Today, AsiaPundit has the Shanghai flu (possibly not, but I’m running a fever and trying to recall if I had ever felt this ill in Singapore, Kuwait or Korea). So, Monday’s links will be short and not thoroughly checked for grammar or spelling. Notably missing from today’s links are Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and India (new pundits for some of these areas are still welcome, e-mail asiapundit @ gmail.com).
Today’s top story is the revolution in Japan. Koizumi and the lipstick ninjas have secured a decisive victory, now is the time to act on their mandate. Japundit has a wrap. And for the rest of us, from a pre-vote post, it’s time to reevaluate Japanese politics.:
In one speech I saw on television, Mr. Koizumi laughed as he made the
point that the roles of the parties in this campaign are reversed. For
years, the LDP was perceived as the party of vested interests and the
status quo, while the opposition clamored for reform. The prime
minister seems to have turned that on its head in the public’s mind,
casting the LDP as the reformers and the opposition as the hidebound
traditionalists supporting the status quo. If he pulls off this
sleight-of-hand, it would be enough to rank Koizumi among the world’s
most talented political operatives.
Mr. Koizumi and the LDP do go on to victory in the election (ed. they did), it
could also bury an old canard that short-term foreigners frequently
employ to denigrate the Japanese. These folks love to trot out an old
Japanese proverb warning that the nail that sticks out gets pounded
down; i.e., don’t be too original, call attention to yourself, or make
I’m sorry, but after all these years in Japan, it seems clear to me that the Japanese love
the nail that sticks out just as much as anyone else–especially in
politics. I wonder how long it will take the rest of the pack to catch
up to the prime minister and figure that out.
Good news, AsiaPundit can now report on death tolls from Chinese natural disasters without being prosecuted. In other news, all erotica will remain soft-core.:
One of Xinhua’s shortest reports in history was published today:
Death toll in natural disasters no longer kept as China’s state secret
BEIJING, Sept. 12 — The death toll in natural disasters was no
longer regarded as state secret starting from August this year, a
government spokesman said here Monday.
Well that’s nice to know, but is probably of little comfort to
people like journalists Zhao Yan, Shi Tao and Ching Cheong, all three
of whom are currently in prison after being accused of leaking state
So what is still a state secret then? Christy Zhong is evidently not a
state secret, judging from Xinhua’s photo gallery entitled "Can you
breathe in front of her?" (pictured), although the area between her
legs was clearly felt by the Xinhua editors to be divulging a little
too much and was pixellated to avoid causing social upheaval.
Indeed, in order to preserve social order, and prevent a visit from Shanghai state security, AsiaPundit will refrain from publishing any nudity that has not been pixelated, or at least covered with body paint…
That’s a certain naughty ShenzhenRen mugging beside the show-stopper, a human billboard.
Sun Bin weighs the prospects of a war in the Straits, his conclusions are similar to my own beliefs, although I am far more skeptical about Mainland China’s ability to win a war, and I also expect that a war would have popular support (I fear that almost six decades of Communist propaganda has left much of the populace more dogmatic and irrational than those governing.):
Taiwan has 2 defense options
- Plan on declaring independence, and prepare for a war. In this case perhaps $15bn of weapon will not be enough, not even $150bn
- Quietly maintain the status quo, do whatever it like of
self rule, even preach democracy to the mainland, just don’t declare
independence. There will not be a war, and hence no need to get into an
arms race. From CCP’s perspective, their focus is on economic
development. The last thing they want to see is a war, or even an arms
The choice is easy. As discussed in my
, Sun Zi said, "supreme excellence is winning the war without fighting" , better still, without even the need to arm.
Whatever objective Taiwan’s leaders want to pursue, be it Ma’s
unification, or Chen Shuibian’s independence, all they need to do is to
buy more time. Some years into the future, maybe as long as 20-30
years, or as short as 5-10 years, China will be more open or even
become a democracy, by then no one can stop Taiwanese people making
their own decision. In between, let’s make peace and make money.
In addition, while there is no reason for James Soong (or the
Taiwanese people) to take Hu Jintao’s words at their face value, one
should recognize that there is absolutely no reason
for CCP to wage a war if Taiwan did not declare independence. It would
not only be stupid, they would also be lacking internal support.
If you can come up with 301 ways to tell that you’ve been lining in China too long … You’ve Been Living In China Too Long.
