Sexual Violence in China and My Emerging Hong Kong Identity.


Hong Kong People Add Oil!

One of the most controversial concepts to come out of the new generation of Hong Kong young people is that unlike the previous generations, they do not see themselves as Chinese. This has upset people from China and the older generation most of whom subscribe to the idea of One Chinese Nation.

They see our race as our identity.

I never subscribed to the Greater Chinese Nation, but did see myself as Chinese, so during the Umbrella Movement, when I started hearing people talking about a Hong Kong identity outside of being Chinese, I held onto it and decided to change the way I view myself.

Last week I started researching sexual violence against women in prisons in China after rumors of sexual abuse in San Uk Ling Holding Center in Hong Kong came to light.

I started thinking how people conflate the CCP with being Chinese and questioned how those people can accept systematic sexual violence and accept it as part of our 4000 years culture.

The more I thought about it, I realized violence against women have long been part of Chinese society and is systemic. Starting with the most obvious example of foot binding, then, the more internationally universal, sales of young girls as indentured servants and sex slaves, child brides as concubines, and femicide for sexual agency and expression. In fact what’s going on in the prisons is ingrained into culture of denigration of women.

Adding the other aspects of Chinese cultural life: expectation of subservience from women, poor, & young, income inequality, and historical political oppression.

I’m not that excited with our 4000 years of culture to begin with, despite I love the glaze in the pottery.

Let me be a 香港人 only & always.

News: China sentences net writer to two years

China sentences net writer to two years

Thu Jul 13,  8:39 AM ET

China sentenced reporter Li Yuanlong to two years in jail on Thursday, adding to its list of writers imprisoned for expressing themselves through the country's expanding but tightly censored internet.

Li, who worked on the Bijie Daily in the southwestern province of Guizhou, was detained in September and charged in February with issuing essays that "fabricated, distorted and exaggerated facts, incited subversion of the state and (sought) to overthrow the socialist system."

He sent the offending essays by e-mail between May and August last year using the pseudonyms "Night Wolf" and "Wolf Howling in the Night."

"I feel it's very unjust," Li's wife, Yang Xiumin, told Reuters of the sentence. "To give such a heavy sentence just for a few essays isn't rule of law. It's not justice."

Li is one of a growing number of Chinese citizens imprisoned for speaking out on the Internet. Zhao Changqing was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003 on the same charges as Li after participating in an Internet open letter to China's parliament.

In March, a Chinese court jailed a teacher, Ren Ziyuan, for 10 years for publishing anti-government views on the Internet.

Li's essays on touchy issues, including unemployment and rural poverty, were sent to U.S.-based Chinese-language news portals considered hostile by Beijing and blocked to most Chinese users.

His lawyer, Li Jianqiang, said Li would appeal the sentence imposed by a Bijie court, but added it was lighter than many expected.

"Legally, to sentence him to even one or two days was wrong, but given China's judicial environment this wasn't as bad as it could have been," the lawyer said. An international outcry over Li's case probably helped his cause, he said.

Li's wife said he would be due for release in September 2007, if he serves the full sentence.

Wet Nurse: Career or Throw Back?

Zhong Guo- Middle Kingdom.

BEIJING (Reuters) - The case of a poor mother from the Chinese countryside hired to breastfeed an affluent city-dweller's baby has stoked controversy over the ethics of the ancient practice of wet nursing.

Professional wet nurses have appeared in major cities across China, the Beijing News reported Wednesday, fueled by rising incomes and a demand for healthy milk.

...."Some people say ... children of rich families have breast milk while cash buys the rights of the mother's own child to enjoy her mother's milk."

"The affluent level of society has the purchasing power, while the high wages will attract many women," Hu said, adding that professionals were appearing in major cities across China.

"Given the market has this demand, this shows that there is value and reason in it."

What do you think? Discuss....

News: Blogs test political limits of Internet in China (???)

Reading this article just reminded me what a farce the whole thing is. What's a New York Time Writer got to test? What don't we know gets banned in China already? What is he proving by doing what everyone knows? So that he can also be banned and then say he researched? So he can get onto the news wire? Then of course the American owned China sites say that nothing gets censored but we all know they do and are. What else do those 30,000 people do for work? (It seems one of them at least reads this site page by page and chooses what he or she deems aceptable. (HI!!! How are you doing today??))

I don't know, I feel cynical today. It's like the fact Chinese government censors the net is not even  news to me anymore. It's more like, so what are we all going to do about it... well not much either.. because it's important to trade.

Wed Jun 21,  5:03 AM ET

A New York Times columnist has created Chinese-language blogs on two of China's most popular Web portals to test the limits of the Internet in China -- but one of them could not be accessed on Wednesday.

In new blogs on Sohu and Sina, Nicholas Kristof denounced the imprisonment of his Chinese colleague, Zhao Yan, and called for President Hu Jintao to set an example in the fight against corruption by disclosing his financial assets.

