Archive for December, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Six Officials lose their Posts after Nap

Six local officials in Hengyang City ((衡阳市), Hunan Province (湖南) will lose their party and government posts after falling asleep during a convention commemorating 30 years of Reforms and Opening Up on December 18 – according to China Radio International, photos there. Municipal secretary Zhang Wenxiong (张文雄) had demanded serious consequences after pictures of the sleeping officials had been published on the internet and reprinted by several media.

The fired officials are Hengyang’s party secretary Liu Zi Heng (刘梓恒), Hengyang deputy director of Hengyang Economic Commission Peng Zhenlin (彭振霖), China’s Disabled Persons’ Federation Hengyang branch vice chairman Zeng Donghua (曾东华), Production Safety Bureau vice researcher Huang Xiangjia (黄湘家), Hengyang All Sports Center director Zhang Huijun (张慧君), and Hengyang Economic Commission’s chief of staff for the economy, Li Chengbang (李成帮).

The disciplinary measures were decided by Henyang’s Municipal Committee’s Standing Committee on December 25.

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Footnote: falling asleep during meetings and conventions is nothing unusual – and in China, it happens on all levels, National People’s Congress included. The sacking of six officials for their naps seems to be an unusual disciplinary measure. Apparently, the officials expected nothing of this sort eight days ago.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hu Jia’s family gets (incomplete) Medical Examination Report

After many twists and turns, they have got a copy of Hu Jia’s medical examination results, Zeng Jinyan writes in her blog today. However, the copy doesn’t contain results concerning HBV-DNA, and the prison staff say that when they made the copy, the report didn’t include the enclosures. A change in Hu Jia’s medication seems to be essential, writes Ms Zeng. She and the doctor she consults need more information concerning Hu Jia’s health, and face-to-face talks with Hu Jia. Ms Zeng phoned the prison staff this afternoon and asked for stopping Lamivudine treatment which appeared to do more harm than good now, and for a meeting with Hu Jia and the doctor in charge of his medical treatment. The staff expressed their understanding and that they would ask the superiors for communicating the results as soon as possible. They also said that because of the current ban of the state security police on face-to-face talks between Hu Jia and his family, Ms Zeng’s request wouldn’t be easy to handle – this would require permission from the state security police.

Ms Zeng then phoned the state security police, accusing them of putting up obstacles and refusing meeting times stipulated by law. She asked them not to put up further obstacles.

I think I don’t quite understand the following paragraph in Ms Zeng’s post, but it seems that the state security police reminded her during the phone call today that she and Hu Jia had acknowledged some responsibility of their own for Hu Jia’s current situation, i. e. a lack of procedural and entity justice applied in his case – 70% of the responsibility on the state security, 30% on Hu Jia – 15% thereof was Ms Zeng’s responsibility, according to the state security officials.

Ms Zeng asked the state security officials if they acknowledged mistakes of their own, how this could result in denying his family and her meeting with Hu Jia.

Friday, December 26, 2008

No Way!

The owner is a little worried the hotel might be perceived as a brothel.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Story: The East is Red – Part II

« Part 1 of this epic is here «

2. A Guide to Yan’an

Hermit woke up. He opened his eyes, and without moving, he could see the Red Star over China shining from the entrance to the canyon, a slight breeze was rattling the tree tops, but besides, he was sure he had heard something else that had stirred his sleep. Wasn’t something crackling there in the woods?

Shit, he thought. If he woke Nanny up for nothing, she would become angry again. Besides, she might opt for a quickie. What should he do? He turned his head to the woods. He could run away and leave Nanny behind. It would be a great opportunity to get rid of the old spitfire, actually… He turned his eyes back to the canyon entrance. The Red Star shone into his conscience and reminded him that there were patriotic duties to fulfill. Without moving more than necessary, he reached for his briefcase and threw it at Nanny’s head.

Ouch!”

“Not so loud,” whispered Hermit. “I think there’s some wild animal or Tibetan monk in the woods.”

Nanny reached for her kitbag, took a gun out and unlocked it. Then she rose and pointed at the woods from where there came another crackle.

“Don’t move!” shouted a man’s voice from there. “I can see you, but you can’t see me! I’m as clever as Zhu Geliang, and you better drop your ******* rifle, old fat woman!”

In a fit of uncontrollable rage, Nanny hoiked her gun and fired a burst into the wood.

One pistol shot came back, right into Hermit’s briefcase. “Don’t try that again!” shouted the voice. “I’m in full control of everything, I see everything, hear everything and know everything! I can see you! You can see me not! Drop your gun now!

“Asshole,” muttered Nanny and dropped her gun.

“Now tell me,” said the voice, “are you progressive forces of society, or are you useless public vermin sucking the blood of the people?”