Laowiseass visits the China-North Korea border and muses on patriotism.:
The U.S. army bombed this bridge in half during the Korean War. The
Chinese built a new one, left, into North Korea, background, and turned
the bombed leftover into a paid-admission (20 yuan) park. You can walk
out to the end, foreground, and read signs about how the Americans
wrecked the bridge. The signs call our viewing pleasure a "patriotic
education." The Americans screwed us, remember? Patiotism.
what historical relics authorities and visitors say about the Old
Summer Palace ruins, 145-year-old rubble piles open to all for 15 yuan
last I checked. Allied European and American armies bombed or burned or
both the Beijing site in the late 1800s to weaken an already weak Qing
Dynasty. As one visitor told me in an interview about the palace
grounds’ expansion, "it makes me hate the Europeans." Any white person
walking toward the palace into a headwind of departing Chinese visitors
feels that quotation without asking for it.
When I went to school,
patriotism meant remembering whatever we fancied was cool about the
United States, stuff like the Bill of Rights and civil rights, not
struggles against other nations (more a source of embarrassment than
pride anyway). We also had to say a pledge of allegiance full of words
we were too young to understand, but we hated only the teacher for that.
Bingfeng test drives democracy on the Chinese internet, his message is to stop using "dem0cr," good old-fashoned democracy works just fine.:
avoid the GFW? i doubt i find many bloggers prefer the use of
dem0cr when it’s related with china. is it necessary to replace "o"
with "0" and replace "a" with "@" in order to avoid the GFW? i doubt it. here is what i found with baidu search for "democracy in china":
Democracy in China: feasible or not?
Awaiting a Democratic HK
Grassroots Democracy Taking Roots in Rural China …
Here is what i found with google search for "民主" (the chinese equivalent for democracy):
民主进步党[ 繁体 ]
民主党[ 繁体 ]
if this is not convincing enough, let’s take a look at xinhua forum, the favorite place premier Wen often visit:in one article titled "wil it become democratic if the secretary
office is cancled?", there are six "democracy".well, i don’t see why dem0cr becomes such a label that must be attached to china every time,
Internet users in the West have Bert Is Evil. Japanese users have Nevada-Tan.
On June 1, 2004, an online feud between two 11 year old girls attending the same elementary school in escalated into murder. “Girl A” (there’s also a “Boy A”
who committed an even more gruesome crime) slit her classmate’s throat
and arms with a boxcutter knife, in the same classroom where they
The victim, Satomi Mitarai, bled to death.
enough as the murder may seem, the story didn’t end there. “Girl A”
became “Nevada-tan” after after images of the suspected murderer were
published showing her wearing a pullover hooded sweatshirt with the
word “NEVADA” emblazoned across the chest (the “-tan” suffix is a
child’s pronunciation of the honorific “-chan”), according to Wikipedia.
Internet users on Japan’s 2ch soon discovered that Nevada-tan had a very active life online. Says Wikipedia:
appears that “Girl A” was heavily influenced by some of the more
visceral aspects of Internet culture. An analysis of the case states
that she “was a girl fascinated with urban legend, internet subculture,
even going as far as guro. From her site she had linked shock
flash movies and bizarre ASCII movies that would unnerve even the most
hardened internet warriors”. Her website showcased her interests, which
included fanfiction about her favourite film Battle Royale and strange
“recipes” (with names like “Curse of the Purple Skull” and “Demonic
Art”). A particularly strong influence was the “Red Room” horror flash
video, which she based the site’s design around.
Singapore will soon be recieving . Co-host Cecilia Larson is, incidental, much hotter than Dr Ruth Westheimer.:
SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore’s first television show dedicated to sexual
matters will be aired by national broadcaster MediaCorp this month.
The weekly half-hour "Love Airways" show, featuring the city-state’s
self-proclaimed love guru and a blonde Swedish co-host, will air on
Mandarin-language Channel U from September 21 at 11:30 pm. Singapore is
76 percent ethnic Chinese.
The show aims to discuss "sex and intimacy-related topics" like dating,
anatomy, wellness and diseases in a fun, non-clinical style, said a
statement from government-linked MediaCorp.
Its host is Dr. Wei Siang Yu, a local celebrity who has branded himself
"Dr. Love" and has his own business offering advice to Singaporean and
foreign couples finding it difficult to have babies.
Singapore’s crackdown on blogs has started. SPG was able to get away with nudity, Stephen McDermott of rage-against-the-PAP blog Singabloodypore was just allowed into the country undisturbed by customs, but racism, Cowboy Caleb notes, is a no-no.
SINGAPORE : For the first time in Singapore, two bloggers have been
charged under the Sedition Act for making racist remarks.
They are 25-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew and 27-year-old Benjamin Koh Song Huat.