He also mentioned Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned by Beijing as a cult in 1999, and described how on June 4, 1989, he saw the Chinese army fire on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters -- both taboo subjects in China.

Zhao, 44, has pleaded not guilty to fraud and leaking state secrets, but his lawyers expressed little hope he would be cleared of charges for which he faces more than 10 years in jail.

Sohu appeared to have pulled the plug on Kristof's blog on Wednesday but his Sina blog could still be accessed.

A Sohu spokeswoman reached by telephone declined to comment.

"The upshot is that China is much freer than its rulers would like," Kristof wrote in his column. He shared the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, for their coverage of the 1989 massacre.

"To me, this trend looks unstoppable. I don't see how the Communist Party dictatorship can long survive the Internet, at a time when a single blog can start a prairie fire," he wrote, borrowing a quote from the late Chairman Mao Zedong.

In December, Microsoft Corp. shut down a blog at MSN Spaces belonging to Michael Anti, a Chinese researcher for the New York Times in Beijing, under Chinese government orders.

Google Inc. has come under criticism for toeing the government line by blocking hundreds of words or by denying access to politically sensitive Web sites.

China employs about 30,000 Internet censors to filter politically sensitive information and help the Communist Party cling to power.

The search engines of Sohu and Sina resumed operation on Wednesday amid media speculation they had been closed down by the government after failing on-the-spot censorship tests.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, citing unnamed industry sources, said on Tuesday Beijing had stepped up controls on portals that had failed to filter certain words deemed politically harmful.

But spokeswomen for Sina and Sohu said their search engines had been closed on Monday afternoon for "system upgrading." They denied knowledge of any government crackdown.

The Ministry of Information Industry declined to comment.

News: 17th Tiananmen anniversary passes in China

17th Tiananmen anniversary passes in China

By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press Writer 44 minutes ago

Chinese police tore up a protester's poster and detained at least two people on Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Sunday as the country marked 17 years since local troops crushed a pro-democracy demonstration in the public space.

An elderly woman tried to pull out a poster with apparently political material written on it, but police ripped it up and then took her away in a van.

A farmer tried to stage a protest apparently unrelated to the 1989 crackdown, but he also was taken away in a van.

After dawn, a group of tourists tried to open a banner while posing for a photo, catching the attention of police, who quickly forced them to put the nonpolitical material away. They were not detained.

Discussion of the crackdown is still taboo in China outside of the semiautonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Chinese television news and major newspapers did not mention the anniversary.

In Hong Kong, several hundred people holding candles gathered at Victoria Park, creating a sea of lights covering four soccer fields. They observed a brief silence and organizers laid wreaths at a makeshift shrine dedicated to "martyrs of democracy."

The crowd also sang the pro-democracy song, "Freedom Flower," with the lyrics: "No matter how heavy the rain beats, freedom will blossom."

Organizers claimed 44,000 attended the commemoration, but police put the figure at 19,000. The crowd size was likely hurt by rainy weather in recent days and the lack of major political disputes.

"I hope the Chinese government will recognize this dark history," Eric Lau, 14, said.

Retiree Yan San, 74, said he has attended the annual commemoration in Hong Kong since its debut in 1990.

"I have persisted in coming here for 17 years because I love freedom and democracy," he said.

Wang Dan, one of the 1989 protest leaders who was jailed and then exiled to the United States, said in a taped video message: "We don't want China to plunge into chaos nor do we want the ruling party to give up power. We only want the Chinese people to live freely and with dignity."

China's authoritarian government has stood by the suppression of what it has called "counterrevolutionary" riots, saying it preserved social stability and paved the way for economic growth.

The events of June 4, 1989, shocked Hong Kongers at a time when the territory was still a British colony but preparing to return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. The bloody suppression fueled fears that Beijing would extend its authoritarian rule to Hong Kong.

Chinese police monitored Tiananmen Square closely Sunday.

About 2,000 police were on guard in and around Beijing's "petitioner's village," a cluster of cheap hostels popular with people from the provinces who have come to the capital to complain to the central government.

Wang said in an article published in Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper that he holds out hope China will loosen its political controls.

"Although so far we can't see any loosening, personally I'm confident that day will come," he said. "Until the government reverses its position (on the 1989 protests), ordinary people won't easily forget the crackdown."

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang, while in China's southwestern Yunnan province to attend a regional cooperation conference, urged his fellow citizens to look at the Tiananmen crackdown practically.

"Mainland China has undergone a level of change that has gained the world's attention in the past 17 years. These changes have brought much prosperity to Hong Kong ... so Hong Kong people can make an objective judgment," Tsang said.

Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, a fierce democracy advocate, disagreed with Tsang.

"How can we let it go? Should we just let it slide, forgive, pretend nothing happened? This is irresponsible. The successors of those responsible for the June 4 incident should give an explanation," Zen said.

News: Still no reaction from Yahoo! 4th Journalist Jailed.

