Nightime Open Thread (or morning, if you’re in Asia)

I think it would be smart if we have a thread open every night, so readers in China can complain and rant and chat while we here in America are getting into pajamas. Let’s try to move the comments over here from the previous thread so we have the newest comments at the top of the page where everyone can find them. Thanks guys.

(And Lisa, thanks a lot for suggesting this. I was totally blown away to see the response yesterday.)

The Discussion: 63 Comments

And let me start with an email I just received requesting people in China to help give answers for a survey on the Internet in China:

I hope you can help me with the following:

I am a student from Holland, working on my Master thesis about the Internet in China and social contacts. I have desinged a survey to test some of my assumptions and now I am searching for respondents. Not very easy since I am in Holland right now, and don’t rite or read Chinese…

Can you help me to spread my survey? It can be reached through this link: and will only take five minutes to fill out.

Can you send this to some Chinese friends? And ask them to post this link on websites/blogs and send the link to friends and relatives? That would be so helpfull for me. It is hard to reach people with such a distance, thank god we have the internet, but still….

I told her I’d try to help, so if you can visit her link it would be a nice thing. Thanks.

June 12, 2005 @ 9:27 pm | Comment

Hey Richard, it looks like your post on Chen Yongling got picked up on the blog of an Australian senator! You are definitely on a roll.

June 12, 2005 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

Richard, not to get into one of those “thank you…” “No, thank YOU” things, but it’s wonderful that you’ve provided us with this virtual water cooler.

June 12, 2005 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

Okay, so I’m going to repost something from the earlier thread, because I’m STILL laughing over this book…

I just started reading FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING at the gym today. I was laughing outloud by the frontispiece (a little embarrassing when you are riding an exercise bike), which features the English translation of the “Foreign Babes” theme song:

“They all come from different countries,
They’re all in love with Chinese culture
and green vegetable snacks.
Their lives are carefree and fun
Because they’re all old foreigners!
But they can all speak Chinese.
They are so beautiful and poised”

“Foreign girls, foreign girls in Beijing, Beijing!”

Green vegetable snacks??

June 12, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment


Damn! the Aus Senator’s blog you linked to is on blogspot i.e. blocked in the motherland.

Could some kind soul cut+paste whatever it is onto thew Open Thread when you go to the link?

From the Peking Duck China Residents Association.

June 13, 2005 @ 1:08 am | Comment

Put Hank (Blog Wars) in a dress and he could be a Beijing babe as he LOVES Chinese culture and a loving Green Vegetable Snacks is a given.

We ALL love Green Vegetable Snacks right guys?

June 13, 2005 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Yeah, sure, green vegetable snacks, mmmmm….

Hey Martyn, still waiting for those arrest stories…and also, how’s life in Guangzhou? Have you learned Cantonese? Did it mess up your Mandarin? You know that chengyu, “Tian bu pa, di bu pa, jiu pa Guangdong ren shuo Putonhua.” (hey, I love Pinyin!). One of the reasons I’ve stuck close to Beijing recently is that I’m trying to keep my pronunciation “standard” until I’m sure it’s really stuck. Like last year I took a trip to Chengdu (which I loved) but BOY the way they talk was soooo tough to deal with.

June 13, 2005 @ 1:32 am | Comment

here’s the Aussie senator…

Senator Andrew Bartlett
Monday, June 13, 2005

Serious Threats or just false bravado?
Chen Yonglin’s request for asylum is an issue which quite understandably has become a cause celebre for many people, and I am wary of his interests being put secondary to the consequential issues people are raising. If the reports of how DIMIA initially handled his claim are even half-true, I don’t blame him at all for going public. However, it does mean there will be even more pressure on him for a while, even though he will also have plenty of supporters. I often get concerned when one person’s case becomes a cause celebre, as the welfare of that individual (and their families) can become secondary to the campaign itself. I can’t see any way around this dilemma, beyond being sensitive to it and trying to exercise restraint and make dispassionate judgements on a case by case basis. There is no doubt that some person’s situations have been helped by going public (not always through their own choosing), but equally there are others where I think it has not been helpful to them.

