16 January, 2006

mr gates, washington (part II)

At the risk of developing a huge circular linkfest that will cause the blogosphere to implode, AsiaPundit is further consolidating the China internet censorship dialogue as Bingfeng, Angry Chinese Blogger and Tom Legg join in.

Tom rebuts several of Imagethief’s arguments and, like AP, is welcoming hearings, but with a lot more enthusiasm than was done here:

As long as decisions on who obtains access to the Chinese market is given a thumbs up or thumbs down by Chinese government bureaucrats, there is the possibility that US businesses could lose access to the Chinese market for extra-legal reasons. Given the vague and broad regulation of Internet Content Providers in China, which require responses to both judicial warrants {Shi Tao and Yahoo!} and extra-judicial requests from Media Control/Propaganda Officers {apparently, Anti and MSN Spaces}, and the wiggle room for arbitrary "rule of men", how will US corporations doing business in China react to extra-legal requests for action by Chinese authorities given the threat of loss of access to the market? {Should we argue for the repeal of US laws barring US corporations from bribing foreign officials to obtain business, if that is custom of that country? Is it a stretch to suggest that other extra-legal favours for foreign officials constitute an in-kind bribe? Would yanking a troublemaker’s blog, which hasn’t been officially censored, on behalf of an annoyed government official, who has the power to make the regular conduct of your business difficult, constitute an in-kind bribe?}

Shanghai-native blogger Bingfeng is opposing US meddling as unproductive:

…talking about internet censorship in china, suggestions like punishing MSN, yahoo or regulating foreign internet firms sound so stupid to me. it won’t contribute anything positive except increasing the already high level awareness of chinese internet censorship. and even worse, such regulatons might thwart the expansion of free thinkings in china which is hard to image without the involvement of foreign tech firms.

simply put it this way, chinese internet censorship can only be demolished by chinese people themselves. all the underlying reasons for internet censorship, the tradition of patriarch culture, the outdated ideology, the legitimate claim to protect kids, the difficulty of regulating internet in such a fast-developing market and immense country, are all hard to conceive to outsiders and such a system problem with so many intertwined elements requires wit to understand, strong desire to fight against, and patience to solve.

Angry Chinese Blogger takes a very analytical view bringing up, among other things, the long-passed out of discussion Internet Freedom Act:

In October 2002, Congressmen Christopher Cox and Thomas Lantos proposed legislation (The Global Internet Freedom Act) to create the ‘Office of Global Internet Freedom’. A body working under the auspices of the ‘Broadcasting Board of Governors’; the federal agency that maintains the ‘Voice of America’ and ‘Radio Free Asia’.

Under proposals, the Office of Global Internet Freedom would have the remit to "develop and implement a comprehensive global strategy to combat state-sponsored and state-directed Internet jamming, and persecution of those who use the Internet."

  "The Chinese government, and sadly, too many other regimes around the world, have been aggressively blocking access to the Internet, monitoring Internet activity and punishing those who seek only to share information"

Christopher Cox, Congressman, US (speaking before the US-C ESRC, June 2003)

Initially, OGIF was proposed as having a budget of $US100 Million over two years, however, this was paired down to $US16 in July 2003.

AP has stated the views he currently holds - these may shift with circumstances, arguments and new developments - but all of the above are worth reading in full (including Bingfeng’s first two posts on the topic).

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by @ 11:32 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs

shenzhen cyber cops

The Nanny has just received a facelift. And she’s kinda cute:


The internet nanny is cute, until she confiscates your computer and hauls you away and locks you up for a couple of years on trumped up charges relating to national security leaking national secrets — and then you realize she’s a hard ass. Inspired by the hideous and tacky mascots of the Beijing Olympics, the Shenzhen police devised a way of making their new internet police force (which started work on January 1 of this year) seem more cute and acceptable to the masses — using cartoon mascots of their own. One is named Jing Jing (the male), and the other Cha Cha (the female). ‘Jing’ and ‘cha’ are the characters that comprise the word for ‘police’ in Chinese. Shanghaiist is sure that some of you readers are no doubt Westerners that just don’t get China and Chinese values, which is why the po-lice have to spell it out for you:


This basically states that websites, including BBSs, discussion groups (and most definitely blogs) are public places, and so internet denizens must likewise watch what they say and do. Thus the two cartoon figures will appear on various Shenzhen sites from now on. Apparently, you can click on either one and then be brought to a page (here or here) where you can talk live with real cops

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by @ 11:00 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

indonesia: softcore porn and sufferance

IndCoup notes that Playboy is launching an Indonesian edition, enraging the country’s Islamist parties. IndCoup, however, argues that the outrage is not based on concerns that the magazine will diminish women.:

JodiannpatersonIn politics, for example, the Muslim factions in Indonesia’s Parliament do everything they can to ensure that women are still seen as inferior to men and are excluded, wherever possible, from the sphere of political decision-making (women occupy just 8 percent of the seats in Indonesia’s Parliament).

