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April 2, 2010

Science Fiction World ousts its director

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The complete story of the staff uprising at the magazine Science Fiction World against a short-sighted chief editor.

Entertainment television in Taiwan

Dee Hsu and Kevin Tsai of the popular talk show Kangxi is Coming (康熙来了) are featured in a recent Esquire cover story. Danwei translates a commentary piece about the program's risque content.

April 1, 2010

Badger-like creature spotted

GoChengdoo has a story about a mysterious beast caught in Sichuan:

"In all my 90 years, I've never seen such a creature. I have no idea what it is," Liu Chang said, shaking his head, as he peered unflichingly into a cage housing the small animal. "Badgers, bobcats, I've seen them all, but I've never seen this."

On March 24, villagers in Suining's Jinyuan Town, Daying County flocked to Ke Suying's residence to see what the fuss was about: this never-before-seen creature was the talk of the town.

At around 3 a.m. on March 23, Ke Suying was awakened by the calling of a rooster. She listened carefully: The sound was coming from her own chicken coop, leading her to believe a thief had entered her property. She immediately woke up her daughter-in-law, and, flashlight in hand, they went down to the coop.

Hospital pays compensation over "racism" death

The Guardian writes about the death of Martin Jacques' wife in a Hong Kong hospital, and the court verdict:

He said: "The hospital authority settling is basically admitting that Hari's treatment was indefensible. I fought to get hospital records and I started to get a picture of what happened and the picture was that her treatment was outrageous. There's absolutely no reason why someone should die from epilepsy. Hari's death was utterly unnecessary and utterly avoidable. I have always believed that if Hari had been white or Chinese she would still be alive today. The trouble is, after a death like that you're never the same person. I've learned to handle it, but the pain never goes away."

Daimler denies talk of Maybach sale to BYD

From The New York Times:

Daimler, the German carmaker, dismissed market talk on Tuesday that it could divest its Maybach super luxury brand, after Chinese media reported that a Chinese company was considering buying it.

The Guangzhou Daily and other local media said Monday that the Chinese car and battery maker BYD was weighing a possible acquisition of Maybach from Daimler and that it would make a move once the brand was put up for sale, Reuters said.

“Maybach is an important part of Daimler’s product portfolio. There is no other decision,” a Daimler spokesman told Reuters.

March 31, 2010

Journalists' Yahoo account emails hacked

Edward Wong at the New York Times reports:

In what appears to be a coordinated assault, the e-mail accounts of at least a dozen rights activists, academics and journalists who cover China have been compromised by unknown intruders. A Chinese human rights organization also said that hackers disabled its Web site for a fifth straight day.

The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about China and Taiwan, rendering their accounts inaccessible, according to those who were affected. In the case of this reporter, hackers altered e-mail settings so that all correspondence was surreptitiously forwarded to another e-mail address.

Dead babies found in Shandong

The Associated Press reports:

The bodies of 21 babies, believed dumped by hospitals, have washed ashore on a riverbank in eastern China, state media reported Tuesday.

Video footage showed that the bodies — stashed in yellow plastic bags, at least one of which was marked "medical waste" — included some infants several months old. Some wore identification tags with their mothers' names, birth dates, measurements and weights. The official Xinhua News Agency said there were also fetuses among the bodies.

Residents discovered the remains under a bridge in the city of Jining, Shandong province, over the weekend. Tags on the feet of eight of the babies traced them back to a hospital in Jining, according to the People's Daily Web site. Three of them had been admitted earlier to the hospital in critical condition, the report said. It did not say when.

Google blockage caused by 'rfa' in URL, or not?

From The Times, on yesterday's Google blockage:

Google said that the problems were due to a technical glitch on its part. In the past 24 hours, the letters "gs_rfai" started appearing in Google’s search parameters worldwide. A Google spokeman said: “because this parameter contained the letters rfa the great firewall was associating these searches with Radio Free Asia, a service that has been inaccessible in China for a long time - hence the blockage. We are currently looking at how to resolve this issue."

However Techcrunch also has word from another Google spokesperson:

Having looked into this issue in more detail, it’s clear we actually added this parameter a week ago. So whatever happened today to block Google.com.hk must have been as a result of the change in the great firewall. However, interestingly our search traffic in China is now back to normal—even though we have not made any changes at our end. We will continue to monitor what is going on, but for the time being this issue seems to be resolved.

