Posts tagged ‘Jiangsu Province’

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend Links: O2O Business in China

Warning: JR is trying to explain the economy to himself. His word pool and previous knowledge about this topic are shaky, and the following may or may not make sense – you’ll have only have yourselves to blame if you base your homework (or investment decisions) on this post.

Going “Brick-and-Mortar”

Let’s get industrial. O2O is about [people] buying things online, but collecting them from a shop on their side of the computer or smartphone – or having the stuff delivered to their doorstep. But China’s woefully inefficient logistics network .. acts as a brake on e-commerce growth, the Economist wrote in August, and that leads to online retailers seeking “brick-and-mortar” outlets to increase the points of delivery and to make their goods more accessible for their online customers.

Dalian Wanda Group’s (万达集团) and Suning Commerce Group (苏宁云商) are a recent example in the news. Wanda’s property development section (the company’s other major trades would be culture and tourism)  provides department stores or plazas all over the country, and Suning Commerce Group is a retailer with reportedly more than 1600 stores across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan. The two have signed a cooperation agreement: Suning will open stores at Wanda Plazas throughout the country, Reuters wrote on September 6.

National Soft Power, too

China News Service (CNS) explained, on September 7:

Suning coming into play is a direct result of an upgrade at Wanda. Wang Jianlin has long indicated that the answer would be revealed on this day.


The adjustments had been watched by many skeptical observers for about half a year, without Wang Jianlin providing much of a response during all the time, according to CNS. But as for Wanda’s department stores, or plazas, CNS has reassuring news:

Are Wanda’s stores really as bad as comments from outside suggest? Not at all. One one occasion, in an internal meeting, Wang Jianlin revealed that nearly half of the Wanda stores were incurring losses, but that the other half of them were profitable. He was in a position to cut the outlets that were incurring heavy losses, optimize the portfolio, and then have a attractive story to tell to the Hong Kong capital markets, with a beautiful financial report.


The CNS article also points out that Wanda became involved in the culture industry in 2012.

Compared with real estate business, the contribution the culture segment could make to [the Wanda group’s] revenues and profits was very low, but it perfectly fitted into the strategic requirements of the national advancement of soft power, and its synergy effects with real estate, tourism, and other trades was obvious. As big onlooking companies  from the real estate began to recognize [Wanda’s approach], they scrambled to emulate it.


CNS also refers to the acquisistion of AMC Theatres (AMC Cinemas), and Infront Sports and Media, and offers an explanation as to why such acquisitions would make sense, and concludes:

There are many more such examples. Every draw in this game of chess was made not from a spur of the moment, but as a move taken after careful consideration, serving the transformation plan for the entire Wanda group. This is also true for the adjustments of the stores, and the introduction of Suning.


The message provided by CCTV’s website for the foreign audience is equally heartwarming:

The Wanda Group, headed by Asia’s richest man Wang Jianlin, seems unstoppable.

Complementary illustration ...

Complementary illustration …

The Financial Times, in an online article published on August 6, isn’t quite that enthusiastic – although, it should be said, their misgivings aren’t about the Wanda-Suning romance which was only made public in September, but about the O2O industry in general. Rising labor costs could hamper the business model, and it is not entirely clear what lasting new business models will emerge.

That said, if O2O is really a lifestyle, as suggested by Chinaskinny, the question might come up, sooner or later, if and how costs play a role in that customer “hobby”, and if the promises it makes to the supplier side are sustainable, For sure, the example of the nail specialists who can make so much more per hour, if based on O2O, is all over the internet, as observed by the FT.



» Baidu Q3 forecast, TechCrunch, July 27, 2015
» Traditional Industries, new Bones, April 17, 2015
» Central Committee Cultural Decision, Oct 28, 2011


Sunday, June 7, 2015

“Star of the East” Aftermath: at Ease, under the Party’s and Government’s Help

A breathless Xinhua article published online by the People’s Daily today, with coverage which reads as if the whole story had unfolded only within the past twenty-four hours.

The Xinhua article seems to be the authoritative account of what happened, and how the authorities reacted. It was announced on Saturday evening's Xinwen Lianbo.

The Xinhua article seems to be the authoritative account of what happened, and how the authorities reacted. It was announced on Saturday evening’s Xinwen Lianbo. Click picture above for video.

On June 1, at about 21:30, the “Star of the East” from Chongqing’s Dongfang Ferry Company, on its way from Nanjing to Chongqing, suddenly capsized, hit by a tornado. In the furious storm and the surging waves, 456 passengers and crew were in a desperate situation.


Life is greater than the heavens!


Under the strong leadership of the Party’s Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the Secretary General, under the State Council’s work group’s direct command, the party committees and governments of Hubei, Hunan, Chongqing and elsewhere, the united action of the central authorities, the People’s Liberation Army’s and Armed Police and maritime authorities rapid mobilization abilities, nationwide mobilization for search and rescue action quickly unfolded.


After receiving the report, Central Committee Secretary General, State Chairman, and Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping issued important instructions right away, ordering the State Council work group to go to the site to guide the rescue work, and that Hubei Province, Chongqing Metropolitan, and other work groups unfold all efforts with their adequate strength, and properly deal with the aftermath.


Standing Politburo member and Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang immediately issued written instructions and, on behalf of the Party’s Central Committee and the State Council, and on behalf of Secretary Xi Jinping, hurried to the site by plane, directing the rescue and emergency reaction work.


