November 29, 2009

One Elder Caring for Three Mental Patients: The Desolate Old Age of a Chinese Nuclear Research Scientist

The first time I saw this post was in October. The second time I went back, the blue portion had been added (translated in the "follow-up" section).

Translation (2009-10-03):

Looking down from my balcony, I always see a lonely 70-year-old man walking by, hands occupied by plastic bags that hold pots and bowls. I have been told that the old man is delivering meals to his schizophrenic daughter. Once I began to pay attention, I noticed that he makes the trips as regularly as the sun rising and falling. Came rain or sunshine, he never skipped a day.

Old man walking by

Shortly after, I learned this white-haired man's surname is Wei. Here at Huangdao District, he is one of the more famous residents because of two reasons. First, he used to research atomic bombs. Second, his family circumstances are tragic. Of the four people in his household, three have mental disorders. His spouse and one of his two children have been diagnosed with schizophrenia; the other child is afflicted with mental retardation. The children are approaching forty, yet they are neither married not have a regular job.

Both the spouse and children are sickly. Many believe that their ill health was caused by nuclear radiation, though no one could prove this theory. The old man remains close-mouthed about the reason(s) for their illness. His days are like the flowing water or the blowing wind, proceeding in silence.

I personally know the old man's retarded son, who sold cassettes once by the side of the street. He never talked to the customers, preferring to keep head bowed. The cassettes sold out quickly. Sometimes mean people bully and beat up the son when he ventures out of home. Probably because of his mental condition, the son never minds the mistreatment and has a smile for everybody. The old man's schizophrenic daughter, as mentioned previously, is a victim of insomnia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her living quarters are covered by dust, because cleaning and moving things around agitate her. One time I saw the old man and daughter on their way to the hospital. He was holding her arm to support her, who looked gaunt (about 30kg or 66lb) and was slow to react. Pity for her made people on the road avert their eyes. The year before last, both the old man's spouse and the daughter committed suicide: one swallowed sleeping pills and was discovered after 20 hours; the other cut her wrist, blood pooling on the ground. Luckily, both were rescued in time. Despite of these personal tragedies, the old man remains calm and kind, as if these stormy events never happened. Day after day, he makes his trips back and forth, looking after his unfortunate family.

I find it hard to believe that the heavy task to taking care of this family fell solely on the short old man. He goes to the store daily to buy groceries. On occasions, he takes his wife outside for a walk. The two would be sweating profusely, but he always attended to the old lady first. It is no secret that he is very considerate to his family. All the neighbors sigh: "What will happen to them if the old man falls sick?" The old man is no longer young and taking care of 3 patients can be too much for anyone.

I went to the old man's apartment once as student volunteer. It was a very narrow, shabby place, able to accommodate only a few people (standing). The furniture consisted of one ancient computer and a swiveling chair that long stopped rotating. In this undecorated, 50 square meter room, we saw only books and medicine. The old man spent the entire morning giving his wife massages and making sure she took her prescription. During this time he still remembered to chat with us. This kind, amiable elder possessed such breadth and depth of knowledge. His laugh was hearty and his attitude optimistic. It seems the word "melancholy" did not exist in his dictionary.

We gradually found out more about this elder after the visit. His full name is Shijie Wei (魏世杰) and was a nuclear scientist for 26 years. He helped to develop and test the China's first atomic bomb, first H-bomb, and first nuclear missile. In addition, Shijie Wei is a renowned writer, publishing over 10 books. The walls and bookcases in his tiny apartment are covered by trophies and certificates. In addition, he holds numerous honorary titles: "Medal of Honor" from Division of Nuclear Technology (核工业部荣誉奖章) , "Outstanding Scientific and Technological Worker(优秀科技工作者)," "New Long March Red Flag Carrier (新长征红旗手)"," Qingdao City Excellent Party Member (青岛市优秀共产党员), "... ...

The old man takes these honors and awards lightly. Instead of bragging about his achievements, he appeared more interested in our welfare and asked many questions. I was puzzled. Isn't his family burden already trouble enough? Where does he find energy and enthusiasm to care about us? How I wish to be a river snail girl (alluding to a Chinese fairy tale), to cook, wash cloth and take care of his family. Even just for a day, an hour, a minute, or a second. But I know this is just a wishful thinking.

Reality is harsh. Family misfortunes have exhausted the old man's reserves. His hair is no longer white, and his gait faltering. Persistence and inner peace cannot replenish the energy sapped away by overexertion. Many people are moved by his plight, some even cried, but in this difficult time, will they be practical and help him through actions? "What will happen to his family if the old man becomes incapacitated?"

Frankly I don't know how long this elder can hold up. Aging is a scary process, taking away our health and our strength. I do not want to contemplate what lies in the future.

