Posted: May 28, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Education | Tags: Alien (law), Barack Obama, Cease and desist, Cheating, college, College Exam Scheme, Ivy League, United States Department of Homeland Security, University, WholeRen
The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme
Liyan Qi reports: As tens of thousands of Chinese students prepare to study in the U.S., they might reflect on the experience of some of those who went before them. According to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone – and the main reasons were poor grades and cheating.
“This is an issue not just about students in the U.S., but about the entire higher-education system in China.”
The estimate by WholeRen Education, a U.S. company that caters to Chinese students, was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from American universities last year. More than 80% of these students were expelled because of poor academic performance or dishonesty, the company said.
“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”
— Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen
The company surveyed students about their U.S. study experience a year earlier but didn’t make any estimate for expulsions.
The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme.
[Read the full text here at WSJ]
Stacked up against the huge numbers of Chinese students who go to American universities every year, the failure rate isn’t so bad, WholeRen said, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 27, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Global | Tags: China, Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Tiananmen Square, Malaysia, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Wong brothers, Moral and National Education, Hong Kong Federation of Students, Penang
Some student groups won’t join annual vigil on June 4
HONG KONG— Isabella Steger reports: Every year for a quarter-century, large Hong Kong crowds have commemorated the 1989 crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. This June 4, some young Hong Kongers say they won’t join in.
Much like in Beijing in 1989, student groups were at the forefront of the monthslong pro-democracy protests that paralyzed much of Hong Kong last year and which challenged Beijing on how Hong Kong should elect its leader.
“I feel very sad. It’s a watershed year in my life” she said. “To call the ocean of candlelight ceremonial or perfunctory, it’s just not fair.”
— Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker and former journalist who was in Beijing during the 1989 crackdown
Unlike in Beijing, the Hong Kong protests ended peacefully, though with no visible concession from the Chinese government. What the rallies also did was lay bare a growing chasm between old and young over Hong Kong’s identity and relationship with Beijing. That rift is now playing out over the annual Tiananmen vigil, with some student groups saying Hong Kongers should focus on democratic rights in the territory rather than on the mainland.
“Every year it’s the same, we sing the same songs and watch the same videos. For some people, going to the vigil is a bit like clocking in. Should we continue looking back on a historical event, or focus on the more urgent situation here now?”
— Cameron Chan, 20, a social-sciences student at the University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong’s student union will organize its own June 4 event “to reflect on the future of democracy in Hong Kong.” Separately, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the main group leading last year’s protests, said that for the first time it won’t participate in the vigil as an organization.
A pro-democracy protester sits on a barricade at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 26, 2014. Four weeks after tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images
“I feel very sad,” said Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker and former journalist who was in Beijing during the 1989 crackdown. “It’s a watershed year in my life” she said. “To call the ocean of candlelight ceremonial or perfunctory, it’s just not fair.”
“Going to the vigil is a bit like clocking in.”
—Cameron Chan, University of Hong Kong student
But to Cameron Chan, 20, a social-sciences student at the University of Hong Kong, it is precisely that the annual vigil has become such a fixture that is the problem.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
The student group’s decision is baffling to many democracy supporters in the city, who see the annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to remember the Tiananmen victims as an important civic duty—not least because it’s the only mass commemoration of the event in the Greater China universe.
Last year’s pro-denmocracy protests in Hong Kong were led by students, here seen gathered in front of the offices of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Oct. 2.Photo: Zuma Press
“I don’t see how Hong Kong can fully divorce itself from democracy movements on the mainland.”
—Joshua Wong, student leader
“I cannot understand [the students’] thinking,” said Jack Choi, a 36-year-old who works in finance and has been going to the vigil on and off since 2000. “It’s two separate issues. Our mother is China, if the mother is not free, how can the child be?” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 25, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Ürümqi, Beijing, Inter-Services Intelligence, List of cities in the People's Republic of China, Pakistan, Taliban, The Wall Street Journal
Margherita Stancati reports: Afghanistan’s most prominent peace envoy held secret talks with former Taliban officials in China last week, accelerating regional efforts to bring the insurgency to the negotiating table, according to individuals briefed on the matter by the warring parties.
The two-day meeting, which took place in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi, was aimed at discussing preconditions for a possible peace process, those people said.
