Images are playing on the Shenzhen Metro cars' TV screens as I sit here. The other big story? Bird flu.
A man in Zhengzhou was caught stealing an iPhone from a woman bicyclist. He used only chopsticks to pull off this feat. He later turned himself in. Claimed he was doing this in order to support his 12 year-old child. Sad.
While in a taxi returning home Wednesday night, the driver and I came upon one hell of a traffic jam in Futian. After waiting 10 minutes and not being able to cross the intersection, we decided to test our luck and entered the right-turn lane. We came upon a large crowd and dozens of emergency vehicles as we approached the intersection.
Through the crowd, the driver and I suddenly spotted a pair of stationary legs laying on the pedestrian crosswalk in the middle of the street. A second later as we continued to make the right turn I saw her face (if she was in fact a she), staring flatly ahead, unflinching and motionless on the pavement. The area around her was roped off 30 feet in every direction, with about 20 policemen, upwards of 50 pedestrians, and hundreds of slowly passing cars looking on at her uncovered body from beyond the police tape. A millisecond later, the scene disappeared behind the numerous onlookers and stopped cars as we completed the right turn and left the scene.
Observing the direction of damage to the stone pylons lining the pedestrian crosswalk area, it seems a vehicle had gone straight on at an incredible rate of speed through the pedestrian waiting area. Strangely though, I didn't observe any obvious vehicle debris as I would have expected had a car hit the stone pylons with such huge force. Either the vehicle must have been huge or the knocked-over pylons had nothing to do with the accident.
Last night (Thursday) I was walking downtown about a mile or two away from the accident scene. After seeing what is probably the first dead person I've ever seen with my own eyes the previous night, I ended up making sure to wait for every predestrian crosswalk light to turn green before even attempting to cross (unlike everybody around me who was attempting to find gaps in the traffic to cross during the red, which to be fair I also usually do, or at least did). Sometimes it takes a shock to the system to change your ways and better lookout for your own wellbeing.
Update: Looks like waiting for the green light to cross the road wouldn't have helped those involved in the accident. From the Shenzhen Daily:
Two women and a 5-year-old girl were killed and another three women were injured by the truck, which failed to stop at the intersection. All six of the people hit were standing on a pedestrian island in the middle of the road. Police detained the truck driver, identified as Zhu. Police said a brake failure likely caused the accident but are investigating further. An online report by local media said Thursday that one of the injured had died, but traffic police hadn’t confirmed a fourth death as of Thursday night.
Very sad. Seems if I want to protect myself, I should really be on the lookout for approaching dump trucks:
Dump truck drivers have been increasingly criticized by the public for speeding, driving while overloaded and ignoring traffic rules. Shenzhen has banned heavy-duty trucks from selected local roads since July, after residents’ repeated calls for strengthened management.
In an online survey conducted Thursday afternoon by sznews.com, 101 of 158 initial respondents said they felt afraid whenever they saw a dump truck approaching them. More than 90 percent of respondents said the city doesn’t effectively regulate or manage dump trucks.
More on Huawei, why is power consumption slowing, where do wealthy Chinese want to immigrate, and why are there no Chinese Mark Zuckerbergs?
"No, I don't think there will be an impact," Huawei's senior vice-president Zhang Chunxiang said. Zhang, who spoke on the sidelines of a business event in Hangzhou, said both sides were still talking and that the US investigation was a sign of trade protectionism.
"They investigated for 11 months and they didn't consider all the different material supplied by Huawei and they still came to that conclusion. "They investigated like they had never investigated at all," he said.
A White House-ordered review of security risks posed by suppliers to U.S. telecommunications companies found no clear evidence that Huawei Technologies Ltd had spied for China, two people familiar with the probe told Reuters.
Instead, those leading the 18-month review concluded early this year that relying on Huawei, the world's second-largest maker of networking gear, was risky for other reasons, such as the presence of vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
On a recent Saturday, some 140 developers from more than 20 countries showcased their properties to Chinese buyers in an expo held in Beijing. To catch the eyes of the prospective buyers, the developers handed out fancy brochures, decorated their exhibit booths with bold-color pictures of featured properties, and in some cases, even had young saleswomen wearing bunny ears.
