Archive for July, 2008

A must-read: a reporter's guide to covering the Olympics

July 31st, 2008 51 comments

There is “A Reporter’s Guide to Covering the Olympics“, supposedly found in the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, at Time’s China Blog. It is well worth a read. Read more…

Categories: media Tags: , , ,

Tom Miller Award Nominee: "Our Foreign Staff" at Telegraph

July 30th, 2008 73 comments

Nominee: “Our Foreign Staff” at Telegraph

News title/claim: China dumps gold medallists from Olympics ‘for political reasons’

Comment: Some writers at this British newspaper need to learn English. “Politics” as in office team politics =/= “political reasons”. Read more…

Categories: media Tags: , ,

Moving on without closure: The hardiness and resilience of the Chinese society

China presses hush money on grieving parents,” according to New York Times

Parents of children killed in collapsed school buildings in the Sichuan earthquake have been offered cash settlements, relaxing of the birth quota and pensions by the local government. In exchange, they are pressured to sign a contract to give up demand for investigations into official negligence and corruption associated with the collapsed schools. Some parents have relented and signed the contract, while others have refused.

A while ago at the collective funeral for the victims at one of the schools with a large casualty, the grieving parents’ pain was so profound that some bite on their fingers and wrote their children’s names with a wish of a “good journey” in their blood on a piece of white cloth. The pain of losing a child can never be compensated with money. My discussion will focus on a cross-cultural understanding on the money in question. Is it correct to label the Chinese authorities’ offer to the grieving parents “hush money”, or even “compensation”? Read more…

(Letter) Chinese Bloggers Mourn Death of CMU Professor/Author Randy Pausch

July 30th, 2008 6 comments

Randy Pausch, a CMU professor and author of The Last Lecture(波许教授的最后一课), died on July 25.

Categories: News Tags:

(Letter from Netizen) WTO Talks Collapsed

July 30th, 2008 1 comment

The Doha round of WTO talks in Geneva collapsed on Tuesday. It was the US vs. India and China, without being able to resolve their differences in farm products. In my view, it’s a good thing that the talks collapsed because the real benefits of the proposed deal to developing countries were minimal but risks were very high indeed. India pulled the plug, with China assisting.

What do you people think? Collapsed, is it good?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

(Letter from xiaotaibei) Hospitality in China

July 29th, 2008 26 comments

A first-person account of a trip to Beijing: I’m pretty amazed by the hospitality in China, especially how it keeps getting better and better. It’s not just the hospitality, it’s all the little things of general people behavior.

Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: , , , ,

What would the Chinese government do or fail to do for the Chinese to revoke their loyalty and support?

Several blogs have summarized two of the key findings from the 2008 Pew Global Attitude Survey in China . 1. The Chinese are overwhelmingly satisfied with the direction of their nation, its economy and its government’s handling of issues critical to their lives (often with consensus in the upper 80 percents). The Chinese satisfaction with the state of the nation has improved significantly since the last time they were surveyed a year ago. 2. Compared to their sanguine and optimistic view of the nation, the Chinese are far less satisfied with at least two critical aspects of their personal/individual lives, i.e., their career/financial situations and family lives. Their perception of their personal lives has not improved since the last time they were surveyed.

How would you explain the disparity between the Chinese attitudes toward their country on the one hand and their individual lives on the other? What do you make of it?

The data suggest that the Chinese personal/individual lives have been decoupled from China ‘s national life to a significant degree. Read more…

Can the Chinese government let people have a good time?

July 28th, 2008 38 comments

Here is a article “Wild dogs of nationalism let off the leash” on Beijing 08 blogs of Sydney Morning Herald by award winning sports writer John Birmingham. The Article starts with

Picture a couple of Falun Gong dudes, or a Tibetan Monk sitting in a cell, waiting for the Games to finish so they can be executed and give up their organs for harvest. Read more…

(Letter) Where does China fit in the West's understanding of the world?