“These were talks about talks,” one diplomat said.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
The meeting was significant for another reason: It was facilitated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency in an apparent show of goodwill aimed at a negotiated solution to the insurgency. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 23, 2015 Filed under: China, Entertainment, Space & Aviation | Tags: Architecture, Sina Weibo, Star Trek, USS Enterprise
Photos of a replica of Star Trek flagship, USS Enterprise, in south China’s Fujian Province have hit social media.
The USS Enterprise is the central starship in CBS’s fictional Star Trek. It is one of the sci-fi genre’s most iconic images.
The building is reportedly the office headquarters of a software company in Fuzhou city. It is the brainchild of a man named Liu Dajian, who is the founder and chairman of NetDragon Websoft.
It is also the only officially licensed Star Trek building on the planet.
Mr. Liu says he is a super fan of the sci-fi series. He licensed the rights to build the replica from CBS and says he spent 160 million US dollars on the project.
This story also made a buzz on Sina Weibo. As some are amazed by the life-sized USS Enterprise, many others say they are proud of the man who actually paid for the copyright, instead of making it another knockoff.
Posted: May 21, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, Censorship, China, Entertainment, Japan | Tags: China, Chinese people, cinema, Crotch bomb, Innuendo, media, Movies, Sex, Shanghaiist, Steven Soderbergh, WWII veteran, Xinhua News Agency, XXL (magazine)
An anti-Japanese war drama has been temporarily pulled from Chinese television after viewers complained that a scene showing a female character concealing a suicide bomb in her crotch has gone too far.
“They are using sex and violence to entice the audience under the cover of national sentiments. They are reveling on the scars of the history.”
— Xinhua editorial that lashed out at ludicrous plots in such dramas
That’s saying something, considering Chinese TV dramas set during the Japanese invasion are known for their impossibly violent and outlandish plots. This includes one scenario in which a man ripped a Japanese soldier in half with his bare hands, and another scene showing a communist hero blowing up a plane by tossing a hand grenade in the air.
“The authorities have banned foreign TV shows only to let us see this?”
— Question from a dissatisfied netizen
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is now reviewing the popular period drama Together We Fight the Devils, after the viewers seemed to agree that the scene showing Chinese actress Ge Tian pulling an explosive from her undercarriage was even more lewd than usual.
[See the video at Shanghaiist]
The shot begins with “sister Yin” visiting her lover who’d been locked up by Japanese soldiers, Associated Press explains.
He fondles her and finds a grenade hidden in her crotch. It is meant for a suicidal act of resistance against his Japanese captors. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 20, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Reading Room | Tags: Beijing, China, China–Japan relations, Communist Party of China, Hong Kong, John Kerry, Mao Zedong, Moscow, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Xi Jinping
Exhibitors arrange books at a booth at the annual Book Fair in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 18, 2006. Over 10,000 titles and showcased by 430 exhibitors, the Hong Kong Book Fair will open from July 19 to July 24. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
“Things have been changing dramatically in the last two years. Since Xi Jinping came to power, what was tolerated before is not tolerated any longer, in China or Hong Kong.”
Ilaria Maria Sala writes: The shop assistant is abrupt when the question comes.
“We are not going to sell that one. Sorry,” he says, when asked for a copy of one of Hong Kong’s most eagerly searched-for books.
[Order Zhao Ziyang book “Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang” from Amazon.com]
And how about Zhao Ziyang’s bestselling Prisoner of the State – an explosive account of what happened behind the scenes during the pro-democracy protest of 1989 in Beijing?
“It might come back,” he says vaguely.
On the surface, there seems to be no censorship in Hong Kong. Unlike the mainland, the web is free, a wide range of newspapers is available, TV news covers demonstrations and protests, and nobody needs to apply for permission to print books.
Zhao Ziyang’s memoir about the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP
“The pressure is on to stop Hong Kong people and mainlanders from reading unapproved books. When sales became harder, we started shipping books to individual customers in China. Nothing reached them. We tried through a courier in Shenzhen, but they stopped accepting books.”
“In 40 years, I know of only one book that has ever been stopped from distribution,” says Wong Sheung Wai, director of Greenfield Bookstore, a shop and distribution company, “and that was the Chinese translation of a guide to suicide.
