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.
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.
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'...
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].
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.
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.
Contrary to popular perception both inside and outside China, Beijing's air pollution problem is not primarily due to increases in personal vehicle use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* 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)
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.
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.'
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.
Barack Obama has a half-brother living in Shenzhen who runs an Internet company that helps Chinese companies export to the US.
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.'
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.
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.
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
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.'
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?
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.
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.'
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.'
'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.'
'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.'
'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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.'
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.
The first cross-Strait weekend charter flight from China's mainland to Taiwan landed at Taipei Taoyuan airport early Friday morning.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.