Monday, April 30, 2007

Cartoon Channel Cancellation Received Mixed Reactions

While the cancellation of a cartoon channel in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province, may not be good news for young children, some parents were happy that it was no longer on air.

The parents complained that their children spent too much time, including sleep and homework hours, watching the cartoon channel, a subsidiary of Hunan Satellite TV and available in about a dozen Chinese cities.

One person, who called himself the father of a five-year-old, posted a comment on and said that his child often spent a whole day watching the channel. He also protested that a Japanese cartoon program on the channel had too much violent fighting and bloody scenes.

Another lady told China Youth Daily about her concerns. Her four-year-old daughter was fascinated by the suicide of a cartoon character and she was afraid that the little girl might mimic the act.

Officials of Zhengzhou’s television provider and Hunan TV, however, said the removal of the channel was due to conflict in distributing local channel resources but not out of concern of the content or parents’ complaints.

But the explanation did not stop the public from debating on the Web on issues such as cartoon industry, television culture and education.

Many wrote that parents should blame their own failure in education, but not the cartoon television, for their children’s problems, while insisting that the children should have the right to watch cartoon.

“I don’t understand why [parents] blame television when their children were not well educated and controlled,” one post reads.

Some suggested a rating system for cartoon programs in China, like in some other countries.

People also criticized that Chinese television programs are having more and more violent or sexual contents.

“Some bad commercials, bad cartoon and bad dramas are aired over and over again on many TV stations,” one poster wrote while suggesting stronger control of program quality. “[I] would rather have fewer channels than so much trash. ”

The discussion inevitably touched on the comparison between Chinese and foreign, especially Japanese cartoon productions, and quite a few commentators were not happy that Chinese cartoon production has lagged behind.

“Had China’s cartoon developed better, things would not have been like this—everyone loves watching Japanese cartoon,” one note says.

China Youth Daily story

Online comments

Hunan satellite TV cartoon channel

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dog Rights VS Human Rights

An incident of burning dogs in the city of Nanjing drew nearly 17000 comments from web users on Thursday and triggered a huge debate about dog rights.

The behavior under fire took place on Wednesday, when a couple of people poured gasoline on two puppies and their mother and set their cave on fire. The dogs were homeless and had stayed for a few months in a corner of a garden in these people's housing compound. One of them said the dogs’ bark disturbed people’s sleep, local newspaper reported.

A witness tried to stop the fire, but one puppy was killed. Residents later called police. Messages on online forums said the surviving dogs were taken care of.

Condemnation of the burning dominated online comments on this incident. People called the act cruel, utterly inhuman or barbarous. Some say those who set the fire could have gone to jail if they were in some other countries.

“You could not like dogs, you could even hate them, but you have no right to take their lives because of your discomfort,” one comment read.

Not long after the debate broke out, a post appeared on tianya club forum written in the name of an old lady, who claimed that the dogs’ barking had forced her to increase the dose of her sleeping drugs but still kept her awake at night. The poster admitted that it was her neighbors who tried to burn the dogs to help her and that she was sorry about their behavior.

“It is a good thing that people have more awareness of animal protection and animals now have higher status,” the poster wrote. “However, please consider here: animals have their rights, but shouldn't people also have their rights as human? When human rights were hurt by animals, whose rights deserve protection more?”

Nevertheless, other web users questioned the true identity of the poster and still could not forgive the burning.

“If [you] think the dogs are disturbing, [you] could contact people at animal protection center to take care of them, or find someone to adopt them. Why use such cruel method to burn them?” One post responded.

There are also a handful of comments that do not take the burning as such a big deal and insist that China needs to focus on problems of people instead of dogs and cats.

“Those who think about dog rights, have you thought about human rights?” One commentator asked, and listed a series of threats homeless animals could bring to human, including carrying disease, barking at children and dropping excrement everywhere.

A harsh debate for animal rights like this was unimaginable in China just a couple of decades ago, when most Chinese people were largely concerned of their own livelihood. Material shortage and relatively poor living conditions left people with little heart to care about how animals around them were doing.

Recent years have seen more and more Chinese people, mostly affluent urban residents, keep pets like dogs and cats. Animal hospital and shelter have been set up in many places, although such resources are still far from abundant. Schools also carried out the so-called “love education,” instructing children to love small animals and respect lives.

Local news report on the incident

Online comments

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Internet Publication Regulation to be Drafted

Xu Jinglei's online magazine

Drafting a new licensing rule for online magazines is on the agenda of China’s administration of press and publication, which will require online magazines to obtain license from the government before publishing, China Business News reported.