A subordinate court was told that both their blogs had content that cast aspersions on the Malay community. . .
Mandrake emailed me this snippet of news.
The channel news asia website seems to be down, so I’ve pasted the text
here for you to read. I say, Jolly Good Show! We should not let racists
get away lightly. The Intarweb is a public place, and as such if you have nothing nice to say then shut the hell up.
While I haven’t read the offensive comments, AsiaPundit is has a very narrow view on free speech issues. While boundaries on libel and slander can be acceptable if damages can be proven, sedition seems a harsh sentence for what were likely ill-advised and ignorant comments. This doesn’t solve the problem of racism, it forces it underground to fester.
mr brown has more, offering this comment from the (often NSFW) Sammyboy forums.:
About itself, Sammyboy himself
says: "Based on the the list, just about every mother’s son and
daughter who has ever posted any messages here will soon be in jail."
Also see Miyagi, Mr Wang, Singapore Ink, Omeka Na Huria, SingSingapore, and hundereds of other Singapore blogs (they aren’t always apolitical).
Finally, AsiaPundit is happy to report that a comic-art rendition of Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian was allowed to be seen at last week’s APEC meeting. Soon, perhaps we’ll have a Taiwan hand puppet at the World Health Organization.
The cartoon figure of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has finally been
granted permission to appear in the exhibition to celebrate the
upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan,
South Korea, thanks to the efforts of officials from the Taipei Mission
in South Korea and the Busan Cartoon Club.
The cartoon figure of Chen was put on display yesterday at the APEC Summit
Cartoon Figure Exhibition in Busan City—the venue of this year’s annual
event—along with those of other heads of state slated to attend the APEC summit in November.
Gerald of the now defunct Chinese Adventure Blog has passed the torch; welcome to AsiaPundit’s first Carnival of Chinese Blogs.
For starters, ESWN brings us a partial translation on the most commented on post on Chinese BBS ever.:
The following story appeared in Nanfang
Weekend; It follows the story of one particular forum post at the Tianya
Club. The post first appeared in February 22, 2005. Since
then, it was been viewed more than 223,000 times, and almost 4,000 people have
commented on it. It is estimated that it will take a person 7 hours to
read the whole thread. With the national exposure from Nanfang Weekend,
there will probably be another huge traffic surge.
It is about rich
versus poor in China. The extraordinary thing is that the crucial discourse
contained little or no political, economic or sociological jargon. There
was no invocation of Marx-Engels-Stalin-Mao and no Chinese census data. It was
just two principal characters describing their daily lives and commenting on each other.
The precipitating cause for the forum post was a
frequent forum participant named Yi Yeqing. She described herself as
a Shanghai elitist and repeatedly asserted that society is divided into classes
of noble people versus the riffraff. From 2004, she wrote several essays
to express her contempt of peasants, migrant laborers, outsiders, beggars and
others. For example, in the essay "Today, I saw a migrant laborer
Fons looks at Yahoo!’s acquiescence to Chinese authorities request for information that helped secure a 10-year jail sentence for journalist Shi Tao, and notes that it’s a good idea to host websites outside of China.:
Why do I think Yahoo did more than it had to do under Chinese law. Let
go back a few year, when I attended a social event where I bumped into
one of the senior officials of the legal departments Ministry of the
Information Industry, who had just written the murky internet laws that
got introduced just months before our meeting. Since it was a social
meeting, I could not ask the 200 questions I should have asked, but the
few answers I got were interesting enough.
Since the Chinese law
writes about "Chinese" websites, companies, internet I wondered how the
nationality of a website could be established. He looked at me and it
was silent for a long time. "That is a good question," he said after a
very long time. I know that nowadays that is a standard answer on US
media you get after any question, but this developed really into a bit
of an painful silence. "We will look where a website is hosted," he
said after some time. "That would establish de nationality of a
One of the commentors at this legal website says that the servers of
Yahoo’s email service are actually hosted in Beijing. That would indeed
offer Chinese judicial authorities a handle to demand cooperation. And
it would indicate that hosting your servers in China might in this case
be a less-than-smart idea.
At the China Law Prof blog, it’s noted that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd may have gone beyond the call of duty.:
Assuming that Yahoo HK is, as
it appears to be, a Hong Kong entity, then it is not generally subject
to PRC law. It is, of course, subject to Hong Kong law. But Article
18(1) of the Basic Law,
the PRC statute that serves as Hong Kong’s constitution, states:
"National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this
Law." Annex III to the Basic Law lists the following laws:
1. Resolution on the Capital, Calendar, National Anthem and National Flag of the People’s Republic of China
2. Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China
3. Order on the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China Proclaimed by the Central People’s Government
4. Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea
5. Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China
6. Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities
of these would seem to provide any basis for requiring a Hong Kong
company such as Yahoo HK to hand over information to the PRC
Andrea at T-salon has more.
