The rise of the red prince

How Xi Jinping took control of China.

Pink Towers

Suzanne LaBarre:

In Wuhan, the largest city in central China, developers are planning not one but two skyscrapers, both of which will edge out their Middle Eastern rival. Plus they’re on an island. And powered by renewable energy. And pink.

Four Tank Men

Patrick Witty:

There was not just one “tank man” photo. Four photographers captured the encounter that day from the Beijing Hotel, overlooking Changan Avenue (the Avenue of Eternal Peace), their lives forever linked by a single moment in time. They shared their recollections with The Times through e-mail.

An italki story

I was at work, here at italki, when a very good Chinese friend called me. She was the one who has been looking for an apartment for me before I even arrived in China, she helped me to find the room that should become my home for the next year and she guided my first steps in this foreign country.

She said she knows italki. Of course. That’s where we first met. I remeber. Back at the computer, I checked my friends and there she was. And on Saturday, we’ll meet in person.

Last exams

Less then one week until the first of my last exams here at Tongji University. So many things I’ve learned in the past year.

Back to work. Let’s study more words that a China-born friend, who has been living here for eight years, doesn’t know… ;-)

I hope

that there will be a time, where each June 4th, the Chinese leaders will gather together with the Chinese people around a memorial site at Tiananmen Square, commemorating the victims of injustice.

And I hope it won’t take another twenty years.

Give them time

A recent discussion among friends. They think the Chinese government is on a good way. It’s working in the best interest of the country. We have to understand that.

Today, the Golden Shield also blocks Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Live, and Bing.

One of the friends is now “disappointed by the government.”

I feel confirmed. And helped her to set up tor.

Intermediate?

Buying books for my third and last semester at Tongji. They have strange titles. The most important one: “Climbing up”. And no “Elementary Chinese” next semester. Now it’s called “Intermediate Chinese”. I’m afraid.

Good flight

The Mother of Shanghai has left. The city thanked her for her dedication with a beautiful last day and a starry starry night.

147 stations

Matt Mayers, creator of the great Metro map ExploreShanghai (review at CNReviews) is going to do the Tube Challenge next Monday. He’ll attempt to visit all stations of the Shanghai Metro that day. More information in his blog.

Over and out

“Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”
(LaCrosse, Wisconsin, October 18, 2000)

“The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the - the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.”
(Washington D.C., October 27, 2003)

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
(Washington, D.C., August 5, 2004)

More at BBC and Evil George.

A snake in the hand

A German friend raves about her hand creme, two Chinese friends explain it consists of snake oil. There were times where this would have surprised me more.

We believe

Pandora isn’t allowed to provide its service outside the US:

We believe that you are in China

Using Tor sometimes loads the application without playing the music. And sometimes doesn’t:

We believe you are in Germany

I loved Shanghai

Seems that I love Shanghai moved to a new location. There was still a small light in the old place, the interior and a blackboard: “Bar for Leasing”.

Two pairs

An afternoon at the glasses market. It’s nothing new that I can’t decide which ones to take. This time I just got two of them. No problem for 150 Yuan (about 15 Euro) each.

What's really important

I passed my first exam today. But it means more to me that I could read and sing some Chinese songs at KTV this evening.

Foam

No electricity in the middle of a Skype call. Maybe because of the foaming over washing machine. Always the same when washing the bright clothes. No problems with the dark ones. 房东明珠 is not so happy and told me about the different spoon sizes trying to convince me that I better don’t use any detergent.

I'm a foreigner, I don't speak

The display at the checkout didn’t work. The lady didn’t even try to tell me the prize in Chinese, just took a pencil and wrote it wordlessly on the back of an old receipt: 109,8 Yuan. I would have understood that.

Finally. A gate in the wall

“Tor” is German for gate or short for “The Onion Router”, an anonymity network finally allowing me to access the world outside. VPN hasn’t been working for long. Again. Thanks to a great guide I don’t have to rely on it any longer.

I hate Chinese internet

So VPN works now. Quelle surprise. Maybe because I’m using a neighbor’s Wi-Fi as our cable network gets disconnected every other minute. And I’ve read they’re going to censor more after the end of the Olympic Games. Great prospects. If I’ll be gone for the next four months, you know why.

Be honest

Wikipedia knows:

The Ba rong ba chi (Eight Honors and Eight Shames) (Simplified Chinese: 八荣八耻 Traditional Chinese: 八榮八恥 Pinyin: bā róng bā chĭ), officially the Core Value System or the Eight Honors and Disgraces, is a set of moral concepts developed by current President Hu Jintao for the citizens in modern-day China.

Namely (emphasis added):

  • Love the country; do it no harm.
  • Serve the people; never betray them.
  • Follow science; discard superstition.
  • Be diligent; not indolent.
  • Be united, help each other; make no gains at other’s expense.
  • Be honest and trustworthy; do not sacrifice ethics for profit.
  • Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless.
  • Live plainly, work hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.

So what does that mean? Obviously not that you should tell the truth. Faked fireworks, a faked singing girl and now 55 faked children. They were said to represent the different ethnic groups inside the country but in fact were all Han.

A Chinese friend suggests that the organizers might not have found beautiful children in the ethnic groups. Let’s check Wikipedia again (emphasis added):

Besides the majority Han Chinese, China recognizes 55 other “nationalities” or ethnic groups, numbering approximately 105 million persons, mostly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

So no beautiful children in 105 million persons? I admit that it might not be the easiest task to find the 3000 Lhoba, the “smallest officially recognized ethnic group in China”. But then be honest and don’t call it:

Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups.

OpenStreetMap for Beijing

Wow, that was fast. So they came up with a great fourth option. I hope Shanghai will be next.

English maps, Chinese maps, beautiful maps and no maps

Google has been offering a Chinese map of Shanghai for quite some time. Not at maps.google.com but at ditu.google.com. Ditu, 地图, is the Chinese expression for map.

Now I stumbled upon a new, English one:

It doesn’t only show the public transportation but also restaurants, banks, cinemas, theaters, … Here an example of the area around Nanjing Lu:

But the most beautiful maps of Shanghai come from edushi (E都市, E-City):

Bund, Pudong and Old City

Bund, Pudong and Old City (lower left)

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

They have already covered many Chinese Cities and seem to want more.

So why Yahoo, why, why, why don’t you make maps, buy maps or allow the use of one of the above mentioned ones in flickr?

The police called

And asked the woman if I use the internet. At least that’s what I understood. Very strange.

The woman's advice

Find a Chinese girl because the children will be more beautiful…