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July 31, 2008

Swimming with Mao

A non-fiction memoir essay by Xujun Eberlein, author of a new short story collection called Apologies Forthcoming, about the death of her teenage sister during the Cultural Revolution.

One world, two Internets

From The New York Times:

The International Olympic Committee failed to press China to allow fully unfettered access to the Internet for the thousands of journalists arriving here to cover the Olympics, despite promising repeatedly that the foreign news media could 'report freely' during the Games, Olympic officials acknowledged Wednesday.

July 30, 2008

China Media Timeline

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Danwei's timeline of media and visual culture in the People's Republic of China from 1976-2008. We welcome readers' comments and suggestions and will continue to edit and update the timeline on a monthly basis.

Clearing the air: multimedia site on China's environment

A multimedia site on China's environment produced by the Asia Society that includes a video, a compilation of statistics, a photo montage, and recent news on air quality in Beijing.

NPR asks 'Whatever Happened to the 'Genocide Olympics'?'

Last Monday, NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook did an hour-long show on whether the coming Olympics has changed the state of human rights in China, and how those changes measure up with activists' expectations. They introduce their show as follows:

It is almost show time in Beijing for the Olympic Games; China fought hard to get the games, and has spent at a level without precedent on preparations that have remade its capitol and wide swaths of the country.

Many hoped the world spotlight on the Olympics would also remake Chinese policy on human rights issues from Darfur to Tibet to its own legal system.Now, with the opening ceremony in Beijing just days away, August 8, we're asking how those efforts have gone. What that leverage has meant.

Beijing on the eve of the Olympics

As August 8 approaches, it's time for Beijing residents to decide where they'll spend the games; stay in the city and experience the Olympics first-hand, or escape to someplace quiet and wait out the three weeks of madness in relative calm? Yuan Yue, a consultant and columnist, has come up with justifications for either decision.

Youku video buzz

A round up of recent Youku videos by Kaiser Kuo. This month's 'Video Pick of the Month' is called No Legs, but Lots of Heart and Great Pipes. The round up also highlights this month's top videos in the following categories: 'Youkulest', 'This Month's Most Viewed', 'Hot Topics: Most Talked-About', and 'Viral Ad of the Month'.

Lame duck president meets has been dissidents

From The New York Times:

President Bush held private talks with five prominent Chinese dissidents on Tuesday, and urged China's foreign minister to relax restrictions on human rights, as part of an intensifying White House effort to put pressure on Beijing before Mr. Bush travels there in a little over a week for the summer Olympic Games.

Mr. Bush received the dissidents -- Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Sasha Gong and Bob Fu -- in the White House residence, where he 'assured them that he will carry the message of freedom as he travels to Beijing'...

253 million Chinese Internet users

CNNIC, the state-owned organization that put out official figures about China's Internet, has released a new report. Kaiser Kuo translates and comments on the news numbers:

First, the big number: 253 million Internet users. That of course puts China over the top to claim the number 1 spot [most internet users of any country in the world].

Rain cleans up Beijing air, officials relieved

The China Daily encourages the weather to behave better:

Beijing finally cooled on Tuesday as a brief heavy shower embraced the city around noon after a hot and humid week.

The rain, though lasting only 10 minutes, will hopefully help restore confidence in the city's air quality, according to Guo Hu, Beijing Meteorological Observatory director...

...His confidence was shared by many as the city goes through every detail to fulfill the dream of billions on its 10-day countdown to the August Olympics.

Shanghainese sniff at bumpkin Olympics

Adam Minter looks at why Olympic ticket sales are slow in Shanghai:

In a related sense, slow ticket sales highlight the widely held belief - among most Shanghainese - that they could hold a better, more 'international' Olympics than the one being put on by those backcountry Beijingers.

Beijing air pollution: it's not the cars

On the Huffington Post, Deborah Seligsohn writes:

Contrary to popular perception both inside and outside China, Beijing's air pollution problem is not primarily due to increases in personal vehicle use.

Factories and trucks are apparently the problem.

July 29, 2008

Kunming jittery after 3rd bus blast

From GoKunming.com:

One week to the day after two bus bombs killed two and injured 14 on two number 54 buses on Renmin Xi Lu in Kunming, the city was on edge once more as rumors of another explosion Monday night - this time a K2 bus - spread like wildfire via text messages and phone calls.

