Chinese Guardian Lions’ Stone Sculptures Covered with Plastic Bags Protect from Extreme Weather

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Winter can be brutal – so brutal that even stone sculptures need protection. In Anyang, central China’s Henan Province, the Chinese guardian lions’ stone sculptures were covered with plastic bags to guard it from extreme weather. The meteorological department had forecasted 10-14mm of snowfall in the province, and the “red scarf” was used as a protective measure to safeguard the cultural relics.

Source: CCTVNews


China’s Internet Boom

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Online experimentation doesn’t have to be limited to tech companies.

Edward Jung It’s tempting to portray the rapid growth of the Chinese Internet as just one more example of China’s efforts to catch up with the West: Alibaba is the eBay of China, Baidu is the Google of China, Didi is the Uber of China, and so on. But China is actually conducting some fascinating experiments with the Internet (see “The Best and Worst Internet Experience in the World“). You just need to look outside the tech sector to notice them.

The most significant innovation is happening not among Chinese Internet companies but in the country’s so-called “real” economy. Corporations in old-school sectors like construction, agriculture, transportation, and banking are pursuing new business models based on big data, social media, and the Internet of things.

These are some of the largest firms of their kind in the world, yet many are young enough to be helmed by their original owner/founders. They’re like ­Rockefeller, Ford, or Carnegie with access to smartphones.

So it’s China’s largest residential-­property developer—not a tech company—that is pioneering the integration of Internet-based technology and services into fully wired communities. Vanke wants to create urban hubs that supply residents with gardens, safe food, travel, entertainment, and medical and educational services, all enabled by the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Police Restore Cuts Made in Revision of their Official Account of the Deadly 1967 Riots

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Force backs down after being accused of trying to whitewash the city’s history and role played by pro-Beijing radicals.

Christy Leung reports: The Hong Kong police force has made an unexpected climbdown and is restoring its official account of the 1967 riots after causing a storm earlier this year by deleting parts of it.

A source told the Post the missing details would be reinstated on its archived website as early as Friday, and more historical details would be added to make the account “fuller”.

The U-turn was decided at a meeting of the Police Historical Records Committee yesterday.

It reverses a controversial move in mid-September to revise the official version of the riots, during which pro-Beijing radicals inspired by the Cultural Revolution sought to overthrow the colonial government.

Protestors wave the Little Red Book

The force replaced phrases like “communist militia” with “gunmen” and deleted detailed descriptions of events such as leftist mobs threatening bus and tram drivers who refused to strike.

Police were accused of trying to whitewash history out of political considerations. They were also ridiculed for claiming there was not enough space to publish full details online.

[Read the full story here, at South China Morning Post]

“[We are uploading the original version] to answer our readers’ calls and have no political agenda behind it,” the source explained yesterday.

“We think people nowadays are not into reading bulky and long paragraphs, but since they enjoy reading the full version, we are bringing it back.”

In addition to the original write-up, the history of women in the force and the Hong Kong Police College will be added to the website.

The Police College will be added to the Hong Kong police website. Photo: Jonathan Wong

“We want to make the contents ‘finer’ and ‘fuller’, so that people can have a better understanding of police history,” the source said.

It is understood the committee is still reviewing the content and may upload the original version along with the new information on January 1 at the earliest. Read the rest of this entry »


Shrinking Spaces, Rising Costs: Hong Kong Residents Feel the Crunch

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The average area per capita dropped 29.3% from 2013 to 47.8 square feet in 2015 – not much bigger than a king-size bed.

Isabella Steger reports: For some of Hong Kong’s poorest residents, the tiny subdivided apartments they call home are shrinking– and becoming less affordable.

With the city’s real estate among the most expensive in the world, many low-income Hong Kong residents — sometimes entire families — have been forced to live in so-called subdivided units. These apartments have been modified by landlords to fit multiple tenants and aren’t strictly illegal, but are subject to different structural and fire-safety requirements.

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According to a study jointly conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Future Cities and a concern group for people living in subdivided units, tenants of subdivided units now pay on average around 41% of their income towards rent, compared to 29% two years ago. The average rent is about HK$3,924 (US$506) a month, the study said.

A general view of old residential flats, which contain subdivided units, at Sham Shui Po, one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong February 4, 2013. Reuters

Rents in more central areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon far exceed those of the New Territories, where many poor families are forced to live despite long and expensive commutes.

