Archive for November 30th, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Belgian TV crew attacked in Henan Province

Tom Van de Weghe and his crew were attacked in a rural area of Henan province while interviewing people suffering from AIDS, according to the Foreign Correspondents Club of China on Thursday, according to boxun.com.

According to a statement on the Foreign Correspondents Club website,

Van de Weghe, his cameraman and assistant were beaten up and robbed of tapes, phones and money as they attempted to report on HIV-Aids in Henan province.

Eight thugs pulled their van over, reached inside to unlock the doors, dragged the crew on to the road and punched them into submission. […..]
Earlier in the day, the reporters had been questioned by a policeman. Soon after, they were followed by two unmarked cars. After several hours, they were stopped again, surrounded and forced to hand over a tape. Locals said the thugs in this incident were Zhoukou and Gangshan county officials.

The journalists tried to return to the airport, but their van was pulled over a third time on a dark road, where the violent assault took place. The reporters were beaten until they handed over their tapes, identity cards and belongings.

The incident apparently occured in Shangqiu County (商丘县). According to Van de Weghe in VRT’s (Belgium) Het Late Journaal he was told that nationwide rules didn’t apply and that “we in Henan make the rules”.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vote for MyLaowai

Chinalyst has opened its China Blog Awards 2008. Justrecently isn’t competing but has voted for mylaowai.com.

This is meant to be sort of a recommendation to do likewise, so I should say why. I’ll give you my reasons in a Chinese order – I’ll start with more trivial reasons and finish with my most important reason.

a) The Baby Panda will get “it” otherwise

b) mylaowai inspired this beautiful blog to come into being

c) mylaowai is (mostly) funny,

d) classy writing and

e) provocative

I’d like to say a bit more about “e)”. In my view, some of the mylaowai content is either bad taste or offensive. But it seems to me that much of the spirit in which all that stuff is written can be found in the comment thread here – and blogging is about speaking your mind.

You will find a lot of commenter reactions to mylaowai’s posts, sometimes nodding in agreement, sometimes critical, and sometimes hostile and in pretty bad taste too.

I’m thinking of mylaowai.com as a litmus test: How far do Chinese (often living overseas themselves) and foreign readers disagree with mylaowai? How far do they agree? And most crucially: how much free speech can the supporters of China’s leadership or its status quo stand?

Mylaowai.com speaks through its posts, and through its commenters. Among all the China-related blogs which I know, I think mylaowai is exactly what a blog should be like.

The place to vote is over there.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

What does Chen Shui-bian’s Arrest Mean for China?

Hsieh Chang-ting (Frank Hsieh, 谢长廷), former Taiwanese premier and DPP presidential nominee who lost against Ma Ying-jeou in March this year, said in an interview that if former president Chen Shui-bian did wrong, he should pay the price and be tried. However, noone should leap to conclusions. The judicial system only enjoyed the trust of less than 30%. Hsieh also said that street demonstration in a democratic society should be organized and carried out in an orderly and non-violent way.

The Time China Blog quotes Hu Shuli, editor leading Chinese financial magazine Caijing as saying that Taiwan’s judicial process

is special for Chinese around the world. When a former leader is detained in an ordinary jail cell, it’s clear that China’s old feudal saying that “punishment reaches no officials” is no longer valid.

The Time Blog also quotes Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai:

…as difficult as it may seem, China should look for help from Taiwan. The island has institutions that protect and nurture ideas. It is a place where people don’t have to be afraid of holding unpopular opinions. Most importantly, Taiwan has a fully functioning democracy.

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