Liu Xiang's 'parents' star in TV commercials

From an article in The Wall Street Journal called 'Athletes' Parents Get Chance to Be Stars' by Geoffrey A.Fowler:

In a marketplace already saturated with images of sports in action, highlighting athletes' parents is helping a few Chinese advertisers stand out from the chest-thumping crowd. Coca-Cola has aired a TV ad featuring parents of famous athletes such as diver Guo Jing Jing. They ride motorcycles, parachute in from the skies above and go through other extremes to be with their kids. Johnson & Johnson has run ads profiling the mothers of two champion athletes.

There's a twist to some of the ads, though: the 'parents' are actors. While Mr. Liu's parents have said in past interviews that their son liked to drink milk when he was growing up, they're not actually the people shown in the family portrait of the Satine ad. Instead, actors who look somewhat like Mr. Liu's parents, filled in, with the approval of Mr. Liu and his parents.

400 meter long Olympic Convention Center

Details about an Olympic building that rarely gets noticed, by Mirlin168:

Standing 400m wide ... and occupying an area of over 220,000 square meters, you would think the Beijing Olympic Green Convention Center would be the architectural centerpiece of the Olympic Boulevard.

But I bet you've never even noticed it.

American Apparel to open in Beijing

From Stylites:

The other day, I helped carry boxes at the new American Apparel (AA) at the Sanlitun Village. The new shop is scheduled to open before the Olympics along with another branch at the World Trade Center. These will be the first two AAs in China.

There's a previous Danwei story about American Apparel in China here.

Outrageous prices for Olympic Village Internet

Prices for Internet access for journalists at the Olympic Village, via Andrew Lih:

* 512/512 connection: 7,712.50 yuan (USD 1,131.20)

* 1M/512 connection: 9,156.25 yuan (USD 1,342.95)

* 2M/512 connection 11,700 yuan (USD 1,716.05)

One year in jail for posting porn

From the Forgotten Archipelagoes blog:

Three days ago Zhang Xuewen, a Beijing webmaster, was sentenced to one year fixed term imprisonment on charges of spreading obscene articles. To increase his website's traffic and earn ad revenue, Zhang provided his visitors with several pornographic pictures and movies.

Zhejiang may legalize private commercial lending

From The China Daily:

As the president of a small guarantee company in Wenzhou--which like many so-called guarantee firms in this East China province acts in fact as an illegitimate private lender--Fang Peilin travels between a local banking regulator and a financial affairs office every day, asking about news about microcredit companies that will reportedly be allowed to set up.

Many companies are aspiring to become among the first microcredit firms in China, says Fang, who owns the company called Fangxing. 'For enterprises like us, the best way is to seek a place in the first batch, because future policies might become more stringent regarding illegitimate private lending.'

Third bus explosion in Yunnan

Tania Branigan in The Guardian:

Chinese media are playing down reports of a third bus blast in southwestern Kunming tonight - exactly a week after two explosions killed two people in the city.

A witness said he heard a loud blast shortly before 9pm local time and saw police and ambulance staff gathered around a damaged vehicle only 200 metres from the scene of one of the previous incidents.

July 28, 2008

The epic quest for an Olympic ticket

The 250 thousand remaining tickets to the Olympic games went on sale at nine am last Friday morning at various venues around Beijing. Determined citizens camped out for days to secure their place in line.

Kidnapped Chinese employee set free in Afghanistan

A Chinese national working for a Chinese company who was kidnapped by unknown militants in the central Afghan province of Wardak last month was set free Sunday, said the Chinese embassy in Kabul.

Three official protest zones for Olympics

Beijing set up three special demonstration zones for protesters to express themselves during the Olympic Games.

Hero lies to get medical coverage

A man who was heralded as a hero for saving a woman from being kidnapped was found to have lied to the police.

Obama's half-brother runs company in China

Thomas Crampton reports:

Barack Obama has a half-brother living in Shenzhen who runs an Internet company that helps Chinese companies export to the US.

John Pomfret's cold water

Former Beijing bureau chief of The Washington Post John Pomfret pours cold water on the idea of China as a super power.

More traffic restrictions for Beijing?

From The China Daily:

More vehicles could go off the roads and all construction sites and some more factories in Beijing and its neighboring areas could be closed temporarily if the capital's air quality deteriorates during the Olympic Games.