The Old Person's Day (Double Ninth Festival) is almost upon us. We shouldn't let the elders who bled and sweated for our country cry. I hope that [after reading this post] everybody will start taking actions. Let's take better care of this legendary scientist and the old people around us!

I wish happy and healthy lives to all the old people around the globe!

Old man's son

Follow-Up (2009-10-16)
Note: The tone of this portion is very formal. I am guessing some government official wrote it.
  • In the Tianya post, Many people expressed their concern for Shijie Wei and his family.
  • Quite a number of Netizens tried to donate money or gifts, but Mr. Wei declined: While he is grateful to all the warmhearted Netizens, his financial situation is still bearable.
  • Qingdao Seventh People's Hospital promised to provide in-home care to Mr. Wei's family.
  • The government decided to give him a 60 square meter new apartment. The new apartment is a lot closer to his daughter's place.
  • Mr. Wei wants to express his sincere gratitude to all those who tried to help.

Shijie Wei's story is by no means an isolated incident in China, though I can't judge how common it is for famous scientists to fall into such dire straits. Jingrun Chen, which some of us learn about in elementary school, is probably another tragic example. While it is moving to see Netizens show support, the incident is also strange, that the government needs prodding to care for one of its accomplished, nationally-known, and patriotic scientists.

Finally, several articles online mentioned that Shijie Wei had 17 inventions to his name. This might make people wonder, why he is not filthy rich yet? The most likely reason is that since China is a communist nation, patents used to belong to the state and not to individuals, particularly in areas such as national defense. The government particularly liked to encourage "self-sacrifice" and "selfless devotion" to the country, as though there is honor in being immensely talented and starving for the sake of one's country (family members starving alongside). Many old scientists therefore didn't receive economical compensations for their labors. Now is better/more materialistic, I think.

November 27, 2009

From Lens of a Laowai: A Mysterious and Breathtaking China

This is a very old post, so I could not find much information about it online. In particular, I tried to search for the name(s) of the photographer(s) but failed. It is partially amusing to see that to some Chinese, whoever took these photos just have one identity, "laowai" (Chinese word for foreigners), when there are about 200 countries around the globe that are as distinct from one another as they are from China. Very exasperating too, when I was trying to identify the person(s) who took these pictures. I suppose this is the Chinese equivalent of "all Asians look the same."

I want to thank those who captured these amazing views. They are indeed marvelous.


November 26, 2009

Currently Listening To: Classic Heartstrings

Beautiful music...
Time: 49:42
Genre: Classical
(Violin: David Davidson, Piano: Russell Davis)

Album Tracks:
01. And I Love You So (4:33)
02. Lady (4:16)
03. Love Me Tender (3:23)
04. Evergreen (4:37)
05. Longer (3:53)
06. Chances Are (4:16)
07. If (3:31)
08. Summer Me, Winder Me (4:08)
09. One Hand, One Heart (3:43)
10. All The Things You Are (4:42)
11. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life (5:08)
12. The Nearness Of You (3:16)

November 25, 2009

Online News/Posts Deletion: New Form of PR Crisis Management in China

"Had Jiujing Zhou (周久耕) hired us for crisis management, he would still be the director of the real estate bureau of Nanjing's Jiangning District and smoking his expensive Vacheron Constantin cigarettes." On November 11, 2009, this arrogant statement by a Nanjing web design and development company drew nation-wide attention, focusing the spotlight once again on the most recent form of crisis management in China--comprehensive elimination of negative news coverage and forum posts from the internet.

Baidu (百度)

Baidu, a popular Chinese search engine, is one of the most famous Chinese companies to offer the "public relation protection service." Its reputation has been less than stellar and in 2008 was chastised by state media CCTV for letting websites bid for their page ranks (among other reasons).

Baidu's PR services came under intense scrutiny amidst the scandals and death reports concerning Sanlu baby milk powder (三鹿奶粉), when an internal confidential document from Sanlu Dairy Company leaked. The document mentioned a payment of 3 million yuan to Baidu to suppress any negative news links in Baidu search results. After more posts with unfavorable details about Baidu PR operations surfaced on the internet, Baidu made a public announcement, in which it categorically and fervently denied any collusion with Sanlu Dairy Company.

How Many of These Companies Are There?

An article on Xinhuanet (via Beijing Daily) detailed a reporter's investigation into these "posts deletion companies" (删贴公司). A keyword search on Baidu returned millions of results, among which several advertisements are prominently displayed. Besides contact information and phone numbers, some even include informative and well-written tutorials on proper internet crisis management.

The reporter chose one of the heavily promoted PR companies and contacted them via QQ (a Chinese internet messenger). The conversation proceeded as follows:

away(reporter): Hello!

