America safe for Chinese visitors now? I had no convincing answer 2

America safe for Chinese visitors now? I had no convincing answer
JISHOU, HUNAN — Yesterday we had English Corner, a regular event to give students a chance to practice their spoken English. During a lull in the activities, one student came over to ask me questions about the election of Donald Trump (R-Blowhard) as president. I’ll start with the last one, which floored me. “You know, I would like to study in the United States after I graduate. Will I as a Chinese be safe there?” Before Tuesday, I could answer this fairly confidently, “Yes, of course.” For the most part, students asking that question were not worried about prejudice against Asians, but about Americans toting guns everywhere. This time, though, the reason for the question was different, and not easy to address. Since Trump won, there have been scores of reports from across the USA about whites deliberately attacking African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, immigrants — anyone not obviously a white “American” — and telling them to die or leave. The worst incidents end up on the news, and that news finds it way around the world. Once perceived as a country of tolerance which welcomed people from all over the world, the United States now is perceived as a dangerous ...

China dis-invites children’s choir after it sings Taiwan’s national anthem

China dis-invites children's choir after it sings Taiwan's national anthem
JISHOU, HUNAN — The Puzangalan Children’s Choir of Taiwan was supposed to perform in Guangdong next month, but China has canceled the group’s invitation, apparently for political reasons. The choir, comprising members of the aboriginal Paiwan people, had sung the Taiwanese national anthem at the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Tsai Ing-wen, last month. Since China considers Taiwan a province of the mainland, the song apparently hurt Beijing’s feelings. The performance at a choral festival in Guangdong was part of a fundraising tour for the choir. President Tsai has pledged $15,000 to offset the loss of income, the BBC reported today. Focus Taiwan TV reported today that the group has raised enough funds to attend the International Choir Festival organized by Cantemus Choral Institute in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, in August. So, take that, China! For more information about the choir, you can visit their Facebook page or their website. Here’s an example of their singing.

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 ...

Attendee posts YouTube video of N. Korean defector’s talk in Beijing; transcript below

Attendee posts YouTube video of N. Korean defector's talk in Beijing; transcript below
A recording of North Korean defector and author Hyeonseo Lee’s talk in Beijing March 27 has been posted on YouTube by a member of the audience. Taken with a cellphone camera, the hour-long video captures most of Lee’s remarks at The Bookworm-Beijing before a small, mostly non-Chinese audience. The video is shaky and the audio is not especially clear. I’ve provided a partial transcript below. Lee’s sharp criticism of China’s policy to repatriate defectors back to North Korea was already reported by Agence France Presse, and re-published widely across Chinese social media the same day. Chinese immigration officials then told Lee she would have to cut short her visit to China, and return home to South Korea immediately. Lee is the author of The Girl with Seven Names, a memoir of her escape in 1997 at the age of 17 from her hometown into neighboring China, and her eventual arrival in South Korea in 2008. She later returned to northern China to smuggle her mother and brother across China to join her in South Korea. She has also appeared at TED events and spoken to human rights organizations across the world about the situation in North Korea, and the hardships ...

Hong Kong publisher says mainland police entered HK to question him

Hong Kong publisher says mainland police entered HK to question him
JISHOU, HUNAN — As the saying goes, the plot thickens, as more details slowly come out about the five Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared, only to reappear on the mainland. One of their friends says mainland police questioned him — in Hong Kong — about the five men’s activities. Thing is, by treaty, mainland police are not supposed to have jurisdiction in HK, a Special Autonomous Region (SAR) of greater China. Hong Kong residents have suspected that the five men, who published and sold sensational books about corrupt Chinese Communist Party officials, were apprehended in Thailand, mainland China and Hong Kong by mainland security bureau agents late last year. They later resurfaced in Guangdong Province on the mainland, under mysterious circumstances. Hong Kong police say no mainland agents entered the SAR, but a friend of the five booksellers told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he was questioned at length on three occasions by three officers from the Guangdong State Security Department about the five men. Lau Tat-man, 65, also told the Post that security agents in Dongguan, Guangdong, detained his wife while she visiting there, and questioned her for four hours about the publishing business. The Post stated ...

Controversial Hong Kong indie film, #TenYears, wins Asian film award

Controversial Hong Kong indie film, <em>#TenYears</em>, wins Asian film award
An independent film depicting a dystopian Hong Kong in the year 2025 won top honors at the Hong Kong Film Awards this weekend. The film, Ten Years, reflects the fears Hong Kongers have about the effects of reunification with mainland China. In five vignettes, the film suggests oppression familiar to readers of George Orwell’s 1984 will be normal, and that the freedoms present-day Hong Kong enjoys will slowly be eroded away. Needless to say, the film is banned on the mainland. According to the BBC, censors have blocked reports referring to the film’s award. Limited screenings are planned for the USA, and other countries. Produced on a HK$500,000 budget, the film has made HK$6 million so far, despite HK theaters limiting or canceling screenings, fearing government interference. No such interference occurred, however. Hong Kong citizens have been increasingly worried that the mainland government will exert more control over the special autonomous region (SAR), despite formal agreement in 1997 of the “one country, two systems” policy. That agreement, reached as Britain returned its former colony to China, assured that the mainland government would not interfere with the politics and laws already established in Hong Kong. But mainland authorities have so far ...