The Beijing authorities are likely to announce the special measures for the Aug 8-24 Games soon, the city's environment authority said yesterday.

Li Xin, a senior engineer who has drawn up the plan for the Beijing Environmental Protection Buearu, said: 'We will implement an emergency plan 48 hours in advance if the air quality deteriorates during the Aug 8-24 Games.'

July 25, 2008

How soccer explains China

Xu Guoqi in The Washington Post:

The real metric by which China judges itself against the rest of the world isn't the discus or the decathlon. It's not even our record-beating economic growth rate or our postmodern skylines. It's soccer. And when it comes to our beloved sport, China is not just the sick man of Asia. It's the sick man of the world.

Tax evasion probe for Danone's China chief

From The Guardian:

Shanghai's tax bureau will investigate Groupe Danone SA's China chief executive for suspected tax evasion, a bureau official said on Thursday, adding to a series of tax probes and lawsuits embroiling the French food giant and its estranged Chinese partner Wahaha.

The official Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources, that the tax bureau had already started a probe against Qin Peng, who had received more than 60 million yuan ($8.8 million) in remuneration from Danone since 1996.

253 million Internet users, 107 million bloggers in China

From China Web2.0 Review:

According to the [new CNNIC] report, by June 2008, there are 253 million Internet users in China, making China the World's largest Internet market by users...

...CNNIC said that over 107 million users in China own blogs/spaces

City of the past, city of the future

Daily Telegraph correspondent Richard Spencer's blogs about Beijing and Jasper Becker's new history of the city, City of Everlasting Tranquillity:

Modern Beijing, Becker notes, is an attempt to realise Le Corbusier's dreams. 'Just as Le Corbusier wished, the inhabitants no longer live in individual houses with private courtyards but in immense collective housing projects.'

July 24, 2008

More pre-olympic racial profiling

In Shanghai, a document entitled 'Safety measures for the tenants of Tomorrow Square for the Olympic period' was posted in a building just off People's Square. The Opposite End of China comments on the racial profiling directives in the document originally pointed out by Shanghaiist. See the Shanghaiist article here.

UCLA's pocket-sized US-China Media Brief

UCLA's Asian American studies center has published a 'US-China Media Brief', a brochure with statistics and concise explanations of major Sino-American issues, including sections on the economy, trade, the environment, and human rights.

Policeman's english lessons

The Wall Street Journal presents a scan of an English language training booklet published by the Beijing Public Security Bureau and distributed to help police officers with their English. It includes instructions on how to have English conversations like the following:

Police: Someone reported you had a bomb here. We're here to search your room. Foreigner: Nonsense. I'm working as a cook. Why would I keep a bomb? Go ahead and search. Police: Stay where you are while we are searching. Foreigner: Ok. I'm an honest man. I can only make Indian pan cake. I've never seen a bomb. Who gave you this time?

The mighty FUWA-TRON!

A toy company inspired by a blogger's drawing has released a fuwa-inspired transformer action figure: 'With our powers combined, I am FUWA-TRON!'

July 23, 2008

Joost, TOM Group launches joint venture

From Reuters:

Internet television service Joost and Chinese media conglomerate TOM Group will launch a joint venture on Wednesday to court viewers in China, even as the government tightens restrictions on such services.

Angry youth: China's "neocon nationalists"

In The New Yorker, Evan Osnos looks at rising nationalism amongst young Chinese. Specifically, he profiles a young man named Tang Jie whose nationalistic video was watched more than a million times after it was posted in the weeks following the riots in Lhasa and the resulting 'biased' western coverage.

When people began rioting in Lhasa in March, Tang followed the news closely. As usual, he was receiving his information from American and European news sites, in addition to China's official media. Like others his age, he has no hesitation about tunnelling under the government firewall...

...He's baffled that foreigners might imagine that people of his generation are somehow unwise to the distortions of censorship.

'Because we are in such a system, we are always asking ourselves whether we are brainwashed,' he said. 'We are always eager to get other information from different channels.' Then he added, 'But when you are in a so-called free system you never think about whether you are brainwashed.'

Coal crunch, power cuts to follow?

From Caijing:

Rising coal prices are aggravating a power shortage in China that's more serious than expected - and likely to worsen soon.

This echoes a recent Financial Times report: China on brink of electricity shortfall.

