6 April, 2006

delhi bribe index

Amit Varma helpfully points to the Bribe Rates for Delhi blog, which records the fees that are not generally recorded in official statistics. The following extract is on getting a drivers license:

AmbassadorGo to the main entry of authority ( A small passage between building and parking.) You can see many agents (or say dalal), you can contact to any cameraman, shopkeeper or roadvendor. I got one (cameraman introduced him with me). I started talking with him, he said sit down don’t talk like this now a days position are strict. We fix up the deal in Rs.490. Then he introduced me to his boss. He asked Rs.600, I said no I was told Rs.490 only. He agreed on that. He took my papers and hand over those to his guy to get the entry in official books, and told me to bring my car for test.

Without taking test I got certificate of test passed. And after some more formalities My permanent license was in my hand.So anybody even who don’t know the driving can get the license get the license at a small official fees and commission of Rs.500…Great irony of government.

(Photo stolen from Tourism Delhi, who probably don’t appreciate the link on a post dealing with bribery)

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by @ 9:26 pm. Filed under India, Asia, South Asia

the trials of yahoo!

AsiaPundit has spoken with Yahoo staff who believed that the transfer of the company’s China operations to Alibaba would prevent the company being implicated in any further unsavory behavior and would limit further bad publicity.

That may have been naive.

Via Glutter, Marketwatch reports on a .:

 ShitaoHONG KONG (MarketWatch) — The family of a Chinese journalist jailed for leaking state secrets is considering legal action against U.S. Internet portal Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) for its alleged role in providing information to authorities that led to his conviction, a Hong Kong lawyer said Monday.

"We are looking at taking legal action against Yahoo for providing information on Shi Tao to the Chinese government," said Albert Ho, who is representing the jailed journalist as his Hong Kong-based attorney. Ho also is a pro-democracy legislator and frequent critic of China’s communist government.

Ho said he is working with Shi’s mainland China lawyer to collect evidence in determining whether civil charges can be pressed against Yahoo at its headquarters in California or in Hong Kong.

As well, a Hong Kong legislator is going after the company for allegedly violating basic law.:

According to the AP, a Hong Kong lesislator has evidence that it was Yahoo’s Hong Kong branch that provided the information to convict a reporter, not the China branch. The Hong Kong branch does not have the same legal relationship with the government that Yahoo has insisted its Chinese operation does.

AsiaPundit has heard from people at or close to the company that no warrants were served on the Hong Kong office - which had remained ignorant of the situation on the mainland in regards to warrants or requests from Chinese authorities. The company said something similar before Congress.  So it seems unlikely that the company violated any Hong Kong law.

As well, AsiaPundit questions whether the company can be sued by Shi Tao’s family in Hong Kong for abiding by Mainland law. It seems very unlikely.

Still, given the bad press that this could cause the company, AsiaPundit would advise Yahoo! that the matter be settled quietly.

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by @ 7:32 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

visit shanghai now!

Via Howard French, possibly the best reason to visit Shanghai now.:

Dancers 1.SizedCome to Shanghai. Come to Shanghai, now! No, this is not a travel industry advertisement, nor a paid promotion of any kind. It is a warning, and those who don’t heed it soon will forever miss what has made this arguably Asia’s greatest city, as its leaders gird to complete a breakneck and all-but- declared bid for the title of the world’s greatest.

The remaking of this city, which is well under way, ranks as one of history’s greatest urban transformations. With 4,000 already, it has nearly double the number of skyscrapers as New York, and another 1,000 are due to rise within the next 10 years - all within a single generation.

The overall result is sure to be stunning. "The future Shanghai will have smooth transportation, a beautiful central city, with charming historical and cultural depth, but it also needs to be energetic," said Tang Zhiping, a senior city planner.

In another era, Shanghai was China’s one international city, its window on the world, and its principal port. In many ways, it remains the country’s showcase, outshining even Beijing - although officials here find it impolitic to come right out and say it - which is undergoing a massive transformation of its own.

