31 December 2011

新年快樂 2012

happy new year!  In 23 days, it will also be Chinese New Year (no, not vietnamese tet or "korean" new year or even lunar new year-- it's Chinese New Year because the Chinese invented the lunar calendar), and it will be the YEAR OF THE DRAGON!

30 December 2011

Greedy Govt Plutocrats

From  http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/heardinthehall/136380728.html

Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco is retiring Friday, but only so she can collect a $478,057 pension check and return to work Monday, when she will be sworn in for her seventh term.
Tasco was one of six Council members to enroll in the city’s controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan, better known as DROP. She did not immediately return a request for comment.
Plan participants trade a lower lifetime pension for a large one-time lump sum payment, but they are supposed to retire when they get that check.
Several elected officials, however, exercised a right approved by two city solicitors to run for election, retire for a day, collect their DROP payments, and return to work.
Tasco was one of six Council members to do that. But DROP enrollment became such a political liability that participation in the plan played a role in the decisions of four other Council members - Frank DiCicco, Donna Reed Miller, Jack Kelly and President Anna Verna - not to run again. Councilman Frank Rizzo lost his reelection bid in part because he was enrolled in DROP.
Taco may have paid a price, too. She was widely expected to replace Verna as president, but as the DROP controversy grew, Tasco’s candidacy for the leadership spot faded. Instead, Councilman Darrell Clarke, who is not enrolled in DROP, will be the next president.
DROP allows participants to pick a retirement date four years in the future. That decision freezes their yearly pension payment and prompts the city to deposit an amount equal to their payment in an interest-bearing account. At some point before the end of the four years, the employee retires and collects the lump-sum check.
When DROP was introduced during the Rendell administration, it was thought that it would cost little or nothing.
But a study by the administration of Mayor Nutter said DROP had cost the city $258 million over 10 years. A later study paid for by Council put the pricetage at $100 million over 10 year.
Nutter proposed abolishing DROP, but Council instead chose to modify it to reduce its cost.
Contact staff writer Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520, hillmb@phillynews.com or @miriamhill on Twitter.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

Posted by Miriam Hill @ 12:31 PM  Permalink | 4 comments

27 December 2011

RIP Comrade Jin Zhengri (Kim Jong-il)

Fairbank Report... Live from Pyongyang, DPRK... Current temp is 32 F; snowing

Funeral for Comrade Jin Zhengri...

Live broadcast at http://media.theage.com.au/news/world-news/live-kim-jongils-funeral-2861705.html

21 December 2011

ameriKKKan military thugs

From Xinhua News Agency

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Eight U.S. soldiers deployed to southern Afghanistan were charged on Wednesday in connection with the death of a fellow Chinese-American soldier in October, the American Forces Press Service reported.
Danny Chen, a 19-year-old infantryman assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion of 25th Infantry Division, died on Oct. 3. His body was found in a guard tower in southern Afghanistan with "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound" in his head, the report said.
The U.S. Army has charged eight of Chen's fellow soldiers in connection with his death: 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt, and Sgt. Travis F. Carden.
All of the accused are assigned to Company C, and posted to Combat Outpost Palace in southern Afghanistan, U.S. military officials were quoted as saying. The charges include dereliction of duty, maltreatment, involuntary manslaughter, assault consummated by battery, and reckless endangerment.
No further information was disclosed by the report about the real causes of Chen's death, or if it was a suicide.
The death of Chen, from Chinatown of New York, shocked local Asian-Chinese communities, which urged the U.S. military to launch a thorough investigation into the incident.
U.S. military official revealed to Chen's family that he had been subjected to physical abuse and ethnic slurs by his superiors, who dragged him out of bed one night and across the floor when he failed to turn off a water heater after showering, according to a report published by the New York Times in October.
This is the second such incident in the past year after the suicide of another Chinese-American soldier Harry Lew, a Marine from California, who killed himself in April in Afghanistan. Investigators found that Lew was subjected to a brutal hazing by his fellow Marines, who were ordered court-martialed in October.

20 December 2011

"Unspeakable Sorrow" in Pyongyang

Shay Stevens of NPR, the Worst News Reader Ever?

