This was a day to truly be remembered, as I got to meet an interesting girl and very likely model for the site, if she agrees. This post will need to be full of some feedback, if you please.
If only because there aren’t any known competitors.
Photo and text from here.
AsiaPundit has been, and will continue to, have a short hiatus while the Asia Blog Awards are being hosted.
However, some entertaining reading can be found at the now-officially-launched Asia Blog Award site
Technorati Tags: asia blog awards
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned mr brown, and the government’s role in his termination from the Today newspaper, in the recent National Day address. A Singapore Angle has the transcript, with the below passage:
So I give you the example of Mr Brown’s column in Today. Some of you may have read it, some of you may not. But it hit out wildly at the government and in a very mocking and dismissive sort of tone. So MICA [Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts] replied. How can you not reply? And some Singaporeans feel we were too harsh, we should have been gentler, or maybe just even accepted it, it is just niceness, he didn’t mean us any harm.
Well, my view is like this: Mr Brown is very talented man (in fact he is Mr Lee Kim Mun). If you listen to his podcasts, they are hilarious. And he is entitled to his views, and entitled to express them. But when he takes on the government and makes serious accusations, as he did in this case because he said the government suppressed information before the elections which was awkward and only let it out afterwards, then the government has to respond, firstly to set the record straight, and secondly to signal that this is really not the way to carry on a public debate on national issues and especially not in the mainstream media.
As noted earlier, and as explained by mr brown this week, the government’s right of response is not a concern. The concern is the silencing of dissent, through the sacking of mr brown from Today and the refusal of the newspaper to print any further replies in defense of mr brown. This is said here by mr brown.:
I believe the Government has every right to respond to my Humour column. I may disagree with what they say but it is their right to respond.
I also believe in responding in turn to what the Government said in their letter, but my Humour column was suspended immediately after their letter was printed. Perhaps Mediacorp/TODAY did not stand by what they published?
I understand that many people did respond on the matter by writing in to the mainstream press, but none of their letters were published by mainstream media. Not a single one. Some people who wrote to TODAY about the column’s suspension received a templated response to write to MICA instead, even though TODAY were the ones who suspended the column. Strange.
An equally controversial element of the National Day speech was Lee’s comment that he orders his noodles without cockles. While AsiaPundit has not found the moment in the transcript, mr brown has captured the controversial utterance in his latest podcast.
Xenoboy explains the significance:
When PM Lee in his Rally Speech delivers the ultimate punchline to lay the bak chor mee to rest, to signal Government’s engagement with the Digital Age Singaporean, those dreaming of somewhere else, he utters the phrase “Mee Siam Mai Hum”.
This becomes an instant classic of dis-connect….
Read the whole thing. The disconnect is explained in this passage:
Mee Siam has never had cockles as an ingredient. Two other distinctly Singapore dishes use cockles. Laksa and Fried Kway Teow Noodles. Most Singaporeans know this. Its a fact of life.
To put it simply, most Singaporeans will NOT make this mistake. Its like ordering bak kut teh, another classic Singapore dish, without the soup. Ordering pizza and telling the chef to hold the dough. No, actually its worse. Its like ordering pizza and telling the chef to hold the spaghetti. In short, the phrase “Mee Siam Mai Hum” is an oxymoron. Its like one of those chain e-mail wordplay jokes “military intelligence”.
From what I understand, our esteemed national newspaper, the Straits Times, “heard” and interpreted the crucial phrase as “Mee Siam Mai Hiam”; which means hold the chilli. If this “hearing” is correct, than the phrase is meaningless as a direct riposte against the bak chor mee podcast. I guess the ST is not being honest again. Its “hearing” certainly connects with PM Lee but it means all the rest of Singaporeans “heard” wrongly, very dis-connected.
Image taken from Sei-ji Rakugaki’s Sketchbook, a full size and legible version is here.
The terrorists have won, so says Anna at Sepia Mutiny.
In the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Indian government issued a directive to internet service providers to start blocking sites hosted by Google’s Blogger service, TypePad and Geocities. The alleged reason for the block: terrorists have been using the internet to communicate.
