The Swanker alerts us to some new medical research:
A little ironic:
A disease expert assured the public yesterday that Metro Manila is safe from malaria because the pollution has driven away malaria-causing mosquitoes.
"They won’t survive in a polluted area. That’s why there won’t be malaria in Metro Manila," said Dr. Ma. Dorina Bustos, a medical specialist at the government-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
By logical extension then, Bangkok and Jakarta must also be malaria-free!
Any tiny silver lining to and otherwise, choking, disease-causing cloud.
With that, I’m relieved to be living in Shanghai. Well, sorta relieved.
Howard W French has offered a reproduction of his NYT item on China’s internet crackdown:
Signs of the Internet’s growing power in China came this spring during a wave of popular demonstrations against Japan in which organizers relied heavily on private Web pages, blogs and mass cellphone messages to mobilize protesters. In the space of a few weeks, as many as 40 million signatures were collected online to demand that Japan be barred from obtaining a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
The Chinese authorities may have tacitly approved of the anti-Japanese demonstrations, but in a system built around tight state control over political expression and association, the idea of millions of citizens using the Internet to rally around political issues is anathema.
Growing concern among China’s leaders about the destabilizing potential of the Internet comes during a campaign of increasingly harsh measures against political dissent, arrests of journalists and other restrictions on expression.
Meanwhile, via a mailing list, I was notified that registered China blogs must display a seal of approval from the government.
An example is at the left (click to enlarge. Asiapundit is overseas hosted and will not be seeking state approval. UPDATE: Rebecca has noted, via email, that the registration on the side is NOT related to the website registration.
"From what i am seeing i would suggest that to claim that the registration document pictured on your blog post is connected with the website registration requirements is a mis-representation. it would be more accurate to claim that the number displayed in the blue box at the bottom of http://www.yilutong.com/ is in compliance with the website registration regulations."
Worth reading. Publius Pundit reproduces an FT article by Victor Mallet:
Given US support for totalitarian allies such as Uzbekistan, Rumsfeld’s call for freedom in Asia may be dismissed as hypocrisy. Yet, on Chinese politics, he is simply stating the obvious: the rapid growth of the Chinese economy must be, and will be, accompanied by political reform. The democratising pressures that have followed every industrial revolution from the UK to South Korea are now visible in China as its people become more prosperous and educated. The key question is one of timing.
The focus now is on communist China and democratic India. Democrats say India has already solved the problem of how to achieve legitimate and peaceful changes of government, whereas for China that vast challenge lies in the future.
A disturbing, but not exceptionally surprising traveler’s tale from FEER:
Entering the bookstore in the check-in hall at Kuala Lumpur airport, the first book we saw on the table near the door was Hitler’s "Mein Kampf." Odd. Then our eyes were drawn to a cover with a caricature of a Jewish financier straight out of Nazi propaganda. Yup, it was Henry Ford’s anti-semitic tract, "The International Jew," with the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" thrown in for good measure…
A German friend of mine was once asked in Malaysia where he was from. After he replied he was told, "very good, Germans killed a lot of Jews."
I was once asked in Kuwait what ancestry I was, when I replied Irish I was told: "Very good, you invent carbomb!"
Unlike the Singapore transport minister discovered by mr brown, Maobi has found a blog by a Malaysian UMNO MP that he says seems legitimate.
Interestingly, the content is similar - justifying high wages for politicians:
Datuk Shahrir Samad hoped that Members of Parliament could receive more comprehensive benefits not just limited to the increase in allowances.
"The scope of this benefits should be wider in line with efforts to make paliament as the institution which is paramount. More issues need to be considered to help MPs be more effective in their jobs." The wage increases for MPs should not be tied to the wage increases for civil servants because the job scope and roles [MPs] undertake need to be measured in the larger context"
Without a blog, how the heck could the tax payer see such nastiness where this guy just got a 10% increase in salary. Instead of being thankful to the people they are already asking for more. Imagine your boss giving you 10% and then you turning right around and saying "Ok, let’s talk about more vacation time". Look bubba, that dog don’t hunt. Show us that you are working harder for the more money and then ask for another raise (in cash or in kind).
The esteemed mr brown points to a website by Singapore Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong:
Hi, I hope you enjoy my new website. This gives me an excellent opportunity to communicate with my constituents on an informal and friendly basis. Give a chuckle, what.
I never said that any increase in public transport fares would work out to be about 2 cents more per ride. It could be far more than that.
Cute. And given the libel-suit prone government, the site’s founder had the sense to mask his or her whois details.
Opportunity Prospector stumbles onto an Asia Times article about the growing popularity of plastic surgery in China and muses:
Combine this trend with the Asian fascination with technology and
get the first population which will embrace cybernetic body
modifications and augmentation.
And from the article itself, a prediction that is far more easily believable:
"In China today, cosmetic surgeons can change a face beyond recognition - and the police are going to have to take notice," a highly qualified Shanghai plastic surgeon told Asia Times Online. Before long, he expects, anyone who wants to significantly alter his or her appearance will first have to register with the police, lest wanted criminals evade capture by gaining a new face through surgery.
Registering a face-lift? Typical.
