China has announced it will launch Shenzhou-9 on Saturday morning at 6:37am EDT. The space mission will feature the country's first manned docking with Tiangong 1, a mini space station; the first Chinese woman to go into space, Liu Yang, and Jing Haipeng, the first taikonaut to venture into space twice.
The United States sees the world as Vietnam does: threatened by growing Chinese power. [more inside]
You may have seen Replacements, Ltd.'s print ads in the back of PARADE magazine (of Howard Huge fame). Replacements, both a seller and a resource for china and glassware owners, was one of the few North Carolina businesses to publicly take a stand [NYT] against the state's vote to ban gay marriage. As an employer, Replacements is one of only nine companies in the country to receive a perfect score for ten years straight in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. But the company is also known for another surprisingly liberal policy: encouraging its 450 employees to bring their pets to work amidst millions of pieces of china and glassware. How many? A whole lot. [more inside]
China's has just released its report, "Human Rights Record of United States in 2011". This annual report covers gun crimes, OWS, freedom of the press, unemployment, and more. via
Revolutionary hardware backdoor discovered in China-made military-grade FPGA chips. Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip. We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key. This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
Didier Drogba seems set to follow in the footsteps of his mate Nicolas Anelka and head to China when his contract at Chelsea ends at the end of the month, but how much do you know about grassroots Chinese football culture? [more inside]
♫ As young as 18, I'd already written the application to join the party, but I was too embarrassed to turn it in to the party branch. I've studiously read the party constitution countless times - always felt I wasn't worthy of the party's requirements. ♫ Applying to Join the Chinese Communist Party : a music video (w/ English subtitles)
Galleries of old photographs of camels in America, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, China, Mongolia and India, in war | camel breeds | How the Camel Got His Hump from Camel Tales, Folklore & Legends| baby camels and lots more at this one stop site all about Camels. Previously.
In March, a young, male driver crashed a Ferrari in snowy conditions, killing himself and wounding the two female passengers. The Beijing Evening News posted a short story, complete with a picture of the wrecked car, but deleted it a short time later. A new story was put up a short time later, apparently without the picture of the wrecked car, but terms related to the crash were blocked from the micro-blogging site Sina Weibo (blocking on Weibo, previously). The news of the crash, and the subsequent (partial) cover-up were further marks against the Rich2G, the second generation of China’s moneyed class. More recently, Ferrari held an event to celebrate twenty years of the luxury car maker in China, spending $12,670 to rent a section (and drive a special edition "Marco Polo Red" 458 Italia) on top of the City Wall of Nanjing. The driver was caught on film driving tight circles on the ancient wall, leaving tire marks and further souring the public against Ferrari in specific, and the wealthy at large. [more inside]
Al Jazeera is closing its Chinese bureau after the authorities have refused to renew its reporters' press credentials and visas [NYT]. The Chinese government's reasons for this aren't clear, but Al Jazeera's recent coverage of China's "black jails" has been less than flattering.
"What appears as discipline or “tough love” from one perspective often appears as abuse from another."
On Tiger Moms: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build Titanic II, a modernized replica of the unsinkable Titanic.
The blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has fled home imprisonment and sought refuge, according to Chinese dissidents, at the US Embassy in Beijing. Chen gained fame for organizing opposition to forced abortions under China's one-child policy. [more inside]
Li Yang, founder of the most popular English-language school in China, Crazy English, (previously on MeFi) is now found to have beaten his American wife multiple times. Domestic violence is found in some 25% of Chinese marriages (!) but the actions of Li's wife Kim Lee to publicize the abuse has raised the profile of spousal abuse in a country where this was not often publicly discussed previously.
The Previous And Current Lives Of A World-Class Joke "At first, it was limited only to the Chinese-language Internet. More recently, it has appeared among foreign media. I just watched a clip of director James Cameron being interviewed on a talk show during which he said: "They were afraid that the Chinese men will reach out to touch the screen." When Cameron emphasized that "This is true," I knew that this is one of the most successful fake stories in recent years." [more inside]
"The world's most important story" – A decade of environmental journalism in China, by Guardian environment reporter Jonathan Watts.
