point, "吴静儿1" then wrote: "Actually, after the incident last year, the procuratorate and the CCTV head both thought that the matter was significant. In order to protect the good reputation of CCTV, they forced Chai Jing to dispel the rumor on her blog. On that particular day, Chai Jing was taken away for questioning. The procuratorate continued to take the matter seriously and tried to gather evidence. At around 14:20 today, Chai Jing was taken away by the procuratorate once more. There were only five workers present at the scene. The CCTV head told us not to tell anyone."
After that post went out, Chai Jing updated her blog at 8:30pm. Her blog post was <Program response: you can only show what you know> to present her experiences and feelings about interviewing Zhou Libo in the last episode of her program. A comparison of the two posts shows who is telling the truth and who is telling lies.
Yesterday our reporter called <Face To Face> program producer Zhang Heng. Our reporter identified himself and Zhang Heng immediately said: "Is this about Chai Jing? Everybody possess basic judgment skills and conscience. This was a vicious personal attack by a pervert against Chai Jing." He said that Chai Jing is an excellent person with a great reputation over the years. Last year someone had already spread rumors about her. Now it is happening again.
Another financial reporter wrote on his blog yesterday afternoon: "One hour ago, Chai Jiang and the financial host Yang Bingbing held a book launch for a new book for Xie Guozhong. They held a friendly dialogue. Chai Jing looked calm and well."
The rumor evaporates in the face of the facts.
The reporter also observed most netizens trusted Chai Jing and were skeptical about the post. Upon learning the truth, the netizens criticized the
At noon on September 19, 2009, the netizen "wujinger1" made the post <Famous CCTV hostess Chai Jing arrested today on suspicion of taking bribes>. The post claimed that an illegal Chongqing textile factory owner named Gao said that he gave 1,000,000 yuan to Chai Jing to buy advertising on CCTV. Gao produced a cooperative contract with Chai Jing. He said that Chai Jing was taken away by the procuratorate at 12:37pm for interrogation. On the evening of September 20, Chai Jing made a blog post <Hostess dispels rumor>. She wrote: "As the 'famous CCTV hostess,' I dispel the rumor." The post was terse but her attitude was very generous. She did not treat it as a big deal and she did not have much to say.
Just when the matter seemed over, "wujinger1" showed up again. He seemed to apologize to Chai Jing, but he was actually promoting himself. He said that his netizen name is "吴静儿" while his real name is Wu Zhibo. He is from Dezhou city, Shandong province.
"吴静儿1" wrote in his "apology" that Chai Jing is his idol. The reason why he instigated "Bribery Gate" was to let netizens know more about Chai Jing. He even published his email and mobile telephone number.
The person who posted the rumor this time is ""吴静儿1" (with the pinyin "wujinger1"). Last year, the person who made the post was "wujinger1" (using pinyin only). Is this the same person? Our reporter checked the IP of "吴静儿1" and saw that it was in Dezhou city, Shandong province. According to the personal information page, "吴静儿1" used to be "wujinger1." The reporter also found that this person had written many posts on Chai Jing, largely based upon conjectures and speculations.
Less than one year later, the same person smeared Chai Jing again. With fans like these, who needs enemies? This person has no moral qualms or conscience in his quest to make himself famous.
(Beijing News) <Famous> magazine interviews Jun Tang.
It has been ten days since Fang Zhouzi started Jun Tang's <Academic Credentials Gate> and the media and netizens rushed in. The issue has been raised to one about individual credibility crisis. On July 12, Jun Tang was interviewed on telephone by the <Famous> magazine reporter after being silent for almost one week. He declined to comment on the case itself "because I don't want to the subject of discussion again." He also said that people criticize him because they don't know the truth. But he declined to say when he will reveal the truth.
Q: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed at this time. How do you regard those who support and those who criticize you?
A: Everybody has his own values and judgments. I agree with those on my side. Most of those not on my side do not know the truth. It is quite normal, quite normal for them to judge that way. I can understand their actions.
Q: When will you reveal the truth to everyone?
A: I am not going to talk about it now. When the time comes, I will let you know.
Q: After your incident, about a hundred people went to the Baidu Encyclopedia to update their academic experiences. What do you think? Do you feel that it was ill luck that you got caught?
A: No. (laughs) I did not think that I was unlucky. I did not pay attention to other people correcting their Baidu information. But it is a bit irksome to talk about this matter.