After the description of the political will behind the rescue work, the article goes into more technical and bureaucratic detail. Further down, the article mentions that the relevant local party committees and governments (i. e. Hubei Province, the Changjiang Maritime Bureau, Yueyang City, Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, Chongqing, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province, Shandong Province, Tianjin Metropolitan authorities etc), on their own initiative, coordinated their actions. Support from companies with nationwide significance is also acknowledged.

The article also quotes reportedly positive coverage from the Wall Street Journal (WJS), and a Weibo message allegedly resent more than 100,000 times within a day, saying that “what most touched me is that the water level was lowered to facilitate the rescue work, with the Three Gorges Dam damming up water”.

That’s the role “social media” are meant to play in China, under the CCP’s guidance. Issuing authoritative information and news is for the authorities:

To publish authoritative news on ones own initiative is an effective medium to respond to society’s deep concerns. By the afternoon of June 6, the relevant authorites had done 13 press conferences, convened by the ministry of transport, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the ministry of civil affairs, by the People’s Liberation Army, Hubei Province, and other people in charge who explained the situation and replied to the reporters’ questions, supplying information regarding the rescue and salvage work and the investigations in a timely, accurate, open and transparent manner.


After the incident, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, BBC, and other foreign media, some 62 of them, arrived at Jianli, Hubei Province, covering the rescue work, the aftercare for the relatives, and how the aftermath was dealt with. Front command staff also organized three trips to the site for foreign media.


The article’s firt page ends with the same character it started with: Xi Jinping giving an important speech on the morning of June 4, concerning the next steps of rescue work.

Assuming high responsibility for the people’s life and safety – the attitude of the party’s and state’s highest decision-making levels is distinctive!


the Xinhua article jubilates, and concludes the first page of its online article (there are two more pages) with what it says is a quote from French daily Le Monde:

“At a time of disaster, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have built the image of responsible national leaders.”


The following two pages are mostly a chronicle of the rescue efforts, of blood, sweat, and respect for the dead (对逝者的尊重), apparently written to evoke the readership’s national pride and trust in the authorities.

Zhu Hongmei, a survivor saved from the wreck around noon of June 2, is hospitalized in Jianli. The article’s final line:

At Jianli County People’s Hospital, Zhu Hongmei’s condition is stable. She says that with the Party’s and government’s help, she feels at ease.




»Mourning the Victims, Radio Japan, June 7, 2015
» Rescuers, Families Bow in Silence, NYT, June 7, 2015
» En quête de réponses, Le Monde, June 5, 2015
» Search complete, L. A. Times, June 6, 2015
» To the Directorate for Religious Affairs, Russian Orthodox Church, June 4, 2015
» Reluctant to embrace Transparency, NYT June 4, 2015


Friday, September 7, 2012

Chinese Press Review: New York Times (reportedly) Watered Down Chen Guangbiao’s Diaoyu Islands ad

Main Link: Ren Min Net (Renmin Ribao), September 7, 2012

Chen Guangbiao‘s (陈光标) ad, referred to by Aomen [Macau] Daily and Ren Min Net respectively, was bilingual. My translation is from the Ren Min Net article in Chinese, and doesn’t account for the ad’s actual wording in English. China Smack has a screenshot of the ad, and quotes excerpts from it.

Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR

An editorial by “Aomen Daily” on September 6 says that Chinese entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao, in his recent ad in the “New York Times” on the Diaoyu islands, also asked: “If Japan announced that Hawaii was Japanese territory, how would Americans feel about that? This line is very good. It’s easy to see that Japan denies its aggressive history and its war responsibilities, and America can’t encourage this unhealthy tendency to run wild. Although Japan is currently under America’s leadership and strictly follows it, who can tell when [Japan] may turn hostile, thus making America shoot its own feet?


The following are excerpts from the [Aomen Daily] article.


Chinese entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao recently published an ad on the Diaoyu islands in the “New York Times” and also asked: “If Japan announced that Hawaii was Japanese territory, how would Americans feel about that? What action would the American government take?” Chen Guangbiao asks a good question, as it calls on the American government and people from all walks of life to condemn Japan’s provocative behavior, and reminds them that the scars and pains from the Second World War must not be forgotten.


In the continuously heatening Diaoyu islands dispute, Chen Guangbiao published a half-page ad in Chinese and English in the “New York Times”, in Chinese and English, stating to the world: “Japanese right-wing elements are violating Chinese Diaoyu islands”, “the Diaoyu islands have since ancient times been Chinese territory”. It is said that in the ad originally designed by Chen Guangbiao, part of the question was “If Japan declared Pearl Harbor to be Japanese territory, how would Americans feel about that?” But on the newspaper, “Pearl Harbor” had changed into “Hawaii”. The “New York Times” had said that the Pearl Harbor attack would be too offensive [or psychologically stimulating] for American readers. Chen Guangbiao had asked back that if this was how the American people and government felt about the Pearl Harbor attack, shouldn’t they also understand how we, the Chinese, feel when seeing how Japan’s flag is put on the Diaoyu islands?