Xuer(sales rep): Hello, this is professional posts exterminator.

away: How much do you charge for removal of forum threads due to personal reasons?

Xuer: Can you show me the link(s)?

away: Please hold, let me find it.

On an online housing forum, the reporter found some complaint about broken heaters and sent the link over.

away: There are other similar threads. Can you quote me a price and also describe steps you take to delete the thread? I am responsible for maintaining the property. Too many complaints like this would adversely impact my status as one of the exemplary employees

Xuer: We charge 2000 yuan.

away: 2000 for just one thread?

Xuer: Yes, or you can show me all the negative information that need to be removed. I can give you a bulk price.

away: It takes some effort to find them all. What about a ballpark number instead? Also how do you go about this? Do you provide the service first or do I pay first?

Xuer: We require half of the money to be paid up front as deposit. The rest can wait until we delete everything. A job like this requires 2 to 3 days.

away: Do you guarantee elimination of negative information from this forum only? Or the entire World Wide Web?

Xuer: I will only delete this thread. No promise that other websites won't have similar complaints. The price I have given you is the lowest we can offer, because it is a little hard to remove material from that forum.

Internet Crisis Management for Businesses

To find out more about PR services tailored to a business, the reporter contacted the same company again, this time via phone. Mr. Salesperson on the other end of the line sounded very excited about the prospective customer but still insisted to see the links before he could determine the price. Since the reporter pretended to be a food company representative , the cost of deleting one thread rose to 4000 to 5000 yuan. It depends on the nature of the threads, explained the young man, and the websites from which negative articles are to be removed. Food, sanitation, drugs, and health-related are more expensive than others. News that have been printed on paper or discussed on TV are beyond the scope of their services.

After several rounds of investigation, it was obvious none of the PR companies have a fixed list for price. Links and articles must be provided first before the cost can be estimated. Furthermore, the companies usually recommend posts-deletion in bulk, claiming it is the most economical for costumers. The two employees mentioned above emphasized that their company can be trusted and will sign confidentiality agreements if necessary. Some of these professionals even showed a demo of their work flow.

Brand Maintenance

The reporter attempted to schedule an in-person appointment with one young man who works for such companies. Despite of reassurances that both he and his company would remain anonymous, the skittish worker canceled their meeting at the last moment. Persistent efforts on the reporter's part finally procured him a telephone conversation. During the call, this young man said that posts-deletion services are not a secret. Many of the negative information online can be totally erased, regardless whether the customer is an individual or a large business.

Furthermore, some companies will offer a year-long service called "brand maintenance" for 50000 yuan as annual payment. Under this service, any negative news appearing in that year will theoretically be deleted. Of course how thoroughly this is carried out depends on the size of the PR company and the scale of the scandal. In the case of Sanlu, no one could have reversed the tide.

How Negative News are Eliminated

In theory there are three ways PR companies can promote a customer's good name.

1. Flood search engines with positive news articles.

2. Pay website moderators to delete negative information.

3. Hacking

Contrary to some beliefs, most PR companies do not hire hackers, because hacking a website is high risk and high tech. As public relation companies, they prefer asking inside people at various websites to delete the requested information (for a fee).

Articles that have very high viewership are extremely difficult to kill; few website moderators and editors are willing to risk their careers. The most difficult articles to remove are the ones that appear on the home page of a website.

Is Online News/Posts Deletion Legal?

Currently there is no law regulating these companies.

November 24, 2009

Foods We Aren't Supposed to Eat When Sick

I officially have the flu--again--and am currently coughing my lungs out. In an effort to avoid hospitals and having my wallet ravaged for the Nth time, I am self-doctoring. Don't worry, this patient is staying put in the apartment and not passing the flu bug to everybody else.

When searching for home remedies online, I encountered a list of foods that sick people should not eat. Based on common-sense and my limited knowledge of Chinese medicine (Chinese medicine is not as thoroughly researched as western medicine but works well for some reason), it sounds pretty reasonable.

Flu: banana, orange, asparagus juice, ice, lamb, ginger duck, cigarette, alcohol

Coughing: ice cream, orange, fried and/or baked foods, spicy dishes, peanut, alcohol, sweets (I ate an orange right before the coughing fits started)

Acute gastritis: oil-fried foods, alcohol, chili, glutinous rice

Chronic gastritis: raw and/or cold foods, sour fermented foods, sweets

Enteritis: banana, guava

Gastrointestinal bloating: peanut, sweet potato, egg, fermented foods, soy products

Acute and chronic hepatitis: goose(chicken, duck) skin, fat pork, cigarette, alcohol, do not stay up too late at night

Heart problems: avoid overeating, foods high in cholesterol or salt content

Kidney: beer, carbonated drinks, salted fish, bamboo shoots, pickled vegetable

Diabetes: sweets, alcohol, greasy, fried and/or baked foods, foods high in calories

