GLOBAL PANIC OF 2014 REACHES CHINA: Freakishly Large, Bizzare Flying Insect Found in Sichuan Province, Experts SayPosted: July 22, 2014
World’s largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China’s Sichuan province
Large enough to cover the face of a human adult, this scary-looking insect is also known among entomologists as an indicator of good water quality.
(CNN) – According to the Insect Museum of West China, local villagers in the outskirts of Chengdu handed over “weird insects that resemble giant dragonflies with long teeth” earlier this month.
Several of these odd critters were examined by the museum and found to be unusually large specimens of the giant dobsonfly, which is native to China and Vietnam.
The largest one measured 21 centimeters (8.27 inches) when its wings were open, according to the museum, busting the original record for largest aquatic insect held by a South American helicopter damselfly, which had a wingspan of 19.1 centimeters (7.5 inches). Read the rest of this entry »
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) July 22, 2014
For The Weekly Standard, Ellen Bork reports: Over half a million people filled the streets of Hong Kong on July 1, marching for democracy on the anniversary of the British colony’s handover to Chinese Communist rule in 1997.
On June 29, an unofficial referendum organized by democracy activists concluded with 800,000 votes cast—more than one-tenth of Hong Kong’s population. The overwhelming majority supported a democratic election for Hong Kong’s next chief executive.
“The Obama administration’s response to the massive display of support for democracy has been more appropriate to a teenager shrugging ‘whatever’ than a major power expressing itself on a central pillar of the president’s Asia policy.”
Beijing has promised that in 2017, the Hong Kong chief executive will be popularly elected. Hoping to tamp down expectations of an actual democratic election with a competitive nomination process, however, Beijing issued a white paper on June 10 that identified “loving the country” as the “basic political requirement” for civil servants, including the chief executive. For Beijing, “love” means loyalty to the Communist party, disdain for civil liberties undergirded by the rule of law, and hostility to democracy. Read the rest of this entry »
— Financial Times (@FT) July 12, 2014
I can’t verify the authenticity of this, the translation is either a spoof, mischievous liberties were taken, or it really is based on the original text, but it looks like characteristic Mao-era cultural training. One thinks of North Korea, San Francisco, Think Progress, MSNBC, DNC Headquarters, even classrooms in New Jersey as recently as 2009…
RocketNews24 reports: Recently, streaking and naked demonstrations have increased in popularity in China. The benefits are clear, as having pictures of naked women (and to a much, much lesser extent men) is a pretty solid way to get attention for your cause. It’s also a more peaceful form of expression that can gain sympathy from the public.
I’d gladly take my political messages from a few people who are standing naked in a park rather than say… driving around shouting through a megaphone while blasting patriotic music at full volume. On the flipside, naked protests also carry the risk of the message getting lost in a sea of people shouting, “Hey! Boobs!”
These particular boobs belong to four women aged 65, 66, 68, and 73. Sorry to dupe you like this but since you’ve already come this far, might as well listen to their story. Like other naked protest photos this one has made the rounds through China’s social networks like Sina Weibo and websites.
It shows the small band of ladies stripping down to their birthday suits with writing all over their bodies. According to various websites such as Siyibao.org they also set up placards at their protest site outside the US Embassy in Beijing, one of which featured a Chinese character referring to “injustice.”
This apparently wasn’t the first time either, as Sina Weibo users and other bloggers reported seeing them at other times and places such as the Tiananmen Square anniversary. In these instances they have also been seen getting taken away by police. Read the rest of this entry »
Hong Kong: For CNN, Wilfred Chan and Euan McKirdy report: Nearly 800,000 Hong Kongers have done something China’s 1.3 billion people can only dream of: cast a ballot to demand a democratic government.
In an unofficial referendum organized by pro-democracy activists and denounced by Chinese authorities, 787,767 people in the city of more than seven million have called for the right to directly elect their next leader.
But Beijing has insisted Hong Kong politics stays in line with Chinese rule, paving the way for a showdown in the city.
Who are the activists?
Occupy Central is a pro-democracy group founded in 2013. Their goal is to allow the Hong Kong public to elect its next leader without strings attached.