The following paragraph mainly deplores the finding of Chen Guangcheng that more than 95 per cent of Americans didn’t know “the truth” about the Senkaku (Chinese: Diaoyu) islands. All the more, America and the world needed be told that the islands were China’s. Chen was, in his own words, practicing a patriotic entrepreneur’s responsibility. (陈光标做广告前在美国花了10天时间,先后在纽约、波士顿、旧金山等大城市的街头做了上千份调查问卷。他发现“至少95%以上的美国人民并不知道钓鱼岛真相”,这更加坚定了他一定要在美国媒体上刊登钓鱼岛广告的信念,他要“告诉美国民众、告诉全世界:钓鱼岛是中国的”。陈光标说,没有通过谩骂、攻击,而是刊登报纸广告来文明、严肃地表达爱国思想、来阐述中国人民的立场、来向对钓鱼岛争端鲜有概念的美国人民普及常识是一种非常理性、睿智、文明的表达方式,也践行了一名爱国企业家的责任。)

It’s not surprising that the average American citizen doesn’t know the truth about the Diaoyu islands. Whatis surprising is that the American government doesn’t know where the Diaoyu islands belong, and on the one hand says that it “doesn’t take sides”, and on the other say that [the islands] are covered by the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. Didn’t America’s leaders want to give the Ryukyu islands to China, during the Second World War? [The last sentence seems to suggest that if that was so, there could be no doubt where the Senkaku islands belonged, as those were under “Chinese Taiwan’s Yilan County’s jurisdiction. If you read Chinese, you can look the line up in the Chinese article’s paragraph which follows this one.]


In the old days, there was a documentary movie called “Teutonic Sword in Action” [could be this one], a careful and detailed analysis of pre-war European indulgence which helped the devil (姑息养奸), allowing the painful history of growing German fascism. Just as in today’s Japan, the extreme-right ideology is spreading, with the government adding fuel to the flames. Government and people, superiors and subordinates, [the economy and domestic politics] dispute neighboring countries’ territory, deny the history of comfort women, and do all they can to expand military power. It is easy to see that Japan denies its aggressive history and war responsibilities just to get rid of the restricitons the international community imposed after the Second World War, to return to its militarist ways. America must not act as if it doesn’t see this, let alone encourage this unhealthy tendency to run wild. Although Japan is currently under America’s leadership and strictly follows it, who can tell when [Japan] may turn hostile, thus making America shoot its own feet?


In fact, since WW2, America and Japan have had a special relationship. Chen Guangbiao hopes that America’s politicians and people will gradually understand the fundamental fact that the Diaoyu islands are China’s, respect China’s sovereignty, condemn Japan’s provocative behavior, put pressure on Japan’s extreme right, and play its role as the world’s superpower and maintain stability and security in the West pacific.

America’s position, although ambiguous in its own view, is in fact very clear at its core; it supports Japan’s opposition against China’s ownership of the Diaoyu islands. This is a very dangerous position, and not at all advantageous for stability in the western Pacific. People have to worry that America’s strong intervention and support for Japan on the Diaoyu islands issue will harden Japan’s government’s tough stance and encourages its right-wing forces’ arrogance, which will be extremely harmful to security and stability in the western Pacific.


The Obama administration’s “return to the pacific strategy” intends to suppress China’s rise, to keep [China] from challenging America’s position. This kind of cold-war ideology goes against the tide of the times, against peaceful development. An editorial published by America’s “Wall Street Journal” points out that currently, America’s strategy’s biggest problem is that it is blurred and without a clear outlook. That can’t solve the Asia-Pacific problems, and even, because of excessive commitments, exacerbate regional uncertainties. China doesn’t intend to compete with America about whatever position, it only hopes that America will do more to help regional peace and stability. As for the Diaoyu islands problem, America should follow through on having no certain position.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chinese Press Review: Copy and Paste from Meng Jianzhu

37 Chinese nationals were flown into Beijing International Airport on Saturday morning after their extradition from Angola. The suspects were arrested in Angola for crimes against other Chinese citizens, allegedly including kidnapping, armed robberies, extortions and forcing women into prostitution. Chinese and Angolan police reportedly cooperated in the operations that led to the arrests.

A press release by the ministry of public security states that the operation had led to the destruction of twelve criminal gangs, the uncovering of 48 serious criminal cases, and the rescue of 14 victims of Chinese nationality. The press release emphasizes the role of the Chinese embassy in Angola in bringing the gang operations to the attention of the ministry of public security.

State Councillor and minister of public security Meng Jianzhu attached great importance to this and ordered the public security organs to take effective measures to severely crack down on criminal activities that violate the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to conscientiously protect the safety of Chinese nationals’ lives and properties in Angola. In April this year, during Angolan interior minister Sebastião Martins’visit to China, Meng and Martins signed the “Cooperation Agreement between the PRC and the Angolan Republic on the Protection of Public Security and Social Order”, and one of the main points of their discussions were joint crackdowns on crimes harming the legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Angola, and decided that China should, as quickly as possible, dispatch [a] team[s] to Angola for joint action. Meng Jianzhu sent a letter to Martins, expressing his hope that Angola would actively cooperate, intensify efforts, ensure the actions’ efficiency, and conscientiously protect our citizens’ lives and properties.


A advance group was sent to Angola in May, the ministry’s website says, to carry out investigations, and to coordinate cooperation with the Angolan authorities. According to their findings, the gang activities had been going on since 2009. More than 30 public security and People’s Police officers from Fujian, Anhui, Liaoning and other regions were sent to Angola on July 19. More than 400 Angolan police and Chinese officers started the crackdowns on August 1, according to the ministry website.