Low blood pressure: avoid celery, need to sleep early and exercise more

High blood pressure: salty foods, egg yolks, animal organs, cheese, animal organ, animal brains

Peptic ulcer: soy products, bamboo, pickled vegetable, glutinous rice, alcohol, pineapple, chili, guava

Periostitis: banana, bamboo, alcohol, sauerkraut, chili

Bruises and sprained body parts: pig head, vinegar, peanut, sweets, banana, beer

Hemorrhoids and blood in the stool: cigarette, alcohol, chili, oil-fried foods

Arthritis: beer, banana, meat, avoid coldness, dew, and rain

Allergies: (Urticaria, eczema, asthma, rhinitis due to allergies)seafood, yam, mango, ice, longan, litchi

Nerve weakness (insomnia): chili, alcohol, coffee, onions, garlic

November 22, 2009

Chinese Hospital Fines Overweight Newborns

One People's Hospital in Anyang, Henan recently enjoyed 15 minutes of fame on national TV due to its new "birth control" policy. This policy is not the famous One Child Policy, introduced in 1979 by the Chinese government to curb the nascent population explosion. Rather than restricting the number of children a couple may have, the local hospital sought to define the ideal baby weight at birth.

According to this latest regulation, parents of babies that weigh more than 8 jin (4kg or 8.8lbs) will be subjected to fines. For each liang (50g) in excess mass, the parents must pay an additional 100 yuan. When presented with their medical bills, many women are surprised to find out that after 9-month pregnancies, several hours of labor, and eventual deliveries, they must now face the consequences of "over-nutrition," as attested by their too well-developed infants.

Because its Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology has a better reputation than most local medical establishments, this People's Hospital continues to be sought out by grumbling parents-to-be. Even poor families will scrounge for extra few hundred dollars to ensure the safe deliveries of their young. When confronted by reporters who question the validity of the said new regulation, unflappable medical professionals point out that giant babies typically result labor complications.

The weight policy has been upheld in most places in China as another clever way for hospitals to draw in revenue. The large number of women waiting to have children, the improbability of controlling fetus weight, and the genuine concern most people have for the welfare of their wives and newborn mean that this hospital has just found its own goose that lays the golden eggs.

Here are a mix of comments and reactions from Netizens on a local Anyang forum:
1. Crazy money grubbers
2. Quite an embarrassing piece of news to come from our home city! I just lost face.
3. Will the hospital refund money for underweight babies?
4. Thank god my daughter was born before this. She weighed 9 jin (4.5kg or 9.9lbs).
--Haha, people are glad about this sort of things now? I guess you just managed to save a lot of ¥
5. The People Hospital in Hua Town (滑县人民医院)
6. Motherfuckers. Always out to rip off ordinary people. You have to pay least 4000 yuan at the First People's Hospital now to have your baby delivered, whereas they used to charge just 1000 yuan. To make more money, the doctors tell everybody their infants have all kinds of health problems and need to be kept under observation at the hospital
7. Brilliant business men. The medical profession is such a waste for their talents.
8. Does this include twins?
Source(s) (News video) (cost to have a baby in China) (Anyang forum)

November 21, 2009

Currently Listening To: 大唐红颜赋 (dà táng hóng yán fù)

I guess all Chinese have a partiality for the Tang Dynasty. Some even consider it to be the apex of Chinese history, during which significant advancement was made in culture, literature/art, diplomacy, and economy. Furthermore, as one of the most powerful empires of the time, China drew scholars and visitors from neighboring states like Japan and Korea, who then introduced elements of Chinese civilization to their own countries--the results of that can still be observed today.

Tang was also known for its liberal society and for granting female citizens unparalleled (until now) freedom and social rights. For example, Wu Zetian became the only Chinese woman to ever assume the title of Empress, and her status was officially recognized by her contemporaries as well as future generations.

As a tribute to all beautiful and/or famous women in the Tang Dynasty, several Chinese Netizens came together to co-write, co-sing, co-produce this song, 大唐红颜赋 (dà táng hóng yán fù).

