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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

‘Papa, where are we going?’ — ‘Off the air, kiddo’

'Papa, where are we going?' -- 'Off the air, kiddo'
In their never-ending quest to make China’s airwaves wholesome, socialist and by the way thoroughly boring, China’s media censors have set down a new rule: no more shows featuring children of celebrities, like Kimi at right. The new edict effectively kills one of China’s most popular programs, Hunan Satellite TV’s 爸爸去哪儿 (Bàba qù nǎ’r? — Where Are We Going, Daddy?), which features celebrity fathers and their adorable children as they visit various rural places in China, get lost, play games and eat local food. Kimi Lin (aka 小小志), 7, was one of them. He and his father, Jimmy Lin ZhiYing 林志颖, appeared in the first season. Jimmy is a Taiwanese actor, singer and race car driver, and his wife, Chen RouYi 陈若仪, is a Taiwanese actress and model. Kimi, incidentally, was born in California. The show has since had two more seasons, with a different team of parents and kids each time, and has inspired two feature films. But now it’s off the air, because China’s media police, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), declared that TV programming should not glorify celebrities over more humble people, and should not propel innocent children into the public ...

More Chinese officials’ relatives named in ‘Panama Papers’ investigation

More Chinese officials' relatives named in 'Panama Papers' investigation
JISHOU, HUNAN — Five more relatives of past and present China Politburo members have been identified as holders of secretive multi-million-dollar offshore assets by a worldwide group of journalists. The reports brings the number of Chinese offshore account holders to nine so far. The first four identified by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) include the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping, and the granddaughter of former premier Li Peng. In a report today, the ICIJ named: Lee Shing Put, son-in-law of Zhang Gaoli, a current Politburo Standing Committee member, was a shareholder of three companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands: Zennon Capital Management, Sino Reliance Networks Corporation and Glory Top Investments Ltd. Jia Liqing, daughter-in-law of Liu Yunshan, another Standing Committee member, was the director and shareholder of Ultra Time Investments Ltd., a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2009. Zeng Qinghuai, brother of Zeng Qinghong, the vice president of China from 2002 to 2007, was the director of a company, China Cultural Exchange Association Ltd., that was incorporated first in the island nation of Niue and then re-domiciled in 2006 in Samoa. Hu Dehua, son of the late Hu Yaobang, who served as head of ...

‘Panama Papers’ leak names Chinese officials, gov’t quickly blocks web access

'Panama Papers' leak names Chinese officials, gov't quickly blocks web access
JISHOU, HUNAN — Family members of Chinese party officials — including President Xi Jinping — are among the very rich named in a massive exposé of secretive offshore financial accounts, but Chinese citizens will probably never hear about it. Within hours of the “Panama Papers” reports released today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), China’s Internet censors blocked the ICIJ domain and any search engine queries for “Panama Papers.” (See screencap, above.) State news agencies likewise have no mention of the reports, which have so far named Xi’s brother-in-law and relatives of past and present Politburo members as only a few of the holders of offshore accounts sheltering billions of dollars internationally. English language news sites are so far not affected, but Chinese language sites are blocked or censored. Online discussion is also being monitored and blocked, the BBC reports. Chinese holders of overseas accounts whom the ICIJ has so far named are: Li XiaoLin, businesswoman and daughter of former Premier Li Peng. ICIJ revealed in 2015 she held nearly $2.48 million in a secret HSBC account in Switzerland. Deng Jiagui, brother-in-law of sitting President Xi Jinping. Bloomberg had already reported in 2012 that Deng and his wife ...

HK indie dystopian film outperforms Star Wars VII on opening night, disappears

HK indie dystopian film outperforms <em>Star Wars VII</em> on opening night, disappears
KOTA KINABALU, SABAH, MALAYSIA — An independent film set in a dystopian Hong Kong of 2025 opened last month, and outsold the latest Star Wars episode. Then, it quickly disappeared from theatres, probably because it’s very critical of the mainland government. Ten Years (十年 shi nian) consists of five shorts, all set ten years in the future, when Cantonese has been outlawed and an oppressive government rules with 1984-like efficiency. One short depicts the self-immolation of a protester, which has been a common form of protest on the mainland by Tibetan and other dissidents. There’s no evidence the Beijing government has banned the film in Hong Kong. But its disappearance may be a form of “self-censorship” by theatre operators unwilling to deal with government censors. Links for further information: CNN Jan. 20 Radio Free Asia Feb. 10 Wikipedia entry Filmmakers’ interview with HK magazine TimeOut

The Atlantic Monthly fails Science 101, #FlatEarth ers rejoice

<em>The Atlantic Monthly</em> fails Science 101, #FlatEarth ers rejoice
GEORGE TOWN, PENANG, MALAYSIA — There is just so much wrong about a science writer equating “fringe science” with real science in a major magazine that I feel compelled to write a response. I know, I should be writing about my wonderful vacation trip instead of grousing about an essay praising science cranks for their creativity and inquisitive spirit, but Lizzie Wade’s essay in The Atlantic Monthly, “In Defense of Flat Earthers,” just irritates the crap out of me. It bothers me because Wade, whose background as a science writer seems pretty solid, gets all touchy-feely, New-Agey and says fringe scientists are just so adorable, trying to make sense of the world in their cockeyed ways. Why, they’re just like real scientists! No, they are not. I will explain why momentarily. Even more annoying is Wade’s response to criticism that she’s fundamentally missed the boat on what science is and does. She tweeted this rejoinder to one such complaint: It’s not my job to promote science or encourage people to become scientists. — Lizzie Wade (@lizzie_wade) January 28, 2016 What in blue blazes do you think your job is, Lizzie Wade? A science writer shuld be writing about science, ...

BBC travel correspondent visits Fenghuang (video)

JISHOU, HUNAN — I get excited when I see familiar scenes from my “neighborhood” on the Internet. Fenghuang is about 45 minutes from here, and has become a very popular stop for tourists looking for picturesque views of ancient China. Here’s the link to the page in case the video isn’t working. The young lady he’s talking to, Wu Ling, is dressed in the traditional wedding garb of the Miao minority. It’s for tourism reasons. Miao girls don’t ordinarily walk around with five pounds of silver on their heads.
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