July 27th, 2008 68 comments

Mainlanders often feel exasperated by constant Western criticism, as if no matter what China does and no matter how much China accomplishes, it’s never good enough in the eyes of Western nations. The poem “Chinese Grievances” (aka “What do you want from us?”) expresses this feeling well. I think what’s shared below will help us better understand this problem.
Read more…

(Letter from deltaeco) Why chinese use chopsticks (From Die Spiegel online)

July 27th, 2008 22 comments

Hefty discussions usually arise over the advantages and disadvantages of using chopsticks instead of fork and knives.

To show the western point of view, here is a is a translation of an article published in the German news magazine “Der Spiegel” (Link to the original article)Read more…

Tiananmen at sunrise

July 26th, 2008 14 comments

With a jet-lagged baby, I thought this morning would be the perfect time to attend one of my favorite events in Beijing: watching the raising of the national flag on Tiananmen square.  It is a daily ritual at sunrise, but always thrilling with its simplicity, elegance; I’ve only attended a few times (emphasis: sunrise), and always found it deeply moving. 

Here’s a video, from 5/19, when the flag was lowered to half-staff to remember the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake:  (Why isn’t it a video of my trip? Explanation below.)

Read more…

Categories: culture, video Tags: , ,

“China feels very turbulent” – Part 2

July 26th, 2008 13 comments

I have enjoyed my few days so far in Beijing, all the feeling of a hexie society.  However, that is only the superficial view of one man.  According to this Tianya post (连接) from a mainland Chinese also overseas, the under-currents are not always so smooth.  Many of those on TIanya, feeling their own discontent with society, applaud this post as being critical but balanced.   For part 1, see hereNOTE: This is the translation of a Chinese BBS post, and does not necessarily represent my experience, nor my opinions. 

The turbulence in China’s larger social environment, at root, has been caused by imbalanced development in Chinese society.

On the one hand, the laobaixing in China remain the most hard-working and good-natured anywhere.  Just as I described before, waiters making 800 RMB can peacefully coexist with senior white-collar workers making tens of thousands of RMB per month.  I’ve carefully watched their every action, and you can tell that they truly treasure this work despite its poor pay, and you can imagine how much less they must’ve made in their home villages. 

Read more…

"China feels very turbulent" – Part 1

July 26th, 2008 31 comments

I have enjoyed my few days so far in Beijing, all the feeling of a hexie society.  However, that is only the superficial view of one man.  According to this Tianya post (连接) from a mainland Chinese also overseas, the under-currents are not always so smooth.  Many of those on TIanya, feeling their own discontent with society, applaud this post as being critical but balanced. 

Last year, I ran into my ex-girlfriend on MSN Messenger.  She was pregnant, and without much meaning I reminded her to be careful with her baby’s health.  Just ordinary topics, like a reminder that she should try to breast-feed after birth.  I don’t know why, but she suddenly responded sharply: “Don’t think that our life in China is worse than yours.  Our classmates are all doing great; if we wanted to go overseas and play, we could.  You should just stay in America; there are so many people going overseas these days, even if you came back, you wouldn’t have an advantage.”  She continued, in great detail and color, to brag her happy life with her husband.  I calmly told her, I never felt I had any sort of advantage over you, and China’s future has plenty of hope.

Read more…

(Letter from Netize) Hon Hai’s Terry Gou Donates His Wealth

July 25th, 2008 9 comments
Categories: Letters Tags: , ,

Buxi is home – 7/25 update

July 25th, 2008 15 comments

Quick update… although we don’t use this as our personal blog, this is a good time to mention I’ve just arrived in Beijing.  Everyone in my family is fighting upper-respiratory infections (picked up in the US), and at times I wasn’t sure we’d make the flight… but we’re here.