While she has an excellent vocal chord, her perennial inability to read the news is driving us crazy.  She's probably dyslexic because she constantly transposes words.  Then she would get really nervous and make incoherent noises.

Last night, she said the Dow went up by 100 points when in fact the index dropped by 100 points.

19 December 2011

The Rise of the "Righteous Cloud": 金正恩

Chinese name:  金正

(pinyin Jin Zheng-en)
Korean Transliteration:  Kim Jong-un


(Zheng-en in Chinese, Jong-un in Korean) means "Righteous and Charitable"...

18 December 2011

Pyongyang Paula Announces Kim Jong-il's Passing

North Korea's Jin Zhengri (Kim Jung-il) Dead @ 69



Chairman Mao Zedong once said:

"We have the right to make rebellion!"

"To make revolution is no crime!"
"革命不罪" (geming buzui)


Source:  http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/china/2011/12/images-from-wukan.html

Images from Wukan

I am on my second day in Wukan, the village that has rebelled against government control on China. (My story from last night can be found by clicking here.) Some images from today:
Mourners at funeral service for Xue Jinbo
Mourners at funeral service for Xue Jinbo

An abandoned government building in Wukan

Crowd at memorial service-rally in Wukan

Crowd at memorial service-rally in Wukan

14 December 2011


From the Telegraph, UK

Rebel Chinese village of Wukan 'has food for ten days'

The rebel Chinese village of Wukan, which has driven out the Communist party, has resorted to smuggling in food past a police ring of steel which has cut off its population of more than 20,000.

Thousands of Wukan's residents gathered for a second day in front of a triple-roofed pagoda that serves as the village hall Photo: MALCOM MOORE

By Malcolm Moore, Wukan

5:23PM GMT 14 Dec 2011


Villagers say that they have enough supplies to hold out for only 10 more days.

Wukan has been encircled by the police cordon since Sunday, after a failed attempt by 1,000 armed police to capture the village. No food or water is allowed in, and no villagers allowed out.

But the villagers were unbowed yesterday, and their leaders said they had seen signs that the government would “blink first”.

“We have an old saying here,” said Chen Liangshu, one of the villagers, referring to the legendary aggression of the Wukanese and their neighbours. “In heaven there is the Thunder God, on earth there is Lufeng and Wukan.”

Trouble in Wukan has been brewing since September, after the fishing village revolted at an attempt to take one of its last parcels of farmland and give it to a major Chinese property developer, Country Garden.

However it was the death of 43-year-old Xue Jinbo, one of the village’s 13 temporary representatives, in police custody that pushed Wukan into its current fury, and saw the last of the village’s dozen Communist party officials flee. His family believe he was murdered.

Thousands of villagers have held daily protest meetings outside the village hall since the news broke on Monday.

Almost all the village’s roadside restaurants are shut, but at the market around half the stalls are open. “We think we can last for 10 to 12 days,” said Zhang Xiaoping, a stall owner.

“We are using a corridor to the next village to smuggle in meat and vegetables on the back of motorbikes, but each trip takes an hour,” she added.

Wukan’s fleet of fishing boats has also been shut in. One fisherman, who asked to be named as “United Wukan”, said he had already cut down to two meals a day and was prepared, like everyone else, “to starve myself to death”.

Wukan used to make a tidy sum from fishing, and was originally happy to sell off its farmland. But in recent years, a combination of pollution and large trawlers has diminished the fishery.

The gap between the rich and poor in the village has also upset many, with at least a hundred families, including those of the former party secretary and village finance chief, living in palatial mansions, all built on farmland. By yesterday, almost all the rich families had also retreated out of the village, while the ones who remained refused to comment on the protests, shut in behind high walls and strong steel gates.

So far, the police have not made any further attempts to retake Wukan, and the village’s temporary leadership said negotiations with the government are now under way.

The local government sent a relative of Zhang Jiancheng, one of the four Wukan villagers still being held by local police, to offer a deal, according to Yang Semao, a village representative. It was refused.

“We turned down the offer,” said Mr Yang. “We want them to admit responsibility for the bloodshed when the riot police beat us in September, admit that we have a legal complaint, admit that the village representatives are a legal negotiating team, and to return all of our land to us, for us to split evenly among the villagers.”

