Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Archive for March, 2008

My Wet Pussy Award – March 2008

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 31, 2008

Well, they all came crawling out of the woodwork this month, didn’t they? Every sympathisers dream came true this month, when the Red Army renewed their campaign to grind the people of Tibet into the dust, and eradicate their culture forever. Of course, it’s merely a continuation of what they’ve been doing since 1950, and it isn’t just the Tibetans they’ve been doing it to either, as the Uighur and Mongolian peoples can attest.

It wasn’t easy finding a Wet Pussy for March ’08, due to the sheer volume of brown-nosed creeps out there who insisted that the rest of the world should “take a step back” and “respect China’s internal affairs”. Bullshit, of course, and the sort of thing that gets you crossed off my Christmas Card list.

In the final analysis, though, this month’s winner won on the basis of something not immediately connected with the ongoing brutality in Tibet (and East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia). He won it mainly because he came out of the sympathiser closet well before the recent events in Tibet.

Ian Morrison is a “senior copy editor with ChinaDaily”, which in and of itself is reason enough to hang him from the nearest tree by his dangly bits. The following article was sent to me by a reader in Shanghai, and is reproduced here for your contempt:

Wet Pussy Award - March '08

Did you read it properly? Note the sentence: “…does democracy exist in China? I would argue that it does. But what someone in Berlin, Baltimore, or Beijing regards as ‘democratic’ may be different.” No shit, Sherlock.

And what about: “…as a proudly independant nation, [China] does not develop ‘models’ for others to copy…” Is that right? Really? Tell that to all the poor sods living in the annexed territories, or in the countries that China unsuccessfully invaded over the last 60 years. It’s a long list of places. Tell that to the Taiwanese or Hong Kongers, for that matter.

This article, incidentally, was printed on the same page as a piece explaining that the world should follow China’s model for development.

And for that fact, alone, Mr Morrison, you win this month’s Wet Pussy Award.

Ian Morrison, Wet Pussy Award Winner, March 2008

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China Daily Reports The REAL Truth

Posted by MyLaowai on Sunday, March 23, 2008

The great dictator and mass murderer Mao Zedong once said that the Party could not survive three consecutive days of bad news, and his teachings were taken to heart by the Chinese Communists. It’s rare, in fact, to have even a single day of bad news for those of us living behind the Bamboo Curtain. If everything we read in the papers was even remotely true, this would indeed be a paradise on Earth.

The recent events in and around Greater Tibet have seriously tested the Party’s propaganda chiefs. The obvious and predictable response has been to shut off virtually all access to outside media, actively block foreign television signals, jam foreign radio broadcasts, and go on a major propaganda offensive inside China. Most Han Chinese, having been trained in how to think since being born, are quite willing to believe everything they are told, and comments such as “We should exterminate all Tibetans” are to be heard almost everywhere.

Naturally, in order to counteract any possible bad news, there must be both denials of the truth, and counter-stories showing something good. I present yesterday’s stories for your enlightenment.

The first, largest headline our friends at China Daily had was:

Lhasa riot reports show media bias in West

Chinese netizens, including students studying overseas, have been angered by biased and sometimes dishonest reports about the recent riots in Tibet by some Western media.

Pictures from some media websites, including CNN and BBC, with untrue reports about the riots have been posted on chatrooms, drawing criticism.

“I used to think the Western media were fair. But how could they turn a blind eye to the killing and arson by rioters?” asked a posting at pic.qikoo.com.

[…]

“To tarnish China’s image, the West is doing whatever they can, no mater how mean and vicious,” said one netizen on http://www.huanqiu.com.

“Is this what they call Western democracy and freedom of speech?” asked another netizen.

Huai Bao, a student studying filmmaking in Vancouver, Canada, said: “I have read some news and online discussions made by those who have never been to Tibet, who have zero knowledge about China and the history of Tibet. These people have no rights to comment on Tibet.”

[…]

Bao said there is a unanimous feeling of anger among his Chinese friends in Vancouver.

“Any news about China has to be negative so that they will believe it – from ‘poisonous toys to poisonous dumplings’. Some foreign media have a particular interest in bashing China over human rights and pollution. They turn a blind eye to all progressive changes.”

And the good news? Check this out:

Oldest Tibetan celebrates 117th birthday

The oldest person in Tibet celebrated her 117th birthday in Lhasa on Sunday.Amai Cering, born in March 16 in 1891, was treated to a celebration of Tibetan entertainment and a birthday cake courtesy of the local government and fellow villagers in Jiarong village, of Linzhou County, Lhasa, on Friday.

