Skip to main content

Posts

Communist China's Unbearable Propaganda

I think the People's Republic of China (PRC, I consider it a mistake to equate the Communist state with China, so I will just use its official name) deserves to be understood and judged fairly. I have met Chinese who are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ; many of them are nice, rational, reasonable individuals whom I consider good friends. The CCP has its own logic, and it is fair to try and understand it, to listen to the arguments, opinions and points of view of the Chinese political elite. However, oftentimes the CCP makes it very hard for us to do so. Manipulations and shameless propaganda cannot but anger and embitter even those who would like to have a dialogue with the citizens of the PRC. The CCP does not allow free speech, it cuts off the country from the rest of the world by blocking social networks where intercultural dialogue could and should take place. And, most importantly, its state media engage in a style of propaganda that is nauseating, based on

Wang Dan, a Veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Protests, Writes Open Letter to the Hong Kong Students

June 4, 1989. In the predawn darkness we were forced to evacuate Tiananmen Square. Negotiations with the army were completed. The terms we agreed upon were simple: We should leave before daybreak. A peaceful conclusion to the occupation of this largest of public gathering places in all of China seemed within reach. Helmeted soldiers allowed us to pass through the narrow corridor at the southeast side of the square, all the while pointing their bayonets, as if we were prisoners of war. Army commanders had promised to give the demonstrators an opportunity to disperse.   The process, time-consuming because the crowd was huge, seemed under way. “Fascist!” a female student cursed furiously. Immediately, several soldiers rushed at her and beat her down with the butts of their rifles. Her male comrades hurried to help her back into the march . And thus commenced the last phase of a major confrontation between nonviolent demonstrators led by university students and the armed forces of

Old Houses in Taipei

A while ago I wrote a short post about an old house in Taipei's Roosevelt Road which I'd been often passing by, wondering if it was a building from the Qing Dynasty or from the Japanese era . I thought there weren't many such old houses left in that area, but, while taking long walks around Gongguan, Taipower Building Station, Guting and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall , I found out that I was wrong.  In fact, there are several of them, scattered all around this part of Taipei City. However, they are not very visible, and if you don't look carefully, chances are you won't even notice them. There are three reasons for this. First, they usually stand isolated among modern buildings, sometimes sandwiched between or hidden behind them. Second, they are usually surrounded by high walls. Third, they tend to be so decrepit and neglected that they lose much of their charm.  Just a few days ago, I found a house that might be from the Japanese era. It is so far one of th

Real or Fake News? - Mainland Chinese Boy Pees At Restaurant Inside Taipei 101

On October 19 Apple Daily published an article about a mainland boy who peed in public at the famous restaurant Ding Tai Feng (鼎泰豐, often spelt 'Din Tai Fung') inside Taipei 101.  According to the report, at the beginning of October a group of 5 tourists from China's Shanxi province went to Ding Tai Feng, a chain of restaurants renowned for its xiaolongbao (小籠包, a kind of dumpling). During the meal, a 3-year-old boy had to pee and his mother let him urinate inside a plastic bottle in public. Although there is no toilet inside Ding Tai Feng, there is one just about 100 meters away from the restaurant but still inside Taipei 101. Allegedly, other customers saw that the boy had pulled down his pants to pee and felt shocked. Moreover, the boy 'missed his target' and sprinkled the table and the food.  The group consisted of a 37-year-old mother and her two children, her 73-year-old father and her 41-year-old sister-in-law. They arrived at the restaurant at ar

Anti-Occupy Thugs Launch 'Soy Sauce' Attack Against Hong Kong's 'Apple Daily'

At around 2:30 of October 22, 2014, thugs launched a series of  attacks against Apple Daily delivery workers at several locations, sprinkling the newspaper with soy sauce . They damaged around 15,000 copies. Another newspaper, Headline Daily, was also hit by attackers. According to reports, masked men approached delivery staff in Central, Hung Hom and Cheung Sha Wan , threatening them with knives. Their only purpose was to immobilise the delivery staff while they poured soy sauce on the newspapers. A street vendor interviewed by a newspaper in Mong Kok said that today she received only 20 copies of Apple Daily , while she usually receives 40, but the company that delivered the newspapers did not explain why.   The police are investigating the matter, but it appears that the attack is politically motivated. Apple Daily is part of the Next Media group owned by media mogul Jimmy Lai, who is a staunch  opponent of the Chinese Communist Party . He and his companies have suff

Hong Kong Chief Executive Once Again Blames Occupy Central On 'External Forces'. But Where Are The Proofs?

In a televised interview on Sunday, Leung Chun-ying , Hong Kong's Chief Executive, has once again accused foreigners of interfering in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movements. "There is obviously participation by people, organisations from outside of Hong Kong, in politics in Hong Kong, over a long time," he said. "This is not the only time when they do it, and this is not an exception either." Whenever I read or hear this kind of opinion, I feel blood rising to my head.  First of all, what proofs does he have in order to make such an accusation? Who are the people and the organisations outside of Hong Kong that are behind the pro-democracy movements? Certainly, some foreign individuals have taken part in Occupy Central. But there is not one leader of the movement that is a foreigner, and virtually all protesters are Hong Kongers. Now, if Leung makes such an accusation, the people should demand that he proves the link between the leaders of Occupy

Video of Chinese Mother Beating Her Child Sparks Outrage

Is corporal punishment a good method for teaching children how to behave? Or is it just a way for impatient and frustrated parents to unload their negative emotions on defenceless children?  Just a few days ago I was walking on a street in Taipei and I saw a mother who kept yelling at her young daughter. Then she suddenly hit the child across the face so hard that her cheek immediately reddened. I do not know exactly why the mother was so upset, but slapping her daughter in the middle of the street and in front of everybody doesn't seem to me a good way to teach anything. Passers-by, of course, saw what happened, and some looked slightly shocked. But as this is considered a private family matter no one would have dared interfere or even show too much attention. The child will have to learn to submit. As I have explained in one of my posts, corporal punishment used to be common in East Asia and is still relatively widespread, though not as much as before. However, mild for