Archive for May 15th, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Weekend Picture: Cattle

Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle, aka Kyloe

Leaning its head slowly and continuously from one side to the other, it’s grazing the pasture, along with four more of its species from across-the-sea, Northwestern Scotland.

Highland Cattle are small, sturdy, and fairly well-tempered animals, usually. The first of them were imported to Germany around 1975.

North Americans and Australians started breeding them in the early 20th century.

In Scotland itself, they have been around for some 200 years.

To watch them grazing is relaxing. If that still doesn’t relax you, imagine you are one yourself.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too Dangerous to be Defensible?

Consumer safety will remain a topic for a long time to come. If you buy an adjustable office chair from China, choose simple technology – something to wind up manually. Something that, in the worst case, will break your legs.

Southern Metropolis Daily discussed consumer protection in China in connection with Toyota’s RAV4 on May 1, with some background information as to why relevant legislation in China doesn’t seem to work for the consumers’ benefit.

In a completely unrelated case, two lawyers, Tang Jitian and Liu Wei, who represented a Falun Gong practitioner, have had their licenses permanently revoked this month, the New York Times reported on Monday. According to Liu Wei, they weren’t even informed about the questionable move in written form.

Their client, Yang Ming, wasn’t exactly a nobody. He reportedly staged the silent protest surrounding Zhongnanhai in 1999 after which the Chinese leadership went ballistic and launched a wave of arrests, plus an entertaining, but not really funny narrative industry about grannies trying to fly and almost killing themselves in the process, weeping party officials having gone Falun Gong and being visited by comrades who made them repent, and other sunday-school-like movie material. It added some ten to twenty minutes of airtime to CCTV’s  main evening news for many nights after.

That was eleven years ago. But time – and the rule of law, the essential for a constitutional state – don’t seem to matter when it comes to “sensitive” issues. Whenever a case is Falun-Gong-related, China’s tender legal system is turned into a scrapheap – by exactly those who are supposed to defend it. On the other hand,  convenience goods killing unsuspecting users are apparently no big deal (unless they are made in Japan).

The heart of the matter here isn’t if Falun Gong should be legal or banned. Rule of law is the issue.

Which leads me to the question if Mr Zhicheng Hu, an American citizen who has been released after having been held in China for almost a year on charges of misusing trade secrets, is to receive a decent compensation from the Chinese state, or if he shall count himself lucky for being allowed to leave the country at last.

He had been detained in Tianjin in a business dispute over automobile technology. His wife is quoted as saying that Hu was released this month with no charges filed against him.

Consumers won’t be safe in China any time soon. Not before the law itself will be safe.


Lawyers’ Licenses Revoked, RFA, May 8, 2010
Arrests: Can Chinese Media keep Track, Aug 2, 2009

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Their Place in the Next 5-Year Plan

[…] And then Forbes hits an interesting little nail on the head: the Big Lychee’s officials don’t draw attention to these advantages. Out of fearful, obsequious pragmatism (“deference”) they don’t advertise Hong Kong as the bit of China where there is no censorship, thus no persecution for resisting censorship, no favouritism for state companies, no weird legal decisions to undercut foreigners, plus all the YouTube and Facebook you could ever want, and you can incorporate in a day. Unlike you-know-where.

Our local leaders are silent on this. They just sit there awkwardly, too patriotic to say why we’re better, preferring instead to unnerve us all with fatalistic blather about how our only chance is integration and cooperation and partnership, and getting excited only at the prospect of a mention in the next Five Year Plan. […]

Big Lychee, May 13, 2010

If this looks familiar to you, maybe you’ve been to Hong Kong.

Or, more recently, to Taiwan.

Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan - and where is Singapore?

Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan - and where is Singapore?


Seven Ways Taipei beats Singapore, January 19, 2010

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