Another day, another thread

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The topic that’s been on my mind lately (but which you are free to ignore) is what the recent uproar over censorship means for China. I read this in a Japanese newspaper and wondered if it’s really true:

BEIJING–In an apparent attempt to quell the uproar over censorship, Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed displeasure toward the media control division and said he would not punish journalists who disobeyed its latest order, sources said.

Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, appears to have given top priority to preventing the row from expanding further and threatening his new leadership installed in November.

Arguments for free speech erupted after the reform-oriented Southern Weekly based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, was forced to rewrite its New Year edition before it was published on Jan. 3.

The propaganda department then instructed all major newspapers to toe the party line concerning the censorship of the Southern Weekly.

At a meeting in Zhongnanhai in Beijing on the night of Jan. 9, Xi, visibly displeased, asked if the media control division was not adding to confusion, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Are China’s leaders listening to the voice of the masses and backing down from censorship? Hard to believe. Can this story possibly be accurate?

The Discussion: 46 Comments

Given that it’s from the Asahi Shimbun, I’d take it with a slight grain of salt. I’d be more trusting of the story if it came from an HK or Taiwan newspaper.

January 16, 2013 @ 9:58 am | Comment

They’ll probably gradually loosen their bottom line, just as Journalist will continue to push it, it has been going on for awhile already anyway, at least relative to 20 years ago, there is considerably less censorship in China today, but of course that was a rather low bar.

January 16, 2013 @ 5:00 pm | Comment

I think the real story is not so much that the journalists are pushing for openness — they’ve been doing that for some time — but that there was a huge outpouring on Chinese social media expressing outrage over the censorship/propaganda. And some concessions were soon made. So my question, for which there isn’t really an answer, is whether this uproar will affect China’s censorship policy going into the future; can it be ignored? Or will it just peter out?

In some ways censorship got worse under Hu, especially on the Internet (though China’s Internet was just in its infancy under Jiang Zemin). They give citizens a lot of leeway when it comes to local graft and social issues. I’m still not convinced they’re loosening the reins when it comes to political issues (i.e., democracy, Central Party corruption, Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen Square).

January 16, 2013 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

Maybe we will see more openness — on certain topics the government decides are fair game. You have to check out this link from an excellent China blog. Hard to deny we;re seeing signs of a transformation. Or maybe signs of a few days of transparency and then back to business as usual. The censorship seems schizophrenic at the moment.

January 16, 2013 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

I can’t speak to the Asahi’s connections in Beijing, but overall quality-wise, Taiwan and Hong Kong have nothing that really matches it.

(Sorry for the full copy and paste, but otherwise the WSJ’s paywall will frustrate many.)

China’s Journalists Are No Revolutionaries
Though sometimes driven to protest, China’s journalists remain committed to working within the political system.

When journalists at the Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangdong province went on strike last week against a local censor, Chinese citizens and the international media alike sat up and took notice. Microblogs amplified the journalists’ demands and helped make the incident a national topic of debate. Foreign commentators drew parallels to 1989, suggesting this could be the start of bigger protests.

But the deal quickly struck between Communist Party officials and the striking journalists shows that the system of media control is still very resilient. The reporters agreed to go back to work, and in exchange received promises that their work wouldn’t be censored as heavily. The local propaganda chief, however, wasn’t sacked as they had demanded.

Associated Press
Southern Weekly on sale in Guangdong. Though sometimes driven to protest, China’s journalists remain committed to working within the political system.

In other words, Southern Weekly was simply negotiating the boundaries for permissible reporting. Chinese journalists from the more outspoken outlets, like the business publications Caijing and Caixin and including Southern Weekly, have long done so. These negotiations are usually handled out of public view.

A rare exception occurred in 2005, when staff at Beijing News went on strike against their editor’s removal, after the publication exposed a sensitive corruption case in Hebei province outside Beijing. If Southern Weekly managed to kick up a bigger storm than Beijing News, it was thanks to the microblog and global-media attention.

