Friday, December 28, 2012

Split Persona Academia

On the left On the right
On Violence Erik Loomis, an assistant professor at theRhode Island University, called for "Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick". Lapierre is the CEO of the National Rifle Association. Professors insisted Loomis's calling for Lapierre's murder was Freedom of Speech, and forced the Rhode Island University's president who initialized distanced the institute from Loomis's inciting violence to issue a statement to support Loomis.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Something About Internet

Business is showing different prices of the same item depending on users geographic location. For example, if the user is within 20 miles of a competing B&M store, then he will be shown a discounted price. Wall Street Journal found other vendors, such as Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc and Hope Depot were playing the same game. The price you see is determined by a range of factors including your location and browsing history. Orbitz was found to charge a higher rate to Mac users earlier this year.


The Communist government in China is pushing for a Real Name Act on Internet. Last time, about one year ago, a similar effort aimed to deter criticizing to the government failed due to resistance from both users and the business sector. This time, it was packaged into a consumer protection measure. The purpose, according to the official People's Daily, was to prevent leaking user information.


Israel is placing another Internet legislative in the pipe. Once approved, police will be able to secretly shutdown certain websites. The owner and operator of the site would not be notified. The new law is said to be targeting all good causes: gambling, child pornography and copyright infringement.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Candid Camera: Only in China

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You might have thought that you miss-typed a few letters and stumped upon a porn site, like the long-gone, when you log on the official website of National Land Bureau in Xingguo County of Guangxi, because all faces of senior officials of the Bureau had been mosaic-ed.

It's a security feature, explained Mr. Tang, the Communist Disciplinary Committee Chief, told a reporter. A few months ago, almost all officials received 'Photoshop-ed' pictures depicting them with unknown women, naked. With the letter, there is a note demanding a large amount of money for silence. Because they honestly did not remember how many women they had had, many wired the money. As a precaution, their faces were technically scrambled, said Mr. Tang.

The corruption is so prevailing among officials nowadays such that officials have become victims of random targeting. Some criminals sent spam messages to officials with one line words: wire $$$ to this account otherwise we will expose your crime. Many followed just in case.

The picture on the left were taken by a person passing by. It happened to be one day before the boys were found dead in a garbage container on the street. It is believed to be the last picture of these boys, possibly the only picture in their lives.

Nov 16, 2012, Bijie of Guizhou Province, five children cuddled in a garbage container to keep warm. All five were found dead the next morning. Aged from 5 to 10, the kids had been wandering on the streets for months according to residents nearby. When a former reporter broke the story online at Kaidi Community, the entire country were shocked and saddened by the modern Little Match Boys.

Beijie Police acted quickly to arrest the reporter Mr. Li Yuanlong and pressed criminal charges for revealing the death of kids. Li was sentenced to jail for 2 years in 2005 for similar offense, and has been jobless. Li's son, now studying in Canada, said the family was proud of Li. Facing online pressure, police allowed Li back home in early morning on Nov 25. Li wrote in Weibo, 'Gloria in excelsis Deo.'

Chinese netizens banged on their keyboards demanding heads roll. The government and the Party listened. This morning, residents noticed new slogan was painted on garbage containers on streets. It now reads (the red Chinese characters beneath the large openings): 'HUMAN OR ANIMAL STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.'

Four years ago in Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province, three little girls were actually caught on camera warming themselves with a box of matches.

In an interview aired by the official China Central Television (CCTV), audiences noticed the wrist of the senior official of the Interior Department was mosaic-ed. CCTV responded that the process was to hide a logo on the official's chest. However, viewers pointed out that the measure was to prevent concerned citizens from finding out the watch she was wearing.

Several officials had been found to own multiple expensive watches valued beyond reach of their wages, and were forced to step down.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 10 Chinese Internet Events in 2012

    Top Ten (Chinese) Internet Moments 2012
  1. Chinese intellectuals were forced to take side in a duel between Dr. Shimin Fang and Mr. Han Han. Han was ambushed after he wrote three political essays in which Han advocated for citizen actions for progressive reforms.
  2. Director of the Central Bureau of Compilation and Translation, the ideological think tank, was accused of adultery, corruption and taking bribes by a postdoc trainee in the Bureau in a detailed account literature, which was posted online.
  3. A post by a Hunan police went viral when people found the government paid $30k to some Urghur Muslims for some fruit cakes. The incident renewed public skeptical in China's Affirmative Action which was perceived as leaning against majority.
  4. A Green Peace post triggered an outcry on an unauthorized human test of Genetic Modified Golden Rice on school age children. The experiment was explicitly banned by Chinese authority, but the US based researchers from the Tufts University smuggled testing materials into China, and conduct the experiment in a rural elementary school in disguise of a state sponsored lunch project without informing parents.
  5. Violent mobs destroyed Japanese cars and attacked drivers in the heated anti-Japan campaigns across China following the dispute over Diaoyu Islands. Online photos and accounts showed many of the most violent mob were actually plain cloth police.
  6. Two Chinese graduate students at USC were killed outside their residence. Because the Associate Press mistakenly reported the two were rich kids, and then refused to issue a correction upon request, Chinese communities felt the AP was conducting an Anti-Chinese spinning of the tragedy.
  7. Beijing municipal government was criticized for its handling of a heavy rain. Dozens of people died, including one driver drown in his car on the street in the heart of its CBD area. Many likened the incident to the chaos and cover-up in the bullet train accident last year.
  8. Following former deputy mayor of Chongqing Wang Lijun's failed asylum bid at the US Consulate in Chengdu, a big political drama unfolded in the course of months, often proceeded by online rumors which were later turned out to be the truth.
  9. Chinese learned from Internet that an affordable luxury brand Zadig & Voltaire announced they would not serve Chinese as a sales pitch.
  10. Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress's Financial and Economic Committee Mr. He Keng blamed westerners who donate to Chinese were shameless. The comment backfired, and forced He quit from online social networks.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Director And His Women

A 210 pages gossip had been quietly circulating on Twitter, Weibo, and Douban. The piece was written by a postdoc of the Chinese Communists Party's Central Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin Translation and Compilation Bureau, accusing the chief of the Bureau of extramarital affairs with the postdoc herself. As you would expect a work of heart by a trained Judicial Doctor, the 120 thousand word manuscript was completed with an index, roles, footnotes, and appendix. It is very well written. Individuals and events were documented to the utmost detail.

The plot is cliché, but not without major twists. An ambitious young female scholar dealt with her mentor using her attractive body. It is interwoven with corruption, bribery, lust, and boring politics. However, it actually started as a love story, and ended with two broken hearts.

Many insiders pity on the hero, Mr. Yi Junqing, the director the Bureau, a vice-cabinet level position. Yi, a brilliant scholar, raised as the youngest professor of Heilongjiang University, and later the President of the same school. Yi earned fame with his intelligence, as well as with his well manners and elegance of a gentleman. Yi has been followed and admired by many young scholars in the same way as a pop star. Our heroin, Dr. Chang Yan, was no exception. Chang is an accomplished scholar, an associate professor at the Shanxi Normal University.

The first encounter of the duo took place last summer when Chang applied for a postdoc position at the Bureau. A temporary visiting trainee would not have crossed paths with a senior Party leader if everything went along regular courts. Chang enticed Yi, but did not succeed until many attempts later. In addition to her body, Chang bribed Yi with money, repeatedly.

At one point, Chang felt entitled to demand something back, in particular a permanent position at the Bureau. When it did not go well, Chang demanded a monetary payback. Yi wired her RMB 1 million ($160,000). Now Chang demanded exclusive rights to Yi's body. Yi complied by expel other young female out of the Bureau. It's hard to tell from the manuscript, but Chang was agonized by something and went public in the end.

The calm, candid, and left-no-stone-unturned descriptions make this manuscript a literature of human nature, that every man and woman have to face. What was revealed in this story could not be easily dismissed as another perspective on a long existing conflict between men and women. The writing offers unprecedented insight in a manner only seen before in Les Confessions. Dr. Chang published the manuscript to defame Mr. Yi. In the process, Dr. Chang combed through her own thoughts, and provided a soul-searching self-reflection, accompanied by unfiltered daily journal and raw dump of electronic communications. There are evidently miscommunication, misunderstanding and miscalculation by both sides. Retrospective thinking, however, many of the missteps were inevitable even if everything were to restart from the beginning.

Every great drama has to end as a tragedy. Although the manuscript and any discussions must be promptly banned, but Yi's career is finished. Yi's value for the Party is to provide convincing legitimacy of the ruling. Any stain would be unbearable burden for the Party.

Update, a sequel: Evidently inspired by the Yi Junqing incident, an undergraduate student wrote about her story with a professor in Southeast University of Nanjing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Foreign Donations are Insults to China

Vice-Chair of the Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Mr. He Keng said foreign donors were evil minded to insult China.

The comment was made in the context of a joint mega yard sale organized by the foreign consulates, commissions and diplomatic agencies in southern city Guangzhou on Dec 9, 2012 for disabled local residents. The yard sale raised about RMB 330,000, or $50,000.

Mr. He posted on Weibo that official Chinese charities raised way more money annually inside China from Chinese people. Comparing to the amount Chinese government spent on disabled people, the $50,000 is not even close to pocket changes. Foreigners who donate to China are evil minded to shame Chinese people. Mr. He's exact wording is, quote: "the only intention of foreign missions was to ashame Chinese people. Those yard sale organizers are shameless," unquote.

Mr. He Keng is a member of the standing committee of NPC, and formal vice director of the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

To set the record straight, we, Chinese people welcome any help to our needs. As of today, we do not have a government that bothers to take care of regular people, who do not have a voice. We appreciate every penny and will put them into good use.

Update: Mr. He further justifies his accusation with more postings, in which he questions the necessity of holding such a yard sale to raise funds. "The US Counselor in Guangzhou earns more than $50,000 in 6 weeks. Why didn't he just donate his salary if he were sincere?' asked Mr. He.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Anchor Babies and STEM Graduates

Not in Chino Hills is a crowd-sourced initiative led by Peruvian immigrant Rosanna Mitchell. Rosanna is dedicated to eradicate Chinese women who came to US to give birth anchor babies. Rosanna, a practicing divorce lawyer, distributes surveillance cameras to local residents to monitor activities, including car movements of vehicles used by Chinese. As Rosanna told the reporters of local Daily Bulletin, she wants to know "what locations they're doing the drop offs, where it's going and where it's stopping." Rosanna also recruits volunteers to follow Chinese in sight.

On the east coast, the Democratic controlled US Senate closed an act passed by the Republican controlled Congress, which would allow foreign students who earned advanced degrees in the US in science and engineering fields to stay in the US after their graduation. Latino-leaning Democrats killed the bill in name of diversity. The largest population of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students are Chinese oversea students.

Mitchell used the new Chinese Exclusion Act movement as a pivot for her staled City Council campaign. Although it's often a risky path, launching a racial war against the minority is often an effective measure, when 1) the economy is bad; and 2) you know a thing about propaganda, what to tell and what to hide.

Mitchell's arguments based on making people fear about their economic security in a hard time. Mitchell warned local residents the cost of medical expenses, and the burden of public school.

What Mitchell did not tell local residents were: 1) Chinese moms pay full cost with cash in advance to hospitals. Local hospital make every effort to allure more Chinese moms from a limited supply, because they are the group who actually pay. In a sense, it is Chinese moms's wallets that sponsored the local medical system to provide medical assistance to many local residents, including Peruvian immigrants like Ms. Mitchell's uncles, aunts and second and third cousins. 2) These babies are not to stay. They all go back China within one month. The 'anchoring' title is more like a in legal terms, than anything else. Wealthy Chinese came to US for delivery because of very specific reasons: the medical resource, environment, US citizenship and legal technicalities at home. In other words, they are looking after what can not be acquired with money in China. For example, in China, it's against the law to have a child out of a marriage, and against the law to have a second child in a family. Unlike people from Latino countries who come to the US in boatload (or van-load), only wealthy Chinese with well connections managed to come to the US for delivery. Unfortunately, the attractiveness of US stopped after the child was born. Thus, with no exception, they all fly back, the mom and the baby. For this group of people, money is not a concern; and on the other hand, they will never qualify for welfare. The new US citizen baby does provide an assurance of safety for the baby and the family. Surviving the communist rule is no low task than playing by jungle rules. The family may find a need to come to US one day, but they will ride in first class, and have a boat-load of cash followed.

In the end, what Rosanna Mitchell asked local people to do would hurt local people. There is no way these are too much to decipher for a lawyer trained at UC Irvine, but she chose not to reveal to the local people. Mitchell used local people as disposables for her political aspiration.