Interview with Roland Soong of ESWN

The Comme les Chinois blog has published a transcript of a long interview with ESWN's one man media and translation machine Roland Soong.

3 official protest zones for Olympics

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games has set up three official protest zones for people who wish to 'express their ideas' in public during the Games.

One zone is inside Ritan Park.

Millionaires and blood on the floor

Guan Yi has one of the largest collections of Chinese contemporary art in the world. He is now developing plans to build an art museum and sculpture park on a 16.5 acre plot of land in Beijing. Also, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art just previewed its new show entitled 'Our Future--the Guy and Miriam Ullens Foundation Collection'; Shanghai Eye reviews the show and describes its (rather eventful sounding) opening.

Baidu plots to conquer music industry

An article by Zhang Zhiyuan, translated and introduced by Maths of the Music 2.0 blog, on Baidu's ploy to sow mistrust amongst labels based on the 'Kill 3 Generals with 2 Peaches' strategy.

Long Hair Drama, by Zhang Lijia

Zhang Lijia is an author and journalist who spent most of the 1980s as a worker in a missile factory in Nanjing. Read an excerpt from her new book 'Socialism is great!' A Worker's Memoir of the New China.

July 22, 2008

Mr Wu and Family, by Pallavi Aiyar

Pallavi Aiyar has been the Beijing correspondent for Indian newspaper The Hindu, and has been living in Beijing since 2002. Harper Collins India recently published her book about about her experiences called Smoke and Mirrors

Nitpicking Chinese media

By David Bandurski at the China Media Project:

In a speech made before thousands of swimmers ventured across the Pearl River on Saturday, [Guangzhou] Mayor Zhang Guangning (张广宁) encouraged more media coverage of environmental problems in the Pearl River Delta. He said: 'The more the media nitpick, the more we can get people behind the effort to clean up the Pearl River.'

Why is Anna Kournikova on the cover of SI China?

From China Sports Today:

'Three weeks before Beijing hosts the Olympics, two weeks after Zheng Jie stormed Wimbledon, and the same week that Yao Ming returned to action with the Chinese national team, Sports Illustrated China put on its cover a tennis player who hasn't played a professional match in four years and never won a Grand Slam.'

How to interact with foreigners? Govt. explains dos and donts

The blog Peaceful Rise observes:

'A new series of posters on the neighborhood propaganda bulletin boards about etiquette to be observed during the Olympics...[includes] one poster with a list of rules for how to act around foreigners. Most delightful was a list of eight questions Chinese are not to ask us, which if observed, would leave these curious and enthusiastic hosts with essentially nothing with which to make conversation.'

Beijing prepares: a photography series

With only three weeks left to go, The Boston Globe has a series of 24 photos of China's capital preparing itself.
With only three weeks left to go, The Boston Globe has a series of 24 photos of China's capital preparing itself.

Rolling Stone's McCain cartoon should offend us?

Newsbuster's Tom Blumerblog points out a cartoon recently published in Rolling Stone magazine that depicts McCain being tortured in a bamboo cage by Obama, Clinton and Bush. He is shocked this cartoon did not elicit 'waves of denunciations.'

'You might further think that giving McCain's three torturers stereotypically exaggerated Asian features would only further fuel the outrage. Sorry to disappoint you, but the cartoon involved appeared last month in Rolling Stone. As far as I can tell, what you are about to see has produced not a single ripple of protest.'

Govt. sets up unit to protect migrant workers

From The China Daily:

The central government has set up a special department to safeguard the rights of migrant workers, help them get training and ensure safe working conditions.

The aim of the department of migrant workers' affairs, under the newly formed Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, is to achieve social harmony.

It will help the workers get their wages in time, sign labor contracts with employers and get proper training, as well as work for their social security. Arranging for large-scale flow of laborers will be part of its job too.

July 21, 2008

EU bans Peking Duck

Peking Duck could now be forced into extinction in the UK by an EU ban on the ovens traditionally used to prepare it.

Diaoyutai State Guesthouse faces court fines

The Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in western Beijing incurred a fine of 100,000 yuan (about 14,300 U.S. dollars) for its failure to cooperate with a police investigation.

From Delhi to Dongcheng

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Pallavi Aiyar, Beijing correspondent for The Hindu newspaper, answers questions from Danwei about India and China. Also on Danwei, an extract from Aiyar's book Smoke and Mirrors: Mr Wu and Family.