The following sentence seems to suggest to me that the public security minister invites all kinds of media to simply copy and paste the press release and to sell it as their own work (“source” and “author” are left open at the beginning of the release):

This reporter learned that, due to the Angolan presidential elections, the extadition of the suspects didn’t go as scheduled. State Councillor and minister of public security Meng Jianzhu had to send another letter to Angolan interior minister Martins.


Public security ministry: come, copy me!

Public security ministry: come, copy me!

At People’s Daily Net, the People’s Daily Photo Channel becomes the “source”, and in another category, it’s People’s Daily Net proper – but at least, they put a narrator in front of a camera. Interestingly, they also add the names of two reporters (Yang Yan, Feng Huanhuan).   Sina isn’t that cheap, and laconically states “ministry of public security” as the source. Most or all commercial media, from Wenxue City to TenCent,  also attribute the press release correctly. China’s second-largest news agency after Xinhua however, China News Service, states itself as the source.

Huanqiu Shibao attributes the report to the ministry, and Enorth attributes it to China News Service (see end of previous para). For some reason, the report even gets an author at Enorth, different from the editor mentioned at the news agency.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Obituary: Ding Guangen, 1929 – 2012

Ding Guangen (丁关根) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, in September 1929, according to Xinhua newsagency’s – more or less – standardized – obituary:

An outstanding member of the Communist Party, a soldier of communism of enduring loyalty, an outstanding leader at our party’s ideological and cultural battlefront, the CCP’s 13th alternate politbureau member, secretary of the CCP central committee’s secretariat, member of the 14th and 15th politbureau and central committees’ secretariat secretary, Comrade Ding Guangen, died in Beijing on July 22, 2012, at 6.20 a.m., aged 83, after medical treatment had been unsuccessful.

Ding’s death wasn’t in the headlines of CCTV‘s main evening news (Xinwen Lianbo, 19:00 local time) on Sunday, but probably will be on Monday or Tuesday. The obituary was read out during the broadcast’s second half.

新闻联播, July 22, 2012

新闻联播, July 22, 2012 – click picture for video.

Ding graduated from Jiaotong University, Shanghai (上海交通大学), in 1951, and worked for the ministry of railways for more than 30 years, as an engineer, from 1958 onwards.

He was demoted from the ministry of railways during the “Cultural Revolution”, according to the Xinhua obituary. From 1969 to 1972, when he was sent to a “May-7 Cadre School” (五七干校) – another link here. From 1972 to 1975, he worked at Beifang Jiaotong University’s (北方交通大学) overseas students office.

For the final three years at the ministry, Ding held the office of minister of railways, and resigned in 1988, after a series of train crashes that killed scores of people, writes the Washington Post. He held the post of CCP party group (or cell) secretary at the ministry, too – a task in China that frequently comes along with the leadership at an organization.

Ding’s resignation 24 years ago wasn’t the end of his career. Still in 1988,  he became head of the “Taiwan Affairs Office” at the State Council, and director of the central united-front work department from 1990 to 1992.

In December 1992, he became head of the CCP’s propaganda department, a post he kept until his retirement in 2002. His successor there, Liu Yunshan (刘云山), is still in office.

Anne-Marie Brady wrote in 2008 that Jiang Zemin, party and state chairman in 2002 1992,

[…] was a long time political cadre with a nose for ideological work and its importance. This meeting [Update (July 23, 2012): the first meeting of the politbureau’s standing committee / 4th plenum of the 13th CCP central committee on June 1989 – more info here] marked the beginning of a new era in propaganda and political thought work in China. As a direct result of the events of April – June 1989, the Central Propaganda Department was given more resources and power, including the power to go in to the propaganda-related work units and cleanse the ranks of those who had been supportive of the democracy movement.1)

The task for Jiang’s leadership – and therefore Ding’s task, too – was to

[…] both successfully revitalize the Chinese economy and [to] re-emphasize political thought work and control of China’s propaganda system. […] With the strong support of Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping, from June 1989 onward the Central Propaganda Department and the propaganda system once again began to have a prominent, guiding role in Chinese society.



1) Anne-Marie Brady, Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp 44 – 45.



» Open House, May 25, 2012
» The Weeks before June 4, April 17, 2012» June 9 speech to martial-law units, tsquare, accessed July 22, 2012
» The Weeks before June 4, April 17, 2012



» Bad Deal with Ding’s Son, SMH, Aug 30, 2005


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – a Trip to North Korea

« An explanation of this 1989 series

« Previous post in this series


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Wednesday, April 19, 1989

Some two thousand students stay in front of Xinhua Gate overnight, even after three in the morning. But it is quite a reduction from the peak of the evening before, when there were more than twenty-thousand students and onlookers. At 4.20 a.m., a loudspeaker announcement warns of bad elements trying to create trouble, and wanting to use people for their own ends. This was no longer a normal mourning activity, says the message. A great number of police cars arrive, plus two buses, which take students who still stayed on at Xinhua Gate back to their campuses without incidents. In the afternoon, the slogans, besides praise for late Hu Yaobang, begin to include calls for unfolding the May-4 tradition1).