Judging by this attention, you’d think a new anti-regime movement was on the cards. But Southern Weekly, while reputable for its daring reporting, was never an opposition paper. My own work on this publication’s coverage of major crises, such as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, shows that it consistently avoided confronting the central authorities. Its stories on the post-earthquake schools scandal targeted only local officials and were constructive in character, rather than solely critical.

My interviews with former and current Southern Weekly reporters confirmed that they saw themselves as change-makers, but ultimately insiders. “A lot of Western commentators mistake us for rebels or dissidents, but we are also part of the system,” commented a former journalist.

So what happened this time? The journalists’ strike reflected accumulated frustration over what they saw as increasing interference into their editorial decisions. At the end of July, Southern Weekly was stopped from printing an in-depth human-interest story about the fatal rainstorms in Beijing. Around that time, a few reporters also left the paper, partly due to the changed political climate.

Consider what occurred in this tense environment. Guangdong’s top censor Tuo Zhen didn’t like the New Year’s editorial that called for constitutional rule of law. Southern Weekly’s editors capitulated and agreed to a second draft, but Mr. Tuo published a third draft that editors hadn’t seen. On top of that, the censors used one of the paper’s microblog accounts to claim that the published editorial was the editors’ own work.

That was the last straw. The journalists decided to strike. They may have also perceived a political opportunity because of November’s leadership transition.

These journalists, however, did not confront the Central Publicity Department or the Party-state in Beijing. After a few days of protest, when they quietly settled the dispute with local authorities, some netizens were outraged that they didn’t explain their decision to their supporters. One Southern Weekly edition last week reprinted an editorial first published by People’s Daily, the Party mouthpiece, which suggested that Beijing’s media management should be more modern, but shouldn’t be completely abandoned.

It is also important to note the docile attitudes of other Chinese media outlets during this incident. Traditional media remained silent, while journalists didn’t organize any support. The only exception was Beijing News, which initially refused to publish an editorial by Global Times—the commercial offshoot of the People’s Daily—that blamed the censorship protests on foreign activists. It was eventually forced to reprint the piece.

The Party also didn’t clamp down in an unprecedented way. It appeared responsive to the protesters’ grievances, while continuing to suppress public dissent. Instead of shutting down the paper, it yielded to some of Southern Weekly’s demands. This helped contain the scandal.

It remains to be seen whether this incident will embolden more Chinese media to protest against censorship, as some journalists on social media argue it will, or whether it will force them to censor themselves. The protest by Southern Weekly may be an unusual case of Chinese journalists’ resistance to censorship, but it isn’t a new dawn for freedom of speech or rebellion against the Party.

Ms. Repnikova is a doctoral candidate in politics at Oxford University. She is writing her dissertation on state-media relations in China.

January 16, 2013 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

I won’t be surprised if Xi indeed said all these. He could also be worring about the “new” reputation and stability of his new reign instead of true press freedom. But how much influence he and his new team have over this issue is still up to debate. Censorship is an entrenched institution in China, even words from the mighty emperor may not be able to make any substantive changes without a real fight.

January 16, 2013 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

Southern Times and other Chinese paper with more opened reputation can very realistically be compared with Taiwan’s China times and United Daily during the 70s and 80s, both were very clearly connected to the establishment, in fact, both of their owners were part of the KMT ruling committee, but their papers certainly took a much more progressive stand than the party ran paper Central Times, and there were more than a few clashes as police / prosecutor raided both several times.

The biggest incident was probably the “Jiang Nang ” Case where a dissident writer living in California was assassinated by the KMT hired mafia member. China Time’s California branch (called American China Times, that was a news paper printed mostly for Chinese speakers living in the US ) reported on the incident and chased after the lead, and was forciably shut down by the KMT pressure at home and went out of business. They also reported widely on the Formosa Magazine incident, something the paper founder certainly took a pretty serious risk for.

Of course, they eventually “won” sorta, though the newly opened Liberty Times basically beat the crap out of both paper over the 20 years since the end of Martial law, and nowadays both paper are seen as “pro china” papers (both founder were refugees during the civil war) . though with China Time’s sale to the Wan Wan Group that claim gained a bit more traction.