Chinese authorities may soon ban Skype and other Voice-over-Internet-Protocol services, a move that could cost AsiaPundit hundreds of dollars a year (provided he can’t figure out a way to run Skype through proxies), Imagethief looks at the problem from a broader perspective.:
It’s always awe-inspiring to watch a colossal dinosaur
struggling against the inevitable consequences of
intelligent design. That’s why I was interested to read reports from both Reuters and AFX (More from China Herald.)
Let me put this in context for you. It costs about a buck a minute to
call the US by POTS from China. I’ve had phone bills up to about 450
yuan, or about $60, in months where I’ve made just one or two
calls to the US. Now remember, I live in a country with a median urban income of just over $1000 per year,
or about $90 per month. Other than rent for expensive, international
apartments, boutiques and fashionable restaurants and bars aimed at
foreigners, the cost of living here is pretty low (which is why
underpaid Imagethief can save any dough). International phone calls,
however, remain ludicrously expensive by local standards.
ACB notes that the government may have other reasons for the possible attack on VoIP.:
its ability to compete with state owned firms is likely to make Skype
and other VoIP technologies a concern for Beijing, another of their
concern is likely to be that data based voice services are harder to
track and tap than traditional telephone systems.
Where as a
conventional telephone signal uses a standard form of encoding that is
publicly known, uses a single circuit between two fixed points, and can
be tapped directly through the use of a wire tap or indirectly through
monitoring equipment built into telephone exchanges, Skype uses AES -
Advanced Encryption Standard - block cipher encryption, and its
messages are split up and routed over multiple paths and through
multiple servers, making Skype calls more difficult to track calls back
to those making them and exponentially more difficult to eavesdrop on.
China is assemblying its Olympic sharp-shooting team.:
China has assembled a team of 30 sharpshooters - synonym for snipers - to guard the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The official China Daily newspaper reported Friday, that the
marksmen were picked from a group of more than 200 police officers.
They competed for places on the sniper team during a month of trials.
The paper says the sharpshooters could be dispatched to handle
kidnappings, riots or any incidents involving firearms that might
develop at the Beijing games.
Ma Qiang, a senior Beijing police official, says China’s Olympic
security team includes officers with outstanding skills in fields such
as forensics, bomb disposal and negotiations.
It’s amazing what gets counterfeit in China.:
A restaurant in northeastern China that advertised illegal
tiger meat dishes was found instead to be selling donkey flesh —
marinated in tiger urine, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Austin pays a visit to the National Museum in Beijing, where he was moved by the exhibit on the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Japanese:
It was hard not to be moved by the images I saw today as I cruised
through the National Museum in Beijing. Not having any idea what was
there, I entered and realized that they were having a special exhibit
on contemporary interpretations of the War against “Fascism” or the
Shanghai Chinese blogger Bingfeng notes Premier Wen’s endorsement of democracy and ponders if political development should mimic economic development, with Special
Economic Democratic Zones:
…but the underlying presumption of the idea of SDZ is that democracy
enhances the social and economic development, this is exactly what
practical, result-oriented Chinese people expect from democracy. but
what if it doesn’t come out that way? the true value of democracy is
not to help the society become better but to prevent it from the worst.
will a SDZ show this to the Chinese people in the short run?
and which part of the country should become a SDZ? developed or less developed region? rural or urban? ……..
I recommend Hong Kong, they deserve it; and they’re almost there…
I was asked a really interesting question today:
So, Zhang has basically been in detainment all year? What did he do so different from you?
So why Mr. Zhang, Mr. Ching, and Mr. Shi are in jail for writing and believing in pretty much the same things as me, yet they are detained and I am
running around free?
Because I live in Hong Kong.
Jian Shuo Wang has some concerns about the upcoming Chinese Blogger Convention.:
I don’t know why, but I just have the mixed feeling of this event. I
didn’t got any notification/invitation of this event yet. I am worrying
about this event. I met Isaac and discussed my concerns: it is more
like a conference of only some people, instead of the blogging world.
BSPs like blogbus, bokee, blogcn, anyp.cn
seem not involved yet, and many bloggers like me are not involved yet.
The speakers are great persons but seem to be only in a small circle.
Although many bloggers are encouraged to participate, but there is not
good way to organize the participation. There are many panel
discussions, but I worry how to organize it if there are so many people
- I don’t know what the panel discussion will look like if it is 100
The KungPao Chicken lists the 10 things he’ll miss about China.