At 9 p.m., several ten-thousand people have gathered on Tian An Men Square again. Public security authorities inform the public by loudspeaker messages that wreathes may be taken to the Monument of the People’s Heroes, but not to Zhongnanhai. Around 10 p.m., police stops students from flying seven hydrogen balloons which carry the inscription “Hu Yaobang isn’t Dead”. Xinhua Gate is out of reach for demonstrations, as it has been sealed off by police.

In the evening, the Democratic Salon holds a session at Beijing University’s San Jiao Di [explanation here, underneath the seven demands]. It is initially moderated by the university’s history department student Wang Dan, and then by Wu Yunxue (武运学), as Wang Dan’s voice is getting hoarse. Ding Xiaoping (丁小平), Xiong Yan (熊焱), Feng Congde (封从德), Yang Tao (杨涛) and others give speeches. The students present at the session decide to depose the [official] Students’ Union and to establish a Steering Commission for an Autonomous Beijing University Students’ Union.

The CCP Central Committee announces that a mourning ceremony for Hu Yaobang will be held in the Great Hall of the People on April 22, at ten a.m.. The ceremony will be broadcast live by China National Radio and CCTV.

Fang Lizhi (方励之), researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories (北京天文台) at the time, is interviewed by a Hong Kong reporter on the phone. The students have the right to make demands, and to express them peacefully on demonstrations, he says. He supports the students, and so do intellectuals and public opinion in general. He has no direct links with the students; the students strife for democracy and freedom is spontaneous, with views of their own. He isn’t directly participating in their actions.

Thursday, April 20, 1989

At midnight, at the Democratic Salon at Beijing University, Wang Dan announces the foundation of the “Beijing University United Students’ Union Steering Committee”, which is to replace the officially-controlled Beijing University Students’ Union. The steering committee’s seven members are Ding Xiaoping, Yang Tao, Wang Dan, Yang Dantao (杨丹涛), Xiong Yan, Feng Congde, and Chang Jin (常劲, sometimes also spelled Chang Jing). The committee recommends that students from every university organize themselves and elect delegates to ensure a unified leadership for the movement.

At peak times, there are now up to fifty- or sixty-thousand people on Tian An Men Square.

Zhongnanhai is sealed off [apparently to prevent further demonstrators to get to Xinhua Gate], and loudspeaker messages at 3.45 in the morning warn the about 300 students who are still in front of Xinhua Gate that if the “small minority of people” still hold out there, the consequences will solely be their own responsibility. At about 4 a.m., military police disperses the several hundred students and forces them on buses. Some don’t want to get on the buses and for the first time, there is fighting.

Hong Kong’s Express (Kuai Bao) reports that student delegates from Beijing University, the People’Äs University and the University of Political Science and Law who had regular talks with the authorities, but there hasn’t been news from them since they had entered Zhongnanhai at two a.m.. Students are losing patience.

At 3 p.m., protests emerge at Beijing University, against the beating of a University of Political Science and Law student, Wang Zhiyong, at Xinhua Gate early that day. The student’s bloody clothes are put on display at Wang’s university.

Deng Xiaoping, in his capacity as the CCP’s central military commission, decides to call troops into Beijing to reinforce the police and military police in Beijing. Troops dispatched are from the 3rd Capital Garrison Division (Police), and from the 38th Army (belonging to the Beijing Military Region).

In the morning, vice chief state councillor Tian Jiyun (田纪云) meets party secretary general Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳) and suggests that Zhao should change his plan to leave for a visit to North Korea on April 23. Tian is the only cadre Zhao brought with him to Beijing2), from Sichuan. Zhao says that he has thought about that, too, but he believes that to change his plans would suggest to the world outside that the political situation was unstable. He therefore sticks with his travel plan.

Students come in from Tianjin, by train, fifty on them this Thursday evening. More than one-hundred have bought train tickets and will arrive on Friday to take part in a demonstration in Beijing.

Demonstrations are reported from Anhui Province, and in Nanjing, at 10.30 p.m., more than three-thousand students leave the Nanjing University campus for demonstrations at the Jiangsu Province government buildings.

In Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, some 2,300 people charge ahead for the entrance of the provincial government building. More than 200 are arrested by military police. An official statement says that very few organized students had been among the troublemakers, and that the majority had been “young people waiting for work”3), workers, people without fixed duties, and mostly young.

Continued here »



1) See last paragraph – a quote from the Hong Kong Standard – there. The May-Fourth movement of 1919 is canonized in Chinese history recording, as a starting point for national renewal and for patriotism, and to invoke this tradtion usually helps to add legitimacy to ones own actions.

2) 待业青年 (young people waiting for employment) remained a euphemism for youth unemployment in the 1990s. Basically, the Shaanxi provincial government communique distinguished between “good-for-nothings” and students – in the early days or weeks of the 1989 movement, there seemed to be a wide-spread reluctance among officials to condemn the students’ agenda, not only among cadres close to Zhao Ziyang. This initial sacrosanctity was possibly owing to the glorification of the May-19th movement in China’s official history records, and also to a switch in the CCP’s coalition-building, away from the peasant and working class towards the intellectuals, as (particularly explicitly) described by Chinese academic Kang Xiaoguangcited there.