We shudder at the thought that India’s intelligence services will eventually discover that terrorists also use telephones, national postal services and pencils.
UltraBrown offers the following comment:
As the world’s back office, for India to blame overzealous techies would hardly be credible. It’s not yet clear which blogs the government was targeting, but banning all of Blogspot is nothing less than outright repression — mimicking the tactics Pakistan used to shut down discussion of Danish cartoons critical of Islam. India is now in the august company of some of the world’s least free nations
Amit Varma, who just penned a piece for the Guardian on how collaborative blogs such as Mumbai Help can be put to use in a crisis ponders: ” Won’t it be ironic if, after all that Mumbai Help attempted to do last week, residents of Mumbai aren’t even able to access it?”
While India is following the route of authoritarian China in blocking blog hosting services, curiously neither country has banned . Although concerns abound about online sexual predators using the service, we must assume the youth-oriented service is free from terrorists, pro-democracy dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners.
Good news at Global Voices:
Following nearly five months in prison, blogger, documentary maker and American permanent resident Wu Hao has been released, as noted in a July 11 post on his sister Nina’s blog:
刚刚得到家里电话, 被告知皓子出来了.谢谢大家的关心,但他需要清静一阵子. 如果还有什么消息,将更新在这个BLOG.
Just got a call at home and informed that Wu Hao is out. Thank you everyone for your concern, but he needs some silence for now. If there is any new information it will be posted on this blog.
In ordinary times, AsiaPundit would be concerned by the appearance of a group of Brownshirts with a political agenda.
Photo © Straits Times Online, July 9, 2006. The author believes that the use of this image, with attribution, constitutes “fair use” under current copyright laws.
I found out through my other correspondents at Singabloodypore that some people gathered at City Hall MRT at 2pm Sunday Singapore time, decked in brown, claiming to be bloggers showing their solidarity in support for mrbrown’s recent fallout with MICA, and subsequently TODAY. Netizens at Sammyboy’s are suggesting a week of brown outfits to carry on the show of support.
To quote seminal punk band Minor Threat: “tell your mama and your papa, sometimes good guys don’t wear white.”
Singapore’s godfather of blogging, mr brown, has just been suspended as a columnist for the Today newspaper after the Ministry of Information and Culture (MICA) objected to his previous column.
Although AP is not a citizen, he was a long-term resident of the Lion City and has a strong affinity for the place. AP is outraged by the treatment of mr brown, a personal friend.
AP also objects because the government has again, through its oversensitivity and brutishness, embarrassed Singapore and its people.
The Singapore government says citizens should not offer criticisms unless they offer solutions. With that AP offers the following criticism and an accompanying solution:
Inspired by the government’s four million smile campaign, AsiaPundit would like to propose the Four Million Finger movement. He urges readers to display their outrage in the method illustrated below. Photos and posts will show up on Technorati and when tagged ‘fourmillionfingers.’
In order to help better attain the four-million-finger mark, AsiaPundit encourages the use of the two-finger salute, illustrated below on Ministry of Information spokeswoman Krishnasamy Bhavani.:
Ms Bhavani is president of the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore, which offers diploma and professional certificates in PR and mass communication. AsiaPundit will suggest that the current travesty offers a great case study for the institute: “Bhavani v. Brown: How to create an embarrassing global incident by cracking down on an innocuous columnist.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have issued a statement condemning the Singapore government.:
It is not the job of government officials to take a position on newspaper articles or blog posts unless they are clearly illegal, Reporters Without Borders pointed out today after the Singaporean newspaper Today published an opinion piece by an official on 3 July condemning a recent post by blogger Lee Kin Mun as over-politicised and unconstructive.
“This reaction from a Singaporean official is disturbing,” the press freedom organisation said. “It reads like a warning to all journalists and bloggers in a country in which the media are already strictly controlled. The media have a right to criticise the government’s actions and express political views. Furthermore, a newspaper’s editorial policies depend solely on its editors. They should under no circumstances be subject to instructions issued by the government.”
Lee, who uses the pseudonym “mr brown,” wrote an article entitled “S’poreans are fed, up with progress!” for Today’s opinion pages on 30 June in which he criticised recent government measures and the constant cost-of-living rises in an amusing and acerbic fashion.