“The real problem, though, is that our local government does not defend our autonomy. Rather, they lecture Hong Kong on how to behave to please the central authorities.”
“Taiwan translated it, but the Hong Kong authorities did not allow for it to be published and distributed here,” he says.
But mounting pressure from China to have greater control over what the Hong Kong public, and the Chinese tourists flocking there, read is creeping into this former British colony.
“Even the three big chains are commercial interests, so they do try to sell what clients want. At times certain books disliked by the Chinese authorities will still be available, but hidden behind a counter, or piled up with the spine turned to the walls.”
Through a complex web of self-censorship, soft censorship and mainland economic control, bookshops and media outlets in the territory have been changing their tone or giving less coverage to topics that China deems sensitive.
[Read the full text here, at The Guardian]
A slow but steady “mainlandisation” of Hong Kong, a key factor in bringing tens of thousands of protesters to the streets during last year’s umbrella movement, has been changing the face of the publishing and book distribution industry, with fewer shops willing, or able, to sell books forbidden in China.
Rising property prices in the city mean few bookshops can afford ground-floor premises – except those backed by China’s official Liaison Office. Photograph: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images
Booming real estate costs add to that problem.
“Readers’ numbers are going down everywhere, and nobody can afford a ground-floor bookshop unless they are backed by people with very deep pockets,” says one publishing industry insider.
“If you ask me what is the biggest problem that Hong Kong faces right now, it is the Liaison Office, and their growing involvement in Hong Kong’s affairs.”
— Alex Chow, one of the student leaders at last year’s protests
The three main local bookshop chains, with a total of 51 outlets, are controlled by the Liaison Office, Beijing’s official representation in Hong Kong, which, she adds, makes sure they only pay a nominal rent for their operations. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 19, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Crime & Corruption | Tags: Avago Technologies, China, Economic Espionage, Hao Zhang, Huisui Zhang, Pang Wei, San Francisco, Skyworks Solutions Inc., Tianjin University, University of Southern California, Wei Pang, Wireless, Zhang Hao
Three Chinese nationals who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and three others have been charged with stealing wireless technology from a pair of U.S. companies.
“This case demonstrates that the U.S. is committed to protecting U.S. companies’ trade secrets and their proprietary business information from theft. This is an important issue for the United States.”
— State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke
Federal prosecutors say Hao Zhang, Wei Pang and Huisui Zhang met at the university and conspired to steal technology from Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago Technologies soon after graduating in 2006. Both companies are publicly traded chip suppliers for Apple’s iPhones and manufacture other communications-related products.
A 32-page indictment charging the six with economic espionage and trade secret theft was unsealed after Hao Zhang was arrested Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving from China to attend a scientific conference. The five others are believed to be in China.
The Justice Department is accusing six Chinese citizens with conspiring to steal technology from two Silicon Valley companies. Photo: Yue Yuewei/Xinhua/Zuma Press
Federal officials say foreign governments’ theft of U.S. technology is one of the biggest threats to the country’s economy and national security. They are particularly concerned with China.
“Wei Pang boasted in the same email that the technology is worth $1 billion a year in the phone market alone, according to the indictment.”
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday the U.S. government takes “economic espionage” very seriously.
“This case demonstrates that the U.S. is committed to protecting U.S. companies’ trade secrets and their proprietary business information from theft. This is an important issue for the United States,” he told reporters in Washington.
A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was unaware of the indictment and declined to comment.
“The indictment alleges that the men stole ‘recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential.’”
The indictment alleges that the three USC alums began plotting in late 2006 to steal trade secrets from the U.S. companies where Hao Zhang and Wei Pang worked.
Months after their 2006 graduation, Wei Pang sent an email to China discussing the trio’s plan to use purloined U.S. trade secrets to set up a factory in China to manufacture technology that eliminates interference from wireless communications, according to the indictment. Wei Pang boasted in the same email that the technology is worth $1 billion a year in the phone market alone, according to the indictment. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 18, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China | Tags: ABA Journal, Alan Dershowitz, Amazing Detective Di Renjie, American Bar Foundation, Anhui, Corpse, Death, Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Henan, Taishi kangyi
Why Aggrieved Chinese Citizens and Chinese Police Are Fighting Over Corpses
Yaqiu Wang writes: On the morning of March 16, 48-year-old Huang Shunfang went to her local hospital located in Fanghu Township in the central Chinese province of Henan. Her doctor diagnosed her with gastritis, gave her a dose of antacids through an IV, and sent her on her way. Huang died suddenly that afternoon. In the hours after her death, Huang’s family went to the hospital for an explanation and was told by the hospital leadership that “the hospital is where people die,” according to a witness’ account of the incident.
