Tibet – eye witness’s count

March 21, 2008

violence aimed at Hans in Tibet

” … On the day of 14th, (mobs) killed every Han they met at where the riot was going. But the overall death toll was unreleased. However, my colleague’s spouse who worked in Public Security department told that about 170 Hans died. Then there was no more statistics. …”


“ethnically-targeted violence” – James Miles on Tibet

March 21, 2008

Transcript: James Miles interview on Tibet – the only Western journalist in Tibet at the time- Video

… calculated targeted violence against … primarily ethnic Han Chinese living in Lhasa, but also members of the Muslim Hui minority in Lhasa. … marked those businesses that they knew to be Tibetan owned with white traditional scarves. Those businesses were left intact. … Almost every other business was either burned, looted, destroyed, smashed into, the property therein hauled out into the streets, piled up, burned. … I saw them throwing stones at a boy of maybe around 10 years old perhaps cycling along the street. I in fact walked out in front of them and said stop. …

…them carrying traditional Tibetan swords, … very intimidating.

… (Chinese authorities) was let the rioting run its course … So in effect what they did was sacrifice the livelihoods of many, many ethnic Han Chinese in the city for the sake of letting the rioters vent their anger. …

… there was a probability that some ethnic Chinese were killed in this violence, and also a probability that some Tibetans, Tibetan rioters themselves were killed by members of the security forces. …

… What I did not hear was repeated bursts of machine gun fire, I didn’t have that same sense of an all out onslaught of massive firepower …

… Now numerous Hans that I spoke to say that they are so afraid they may leave the city, which may have very damaging consequences for Lhasa’s economy, Tibet’s economy. Of course one would expect that ethnic Chinese would think twice now about coming into Lhasa for tourism, and that’s been a huge part of their economic growth recently. …”

New York Police beat Tibetan demonstrators

March 21, 2008

Tibet report: Western media not telling the truth

March 21, 2008

Germany, N-TV

Germany, Spiegel

Germany, Birliner Morganpost


Germny, N24

Germany, N TV

Germany, RTL

USA, Washingtonpost

Germany BILD

USA, Fox


Lust, Caution’s background story

January 17, 2008
After months of waiting, Lust, Caution came to London finally. I went to watch last Saturday.
I feel it’s almost an autobiography of the writer Chang Eileen imaging her own life in a parallel universe. Like Wong Chia Chi, Chang was also a deserted daughter by her father, fell in love with a collaborator to Japanese, Hu Lan Cheng, who later had many lovers when went into hidding after Japanese were defeated. Hu later wrote a book This Life, These Times, 《今生今世》 about women he loved, in romantic and non romantic ways.
Chang had a prominent family back ground. Her great grand father was Li Hong Zhang, stateman in late 19th century in China, the other side of grandfather, Zhang Pei Lun was also an senior minister. Chang’s mother went to the UK to study when she was five. Her father married again when she was 14, her stepmother was the daughter of the prime minister of Republic of China, Sun Bao Qi. She had conflict with her stepmother, as a result, was locked in by her father. She ran away from her father’s home, and stayed with her aunt. Her mother also returned Shanghai around the time. Her mother said if you didn’t return your father’s home, you would be poor with me. Eileen later said she hesitated, but then, she thought that ” Though money goes in and out of that home, it’s not mine, and if I go back, I will waste these important years in my life.” Eileen was always like this: she never did any thing out of heroic feelings, her motivation was always in the practical side, which is also often the case in her stories. I often find it true and disturbing to face the not-so-beautiful reality of life.
When she was in Hong Kong University, Eileen studied really hard because the best student would have the chance to be sent to UK for further study. She studied hard and got the best score in every subject. But unfortunately the Pacific war broke out and she was not able to go. Later she said that “Effort like that could be erased like completely” as all the school record was burnt during the war, she wonder whether hard working really worth to do. Fortunately, when she returned to Japanese occupied Shanghai, she published her first book and because an instant celebrity. Before she was thirty, there were 4 films based on her books or scripts. She met Hu Lan Cheng during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and married secretly.
After Japanese were defeated, Hu had to run for his life. Where ever he hide, he would have a new lover. Eileen and Hu divorced in 1947. After communists took over China in 1949, Eileen felt that her style didn’t suit the new writing style Communist wanted. So she left Shanghai in 1952 and went to America in 1955.
There wasn’t a lot happening after she moved to America, which is a pity.