These paper and papers like the Southern daily seem to behave in similar ways, they KNOW what the bottom line is, they’ll try to push it every now and then, but is careful to not overdo it to draw irreversible wraith from Central. It’s probably the more useful way of getting things done in the longer term, though the now generally uncontainable wraith of social media is also a factor.

January 17, 2013 @ 6:06 pm | Comment

This is the 21st Century. China is now a Great Power, and leaders of the great power should think great thoughts – like, how to keep up China’s rapid growth for another 50 years.

China has the world’s largest known reserve of natural gas that can be developed by fracking. The Tarim Basin has one of the largest (out of the 5 known bases) natural gas deposits in China (and in the world) that can be developed with fracking. Problems: there is no water for fracking, and no pipeline infrastructure to move the gas.

How about do yet another major, multi-decade project? The Tarim Basin has a few areas that are LOWER than sea level (that is an important detail). Build a pipeline to siphon (using gravity) sea water from the Pacific. From that:

1. Desalinate the water to develop agriculture in that gigantic piece of China that is mostly undeveloped (this alone can support a migration of 100,000,000 to build multiple new cities);

2. Use the seawater to frack (there is little concern about ground water as there is little – and desalination takes care of human use);

3. As evaporation and desalination concentrates the “lake”, minerals can be extracted commercially. Note that Israel just signed a contract this week to export to China 600,000 M/T of potash a year, extracted from the Dead Sea.

With solar power readily available and cheap (panels are down to $0.50/Wp, thanks to the China price – installed (installation costs are lower in China) they cost only around US$1.50/Wp – there is ample power without building fossil fuel or even nuclear plants in the deserts, for both desalination and for fracking. The gas recovered can be used to power industry (chemicals plants) and for the new cities to be built.

It would fuel another 50 years of double digit growth for China.

January 18, 2013 @ 3:55 am | Comment


Have you ever heard of the Aral Sea? Moving all that salt water into an evaporative basin would create an ecological catastrophe.

January 18, 2013 @ 4:16 am | Comment


Ecological catastrophe is a relative concept. Granted, if you pump the Westlake full of salt, that’s another story. Given that millions of sq. km of desert is devoid of commercially valuable “life”, forming a salt water lake there is not such a big deal. So you kill some desert cockroaches. But in their place you can gain over a million km of irrigated greenery to support multiple cities, AND have energy (from fracking) and feedstock to support new industry. It is a tradeoff, and probably require a decade of studies and calculations. But don’t write off the concept.

How can you do catastrophe to a desert that is currently not supporting meaningful human activities?

January 18, 2013 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Ecological catastrophe is a relative concept.

Relative to what? Relative to whether you give a shit or not?

January 18, 2013 @ 6:59 am | Comment


Also it sounds like the Aral Sea disaster was borne out of NEGLECT. If China is going to build a salted sea in the Tarim Basin, there would not be neglect – instead there would be engineering and adjustments made, all to achieve the grand goal of prosperity and growth and development. Night and day compared to the Aral Sea.

January 18, 2013 @ 7:23 am | Comment


Er, in so many words?

The Tarim Basin IS barren. It does not support life. It does not generate wealth or prosperity. It might as well be the moon. It is hard to imagine any worse. Worst case, the project fails and the desert is still dead. But if the project is a success, China buys another lease to sustained double digit growth for 50 years.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

January 18, 2013 @ 7:26 am | Comment

This is such a poignant entry. It goes way beyond Bob the great programmer.

Such a great opportunity wasted!! The Chinese development company should immediately hire Bob as their spokesman to get outsourcing jobs in programming.

Want top notch programming, want clean, well written code, all at 1/5th the price? Just out source it to China. The only difference you would notice would be the increased profits on your bottom line!!

Oh wow!!

What is obvious, but most Americans would refuse to even allow themselves to think about it, is that the Chinese know how to do most, if not all, of the functions that Americans do, at 1/10th to 1/5th the cost. There are real ramifications to that realization.

January 18, 2013 @ 8:41 am | Comment

Personally, I find Zhu’s megalomania, lack of knowledge about the wider world, and tendency to latch on to grandiose schemes very American, albeit representative of America’s least attractive side. It is the mentality behind Glenn Beck, Malcolm Moore, Ben Stein and other loud-mouthed members of the US punditocracy.