It is important that concerns about human rights abuses in China don’t just turn into blanket “China-bashing”. I believe it is usually better – when it is possible – to publicly debate a matter in a way that is non-divisive as it enhances the prospects of a constructive result. However this is not always possible and it is important that sensitivities and niceties don’t become an excuse to cover up the truth or prevent debate about it.

One of the main consequential issues which is now being debated in the mainstream media and on the internet is the way the Chinese government treats people it thinks may disagree with it – not just in China, but in other countries too.

One worrying example I have seen is on a website called Patriot China (Canberra), which says it is run by the Australian Chinese Students Patriotic Association (ACSPA). According to the site this is “a non-commercial, non-government organisation founded by Chinese students in Canberra Australia (whose) main purpose is to introduce a modern, free and democratic China to Australia and its people.”

The website contains an entry about Mr Chen which includes photos of him, such as the one below, with his face crossed out and the words “traitor” branded across it. Apart from calling him a traitor and a criminal, the author of the post says “if it were up to me, I’d kill this punk.”

Some of the comments claiming to come from other Chinese students in Australia are equally disturbing. No doubt one could take all of this as just the sort of false bravado you often get on the internet, (particularly in anonymous comments) but that’s easy to say when it’s not you who is being threatened or having your photo showing you eliminated being posted on the internet.

The comments on ACSPA’s site were also highlighted on a website called Peking Duck. This site is by a blogger in the USA which focuses on China in what seems to me to be a fairly sympathetic way. Some of the comments to his posts provide interesting insights into this fraught area too. Chen Yonglin’s defection has clearly made the news in the USA, as this site shows. (This site also contains good material on continuing Chinese government restrictions on blogs and the media)

As the ACSPA site appears to be run by people who are in Australia on student visas, I think DIMIA should be seriously cautioning them about what is appropriate behaviour in this country. I’m sure the Australian Government does not want to threaten the very lucrative trade in overseas students from China, but this group does claim to “represent many Chinese students in Australian universities” and if this is a genuine example of how people on student visas here behave towards others who they disagree with in this country, I think it should be looked at.

Some other sites providing a variety of views on this situation are Gary Sauer-Thompson, John Quiggin, The Currency Lad, Dogfight at Bankstown, Dispatches from the moderate left, Sydney’s Conservative Weasel and Bondurbia.
posted by Andrew Bartlett @ 9:46 AM Permalink
Comments (4) | Trackback (1)

June 13, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

Mucho thanks Lisa.

This is the paragraph that mentions the Peking Duck”

“The comments on ACSPA’s site were also highlighted on a website called Peking Duck. This site is by a blogger in the USA which focuses on China in what seems to me to be a fairly sympathetic way. Some of the comments to his posts provide interesting insights into this fraught area too. Chen Yonglin’s defection has clearly made the news in the USA, as this site shows. (This site also contains good material on continuing Chinese government restrictions on blogs and the media)”

Good grief, we’ve even got Australian policticians amongst our readership!

You’re a mover and shaker Richard man. Now there’s no denying it.

What next? The White House?

I’m glad he noticed that this is not a China-bashing site. It’s very comforting to know that this must be obvious to first-time readers. I’d hate to be lumped with the nuke-China brigade.

June 13, 2005 @ 4:07 am | Comment

By the way, this Open Thread is a fine new addition to the Peking Duck. Thank you Lisa, thank YOU.

However, my only tiny complaint is…well…the title….”Open Thread”….well it isn’t very sexy is it? Not glamourous, it doesn’t grab me, it’s not chic.


June 13, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

Hi, I posted a comment on the other thread which seesm to have gone astray. It wasn’t of earth-shattering importance, just strange it’s gorn.

I’ve added a bit more to my blog again, something not quite as depressing as yesterday!