But what attracted many of the Chinese visitors the most was the lure of foreign residency, which made the 30 exhibitors from Cyprus the most prominent group at the entire expo. Why Cyprus? While mild weather, rich history and a nice location in the Eastern Mediterranean might make the tiny island nation an attractive place to live, the main appeal is the incredibly low bar it sets for immigration: Anyone who spends €300,000, or roughly $393,000, on a piece of property on the island automatically becomes eligible for permanent European Union residency.
"The slower growth of power consumption is the result of energy-consuming industries, like the real estate and infrastructure construction sectors, decelerating amid the slowing economy," said Zhou Dadi, standing vice president of the China Energy Research Society.
The NEA data showed that electricity consumed by the industrial and manufacturing sector continued to slide, accounting for 73 percent of the the country's total power consumption in September, with energy-intensive industries taking the lion's share. From July to September, power consumption by the industrial and manufacturing sector continued to decline, indicating that the Chinese economy is still facing downward pressure.
Citing a teacher at Shandong Business Institute, China National Radio reported that all of vocational colleges in Yantai, a city in northern Shandong Province, were given a clear order by the local government, asking them to send students to work at Foxconn factories as interns from September this year...
The students, supposed to finish their internship of one to three months at these factories, have to work overtime and nights just like regular employees, the report said. Students complained that their work had nothing to do with their majors, and was exhausting.
Sounds like a worthwhile internship.
Chinese education tends to be better for depth than breadth. In other words, when you graduate as a software engineer, you may have very strong fundamentals in math and engineering, but you don't get as much exposure to user experience, communications, product design, business acumen, team-work, etc. as you would in a typical US university.
Very true. Breadth vs depth.
Chinese government officials have announced plans to spend roughly one million dollars to open the former atomic bomb test site Malan Base in the remote Uighur Autonomous Region. The Telegraph reports that the site is of particular interest because the base is where Chinese scientists developed their first atomic bomb, which was detonated nearby in 1964...
The new tourist attraction will, according to UPI, include laboratories, dormitories and a 1000-foot-long underground air raid shelter. The project is being managed by local government actors working with Beijing's Tsinghua University.
I'd visit this site. Sounds like an interesting place for science/military nerds.
Where is he, what will the central bank do, and is a rise in defaults around the corner?
Speculation about [Vice President] Xi began after he canceled meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last week. The Wall Street Journal reported that Xi may have injured his back swimming. The Hong Kong-based Apple Daily newspaper, citing unidentified sources, reported today that Xi suffered a heart attack.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said last week that the cancellations were a “normal adjustment” and when asked yesterday, said he had “no information” about Xi.
"The key dilemma for policymakers is that inflation looks like it will pick up earlier than expected, while a growth recovery coming later than expected," said Yiping Huang, chief economist for emerging Asia at Barclays Capital in Hong Kong.
"I think the central bank will probably do a little bit more (on easing), depending on how the economy is doing. Realistically, the economy is going to rebound but certainly not going to rebound significantly."
China’s slowest economic growth in three years and a slumping property market, where many so-called shadow-banking investments are parked, are squeezing millions of Chinese who have invested the money of friends and acquaintances chasing higher yields to honor those payments. The slowdown also is putting pressure on the government to rein in private lending to avoid a spate of defaults that could increase the number of victims and lead to social unrest.
From a July post about guns:
I remember exactly where I was when I learned of the Columbine shooting. I also remember what happened the morning of September 11, 2011 - That morning I arrived to my high school and went to my fantasy literature class. I was only the 3rd student to arrive and the TV was turned on showing the twin towers billowing smoke. My teacher turned off the TV just as class started, saying, "it's not like there's going to be a war over this." Once class ended, I ran as fast as I could all the way across campus to my physics class. As I arrived, I saw the entire class gathered around the TV. I looked up and within seconds was immediately confused as it seemed there was only one tower. "How could that be?" I thought. Five minutes later, there were screams of "No!" from the classroom as the second tower fell.
Eleven years ago and still as vivid in my mind as it was the day after. Something I never told my mother - I was scolded in my AP European history class the next day for reading the New York Times during the teacher's lecture. I guess something inside me said it was more important to read about and remember the victims of the attack than memorize the beginning and end dates of a 17th century French monarch's rule.
