unsettled and unsettling
‘Ilham Tohti, 45, an economics professor, founder of Uighur Online website and an outspoken critic of Beijing’s policies on Uighurs, is currently held in a detention centre in Urumqi, provincial capital of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). He was taken away from his home in Beijing by public security officers on 25 January 2014. His lawyer Li Fangping has not been allowed to visit him. His wife received the arrest warrant on 25 February informing her that he was being charged with “separatism”. This charge has often been used against Uighurs who speak out against human rights violations.
The detention of Ilham Tohti came shortly after the Communist Party of China launched a new “grand strategic plan” for the XUAR on 19 December 2013. This new plan pledged to make “maintaining social stability” the primary strategic goal within the XUAR.’
love lover over
'Every year before Valentine's Day, a mischievous online group known as the “Damn Lovers” has mobilized its members to buy odd-numbered movie tickets in a bid to ruin the romance for couples who want to sit together.This year, they finally succeeded in occupying every other seat in at least one cinema in Shanghai during the Valentine's Day primetime movie screening.'
my heart’s been polluted
'Yesterday evening the Beijing municipal government sent texts to city residents, urging them to 'set off fewer fireworks or none at all,' fearing record-breaking PM2.5 levels during this year's celebrations.'
on a mission to demystify
‘When it comes to China stories, people will believe almost anything. Take, for instance, the reports about pollution being so severe in Beijing that residents now watch radiant sunrises broadcast on a huge screen in Tiananmen Square. So, that never happened. As Tech in Asia flags, the sunrise is a clip from a tourism ad for Shandong province, in China’s northeast; it’s on screen for maybe 10 seconds or so per loop.’
p.s.: when you tell a chinese person you’re going to tiananmen, they break out in uncontrollable laughter. also, there are checkpoints around the square and going there is extremely suspicious if you’re not a tourist.
‘The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China’s espionage and military buildup.’
first a goal, then a game
'On Tuesday, the song-lyric site RapGenius attracted nearly 650,000 visitors, according to research firm Quantcast. On Wednesday, traffic fell by nearly two-thirds, to fewer than 225,000 visitors. The difference? Search-engine titan Google changed how RapGenius would show up in its search results. By Wednesday, RapGenius’s home page did not appear until the sixth page of results to the search “rapgenius.”
The move appeared to be a response to RapGenius’s attempt to boost its search standing by asking blogs to insert links to its site in return for traffic-driving tweets. It stirred debate across the Web, and recalled previous incidents of Google penalizing sites for what it considers to be “gaming” of its search algorithm.’
all media are alternative
'The Chinese government is threatening to expel nearly two dozen foreign correspondents, working for the Times and Bloomberg News, in retaliation for investigations that exposed the private wealth of Chinese leaders. It is the Chinese government’s most dramatic attempt to insulate itself from scrutiny in the thirty-five years since China began opening to the world. We won’t know if it’s prepared to follow through on the threat for another week or two, when correspondents’ annual visas begin to expire. So far, it has declined to renew them.’
express your worry
"Google’s chief internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, suggests that privacy is a fairly new development that may not be sustainable. "Privacy may actually be an anomaly," Cerf said at an FTC event yesterday while taking questions. Elaborating, he explained that privacy wasn’t even guaranteed a few decades ago: he used to live in a small town without home phones where the postmaster saw who everyone was getting mail from. "In a town of 3,000 people there is no privacy. Everybody knows what everybody is doing."
watch the inventors
‘The Chinese government has realized that whatever it is clogging the atmosphere, it’s rendering government surveillance cameras ineffective, reports the South China Morning Post. Since that compromises national security, the government has hired two teams of scientists to come up with a fix, says the newspaper. […] The effect of the pollution might be to make China’s surveillance state even better at its job.’
“China has inked a deal to farm three million hectares (about 11, 583 square miles) of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century—which means the eastern European country will give up about 5% of its total land, or 9% of its arable farmland to feed China’s burgeoning population. “