January 18, 2013 @ 11:06 am | Comment


The thing is, what happens to all that salt? It turns the sand alkali, into a literal wasteland. It leaches down into the ground and renders it not just bone-dry but toxic. Windborne dust from the area would increase, and the dust storms would not just dirty Beijing and other northern cities, but also corrode them since they’d contain dissolved salt.

Furthermore, what is the expected cost of such a project? 20? 50? 100 billion dollars? There comes a point at which increased economic activity by cities on the ‘Tarim Coast’ may not be worth the trouble.

Finally, there’s oil and gas in the Tarim Basin. Flood it and you make extracting the resources there much harder.

January 18, 2013 @ 12:29 pm | Comment


All valid points, but the promised returns would be in the hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars, enough to propel China through another half century of rapid growth.

There are proven gas reserves under the Tarim Basin, but no water to frack. Of course there are risks, but nothing that modern technology cannot handle.

It certainly should not be written off without a thorough study. Chinese technological progress has really been progressing at an amazing pace. Just TODAY the announcement was made of a National Technological Inventions Top Award being made to Wang, Hua Ming.

Laser fused 3-D printing used in creating airplane prototypes not in 2-3 years, but 3-6 months!! “Printed” parts can be as big as 5.5 M wide in any dimension. That explains the dumpling-boiling type speed with which China has been creating new warplanes in the last few years. Only China has this technology today – everyone else prints 3D with plastics. China prints it using metal powders without the need for high pressure forming.

What China need and what China can excel in, are grand projects that are difficult to do, and require a lot of coordination. There are good reasons that China succeeds in building and operating the largest high speed rail network on Earth. Greening the Tarim Basin with seawater would be yet another possibility to explore.

January 18, 2013 @ 12:53 pm | Comment


Hundreds of trillions? You’re kidding, right? The entire world’s GDP is only 40 trillion…

January 18, 2013 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

The Tarim basin area did once upon a time have lakes though, and not as far away as you’d think.

Still, that is a huge huge gamble, I would honestly think that China have much more other options to explore which are far less risky. for one thing, their continued effort to try and stem or even reverse the tide of desertification in the Gobi is both much more realistic and could potentially help just as much economically anyway.

January 18, 2013 @ 6:32 pm | Comment


January 18, 2013 @ 9:00 pm | Comment

All valid points, but the promised returns would be in the hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars, enough to propel China through another half century of rapid growth.

Another example of zhuzhu shouting out the first thing that comes into his head, no matter how stupid. Hundreds of trillions, indeed.

January 18, 2013 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

This story is amusing. No wonder so many Chinese are cynical about their leaders.

January 18, 2013 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

It appears that these days the Chinese are the only ones confident enough to plan big.

YES, hundreds of trillions.

1. Inflation. Money ain’t gonna be what they used to be. With almost all major economies turning on their printing presses to create new money at breakneck speed, much higher inflation will soon be the norm.

2. We are talking about over 50 years!! Just adding $5 Trillion a year in financial activities is $250 Trillion over 50 years. Is that so outrageous?

China is the only one getting ready for the massive expansion of economic prosperity, by graduating 6 million university trained grads each year, half of that in science and engineering. Japan is having difficulties in filling 80% of high tech jobs. America is graduating too few engineers and scientists, and too many high school dropouts. China continues to make and execute big plans. The paths diverge.

January 19, 2013 @ 3:10 am | Comment

Our favorite pundit writes:

At this point in China’s economic history, achieving 8% annual growth is no longer essential to accomplishing that, as real poverty has mostly been eradicated.

People on the lower end of the income scale are continuing to get richer in real terms today.

In 2012, China’s lowest earners saw their wages rise by 14% on average, while inflation was held to about 2%.

In fact, my company’s research suggests that people earning less than 3000 yuan ($480; £300) per month are among the most optimistic segment of Chinese society.

Ever optimistic. I hope he’s right.