Q: Everything began with your autobiography <My success can be copied>. In retrospect, what kind of person do you think is a successful?
A: Every industry and every occupation have their own successful people. I feel that the truly successful person is what I have always said. Many people define success using standards such as wealth, social position and social respect. But for any specific person, it is hard to use his possessions and achievements to define his success. The definition that I gave myself is that success means surpassing myself. People have different abilities. I will never play basketball better than Yao Ming. He is a lot taller than me. But this does not mean that I am going to be unsuccessful as a result. I am improving every day. I am surpassing myself every day. Ordinary people will never be able to surpass certain great people such as Bill Gates. What happens if you cannot surpass them? You can still surpass yourself. These people are the ones who are truly successful.
Q: Have you recently discovered that you surpass yourself once again?
A: (laughs) Not necessarily. Anyway, I have surpassed my former attitudes.
Q: Among the factors for success, which do you think is more important? Academic experience or ability?
A: Ability, of course. That is not just me. More than 90% of people in society think so too. In this whole world, nobody treats academic qualifications as big deal. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, even the American president ... how many people talk about their academic qualifications?
Q: Does honesty count as a factor for success?
A: Of course, it is a factor. If you are dishonest, it will be hard for you to succeed. If you are dishonest, you can't make it there. Someone says that there are lots of fancy talkers in this world. You can fool one person. But if you fool the whole world, then it is your honesty which fooled them. It is nothing to fool one person. If you manage to fool everybody, then it is a form of ability. It is a sign of success.
Q: Therefore, you feel that you are an honest person.
A: Of course. I am a thoroughly honest person.
Q: Facing these matters today, do you feel that you are a brave person?
A: Of course. Of course I am brave. I could not be me today without being brave, right or not?
Q: What do you think about the saying, "Jun Tang ought to apologize if he is a decent bloke"? Do you have the courage to apologize?
A: Actually, this is still my period of silence. I told myself that keep silent for at least two weeks. I can answer broad questions about life, success, the pursuit of ideals, etc. But I am not going to respond about the matter itself. I don't want to be become an issue now. I don't want to break my promise about maintaining silence.
Last Friday, a mysterious person tipped us that the office of the Green Dam-Youth Escort Software Project in the Beijing Huajie Building has been closed down with all workers being sent away. That day, our reporter went to Room B411 in the Beijing Huajie Building during office hours. The door was padlocked and the inside was barren with without any desks, chairs or other office facilities.
The Green Dam project was run jointly by the Beijing Dazheng Language Recognition and Processing Research Institute and the Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering Limited Company. The Beijing Dazheng general manager Chen Xiaomeng acknowledged that their office in the Huajie Building had been shut down at the end of last month and the more than 30 workers have been sent off.
There are still workers from Zhengzhou and they are also being sent off gradually. "These workers cannot come back to work at the Beijing Dazheng because they were workers for the Green Dam project for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. We cannot just take over."
Chen Xiaomeng said that the Green Dam-Youth Escort project was established in May 2008. Zhengzhou Jinhui's <Jinhui expert system for detecting obscene photographs and harmful information> and Beijing Dazheng's <Youth Escort Internet management software> won the bid. These two products were later combined to form the Green Dam-Youth Escort software. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology paid 41.7 million yuan for the software which was to be downloaded by citizens for free.
"We really lack financial support. We hung on for a year now, but we really cannot go on." Yesterday, Chen Xiaomeng said that the government paid 41.7 million yuan, of which Beijing Dazheng received 19.9 million yuan and Zhengzhou Jinhui received 21.8 million yuan. But this only covered the expenses for one year from 2008 to 2009. Since last year, the two companies have not received a cent to cover operating expenses.
According to information, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology asked for the installation of the Internet filtering software known as Green Dam-Youth Escort, which was the combination of the Green Dam and the Youth Escort software. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology bought the rights for one year at 41.7 million yuan so that the software can be downloaded by citizens for free.
Chen Xiaomeng told our reporter that the Beijing office costs more than 7 million yuan a year to operate. Since the beginning of last year, he has been writing the various relevant departments to tell them about the situation. He has not received any reply. Chen Xiaomeng said that Beijing Dazheng is a company that focuses on technologies such as information security, searching and machine translation. Their products do not have huge markets. The company has only been able to achieve breakeven over the past ten years, and it does not have the financial prowess to continue to support the Green Dam project.