Online magazine has gained fast popularity in China in recent years, and it is estimated that there are a few hundred such digital magazines, run by companies or individuals, with viewers of nearly 40 million. A noticeable latest release of online magazine was that of popular movie star Ms. Xu Jinglei. The first issue of the bi-weekly online magazine, expected to make millions in advertisement income, was published earlier this month. Ms. Xu recruited a group of star writers to write for the magazine.

Most of China’s current online magazines did not have to obtain publication permits from authorities before making the content available online. But things will change after the new regulation is set up in the near future. No specific implement time, however, was indicated by officials from the press and publishing administration, and there was no word about whether the new stipulation will affect other online publications such as blogs.

Ms. Xu's online magazine overview

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Students Hope to be Away from Internet Porn

Bad Internet content harms students

Students around China have voiced welcome to a nationwide crack down on Internet pornography, a campaign launched by the Chinese government this month.

They knew they are an easily tempted group and some of them have already suffered from viewing too much unhealthy content from the Internet.

A secondary school student in Anhui was addicted to Internet porn and his grades suffered significantly. To pay for the fees he owed to an Internet cafe where he viewed those sites, he went so far as to steal machine parts from a factory.

Eighteen-year-old Beijing boy Liu Wei once had similar experience, and told Xinhua that he now hates those “dirty stuff” on the Internet.

Traditional media in China, including print and broadcast, are relatively clean of sexutal content because of tight control of the government, and no porn publication store is allowed in China.

In contrast, the Internet has become perhaps the freest media in China, both in terms of expressing people’s opinions as well as publishing conventionally deemed inappropriate or provocative contents such as exposing pictures.

Even on popular websites like, and, which are accessible to just about any Internet user, there are always a few sexually explicit video clips or photos on the home page, in entertainment section or blogs. Students can view such content easily, and if going to an Internet cafe, they can further log on to some porn sites without much effort and almost free of surveillance.

Setting up porn websites and publishing pornography on the Internet is illegal in China, but in recent years, there were several serious incidents where porn sites targeting viewers in China were registered on overseas servers, but those who ran the sites, for making money, were Chinese citizens, sometimes teenagers. Among about a million registers of these sites, most were Chinese youth, according to state media.

Statistics show that by June 2006, there were over 80 million adolescent web users in China, out of the total of 123 million, and about 30 million were elementary and secondary school students who are extremely vulnerable to Internet porn.

In addition, some young people got involved in the so-called “nude chat” on the Internet, using cameras. Lately, technology development allowed new channels for filthy content to reach students, such as porn video games downloaded to cell phones.

The government, schools and parents, including students themselves, have grown very concerned about the problem, but not enough has been done to cope with it.

In this crack-down campaign, which will last for six months, the authorities will “clean up” videos, photos or fictions on the Internet that contain pornographic content. Meanwhile, the authorities will also target online information that “disturbs social order,” as well as online forums, chat rooms and blogs that are deemed having grey area in “management responsibility.”

About the crack-down campaign

Other stories about Internet porn problem in China

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre Let Chinese Public Appreciate China’s Gun Ban

A photo on a Chinese news website with the caption reading "Chinese student suspected for Virginia Tech massacre"

The massacre at the Virginia Tech that left 33 people died has been one of the most discussed incidents among Chinese Internet users in the past 24 hours. Besides hundreds of comments expressing shock over the rampage and condolence for the victims, a large portion of the discussion touched on the issue of gun control.

Many Chinese people related the incidents to the widespread private ownership of guns in the United States. “[The U.S.] Better have ban on guns,” one commentator said.

They then started to feel fortunate that carrying gun is strictly prohibited for the general public in China, and the majority of the comments supported the ban.

“It is good that China has strictly controlled guns since the beginning [of the People’s Republic],” one wrote. “If China lifted the ban on guns, perhaps the number of people killed in China in one day will be equal to that in the US in a year,” another commented.

“Everyone having gun is just like everyone having no gun,” still another comment reads. “I don’t want that one day I walk on the street and get shot just because I take a look at a person who broke up with somebody.”

Although the United States remains an ideal society with democracy, freedom and justice for many Chinese people, quite a few posters used the massacre to criticize human rights situation in the US, since individual’s personal freedom and safety were not well protected even on a university campus.

“It is not heaven there,” one comment reads.

Earlier, a huge sensation rose among Chinese media and the public regarding a false speculation that the shooter was a Chinese student.

The gossip started with an article written by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed,
who wrote that a 25-year-old “Chinese national who arrived in the United States last year on a student visa” was being investigated for the shooting.

