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Former Beijing Tycoon Executed for Murdering 8 People 

Former Beijing multimillionaire Xia Keming and his three companions were executed on Tuesday for killing eight people between 1999 and 2007, the Beijing Times observed on Wednesday.

Xia once served as a civil servant in Beijing. He was sentenced in 1988 to three years in prison for the illegaldealingof train tickets. After being released, Xia started a business in Shenzhen, and also owned 19 percent of shares in a Beijing-based company valued at more than 100 million yuan ($16 million).

A file photo of Xia Keming(R1) and his three companions (Photo source: people.cn)

 Xia Keming (R1) and his three companions (Photo source: people.cn)

The murder spree began when Xia asked his brother Xia Kezhi and two of his ex-cellmates to kill a business partner surnamed Liu.

In the following eight years, the four killed seven other people, including Xia Keming’s business partners, mistress and acquaintances.

To cover up their crimes, the gang bribed officials with cash, cars, luxury watches and expensive rosewood furniture. Read the rest of this entry »

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120th Anniversary: Chinese Strategists Reflect on the First Sino-Japanese War

thediplomat-japan-china

A collection of essays on the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 has obvious implications for modern China.

For The Diplomat, Shannon Tiezzi writes;  China is gearing up for the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1894 and ended with China’s defeat in 1895. The war was a devastating blow to China’s then-rulers, the Qing dynasty, as China had always considered Japan a ‘little brother’ rather than a serious competitor. The war is often seen as the defining point when power in East Asia shifted from China to Japan, as Tokyo claimed control of the Chinese territories of Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula (site of the port city of Dalian) as well as Korea (which changed from being a Chinese vassal to an officially independent state under Japanese influence).

” The war was a devastating blow to China’s then-rulers, the Qing dynasty, as China had always considered Japan a ‘little brother’ rather than a serious competitor.”

To commemorate the 120th anniversary of the war, Xinhua published a special supplement to its Reference News newspaper. The supplement consisted of 30 articles by members of the People’s Liberation Army “analyzing what China can learn from its defeat” in the Sino-Japanese war. Summing up the articles, Xinhuasaid that “the roots of China’s defeat lay not on military reasons, but the outdated and corrupt state system, as well as the ignorance of maritime strategy.” This conclusion has obvious modern-day applications, as China’s leadership is currently emphasizing both reform and a new focus on China’s navy.

“Japan’s victory proved that its westernization drive, the Meiji Restoration, was the right path, despite its militarist tendency.”

The PLA authors laid the bulk of the blame for China’s defeat on the Qing dynasty’s failure to effectively modernize. “Japan’s victory proved that its westernization drive, the Meiji Restoration, was the right path, despite its militarist tendency,” Xinhua summarized. Political commissar of China’s National Defense University Liu Yazhou compared Japan’s reforms to China’s: “One made reforms from its mind, while another only made changes on the surface.”

Though these comments are referencing a conflict from 120 years ago, it’s easy to see the relevance for today. Xi Jinping is trying to spearhead China’s most ambitious reform package since the days of Deng Xiaoping, including not only difficult economic rebalancing but also an overhaul of the way China’s bureaucracy (both civilian and military) is organized. In other words, China still needs to finish the modernization project that the Qing half-heartedly began in the 19th century. Westernization (what today China would call modernization) remains “the right path.” Read the rest of this entry »


Election Spoofs, Fake News, Political Satire Flourishing in India

Candidate Narendra Modi is spoofed using an iconic scene from Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator

Candidate Narendra Modi is spoofed using an iconic scene from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator

Political ass-kicking in India: Spoofs on the internet and TV

Jay Mazoomdaar writes: For a people not known to take themselves lightly, a surprising number of Indians are laughing their way to the general election.

A generous dose of irreverent political humour is now competing with shrill campaign rhetoric, thanks to a new crop of satirists.

The genre is not new in India – there is a rich tradition of cartoons in newspapers – but the appetite for political satire is.

CNN-IBN‘s spoof show - The Week That Wasn’t, starring Cyrus Broacha – was popular long before the last general elections in 2009, and Hindi show Pol Khol (Expose) by Shekhar Suman on Star News became a hit during the 2004 elections. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] This Day In History: April 21, 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests Begin

1989 Raw Video: Man vs. Chinese tank Tiananmen square

On this day in 1989, students began protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the symbolic central space of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students.

The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square.

A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Changan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. (AP/Jeff Widener)

AP/Jeff Widener

One day later, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.

Read the rest of this entry »


TV Reporter Wounded in Pakistan Gun Attack

Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan's best known television presenters in the city of Karachi.

Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan’s best known television presenters in the city of Karachi.

Police said the attackers opened fire on Hamid Mir‘s car near the airport.

The presenter for Geo TV received three bullets, but was in a stable condition, the officials added.

There have been previous attempts on the life of Mr Mir, the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for the media.

