Category Archives: News

China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-withholds-visas-nyt-bloomberg-reporters-21144608

This is apparently a continuation of an old story of how China is “expelling” foreign journalists en masse.  However, there are some conflicting details in the story itself.

“Withholding” visas means they accepted the applications, but won’t issue the the visas.  However the article later explained, “Chinese authorities had initially accepted resident journalist visa renewal applications from The Times’ reporters. But they stopped doing so — and in some cases returned applications to reporters — after the newspaper ran a report last month detailing ties between JPMorgan Chase and a consultancy in China run by Wen’s daughter.”

If they won’t accept the applications, or return the applications, that’s not “withholding” the visas.  The Applications were just REJECTED for some reason, usually technical.  As previous story on this noted, the Chinese government had explained that the applications were rejected for technical /formality reasons.

Continue reading China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

Is China Escalating Tensions in the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone?

Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea
Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea

Recently, one sees again a torrent of articles in the Western press about how China is escalating tensions in the the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone.   The response from the U.S. and its lackey Japan has been swift.  NYT reports:

China’s announcement appeared to be the latest step in what analysts have called a strategy to chip away at Japan’s claims of control of the islands. Japan has long maintained a similar air defense zone over them.

The Japanese foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, called the Chinese declaration a dangerous escalation that could lead to what many military analysts most fear in the tense standoff: a miscalculation or accident that could set off an armed confrontation and drag the United States into the conflict.

“It was a one-sided action and cannot be allowed,” Mr. Kishida told reporters, according to Japan’s Kyodo News. It could also “trigger unpredictable events,” he warned.

In a statement on Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the American government viewed the Chinese move “as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.” He also reaffirmed that the United States would stand by its security treaty obligations to aid Japan if it were attacked.

By setting up a competing air defense zone, China may be trying to show that its claim to the islands is as convincing as Japan’s, Japanese officials said. They said China appeared to have a similar objective last Thursday, when Chinese coast guard officers boarded a Chinese fishing boat near the islands.

Ahh … how one-sided and myopic is the NYT report (surprise!).

Peter Lee wrote a timely response to such shenanigan in the Asia Times today, which I quote in its entirety Continue reading Is China Escalating Tensions in the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone?

China Will Relax its One-Child Policy to Increase its Population Growth

1986 one-child poster
1986 one-child poster

The on-going Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee has handed down several important decisions recently.  One of them involves the relaxation of the one-child policy to spur China’s population growth.

Xinhua has a good report.  An excerpt is provided below:

BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — China will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child, according to a key decision issued on Friday by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The [change in policy is part of China’s continual adjustments in policies] step by step to promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China,” ….

To ensure coordinated economic and social development, the population size for China should be kept at about 1.5 billion, said Guo, citing the results of a study sponsored by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

China should keep its total fertility rate at around 1.8, and the current rate is between 1.5 to 1.6, allowing the country to maneuver its population policy, according to Guo. Continue reading China Will Relax its One-Child Policy to Increase its Population Growth

Typhoon Haiyan’s Destructive Path

Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban
Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

The news is still enfolding on the destruction Typhoon Haiyan – now barreling its towards Vietnam and on into southern China – left in the Philippines. For those with the means, it appears the best way to help for the public now is to donate money. Two organizations with the capacity to help on the ground are:

A look back at Hillary Clinton’s 2011 “Internet Freedom” speech

Still recall former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech on “Internet Freedom?” Our first reaction on this blog was that America wanted unfettered access to citizens around the world. From a propaganda perspective, that idea enables the U.S. State Department to bypass foreign governments in reaching their citizens directly. Clinton herself has said the Internet would be a more viable means to reach into certain countries than, say, Voice of America (VOA), which often gets its signals jammed. This is also good business for the likes of Google and other American Internet services companies. The more users on Google, the more advertising dollars. And, it was no surprise at the beginning of that speech, Clinton pointedly acknowledged contributions from Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt. She affectionately described Schmidt, “co-conspirator from time to time” for that policy formulation.
Continue reading A look back at Hillary Clinton’s 2011 “Internet Freedom” speech

Shadows of Censorship? Really???

public opinion analystTwo weeks back, Russia Today broke a story with the title “China employs 2 million analysts to monitor web activity.”  From that, we get a plethora of dark articles about how bad the Chinese government is.  For example, from the BBC, we get an article titled “China employs two million microblog monitors state media say“:

More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet.