Wow. From CNN:
According to a court proffer, Bryan Underwood had lost a significant amount of money in the stock market and hoped to make between $3 million and $5 million by supplying classified photos and information to China's Ministry of State Security.
I was just at the Guangzhou US Consulate in June to get extra pages in my passport. So what was his plan for originally contacting Chinese government officials?
In the court proffer signed by Underwood, he admitted writing a letter last year addressed to the Chinese Ministry of State Security. "I know I have information and skills that would be beneficial to your offices (sic) goals," Underwood wrote. "And I know your office can assist me in my financial endeavors."
Underwood tried to deliver the letter to China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) but a guard turned him away and would not accept the letter. According to court documents, Underwood then "left the letter in the open in his apartment hoping that the MSS would find it. He believed the MSS routinely conducted searches of apartments occupied by Americans."
Slate reports on the often rumored use of body doubles in criminal cases:
The practice of hiring “body doubles” or “stand-ins” is well-documented by official Chinese media. In 2009, a hospital president who caused a deadly traffic accident hired an employee’s father to “confess” and serve as his stand-in. A company chairman is currently charged with allegedly arranging criminal substitutes for the executives of two other companies. In another case, after hitting and killing a motorcyclist, a man driving without a license hired a substitute for roughly $8,000. The owner of a demolition company that illegally demolished a home earlier this year hired a destitute man, who made his living scavenging in the rubble of razed homes, and promised him $31 for each day the “body double” spent in jail. In China, the practice is so common that there is even a term for it: ding zui. Ding means “substitute,” and zui means “crime”; in other words, “substitute criminal.”
This does have some relevance right now but I'll let you find out why on your own.
In May of this year in response to reports that Hollywood studios made illegal payments to Chinese officials, I wrote, "Second thing you need to do, especially if you're an American expat working in China - Read up on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and make sure not to run afoul."
Apparently Las Vegas gambling mogal Sheldon Adelson and his Sands China company didn't read up, because they're being investigated by both the US Department of Justice and the SEC for possible violations of this act.
The U.S. government and the company itself are also conducting investigations into at least three transactions in China, the paper reported, citing documents from the audit committee of the Sands board of directors.
The transactions include a $50 million payment for real estate for the Adelson Center, a business development operation that was never opened. Also under scrutiny is Sand's sponsorship of a Chinese basketball team and a contract for ferry service between Macau and Hong Kong, the paper said.
I repeat: If you're an American expat, don't knowingly bribe officials or business associates with gifts or money. Yes, bribes are often an aspect of Chinese business culture but you better not have any knowledge of your Chinese workmates' potential activities in this area. Earmuffs and blindfolds.
Baidu is having a mini-crisis as it appears some of its employees have been deleting posts from its web portal in exchange for money. But the scale of this new industry goes far beyond the four fired employees:
As a way to remove negative reviews, the post-deleting industry has become popular, with more than a million results in Baidu's search engine under the keywords "professional post-deleting."
A member of staff from a post-deleting company named Beijing Haotian Lianmeng, said that it costs 1,000 yuan ($159) to delete an article from forums, 2,000 yuan to remove one from a blog and 3,000 yuan to delete a piece of news posted on a news portal, like Sina.
"We can offer a professional long-term maintenance service for a company, 150,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan a year. If you choose this service, we will keep an eye on your company around the clock and delete any negative messages," said the staff member, surnamed Liu.
Liu also claimed that he knew insiders in Internet companies, who could help him.
I watched the South Korean / China badminton match last night where each team actively tried to throw the match and it was extremely ugly. In fact it was even worse than I imagined and I turned it off after the first set was done. I feel bad for the fans that had paid to watch the match in person. All the players involved, including those in another match that did the same thing, were given warnings during the match but I didn't think much else would happen besides that.
Boy was I wrong. The Chinese, Indonesian, and two South Korean teams (pictured above) have been disqualified from the rest of the Olympic badminton tournament. Apparently throwing a match is nothing new for the Chinese and it has finally come back to bite them. I'm glad the badminton association finally took a stand and threw them all out.
Update: Here's a pretty good summary from the New York Times about the whole episode.