[…]

Amai Cering lives on a government pension and donations from local companies. She said she is happy with having meat every day.

She leads a regular life, rising at 8 a.m. and going to bed at 5 p.m.every day, Xiaobai said. She enjoyed sitting in the yard for sunshine and eating four meals a day.

[…]

With economic development and improved medical care in Tibet, the lifespan becomes longer. Linzhou County has four centenarians. The average age in Tibet has risen from 35.5 in 1969 to 67, according to official statistics.

Actually, that part about the increase in life expectancy is probably true – don’t forget that after the Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950, they proceeded to murder half the entire population, whereas these days they tend to murder only a few thousand at a time.

Which brings up a very relevant question:

Now that the Taiwan elections are over and the outcome will not influenced by events in Tibet, and all foreign tourists and journalists have been removed to a safe distance (from whence they cannot observe events in Tibet), how long will it be before the real pogrom starts, do you think?

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No Witnesses, Please.

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, March 21, 2008

Posted in China | 14 Comments »

Tibetan Protests

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sites where Tibetan protests are known to have taken place as of March 17th.

Posted in China | 2 Comments »

One World, One Dream, One Reality

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Thanks John.

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Tibet, March 17th. The Crackdown Begins.

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 17, 2008


The Chinese Army drove through the streets of Lhasa today parading dozens of Tibetan prisoners in handcuffs, their heads bowed, as troops stepped up their hunt for the rioters in house-to-house searches.

As the midnight deadline approached for rioters to surrender, four trucks in convoy made a slow progress along main roads, with about 40 people, mostly young Tibetan men and women, standing with their wrists handcuffed behind their backs, witnesses said.

A soldier stood behind each prisoner, hands on the back of their necks to ensure their heads were bowed.

Loudspeakers on the trucks broadcast calls to anyone who had taken part in the violent riots on Friday — in which Han Chinese and Hui Muslims were stabbed and beaten and shops and business set on fire — to turn themselves in. Those who gave themselves up might be treated with leniency, the rest would face severe punishment, the broadcasts said.

[…]

The search for those involved began in earnest in Lhasa today, as office workers trickled back to work after a weekend of fear when most dared not go outside.

Soldiers began house-to-house searches, checking all identification papers, residents said. Anyone unable to show an identity card and a household registration permitting residence in Lhasa was being taken away.

They described people laying out all their papers on a table in their homes. One said: “The soldiers come in and check that the number of people in each house equals the number of identity cards. Anyone extra may be taken away.”

At government offices and work units, leaders were required to do a roll call of all employees and to account for anyone missing, as the authorities tried to track down those involved in the violence.

[…]

The unrest has spilt over rapidly into neighbouring provinces in China with a large ethnic Tibetan population. Tibetan students at the NorthWest Minorities University in Lanzhou staged an all-night sit-in at a school sports field before dispersing this morning.

In the nearby town of Hezuo, in northwestern Gansu province, several dozen students from the Hezuo School of Hygiene took to the streets to demonstrate in sympathy for Tibetans in Lhasa but were quickly dispersed by police, school officials said.

[…]

Beijing has repeatedly said that the violence was engineered by supporters of the Dalai Lama. He is still the region’s widely revered spiritual leader and one of the figures most reviled by China’s communist leadership.

Source: Times Online

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Proxies in China

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 17, 2008

From the good people over at Black & White Cat, this helpful information:

Right now, [most Tibet-related posts are] inaccessible on the mainland because of three keywords that trigger the net nanny: J*khang, Ram*che and P*tala (* = o). This is a strong keyword block – I know of no web-based proxy that can circumvent it. Other bloggers and commenters might like to bear that in mind to prevent their posts being unreadable here.

Since the block is a strong one and Youtube has also been harmonized, now is perhaps the time to mention two of the serious proxies that get through to everything, including BBC news video, can handle Youtube and enable you to watch Google videos.

1) The first is maddeningly slow (though one enthusiast assures me it works quickly on his computer) but you need it if you want to download the faster second option. Tor works in Firefox. Once you’ve installed the program on your computer, you will see a red notice at the bottom right of your brower saying “Tor Disabled.” To turn the proxy on, click once on that notice and it will turn into a green “Tor Enabled.” You can now read or watch anything you want, but slowly. Tor also offers high-quality anonymity and privacy, but only if you read, understand and act on the instructions. For most of us that is not necessary since we simply want to get past the blocks.

