13 January, 2006

congress to probe china censorship

Via Rebecca, the Boston Globe reports that Congress has taken an interest in US companies aiding Cninese censorship:

One of the most aggressive human rights activists in Congress has found a new cause: stamping out Internet censorship in China.
Representative Christopher H. Smith, a New Jersey Republican and chairman of a House subcommittee on human rights, plans to hold hearings next month on reports that US Internet companies, including Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., aid efforts by the government of China to suppress free speech

Using the AP time machine (beta version), we have managed to grab a preview of the hearings:

MR. SMITH: Will you please state your name?
MR. GATES: William Henry Gates III. . . .
MR. SMITH: Mr. Gates, I will ask you, are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
MR. GATES I am not a member of the Communist Party, but I have done business with the Communist Party.
MR. SMITH: When did you start to associate with the Communist Party?
MR. GATES: We opened a Beijing representative office in 1992.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Gates, Have you or have any of your associates ever censored or deleted a weblog on behalf of the Communist Party?

by @ 11:06 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

golf: not scottish

A Chinese professor has discovered that the Chinese invented golf.:

In addition to gunpowder, the wheelbarrow, origami, spaghetti, fans, kites, the compass, etc., China is now claiming to have invented golf

    A description of the sport, written during the Song Dynasty (AD960-1279), has been found in a volume called the Dongxuan Records. Professor Ling says the book refers to a Chinese magistrate instructing his daughter "to dig goals in the ground so that he might drive a ball into them with a purposely crafted stick". Golf "clearly originated in China", he said, adding that Mongolian travelers took the game to Europe.

    However, it is generally accepted that the first place where all the modern aspects of the game were brought together was in Scotland. Scots were also the first to use holes rather than targets.

A wise man once said "If it’s not Scottish it’s crap!" Taking that into consideration, AsiaPundit will back the Chinese on this, if only because AP hates golf. It’s crap.

by @ 10:37 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

chasing kim

AsiaPundit did not try to stalk Kim Jong-il when he allegedly was in Shanghai*, but Justin of Shenzhen Zen gave it his best in his city:

It was a bit like searching for Elvis, though probably more people in Shenzhen know of Elvis (aka ‘The Big Cat’ as he’s known to the Chinese) than The Great Leader, aka North Korean President Kim Jung Il.

After news reports that the sudden arrival of Kim (or one of his close relatives) had forced the eviction of several hundred guests at the Guangzhou White Swan hotel from January 12 through Monday morning, rumors flew that he would be spending Friday in Shenzhen touring the city’s two major telecom firms, ZTE and Huawei, and possibly taking a breather at the swank Kylin hotel and villa complex where presumably he could indulge himself in his passion for foreign DVDs.

The assignment was simple. Find Kim. How hard could it be in a city of 11 million, after all? There aren’t too many dictators in bushy bouffant hairdos sporting spiffy green jump suits and 12 centimeter platform shoes in an effort to boost their estimated 165cm height to something approximating Great Leader stature.

Official confirmation was nil, of course. According to wire reports, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said he had "no information to offer" on Kim’s whereabouts. Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted an unnamed in source in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as saying: "The leader, as far as I know, is at present in North Korea" and added that the mystery visitor might be Kim kin.

(*AP’s day job is financial reporting. Although a Kim hunt could have been marginally justified due to the ‘super notes‘ - the Dear Leader would be very unlikely to  answer any questions, much less be in a scrum. So, being out of the office chasing Kim wouldn’t be very productive. Stalking someone like EU trade commissioner Peter Mandleson or US Treasury secretary John Snow is acceptable, although it often proves to be about as much of a waste of time as the experience Justin describes.)

by @ 9:44 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

who needs pandas?

What’s cooler and more rare than the endangered giant panda?  Three florescent green pigs. The timing of this announcement leads AsiaPundit to believe that this must be a DPP plot:

Apparently, this has been done before by labs in other countries, but this is the first time that the fluorescence gene has expressed itself throughout the animals’ body.  It’s not really mad scientist stuff, because for genetics studies it’s very useful to have a fluorescence gene inserted into the organism.  When subsequent genes are added, it becomes easy to tell if the insertion worked because the animals stop glowing.  However, the two reports above state that the purpose is for stem cell and regenerative tissue studies.