“We are civilized Han Chinese people,” shouted Hermit, “and we are Taoists and always ready for a jolly revolution. Who are you, bugger?”

A man emerged from the woods. He had lowered his pistol and slowly walked towards them.

“That bloke is absolutely tuifei (decadent)”, whispered Hermit. “Look at his tie and his Hugo Boss shirt (invented in China five centuries ago).”

“But he’s wearing a proletarian cap,” Nanny whispered back.

The man with the proletarian cap shook his head. “Let me introduce myself, said he. “My name is Chinacansayno. I’m the son of a very rich landlord with a lot of real estate…”

“… who owns a lot of slaves,” Hermit chipped in.

“You are obsessed with slavery,” retorted Chinacansayno. “That fat girl there is your wife, right? You know a good deal about slavery yourself, right? She’s controlling you very striclty, right? Hahahahaha!”

Under normal circumstances, Hermit wasn’t a very strong dragonfly, except for his airfoils. He wouldn’t fling his 30*20*10 centimeters briefcase further than a meter or two, but Chinacansayno’s allegation that he was married to Nanny made him furious, Chinacansayno had carelessly put his pistol back into its holster, and Hermit hit him right into the face.

Bugger,” cried Chinacansayno, “you’ve hurt my feelings, and my nose is bleeding and spoiling my expensive shirt!

“My feelings are hurt, too,” spoke Hermit earnestly. “Let’s call it even.”

He watched Chinacansayno’s hanging shoulders and how he lowered his head, spoiling his shirt even further, and felt very proud of himself – he hadn’t realized that Nanny was standing somewhere behind him, closely watching Chinacansayno and thumping one of her seven-league boots silently into the palm of her left hand.

“OK,” said Hermit, feeling very confident. “Now let me introduce Nanny. She’s a renowned seer. And I’m Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly. Six nights ago, I spotted a red star over China from my observatory in dirty muzzy Xinjiang. We don’t know yet if it means curse or liberation for our great motherland, but in either case we know that our sacred motherland is calling us.”

While Hermit was talking, Chinacansayno had changed the color of his face several times and had become very excited. “Are you the incarnation of Chairman Mao who is coming to save us?“, he cried.

“What kind of superstitious oracle told you that?”, asked Hermit.

“That’s no superstition,” Chinacansayno replied in a venerated tone. “Our seer who is even smarter than your fatass Nan… umm… anyway, our seer isn’t stupid either, and he says…”

Anyway,” Hermit monkeyed him. “Is that coming Chairman a man or a dragonfly?”

“A man,” said Chinacansayno.

“I thought so,” said Hermit.

“You are very clever,” purred Chinacansayno. “How did you know?”

“Easy. Because Chairman Mao would be a Chairdragonfly otherwise.”

“That’s logical,” Chinacansayno agreed.

“But tell us,” Nanny came in, “if you are a child of such privileged people yourself, why would you join a commie cause?”

“How do you know it’s a commie cause?”, asked Chinacansayno who was very suprised.

“Easy,” said Nanny. “a) you are wearing a funny proletarian cap with a red star on it. b) the red star over China and the one on your cap have five edges, just like the Bolshevik one in Moscow. c) I’m a seer. Forgot, huh?”

Chinacansayno jumped around with apparent joy like an idiot for five minutes and kept yelling “Now I know! Now I know! Now I know!

“You know what?”, enquired Hermit after Chinacansayno had calmed down.

“Now I also know that Nanny is the Seer,” explained Chinacansayno, pressed his Mao-cap to his chest and made three deep bows. “I’ll lead you to Yan’an, and Nanny will find out who of the new-born there is the reincarnation of Chairman Mao!”

“OK,” muttered Nanny. “No prob. But let me ask you this again: why would you, spoiled brat from a privileged landlord dynasty, join the Commies?”

“Sooner or later the truth will be revealed,” said Chinacansayno. “But for now, even you, Great Seer, can’t know. When the time has come…”

“OK, OK,” grumbled Nanny. “We have no time to lose. We can get three more hours of sleep and then we’ll get on our way to Yan’an.”

Nanny’s mobile phone alarm clock went off at 3 a.m. Zhongyuan Standard Time (or Peiping time, or KMT time) which meant that time was much earlier in the place they were. Nanny slammed her mobile phone onto a rock, they rose, and kept on walking for twelve hours. Then they took a short break and had some Xican porridge for a late breakfast. After that they continued their long march, and when night fell, the red star proved that their direction was fully correct.

Suddenly, a weird noise of hundreds of silly voices yelling stuff like Hare Krishna, Dailai Lama clang through the forest. “Shit,” said Nanny. “Off the path. Let’s hide behind those trees.”

A long procession of people in orange robes lurched by under a cloud of weed smoke and colorful lanterns, on the path the three patriots had been walking only seconds earlier.

monks

monks

“How do you know we need to hide from them?”, asked Hermit.