Krishnasamy Bhavani, a press secretary to the ministry of information, communications and arts, responded with an article published in Today on 3 July in which she defended her government’s policies but went on to criticise Lee for taking a political position.
RSF issued the above statement yesterday, before it was revealed that mr brown would be suspended.
Singapore’s best blogger, mr brown, has been targeted by the Ministry for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) in a letter to the Today newspaper. In it, ministerial press secretary K Bhavani attacks mr brown for his use of polemics, sarcasm and hiding behind a pseudonym.:
mr brown’s views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.
mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.
It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government’s standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.
The original mr b column is here. AsiaPundit has had the pleasure of mr b’s company on several occasions. While he does indeed use a pseudonym, AsiaPundit understood that he does not write anonymously.
If mr b is attempting anonymity he is doing a horrible job of it. There are pictures of mr brown all over the internet and on his own site. Plus, he has made regular television and print media appearances.
Nevertheless, Kin Mun is clearly guilty of hiding behind a pseudonym to attack the government in a ‘partisan’ fashion. As such, he deserves all of the scorn that MICA has directed at him.
Worse than the pseudonym, mr brown has been known to hide his identity using clever disguises.
AsiaPundit will reiterate the call by K Bhavani that mr brown cease hiding behind his pseudonym and defend his views openly. Moreover, mr brown should come out from beneath that huge artificial afro.
Show some courage!
Oh no! China i.:
BEIJING - China’s Internet regulators are stepping up controls on blogs and search engines to block material it considers unlawful or immoral, the government said Friday.“As more and more illegal and unhealthy information spreads through the blog and search engine, we will take effective measures to put the BBS, blog and search engine under control,” said Cai Wu, director of the Information Office of China’s Cabinet, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency.
The government will step up research on monitoring technology and issue “admittance standards” for blogs, the report said, without providing any details.
China encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to block access to obscene or subversive material. It has the world’s second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 111 million people online.
China launched a campaign in February to “purify the environment” of the Internet and mobile communications, Xinhua said.
China has 37 million Web logs, or blogs, Xinhua said, citing a study by Beijing’s Tsinghua University. It said that number was expected to nearly double this year to 60 million.
This is shocking news, if only because AsiaPundit didn’t realize that the previous crackdown had abated.
One year after Steven McDermott of Singabloodypore asked if the Singapore blogosphere is infantile, Hwee Hwee Tan of RMIT University offers a more optimistic assessment.:
Along with the increasing popularity of blogs as a means to prosume rather than consume information is an increasing tension between Singapore bloggers and the local news media - a relationship not unlike that between American bloggers and journalists.
This trend is arguably best reflected in the developments leading up to the recent Singapore Election. Aside from Brown and Miyagi’s persistently non-political podcasts, we witness the emergence of citizen journalism in Singapore blogosphere as known and lesser known bloggers including award-winning activist, Yawning Bread and the anonymous blogger behind Singapore Election Watch, made use of the multimedia capabilities on blogs to prosume political rallies and other major events during the election period. Along with these reports on the election events is the emergence of fresh young voices in the Singapore blogosphere, courageous in their attempts to confront and interrogate the flaws in their authoritarian nation-state. The contents of these posts, particularly the podcasts on Opposition Party Rally certainly fly in the face of a recent ban on any online streaming of any explicit political content.
AsiaPundit is pleased to announce the commencement of the new round of Asia Blog Awards. The awards are based on the Japanese financial year, which ends on March 31, and nominations are now open for the April 1-June 30 period, full-year awards are to be based on the quarterly contests.
Details are below, nominations for the below categories can be made on the individual pages linked below until the end of June 16 (Samoan time).
Awards are at present limited to English-language or dual-language sites.
Region/Country Specific Blogs:
Non-region specific awards:
Some categories may be deleted or combined if they lack a full slate nominations - and some may be added should it be warranted.
Winners will be judged in equal parts on: (a) votes, (b) technorati ranking and (c) judges’ selection.
While judges will naturally have biases, they will hopefully offset imbalances in other areas (such as inevitable cheating in the voting and inflationary blogroll alliances in the Technorati ranks).