January 19, 2013 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Zhizhu, you are making a fool of yourself. Even if we have more inflation, we are far from the point when China will reap “hundreds of trillions of dollars” from natural gas. I mean, really, really far. As in, it will never happen. You really are a shameless cheerleader, and a one-trick pony. Otherwise, it’s great to have you around.

January 19, 2013 @ 3:52 am | Comment


Your shaky grasp of the numbers is sabotaging your own arguments.


Returning to the topic at hand, I talked with some of my friends on a deep background basis, and they agreed that Xi likely felt Liu’s media group “在添乱”, but did not use those exact words in the Politburo/leading group discussion.

January 19, 2013 @ 4:24 am | Comment


WHERE did I write “China will reap “hundreds of trillions of dollars” from natural gas??

Zhuubaajie wrote: desalinate and green 1 MM sq. km (for agriculture), move in 100,000,000 and build multiple new cities, built solar and wind farms to produce energy to drive it all, use the seawater to frack and produce gas that in turn feeds new industry and energy use.

Hundreds of trillions over 50 years. Not far from the mark at all. What would be the rise in real estate prices for 1 MM km (from desert land to urban)?

January 19, 2013 @ 4:28 am | Comment


Hundreds of trillions in dollar terms could also not mean much in 50 years.

China’s Yuan is going to become an international reserve currency within 10 years. Do you guys know what that means for the value of the dollar?

January 19, 2013 @ 4:32 am | Comment

FYI Zhu, this is why the numbers don’t add up

Assume you create 10 new medium-sized cities around the Tarim Sea.

Assume they each start with 500,000 people, and eventually grow to about 5,500,000 people

Assume they start with a per capita GDP of 5,000 dollars per person, and end with a per capita GDP of 55,000 dollars per person, again, over 50 years.

Compounded, that’s about a 5% growth rate in population, and a 5% growth rate in GDP per capita, both of which are probably optimistic long-run assumptions.

Multiply the two and we get 2.5 billion in GDP per city in FY1, to 300 billion in GDP per city in FY50. Over the 50 year period, the sum total of all the GDP generated is 3 trillion per city, for 30 trillion total. Not a small figure, again, but an order of magnitude off your ‘hundreds of trillions’ figure.

What’s more, it’s not clear that this economic growth will be additive as opposed to displacive–that is to say, it’s not a guarantee that this economic growth wouldn’t have occurred somewhere else (say, the cities those 55 million people left) absent the massive subsidy of a government-funded pipeline pumping seawater into the one of the driest deserts on Earth.

China’s next leg of economic growth should seek precisely to avoid this sort of inorganic stimulus, and focus on getting gains through bottom-up innovation–the kind that created Apple, Microsoft, and Google. What would be exciting for all of us would be real action to open up the currently state-controlled stocks of Chinese capital to private-sector Chinese entrepreneurs. It pains me every time a corrupt, inefficient, and loss-making SOE can get long-term debt financing at 5%, while dynamic, growing companies like Xiaomi have to turn to venture and growth funds charging an implied IRR of 15 or even 20%.

January 19, 2013 @ 4:48 am | Comment

China’s Yuan is going to become an international reserve currency within 10 years. Do you guys know what that means for the value of the dollar?

Not in the next ten years. Maybe in the next thirty.

This is because, in order to be a reserve currency, there must exist substantial stocks of Yuan somewhere other than China. The only way to create those stocks of Yuan is if

1) China runs net trade deficits over a period of many years, and exchanges enough Yuan with overseas exporters to build them up

2) China acquires large amounts of overseas assets, and pays for the purchases with Yuan (not Dollars, which is what it currently makes most of its international purchases with)

Path #1 means completely revamping the Chinese economy. It will take at least two decades for that, but I can see it happening in concurrence with an aging Chinese society that shifts from production to consumption (especially of imported healthcare goods and services). This path, incidentally, is how the US built up its current dollar standard–by running net negative trade deficits (first in a structured, and after 1973, in a freewheeling, market-based manner) with the rest of the OECD.