Zhong Guo

It's disturbing that yahoo! remains silent on this issue because it means they will make no changes on their policy. That they have decided that the company will continue to help Chinese government put people in jail for writing "subversive" information on the net. Most importantly, due to the lack of free press in China, people who are using Yahoo! in China is under the impression that the American company will keep their information private. If Yahoo! continues with this policy they need to tell their users upfront when they sign in that their information will be given and that people have been jailed while using the Yahoo! services.

Although Yahoo!'s explanation for this behavior is that they are working "in accordance to local law," the local law in China is unjust and a violation of human rights.  Yahoo cannot continue to working under a totalitarian regime acting like it is a free country. What is acceptable behavior for a corporation in a democracy where rule of law applies is not when it doesn't.

Reporters Without Borders called on Yahoo! to withdraw its Internet servers from China as a fourth case was revealed of the company's collaboration with Chinese police that led to the jailing of a cyberdissident.

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has said that the verdict in the case of Wang Xiaoning, 55, sentenced to ten years in prison in September 2003 for posting "subversive" articles online, referred to collaboration by the US Internet company.

"Chinese journalists and dissidents used to trust Yahoo! more than local companies, to protect the confidentiality of their electronic communications," Reporters Without Borders said.

"This company has betrayed them by shamefully collaborating with the police. It has said today that it is 'distressed' by the situation, but the time for lamentation is past. We expect Yahoo! executives, particularly Jerry Yang, to announce that they will withdraw their email servers from China."

Wang, was arrested on 1st September 2002 and sentenced on 12 September 2003, to 10 years in prison and two years deprivation of civil rights for "incitement to subversion".

The HRIC said that he had reportedly been maltreated in detention between September 2002 and February 2004 and was believed held in solitary confinement at the No. 2 municipal prison in Beijing.

The press freedom organisation said it was dismayed by the absence of any reaction from Yahoo! executives.

Wang was charged with posting pro-democracy articles in electronic newsletters sent by email between 2000 and 2002. According to the HRIC, several articles were referred to in the verdict, one of which was headlined, "Never forget that China is still a dictatorship."

The text shows that information provided by the Hong Kong branch of Yahoo! helped establish a link between Wang Xiaoning and messages carried by a discussion forum. It said that the moderators of the discussion forum, hosted by Yahoo!, had decided to ban the cyberdissident from using the forum.


Zhong Guo


Reporters Without Borders today said it considered Chinese blogger Hao Wu to be the victim of state abduction as more than two months have gone by since his arrest by the National Security Bureau in Beijing without his family getting any news about him. His lawyer has not been allowed to see him, but has been told his client is under house arrest.

"This case shows the Chinese security services operate without any control by the courts," Reporters Without Borders said. "Hao is the victim of an arbitrary system that interprets the law as it sees fit. We call on European and American diplomats to raised his case at their meetings with the Chinese authorities. We are curious know how they will justify the National Security Bureau's procedures."


News: US company's collaboration with Chinese courts highlighted in Jiang Lijun case

Reporters Without Borders / Internet Freedom desk



US company's collaboration with Chinese courts highlighted in Jiang Lijun case

Reporters Without Borders has obtained a copy of the verdict in the case of Jiang Lijun, sentenced to four years in prison in November 2003 for his online pro-democracy articles, showing that Yahoo! helped Chinese police to identify him.

It is the third such case, following those of Shi Tao and Li Zhi, proving the implication of the American Internet company.

The verdict, made available and translated into English by the human rights group, the Dui Hua Foundation, can be downloaded from the Reporters Without Borders' website.

"Little by little we are piecing together the evidence for what we have long suspected, that Yahoo! is implicated in the arrest of most of the people that we have been defending," the press freedom organisation said.

"Last week we went to the headquarters of the company to urge them to end this collaboration. We called on them to remove their email servers from China, because it is the only way to avoid taking part in the current crackdown against journalists and democrats."

"We hope this Internet giant will not, as it has each time it has been challenged previously, hide behind its local partner, Alibaba, to justify its behaviour. Whatever contract it has with this partner, the email service is marketed as Yahoo!" the organisation said.

According to the verdict, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) confirmed that the email account ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang Lijun and another pro-democracy activist, Li Yibing.

In a paragraph headed "physical and written evidence", it says that a "declaration" dated  25 September 2002 had been found in the email draft folder, without specifying if this information had been provided by the California-based company.
The access code could also have been provided by Li Yibing, who is suspected of having been a police informer in the case.

Jiang Lijun, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison for "subversion" on 18 November 2003, accused of seeking to use "violent means" to impose democracy. Police believed him to be the leader of a small group of cyberdissidents, which included the young Internet-user Liu Di. She was imprisoned between November 2002 and November 2003.

The verdict indicated that Jiang Lijun wrote that the Chinese regime was "autocratic", that he favoured a "so-called western-style democracy" and planned to set up a political party. It also said that he planned to disrupt the 16th Communist Party Congress by phoning the police with a false bomb alert.

