17 April, 2006

petition for hao wu

Global Voices editor Hao Wu remains imprisoned without charge by Beijing’s Public Security Bureau. With the initial burst of reporting and support having failed to secure his release, GV has launched a petition to directly appeal to President Hu Jintao.:


Many Global Voices readers have asked what they can do to hasten our friend and colleage Hao Wu’s release from detention in Beijing. Hundreds of you have put badges on your blogs and webpages to call attention to Hao Wu’s detention, and this support has helped generate media interest in the situation.

We’d hoped that media pressure would lead to Hu Jintao to release Hao prior to his upcoming meeting with President Bush. Unfortunately, this looks increasingly unlikely. So today we’re launching a letter-writing campaign and a petition to ask for Hao’s immediate release.

Rebecca launched the letter writing campaign earlier today, and we’re encouraging readers to write to their national governments, to the Chinese ambassadors in their nation, to their local newspapers, and to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Her post offers key pieces of information to include in letters or op-eds as well some useful addresses.

We’ve also launched an online petition, demanding that President Hu Jintao release Hao immediately.

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by @ 10:14 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

the decline of taiwan comics

The Leaky Pen, having ventured into a Taichung book store to discover that students were most interested in porn and video games, writes a lament on the demise of Taiwan’s comic culture.:

TaiwancomicUnlike Hong, the comic book artists of post-WWII era were not so funny. By far the most famous and influential comic book artist of the 1950s was the pseudonymous writer named “Brother Cow,” 牛哥 (1925-1997), whose real name was Lee Fei-meng (李費蒙). Lee was a mainlander who escaped from China and came to Taiwan with the KMT in 1949. His anti-Communist strips were characterized by stupid, Ah-Q looking Chinese characters with buck teeth and bald heads and evil Communist overlords (some of it displaying a very weird sense of ’self-racism’).

In 1966, the same year that the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” began in China, a draconian policy of comics censorship was put in place in Taiwan called the “comics censorship law” 《漫畫審查辦法》. According to this policy, the National Editorial Bureau (i.e., the national censorship board) could filter anything and everything, especially anything critical of the Nationalist government. This was the heyday of the anti-Communist comics when everything was propaganda and propaganda was everything. The “local” comics produced during this era were of a uniformly bad quality–much like the socialist realist novels being produced in China–and failed to capture the interest of young readers. Consequently, sales of local comics declined rapidly.

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by @ 9:28 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

chinese road safety

China recently managed to overtake Japan to become the world’s second biggest automobile market after the US. That is in volume terms and excluding imports, but any time China beats Japan it is naturally hyped by the government and the state press.

AsiaPundit doesn’t believe he has heard anything about China besting the two largest auto markets in terms of traffic fatalities however, :

Almost 21,000 people in China died in traffic accidents during the first three months of this year and that’s 8.5 percent less than the number killed last year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.For comparison, about 42,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. during the whole of 2003. China is on pace to double that number this year.

Of course, China is also home to far more people than the U.S., but at the same time, the U.S. has far more cars and more people driving. In 2002, the number of traffic deaths out of every 100,000 was between 12 and 16 in North and South American countries, according to the World Health Organization. The rate of deaths in Asia was between 16 and 19.

I couldn’t find specific numbers for China on the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 people, but am certain its on the high end of the WHO’s scale for Asia. The number of traffic deaths in China is appalling. In the first three months this year, the number of car accidents totaled 98,000, down 11.3 percent and the number of injuries was 115,000, down one percent, the government said on April 11.

The fatality rate would no doubt be higher if cars were actually able to move.:

Traffic Jam-713465

For more traffic pictures, AsiaPundit recommends the Chinese Driving Exam.


What is the maximum amount of Styrofoam you can carry on a motorbike?

A) Maximum, what maximum?

B) Depends on how much string you have

Also related: Global Voices on driving in Vietnam, China Snippets on Shanghai’s traffic fines and Imagethief on why he doesn’t own a car in Beijing.

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by @ 3:23 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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