He said that before closing the office, the Green Dam office had actually moved once already. The old office was located in the Fuhai Building where the rent was more than 600,000 yuan per year. Since they did not get the new operating funds, they had to move to the cheaper Huajie building which costs 200,000 yuan less. "But we really cannot continue anymore. Many workers have left already. In the end, we had to shut it down."
Yesterday, our reporter tried to contact the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for comments without success.
Our reporter called the customer service line at the Zhengzhou Jinhui Green Dam project. The person there claimed that operations were normal with the Zhengzhou Green Dam project. A Zhengzhou Jinhui worker said that the state money for the Green Dam has not come in for one year already. The project cannot be sustained this way.
There are more than 20 million Green Dam-Youth Escort users now. Most of them are parents, schools and cybercafes. If the Green Dam projects are shut down in Beijing and Zhengzhou, will they be affected?
Beijing Dazheng general manager Chen Xiaomeng said that the project is maintained by Beijing and Zhengzhou together. Beijing's Green Dam project had close to 30 persons who were hired by Beijing Dazheng on a temporary basis. These people were responsible for maintaining the official Green Dam-Youth Escort website and marketing the software. Zhengzhou Jinhui was responsible for the Zhengzhou Green Dam project in terms of technology, post-sales follow-up, customer service, etc. The official website is presently in a state of no maintenance and support. In the long run, users will no longer be able to download software for free. Marketing efforts has also been suspended.
The aforementioned Zhengzhou Jinhui worker said that the project stoppage in Beijing affects software downloading most of all. But if the Zhengzhou project is also suspended, many users will not be able to receive software technical support and regular customer service will also be interrupted. A large number of users will find themselves in trouble.
On the past weekend, a forum on "Social conflicts and the public safety system: a criminological approach" was convened at the Beijing Industrial University. The paper entitled <Dissipating and controlling social mass conflicts as seen in the Shishou incident> by Hubei province, Jingzhou city, Jinzhou district court chief judge Liao Mantang drew the attention of our reporter. In this paper, it was claimed that the two senior officials in the Shishou mass incident Zhong Ming (ex-Shishou Communist Party secretary) and Tang Dunwu (ex-Shishou public security bureau director) have their careers restored after having been dismissed for their roles in the mass incident.
If true, this would violate the State Council's July 2009 document on <Temporary regulations on accountability of government/party cadre leaders> wherein those dismissed/resigned officials cannot take similar positions within 12 months.
The paper by Liao Mantang claimed: "Interestingly, less than one year afterwards, Zhong Ming has been appointed the deputy secretary-general of the Jingzhou City Communist Party Committee while Tang Dunweu has been appointed the deputy director of the Jingzhou City Development Zone. Both individuals have resurfaced and are enjoying the same ranks and privileges as before." Liao Mantang said that this system of accountability failed to set a cautionary example for others.
Our reporter checked the public notices over the past 12 months and did not find anything about the "current assignments" for those two officials.
The only relevant information was at the Hubei province, Jingzhou Economic Development Zone website: "On May 25, 2010, the Development Zone Financial Department held a forum about the value-added agricultural product processing park. The Development Zone's Communist Party Committee member, Comrade Tang Dunwu and others were in attendance. At the forum, Comrade Tang Dunwu exchanged ideas about special favorable policies with company representatives."
(Jingzhou Net) July 12, 2010.
According to the Jingzhou City Communist Party Committee Organization Department spokesperson, the media reports that the two Shishou ex-leaders held accountable for the mass incident were restored with the same ranks and privileges are inaccurate.
The spokesperson said: Former Shishou Communist Party secretary Zhong Ming is presently studying the pre-planning of the Jinzhou city Jinan Old City Park and holds no specific job title; former Shishou City Communist Party Standing Committee member, Politics and Legal Committee secretary and Public Security Bureau director Tang Dunwu is a Jinzhou Development Zone Party Committee member in charge of one park area (for processing secondary agricultural products) and is not a deputy director of the Jingzhou Economic Development Zone.