Read more…

Categories: aside Tags: , , ,

New Yorker's "Angry Youth" a must-read

July 24th, 2008 45 comments

This article is a comprehensive look at a few young Chinese nationalists, both inside and outside of China.  I recommend it completely.  If the facts and people presented in this article became recognizable in the West, this blog would (almost) have no reason to exist.  Thanks to FOARP (I believe) for recommending this in an earlier thread.

Categories: media Tags:

(Letter from The Trapped) Tibet officials issued with Dalai school ultimatum

July 24th, 2008 50 comments

Here is a piece of news on CD.

Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.

Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.

Read more…

Categories: education, News Tags: , ,

Olympics fever still running hot

July 23rd, 2008 8 comments

Tickets to remaining Olympic events are going on sale on Friday (July 25th). On Water-Wood BBS (水木社区), people were talking about spending Thursday night in line. But now most are shocked to find that that very long lines have already formed Wednesday night; thousands of Beijing’ers are planning to camp out two nights to purchase what few tickets remain.

Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

(Letter from yo) China caught offering “gene doping” to athletes

July 23rd, 2008 15 comments

Go here for full article.  Some notable quotes: “A German television report on the availability of gene doping in China has stunned anti-doping experts shortly before the Beijing Olympics.  … In a documentary by ARD television, a Chinese doctor offers stem-cell therapy to a reporter posing as an American swimming coach.” Read more…

Categories: media Tags: , ,

Use Democracy to avoid a "Bottleneck Lake" in China

July 23rd, 2008 54 comments

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, a “bottleneck lake” (堰塞湖) formed as a river was blocked by a landslide. Collapse of the dam posed a tremendous danger to those down-stream community, and the Chinese government spent huge resources and risked many lives to erase the lake.

Guangdong provincial party secretary Wang Yang started a mini-landslide of his own, when 3 days ago he spoke to a group of Communist Party cadres at a training course (连接):

We must make democracy a value to be pursued. In governing, we must make sure we use democracy, defend democracy, secure democracy, and develop democracy. We must be sufficiently respectful of, and also open up expressions of popular opinion. We absolutely can not block popular opinion, and form a “bottleneck-on-speech lake” (言塞湖). We must use democratic methods to continuously improve and expand democracy within the Party, and push forward social democracy. We must self-consciously nurture democratic habits, learn to listen and tolerate, and use democratic methods to unite people.

Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , , ,

(Letter) 50 Cent Commentators Fueling More Protest?

July 23rd, 2008 7 comments

Commentators paid by the Chinese government to influence public opinion on-line may have fueled the latest protest against Fox, says an insider at one Blog site. Rumors of Fox News anti-black message traveled quickly across the Internet, and has even garnered attention from celeberities.

According the this source, after the alleged success of inciting a major incident over CNN’s Jack Cafferty, there may have been a number of cases where the Fifty Cent Party also lit the fire on Fox News protest.

(Letter from Bob) China to set up designated protest zones for Beijing Olympics

July 23rd, 2008 15 comments

Saw on AP reports that

Beijing will set up specially designated zones for protesters during next month’s Olympics … Liu Shaowu, director for security for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said Wednesday that areas in at least three public parks near outlying sporting venues have been set aside for use by demonstrators.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Chinese extremely optimistic about nation

July 22nd, 2008 23 comments

More released from Pew Global Attitudes survey.  From the IHT/NYTimes: “Eighty-six percent of the Chinese surveyed said they were content with the country’s direction, up from 48 percent in 2002 and a full 25 percentage points higher than the next highest country, Australia. And 82 percent of Chinese were satisfied with their national economy, up from 52 percent.”

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Add this to your "what if California is a country …" line at the next party

July 22nd, 2008 14 comments

Wired recently reported some amazing statistics:
Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Zhang Ziyi – What's in a name?

July 22nd, 2008 86 comments

Zhang Ziyi was recently interviewed on a Chinese TV network:

She said (in translation):

The first time I was the lead in an English-language film, I received some high praise. And especially as a Chinese person, I thought that was something to be proud of.

At the Cannes Film Festival, in front of all that media, then they call your name… And as a Chinese person, they then call you by your Chinese name… I was pretty emotional. I’ve never thought about changing my name, changing it to an English name. I’ve never thought about adopting an English name just to accommodate them.

My father and mother gave me my name. It’s mine, and if you want to remember me, you have to put some thought into how to pronounce it. It’s mine.

Read more…

Unity is strength – Shenzhen home-buyers try group buying

July 22nd, 2008 9 comments

There is probably only one other issue capable of challenging the Olympics for national attention in China right now: the collapse of the housing market in China, led by Shenzhen. Home prices in Shenzhen grew very rapidly in recent years (on the order of 50%-100% ), and now appear to be falling just as quickly.

But for some people, it might not be falling fast enough. Two years ago, Zou Tao organized a campaign to fight rising prices in Shenzhen called “Not Buy House” (explanation courtesy of ESWN). The government gave Zou Tao a firm “suggestion” that such mass campaigns were not welcome. Now, he’s back. Courtesy of Southern Metropolis, an article on his new campaign (连接):

Zou Tao organized a “Not Buy House” campaign two years ago. He is now initiating a new campaign: “Housing For Ten Thousand – Group Buying Activity”. He has already established a web platform at, and online voting and registration is currently on-going. Zou Tao says that he is doing this voluntarily without any compensation. His goal is to use a group-buying model to push down housing prices, and let those without homes find a place to live.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , ,

(Letter from Ali baba) Quizhou’s jamboree bonfire

July 21st, 2008 4 comments

(博讯北京时间2008年6月29日 转载)

强国论坛 translate Strong Nation Forum ,on,the official website of People’s Daily,is one of the extreme nationalistic forum in mainland China.On 20-June morning,Hu jin-tao went on-line for 15 minutes,resulting in tens of thousands of netizens,all log-in onto that web page and try to have a chat with Hu,”Brother No1″,an affectionate nick name given to Hu by young bloggers(in their 20 or early 30),they themself are nick-named “Angry Youths”
Most of the blogs written by these “Angry Youths” are pro-government,such as anti CNN,anti Dalai Lama,kill Sharon Stone,stuff like that.That was the main reason “Brother No1″ went on-line there because that is his home turf,100% no funny or embarrassing comments.
On 28-June,the students riot in Wen An ,has changed the color of “Angry Youth” (on both and once and for all.For the first time in the short history of Chinese internet,95% of comments posted on,, and were supporting the students,calling those local officials “Liers”,calling for the immediate resignation of local officials.Some even called for the overthrow of THE mighty CCP,and these calls come from XINHUA.CN and PEOPLE.COM,from the CCP’s headquarters!

The show of power by dissident netizens,by putting massive amounts of posts(in tens of thousands) onto major chinese bbs,went from 28-June to 2-July,then slowly calmed down.On,some bloggers commented that this is:The Cyber War that will be remembered for long time.

Bellow are some of the comments left on

2. 瓮安大火比火炬更激动人心 ( wanmin 2008-06-29 18:17:16 )

The big fire at Wen An makes people’s heart more excited than olympic torch

福娃里面有个代表火的,有人说火炬被抢已近应了,我看这次鬼州瓮安警民联谊开篝火晚会才算是应了。 ( 读资本论治平天下 2008-06-29 18:02:38 )
One of the Olympic dolls represents fire,someone said the attack of the torch meant something,to me,this jamboree bonfire by the friendly police and all their friends really means something.

我最欣赏的是瓮安消防队的同志们,车开不进去,就不勉强.哈哈. ( 曾是知青④ 2008-06-29 17:49:38 )

I particularly admire those comrades from WenAn fire department,couldn’t get the fire engine any closer,relax,not here to force anything.HAHA.