Our expat China Daily editor managed to squeeze one past the censors, securing Voice of the People instead of Voice of Youth.:
For all of you who wanted to see the headline, here it is. Next week I
will try push the boundaries a bit further with a headline like
Free Tibet or
Hu Jintao - How corrupt is he?
I shall return to some serious blogging tomorrow when I get my keyboard
fixed. Now I’m off out to a North Korean restaurant with the other
D J McGuire, who cites the Epoch Times a bit too much for me to not take with a grain of salt, has a three (iii) part (ii) opus (i) on the CCP’s link with Islamist terror groups.
In the myriad of pro-democracy, anti-Communist events that I have been
fortunate enough to attend, I am usually the only one who brings up the
War on Terror (and I have nearly every time, in large part because I
have written a book
on this subject). Sadly, the consensus inside and outside the
“movement” is that Communist China and the War on Terror are separate
and distinct issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact,
when one examines our enemies in the War on Terror – the Taliban, al
Qaeda, the Ba’athists in Iraq, and for the more expansive among us, the
regimes of Syria, Iran, and Stalinist North Korea – one finds only two
things they all hold in common: hatred for America, and support from
the Chinese Communist Party.
Thomas Barnett posts an article with a different perspective.:
History has already proved that the United States is not China’s
permanent enemy. Nor does China want the United States to see it as a
foe. Deng Xiaoping’s prediction that "things will be all right when
Sino-U.S. relations eventually improve" was a cool judgment based on
China’s long-term interests. To be sure, aspirations cannot replace
reality. The improvement of Chinese-U.S. relations will be slow,
tortuous, limited, and conditional, and could even be reversed in the
case of certain provocations (such as a Taiwanese declaration of
independence). It is precisely for this reason that the thorny problems
in the bilateral relationship must be handled delicately, and a stable
new framework established to prevent troubles from disrupting an
international environment favorable for building prosperous societies.
China’s leadership is set on achieving such prosperity by the middle of
the twenty-first century; with Washington’s cooperation, there is
little to stand in its way.
I won’t argue whether Taiwan is a part of China, but it is a part of the carnival.
Mei Zhong Tai notes that People First Party head James Soong has received a guarantee of peace in our time.:
The heads of the two main Pan Blue parties, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang and James Soong of the People First Party, have agreed to oppose the special arms budget requested by the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry recently reduced the size of the arms budget by shifting
some weapons to the general military budget in hope of gaining Pan Blue
support. According to the China Post, the weapons were rejected because they are still too expensive, unnecessary and against the people’s wishes.
Most amazing about this whole ordeal is a quote from James Soong explaining the decision:
May, when I went to China, (Chinese President) Hu Jintao clearly said
if Taiwan doesn’t pursue independence, there won’t be any military
threat in the Taiwan Strait.
Mr. Soong is taking the word of
President Hu that Taiwan needn’t fear China and thus doesn’t need to
buy more sophisticated weaponry. This is baffling to say the least.
Meanwhile, reports of KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou’s death have been slightly exaggerated.:
Two months ago, Ma Ying-jeou beat Wang Jin-pyng to become the new
chairman of the KMT. This weekend there’s an interesting contrast of
news articles on the two men involved in that race. On Friday evening, Yahoo! Taiwan released a story on their website that (election winner) Ma Ying-jeou had been assassinated - which came as a bit of a surprise to the man himself:
general manager of the Internet company, who was in the U.S. when the
incident occurred, telephoned Ma to present the company’s deepest
The company promised to strengthen its internal management in order to avoid similar episode from occurring again in the future.
Who needs a pit-bull when you can have one of these loyal beasts.:
"’The Formosan has more capabilities than most breeds: It can be a
guard dog, a companion, a hunting dog and a stunt dog. It is very
intelligent and loyal," Chen said.
Traditionally kept by
Aboriginals as a hunting dog, the breed is athletic and has a jaw like
a vice grip. This tenacity, coupled with the Formosan’s famous loyalty
makes it an excellent guard dog, if a bit on the small side. Their
medium-small frame can pack tonnes of attitude."
For more on Taiwan, check out Michael’s most-recent weekly Taiwan Blog Roundup.
AsiaPundit is looking for hosts for future Carnivals, and always welcomes tips on blogs of interest.For a chance to host the next edition, or to highlight a post that deserves inclusion email me at "AsiaPundit @ gmail . com"
For more on China do check out the main page and the China economic roundup section.
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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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