Chinese government mouthpiece disses ‘barbarian’ UK media following ‘Gossip Queen’s’ gaffe

Chinese government mouthpiece disses 'barbarian' UK media following 'Gossip Queen's' gaffe
British media will become more civilized after they are exposed to 5,000 years of Chinese history, the editors of the Chinese version of Global Times wrote yesterday, responding to coverage of Queen Elizabeth II calling a Chinese delegation “rude.” “The West in modern times has risen to the top and created a brilliant civilization, but their media is full of reckless ‘gossip fiends’ who bare their fangs and brandish their claws and are very narcissistic, retaining the bad manners of ‘barbarians’,” the unsigned editorial says, according to the South China Morning Post. The Queen was recorded Wednesday having a conversation with the police commander who had been in charge of security for Chinese diplomats during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s October visit. The commander remarked that the delegation had been uncooperative and rude, and the Queen replied that she knew about it. “They were very rude to the Ambassador [Barbara Woodward],” the Queen said. Both were apparently unaware their conversation was audible to TV news cameras. Chinese reaction was initially muted, though BBC News reports were bleeped out on the mainland. The English language Global Times made light of the gaffe. Yesterday’s Chinese language version was more irate, but said the ...

Queen calls Chinese delegation to UK ‘rude,’ comments blocked in China

Queen calls Chinese delegation to UK 'rude,' comments blocked in China
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made some blunt comments about the behavior of a Chinese diplomatic delegation to the United Kingdom, which has apparently hurt Chinese feelings. In a conversation with the London police commander in charge of the delegation’s security, Queen Elizabeth was overheard saying the Chinese diplomats were “rude” to the British ambassador. China has bleeped BBC TV and radio reports about the comments, but has not blocked the BBC wholesale. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the UK in October to bolster trade between the two countries. Security was handled by Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who met the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party Tuesday. Their conversation was caught on camera. As reported by the BBC, it went like this: The Queen’s remarks were caught on tape as she was introduced to Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who the monarch is told had overseen security during President Xi’s visit to the UK in October. She is heard to respond: “Oh, bad luck.” An official went on to tell the Queen that Commander D’Orsi had been “seriously, seriously undermined by the Chinese, but she managed to hold her own and remain in command”. Commander D’Orsi told the ...

PLA dispatches local singing star Song Zuying 宋祖英 to Spratly Islands for show

PLA dispatches local singing star Song Zuying 宋祖英 to Spratly Islands for show
JISHOU, HUNAN — The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sent local singing star Sòng Zǔyīng 宋祖英 to the disputed Spratly Islands to perform for military personnel stationed there, the BBC reports. Song, 49, is from Guzhang County, Hunan, about an hour’s drive from Jishou. Song belongs to the Miao minority group (also known as Hmong) and often performs wearing Miao clothing and silver bridal jewelry and headgear (see photo). China has been developing one of the Spratly Islands, which lie in the South China Sea near the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Jurisdiction of the islands has been a source of friction between China and its smaller neighbors, who are not very keen on China’s incursion into international waters so close to their shores. For its part, China claims its development of the islands, which includes an airstrip and a naval dock, is for civilian use only. Beijing claims a large swatch of the South China Sea belongs to China, basing that assertion on centuries-old documents. The UN, however, recognizes the nearby countries as having jurisdiction. Song is a non-combatant member of the PLA with the rank of rear admiral. She’s performed Chinese and Miao songs around the world, and sang ...

Chinese, Hong Kong officials named in latest ‘Panama Papers’ releases

Chinese, Hong Kong officials  named in latest 'Panama Papers' releases
JISHOU, HUNAN — The investigative team behind the massive “Panama Papers” data dump have uncovered more associates of present or former Chinese government officials with offshore shell accounts. Also named are a present minister in the Hong Kong government and a Hong Kong university. Previously, eight people with ties to former or present Politburo members — including the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping — were revealed to have extensive offshore business assets. Named in the latest report is Li Pak-tam, son-in-law of Jia Qinglin, a former Politburo member who retired in 2013. Li is the owner of a firm listed in the British Virgin Islands, Fung Shing Development Ltd., the South China Morning Post reported. Jia’s grand-daughter, Jasmine Li, had previously been named as an officer of another offshore shell company The Post had previously reported that Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University had established an offshore company with millions of dollars in assets, but the university had never mentioned the shell company’s existence in its financial reports. The deal happened while the present HK innovations minister, Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung, was vice president of the university. Shares in this offshore company were then transferred to another company controlled by a delegate to ...