Furthermore, the paper delivered by Liao Mantang did not contain any language such as "Interestingly, less than one year afterwards, Zhong Ming has been appointed the deputy secretary-general of the Jingzhou City Communist Party Committee while Tang Dunweu has been appointed the deputy director of the Jingzhou City Development Zone. Both individuals have resurfaced and enjoying the same ranks and privileges as before."
Furthermore, Liao Mantang is not the current chief judge of the Hubei province, Jingzhou city, Jinzhou district court as reported by the media. In February 2004, Liao was appointed as a senior researcher in Jingzhou District.
[ESWN: How can a reporter be so wrong? How about checking with (1) Liao Mantang and (2) the Jingzhou city government/party instead of just running some Baidu searches and running away with the story?]
Time: 2:20am, June 26, 2010
Location: In front of the elevator bank at a Tianhedong Road hotel, Guangzhou city
Characters: 40-something-year-old man named Gao and two young male companions dressed in black
At 2:20am in June 26, Gao wearing a white shirt entered the western entrance with a young woman in a yellow shirt. This was past the Public Security Bureau time for hotel visits. Under the recently issued PSB requirements, all persons must register their ID's. Therefore, the hotel security guards asked Gao to show his hotel room card and the yellow-clad woman to register her ID.
According to information, Gao refused the request to register the ID. He refused to show his own room card and also refused to have the female register her ID. Gao demanded to enter. From the video, the three security guards were seen attempting to explain the situation to Gao near the elevator. But Gao kept berating the security guards.
At 2:21am, Gao spoke on his mobile telephone. At 2:21:30am, two young men dressed in black charged in from the northern entrance of the hotel towards the elevator bank. They wanted to enter the elevator by force, but two security guards intercepted them.
At 2:26am, Gao was ready to leave with his people under the persuasion of the yellow-clad woman. At the hotel entrance, he turned around and cursed at the hotel security guards. While Gao was cursing, one of the men in black charged at struck a blow at one security guard. The other men in black picked up the "Beware of slippery floor" warning sign and hit the security guard. Gao also joined in.
The video showed that the security guard was able to escape with the aid of others. But he was pulled back once again for another beating. The assault lasted 3 minutes. Finally, Gao was persuaded by the yellow-clad woman and others to leave.
According to the hotel manager, Gao threw his hotel room card on the face of a security guard and yelled: "Who are you? I am going to chop you to death!"
Time: 3:16am, July 10, 2010
Location: In the lobby of a Tianhedong Road hotel, Guangzhou city
Characters: 40-something-year-old Gao, along with 16 other males age 20 to 40
Weapons: Serrated machetes
At 3:16am yesterday morning, Gao returned to the Tianhedong Hotel where he assaulted the security guards on June 26. In the video, Gao wearing a pink shirt led three young men up to the front desk in the hotel lobby. He yelled at the service workers and tossed the desktop objects about.
In less than one minute, four other men showed up next to Gao. Other black-clad men kept watch around the hotel entrance. According to the front desk service workers, Gao yelled: "Where are your security guard? He dared to file a police report the last time. I am going to chop him to death." Some of the men around Gao had concealed weapons underneath their clothes.
At 3:17am, three security guards entered from the northern entrance of the hotel into the lobby for the purpose of maintaining order. The security guards approached the lobby front desk. Gao and the four men immediately surrounded them and assaulted them. Several more men entered from the western and northern entrances to join in the assault.
In the surveillance video, a security guard was seen to be pushed down on the floor while three to four men kicked him, punched him and hit him with rods and knives. At 3:18am, a man carrying several long knives entered the hotel lobby and distributed the weapons to his associates who began to slash and chase the security guards. The videos showed many instances.
The surveillance video taken outside the hotel showed a black-clad man taking a steel rod from the security guard and used it to hit the head of the security guard viciously a couple of time. As the security guard laid motionless on the ground, the black-clad man wiped the sweat off his brow and re-entered the hotel lobby with steel rod in hand. The security guard stayed still on the ground for a long time before finally struggling to get up and walk away. A large pool of blood stayed on the ground.
At 3:20am, three men with knives entered the hotel parking lot and intimidated the security guard to leave. According to information, the three men demanded that the security guard to raise the exit barrier.
One minute later, a Buick sedan left the parking lot and stopped at the exit. Five men then raced up next to the Buick. When they saw that the security guard had not raised the barrier, one of the men used his knife to hack at the barrier. Then another man snapped the barrier. The five men entered the car and drove off.
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