From China Digital Times: In recent cartoons for CDT, Badiucao puts a Valentine twist on President Trump’s emerging relationship with President Xi Jinping, which took a step forward in a recent phone call:
Valentines, by Badiucao:
A second drawing focuses on Trump’s effort to patch up relations with Beijing by acknowledging the “one China” policy, which declares that Taiwan is part of China. Trump had earlier stated that he was “not committed” to the longstanding policy.
One China, by Badiucao
Since his inauguration in January, President Trump’s policy toward China has been elusive and unpredictable. He ignited a firestorm of controversy soon after taking office by accepting a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and later saying that he may choose not to adhere to the “one China” policy, which has defined the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship for decades. These actions seemed to indicate that he would live up to campaign rhetoric to take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. Yet after two weeks of silence between the two leaders, Trump switched tacks by promising to uphold the one China status quo in a phone call with President Xi Jinping. From Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:
In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.
“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.
In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported. [Source]
The call has been taken by many as a sign of acquiescence by Trump to Xi, as he acknowledged that his mention of the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request. From Jane Perlez of The New York Times:
But in doing so, he handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader, Xi Jinping, as a tough negotiator who ought to be feared, analysts said. Read the rest of this entry »
Oil Drilling ‘Ban’ Still Allows Production Outside America
“This is so egregious, it’s perfectly revealing of the fact that Obama as he leaves the White House, he’s trying to nail everything to the floor so it can’t be moved. Of course, it can be moved. First of all, he’s interpreting this 50, 60-year-old law, in a wildly different way. It was intended to protect the feeding areas of the walrus. It was supposed to be specific, narrow, small tracks, not this gigantic locking away.”
“Second, they can’t even defend it in its own terms. The idea that because we’re not going to drill here, the oil and natural gas is not going to be produced, is ridiculous. It’s going to end up being produced in Nigeria, places all over the world, where the standards — environmental standards and protections — are infinitely less than they are in the U.S. So even in terms of the environment, you’re increasing the danger. It’s very obvious that all they’re trying to do is prevent American production of hydrocarbons, and it’s futile. The Indians and the Chinese are opening a coal-fired plant every week. It is not going to stop. What we don’t do, they will do. What we are doing is exporting jobs, exporting the waste, and exporting the danger.”
Source: National Review
China returns seized U.S. drone
Beijing has returned a U.S. underwater drone seized last week in the South China Sea by a Chinese Navy vessel after “friendly” talks between the two countries, China’s Defense Ministry said in a short statement posted to its website Tuesday.
“After friendly consultations between the Chinese and U.S. sides, the handover work for the U.S. underwater drone was smoothly completed in relevant waters in the South China Sea at midday on Dec. 20,” the statement said.
The Pentagon confirmed the handover, but criticized the Chinese Navy over the move.
“The incident was inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “The U.S. has addressed those facts with the Chinese through appropriate military channels, and have called on Chinese authorities to comply with their obligations under international law.”
The drone was scooped up by the Chinese Navy in the strategic waterway on Thursday in a row that also drew in U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and further stoked tensions between the two rivals.
The U.S. said the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) had been operating in international waters.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said Saturday that a Chinese naval lifeboat had taken the drone “in order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels.”
The Chinese side had criticized what it said were U.S. moves to dramatize the seizure and accused the U.S. of “frequently” dispatching vessels and aircraft to carry out “close-in reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters.”
“China resolutely opposes these activities, and demands that the U.S. side should stop. … China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side, and will take necessary measures in response,” Yang said.
The incident drew criticism from Trump, who takes office Jan. 20, and has vowed to deal with Beijing in a more hard-line manner.
Misspelling “unprecedented,” Trump tweeted Saturday: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters — rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.”
He later reissued the tweet, correcting the spelling to “unprecedented.”
After China said it would return the drone, Trump spokesman Jason Miller tweeted a link to a news story detailing the announcement, saying: “@realdonaldtrump gets it done.”
Despite the apparent claim that Trump played a role in securing the drone’s return, there has been no evidence that this was the case.
Nearly 11 hours after his first China tweet, Trump delivered another dig at China. Read the rest of this entry »
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) –David Brunnstrom reports: China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Wednesday, citing new satellite imagery.
“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs.”
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.
“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea. Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases.”
AMTI said it had been tracking construction of hexagonal structures on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs in the Spratly Islands since June and July. China has already built military length airstrips on these islands.
“This is the first time that we’re confident in saying they are anti-aircraft and CIWS emplacements. We did not know that they had systems this big and this advanced there. This is militarization. The Chinese can argue that it’s only for defensive purposes, but if you are building giant anti-aircraft gun and CIWS emplacements, it means that you are prepping for a future conflict.”
“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs,” it said citing images taken in November and made available to Reuters.
“This model has gone through another evolution at (the) much-larger bases on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs.”