In which I recall the wise words, ‘Never assume’ 2

In which I recall the wise words, 'Never assume'
JISHOU, HUNAN — Journalists are often reminded to “never assume” they know the truth, or in fact if anyone knows the truth. Teachers need to follow the same advice, as I found out a few weeks ago in class. One of the activities in our Oral English textbook, which is published in the UK, asks the students to pair up and tell each other about a book they read as a child. Easy enough, right? Well, that’s what I assumed. In fact, it was not an easy task, because for a fair number of my students, the only books they had as kids were their textbooks in primary school. For these students hailing from the countryside, their first real chance to read a book for pleasure didn’t come until they boarded out to middle school. When I give my students this kind of assignment, I usually let them talk among themselves. If the hubbub seems to be winding down, I’ll ask a few of them to tell the class what they’d been discussing with their partner. Other times, I’ll join a group, or a student will ask me a question and I’ll stay and chat for bit. On this occasion, ...

N. Korea still whinging about 13 defectors leaving China for S. Korea

N. Korea still whinging about 13 defectors leaving China for S. Korea
JISHOU, HUNAN — Nearly a month after 13 North Korea restaurant workers in Ningbo, China, left for South Korea, the North Korea government is still trying to save face. First, the North accused the South of forcibly abducting the 12 women and one man, but that idea didn’t hold much water after Chinese officials publicly stated the group had legal exit papers and were free to leave China. Reuters also reported that four of the women had gone shopping for backpacks two days before they left, and had told the salesclerk they were going on a trip. The North demanded their return, asserting the South had violated their human rights and threatening serious consequences if South Korea did not comply. South Koreans officials firmly said, “No way.” Official state media in the North have not reported on the defections, even as the government arranges melodramatic appeals for the foreign media. In the North Korea capital of Pyongyang, on April 20, North Korea trotted out seven tearful young women for an exclusive interview with CNN. The women, who all claimed to be former workers at the Ningbo restaurant, pleaded for their comrades to return, and told the CNN correspondents the 13 ...

DisneyLife online service is also now blocked in China, joining iTunes, iBook

DisneyLife online service is also now blocked in China, joining iTunes, iBook
JISHOU, HUNAN — New regulations in China have put the DisneyLife online service out of commission, joining Apple’s iTunes Movie and iBook stores. DisneyLife users reported in early March that their access to the subscription service had failed. According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing quietly passed a new law regulation media content, which makes it easier for China’s censors to pull the plug on content they feel is inappropriate. President Xi Jinping has been especially critical of “Western influences” on Chinese society and, especially, politics. It emerged on Friday that the two internet platforms were quietly closed under the new Regulation for the Management of Online Publishing Services, which was announced on February 13 and took effect early last month. It imposed more stringent rules on the online publication of original or adapted “creative works”, such as images, games, animation, comics, audio recordings and video. DisneyLife was a joint venture of the Walt Disney Co. and Alibaba’s Ali Digital Entertainment Group. Alibaba is a mainland e-commerce giant now branching out into other activities. It now owns South China Morning Post, for example. Under the new regulation, content providers must “self-censor” and abide by prevailing mainland Internet standards. Failure ...

Young Chinese author’s novelette short-listed for Hugo Award

Young Chinese author's novelette short-listed for Hugo Award
JISHOU, HUNAN — A dystopian novelette, Folding Beijing (北京折叠 běijīngzhédié) by Tianjin native Hǎo Jǐngfāng (郝景芳), 32, has been nominated as best novelette for the 2016 Hugo Awards. The novelette features a love story set in a future Beijing divided into zones, with each zone restricted to a certain social class. The city’s zones are physically moved around every 24 hours to give each space access to the outside world. A Third Space sanitation worker is hired by a student in the Second Space to bring a love letter to a girl in the First Space — the upper class. To achieve his quest, and get paid a handsome sum, Lao Dao must navigate the Change — the compaction and rotation of the city’s spaces. Uncanny Magazine published an English translation of Hao’s story by Ken Liu, who also translated The Three-Body Problem, a first-contact novel by Chinese author Liú Cíxīn 刘慈欣 which won a Hugo award last year. The Chinese text of Folding Beijing is available online, as well. Hao, who has been writing fiction since she was a teenager, has a bachelors degree in physics and a doctoral degree in economics and management from Beijing’s Tsinghua University. She’s ...

