‘Taishi Kangyi’: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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Why Aggrieved Chinese Citizens and Chinese Police Are Fighting Over Corpses

Yaqiu Wangwangyaqiu 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

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)

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 »


Hammer Cocked: Satellite Photos Reveal China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus

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 reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

— Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center

Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built.

However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.

China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them.

Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.

Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.

Google Earth screenshot

Google Earth screenshot

Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.

China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »


New Bomber Can Nuke U.S. Military Bases, Brags Chinese State Media

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Beijing’s bellicose rhetoric intensifies

Chinese state media is once again bragging about Beijing’s military prowess, touting the fact that China’s new H-6K strategic bomber can attack U.S. military bases in South Korea as well as the Japanese mainland using long range nuclear cruise missiles.

“With a range of between 1,500 and 2,000 kilometers, the CJ-10 meets the requirements of the PLA Air Force to possess the capability to launch strategic missile attacks against US military facilities and those of its allies in the Western Pacific,” states the report.The report features on the prominent pro-Communist Party news website Want China Times.

The article also lauds the fact that the H-6K can target the Japanese mainland without even leaving Chinese airspace, in addition to Russian cities in the far east, all major cities in India, as well as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, “in a potential war against Southeast Asian neighbors over territories in the South China Sea.”

“An H-6K taking off from the air base of the PLA’s 10th air division in Anqing, Anhui province, would be able to strike at all US military bases in South Korea,” states the report, noting that “the long-range cruise missile has become a crucial part of China’s nuclear arsenal.”

This is just the latest example of aggressive and bellicose rhetoric emerging out of China.

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Chinese Officials Apologize for Gross Photoshop Ineptitude

Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo

Richard Silk reports:  Shamed by a chorus of outrage and ridicule on social media, local officials in central China have apologized for a very shoddy piece of Photoshop work.

A picture posted online by the government of Ningguo, a small city in Anhui province, showed the deputy mayor and his colleagues towering above the city’s oldest resident while paying their respects to her at a festival earlier this month.

One-hundred-and-three-year-old Cheng Yanchun, looking smaller than a Hobbit, is squeezed into the bottom right hand corner of the image; next to her, a botched fade-out effect makes it look a little like the oversized local leaders have risen from the dead.

The picture has since been removed from the government’s website, but continues to float about on social media.

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Red Hot Communist Party Sex Party

Pictures that an Internet poster on China's Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

Pictures that an Internet poster on China’s Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

Racy online photos of Chinese sex party go viral over speculation that Communist Party officials were involved

In August, 2012, China was buzzing over a trove of raunchy photos showing six people engaged in an orgy – some of whom are rumored to be high-ranking Communist Party officials, Meena Hart Duerson reported, for the New York Daily News. Whatever became of this social media scandal? Let’s revisit:

orgy17n-2-webThe series of 181 often graphic photos went viral last week on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo and have now traveled around the world. [PHOTOS] In the images, which were reportedly taken around 2008, six men and women can be seen performing group sex acts as well as posing for strangely formal portrait-style photos together.

Those involved make no effort to hide their faces, smiling in group shots, including one where one of the men can be seen grabbing the breasts of the woman in front of him.

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Ancient Baking Molds of Mooncake

An ancient baking mold of mooncake is seen at a folk culture museum in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui province, Sept 5, 2013. Mooncake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. [Photo/Xinhua]

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