On Tudou:
Official page:

A breakdown of the title "大唐红颜赋" (dà táng hóng yán fù):
大唐 = Tang Dynasty
红颜 = Beautiful women
赋 = fu, a form of Chinese poetry
Lyrics in Chinese (well-written; I am impressed):



梅妃(Concubine Mei):长门镇日无梳洗,何必珍珠慰寂寥。明珠千斛又算得了什么?江采苹所求的,从来不是这些。
杨玉环(Consort Yang Yuhuan):陛下曾许臣妾三个愿望,如今,这第三个愿望……就请陛下赐臣妾一死吧!
高阳(Princess Gaoyang):据说,释迦牟尼了悟的那棵菩提树,前生是一个爱他的女子……辩机,希望来世,你可以成佛。




薛涛(Xue Tao):落花离枝,雏燕离巢,原来……才名艳名皆是幻影,世间知我者,几人?
鱼玄机(Yu Xuanji):易求无价宝,难得有情郎。情之一字,或许只有不懂,才不会痛吧……
上官婉儿(Shangguan Wan'er):这大明宫的月色,真让人又爱又怕……不过,纵然只是一枚棋子,婉儿的心,从头到尾,只忠于女皇一人。


武则天[青年](Wu Zetian):陛下,这烈马,我能制服!然需三物,一是铁鞭,二是铁檛,三是匕首。我先用铁鞭抽它,如果不服,再用铁檛击它的头,再不服,就用匕首割断它的喉咙。

萧淑妃(Consort Xiao):阿武妖精!若有来生,我愿转世为猫阿武为鼠,我要活活将她喉咙咬断!
武则天[中年](Wu Zetian):我是大唐的皇后,我想要的,没人能阻止!来人!让这两个泼妇的骨头醉死酒中!

武则天[老年](Wu Zetian):一抔之土未干,六尺之孤何托……好一篇《讨武氏檄》!如此人才,未曾委以重用,宰相之过也……

何曾负 盛世名 河山意。
待青史 书功过 斟浮名。


November 20, 2009

Wuxi Policeman Fired for Being a "Snitch"

I was reminded of this piece of news after reading on CBS:
"I strongly disagree with what Obama said about the Internet firewall," said Tao Weishuo, a 24-year old postgraduate student from Fudan University. "I think all Chinese people have Internet freedom -- we can speak out freely on the Internet about current social affairs." He said the question to him came from a Web site outside China.

Dated: November 4, 2009

网友曝派出所吃空饷被拘 一民警被认消息源遭辞


Policemen Yu shows to the reporter the Termination of Employment letter

How it began

On July 6th, a thread in ER Quan forum (二泉论坛) exposed possible corruption at Wuxi City's Dongbeitang police station (无锡市东北塘派出所). Specifically, the thread incriminated both the Director and counselor who allegedly populated payroll with fake names and illegally obtained a large number of paychecks.

ER Quan, a site serving Wuxi(无锡市), Jiangsu , calls itself the most influential forum in the city. Some say this forum is also heavily monitored by local law enforcement agencies.

People who had read the thread told the media that it did not attract much viewership before a hasty deletion by moderators. When the reporter tried to search it on November 3rd, he could only find a brief record on Google; there were no accompanying Cache snapshots.

Despite of its early demise, the thread attracted enough attention from the police. The Wuxi Xishan District received orders from its superiors to investigate this incident.

By using clues such as IP location, police quickly found and arrested the person responsible. The man's name is Yang Zhao (赵阳), and he works in Jinteng Transportation Company (无锡市万达停车场金腾运输公司). Because Zhao could not produce evidence to prove conclusively that "financial problems existed at Dongbeitang police station,” he was charged with "malicious defamation" and was detained in prison for 5 days.

During the process of questioning, police discovered that Zhao had communicated with an officer regarding the thread. This policeman was determined to be Gang Yu (郁刚), a member of the 8th branch of the Xishan District police department (无锡市公安局锡山分局八士派出所).

Auxiliary policeman confirms the story

Dongbeitang Township is located in the northeast region of Wuxi. Its residents are mostly people from places outside of the city. To effectively maintain social order, Dongbeitang police station has created many auxiliary openings in addition to its traditional positions. Some of these auxiliary openings include "Office of Public Order Defense Team" (联防办) and "Office for Management of Non-local residents" (外管办). Their work pay is drawn from the local treasury, which allocates money for salary once the police station submits an application. According to insiders, the police station routinely inflates the employee numbers to obtain more than the entitled payment.

An auxiliary policeman who wished to remain anonymous confirmed accusations of shady doings. He informed the reporter: "Even though there are only 14 people in our office, the number on the roster exceeds 70." Because those salary applications require signatures, "Our superiors frequently demand that we forge the signatures, each of us responsible for many forgeries. We rarely recognize the names we have to sign."

The policeman claimed that false reporting has been going on for many years. "This year's are fake too. In March, there were 76 names applying for work compensation. In April, May, and June there were 45." But the total number of people who actually worked was always 14.

A separate corroboration came from an official member of the police force. "The boss would ask them [auxiliary workforce] to sign the forms; I personally witnessed this several times. I guess this is what you would call an 'open secret.' Everybody knows about it too."

The Dongbeitang residents complained about the falsified roster in May and June. As a result, the police station had to return hundreds of thousands of Chinese yuan to the local treasury.