A Reporters Without Borders' team went to Yahoo! headquarters in California on 7 April 2006 to show them videotape in which the brother of Li Zhi and the lawyer for Shi Tao exposed the US firm's collaboration with the Chinese police (See:

The organisation's activists previously approached Yahoo! staff leaving its offices to show them the tapes. They then tried to meet the firm's executives, who at first refused to see them and threatened to call the police. They finally agreed to a meeting, on 10 April, but this encounter did not produce any concrete results.



Reporters Without Borders today called for the acquittal of cyber-dissident Li Jianping, whose trial on a charge of "inciting the subversion of state sovereignty" in articles and comments for foreign websites will begin tomorrow in the eastern province of Shandong. He was charged on 9 March but has been held since 28 May 2005.

"Li's conviction would violate international standards of free expression," the press freedom organisation said. "His only crime was to express his views on such issues as democracy. We urge the judges to find him innocent and set him free, especially as he has already spent almost a year in prison for no good reason."

Foreign-based websites barred to Chinese Internet users such as Boxun News, ChinaEWeekly, China Democracy and Epoch Times were regularly used by Li to post articles criticising some of the practices of the leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China and deploring the lack of free expression in the Chinese media.

He was arrested for defamation when officials from the Internet control committee came and searched his home in Zibo, in Shandong province, and examined the contents of his computer's hard drive.

According to the US-based organisation Human Rights in China and his lawyer, Zhang Xinshui, he faces a possible 15-year prison sentence when he appears tomorrow before an intermediate court.

Aged 40, Li is a businessman as well as an independent journalist, and used to run a medical equipment supply business. He took part in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in Beijing in 1989 as a founder of the Independent Federation of Shanghai Universities.


Zhong Guo

I do not know how people get the courage to put themselves at risk of being arrested and placed in prison for a cause. It's people like this who put those who speak against free speech, and those who fight for it in China to shame.


Reporters Without Borders today hailed the courage of the pro-democracy activists and lawyers who on 28 March dared to speak out publicly against violations of online free expression and launched a petition for the repeal of a six-month-old law that marked a much tougher government stance towards the Internet.

They also demanded the reopening of websites closed under the law, which Reporters Without Borders dubbed the "11 Commandments of the Internet" when it took effect on 25 September.

The petition says the law violates the Chinese constitution, in particular article 35 which "guarantees citizens free expression, press freedom, freedom of association and the freedom to demonstrate." Under the constitution, Chinese Internet users should be able to express themselves on all subjects, including politics, the economy and social issues, it says.

Among the many websites closed since the law's promulgation by the Council of State's information bureau and the ministry of industry and information are the "Chinese workers' site"
(, the site of the "communist partisans" (, and the "forum of soldiers, workers and peasants (

The petition's signatories include the people in charge of 11 websites or forums that have been the victims of censorship, and well-note Internet user Liu Di, who was jailed for a year in 2003 because of the messages she posted on online discussion forums under the pen name of "The Stainless Steel Mouse."

News: Censorship Affects Families, Not Just Google’s Bottomline in China

Censorship Affects Families, Not Just Google’s Bottomline in China

New America Media, Commentary,  Eugenia Chien, Mar 17, 2006

Editor’s Note: The most difficult conversation about censorship in China needs to be between Chinese themselves, not just the Chinese government and U.S. corporations like Google. Eugenia Chien, a writer and editor with New America Media says censorship caused an irreparable rift across generations of her own family.

SAN FRANCISCO - In the uproar over Google’s Internet censorship in China, some Chinese say the issue doesn’t affect them personally.

Just the opposite was true for me, growing up in Taiwan where government censorship created a gulf between generations in our family. Far from a cerebral discussion between activists and journalists, censorship was personal issue for me – it created a house with secrets that couldn’t be told.

After World War II Taiwan was ruled by mainland nationalists who did not tolerate dissent from local Taiwanese. On Feb. 28, 1947, a police shooting in Taipei escalated into riots. In the first – and last – demonstration of Taiwanese self rule in that era, nationalists troops killed up to 30,000 Taiwanese.

Among the victims in what is now known as the "228 Incident" were my grandfather's friends.

After the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949, the Nationalists enacted martial law in Taiwan. Much in the same way that the Chinese government censors topics such as Tiananmen Square and Tibet, the Nationalist government of Taiwan repressed the 228 Incident in history books. Two generations of Taiwanese -- including my father and me -- were taught little about Taiwanese history. No one I knew seemed to care.

Fearful that this information would bring retribution, my grandfather kept silent for many years. A few years before he died, my grandfather tried to tell my father about the 228 Incident, but because it was censored in the media, textbooks and literature, my father refused to believe him.

"I didn't want to listen to him," my father later told me. "Our school education made me very patriotic, so I had no interest in hearing about that kind of criticism of the government at all."