India's DEFEXPO 2012, is 'not a carnival in the truest sense', but rather ' the seventh in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Security Systems Exhibition . . . clearly steering the path of steady growth . . . receiving overwhelming and unprecedented international response.' As for arms dealers? 'On arms dealers, the minister [India’s Defence Minister AK Antony] insisted, “There are none I am aware of.”' [more inside]
Gu Kailai, the wife of senior Chinese party leader Bo Xilai, has been arrested for the murder of an English businessman. Bo, until his sudden fall from power this year, one of the most popular politicians in China, the leading figure of the Chinese New Left and Party Committee Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing, has completed his downfall by being expelled from the politburo and stripped of all party positions. The collapse started in February, when his top lieutenant, Wang Lijun, was suddenly demoted and then fled to the US consulate for a day - supposedly, either attempting to defect or to give incriminating evidence on Bo and Gu to the Americans for safekeeping. [more inside]
The files of the God of Gamblers case can be read as a string of accidents, good and bad: Siu’s run at the baccarat table; Wong’s luck to be assigned an assassin with a conscience; Adelson’s misfortune that reporters noticed an obscure murder plot involving his casino. But the tale, viewed another way, depends as little on luck as a casino does. It is, rather, about the fierce collision of self-interests. If Las Vegas is a burlesque of America—the “ethos of our time run amok,” as Hal Rothman, the historian, put it—then Macau is a caricature of China’s boom, its opportunities and rackets, its erratic sorting of winners and losers.Evan Osnos on a real-life "God of Gamblers" and the rise of Macau, The New Yorker
Mark Sweep describes an interesting game from his childhood which helps explain why companies move and keep their manufacturing in China.
" Thus in today’s China one confronts the paradox of a communist regime that is at ideological loggerheads with left-leaning intellectuals, but which finds pro-Western, liberal intellectuals on the whole quite congenial." Richard Wolin is Dreaming In Chinese...
Bo Xilai, former Party Secretary of Chongqing and current Politburo member, was recently sacked by Chinese leadership. He is well known for his economic success at growing Chongqing, and his flamboyant leadership style which included the revival of “Red Culture”[previously]. [more inside]
In a sympathetic biochemical photo-reactive process, the Biosphere has altered the litho-sphere into the pedosphere, the cryo-sphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere*
The Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest is home to more than 50 million people. Centuries of overuse led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty. Two projects (results) set out to restore the Loess Plateau. [more inside]
Ira Glass retracts the This American Life episode "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory". Mike Daisey responds. [more inside]
The fact that Chinese internet access is censored and monitored is not new, but Sina Weibo (新浪微博, literally "Sina Microblog,"), handles the task differently. Commonly referred to by the generic name Weibo, the social service that is likened to Twitter and Facebook is more open in what you can post, but searches for certain words are blocked. Without context, a list of blocked searches is fairly abstract. Blocked on Weibo adds translations and context to the blocked words. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
On the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, the Economist magazine now considers Nuclear energy to be "the dream that failed", in an issue with articles covering the history, safety issues, handling of nuclear waste, and costs (with emphasis on China) of nuclear power. [more inside]
FP Passport Blog: In an attempt to highlight the role of women in Beijing's annual National People's Congress, China's party newspaper the People's Daily published "Beautiful female journalists at two sessions," consisting of women asking questions and "beautifying" China's legislative session. It's hard to think of a more awkward way for a media outlet to celebrate International Women's Day, except maybe last year's offering from China's state news wire Xinhua: "Attractive females at NPC, CPCC sessions."
It’s a very specialized set of sports that the Chinese focus on but they simply kick absolute ass at them. ... If you look at the 2008 Olympic weightlifting results in Beijing... the women didn’t just squeak by to win a medal; most were simply so far ahead of their competition that it was a joke. In most cases, the Chinese women took their first attempt after everyone else had already finished lifting for the day. And they came out and just dispatched their weights in perfect form, setting new world records and winning medals with abandon. [more inside]
A Pictorial Guide to China’s Politics: Left v. Right Translation of a neat infographic that does a fair job of summing up some of the broad differences between the left and right in popular Chinese political discourse.
