Monday, January 25, 2010

Vote by Voting Down

Although Chinese people don't have right to vote up candidates for government offices, they do have luxury, for now, to vote movies they see offensive online, again for now.

Amid implications of brutal evictions, Avatar was ordered out of cinemas by Jan 22 on the eve of Jan 21. While theater managers across the country fumbled to arrange refund tickets sold for the weekend, Chinese Netizens were mobilized to show their dissatisfaction by voting down the movie that supposed to take the place where Avatar was evicted for.

Confucius (2010) is supposed to be a mainstream big production movie, featuring international stars such as Yun-Fat Chow, with an eye to promote the 'harmonic society' advocated by the communist government. The movie may not be a master piece, but by all measure a good entertainment for the money. However, it was voted down to 1.5 stars out of 5 in two days on popular movie review site douban, by over five thousand 1 star voting after the words of Avatar eviction leaked out.

The phenomenon is similar to what took place at Amazon Customer Review after PC game Spore make use of DRM to restrict gamers.

By the way, movie site 'IMDB' was also blocked about one month ago by the communist government, following faith of sites such as Wikipedia, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and others.

Not willing to see another potential political conflict, Avatar was ordered to be reinstated two days later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chinese Prefer Direct Donate

Charities with Chinese background performed miserably in the latest round of Facebook Charity giving contest, a sharp contract to the glorious victory of last time, when Chinese charities claimed the top 2 slots, with 100 times more votes comparing to groups ranked tenthish. This time, the previous champion OCEF ranked 40, with 10 times less votes comparing to groups ranked tenish.

The difference? Last time people can participate by direct donation with a credit card on a regular website. This time people have to hold a Facebook account plus be a fan of 'Chase Community Giving'. In addition, no actual money is being donated by participants. The success of a charity's fundraising campaign will be evaluated by the number of votes they received, rather than money donation they received.

First of all, Facebook, among other web 2.0 websites, is blocked by the communist government. Chinese within the Great Firewall of China couldn't participate, even those English speaking elite working at international companies. But more critical was, Chinese people by and large don't like the idea of offering 'symbolic support'. Many Chinese people in the US don't bother to register a Facebook account; those who do have Facebook account don't bother to click to vote. And down to the bottom, there are simply not many Chinese representation in the total US population, where Facebook is popular. In the last round, participants can cast multiple votes by making multiple monetary donations. This time, each person can only vote for one organization once.

Anyway, there are still hours before the ending of the campaign. If you are a Chinese, or if you care about helping underprivileged people in China, please (register a Facebook account and become a fan of the 'Chase Community Giving' Cause, if you haven't done so) cast your vote for the following charities. Your vote could help them win the contest to be eligible to receive support from Chase.

Current Standing (Rank, Organization, Votes):

No. 1, ......, 98621;
No. 6, ......, 47489;
No. 32, 半边天基金会(Half the Sky), 8504;
No. 40, 海外中国教育基金会(OCEF), 7054;
No. 47, 爱心传递慈善基金会(PLCF), 6259;
No. 50, 海外中国儿童援助基金会(OSCCF), 5740;
No. 61, 欣欣教育基金会(Shin Shin Educational Foundation), 3912;
No. 77, 海外华人互助会CMAIN, 2284;
No. 80, 手牵手教育基金会HBHEF, 2019
No. 84, China Care Foundation, 1724;
No. 87, 全美华人文化教育基金会(ACCEF) (致力于中国贫困地区教育), 1496;
No. 92, Chinatown Youth Initiatives, 817;
No. 100, ......, 611.

Each person can cast five votes. If you happened to reside behind the Great FireWall, this page tells you how to flip over the wall to vote.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cheat Run

The organizing committee of the Xiamen Marathon announced mass scale fraud had been uncovered in the running race held on January 2, 2010 in Xiamen, Fujian Province.

Over 30 out of the top 100 male runners had been identified after studying photos and video recordings and were striped of their results, most of which are within 2:34. The magic number is the qualifying line for Level 1 athletes, who would deserve a bonus in the national college entrance examination. Runners cheated by wearing multiple time chips, taking motor transportations, etc. In one instance, when No. 8900 passed the finish line on TV, two results for 8892 and 8897 were recorded. The result of 8900? Never showed up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Convincing Theory Behind Google's Pull Out

What The Seagull suspected earlier turned out to be more than imagination. Seagull Reference was possibly the first to point to abusing of CALEA backdoor to be the cause of Google's outrage. Today there is proof.

Computer World cited 'a source familiar with the situation' to reveal an 'internal intercept system' of Google, which spy on its own EMail data to comply to legal requests from authorities. No wonder they were able to pinpoint China, because Chinese must be using their affiliated accounts when they wandered around. This echoes the description of the alleged 'comprise' of the said accounts: only account info and EMail titles, but not EMail contents.

In other words, Google's stun was a combined result of embarrassment, rage and an urge of denial.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google to Pull Out from China

Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond blogged yesterday afternoon that Google had been fed up with China's cyber-censorship and 'attacks' on Google's 'infrastructure' in order to access GMail users who advocate for human rights, and that Google was to pull out from China entirely.

When the words broke out, the first instinctive guess was that the Chinese government must have used their CALEA password in such careless ways that amounted to annoying. The blog didn't say so, rather denied any compromise of Google server contents.

The idea sounds wonderful as Google is the first big boy on the street bother to challenge the bullying communist China on its own citizens. The timing is troublesome, at least in a degree. All governments do cyber scouting and so does China. If the said 'attack' was originated from Chinese police, what makes it newsworthy to Google?

There must be incidents and deal-makings behind the curtain that Google decides not interesting enough to write about. For example, a State Department meeting hosted by Hillary Clinton, attended by Google's founders and top execs. Secretary Clinton herself will be giving an address next week on the centrality of Internet freedom.

Google was widely praised, and by and large has been practicing, their motto of 'Do not be Evil'. The moral highland was most recently damaged by Google's decision to provide the 2.1 version of its 'open-source' Andriod operating system to Taiwan's HTC exclusively.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avatar's Chinese Element

Neither 3D stereo display nor big screen auditorium is new, but audiences had never been more confused on which theater can give them a 'better' Avatar experience.

Is IMAX Classic (larger screen, film projection) superior than 'fake' IMAX Digital (retrofitted smaller screen with digital projector)? What's difference between RealD and Dolby sound? How does it compare IMAX and Cinemark XD? How many seats are there in the theater? What about 'standard' Cinemark theaters and 'standard' AMC theaters?

Chinese movie goers camped out in line to buy an IMAX ticket from a handful of available 'fake' IMAX theaters in China. The box office figure is shooting for $100 million with these handful of theaters in the first week after it was opened in China.

Chinese are crazy about the alien/Pocahonta/Iraqi genre movie for varies reasons. Some, linked the brutality of the 'British East India Company' to the Chinese government. Many residents had been killed, suicided, vaporized in several high profile cases when they resisted government eviction for commercial development. In one such case in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province, female entrepreneur Tang Fuzhen set herself on fire to deter government bulldozers. The fire halted nothing but Tang's life.

There was at least one obvious proof of the theory. The evil colonel's mother gunship is referred to as 'Papa Dragon', with a Chinese dragon painted at the nose. A same dragon can be seen on the canon of his personal powersuit.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Universities in Taiwan to recruit students from the mainland

Vice Education Minister Lin Chung-ming announced 40 mainland universities from the mainland were put on a list that students of which can apply to Taiwan Universities.

The effectives of the measure will be yet to see. Usually in mainland, students with highest grades go to the US; second tiers go to the other western countries such as Canada and England; third tier students go to Hong Kong and Japan; fourth tiers go to south eastern Asian countries and Pacific countries. Taiwan universities will have a hard time competing with counterparts in Hong Kong, a prosperous and energetic city connected to the mainland by land.

To easy local concerns of political influence and employment pressure, the Education Ministry of Taiwan set strict limits on the project. Only students from 40 pre-approved mainland universities are allowed to apply, and the total annual inflow is set to 2,000. These students will not be allowed to stay after their graduation.

Some locals have expectation for the mainland students to shake up the Taiwan college education system, "you only hae to put a few students from Beijing or Qinghua University in classrooms to deter local students from dozing off or snacking," said a local writer Kao Hsi-chun.

The Taiwan Education Ministry is also considering recognizing diplomas from the above 40 (some sources use the number of 41) mainland universities. While more Taiwan students go to college in mainland, they have been placing higher pressure on the Taiwan government to recognize their degrees obtained from mainland universities. The number '41' is set by including 39 '985 project' universities, with the only exception of the National University of Defense Technology, plus Beijing Sports University, Central Conservatory of Music and China Central Academy of Fine Arts. It is not clear about the composition of '40'.