The open secret

The police asserted that during questioning, Yang Zhao admitted to being under policeman Gang Yu's instructions.

"Why would I do that?" Gang Yu denied with some heat. But he did talk with Zhao before the thread was published on web.

Zhao was in fact under orders from his boss Gucai Lu (吕古财), manager of Jinteng Transportation Company. Lu had previous grudges against the Dongbeitang police and after catching wind of the incriminating rumors, asked Gang Yu to confirm them. Policeman Yu formerly worked in Dongbeitang.

Gang Yu said that he stopped paying attentions to affairs of the town after his 2008 transfer to 8th Branch of Xishan District. "But I know what the bosses are doing. A lot of people there know."

When Zhao revealed his plans for exposing the corruption, Yu did not seek to stop him. "I acquiesced, and besides, I couldn't prevent him from going public with it. But I never ordered him to do such a thing," Yu was emphatic, "I am a policeman myself. If I wanted to become directly involved, I wouldn't have chosen a method this stupid."

After Zhao's arrest, his boss Lu unsuccessfully attempted go in hiding. Lu was captured and thrown into jail for 3 days.

While in prison, Lu wrote a "letter of repentance". He later admitted to framing policeman Yu under orders from unspecified sources. Once he did as asked, the police station released him.

On July 17th, Yu was put on a two-month leave for supposedly masterminding the false allegations. Yu refused to apologize, insisting that he never told anybody to write any article online. The most he did was to read the thread and "slightly revise it." Besides, falsifying payroll has long been an open secret.

On August 26, Wuxi police terminated Yu's employment for "improper and illicit behavior".
Director of Dongbeitang division: the accusations are unfounded

On October 8th, Wuxi police reiterated its decision to fire Policeman Yu, citing: As a member of police squad whose responsibility is to be eliminate illegal activities, Yu has committed an egregious error of ordering untrue and defaming content to be posted on the World Wide Web. Both the original writer and email exchanges confirmed his unacceptable behavior.

But was the information disseminated by Zhao false? Some police in Dongbeitang believe otherwise. "We don't know why our bosses want to misrepresent the payroll. We just know they do it," an unnamed police stated.

When our reporter approached the accused Director Teng (滕) with this story, Teng declared that "Somebody has been inventing unfounded rumors. I have never done anything like this."

Of the many respondents that the Nddaily journalist interviewed in the investigative process, few were able to produce any paper evidence, though most admit to having observed the falsification process. The journalist was eventually able to meet an insider who kept records of such things "just in case" and was subsequently supplied with a falsified payroll for the auxiliary police force.

The September 2008 payroll that has been verified to contain around 70 false names

As the photo shows, in the payroll dated from 2008, there are only 14 real employees. The 70 other names who received a monthly salary of 1200 yuan were invented. The total illegal pay was almost 100,000 yuan in September. The reporter visited a number of the 70 people listed on the payroll. Their replies were the same: they never worked for the police station, never were an auxiliary police; the signatures on the application form were not their own.

"The police should verify the truthfulness of that thread," Yu said, "Instead, the first thing they did was to punish the informers."

The Wuxi police department stand by its claim is that the thread was a big hoax, containing basically rootless slander.

Policeman defends his rights

After serving 25 years on the police squad, Yu finds the discharge hard to accept. Reading about the Caoxian Case [in which a Shandong man was able to expose corruption on the internet and receive reparations] led Yu to contact the lawyer who defended that Shandong man.

Some discussion with the lawyer led Yu to conclude that his punishment should have been at most a reprimand and re-education [but he was discharged instead]. Yu believed that the exposure had angered some superiors.

On September 9, Yu appealed to be reinstated, maintaining he had done nothing wrong. On October 8, Wuxin police repeated their previous decision and reminded Yu that he can take the appeal to the Department of Governmental Personnel or other appropriate authorities.

Yu submitted his appeal to the police department of Jiangsu Province and is currently awaiting the outcome.


None, except a statement from Wuxin police restating that Gang Yu has violated the law, the corruption rumors are false, and that Yu ordered Gang Zhao to write malicious information online.


Related Post(s)
Comparison Between Chinese and Western Blogs
Inside the Great Firewall: Censorship 2009

November 17, 2009

Who is to Blame for Materialism and Status Obsession Among Young Chinese?

Author: Cheng, Yung-nien(郑永年, Yǒngnián Zhèng, Yung-nien Cheng). Professor and Director of East Asian Institute at National University of Singapore.


Recently a moral verdict from one Wuhan college female student shocked the Chinese sensibility. "The White Haired Girl should just marry landlord Shiren Huang [cruel and a rapist]." She announced in public, "As long as the man has money, age gap is of little importance." This bold declaration led to heated debates in both traditional media and on the World Wide Web. Since moral decline has persisted for many years in China, it is understandable that many who are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs would seize this opportunity to comment and criticize. Their stances, however, have been surprisingly alike: that is, the younger generation disgusts them, and they claim young Chinese are beyond salvation.