David Pogue weighed in yesterday about the Nightline piece on the terrible working conditions in Apple's subcontractor factories in China. Mike Daisey has been trying to engage with Mr. Pogue, but it hasn't gone well. Here's his final response to Mr. Pogue's story.
Photographs of an almost perfectly preserved 298 million year-old fossilized forest discovered under a coal mine in China [pdf] (In Wuda, Inner Mongolia). [more inside]
"This is an intriguing little video summarizing the hypothesis of a new study by Vamsi Vakulabharanam. It looks at the puzzle of why China and India are exceptions to the Kuznets curve, that economic development at first increases income inequality but then starts to produce less disparity. But that did not occur in India and China. Vakulabharanam argues that the difference lies in changes in institutional arrangements, and the inflection point was roughly 1980."
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings "loaner" devices, which he erases before he leaves the US and wipes clean the minute he returns . In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery , for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, "Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop." - Travel precautions in the age of digital espionage.
We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
Cartoon images of "worshiping cats" on the Chinese 100 yuan RMB banknotes, "the equivalent of the 'Eye of Providence' on the US dollar," probably weren't designed as cartoon cats. A coin expert noted that there were no cat's whiskers on the bank note, as shown on the "clarified" image. But if you're looking for hidden images in Chinese currency, World War II era Chinese currency has many cases of hidden messages and over-printed propaganda (part 2 of a series on WWII Allied banknote propaganda).
"I saw bodies of women and children lying on roads, beheaded." At least 260 people were killed last night in a government assault on Homs, the epicenter of the Syrian uprising. This came right before a key UN vote to support the Arab League's plan to have President Bashar al-Assad hand over power to the vice president and hold early elections for a national unity government, which failed this morning with 13 in favor and a double veto by China and Russia. [more inside]
“The United States [owes] its fall of 27 places [to 47th] to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.” -Reporters Without Borders
Btw, Occupy Wall St. has begun heating up again for the spring with 400 arrested in Oakland yesterday. And a blooming Occupy K Street movement (DC, FB) [more inside]
Btw, Occupy Wall St. has begun heating up again for the spring with 400 arrested in Oakland yesterday. And a blooming Occupy K Street movement (DC, FB) [more inside]
"Hong Kong people are dogs," mainland professor Kong Qingdong said (video in Mandarin with English subtitles; "dog" comments are around 1:06) in response to a widely-viewed video (Cantonese/Mandarin, no subtitles, but a English-subtitled news report is here) of mainland tourists eating on the Hong Kong subway, where eating is banned. This has incited an uproar in the former British colony, but is not the only flare-up between Hong Kong and the mainland recently. [more inside]
“You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the NY Times give an in-depth report on Apple's migration of electronics manufacturing to Asia and its impact on middle class Americans.
The Secret Document That Transformed China. Planet Money story about Xiaogang village in China that was hungry and desperate in 1978, and how the risk the farmers took ended up influencing the transformation of China.
A unique urban ecology prompts a new look at globalization. Japanese architect Naohiko Hino visited Guangzhou's 'Africatown' after being inspired by an article in Le Monde Diplomatique* and wrote his view on the unique model of globalization he saw in the heart of China's manufacturing powerhouse. [more inside]
Dashan represents or symbolizes something very powerful to a Chinese audience...[the] Chinese have a very complex and conflicting view of themselves and the world at large...Dashan represents a Westerner who appreciates and respects China, who has learned the language and understands the culture and has even become “more Chinese than the Chinese”. It’s a very powerful and reassuring image that appeals to very deep-rooted emotions.Mark Rowswell, aka "大山" Dà shān, the massively popular, Canadian-born 相声 xiàng sheng performer and celebrity in China, offers his own thoughts on his persona (mostly referring to it in third person), why the Chinese public is enamored with it, and why his fellow Western expats tend to resent it. [more inside]
A leaked memo by India's Military Intelligence indicates they eavesdropped on a U.S. government department (USCC) that reports to congress on "the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship [between the U.S. and China]" using "lawful intercept" backdoors provided to the Indian government by Apple, RIM, and Nokia. (previously) [more inside]
Don Hong-Oai (1929 - 2004), was a master of creating artwork which appeared to be Chinese ink illustrations, but were actually photographs. [gallery] [more inside]