The names or sites of the judges will be public.
Judges will be ineligible for nomination. As the awards largely intend on providing exposure to lesser-known sites of merit, we are hopeful that authors of ‘A-list’ sites that tend to dominate such contests will disqualify themselves by being judges.
The contest has been endorsed by previous ABA host Simon who is also serving as a judge (thereby disqualifying Simon World).
Traffic — the most telling and accurate measure of a site’s populatity — may be a consideration in future awards. However, at present, there is no clear or universal way to accurately measure and contrast traffic (sites such as Sitemeter, Statcounter offer results that cannot be compared, while services such as Alexa.com do not work for sites that are not hosted on independent domains).
This is all imperfect and will be tweaked in future events (with transparency, of course).
Most importantly, this is intended to be fun.
Via Singabloodypore, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have been ordered to remove podcasts from the party website.:
SINGAPORE : The Returning Officer for the General Election has ordered the Singapore Democratic Party to take down audio files and podcasts from its website.
The Elections Department says the podcast contravenes the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations.
It says those found guilty are liable for a fine of up to S$1,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
Dr Chee, the SDP’s Secretary-General, had recorded a podcast message and posted it on the party’s website two days ago.
The SDP’s website cannot be considered a blog, and the audio files on its site are not really podcasts. Nevertheless the PAP is making good on its threat to squash political speech in Singapore. The SDP is also making good on its attempt to be the most prosecuted political party is Southeast Asia.
In a related matter, the PBS MediaShift site takes a decent look at political speech in Singapore, including this money quote from Yawning Bread (yawningbread.org).:
“The freedom available to Singaporeans is quite wide,” Au told me via email. “However, there is a climate of fear that the government can clamp down anytime. There have actually been very few instances of arbitrary clamping down, but the fear persists, and thus a lot of people in Singapore, including bloggers, self-censor to some extent. With the passage of time, there is increasing confidence that freedom of speech on the Internet is pretty wide. The more years that pass without incident, the more confidence people gain.”
The article also cites AsiaPundit, somewhat unexpectedly but without causing any offense.
AP would like to clarify that his mention of the word ‘nepotism’ was done to illustrate an example of one of Singapore’s ‘out-of-bounds’ markers and that he was in no way implying that such a thing exists in the Lion City.
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.
Bill Gates and Chinese President Hu Jintao had a lovely dinner yesterday. And China has pledged to help combat the piracy of the firms products. AsiaPundit wonders, however, what China is doing for the company’s on-line ventures — especially the popular MSN Spaces.
The service, at the moment, is largely inaccessible in Shanghai and Beijing. Trace route tests from Shanghai indicate that access is being lost at the level of the Great Firewall. (click for larger image).
Tests on the Beijing side, however,indicate that the loss of data is occurring at the Microsoft side.:
As well as trace route and ‘ping’ testing, attempts to access through browsers in Beijing and Shanghai — including one by Microsoft’s China spokesman — failed. Access also seems to be unavailable in Haining, said the Unabrewer.
However, AsiaPundit was just told that Microsoft’s engineers could access the site at the China headquarters. If so, this would unlikely be a state-ordered block. If it was, the irony would have been rich.
Hu Jintao and Bill Gates just had a lovely dinner together on Tuesday and apparently struck an amicable friendship.:
While expressing admiration for what Gates has achieved at Microsoft, Hu also added jovially that, “Because you, Mr. Bill Gates, are a friend of China, I’m a friend of Microsoft," according to The Seattle Times.
As well as the friendship with Hu, MSN China is a joint venture between Microsoft and Shanghai Alliance Entertainment, a firm owned by a son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. On the face of it, one would think that Microsoft is too well connected to be the target of a Firewall-level block.
Besides, Microsoft will block websites as requested, so there really wouldn’t be a need for any state action against the MSN Spaces service.
AsiaPundit has been told that the company’s technicians are looking into the problem, although clear answers will not likely be available until people start waking up in Redmond. Accidental blocks often occur when website changes are made by content providers, as had happened with the New York Times recently. Sites are also accidently unblocked when changes are made, as happened to TypePad when it changed servers last year.
