From the Web

Danwei Picks: 2007-12-26

Danwei Picks is a daily digest of the "From the Web" links found on the Danwei homepage. A feed for the links as they are posted throughout the day is available at Feedsky (in China) or Feedburner (outside China).

Past catches up to former red guard leader: Xujun Eberlein at New America Media describes what Sun Binbin, aka Sun Yaowu, is doing today:

A month before the 114th birthday of Chairman Mao Zedong on December 26, a long forgotten photo of Mao with a young girl resurfaced on the Chinese Internet. It generated an instant furor around the girl.

It has been 41 years since then. She was 18 or 19 at the time, a senior student at the girls' school that was attached to Beijing Normal University. On August 18, 1966, she went to Tiananmen, as part of a delegation of Red Guards to be received by Mao. She was given the special honor of placing a Red Guard armband on Mao’s sleeve. As she did this, Mao asked her her name and she told him: Song Binbin. Loosely translated it means "gentle and refined." Mao had told her in a joking way, according to the photographer, that gentle was out, and "Yaowu" was in. "Yaowu" means "seeking armed conflict."


The Intel approach to toilet habits: The Peking Duck blog has a posted a photo of an amusing, well-drawn sign next to a urinal. In the comments sections of the post, someone has identified the location of the sign: inside an Intel factory in China.


Death and negligence on Christmas Eve: Adam Minter at Shanghai Scrap writes about a signal tower that fell off the roof of his building, carrying a worker with it:

At roughly 3:20 PM, Christmas Eve, I left my apartment at GaoAn Road apartment to go to the post office. But, as I completed the first of seven flights of stairs to the lobby and entrance of my building, I realized that I had forgotten the envelope that I needed to mail. So I backtracked, grabbed the envelope, and began descending, again when, suddenly, just above the fourth floor (I think), I heard a tremendous crash come through the walls of the stairwell. It sounded metallic and fierce, as if scaffolding had fallen.

Seconds later I turned the corner out of the stairwell and saw this wreckage in the front doorway of my building:


New oil refineries for Weihai and Kunming: Xinhua reports:

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the nation's largest oil producer, plans to build two refineries in Shandong and Yunnan to boost its capacity.

CNPC will build the Shandong project in the coastal city of Weihai, near the Qingdao refinery of the nation's largest refiner Sinopec, a company source told China Daily.

The Yunnan project will be located in Kunming, capital of the province, said the source, who declined to be named.

Each plant will have the capacity to process over 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day, he said.

Weihai has a port; Kunming is in the early stages of becoming the hub of China's land link with Southeast Asia, Burma and India.


The livelihood of Chinese scriptwriters: ESWN translates a Phoenix Weekly profile of Shi Kang (石康), a scriptwriter and author whose most recent project is the popular youth soap Struggle (奋斗) and its accompanying two-volume novelization:

Following the development of the film/television industry in mainland China, more and more scriptwriters came along. Scriptwriting became an extremely cheap form of labor. Shi Kong also saw that no matter how well he wrote the script and how well the drama series was received, he never got anything more from it. By this time, Shi Kong's fame came from his novels, and the book revenues became his principal source of income.

According to a mainland Chinese media study, the mainland Chinese scriptwriters earn about 5% to 10% of the total budget of a drama series. In Beijing, which is the major center of television and film production in the country, the typical payment to a scriptwriter is around 240,000 yuan. This figure includes certain big productions with tens of millions of yuan in investment. Many scriptwriters are also in this for the fame and not the money.

But more often, the rights of the mainland Chinese scriptwriters are not protected. Sometimes, they do not receive even their most basic payment. For a "veteran scriptwriter" such as Shi Kong, "it was not bad to receive 800,000 yuan." But for the lesser scriptwriters, their livelihoods are worse.


Scrap the death penalty?: John Kennedy at Global Voices Online translates some voices from recent netizen discussions on the death penalty.

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