According to Aviation Week, the Chinese space launch industry appears to believe that its next generation of launchers will cost more to purchase than those already being provided by SpaceX.
In other words, a product designed and manufactured entirely in the USA can beat the Chinese, who have far lower labor costs. Way to go Elon — we love you!
HONG KONG — Isabella Steger reports: Members of a student protest group who planned to take their demands for democracy in Hong Kong to the Chinese capital weren’t allowed to board a flight to Beijing on Saturday.
Four members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, who have been at the forefront of pro-democracy protests that have gone on for more than 40 days in the city, were unable to board their Cathay Pacific flight.
Representatives of the group said the airline denied boarding to Alex Chow, who leads the student group, Nathan Law, Eason Chung and Jeffrey Tsang, because they received notification that the students’ entry permits had been voided.
About 100 pro-democracy protesters went to Hong Kong’s airport to send the students off, carrying yellow umbrellas and singing protest anthems. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TIME:
On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a “joint announcement on climate change” in which each country made pledges about how they intend to handle future emissions of their greenhouse gases. The announcement was hailed by most environmental groups and much of the media as “historic,” a “breakthrough, and a “game-changer.” Careful parsing of the text’s diplomatic jargon suggests that the joint announcement is, in fact, none of those.
To understand the nebulous nature of the announcement, don’t focus first on the promised trajectories of future greenhouse gas emissions by both countries. Instead consider the loopholes. For example, this bit of climate change diplomatic arcana in which the two countries promise to work together “to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in 2015.”
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Bill Gertz reports: China’s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting flights tests of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.
“China is moving along at a very rapid pace in its fighter aircraft development and we should be concerned.”
Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet—China’s second new radar-evading warplane—were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.
“Neither the J-20 or the J-31 will match the F-22 or F-35 in stealth performance but their successors will and we should be concerned as China is a looming economic and military power. They enjoy flaunting their power in front of American leaders who have exhibited weakness.”
– Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney
The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.
China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin.
“In January 2011, China rolled out the J-20 for the first time during the visit to Beijing by Gates, who wrote in his recent memoir, Duty, that one of his aides called China’s timing for the J-20 disclosure ‘about as big a ‘fuck you’ as you can get.”
The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.
The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.
Meanwhile, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that the president would press China’s leader Xi Jinping to curb Chinese cyber espionage. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING—Here in China’s capital, riding the city’s sprawling subway can sometimes be a contact sport. Morning rush hours turn into mosh-pit-like scenes in which riders compete to board packed trains. Shouts and curses ring out. Elbows are thrown. Occasionally, passengers who squeeze their way in are flung out again by the crowds.
“‘We must select the good passengers and let them show up with honor in our town!’ says an open letter to riders circulated as part of the event.”
Now, as President Barack Obama and other world leaders descend on Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week, authorities have launched a behavior-modification campaign: A contest to promote grown-up deportment onboard.
“Photos of contestants are hung on posters during rush hour across the city’s subway and bus stations. The prize for winners, to be named later this month, includes a subway pass with about $10 of stored value, and a certificate of honor.”
Started this summer, the “Be a Splendid Beijinger and Welcome APEC—Civilized, Polite Passengers” competition aims to identify and honor the top 100 best-behaving bus and subway passengers. It’s a kind of “China’s Next Top Model,” except for public transportation.
“Some 40,000 residents have entered to win. Many did so by filling out forms that asked them to explain their “accomplishments” as riders.”
Others were handpicked by the more than 8,000 yellow-jacketed guides, mostly elderly retirees, Beijing has deployed to encourage more-orderly behavior at bus stops and subways. Read the rest of this entry »
No Respect: Trash-Talkin’ Chinese Media Delivers Epic POTUS Smackdown in Wake of Historic U.S. Midterm Ass-WhoopingPosted: November 6, 2014
A mouthpiece of the Chinese Government has described President Obama as ‘insipid’ and claims U.S. voters are sick of his ‘banality’.
The state-run Global Times has published an editorial deriding the leader a few days ahead of his visit to the growing economic and military powerhouse.
It stated: ‘Obama always utters “Yes, we can,” which led to the high expectations people had for him. But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters.
The criticism comes in the wake of a crushing defeat in the Midterm elections worse even than the most pessimistic forecasts of the Democrats‘ strategists, with the Republicans now in control of both the upper and lower Houses of Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
“The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are in their sixth week, but there is little sign of resolution. Sunday, protesters are planning to march west from the business district on Hong Kong Island to the Chinese government’s Liaison Office.”
Local television stations showed police using pepper spray on dozens of protesters in the working-class neighborhood. The confrontation was allegedly caused by a man using a camera flash to provoke a police officer, the news channels said.
“Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students have threatened to bring their protest to Beijing during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, as a way to gain publicity for their demand that China allow free elections in Hong Kong.”
A Hong Kong police spokesperson confirmed that three men—aged between 24 and 50—were arrested. One was arrested for suspicion of criminal damage, while the other two were arrested for obstructing police officers executing their duty. Read the rest of this entry »
Cool photoblog to explore: This item from 10/4/14
Large swarm of protesters following police in Prince Edward, this was taken from my balcony. They escorted what was apparently an anti-protester out of the area before heading off down a back alley away from the group of protesters. Things are starting to get really heavy tonight and warnings are coming from those who say that Bejing will make a move tonight. It’s eerie hearing the shouts from the protest this close to home…(more)
“Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment…215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates.”
For China Real Time, Richard Silk reports: Chinese consumers are used to food safety scandals, from toxic heavy metals in their rice to cooking oil scraped up from the gutter. After those outrages, they might be grateful for some good old-fashioned painkillers in their soup.
“Last month a noodle shop owner in Shaanxi province admitted dosing his dishes with poppy buds after a customer tested positive on a drug test.”
The website of Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official information agency, reported Thursday that restaurants around the country are routinely spiking their dishes with poppy shells, which contain opiates like morphine and codeine, to keep customers coming back.
Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment, Xinhua said. The tactic isn’t new – 215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates way back in 2004 – but has been receiving increasing media coverage as multiple incidents have come to light. Read the rest of this entry »
A spectacular collection of photographs documenting the Hong Kong protests from our Asia Editor-at-Large, Deb Fong…
Originally posted on HONG KONG FONG:
Unless you’ve been stranded on an island without WiFi or television, or hiding under a rock, you just may have heard a bit on the news about what’s been happening in my adoptive hometown of Hong Kong. OK, in fact, the updates had been pervasive across news channels. More so than I would have anticipated. Now that mass media on the topic has died down, but the protests linger on, it’s worth taking a step back and reflecting.
The idea of democracy is an oft-lauded ‘ideal’. It’s seductive, particularly to the western world. So perhaps it’s really no surprise at all that the largely student-run, pro-democracy movement in HK resonates with such a broad audience. Don’t think that point is lost on the students. Young…
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The Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters had planned to have some kind of vote yesterday on how they would go forward. But they didn’t. From the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper:
Occupy Central protesters and observers yesterday backed an 11th-hour decision to scrap a poll on the way forward for the month-old sit-in, saying the move made it easier to enter into more talks with the government.
Protest leaders announced the U-turn hours before the electronic ballot was to start at 7pm and apologised for not having sufficiently discussed with demonstrators the poll’s methodology and objectives. But shelving it did not mean they had shifted their stance or intended to end the occupation, Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said.
Some protesters had said the poll was redundant. A huge banner that called for delaying the poll was hung from an Admiralty footbridge yesterday morning.
Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said: “The public may feel there are problems with the movement’s organisation and leadership, and we admit that … I promise that in the future, we will give sufficient notice to and discuss with protesters before making a major formal decision.”
For me, the lesson in this story is that “democracy” is not a self-executing political panacea. Democracy has a value — a high value — as ONE element of a fair and well-ordered society. But democracy can only serve its proper function as a check on the tyranny of the state when it operates within a system of well-defined and transparent laws and institutions. It is not surprising to me that the vote called by the protesters did not happen. There was no framework of law and institutional operation within which it could happen.
The smartest lawyers and statesmen in the rebel colonies worked for many months to draft the Constitution of the United States before it was finally implemented. Doing this created the framework of laws and institutions in which democracy operated as only one dynamic part of a system that was crafted after extremely careful deliberation by some of the wisest men who have ever considered these issues. The Framers of the US Constitution did their work after putting in place a temporary structure — the Articles of Confederation — to ensure a stable environment for long enough to work out the permanent “political operating system” for their country. They did not do their work in the heated stress and passion of an armed rebellion against the Crown. They first made an imperfect compromise in the Articles of Confederation to buy themselves the time they knew it would take to work out a truly well-ordered system. My advice to the protesters: study history.
“For me, the lesson in this story is that “democracy” is not a self-executing political panacea. Democracy has a value — a high value — as ONE element of a fair and well-ordered society.”
The problem, of course, is that there is no time for study. The pro-democracy protesters have been improvising and responding to the largely pro-Beijing government’s actions from the beginning. They are working from a base that is fueled by legitimate passion for liberty and fear of tyranny, but without a well-established leadership operating within a widely-recognized and accepted organizational structure.