For now, AP is inclined to believe that the MSN Spaces problem is of a technical nature. That’s a shame. While a Firewall-level block would no doubt be a great disappointment to local users of MSN Spaces, it would also have been a great news story.
Political podcasting and streaming videos are prohibited in Singapore’s coming election.:
Podcasting will not be allowed during elections as it does not fall under the “positive list” which states what is allowed under election advertising.
Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Balaji Sadasivan added that streaming of videos during campaigning would also be prohibited.
He was addressing a question in Parliament on Monday about the use of new technologies on the internet during hustings.
Pictures of candidates, party histories and manifestos are on the “positive list” and are allowed to be used as election advertising on the internet.
Newer internet tools like podcasting do not fall within this “positive list”.
Dr Balaji said: “There are also some well-known local blogs run by private individuals who have ventured into podcasting. The content of some of these podcasts can be quite entertaining. However, the streaming of explicit political content by individuals during the election period is prohibited under the Election Advertising Regulations. A similar prohibition would apply to the videocasting or video streaming of explicitly political content.”
Bloggers can continue - but if they get too political they will have to register … and then shut up.:
Dr Balaji added that individual bloggers can discuss politics, but have to register with the Media Development Agency if they persistently promote political views.
When registered, they’re then not allowed to advertise during elections - something only political parties, candidates and election agents are allowed to do only.
Before any ‘free speech’ advocates gets in a huff about this - AsiaPundit will note that private citizens will likely be allowed to make political speeches at Speakers’ Corner after registering with police.:
As such, this ban on political blogging is not a ban on free speech. It is merely a means to bridge the digital divide. Singapore’s technology savvy bloggers will now have to queue with their digitally disabled fellow citizens for a chance to talk at the Lion City’s only authorized free speech zone.
The PAP are not oppressive, this is merely a means to bring all Singaporeans together.
As if Technorati rankings weren’t enough to prove it, a sudden outbreak of product placement in Singapore blogs should demonstrate that the Lion City owns the blogosphere.
Singapore bloggers get all the good gear. Kevin gets a free Samsung A920 and the Mediaslut gets an xbox 360. Both reserve serious product reviews for later, as professional reviewers should.
Blog queen XiaXue, meanwhile, gets a Creative MP3 player and immediately starts dissing iPods and Mac users evangelists.:
Gah! I hate Mac evangelists.
Hate them as much as religion evangelists and cb MLM sellers and scientologists.
Not because Mac products suck, but because Mac users all seem to think they are so fucking cool just coz they use Mac.
What the fuck? Everyone can own an Apple product, it is just whether or not they are willing to save up a bit. Hell, I can buy 2 ipods with the $800 govt is giving me, but it doesn’t make me a wee bit cooler than I already am.
Unless of course I use the ipod as a yo-yo or use it to hit people. That would be quite cool.
But if you are a loser, you will still be a loser if you own an ipod.
In fact, it makes you even more of a loser coz you are a loser who is trying not to be a loser but failed.
Your shitty taste in music will not turn hip just coz you use a pure white product, nor will your shitty designing skills turn expert just coz you do photoshop on a pure white keyboard.
Man I hate Mac evangelists.
Ask me if I think Creative is better.
AsiaPundit is a dedicated Mac user and owns two iPods (don’t ask why). AP also has a lovely IBM ThinkPad T43 given to him by the office and owns an antiquated Acer Aspire desktop. Wendy getting free stuff and immediately offering a glowing review - before the item has even left the shop - doesn’t really cause offense.
In the day job AP will not take bribes. But as a blogger, AP is not above product-whoring in the likes of XiaXue. He hasn’t received any placement offers yet, but he is willing.
For example, if Japanese robot-maker VStone sends AP one of these he will happily sing the praises of Gigantor and slam all competitors.:
Aibo sucks!!! Gigantor would squish that little robo dog.