(UPDATE 22:00) Perhaps I was too dismissive on the whole Asian-cyber-race concept (via Japundit):
that makes it possible for the wearer to lift heavier loads than they would be able to hoist unaided.
Simon has a splendid roundup of commentary on Sir Geldof’s latest project and opens discussion on what lessons Africa can learn from Asia.:
What lessons can Africa learn from Asia’s experience in rising living standards and poverty alleviation?
Let’s have on open and honest debate about what
lessons Africa can learn from Asia’s experience, both the positive and
negative. For example while much of Asia has risen out of poverty and
achieved a degree of economic freedom, political freedom is lagging far
behind. That applies even to places such as South Korea and Japan,
leaders of Asia’s economic "miracle".
Another crackdown in China, but I doubt this one will last very long (via Curzon at Coming Anarchy):
From a friend currently on assignment in Shanghai:
I think Shanghai/China may be in the midst of one of its periodic IP [Intellectual Property]crackdowns. All the DVD stores shut down yesterday and I walked past the fake goods market to see the police impounding louis vuitton bags. A fake watch store told me they couldn’t sell me anything today and come back tomorrow. On top of that, a mate of mine told me all the massage parlors on some street near him had been shut down.
Seems like that’s half of the Chinese economy shut down. All they need to do now is revalues the Yuan and strike at Japanese run factories and that’s them properly f**ked.
UPDATE (21:03): So that explains it (From Danwei):
The Shanghai International Film Festival starts on June 11. Ahead of the festival, the city is organizing a crack down on pirate DVDs.
An Associated Press report about the crackdown gives a crystal clear picture of the real reasons behind China’s occasional anti-piracy actions:
"To crack down against the pirate DVDs is our job and duty," Lan Yiming, deputy head of Shanghai’s culture inspection bureau, said in a telephone interview.
"We want to create a good cultural environment for the international film festival and give guests from home and abroad a good impression," he said…
Brad Setser (another fan of Stephen Roach) has a long and worthwhile post on the China economy "Creditors, Debtors, Partners, Strategic Rivals, Mallaby, Pesek."
For those who either find economics boring, or don’t have the time to read it, Billmon summarizes in the comments:
So here you have the leaders of the world’s last significantly sized communist dictatorship giving huge subsidies to foreign companies to (from a Marxist point of view) exploit their own workers, and lending hundreds of billions to the world capitalist hegemon so it can build satellites to throw artificial meteors at anyone who gets in its way.
As well as cracking down on websites and blogs, China is set to impose restrictions on the broadcast of non-Chinese cartoons in prime time. It’s less about censorship than it is about directing money and investment towards the state-media sector.
Bill Bishop ponders what this means for on-line gaming (his forte) and has these details from the AWSJ:
The proposed ban isn’t likely to apply to cartoons produced by joint ventures, but cartoons that are designed overseas and produced and processed by Chinese animation companies will still be considered "foreign," Shanghai Media Group’s Ms. Chen said.
A similar prime-time ban on foreign dramas went into effect in 2000 and has greatly aided the development of China’s domestic drama-production industry, Ms. Chen said. Cartoons, however, are usually much more expensive to produce than live-action drama.
China Digital Times notes a BBC report on Taiwan’s new constitutional amendments, featuring the obligatory note that the changes will infuriate China.:
Taiwan’s National Assembly has approved important constitutional changes which supporters say will strengthen the island’s democracy.
Future amendments will have to be decided by referendums, which means the Assembly has effectively voted for its own abolition.
The move will alarm China, which fears referendums could be used to edge Taiwan towards formal independence.
Yes, China will be alarmed. However, it’s worthwhile to note that things aren’t always about mainland China. Jujuflop has a post on what the changes mean for Taiwan:
* The Legislature (the ‘parliament’ of Taiwan) has been reformed and reduced in size. This will take effect after the next Legislative elections (in just under 3 years). Hopefully, this will mean more legislation and less fist-fights from 2008 on.
* The National Assembly has been consigned to the dustbin of history. While it may have been an important body for governing China, it has never been anything other than an undemocratic joke on Taiwan. It’s passing will not be mourned.
* Taiwan now has a rational process for future changes to the constitution. However, it is worth noting that the new rules probably make it harder to pass constitutional reform in Taiwan than anywhere else in the world.
(UPDATE 12:16) China Confidential, meanwhile, has a more critical view:
The assembly approved the amendments by an overwhelming majority. Political analysts say the changes will redraw Taiwan’s political landscape in favor of the island’s dominant political parties - the ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party or DPP and the opposition Kuomintang or KMT.
The single constituency system narrows down the number of representatives from each district to two. Analysts say this puts smaller parties at a disadvantage against their bigger rivals with larger budgets and greater political machinery to mount campaigns.
Danewi has a brief roundup of items on the Chinese diplomat and self-proclaimed spy who is attempting to defect in Australia. Links in the roundup include one to the Horse’s Mouth, although not to the most-recent post:
(I suggested) Canberra apparently weren’t willing to take on the political risks involved with such a case that I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there were secret talks going on behind the scenes with the United States in order to secure the safety of Chen and his family. A few hours later, here it comes.
(12:24) But wait there’s more:
In another twist to the Chinese diplomat defection, another defector comes forward to support Chen Yonglin’s allegations of Chinese spy networks.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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