June 13, 2005 @ 5:00 am | Comment

I’ll pop over in a sec Richard W. Thanks for the notice.

I also enjoyed your division of labour piece yesterday but forget to come back and say on here.

Wasn’t there some wierd-ass comment left on your blog yesterday? I didn’t understand much of it but you replied to it anyway. What was the commenter on about or was he just a loon?

Perhaps th ecomment you left was on yesterday’s Open Thread?

June 13, 2005 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Sorry, I mean the comment of yours that went missing might have been on y’days Open Thread as there’s a new one everyday.

June 13, 2005 @ 5:10 am | Comment


Peking Duck China Residents Association?

No, I think China Residents Association of the Peking Duck sounds more catchy.


Ha ha!

June 13, 2005 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Paul, I left a comment on the Patroitic Australian whatnot site, and they replied, a little incoherently perhaps, but if I wrote in Chinese I wouldn’t be much more coherent than ‘Me no like China big men’, so fair play to them.

Their arguments were a little predictable though…

June 13, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

Incidentally, somebody told me that if you go to that link now, it asks for your password! Let me just try…yup, you need to be registered. That’s kind of like success, no? If we keep on like this we’ll be closing and banning more sites than Hu Jintao’s boys!

June 13, 2005 @ 5:20 am | Comment


Sorry, missed your tiny comment yesterday. Am I thinking of blogging myself? No, not really as I don’t have the confidence for that sort of thing. However, I’m very interested in doing a bit of guest blogging following some very kind offers.

Filthy Stinking No 9:

Haven’t forgotten about that link you were after. Have trawled my books and can’t find it which makes me sure that’s it’s in Ross Terrill’s New Chinese Empire as my mate in Beijing has it. I SMS-ed him earlier today (Monday) so he should send me something tonight when he gets home.

June 13, 2005 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Or, if someone out there has a copy of The New Chinese Empire within arms reach perhaps they could look up “Canton” in the index and pick out the names of the letter story that I wrote near the very end of the 311-comment thread?

June 13, 2005 @ 5:46 am | Comment

Echo, re arrest stories.

I was thinking (apart from that I shouldn’t drink and comment) that instead of just leaving them in the comments on Paper Tiger (Chinese Edition), I could mail them to Other Lisa and she can decide whether to post them/edit them etc.

I’m just waiting for Lisa’s permission and go-ahead.

I’ll notify via TPD Open Thread when/if they are posted. Thanks.

June 13, 2005 @ 6:09 am | Comment

Anyone read this: ? (China Herald pointed to it.)
Welcome to the brave new world of microsoft.

June 13, 2005 @ 6:19 am | Comment

I’ve been taking sea horse and ginseng for the past two years or so. The sea horses are calcified, but you drop them in about 100 ml of water and boil them for around 5 minutes. When I drink it, it tastes like the scum scrapped off the hull of a Japanese whaling trawler. The ginseng is a little better. I slice the root up after boiling it, then put the slices back in the water and boil for around 2 minutes. SO, there I do like Chinese herbal medicine. Also, the Sea Horse is supposed to help men downstairs and the ginseng is suppose to have all kinds of medicinal purposes. Since I work out everyday in the gym and sometimes, at home, I need it. Well what the hell does the preceding have to do with anything previously said on this thread? Nothing really. I am just getting back into the swing of using 1st person pronouns; instead of making the stupid mistake of using the second person pronoun.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:10 am | Comment

The Open Thread is like a Message Board. I must say, I do like this open thread idea. It adds an online community feel to TPD.

“Hey Martyn, still waiting for those arrest stories…and also, how’s life in Guangzhou? Have you learned Cantonese? Did it mess up your Mandarin? You know that chengyu, “Tian bu pa, di bu pa, jiu pa Guangdong ren shuo Putonhua.”

I’ve mailed you about the arrest stories. Doesn’t exactly put me in the best light though….