Sure Indonesia may have had a female president - Megawati Sukarnoputri – but she was often made a target by the Islamists simply because of her gender (after all, men should never be ruled over by women, should they?)

Actually, I think the Indonesians should take a leaf out of the Swedes’ book given that women make up around 50 percent of Parliament members in Sweden. And this in a country where very permissive attitudes toward pornography are common. Coincidence? I think not…

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by @ 10:25 pm. Filed under Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Media

snow gear

When he was growing up in the bitterly cold Canadian wilderness*, AsiaPundit’s mother would always remind him to dress warmly. AP’s female friends were also advised to do the same by their parents. In Northern Japan, things are different. In Canada the furyou girls would be the ones wearing short skirts in winter..:


“Rules is rules” in Japan. It may have snowed almost meter in Nagoya but school rules say “sailor suit tops and pleated short skirts” are the required uniform.

Oddly, school uniform skirts have got so short in Japan many furyou girls (不良少女, delinquent wannabes) wear their gym sweatpants and short together with hyper-short skirts. Schools in “snow country” relax the uniform rules to allow girls to add training wear when needed but Nagoya fashion rules seems to not include common sense.

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by @ 10:18 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

suicide bombing with chinese characteristics

Picking up on items in The New Republic and Scientific American on the strategy and the mentality of suicide bombing, Joel at Far Outliers ponders the root causes of suicide bombing in China.:

The recent spate of suicide bombings in China seems to underline Mr. Skeptic’s point about despair in the face of oppressive and unresponsive governments.

Discontented or disturbed attackers in China have used mining explosives or fertilizer devices in previous bombings.

In August, a farmer with lung cancer set off a bomb on a bus in Fuzhou in southeastern Fujian province, wounding 31 people, and in July a murder suspect set off a bomb in a shopping mall in northeastern China, injuring 47 people.

A man set off a bomb on a bus in the western Xinjiang region in January 2005, killing 11 people.

On Saturday, Xinhua reported an explosion in a coal mine in Xinjiang in November was set off deliberately in the Beitaishan Coal Mine, killing 11 people.

Perhaps there are other bombings we haven’t heard about, and religious nationalism cannot be ruled out in the case of Xinjiang (or East Turkestan), but it seems that suicide bombing in China is driven as much by individuals bent on revenge as by religion, nationalism, or occupation. Some of these Chinese suicide bombers seem to be aiming their Propaganda of the Deed at international news media in order to exact personal revenge on their otherwise unresponsive government–and, of course, on many of its innocent citizens.

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by @ 9:45 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Terrorism

naked taiko

AsiaPundit would ordinarily avoid linking to sites showing nudity - but naked young Japanese women playing taiko drums clearly isn’t porn. This is art.

Naked TaikoWith its primeval pounding and frenzied movements, taiko is a breathtaking spectacle. The ancient art form requiring a tricky combination of both skill and stamina.

Yet by opting for a slightly unconventional approach, an all-female group has given the medium a novel new twist – naked taiko. The lithe and lively members more than happy to bang the night away, exhibiting barely a care in the world in regards to how much noise they make.

Clicking on the picture above will take you to a video of one of their performances. Which, due to a complete disregard for clothing and wanton jiggling of body parts, is definitely not safe for work.

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by @ 9:06 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

dr hwang gets a job offer

A scientific organization would have to be nuts to offer a position to disgraced South Korean scientist and cloning fraudster Hwang Woo-suk. The doctor is fortunate then that there happen to be a bunch of crazies that run what they claim to be a commercial cloning operation.  Clonaid has decided to offer him a position.:

ClonaidIt is interesting to do the mental exercise, for just a few seconds, and ask oneself - why would Dr Hwang play with the hope of millions of people who are desperately waiting for stem-cell cure to be available for either themselves or one of their relatives? Why would he declare that he has made these lines, if he wasn’t able to do it, knowing that millions are watching him and that he would have to deliver them soon?

In the same way, how can people believe that Clonaid’s announcement of a cloned child being born was a hoax while thousands of parents-to-be were and are counting on us? Thankfully these parents didn’t trust the media and today many of them had their baby…

We at Clonaid, believe that Dr Hwang has cloned human embryos and has the knowledge to develop stem cell lines.

We also believe that, like Dr.Boisselier, he has been discredited as he wasn’t in line with what the political and religious powers of this world wanted regarding the cloning technology. It is easier to discredit someone than to believe in his words when he disturbs the establishment….

Dr. Boisselier has offered Dr. Hwang to collaborate in one of Clonaid’s laboratories.

(Via The Marmot)

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by @ 8:50 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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