Nanny shrugged. “a) we don’t know them. b) my vision tells me they’re hostile to the motherland.”

c) They are Tibetans,” added Chinacansayno. “They never wash themselves, and their cult is as dangerous as Shintoism, and almost as dangerous as muzzie Uyghurs.”

d) They can’t read and write and are uncivilized, e) they smoke shit, and f) they are some sort of yippie culture,” completed Nanny.

“But our people can’t read and write either, and especially our upper classes smoke opium,” Hermit brought to their attention.

“But that’s something completely different,” said Chinacansayno. “My daddy smokes opium too, but he’s civilized.”

Hermit frowned. “And the Yippie Movement is only scheduled for the 1960s, in America.”

“China – this includes all Han Chinese and muzzies and Tibetans – has already invented the Yippie movement,” said Chinacansayno. “Anyway, that bunch here is becoming a problem. Chairman Mao’s reincarnation will take thorough care of them later.”

After two hours, the weird procession was over. “What can we do now?”, asked Chinacansayno. “They walked very slowly – they are intoxicated with weed. We’d catch up with them within minutes, and that wouldn’t be advisable, would it?”

“We could massacre them,” suggested Nanny.

Chinacansayno shook his head. “Not advisable. Our mission is very secret, and hundreds of dead monks would be no secret. Our news blackout system isn’t perfect yet.”

“Well – you are here to lead us to Yan’an,” growled Nanny. “Make a better suggestion.”

“The key is to get them off this path,” said Hermit.

Chinacansayno wiped some dried blood off his nose. “Smartass.”

“No civil wars now,” barked Nanny.

“I’ll play a God,” said Hermit. “A flying God. They don’t expect any flying object to be a smart creature which speaks their language unless it’s a God, right?”

“You don’t look like a God,” said Chinacansayno.

“I’ll tell them. I’ll tell them that I’m one of the seven Tibetan Kings,” said Hermit. “Can I have one of your boots, Nanny?”

“If you take good care of it,” said Nanny. Hermit took the boot and took off. Soon after, he reached the end of the staggering procession. Flying at the height of the tree tops, he started bellowing into Nanny’s big boot with a voice as loud and deep as he could: “I’m a Tibetan King! I’m a Tibetan King!”

The people in orange dropped their joints and lanterns. “Who is there?”, shouted someone from the first lines. “I’m a Tibetan King! I’m a Tibetan King! Follow meee! Follow meee!”

So they did. Hermit made sure that they stumbled through the forest in circles under his correct guidance and lost their way completely. Then he flew back to his companions. They lost no time and overtook the people in orange before they could find their way back to the trail.

Update: Part three is here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gasoline Prices and Taxes changing

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC, 国家发展和改革委员会 or 发改会), a macroeconomic management agency under the state council,  has lowered fuel prices with effect from December 19 as follows, according to Jiangsu News:

from 6,480 to 5,580 Yuan per ton for gasoline; from 6,070 to 4,970 Yuan per ton for Diesel; and from 7,450 to 5,050 Yuan per ton for aviation kerosene.

The price changes scheme includes oil consumption tax changes taking effect on January 1, 2009:

1 Yuan per liter for gasoline (from 0.2 Yuan before), and 0.8 Yuan per liter for Diesel (from 0.1 Yuan originally). Other oil consumption taxes would rise accordingly, writes Jiangsu News.

The scheme scraps the Road Maintenance Fee, Waterway Maintenance Fee, Road Transport Management Fee, Passenger and Cargo Surcharge, Waterway Transport  Management Fee and Water passenger and freight surcharges. These cancelations will also take effect on January 1, according to Jiangsu News.

Related – Commodities: Cabbage and Fuel, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Story: The East is Red – Part I

… inspired by Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China Gospel

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Prologue

The Imperial Court announces with raging sorrow that her Imperial Highness, the horse-faced Dowager Empress aka Noble Consort Yi, has joined her Celestial Ancestors from the Middle Sea Hall of Graceful Bird today. Unreliable elements in our Sacred Kingdom are advised to keep their mouths shut and not to try to seize rotten opportunities which do not exist anyway. They may however open their mouths for ritual mourning. The Imperial Court is in full control of everything, sees everything, hears everything and knows everything, and the next generation of Imperial rule is already installed and very powerful. Besides, her Imperial Highness will soon reincarnate under the name of Mao Zedong.