[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

According to the study, a 90-square-foot subdivided unit in the downtown Tsim Sha Tsui district could command HK$5,500 (US$710) a month, which works out to be about HK$61(US$7.87) a square foot a month. In a 2011 Wall Street Journal story, a family of four paid HK$4,000 (US$516) a month to live in a 150-square-foot subdivided unit in the low-income district of Sham Shui Po in Kowloon. The unit housed a stove, desk, fridge and bunk bed.

Michelle Wong, a single mother, plays with her two-year-old daughter in the bedroom of an 80 square-foot (8 square meter) sub-divided flat, which she rents for HK$3,000 ($387) per month at Sham Shui Po, February 4, 2013. Reuters

Spaces are also getting tinier in subdivided units, according to the study. The average area per capita dropped 29.3% from 2013 to 47.8 square feet in 2015 – not much bigger than a king-size bed. Read the rest of this entry »


Disillusionment Among Hong Kong’s Youth Fuels Uneasy Separatist Longings

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The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.  

Viola Zhou and Claire Baldwin report: On a recent Sunday night in the working-class Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, a group of radical young activists swore through loudspeakers and gestured rudely as they denounced mainland Chinese as “prostitutes” and “barbarians.”

The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.

Their separatist yearnings have alarmed Beijing and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government which are fighting back to win hearts and minds and forge a spirit of “love China, love Hong Kong” with multimillion-dollar information drives and exchanges.

The animosity on display in Mong Kok was virtually unheard of until recently, despite resentment toward mainlanders flooding into Hong Kong, and follows unsuccessful protests to demand full democracy in the city late last year.

The 'Umbrella Revolution' rallies together again after the October 21 talks

“I never call myself Chinese at school because it is a shame to be Chinese,” said 16-year-old “Gorilla” Chan, who, unbeknownst to his parents, founded a radical group with a 14-year-old friend.

He said violence is almost inevitable.

“That day will come sooner or later if Hong Kong remains like this,” Chan said.

Beijing sees national unity as sacrosanct and has ruled Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing broad autonomy, since the city returned from British rule in 1997.

But Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement, spearheaded by fresh-faced youngsters, has shaken the assumption of cozy accommodation between the mainland’s communists and the capitalist enclave.

The protesters demanded full democracy in a 2017 election for the city’s leader. But Beijing insists the leader will be chosen from a list of candidates it approves.

The anti-China radicals were galvanized by the democracy protests and gained traction later during protests against mainland shoppers swamping Hong Kong and buying up various items, including formula milk, and pushing up prices. Read the rest of this entry »


Humanoid Robots as Models: Julie Watai’s Manga & Otaku-Inspired Photography

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Japanese photographer Julie Watai creates manga and otaku-inspired photography, often using humanoid robots as models. Watch TheCreatorsProject‘s exclusive video on her here.

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TV News Anchors Flock to Periscope In Desperate Attempt to Stay Relevant

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It’d be sad to watch, if anyone were watching

 writes: Ever since the Internet put local TV news anchors on the endangered species list, we’ve seen them try various tech-inspired schemes in order to adjust to the times.peri-sample

[Read the full text here, at the Observer]

Now, mobile live-stream apps like Periscope have caught the attention of the local news anchors everywhere, who were clearly led to believe by the tech hype machine that live-streaming is going to be the death of the news business, even if that claim is ridiculous.

Most of these feeds are “behind the scenes” footage of nothing happening from the perspective of the worst camera in the room.

Occasionally, it’s the same scrappy view from some coifed old white guy reading from a teleprompter that you’d normally see on the local news. Most of the time, it’s the silent, uneventful commercial breaks, or the backroom chatter of floor managers and news directors. Turns out, TV studios aren’t like episodes of The Newsroom, and local news anchors often don’t have very much to say when you get the opportunity to meet them as human beings.

“Look, we get it. One of the most tired speculations about mobile live-streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope is these will help “citizen journalists” kill the television news business.”

It’s enough to make you wish there was a high-definition camera in the room with sophisticated microphones, broadcast engineers and meticulously-crafted lighting setup and some prepared statements.

Local TV Periscope feeds are all basically the same, and get boring faster than actual local TV news. (Screengrabs: Jack Smith IV)

Local TV Periscope feeds are all basically the same, and get boring faster than actual local TV news. (Screengrabs: Jack Smith IV)

“Local television news is under a brash assault from a number of forces: online news outlets that break news faster and are more sharable, a democratization of video tools, and a credibility problem that is evolving into an ad sales problem.