Satellite images of Hughes and Gaven reefs showed what appeared to be anti-aircraft guns and what were likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) to protect against cruise missile strikes, it said.
Images from Fiery Cross Reef showed towers that likely contained targeting radar, it said.
AMTI said covers had been installed on the towers at Fiery Cross, but the size of platforms on these and the covers suggested they concealed defense systems similar to those at the smaller reefs.
“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »
Beijing (AFP) – China protested to Washington Saturday after US President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades of foreign policy and spoke with the president of Taiwan.
“It was not immediately clear whether Trump’s telephone call with Tsai Ing-wen marked a deliberate pivot away from Washington’s official ‘One China’ stance, but it fuelled fears he is improvising on international affairs.”
It was not immediately clear whether Trump’s telephone call with Tsai Ing-wen marked a deliberate pivot away from Washington’s official “One China” stance, but it fuelled fears he is improvising on international affairs.
Zhang Wensheng, of Xiamen University, was more circumspect, dismissing Trump’s use of the term ‘president’ as ‘personal greetings’ that ‘do not reflect a political position whatsoever’.
China regards self-ruling Taiwan as part of its own territory awaiting reunification under Beijing’s rule, and any US move that would imply support for independence would likely trigger fury.
During Friday’s discussion, Trump and Tsai noted “the close economic, political and security ties” between Taiwan and the United States, according to the president-elect’s office.
Even before the call with Taiwan, Trump’s unorthodox diplomatic outreach had raised eyebrows, and, for some critics, in extending his hand to Taiwan, Trump crossed a dangerous line.
“President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” it said.
Beijing on Saturday offered a robust response.
“We have already made solemn representations about it to the relevant US side,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.
“There is no change to our longstanding policy on cross-Strait issues. We remain firmly committed to our ‘One China’ policy,” she added. “Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations.”
— National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne
“It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,”
China also urged “relevant parties in the US… to handle Taiwan-related issues with caution and care to avoid unnecessarily interfering with the overall situation of Sino-US relations.”
Trump, who had come under fire for the telephone call, hit back — on Twitter.
“Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” Trump tweeted.
– ‘How wars start’ –
President Barack Obama’s White House said the outgoing US administration had not changed its stance on China-Taiwan issues.
“There is no change to our longstanding policy on cross-Strait issues,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told reporters. Read the rest of this entry »
Beijing wants pro-democracy activists to go away. Instead, they’re getting elected.
Suzanne Sataline writes: In late 2014, Hong Kong protestors used umbrellas to shield themselves as police soaked them with pepper spray. Student leaders demanded elections free of intrusion from the Chinese central government, capturing headlines around the world, but their efforts failed. On Sept. 4, city residents pushed back again. Voters elected several of those young activists to the city’s legislature, a sharp rebuke to Beijing’s increasing encroachment on political life in the city.
“By the terms of its constitution, called the Basic Law, Hong Kong has autonomy, but with an asterisk. Individual residents cannot elect the city’s leader, nor try to change policies through referenda; they pick just half of their lawmakers. “
A record 2.2 million people queued to cast ballots — hundreds reportedly waited at one polling station past two o’clock in the morning — in the financial capital’s first city-wide election since protests two years earlier. Voters tossed several veteran moderates from the Legislative Council (LegCo), and replaced them with six activists who want to wrest Hong Kong from mainland China’s control. While the chamber’s majority still tilts toward Beijing — thanks mostly to voting rules that grant greater power to trade and industry groups — the new term will seat 30 lawmakers who favor democracy in the 70-member chamber. They will collectively pose a greater obstacle to the city’s unpopular chief executive, C.Y. Leung, a man widely considered too deferential to Beijing.
“This arrangement of 19 years — engineered by the British crown, enforced by mainland China after it took Hong Kong back — never sought, and was never given, resident approval. Hence the widespread, youth-driven protests two years ago, quickly dubbed the Umbrella Movement.”
By the terms of its constitution, called the Basic Law, Hong Kong has autonomy, but with an asterisk. Individual residents cannot elect the city’s leader, nor try to change policies through referenda; they pick just half of their lawmakers. This arrangement of 19 years — engineered by the British crown, enforced by mainland China after it took Hong Kong back — never sought, and was never given, resident approval. Hence the widespread, youth-driven protests two years ago, quickly dubbed the Umbrella Movement.
Since then, Beijing appears to be tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city. Many residents were unsettled when five members of a local book publisher disappeared last year, and yet Hong Kong’s government seemed to do little to help. (One man later resurfaced, sharing details of how he’d been kidnapped by state security and held for months in mainland China; a colleague is still missing.) A sudden demotion and resignations at the city’s independent graft commission signaled that the lauded agency might not be so independent anymore. The central government’s chief lawyer in Hong Kong said in April that the government could deploy British colonial laws still on the books, such as those for treason and sedition, to prosecute independence activists. This summer, the city government’s Electoral Affairs Commission barred six candidates from the LegCo race, five of whom demand either independence, or a vote on the issue among Hong Kong residents. (The commission’s chairman is appointed by the city’s chief executive.)