March 30, 2010

Google blocked

This afternoon Internet users across China reported that Google searches were being blocked on Google.com.hk and all other Google domains. Gady Epstein on Forbes:

All searches on Google appeared to be blocked starting late Tuesday afternoon, the latest indication that tensions between the Internet giant and the Chinese government have mounted since Google shut down its mainland search engine earlier this month.

Searches of innocuous terms like "Beijing Olympics" returned error messages on Google.com.hk, Google.com in the U.S. and other international Google ( GOOG - news - people ) sites beginning at about 5 p.m. in Beijing. Users in many other major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, shortly reported the same problem.

Kunming residents clash with chengguan officers

Chris at Gokunming writes about a minor clash:

The already poor image of Kunming's chengguan has been further tarnished after a clash between the city management officers and Wuhua district residents last Friday.

The confrontation culminated in a small mob overturning and setting fire to law enforcement vehicles after an altercation between chengguan and a street vendor.

The incident began shortly after 8pm when Wuhua district chengguan officers approached a group of four unlicensed street vendors outside the Beicang Cun farmer's market on Hongyun Lu.

Origami newspapers

DeluxZilla reads a pull-out section of the Shanghai Morning Post devoted to the upcoming Expo:

For newspaper purists out there, I realize removing the individual section of the paper, then opening it up four times to a length that is longer than some people’s arm spans is a little much, especially if you’re riding the subway or in any type of confined space. But I found the “origami” newspaper to be an interesting design scheme.

The aim of the pullout map and “complete guide” to the Expo is for people outside of Shanghai, which seems a little counterproductive because I don’t believe the Shanghai Morning Post is distributed that far out of the city. Nonetheless, I never thought I would be able to say a physical newspaper was “interactive” with its readers, but the Shanghai Morning Post figured out a clever method.

The real reason Stern Hu is in jail

In an essay in The Wall Street Journal, Hugo Restall looks at the real reasons behind Stern Hu's fall.

The strange death of an Australian eccentric in Kham

From the wonderful 'In the footsteps of Joseph Rock' blog:

The strange life and mysterious death of Margo, Aussie 'queen of the Tiger Leaping Gorge'

I never met Margo Carter, or at least I don't think I did. She took up residence in the Tiger Leaping Gorge in the mid 1990s, whereas my one and only visit to this scenic wonder of the world was in 1994, presumably before she arrived. I am glad I visited when I did, before the road was put through and it became a must-do feature in the Lonely Planet guidebook for China.

Interview with fimmmaker Zhao Dayong

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Danwei interviews Zhao Dayong, director of The High Life (pictured), Rough Poetry, Ghost Town, Street Life and My Father's House.

March 29, 2010

Text of Netease article about Internet regulation and "special Internet zones"

Below is the original text of an article originally posted on Netease dated March 28, 2010 (at this link), subsequently deleted, and translated into English here.

The original text is also cached here.

马化腾等四高管抱怨互联网监管一刀切
2010-03-28 07:58:35 来源: 网易科技报道 跟贴 262 条 手机看新闻

网易科技讯 3月28日凌晨消息,近期的互联网严打风暴造成十几万家网站被关,除了中小网站外,一些互联网大佬对此也有看法。在昨日的一个公开会议上,马化腾、王志东、丁健、王维嘉四位高管都抱怨互联网一刀切的监管方式应改进,王志东、丁健还建议深圳成为互联网监管特区。

大佬们的集体抱怨

2010年中国 IT领袖峰会今日将在深圳开幕,作为本次峰会的一项活动,深圳市互联网产业发展咨询会昨晚在深圳举行。多位互联网及IT产业的高管参加了咨询会。这次咨询会最让人印象深刻的是,有四位IT行业的企业家抱怨互联网一刀切的监管方式。

美通无线董事长兼CEO王维嘉最先提起这个话题。王维嘉不久前参加了《创业家》杂志社举办的一个论坛,主题便是国内互联网创业环境的讨论,其中包括几家本次互联网严打波及到的企业代表。

王维嘉在咨询会上说,对于互联网公司而言,最重要的是公平竞争,十几万家网站被关闭,这里面可能会有阿里巴巴、腾讯、百度这样的巨头被扼杀了。

紧接着王维嘉的发言,国内互联网巨头腾讯创始人、董事局主席兼CEO马化腾在发言中也提到了一点,他说,相关“因为管理的便利性”,在监管中对一些网站实行了一刀切的方式,特别是深圳又处在南方,与政策中心的北京较远。