Path #2 could (in theory) happen, but it will exacerbate China’s already pressing need to offload the surplus dollars it gets via its trade surplus. China’s ‘yuan purchases’ will be competing for room with its own ‘dollar purchases’, a case of the right arm battling the left arm if there ever was one.

Of course, this could be mitigated if, say, the dollar went to buy dollar-only assets (US treasuries) while China exported yuan buy commodities, real estate, and foreign technology, but that would be pretty tough sledding given China’s neutral to negative reputation among foreign elites. It’s hard enough Germany and France to buy assets in the Eurozone from even bankrupt European countries sharing the Euro–what makes you think China could pry foreign asset markets open to Chinese acquisitions when they don’t even share the Yuan?

Path #2 has only occurred, by the way, following a concert of powers that agreed on an international currency system not controlled by any one country’s central bank. (e.g. the gold standard of the late 19th century). So China, the US, the EU, India, Russia, et al would have to sit down, agree on some international currency (call it ‘credits’), place its policymaking unassailably outside the influence of any one country, and then China would have to accumulate large amounts of ‘credits’ to buy out everyone else (which they would have to accept as no one can impose realistic capital controls on an internationally recognized, and hence borderless, currency.)

January 19, 2013 @ 5:05 am | Comment

Is this the first time a Japanese politician, former or not, to pay respect to Chinese victims at the Nanjing Memorial?

January 19, 2013 @ 5:29 am | Comment


10 years, 30 years, it does not matter. Issue is what it does to the value of the U.S. dollar once it happens. That “hundreds of trillions of dollars” is not going to be worth that much when (not if) the dollar is 10 cents on the dollar.

January 19, 2013 @ 5:31 am | Comment


You actually have 2 projects, one is building a water pipeline to the Tarim Basin for fracking, and the other is considerably more ambitious, to make the area around the Tarim Basin hospitable to support 100 MM people.

A water pipeline from the Pacific Ocean by itself is a gargantuan undertaking but if any country can do it, China can. It will be likely a 4000 km all underground tunnel based on your assumptions. It will probably cost anywhere between $100s billion to $1 trillion to build it. For that much money, you can buy up the bulk of Turkmenistan’s or Iran’s proven gas reserve post-extraction! Tapping into the easily extractable natural gas outside of China, is the way to go…

People are in love with fracking nowadays. The process itself is so environmentally risky (I am by no mean a tree hugger) — wait ’til you have an environmental disaster worse than the BP spill.

The second idea is total nuts for a host of reasons. From an economic standpoiint, each unit of anything to support human live, will cost many times there than in the China Proper. Every yuan you spend on your dream project, is a yuan doesn’t get spent elsewhere.

From an engineering standpoint, this will likely cost more than another grandiose project to blast and dig a 100 km wide channel on the Tibetan Plateau to allow moist from the Indian Ocean to move northward. At least if this project is successful, your ongoing operating cost is zero to get Xinjiang wet.

BTW, desalination is a costly process also. Including the construction cost and the ongoing power cost, at the tap in Beijing a unit of desalinated water from the Pacific Ocean is actually much more expensive than the water moved from Hubei.

January 19, 2013 @ 5:56 am | Comment

@t_co/#31, actually if you look at the historical data (1900 – 1960 from, and 1960- from, the US only ran trade deficits twice from 1900 to 1970, during the Great Depression. Basically the USD didn’t become the international currency via path #1 (prolonged trade deficits) but rather path #2 (Americans’ foreign acquisitions, and grands/aids). US Dollar was so dear after the WW2 until the Nixon presidency that an average American could live like a king in even places like Paris and London.

Pettis’ first mistake was that he thought the USD got to be the king via path #1 but in reality, nobody could get there via path #1 — nobody will treasure the money of some new comer who spends a lot, but rather the money of somebody who produces a lot.

Moreover, there are way too many dollars out there. Pettis’ second mistake is assuming if anything is to replace dollar, it must replace the quantity of it as well. Hardly. Whatever the replacement will be extremely scarce initially.

January 19, 2013 @ 6:23 am | Comment

Westerner demonstrating convincingly to the Chinese how to be civilized.

January 20, 2013 @ 1:33 am | Comment

More jerks demonstrating their “freedom” in a land not their own.