3) It probably goes without saying that Zhao Ziyang, general secretary of the CCP at the time, was rather sympathetic towards the students’ movement, and certainly not willing to unleash the army on them. Wu Renhua, who wrote the Tian An Men 1989 records I’m quoting from in these posts, sees a particular degree of trust between Zhao and Tian, because they worked together in Sichuan Province, before Zhao was promoted to Beijing.



» April 20, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 20, 2012
» April 19, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 19, 2012
» Zhao Ziyang’s Memoirs, New York Times, May 14, 2012


Friday, April 27, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Seven Demands

« Explanation of this June-4 series approach

« Previous post in this series

Note: I won’t be able to translate all of Wu Renhua‘s document. However, I’ll try to reflect the gist and the spirit of Wu’s account, and to keep the contents I’m reflecting here consistent.

Wikipedia provides a framework of the Tian An Men events from April to June 1989, and Diane Gatterdam is blogging on a today-in-history basis, on C. A. Yeung‘s Under the Jacaranda blog.


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Tuesday, April 18, 1989

On midnight, more than one-thousand students leave the Beijing University campus for a demonstration, and as they reach Diaoyutai Guest House, their number has risen to three-thousand. Foreign journalists and staff from foreign embassies walk along and watch the event. At 1.30, they reach the People’s University (Renmin University) and stop for a while, as nearly one-thousand People’s University students join them. Along the walk, Tsinghua University and other students also join. By now, nearly ten-thousand people have gathered, most of them students who leave again during the demonstrations.

Beijing University demonstrators carry white silk banners of ten meters length and four meters height, with characters like “Soul of China”, “Remembering Comrade Hu Yaobang forever”, signed by “teachers and students from Beijing University and friends”. Students call, on top of their voices, “long live democracy”, “long live liberty”, “down with bureaucracy” and similar slogans, and sing the “Internationale”. The demonstrators reach Tian An Men Square at about 4.30 in the morning and gather at the Monument to the People’s Heroes. A student climbs the monument and shouts: “This action is completely spontaneous and not linked to the [official, party-controlled] Student’s Union (学生会). We have elected our own students’ representatives, who are preparing to talk with the government.”

As the day dawns, several hundreds of Beijing University students who are sitting in front of the Great Hall of the People demand to speak with leaders above the level of the NPC Standing Committee level, and present seven demands:

  1. to re-assess Hu Yaobang’s merits and demerits and to affirm their democratic, liberal, tolerant and harmonious points of view
  2. thoroughly reject the campaigns against spiritual pollution and against caipitalist liberalism, and correct injustices done to intellectuals
  3. make the salaries and all income of the country’s leaders public, act against corrupt officials
  4. permit private newspapers, remove censorship, implement freedom of speech
  5. increase spending on education, improve the treatment of intellectuals
  6. remove the Beijing municipal government’s ten rules concerning demonstrations
  7. require the government leaders to report mistakes to the National People’s Congress in a public review and put certain officials’ posts up for re-election

[For comparison, the seven demands as quoted on Wikipedia]

These seven demands had gone through discussion at Beijing University’s law faculty postgraduates’ assembly, chaired by Li Jinjin (李进进).

At 7.30, Wang Dan (王丹) of Beijing University History Faculty, notices that the number of silent protesters is diminuishing, and gives Fang Lizhi’s (方励之) wife Li Shuxian (李淑娴) a phonecall. She puts up a poster at Beijing University’s San Jiao Di [三角地, a place where most student demonstrations passed through during the 1970s and the 1980s. It is also the site of a memorial of Beijing University’s 100th anniversary]. After the 9-4 incident, it is the only case the CCP establishes as a manipulative act between Fang Lizhi’s wife and the students’ movement.

At eight in the morning, General Office of the Communist Party of China (中共中央办公厅) and General Office of the State Council’s Bureau for Letters and Calls chief Zheng Youmei (郑幼枚) and others invites Guo Haifeng, Wang Dan and other students representatives to enter the Great Hall of the People and receive their petition there. Guo, Wang etc. demand that the NPC Standing Committee members emerge to have a dialog, while Zheng Youmei replies that this would require certain etiquettes. The students’ representatives state that this dialog had not been satisfactory.

At 5.30, Standing Committee member Liu Yandong and NPC delegates Tao Xiping and Song Shixiong meet the silent protesters’ delegates Guo Haifeng and others, and Guo et al submit a Petition to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee – a petition which mainly contains the seven demands.

At 6.55 p.m., more than three-thousand students from People’s University, Beijing University, Beijing Institute of Technology (北京理工大学) leave their campuses and set out for Tian An Men Square. They arrive there at 8 p.m. – first those who came by bicycle, then those who walked to the square. At 9 p.m., some ten- to twenty-thousand people have gathered on the square, and apart from the silent demonstrators in front of the Great Hall of the People, they gather in front of the Monument to People’s Heroes.

At 10.50 p.m., more than twenty [correction, 2May 15, 2013] two-thousand students and onlookers move to Xinhua Gate, the State Council’s place at Zhongnanhai, and demand a dialog with chief state councillor Li Peng. Li is paying a visit to Hu Yaobang’s family that evening, expressing his appreciation for Hu Yaobang. His family people express their wish for a simple funeral, and that the center will issue a conclusion of his work.