08 December 2011

China's Communist Princes

From:  http://charlesrowley.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/chinas-princelings-dishonor-the-red-revolution/

China’s princelings dishonor the red revolution

3 Votes
“State controlled media portray China’s leaders as living by austere Communist values they publicly espouse.  But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.  Their visibility has particular resonance as the country approaches a once-in-a-decade leadership change next year, when several older princelings are expected to take the Communist Party’s top positions.  That prospect has led some in Chinese business and political circles to wonder whether the party will be dominated for the next decade by a group of elite families who already control large chunks of the world’s second biggest economy and wield considerable influence in the military.” Jeremy Page, ‘Children of the Revolution’, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2011
Let me illustrate this tale of  Chinese hypocrisy, by reference to the family Bo.
Grandfather, Bo Yibo was a famous revolutionary, who helped lead Mao’s forces to victory  and who was a founding member of The People’s Republic of China. He was purged by Mao during the Cultural Revolution, but was subsequently rehabilitated.
Bo Yibo’s son, Bo Xilai is currently Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing and a member of the Politburo.  He is tipped for elevation to the Politburo standing Committee once President Hu Jintao is replaced by Xi Jinping in 2012.
Bo Yibo’s grandson, Bo Guagua is, as we would say in the southern United States, ‘somethin’ else.’
Bo Yibo appears to have led an exemplary life exhibiting an austerity of lifestyle appropriate for the Red Revolution. Even so, during the first few decades after Mao’s 1949 revolution, the children of the Communist chieftains lived privileged lives, growing up in walled compounds and attending elite schools, such as the Beijing No. 4  Boys’ High School, where Bo Yibo’s son, Xilai, and several other current leaders studied. Now families of China’s leaders send their offspring overseas at young ages, often to top schools in the United States, Britain and Switzerland, to make sure that they will later access the best Western universities.
Now one might think that such indulgence would be beyond the financial means of any leader in Communist China.  The modest salary of a senior minister such as Bo Xilai, for example, is supposedly 140,000 yuan per annum, or $22,000.  Somehow, these modest salaries multiply, perhaps  by atheistic providence, into significant fortunes. For example, in 2010, the Chinese learned through their internet that the son of a former vice president of the country – and the son of a former Red Army commander – had purchased a $32.4 million harbor-front mansion in Australia. He must have saved extremely hard to make that sum out of a salary that borders on the poverty level in the United States!
This brings me back to ‘somethin’ else’, Bo Guagua, grandson of Bo Yibo.  I have singled him out for attention because he is the princeling of all princelings, among the younger generation.
Bo Guagua grew up in a rarified environment, closeted in guarded compounds, driven around by chauffeurs, and schooled partly by private tutors and partly at the prestigious Jingshan school in Beijing.  In 2000, his father, Xilai, then only mayor of the northeastern city of Darlian, sent his  12-year-old son to the British preparatory school of Papplewick, at a fee of $35,000.  One year later, Guagua became the first person from mainland China to attend Harrow (annual fee of $30,930).  Five years later, in 2006, by which time his father was China’s Commerce Minister, Guagua went to Oxford University to study PPE (annual cost $26,000).  His current postgraduate studies at Harvard University run out at $70,000 per annum.
A question surely of relevance to China’s workers and peasants, is how Bo Xilai could dip into his supposedly shallow Communist Party  pockets for $600,000 in education fees in foreign lands.  How many Chinese peasants could emulate that remarkable financial miracle?
In the meantime, Bo Guagua has become a poster-boy for personal indulgence, at a time when his father is controversisally attempting to revive the revolutionary spirit of Mao Zedong:
“One evening early this year, a red Ferrari pulled up at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Beijing, and the son of one of China’s top leaders stepped out, dressed in a tuxedo.  Bo Guagua, 23 was expected. He had a dinner appointment with a daughter of the then-ambassador, Jon Huntsman.  The car, though, was a surprise.  The driver’s father, Bo Xilai, was in the midst of a controversial campaign to revive the spirit of Mao Zedong through mass renditions of old revolutionary anthems, known as ‘red singing’. He had ordered students and officials to work stints on farms to reconnect with the countryside.  His son, meanwhile, was driving a car worth hundreds of thousands  of dollars and as red as the Chinese flag, in a country where the average household income last year was about $3,300.” Jeremy Page, ibid.
Is this a case of blatant intra-familial  hypocrisy or what?  No wonder Chinese censors are working overtime to filter out  ’inappropriate’ news from the internet. Do I hear the clanking of chains as the Ghost of Mao Zedong rises from his grave to lead a new Red Revolution?  Apparently, many of China’s princelings have their ears tuned for that sound. That is one reason they send their children to the West to prepare for the End of Days, when 600 million peasants march on Beijing to initiate a China spring.

