Associated Press picks up Hao Wu’s story

Good.

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Nowhere to hide

An innovative idea for marketing a newspaper. See the latest headlines – and more! Wy didn’t anyone think of this a long time ago?

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Attack of the killer moths

Will the Beijing Olympics be ruined by….moths? A major goal for the party is to present Beijing as a “green” city, replete with vegetation specifically planted to drive the point home. That’s now being threatened by anti-socialist moths from, of course, the USA. China is trying to lure them (and destroy them) with nature’s most sure-fire charm – sex.

Sexually attracting agents, insecticide lamps and bees are being used to combat a ravenous plant-eating moth which threatens to turn Beijing’s “Green Olympics” brown, China’s forestry officials have said.

The American White Moth, native to North American forests, threatened thousands of hectares of trees planted around Beijing as part of the campaign to host an environmentally friendly Games in 2008, they said.

Wu Jian, chief engineer of the forestry department, told China’s state news agency Xinhua that efforts to present a green city to the world could be in vain if the pest was not effectively controlled. The moth is a prolific breeder that can lay up to 3,000 eggs at a time, with larvae capable of stripping a healthy tree of foliage in a matter of days.

The State Forestry Administration said on Wednesday it had mobilized environmental defence forces across the region to counter the threat to forests in northern China. Xinhua did not say what sexually attracting agents were being used or how they helped eliminate the moths.

In addition to the planting of trees, environmental initiatives for the 2008 Games include pest elimination campaigns targeting rats, fleas and lice at gymnasiums and athletes’ villages.

Lofty goals, all. If the Olympics weren’t coming, however, would they be doing any of these things? I’d be far more impressed if they were to pursue such noble initiatives for the sake of their own people, not just the foreigners arriving for the 2008 games.

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Hao Wu’s sister is blogging

Read about it here.

I applaud what Rebecca and Ethan are doing. I also want to urge them to delete the comments posted on their site by one “Jessica Copeland.” There is a time to delete, and this is clearly one such time. It’s not about free speech; Jessica can open her own blog at any time. It’s about respect for Hao Wu.

Also via Rebecca, this article in the WSJ.

Update: One of the most poignant lines from the blog (in Chinese):

“His dream is in China,: she said. “His dream is for speaking out freely, and for making films…He knows there are some problems here, but he loves China and thinks things are getting better and better.”

I will be very interested to learn, after Hao is released, whether the “thinks” becomes “thought.”

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Thomas Friedman: Iraq at the 11th Hour

Friedman has been saying for months – years, really – that it’s still not too late to salvage things in Iraq, but to do so we have to move fast before things spiral out of control. Now, yet again, he sees Iraq at a critical juncture, but we still might be able to fix things. Sorry, but if anyone at this point doesn’t admit that Iraq is totally FUBAR they’re fooling themselves.

Iraq at the 11th Hour
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 31, 2006

The fate of the entire U.S. enterprise in Iraq now hangs in the balance, as the war has entered a dangerous new phase. It is the phase of barbaric identity-card violence between Sunnis and Shiites. In the late 1970′s, I covered a similar moment in Lebanon, and the one thing I learned was this: Once this kind of venom gets unleashed — with members of each community literally beheading each other on the basis of their religious identities — it poisons everything. You enter a realm that is beyond politics, a realm where fear and revenge dominate everyone’s thinking — and that is where Iraq is heading.

(more…)

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The Chiang Kai Shek Diaries

A contributed article by Jerome Keating.
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The Chiang Kai-shek’s Diaries: What Do They Tell, What Do They Hide?
Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

On March 31, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution will begin to make its collection of the Chiang Kai-shek diaries available for historical research. The diaries provided first will be those that cover the years 1917 to 1931. These diaries of Chiang Kai-shek as well as later ones of his son Chiang Ching-kuo also on loan to the Institution will unquestionably provide a rich treasure trove to explore. However they will also pose a tremendous challenge to historians and researchers of Chinese history.