In the afternoon, Nanjing University and Hehai University students have applied for a demonstration permit to the Jiangsu Province Public Security Bureau, stating that more than ten-thousand students from several universities want to gather at the Clock-Tower Square at 1 p.m. on April 9. Reports about activities from Shaanxi Province are also coming in – in Xi’an, the mourning activities are said to spread from the students to society at large.

As Tuesday comes to an end, only Associated Press, among the foreign news providers, has covered activities in Shanghai, according to reference material provided to the CCP leadership. All other reports have remained focused on Beijing. According to Associated Press, the demonstrations have become more political on Tuesday, demanding answers from the government. Li Jinjin [see further above, re seven demands] is quoted as saying that the bureaucracy had got a taste of the people’s power. The students had wanted a dialog with NPC Standing Committee members in charge, and weren’t demanding an immediate response, but they [Standing Committee members] hadn’t dared to show up (今天,学生们的游行逐渐变得越来越带政治性,要求政府对他们提出的七条要求做出答复。学生代表李进进说:官僚们会尝到人民的力量。他说,学生们想同全国人大常委会负责人谈谈要求,而且不会要求立即作出答复,可他们不敢出来).

Continued here »



» April 27, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 27, 2012
» A Frenzy for Freedom, J. Bennett, May 1990/April 2012
» All Highly Quotable, May 20, 2010


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The BoZhu Interviews: a Translator and his Blog –

the internet’s blessings, the uphill battle battle of practicing foreign languages, and an old novel’s lasting relevance

Huolong started blogging eleven years ago. During the earlier stage, in Harbin, he mostly wrote about everyday life, his reading experiences, his work, hopes and fears, about childhood, classmates, and friendship. He originally started blogging in Chinese, but his blog soon became a blend of Chinese and English-language posts. Somewhere in the process, translation became another topic, and has by now segregated into his main topic. He lives and works in Beijing.

Huolong’s complete blog can be found here, and it also contains a category with English posts only.

The interview:

Q: You have been blogging for more than a decade, and for much of the time, you have been a bi-lingual blogger. Why do you blog? Was there a key moment where you felt that you should share your experiences and your feelings, which got your blog (or blogs) started?

A: Firstly, I want to express myself. A blog, or rather the broader Internet with all its applications built and flourishing on it, is a blessing for people like me. Secondly, I want to help. I’m a professional translator with Chinese as native tongue and English as a foreign/second one. I’ve been in this trade for more than a decade and have learned a great deal I want to share to do some good. Last but not least, I want to build some online brand for myself. My website helped me land my first and second jobs in Beijing and even played a great role in making my wife (just a classmate back then) believe I remained a not-so-bad person in 2004 after the long 14 years during which we’d lost each other.

Q: What’s the worst online article or post you have ever read about China (that you remember)?

A: The article or post I can’t remember. But I still remember a China blog that never fails to repulse me: In its newest post, he called the Chinese police officers “monkeys” and implied that their brick-breaking palms are useless for performance of their duties. This only further enhances my belief that Mylaowai has an unbalanced mind. For example, he couldn’t seem to understand that physical sturdiness is a small but key part of their overall capabilities. Only Mylaowai seems to assume that the Chinese officers don’t think high-tech is crucial to modern police actions.

Q: A number of your readers have subscribed to your translation training serial. How many persons are taking part? Do you know some of them personally? Do you feel that they are making headway, and do you get feedback which you put back into your courses?

A: Currently, there are about 300 subscribers to my newsletters, with some of them being my office colleagues. Most of them are only casual subscribers. I’ve seen no meaningful results since I started the newsletter more than a year ago.

[Update, Oct 28, follow-up question 1]:

Q: Are you mulling ways to guide subscribers to more efficient problem-solving?

A: Yes. I’ve tried in vain and found that it’s extremely difficult to change how they think about translation learning or that they are not dedicated enough.

[End of update follow-up question 1]

Q: How did you learn English? Which approach was most helpful? School? Work? Reading? “Real Life”?

A: Generally, I taught myself to use the language. I owe my English to a now controversial man named Li Yang, an English-language teacher-businessman whose teaching and motivation approach is characterized by crazy shouting by large English-learning crowds. I haven’t met him personally. But I bought some of his books in 1996. And in his books, he showed how people could learn good English in a non-English-speaking environment. According to his teachings, if I speak English well, I can then understand it well both spoken and written and write it well. Another secret he revealed is that reading is the shortest-cut to wisdom and knowledge accumulated over the years. I then went almost crazy practicing speaking English and became a devouring reader. As every language professional understands it, learning and studying a language involves everything associated with it and is a never-ending uphill battle. His methods make the process easier for me. My problem is the same as that of most other English learners in China: I have listened and spoken too little. This is where I must and will improve.

[Update, Oct 28, follow-up question 2]:

Q: Baike Baidu describes Li Yang’s approach as one that would tear down psychological barriers, when it comes to speaking (or shouting) – the fear of making mistakes and losing face (false shame). Does this explain his concept correctly?

A: His concept is more than tearing down the barriers, which I think is the only the first step. It also includes practical methods about how learners can learn English better, e.g. tongue muscle training and special English-pronunciation techniques for Chinese speakers. His concept also includes a key component: Learners should learn the language sentence by sentence, article by article, and book by book. This is a very effective antidote to the bad habits of most English learners in China, who tend to learn and study English vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading and writing as completely separate components. They dream that the components will fall into place automatically and then their English will be good one day. That day will never come.