“Since then, Beijing appears to be tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city. Many residents were unsettled when five members of a local book publisher disappeared last year, and yet Hong Kong’s government seemed to do little to help.”
But that didn’t stop the election of young upstarts who aim to amend the constitution, expand voting rights, and bolster civil liberties. Sixtus “Baggio” Leung of a new party called Youngspiration thinks Hong Kong should declare independence from China. (None of the Leungs mentioned in this article are related.) Nathan Law, at age 23 the youngest lawmaker in city history, believes residents deserve a vote for self-determination. Beijing officials “are scared of our influence because we are not controllable,” Law, a leader in the 2014 protests, said. “We can mobilize people and arouse people and create enough tension between Hong Kong and China.”
“A sudden demotion and resignations at the city’s independent graft commission signaled that the lauded agency might not be so independent anymore. The central government’s chief lawyer in Hong Kong said in April that the government could deploy British colonial laws still on the books, such as those for treason and sedition, to prosecute independence activists.”
Some of those activists have been preaching on radio and street corners that Hong Kong is historically and culturally separate from China. The city, they have said, cannot trust China, and city residents should decide their own fate. By July, according to one survey, more than 17 percent of residents, and nearly 40 percent of those aged 15 to 24, said the city should separate from China when the “one-country, two-systems” plan ends in 2047. In August, the banned candidates organized what they called the city’s first independence rally, drawing several thousand people. One of the organizers was Edward Tin-kei Leung, a 25-year-old philosophy student born on the mainland. Read the rest of this entry »
Since Xi Jinping came came to power nearly four years ago, hundreds of activists, lawyers, writers, publishers and employees of nongovernmental groups have been rounded up. Many more have been threatened and intimidated. Internet news sites have been ordered to stop publishing reports from sources that aren’t sanctioned by the state.
Julie Making reports: For five days last week, the confessions poured forth from Chinese human rights activists and attorneys rounded up last summer and held incommunicado for a year. Four men, facing trial for subversion, cowered before a court where they were represented by lawyers they didn’t choose.
A fifth person, knowing her husband was detained and teenage son under surveillance, declared her wrongs in a videotaped interview.
“As an old timer who’s been studying China since the Mao era, I have to say it’s the worst I’ve seen since then. It’s very discouraging.”
— Susan L. Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Program at UC San Diego
China is in the midst of what many overseas scholars say is its harshest crackdown on human rights and civil society in decades. Since Xi Jinping came came to power nearly four years ago, hundreds of activists, lawyers, writers, publishers and employees of nongovernmental groups have been rounded up. Many more have been threatened and intimidated. Internet news sites have been ordered to stop publishing reports from sources that aren’t sanctioned by the state.
“I want to remind everybody to wipe their eyes and clearly see the ugly faces of hostile forces overseas. Never be fooled by their ideas of ‘democracy,’ ‘human rights’ and ‘benefiting the public.’”
— Zhai Yasmin, one of the defendants
Even as China has been touting its efforts to boost the “rule of law,” some critics of the government have vanished under mysterious circumstances in places like Thailand and Hong Kong, only to surface months later in Chinese custody, claiming rather unbelievably they had turned themselves in voluntarily. Many of those detained have appeared on state-run TV confessing to crimes before they have had a day in court.
“Xi likes to underscore his status as the new Mao Tse-tung by not giving a damn about what the major Western leaders, authors or media are saying about China.”
“As an old timer who’s been studying China since the Mao era, I have to say it’s the worst I’ve seen since then,” said Susan L. Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Program at UC San Diego. “It’s very discouraging.”
The activists and lawyer prosecuted last week confessed to having illegally organized protests and drawn attention to sensitive cases at the behest of “foreign forces” in order to “smear the [Communist] party and attack the Chinese government.” They had erred in accepting interviews with international journalists, they added, and traveled abroad to participate in interfaith conferences and law seminars infiltrated by separatists and funded by enemies of China. Read the rest of this entry »
The city has gone to great lengths to contain protests during Mr. Zhang’s visit, but pro-democracy messages have slipped through.
BEIJING — Jason Lam reports: For more than a minute on Tuesday night, nine-digit numbers were displayed across the facade of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Center. Towering above Victoria Harbor, the glowing white digits blinked against the night sky: 979,012,493… 979,012,492… 979,012,491…
“Due to the high level of security, there’s almost no channel for the Hong Kong people to voice and protest.”
The seemingly innocuous numbers contained a subversive statement. The animation is a countdown of the seconds until when the “one country, two systems” framework — a guarantee that Hong Kong, a former British colony, would keep its civil liberties and a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 — is set to expire.
“Most of the animations shown on the I.C.C. are ad-like, meaningless videos. We wanted to show something relevant to the social situation of Hong Kong.”
