21 April, 2006

msn spaces, hao wu family site, still available in china

To update on a post late Wednesday, MSN Spaces is not being blocked in China and the blog written by Nina Wu, sister of illegally detained filmmaker Hao Wu, is still available.


AsiaPundit received an update from Microsoft on the status of MSN Spaces in China. There was an outage of the service for those who were using China Telecom’s ISP service - but there was no outage for users of CMC and other ISPs. Further, the problem with China Telecom has now been resolved. The above screen shot was taken minutes ago in Shanghai without a proxy.

If authorities were to request a block, it would likely be done by Microsoft at the server level and users in China would receive a notice similar to the one below.


That said, Nina Wu’s post suggesting a block also suggests that other odd incidents are happening.:

Lately, I have not received any replies to the emails I send out. Some “frequently mailed” accounts have stopped communicating. The phone is acting funny too, sometimes it will suddenly stop ringing; sometimes I pick up and no one answers on the other end. I have even been cut-off mid-conversation and heard high-pitched noises. Yet, I am still able to make sense of these disturbances. In the past few days, however, there occurred some really absurd events. I am shocked and confused, I really can’t think of other words to describe the way I feel. Dear God! Please don’t destroy the last dregs of respect that I have for my adversaries.

Is it worth it to go to all this trouble for such a vulnerable and insignificant person as me?

AsiaPundit believes that Nina is under surveillance. However, at the moment, he will suggest that MSN has too much of a presence for authorities to shut the service without causing embarrassment for the Party itself. State media have noted that the MSN service is overtaking local Chinese providers. It isn’t invulnerable, but it would take a severe incident for a shutdown of the service.

AP will now apologize for being a geek. The above is a jargon-filled distraction from the main issue.

Hao Wu is still imprisoned without charge. Tomorrow, he will have been detained for a full two months.


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by @ 8:16 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs

lets sexy english

Via Boing Boing, AsiaPundit offers this splendid Engrish education video for Japanese men seeking lessons on how to talk dirty. Not safe for work.:

AP can’t quite place the accent suspects that the ‘native’ speakers are Russian or from elsewhere outside of the Anglosphere.

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by @ 4:59 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, North Korea

tropical singapore’s big chill

The Singapore election has been called and we are now just weeks away from a People’s Action Party (PAP) majority. Generally Singapore elections are as interesting as watching grass grow, but this one holds great interest - if only because AP is wondering how many bloggers will be arrested.

Signaling the certainty of a vote, AsiaPundit’s all-time favorite authoritarian Mentor Minister Lee Kwan Yew made a bold appearance on the PAP-friendly Channel News Asia, subjecting himself to a rare grilling from Singapore citizens.

Kevin Lim points to the Google video of the event and notes a spot to watch:

Note that 25 minutes in, there’s a relevant bit to where journalists and Lee Kwan Yew argue on the rationale behind the ban on political blogging and podcasting.

At Singabloodypore, it’s recommended that viewers zone in on  the 12m30s mark for an exchange where Lee attempts to interrogate a young Straits Times reporter to give up sources.

(previously: a journalist fields a question on whether any invasion of privacy and violation of the secrecy of the vote had been committed since (allegedly) the PAP does know the percentage of people, down to the apartment block or polling district, who voted one way or another)

MM Lee: But you won’t know who comprises the 60%, right?

Ken Kwek, 26 - Journalist; Never voted: You don’t need to know that to strike fear, though.

MM Lee: Oh, come off it! (laughter) You mean to tell me you have, you’re one of the 40% who voted against the PAP and something happens to you?

Ken Kwek: I mean, I’ve never voted for that matter, but I mean - we talk to hundreds of voters in the course of our work, and it’s either "no comment" or "if I vote against the PAP, I may…"

MM Lee: No, no. Let’s get down. What are the hundreds of voters? You name the hundreds of voters, a few of them. Tell me.

Ken Kwek: Well, I mean I can’t name them by name…

MM Lee: No, no.
You tell me you’ve spoken to and tell you they’re afraid.

Sensing that he may have been less than convincing, Lee later told the Straits Times that the audience was composed of ‘radical English-educated young’  and that ‘They will realize that a large majority of Singaporeans are steeped in their respective Asian cultures, whose core values will not be easily displaced."

Mr Wang correctly notes:

Mr Wang cannot help but chuckle at MM Lee’s remarks about "these radical English-educated young". Because Mr Wang cannot help but think of MM Lee’s own background.

Lee Kuan Yew may be old now, but once upon a time, he was young too. And when he was young, he left Singapore to study law in England. At Cambridge University, no less. And collected Double 1st Class Honours in English law. How much more "English-educated" can you get?…

Read also Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs about his own university days. Note when he first started messing around in politics. No, not in Singapore. He started messing around in political activities when he was in England. Which was not even his own country.

A young foreigner. A student. Messing around in the politics of another country. The homeground of his colonial masters, no less.

And he has the cheek to say that our young TV show participants are "radical".

As Singapore does not allow political blogging outside of clearly defined guidelines, some political blogs are taking a vacation.

Nonpolitical content is still permitted. With that, the highly non-political mr brown and Mr Miyagi have made a non-political podcast set in a time long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Similarities to any real people, living or dead, are purely coincidental.


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by @ 2:34 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

diplomacy at its finest

AsiaPundit did not foresee progress on any significant issues during the Hu Jintao visit to Washington … AP’s low expectations were massively exceeded.

Via Gordon:

…in a protocol gaffe, when China’s national anthem was announced, it was referred to as the anthem of the Republic of China - the formal name of Taiwan. China’s formal name is the People’s Republic of China.

The 88s:

Over here, son.” Bush proving that he can’t even master body language.

 Images Vzugwo

And the kicker, an FLG protester managed to heckle Hu during his address:

China Confidential - who is no CPC fan - in a meaty essay, sees the events as a major setback.:

…neither Bush’s personal apology to Hu for the arrival ceremony incident, nor excuses and explanations citing US press freedom and the tradition of permitting protestors to assemble across the street from the White House are likely to help. Hu rose to power in a system distinguished by secrecy and intrigue. At the national political level in China, very little, if anything, happens without a reason. Administration officials will no doubt try their best to persuade the Chinese that disruptive protests are as American as the apple pie reportedly served for dessert at the White House lunch; but the country that has shown an ability to turn protest on and off like a faucet–as revealed by the rowdy anti-Japanese demonstrations that rocked Chinese cities only a year ago–will inevitably draw its own conclusions. Hu is considered a pragmatic centrist on relations with Washington; but there is no shortage of hardliners in Beijing who will seek to make hay (to use an old American expression) out of the way things played out for their president when he visited there.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the longterm consequences of Thursday’s events for the US–and people everywhere yearning for a lowering of international tensions–could turn out to be both negative and significant.

And in D.C., Nikolas K. Gvosdev asks ‘was this incompetence of planned?’:

There is a long tradition in American politics of “accidents” at the White House which enable the president or senior government officials to meet controversial people or deliver unpleasant messages without having them be graced with the official seal of approval. JFK meeting Martin Luther King; Clinton “just happening” to run into Salman Rushdie; the first president Bush meeting the prime minister of Lithuania as a “private citizen” in order not to weaken Gorbachev …

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by @ 1:45 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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