[End of update follow-up question 2]

Q: Do you expect a broader readership to pay attention to your articles – about translation, or about your personal life -, or is yours rather a niche blog for a small circle of specialists? Would you mind if a broader readership got strongly involved in your commenting threads? Would you mind controversy?

A: I’ve only recently – that’s about one year ago – shifted my blogging focus to translation and languages. So now I only expect a much less-varied audience. It’s always good to have a bigger and more participatory readership for any types of blogs. I don’t mind controversy as long as I consider it constructive.

Q: Do you have a policy on trolls? Can you think of a reason to ban a commenter from your threads?

A: No. I don’t need any currently maybe because my posts don’t attract those people. I don’t like off-topic, abusive, or meaningless comments, to name a few.

Q: How closely do you follow Chinese and non-Chinese blogs respectively? Do you (as a reader) or they (as bloggers) focus on certain, recurring kinds of news or topics?

A: I like blogs with meaty contents. I’m a subscriber to quite a few Chinese and English blogs and read them every day. Most of them are in English. Their topics include translation, language, Internet, history and quotations.

Q: Being a bilingual blogger, you seem to follow both Chinese- and English-language blogs, and blog posts written by Chinese and foreign bloggers alike. Do you see anything their blogs would have in common? And what makes them different from each other?

A: The blogs I read are too diverse in topics and styles to have any commonalities. If there is one, I think it’s the dedication with which the bloggers write great contents.

Q: Have you seen big changes in your own blog or blogs, and in the Chinese, or foreign “China blogosphere” respectively since you started blogging yourself? Have you seen changes in the mainstream media?

A: For my blogs, I have changed to focus on language and translation topics. Sorry, I haven’t read enough China blogs or pay enough attention to changes, if any, to the mainstream media to offer useful inputs.

Q: Which is your favorite blog? (Please don’t name mine.) What’s the most informative online source about China?

A: My favorite is EB Blog because it’s written by experts and very informative and intelligent. I only casually read “China blogs”, and this is not enough for me to come up with any informed answer to the second question.

Q: Have you ever stopped reading blogs because you felt they were becoming boring, or because they angered you?

A: Yes. Mylaowai, for example.

Q: In your view, has China changed since you started blogging? Have your feelings changed? Has the world changed? How so?

A: Ten years have passed since I began my first website. A great many things have happened. China now is a polarized and layered society and people in it don’t always know or bother to know what’s happening in the rest of the society. That’s about the case for me, my peers, and those within my close and remote social networks. During the past decade, we worked hard under great pressure in competitive cities and thankfully our life got better year by year. And now we still see hope for even better life. This must be a unique feeling or observation from a global perspective because China is only one of the few countries that have generally succeeded in achieving its ambitious economic and social development goals that have lifted the country out of poverty during the past decade and positions the country for greater prosperity in the future. Politically, China is no better than ten years ago and might be worse. Government power still runs unchecked while the officials can have their own way in most cases. I’m not sure this is good for China’s future even though they have driven the economic growth for the past several decades.

[Update, Oct 28, follow-up question 3]:

Q: You mentioned the Britannica blog earlier in this interview. The blog looks somewhat like the equivalent to BBC Radio 4 (a station you once had on your blog roll, I believe). This is what a British commenter once wrote:

Really, you must understand that Radio 4 is the nearest thing the British middle class has to Pravda. It dispenses a particular kind of wisdom which distinguishes one from the vapid upper class and the benighted working class. Its effect on the minds of the British public is to create an image of middle-class respectability which no evidence to the contrary can dispel.

In the context of Chinese society having become a more layered society, can you think of something similar to BBC Radio Four – a Chinese website or a broadcaster – who would cater to a similar middle class in China?

A: It’s hard to define what the Chinese middle class is. If they are well educated, have professional or technical jobs, and earn enough money, I think they will like CCTV’s movie channels and

[End of update follow-up question 3]

Q: Besides your main translation/personal blog, you have also run a blog devoted to the Dream of the Red Chamber (or Mansion), since 2007. It seems to be hibernating. Why is that?

A: This blog is mainly one for collecting posts by other bloggers or writers. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place, but Google searches yield few articles about that novel that I think warrant reposting. That novel is encyclopedic in scope and depth: life and death, life experience, history, philosophy, literature, food, health, architecture, and so on. Writing good articles about it requires lots of “been there, done that” stuff, acute observation, expansive thinking and great dedication. I view the novel as a description of a declining society in which the enlightened few saw no way out but still had hope in their heart. Historically, the novel described the decaying Chinese life and society in the 17th and 18th centuries during which time Europeans started to produce great science, technology, art, and literature, explored overseas and experienced drastic changes that led to the Industrial Revolution. China missed them all. This, I think, makes the author one of the most-visionary Chinese people in history.

Q: Is there an unasked question to which you would like to reply anyway?

A: Yes. I would like to say something again about the future of my blogging. I want it to be a source of useful information, a place where my readers find seriously written contents related to language and translation. I have learned to focus and concentrate in blogging. And finally thank you very much for this interview.

Q: The pleasure is all mine.

This interview can also be read here. This interview was conducted by an exchange of e-mails, October 27 – 28.


» Dream of the Red Chamber, a translation by H. B. Joly, 1891
» All BoZhu Interviews


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