China As It Is Hong Kong As It Is

Ching Cheong’s tears

The veteran Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong was finally released by the China authority, on the eve of Chinese New Year, who had spent more than 1000 days in jail for allegedly spying for Taiwan. 

His family, the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association and many friends of his, had been trying different ways to secure his release since his detention, with the belief that he is innocent.

During those 1000 plus days, his father died. To lessen Ching’s misery, his family hid the sad news from him.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, Ching asked for his father, when he saw that all his family was there, except his father. Only then was he told of the passing of his father. His tears started to flow.

China As It Is

Family value, migrant workers and snowstorms

The snowstorms that are sweeping China bear out two plain facts: how much the Chinese value family and the misery of China’s migrant workers.

With the Chinese New Year (starting 7 Feb) nearing, Chinese people, particularly the migrant workers, are flocking to train/bus stations to catch trains for going back to the hometown for reunion and celebration. What with their hard life as a migrant worker, the Chinese New Year offers them once-in-a-year opportunity for some relief and jubilation. That explains why they are so desperate for going home, despite the expected transport chaos and big crowd.

But this year the unexpected snowstorms make their journey home unbearably hard. Those stranded in Guangzhou station go without food and water, bracing chilly cold and squeezed in a sea of people, for days. The scene from TV is mind boggling.

But what is seen from TV is hard to compare with what is experienced. Here’s a report on what is experienced, from South China Morning Post.

Angry men, howling women and scared babies

He Huifeng
Feb 01, 2008

Until this week, the largest crowd I had ever seen was a jubilant 30,000 at a concert by Taiwanese singer Luo Dayou in Shenzhen five years ago. I remember being amazed by the size of that crowd.

Yesterday, I found myself among 180,000 desperate travellers stranded for days at Guangzhou railway station because of the crisis gripping the mainland. I was sardined among them – angry men, howling women and scared babies – and it wasn’t amazement I felt; it was fear. The only word that came to mind to describe the scene was “hell”.
When I arrived at the station at 10am it seemed more crowded than it had been the day before. I was right. Many travellers had been driven away to make room for Premier Wen Jiabao’s brief visit on Wednesday – and yesterday they returned.

Most were migrant workers desperate to return home for the Lunar New Year. As a journalist based in Shenzhen, I had talked to them and listened to their stories, observing their plight from the fringes.

But yesterday I joined the crowd and experienced the nightmare first hand. Before I had time to make sense of the situation, I was sucked into the seething mass and lost any sense of direction. All I could see were the backs of heads and necks. Pressed so tightly together it was obvious that many passengers had not taken a shower for several days.
The only thing I could do was keep pace with the crowd. I had to move in quick, small steps; otherwise, I would fall to the ground and be trampled by those behind me. Pushed, shoved and slapped until I was ready to collapse. Horror scenes of a human stampede crossed my mind.

Children screamed as they tried to keep up and hold on to the coats of parents struggling with luggage. Several men with pregnant wives or elderly parents begged police to let them board the train first. Police looked on, expressionless.

Eventually I escaped the madness. But for the waiting passengers it would be another long, cold winter night.

China As It Is

A cool video – and a brave Chinese woman

This post is about an online video, which shows Hu Ziwei, a TV presenter herself and wife of popular sportscaster Zhang Bin in China, hijacking an Olympics news conference to denounce her husband for infidelity.

She is brave – for breaking the Chinese taboo that a family’s “ugly” things be kept to itself, and more importantly, denouncing her husband and the void of values in modern China at such a high-profile occasion as Olympics news conference.

I hope she will not be punished for tarnishing the image of Olympics 2008. The video, which was once downloaded by China’s thousands of internet users, has been banned from showing in China. Because of the incidence, China now has a new regulation in place which stipulates that online videos can be broadcast or streamed only by state-owned or state-controlled companies.

Transcript/translation of the dialogue:

… I am here on the stage not as an anchor, but as the wife of the person beside me, Mr. Zhang Bin.
Would you please spare one minute and listen to me?
It is a special date for the Olympics Channel and for Mr. Zhang Bin.
But for me, it also a special day.
Just two hours ago, I found out that Mr. Zhang Bin is having an illicit relationship with a woman other than me.
The coming year is the Olympic year, and the whole world will be watching China and Chinese people.
But a French diplomat has mentioned before that China won’t become a powerful nation until it can export its value system.
If Chinese people don’t have a great leader to build their value system, then what sense does it make?
Please allow me to finish my words.
Is this the way you treat a weak and poor lady?
I have one last thing to say
Let’s fight politely.
But that French diplomat mentioned before, China won’t become a great nation until it can export its value system.
Standing before us is the prim and proper Mr. Zhang Bin … but he is not able to face himself
and not even his harmed wife
I believe that if China wants to be a great country
… Do you guys have any conscience left?
Leave me alone!
This the last Sunday left (before 2008).
Tomorrow, everybody will begin spending a long vacation, but Zhang Bin and I are not able to do that…
(Other voice): We TV presenters are like a family, how could you?
I’m sorry. I wish everybody a happy new year. I apologize to Director Jiang (Heping, of CCTV Sports).
I hope this won’t bother the next athlete to come on stage.

China As It Is

The Funniest China News 2007

The internet users in China have chosen the funniest China news for 2007.  Among them are:  HuaNan Tiger saga

huanan tiger photoed by the farmer in shaanxi province
photo of Huanan Tiger claimed to be taken by the farmer

A farmer in Shaanxi Province claimed that he had taken a photo of a wild HuaNan tiger and his claim was backed up by the forestry ministry of the province. However, experts have testified that the photo was fake, with some pointing out that it is a replica of a poster featuring HuaNan tiger.

It was funny/ridiculous because, according to the internet users, what with the evidence, the ministry still refused to admit that the photo was fake, and insisted instead that there is trace of HuaNan tigers in their province, which,  if true, would be a boost to the reputation and economy of the province.

Former foreign minister Li Zhaoxing’s quote

“I had experienced starvation, so I know what human right is.”

So human right is a very straight forward and simple issue – it is all about starvation.

China As It Is

Probably the most beautiful public toilet in China

exceptional public toilet in hangzhou, chinaI am stunned to see such a beautiful public toilet in China, in a photo, after painful memory of using China’s public toilets.

This-probably-the-most-beautiful-public-toilet-in-China is in Hangzhou, near the Bazi Bridge. However, the photo shows the hand wash area only, not the toilet behind the door, which may not be on par with the outside environment.

It is reported that people come here for business meetings because of the nice environment. Well, I don’t think I will ever want to go to a toilet for a meeting, no matter how beautiful the environment is. But the Chinese have the courage to try everything.