The election of a pro-independence president in 2000 led to an active effort to change textbooks in Taiwan and open discussion about Taiwanese history. Only then did I realize how censorship had caused an irreparable rift in my family.

I could imagine how disappointed my grandfather must have been when his children did not believe him; how long he had to keep silent about one of the biggest losses of his generation; how frustrating it must have been to watch his children grow up believing in an ideology he knew to be false; and how high a wall censorship can put between parent and child.

"I didn't let him talk," my father said. "I just couldn't accept it. If I had been interested or asked him questions, he would have wanted to tell me more."

No one in my family was a political dissident, but government control of information caused a rift in my family anyway. Criticism of censorship in China from a Taiwanese like me might be easily dismissed. But if an average family like mine – a middle-class family living an otherwise stable life – can be as profoundly affected by censorship, how many other families in China must have secrets from their past that can’t be told?

The Chinese government encourages Chinese to put economic matters first, says Xin Liu, an anthropology professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

"The government says that we should try to think about economy and development, and that after the economy gets to a certain level, we can discuss political reform," Liu says.

"It's true that people in rural China do not care about Internet censorship because they have other economic concerns," says Yan Sham-Shackleton, a Hong Kong-based blogger who writes extensively about democracy. "However, it does not mean it's not an issue."

“As for why some Chinese people will say it doesn't affect them, other than they are not telling the truth, is because they do not know what it is like to be in a free country,” she says.

“Not having something you never had will never affect you,” she says.

My father can’t reverse time to discuss the 228 Incident with my grandfather, but it is a topic that he and I can now freely discuss. The most difficult battle over Internet censorship may not be between U.S. corporations and the Chinese government, but between Chinese who feel its impact in their personal lives and the ones who say it doesn’t really affect them.

Continue reading "News: Censorship Affects Families, Not Just Google’s Bottomline in China" »

Free Hao Wu: Fellow BBC World Service Pannelist Jailed.

Zhong Guo.

On Valentine's Day UK time. I went on the BBC World Service Radio show "Have Your Say," to discuss Censorship in China. One of the participant named "Tian" was from China. He owns the blog "Beijing or Bust," He is also one of the Editors in the Harvard based Global Voices. His real name is Hao Wu. He was arrested a week later. On the show he said he was interviewing political dissidents, and that is why RSF thinks he was arrested.

I am totally in shock at the moment, so very upset. I thought he was very intelligent, and articulate. I even mused on the blog, that he might not be saying everything he believed in because he might not want the authorities after him... I think he was being careful already, he never said he believed in free speech, he didn't say anything that was anti the communist government, but he did say something about the project he was working on. Which goes to show, under a totalitarian regime, you never know what one says may interest the authorities.

Please help him. Put up the banner. Write it on the blog. Just let people know.


Free Hao Wu 释放吴皓


Blogger and documentary filmmaker held for the past month

Reporters Without Borders wrote to President Hu Jintao today asking him to intervene on behalf of documentary filmmaker Hao Wu, who was arrested in Beijing on 22 February after attending a meeting of members of a protestant church not recognised by the government as part of the preparation of his next documentary.

Hao, who lived for more than 10 years in the United States, is a contributor to Global Voices (, a bloggers association that belongs to the Reporters Without Borders network of partner organisations.

"Hao's only crime has been to do his job as journalist in an independent manner," Reporters Without Borders said in its letter to President Hu. The organisation also called on US diplomats to raise Hao's case with the Chinese authorities, above all as part of the preparations for Hu's visit to the United States next month.

Hao was detained by the Beijing division of the State Security Bureau, which has officially confirmed his arrest. Two days after his arrest, police raided his home, seizing videotapes and editing equipment. He has not been charges and the authorities have not explained why they are holding him. Global Voices said they authorities could be trying to get him to provide information about China's underground protestant churches.

Hao's family, which appears to be in contact with him, initially refused to publicise his arrest, hoping that he would be freed quickly. This is why the news of his arrest has taken a month to emerge.

In a blog called Beijing or Bust ( named after one of his documentaries, Hao writes under the pseudonym of "Beijing Loafer." As it is filtered by the authorities, he established a "mirror" site on another blog tool ( He is also a contributor to Global Voices, writing in English under the pseudonym of Tian Yi, and he is its North-East Asia editor.

Global Voices has set up a support site for Hao:


Here is partial transcript of the show:

BBC news – ‘Have your say’.  14th Feb. 2006 “Censorship in China”

Presenter: …Today we discuss about how censorship in China affect people’s everyday lives…….

Participants : Tian, a Chinese film maker in Beijing, Yan in Hong Kong, Brian, a lawyer in Shanghai and Chris living in Shanghai, Mike a Canadian in Beijing, and Natasha, French, who lives in China for over a decade.

Brian:  From a personal basis, I don’t think that censorship in China affects my life.  I log on the web all the time and if I can’t get things in google, I can get it somewhere else.