“The corpse is the most sensitive… People who have ulterior motives use the dead body to pressure the government… Onlookers, out of curiosity and sympathy, encircle the corpse forming a large crowd. If the corpse is not removed in time, a mass incident can break out at any time…”
Incensed, Huang’s family visited the local public security bureau and the health bureau, both to no avail. Four days later, on March 20, after rejecting the hospital’s offer of compensation of RMB 5,000 ($800), the family placed Huang’s corpse outside the gate of the hospital in protest. Soon, over a hundred policemen swooped in to take the body away, beating and detaining Huang’s relatives who tried to resist them.
An illustration from ‘The Washing Away of Wrongs,’ first published in 1247
“’Taishi kangyi,’ or ‘carrying the corpse to protest,’ is a practice with deep roots in Chinese history. Since late imperial times, people have employed it when judicial systems failed to provide a reliable channel of redress for injustice.”
A week earlier, at noon on March 9, during a forced residential demolition operation orchestrated by the township government in Jiangkou Township, Anhui province, 37-year-old Zhang Guimao died when his chicken coop collapsed on him. That afternoon, Zhang’s relatives, along with more than a hundred villagers, carried Zhang’s body into the township government office compound to demand an explanation. At midnight that day, all the streetlights suddenly went dark. Around two hundred riot police carrying shields appeared on the scene to take the body away to the crematorium, detaining at least six people in the process.
“Especially with the rise of social media in the past ten years or so, families of the dead can post photos or videos online. The rapid spread of such information can turn up the heat on local governments.”
“Taishi kangyi,” or “carrying the corpse to protest,” is a practice with deep roots in Chinese history. Since late imperial times, people have employed it when judicial systems failed to provide a reliable channel of redress for injustice. These days, corpses are dragged into all manner of disputes involving medical malpractices, forced housing demolitions, vendor’s tussles with local patrols, and compensations for workplace accidents.
[Read the full text here, at ChinaFile]
When an accidental death occurs, citizens use the corpse to draw attention and invite sympathy from the wider public, all in an effort to put pressure on the authorities and to render a just outcome. This “highlights the distrust people feel about autopsies or investigations conducted by government organs and China’s justice system,” says Teng Biao, a civil-rights lawyer and visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. “Especially with the rise of social media in the past ten years or so, families of the dead can post photos or videos online. The rapid spread of such information can turn up the heat on local governments.”
Villagers carry the coffin of a man killed after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Lushan, Sichuan Province on April 22, 2013. Clogged roads, debris and landslides impeded rescuers as they battled to find survivors of a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwest China that has left at least 188 dead. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
“A common scene across China today pits families, friends, and local residents barricading a dead body in concentric circles against police, often numbering in the hundreds and armed with batons and shields.”
It’s that heat that perhaps has driven Chinese law enforcement to ever-more coordinated and deliberate attempts to curb corpse-keeping. A common scene across China today pits families, friends, and local residents barricading a dead body in concentric circles against police, often numbering in the hundreds and armed with batons and shields. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 18, 2015 Filed under: China, Diplomacy, Politics, Russia | Tags: Bashar al-Assad, Beijing, China, John Kerry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia), Moscow, President of the People's Republic of China, RUSSIA, Sergey Lavrov, United Nations Security Council, United States, Vladimir Putin, World War II, Xi Jinping
Benny Avni writes: Supposedly “isolated” Russia’s bromance with China flourishes. No wonder: Both countries appreciate power politics and scoff at America’s display of global weakness.
President Obama pooh-poohed Moscow ever since his “reset” with Russia crashed and burned. He argued that under President Vladimir Putin Russia is an isolated country on the verge of bankruptcy.
That was then. On Tuesday, after months of snubbing the Kremlin, Secretary of State John Kerry came hat in hand to Sochi, Russia, where he tried to schmooze Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
The Kremlin signaled its disdain for Washington by declining to confirm Kerry’s meeting with Putin until the last minute. Afterward, Kerry sheepishly said the sides weren’t seeking a “major breakthrough.”