Bus bombings in Kunming

From Go.Kunming.com: Two dead, 14 injured in Kunming bus explosions.

Bloggers take stand against web activist's arrest

On Global Voices, John Kennedy reports on the bloggers who are protesting against the arrest for 'illegal possession of state secrets' of Sichuan activist Huang Qi.

Chinese exceptionalism

An essay on Fools' Mountain blog about why Chinese culture makes Chinese people behave differently from Westerners.

Russia gives islands back to China

From The China Daily:

Russia will soon return 174 sq km of territory on the northeast border to China, ending more than 40 years of negotiations.

The two countries will sign an agreement to this effect during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's two-day visit to Beijing that starts today.

According to the agreement to be signed, Russia will return Yinlong Island (Tarabarov Island) and half of Heixiazi Island (Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island).

The islands are at the confluence of the Heilongjiang and the Wusulijiang rivers that serve as the natural border between the two countries.

July 18, 2008

China promulgates safety statute for its army

Hu Jintao, chairman of China's Central Military Commission, has approved a set of regulations designed to strengthen safety measures in the People's Liberation Army.

Buffalo BMW protest

Disgruntled Chinese BMW owners staged protests against the car maker's unsatisfactory after sales service.

A court house for the Olympics

The Olympic Village People's Court is a Beijing court, specially set up to deal with Olympic legal issues.moved into hih tech new digs.

Beijing architecture fest

A round up of recent articles about Beijing's new architecture.

Digital nationalism: more bark than bite

Li Datong at Open Democracy:

The latest cyber-assault on a western target suggests that the super-patriotism of China's 'angry youth' may be less substantial or enduring than it can appear.

Not enough electricity for China?

In The Financial Timesby Jamil Anderlini and Geoff Dyer:

China faces its worst power shortage in at least four years as soaring coal prices and government-set electricity tariffs force dozens of small power plants to shut down rather than face mounting losses.

Nearly half of China's provinces have started to ration electricity as the country enters the peak summer season, facing what analysts describe as its worst coal shortage.

Beijing new subway lines open this weekend

The China Daily reports:

The new subway Line 10, with air-conditioned and spacious compartments, will open this weekend.

A 4.3-km length of the Olympic line and a shuttle train between Dongzhimen and the airport terminals will also open for test runs at the same time. They will extend Beijing's underground railway to 200 km.

July 17, 2008

China's GDP growth 10.4%, inflation 7.9%

This Chinese news story on Xinhua notes that China's GDP growth in the first half of 2008 was 10.4% while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) went up by 7.9%.

For some reason, the CPI figures are not included in Xinhua's English version of the article.

The story behind the closed doors of Maggie's

On the Newsweek blog, Jonathan Ansfield has written about the closure of Maggie's, Beijing's infamous meeting place for entrepreneurial young Mongolian ladies and lusty expatriate men who favor big belt buckles and tucked in polo shirts:

Whatever the substance of its much-discussed police connections, the 'protective umbrella' of the local Public Security Bureau has kept Maggie's covered, along with countless Chinese take-out places of a similar nature.

Except not during the prelude to the Beijing Olympics. In late March, police moved in on Maggie's on orders from top Public Security authorities in the capital, and abruptly closed it down, say sources briefed by local police on the situation...

The turbulent pull of African politics

The Economist has published an opinion piece on July 11 China's veto (together with Russia) against an American-led resolution in the U.N. calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe. The sting is in the last sentence:

Zimbabwe may well remind China that it is plying choppy waters in Africa. It will not be able to ignore the domestic politics of its friends there forever.

July 16, 2008

The mark of the gentleman

Fool's Mountain blog has posted a collection of calligraphy by Chinese leaders from Sun Yat-sen to Mao to Deng.

NOlympics T-shirt

From Global Voices:

Always a cynic and hardly a hater, humor blogger Wang Xiaofeng posted a picture of a black T-shirt with 'NOlympics' on the front with the title 'noise games', a play on the Chinese word for the Olympic games.

The Securolympics: record breaking security

With new toys and rigorously trained personnel, Beijing's security teams should be well prepared to beat records at their own set of Olympic events.

Beijing tourist numbers down

From Tim Johnson's blog:

In August 2007, Beijing received 420,000 overseas visitors.

