17 June, 2005

hack for freedom

No, I would never call Rebecca a hack. I was refering to myself. I’m the one who’s posting knee-jerk reactions on Microsoft becoming Bejing’s Bitch.

Ms McKinnion, on the other hand, is actually investigating the limits of Microsoft’s ban on ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights,’ and providing instructions on circumventing the ban, She has an updated post on how to hack the system to bypass censorship on MSN Spaces’ China portal and on how far the censorship extends.:

Some Chinese bloggers have said that they were able to set up Chinese language MSN Spaces blogs using the "forbidden" political words. To clarify the situation I tried to set up my own freedom loving Chinese blog. I went into the MSN Spaces Chinese interface at: http://spaces.msn.com/?mkt=zh-cn, and tried to set up a blog titled 我爱言论自由人权和民主, which means "I love freedom of speech, human rights and democracy."

And Doubleleaf has more, it seems the system can be bypassed by registering with an English-language browser or by adjusting your country settings on hotmail.


by @ 6:50 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Weblogs, Censorship

giant gerbils of xinjiang

I think Richard Gere may have been been banned from traveling to China. Given this news, I bet he really regrets all of that Tibet independence activism he engaged in, not to mention making Red Corner.: (via Milton J Madison)

The giant gerbil story is not getting much coverage. Maybe there is media blackout on this in favor of the farmer protests.

The infestation of giant gerbils in Xinjiang has already destroyed a grassland area the size of Switerland.
The gerbils running riot in China’s arid far north-west may sound like the fluffy pets loved by so many children but they are in a different league.
An explosion of gerbils is decimating vast areas of grasslands in China’s north-western Xinjiang region, with some of the prairies completely destroyed by hundreds of rodent burrows, according to authorities in the region.

Oh, here’s the startling truth about the Gere-bil.

by @ 6:40 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

cambodia hostage drama

N-line has good roundup of coverage on yesterday’s Cambodia school hostage crisis and the murder of a three-year old Canadian boy.:

Armed men storm Cambodia school
Gunmen have taken several dozen people hostage at an international school in north-western Cambodia, police say.
Six men stormed the school in Siem Reap, and are holding children aged between two and six, from countries including the UK, the US and in Asia….

Correspondents say the school is used mainly by foreign residents in the gateway town for Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction, the Temples of Angkor.

Aside from petty crime, and perhaps insane drivers, travel in Cambodia ihas been very safe for foreigners. Tourism and foreign aid are the only two things that keeps the country afloat. While the death of the three-year-old is tragic, it would be even worse if this leads to a decline in bookings for Siem Reap holidays.

by @ 6:21 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Terrorism

no anarchy in the prc

Associated Press via Canada’s Globe & Mail.

BEIJING  — A Chinese political activist goes on trial next week on subversion charges after posting essays and lyrics to a punk song on the Internet, a human rights group said Thursday.

No reports on whether the band was also busted.

by @ 6:13 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs, Censorship, Music

world record watch (iii)

The Eurocopter has landed on Everest, and - even more impressively - managed to take off.:

A French helicopter piloted by Didier Delsalle has landed on the top of Mt Everest.
This is an incredible feat and sets a new world record for the highest
helicopter landing/takeoff. Coverage of the story seems to have been
supressed somewhat due to the fact that the French expedition team did
not actually have a permit to land on Everest and so did not announce
their feat until safely back in France. In fact, according to this (report from nepalnews.com)
it looks like the Nepalese government is denying the landing at all and
there was some controversy over whether the helicopter actually landed
on the summit. However, eyewitness accounts from several expeditions on
the mountain at the time and a compelling video shot from the
helicopter seems to have dispelled all doubts.