The attack has been strongly condemned by Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Last month, Mr Sharif pledged to do more to protect journalists in Pakistan.

Car chase

Mr Mir had just landed in Karachi and was on his way to the studios of Geo TV, a private Pakistani news channel, when unidentified gunmen in a car and on motorcycles reportedly tailed him before opening fire. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Sets Sights on Strengthening South China Sea Surveillance

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Members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces during a drill

TOKYO — Jonathan Soble writes:  For years, the sole armed force protecting Japan’s westernmost inhabited territory – the sleepy island of Yonaguni, population 1,500 – has been two police officers.

That will soon change: a new military radar base is to be completed on the island in two years’ time, guarded by 100 members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, a development that has divided islanders while underscoring Tokyo’s increasingly tough-minded security policy.

On Saturday, Itsuki Onodera, defence minister, will travel to the island, which lies 2,000 miles southwest of Tokyo and a stone’s throw from Taiwan, to break ground on the base. When it is completed in 2016, its radar will give Japan a clearer view of Chinese ship and aircraft movements in the South China Sea, including around islands whose ownership is disputed by Tokyo and Beijing.

“We are determined to protect Yonaguni, which is part of the precious territory of Japan,” Mr Onodera told reporters this week, saying the SDF deployment belonged to a broader effort to “strengthen surveillance of the southwestern region”.

That effort has been under way for several years, as Japanese military planners shift their focus away from their cold war adversary Russia – just off Japan’s far north – to China, which has been rapidly modernising its military and challenging Japanese control of the disputed islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Daioyu in China.

Read the rest of this entry »


How Technology Revolutionized Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

Facebook and Google, the favored tools of dissidents, are now shaping Taiwan’s relationship with China.

taiwanFor The DiplomatVincent Y. Chao writes: Underneath the piercing gaze of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, a group of students sat, unshaved, unkempt and basking in the glow of their laptops. Amongst stacks of coffee cups, crudely drawn artwork, and piles of unevenly stacked office chairs, they were hard at work, plotting the next phase of their revolt against the government in Taiwan.

Three weeks earlier, the group had broken past police barriers and forcefully occupied the main Legislative assembly hall, defeating multiple attempts to evict them by the police. They sit engrossed: sending out press releases, updating the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and sparking discussion on PTT (an online bulletin board favored by many of the country’s youth). Others are dozing off, or hold a blank stare in their eyes, a product of weeks of tension, uncertainty and sleep deprivation.

Initially there were only a hundred of them – students from Taiwan’s top universities energized by a series of controversial land seizures and, in this case, upset at the government’s attempt to ram through a wide-ranging services trade deal with China. Their numbers subsequently swelled, buoyed by 24 hour news coverage, Facebook shares, and, of course, volunteers from the hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters that have flooded the capital Taipei’s streets in recent weeks.

Oliver Chen, 26, is a student from Taiwan’s prestigious National Taiwan University Law School. His hallmark, he says, is the colorful dress shirts he changes into every day. “Nothing else is changed. Shirts are all that I brought.” During the protests, he was responsible for the bank of computers to the left of Sun’s portrait. His team of English speakers worked with the foreign press to arrange interviews with the two protest leaders, Chen Wei-ting, 23, and Lin Fei-fan, 25.

Oliver and the rest of the students were organized. Very organized. Even the opposition, rumored to have ties to some of the student organizers, admits to such. “They could probably run a better campaign than the DPP,” said opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen during a media interview. The students have a medical center, distribution tables for snacks and goods, and even rooms for yoga or singing.
Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Image of the Night: Strip Tease on Conveyor Belt, Tokyo, 1957

A stripper at a Tokyo striptease show is taken past the audience on a moving conveyor belt. 1957

A stripper at a Tokyo striptease show is taken past the audience on a moving conveyor belt, 1957.

This reveals as much about mid-20th Century post-war industrial history as it does about a form of entertainment as old as human history.

vintage everyday


U.S. sending Two Warships to Japan to Counter North Korea

AP Photo/Alex Wong

AP Photo/Alex Wong

TOKYO (AP) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.

“…you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.”

– Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.

“I think we’re seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine,” Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. “We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.” Read the rest of this entry »


Strawberry Chocolate Shrimp Chips: The End of Civilization As We Know It?

cs-2

From RocketNews24

The extremely competitive nature of the Japanese junk food industry means that you have to keep innovating though, and sometimes in the process of pushing through existing boundaries, you end up in strange new places, which explains why Calbee is now selling shrimp chips covered with strawberry chocolate.

cs-1

For this crustacean/confectionary crossover, Calbee collaborated with Hokkaido-based chocolate maker Royce, which has in the past offered chocolate-covered potato chips. Believe it or not, though, there’s only one portion of the new joint product that’s completely unprecedented, the strawberry part. Read the rest of this entry »


Sichuan Quake Activist Tan Zuoren Defiant After Release from Prison

Tan-Z

For South China Morning PostVerna Yu reports: Activist Tan Zuoren, who was jailed for five years after investigating the deaths of thousands of children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, was released yesterday, said two fellow rights campaigners, although his whereabouts remained unknown.