Anchors babies from extremely wealthy Chinese families and well-trained scientists and engineers are what US really needs to attract. Politicians have every right to advance their own agenda, but people shouldn't complain if they limit themselves to only political rhetorics.

As a first generation immigrant from Peru, Ms. Mitchell enjoyed free public school education all the way till her current practice as an divorce lawyer. She never found it troubling, but now finds fee-paying legal immigrants a trouble? As a lawyer, Ms. Mitchell can not tell the difference between illegal immigrants and legal? As a politician, Ms. Mitchell do not know what money is supporting local hospitals and local schools? We do not believe Ms. Mitchell is not a small time racist, who hates her neighbor only because of the difference in skin color. Ms. Mitchell is worse because she knows better. The Seagull does not believe Ms. Mitchell is a racist. Ms. Mitchell takes advantage of human being's weakness to advance her own agenda by getting out the darkest of human mind and making one group of people hate another group of people for no logical reason. Chinese moms are singled out for no better reason other than they are in small number and an easy target. As a matter of fact, we do not see Ms. Mitchell would hesitate or blink when opportunity presents steering racial hatred towards Peruvian people a cheap shot. That is Evil.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

China's Affirmative Action

It may be hard for westerners who had been brainwashed by Washington Post or New York Times to accept the reality that minorities, such as those in Tibet and Urghur Muslims in Xinjiang, in China enjoy more rights and privileges than the majority Han people.

According to the official police report released on Weibo (Chinese knock off of Twitter), a resident Mr. Ling had a dispute with a group of Urghur Muslim from Xinjiang, when he bought fruit cake from them. Tianyue police station (Yuyang, Hunan Province) arrested Ling, and compensated Urghur Muslims for the loss cakes damaged in the dispute. The Urghur Muslim group agreed to go back to Xinjiang.

People were quick to point out the police might have paid too much for the cake. The police gave the Urghur Muslim group RMB 160k ($28,000) for the cake, and RMB 40k ($6,500) for the cart, and iced the deal with a criminal charge against the buyer.

The 'Xinjiang Fruit Cake' sellers have been as famous as Nigeria bankers. Usually, city people know to stay away. But as always, there are a few who haven't heard of it. It is a kind of very sweet cake. The trick is that it is very heavy. It is heavier than, say, gold. Imagine your surprise when you could hardly lift a palm size cake with one hand. Also, food in China is usually sold by 'Jin (500g, about a pound)'. But this kind of cake is sold by 'Liang (50g, 1 and 1/4 oz)'. When you ask for price, you would be simply told a number, say 20, and you would assume that was RMB 20 per lb, and you would assume that piece of pi cost about $1. You can't be more wrong. The piece would easily cost you $100 or more. At this time, you must pay, otherwise, you would find yourself surrounded by a group of Muslims with knives in their hands. Muslims were allowed to carry knives with them by law.

The handling of the dispute by Hunan police is typical, but rarely reported because of sensitivity of the topic. By China's criminal law, Muslim would not be punished even after committing serious crimes. Local police do not have the motivation to intervene any dispute had Muslim involved. If a police were hurt, they probably couldn't even press charge. The optimal solution for local police would be to get them away to somewhere else, anywhere but their own jurisdiction. They must have purchased tickets for the group to go back Xinjiang, but readers should not be surprised to find these Muslims in a neighboring city.

Expectantly, the police report would be taken down from the Internet. It was. It must be a omission of oversight.

The Chinese law regarding ethnic minorities is hated by Han people. However, not even all of the minorities are happy. Some Urghur scholars have been arguing that the policy encouraged Urghur youth to become thieves and robbers, and practically discourage them to become responsible citizens.

And there is the academic policies.

Unlike the affirmative action act in the US, which is hidden by layers of carefully weaved reasons and excuses behind a complicated and never made publish admission process, everything is a clear cut in China. A Urghur Muslim can enter a college with less than half of the exam scores. Although it guaranteed more college graduates as it is designed, consequently, Urghur youth have no incentive to study hard. Further more, they will find themselves unmarketable after graduating from the college because no employer believes in the value of their diploma. They will have to settle on often uninspiring government jobs (although they pay well), thanks to diversity policies in employment.