2) The second, faster option only works in Internet Explorer. I’m not going to name it in full. I’ll refer to it here as U. If you want it, it’s the first result for this search (look for the word Download on the U page). Don’t even bother Googling it on the mainland unless you are using a powerful proxy like Tor. Unlike Tor, U is an executable file that you save onto your computer, but do not have to install. If you decide you do not want it anymore, delete the file. As with option #1, you can read anything or watch anything, though it often messes up Youtube – if that happens, close down IE and U and try again.

If you choose option #2, you should be aware that it is a creation of FLG and financed by the US government. Bear that in mind when deciding whether you want it on any particular computer. Both these proxies function only in one browser. So if you use Tor in Firefox, you can carry on browsing in Internet Explorer while you are waiting for the page/file to download.

Personally, I use TOR and love it, although it is far from perfect. I also use a highly secure paid-for proxy for those days that even TOR fails me. I haven’t used ‘U’ myself, but I think I’ll give it a shot, if only for interest.

And if you are looking to add another blog to your ‘must-read’ list, then Black & White Cat is a good choice.

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From Wet Pussies to Black & White Cats

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 17, 2008

Lost in translation:
a one-edged double-edged sword

A few weeks ago Xinhua’s Chinese-language website ran an article with the headline “US NEWSPAPER: THE OLYMPICS – A MOMENT THAT MAKES CHINA PROUD.” It’s essentially a translation of another article in the Christian Science Monitor from a few days earlier: “THE OLYMPICS IN CHINA: A MOMENT FOR PRIDE – AND WORLD SCRUTINY.” When one newspaper or agency reports on something published elsewhere, it’s quite natural for it to be shortened, modified or added to provided these changes are sourced and not presented as a true representation of the original text. Readers in different countries will often want to know different things and focus on different aspects of a story. But how much of that story can be cut before the meaning is completely lost?The Christian Science Monitor article begins: 

The Beijing authorities are obsessed with the 2008 Olympic Games – which don’t begin until August. You cannot turn your head in this city without one of the five “Fuwa” Olympic mascots smiling at you from a billboard, open a newspaper without reading an Olympics-related story, or turn on the television without seeing a proud promotional clip of Olympic venues. But the Games are a double-edged sword, offering China a chance to show off its prowess – and focusing critical attention on its failings, reports staff writer Peter Ford.

This paragraph is largely left intact in the Xinhuanet version, though the phrase “The Beijing authorities are obsessed with…” becomes something more like “Everywhere in Beijing, people are thinking about….” It’s in this paragraph that Xinhua accurately translates the original headline. Here is the rest of the article, along with deletions and changes, in which one edge of the “double-edged sword” seems decidedly lacking in sharpness:

WHAT DOES CHINA GET OUT OF HOSTING THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES?

An unprecedented opportunity to shine in the international spotlight for an intense three weeks. The Chinese government is treating the Games as a symbolic end to 150 years of humiliation by outside powers and a confirmation of its status as a global power to be reckoned with. Immensely proud of their 5,000-year-plus civilization, the Chinese also hope to show the rest of the world another side of their country than its economic miracle.

Successful Games would be a powerful antidote to the sort of negative press China has been suffering for the past nine months or so, which has drawn attention to poor food quality and other product safety regulations. And whether they are successful or not, the Games have already provided a strong boost to Beijing’s economy.

And when the Games are over, officials are desperately hoping (though they won’t say publicly) that China will have sneaked past the United States to top the gold medal tally. In Athens four years ago, Chinese athletes won 32 golds to America’s 35.

The next heading changes from:

HAS THE PROSPECT OF HOSTING THE GAMES WIDENED POLITICAL FREEDOMS IN CHINA OR IMPROVED OTHER ASPECTS OF LIFE?

to:

HAS THE PROSPECT OF HOSTING THE GAMES CHANGED CHINESE POLITICS, OR IMPROVED PEOPLE’S LIVES?

And now the deletions and alterations really begin in earnest. Strike the following four paragraphs from the CSM article:

Far from heralding a relaxation, the 2008 Games have actually led to increased repression, according to international human rights group Amnesty International. Beijing had promised improvements in its human rights record, but the head of Amnesty’s German chapter said in December that she expected to see “an increase in harassment, detentions, and people placed under house arrest ahead of the Games.”

That is because Beijing officials are anxious to present a facade of harmony to the world and its journalists. The government is expected to try even harder than usual to keep anybody who might disturb that image – protesters against religious repression, Tibetan rights activists, or AIDS patients complaining about inadequate government care out of sight.