Chris: (now living in Dubai)…When I lived in China as a foreigner, censorship did not affect my life a great deal, as living in apartments where you can get ready access to foreign TV.  Foreigners do not read or speak Chinese so they get their outside news in CNN or BBC.

Tian:  To a certain extent, yes, it affected my life as I am a blogger and I need access to my blog and if I can’t get to the blogs, I use a proxy  which means you hop on to a third site… and then go on to BBC or other destination sites.  If people know how to configurate the proxy sites, then one can go to the sites blocked by government.  For me it is a minor irritation but for other people in China, they don’t know how to use them.

Yan: Personally, I live in Hong Kong and we have free speech. My site was banned in China a year ago and I feel that I am the person with something to say and more greatly that it saddened me is that what I have to say didn’t seem inappropriate to a billion people by a government which is not elected..

Brian:  Personally I don’t think so.  I agree with the previous comment about satellite and I have satellite too and quite a lot of us see foreign media regularly and CNN is just a button away. I may be apolitical but I don’t think not having access to certain sites really dampens living in China nor that I can’t search for information in some other way.  We can find ways and means to get the information we want.

Tian:  I think a lot of time we talk about censorship, the biggest censor may be the language barrier.  If you speak English, I think you can access  99 per cent of the contents on the site except perhaps the site on fa lun kung  etc.  People in China can access or other news website. Secondly, on a day to day basis, people are very busy, making a living or trying to improve their livelihood.  I don’t see many of them being frustrated by government censorship.

Presenter:  Yan Sham, of the four of you, you sound the most frustrated about  censorship and all four have demonstrated that it is quite possible to get round the rules if you know what you are doing. So how serious in effect does censorship really have in life in China..

Yan: First foreigners have satellite, Chinese people do not. You have to have a certain level of tech savvy and intelligence,  not intelligence but knowledge to get on the proxy to tune to the BCC and to speak perfect English. He is not a normal  Chinese person, he is exceptional.  We are not talking about people who are not average who are not affected. And the second issue is that censorship is not about minor irritations and to foreigners they may be apolitical, it doesn’t matter but if you have a political point you can be put in jail so those are not minor considerations that people are under house arrests or spend 8 years in jail and the issue is not does it bug me or is my life difficult, the issue is China does not have free speech.

Presenter:  ……. Listen to  Natasha who is a business person and have lived in China for more than a decade and have now called Shanghai home.

Natasha:    …… No problem accessing international information but with topics like the 3 T- Taiwan, Tibet and Tianman,  people can talk about them in the streets but on TV, there may sometimes be complaints.

Presenter:  Have you ever been on the internet to get some information and found that you are not allowed to.

Natasha: Yes, definitely. As a private account, I cannot access  …..some diplomatic information I can’t get access to,  I used to get it a few years ago but not now……I don’t know……….

Presenter:  Do you think the letter calling for ending all censorship will make a difference in your life.

Natasha: I am not aware of what you are talking about.  Chinese government in one way filter information but on my daily life, I am doing business  not politics in China, I am just neutral.  On my daily life, from the business point of view, I don’t see any influence at all. I can’t see the whole consequence of what you are talking about and I don’t see any threats to my business.

Presenter:  I just want a one word answer from you, before  ‘have your say’ programme contacted you, did you know about this letter from the former senior officials of the communist party.

Tian: No I didn’t.

Yan: Yes

Chris: Yes

Brian: No

Presenter:  Brian, do you think it will make any difference.  Lets be clear about who has written this letter; Chairman Mao former Secretary , the former editor of the communist party’s mouthpiece, the People’s daily and the ex propaganda boss and these are serious officials and do you think it will make a difference.

Brian: I don’t think so. For foreigners living in China, it won’t make much difference as they are exposed to the outside anyway and living here you will find ways and means to continue that exposure. But for Chinese people who have no such exposure it would be a milestone for the government to take the step as a lot of people are not so well informed about what happened in the world, and I am not too sure unadulterated, clean and complete access to anything in the world is a good thing for 1.3 billion people who hadn’t had it all their lives.

Tian:  When I read the letter, I doubt it as these people are no longer in power and the letter do not in any way reflect the government’s view.  I doubt if there will be any influence  and the only way that this letter can get around is through the foreign media and I am sure that in China the government will suppress any reporting of the open letter.

Presenter:  Yan, what about you in Hong Kong, do you think this will have an effect on you ability to put what you want to write on your blog and have it read in China.

Yan:  I don’t think it will change completely, the only thing that could help is that we are talking about it right now in the Western media and hopefully it will put pressure of some kind back to China and to the American companies like (     ) which is actually building? some deals? in China.

Presenter: Tian, let me come back to the point you made.  You said this story could be covered outside of China and it is fairly unlikely to be known to normal Chinese people  going about their day to day life.  But just tell me aside from this letter, is censorship a topic you hear discussed when you go to cafes, restaurants and taking public transport.

