4 June, 2005

16 years later



photo via glutter

(this post will be updated throughout the day.)

Horse’s Mouth has several posts on now and then.

Glutter has photos from Hong Kong and a new banner. Also, Yan makes an excellent point about the photo I, and most others, choose to use:

"That one photo should not symbolize June 4th 1989, and what China did. It may symbolize human spirit, the hope of democracy, the devotion to the cause. It may remind us of that each of us can make a stand, and we could face the inevitable without fear. But it does not speak of June 4th 1989"

I’ve amended accordingly. (22:20: Glutter now moblogging the HK candle-light vigil)

Are things better now? Michael DeGolyer says yes, and that it may be time to stop protesting. Fons, while not mentioning 04/06/89 notes probable related incidents, but says focusing on these makes it too "easy to frame China in the classic way as an evil force." T-Salon says some things haven’t changed. False Positives says "nothing has changed."

China Digital Times is worth visiting for two CBC items. No doubt more items will follow.

Enzo has a post at Simon World detailing what happened. Simon offers his usual excellent linkage and his own thoughts: "…how would the CCP
leadership respond today? The answer is clear - in the same way. The
CCP are good at learning the lessons of history."

While many blogs are carrying the above ‘tank man’ photo Open Democracy chooses a different image.

Snarkatron has personal memories of reactions of Chinese students at grad school: "I still remember my Chinese friend, shouting into the phone at the US
editor of the Chinese government newspaper. I don’t understand a word
of Chinese, but I understood exactly what he was saying."

Gullyborg notes the massacre as a segue into a post on the value of the right to bear arms (point taken, although it seems a crass way to make it).

Rebecca MacKinnion does not forget and does not need a reminder from Glutter that there are other images besides ‘tank man.’

Peking Duck notes that the arrest of Ching Cheong, Straits Times reporter, "is going to reignite the
TSM debates, not quell them(.) Such obtuseness is hard to fathom, but I’m
afraid it exists."

what’s Ming? has more questions than answers.: "Almost every expat blogs about China would mention it and call it  Tiananmen Square Massacre. However, in my history text book, it is called Tiananmen Square Disturbance or Tiananmen Square Incident. I read some articles and watched some video clips(forbidden, of cause) and I realized it was much more than an incident.:

K-PAX人在地球 posts a link to a Joan Baez mp3.

From Mine Blogging’s Alex Hung: " On June 4th, I was disgusted to be Chinese. From that day onward, I
make sure people I meet know I am from Hong Kong, not China…I think 1989 was the year that I started the process
of becoming more western and less Chinese. I no longer care about
Chinese traditions, I embraced western values and beliefs."

TibetBlogger reproduces a Dilip D’souza article with this quote from Tenzin Tsundue: "I can never think of being party to the corrupted Communist China,
which has brutally massacred her own children on Tiananmen Square when
they demanded freedom and democracy.”… "For Indians who have long believed
Tibet must be free, it is galling to watch Indian courtship of the

Bring on the Revolution has a long post that warrants reading.

Maobi stops short of endorsing the massacre, although through analogy suggests that the murdered students made fine fertilizer: "Modern history now tells us that the death of the students, a treagedy
indeed, did not snuff out the nation. In fact, today China is an
economic flower that is beginning to bloom in a big way."

(Other bloggers who remember: Michelle Malkin, Big White Guy, Rambling Commoner  , Laowai19790204, LawHawk, Jawa Report, Meister Planet, Dominatio Per Malum, Babalu Blog, West Campus Insider, Supernaut, Milton J Madison, Instapundit, 1972, Rodney Hide MP, Not Quite Right, Singlish Simon, Plum Blossoms, Angry Chinese Blogger, Tim Fong. Adam Shostack, Greg Piper, Rajan, CakeEater, Andrew Cory, Ezra Klein)

by @ 11:59 pm. Filed under China, Northeast Asia

finger chopping

Joi Ito explores the phenomena of cutting off fingers for punishment or protest, and why the Japanese don’t really understand it as a form of protest by Koreans.

For Japan:

..the origin of the Japanese the ritual of chopping off pinkies. In Japan, the ritual comes the importance of the left pinkie in the grip of a Japanese sword. Removing the left pinkie is literally disarming and was used to punish people in the past. This has been ritualized and continues to be used by small number of Yakuza and others in Japan as a form of punishment or taking responsibility.