Foreign journalists have been told they will be free to report anything from China, but local reporters are still subject to strict censorship.

Opponents of the Beijing government will undoubtedly use the Olympics, and the presence of 10,000 foreign media personnel, to try to publicize their causes. The Chinese police will undoubtedly try to stop them. Expect cat-and-mouse games outside the sports venues.

and replace them with:

An international organization says the 2008 Olympics will allow China to present a harmonious side to the whole world and journalists from all countries. It expects the government to try even harder than usual in this respect.

Much better. Unfortunately, though, since everything negative has been removed, readers might wonder why there is a need to begin the next sentence with the word “still” (or “nevertheless”):

Still, Beijing residents are enjoying somewhat cleaner air as authorities struggle strive to reduce pollution ahead of the Games. “That’s a real sign of international criteria interacting with a developing nation and requiring a shift of consciousness,” says Martin Jacques, a London-based writer on Chinese affairs.

The CSM’s next heading is not really appropriate:

WILL THE GAMES BE A SUCCESS?

So:

HOW ARE PREPARATIONS FOR THE GAMES GOING?

The article continues:

On the architectural and civil engineering front, China’s preparations for the 2008 Games have won nothing but praise from the International Olympic Committee: the “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium is spectacular and all construction work is on – or ahead of – schedule.

Good.

But if the authorities are good at the hardware, they are not so good at the software, say longtime residents. There are reasons to wonder how well they will handle visitors and the sorts of problems they will pose. This is not a society where ordinary people are encouraged to spontaneously take the initiative to solve a difficulty, which is what Olympic volunteers normally do at the Games to iron out local wrinkles.

Tourists might also suffer from sticker shock: Some hoteliers are planning to increase their room rates by as much as 1,000 percent during the Games. A spokeswoman for the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee (BOCOG) says customers should haggle to avoid “exorbitant” rates.

Perhaps the most worrisome problem Olympic organizers face is air quality. By taking cars off the roads, closing factories, and halting all construction work, the government hopes to improve Beijing’s notorious pollution. But IOC officials have said they will consider postponing athletic events if the air is too dirty on competition day. To the Chinese, that would represent a considerable loss of face.

HOW WILL CHINA DEAL WITH THREATS OF BOYCOTTS OVER ISSUES SUCH AS DARFUR?

Officially Beijing is ignoring them, except occasionally to dismiss them as inappropriate. But at the same time, “the Chinese government does not want any problems for their Games – they deeply want to avoid it,” as John Lucas, a prominent Olympic historian puts it.

One of the results: Although protesters are keeping the public pressure on Beijing over Darfur, Western diplomats say China has in fact been helpful in pressuring the Sudanese government for the past year or so.

The authorities are confident that outright boycott campaigns will fizzle, and they are probably right. But they do not want China to be a pariah at Games time, which gives pressure groups some leverage. And there is nothing Beijing can do about the novel Olympics symbols that are springing up to highlight the repressive nature of the Chinese government – five rings of barbed wire in an Amnesty poster, five interlocking handcuffs in a campaign by Reporters Without Borders. [Editor’s note: The original version misstated the name of Reporters Without Borders.]

HOW IS THE REST OF THE WORLD VIEWING CHINA’S ROLE AS OLYMPICS HOST?

China’s international detractors and boosters alike are curious about how the Games will turn out in a country where so much of what is happening is unprecedented.

Many in the West are angry that China is being given a chance to burnish its international image without improving its human rights record. “The IOC ought to be using this opportunity to put pressure on the Chinese government … but that hasn’t happened,” complains Robert Evans, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament.

Especially in the United States, perceptions of China and the Games have been soured by the bad news about Chinathat people are paying attention to because of the Games, such as recent food and toy-safety scandals, environmental disasters, or China’s military buildup.

“It has gradually dawned on people that it is not all about a shiny new China,” says Oded Shenkar, a China specialist at Ohio State University in Columbus.

At the same time, the Olympics are as symbolic to the outside world as they are to Beijing of China’s regained status. However critical foreigners are, Mr. Jacques points out, “China is a rising power, and people don’t want to be left out of the action.”

Black & White Cat

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What’s In The News?

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, March 15, 2008

From our good friend over at The Opposite End of China, this compilation showing recent events in Tibet, which has been ruled by China since being annexed in 1951…

And from the Peking Duck, this collection from various news sources:

From the NYT:
Chinese security forces were reportedly surrounding three monasteries outside Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, on Thursday after hundreds of monks took to the streets this week in what are believed to be the largest Tibetan protests against Chinese rule in two decades.