January 20, 2013 @ 1:44 am | Comment

Says the American-hating Chinese guy who complains about America while living in America. I wonder how you can muster the energy to even get up in the morning what with all the TERRIBLE EVIL surrounding you in that WICKED, DEBASED, DEBT-RIDDEN AND DEBAUCHED LAND that you live in. You are a shining example of courage to everyone that in the so-called “Land of the Free” you have the conviction and eloquence to speak your mind.

As for that fellow, yes, what a dick. He should at least learn Chinese so he can yell convincingly in the language. As for the no-pants Subway ride: nobody cares.

January 20, 2013 @ 7:28 am | Comment


Huh, can you actually tell these jerks are Americans?? I don’t know, all gweilos look the same to me. How do you tell whether they are English, American, Australian, or whatever, just by looking at photos?

January 20, 2013 @ 9:44 am | Comment

“Gweilos” racist term, and you are officially consigned.

And when did I say they were American?

January 20, 2013 @ 11:14 am | Comment

It takes time, but China/s GINI index is going in the right direction.

China’s income gap narrowed for the fourth straight year in 2012, the country’s statistics chief said today, releasing the politically sensitive figure for the first time in 13 years.

The nation’s Gini coefficient was 0.474 in 2012, down from 0.491 in 2008, Ma Jiantang, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said at a briefing in Beijing to release last year’s economic data. The figure is above the 0.4 level used by analysts as a gauge of the potential for social unrest.

With rural healthcare coverage for major hospital stays expanding to 90% (from 50% deductible), the gap continues to narrow.

January 22, 2013 @ 8:29 am | Comment

“Gweilos”-Ghost (Devil) Men in Cantonese. Racist? Most probably not. When the British first appeared in Guangdong seeking trade the locals did not know who or what they were and didn’t know how to call them. By their appearance with body and facial hair, blue eyes, high nose, yellow hair they fitted the locals’ conception of the devil. Thus the name.

January 23, 2013 @ 11:10 am | Comment

Good one, S Fung. A racist term is anything that assigns a single or general set of characteristics to a race or a person of said race. So, again “body and facial hair, blue eyes, high nose, yellow hair” is a negative racial stereotype.

Would you say that “chink” or “nigger” is an offensive term? I certainly would (I even feel a little disgusted at myself for writing them) and so does virtually everyone who hears them. Gwalior is less well known, perhaps, but certainly no less offensive.

And the statement “all gweilos look the same to me” you see nothing offensive about that?

And the term is “blonde hair” not “yellow hair”. Do feel free to educate yourself when I don’t have the time to.

January 23, 2013 @ 1:40 pm | Comment


How dare you accuse Zhu of using racist language? Chinese languages do not have racist terms for foreigners, simply a few words that describe them according to their physical appearance. For example, in Taiwanese the commonly used word for foreigner is 阿啄仔, which refers to the pointed, hooked, or high noses of foreigners. If you look in some dictionaries, it gives this word as the translation for 美國人( ). An American friend of mine was invited to his Taiwanese girlfriend’s family’s house for Chinese new year. When he walked in, one of the uncles called out ‘ 阿啄仔’ and all the family laughed.

January 24, 2013 @ 7:51 am | Comment


You’re absolutely right, it was wrong of me… I only did it because I’m out to drive a wedge between China and Hong Kong, and also because I’m a Foreign Force out to stymie China’s rise because I am jealous of a resurgent China taking its rightful place in the world.

Actually, I handed myself in to the police the other day for punishment, but they said as I hadn’t given them the proper “consideration” that they had no incentive to do their job. So in punishment I went home, turned all the lights off, burned myself with hot skewers and soaked my wounds in lemon water.

I deserved it.

January 24, 2013 @ 2:46 pm | Comment


You seem to be desperate to pick on an insignificant point to further your argument. I am commenting from the standpoint of a Chinese. In Chinese no word corresponds to the English word of “blond”. When we refer to blond hair we say yellow or gold hair. Perhaps if I had said “gold hair” nars would have felt happier?

April 16, 2013 @ 11:12 am | Comment

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