If the Hong Kong government doesn’t eventually give the public more voting rights, Occupy Central has threatened to “occupy” Central district, the city’s financial hub, with a sit-in that would disrupt businesses and block traffic.
How is Hong Kong governed now?
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, with its own executive, legislature, and judiciary.
A former British colony, the city was returned to Chinese control in 1997. But before the handover, China and the United Kingdom signed an agreement giving Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years after its return to China. This enshrined a principle known as “one country, two systems” in a constitutional document called the Basic Law. Read the rest of this entry »
BBC News reports: A man set himself on fire in central Tokyo in protest at a proposed law which could allow Japan to deploy its military overseas.
“He was sitting cross-legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident. Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire.”
The man was taken to hospital after being hosed down but his condition was not immediately known, officials said.
Japan’s government could make the change to its pacifist constitution as early as next Tuesday.
The US-drafted constitution bans war and “the threat or use of force” to settle international disputes.
Witnesses said the middle-aged man, wearing a suit and tie, climbed onto a pedestrian bridge at Tokyo’s Shinjuku station.
“He was sitting cross-legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident,” one eyewitness told Reuters. “Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire.”
For China Real Time Report, Jason Chow writes: Hong Kong mints millionaires faster than any of the world’s other top 25 economic powerhouses, according to a new survey on the rich by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.
“Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires.”
Tis the season of wealth reports – the new 2014 World Wealth Report is the second global survey of the world’s rich in as many weeks (Boston Consulting Group released its wealth tome last week). And again, the latest survey confirmed an obvious outcome of Asia’s economic boom: The region is home to more millionaires than ever.
“The city’s booming real-estate market, along with its ties to China, were cited as reasons for the huge surge in the wealthy ranks.”
But the Capgemini/RBC report says Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires. In the past five years, the total number of high-net-worth individuals—those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, not including primary residence, collectibles or consumer goods—grew at an annual rate of 27%.
That growth rate of wealthy individuals is by far the fastest, above the global 10% average and far higher than the growth rates for Singapore and China, which sat around 12% and 16%, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »
For Gizmodo, Casey Chan writes: In the future, we’ll get the news from fair and balanced android newscasters that’ll somehow terrify us more than the cable newspeople we have today. These android newscasters are frighteningly lifelike and can interact with humans, read the news and Tweets, tell a joke and basically replace the lousy talking heads on TV.
The android newscasters were shown off in Japan at the Android: What is a Human? exhibition in Tokyo. At times, the two robots demoed—Kodomoroid and Otonaroid—look and act so real that they seem like human actors pretending to be a robot.
Japanese scientists on Tuesday unveiled what they said was the world’s first news-reading android, eerily lifelike and possessing a sense of humour to match her perfect language skills. Duration: 01:20
Beijing is not amused by the “provocative action,” as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo “has been convicted in accordance with the law”
For TIME, Hannah Beech reports: Alert the post office. The official address for the Chinese embassy in Washington is to be changed to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza. On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee voted to rename 3505 International Place, a strip of asphalt that runs in front of the Chinese mission in northwest D.C., after the jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The bid for the new Chinese embassy mailing address was tacked on as an amendment to the 2015 State Department spending bill. The road in front of the Chinese embassy is federally owned, giving Congress some latitude in deciding its fate. (The D.C. Council will also consider the resolution.) Fourteen bipartisan Congressmen, led by Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, shepherded the provision, which calls for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to institute the name change. A street sign adorned with Liu’s name is planned.In 2009, the veteran activist and writer was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion against the Chinese state. Liu, 58, helped draft Charter 08, a pro-democracy petition that called on Beijing to abandon one-party rule and uphold basic human rights. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing labeled the road-renaming movement a “provocative action,” noting that Liu “has been convicted in accordance with the law.” Read the rest of this entry »
Via 縁起もの Engimono, a lovely turn-of-the-century artifact from Japan, a 1903 postcard featuring a hand-tinted photo of the Port of Yokohama:
This postcard shows what the Port of Yokohama (a major Japanese shipping port) looked like back around 1903. The image is hand-tinted. The stamp is postmarked September 20th, 1903.
By 1903, Japan was well on the way modernity, some 35 years having passed since the Meiji Restoration. Furthermore, the Port of Yokohama had been a center for commerce since its opening to international trade in 1859.
Looking at the photo, I assume that the large building in the background is the Silk Inspection Hall where silk was inspected before export overseas. As the port was developed further in the early 20th Century…(read more)
”These are all my children, my babies.”
Most people hate cockroaches and would do just about anything to keep them out of their homes. But that is not the case for one woman.
“They are most active at night, mating and hunting for food. They mate with each other after eating. The mating process lasts for two hours, and then spawning happens. Every spawn hatches dozens of baby cockroaches.”
– Yuan Meixia
She breeds them and raises them so she can sell them to a pharmaceutical company, which uses them for medicine. She lives in separate home, but visits the breeding home everyday. She was inspired to start breeding them after she saw a program on television which talked about their potential healing properties.
”These are all my children, my babies,” she says to a Southern Metropolis News reporter on a tour of the facility in Linbian village. Yuan resides at another house in Siqian county, but visits the breeding house every day. Read the rest of this entry »
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 10, 2014
From the Pacific Daily Times:
DEVELOPING… It’s now happening in Hong Kong. Unarmed protesters overran security and occupied another legislature, this time over construction projects and what is reported to be something like “crony capitalism”. Here is a link to a video from Apple Daily and another link to an article from Taiwan’s Sunflower Facebook Page.
As a sometime resident of Hong Kong, I read this news with mixed feelings. At one level, I can see this as a completely legitimate response to the domination of the legislature by what Americans would call “crony capitalist” interests. (See the weird “functional constituency” element of the current legislative election process.)
On another level, though, I’m very afraid of the backlash from Beijing. Coming just two days after the 25th anniversary of the TianAnMen massacre, the CCP will view this event with the greatest displeasure. Democracy in Hong Kong is very fragile, and is seen by reformers in China as a bellweather of how reform might work there. Unruly popular demonstraations are perceived by the Party as the absolute worst threat to its monopoly on political power. Hong Kongers and those who wish them well hold their breath . . .
For The Diplomat, Michael Lumbers writes: The splashy announcement recently of a $400 billion deal that will send Russian natural gas to China has triggered a new wave of speculation over the implications of strengthened Sino-Russian ties for America’s strategic position. The supply agreement, which will give Beijing a much-needed source of clean energy and Moscow an alternative market as relations with Europe have soured in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine, fleshes out a “strategic partnership” that has flourished over the past 20 years as a result of expanded trade, the final resolution of all border disputes, and a shared interest in impeding U.S. hegemony.
For some alarmed Western observers, seemingly forgetful that not even the bonds of communist ideology could prevent the violent rupture of the Sino-Soviet alliance at the height of the Cold War, this invigorated relationship threatens to consolidate into an anti-American alliance that is headed toward an eventual clash with the U.S. More sober voices stop short of such grim forecasts, but counsel that Washington should devise policies aimed atdriving the two powers apart. How, if at all, is the U.S. likely to respond?
Any assessment of U.S. options for responding to growing Sino-Russian convergence needs to begin with an understanding that the post-Cold War reconciliation, burdened by a long history of distrust, has often fallen short of the flowery rhetoric of summit communiques. For both sides, the relationship remains a function of more important dealings with the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Who Gets to Speak First at Holy Remembrance Ceremony? Let’s Settle That Question OLD-School, 13th-Century StylePosted: June 6, 2014
30th Anniversary of an Army Raid on India’s Golden Temple
Footage showed rival groups of Sikhs fighting each other on a staircase.
“Today we were supposed to have a solemn remembrance for the martyrs of 1984, so what happened is very sad.”
The clashes broke out after arguments over who would speak first at a ceremony to mark a deadly military offensive there in 1984. Hundreds of Sikhs had gathered but the ceremony soon erupted into violence. Read the rest of this entry »
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 5, 2014