3 days in China guide (3-3)

January 16, 2008

Hong Kong is like UK, apart there are lots of Chinese people. If the weather is good, you may go to the Peak, which I’ve never been because my priority is to go to restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong and Hong Kong Soho. That area is between Central station to Mid level, there is even an escalator going up the streets.

Have you heard of Feng Shui story of Bank of China Building vs HSBC building? BoC building is like a sword cutting through the buildings nearby and HSBC put a cannon model on the top aiming BoC. It’s also in wikipedia. You may go to have a look in real. One of the lions in front of HSBC building is said to have a bullet hole form WW2.

Hong Kong’s public transport is super good. Airport express takes only 30 minutes to Central. And there is airline check-in desk in Central station.

A friend just went to Hanoi in May, she says it’s must more relaxed than China. Street peddlers are not as pushy as China. All motorbikes on streets, very capitalist and bubbling.

Martin says Lonely Planet is good for SE Asia developing countries and Time Out is good for developed countries. You may check both for fun places to go.

Have a good time ^_^

3 days in China guide (3-2)

January 16, 2008

Shanghai is much pron westerners. Radisson Hotels near People’s Sq is good. Right in the middle of shopping area. Ajisen noodle bar next door is good, a bit too much umami if you eat there three days in a row like I did. (In fact all hotels I stayed in Shanghai are better than Beijing.) The pedestrian only street, Nanjing Road, in the noodle bar direction is the most famous shopping area in Shanghai. They even have small electric train to carry people along the street.

The Bund also worth going. Maybe a little bit too much like London.

Shanghai Xin Tian Di is a bar street. I’ve never been since I don’t drink. All my friends say foreigners like it. If you feel a bit nostalgic, that’s the place to go. Otherwise, Yu Yuan (Shanghai Garden), also called Chen Huang Miao (City God Temple) is a Chinese eating drinking place. The tea house on the middle of the pond is nice. The Siao Long Bao (small soup dumplings, with HOT soup inside dumplings) restaurant in Yu Yuan is very good. I saw a long queue last time.

Shanghai underground is good. Particularly if you need to travel across Huang Pu river to the newly developed east side. There are good hotels in east side too, Grand Hyatt Shanghai has a bar of top of it, good view. All in all, east side is beautiful new, like Canary Wharf, slightly lack the smell of ordinary life compare to old west side of Shanghai.

In mainland China, all foreigners are considered to be rich. In street market, you maybe asked to pay more for the same stuff. As Chinese, the price I pay is often 10 – 20% of the asking price, and I’m not good at bargain at all, you may take 10% of the asking price as the max bid. This applies to street market only. I haven’t heard such thing in restaurants or dept stores.

Most taxis in China don’t have seat belt in rear seats. For long journey going to express way (to and from airport, to the Great Wall), you may ask the hotel to book a business car with proper seat belt.

Apart from hotels, there are no toilet tissues in toilet, you must bring your own. Some places have squat toilets, in fact, they are better from sanitary point of view. So if you have the flexibility and strong leggs, you may follow the local. It’s apparently better for bowl movement.

3 days in China guide (3 – 1)

January 16, 2008

This is a piece of advice wrote for a friend. It may be useful to others as well.


3 days in Beijing, you must go to Great Wall and Forbidden City. So trotted you may say, but they are so Chinese, big, grand, imperial and no individual life visible. The gate house of Forbidden City, Tiananmen, is as big as the whole Buckingham Palace. Starbuck was driven out of forbidden city this summer because coffee house is too western, and a new coffee house was opened recently, called Forbidden City Cafe/Teahouse. The great wall in surburban Beijing is about 500 years old, not old at all by Chinese standard. Chinese started build wall to defend northern nomads invasion around 300BC. But enemy came from sea eventually.

Each place needs a day. If you have more time Hu Tong tour is good. Hu Tong means “lanes” hidden in old residential area. http://www.chinahighlights.com/beijing/hutong/

Don’t stay in Beijing International Hotel, I was there this summer. Bad management, shoddy service.
Beijing Hotel is alright though food is not good. Both locations are good, facing Chang An Avenue, the 10 lane road goes across Beijing. Kun Lun Hotel and Kerry Centre Hotel in east side of Beijing have better service. Ritan (Sun God Altar) Park nearby is good to a look of normal Chinese’s leisure life.