(Gigantor h/t Robot Dreams)
Shortly after launching Danwei TV (see episode one and two), Jeremy of Danwei has been invited to participate in a roundtable on PBS’s Frontline. The questions will likely revolve around censorship, although Bingfeng seems to be unable to post the list of questions without his blog service provider’s censorship software kicking in.:
a participant asked me if im interested. i am doing preparations for a vacation and my job keeps me very busy. sorry for light blogging and not being able to participate. i wlll write something on it and keep you updated about the panel discussion.
first round of questions as follows:
sorry, the following warnings repeated when i try to post the questions, which contain some "sensitive words", here, i failed to post the quesitons even after i modified all the "sensitive words".
i will try it later today.
fu*k the censorship system, see you soon.
Post operation failed. The error message related to this problem was as follows: Illegal Characters Found
From Japan, another precautionary tale about how blogging can be hazardous to your job.:
A former police administration officer in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, has been reported to prosecutors for violating the Swords and Firearms Control Law after taking pictures of handguns and using them on his blog.
Whilst on duty in September 2002, the 33-year-old unlocked a firearms cabinet and selected two particularly photogenic weapons, then after surreptitiously taking a few pictures he posted them on his blog – twice as it turns out. Yet despite cleverly applying a mosaic pattern to the photos, a prefectural police worker later recognized the guns and promptly reported his findings.
The unnamed blogger was given a 10 percent pay cut as punishment, but being understandably embarrassed by the whole affair, he resigned on Wednesday, explaining his behaviour by saying, “I posted [the photographs of the guns] because I wanted people to take an interest in the home page.”
Indonesia has a new blog aggregator service.
Via Google video, a talk on Google China with Rebecca MacKinnon and Tomothy Wu.:
There are no fireworks in the talk and both Rebecca and Tim agree, in the end, that Google did screw up with Google.cn
Although he has harbored high hopes for citizen journalism and punditry, AsiaPundit is joining the multitude of voices who are saying that the blogging phenomena is dead. Now that the term has been seized upon by Taiwan property developers, it is essential to find a new name for the medium.
Apologies for the late photo credit (top picture) to Paogao.
Via Virtual China, a map of places where you should be careful in Hangzhou:
Chinastic reports on an emerging map of places where pickpockets hang out in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou. It was originally posted on a site called “My E-City”, (我的E都市) which claims to be the world’s first “online 3D urban simulation.” The site allows users to view, navigate, and add information to online maps of several Chinese cities.
AsiaPundit could have used one of these in Nanjing, where his mobile phone was lifted over the weekend.
Bloggers are recalling personal observations of Hao Wu, the blogger and filmmaker who was detained - without charge - by Beijing authorities. Yan at Glutter posts a partial transcript of her recent BBC appearance with Hao and writes.:
On Valentine’s Day UK time. I went on the BBC World Service Radio show "Have Your Say," to discuss Censorship in China. One of the participant named "Tian" was from China. He owns the blog "Beijing or Bust," He is also one of the Editors in the Harvard based Global Voices. His real name is Hao Wu. He was arrested a week later. On the show he said he was interviewing political dissidents, and that is why RSF thinks he was arrested.
I am totally in shock at the moment, so very upset. I thought he was very intelligent, and articulate. I even mused on the blog, that he might not be saying everything he believed in because he might not want the authorities after him… I think he was being careful already, he never said he believed in free speech, he didn’t say anything that was anti the communist government, but he did say something about the project he was working on. Which goes to show, under a totalitarian regime, you never know what one says may interest the authorities.
Please help him. Put up the banner. Write it on the blog. Just let people know.
Lisa at Paper Tiger Tale writes.:
I met Hao Wu a few years ago. At the time he was an aspiring screenwriter working for an internet company. From Sichuan via Beijing, Hao had been in the US for over a decade. He had a screenplay, his first, and needed a collaborator to reshape it into a more commercial structure.
Our collaboration didn’t last all that long. In spite of his inexperience at that time, already it was clear that Hao is a guy with his own vision and a unique way of looking at the world. My only real advice to him was, rather than trying to write something commercial, he should follow his passion, tell a personal story, something true and close to his heart. Mostly, he should keep writing. I was really impressed by the quality of his prose and his insights.