Interactive map shows growing Chinese military presence in South China Sea

China has been gradually expanding its naval and air presence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The results so far can be seen in this interactive map developed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Its neighbors, including Vietnam, the Philippines, China and now even Malaysia have protested China’s expansion into what they say are international waters. Several nations lay claim to the Spratly Islands, and some also military bases there. But China has been especially aggressive recently in establishing a military presence on them. China has also built an airstrip in the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, leading to tensions with Japan and Taiwan, which also claim the islands as national territory, China has recently scolded the United States for its Naval and Air Force operations in the area.

Chinese party newspaper calls Miss World Canada ‘pretty’ but ‘misguided’

Chinese party newspaper calls Miss World Canada 'pretty' but 'misguided'
Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin is “misguided in her values” and has only herself to blame for being barred from mainland China, an editorial in Global Times says. The Chinese Communist Party newspaper says “Lin has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces against China.” The hostile force is Falun Gong, which the party considers a dangerous cult and has banned in the mainland. Lin, 25, was prevented late last month from attending the Miss World pageant in Sanya, Hainan. She got as far as Hong Kong, but was denied a visa as she was declared persona non grata by Chinese immigration officials. A practitioner of Falun Gong, the Hunan native has been very critical of China’s human rights record, and has called for the independence of Tibet and Xinjiang from the Beijing government. Both regions have ethnic minorities who resent domination by the Han majority and the distant Beijing national government. After Lin published a statement about her situation in Hong Kong, the party’s English language mouthpiece responded with a condescending editorial, calling her “pretty,” but “misguided in her values” and ignorant of her homeland. It blames Lin for acting in a way offensive to China, ...

Miss World Canada’s statement about her failed attempt to attend pageant

Miss World Canada's statement about her failed attempt to attend pageant
Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada, published the following statement on her Facebook page today. China is preventing her from attending the Miss World competition in Hainan, apparently for political reasons. **** Dear friends, at 6:00am local time on Nov 26th I arrived in Hong Kong en route to Sanya, China, host city of the 2015 Miss World competition. Unlike all other Miss World contestants, I did not receive an invitation letter from the Chinese organizers of this event, and so was unable to obtain a visa in advance. I was never given an explanation as to why I did not receive the letter. Under Chinese law, however, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya, so I decided to try attending anyway. Unfortunately, I was prevented from boarding the plane from Hong Kong to Sanya. No reason was given for the denial. I will be holding a press conference in Hong Kong tomorrow morning at 10am local time at the Regal Airport Hotel. The slogan of the Miss World competition is “Beauty with a purpose.” My purpose is to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves—those who suffer in prisons and labor camps, or ...

Chinese officials bar Miss World Canada from flight to Hainan pageant

Chinese officials bar Miss World Canada from flight to Hainan pageant
Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada, has been prevented from boarding a flight from Hong Kong to Sanya, Hainan, to attend the Miss World pageant, the AP reports. Lin had not received the necessary letter of invitation from Chinese immigration authorities to obtain her visa, but she attempted to fly in China anyway. Hong Kong is administered separately from the mainland and does not require visas for Canadian citizens. The preliminary activities of the pageant began Monday. Lin, a follower of Falun Gong spirituality, is an outspoken critic of China’s poor human rights record. The Beijing government considers Falun Gong a dangerous cult, and has banned the organization within China. The 25-year-old theater student was born in China, but emigrated to Canada with her mother at age 13. Her father still lives near Changsha, Hunan. More details at The Guardian.

China shuts out Canadian Miss World contestant for political reasons

China shuts out Canadian Miss World contestant for political reasons
China is apparently denying a Chinese-Canadian a chance to come to the Miss World contest tomorrow in Sanya, Hainan, because of her human rights activities. Anastasia Lin,25, has not yet received a letter of invitation from Chinese immigrant authorities. Without it, she cannot obtain a visa for entry into China. Other contestants received their letters last month. Lin is an outspoken critic of China’s human rights record, particularly regarding its prohibition of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that Beijing calls a religious cult. Her father, who lives in Changsha, Hunan, has also been harassed by authorities, because of his daughter’s work. She and her mother emigrated to Canada 12 years ago. Lin was crowned Miss World Canada in May. The pageant operators in Canada have refused to send a runner-up contestant to Sanya. More details are at the BBC and Shanghaiist.

How China’s “harmonizing” of the Internet works

How China's
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — The Huffington Post media mavens did this hilarious mashup of Donald Trump saying the word “China” over and over again. He really seems to be obsessed with it. CHI-NA! It’s HUUUGGE! Anyway, I thought I’d share the video with friends in China. So I grabbed the video off YouTube and uploaded it to Youku.com, China’s homegrown version of YouTube. The upload was successful, but it was not made public. Here’s the message that comes up on my user page. Has been shielded, according to the provisions of audio-visual management 已屏蔽,根据视听管理规定处理 Putting it more bluntly, “Your video was too political and we nuked it.” In China, this is euphemistically called “being harmonized,” a reference to the previous president’s deeply held wish that Chinese people live in a “harmonious society.” Or, in other words, in a society where people don’t make waves. My timing was probably off, as the current leadership prepares for a gala celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Japanese Occupation. China’s net nannies typically go into full swing before any major national event, including holidays and anniversaries they’d prefer to forget, like the June 4, 1989, suppression of Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. ...
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