Jason at Wandering to Tamshui shows the three little piggies in all their kryptonite glory and comments: "This has to be one of the greatest things to happen to Taiwanese nationalism since Lee Teng-hui got his teeth capped":


by @ 8:55 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

china economic roundup

It has been months since AsiaPundit posted a China economic roundup, but the void has been filled brilliantly at the New Economist.

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by @ 8:31 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Economic roundup

fowl language

Mango Sauce offers some analysis on a reason for the spread of avian flu in Thailand. Warning, the post contains some fowl language:

Big CockWhen the whiskey bottle is drained and your farang son-in-law won’t give you any more cash to go whoring, nothing relieves the tedium of upcountry life better than the compelling mix of animal cruelty and illegal gambling to be found at a cock fight.

It’s a brutal contest and the rules are simple. The winner scoops the pot and the loser gets served up in one.

Most injuries sustained are to the head and neck and the feathered fighters are prone to choking on their own blood. To prevent asphyxiation bringing the bout to a premature end, trainers are permitted to clear their birds’ airways - by sucking the goo out with their own mouths.

As noted here previously, Thai officials have said that fighting cocks are more resilient to the virus than farmed chickens and have been noted as potential H5N1 carriers.

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by @ 8:16 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand

is kim jong-il nuts?

Richardson at DPRK studies provides a 15-point outline for evaluating whether the Dear Leader is crazy:

KjiThe answer to the question of whether or not Kim is crazy depends on how one defines ‘crazy.’ If by crazy you mean a foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic that needs medication to function somewhere near normal, the answer is a categorical no, Kim is not crazy. As Madame Secretary will testify, Kim Jong-il can be ‘charming,’ and as odd as it may seem, he has been skillfully maneuvering to remain in power for decades, consolidating power internally while keeping external forces at bay.

Yet this answer does not satisfy – no sane person would run gulags, have people shot for leaving the country without permission, or wear their hair like that; Kim is more than just an eccentric. And not all mental disorders are of the stereotypical schizophrenic type. For example, consider the definition of a sociopath (a.k.a. psychopath): A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse. Why not - Johh McCain agrees. More of the profile:

Characteristics of the profile:

1. Glibness/Superficial Charm

2. Manipulative and Conning

3. Grandiose Sense of Self

4. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

5. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity

6. Need for Stimulation

7. Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle

8. Callousness/Lack of Empathy

9. Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility

10. Irresponsibility/Unreliability

11. Shallow Emotions

12. Pathological Lying

13. Incapacity for Love

14. Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature

15. Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency

The Dear Leader is currently missing, likely somewhere in Northeast Asia. The Guardian has a good summary.

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by @ 1:39 pm. Filed under South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

ask asiapundit

The Shanghaiist has been running a Q&A service since its inception, offering the pooled intellectual resources of an excellent group blog. Now Kushibo has started an “Ask Kushibo” section:

My sitemeter.com data shows that a lot of the 100 or so people a day who link to my site are looking for cultural information on Korea (e.g., “Who celebrated the first Chusok?” “When did Syngman Rhee die?” etc., etc.).

That got me thinking that, hey, I have a master’s degree in Korean studies and a minor in Japanese studies, I’ve been in Seoul far longer than most foreans my age (whether they’re kyopo or non-kyopo), I teach introductory courses on Korea and its cultural trappings, so why not offer a free service where I attempt to answer people’s questions, point them in the direction of where they can get them answered, and/or offer my regulars (that’s you!) a chance to take a stab at some of this stuff, too.

So I hereby launch “Ask Kushibo.” Just ask a question in the comments section below.

AsiaPundit, as a long-term resident of several countries on the continent, also offers his expertise.

Our first question comes from Canadian reader Mike in Canmore, British Columbia.:

BundaegiDear AsiaPundit;

I am having Korean house guests next week, the in-laws of my son’s bride. I read that bundaegi is a popular snack food, so I purchased a couple of tins at a Victoria ethnic-food store. I was hoping to pair this with wine from a B.C. vinyard. What wine goes best with bundaegi?

Dear Mike;

Bundaegi has a distinct taste - and smell - that makes pairing a challenge. However, the snack is most often eaten late in the evening well after the main meal. AP would suggest that you chose a nice Pacific Salmon for the main meal, and serve it with either a savignon blanc or zinfandel depending on the style of cooking. Keep the bundaegi for later in the evening - after the cigars - and serve with ample shots of soju. The soju and cigars will help smother taste buds and make the bundaegi edible.

Questions can be e-mailed to AsiaPundit @ gmail . com

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

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