The artists planned the display to coincide with a three-day visit to Hong Kong by Zhang Dejiang, a member of China’s governing Politburo Standing Committee, which began on Tuesday. Mr. Zhang is the highest-ranking official from mainland China to visit Hong Kong since the pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014 known as the Umbrella Movement.
The city has gone to great lengths to contain protests during Mr. Zhang’s visit, but pro-democracy messages have slipped through. At least seven members of the League of Social Democrats party were arrested on Tuesday in connection with at least two banners appearing in public — one on a hillside, the other along the route taken by Mr. Zhang’s motorcade — reading “I Want Genuine Universal Suffrage” and “End Chinese Communist Party Dictatorship.”
“Due to the high level of security, there’s almost no channel for the Hong Kong people to voice and protest,” Mr. Wong said. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING (AP) — China said Saturday that it will not renew press credentials for a French journalist, effectively expelling her following a harsh media campaign against her for questioning the official line equating ethnic violence in China’s western Muslim region with global terrorism.
Expecting the move, Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L’Obs, said late Friday night that she was prepared to leave China.
“They want a public apology for things that I have not written,” Gauthier said. “They are accusing me of writing things that I have not written.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Gauthier was no longer “suitable” to be allowed to work in China because she had supported “terrorism and cruel acts” that killed civilians and refused to apologize for her words.
“China has always protected the legal rights of foreign media and foreign correspondents to report within the country, but China does not tolerate the freedom to embolden terrorism,” Lu said in a statement.
Gauthier on Saturday called the accusations “absurd,” and said that emboldening terrorism is morally and legally wrong. She said that she should be prosecuted if that were the case. Read the rest of this entry »
Sheila O’Malley writes:The visuals are, quite literally, overwhelming. There were shots that were so beautiful I practically could not take it in, in one glance: it’s like trying to “take in” the Grand Canyon. Thankfully, Hou’s camera is not of the quick-cut variety. He lets scenes breathe, and the shots are very long. I had time to settle in, to look up at the misty ranks of mountains in the background, the vast space in the foreground, the line of trees reflected perfectly in the dawn-blue water, the row of fog breaking up a vertical cliff of green trees. Nature photography? Well, yes, kind of. But it’s part of the story and the atmosphere. This is one of the most beautiful looking films this year, or any year.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien is such a world-class visionary filmmaker (the hyperbole fits) and yet it’s been relatively rare that his stuff makes it to our shores. The Assassin won him the Best Director award at Cannes, thrilling news for those of us who love his work and were already eagerly anticipating The Assassin….(read more)
Horace Luke, CEO of the Taipei startup Gogoro, reimagines the scooter for the modern city from the wheels up. Video: Diana Jou Photo: Joyu Wang
Historical analogies most popular with the administration reveal precisely why this deal is so fraught with risk.
Analogies, Sigmund Freud once wrote, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home. President Obama is explicitly comparing his diplomatic triumph with Iran to President Nixon’s opening to China in 1972. Nixon, the president explained in a July 14 interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, “understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path” of “very important strategic benefit to the United States” — a point repeated in supportive commentary by Fareed Zakaria, and others. Meanwhile, former Obama National Security Council official Phil Gordon has cast the president’s breakthrough with Iran as a noble contrast to the George W. Bush administration’s alleged rejection of diplomacy with North Korea, claiming that Pyongyang developed nuclear weapons because Bush refused to implement a similar disarmament framework with North Korea negotiated by President Bill Clinton.
It is not surprising that an administration that came into office rejecting geopolitics and poo-pooing strategy in favor of “don’t do stupid [stuff]” would treat history as a plaything for twitter-sized talking points. But the historical analogies most popular with the administration reveal precisely why this deal is so fraught with risk.
Nixon was right to play the China card against the Soviets in 1971 — but for reasons that simply do not apply to Iran. First, in 1971, China already had nuclear weapons and Nixon never asked Mao to abandon them. Second, the Soviet threat to Washington and Beijing, which ultimately drove the two countries together, was incalculably graver than the threat posed by the Islamic State to either Iran or the United States (the president and National Security Adviser Susan Rice have dismissed the Islamic State as “the JV team” and “not an existential threat” so perhaps they do not even really believe their own Nixon analogies). Third, the more militant, pro-Soviet faction in China led by Lin Biao had been purged by 1971, whereas Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force are on the ascendance and, in fact, will gain billions of dollars as a result of being delisted from the sanctions list. Read the rest of this entry »
Official report confirms that the crash that left 43 people dead was caused by an engine malfunctioning and a pilot mistakenly shutting down the other
Andrea Chen and Sijia Jiang report: The captain of the TransAsia aircraft that crashed into a river in Taipei in February, killing 43 people, shut down the plane’s only working engine by mistake after the other had failed, a report by accident investigators confirmed on Thursday.
“Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” Captain Liao Chien-tsung was heard saying on flight recorders eight seconds before the crash, the report by Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council said.
Liao was initially hailed a hero for steering the aircraft away from buildings.