“He firmly believes that he was put in jail because he was framed. After his release, he will carry on his rights activism. There’s no doubt about that.”

– Close friend of Tan

Tan was released from a jail in Yaan, Sichuan, at about 6 a.m. and has been reunited with his wife, veteran activist Huang Qi said. Neither Tan nor his wife could be reached by phone yesterday. Huang said it was likely they had not been taken home by the authorities but somewhere else, although he declined to elaborate.

Fellow activist Ran Yunfei said he had met Tan after his release, but declined to elaborate.

Huang, a close friend of Tan, said the activist still firmly believed in his mission and had written a lengthy appeal letter in prison, maintaining that he was wrongly accused. Read the rest of this entry »


The New Normal: Russia, China Annex Other Countries Territories with Impunity

russian-machine-gunner-reuters

Breitbart.com‘s  brings us this morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:

  • The ‘New Normal’: Russia and China annex other countries’ territories with impunity
  • Russia protests Estonia‘s treatment of its Russian minority
  • Xi Jinping redirects China’s ideology from Marxism to Nationalism

Russia and China annex other countries’ territories with impunity

With Russia’s annexation of Crimea now a fait accompli, it’s well to remember that this isn’t the first recent annexation of other countries’ territories. China has already seized islands in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to the Philippines and Vietnam and is operating on the belief that any “short, sharp attack” on any one island won’t bring an American response. China intends to continue annexing islands in this fashion. ["16-Jan-14 World View -- China threatens military seizure of South China Sea island from Philippines"]

“Estonia has a centuries-old bitter history with Russia. People today vividly remember that Josef Stalin’s Red Army reoccupied Estonia in June 1940 and made it part of the Soviet Union…”

The news on Friday is that Russia is massing over 20,000 troops on the border with eastern Ukraine, evidently with the intention of invading, in order to annex some or all of that territory. It’s really not logical for Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to stop with Crimea, since there are plenty of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine—and because Crimea can’t survive without the fresh water, electricity, gas, and food that it imports from Ukraine. NBC News

Read the rest of this entry »


N.S.A. Breached Chinese Servers Seen as Security Threat

SUB-JP-NSA-1-master675

 and  reporting for the NYT: American officials have long considered Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, a security threat, blocking it from business deals in the United States for fear that the company would create “back doors” in its equipment that could allow the Chinese military or Beijing-backed hackers to steal corporate and government secrets.

“The documents were disclosed by The New York Times and Der Spiegel, and are also part of a book by Der Spiegel, “The N.S.A. Complex.” The documents, as well as interviews with intelligence officials, offer new insights into the United States’ escalating digital cold war with Beijing.”

But even as the United States made a public case about the dangers of buying from Huawei, classified documents show that the National Security Agency was creating its own back doors — directly into Huawei’s networks.

Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, is seen as a Chinese version of Steve Jobs. Credit Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press

Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, is seen as a Chinese version of Steve Jobs. Credit Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press

The agency pried its way into the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in Shenzhen, China’s industrial heart, according to N.S.A. documents provided by the former contractor Edward J. Snowden. It obtained information about the workings of the giant routers and complex digital switches that Huawei boasts connect a third of the world’s population, and monitored communications of the company’s top executives.

One of the goals of the operation, code-named “Shotgiant,” was to find any links between Huawai and the People’s Liberation Army, one 2010 document made clear. But the plans went further: to exploit Huawai’s technology so that when the company sold equipment to other countries — including both allies and nations that avoid buying American products — the N.S.A. could roam through their computer and telephone networks to conduct surveillance and, if ordered by the president, offensive cyberoperations.

“Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products,” the N.S.A. document said. “We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” it added, to “gain access to networks of interest” around the world. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage: Daily Life in China in the 1970s

Wonderful photo series, archived at vintage everyday. I’ve selected a few favorites, go here to see the full display.

Daily Life in China in the 1970s (34) Daily Life in China in the 1970s (43) Daily Life in China in the 1970s (42) Daily Life in China in the 1970s (27)

vintage everyday


Report: Chinese Site May Show Debris Images of Missing Malaysian Jet

satellite-photo-xinhua-new-agency

Satellite images on a Chinese government website show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating off the southern tip of Vietnam, near the plane’s original flight path, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The revelation could provide searchers with a focus that has eluded them since the plane disappeared with 239 people aboard just hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday. Since then, the search has covered 35,800 square miles (92,600 square kilometers), first east and then west of Malaysia and even expanded toward India on Wednesday.

“There’s too much information and confusion right now. It is very hard for us to decide whether a given piece of information is accurate…We will not give it up as long as there’s still a shred of hope.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, Beijing

The Chinese sighting, if confirmed, would be closer to where the frantic hunt started.

Read the rest of this entry »


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