Posts Tagged ‘Chinese government’

Online is the new Offline

May 7, 2010

China’s online population has reportedly exceeded 400 million users; or approximately one third of the entire mainland Chinese population. Weighing in at 404 million total users, 233 million are said to be accessing the internet from their mobile phones, with a further 364 million connecting via broadband.

Wow! I wish I could read Chinese characters to come up with some funky cool concept and sell it to them myself. There has to be massive money making potential with such a gigantic online populace.

So what are all these 400 million people doing exactly? I would be interested to see this particular break-down as I suspect a good 300 million are doing nothing other than wasting hours chatting on QQ, or messing around in Ren Ren; China’s own version of facebook. While many Chinese work long hours, many more spend those hours chatting online – or sleeping. It’s a regular part of a Chinese working day to nap after lunchtime – something I sorely wish would catch on in Western countries also.

And how exactly does the all-controlling Chinese government intend to keep a reign on this? Sure, the Great Firewall of China is a daily annoyance to most Chinese web browsers, but there are plenty of ways around it. You can only control so much in the online world, and as the general population becomes increasingly net savvy, that control will slip further.

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Again!

December 16, 2009

What better way to enjoy the snow than in downtown Beijing! No I am not referring to the Government created snowstorms that created havoc in the city mere weeks ago, but the Happy Snow and Ice Season carnival that is now on at the Birds Nest.

Boasting a 5130 metre area of one metre thick man-made snow, for 180rmb you can enjoy ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding and of course, dog sled races.

It’s reported that it takes upwards of 16,000 cubic litres of water to create the snow, in a city that has been suffering from severe drought and water shortages for years now. The carnival is incentive by the Government to recover some of the 70 million rmb it costs to run the entire complex on a yearly basis.

Initially the complex was attracting over 50,000 people per day, likely masses of highly patriotic Chinese tourists in the wake of the Olympics, but now it’s down to a mere several thousand and is quickly turning into a money sink.

Who knows, by this time next year the entire complex might be bulldozed in favour of high-rise apartments, or perhaps a Great Wall themed amusement park, either way, I gobble up little news items such as this with amused interest, the randomness never gets old.

Smooooooooookin!

May 9, 2009

In what has to be the best news story I have seen in years, the Chinese government is actually forcing people to smoke more to keep the economy afloat of the world’s economic crisis. Never mind health, you will smoke for China! They have gone so far as to actually nominate particular Chinese brands and force people such as Teachers and Government staff to smoke a set amount per month. It has been reported that – unbelievably – a task force has even raided the ashtrays of village schools to ensure the cigarette butts present were officially endorsed brands!

Ah god, I love this country.

China has one of the worlds largest (if not the largest) smoking populations, coming at at something like 350 million smokers. The official death toll from smoking related illnesses is around 1 million per year – but like everything else in China, the actual numbers are probably ten times larger.

Gift cigarettes given at a wedding.

Gift cigarettes given at a wedding.

Cigarettes are an important part of society, and it’s rare to see a smoking man without one hanging out of his mouth – even when riding a motorcycle. They’re also commonly given as gifts to the guests at weddings.

As such a massive source of tax revenue, despite anti-smoking efforts, it’s unlikely to change any time soon (aka ever).

Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!

March 25, 2009

A video has been released today reputedly showing Chinese security personnel beating on Tibetan protesters – who happen to be helplessly handcuffed. The video was supposedly released by the Tibetan Government in exile and showed scenes from last years violent protesters where according to Chinese officials – monks took to the streets and violently protested for Tibetan independance – or at least a degree of such.

The Chinese Government has dismissed the video calling it a lie. They claim the audio has been patched together from outside sources and the wounds on display are in fact fake.

Whether it is real or fake I somehow think the Chinese Government would deny it regardless. Oh how easy it must be to deny anything pinned on you, playing the fake card whilst at the same time playing the very same hand against your own people, painting for them a happy positive picture whilst ignoring the negative.

Ah China – I really do feel sorry for the Chinese people. While the Government has done wonders for the country, it’s also hurting it in equal amounts.

Click here to watch the video and make up your own mind as to its validity.

A story of a real Tibet – a propaganda piece by Jong-Dae Ha

March 22, 2009

In China, in Chinese English publications you’ll often see the word propaganda used quite often. If you use something like http://translate.google.com/ to translate a webpage from Chinese to English – despite not being very accurate, likewise, you will see the word. In Western countries, we tend to use the word negatively. It’s used to describe something that has been falsified or mis-reported in order to make something appear positive, mislead or simply deny reality. In China you’ll often find the word propaganda being used for things such as advertising, marketing orr general information. In other words, it doesn’t translate the same way.

That is not to say China is rife with propaganda – of course it is. The communist government rarely reports something truthfully to the massive population it governs. Anyone who has spent time living in China will have seen the news articles on TV or in papers – the best being the China Daily newspaper – where only happy, positive articles are covered. Articles that show the true beauty, glory and positive direction of modern China. Of course negatives such as mining accidents and the like are covered, but nothing that ever directly undermines the government or illustrates large issues such as China’s ‘occupation’ of Tibet or widespread poverty. According to the Chinese government – and thus according to the Chinese people – everything is A-Ok!

I find this article highly amusing. Here, Jong-Dae Ha, Chief correspondent of the Beijing Office, the Dong-A Ilbo of South Korea(whatever that is) details his recent trip to Tibet. In it, he details key features of obvious political interest. To the average Chinese citizen(who wouldn’t be reading this english webpage anyway – well other than for english practice), it reveals that in Tibet, there’s nothing wrong. It’s all “blue sky, clear water and unique natural landscape.”‘

The lives of the Tibetan people, especially those of herdsmen, are no different than the living standards of the people in China’s northwestern region. Everyone is living a very good life.

Everyone is living a very good life? According to the government, yes. According to the farmers living in absolute poverty, no.

Lhasa has already been built into a modern city.

A modern city by Han Chinese standards – an invasion of money hungry merchants from all over China. Tibetan’s have little say in this.

The grand and majestic Potala Palace looked brand-new after repairs.

After it was damaged by the Chinese Military, suppressing ‘riots’ from Tibetan monks wishing to remove Chinese occupation and assimilation.

Many new houses have also been erected for the Tibetans in other regions in Tibet.

Aka – See? We are helping Tibet – what have they got to complain about?

I felt that Tibet has a stable society and the Han people and the Tibetans are living together harmoniously.

..not by choice. If they protest such living arrangements, it’s off to re-education camp faster than you can say Dalai Lama.

Earth-shaking changes have taken place in Tibet over the past 50 years. Enjoying freedom of religious belief, the Tibetan people still preserve their religion and traditions.

Earth-shaking changes such as building train lines into Lhasa itself so even more Han Chinese can occupy and completely absorb what’s left of the Tibetan culture.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not some die-hard pro-Tibet activist – not even close, but reading articles such as this that are spewed out by China Daily on a regular basis are a little hard to stomach. As China becomes part of the modern world, I really hope that the level of crap they report back to themselves internally really starts to decline – or even better, the Chinese populace somehow clue in to the fact that the world really isnt as rosey as the all important Government says it is. One thing I definitely noticed about the Chinese people is that they are almost fanatically patriotic – something that might play a big part of China’s future history.



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