The reason you must come to Shanghai now, if cities remotely interest you, is that the work here not only constitutes one of the world’s great urban transformations, it also involves one of history’s great disappearing acts. An old city of organic communities, with intimate, walk-up buildings and extraordinarily rich street life, is being replaced, almost in the blink of an eye, by a new city of expensive high-rises, underground parking garages, and lifestyles based on sheltered, closed-door individualism.

Photo of dancers via Howard. His other photos are in slide-show format at the IHT or all on one page at his site.

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by @ 7:17 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

china to eat detroit

America’s Finest News Source has reported that China will be consuming about 80 percent of the scrap metal harvested from the freshly auctioned Detroit.:

Detroit-Sold-C.Article 0DETROIT—Detroit, a former industrial metropolis in southeastern Michigan with a population of just under 1 million, was sold at auction Tuesday to bulk scrap dealers and smelting foundries across the United States.

Site of the former Detroit Museum of African-American History, which took in over $135.

“This is what’s best for Detroit,” Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick said. “We must act now, while we can still get a little something for it.”

Once dismantled and processed, Detroit is expected to yield nearly 14 million tons of steel, 2.85 million tons of aluminum, and approximately 837,000 tons of copper.


Another company, Bayonne, NJ’s A-1 Salvage, purchased the recently vacated Tiger Stadium for approximately $.17 a ton. A spokesman for the firm said that the People’s Republic of China had expressed interest in purchasing the dismantled sports venue. China is the world’s largest buyer of scrap metal, and could receive up to 80 percent of the city.

The city’s pending shutdown will make thousands of items with no scrap value, and several train-cars full of law enforcement equipment such as handguns, battering rams, and police clubs and riot suits, available to other buyers.

This is a joke of course. Detroit has nothing to worry about for a while.

SAIC won’t start competing with General Motors with its own-branded autos for several months.

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by @ 4:01 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

shanghai intellectual property initiative

Last weekend in Shanghai, China hosted a conference on protecting intellectual property officials and signed the Shanghai Initiative on intellectual property protection.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers, as well as representatives from WIPO and Interpol were in town for two dull days of lectures and possibly a couple of nights of video karaoke (using non-pirated discs, we hope).

By pure coincidence, Shanghai authorities cracked down on two pirated DVD outlets that cater largely to foreigners.:

We’re not sure if the cops just really wanted a cup of coffee or if there is some new law that prohibits fake DVDs being sold at ridiculously expensive prices. We are a little late in getting to this — we were enjoying the nice weekend weather — but it was reported over the weekend that authorities in Changning District fined two “coffee clubs” on Wednesday for selling pirated DVDs:


AsiaPundit has visited the Ka De Club for research purposes (hoping to do some research on the complete second season of Battlestar Galactica, if you must know). AP will note that the coffee shop did carry a better selection of DVDs than the average street-stall vendors.

Also by pure coincidence, the authorities shut down the on-line version of the Xiangyang Market, which like its brick-and-mortar counterpart was selling fake products. Fons points to this item:

SHANGHAI, CHINA — Shanghai authorities have shut down an online store named for a downtown market notorious for selling counterfeit products.

The Chinese-language Web site, http://www.xymarket.cn, had advertised counterfeit products similar to those found in Xiangyang Road market, an open-air bazaar popular among tourists for its wide selection of bargain-priced, “name brand” t-shirts, shoes, coats and other items.

Visitors to the Web site on Friday received an error message saying it was “either nonexistent or closed down.”

By pure coincidence, Friday was also the start of the intellectual property conference.

Strangely, AsiaPundit hasn’t seen this large a crackdown on counterfeit products since hundreds of overseas guests from the entertainment industry were in town for the Shanghai Film Festival.

(photo stolen from China Daily)

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by @ 3:07 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Film

121 sawed skulls

AsiaPundit noticed this item mentioned by Shanghaiist a few days back, Michael at the Opposite End of China has more details and the below grim photo.:

Gansu Skulls

There’s a really gruesome story that’s been developing in Gansu Province these past few days. A local herdsman was apparently minding his own business in a forest near the Gansu/Qinghai provincial border when he discovered a plastic bag containing more than a hundred human skulls… 121 skulls, to be exact. Many of the skulls had been sawed off at the top (see photo), and tests show that they came from the bodies of both children and adults.

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by @ 2:52 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia

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