His training records released by the council showed that he had failed a simulator check during his test for promotion to captain last year due to “insufficient knowledge” of engine flameout.
But the council did not apportion any blame in its report.
A Hong Kong-based pilot told the South China Morning Post that TransAsia had tested all pilots on the handling of engine failure since the crash and 30 per cent failed. Those who failed would receive more training and be retested. He said pilots were supposed to turn off a failed engine to secure it.
The passenger flight GE 235, an ATR72-600, clipped a bridge and crashed into the Keelung River with 58 people on board, including 31 from the mainland, just minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport.
Among the dead were the captain and the co-pilot. Thirteen passengers and one cabin crew member sustained serious injuries. The other person on board suffered only minor injuries. Two people on the ground – a taxi driver and his female passenger – suffered minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry »
The OSVehicle can be built in little over an hour from parts shipped in flatpacks from Italy and China
One Hong Kong-based start-up wants to help accelerate the disruption.
OSVehicle will on Tuesday launch its latest “do-it-yourself car” — an electric four-seater that it says can be built in little over an hour from parts shipped in flatpacks from Italy and China.
“It lowers the barriers to entry for start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to create vehicles in a whole new segment of the industry.”
— Carlo De Micheli, head of innovation at OSVehicle
The kit is aimed at companies that want to sell electric vehicles or run car sharing schemes, with would-be carmakers buying a platform from OSVehicle rather than a complete product.
“Companies that are entering this market are focusing on specific technologies, such as self-driving or high power electric vehicles. We are eager to see all the open source components that come out of their research…adopted by other companies worldwide.”
— Carlo De Micheli
They order the chassis, electric power-train, suspension, steering system and wheels from OSVehicle. Customers then create the bodywork to their own design.
“They order the chassis, electric power-train, suspension, steering system and wheels from OSVehicle. Customers then create the bodywork to their own design.”
“It lowers the barriers to entry for start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to create vehicles in a whole new segment of the industry,” said Carlo De Micheli, head of innovation at OSVehicle.
The kit car platform is based on another by OSVehicle that is a two-seater called Tabby.
The company has yet to decide on the price of the four-seater platform. The two-seater iteration of its Tabby platform retailed at $4,000, excluding the lithium-based battery pack.
The “OS” in OSVehicle stands for open source and the company is part of a growing trend of transparent innovation in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »
Smile and give them a pen
kamenoblog shares this language insight:
Last night my Cantonese professor taught my class how to politely refuse someone.
Instead of directly saying no, Cantonese speakers can give a subtle hint by giving an unwanted suitor a pen.
The words for “pen” and “no” sound similar in Cantonese. However, both words use different traditional Chinese characters:
筆 means “pen”
不是 (“bat si”/”m hai”) means “no”
Source: Milk Tea & Pudding
More Than Two Dozen People Killed as Carrier Loses Second Aircraft in Seven Months; Black-Box Recorders Located
TAIPEI— Jenny W. Hsu ,Fanny Liu and Aries Poon reporting: Rescue workers continued with their search efforts late Wednesday using lights erected over the Keelung River, seeking missing passengers of TransAsia Flight 235, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Taiwan’s second deadly air accident in seven months.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said late Wednesday that 25 people were dead, including at least two male Chinese nationals, and 16 people were injured. The plane was carrying 53 passengers and five cabin crew.
The authority said the control tower lost communication with the pilots four minutes after the takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport en route to Kinmen, an outlying island near China’s mainland, around 10:53 a.m. local time. Many of the passengers were Chinese tourists from the province next to Kinmen.
The black box recorder has been located and authorities have begun the decoding process. The Aviation Safety Council, which is in charge of the investigation, declined to give an estimated time of when an initial report will be released. In the past, a preliminary analysis from the recorder has taken anywhere from days to weeks.
Dramatic images taken by drivers with dashboard cameras of the plane, a low-flying ATR-72 turboprop, as it clipped an overpass before plunging into a river were ubiquitous on social-media websites within hours of the crash, sparking heated discussions and messages of condolence.
The crash adds to fears about air safety in Asia following several aviation disasters in the region in 2014.
The most recent had been the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, which went down in the Java Sea on Dec. 28 after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia, on its way to Singapore, killing all 158 people on board. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of that crash. Last year also saw the still-unsolved disappearance in March of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which carried 239 people when it veered thousands of miles off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities are still searching for that missing plane in two broad areas of the Indian Ocean. The region was also devastated by the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in July, in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Air traffic in Asia has increased rapidly in recent years, making it the world’s biggest aviation market, but the growth has been a struggle for some safety regulators, airlines and governments. Over the past five years, the number of passengers carried annually in the Asia-Pacific region has jumped by two-thirds to more than 1 billion, surpassing Europe and North America and accounting for 33% of the global total in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING (AP) — China warned against foreign meddling in Hong Kong’s politics Saturday ahead of an expected announcement to recommend highly contentious restrictions on the first direct elections for the leader of the Chinese-controlled financial hub.