For this August, one would reasonably think the figure would go way up because of the Olympic Games Aug 8-24. In fact, it may not bump up at all.

At a press conference this morning, Xiong Yumei, a deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Administration, said, 'We expect to receive 400,000 to 450,000 overseas tourists during the Games.'

Olympic sailing venue algae destroyed

From The Guardian:

A massive algae bloom that threatened the Olympic Games sailing venue at the Chinese coastal resort of Qingdao has now been almost all cleared away, state media said on Wednesday.

Zhang Ziyi engaged to Israeli billionaire

The China Daily reports that actress Zhang Ziyi said 'yes' to the marriage proposal of Vivi Nevo, her boyfriend of one year:

Nevo, 41, a New York-based Israeli venture capitalist, has been called an 'international multi-millionaire of mystery' by the media in the United States.

The low-key billionaire made a rare high-profile announcement of his engagement while attending the annual conference of Allen & Company in Sun Valley, Idaho, according to the Associated Press.

China to buy African ivory stockpile

From The Guardian:

China has been approved as a buyer for a one-off sale of elephant ivory, with experts now believing the sale could go ahead within months. An international meeting judged that China had put sufficient measures in place to regulate ivory sales and crack down on the illegal domestic trade.

The decision is severe blow for conservation organisations which argued that both the sale to and the approval of China, the world's biggest black market for ivory, would be a disaster for Africa's elephants and would lead to more poaching.

July 15, 2008

Reality TV woes

An excerpt from the 2008 China Media Yearbook outlining the meteoric rise of Chinese reality "talent" TV shows, the subsequent regulatory crackdown, and what this trend means for the future of TV programing.

Chinabounder is back, with a name and a book

A British English teacher calling himself 'Chinabounder' blogged about his sexual exploits in Shanghai, then disappeared after a Chinese professor launched an Internet man hunt for him.

Now he's back, with a book and a real name.

What is it with the pandas?

An American professor at Peking University has demonstrating outside a cinema, saying that Chinese children should be seeing the Fuwa in the runup to the Olympics, not Hollywood's Kungfu Panda.

Western ad industry as bad as Western media?

A series of outdoor ads are circulating on China's Internet forums and have the potential to cause a new round of anti-Western prejudice and conspiracy theories.

The blog of the cop killer

The MySpace page of Yang Jia, the 27-year-old man who murdered six police officers in Shanghai on July 1.

Weng'an riots, push-up protests, fifty-cent party and astroturfing

Former CNN Beijing bureau chief and Internet researcher and teacher Rebecca MacKinnon rounds up recent happenings in the war for the hearts and minds of the Chinese Internet.

No banners at Olympic events

From Xinhua:

Banners, such as those saying 'Go China,' will not be allowed in Olympic venues. While such posters have been frequently seen during the Olympic torch global relay, the tendentious banners violate the fairness principle of an Olympic event, according to Olympic venue rules.

Yes, most unfair.

The rules, promulgated on Monday, 25 days ahead of the Games, by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), advise spectators not to bring into the venues support banners and leaflets of commercial publicity, religion, politics, military, human rights and environmental and animal protection, among others.

A hah.

First Olympic ticket lawsuit in Beijing court

From The People's Daily:

The first case of Olympic ticket dispute reached a Beijing court on Monday, looking for its judgement on the ownership of four tickets...

...A court source said Wang, the manager of a trade company, asked one of his employees surnamed Wu to book him four Olympic tickets via the Internet. Wu used her own ID for the booking but left Wang's contact phone number on the application.

On June 28, Wang accused Wu of collecting the tickets without his noticing. He then demanded Wu either return his tickets or payback the money.

July 14, 2008

100 people detained for Weng'an riot

From Reuters:

Police in southwest China have detained 100 people, including 39 gang members, for their roles in a riot last month that saw the torching of government buildings and official cars, state media said on Monday.

The violent protest brought 30,000 residents on to the streets of Weng'an, in Guizhou province, in an unnerving outburst of discontent as China prepares to host the Olympic Games in August.

Crowds stormed police and government headquarters on June 28 after allegations spread that police had covered up the rape and murder of a local teenage girl, seeking to protect the son of a local official.

The new That's Beijing and stench management

From Imagethief:

I am trying to understand the strategy behind the creation of the new That's Beijing. It appears to be the following:

Seize the trademark, throw together a makeshift staff and publish a rushed, unreadable issue just in time for hundreds of thousands of Olympic visitors to arrive and be utterly appalled by it. Gnash teeth as few remaining advertisers flee.