Moreover, nobody’s watching—in terms of audience, only a few dozen people show up at a time for even the country’s largest local TV studios, largely because discovering new Periscope feeds is difficult and so many of these Periscope feeds wind up in everyone’s front pages randomly.

“Local TV’s problem is the Internet and technology, and whatever the hype, simply turning on a hot live-streaming app isn’t the answer. “

But the worst part is that TV news anchors are just just terrible at live-streaming. The best live-streamers engage heavily with the audience, take requests and interact with comments—the reason people tune in is because they want to be live on set, reaching through the camera and interacting with the stars. Instead, most of the chatter is inaudible and there’s no interaction with the steaming audience. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] This Road in China Got Covered in Almost 15,000 Pounds of Live Catfish

Thousands Of Kilograms Of Catfish Scatter In Kaili

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We’re back with more catfish! I discovered and posted a link to small item about this here, yesterday, but was disappointed to not find any additional reporting on it, but most of all, disappointed to find no photos. Thankfully, images are coming in. A story about a gigantic catfish-in-the-streets catastrophe is obviously a lot less fun without pictures.

ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images

ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images

When the door of a delivery truck in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou swung open, 15,000 lb. of catfish came spilling out, covering the road in a flopping, scaly mess.

Remarkably, with the help of community members and the local fire department, a two-hour rescue effort was undertaken and the shipment was not wasted, according to the Shanghaiist. Their task was arduous but simple — workers basically sprayed the fish with water to keep them alive while others picked them up and returned them to the truck…(read more)

TIME  –  Shanghaiist

ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images

ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images


‘Hillary Email Story About to Metasticize’: Clinton Ran Own Computer System

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The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives

WASHINGTON (AP) – Jack Gillum and Ted Bridis report: The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton’s emails – on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state – traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

“In November 2012, without explanation, Clinton’s private email account was reconfigured to use Google’s servers as a backup in case her own personal email server failed, according to Internet records. That is significant because Clinton publicly supported Google’s accusations in June 2011 that China’s government had tried to break into the Google mail accounts of senior U.S. government officials.”

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton’s secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

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Most Internet users rely on professional outside companies, such as Google Inc. or their own employers, for the behind-the-scenes complexities of managing their email communications. Government employees generally use servers run by federal agencies where they work.

“The AP has waited more than a year under the open records law for the State Department to turn over some emails covering Clinton’s tenure as the nation’s top diplomat, although the agency has never suggested that it didn’t possess all her emails.”

In most cases, individuals who operate their own email servers are technical experts or users so concerned about issues of privacy and surveillance they take matters into their own hands. It was not immediately clear exactly where Clinton ran that computer system.

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“Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails.”

Clinton has not described her motivation for using a private email account – hdr22@clintonemail.com, which traced back to her own private email server registered under an apparent pseudonym – for official State Department business.

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Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

“It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches.” 

But homemade email servers are generally not as reliable, secure from hackers or protected from fires or floods as those in commercial data centers. Those professional facilities provide monitoring for viruses or hacking attempts, regulated temperatures, off-site backups, generators in case of power outages, fire-suppression systems and redundant communications lines.

A spokesman for Clinton did not respond to requests seeking comment from the AP on Tuesday. Clinton ignored the issue during a speech Tuesday night at the 30th anniversary gala of EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights.

It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches. Hoteham was listed as the customer at Clinton’s $1.7 million home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua in records registering the Internet address for her email server since August 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


China Releases Reporter Jailed in Yahoo Email Case

628x471BEIJING (AP) A Chinese reporter who was sentenced to prison in 2005 after Yahoo Inc. disclosed details of his email has been released, a writer’s group announced Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »


Yahoo ceases China news and community services

The Yahoo portal in China contains a farewell message citing adjustments to its operations strategy as the reason for the change.

The Yahoo portal in China contains a farewell message citing adjustments to its operations strategy as the reason for the change.

Yahoo’s news and community services have shut down in China, following the closure of its email service last month.

The Yahoo China home page now redirects users to a site run by Alibaba, which manages Yahoo’s Chinese operation.

In a farewell message which appears before the redirect, the firm says it is “adjusting its operations strategy”.

Read the rest of this entry »