- Hong Kong’s Occupy Central ‘Referendum’ Explained
- China threatens to remove Hong Kong’s autonomy
- Beijing Gets Ugly in Hong Kong
“Not only are they undermining Hong Kong’s stability and development, but they’re also attempting to turn Hong Kong into a bridgehead for subverting and infiltrating the Chinese mainland,” said the article.
[Also see – Hong Kong Tensions Rise as Beijing Critic’s Home Raided – WSJ]
CHINA: PLA Lets Foreign Press Attend Monthly Briefing for First Time in Bid for Greater Transparency, WH RespondsPosted: July 31, 2014
Allowing foreign reporters access to the monthly press conferences of the People’s Liberation Army presents a challenge to the U.S. claim of unparalleled transparency.
From the South China Morning Post – Associated Press in Beijing reports:
Not many years ago, foreign reporters in China trying to call the country’s secretive military couldn’t even get a connection because phone numbers assigned to the journalists were barred from ringing through to the Defence Ministry.
“We especially hope that international society will have a correct and objective understanding of the Chinese military.”
This morning, the White House issued this statement:
“We believe that sending members of the White House press corps to China was the right thing to do. It is not, as some of our friends in the Republican party have suggested, an effort to limit press freedom, or retaliation for unfavorable coverage of the president.”
On Thursday, members of the foreign press were finally permitted to attend the ministry’s monthly news briefing, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident military’s efforts to project a more transparent image.
“Look, we let these folks in the press keep their cell phones, and some personal effects. We gave them free transportation, courtesy of the Air Force. They’ll eventually be permitted to return. We’ll do our best to get them home by Christmas.”
— President Barack Obama
Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount and poor quality of information released by the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing military with 2.3 million members.
Officers who oversee the briefings say the new invitations reflect a desire by the top brass to allay foreigners’ concerns over fast-expanding budgets, vast hardware improvements, and an increasingly clear determination to use the military to assert China’s interests and territorial claims. Read the rest of this entry »
For International Business Times, Erik Pineda writes: The iPhone 6 release date is fast shaping up to become real on September 2014 as mass production of the 4.7-inch version is reportedly already underway, according to new reports.
[See also: REPORT: APPLE ON VERGE OF BUYING BEATS FOR $3.2B]
Reports coming from Taiwan and Japan, which according to MacRumors were picked up by Industrial & Commercial Times and MacOtakara respectively, appear to indicate that Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron has started production activities for the tech giant’s 2014 iPhone thrust.
Pegatron is one of the iPhone maker’s two major mobile device assemblers from Asia. The one is Foxconn, which according to Apple Insider is slated to take up some 85 per cent of iPhone production duties this 2014.
For BBC Travel, Lindsey Galloway writes: In many of the world’s top coffee cities, the cafe is more than just a place to get a warm drink – it is also a hub of culture and conversation for locals and visitors alike. And while each city defines its coffee culture in a different way – whether it be by their classic drink style or by the sheer concentration of independently owned coffee houses – these six cities, taken from “best of” lists in publications including Travel and Leisure and the USA Today, have one thing in common: the cities are filled with people who live for the craft of coffee.
Taipei residents are known for being extraordinarily friendly and extremely polite. Since the island was once a Japanese colony, it is not uncommon for shop employees to smile and bow in unison when someone walks through the doors. And nowhere is this friendliness more apparent than in the city’s surprisingly unique cafes. Topo Cafe, in northern Taipei’s Western-style Tianmu neighbourhood, is so offbeat it has a miniature, gold-fish filled river running through the middle of it.
Alistair Chang, an American from the Washington DC area, lived in Taipei for a year, documenting his favourite coffee spots on his blog, Taipei Cafes. He said he especially loves the establishments near the Zhongxiao Dunhua transit station in southern Taipei’s Da’an district. “These cafes are a little bolder,” he explained in an e-mail. “Homey’s Cafe, for example, requires you to walk up two unmarked, sketchy cement stairs to find, while the Barbie Cafe is exactly what the title suggests: completely pink.” Read the rest of this entry »
Facebook and Google, the favored tools of dissidents, are now shaping Taiwan’s relationship with China.
For The Diplomat, Vincent Y. Chao writes: Underneath the piercing gaze of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, a group of students sat, unshaved, unkempt and basking in the glow of their laptops. Amongst stacks of coffee cups, crudely drawn artwork, and piles of unevenly stacked office chairs, they were hard at work, plotting the next phase of their revolt against the government in Taiwan.
Three weeks earlier, the group had broken past police barriers and forcefully occupied the main Legislative assembly hall, defeating multiple attempts to evict them by the police. They sit engrossed: sending out press releases, updating the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and sparking discussion on PTT (an online bulletin board favored by many of the country’s youth). Others are dozing off, or hold a blank stare in their eyes, a product of weeks of tension, uncertainty and sleep deprivation.