Before long, some Chinese newspapers in the United States and state-run China News Services picked up the story. Soon after, China’s major news websites such as and also posted the story that a Chinese student was regarded as the suspect.

Information online even provided two specific names of the alleged killer, one with the surname Jiang, from Shanghai, and the other with the surname Guo, from Liaoning. Apparently the news, especially those in Chinese, had made it seem real that the shooter was from China.

Upon receiving such information, people in China started to post comments expressing feelings like “very sad” and “ashamed.” Some even tried to assess the reasons for such “extreme behaviors” of Chinese students studying abroad in the US, such as pressure to excel and the disparity between their high self-esteem and humble reality.

Still, many people kept hoping that the shooter was not Chinese and waited for almost a whole day for the final confirmation.

“We were all misled [by the news],” a poster web-named Mu Mu wrote in an online forum soon after Virginia Tech police confirmed the identify of the shooter as 23-year-old South Korean Cho Seung-Hui, who was a permanent resident in the U.S.

“[I am] Greatly relieved after hearing the news [confirming the shooter],” another one wrote.

The news on the website of China News Services, and is now corrected. Some online comments based on the wrong speculation were also deleted.

Online discussions

Speculations on shooter being Chinese,CST-NWS-SNEED17.article,22049,21571821-5001021,00.html

Update (8:45pm, April 17):
The links to the Sun-Times column and the Times story have been updated to the corrected version regarding the identity of the shooter. But a Google News search by "Chinese, Virginia Tech shooting/massacre" can still reveal the original headlines.

Update (10:27am, April 18)
Here is the blog of Mr. Wayne Chiang, a Chinese American and student of Virginia Tech who was wrongly thought as the shooter not long after it was said that the shooter was an Asian.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Public Outraged over Security Guard Killing Bank Customer

The bank in Shenyang where a customer was shot by security guard

Thousands of people have posted comments on online forums in China, expressing their shock and rage over the killing of a customer by a finance guard in a bank in Shenyang, Liaoning.

Ji Cheng, a 33-year-old man of Shenyang, was shot dead on Saturday after failing to stop upon the request of a bank security guard.

He went to the bank that afternoon to withdraw some money and then walked his way to the door, when a security guard asked him to stop, because the bank was in the process of transferring cash onto a vehicle to be escorted to where the money will be stored. On duty were officers from the Finance Guard Center of Shenyang, a unit run by Shenyang Police Department and providing services like money escorting and guarding banks.

Mr. Ji told the security guard that he was in a rush to do something and had to leave, and the guard said to him, “Are you pretending to be an a…hole? I will shot you if you walk one more step.”

“I am going to walk one more step. I will see what he can do,” Mr. Ji told his friend who was with him in the bank, and kept walking, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

The security guard then called outside for help, and Zhu Honglin, an armed guard, rushed in and shot Mr. Ji in the face. Mr. Ji died instantly.

“The sky is about to fall!” One person wrote on a forum upon reading the news, which was first broken out on an online forum. “Upon reading [the story], I feel chill all over. Life is treated like a grass. Where can you and I find a safe place?”

The poster is not alone in being stunned and appalled by the incident and concerned for personal safety even at a public place like a bank. Hundreds of others posted similar comments.

But people are not just terrified. Rather, they are infuriated. The reactions demonstrate Chinese people's increasing sensitiveness to citizen rights as well as possible violation of such rights by authorities.

Many online comments condemned the guard for abusing his power as a member of a police-associated entity and his privilege of caring a gun, and called for justice and respect for citizens’ rights.

Calling the killing a “murder,” people asked over and over again: “Who gave the security guard the right to kill innocent people?” “Is it necessary to open fire to an unarmed man?” Even if a shot is inevitable, “is it necessary to shot the head?”

They also questioned the legitimacy of the shot because Mr. Ji apparently was not posing any threat and did not use any violence. The guard should have at least fired an empty shot to warn him first, instead of killing him right away, people say.

Only a handful of posts argued that the guard was just doing his job. One officer of the Finance Guard Center was killed during a bank robbery in 2003, and some people argued that officers were operating under tight nerves.

Mr. Zhu Honglin, the 25-year-old officer who fired the lethal shot, has been in police custody “under criminal charges,” and investigation is underway, local media reported.

Online comments

Monday, April 09, 2007

Chinese Universities Ranked Low in Research Competitiveness

Beijing University, one of best universities in China, was ranked No. 192 in the world in a study

Top Chinese universities did not make the first 100 on a list of research competitiveness of universities around the world.