While this haphazard attempt at diplomacy took place, the Russian and Chinese navies exercised together for the first time in the eastern Mediterranean — a symbol of a fast-gelling alliance between two growing military powers.
Beijing just invested $6 billion in a Russian rail project. Dozens of trade and other bilateral agreements address mutual interests in Central Asia.
[Read the full text here, at New York Post]
And to address Beijing’s never-satiated hunger for energy sources and Moscow’s need for cash, Russia just signed a pact to build a lucrative natural-gas pipeline to China. Annual trade between the two countries is estimated at $100 billion.
Meanwhile, as cyber threats to America grow, including, prominently, from Chinese and Russian hackers, the two countries just signed a cyber non-aggression pact, raising fears about the future of Internet freedom.
And in the world of global diplomacy (Obama’s supposedly strong suit), Beijing and Moscow unite on United Nations Security Council votes that could harm them or their allies, blocking and vetoing American and other Western resolution proposals on Syria, Ukraine and, of course, anything to do with Beijing land grabs in the East and South China Seas.
Then there’s Kerry. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 18, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Crime & Corruption | Tags: Broward County, China, Chinese language, Fashion Mall, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Lawsuit, Shopping mall, South Florida, United States
The Fashion Mall hasn’t much lived up to its name. Already faltering a decade ago, the South Florida shopping mall has since been hammered by a hurricane, vacated by its tenants and put into bankruptcy, all the time, it turns out, being partially owned by a fugitive from China. As WSJ’s Esther Fung and Kris Hudson report:
Busted plans to redevelop the dilapidated mall have featured in a lawsuit between its Chinese investors. Du Zhenzeng, a steel baron from northern China, sued his naturalized American business partner, Wei Chen, for using their business “as his personal piggy-bank” to fund a flashy lifestyle that includes a Bentley and yacht trips, according to testimony in that lawsuit.
[read the full story on WSJ.com]
In a court hearing in October in Fort Lauderdale, Mr. Du’s lawyers said he invested nearly $160 million in the mall development project. Mr. Chen said the funds Mr. Du promised never materialized…. (more)
Posted: May 17, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Economics | Tags: Advent International, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China, China Securities Regulatory Commission, Hong Kong, Hong Kong dollar, Hong Kong Economic Times, Initial public offering, New York Stock Exchange, South China Morning Post, Umbrella, Umbrella Revolution, Umbrellas
Hong Kong is having another umbrella moment.
First there was the umbrella movement last year when young people took to the streets to defy China’s plan for watered-down democracy. Now there is an umbrella maker that’s stunned the stock market.
“It is a bit crazy. The fundamentals do not justify the current stock price.”
— Hannah Li, strategist at UOB-Kay Hian
Jicheng Umbrella Holdings Ltd.1027.HK +13.29% is an unlikely title holder of Hong Kong’s best performing newly listed stock in 2015. At its initial public offering back in February, it received little interest with bankers pricing it at the low end of an indicated price range. But once it got trading it went through the roof, and at one stage last month it rose nearly 20-fold from its IPO price and is still up 14-fold as of Friday.
“It is a bit crazy,” said Hannah Li, strategist at UOB-Kay Hian. “The fundamentals do not justify the current stock price.”
The rally means the company is worth 9.1 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.17 billion), and is trading at a price-earnings ratio of 100, far higher than the 11.2 for the average of stocks in the Hang Seng index.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ – China Real Time Report]
Exactly why investors are so keen on an umbrella maker to give it a sky high valuation is puzzling, while its shareholder structure looks even more bizarre. The Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong’s market regulator, issued a warning Thursday to investors that just 17 shareholders hold over 99% of the company’s shares (the major shareholder owns 75% of the company). This means a buyer could easily push the stock up substantially as there’s so few owners of the shares.
Ms. Li said while Jicheng’s business is in good shape, the small number of shares held by public shareholders is a major reason for the rally. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 15, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Mediasphere | Tags: Arrest, Bijie, CCTV, China, Criminal law, Guangdong, Guiyang, Guizhou, Hong Kong, Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China
If you thought your commute to work was bad, spare a thought for these Chinese construction workers.