The press release, video and photos are here.

by @ 8:42 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, World record watch, Nepal

betel nut girls

Via Michael Turton, the ultimate photo link collection of Taiwan’s betel-nut girls.:

Betel nut beauties or betel nut girls (檳榔西施 binlang xishi) are a common sight along the roadsides in Taiwan. Some people regard their presence as an outrage while others think they are a unique and colourful part of life in Taiwan. The girls can be seen in sitting in large glass-walled booths on the sides of the road. They are usually busy counting betel nuts or else sitting there looking very bored. Customers stop while driving past and the girls run out to sell them bags of betel nuts.
Betel nut is Taiwan’s second largest agricultural crop. Betel nut plantations dominate the landscape in parts of Central and Southern Taiwan. While betel nut girls are a source of controversy and interest the environmental and health impacts of betel nut are in reality more serious concerns.

by @ 8:25 am. Filed under Culture, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia

the confucian wisdom of poet rumsfeld

ESWN looks at a Chinese disident’s study of media restrictions and stumbles on a odd relationship between Confucius and an American poet.

Confucius said, "You know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know.  That is knowledge."  But we are live in a state of lies and propaganda in which "You know what you know, you think that you know what you actually don’t know, and  you even think that you know what you don’t know that you don’t know.  That is not knowledge."

But here is where the author threw me completely for a loop.  He quoted a poem which titled "The Unknown" by a traditionalist who came out of Princeton University, and it goes something like: "There are some things that we know that we know.  There are some things that we know that we don’t know.  But then there are some things that we don’t even know that we don’t know.  Sometimes, we don’t know that we don’t know about the situation."  The author then went on to say, "It is the power of wisdom that can maintain such clarity of mind about one’s own ignorant state."
Why was I thrown for a loop?  I looked at the name of this Princeton graduate.  The name was Donald Rumsfeld.  He is the current Secretary of Defense for the United States of America.  The quote did not come from any poem.  It came during a US Department of Defense press conference. 

by @ 7:56 am. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

meanwhile in chinese cyberspace

English speakers should bookmark or RSS Doubleleaf for regular summaries of the buzz in Chinese cyberspace.

by @ 7:47 am. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Weblogs

the pony remark

Shelton at Ahssa compares the US administration’s current policy towards North Korea to actions by the male lead in a movie that I fell asleep one-quarter of the way through. After making analogies I can’t understand, he forecasts possible war.:

Am I the only one to see what the hell the Bush Adminstration is doing?
I feel like when it comes to the DPRK, the American public is an unsuspecting (if not uninterested) young lass, while the Bush Adminstration is Catcher Block from the movie Down With Love.
The American public is kinda interested in the idea of freeing the enslaved people of the DPRK through possible military conflict (and letting of blood,) but we’ve only had half our first glass of wine. . .
The President meeting a dude like that is like Catcher Block looking deeply into the eyes of his prey and telling her she has an eyelash that needs to be brushed away — before the process is over someone is going to find themselve’s knocking on heaven’s door — or at least slamming against hell’s.
This has all the markings of Preparing The American Public For War, last seen during the lead up to war against Iraq.

Shelton, I don’t get it. Can you please base future analogies on more widely known pop culture artifacts (try Star Wars).

Personally, I feel the diplomatic situation is always similar to the Seinfeld episode with the pony remark, with the US administration (Jerry) making an innocuous comment about hating tyrants (kids with ponies) causing Kim’s regime (Manya) to leave the table. I expect the situation will also end similarly, with Manya collapsing and Jerry being blamed.

For better analysis: One Free Korea has updated his take on the situation (which is quite good and does not reference either Ewan McGregor or Seinfeld).

by @ 7:33 am. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea, Film

the myth of india’s liberalization

For those who can’t access the AWSJ, Amit Varma has reporoduced his op-ed at IndiaUncut,:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to visit Washington in
a few weeks, and editorialists and commentators have already started
writing about the emerging economic power of India. New Delhi’s
decision to start liberalizing its economy in 1991 is touted as a
seminal event in India’s history, the moment when it threw off the
shackles of Fabian socialism and embraced free markets. It is the stuff
of myth–and to a large extent, it is exactly that.
While part
of India has benefited from being opened up to foreign products and
influences, most of the country is still denied access to free markets
and all the advantages they bring. India opened its markets in 1991 not
because there was a political will to open the economy, but because of
a balance-of-payments crisis that left it with few options. The
liberalization was half-hearted and limited to a few sectors, and
nowhere near as broad as it needed to be.

by @ 6:46 am. Filed under India, Asia, Economy, South Asia

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