A thread is a terrible thing to waste…

Richard is overwhelmed beyond words with his trip and his freelance writing and a number of ongoing headaches. If things go as I hope, I should have some great news for everyone soon on my plans to move back to Asia – but let’s wait until the ink is dried. Meanwhile, here’s an open thread. What’s on your mind?

The Discussion: 29 Comments

I’ll start by noting a new post on Taiwan’s war games, aka Han Kuang. Are they a military exercise, a political demonstration or a bit of both?

July 27, 2005 @ 5:05 pm | Comment


July 27, 2005 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

It’s official, Americans have lost their damn minds.

July 27, 2005 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

Gordon, are you saying they’ve lost their minds because they pressed charges against the couple (in which case I’d agree) or because they let them off the hook (in which case I’d violently disagree)?

July 27, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Sorry Richard, I wasn’t clear on that one.

I’m saying they were crazy to press charges against the couple. That was just complete madness.

July 27, 2005 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

I am definitely glad you said that!!

July 27, 2005 @ 8:29 pm | Comment

C’mon, Richard. Even Gordon’s not that wound. (And thanks for sending that to me, Gordon. Expect post soon referring to that, and our unhealthy national obsession with digital doggie-style in Grand Theft Auto 3.)

July 27, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

6 months for the mom? That kind of outrage rates at least a letter to the local authorities. I’m going to try to find their e-mails. Now, for the funniest thing I’ve read all week:
Abe and Esther are flying to Australia for a two week vacation to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Suddenly, over the public address system, the captain announces, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I am afraid I have some very bad news. Our engines have ceased functioning and we will attempt an emergency landing. Luckily, I see an uncharted island below us and we should be able to land on the beach. However, the odds are that we will never be rescued and may have to live on the island for the rest of our lives!’

Thanks to the skill of the flight crew, the plane lands safely on the island. An hour later Abe turns to his wife and asks, ‘Esther, did we pay our charity pledge cheque to Beth Shalom Synagogue yet?’ ‘No, sweetheart,’ she responds. Abe, still shaken from the crash landing, then asks, ‘Esther, did we pay our United Jewish Appeal pledge?’ ‘Oy, no! I’m sorry. I forgot to send the cheque,’ she says. ‘One last thing, Esther. Did you remember to send a cheque for the Synagogue Building Fund this month?’ ‘Oy, forgive me, Abie,’ says Esther; ‘I didn’t send that one, either.’ Abe grabs her and gives her the biggest kiss in 40 years. Esther pulls away and asks him, ‘So, why did you kiss me?’ Abe answers, ‘They’ll find us.’

July 27, 2005 @ 10:32 pm | Comment

China headline of the day:

Dead infected pigs dug up and sold for eating.

What a country.


July 27, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

China headline of the day:

Dead infected pigs dug up and sold for eating.

What a country.


Posted by Conrad at July 27, 2005 11:10 PM


Conrad has a way of thinking very similar to that of Hitler

July 27, 2005 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

if Conrad were living in 1930s Germany, he might say:

“Jews are #$^%$%^&$%&, what a race.”

July 27, 2005 @ 11:22 pm | Comment


Meanwhile, here is a much more entertaining story about the tatooed pigs in China:


July 27, 2005 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

I can’t quite follow what you mean bingfeng. I think we can all agree that digging up infected pigs and selling them is wrong, and I think it does reflect on a problem in Chinese society today, the willingness to do anything to earn a buck. Similar to the film Blind Shaft that commenters were discussing a while back. I think it is a real problem.

July 27, 2005 @ 11:44 pm | Comment


after reading this post, can you just conclude that “foreign MNCs are evil in china”?


generalization is dangerous.

July 27, 2005 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

I agree that generalization is a dangerous thing, but don’t you agree that this pig incident mentioned above is indicative of a larger problem, the tendency to say “screw you, i’m going to do what i need to earn a few bucks!” ? I don’t think that anyone is generalizing, but rather pointing out a manifestation of a major social problem.

July 28, 2005 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Denying the problem exists, or simply pointing fingers in other directions and declaring critics “are like Hitler” certainly will not help.

July 28, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

First of all:



I agree that it’s a bit much to compare Conrad to Hitler. Let’s be reasonable. Mussolini, maybe.