For Korea:

… if I understand correctly, one of the most famous incidents was An Jung-geun, a legendary leader in the armed resistance against the Japanese occupation, chopping off parts of several of his fingers and writing "Korean Independence" in blood on the Korean national flag.

With that, I recommend South Koreans develop a form of protest that has more cross-cultural relevance and involves less pain.

by @ 11:27 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Northeast Asia, South Asia

incheon taxpayers to fund ’secret’ lair

Robert at the Marmot’s hole is shocked that to pay around $1 billion to fund the construction of Pyongyang’s empty white-elephant hotel.:

When Incheon mayor Ahn Sang-soo came back from Pyongyang with an
agreement to make a co-hosting bid for the 2014 Asian Games, it went
without saying that his city’s taxpayers also earned the privilege of pumping tons of cash into North Korea to develop its sporting and tourist infrastructure.  Nothing prepared me for this, however:

Ahn reportedly vowed to finish construction of the Ryugyong Hotel in
downtown Pyongyang, a famous structure 105 stories and 300 m tall — but
a skeleton unfinished for 13 years. An official said experts estimate
the additional construction costs at US$500 million. Add the repair
costs, and it would come out to US$1 billion, he said.

Robert notes that some are puzzled because of North Korea’s denial of - or perhaps obliviousness to - the Ryugyong Hotel’s existence.:

It’s no longer on the city’s maps. Guides claim not to know where it
is. No one speaks of it. This state of affairs is made all the more
surreal by the fact that the almost incomprehensibly massive Ryugyong
is visible from every part of Pyongyang. It hangs over the horizon, never far out of sight.

Duh, that’s because it’s Kim Jong-il’s secret lair. Even in democratic Townsville no one notices evil villain Mojo Jojo’s lair.


by @ 5:24 pm. Filed under South Korea, Money, Northeast Asia, North Korea

arrests in indonesia/india bombings

There have been arrests related to recent (unrelated) bombings in India and Indonesia that I had earlier posted on.

Swanker reports:

Indonesian police have made several arrests in the wake of last week’s Tentena bombings.  And they also suspect a sinister connection with previous terrorist attacks:
Indonesian police suspects that the terrorists responsible for the May 28 attack in Tentena (Central Sulawesi) might be tied to the Solo terrorist group that was involved in the 2002 Bali bombing, this according to National Police spokesperson Zainuri Lubis.

And, much earlier this week, Manish at Sepia Mutiny wrote:

Two militants from Babbar Khalsa have been arrested and charged with the Jo Bole So Nihaal film bombings. Two others are still being sought:
… the Delhi Police today arrested two activists of the Babbar Khalsa militant outfit allegedly responsible for the crime and claimed to have recovered one kg RDX, Rs 2.94 lakh cash and two kgs of gold… [Outlook India]
The extremist group, previously thought to be nearly defunct, was accused of planning the Air India bombing in 1985 and assassinating Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh with a suicide bomber in 1995. The U.S. added Babbar Khalsa to its list of terrorist groups only last year…

by @ 2:54 pm. Filed under India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Terrorism

still not a diplomat

I’m not a Bush backer, swelling deficits bother me and I dislike the conservative elements of Republicanism (although there is more of that in Congress than in the administration).  Still, I admire Donald Rumsfeld. A large part of the reason for that is because he doesn’t do diplomacy.

China Confidential notes that Rummy has again likely upset someone.:

Less than 24 hours after criticizing China for its military buildup and lack of democracy (scroll down for the story), US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld escalated his rhetoric, telling a regional security conference in Singapore on Saturday that the Pentagon’s soon-to-be-released annual assessment of China’s military capabilities shows that the country is spending more than its leaders acknowledge, expanding its missile capabilities and developing advanced military technology.

"China appears to be expanding its missile forces, allowing them to reach targets in many areas of the world, not just the Pacific region, while also expanding its missile capabilities within this region. China also is improving its ability to project power, and developing advanced systems of military technology.
"Since no nation threatens China, one must wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why these continuing robust deployments?
"Though China’s economic growth has kept pace with its military spending, it is to be noted that a growth in political freedom has not yet followed suit. With a system that encouraged enterprise and free expression, China would appear more a welcome partner and provide even greater economic opportunities for the Chinese people.

by @ 2:34 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

don’t worry about the government

China Snippets isn’t too worried about missing the government’s recently passed deadline requiring websites to register:

I remember that some time ago I chatted with Wang Jian Shuo and told
him one my favorite articles was the one about having to register his
website. That article dates back to 2002. Two days ago there was a new deadline for
the registration of Chinese websites hosted in China. Maybe they get it
done this time, maybe I write the same thing in 3 years.

by @ 1:57 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Northeast Asia, Censorship

asean vs africa

, at least Asean is still more effective than the Arab League.