It has been a long-standing practice among the Chinese that, rather than examining ourselves, we always blame others, especially the next generation. Whenever an event takes place that does not conform to the traditional moral values, sanctimonious prudes come out and propound on fancy theories of ethics, as if these people were themselves the representation and embodiment of righteousness. Intentionally or unintentionally, their accusations frequently neglect to mention one central question: who should be responsible for the current moral decay? The young clearly are not the guilty party because they are only what their childhood experiences shape them to be. No. The blame must be laid squarely at the door of their elders.

Moral values are not inborn. Rather, they are the result of social intermingling and indoctrination. While no one can deny the widespread money worship and moral nihilism plaguing the post 80s and 90s generation, most of whom born after China's open policy, it is equally important to recognize that young people are products of their upbringing. In other words, their worship of money and power [to the exclusion of all else] is only a direct consequence of the environment in which they grew up.

Money/power worship and moral nihilism are not new phenomena. In fact, they are as old as China's reforms. Before the open policy, China espoused "communism in poverty," characterized by extremely low living standards of its citizens. Even though from today's point of view people during those times stood on higher moral ground, that level of morality was not sustainable simply because poverty disagrees with human nature. Consequently, as soon as the reforms were initiated, Chinese people eagerly sought the roads to wealth. Pauperism had long ago given rise to a desire for change, so the reforms encountered no resistance. Money swiftly replaced traditional moral values after people discovered that they could do whatever they wanted as long as they were rich, ultimately resulting in money-worship.

After tasting the initial fruits of prosperity, the Chinese quickly latched onto the concept of "self-interest" as their new guiding principle, a concept which at its core is solely about money. The foundation of Chinese society quickly transitioned from ideology (or morality) to self-interest, and in this process, many official policies of the central government played out crucial roles. The most prominent among the said policies was the doctrine of GDP. For a long time, economic growth became the only important factor when evaluating the performance of officials at any level. The GDP doctrine became so highly institutionalized that the Chinese government's efforts to reduce its influence met with little success. This failure in itself points to the deeply-entrenched materialism across the Chinese governing body. (It should be noted that the GDP doctrine seeks to gratify the current generation at the expense of the interests of future generations).

Widespread and pervasive corruption is a further manifestation that morality is disintegrating. The extent of venality has reached such a level that whether in China or abroad, the first thing coming to mind in any discussion of Chinese politics is corruption. Each decade, the amount of graft money exponentially increases: tens of thousands in 1980s, several millions in 1990s, and billions today. Power easily transforms to money and wealth via corruption. As witnesses to these "successes," the younger generation really has no reason to disdain power. To make matters worse, the government historically also bore the burden of education and role models. Since it is thoroughly rotten, its many rich officials become the most convincing argument in favor of elimination of morality. Haven't there been quite a few children already who professed life-long ambitions of becoming corrupt officials?

Power and money each drove the deterioration of ethics, and facile interchange between the two further accelerated the process. Young Chinese believe that as long as they attain or merely get close to one of the two, they will have made themselves worthy.

China's overall social and economical structure essentially forces young people to forgo conscience for money and power. In a highly mobile society, each individual becomes the fundamental unit of morality. But for this individual to exercise morals, the society must give him/her hope. By definition, once a society reaches a certain level of ethical standards, its citizen should be able to realize personal ambitions through a reasonable amount of efforts. And when this hope is lost, or rather when a person cannot achieve his dreams despite of hard work, then the concept of morality disappears entirely. In many ways, China's young people are currently in such a morass.

For example the housing problem. The ancients rightly associated "home ownership" with morality [like Maslow's pyramid]. Really, what concerns will people have for ethics if their basic living space cannot be guaranteed? In a short time span of 20 years or so, unfortunately, China's housing policy has very effectively dashed any hopes that the young have for this "space". Due to the lack of any effective long-term strategy concerning housing and real estate, these two have fallen under the control of the powerful and the rich. Presently soaring home prices mean that most of the young people have no way to ethically get a decent apartment. As a result, they naturally gravitate toward money and power, which have just become survival tools.

Another example is the education failure. Studies have revealed that college graduates make the same amount of money as the uneducated migrant workers. In some cases, they even make less. Though discrepancy in earnings have occurred in the past, they were different in nature because they arose due to human control and manipulation. Similar situations today can only be attributed to flaws in the education system. Of course everyone is still entitled to education. This is a basic human right. But when the educated are at the same or lower income levels as the uneducated, morality amounts to nothing but empty talk. Again, the education is something that the young have no control over.