05 December 2011

FR Endorses Ma Ying-jeou's Re-election

On January 14, 2012 -- only six weeks from today -- the people of Chinese Taipei (AKA Taiwan or Republic of China (ROC)) will vote in their 5th presidential election.  The Kuomintang (KMT) is represented by incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou (pinyin Ma Yingjiu), and the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is led by Tsai Ing-wen (pinyin Cai Yingwen).

While Ma carries the baggages of incumbency, the Fairbank Report endorses him because he represents stability in the Taiwan Straits.  Oppostion leader Tsai and her Party are carelessly provoking China, and this could lead to war.  Ma, on the other hand, has taken a pragmatic approach toward bilateral relations with the Mainland.  His administration has worked with China to effect direct flights between Chinese Taipei and Mainland China.  He has worked with the Mainland to bring in millions of Mainland Chinese tourists to the island -- as our staff members can testify to during their recent visit to Taiwan.

Ma's anti-independence stance in addition to his practical policies toward China ensure peace, economic growth, stability and natural convergence across the Straits.

Tsai Ing-wen, on the contrary, represents uncertainty and gratuitous pugilism that are neither good for the region nor for the wider world, which is already mired in political and economic difficulties.

03 December 2011

Problems in Contemporary Chinese Political Economy

Early last month (November 2011), a putative "school bus" with a capacity for nine people was carrying over 60 preschool and kindergarten children in a rural Mainland Chinese town.  The bus got in an accident, and as we in the West can only imagine, many children died and suffered injuries.

In reaction, the local government has purchased five American-styled school buses (the yellow behemoths).  But these new buses are to be used to ferry TEACHERS from home to school.  Here is a poignant reflection by a Chinese netizen on this and related issues. His reaction speaks volumes on the contradictions in contemporary Chinese political economy.

 From Chinasmack.com

Original Chinese text

他们对医疗不重视,因为他们有高干病房; 他们对教育不重视,因为他们的孩子留洋; 他们对食品安全不重视,因为他们有特供食品;他们对堵车不重视,因为他们出行警车开道; 他们对国家未来不重视,因为他们妻儿已经移民美国! 他们对维稳很重视,因为他们怕失去这些!这就是我们的领导!能买光全世界的飞机,却买不起一辆校车;能把卫星送入太空,却造不一座小桥;能给别国花数亿, 却不肯多几所小学;一年能吃掉几十艘航母,却逼着孩子捐出午饭钱。真是量中华之物力,结老爷之欢心,聚十三亿之艰难,供数人之享乐,无话可说,强作欢颜。 甘肃幼儿园校车车祸丢的是性命还是民心

English translation
They don’t attach importance to medical care, because they have special wards for government cadres; They don’t attach importance to education, because their children study abroad; They don’t attach importance to food safety, because they have specially provided food products; They don’t attach importance to traffic congestion, because they have police to open the road for them; They don’t attach importance to the country’s future, because their wives and children have already emigrated to the United States! They attach importance to stability, because they are afraid of losing these things! This what our government leaders are like! Able to buy all the world’s airplanes, yet can’t afford a single school bus; Able to send satellites into space, yet unable to build a single small bridge; Able to give other countries hundreds of millions to spend, yet unwilling to build a few more primary schools; Able to spend several tens of aircraft carriers worth of money on dining, yet force children to donate their lunch money. Truly taking the material resources of the Chinese people, the hardships of 1.3 billion people, for the enjoyment of the few. There’s nothing that can be said, one can only force a laugh. Does the Gansu kindergarten school bus accident result in the loss of life or the loss of the people’s hearts?

See What Happened When You Legalized Gay Marriage?!

Unholy, unnatural...

Photo source:  Chinasmack.com