The migrants were on their way to a building site in Guiyang, Guizhou province, on Sunday when a police officer spotted their slow-moving vehicle swaying in the traffic.
Upon closer inspection, he was astonished to find dozens of people crammed into the back of the six-seater minibus. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 13, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, China, Comics, Entertainment | Tags: AMC (TV channel), Avengers (comics), Box office, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Iron Man 3, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Opening Day, The Hollywood Reporter, The Walt Disney Company, Ultimate Marvel, Ultron
Furious 7 finally pulled to the side of the road in China to make way for JossWhedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened to a record-breaking $33.9 million on Tuesday, the biggest weekday opening of all time.
It’s also Disney and Marvel’s biggest opening day ever in China, exceeding the first two days of The Avengers in May 2012. All told, Age of Ultron commanded nearly 96 percent of the marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 13, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, China | Tags: Ap Lei Chau, documentary, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Kowloon Peak, media, Photography, Po Toi, Sai Kung, South China Morning Post, Tai Mo Shan, Tsim Sha Tsui, video, Yuen Long
This time-lapse documentary caapturing scenes around Hong Kong, at Kowloon Peak, Yuen Long, Sai Kung, Tai Mo Shan, Po Toi, has swept four awards at a photography contest in Portugal, including top prize in the mountain view.
Posted: May 11, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Ahmedabad, Asia Pacific, Beijing, CCTV, China, China Central Television, Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China, Sina Weibo, Twitter, Xi Jinping
Was she flaunting a luxury item on air, or just wearing something that many Chinese can afford?
“Expensive watches have become a symbol of corruption in China ever since August 2012, when netizens unearthed an image of provincial safety bureaucrat Yang Dacai smiling at the scene of a deadly traffic accident — and wearing a luxury timepiece likely beyond his modest means.”
The photos initially attracted attention as an example of an ostentatious display; a spate of news articles and Weibo media posts on May 5 accused Wang of “showing off her wealth.” Some Weibo users chimed in to criticize Wang as well. “Official media should appear thrifty,” wrote one Weibo user, arguing that the image of official media and that of the government that controls it are closely related. More than one speculated without evidence that Wang, beautiful and in her mid-20s, might be mistress to a wealthy man.
Those claims are harsh (and unsubstantiated) – but the vitriol toward China’s reviled state broadcaster is more understandable. While CCTV has often served as an important mouthpiece for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nationwide anti-corruption crackdown, now into its third year, the state broadcaster itself has been embroiled in several scandals during that time. In July 2014, authorities unexpectedly detained one of CCTV’s most outspoken hosts, Rui Chenggang. That same month, authorities held senior CCTV executive Guo Zhenxi for suspected bribery, and in August 2014 they detained Huang Haitao, a prominent CCTV deputy director, for alleged graft.
[Read the full text here, at ForeignPolicy.com]
Expensive watches have become a symbol of corruption in China ever since August 2012, when netizens unearthed an image of provincial safety bureaucrat Yang Dacai smiling at the scene of a deadly traffic accident — and wearing a luxury timepiece likely beyond his modest means. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 8, 2015 Filed under: China, Global, Robotics, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: Ashton Carter, Ballistic missile submarine, Barack Obama, Beijing, Boeing RC-135, Central Intelligence Agency, Fighter aircraft, Iran, Michael Pillsbury, People's Liberation Army, Soviet Union, Stanford University, The Pentagon, The Washington Free Beacon, United States Secretary of Defense
Bill Gertz reports: China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.”
China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.
“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.
China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV.”
Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.
The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.
“China will likely continue to invest considerable resources to maintain a limited, but survivable, nuclear force to ensure the PLA can deliver a damaging responsive nuclear strike.”
Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.
“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.
“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.
It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.
The Wu-14, designed to deliver nuclear weapons through U.S. missile defenses, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on three tests conducted in 2014.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 8, 2015 Filed under: China, Diplomacy, Russia, War Room | Tags: Central Military Commission (China), China, Economy of Russia, End of World War II in Europe, Mediterranean Sea, Moscow, Oil Prices, President of the People's Republic of China, Recession, RIA Novosti, RUSSIA, Somalia, Vladimir Putin, World Bank, Xi Jinping
On display: an upgraded military relationship that could complicate U.S. strategy
BEIJING — Jeremy Page reports: When a Chinese honor guard joins a military parade in Russia’s capital this weekend, watched by China’s President Xi Jinping, it will mark more than just a symbolic recognition of the two countries’ contributions to the Allied victory in 1945.
