— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) December 7, 2014
Yeonmi Park tells her story of life in North Korea and calls for action against such human rights violators. Yeonmi was speaking at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin. Click here to see the full transcript in Korean.
I have to do this because this is not just I am speaking… This is for the people who want to tell the world what they want to say.
North Korea is an unnatural country. There is only one channel on TV and there is no internet. We aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want.
North Korea is the only country in the world that executes people for making unauthorized international phone calls.
North Koreans are being terrorized today.
When I was growing up in North Korea, I never saw anything about love stories between man and woman, no books, no songs, no press, no movies about love stories. There is no Romeo and Juliet, every stories were propagandized to brainwash about the Kim dictators.
I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth even before I knew the words ‘freedom’ or ‘human rights’. North Koreans are desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment…
When I was 9 years old, I saw my friend’s mother publicly executed. Her crime? Watching a Hollywood movie.
Expressing doubt about the regime can get 3 generations of whole family imprisoned or executed.
When I was 4 years old, I was warned by my mother, not to even whisper, the birds and mice could hear me. I admitted it. I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind. My father died in China after we escaped North Korea. And I have to bury him at 3 am in secret. I was only 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry, I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea.
The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He had targeted me. I was only 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea, “Women are weak, but mothers are strong”. My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me.
North Korean refugees, about 300,000 are roaming over in China. 70 percent of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized and sometimes sold for as a little as 200 dollars. We walked across the Gobi desert following a compass and when it stopped working, we followed the stars to freedom. I felt only the stars are with us. Mongolia was our freedom moment.
Death or dignity; I was with the knife, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we are going to be send back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans…
People often ask me, “How can we help North Koreans?”. There are many ways but I would like to mention 3 for now.
One, as you care yourself, you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea.
Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape for freedom.
Three, petition China to stop repatriation. Read the rest of this entry »
Brett Arends reports:
…There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.
It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.
The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.
“Make no mistake. This is a geopolitical earthquake with a high reading on the Richter scale.”
As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.
To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.
This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade. Read the rest of this entry »
Police Use Pepper Spray, Batons to Stop Protesters’ Advance
HONG KONG—Isabella Steger, Biman Mukherji and Phred Dvorak reporting: Police deployed pepper spray and used batons to push back thousands of protesters trying to block government offices, the latest escalation of the pro-democracy movement that entered its third month with no signs of resolution.
“We will continue our fight for democracy. We will keep up the pressure on the government.”
– Oscar Lai, a spokesman for Scholarism
The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, the two groups leading the demonstrations, called on crowds assembled at a protest site to surround the central government offices and the office of the chief executive, the city’s top official, aiming to block government workers from entering Monday morning. Early Monday, police beat back the crowds and cleared the road outside the chief executive’s office. At least 40 people were arrested, police said.
The HKFS stressed that protesters should stay peaceful and not use force. The student groups asked protesters to bring umbrellas, goggles, masks, food supplies and helmets to Sunday’s assembly, to protect themselves in case police responded with pepper spray or tear gas.
After the call to surround the government offices, protesters filled the roads around the complex where the buildings and Hong Kong legislature are located, skirmishing in some areas with police who used pepper spray and batons to stop their advance. Read the rest of this entry »
China’s mysterious “Dark Sword” combat drone could become the world’s first supersonic unmanned aviation vehicle, reports the website of the country’s national broadcaster CCTV.
The Dark Sword — known in Chinese as “Anjian” — made quite a stir in 2006 when a conceptual model of the unusually shaped triangular aircraft made its debut at the Zhuhai Airshow in southern China’s Guangdong province.
The model was subsequently exhibited at the Paris Air Show but has disappeared from future airshows, with no official word on the development of the UAV. Some claim the project has already been scrapped due to insufficient funding or other reasons, while others believe the development of the drone is now being kept secret as it is undergoing further research and testing.
Chinese aviation expert Fu Qianshao told CCTV that while he does not know the status of the Dark Sword project, the drone could become the world’s first supersonic UAV if it proves a success. He said he would not be surprised if the project is still ongoing in secret as a lack of transparency is nothing new for the aviation industry and is an approach commonly taken by the Americans.