There is no question that the diaries will provide an abundant source of much wanted information; anyone interested in the history of modern China and Taiwan will look forward to the insights and perspective they will provide into the happenings and personalities of those tumultuous times.

Yet after the immediate exaltation of knowing that they are available there follows the realization of the difficulties to be encountered in accurately interpreting them. In a variety of ways, diaries always have a secret side of what they do and what they do not reveal.

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Please Return to Sender

The citizens of Tibet must be soooo grateful for this. “Just what we need!”

Late Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong is set to cast a huge shadow over Tibet once again with a giant stone statue of the Great Helmsman on its way to the Himalayan region, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

China’s biggest statue of Mao rising 7.1 metres from a 5.16-metre pedestal is due to arrive by truck in Gongga county under police escort in just over a week, the Beijing News said.

Changsha, capital of the southern province of Hunan, Mao’s birthplace, donated the statue to Gongga as part of aid for Tibet, the newspaper said. The statue will be a landmark in the county’s Changsha Square.

God knows, there aren’t enough statues of Mao in the motherland. The Tibetans must be feeling all warm and fuzzy, knowing that China is taking such good care of them.

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Butcher Bush meets Butcher Mao

Mao butchered his people; Bush butchered the English language. Now, I’ll take a language butcher over a people butcher any day of the week. But a butcher is a butcher.

Context: Apparently Bush said this in an interview yesterday:

“China has recently read the book on Mao. It’s an amazing history of a couple of things, one of which was how fooled the world was — and how brutal the country was.”

A few weeks ago, Bush publically endorsed the Chang-Halliday Mao biography, so I presume that’s the book he’s referring to here. Literally every phrase of this short quote oozes with Bush’s signature tortured syntax, the first sentence literally meaning nothing at all.

As snark-meister and ueber-blogger Digby remarks,

Sounds like five years into his presidency Junior finally cracked a high school history book. Good for him, seeing as he has a degree in history from Yale.

Well, I suppose any publicity of how wretched Mao was is a good thing. It’s too bad the message is expressed in language so embarrassingly convoluted and juvenile, and so devoid of serious observation or thought.

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Hong Kong Corporate Blogs?

A few weeks ago I put up a post asking for information on Taiwan corporate blogs and got some great feedback. Now I need to do the same for Hong Kong. I’ll be travelling there next week to talk about blogging, and am hoping readers can point me to HK blogs being used by corporate executives or to market products – any kind of business application at all will be fine, and it doesn’t matter if the blog is in Chinese or English. Thanks a lot, and if you have problems registering for the comments, please send me an email. (This comment registration system is the bane of my existence; I have to get rid of it, but am not sure what to replace it with.)

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Learn Chinese online?

Can it be done. Apparently it’s taking off in China, and teachers there are offering it to students overseas. This article looks at the pros and cons.

Chinese instructors are teaching their language to students around the world without ever leaving China, as Liu Yang recently demonstrated while sitting in a cubicle peering at a streaming video image on her computer monitor.

Her headset comfortably on, Liu gently addressed a faraway student struggling to speak in the standard Chinese dialect. She watched him on her screen, corrected his pronunciation and guided him through simple drills in an online textbook.

With the latest technology, student and teacher heard each other clearly. They also saw each other on camera.

The era of interactive online language instruction has arrived. It may never be a complete replacement for face-to-face instruction, experts say, but its low cost and convenience make it attractive. Instruction in standard Chinese, or Mandarin, is taking off in China, where teachers are paid less than instructors abroad and easily embrace the technology.

“This is a trend. It is unavoidable,” said Dr. Marvin Ho, founder of the Taipei Language Institute, a Chinese-language school with 12 centers in Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan and the United States.

Others who are quoted say, however, that this technology can only go so far, and can never replace face-to-face instruction. While I would tend to agree, I would still love to try it; my tight schedule (the reason for the dearth of posts in recent weeks) makes going to class almost impossible. Anyone know where I can actually get any information on cost and class times?

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