Bingfeng, you *should* defend China and make sure we don’t slip into easy generalization. That’s why I appreciate that you participate in this forum. (As opposed the many “yanqui go home!” trolls that just scream profanity.)

However, you only need to read the *Chinese* media to see that scamming and cons are endemic here. Right or wrong, that gives China reputation.

I am often asked by friends, family and random e-mailers if everyone will try to cheat them if they come to China. I always tell the same thing. Go to a tourist market, and you’ll get sold cheap stuff for too much money. Outside of that, you will encounter as much hospitality and honesty here as anywhere else. (I certainly have.)

But –and this is a big but (no bun intended)– that admittedly racist generalization is rooted in a kernel of truth. People here seem somewhat more willing to screw each other over in the interest of profit. China ain’t only place, heaven knows. But it’s got the rep.

July 28, 2005 @ 1:26 am | Comment

By the way, I cannot load that dead pigs story, tinyurl, virtual browser or otherwise.

July 28, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment

This is today’s SCMP:
While the government has tried to assuage fears and pledged strict measures to prevent infected pork from entering the market, the Chongqing Evening News yesterday revealed that people were digging up dead pigs and selling them.

It said the police found two dead pigs and a sick one on a tricycle last Sunday – bought by pig vendor Chen Ping for 50 yuan each. They ordered Mr Chen to bury the pigs, which he did.

But the following day he dug them up and sold them in another town for 480 yuan.

The newspaper said there was a large group of pig vendors in the area who collected the dead pigs, also digging up some that had been buried, and resold them.

It quoted the brother of a patient, Chen Siyou, as saying it was customary for people to sell or eat pigs that had died of sickness.

Mr Chen was infected with the disease after helping his neighbour butcher a dead pig.

But there are other mysteries surrounding the outbreak. According to a Centre for Disease Control (CDC) report on its website, the first human infection in this outbreak was a 52-year-old farmer who showed symptoms after coming into contact with a sheep that died of sickness on June 22. It said the man died on June 24.

July 28, 2005 @ 1:39 am | Comment

don’t miss the latest china photo album from ESWN:


July 28, 2005 @ 2:22 am | Comment

bingfeng, why do you alone here refuse to use tinyurl.com when posting links? It takes seconds.

July 28, 2005 @ 2:32 am | Comment

to use tinyurl is glorious!

don’t miss those great photos:


thanks Martyn!

July 28, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

How many times have I mentioned tinyurl mate?! Haha, to use tinyurl.com is, indeed, glorious! Certainly glorious for the borders/margins–whatever they are called. I’m sure Richard will be whoop with joy when he awakes.

Yes, great link and great photos. Thanks, I’d also recommend readers to visit.

July 28, 2005 @ 3:03 am | Comment

Re pig disease, this article updated earlier this afternoon on the unlinkable SCMP:
Toll rises as pig disease spreads in mainland

Updated at 1.03pm:

A mysterious pig-borne disease has spread to six more towns in southwest China, with the number of people killed rising to 27, the government said on Thursday as it scrambled to reassure the public.

The ministry of health said the death toll was rising and the total number of people affected increased to 131 by noon on Wednesday — three more deaths and 14 more cases than the day before.

Six more towns in Sichuan province reported cases on Wednesday, in addition to the two Sichuan cities Ziyang and Neijiang where the outbreak was first discovered last month, the ministry said on its website.

The World Health Organisation has said it is baffled as the disease, caused by the streptococcus suis bacteria, had never stricken so many people at one time before, raising fears it had become more virulent.

The Chinese government was quoted by state media on Thursday trying to reassure the public that it has got a grip on the epidemic.

“We have the technology and procedures to bring the disease under control,” China Daily quoted a ministry of agriculture official as saying.

State media on Wednesday had quoted experts saying no effective drug has been found to treat the patients.

Symptoms include high fever, nausea, vomiting and haemorrhaging with many patients going into severe shock.

The number of suspected cases, which are included in the total 131 cases, has risen to 47 as of noon on Wednesday, up from 41 the previous day, the health ministry said.
Where are Ziyang and Neijiang within Sichuan?