China’s hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger.

Recent research suggested Chinese censors actively target social media. Continue reading Shadows of Censorship? Really???

Partner of Snowden journalist was detained for 9 hours & had his property seized for no reason

I think Citizens of the UK should start familiarizing themselves with the phrase “being invited for tea”  (请喝茶). Democracy at work, folks. Oh by the way, for those extolling the righteousness of “rule of law”, this is all legal under current British law.

EDIT: One more note, at least Chinese security doesn’t rob you of your video games when they invite you for tea.

Continue reading Partner of Snowden journalist was detained for 9 hours & had his property seized for no reason

Business Insider’s Reporting on China

On 13th Aug, 2013 I clicked on articles with China as a tag, http://www.businessinsider.com/category/china

This is what appeared as it was (no selection was done by me):

Rare Video Appears To Show A Public Execution In China

How The Emerging Markets Will Unravel As China Unwinds Its Debt

The Sex Lives Of Top Chinese Officials

How China’s Tax Structure Crushes The Poor

STUDY: There’s A Huge, $1 Trillion Hole In Chinese GDP

Expert: Dalai Lama’s Website Has Been Hacked And It’s Infecting People’s Computers Continue reading Business Insider’s Reporting on China

On Yemen drone strikes and U.S. mainstream and social media

For those of you who pay attention to the news, the United States have stepped up drone strikes recently, including many in Yemen. It is interesting to observe how the U.S. and British media report on such strikes and their damages. CNN headlined those killed as, “militants.” Reuters, “suspected militants.” Bloomberg, “Al-Qaeda Suspects.” U.K’s BBC, “militants.”

Except, according to Press TV, an Iranian-based station, “US drones kill mostly civilians in Yemen.”

So, what is the real truth? Difficult to know isn’t it? However, as FAIR.org recently argued, the U.S. mainstream media are basically letting U.S. government officials decide who the casualties are and never bother to find out: Continue reading On Yemen drone strikes and U.S. mainstream and social media

Other Snowden Relevations

I wish to make a few observations about Edward Snowden from a slightly different angle.

Initially, there were legitimate queries concerning the apparent ease with which he copied highly confidential information, his background, and the escape. They seemed sensible questions, without the fingerprints of Disinformation Agents. But by now, it must be quite clear that Snowden is genuine. 

Most of the operational puzzles can be answered if we let go of one assumption: That the US secret machinery, powerful as it is, must be competent like what we see in movies. People who have worked for major multinationals might agree that the functioning of huge organisations is appallingly less coherent and rational than what outsiders might perceive. A simple example: The computer servers of most companies, big or small, are maintained by an outside contractor or a relatively junior staff member. No highly paid senior person is willing — or capable of — maintaining the system. Now, unless top executives exchange confidential correspondence by hand-written notes, relatively junior technicians could access them if they want to, including an audit trail of the Chairman’s internet activities during office hours. Continue reading Other Snowden Relevations

Finally, a “cogent” argument why Edward Snowden is a traitor to America

At this point, the dominant narrative in the American media on Edward Snowden is undoubtedly him being a traitor. The reason for a turn for the ‘worse’ is Snowden revealing to the world, especially to China and Hong Kong, how the United States hack their universities, public officials, and tapping into Pacnet, the major backbone of the Internet for the whole Asia region and stealing SMS and other communications. Kurt Eichenwald argued recently on that point, and major American reporters on Twitter are lauding that line of thinking as “cogent” and a “must read.” The idea there is that NSA’s ability to spy and hack the Chinese (and Russians and other countries the United States may get into conflict with) is severely compromised. If Snowden had kept to whistle-blowing only on the surveillance of Americans, the debate about whether he is a traitor would have continued. Since he divulged American spying and hacking capabilities to potential enemies, he has become a traitor. I buy that argument. Continue reading Finally, a “cogent” argument why Edward Snowden is a traitor to America