Hao followed his dream in spades. He decided to return to China, to Beijing, to see what had happened to the city he’d once known and experience China’s changes first-hand. He took a month long trip along the Silk Road and sent back regular dispatches. Then he produced his first film, Beijing Or Bust, a documentary about the lives of Chinese Americans trying to navigate contemporary Beijing. He then started a blog by the same title, in which he writes about his own navigations through today’s Beijing. There are some truly wonderful essays: evocative, original and informative, covering aspects of contemporary China that you will rarely find elsewhere….
t’s hard for me to know what to say, except that Hao is a great person, with talent and heart and vision, and that for the Chinese government to detain him is yet another sign of how the CCP still squanders the talent of its own people, how it is destroying China’s future in the name of "social harmony," which more than anything else seems to be a figleaf of ideological cover for the exercise of raw power and untrammeled authority. Hao never challenged the CCP. The only way in which his work could be considered "political" is that he does not censor his own observations, that he thinks freely and isn’t afraid to say what he thinks.
If these are the kinds of characteristics that the Chinese authorities find so threatening that they respond with detentions and repression, then I really do fear for China’s future.Tags: Hao Wu, asia, china, censorship
On March 22nd it will be one month since filmmaker and Global Voices Northeast Asia Editor Hao Wu was detained without charge. We appeal to the Chinese government for Hao Wu’s immediate release!
What happened to Hao?
Hao Wu (Chinese name: 吴皓), a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China’s State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006. On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary.
Hao had also been in phone contact with Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer specializing in human rights cases. Gao confirmed to one of Hao’s friends that the two had been in phone contact and planned to meet on Feb. 22, but that their meeting never took place after Gao advised against it. On Friday, Feb. 24, Hao’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment where he had been staying. Hao has been in touch his family since Feb. 22, but judging from the tone of the conversations, he wasn’t able to speak freely. One of Hao’s friends has been interrogated twice since his detention. Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (the police) has confirmed that Hao has been detained, but have declined to specify the charges against him.
The reason for Hao’s detention is unknown. One of the possibilities is that the authorities who detained Hao want to use him and his video footage to prosecute members of
China’s underground Churches. Hao is an extremely principled individual, who his friends and family believe will resist such a plan. Therefore, we are very concerned about his mental and physical well-being.
More about Hao: From Scientist to Computer Guy to Filmmaker.
Hao began his filmmaking career in 2004, when he gave up his job as a senior product manager at Atlanta-based Earthlink Inc. and returned to China to film Beijing or Bust, a collage of interviews with U.S.-born ethnic Chinese who now live in China’s capital city. Before working for Earthlink, Hao worked as a product manager for Internet portal Excite from 2000 to 2001 in Redwood City, CA Before that, Hao had also worked as a strategic planning and product development director for Merchant Internet Group, an intern for American Express Co. and a molecular biologist with UCB Research Inc.
Hao earned an MBA degree from University of Michigan Business School in May 2000 and a Master of Science in molecular and cell biology in July, 1995 from Brandeis University, where he was awarded a full merit-based scholarship. Before studying in the U.S., Hao earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the China University of Science and Technology in Hefei, Anhui province in June, 1992.
Hao the Blogger.
Hao has also been an active blogger, writing as "Beijing Loafer" on his personal blog, Beijing or Bust, named after his film. Due to Chinese government internet blocking of his blog hosting service Blogger.com, he also has a mirror version of the site on MSN Spaces. In early February Hao began contributing as Northast Asia Editor to Global Voices Online, an international bloggers’ network hosted at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Writing under the pen name Tian Yi, Hao’s contributions aimed to bring citizens’ online voices from China and the rest of North East Asia to readers in the English-speaking world.
Why didn’t we speak out about his detention earlier?
Hao’s family and friends in China have deflected questions about his detention for the past month, as authorities in contact with people close to Hao have urged them not to publicize the case. There had been hope that his detention was only for a short period of time, in which case publicity would not have been helpful.
For more information…
Hao’s family and friends inside China do not want to be interviewed directly by the media at this time, and thus we will not provide journalists with their contact information. We have set up a website dedicated to Hao’s release at: www.freehaowu.org. It will be updated regularly with new information that emerges about Hao’s situation.
All further queries can be e-mailed to: .
(above notice via Rebecca.)
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