China shuts off iTunes, iBook services apparently to block “Ten Years” movie

China shuts off iTunes, iBook services apparently to block
JISHOU, HUNAN — China’s media censors have abruptly shut off access to Apple’s iTunes Movie and iBook stores, just before a dystopian movie about Hong Kong’s future became available for download on the services. The film, Ten Years (十年 shí nián), depicts a Hong Kong of 2025, where the former British colony’s freedoms have been washed away by mainland government rule. The independent film recently won the 2016 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Picture. Apple had been given permission to operate the stores in China seven months ago, but the iTunes movie and iBook stores went dark on the 15th. No official explanation was given, but The New York Times reported that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) had ordered the services closed. The cutoffs happened just as the movie became available on Apple’s Hong Kong iTunes stores. Only mainland holders of Apple accounts are affected; those with accounts based abroad can still access the services. Apple Music is also unaffected. China’s censors earlier blocked reporting of the film’s award, and imposed a blackout on televising the awards program. The film paints a less than positive picture of mainland rule in Hong Kong, with ...

UPDATED: China remains at 4th lowest spot in press freedom rankings in latest report

UPDATED: China remains at 4th lowest spot in press freedom rankings in latest report
JISHOU, HUNAN — China’s ranking in an annual international press freedom survey remains at #176 out of 180 countries analyzed, the same position it held in 2015. The international organization, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres – RSF), released its annual World Press Freedom Index on Wednesday, saying 2016 has been a bad year for journalists worldwide. The Index levels especially sharp criticism of China, which continues to be among the nations with the lowest press freedom rankings. UPDATE 4/27/2016: An editorial in the Chinese Communist Party news outlet, Global Times, scoffs at the ranking, claiming Reporters Without Borders ignores the differences between developed nations and developing nations. The constructiveness of journalism is more important than press freedom to developing countries. This constructiveness includes press freedom and supervision of the media, however it must incorporate understanding of different local political and economic development. The purpose of journalism is not to advocate its absolute freedom, but to help advance societal progress in a suitable way. Or, as President Xi Jinping has insisted, to serve the Party. In its summary of the Asia-Pacific region, RSF writes: In China (176th), the Communist Party took repression to new heights. Journalists were spared nothing, not ...

Censors tell Internet sensation, comedienne Papi Jiang to clean up her act

Censors tell Internet sensation, comedienne Papi Jiang to clean up her act
JISHOU, HUNAN — A wildly popular Youku and Weibo star, Papi Jiang, has had most of her videos pulled off China’s Internet sites, because state censors say she swears too much. Most of her videos are now missing, though they survive in their original form on her YouTube channel. Papi, whose full name is Jiang Yilei, is a 29-year-old student at Beijing’s Central Academy of Drama. Her videos mocking everyday situations have attracted millions of views on Youku (China’s version of YouTube) and Weibo (a Twitter-like microblog without that damnable 140-character limit). She’s so popular that she got more than $2 million in venture capital to expand her comedy enterprise. But, her tart tongue ran afoul of China’s media censors, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), who told her to edit her videos to take out the salty language. It’s part of the state’s efforts to “beautify” the Internet. (That’s official state Chinese for “censor.”) Papi posted on her website and Weibo account that the videos will reappear once she sanitizes them. She also apologized for offending anyone. “As a person from the media, I will pay more attention to my words and images. I ...

Careful, Chinese ladies, that handsome foreigner you love might be a spy 1

Careful, Chinese ladies, that handsome foreigner you love might be a spy
JISHOU, HUNAN — The Beijing government is warning its female workers that the next dashing foreigner wooing them could be a spy. For National Security Education Day, which apparently is a new thing here, the government has placed cartoon posters warning the ladies that handsome wàiguórén (foreigners) might be after more than just charming dinner conversation or Chinese lessons. No, they don’t mean sex. They mean state secrets, which if every state worker has access to, China has a bigger problem than “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The 16-panel cartoon, entitled “Dangerous Love” (危险的爱情 wēi xiǎn de ài qíng) tells the tragic story of Xiao Li, a pretty civil servant who falls for a “visiting scholar.” After he woos here with roses, dinner and probably pirated copies of banned TV shows, she inexplicably gives him secret state documents. They are soon arrested, and the final panels feature police scolding a handcuffed Xiao Li for having a “shallow understanding” of secrecy. Readers are left to imagine what happens to Xiao Li and her lover-spy next. It won’t be pleasant. There is no equivalent poster warning male workers of sultry Mata Haris exchanging sexual favors for state secrets. Apparently, the Party bosses ...
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