在马化腾之后,新浪网创始人、点击科技CEO王志东也声援前两位嘉宾。王志东也参加了上文提及的互联网创业环境研讨会,他对此也深有感触。王志东说,中国网民有近4个亿,这需要监管,而互联网又是一个需要革命性的、不断创新的行业,这两者之间存在一些矛盾。

金沙江创业投资董事总经理、美国亚信公司董事长、联合网视文化发展有限公司董事长丁健在发言中也对这一话题进行了回应,他说,互联网要鼓励创新,要允许犯错误。

王志东、丁健建议深圳成为互联网监管特区。

上述四位企业家作为深圳市政府发展互联网产业的高级顾问,对于他们提出的互联网监管问题,他们都向深圳市政府提出了自己的建议。

王维嘉建议深圳市政府给当地的互联网企业创造一个公平竞争的环境,不要让他们受到不必要的干扰。

王志东认为,解决互联网监管与创新难题的最佳方法就是深圳。他说,“深圳一直有特区的文化和血液,一些互联网的创新与现有监管模式的矛盾在全国解决起来不容易,但深圳作为特区,是不是可以搞一个大的试点?”

丁健的建议更是大胆,他建议深圳应尝试成为互联网监管特区,“互联网在深圳可以完全放开,应该看看再更加自由的环境里,互联网是更乱了还是怎么样,这样才可能探索出一个适合中国的互联网监管方式。”(熊立)

Beijing historic area to make way for developers?

For the Daily Telegraph, Peter Foster and Zhang Wei write about the Drum and Bell tower renovations:

The 30-acre development around the ancient Drum and Bell Towers, which were used to tell the time in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, will see traditional crooked courtyard houses and winding alleyways replaced with a themed 'Beijing Time Cultural City".

"As a result, there will be extensive evictions, demolition, and construction in this ancient area, and gone will be the traditional courtyards, hutongs, and local residents," warned the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, an independent conservation group.

More about cancerous take-out boxes

At Shanghai Scrap, Adam Minter reminisces Guibei, a recycling zone that he visited:

During my first afternoon there, I got some sense of the latter industry, of which I wrote:

Guibei’s infrastructure is still primitive, thus we’re grateful for a fourwheel-drive vehicle that can negotiate the muddy potholes that run between farm fields. As we pass one village where plastic bags twist and swirl in the wind and get tangled in the trees, our driver begins to laugh with his colleague in the passenger seat: Apparently, some of the businesses in this area manufacture plastic bags that they market as suitable for food use, when they’re most definitely not.

Minter carries on to talk about Jonathan Watts' article in The Guardian about waste management.

Lawyer Gao Zhisheng mysteriously resurfaces

The New York Times reports:

In a brief telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Gao said that he was no longer in police custody, but that he could not give any details of his predicament. “I’m fine now, but I’m not in a position to be interviewed,” he said from Wutai Mountain, the site of a well-known Buddhist monastery. “I’ve been sentenced but released.”

Since Mr. Gao disappeared into the custody of public security personnel in February 2009, the Chinese government has provided a series of contradictory and cryptic explanations of his whereabouts, despite entreaties by the United Nations, the White House and the European Union.

The Guardian's report is here.

The Oriental Piaget Post

Uln at Chinayouren examines the ad-blanketed front pages of some of Shanghai's newspapers:

Today I asked my Shanghainese friend Mary Fu why she thinks the Oriental is better than the Metro Express, and she answered, literally: "they are similar, but the Oriental has less adverts".

Geely buys Volvo

From The China Daily:

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China's No 10 automaker, sealed a binding deal on Sunday to buy ailing Swedish luxury car brand Volvo from US giant Ford for $1.8 billion.

"Today represents a milestone in the history of Geely," Geely Chairman Li Shufu told a news conference, adding that Volvo will remain a separate company with its own management team based in Sweden.

The agreement was signed between the two automakers in Goteborg, Sweden.

March 28, 2010

Turd nuggets of history from the Shanghai Daily

The Granite Studio offers a glimpse into the Shanghai Daily's editorial about "Superpower Responsibilities:"

Yesterday’s installment in “How the dung beetle turns crap and calls it writing” was called “Superpower Responsibilities” and after a luke-warm rehash of bad history, we come to this little turd nugget:

After the Roman Empire collapsed because of the massive migration of Germanic people, the spiritual legacies of its civilization were inherited by the succeeding European world. In comparison, even after the Chinese empire was conquered by other ethnic regimes, like the Yuan (1271-1368) and the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, those ethnic groups were eventually assimilated into the Chinese civilization and subsequently became the driving forces that carried forward that civilization.