Friday, December 10, 2010

Liu Xiaobo statement re The Internet

(This is a reprint of a previously-published essay by Liu Xiaobo.)

Laureate Liu: The internet is God's present

Today there are more than 100 million internet users in China. The Chinese Government is ambivalent towards it. On the one hand, the internet is a tool to make money. On the other, the Communist dictatorship is afraid of freedom of expression.

The internet has brought about the awakening of ideas among the Chinese. This worries the Government, which has placed great importance on blocking the internet to exert ideological control.

In October 1999 I finished three years of jail and returned home. There was a computer there and it seemed that every visiting friend was telling me to use it. I tried a few times but felt that I could not write anything while facing a machine and insisted on writing with a fountain pen. Slowly, under the patient persuasion and guidance of my friends, I got familiar with it and cannot leave it now. As someone who writes for a living, and as someone who participated in the 1989 democracy movement, my gratitude towards the internet cannot be easily expressed.

My first essay on the computer took a week to do - I was ready to abandon it several times. Under the encouragement of my friends, I finished it. For the first time, I sent an article by e-mail. Several hours later I received the reply from the editor. This made me aware of the magic of the internet.

With the censorship here, my essays can only be published overseas. Before using the computer, my handwritten essays were difficult to correct and the cost of sending them was high. To avoid the articles being intercepted, I often went from the west side of the city to the east side where I had a foreign friend who owned a fax machine.

The internet has made it easier to obtain information, contact the outside world and submit articles to overseas media. It is like a super-engine that makes my writing spring out of a well. The internet is an information channel that the Chinese dictators cannot fully censor, allowing people to speak and communicate, and it offers a platform for spontaneous organisation.

Open letters signed by individuals or groups are an important way for civilians to resist dictatorship and fight for freedom. The open letter from Vaclav Havel to the Czech dictator Husak was a classic of civil opposition to dictatorship.

Fang Lizhi, a famous dissident, wrote an open letter to Deng Xiaoping, China's leader, to ask for the release of the political prisoner Wei Jingsheng. This was followed by two open letters, signed by 33 and 45 people. These three open letters were regarded as the prelude to the 1989 democracy movement, when open letters rose up like bamboo shoots after rain to support the protesting students.

Back then it took a lot of time and resources to organise an open letter. Preparations began a month before; organisers had to be found to look up the people. We talked about the content of the letter, the phrasing, the timing, and it took several days to reach consensus. Afterwards, we had to find a place to typeset the handwritten open letter and then make several copies. After proofing the document, the most time-consuming thing was to collect the signatures. Since the government was monitoring the telephones of sensitive people, we had to ride our bicycles in all directions of Beijing.

In an era without the internet, it was impossible to collect the signatures of several hundred people, and it was also impossible to disseminate the news rapidly all over the world. At the time, the influence of and the participation in letter-writing campaigns were all quite limited. We worked for many days, and in the end we would only get a few dozen people to sign. The letter-signing movements in this new era have made a quantum leap.

The ease, openness and freedom of the internet has caused public opinion to become very lively in recent years. The Government can control the press and television, but it cannot control the internet. The scandals that are censored in the traditional media are disseminated through the internet. The Government now has to release information and officials may have to publicly apologise.

The first senior official to apologise was in 2001 when Zhu Rongji, who was then the Premier, apologised for an explosion in a school that caused the death of 41 people. At the same time, under the impact of internet opinion, the authorities had to punish officials - for Sars, mining accidents and the contamination of the Songhua River.

The internet has the extraordinary ability to create stars. Not only can it produce entertainment stars, it can also create “truth-speaking heroes”. It has allowed a new generation of intellectuals to emerge and created folk heroes such as the military doctor Jiang Yanyong (who publicly warned about the threat of Sars and forced the Government to take action).

Chinese Christians say that although the Chinese lack any sense of religion, their God will not forsake the suffering Chinese people. The internet is God's present to China. It is the best tool for the Chinese people in their project to cast off slavery and strive for freedom.

Barack Obama statement on Liu Xiaobo

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 10, 2010

Statement by the President on the Awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize

One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice. Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.

All of us have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes the inherent rights and dignity of human beings – a truth upheld within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress. This past year saw the release of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, even as the Burmese people continue to be denied the democracy that they deserve. Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta has continued his tireless work to build a free and prosperous East Timor, having made the transition from dissident to President. And this past year saw the retirement of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, whose own career demonstrates the universal power of freedom and justice to overcome extraordinary obstacles.

The rights of human beings are universal – they do not belong to one nation, region or faith. America respects the unique culture and traditions of different countries. We respect China’s extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want. But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible. I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year. Today, on what is also International Human Rights Day, we should redouble our efforts to advance universal values for all human beings.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

UN panned for snubbing Liu Xiaobo

From The Telegraph:

By Max Wind-Cowie 12:36PM GMT 08 Dec 2010

For the first time since 1936, the Nobel peace Prize winner will be represented by an empty chair on Friday. Why? Because China has succeeded where no other state – bar the Nazi regime in Germany all those years ago – has. They have prevented either this year’s winner, Liu Xiaobo, or any member of his family from traveling to Oslo to accept the prize.

The Nobel Committee has, rightly, come in for some flak over the last few years. Awarding the prize to Al Gore – for jetting around the world arguing that people shouldn’t, er, jet around the world – and to President Obama were demeaning to the prize and to its purpose. But this year they got it right. China’s economic reforms are, in the long-term, meaningless without political liberalisation to empower its population.

Many, many Chinese are waking up to that simple fact; and Liu Xiaobo represents them, their hopes and their continued oppression at the hands of their own Government. In awarding him the prize, the Nobel Committee highlighted his sacrifice and the struggle of the Chinese people for freedom. But this award goes beyond that – it has also, unintentionally, served to highlight the hypocrisy of world bodies that mouth platitudes about human rights while ignoring Beijing’s brutality.

Continue here:

Monday, October 11, 2010

It takes a criminal

To run a United States China policy like that which has prevailed - ever since Tiananmen Square, 21 years ago - it takes a criminal.

American politicos who read this post will immediately think of Hillary Clinton, because some years ago she published a book titled, "It takes a village."

Well, that's no excuse for U.S.-China policy. That operation has been run, not by a village, but by criminals such as George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

I am not the only one who feels similar sentiments about U.S.-China policy.

On Friday, October 8, 2010, Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize and now the world has learned the story that Liu is still in jail, now being a political prisoner for the third time since the Tiananmen crackdown began.

At the moment, Liu Xiaobo may be experiencing so much world attention that he is "China's most famous dissident."

But, the long time holder of the title, "China's most famous dissident" is Wei Jingsheng, someone who fills a role for China analogous to Lech Walesa of Poland, who ran the Solidarity movement against the Communist government (back when Poland had a Communist government; Walesa and the freedom fighters won).

Wei referred to Hillary Clinton last week, in a TV broadcast that was beamed into China by Voice of America. Let's look carefully at Wei's words:

Currently, because of China's economic development, international society is hot on China's economic growth, and therefore grants political concessions to the Chinese authorities. Human rights gradually evolved into a political deal. Nowadays, both the West and China are too lazy even to do a deal. Little has improved on human rights in China, with more and more international concessions. Human rights are put aside. Even the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State equivocated with "human rights are not our main topic" during her visit to China. Reduced pressure from the international community has made it more difficult for the Chinese people to realize their hope for democracy.

Wei used carefully-chosen words. He referred to "the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State," and "her visit to China." It was 2009 when Hillary Clinton was new in that job, and when she made her first visit to China and made her remark, downplaying human rights. That remark infuriated the human rights community, and led to my call from here for Hillary Clinton to resign.

Last week, in response to news of the Nobel Peace Prize going to Liu Xiaobo, I was highly critical of the U.S. news media, saying:

As they jumped on a bandwagon called free trade--which gutted the U.S. economy--they decided that human rights issues inconvenienced free trade. They have now delivered 10 years of one-sided news; they've been largely silent about human rights abuses in China.

Wei and I were really going to the same topic in the same week. He criticized Clinton; I criticized the media. But the bottom line in both cases is really the same. It was well stated by Wei Jingsheng:

Reduced pressure from the international community has made it more difficult for the Chinese people to realize their hope for democracy.

In sum, the bought-off leadership of the West is making it harder for us to do our job. By now, mine is a long standing call, which I can repeat at any time:

Hillary Clinton, resign!


Friday, October 08, 2010

Barack Obama's statement on Liu Xiaobo

I welcome the Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu Xiaobo. Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I. That list now includes Mr. Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs. By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings. Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.

- per, Oct. 8, 2010

Dalai Lama statement about Liu Xiaobo

I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Mr. Liu Xiaobo for being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms.

I have been personally moved as well as encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens, including Mr. Liu Xiaobo in signing the Charter 08, which calls for democracy and freedom in China. I expressed my admiration in a public statement on 12 December 2008, two days after it was released and while I was on a visit to Poland. I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruits of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance.

I believe that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent comments on freedom of speech being indispensable for any country and people’s wish for democracy and freedom being irresistible are a reflection of the growing yearning for a more open China. Such reforms can only lead to a harmonious, stable and prosperous China, which can contribute greatly to a more peaceful world.

I would like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the government of China to release Mr. Liu Xiaobo and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.

October 8, 2010

2010 Nobel Peace Prize citation

As relayed by the Associated Press, here is the full text of the citation awarding the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo.


The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power". Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Friday, June 04, 2010

2010's June 4 statement by CSN's J.P.K.

It is the 21st anniversary of a crime against humanity -- the Tiananmen Square massacre.

I believe that Tiananmen is the issue which separates the humans from the neo-humans; and unfortunately, the neo-humans held the upper hand for the past 21 years.

China's pro-democracy movement is a bright light for humanity; it represents hope for a better future, and light at the end of a tunnel.

In China, the tunnel has been the tenure in power of the Chinese Communist Party -- a time of brutal totalitarianism, assaulting the Chinese people with calamity, devastation, arbitrary campaigns of capricious fiat, mass murder, displacement through land seizures, and environmental destruction. In the Chinese Communist Party, justice is nowhere and corruption is everywhere. As a nation, China will need to heal from wounds which are still being inflicted upon it today.

Those wounds do not represent humanity. Those wounds represent the very most inhuman cruelty, and the perversion of humanity; of government; and of law and justice.

True justice will lead to the prosecution of those responsible for these hideous atrocities, including the Tiananmen Square massacre of 21 years ago.

These 21 years have become a very dark chapter in the history of the free world. There is a cancer in the free world, and it is called neo-politics. 21 years ago, presidential leadership gave way to neo-presidential neo-leadership; and American journalism gave way to neo-American neo-journalism.

This may confuse onlookers. A good old, red blooded American could ask, "Where did all of this 'Neo' stuff come from? What's up with that?" Well, there is a way to make sense of it, once you know the reality in this matter: "Neo" is a word modifier. In contemporary politics, it means "bought off" or "sold out." America is suffering from neo-government, which connotes government of, by, and for the private sector, which is really not public spirited.

There used to be a public sector in this country, but it has atrophied into a fading memory. As a result, the United States has been provisioning Communist China to its own detriment. Indeed, this is detrimental to the entire free world. The U.S. has become its own worst enemy, and the free world has been led towards compromise--rather than expansion--of liberties. For 21 years, we have suffered the policies of neo-American neo-Presidents.

I like the idea of expanding liberties. I would like a new one: Freedom from cruel and unusual journalism. I would like journalists to be public-spirited honest reporters, intending to expand or illuminate the public discourse, rather than to manipulate and steer it. I would like them to inform, rather than deceive, the public.

They might explain that in China, President Hu Jintao is trying to preserve or save face amid the train wreck of Chinese government.

This is the first June 4 in the third decade after Tiananmen Square. What we have in this new decade is a Chinese democracy movement that is maturing; and hence, it will be far more capable of influencing events and effecting change in China.

Many people expect that China will be the rising power of the new century; but the Chinese democracy movement will be the rising power of the new decade, now at hand.

Justice cannot be denied forever. Nor can the train wreck of Chinese government. It is already the time now that China's people must pick up the pieces and create China anew.

In this new decade, your nation has massive challenges, as does mine. I have suggested that the Tiananmen issue separates the humans from the neo-humans. We need human politics, not CCP politics, nor Western neo-politics. We need human journalism, not CCP journalism, nor Western neo-journalism.

The neo-humans belong outside of government, or at least neutralized by a discredited ideology within a government that enables competition among ideologies. In the pro-Chinese democracy movement, our cause is just; our numbers are growing; and our technology is improving. We assert that China must have peace, prosperity, and justice, under a system of freedom, democracy, and full respect for human rights and the rule of law. China needs those improvements as mentioned by Liu Xiaobo in Charter 08.

For that matter, we need Liu Xiaobo! So long as the Communist Party remains in place in mainland China, we continue to demand the immediate release and freedom of Liu Xiaobo; and of Wang Bingzhang; and of Zhou Yongjun; and of Gao Zhisheng. All other prisoners of conscience must likewise be freed, and we demand the support of Charter 08, and the end of persecution and retribution for the signatories of Charter 08.

This movement – for Chinese freedom and justice – should be the highest priority of the United States in its relations with China. It would already be Priority #1, but for the fact that neo-humans run the U.S. State Department. They are champions of bought off, sold out, private sector priorities. Shame on them, but hooray for you, here at New York City’s June 4 memorial of 2010! Thank you for taking in my speech, and God bless China!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

June 4 Event In Toronto

Toronto events for the 21st Anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre will be held on Friday June 4th 2010

Friday June 4th 2010

The March

Gather in front of the Chinese Consulate, 240 ST.GEORGE STREET, TORONTO , ON , N5R 2N5

then march to the June 4th Memorial site @ U of T.

Time: 6:30 pm

Candlelight vigil

Venue: June 4th memorial site, Hart House Circle, University of Toronto.

Time: 7:30pm

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Berlin Lit. Festival to honor Liao Yiwu on June 4

Via email, the China Support Network has received this information from Germany:

Appeal for a worldwide reading on June 4th 2010 for Liao Yiwu, and in
commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre
The international literature festival Berlin (ilb) calls for cultural
institutions, schools, radio stations and interested people to participate
in a worldwide reading of prose and poems by the Chinese author Liao Yiwu on
June 4th 2010. This day is the anniversary of the Tinananmen massacre in
Beijing in 1989, during which, according to the Red Cross, roughly 2,600
people died. The event itself, from which a democratic movement arose, is
not covered in the official Chinese media, and censorship was further
increased on the 20th anniversary of the massacre, extending deep into the
Web 2.0 internet platforms. The enforced silence in China - which also
covers the period of the Cultural Revolution – and the extremely high number
of executions in the country, as well as the treatment of Tibet, must be
even more clearly communicated by the civic institutions in democratic

For this reason, the following works by Liao Yiwu will be read on June 4th:
»My Teacher, my Enemy«; »The Public Toilet Manager«; »The Peasant Emperor«;
»Nineteen Days«; »Memories of My Flute Teacher« and, by Wen Huang (the
author's American translator), »Liao Yiwu – Lunatic Outcast«.

Liao Yiwu is one of the authors whose works are not published in China
despite their international success, as the powers-that-be claim that they
promote »the dissemination of counter-revolutionary propaganda with foreign
help«. Even his name may not be mentioned. From 1990 to 1994 he was
imprisoned for his literary and socio-political activities, and was only
released early from jail due to international pressure. His interviews with
underdogs (»Interviews with People from the Bottom Rung of Society«) and his
poetry (including »Massacre« and the anthology »The Fall of the Holy
Temple«) have been published abroad in recent years by renowned publishing
houses and journals like Lettre International (German edition) and the New
York journal The Paris Review.

Despite owning a travel permit, Liao Yiwu was not allowed by the Chinese
authorities to attend either the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair or the The ilb and the Harbourfront Festival in Hamburg have invited
him to both festivals in September 2010. We can only hope that the Chinese
authorities grant him the fundamental right to travel abroad, and to return
to China.

The goal of the worldwide reading is to share Liao Yiwu's works with a
broader readership, to commemorate the massacre of Tiananmen Square, and to
urgently admonish China's human rights record.

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in
Iraq, the international literature festival Berlin and the
Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kultur und Politik for the first time called for a
worldwide reading on March 20th 2006 – this initial »Anniversary of the
Political Lie«, with a reading of Eliot Weinberger's »What I Heard About
Iraq«, was followed by other worldwide readings after the murder of Anna
Politkovskaya, during the run-up to the Olympic Games in China, against the
leadership of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, in memory of Mahmoud Darwish, and
in support of the democratic opposition in Iran. As many as 100
institutions, including radio and television stations, either participated
in or reported on the worldwide readings across all continents.

The texts intended to be read on this worldwide reading are available in
English and German. Institutions and persons who would like to participate
in the reading on June 4th are asked to inform us of their wish to be
involved. The email address is:

Hooray for Associated Newspapers!

UK newspaper, the Daily Mail, deserves praise and encouragement from the China Support Network.

On June 2, 2010, their reporting referred to "the June 4 demonstrations, in which 3,000 protesters were killed."

This is worthy reporting, unlike that which has been seen for almost 21 years in the United States' mainstream media. U.S. outlets such as the Associated Press and TV networks have, for two decades, genuflected to Beijing's Propaganda Minister, every time they report "hundreds" killed in mainland China's bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, which ended the June 4 demonstrations of 1989.

Kudos to a newspaper that isn't afraid of the propaganda ministry! :)

U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi Statement

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has issued the following public statement for the occasion of this week's 21st anniversary of mainland China's bloody Tiananmen Square massacre:

"Twenty one years ago this week, thousands of Chinese students, workers, and citizens assembled in Tiananmen Square to bravely speak out. They called for the elimination of corruption. They called for an acceleration of democratic reform, freedom of speech and assembly. They called for a dialogue with China's leaders on how to make progress.

"We remember with sadness and outrage how China's military was unleashed on its own people. One of the most enduring images of the 20th Century will forever be seared into our conscience – the picture of the lone man standing in the street, bringing the line of tanks to a grinding halt. Today, the spirit of Tiananmen lives on in the hearts and minds of those continuing the struggle both in China and abroad. These heroes have the courage to speak out for freedom.

"Liu Xiaobo is one of those individuals. In the 1990s, Liu has spent five years in prison and in re-education-through-labor camps for supporting the Tiananmen students and questioning the one-party system. In 2008, Liu was arrested again for being one of the organizers of Charter 08, an online public petition for democracy and the rule of law that has over 8,000 signatures of Chinese citizens. In 2009, Liu was sentenced 11 years imprisonment for 'inciting subversion of state power.' The harshness of his sentence is further proof of the power of his message among Chinese citizens.

"While the Chinese government prohibits its people from publicly discussing the events of June 4th, the people of Hong Kong exercise their civil liberties on each anniversary by holding a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims. This year for the first time, police arrested activists and confiscated the Goddess of Democracy replica statue that is the symbol of the Tiananmen movement. This crackdown on freedom of expression will only succeed in shining a spotlight on the courage of Hong Kong's democratic movement. The United States must stand solidly with the people of Hong Kong in their desire for democracy and freedom of speech and assembly.

"The spirit of Tiananmen continues to inspire and endure. Today we say to the people of China and freedom-loving people everywhere: 'Your cause is our cause. We will never forget.'"

Monday, February 22, 2010

CCP Shenanigans On CNN Poll

On Thursday (2/18/2009) CNN reported the results of a poll they conducted with Opinion Research Corp. It ran between Feb. 12 and 15 (basically Valentine's Day weekend) and contacted 1,023 Americans by telephone.

They then reported, "Nearly three-quarters of all Americans think Tibet should be an independent country, according to a new national poll."

Hooray. Yes indeed, "Free Tibet" has become a favored cause, slogan, and bumper sticker in America.

On Monday night, CNN's Larry King interviewed the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and previously the head of state of the Tibetan theocracy (before invasion from China, which occupied Tibet increasingly from 1950-1959).

The Dalai Lama himself was quick to correct Larry King, saying that he does not seek independence. Instead, he seeks the Middle Way which would give Tibet genuine autonomy within China. (China would be externally federal but internally confederate, keeping the tasks of defense and foreign relations.)

Nuances aside, CNN placed a box poll on the Larry King web page. It's question: Should Tibet be independent? Because of only two choices, Yes and No, the question was coarse-grained, with no room allowed for nuanced replies.

Then the trouble began.

I visited that poll on Sunday night, Feb. 21. At that time, I seem to remember that results were something like 83 - 85% yes.

These box polls on the web are not scientific -- they reflect opinions of visitors to that particular web site and the subset of those who choose to reply. So, there is a sampling error built into any web poll. Respondents will have the demographics of that site's web surfers, not the public at large.

More trouble becomes possible if the web site does not require a log in, and allows people to vote more than once. Then, any anonymous prankster can move the results one way or the other, simply by flooding the poll with bogus votes.

So, the Free Tibet community was able to tweet and urge supporters to go there and vote for Tibetan independence. AND, the Chinese Communist Party was able to tweet and urge nationalist Chinese to go there and vote against Tibetan independence.

On Monday, in advance of the Dalai Lama / Larry King show, came this tweet (from a leader of Students for a Free Tibet):

Please vote on CNN's Larry King show page: Should Tibet be independent? 53% say yes.

Try to remember, I saw it when it was 83% yes. (And remember, the more scientific poll of CNN/Opinion Research said 75% yes.) This new tweet reflects 53% yes -- a wide swing over night.

On Facebook came the replies to that tweet:

(...) is the Chinese Gov't hacking - again? Google, CNN...

(...) so weird. this morning it was about 80% yes.

(...) It was 83% yes when I voted yesterday, but now it's 44% - you'd think someone was trying to rig the vote, hmmm...

(...) its 44% yes and 56% no now...never knew that CNN is this popular in china. FREE TIBET!

(...) Ha Ha Ha China got a long hand in CNN too.

(...) Wow this suck, all yesterday and this morning at 88% yes, Well not surprised who did this. You can vote as many times as you want, vote a lot!

(...) Within 24 hrs, there were only 800 votes with 88% Yes and 12% No. Now its more than 4000. I am seeing 2000 votes in two hours!! Regular chinese citizens are sleeping now, the votes we are seeing is the propaganda work by chinese govt.

--All of the above was before Larry King Live put the Dalai Lama on the air. I became worried that King might "report the results" of this poll, with its faulty results.

I saw the broadcast, and thankfully the poll did not get mentioned.

After the broadcast, right now I'm looking at the poll. From 33,476 votes, the poll is REVERSED completely from when I first saw it. It says Yes - 15%, No - 85%. There are 28,600 "No" votes -- and I believe, most of those are over votes from the Communist Party.

As we will remember, when there was a more scientific poll, with controlled sampling and demographics, CNN/Opinion Research found Americans to be 75% Yes on Tibetan independence.

So, the Larry King poll reflects nothing scientific, and even in its own results box, the web page says: This is not a scientific poll.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Word gets around

Few people could look at the current state of US-China relations and not see America getting tough. In the past month, Google took a stand against Internet censorship, the U.S. increased arms sales to Taiwan, and President Obama forged ahead with plans to meet with the Dalai Lama--all of which drew angry reactions from Beijing.

--Jake Simpson, in an article posted to TheAtlanticWire, Feb. 3, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Melamine tainted food products resurface in China

During the Beijing Olympics of 2008, China was covering up the “baby-milk” scandal which surfaced right after the Olympics.

That was 2008. Now, in 2010, the problem is back. The following tweet caught my eye:

“Three Chinese companies have been found selling food products laced with melamine, the chemical blamed for the deaths of six babies in a huge dairy scandal in 2008, state media said Monday.”

And, upon research, there is indeed such an article now on the AFP (Agence-France Presse) newswire, excerpted here:

In the latest reported case, authorities in the southwestern province of Guizhou found that the products, said to include “popsicles,” contained levels of the industrial chemical above allowable limits, the China Daily said.

One official quoted in the newspaper said the products may have contained tainted milk that was recalled after the scandal but had found its way back on to the market.

The paper said the food companies involved had blamed the problem on milk powder bought from suppliers.

In the 2008 scandal, melamine was found to have been added to milk in China to give the appearance of a higher protein content.

It found its way into a range of products including baby formula, leading to the death of six infants and making almost 300,000 ill, according to official figures.

The scandal triggered an uproar in China and abroad, and many products containing Chinese dairy were taken off shelves around the world.

A total of 21 people have been reportedly convicted. Two have been executed and others were given jail sentences ranging from two years to life. Another three executives face possible trial in February….

The products were made in March and April last year 2009, months after the government declared the melamine scare over.

The three firms were Zibo Lusaier Dairy Company in eastern China’s Shandong province, Tieling Wuzhou Food Company in northeastern Liaoning province, and the Laoting Kaida Refrigeration Plant in northern Hebei province, it said.

=== /excerpt ===T
he full article can be read at: