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Ah, that tricky Chinese propaganda machine, how devious it is to deceive the foreign media!

November 17th, 2009 80 comments

It was practically a news story that wrote itself. Soon after president Obama made a roundabout endorsement of non-censorship, it was reported via twitter and then repeated by the China Digial Times that China pulled the coverage from news portal NetEase 27 minutes after the transcript appeared.
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Categories: media, News Tags: , ,

Ou, bummer! Now we have a real dispute between China and U.S.

November 16th, 2009 10 comments

President Obama is currently visiting China and the very first dispute is shaping up between China and U.S., namely, what his name is and where he lives.
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Now here is an idea for people looking for Chinese (looking) tattoos

November 13th, 2009 1 comment

Berlin Wall Domino Piece At the Berlin Wall anniversary celebration a couple of days ago, the Germans arranged a thousand pieces of eight-foot tall Styrofoam slabs, symbolizing Berlin Wall pieces and each decorated with various arts, into a line of dominoes and started their toppling. This cascading action eventually came to a halt at a piece with apparently some Chinese calligraphy written on it, which stayed up. You can check out this youtube video for the full sequence of events.

There has been quite a bit of discussion going on in the Chinese forums regarding the symbolism of this scene. Well, this post has nothing to do with it. So if you have comments regarding Berlin Wall and China, please go to Allen’s post of that subject.

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Categories: culture Tags: ,

Happy Singles' Day

November 11th, 2009 28 comments

Happy Single's Day

November 11th has now emerged as a new holiday dedicated to the singles in China. It essentially serves as an anti-Valentine’s Day, and is the Chinese equivalent of Singles Awareness Day (SAD), during which those unhappily unattached commiserate in their single status.
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The folklore behind a Chinese antithetical couplet

October 21st, 2009 13 comments

The NYT just posted a report on how Cantonese is being “swept aside” by Mandarin in Chinatowns of North America. This post has nothing to do with that story.

Chinese class
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Nitpicking Media's Coverage of PRC's 60th Anniversary Parade

October 1st, 2009 314 comments

I watched the national day parade on TV with my family, and liked it. As expected, the Chinese government managed to put out an impressive show. Then I read some media’s coverage of the parade. Well, let’s just say that those writings were as expected too. Anyway, there are a number of memes and other little oddities, in no particular order, that I want point out. As the title of this post says, this is just an excise of nitpicking.

[Update] I gotta share this photo that I just found with you. When the kids released the balloons at the end of the parade, somehow the these balloons formed a shape that looked like China’s map. Please don’t tell me that this was not a coincidence but a carefully choreographed act.

Ballons forming Chinese map
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The mathematics of 10,000 disappearing Uighurs: refuting a refutation of Kadeer's claim

August 5th, 2009 154 comments

In recent days, there have been widespread and unchallenged reports of Rebiya Kadeer’s accusation in Japan that 10,000 Uighurs disappeared overnight in Urumqi on July 5. I can not find a transcript of Ms. Kadeer’s press conference speech. The following, from the Guardian, is one of the more detailed and also seemingly the most critical account of her accusation:

“Almost 10,000 people attending the protests in Urumqi disappeared in one night,” Kadeer, president of the pro-independence World Uighur Congress, said. “Where did they go? If they died, where are their bodies? If they were detained, where are they being held?”

It was unclear where Kadeer got her numbers from.

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Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Uighurs and population control in Xinjiang

July 11th, 2009 73 comments

Amid all the debates regarding how and to what extend Uighurs benefited or suffered from preferential policies or discriminations in Xinjiang, there is much confusion in one particular subject. Namely, are Uighurs subject to the (in)famous population control regulation (AKA family planning)? And if so, what kind of restrictions do they face? This post tries to answer these questions with some concrete details.

Update: According to reading notes from Chistiane Reinhold, Uighurs were exempted from family planning till 1988.
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Translation: phone conversation with my Uighur college classmate after the riot

July 11th, 2009 18 comments


Note: this post is a translation of an article titled “phone conversation I had with my Uighur college classmate after the riot“. There have been allegations in recent days that most of the deadly violences were carried out by outsiders of Urumqi (i.e., not residents of the city). This article contains some details of such allegations.

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Categories: General Tags: , ,

Two restraints + one leniency = a backfiring minority policy on all

July 8th, 2009 55 comments


Note: This post is a selective and partial translation of an article written by a second generation Han “settler” born and raised in Xinjiang. That article is titled “一个兵团二代的网文:告诉你真实的乌鲁木齐” (A net article by a 2nd generation Bingtuan kid: let me tell you the real Urumqi). It is a long and detailed account of the author’s memory of growth of and growing up in Urumqi as well as his perspectives on when and how race relationship between Uighur and Han deteriorated. It is a highly recommended read.


Update: Tian, via a comment at Telegraph, provided a short summary of the article referred above. That summary is appended at the end of this post.

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Translation: Why aren't we requiring finanacial disclosure by common folks?

March 12th, 2009 6 comments


[NOTE] This is a translation of a report filed by (王和岩) Wang Heyan in (财经网) Caijing Net two days ago. The content of this report has been making quick rounds in various Chinese Internet forums. It was also picked by other news medias.

The Communist Party Group of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) is staying at the Friendship Hotel. The members of this group are mostly current and former chairmen of CPPCC at province, city and regional levels. They are all experienced officials. [Note: CPPCC is generally where officials are parked after losing or retiring from power (i.e., active party or government positions).] Since they are no longer in the administrative structure and are not constrained in what they can say as before, I had high hopes to dig out something interesting from them.

However, things didn’t exactly go as I planned. Even though they are no longer in power, they kept their arrogance dignity intact, and are simply inaccessible.

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Dalai Lama warns of looming violence

March 8th, 2009 247 comments

As reported by the Reuters, Dalai Lama just issued an ominous warning in Frankfurter Rundschau on Friday:

I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.

I suppose Dalai Lama was referring specifically to Han and Hui Chinese citizens, who were on the receiving end of  indiscriminate violences by Tibetan mobs freedom fighters a year ago. Leaving aside the plausibility question of Chinese citizens stocking up guns in China, I wonder why they would feel the need to arm themselves nowadays?

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Categories: General Tags: , ,

Chas Freeman's view of the dominant view on June 4th in China

March 7th, 2009 178 comments

This post is perhaps a bit ahead of its proper time since the 20th anniversary of June 4th is still about three months away. Nevertheless, the recent chatters in the blogsphere made me check out the background of Chas Freeman, Obama’s choice as the head of the National Intelligence Council, and his comment concerning June 4th. Well, it’s kinda difficult to keep on skipping through posts concerning Freeman, about whom I knew absolute nothing, when James Fallows decided to jump into the fray with a post titled “A fight I didn’t intend to get into: Chas Freeman“.

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Categories: General Tags: ,

Something to chuckle about #4

February 19th, 2009 57 comments

I suppose it is generally a good idea not to pick up a fight with someone agreeing with you. Or as Sherlock Holmes would have said, “it’s elementary”. So with that in mind, this following story probably sounds rather amusing. (H/T to Charles Liu)

The short version: Some Falun Gong followers literally stopped the press of a Canadian newspaper over a sympathetic article towards their cult spiritual movement.
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Space, the inaccessible frontier, or: how I learned to stop worrying about alian invasions and love the rockets

February 13th, 2009 3 comments

Something remarkable happened yesterday at about 780 kilometers above Siberia. Love was in the air vacuum at first sight encounter between a U.S. satellite, Iridium 33, and a Russian one, Kosmos-2251. And they immediately multiplied and prospered into at least 600 and increasingly counting descendants set to enjoying high flying life styles for years and decades to come.

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Categories: General Tags: ,

Have you seen these journalist/analyst types?

February 6th, 2009 44 comments

Since a recurring theme of discussion here is the truthfulness or truthiness of various reports and claims regarding China, I compiled a list of figures illustrating the very different styles practiced by some journalists and analysts. Can you attach some names to them?

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Categories: media Tags: ,

Something to chuckle about #3

February 5th, 2009 197 comments

One can learn something new everyday. I have known for a while that hanging a flag upside down is a sign of distress, but never realized it could be applied to the Union Jack until now. Apparently, the UK national flag can be distinguished in its orientation by observing the placement of the wider white stripes. Oh well, I feel sorry for the poor staff member who arranged the table for the ceremony with visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. One cannot help but imagine the symbolism of this gaffe.

uk-flag-upside-down
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A good title is half the battle

February 2nd, 2009 45 comments

I just saw this title from Reuters: China, US shout to be heard in dialogue of the deaf.

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Something to chuckle about #2

January 26th, 2009 27 comments

Apparently, at least one of the columnists at the Washington Post reads this blog. Sebastian Mallaby, a veteran from the Economist and contributor to Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Prospect, the National Interest, the New York Times, Policy Review, Slate and the New Republic, and specializing in globalization, trade, investment trends, international development and economic policy, has apparently taken my advice for Tim Butcher to heart. Mr. Mallaby decided to follow up with Tim Geithner’s recent and much discussed comment about China’s  “manipulation of currency” and penned a piece that’s not safe for your computer if you are drinking coffee while reading it.
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Translation: I am sorry, but I am not boycotting French goods

December 9th, 2008 70 comments

Note: This is a translation of an essay published in the Chinese Youth On-Line (中青在线). This translation is meant to bring to readers’ attention some of the diverse opinions publicly expressed in today’s China. I came across it because it was highlighted as the number one piece in Sina’s (新浪) opinion section.

[UPDATE]: ESWN also has a translation of this article and some more. Interestingly, the version translated at ESWN is from the author (廖保平) Liao Baoping’s blog directly. It is somewhat different than the one I found and contains some more colorful words. In particular, the Chinese Youth On-Line version misses one paragraph at the very end which sets the tone rather differently.

Xinhua reported the news of Sarkozy’s meeting with Dalai Lama in this way: “The French President Sarkozy, despite patient and repeated efforts [by the Chinese side], went ahead to meet with Dalai Lama on 6th. This was an unwise move that seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged the Sino-Franco relationship. The Chinese people’s reaction is evident in the form of angry calls on the Internet for boycotting French goods to defend our national dignity.”

I understand some of the emotions expressed online in China. And I wonder if this is going to result in pretests in the streets. But for me personally, I won’t boycott French goods.
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Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Something to chuckle about #1

December 9th, 2008 8 comments

Well, in an effort to introduce something lighthearted as far as China is concerned, I would like to start the first of a (hopefully) long list of humorous/amusing items. Andy Borowitz had just written a funny piece titled “China Buys Naming Rights to U.S.“, which I am pretty certain is completely made up. (H/T to China Hearsay)
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Remember the adage: "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence"?

November 27th, 2008 8 comments

In keeping with the theme of amusing news, let’s take a look at the translation provided in ESWN of a poem written by Chen Shuibian‘s to his wife from prison, after he was detained for allegedly (with his entire family) laundering bribes and embezzled money worth well north of millions in US dollars. Its literary quality is perhaps best summarized by this response from a well known cultural writer: “What kind of shit is this! Please don’t waste my time. Go waste someone else’s time!” Since then, an interesting conjecture surfaced, that Chen could be trying to sneak hidden instructions out of his prison cell through this poem. Read more…

Psst, Tim, it would catch more eyes if you claim China engineered the financial crisis

November 27th, 2008 30 comments

I just found out, via Andrew Sullivan’s blog, that Tim Butcher had penned a rather interesting article at the Prospect Magazine accusing China for provoking a new cycle of violence in Congo. Now, before people jump up and throw charges at me (i.e., you are being super sensitive again!), I just want to say that I am only sharing this with you for amusement. Really.
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Disgruntled political essayist sentenced to three years of international fame

November 22nd, 2008 133 comments

Chen Daojun (陈道军), a relatively obscure activist (or provocateur depending on one’s point of view) in China, was sentenced to three years in prison for “inciting subversion of state authority” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪) yesterday. Thus the Chinese government, quite rightfully described as clumsy and self-defeating in presenting itself, just launched someone into a career of fame and awards. Who wants to bet on the recipient of next year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

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Categories: General, News Tags: , ,

Good news about bad news

November 22nd, 2008 7 comments

According to Reuters, China is relaxing restrictions on the media to report “negative” news promptly and without clearance from the top. Could it be that some in the authority read what Roland had to say at ESWN regarding the pointlessness of competing with Chinese Internet users and bloggers?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Be aware of the danger of a foreign language

November 19th, 2008 21 comments

When one deals with a foreign language, there is always a chance to produce (sometimes hilarious) errors. This blog has cautioned readers against the danger of relying on automated translation services. Now it seems consulting with a human expert does not necessarily guard one from embarrassment either.

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China announces aggressive stimulus plan

November 9th, 2008 25 comments

I have expected some major efforts by the Chinese government to encourage internal economic development and consumption in the face of the global meltdown. In particular, I thought it would be the time to spread the benefits of infrastructure and its followup development to areas beyond the coastal areas. Nevertheless, I am surprised about the scale of stimulus package announced by Beijing. $586 billion is on a par with the $700 billion financial rescue plan passed in the U.S. But in terms of relative size and impact, the Chinese plan sounds much more impressive. That $700 billion is, after all, a rescue effort with modest effect at stimulating the economy. The real stimulus plan in the U.S., is yet to be figured out and waiting for Obama.

[Update] Here are some details of the Chinese stimulus plan, as reported in Chinese news media.

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Categories: News Tags:

An explanation for the financial crisis with a recycled joke

October 25th, 2008 6 comments

A friend directed me to this joke today. I vaguely remember hearing something similar years ago, but this version is now much more interesting because of a new/amended moral of the story, which addresses the Chinese investors but is perhaps just as relevant globally. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Tina Fey for Vice President

October 7th, 2008 9 comments

I had glanced over some news article titles/briefings over the last couple of days regarding Saturday Night Live’s parody of Sarah Palin, but didn’t check it out until reading about it in the Inside-Out China blog. I must say I agree with Xujun that Tina Fey is superb.  Hey, Senator McCain, are you sure you picked the right running mate? Read more…

The iPhone girl update: no one was fired for a "beautiful mistake"

August 27th, 2008 18 comments

I didn’t know anything about the iPhone Girl until reading her rumored firing at ESWN. The good news is that it was just a rumor.

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