Fu believes even conceptual models of aircraft can reveal something about a country’s technology and the quality of its research and development, adding that analyzing models at Zhuhai can allow experts to gauge the pulse of China’s aviation industry and pick up data that may be more valuable than what the developers are leaking out to the public. Read the rest of this entry »
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) November 23, 2014
And that chocolate dates to Qin era?
San Francisco-based artist Lizabeth Eva Rossof created a series of striking statues combining the warriors from China’s ancient Terracotta Army with comic book and cartoon characters from American pop culture. These Xi’an-American Warriors include Bart Simpson, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man and Shrek.
Rossof says the series “playfully explores the concerns of American media’s global influence and China’s industry of counterfeiting the copyrighted properties held by said media.”
Each clay sculpture stand 18-inches tall. Their authentic appearance was achieved by using the same process that created the original warriors from Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province all the way back in the later third century BCE. Rossof worked with a Terracotta Warrior replica studio in Xi’an who make their clay sculptures using the same earth as the original statues.
Some of these awesome statues are currently available for purchase via Lizabeth Eva Rossof’s website.
Last year, 274,439 Chinese students came to the U.S. to study, a 16.5% increase over the year before and nearly one third of the total international population
Douglas Belkin reports: Another wave of Chinese undergraduates pushed the number of international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities up 8% last year to a new all-time high of nearly 900,000, according to a new report.
“The fastest growing international student populations in the U.S. were from Kuwait, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, all countries whose governments are investing heavily in scholarships.”
But massive Chinese investment in that nation’s domestic universities, a flattening in the number of Chinese graduate students coming to the U.S. and the return to China of thousands of U.S.-trained Ph.D.s may portend a disruption in what has become a critical asset to U.S. university balance sheets.
“The majority of U.S. students study abroad for less than eight weeks, according to the report. The majority of international students who come to the U.S. to study come for either one or four years.”
“China as a country has seen a much faster expansion of its own higher education sector establishing many world class universities,” said Rajikla Bhandari, deputy vice president for research and evaluation at the Institute for International Education, which released its “Open Doors” report on Monday. They are ”successfully retaining some of the Chinese students who might have otherwise gone overseas.” Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
China is no refuge from Obama’s woes
Edward Luce writes: Second-term US presidents traditionally seek solace on the global stage. Barack Obama is no exception. Following last week’s drubbing in the US midterm elections, he lands in China on Monday for a summit with Xi Jinping. He is unlikely to find Beijing more pliable than Washington DC. As time goes on, it becomes ever harder to separate his domestic weakness from his global standing. Even the tone is spreading. “US society has grown tired of [Obama’s] banality,” China’s semi-official Global Times said last week.
“It is a fair guess that China would be more assertive whoever was in the White House. Its aim is to become a global power.”
Mr Xi is too polite to put it like that. Yet there is no mistaking which of the two is on the way up. In his first year in office, Mr Obama offered Beijing a “G2” partnership to tackle the world’s big problems. China spurned him. Mr Obama then unveiled his “pivot to Asia”. China saw it as US containment and reacted accordingly. Its defence spending today is almost double in real terms what it was when Mr Obama first visited China in 2009. Over the same period, the US military budget has barely kept pace with inflation.
Will a weakened Mr Obama have better luck with China? The answer is not necessarily “no”.
“This is where his domestic weakness really bites. Little headway has been made in the Pacific talks because Congress has refused to give Mr Obama fast-track negotiating authority. That was with the Democrats in charge.”
With the exception of North Korea, China’s neighbours are clamouring for a stronger US presence in the region. As the quip goes, Mr Xi talks like Deng Xiaoping – who opened China to the world – but acts like Mao Zedong, the imperial strongman. Countries that were once wary of military ties with the US, such as Vietnam, India and the Philippines, are now openly courting it. Mr Obama’s pivot means 60 per cent of America’s military resources will be deployed in the Pacific – against the old 50:50 split with the Atlantic. 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 »
Josh Chin reports: One of the two activists identified as the “black hands” behind China’s 1989 democracy protests died of cancer on Tuesday, in a reminder of how little the Communist Party has budged in its tolerance of political dissent over the past quarter century.
Chen Ziming, 62 years old, died from pancreatic cancer Tuesday afternoon in Beijing, according to close friends.
“He was incredibly influential, in the academic world as well as in government and public circles.”