Exporting universal values

ESWN has translated a blog post by Phoenix TV journalist Rose Luqiu (闾丘露薇), considering the term 'universal values', which pro-government commentators in China have been using as an insult for those they think pander to the West:

Some people seemed terrified of hearing the words 'universal values,' as if these words represented western forces. Actually, if they are universal, then they are applicable to the human race regardless of whether they come from the west or east. And they can even come from China.

Working hours changed for Olympics


The working hours in Beijing will change from July 20 for the next two months to ease traffic pressure on the roads in the run up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Public institutions will open an hour later, at 9:30 am, and close at 5:30 pm, while working hours for companies will be between 9 am and 5 pm, says a Beijing municipal government notice, released on Saturday.

Shopping malls will open at 10 am and close at 10 pm or even later.

July 12, 2008

Yang Ping, Party secretary, netizen

From Fool's Mountain:

Yang Ping is party secretary of the Discipline Committee, in the city of Zhuzhou, Hunan province. Recently, he got a new nickname. It all started on an internet forum he started to frequent. The netizens there began to call him 'classmate Yang Ping'. Gradually, even his friends began to refer to him this way.

July 11, 2008

Olympic dog meat ban

No dog meat in Beijing for the Olympics.

Wild deer of Beijing

A short note about Siberian Roe deer found in the mountains around Beijing, and on some dinner plates.

Journalists: complain to govt. formally if you have problems

Xinhua reports:

Foreign journalists should complain formally if they have any problems in doing their jobs during the Beijing Olympic Games, senior Chinese leader Li Changchun said here on Thursday...

...'If you are dissatisfied, you can file your complaint directly to Liu Qi, president of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of XXIX Olympiad,' he told reporters.

July 10, 2008

Avoid sex to get a better husband

A profile of a virgin from a Southern Weekly report about China's chastity movement; see also this story about teen prostitutes from The Beijing News.

Democracy outmanoeuvred

ChinaElections.net has published a case study of village elections in China gone wrong titled 'Democracy outmanoeuvred: Village self-governance in China'.

July 9, 2008

The fall and fall of the Shanghai bosses

Caijing reports:

Shanghai police have detained wealthy road contractor Liu Genshan, founder and chairman of Shanghai Maosheng International Group, as a suspect in a financial crime investigation.

Caijing learned that police launched the probe focusing on Liu several weeks ago, accusing him of fraudulent loans worth 4.3 billion yuan.

Liu, 51, is one of two famous 'highway barons' in Shanghai. The other -- financier Zhang Rongkun -- was recently sentenced to 19 years in prison as a major player in a pension scandal that rocked city hall and sent a former mayor to prison.

...Liu ... was suspected in 2005 of being involved in the case of Zhang Enzhao, a former China Construction Bank president who was sentenced to 15 years for bribery.

July 8, 2008

Beijing video reporter contest

A website called GroundReport.com is looking for original video news reports related to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to be entered in a competition with a $500 prize.

Mandarin learning videos

Here's a new website called Watch to Learn Chinese that aggregates Youtube videos that are supposed to teach Mandarin. Some are good, some are awful, but each video is rated and annotated by Watch to Learn Chinese.

Huff Post Olympic Internet guide

On The Huffington Post (blocked in China and read mostly by bi-coastal Americans), an introduction by Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Kate Merkel-Hess for the China Net novice: Ten things worth knowing about the Chinese Internet.

State enterprises seek 16 CEOs from home and abroad

From The China Daily:

China's centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are seeking 16 senior executives from either home or abroad, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).

The SASAC ... said ... the posts included three general managers, 10 deputy general managers and three chief accountants from various industries. These covered electricity, metallurgy, electronics, chemical engineering and trade enterprises...

...China currently has 150 central SOEs directly under the control of the SASAC, with total assets of 14.6 trillion yuan (2.12 trillion U.S. dollars) as of November.

July 7, 2008

Ai Weiwei profile

The Guardian has published a rather breathy profile and interview with the controversial contemporary artist and cultural figure Ai Weiwei.

Dissenting voices

From The Guardian, short interviews with six dissenting Chinese writers, intellectuals and activists, by Zhang Lijia.