The turmoil in Lhasa occurred at a politically delicate time for China, which is facing increasing criticism over its human rights record as it prepares to play host to the Olympic Games in August and is seeking to appear harmonious to the outside world.

Beijing has kept a tight lid on dissent before the Games. But people with grievances against the governing Communist Party have tried to promote their causes when top officials may be wary of cracking down by using force.

Qin Gang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, confirmed Thursday that protests had erupted in Lhasa, but declined to provide details. He described the situation as stable.

Reuters also reports, citing sources who contacted the London-based Campaign for a Free Tibet, of other demonstrations being suppressed in ethnic Tibetan areas in Qinghai and Gansu:

Another rights group said about 400 monks from Lutsang monastery in the northwestern province of Qinghai, known in Tibetan as Amdo, protested on Monday and shouted slogans for their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to return.

About 100 monks from Myera monastery in the neighboring province of Gansu also protested on Monday, the rights group said, adding that police were investigating who was involved.

A source with knowledge of the protests quoted monks and witnesses as saying the sound of gunfire was heard outside the walls of monasteries. But no casualties have been reported.

The Christian Science Monitor has a reporter on the ground:
On most nights, Barkhor Square is full of ancient-looking pilgrims on a Buddhist kora around Jokhand temple, a 1,400-year old World Heritage Site.

But last Tuesday around 9 p.m., it was unusually quiet when about 30 police officers wearing riot helmets sped into the cobblestone streets in vehicles resembling golf buggies. In front of a few foreign tourists, the police grabbed two young men in street clothes, put them in headlocks, and hauled them away to a nearby police station…

In Barkhor Square, police officers shooed the group of foreign tourists out of the square and back to their hotels. The officers were smiling, as if this was for the foreigners’ safety. Clearly, something was going on in the latest hot spot of Asian tourism.

A young European backpacker, gasping for breath in Lhasa’s 3,650-meter altitude, came running into a hotel looking for an Internet connection.

“There’s a big protest going on in the road to Sera monastery,” he said. “There are hundreds of people in the street, howling like wolves. They look like local people and they’re angry because the police have arrested some monks. I didn’t see them fighting with police. It didn’t look violent. The police chased some of them into small alleys to arrest them.”

The tourist said police picked up him and other foreigners, questioned them, and escorted them to the hotel district in unmarked cars, warning them to stay inside. The backpackers sent out personal reports on the Internet, even as uniformed police and men believed to be spies stood outside cafes watching them.

This follows other news this week that Indian authorities have blocked Tibetan demonstrators who planned a march to the Chinese border, and reports that the Chinese government is restricting access to Mt. Everest this year, a move widely seen as a response to an incident last year when a pro-Tibetan independence banner was displayed on the summit of the world’s highest peak.
Peking Duck

The latest image, from today (March 15th), showing an armoured column moving through Lhasa, Tibet’s capital city:

Qiangba Pingcuo, Red China’s top official in Tibet, has denied that Lhasa is under martial law.

Posted in China | 4 Comments »

cough!bullshit!cough!

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, March 14, 2008

I note with interest the comments made by Li Changjiang, the Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), regarding the food that foreign athletes may eat when they arrive for the Genocide Olympics later this year:

“Athletes and officials will not be allowed to carry their own food inside the Olympic Village during the Beijing Games, according to established international practice […] Why would foreigners have to carry their own food when they can enjoy the absolutely safe food on offer? […] I believe no one will let go of the chance to savor authentic Chinese food, and I don’t think they (foreign participants) will carry their own food.”

As one particularly bright bulb noted later:

“No need to say food will be totally safe, China is a country, known for stability and best food in the world.”

I’m sure this will be welcome news to the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are annually (that means every year) poisoned by Chinese food exports, and the tens of millions of Chinese who lose their breakfast every morning on the bus, after eating delicious and healthy traditional Chinese food.

In other news, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says:

“China is continuously improving the work environment for foreign journalists, a move that has been well received by the international community […] Any unbiased foreign reporters would notice that they are having more and more access and getting better service to make their reports on China [although despite this] a few foreign media also needed to reflect on their reporting style”. Qin said “some reporters had violated Chinese regulations, didn’t respect those they had interviewed, yet proceeded with interviews against the person’s wish. Some had even fabricated news stories”.

cough!bullshit!cough!

Posted in China | 12 Comments »