Traffic jam can be BAD in Beijing, so if you know where you are going, you may take underground, but not in rush hour.

Why not Milton Keynes

January 14, 2008
Today I met another Taiwanese to visit Milton Keynes. He is planning to move there to set up a subsidiary for his company. As I told my colleague yesterday, he chuckled as every time I mention Taiwanese’s enthusiasm about Milton Keynes; and he also chuckles when I mention Biscester Village as a major tourist attraction to Chinese. Typical reaction of a middles class British living in Guildford.
During the lunch, the new guy asked other Taiwanese guys why they chose to stay in MK, the answer is functionality: MK has most of the things you need to live and work. It’s convenient, 30 mins train to London and M1 goes through it. Also, he asked whether he has obligation to mow the lawn, after he heard yes, he said he wouldn’t rent a house, a flat with out the mowing obligation is much preferred.
People in Britain have a preference of village and country side life, home countries in particular, as they represent social economical status. Not many people openly say that as it’s rude to say “I live in country side, it’s rich area.”, but they do say “I live in country side, it’s nice area.”  ^_^ Not difficult translation. Many people argue that old(historic) houses have unique characters, which makes them different to modern houses. Myself is also moving house in Guildford, have viewed a couple of Victorian townhouse, I found they are all completely identical. The lounge, the staircase, the kitchen, the bathroom, all in the same position. Maybe this is the optimal design of 3 storey house in a rectangular patch of land.  
High rise residential buildings in Britain are often 1960’s council blocks, hence it gained the bad name of house for the poor. While in Asia, tall buildings represent the economic development. Concrete buildings themselves are not plus or minus, it’s the glory or non glory behind it. That’s why people in Britain hate 60’s concrete buildings and prefer the Victorian time houses.

Chinese business holiday

January 9, 2008

I have met hundreds of Chinese “business” delegations to UK. There was one this afternoon. Actually, I didn’t meet them, because they cannot keep up with the schedule and had to cancel it. The guy in charge was very apologetic. I was not quite surprised. After all, I have seen Chinese delegations been late for so many times and I have the latest Economist in my bag.

This does make me to think: Why they are almost inevitably late?

Chinese in general are not as punctuate as German, but no too bad by British standard. Huuumm, so why they cannot do what they could do at home? I think there a couple of reasons make the delegation people different from other business visitors.

1. Many “business” delegations are often from public organisation or state owned enterprise, they are actually on holiday. It’s common in China that officials are given overseas trips as perk. These trips doesn’t have to have a clear business purpose and it’s common to have an extremely vague one such as “To understand the operation of of UK government”. They do need to write report after the trip but you don’t have to meet government people in UK to write on that topic, after all, secretary will do the job, not the officials. Hence the “business” meeting is on a low priority compare to shopping and sight seeing. Korean have similar thing, more likely to be called “training” though.

2. Not familiar with UK. This is what everybody will experience in a foreign country. But to many Chinese who haven’t been to another country, the difference is daunting. All the small things like how to buy a train ticket, ask for direction, use credit card without pin make organising the trip a bit tricky, and these are even more complicated by the following one.

3. Low quality organiser. Perk trip’s budget has a limit and delegates are on expense allowance. They prefer to save the expense on driver and tour guide and spend the money on shopping. I met driver who needs to buy a map of WH Smith on the way to meeting place.

The senior guy/lady often has a son/daughter studying in UK. They would certainly organise the whole trip surround the university. If you are in a position that might bring benefit to the son/daughter, you don’t need to worry about their being late, otherwise.

All Chinese apply for UK business visa need an invitation letter from business partner in UK as required by British consulate, same as most other countries. And government officials and senior managers in state own enterprise often need an invitation letter form their counter part in the foreign country so that they can get approval from local foreign affair office for funding purpose, same invitation letter can be used for visa later. Occasionally, after the delegation have got visa, bought flight ticket, they would decide to do more shopping and less meeting.

But in real term, if the goal of visit is just to understand how UK operates, why sit in a meeting room, have a power point presentation will be a better way than a shopping trip in Bicester Village?

* For British who never heard of Bicester Village: it’s a design brand outlet in Oxfordshire.