I can get by in Cantonese (xiu xiu dak a laaaaa) and “Tian Bu Pa…” I have heard that before. The putonghua spoken in GZ now is much better than 10 years ago because now the kids are all educated in putonghua–not Canto.

It isn’t a 成语 by thw way, it’s a 顺口溜 (shun2 kou3 liu2). That might translate as ‘offhand quip’! It won’t be in the dictionary I don’t think.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:19 am | Comment


Back by popular demand.

I think we won an award yesterday mate.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:21 am | Comment

I hear ya bro’! My god, I bet foreigners posting in China hit a posting record on forums yesterday. It must have been a bad China day for some folks. But nooooooooo never for me! (LOL)

June 13, 2005 @ 7:31 am | Comment

Richard W., I didn’t delete any comments. It’s always possible that when I’m deleting spam I accidentally zap a comment but I’m pretty careful. If it’s really gone, please let me know.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:35 am | Comment

Interesting addition here.

Something that might work to keep the conversation from stopping and starting as new Open Threads are created would be to create a single one every so often, and link the latests posts to a sidebar on the front page – that way, visitors could see whether there are new responses even when the original post itself has scrolled off the page.

This wouldn’t need to be done for all the posts, but it might help create a sense of continuity in these threads, so people aren’t confused about where things were said.

Just something to consider.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:12 am | Comment

Thanks Martyn … I’ll keep watch.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:58 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No 9:

Ok, I was right about the story being in The New Chinese Empire. My mate just sms-ed. No wonder I couldn’t remember the names as there weren’t any given.

In The New Chinese Empire it just says “The Britsh trade envoy in South China urged the Viceroy of Canton……” then goes on to tell the story.

The reference for this story is interesting. It’s from a book called “China’s Entry into the Family of Nations: the Diplomatic Phase 1858-1880” written in 1960 by none other than Immanuel Hsu (of ‘The Rise of Modern China’ fame).

The story is in Chapter 13 of the book.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:09 am | Comment

Thanks! So it’s Hsu … interesting. Wonder if that was the book that came out of his PhD thesis. With any luck, I might even have a book out by the end of the year myself … though unlikely to hit the mass market!

June 13, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

martyn :
outstanding, muchas gracias
and you’re welcome to guest blog on my site anytime. ; )

June 13, 2005 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Richard, I have a request … maybe it’s self-centred … or maybe others will like it too.

I was wondering if there’s some way to search specifically for the comments put in by a specific person. In my case, I like to log in to see if anyone has responded to the points I’ve made … and sometimes I can’t keep track of where my comments are! It would also be interesting for trying to keep track of the comments posted by favourite commentators at the Duck? If this place keeps expanding, it’s going to get harder and harder to navigate around the blog with little tools like that?

June 13, 2005 @ 10:24 am | Comment

oops … “without” little tools like that.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:25 am | Comment

pete, you asked where Lotus Centre was in Guangzhou.

As far as I know there are 3.

My local one is on Guangfou Expressway, near to the Sanyuanli Metro Station in north GZ.

Another is in Tianhe, on Sunzhongshan Road West and Guangdan Road.

Another is in Nanhai (geographically outside of GZ) on Nangui East Road.

Let me know if you need futher info or the addresses in Chinese.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment


“I might even have a book out by the end of the year myself … though unlikely to hit the mass market!”

Oh c’mon, you can’t say something like that and not say anything else! It’s like torture.

Please provide as many or as few details as you’re comfortable with but please……………… tell.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:35 am | Comment

FSN9, I am about to hire a contractor to help me revamp certain features of the site, and I’ll ask him about this. Some sites have a feature that lets you receive all the comments to any given thread via email. Let me see what I can come up with, but don’t expect big changes anytime soon – this will take some time.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Echo, thank you.

A blog, you have a blog yourself?