America’s Free Media Self-Censors Snowden Asylum Letter

You’d think after all the “traitor” media narrative and digging hard for evidence of Edward Snowden’s espionage link with China, Snowden’s own words on why he is seeking political asylum would make the news – well guess again:

Google News search using Snowden aslym request text

Continue reading America’s Free Media Self-Censors Snowden Asylum Letter

NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf

Chen GuangchengThe American Left hates China, the Right hates China, and Chen Guangcheng is stuck in the middle of two very passionate groups gunning to be the thought leader of America’s democracy battles and the war on China’s soul (or lack of):

– Last week, Chen Guangcheng accused NYU of kicking him out due to pressure from the Chinese government over NYU’s Shanghai campus plan.
Continue reading NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf

Opinion: China’s Acquisition of Smithfield Is A National Security Threat To America

[Please note this OpEd does not reflect the opinion of Hidden Harmonies, or even the author. It is a summarized survey of media coverage and netter comments in America.]

After getting their communist hands caught in the cookie jar with cyber espionage and covert theft of our technology and IP, the sneaky Communist Chinese are shifting tactics and resorting to overt acquisition of our safe, efficient pig husbandry and processing technologies to save their crumbling communist pork industry rife with disease, contamination, poison, censorship, lack of freedom.

They have to be stopped. Write to your congressman, boycott Communist-China-made products and turncoats who sell out to the communists. Burn all your possessions contaminated with Communist-China-made parts, like you and your neighbor’s cars (especially if they are ChiComs.) The evil Communist Chinese even force-feed Tibetan babies rotten pork (Tibetans abstain from pork as muslins) while wrapping them in flea blankets infested with smallpox.

Communist China is evil, we are great, USA, USA, USA…

Signed,

Freedom loving, patriotic but not nationalistic, America

A proper perspective on Sino-Russian relations

In light of President Xi’s latest visit to Russia, it would be appropriate to provide a nuanced perspective to the current state of Sino-Russian relations. It is understandably difficult for the western media to deliver this kind of nuance; this difficulty stems not only from western biases against both Russia and China that obstructs objective analysis, but also the complications inherent in bilateral relations. For the sake of brevity, I will make just two observations which is inadequately emphasized in modern-day discourse on the Sino-Russian bilateral relationship – incentives for cooperation and Russia’s true value as a “comprehensive” strategic partner. Continue reading A proper perspective on Sino-Russian relations

CNN and Financial Times spin news of China topping U.S. in importing oil as shake up to geopolitics of natural resources

CNN recently repeated an article from Financial Times on the news China has temporarily overtaken the United States as the world’s largest net oil importer. In spinning this news, their narrative went as follows:

“China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest net importer of oil, in a generational shift that will shake up the geopolitics of natural resources.”

First of all, China offers a lesson to the world, and especially to the NATO countries. You can become the world’s #1 net importer of oil without invading and occupying countries. You simply trade. China just did it. And, the last time I checked, it doesn’t appear China is upsetting any geopolitics. Is China kicking out American bases anywhere for oil? Nope. America may withdraw some ships from the region because America is becoming less dependent on Middle East oil, but that is on America’s own accord. So, all we have here is CNN and Financial Times agitating fear within the American public; corporate media and military industrial complex on display.

Xian Y-20’s Maiden Flight

Despite all the flaws of the US aviation industry (as illustrated by the 787 post below), the US and the West remains many years ahead of China in just about every part of the aviation value chain. However, this gap just got smaller yesterday with the maiden flight of the Y-20, a Chinese counterpart to the Russian Il-76 and the US C-17. Upon entering service, the Y-20 and variations thereof will have three primary civil and military applications: long-range heavy airlift, mid-air refueling, and airborne early warning & control.