July 28, 2005 @ 4:19 am | Comment

Neijiang is just outsie the border of Chongqing. It’s a pretty good sized city.

I don’t see any cities called Ziyang. Perhaps they mean Zigong? Which is just few hours south-west of Neijiang.

You can look it up on Virtual Earth.

July 28, 2005 @ 5:31 am | Comment

the devil has all the best tunes

Pyongyang, July 27 (KCNA) — The 52nd anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War was commemorated on July 26.
Kim Yong Chun, chief of the KPA General Staff, in his report said that the historic victory in the Fatherland Liberation War which excited the world as a “military miracle in the 20th century” was a brilliant fruition of the wise leadership of Generalissimo Kim Il Sung. He referred to the fact that Kim Il Sung gave a shameful defeat to the U.S. imperialist aggressors who boasted of being “the strongest” in the world with his matchless pluck and will, outstanding strategy and tactics and extraordinary commanding art and brought about the beginning of decline for them.
The reporter continued:
All the KPA servicepersons should firmly believe in and follow the supreme commander only, become human bombs to defend the headquarters of revolution at the cost of their lives, thoroughly establish the revolutionary military traits of acting as one under his command in the KPA and become the first adherents and champion and implementer of the Songun idea.
The KPA will resolutely smash the moves of the enemies to weaken the ideological might of the arms of the revolution and mete out merciless punishment to the aggressors, provokers.
An evening gala of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces was held at Jonsung Square Tuesday.
The participants danced to the tune of songs “Long Live Generalissimo Kim Il Sung,” “Song of National Defence,” “My Song in Trench,” “Song of Remembrance” and “Our July 27,” recalling the day of victory in the war when the servicepersons and the people beat back the aggression of the U.S. imperialists and honorably defended the freedom and independence of the country.
With the pride of being soldiers of the Supreme Commander they danced to the lilting tune of songs “The Distinguished Service Medal of Soldier,” “Let’s Keep Pace with Army Song” and “Let’s Meet on Front,” flying the flags of the KPA supreme commander, the Workers’ Party of Korea and the DPRK.
Meanwhile, an art performance was given by the Korean People’s Army Song and Dance Ensemble at the April 25 House of Culture and a wartime song stage “Eternal Song of Victory” by the art squad of the Central Committee of the Korean Democratic Women’s Union and art circle members of the Pyongyang City Women’s Union at the Women’s Hall.

July 28, 2005 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

Rock on, Lil’ Kim!

July 28, 2005 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

Vat a country, Part II:

Two boys bitten by rabid animals died grusome deaths in Guandong Province after receiving fake rabies vaccines.

Official medical inspectors were found to be working in concert with distributors who sold a rabies vaccine made of only saline to small country clinics, according to a police.

Authorities in four eastern provinces reportedly seized 40,000 boxes of bogus vaccines that provided no protection against rabies, a major killer in China’s countryside.

60 infants die of malnutrition after being fed fake infant formula containing few if any nutrients. Hundreds more suffer from severe malnutrition.

137 people were arrested – including several government officials accused of covering up the sales and faking an investigation.

More than 100,000 bags of the fake formula sold under dozens of brand names were seized.

Yet new reports of “big-head babies” blamed on the phoney formula continue to crop up in areas throughout China, and it is reportedly still on sale in many places.

Supermarkets in Shanghai were found to be selling pickled vegetables that were made using toxic industrial salts and pesticides such as DDT.

In Guangzhou at least 11 people died after drinking liquor made with toxic wood-alcohol. Six suppliers and 17 other people, including 3 government officials, were arrested.

In Shanghai, producers distributed “tofu” cakes made from gypsum, paint and starch, then fried in oil made from kitchen waste, swill and pig intestines.

The makers paid police about 9,200 yuan (£600) a year to avoid inspections, according to the newspaper, which said it sent two reporters to pose as tofu merchants.

Media investigators discovered that a large manufacturer in Hubei Province was making “soy sauce” out of human hair collected from barber shops and treated with carcenogic chemicals.


Und I could go on und on und on. . . .

July 28, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

Conrad, it sure make me wonder what I was eating all that time in China. Thanks for sharing, and making us all sick.

July 29, 2005 @ 8:15 am | Comment

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