椐谣传:事发后,瓮安竟然看不见穿制服的工按.”都转入地下工作了? ( 重庆越南 2008-06-29 17:40:57 )

瓮安那么多人,却见火不救,袖手旁观。 ( 绑架真理 2008-06-29 17:36:55 )

According to rumors:During the riot,those people in uniform are nowhere to be seen,are they all gone underground?
So many people at WenAn,not only refuse to put out the fire,just stood there and watch,with hands in pocket.

国内发生的事要到国外网站去看!悲哀啊! ( 贵州乡民 2008-06-29 17:33:12 )

神圣圣火在贵州瓮安热烈燃烧!! ( 北秀村的沙漠 2008-06-29 17:31:58 )

Have to go to web sites outside China to learn what is happening inside China!How sad!
Sacred fire is is burning like hell in Quizhou!

刚才听说:贵州瓮安十万民众自制圣火迎奥运,公安大楼意外着火。 ( 广州家伙 2008-06-29 17:08:34 )

Breaking news:Quizhou WenAn 100,000 people make own fire to welcome Olympic,police big building catch fire by accident.

如果瓮安的当事人(县太爷)迅速被自杀,效果也许会更好。 ( 随缘而至 2008-06-29 17:02:20 )

Supposing the person involved(county big boss) was swiftly being suicided,the end result shall be better.

从瓮安事件看出,一个人民没有选票、权力缺乏有效、意见和诉求没有管道的国家其社会混乱只是迟早的事情! ( 争自由 2008-06-29 13:49:04 )

The WenAn incident clearly shows that,a country that do not give ballot paper to its people, with no effective restriction of its power,opinions and requests have nowhere to appeal,this kind of country,its plunging into social chaos is only a matter of time.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

A meaningful exchange on Tibet

July 21st, 2008 49 comments

On one of our earlier threads on the misnamed Dalai Lama, there is an excellent on-going exchange of thoughts and positions from two of our posters: one is a Tibetan in exile, the other is Chinese in China.

Read more…

Categories: Letters Tags: ,

The emperor has no clothes; South China Morning Post has no what?

July 21st, 2008 120 comments

It has been three days since the sensational title “Authorities order bars not to serve black people” written by Tom Miller showed up in the supposedly reputable South China Morning Post. I used the phrase “supposedly reputable” because I don’t read SCMP and really can’t directly comment on it. However I vaguely remember someone, in one of the many blogs/forums discussing this allegation, commented to the effect of: “It comes from the SCMP, which has a solid reputation. So I am inclined to believe this is true.” Sorry, I seriously intended to quote that comment here, but I somehow just can’t find it. It must be buried in lots of other comments either questioning SCMP’s journalism standard in this case or blaming China for all the wrongs of the universe. Nevertheless, I logically infer that SCMP must have had a solid reputation with at least some readers up until three days ago.

Read more…

A victory for the rule of law: an untold story in China

July 21st, 2008 63 comments

Two months ago, major Western newspapers ran stories on laywers Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao. These two have been working in the “rights defense” (维权) movement in China. Both have received extensive overseas praise and attention for their work defending dissidents and FLG practictioners. Both also offered to defend Tibetans implicated in the March riots.

It all culminated in these articles at the beginning of June.  I won’t bother quoting from the articles; the titles are pretty self-explanatory:

New York Times: Beijing Suspends Licenses of 2 Lawyers Who Offered to Defend Tibetans in Court
Washington Post: China Shuts Out 2 Lawyers Over Tibetans’ Cases
Toronto Star: Lawyers pay high price for coming to aid of Tibetans
Reuters: China rights lawyers say licenses blocked after Tibet call

The articles largely agree in content, and are basically copied directly from press releases from activist dissident groups: the two lawyers were denied their licenses for political reasons, authoritarian China, no sign of reform, etc, etc…

Well, we’ve learned more about their situations since.  However, the Western media doesn’t seem very interested in telling the rest of the story.  We’ll just have to discuss it here.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , ,