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Clinton Warns China on Iran Sanctions

China/Japan | YP - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 05:00

The secretary of state told China on Friday that it would face diplomatic isolation if it did not fall in line.

Categories: China/Japan News

Finding Light in China’s Darkness

China/Japan | YP - 0 sec ago

From the shadows I lift my pen to write. I search for love, goodness and a perpetually beating heart.

Categories: China/Japan News

Hong Kong Lion Rock Occupied

China Blog CE2 | YP - 4 hours 24 min ago

Written by Oiwan Lam · comments (0) Donate · Share this: twitter facebook reddit googleplus

Categories: Chinese Blogs


China Blog: Desc | YP - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 04:39

Categories: Chinese Blogs

Q&A: Exporting Video From iPhoto

New York Times Tech - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:39

And tips on removing malicious software from browsers.

Categories: Technology

Scientists Consider Repurposing Robots for Ebola

New York Times Tech - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:39

A problem is that mobile robots now lack the human levels of dexterity required in medicine and health care.

Categories: Technology

'Naked officials' may lose shot at higher office

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Guangdong tightening rules to keep them from joining families overseas

Guangdong province plans to bar officials who have spouses and children living overseas from playing leading roles in government departments, public institutions, people's organizations and State-owned and State-held enterprises.

"Naked officials" also will not be allowed to work in "important or sensitive" posts, including those related to security, finance, financial regulation, human resources and accounting.

Anyone considered for promotion to a leading post will have to truthfully report their marriage, house property, personal investment and debt, self-discipline records and the jobs of their spouses and children.

The provisions were formulated in the province's draft on corruption prevention, the first such anti-graft measure in the country, which was released for public comment on Wednesday.

The regulations will be effective in preventing corruption, said Zhang Jin'gen, a professor of political science at the School of Government of Sun Yat-sen University.

"Disqualifying naked officials from leading roles can reduce the risk of having corrupt officials who flee the country," said the researcher at the Guangzhou university's Center for Anti-Corruption Studies.

"However, it's better to authorize an independent third party to investigate the backgrounds of the State personnel in line for promotion rather than solely rely on their own reports," Zhang said. "And the provincial government needs to set specific standards on examining the collected information and picking out naked officials."

According to the draft, the reports handed in by public officers being considered for promotion should be made public "within a certain scope", which Zhang interpreted as "within the Party committees' organization department".

"The reports should be released to the general public, who have proved their power online to supervise the government and uncover naked officials and corrupt officials," he said.

As required by the central inspection team in February, Guangdong has identified 2,190 naked officials and reassigned 866 of them.


Categories: Chinaganda

Clean air? Don't hold your breath

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Intense air pollution is expected to strike China's northern cities twice more before November.

Smog of moderate and intense levels settled in on Wednesday evening and will last until Saturday in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the National Meteorological Center predicted on Tuesday.

During that period, visibility will fall to 2 to 6 km. A forthcoming thick fog in some parts of the region may cut it to less than 500meters.

The second period of heavy smog will be around Oct 28.

October this year will have had four periods of hazardous smoggy weather. Both the smog's intensity and frequency are rare for the area at this time of year.

Cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region have seen intense air pollution twice earlier this month, from Oct 7 to Oct 11 and from Friday to Monday.

During that time, the capital had heavy smog for seven days, already four days more than the same period last year.

Ma Xuekuan, chief weather forecaster of the National Meteorological Center, said October is when smoggy weather often happens.

"But it is very rare to see this high intensity of smog," Ma said.

He said the main cause of all the recent smog is that cold air and wind, which can help disperse pollution, have been less frequent and weak in October.

"Under stable meteorological conditions, fog and haze usually occur because there's no cold air or wind, "he said.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has had five days of no cold air and wind since the beginning of October - one day more than the same period in recent years.

The average wind speed has also fallen. In Beijing, it is now 5.4 km per hour, 1km/hour less than usual for this time of year.

Pollutants can easily accumulate when the wind speed is slower than 7km/h.

The burning of straw in some parts of the region may also have contributed to the smog's formation, although it is not a primary cause.

Ma said fog is formed by tiny drops of water, and haze is mainly caused by particles of pollutants in the air. High air humidity in recent days may have resulted in the high intensity of smog and poor visibility.

The topography of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region also plays a role in forming smog.

The region is neighbored by Taihang Mountain to the west and the Yanshan Mountains to the north. Local generated pollutants and inflows can easily accumulate in areas near the mountains and cause the intense air pollution, Ma said.

Hua Cong, an expert in charge of environmental prediction at the National Meteorological Information Center, said with the end of summer, rain that can help remove air pollutants to an extent has gradually fallen. In addition, lower temperatures in autumn have cooled the activity of the atmospheric boundary layer, which can speed up the accumulation of water droplets and particle matter.

During the imminent smoggy weather, the concentration of PM2.5 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be around 150 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM2.5, which is particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, is small enough to enter humans' lungs and blood-streams, and is not easily discharged from bodies.

It can affect the gas exchange in the lungs and thus may cause diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and cardiovascular disorders.

The public should try to avoid outdoor activities and wear masks when going outside. Drivers should reduce their vehicles' speed under poor visibility conditions, Hua said.

The public should make an effort to protect themselves during the frequent smoggy weather, Ma said.

A Beijing netizen going by the name of Baixue said in a comment on the analysis that smog has been a stubborn problem in recent years, but its causes are still a mystery. The causes are believed to include less wind, automobile emissions, industrial pollutants, and coal and straw burning.

"If we don't narrow down the main causes, how can we deal with it?" Baixue asked.

Zhuanglilaofeng, a netizen from Shijiazhuang, Hebei's provincial capital, said it is a long-term task for the government to finish, and "we should wait with patience and do our part at the same time".

Contact the writers through zhangyu1@chinadaily.com.cn

Categories: Chinaganda

PLA vows to uphold rule of law

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Military works to shake off leadership traditions that date to feudal times

As the ongoing Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee discusses the rule of law, the People's Liberation Army vowed to steadily promote the principle in military building and national defense.

President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged army officials to run the PLA in accordance with laws and discipline, which Xi said "lays a solid foundation for a strong army".

Professor Wang Fa'an of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences said the PLA has had a tradition of enforcing strict discipline during its 87-year history, but it is far from achieving a comprehensive rule of law.

The PLA has not shaken off the shadows of the "rule of man," which was deeply rooted in China's past feudal rule for thousands of years, Wang said.

The Chinese army arose and evolved from isolated revolutionary bases scattered in the country's vast rural areas, and its management relied heavily on commanders' experience and will.

Chairman Mao Zedong was determined to standardize the army and instill rule of law after the founding of New China in 1949, but efforts were hindered by political movements, including the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

The PLA's modernization drive calls for the transition from the "rule of man" to the "rule of law", but it is no easy task, Wang said.

Wang pointed out some problems, such as soldiers and officers who would rather obey commanders' orders than military laws and rules, and others who don't know how to perform their duties without instructions from superiors. Soldiers' weak legal awareness also hinders the rule of law in military operations, he said.

Wang said the military's legal system has steadily improved. The top legislature revised the Military Service Law in 2011 for the third time. The PLA introduced a 17-article auditing regulation to step up the fight against corruption in the military in July.

The lack of external inspection and supervision of the military gives rise to problems such as waste and graft, he said, adding that loopholes in the military's legal system have become lucrative opportunities for personal gain.

The PLA has stepped up oversight of its officers since last year, part of the CPC's extensive campaign to root out extravagance and corruption. Not only "tigers" like Gu Junshan, a former senior military logistics officer, and Xu Caihou, former CMC vice-chairman, are under investigation, but military officers' daily habits like gift-giving, vehicle use and travel are also subject to close scrutiny.

The PLA auditing regulation says that all such practices that the PLA auditing office uncovers will be transferred to military law enforcers.

Zhao Keshi, head of the PLA General Logistics Department, said auditors will watch over military funds, expenditures and assets closely. Zhao also said all economic activities of the military will be audited, and officers may not be promoted or retire without first going through the auditing process.

Categories: Chinaganda

Taxi passengers gain new clout

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15


Taxis wait for customers in Handan, Hebei province. Regulations that will hold drivers to higher standards and give passengers the right to refuse payment go into effect on Jan 1.  Hao Qunying / For China Daily

A new taxi industry regulation will allow passengers to refuse to pay fares if drivers break certain rules.

According to the regulation, which comes into effect on Jan 1, if drivers don't use meters properly, don't get passengers to destinations on time, don't give receipts or don't accept payment by subway cards, passengers can refuse to pay the fare.

The regulation also requires drivers to choose the most direct route, and says they cannot refuse passengers' requests, negotiate the price or drop off passengers in the middle of the trip.

Drivers who don't obey the rule may be punished with fines ranging from 50 yuan to 200 yuan ($8 to $32)

In addition, the regulation creates more detailed standards, including rules that drivers cannot smoke or eat food with strong smells.

The regulation encourages cities to develop a taxi appointment service through phone, mobile app or website.

Zhang Jinfang, 28, said that taxi services in Beijing have improved a lot recently, but there are still some problems.

"I always noticed that drivers like to make phone calls when they are driving, or are too focused on the mobile apps that alert them of coming orders from other passengers," said Zhang. "This really distracts the driver's attention and it's not safe."

A driver surnamed Shen in Beijing approved of the regulation, saying some drivers' bad behavior had damaged the industry's image.

"As licensed drivers, we should set stricter standards for ourselves and provide passengers better service. We must give receipts if customers ask, which is a difference from unlicensed cabs," Shen said.

But he said passengers who break appointments should be also punished.

"If I fail to keep an appointment, my company will quickly find and criticize me, and I might be fined. But most of the time, it's the passengers who don't keep an appointment," he said.

"A mutual understanding must be established between passengers and us," he added.

Yu Lingyun, a professor specializing in traffic laws at Tsinghua University, spoke highly of the regulation, saying its enforcement will alleviate the problem of unlicensed taxis in the capital.

There are some problems with smartphone applications, like drivers who don't show up or who want more money, so it's urgent to regulate them, Yu said.

In the United Kingdom, for example, passengers are accustomed to booking taxis, "but in our country it's in the beginning stage", he said.

He suggested taxi companies make a blacklist of passengers who break appointments without good reason.

Contact the writers at caoyin@chinadaily.com.cn and suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn


Categories: Chinaganda

Four days in Buddhist temple takes life back to a simple level

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Participants from across the nation take part in a meditation session in Qixia Temple in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Tuesday, to gain firsthand experience of Buddhist life. Yang Bo / For China Daily

Chen Yu was one of 50 city-dwellers chosen by Qixia Temple in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, to experience four days of traditional Buddhist life. And it was a body-changing experience.

"I never took sleep and food this seriously," Chen said.

After seeing on the Internet that the temple was recruiting 50 people nationwide to take a meditation journey from Tuesday to Friday, college student Chen made a phone call and was chosen from among 3,500 applicants.

"I felt dizzy several times when I chanted with the monks at 5:30 in the morning on an empty stomach," Chen said. "I used to stay up late, but the temple has a regulation that we should wake up at 5:00.

"Sitting cross-legged for hours also makes some participants feel strange. I couldn't bear even 10 minutes this morning as my legs gradually became numb. The monks told us that it always happened to newcomers, and we could walk around for a while."

An hour later, when the participants had breakfast together with the monks, the whole dining hall, though it housed hundreds of people, was silent. People are supposed to make no sound when they eat. Breakfast was a bowl of soy milk, a fried breadstick and some vegetables.

"We had various kinds of vegetables for lunch and dinner because people are not supposed to eat meat at Buddhist temples," said another participant, office worker Yu Ying. "To my surprise, the dishes at the temple tasted good. I may try to become a vegetarian in the future for my health."

The temple also requires participants to refrain from using cellphones to achieve a better meditation experience.

"Many people's lives are filled with anxieties and desires," said Zhang, a college teacher in Nanjing who preferred that only his surname be used. "But as social animals, sometimes we cannot fight off our desires. I consider that the meditation journey at the temple provides people a chance to look inside themselves and find inner peace."

It is suggested that participants go to bed before 9 pm and refrain from drinking, smoking and gossip. Also, only unscented soaps, shampoos and toothpastes are allowed.

"Come with no prejudice and leave with ease, that is what Zen is about," said Master Longxiang, abbot of Qixia Temple, when he greeted the participants. "You will meditate, chant and learn traditional Chinese culture, such as calligraphy and a tea ceremony, during the four days."

According to the temple, another meditation class will be provided to 150 people during the New Year festival. There is no charge for food, accommodation and activities provided by the temple.


Categories: Chinaganda

High schools let students 'study overseas without going abroad'

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Attending international departments of Chinese high schools, which education specialists and insiders have called "study overseas without going abroad", has become increasingly popular among Chinese students in recent years.

At least one-third of public high schools in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai have launched their own international departments, which are separated from the domestic departments and offer international courses to students preparing for study overseas after they graduate, said Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of eol.cn, a Chinese portal website on education.

Chen made the remarks in Beijing on Wednesday during a forum about studying overseas at an early age.

He also said that 2 to 5 percent of all students choose to study at international departments, and the proportion may grow in the future.

A report conducted by eol.cn this year showed that by 2013, 22 public high schools in Beijing had gained admission from education authorities and established international departments, recruiting a total of 1,355 students. In 2009, only six public schools were allowed to do so, with 440 students being recruited.

Attending international departments at public high schools, or even international schools, has become a popular and effective way for Chinese students to prepare for their academic life overseas before heading abroad.

"By enjoying an education system that combines both Chinese culture and foreign courses, students who attend international departments or schools usually adapt to life and study overseas better and faster," said Wang Hongjun, director of the international department of Beijing No 35 High School.

Ding Wei, general manager of the immigration business department of JJL Immigration and the father of a 6-year-old boy, said: "If I want to send my son to study abroad in the future, I will first send him to an international department of a domestic school to prepare him."

However, Allen Jiang, North Asia regional director of IDP Education Pty Ltd, an Australia-based service agency for overseas study, sees such a trend as a new phenomenon in China with risks and uncertainties.

"The limited scale of students of international departments of public schools usually means that their students are a minority at school. In that sense, students usually cannot experience full engagement or interaction with their peers, which is not good for their growth," Jiang said.


Categories: Chinaganda

3 prosecuted for unmanned flight in Beijing skies

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Military scrambled fighters and helicopters to intercept aircraft

Three men are being prosecuted for flying an unmanned aircraft to take survey and mapping photographs of the ground in Beijing.

Because the flight had not been cleared in advance, the military sent two fighter jets and two helicopters to intercept the craft.

The defendants, all from an aviation technology company in Beijing, were accused of endangering public safety. A court in Beijing's Pinggu district filed the action, and the case will be heard soon, an unidentified official at the court told China Daily on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, the defendants manipulated an unmanned aircraft, which took off from a road in Mafang township in Pinggu district on Dec 29 to carry out surveying and mapping tasks.

The unknown aircraft was picked up on radar, and the Beijing Military Area Command dispatched the fighter jets and helicopters to intercept it. A total of 1,226 military staff, 26 radar technicians and 123 military vehicles were deployed in response to the flight, prosecutors said.

The unmanned aircraft, measuring 2.6 meters wide and 2.3 meters long, was flying at a speed of 100 km/h at a height of 700 meters in the eastern area of Beijing Capital International Airport when it was intercepted, according to the civil aviation authorities.

The police found that more than 10 commercial flights at the airport were delayed because of the photo flight, and two commercial aircraft had to change course to avoid a collision. Air China reported an economic loss of more than 18,000 yuan ($2,940) due to the photo flight.

The police caught two men, surnamed Qiao and Li, as they flew the aircraft by remote control. Another individual, surnamed Hao, confessed after being contacted by police, the authorities said.

Prosecutors said the defendants should have known that their activities might endanger public safety, but they went ahead with the photo flights anyway, causing economic losses.

Under current rules, flight vehicles may not take off without first getting approvals from the local civil aviation authorities, the air traffic control bureau and the air force. Civil aviation authorities are in charge of screening applicants' flying qualifications. The air traffic control bureau's work is to guarantee that no civil flights will be affected. The air force decides whether low-altitude airspace is available or not.

The defendants had not received any approval from the three departments, the prosecutors said.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.


Categories: Chinaganda

Men to appeal monkey trial verdict

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Four entertainers who use performing monkeys in their act are appealing after being convicted of illegally transporting rare animals.

The Monkey Art Association in Xinye county, Henan province, is supporting the four by finding lawyers to represent them.

Bao Fengshan, Bao Qingshan, Su Guoyin and Tian Junan are from Xinye, which is well-known for its monkey displays. They were arrested while staging a show with six macaque monkeys on a street in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, in July.

Officers from the Mudanjiang Forestry Public Security Bureau said the men did not have a wild animal transportation license, and they were convicted by a special court in Dongjingcheng county on Sept 23.

The four were released without punishment and the monkeys were returned to them, but one of the animals had died.

Bao Fengshan said the 12-year-old monkey, which he called Dan, was the best of the three he owned.

"I had Dan since he was born, and he could do lots of different tricks," he told The Paper. "The other two can't hold up the performance without Dan.

"I loved him like a grandson, and I earned the tuition fees for my two children from his performances."

Bao had to bury the monkey in Mudanjiang instead of taking it back to Xinye because the crew of an intercity bus refused to let him take the dead animal with him.

Xinye has a long tradition of staging monkey shows, and the art was included in the provincial intangible cultural heritage list in 2009.

The association's president, Zhang Junran, said: "We have more than 1,000 members, and we have an obligation to pass on and spread our intangible cultural heritage. The arrests were a great shock, and members are now afraid to put on monkey shows in other cities as they did before.

"As an official association, we safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of members and provide licenses for the monkeys we breed. The monkeys bring people enjoyment, and the tricks are not illegal."

Nine lawyers from Henan, Sichuan and Shanxi provinces have offered to represent the entertainers.

"With their support, we are confident of victory," said Zhang.

Ruan Chuansheng, a criminal lawyer in Shanghai, said the four have a right to appeal to higher courts in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law.

However, under the Criminal Law, people can be prosecuted if they transfer, capture or kill wild animals.

Macaque monkeys are protected by law, "so the crime of illegal transport of wildlife has been committed", he said.

Traditionally, people have used performing monkeys and other animals to earn money, "but now they will be punished if the animals are rare ones on the country's protected list", he said.

Cao Yin in Beijing contributed to this story.



Bao Fengshan stands at the scene in Heilongjiang province where he was detained on Sept 26 for transporting monkeys. Cao Fuchuan / For China Daily

(China Daily 10/23/2014 page5)

Categories: Chinaganda

Netizens snapping up Palace souvenirs

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

When the Palace Museum in Beijing released a series of creative and cultural souvenirs, they were quickly picked up by social media and generated intense interest online.

A micro blog with more than a million followers posted some of the pictures, and it has been reposted 18,473 times.

One of the pictures features a pair of stereo earphones that look like a string of beads and jewels indicating the rank of officials during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The museum has wedding products and everyday items, such as pens, notebooks and T-shirts, as well as high-end decorative items that may appeal to collectors.

A floral umbrella draws its inspiration from a cap of Qing Dynasty court officials and functions as both a hat and an umbrella. A cellphone holder is shaped like a Qing Dynasty princess.

Prices of these souvenirs range from 10 yuan ($1.63) to thousands of yuan.

The online discussion has already had an effect on sales. The stereo earphones have been ordered by 140 buyers in the past two days, according to the online store.

Ding Yuan, 28, is one of the people who pre-ordered the earphones.

"I saw them on the Sina micro blog when all of my friends were discussing how interesting they are," said Ding, a civil servant in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. "I joked to my friends that it looked like all officials in the court were listening to songs instead of discussing serious issues."

The National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan also released a series of souvenirs that made a splash on the Internet. One of the most popular items is adhesive tape that bears the inscription: "I, the emperor, know it".

Wang Ying, 28, from Taiyuan, Shaanxi province, said she bought the tape last November when visiting the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

"I didn't do research first, so when I got there, I was kind of surprised by the creative souvenirs available," said Wang. "They were not designed simply for decoration. Many of them can be used in daily life. And the quality is great, as can be seen from the detail."

"I have traveled to many places in China and many souvenirs are poor in both design and quality," said Wang. "Many tourists want to buy gifts for friends and it is important to make sure they can buy interesting and good quality items, otherwise why bother to buy souvenirs?"

Feng Tao from the Beijing Tourism Commission said the souvenir market does have problems, such as the lack of intellectual property protection, lack of innovation in design and lack of regulation on the quality and price of items.

"These problems have affected the rights and interests of tourists to Beijing, as well as the image of Beijing tourism," said Feng. "The Beijing Tourism Commission has worked closely with other departments, institutions and companies to introduce more creative souvenirs to meet tourists' demand and protect the intellectual property of developers."

The commission holds an annual competition based on the theme 'Beijing Gift' to encourage more interesting souvenirs from designers.

"Now, souvenirs are not simply for tourists to put on a desk to mark the trip but have expanded their scope to where tourists want souvenirs with creative design and cultural meaning, as well as features that make them useful in daily life," he said.

Li Lin contributed to this story.


(China Daily 10/23/2014 page5)

Categories: Chinaganda

Law firms from US boost their HK staffs

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

When Cathy Palmer first came to Hong Kong as a US prosecutor more than 20 years ago, she was chasing heroin-smuggling triads who later sent a booby-trapped package to her New York City office.

Since March, she has been in the city "talking to people about tough things" to help clients deal with mushrooming investigations into potential crimes and corporate misconduct.

Palmer's US law firm isn't alone in boosting its presence in Hong Kong, home to the Asia headquarters of many Wall Street banks.

"Hong Kong and Asia weren't traditionally seen as a hot spot for US litigators," said Bradley Klein, an investigations lawyer in Hong Kong. "In the last three to five years, that's changed completely."

The bribery probe of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline was a wake-up call for global companies that assumed their main regulatory risk was in their home country, he said. "This opened up a new front and the risk of having to juggle multiple investigations in multiple jurisdictions," Klein said.

GSK China hit with record fine, says sorry

China fined Glaxo $489 million last month for bribing doctors to help sales of its drugs, after an investigation that lasted almost 15 months. The fine is the biggest corporate penalty ever in China, Xinhua News Agency said.

The London-based company's former top China executive pleaded guilty and got a suspended four-year jail sentence. US and UK authorities are looking into whether the company may have broken their anti-graft laws.

Glaxo has said it will continue to learn from the probe of its Chinese business, which it described as a "deeply disappointing matter."

Martin Rogers, a lawyer with Davis Polk, said the firm is advising Chinese State-owned companies on improving their anti-graft compliance and investigations procedures. Davis Polk will expand its 25-lawyer disputes team in Asia with as many as 10 attorneys over the next three to five years, he said.

It's a complex cocktail, according to Matthew Newick, who moved to Hong Kong from London to succeed Rogers as head of Asian litigation and dispute resolution at Clifford Chance LLP.

"In the past a problem was identified and investigated," he said. "Now issues like rate-rigging (of benchmark interest rates) become the theme of the day, and regulators everywhere will ask our clients, 'Do you have such a problem?'"

While some investigations into the rigging by bankers of financial benchmarks may be close to conclusion, lawyers pointed to other governments like India, Indonesia and Thailand stepping up efforts on anti-graft, antitrust and sanctions.

"All the boats are rising at the same time," said Andrew Dale, a Hong Kong-based lawyer.

Categories: Chinaganda

Bear skeleton sheds light on 2,800-year-old Chinese ritual

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15


Hou Yanfeng, an archaeologist from Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, shows the bones of the bear's two legs, with one being shorter.  Photos By Jiang Yanwen / Xinhua

A bear skeleton unearthed in central China's Henan province may reveal that Chinese people tamed bears at least 2,800 years ago, said archaeologists.

The skeleton was discovered at a cultural relic site in Taohe, a town in Nanyang, by archaeologists from the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The team was called in to perform a rescue excavation when relics were discovered at the construction site of China's south-to-north water diversion project.

Archaeologists estimate that the relic where the bear was buried was a sacrificial pit from the late period of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century to 771 BC).

"We don't know yet when the Chinese began to tame bears, but from the discovery of the skeleton we can at least infer that they had the practice during the late Western Zhou Dynasty," said Ma Xiaolin, an archaeologist with the institute.

After digging up and analyzing the bones, scientists speculated that the bear was tamed by ancient Chinese to be an offering to ancestors.

Judging from the shape of the bear's teeth and skull, it was a black bear, said Hou Yanfeng, another archaeologist with the institute. It was male, based on the large sagittal crest on its skull, he added.

From examining its lower teeth, scientists believe that it died in the early spring when it was 5 years old.

The team also found that the bear's left leg was 29 mm shorter than the right one. "To further investigate the cause of the limp, we had the left leg bone X-rayed and found that the leg had probably suffered from a fracture when the bear was a cub."

But the bear's survival and normal development of other bones suggest that the injury did not cause many adverse effects, such as starvation or danger of becoming prey for other animals.

However, it was probably captured and raised by humans as a result of the injury when it was a cub and less ferocious, and ended up as a sacrifice buried in the pit, archaeologists said.

According to Hou, the sacrificial pit is located at the birthplace of Chu, an ancient state in today's neighboring provinces of Hubei and Hunan, as well as part of Henan.

"Chu people bore the ancestral name of Xiong, or Bear, so it is very likely that bears were tamed and raised for sacrificial use at that time."

Categories: Chinaganda

Safeguarding foreigners' rights

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Officers from a border check station’s legal aid service department talk to sailors on board an Italian vessel about China’s entry and exit laws. The Bayuquan border check station is the first of its kind in Liaoning province to establish the legal aid service in order to ease conflicts. [Photo/Xinhua]

Changes to nation's criminal laws mean a greater number of foreign nationals are eligible for free legal aid when they go to court, as Zhang Yan reports from Lincang, Yunnan province.

'If the Chinese lawyer hadn't actively defended me, I would have been executed rather than receiving a lenient sentence, considering the amount of drugs seized and the serious harm (they could have done)," said Theodoros Kourtidis with tears in his eyes, after his conviction for transporting heroin in Yunnan province.

Speaking at a detention center in the Yunnan city of Lincang, the remorseful 50-year-old Australian said: "I didn't expect the Chinese government to assign a lawyer to provide free legal services, or that the judicial organs would pay attention to the protection of my legal rights."

Kourtidis was convicted in Lincang City Intermediate People's Court in July and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the case dates back to January, when he drove a rented car from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, to Lincang, where he purchased a large quantity of heroin, according to the Yunnan Provincial Legal Aid Authority.

As he started out on his return journey to Guangzhou, Kourtidis was detained by police as he passed through a security checkpoint. The police discovered 2,775 grams of heroin tied around his waist.

In March, the Lincang Legal Aid Department appointed Zhang Zhengyi, an experienced lawyer, to provide legal aid to Kourtidis.

"He didn't understand the laws and legal procedures in China, and in the beginning he didn't trust me at all, and even resisted me," Zhang said.

Kourtidis said that because of the language barrier and differences in legal procedures, he felt desperate and helpless after being detained by the Chinese police.

"I was even worried that the police would torture me, and the lawyer would collude with them to force me to confess. But I was totally wrong. The female lawyer was very nice and patient, and informed me about my legal rights when she met with me in the detention center," he said.

Zhang visited the local prosecutors' department and court several times to review the case files, and also actively exchanged views with the prosecutors and judges, according to Kourtidis.

In July, the court "adopted some of the lawyer's defense opinions and gave me a lenient sentence, rather than the death penalty", he said. "I hope good behavior in prison will give me a chance to begin a new life with my only daughter and my elderly father in Australia," he added.

Rising numbers

Kourtidis was just one of the 1,000 foreign offenders, mostly related to criminal cases, who received free legal aid services in China last year, an increase of 20 percent compared with 2012.

Since amendments to the Criminal Procedural Law took effect in early 2013, China has widened the scope of free legal services available to convicted foreigners, including those sentenced to death or life imprisonment, and for those in financial difficulty. Previously, only prisoners who had been sentenced to death were eligible to receive free legal aid.

At present, there are 68,318 legal aid departments at the provincial, city, township and village levels, and about 200,000 lawyers across China are obliged to provide free legal aid to foreign criminals.

"If they don't have a defense lawyer, we will ask the local legal aid department to appoint an experienced lawyer to defend them and fully protect their human and legal rights in China," Sang Ning, deputy director of the Legal Aid Center at the Ministry of Justice, said.

A Myanmar worker (right) receives compensation from his Chinese employer for injury during construction work in Ruili, Yunnan province, thanks to the local legal aid department’s help.ZHANG YAN / CHINA DAILY

Sharp rise in demand

"In recent years, a large number of foreigners have come to China for travel, study or business, and it's inevitable that a number of criminal cases involving foreign parties will occur occasionally," Sang said.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, more than 60 million foreign nationals arrived and exited China in 2013. The number has doubled during the past decade. Meanwhile, the number of foreigners staying in the country for more than six months, including those who have obtained "green cards", is about 680,000, up from about 20,000 in 1980.

According to Sang, many foreign nationals that have entered the country illegally to work or visit are involved in criminal activities.

The problem is particularly acute in the coastal and border areas, such as the provinces of Guangdong and Yunnan, where some foreign nationals have been engaged in drug smuggling or human trafficking, which has contributed to a sharp increase in demand for legal aid services for people from overseas, he said.

According to Wang Jinlian, a senior officer at the ministry's legal aid center, most of the cases the center handles involve violent crimes, including drug smuggling and trafficking, murder, rape, human trafficking, and robbery.

"The offenders mostly come from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and some European countries," she said.

According to the amended law, in addition to criminal offenses, foreign nationals involved in civil cases will now be eligible for free legal services if they lack funds or if their home country has signed a judicial agreement with China.

Offering free legal assistance to foreign offenders "reflects Chinese judicial impartiality and transparency", Hong Daode, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said.

"In this way, foreigners will better understand Chinese laws and the relevant legal procedures, so they will consciously abide by Chinese laws and regulations when traveling or staying in the country," he said.

Major challenges

According to the Ministry of Justice, lawyers are faced with a number of challenges when providing free legal assistance to offenders from overseas.

"We face difficulties in communicating with the foreign recipients because of language barriers and cultural differences," said Zhang Kaiyou, an experienced lawyer from the Legal Aid Center of Dehong autonomous prefecture in Yunnan, who has defended more than 30 foreign nationals in the last nine years.

"Many foreigners don't trust Chinese laws, and are resistant to the lawyers at the beginning," he said, adding that some of the accused are concerned that the judicial officers will prosecute them unfairly.

In addition, China's legal system and judicial procedures are totally different from those overseas, and many foreign suspects hope lawyers will defend them on a plea of "not guilty" rather than plead for "lenient punishment", Li Fang, a lawyer with the Beijing Yingke Law Firm, said.

Therefore, if Chinese lawyers want to offer better legal services to foreign clients, the key is to "improve language skills, gain more practical experience, and be more patient", Zhang said.

According to Wang, the ministry's legal aid center has established a database of 20,000 qualified volunteer lawyers who can provide free legal service for foreign clients, and about one-third of them can communicate with their clients in English.

For non-English-speaking clients, legal aid centers in many large cities, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, have signed agreements with local translation companies, and the costs are covered by the local governments, she said.

"This is an effective way of communicating with foreign suspects, and a timely way to inform them about their rights and other points of interest," she added.

Using new media platforms

According to Sang, in addition to improving the talent pool of lawyers, the ministry will make a priority of deploying a larger number of legal personnel to China's border areas to provide free legal aid. Many will be employed in areas such as Yunnan and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where a large number of foreign nationals are involved in cross-border crimes, including drug smuggling and trafficking, or human trafficking.

Moreover, the ministry will use new media platforms to release information about legal aid services and typical cases, and publicize the contact details of qualified lawyers.

"It's essential for the government to increase financial support for legal aid, and to take effective measures to improve the quality of services," Li Wei, a lawyer from the Beijing Lawyers' Association, said.

She suggested that local legal aid departments should "set up a supervision mechanism to follow case developments and assess the quality of the services provided by lawyers. That will enable us to provide the best services possible".

Contact the writer at zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

Categories: Chinaganda

Protesters ignore HK court order

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15


Placards support the police and government at a rally opposing the "Occupy Central" movement in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Wednesday. One placard reads: "No rule of law, no future. Hong Kong needs rule of law, and residents support police."

Clashes continued in Hong Kong on Wednesday as demonstrators ignored a court order to vacate protest sites.

Protesters manned barricades for a second day after the city's High Court ordered key roads to be cleared.

Notices of the court injunction were placed in newspapers, plastered on walls and read out by bailiffs, but the protesters ignored them and scuffled with opponents.

A standoff lasted into Wednesday evening after a brief confrontation in Mong Kok following the lunch hour.

A group of taxi drivers and people opposing the protests descended on a blockaded intersection in the district and dismantled barriers before police moved in.

A man was detained for suspected arson after he allegedly threw what is believed to be a flammable liquid as protesters subdued an opponent venting his frustration over the blockades.

Dozens of taxi drivers, with their vehicles covered in messages supporting the police, staged a drive-by in the district.

Alliance for Peace and Democracy founder Robert Chow plans to launch a signature campaign to support police clearing the roads.

"People should have the choice of living normal lives. We hope this movement to resume law and order can make our voices heard," Chow said.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung called on protesters to respect the city's rule of law and the court injunction, describing the protest scene in Mong Kok as "virtually a riot".

Three transport companies are also seeking injunctions to open key roads near the central business district, citing HK$3 million ($386,730) in losses caused by the closures.

A separate injunction obtained by the owners of CITIC Tower in Admiralty continued to be ignored by protesters who have blocked routes used by emergency vehicles.

Police Chief Superintendent Stephen Hui urged parents not to take their children to high-risk protest zones, citing safety concerns, and saying that those who do so are irresponsible and behaving in an extremely dangerous way.

Hui said TV footage of clashes among protesters showed that the sit-ins are far from being peaceful and non-violent, adding that radical protesters and "troublemakers" are gathering at protest zones to incite the demonstrators and to challenge police.

He described protesters' actions as "utterly illegal and provocative", citing incidents where demonstrators surrounded police vehicles and police stations to demand the release of those arrested. Others had interfered with arrests and attempted to seize those detained, Hui said.

He said the personal details of officers, who have already received verbal abuse, have been uploaded online by critics targeting their families.

Hui said there are increasing incidents of officers' families being targeted for intimidation and bullying in cyberspace.

Police detained a 23-year-old man for allegedly sending a threatening message to an officer's daughter.

Hui reiterated warnings that "real world" laws also apply in cyberspace and criticized those who incite others online to carry out illegal acts. These included an online call to occupy the city's international airport, he said.

Categories: Chinaganda

Space launch to pave the way for lunar expedition

China Daily - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 01:15

Test for technology to help probe return to Earth with soil samples

China will launch an experimental spacecraft between Friday and Sunday to test a key technology designed to help a future lunar probe return to Earth with soil samples.

The unnamed spacecraft is due to reach a location near the moon before returning to Earth, said a spokesman for the China National Space Administration, which announced the launch on Wednesday.

It will be China's first lunar module to return to Earth, at a speed close to 11.2 km per second, space experts said.

Hu Hao, chief designer of the lunar exploration program's third phase, said in an earlier interview with China Daily that the re-entry speed could cause the return capsule to overheat or become difficult to track and control.

No simulated tests on Earth can recreate the challenge, he said.

The space agency spokesman said the re-entry will involve one or more "skips" off the Earth's atmosphere to slow the spacecraft before final re-entry. It is due to land in a central area of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Experts said "skip re-entry" could help to disperse the huge amount of heat that is usually generated on faster descents.

Data from the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration show that "skip re-entry" technology was used on lunar missions by the former Soviet Union.

If successful, the technology will help the Chang'e-5 lunar probe to return to Earth with lunar soil samples around 2017, the spokesman said.

On Wednesday, technicians at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province began fueling the Long March 3C rocket that will carry the experimental spacecraft.

Rocket expert Jiang Jie said that compared with the previous three launch missions this one poses the sternest test.

"The mission requires that the rocket sends the spacecraft to a fixed spot in space. Any inaccuracy will mean that the spacecraft will fail to enter the moon's orbit," she told China Central Television.

Liu Jianzhong, deputy chief engineer for the Long March 3 series rockets, said the mission will have a launch window of 35 minutes each day between Friday and Sunday.

The national space agency said the experimental mission marks the start of the third phase of China's lunar program featuring probes returning to Earth.

The country launched the Chang'e-1 probe in 2007, Chang'e-2 in 2010 and Chang'e-3 in 2013, completing experiments in orbiting and landing on the moon.

China has one moon rover, the Jade Rabbit, on the lunar surface. This craft, launched as part of the Chang'e-3 mission late last year, has been declared a success by Chinese authorities, although it has been plagued by mechanical troubles.

Categories: Chinaganda

The Tank Man 6-4

Mark Roswell aka Da Shan

Best Friends Forever: Canada and China