I dearly love reading the blogs, I’m a total blog reader, have been for years but I tend to stick to the few I know and don’t venture out much unless Peking Duck or another blog I read links to it.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:38 am | Comment

My PhD dissertation has been passed with flying colours, and recommendations for publication from all 3 examiners … WOOHOO! OK, but it’s pretty new news for me. Next step is to rush it into print as quickly as possible … but it’ll probably be in a small series that is mostly just taken by libraries … and excessively expensive per volume for that reason. Anyway, the PhD was on Sima Qian and his portrayal of Han relations with the Xiongnu. Does that many anything to you? Maybe I’ll call the book “Why you can’t trust a Chinese historian” … hahahaha. Mind you, that’s pretty much the theme of the thesis. Existing scholarship pretty naively takes Sima Qian at face value, with barely any awareness that he might have been working to an agenda … I’ll stop myself there, otherwise I’ll have to write another thesis chapter …

June 13, 2005 @ 10:42 am | Comment

Where’s Other Lisa today? It’s not the same 🙁

June 13, 2005 @ 10:43 am | Comment

question for the collective ::

lately I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t seem to know of the various ways to bypass the n@nny. I’ve been toying around with the idea of posting some, but I’m hesitant for two reasons.

1) it’s a pretty good way I’d think of getting my entire site blocked, assuming they’re still bothering with wholesale domain blocking in addition to keywords.

2) increased traffic might attract unwanted attention to the methods, leading to their disappearance. should the recources be ‘saved’ for those who arguably need them more, ie native mainlanders? (yes, I know, they’ll find them and remove them eventually no matter what, but. well, that eventually might take longer if there’s less traffic on them. we’ve got people to repost stories elsewhere, a lot of chinese people don’t….)

I’d love to hear from everyone, but I admit I’m particularly interested in hearing what native mainlanders feel about point number two….

June 13, 2005 @ 10:46 am | Comment

FSN, congratulations!! So are you now Dr. Filthy?

June 13, 2005 @ 10:51 am | Comment

richard – out of curiosity, what blogging software are you using?

martyn – I’m a complete newbie, both on the sphere and in country. ie I know nothing. but at least I know I know nothing, and I like to blather on about that a bit at my own blog, yes ; ) richard’s got a nice setup, click my name and it’ll take you to my site (just remember to command-click or or right-click to open it up in a new window so you don’t leave the duck ; )

June 13, 2005 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Thanks Richard … but I’m not officially allowed to use the title until the graduation ceremony … so I’ll just have to be unofficially Dr Filthy until then. Well, since the no.9 identifies me as one of the stinking intellectuals, perhaps no additional title is neccessary?

June 13, 2005 @ 10:56 am | Comment

Echo, it’s Movable Type.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:03 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No 9:

Congratulations mate, from all three examiners? You must be over the moon. Good stuff.

The Xiongnu are fascinating. There’s still talk that the Hakka originate from the Xionghu. I’m not so sure like as I think they all got massacred during the Jin.

Please do keep us informed as to (fingers crossed) the books progress.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:11 am | Comment

The Hakka (Kejia)? You’re kidding? Never heard that one before … and would be incredibly hard to prove since we don’t even know for sure what language group they belonged to! Can you elaborate a little more on the theory?

June 13, 2005 @ 11:14 am | Comment

Oh dear, so now it’s the:

“Unoffically Doctor Filthy Stinking No 9”

As if your handle couldn’t get any more of a mouthful….

June 13, 2005 @ 11:15 am | Comment

adding a ‘recently commented’ bit to the sidebar is a three minute code job for m-t. open threads, as well as anything else still getting attention, would show up nicely without changing the look n feel too much and you wouldn’t have to worry about where the related posts were on the front page.

email when it updates is good for people who like giving out their email address, not so much good for those who don’t…

June 13, 2005 @ 11:29 am | Comment

Yes, it’s a wierd one. The origin of Hakka/Kejia vis-à-vis the Han and Xiongnu goes back to just after the West Jin fell when there was a massive southern migration and also massive ethnic cleansing by the Han kingdom (not Dynasaty).