Tian:  The documentary I am doing now is on a sensitive subject and I do get to talk to a small group in Beijing who are very concerned about press freedom and human rights and a lot of political topics so for these groups of people, censorship is a big big issue so I sympathize with them and feel for them . Also in my own work I have to hide from the authorities and I do feel that censorship is a big issue in this regard.  However for the majority of people I bump into or I know in Beijing including my family, censorship is not a big issue.  They have their own business circles and they have their own corporate jobs so for them internet has given them and exposing them to information to help them to improve their livelihood.  So a lot of time we are talking about censorship, we are talking about which group of people we are talking with.  If you are talking with the political dissidents, this is a big issue, but if you are talking with an average Chinese, I don’t think so.

Presenter:  Brian  you are a lawyer, when you go about your work, talking to clients or people in the office, is censorship mentioned?

Brian:  In short no.  Most of the people accept that doing business in China, foreigners and international companies are aware that doing business in China is different from doing business in other locations.  People learn to accept that and for me I have been in this market for 5 years and see things improving year after year.  I think people have in mind that it will improve, it will get there but when it will get there will be determined by the Chinese authorities rather than by foreigners or foreign authorities imposing time table on the Chinese.

Presenter:  Chris, you are from the UK and live in Shanghai.  Do you think this is something which the west is obsessed about censorship in China, but for people who live there, it is a long way down their lists of important issues in their lives.

Chris:  I think this is a fair point.  People who lives in large cities, Beijing and Shanghai and from my experience, Guangzhou, Chinese who are able to access media may be from outside certainly are aware of the issues and they understand some of the sensitive points in the way  China has been run, such as the lack of democratic choice and these things.  People are aware of that and after years of this, people come to accept it although not entirely comfortable with that.  But people have priorities and like improving their standard of living and going about their other business.

Presenter:  question for Chris and Brian……By accepting that this is a different place to do business, by not challenging censorship, does it not make it harder for Chinese people to have freedom of speech.

Yan: Yes,  (laughs)

Presenter: Yan sham, you clearly think so.

Yan:  Yes, of course.  Spending time talking about this, does it bug you, is this an issue, and there are other things more important, I understand that for most people, this is not a priority but for people who have everything compared to people in China, we should have high ideals and western companies are bringing their money but they don’t care and companies like yahoo or google, there is no way of improving anything.  People in China have their priorities but Western people have created this idea of freedom of expression and we should be the one who help others get it.

News: Chinese teacher gaoled for online democratic leanings

Zhong Guo

A teacher has been gaoled for 10 years in China for criticising his government online.

The man was found guilty of 'subversion of state power' after posting a number of essays on the Internet, including one entitled 'The Road to Democracy', reports Reuters.

Ren Ziyuan, aged 27, was found guilty and sentenced by the Jining Intermediate People's Court in the eastern province of Shandong, according to the news agency. His lawyer, Zhang Chengmao, said he had pleaded not guilty and would appeal the sentence.

'I do know that whatever Ren Ziyuan wrote was totally within the scope of free expression,' his lawyer Zhang Chengmao is quoted by Reuters. 'He was a teacher who had his own ideas, but he never acted on those ideas.'

Thesentence is part of a continuing crackdown on Web-based dissidents, and it will serve to keep the spotlight on human rights in China. The pressure group Reporters Without Borders has previously revealed other cases, such as the campaigner, Shi Tao, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2005 for 'providing state secrets to foreign entities' following Yahoo! handing over email records to the authorities.

Technology is pivotal to this issue: not only are numerous high-tech companies rushing to exploit China's rapidly expanding economy, but the Internet and its surrounding technologies are increasingly providing a means for freer expression within the country.

Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have been among those under fire in Washington, for trading in their principles for the sake of trade with China. But the People's Republic has blasted back at Western criticisms - China fights back over Net censorship accusations.

'Recently, certain Western media and some US lawmakers have accused China of controlling the Internet,' said the CEO of China's top Net company, 'I think the accusations are completely unfounded. They know nothing about the development and management of China's Internet industry and relevant laws. In a word, they are ignorant of China's Internet development environment.'


News: Google hires D.C. lobbyist with a friend in high places

Facing increasing congressional scrutiny, Google Inc. has hired a lobbying firm that includes the son of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

The Mountain View Internet giant hired Joshua Hastert as part of a team of lobbyists from the firm PodestaMattoon to champion its interests in privacy, compensation and China, among other issues, according to documents filed with the U.S. Senate.

The hiring is another sign that Google is raising its profile in Washington, where  legislation is pending or is being considered that could significantly affect the company's business. 

Recently, members of Congress excoriated Google for introducing a search engine in China that censors results deemed subversive by Beijing. Lawmakers have introduced a bill that requires Internet companies to locate search engines outside of repressive nations and create a basic code of conduct for the industry.