Bravo to the engineers, scientists, management, and support staff of the Xian Aircraft Company.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTA3NTE3Njg4.html

 

Netters Speak Up Against Media Narrative On “Chinese iPhone Shopper Tasered” Story

[This is a follow-up to DeWang’s Chinese iPhone shopper tasered and tackled story]

So being a repeat customer of Apple, or going to Apple Store to pick up products you already paid for online, may be dangerous to your health? Perhaps only if you are Chinese like Ms. Li, and don’t expect to receive much sympathy from the media. The news coverage this poor woman received so far is decidedly biased. Many sensationalized Nashua police department’s announcement she had $16,000 on her, in order to make the “black market scalper” smear stick. Fox News even gone as far as questioning if the woman was stealing American technology for China (note to Cavuto, these iPhones are made in China, and are available for sale in China.)

However, one can take comfort in the fact netters around the world have responded very differently than our supposedly impartial media. Here are some reader comments around the world, in defense of Ms. Li:
Continue reading Netters Speak Up Against Media Narrative On “Chinese iPhone Shopper Tasered” Story

iPhone shopper, Li Xiaojie, stunned by Taser and tackled to the ground by two Nashua police officers

In all likelihood, Li Xiaojie was buying iPhones to bring back to China for resale, or as she claims, for relatives (and friends). When the Apple store manager in the New Hampshire mall refused to sell her more than two, she argued other customers were allowed. [Update: See Charles Liu comment below, Apple has lifted the number of phones restriction for the holidays.] Details beyond that are still a bit sketchy, but what caused the headlines in the U.S. press is that this tiny woman was stunned by Taser and then tackled to the ground by two Nashua police officers. All of that took place in front of her 12 year-old daughter. Brutality? No doubt about it in my mind. Court date is set for next month.


Continue reading iPhone shopper, Li Xiaojie, stunned by Taser and tackled to the ground by two Nashua police officers

The Political Olympics

As the Olympics wind down in London, there can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Olympics is about politics.  How else can one explain the string of smears against Chinese athletes and their performances – coming from unexpected sources such as the prestigious journal of Nature – all in the name of “science and objectivity” – as well as expected sources such as the NY Times – where personal tragic setbacks such as Liu Xiang’s can be made into a kind of political statement?

Nature’s article on Ye Shiwen was especially troublesome.  The editors of Nature wrote:

At the Olympics, how fast is too fast? That question has dogged Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen after the 16-year-old shattered the world record in the women’s 400-metre individual medley (400 IM) on Saturday. In the wake of that race, some swimming experts wondered whether Ye’s win was aided by performance-enhancing drugs. She has never tested positive for a banned substance and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday declared that her post-race test was clean. The resulting debate has been tinged with racial and political undertones, but little science. Nature examines whether and how an athlete’s performance history and the limits of human physiology could be used to catch dopers.

Nature then went through the “science” of how unusual, super-human Ye’s performance and how a clean drug test during competition does not necessarily rule out the possibility of doping. Continue reading The Political Olympics

Letter to mom by then 9 years-old badminton superstar, Lin Dan (林丹)

Gold Medalist Lin Dan at the London 2012 Games (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Today, badminton superstar Lin Dan (林丹) triumphed over Malaysian friend Lee Chong Wei (李宗伟) for gold at the London 2012 Olympics. This is one of the most highly anticipated match-ups at the London games as both athletes have faced each other at major competitions in recent years, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics finals. In both Olympics, Lee has been Malaysia’s first gold medal hopeful in the country’s history. Earlier in the year at the 2012 London Open, Lee lost again to Lin, but it was due to injury. Badminton fans around the world, especially in Asia, adore them. Knowing the weight on Lee’s shoulders and his injuries, Chinese fans had a soft spot while watching him live. It was a nail-biting show for the Malaysian fans too. Lee took the first set at 21-15. During the second set, Lin over-powered, forcing Lee to give up hustling and instead conserving his energy for a final round of show-down. And, a show-down it was; the third set was neck-in-neck until Lin triumphed at 21 over Lee’s 19. So, who exactly is this Lin Dan? His letter home when he was a little boy said a lot. Continue reading Letter to mom by then 9 years-old badminton superstar, Lin Dan (林丹)