The highest ranked Chinese university on the list is Beijing University, at 192nd, followed by Tsinghua University, at 196th.

Not surprisingly, Harvard University is the number one on the list, compiled by researchers at the Research Center for Chinese Science Evaluation of Wuhan University. Nine of the top ten universities are in the United States, including University of Texas, University of Washington, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University.

Nevertheless, the overall research competence of mainland China institutions moved up to No.16 in the world from last year’s position of No.22, according to the study.

The ranking is based on Essential Science Indicators (ESI), which provides data of journal article publication counts and citation frequencies in over 11000 journals around the world in 22 research fields.

Researchers hope to use the study to “assess the position of Chinese universities in the world,” and to provide some reference for “building some key universities into internationally influential institutions,” says a statement of the research center.

Based on the results, the center concludes that Chinese universities still leg far behind the leading ones in the world, especially in terms of high-level research institutions, achievements and international impact. In other words, there is a long way to go to reach the government's goal of turning some Chinese universities into the world's first-class institutions.

The public is not surprised or disappointed by the ranking. Instead, many of them saw it as “normal,” and voiced disapproval of the higher education system in China in their online comments.

Some criticized universities for only caring about luring money from students, while others pointed out that university administrations paid more attention to politics than to academic development. Quite a few posters mocked Chinese universities as superior in the world when it came to collecting money from students and building grand-looking front gates.

The list


Online comments

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

House Owners “Disappeared” after Nail House Demolished

The "most incredible nail house in history" being struck down

Wu Ping and Yang Wu seem to have disappeared along with their nail house, which was finally struck down on Monday night after the couple reached an agreement with real estate developers.

They accepted an offer of a same-size property at a different location as the exchange for the nail house, plus 900,000 yuan ($112,500) of compensation for their business loss due to the redevelopment construction.

Journalists, however, were not able to reach the couple for comments on the finale of their long and widely publicized fight for their property. Ms. Wu Ping, who was eager to talk to journalists in the past couple of weeks, turned off her cellphone, an action so unusual for the media-appealing lady that some journalists were concerned about her personal freedom. An official from Jiulongpo District Court, which facilitated the final agreement, assured the press that the couple “is absolutely free,” but simply too tired to talk to journalists.

Ms. Wu Ping and the developers resumed negotiation on March 25, but again refused to see each after failing to reach any agreement on the compensation plan. The breakthrough came along after Wu Ping met with the Party Secretary, the top leader, of Jiulongpo District on March 28. The two had a three-hour talk and after that, “Wu Ping’s attitude changed significantly,” officials briefed the press on Tuesday.

Right after an agreement was signed on Monday, Yang Wu left the nail house by himself, along with the national flag and the banner showing right-defending slogans.

In just a few hours, the famous nail house, which has been watched by the entire world and seen by many as the symbol of Chinese citizens’ resolution to fight for their property right, collapsed to the ground. The time was 10:36 pm.

Video of the demolishing

Video of the court’s press conference on Tuesday

News stories about the press conference

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Nail House Demolishing Deadline Set, Yet Again

Huang Yun, chief of Jiulongpo District, showing a image of the redeveloped area at a press conference

The newest deadline for Yang Wu to leave and have his house removed is April 10.

This is the third time the local court issued such an order to Mr. Yang, and the two-story house is still standing while Mr. Yang is still staying in the building that has been vacant for more than two years, without running water and electricity.

The court ruled on March 19 that Mr. Yang should allow demolishing of his house by March 22. He did not. The case was then transferred to the court’s execution bureau, which ordered the house be removed by March 29. Yang again ignored the order. On March 30, the court sent him yet another notice, which was supposed to be the ultimatum for him to obey the court’s order. If he failed to do that again, the court will “carry out the demolishing forcibly at an appropriate time,” local officials told the media.

Negotiation is still under way. The crux of the conflict between Yang Wu and the real estate developer is how he should be compensated for his property.

Mr. Yang and his wife Wu Ping have refused to accept more than 2.4 million yuan ($300,000) of cash the developer would pay to them, but asked for an unit of the same position and area as their current property in the new business compound to be built on the same location, which happened to be a major commercial area in the city.

Local officials also said the couple asked for another 5 million yuan for the economic loss they suffered due to the redevelopment, since their house was used as a restaurant before the ground was broken, a condition the developer did not consent.

In recent conversations with journalists, Wu Ping has not insisted on the 5 million money request, only claiming that all she is asking is property on the same spot.

Chongqing officials brief the press

Investigative report by Southern Weekend