Yao Ming's left foot

A short CNN blog post by Jaime FlorCruz about Yao Ming who says he will certainly compete in the Olympics:

Would he be trying as hard if the Olympics were not going to be in Beijing? The 27-year-old Yao says: 'Since there is no 'if' that the Olympics will be held in Beijing, I too have no 'if'.'

Official quake death toll: 69,196

From Xinhua:

The death toll of China's major earthquake still stood at Saturday's figure of 69,196 as of Sunday noon, the State Council Information Office said in a statement.

The number of the injured were 374,176 and people reported missing were 18,379 after the 8.0-magnitude quake jolted southwestern Sichuan Province and neighboring regions on May 12.

As of Sunday noon, 96,419 injured people had been hospitalized and 87,317 had recovered and left hospital. There were still 6,456 people in hospital, the statement said.

July 4, 2008

Mainland tourist charter flight arrives in Taiwan

Xinhua reports:

The first cross-Strait weekend charter flight from China's mainland to Taiwan landed at Taipei Taoyuan airport early Friday morning.

Forbidden City ice hockey

hockey_mike meyer_s.jpg
A chapter from Michael Meyer's new book:
Last Days of Old Beijing -- Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed.

July 3, 2008

Yunnan to ban all plastic bags in 2009

From GoKunming:

Just weeks after China implemented a nationwide ban on free plastic bags, Yunnan province is once again putting itself at the forefront of the country's environmental movement - this time with a total ban on production, sales and use of plastic bags across the province next year.

Pas les bienvenus pour Sarkozy

From The China Daily:

Chinese people do not want French President Nicolas Sarkozy's to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, according to the results of a survey published on Wednesday.

The online poll conducted by Sina.com.cn, was held in response to Sarkozy's threat to boycott the ceremony. He said on Monday that his attendance will depend on the progress of the latest talks between the Chinese government and the private representatives of the Dalai Lama

I'm just here to do push ups

From ESWN:

Here comes the third Internet pop phrase of the year 2008. The first one was 'very pornographic, very violent' (很黄很暴力). The second one was 'I'm just here to buy soy sauce' (我出来打酱油的). The third and latest one is 'I'm here to do push-ups (我来做俯卧撑的).' What is its etymology?

July 2, 2008

Jimmy Lai optimistic on press freedom in Hong Kong

Newsweek has published a Q&A with charismatic media mogul Jimmy Lai, who is persona non grata in the Mainland. Although the article is subtitled 'Beijing is interfering more and more deeply in Hong Kong affairs', Lai is actually quite optimistic about the future of the freedoms he currently enjoys.

Mongolian hookers and students visas

Matt at BizCult finds out that a student visa is one way around the current China visa clampdown, but (or and) you have to attend classes together with the Mongolian hookers who have discovered the same visa workaround.

July 1, 2008

Chinese fund manager pays $2.1 million for lunch with Buffett

The China Daily reports:

A Chinese investment fund manager won the chance to have lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett by bidding $2.1 million in the most expensive charity auction on eBay.

Zhao Danyang, of Hong Kong-based Pure Heart China Growth Investment Fund, won the auction, which ended on Friday evening with a bid of $2,110,100.

The Shanghai Dragon

The new Shanghai Center, nicknamed the Shanghai Dragon, begins construction this year and will top out at 580 meters.

China Daily: 30,000 took part in Guizhou mass action

The state-owned newspaper reports:

Up to 30,000 people took part in the mass action in Weng'an county of Guizhou province on Saturday, torching government buildings and smashing and burning cars.

In its latest update, Xinhua said yesterday that trouble began when about 300 people, protesting against the authenticity of a police report on a 17-year-old girl's death, gathered at the county government and public security bureau around 3 pm.

Mutant seaweed threatens Olympic sailing

The Times reporting from Qingdao:

The bright green algae, described as 'thick as a carpet', is making it impossible for dinghies to navigate the course that will host the Olympic regattas in less than two months.

Mass incident in Weng'an

A rape and murder, a cover up, another murder, and then a riot in Weng'an in Guizhou Province. ESWN has compiled information from a number of sources from Xinhua to Reuters to Anti-CNN.com.

Visa blues for hotels in Yunnan

GoKunming.com has a report from the usually popular tourist towns of Dali and Lijiang where hotel and bar owners are set to have a rough summer.