China’s participation also reflects an upgrade of its military ties with Russia, including joint naval exercises and a revival of arms purchases, that could complicate U.S.-led efforts to counter both nations’ expanding military activities, analysts and diplomats say.
“They’ve basically come to a consensus that despite their differences over some national interests, they really face the same common enemy.”
The 102 Chinese troops who will join the Victory Day parade in Moscow on Saturday were seen during a rehearsal this week marching through streets near Red Square singing the Russian wartime ballad “Katyusha”, according to video footage posted online.
The only other foreign countries with troops in the parade are India, Mongolia, Serbia and six former Soviet states.
Three Chinese navy ships also made a rare foray into the Black Sea on their way to join commemorations in Russia’s southern port of Novorossiysk on Saturday.
“I think they’re both sending a message that their relationship is stronger than outsiders generally expect and if others put pressure on either in their own arenas, the two will stand together.”
— Gilbert Rozman,an expert on China-Russia relations at Princeton University
The Chinese ships—two missile destroyers and a supply vessel — will then take part in joint exercises with the Russian navy in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, according to Chinese and Russian authorities.
Both sides say the drills aren’t directed at other countries, but the timing, after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and the location, on NATO’s southern flank, have compounded Western concerns about an emerging Moscow-Beijing axis.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“The main significance is that the two countries’ navies are learning how to jointly project power into the other regions of the world,” said Vasily Kashin, an expert on China’s military at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
The Chinese ships’ visit to Novorossiysk could be seen as a response to NATO ships holding exercises in the Black Sea in March, he said, the message being: “Russia has allies too.”
On Wednesday, Russia’s government unveiled a draft cybersecurity deal with China under which both countries agree not to conduct cyberattacks against each other and to counteract technology that might disrupt their internal politics.
The rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing has been driven in large part by Western sanctions which have forced Russia to seek new markets for its oil and gas and new sources of investment.
Mr. Xi also appears to share a personal affinity with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is seen by many in China as a strong, patriotic leader.
The relationship, though well short of a formal alliance, is now developing a more substantial military dimension as Russia ramps up air and naval patrols around Europe and China seeks to challenge U.S. military dominance in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 5, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China | Tags: 1972 Nixon visit to China, Ahmedabad, China, Chinese Buddhism, Citric acid cycle, Facebook, Narendra Modi, Shaanxi, Sina Weibo, Tang Dynasty, Twitter, Xi Jinping, Xi'an, Xinhua News Agency
Vacationers from the People’s Republic have acquired a reputation for being unruly at times, and have lately made global headlines by attacking flight attendants, fighting in airplane aisles and opening emergency doors in non-emergency situations
Colum Murphy reports: Here’s a new addition to China’s growing list of do’s and don’ts for citizens when traveling at home and abroad: don’t snap a selfie while sitting on the head of a Red Army warrior when visiting a place that considers itself a holy land of Maoist China.
“Are these people raised by monkeys? Whatever they see at scenic spots, trees or statues, they climb up for pictures.”
— Sina Weibo user Li Biyou
That’s exactly what 18-year-old Li Wenchun did on a recent visit to what’s known as a red tourism site —and now he’s paying the price.
The incident took place in the city of Yan’an, in northern Shaanxi province, famous in Communist Party history as the endpoint of the Long March. On its website, the government of Yan’an says the city “is reputed as a world-renowned holy land of Chinese revolution,” where “tourists are organized to learn knowledge of revolutionary history and attend theme activities for traditional revolutionary education and experience broadening.”
“What an ignorant man. Without the Red Army, how can you live a happy life?”
— Another Sina Weibo user
The only things Mr. Li widened were his legs. Photographs of him circulating on the Internet show him dressed in a black shirt and trousers and wearing red sneakers, striking a pose on the heroic head of a bronze statue of a female warrior.
As a result of this stunt, Mr. Li has become one of the first Chinese to be added to a blacklist that China’s national tourism authority said earlier this year it would introduce to discourage Chinese vacationers from misbehaving while traveling. Read the rest of this entry »