Peiping, November 15, 1908

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justrecently proudly presents:

RED STAR OVER CHINA

A JR production, Christmas 2008

The East is Red

The East is Red

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1. An Appointment to the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon

Once upon a time in 1936 it came to pass that Hermit, a civilized Han Chinese Taoist dragonfly living in uncivilized muzzie Xinjiang watched the stars through his huge infrared space observatory (invented in China) at night and saw a lot of big red stars, but the one to the East in the direction of Shaanxi Province was the biggest and brightest one. And Hermit sat down and had another cup of green tea and then called his good old girlfriend Nanny in the West of Qinghai Province (invented by China in 1928) on his mobile phone (which was invented in China long before Graham Bell had stopped crapping his diapers), and told her about the big shining red star over China.

And Nanny sat down on her five-square-meters ass and thought carefully and said: “This star might stand for an evil cult, even more evil than the New Life cult (invented by Chiang Kaishek in 1934) and the Falun Gong cult (as old as China itself, says Li Hongzhi) which tried to stick to a world without gravity (which was very unhealthy and un-Chinese ever since Pan Gu had invented gravity).

But after three more crossword puzzles (night was already giving way to another day), Nanny decided that if the star signalled an evil cult, there would be a need to smash it, and if it was a cool cult, it was something she should breastfeed. Moreover, as the renowned seer she was, she had seen during her crossword puzzle that it was most likely a cool cult.

“We will meet in the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon,” said Nanny.

“Where was that again,” asked Hermit.

“That’s where we spent our honeymoon, bastard,” hissed Nanny.

Hermit apologized, as usual. He knew the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon. Nanny erroneously believed that they were married, as a matter of fact, Hermit had lost his innocence there, and he never dared to contradict bluntly when she referred to their qingkuang as marriage. Ostensibly forgetting about the Canyon and that terrible night there was his only way to coyly differ.

“OK,” said Nanny. She had become angry and short-spoken. “I’ll wait for you there.”

“Hahaha,” made Hermit. “You will wait for me? Can you fly? You never told me!”

“You’ve never seen my seven league boots,” said Nanny. “But this is a critical point in the history of our motherland. It’s time to unwrap our secret weapons. I hope you have some silver bullets, too.”

With that, she slammed her mobile phone onto a rock, removed the SIM card from the broken device and put it into a new mobile.

As the sun rose, Hermit was busy with packing his 30*20*10 centimeters briefcase and getting a map featuring Ping’an (平安) and surroundings – Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon was some hundred miles to the northeast of that town. He had to hurry. Nanny’s way to Ping’an was much shorter than his, and considering her seven league boots, there was no time for him to lose. So off he flew to Ping’an. The Wind was West to Northwest, so his briefcase wouldn’t be too much of a nuisance.

This includes Tibet and Taiwan

This includes Tibet and Taiwan

It took him more than five days without any sleep to get there. He only had some short breaks from flying to take angry phone calls from Nanny who kept asking how much longer she would have to wait for him as she had already reached the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon. Such phonecalls from Nanny happened seven times, and cost the great cause of the motherland seven mobile phones. Hermit had no idea how many she carried with her.

***

The Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon came into sight on the sixth day after darkness had fallen. From an altitude of 400 meters, Hermit could spot a small campfire and flew lots of combat curves with decreasing altitudes to gather intel on the situation, closing in on the camp. Once every circle, the fire vanished behind what appeared to be a huge rock. “Cut it out!“, yelled Nanny when Hermit was only two meters above her. “This makes me dizzy!”

Hermit dropped his briefcase and sat down in a safe distance from the fire – dragonflies have to mind their airfoils. “Sorry – I didn’t see it was you, and I wanted to make sure.”

Nanny shook her head and gave Hermit a disdainful look. “Who else should be here?”

Bu haole 1), thought Hermit. If Nanny thought that noone else would come here, she might want to make love. Then again, maybe he was lucky and there would be no sex in a patriotic movie. Last time, also in this place, had been before the Japanese invaded the motherland.

“With my seven-league boots, we should reach the place where the star is within the next 24 hours,” remarked Nanny. Ah, OK. She was tied up with business. “It’s time to find out what’s going on there. I’m almost sure it’s something Chiang Kai-shek doesn’t want us to see. You know, usually, I think that news blackouts are useful and healthy. But only for people who are too stupid to deal with secret information in a patriotic and healthy way.”

She went on with her views on censorship and political healthiness for half an hour or so, while Hermit was enjoying some dried tadpoles from his briefcase. He went to sleep after this dinner, and after Nanny had made her last resounding points for national renewal of the motherland, at least for the moment.

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1) Not good.

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Update: Continued » here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

JR’s Jesús the Carpenter Award…

… goes to MyLaowai this year, the only reader who bothered commenting and thus qualifying. However, the picture isn’t painted yet, and also, JR is very busy with preparing that Christmas story and arguing with the censors.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

“The East is Red”

… a Christmas story inspired by Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China Gospel

The East is Red
The East is Red

Starring:

Nanny
Hermit
A JR production, to start on December 25, if it passes censorship.
Update: Starts  » here
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