Mighty Gears Found Around Olympic Venues in London as Olympics Near

As DeWang busies himself shooting lilies and other flowers around Shanghai, I think people ought to check out some of the pictures of heavy duty military gears around Olympic Venues in London as Olympics Near.  Truly amazing stuffs!  However it’s not just the serious gears, but also the many precautions that have been taken – including the deployment of of an army in London that is bigger than the one Britain has in Afghanistan, the use of orders used to pre-emptively ban protests, the “total policing” of all Olympics and surrounding areas, the training of aggressive goons that double as security guards, etc.  I’m sure they are all necessary. The duty to defend humanity’s right to a Free, Happy, and Festive Olympics deserves nothing less…

 

 

CCTV America reports: “The rise of Asian Americans”

A recent study conducted by PEW Research has found that Asian immigrants have now overtaken Hispanics as the fastest growing immigrant population coming into America. For them, they still largely believe in the American dream: the land of opportunity. (Though, interestingly, Joseph Stiglitz recently argued the American dream is increasingly becoming a myth.) The truth is skilled immigrants are still highly sought in America, as this report found immigrants account for a large share of patents granted. Fruit and vegetable immigrant pickers are also sought in America, because typical Americans are not interested in such jobs. Those two extremes characterize what the “American dream” is all about today. When James Fallows recently spoke nonsense about this topic (and others), we took his arguments to task. (Warning: clicking on ‘more’ will cause embedded video below to play automatically.) Continue reading CCTV America reports: “The rise of Asian Americans”

Google’s Project Glass

The following is a live demo of Google’s Project Glass at the Moscone Center in San Francisco earlier today, with Google co-founder Sergey Brin hosting. (Click here for another demo showing how Google services are integrated.) It’s essentially computer in a pair of glasses, able to see what you see and meshes your smartphone’s display into it. It’s not that the technology is new, but the fact that Google is bringing it to the masses and integrating with Google Hangout and other of its services that make it ground-breaking. Corporations with deep pockets can make big bets like this. Being an industry leader and having reaped so much profit gives you opportunity to invest. While we don’t like Google’s politics, as a technology and Internet services behemoth, it’s an amazing company.


Continue reading Google’s Project Glass

神舟九号发射圆满成功全程

The following video footage is the successful launch of Shenzhou-9 (神舟九号), carrying China’s first female astronaut, LIU Yang (刘洋), among a three person crew. One of their missions is to perform manual space dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab. Back in November 2011, China achieved space docking between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 with ground control. For more coverage, check out Youku.com’s dedicated page.

China deserves criticism for lack of rule of law in Brit sexual assault case

Brit visitor beaten after caught attempting to rape a Chinese woman in Beijing
Remember this pervert who was caught trying to rape a Chinese woman in Beijing in early May? According to this People’s Daily report, that Brit was deported yesterday.

What happened to rule of law? If the damning evidence is not enough to convict this perp, then let him be. Otherwise sentence him to whatever punishment he deserves. Deporting him now that the whole of China has seen what he has done and about to do next shows that the Chinese government is spineless, and more importantly, lacking respect for the rule of law. To the world, criminality seems to be negotiable in China. Wrong message, China. That is definitely not what China is aspiring to. Big mistake.

Am I missing something?

Remember Michael P. Fay? Even a tiny city state of Singapore could persist in her rule of law despite pressures from former President Clinton.

The person responsible for making the deportation decision must justify to the Chinese public why there was no trial.

[Update June 14, 2012]
See reader William’s insightful comments below.

American Public Media’s Marketplace casts doubt on China’s investment in Mongolia, what about America’s in Canada?

In this American Public Media’s Marketplace report (which I heard on NPR yesterday), reporter Rob Schmitz casts some doubts about China’s investments in Mongolia (podcast segment starts at 10:40 mark), especially with respect to recently discovered coal deposits. Of course, this is the same Rob Schmitz who exposed the Mike Daisey lies about working conditions at Foxconn. Schmitz is one of the best Western reporters covering China right now. I love listening to Marketplace and appreciate his work. Continue reading American Public Media’s Marketplace casts doubt on China’s investment in Mongolia, what about America’s in Canada?