Wow. I mean that. Wow.
Tipped off by a Kavi Chongkavittorn in The Nation, I went to take a look at the African Union. What I found is amazing. In just a few short years — the Union was founded in 2002 as a successor to the Organization of African Unity — the Union’s member states have come so much further than ASEAN in establishing a regional union that they’ve really put us to shame.

by @ 3:34 am. Filed under Southeast Asia, Thailand

dangerous career move

Daniel W Drezner will not be taking a job in Southeast Asia anytime soon:

Note to self: no matter how much money they offer, never, ever accept an offer to become the governer of Thailand’s central bank.
The BBC explains why:

A former Thai central bank governor has been fined 186bn baht ($4.6bn; £2.5bn) for his leading role in the country’s 1997 financial crash.

by @ 3:19 am. Filed under China, Money, Economy, Southeast Asia, Thailand

citic and prachai

Memo to CITIC: partnering with Prachai Leophairatana is not a good idea (news via FT):

…in a dramatic development in one of Asia’s longest running debt workouts, Beijing-backed Citic Resources on Thursday announced that it was in talks to buy Thai Petrochemical Industry through a joint venture with Prachai Leophairatana, founder of the troubled petrochemicals group.
In a statement, Citic Resources said its subsidiary, Citic Petrochemical, on May 30 signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Mr Prachai and other TPI shareholders regarding the acquisition of about 75 per cent of TPI’s existing issued share capital.

Getting into a joint venture with Prachai is asking for trouble. He is one of Southeast Asia’s most  infamous  businessmen. He delayed the restructuring of Thailand’s most indebted company for almost a decade, bullying creditors, debt-plan administrators and employing questionable legal tactics.

I covered TPI for a couple of years, during which time I was privy to a lot of dirt that I couldn’t report. I won’t describe it here as much of it is single-sourced and not fully substantiated.

However, to get an idea of what I’m talking about, consider this: I’m suggesting that a partnership between a Chinese investment company and a Thai magnate is a bad idea because one of the parties is of questionable ethics and will try to push the partner out at the first available oppportunity. ( believe it or not, it’s not the Chinese side.)

by @ 2:57 am. Filed under China, Money, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand

ching cheong ii

Sinagpore Angle has a wrap:

…there is no law forbidding individuals using lawful means to
acquire historical material, the authorities decided to bring charges
of "spying" against Ching Cheong instead. In fact, Ching Cheong’s work
with the Straits Times and his receiving renumeration has been seen by
some officials as "receiving large fees from a foreign intelligency

Also see ESNW, where a grand unification theory is being studied:

Ching Cheong was not arrested in Beijing, which is the powerbase of the Hu Jintao faction.  Instead, he was arrested in Guangzhou.  Do you know who is on the Guangzhou provincial committee?  Ching Cheong may just be a sacrificial victim in a factional struggle in which the losing faction took revenge and placed the winning faction in public disgrace.

This theory is unverifiable and unfalsifiable from the information so far.

UPDATE: 4 June 05, 10:00: See also Daai Tou Laam for more links and comments, notably.:

The mainland regulations for journalists are so restrictive, that few foreign journalists bother to comply with all of the notifications of authorities. But the mainland officials will haul out the cumbersome regulations, that really are a throwback to the Maoist autarky, to detain journalists reporting on sensitive topics, like the riot in Zhejiang a month or so ago.

by @ 2:19 am. Filed under Singapore, China, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, Censorship

shanghai dvd reviews

From McSweeney’s:

Sin City

Obtained: Guy standing on Maoming Road, next to guy selling puppies
Price: 8 RMB

In several climactic scenes, including the Jessica Alba dancing segments, the anvil-headed guy in front of the cameraman gets up to go to the bathroom. His big flat head blots out a good 10 percent of the screen. Damn you and your excitement-sensitive bladder, anvil-headed guy. We’re looking for you. We’d recognize that jug anywhere.
Ten minutes in, the DVD starts skipping. Repeated cleanings with bottom of T-shirt fail to improve performance. It plays normally again at the 21-minute mark, leaving us confused about where the Bruce Willis character went. After the movie is over, we’re still not sure.
Film also ends with credits from Shredder.

by @ 12:47 am. Filed under China, Northeast Asia, Media

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