In fact, more and more signs show that the younger generation face mounting difficulties. China's reforms initially created an open system full of hopes, but because of the current domination by a variety of vested interests, the society has in essence become less open. Steely control used to kill hopes; ironically now that culprit is being replaced by "freedom." Yes, young people might be free, but they no longer have any opportunities. From time to time there will be those who forge a way via legitimate means combined with unscrupulous Machiavellianism. On the whole, however, many are in despair.

Given all these factors, does it even make sense for young people to talk about morality anymore? The government places a lot of emphasis on this subject. Everywhere one turns, there is someone preaching about morality, but those talks are worthless. The reason is simple: what the young people read in textbooks and what they perceive in reality are too disparate. The insurmountable divide between lofty ideals and daily struggles leads to cynicism, further reinforcing moral nihilism. To a large extent, the younger generation is happy yet tragic. They live in a free and materialistic society, but this society lacks any meaningful values and ethical guidance. Even more tragic is the older generation, because they and their corrupt society helped to mold the younger generation, undermining both themselves and their children.

It is good to make people aware of the moral decline, but we must also realize that these social phenomena are not just consequences of a lacking in ethics. Rather, they should always be viewed within the broader social and institutional context. A problem like this determines whether a nation and an ethnicity can survive and continue to develop. Accusations and condemnation of the younger generation alone is useless, because morality can only come from hope for the future--what needs to be done is to build a society that gives hope. Now whose responsibility would that be?

This is an editorial piece by Yung-nien Cheng, Professor and Director of East Asian Institute.


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November 16, 2009

Free Proxies

People need to get in the GFW. People need to get out of the GFW. Either way, a reliable proxy can come in handy. Unfortunately, of all the free ones I tried, none were very stable. Usability spans maximum of a week.

Online Proxies

: Easy to use. One can simply type in the URL of the block site and hit enter. The Ports they have are already checked and verified to be valid.
Disadvantages: Can be slow. Websites that feature Javascript often don't display properly.

If pages do not display properly, go back and make sure that the "Remove Scripts" field is un-checked. It sometimes helps.

Individual Ports

Advantages: Better display for dynamic elements on webpages
Disadvantages: User must check for themselves that the ports still work. In addition, web browsers must be configured properly.

Socks 4/5

I tried to use this for some online gaming stuff because socks4/5 allows web browsing as well as data transfer. The problem, as with "Individual Ports," is that a reliable and long-lasting one proves very difficult to find.

Also for Socks 4 and Socks 5, one needs to install a program like SocksCap 2.40 (freeware) first.

**I personally prefer configuring internet browers and using socks 4/5.

Obama Walking Alone in Rain, Chinese Netizens Impressed

When Air Force 1 touched down on November 15, 2009 at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, countless Chinese witnessed President Obama getting off the airplane. Much to their surprise, President Obama actually held his own umbrella to keep off the rain. This act alone set off a wave of Obama-mania. In China, officials are accompanied by an entourage whenever they step out of their offices so that in case weather sours, there will always be enough people to hold the umbrellas for them.

Mayor and Vice Secretary of Yicheng, Hubei seen with their dedicated umbrella holders

Here are a collection of memorable comments from Chinese Netizens:

Netizen 1:
Strange. Why isn't there anybody to hold the umbrella for him? Are they all dead or what?

Netizen 2:
Obama holding his own umbrella presents a very nice image.

Netizen 3:
What's this? Where are the American ass-kissers?

Netizen 4:
What is public servant? What is democracy? What is freedom? This clearly is.

Netizen 5:
Did the Communist Party create the rain artificially?

Netizen 6:
The goverment even made sunny days for the Olympics.

Netizen 6:
You all have not kept up with current events. Ever since an official was exposed for letting others hold his umbrella, all the Chinese leaders started holding their own umbrellas.

Netizen 7:
Obama should feel relaxed here. China, unlike other countries, will not permit public demonstrations and protests.

Netizen 8:
On the contrary, he would probably feel very unaccustomed.


November 15, 2009

Chinese Celebrated First Snow with Snowman Building


Hello Kitty

Lei Feng
King Kong
Venus de Milo


The physical minded

Oh wow, it comes with the complete ensemble...


The Pig Series

Impressive nostrils

Tuzki series--the rabbit who looks like he is always high on drugs

The patriotic
Bad hair day
Head and rest of the body don't match

One of the legendary creatures of China--grass mud horse

Another grass mud horse

Winnie the Pooh?


Official mascot of Sina


Another mysterious animal


This was supposed to be Chairman Mao
A cute panda (熊猫烧香, computer virus)

Kung Fu Panda
Unknown cartoon character

Unknown cartoon Character

Mashi Maro

Veggie Discourse - Blogged