The controversy is tha tif the Hakka language was in fact a Xiongnu tongue, then some Xiongnu/Hakka should have survived the Jin but th econventional wisdom is that they were all hunted down and slaughtered as they were visibly/racially different from the many Han tribes.

Still, some Hakka do have a proven blood relationship with the Xiongnu there’s just not enough evidence to prove it.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:50 am | Comment

Hi Guys, I wasn’t here because I was asleep, here in Los Angeles. Now it’s about 11 AM, I took the day off because my place is trashed, and I’m pretty trashed myself.

I am really looking forward to reading Martyn’s stories and unless I think they will get him arrested again I will be happy to post them. And thanks for the expression (shun kou liu), Martyn.

Unofficial Doctor FS9, let me add my voice to the congratulations! Is there a chance your PhD thesis will get published? I have only read a little Sima Qian and I don’t know anything about the Xiongnu, so I’d be interested in reading it. No, really!

A Golden Quack to you!

And Hank…from that description of chugging seahorses, I’d be tempted to retreat to second person myself…

Okay, that’s my round of kudos for the late AM…

June 13, 2005 @ 11:59 am | Comment

Sorry , there are proven blood links between the Hakka and the XN but there’s not enough evidencve to prove that the Hakka are derived from one or part of the XN tribes.

That’s better.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:59 am | Comment

mmm… I think you probably could prove it, if you could get some dna samples – as long as you can find people that kept track of their family tree. Although, really, I guess you don’t even need that – you just take people speaking hakka now that claim heritage, and look at the maternally passed DNA and the paternally passed DNA, and with a large enough pool the varietions will iron themselves out and form a basis for analysis. If you get a big enough sample size you can make general claims.

that is, if you can get DNA samples from all groups involved. Are there any other groups descended form the progenitor you mentioned?

June 13, 2005 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

Too bad I’m not a betting person. Though I have been paying minimal at most attention to the Michael Jackson circus, I bet that he was going to get off.

And he did!

Dang, I should’ve put some money on it.

June 13, 2005 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

Lisa, same here. I did think they’d get him on a minor charge (no pun intended) like intoxicating a minor. I’m surprised he’s walking with across-the-board acquittals.

June 13, 2005 @ 4:08 pm | Comment

We only convict our celebrities if they’re Martha Stewart (and the case against her was questionable). You can get away with being freaqky Michael Jackson, you can murder people like OJ and Robert Blake did, but god forbid you should be an uppity woman.

June 13, 2005 @ 4:25 pm | Comment

Other Lisa – Mos Def might disagree with what you mean by “getting away with” since OJ, being acquitted by a jury of his peers, has managed to get more shit for it than any white man would. Or so Mos Def raps it. good album.

Anyway, Martha’s crime was to be greedy, and boy will she capitalise on this. Ironic how fame can bring fame. If only that Paris Hilton would leave us in peace!!!

June 13, 2005 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

Laowai, but how the hell did Robert Blake get over?! Yikes!

Yeah, I think putting Paris Hilton in prison would be a good first step…

June 13, 2005 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

Does anyone remember the account of a visit to the CCTV show Dialogue, written by a foreign journalist in Beijing (I think)? I’m looking for it, but the link I found wasn’t working. Does any one know where I can find it?

Thanks, Richard W

June 13, 2005 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

Forget that, found it!

June 13, 2005 @ 6:06 pm | Comment

I am also looking for a comment that someone made yesterday about no-one wanting to be seen as China’s Gorbachev, does anyone know who or where it was?

June 13, 2005 @ 6:31 pm | Comment

Okay, just added one more thing, kind of depressing and possibly quite boring!

June 13, 2005 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

I know itr was in reference to Hu, and that he doesn’t want to be seen as China’s Gorbachev in terms of ushering in too many reforms too fast.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

No danger of him being mistaken for Gorby. His coiffure is a dead giveaway!

June 13, 2005 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

It was KLS, somewhere in the nether regions of one of the 100+ posts below.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

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