“But democracy can only serve its proper function as a check on the tyranny of the state when it operates within a system of well-defined and transparent laws and institutions.”
In any conflict, all things being equal, the side with the more easily achieved strategic goal and the larger number of tactical options will prevail. For better or worse, in this situation, the side with both of these advantages is the pro-establishment side. For the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government, the strategic “victory condition” is maintaining the status quo, and they have a broad range of tactical options along the spectrum of patiently waiting out the protesters on one end to forcefully removing them on the other. I fear the pro-democracy side may not really realize this or, if they do, can think of no tactical response other than “keep doing what we’re doing.” Without regard to the merits of either side’s goals, this makes the pro-democracy side’s strategic and tactical position very weak. Unless they realize this and adjust their strategy and tactics accordingly, the outcome for them does not look good.
“In any conflict, all things being equal, the side with the more easily achieved strategic goal and the larger number of tactical options will prevail. For better or worse, in this situation, the side with both of these advantages is the pro-establishment side.”
This grim picture is playing itself out in a situation where the largest number of the anti-establishment protesters are high school and college students, without strong and experienced leadership that has been tested over time, and without any organizational infrastructure to support the building of strategic or tactical consensus. Unless this situation changes, it looks increasingly unlikely that the pro-democracy movement will put itself into a situation where it can achieve a real “victory.” If their only tool is a “passion for democracy,” they cannot prevail.
City Calm Ahead of a Vote Organized by Pro-Democracy Protest Leaders
Crowds grew Saturday at the downtown protest site, as they have during other weekends, though there were no reports of clashes between demonstrators and police as on other recent evenings.
The student-led protesters want anyone to be able to stand for Hong Kong’s first ever public ballot for chief executive in 2017. China’s government in August ruled a selection committee largely loyal to Beijing will select those who can stand, sparking the protests.
Some local citizens—who have taken to wearing blue ribbons—are angry that students have shut down parts of the city over the issue. On Saturday night there were reports that some blue ribbon demonstrators had attacked journalists covering their counter protests in Kowloon.
“I agree with the students’ goal. Who doesn’t want a democratic society?”
Radio Television Hong Kong and Television Broadcasts Ltd. issued statements complaining their journalists had been pushed and kicked by blue ribbon protesters. Police haven’t made any arrests.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reiterated Saturday he won’t resign, saying the protesters’ demands aren’t in accordance with the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
“Hong Kong has many people who are against Occupy Central. The fact that a majority of people are against Occupy…but that you guys continue to occupy the sites, that’s most undemocratic of all.”
– David Lau, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. banker, corporate finance division
For WSJ, Prudence Ho reports: A senior J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. banker walking to lunch on Wednesday interrupted a live roundtable webcast on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests to express his frustration over the continued street blockage.
“Do you think you’re being democratic? There’s a show going on and then you just come in to interrupt us.”
– Martin Lee, founding chairman of Democratic Party, who was one of the guests
David Lau, who heads the U.S. investment bank’s China corporate finance division, walked into the interview with protest leaders and a democracy advocate that was being streamed by local paper Apple Daily, live from the Admiralty protest site.
“People are trying to get to work, and you’ve blocked off the streets. That’s not democratic either, is it?”
– David Lau, who didn’t realize his comments were being streamed live
“Hong Kong has many people who are against Occupy Central,” said Mr. Lau, who was wearing a blue shirt. “The fact that a majority of people are against Occupy…but that you guys continue to occupy the sites, that’s most undemocratic of all.”
He ignored attempts by the program’s host to stop him, and continued speaking for nearly two minutes, though he never lost his cool during the interruption. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple iCloud users in mainland China have a cyber issue on their hands as the service is hit by an attack that could allow access to personal data
WSJ‘s Scott Thurm reports: Apple Inc. ’s iCloud service for users in mainland China has been hit by an attack that could allow perpetrators to intercept and see usernames, passwords and other personal data, activists and security analysts said.
“It’s evident that it’s quite massive.”
—Erik Hjelmvik, analyst
“That’s what she said.”
Though the perpetrator’s identity was unclear, the attack came as tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments have simmered over accusations of cyberespionage and hacking attacks.
- Social Media Goes Cuckoo Bananas Over Massive Celebrity Nude Photo Leak
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- The CELEBRAGEDDON of 2014: Jennifer Lawrence Requests Nude Pics Investigation
The online censorship watchdog GreatFire.org claimed Chinese authorities were behind the attack, though other experts said the source couldn’t be determined. A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said she was unaware of the matter and reiterated Beijing’s position that it opposes cyberattacks.