Initially there were only a hundred of them – students from Taiwan’s top universities energized by a series of controversial land seizures and, in this case, upset at the government’s attempt to ram through a wide-ranging services trade deal with China. Their numbers subsequently swelled, buoyed by 24 hour news coverage, Facebook shares, and, of course, volunteers from the hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters that have flooded the capital Taipei’s streets in recent weeks.
Oliver Chen, 26, is a student from Taiwan’s prestigious National Taiwan University Law School. His hallmark, he says, is the colorful dress shirts he changes into every day. “Nothing else is changed. Shirts are all that I brought.” During the protests, he was responsible for the bank of computers to the left of Sun’s portrait. His team of English speakers worked with the foreign press to arrange interviews with the two protest leaders, Chen Wei-ting, 23, and Lin Fei-fan, 25.
Oliver and the rest of the students were organized. Very organized. Even the opposition, rumored to have ties to some of the student organizers, admits to such. “They could probably run a better campaign than the DPP,” said opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen during a media interview. The students have a medical center, distribution tables for snacks and goods, and even rooms for yoga or singing.
Read the rest of this entry »
Excessive nationalism threatens the country’s potential
Steve Chapman writes: To achieve any ambitious goal, you have to want it badly enough to work and sacrifice. But there is such a thing as trying too hard. Overzealous pursuit of your heart’s desire can end up chasing it away.
The Chinese government may be learning that right now. China, a great civilization brought low by foreign powers in the 19th and 20th centuries, has long burned to acquire a global stature corresponding to its self-image.
Its transformation from an economic catastrophe to an export machine has made it a much bigger player in world affairs. But sometimes efforts to assert itself generate not respect and cooperation but fear and resistance.
The decision to establish an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea didn’t have to set alarm bells clanging from Seoul to Tokyo to Washington. Other countries have their own along their coastlines, and Beijing can make a reasonable case that it’s entitled to one as well.
But the Chinese didn’t make the case; they just proclaimed it. The change came in such an abrupt and surprising way as to make it impossible for anyone to cheerfully accept. China failed to consult with its neighbors in advance, took in islands long under Japanese jurisdiction and established rules beyond what other countries impose.
Chriss W. Street reports: China’s Ministry of Defense on November 30th began enforcing an expanded Air Defense Identification Zone, which now covers a huge off-shore expanse that includes the disputed oil rich Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Forced to rely on the Middle East for oil for electrical production, Asian energy costs are surging, and supply has become unstable due to the continuing Arab Spring turmoil. With American domestic energy costs falling as supplies surge due to the boom in fracking for shale oil and gas, Chinese manufacturers are becoming economically uncompetitive on a cost basis compared to the U.S. producers. With China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea equally desperate to save jobs by exploiting potentially cheap and abundant off-shore oil, energy economics will drive military confrontations in Asia.
The Chinese claim the discovery and control of the Diaoyu islands from the 14th Century, but Japan took control of the islands from 1895 until its surrender to the U.S. at the end of World War II. During the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands after 1945, it was discovered that oil reserves might be found under the sea near the islands. In anticipation of the turnover of the Senkaku islands, Japan declared a 100 mile ADIZ around the islands in 1969. Since reverting back to Japanese control under the 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement, sovereignty around the islands has been disputed by the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Read the rest of this entry »
In a 9,000-words-piece published on the website of “Party Building,” a magazine that claims to be overseen by China’s Central Propaganda Commission, a self-proclaimed macroeconomics analyst unleashed an all-out attack on ex-Google China chief Lee Kaifu. Titled “Ten Questions for Lee Kaifu,” the article questioned Lee’s work experience and citizenship status, accused him of forging family history, and criticized his public commentaries and political leaning.
It went so far as to query if Lee, a Taiwanese who relinquished American citizenship in 2011, is in fact ill from lymphoma, and if the purpose of his stay in Taiwan is indeed medical treatment. Lee, 51, announced that he was diagnosed with lymphoma in early September and has since withdrawn from work to undergo chemotherapy in Taiwan.
The article was first published last Tuesday but only began to gain traction on Friday, after Chinese news outlets such as Sina.com, South China Morning Post and Xinhuanet.com picked it up. In just one day, the number of search results of “Lee Kaifu and Ten Questions” on Weibo has nearly doubled to more than 130,000. Whereas most Weibo responses stood behind Lee, almost all comments marked “popular” on Sina.com, which may be more strictly censored, supported the article or demanded Lee’s response. As of today, Lee has not made any mention of the article on his Weibo account. Phone calls and an email to spokesperson Wang Chaohui at of Lee’s company went unanswered.