....As Google increases its list of outside lobbyists, it is adding internal staff to handle public policy. Last year, it hired Alan Davidson, former associate director for Washington  advocacy group Center for Democracy & Technology, as its Washington policy counsel. Also last year, Elliot Schrage joined Google as vice president of global communications and public affairs, and oversees public policy.

Whole article

News: Cyber-dissident Luo Changfu freed on completing three-year prison term

Cyber-dissident Luo Changfu freed on completing three-year prison term

Luo Changfu
returned home today after being released on 12 March. Local sources said his state of health after three years in prison was quite good. He was arrested on 13 March 2003 and given a three-year prison sentence in July 2003 for "subversion" and "trying to overthrow the state authority." The sentence was upheld on appeal in October 2003.

A former coal plant worker, Luo was accused of writing articles for the website calling for the release of a young Internet user, Liu Di, who was imprisoned for more than a year for the messages she posted in the Internet.

News: Tiananmen activist 'mentally ill' from possible torture in Jail

  Tiananmen activist 'mentally ill'

A Chinese man jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests has been released from jail but is severely mentally ill, his family has said.                   

                   Yu Dongyue was sentenced to 20 years in jail for throwing paint at a portrait of China's former leader Mao Zedong.                   

                   He was freed on Wednesday, after 17 years in prison, but family members said he did not recognise them and spoke unintelligibly.                   

                   Human rights groups have alleged Yu was tortured by guards in prison.                              


                   His father, Yu Yingkui, said the family would now try to find ways to treat his mental problems.                   


                                               1989 TIANANMEN EVENTS                                            
                  15 April: Reformist leader Hu Yaobang dies                   
                  22 April: Hu's memorial service. Thousands call for faster reforms                   
                  13 May: Students begin hunger strike as power struggle grips Communist Party                   
                  15 May: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits China                   
                  19 May: Zhao makes tearful appeal to students in Tiananmen Square to leave                   
                  20 May: Martial law declared in Beijing                   
                  3-4 June: Security forces clear the square, killing hundreds                   

                   "He is suffering from mental illness... he gives few responses and has not said anything," he told the AFP news agency.                   

                                     'Solitary confinement'                                      

Yu, a journalist and critic for a Hunan newspaper, was one of three men arrested for throwing paint at the Mao portrait in May 1989, at the height of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.

                   The three were later jailed for "counter-revolutionary destruction and counter-revolutionary incitement".                   

                   One of the three, Lu Decheng, was released in 1998, and later visited Yu in prison.                   

                   Lu told Radio Free Asia in 2004 that his friend was "barely recognisable".                   

"He had a big scar on the right side of his head. A fellow prisoner said Yu had been tied to a electricity pole and left out in the hot sun for several days. He was also kept in solitary confinement for two years and that was what broke him," Lu said.

Chinese police and troops killed hundreds of unarmed demonstrators when they broke up the Tiananmen Square protests on 4 June 1989.

John Kamm, a US campaigner who had called for Yu's release, said he knew of 70 other prisoners jailed for the Tiananmen protests, although many were convicted on criminal damage rather than political charges.

China outlawed torture in 1996. But a UN rapporteur who visited China last year, Manfred Nowak, said it remained widely in use across the country.

Torture methods cited in a statement at the end of his visit included use of electric shock batons, cigarette burns, and submersion in pits of water or sewage.


Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/02/23 09:51:14 GMT

Ang Lee, Ma Jian and Absurdist China

Zhong Guo

Exiled writer, Ma Jian, whose work in banned in China said in his recent talk,

"Chinese literature is absurdist because our culture is Conservative and restrictive and therefore writers are accustomed to use symbols and metaphors. To criticize in an indirect way because it is the only way they know. The society is so traditional as well as our culture and the country is broken the only way one can understand or make sense of China is through absurdist thinking.

"Each book I write is different, for example the Noodle Maker, it is about the Tiananmen Massacre, it is set after 1989, and it is about the great change that has taken, and the sense of lost and alienation people felt. The whole situation, what happened was one piece of absurdist theater. How could one compare the event and what happened after with anything in reality? When I look at China, I see it as absurd, therefore we write absurdist literature."

This is perfectly illustrated by how the media and the Chinese government treated Ang Lee's Oscar win. The morning after the best director went to Ang Lee, the first Asian-American director to ever win this award, the Chinese paper splashed the news in all its front pages. Claiming he is the "pride of all Chinese people," the great son of the Chinese civilization, that we should all be proud of.

Except Broke Back Mountain is banned in China because of its homosexual story line, that Lee's speech was censored because he thanked everyone in "Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan." As well as reports failing to mention Lee is of Taiwanese Decent, and is first ever Oscar nominated film was a Taiwanese film called, "Eat Drink Man Woman,"  in the foreign film category.

If that is not ridiculous enough asking people to laud their favorite son of the moment for something they don't know what of, about content that is not approved, and taking glory from someone whose home they do not recognize, as another twist in unfathomable logic -due to the wide spread piracy in China, the film is in fact available pretty much everywhere.

How do one compare any of that with reality?