Apple said in a statement on its website that it is aware of “intermittent organized network attacks” aimed at obtaining user information from iCloud.com. The company added that the attacks don’t compromise the company’s iCloud servers and don’t affect iCloud sign-in on Apple devices running its iOS mobile software or Macs running OS X Yosemite using its Safari browser.
Apple said users should not sign into iCloud.com if they receive a warning from their browser that it is not a trusted site. This suggests that the user has been compromised.
Apple did not mention China in its statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Photos of Beijing Bride’s Anti-Pollution Lingerie Not Available
A woman wearing a wedding dress made out of 999 anti-pollution masks with a 10-meter long trail drew crowds recently in Beijing.
It was apparently in a move to bring more attention to environmental protection. The “bride” was a Chinese artist who had designed her wedding dress to ‘marry’ the sky, according to Chinanews.
Many Chinese on social media gave a thumbs-up to the artist’s creativity… (read more)
Wedding dress made of “cups, plates, and plastic utensils…”
[Best Day of the Dead Costume Ever, Oct 31st, 2013]
Originally posted on Vancouver Sun:
A vigorous debate between Chinese Christians in Canada has been taking place on this blog, The Search, in the last couple of weeks over whether to fully support the Hong Kong protests.
In this installment more than two dozen Chinese Christians with roots in Vancouver passionately stand up for the pro-democracy protesters, who are in the third week of a stand-offwith troops and politicians over their dogged push for free elections in Hong Kong.
Their critical aim is focussed on Jonathan Chan, executive director of the Company of Canadians, an ethnically diverse B.C.-based Christian ministry that counts some of the city’s 100,000 Chinese Christiansamong its members.
(For the record, Chan has never claimed to me to represent the views of all or most Chinese Christians in Vancouver. But, since the writers of the public letter below have made that question a centre of their argument, I will leave…
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Originally posted on Quartz:
HONG KONG—Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters have been demanding that the city’s top official, CY Leung, step down for weeks now. They may soon be joined by many more of the city’s 7 million residents, after a controversial interview last night in which Leung suggested that election reforms sought by the protestors would invite undue influence from the city’s poor.
Speaking at his official residence, a colonial-era mansion set above the city—it’s furnished with crystal chandeliers and guarded by massive stone lions—Leung addressed three foreign newspapers that target Hong Kong’s wealthy international community. Allowing the entire voting population of Hong Kong, some 5 million people, to directly nominate candidates for the city’s top official position would be a mistake, Leung said:
“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end…
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HONG KONG — Gillian Wong reports: A man was arrested on suspicion of posting messages online that urged people to gather and agitate at a protest site, police said Sunday.
“The arrest marks a relatively new tactic in Hong Kong police’s attempts to curb the demonstrations that have paralyzed key sections of the city for weeks.”
The move—one of the first such arrests during three weeks of d”emonstrations here—could potentially chill the protesters’ use of the Internet and social media to mobilize large crowds.
The Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement on its website that a 23-year-old man had been arrested Saturday on suspicion of “accessing a computer with illegal or dishonest intentions” and illegal assembly.
A preliminary police investigation revealed the man had posted messages on online discussion boards urging others to go to Mong Kok—one of three main protest sites—to “join an illegal assembly, attack police and paralyze subway lines,” the statement said. The man, who has been released on bail, is separately accused of illegal assembly in Mong Kok, the statement said.
The police declined to give further information about the man or say whether he has retained a lawyer. Attempts by The Wall Street Journal to contact the man have been unsuccessful. Read the rest of this entry »
Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.
“There was no doubt in our minds that Beijing was quite prepared to give us democracy or universal suffrage as everybody would understand it to be.”
– Martin Lee
When China and the U.K. began negotiating the transfer of Hong Kong in the early 1980s, both sides spoke optimistically about elections. Promises for future balloting were embedded in documents signed at the time to guide Hong Kong after its return to Chinese control in 1997.
For WSJ - Ned Levin, Charles Hutzler and Jenny Gross: In recent months, arguments over the meaning of those promises have helped to propel increasingly confrontational protests over how the city will choose its next leader in 2017. Beijing says that it has honored its commitment to provide universal suffrage; pro-democracy activists say that China has trampled those promises by insisting that candidates be approved by a committee whose members are largely pro-business and pro-Beijing.
“No one told Hong Kongers when they were assured of universal suffrage that it would not mean being able to choose for whom they could vote.”
Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.
“They can interpret white as black, yellow, green or red. And tomorrow, they can interpret back to white,” said Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee. He resigned after China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
The agreement to return Hong Kong to China was signed by U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984. During a tense 1982 trip to China, Mrs. Thatcher tripped and stumbled on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Read the rest of this entry »