– Chen Min, a liberal writer and political commentator better known by his penname, Xiao Shu
“Famous Chinese dissident, so-called June 4th black hand and my mentor Chen Ziming finally succumbed to cancer,” Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the 1989 student-led Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, wrote on his Facebook page. “His death is a massive loss for the Chinese opposition movement, and for the country.”
Mr. Chen and fellow activist Wang Juntao were accused by the government of being the masterminds behind the 1989 protests. In 1991, both were sentenced to 13 years in prison, in a trial authorities used to bolster the official line that the protests had been the work of a handful of conspirators rather than a movement with mass appeal. Read the rest of this entry »
A Hong Kong Media Mogul and His Protest Tent
“The momentum of this movement is tremendous. People just won’t go away if there’s no solution from the government.”
“I just feel that it’s my responsibility to be part of it,” said the media mogul on Wednesday in his blue tent, where he has gone every day since the start of pro-democracy protests that are now in their fourth week.
Mr. Lai, the founder of Next Media Ltd., which owns publications in Hong Kong and Taiwan including the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, said he believed the protesters will stay on in the streets.
“I was born in China and spent my childhood in China seeing how life was like under the authoritarian Chinese regime…This was like heaven, the other side like hell.”
– Jimmy Lai
“The momentum of this movement is tremendous,” he said. “People just won’t go away if there’s no solution from the government.”
Mr. Lai said he is prepared to stay at the tent, which he shares with some pro-democracy politicians and volunteers, for a long time. Unlike some students who sleep at the protest sites, Mr. Lai only spends time in the tent during the day and goes back home for work and sleep. 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.
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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]
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 »
[VIDEO] Want Your Avoid Having Your South Korean Citizenship Application Rejected? Be Prepared to Prove You Can Sing This SongPosted: October 17, 2014
Can’t Sing the National Anthem? No Passport For You
Should you have to prove you can sing the national anthem of a country if you want it to make you a citizen?
In the U.S. the answer is no, but in South Korea it’s a clear yes.
Chinese Woman Denied South Korean Citizenship Because She Couldn’t Sing the National Anthem
That’s what a 52-year-old Chinese woman found out when she failed to pass an interview in November to become Korean.
“At the test, we don’t expect the applicant to sing in perfect tune, but we expect to hear the right lyrics. If the applicant fails at the first try, we give one more chance to sing in thirty minutes or an hour. She failed both.”
According to the Justice Ministry, the woman, known only by her Korean surname Choi, flunked three tests; singing the national anthem, understanding the ideas of free democracy and basic knowledge about South Korea.
Seoul’s education office in August provided a new version of the song in a key two steps lower than the original composition, after complaints were raised that high notes in the song make it difficult for students to sing, particularly boys going through puberty.
Ms. Choi then filed a complaint with the Seoul Administrative Court, which ruled on Sept. 30 that the ministry’s decision was legitimate as it followed due process in a fair and valid way. Read the rest of this entry »
Gregor Stuart Hunter reports: For protesters sleeping on the streets of Hong Kong, the past three weeks have at times felt like a marathon. Now, they have a real one. Sort of.
“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale.”
On Thursday night, runners returned for the second “Umbrella Marathon” following Sunday’s inaugural event, and named after the symbol of the city’s pro-democracy protests. The route is on downtown roads that are temporarily pedestrianized as a result of the sit-in, and just 2.5 miles compared to a regular marathon’s 26.2-mile slog.
Participants ran waving illuminated mobile phones in the nighttime air and cheered “Hong Kong, Hong Kong” as the students watching from the surrounding tent city broke into applause.
“Running is synonymous with freedom.”
“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale,” said Nikki Lau, one of a handful of volunteers who organized the event in a single day after being inspired by a blog post.
The event drew a wide mix of Hong Kong society, including professionals and expatriates who said they had been looking for a role to play in supporting Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »
For Hong Kong Protesters, Ridicule Proves an Effective Formula
Lusty choruses of the song—in English—rang out in the working-class neighborhood of Mong Kok last week when thugs descended to try to break up the sit-in demonstrations there. The crowds would engulf a hostile interloper and strike up the melody.
It was musical mockery; the equivalent of the medieval pillory designed to publicly embarrass and humiliate. Read the rest of this entry »