China’s Real and Present Danger: Now Is the Time for Washington to Worry
Avery Goldstein writes: Much of the debate about China’s rise in recent years has focused on the potential dangers China could pose as an eventual peer competitor to the United States bent on challenging the existing international order. But another issue is far more pressing. For at least the next decade, while China remains relatively weak compared to the United States, there is a real danger that Beijing and Washington will find themselves in a crisis that could quickly escalate to military conflict. Unlike a long-term great-power strategic rivalry that might or might not develop down the road, the danger of a crisis involving the two nuclear-armed countries is a tangible, near-term concern — and the events of the past few years suggest the risk might be increasing.
Since the end of the Cold War, Beijing and Washington have managed to avoid perilous showdowns on several occasions: in 1995–96, when the United States responded to Chinese missile tests intended to warn Taiwanese voters about the danger of pushing for independence; in 1999, when U.S. warplanes accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the NATO air assault on Serbia; and in 2001, when a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet, leading to the death of the Chinese pilot and Beijing’s detention of the U.S. plane and crew. But the lack of serious escalation during those episodes should not breed complacency. None of them met the definition of a genuine crisis: a confrontation that threatens vital interests on both sides and thus sharply increases the risk of war. If Beijing and Washington were to find themselves in that sort of showdown in the near future, they would both have strong incentives to resort to force. Moreover, the temptations and pressures to escalate would likely be highest in the early stages of the face-off, making it harder for diplomacy to prevent war.
HONG KONG – The year’s most powerful typhoon slammed into southern China on Sunday evening, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, shutting down shipping and putting a nuclear power plant on alert after pummeling parts of the Philippines and Taiwan with heavy rains and fierce winds.
Typhoon Usagi veered away from Hong Kong at the last minute and made landfall northeast of the former British colony. Forecasters had warned earlier that it posed a “severe threat” to the southern Chinese city.
Usagi — Japanese for rabbit — was classified as a severe typhoon, packing sustained winds of 109 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 132 mph. Read the rest of this entry »
(CNN) — Typhoon Usagi had Hong Kong and China’s Pearl River Delta in its predicted path Sunday.
At 9 a.m. Sunday (9 p.m. Saturday ET), Usagi was about 242 miles east of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Observatory said. It was expected to move west-northwest at about 11 miles per hour.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the storm had sustained winds of 115 mph. That was a drop from the 162 mph recorded on Friday, but Chinese authorities were bracing for major effects from landfall expected Sunday or Monday to the east of densely populated Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »
HONG KONG (Reuters) – From China warning Western nations to stop meddling in Hong Kong to Communist Party-backed newspapers describing “plots” by foreign spies to seize the city, a growing row over electoral reform has exposed the fragility of hopes for full democracy.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with wide-ranging autonomy, an independent judiciary and relatively free press under the formula of “one country, two systems” – along with an undated promise of full democracy, a subject never raised by the British during 150 years of colonial rule. Read the rest of this entry »
This little gem from My Hong Kong husband: Everyone who knows Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese or any other dialect) knows that learning or reading it literally will lead to ridiculous situations, for example my husband asked me about a cartoon “Smart and stupid uncle“. I could only do a ‘huh-face’ and ask him about the details. “You know, the one in the old times when a guy moved his legs to drive his car?’. Yup, That’s “The Flinstones“. It’s not the only example of how creative Chinese translators can be, check some of them!
Hong Kong: 美麗有罪 – “Beauty is a crime”
Taiwan: 美國心玫瑰情 – “Heart of America (American Heart) Love of rose”
China: 美國麗人 – “American pretty human” – quite close to the original title.
Being John Malkovich
Taiwan: 傀儡人生 – “Puppet’s life”
Justin Lee, the man at the centre of the most notorious sex scandal seen in Taiwan in years, has been sentenced to a total of 22 years and four months’ jail on nine counts of non-consensual sex and 15 counts of privacy violation for filming himself having sex with multiple women including celebrities.
The 28-year-old socialite was found not guilty of more serious charges of aggravated rape by the panel of judges at the Taipei District Court, where the sentence was read out this morning, due to lack of evidence.
Lee was also ordered to pay NT$14.25 million (S$611,587) to 12 of his victims, who had sued him for a total of NT$75 million in damages.
For the first time ever, the combined gross domestic product of emerging and developing markets, adjusted for purchasing price parity, has eclipsed the combined measure of advanced economies. Purchasing price parity—or PPP for short—adjusts for the relative cost of comparable goods in different economic markets.
According to the International Monetary Fund—the supplier of this data—emerging and developing economies will have a purchasing price parity-adjusted GDP of $42.8 trillion in 2013, while that of emerging economies will be $44.4 trillion. In other words, emerging markets will create $1.6 trillion more value in goods and services than advanced markets this year.
TOKYO (Reuters) – Four Chinese ships briefly entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, prompting an official protest from Tokyo and renewed diplomatic efforts to cool tensions between the rivals.
In a move that could further complicate the territorial row that is threatening relations between Asia’s biggest economies, a group of fishermen from Taiwan — which also claims the rocky isles — said as many as 100 boats escorted by 10 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels were headed for the area…
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