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The People's Liberation Army Is Closely Monitoring Hong Kong's Protests

The People's Liberation Army  (PLA) is closely monitoring Hong Kong's Occupy Central (讓愛與和平佔領中環) - literally. The PLA headquarters are located on Lung Wui Road, close to Admiralty and the government offices in Tamar.    Today the South China Morning Post published a picture showing staff inside the  Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building  watching the protesters with binoculars.  Occupy Central poses the biggest challenge to Communist rule since the 1989 student protests. The democracy movement on the mainland was suppressed by the very PLA whose garrisons entered Hong Kong after British forces left the city in 1997. I had never noticed that building until last Sunday. While I was walking from Central towards Tamar, trying to return to Admiralty, I stumbled upon a group of protesters gathered in front of the PLA headquarters. The road was blocked by the police, so I couldn't walk any further. I turned around and saw the military pr

Activist Throws Book 'Formosa Betrayed' at Taiwanese President Ma Yingjiu

On September 26 Taiwanese President Ma Yingjiu was hit by a book hurled at him by Yan Mingwei (顏銘緯), a student activist. Ma Yingjiu  had just attended a gala organised by the International Franchise Association. According to the  Taipei Times , that day an event of the pro-independence Northern Taiwan Society was hosted in the same building. When Ma left the venue, a journalist asked him to comment on Xi Jinping's recent remark that the 'one country, two systems' model is the only way to solve the China-Taiwan issue . The activist then threw the book at the President, hitting his abdomen.  The 18-year-old Yan Mingwei is a student of sociology at Zhongshan University, and a member of Flanc Radical (基進側翼), an anti-Guomindang organisation. The President's spokesperson, Ma Weiguo (馬瑋國) said that the government accepts the people's right to express their opinions rationally, but condemns every form of violence.  At a press conference held by Flanc Radical th

Man in Shanghai Forced to Pay 30,000 RMB For Deflowering Woman

A man surnamed Li (李) has to pay 30,000 RMB to compensate a woman who lost her virginity to him, decided a court in Shanghai 's Pudong District in the first case of this kind in the People's Republic of China.  In 2009, Mr Li had met a 30-year-old woman surnamed Chen (陳) through a website. At first, the two of them were just friends. On September 2013, however, they began dating, and their relationship became closer and closer. According to the woman, he pursued her and hinted at the fact that they might get married. On WeChat, they started to call each other 'husband' and 'wife' (terms used in Chinese in a different way than in the West; they denote the formation of a social relationship ranging from would-be marriage partners to patron and mistress ). They also went on a trip to Singapore together. During their stay there, they had sex. 

Square in France Named After Ex Chinese Leader Deng Xiaoping

Few people may have heard of Montargis , a small town 110 km south of Paris , with a population of around 15,000 and an economy based on farming and light industry. But today, Montargis has made the headlines as it is the first city in Europe (and probably in the whole Western world) to have named a square after the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping .  In fact, on September 20, in an official ceremony attended by the mayor of Montargis, Jean-Pierre Door, and the vice-premier of the People's Republic of China , Liu Yandong  ( 刘延东) , the square in front of the city's railway station has been renamed "Deng Xiaoping Square."  But why has the city decided to name one of its squares (and an important one, too) after a Communist dictator? Is the town looking for Chinese investment and trying to ingratiate itself with Beijing? Are the people of Montargis fond of Communism? Or do they simply admire Deng Xiaoping, the great statesman and reformer, despite his lack o

Taiwanese Policeman Killed by Mob Outside Nightclub in Taipei's Xinyi District

On September 14  Xue Zhenguo (薛貞國) , a 38-year-old police detective, was beaten do death during an altercation with several members of a criminal gang near  ATT 4 FUN , a shopping mall and recreation centre in Taipei 's Xinyi District . According to ' Apple Daily ', the causes of the incident date back to September 13, when a man named Zeng Weihao (曾威豪) , his girlfriend Liu Xintong (劉芯彤), and three other people went to  SPARK , a famous nightclub inside ATT 4 FUN. Customers at a nearby table complained that the group was too loud, and a fight broke out between them. The nightclub's security intervened and forced Zeng and his friends to leave the premises. Zeng was enraged and vowed to settle the score. " We are from the Hetang *," he said, " we'll teach you a lesson ." *( 和堂 , pinyin: Hétáng, is a subgroup of the notorious Bamboo Gang , one of Taiwan's most powerful criminal syndicates) The 28-year-old Zeng Weihao immediately wen

"The Visions of Hong Xiuquan" - The Beginning of China's Taiping Rebellion

On a day in the spring of 1852, Theodore Hamberg , a Swedish protestant missionary who had come to the British colony of Hong Kong in 1847 to spread the gospel among the people of Southern China, received an unusual and in many respects mysterious guest. One of his Chinese converts from the countryside brought with him a man named Hong Rengan (洪仁玕; pinyin: Hóng Réngān), a Hakka from Hua County (now part of Huadu District, Guangzhou), who claimed that the Qing government was chasing after him. He spoke of a heavenly prophet, of Hakka Christians whose numbers were growing, who fought against the Qing and destroyed the Chinese idols, of battles and insurrections.  To Theodore Hamberg, these stories did not make much sense, but he was fascinated by the man's narrative and by how much he knew about Christianity, although he came from a region of China with no missionary activities. He asked Hong Rengan to write down his story. Hamberg expected that his guest would stay in Hong

Film About Political Exiles Banned in Singapore on Grounds of National Security

To Singapore with Love , a documentary film by Singaporean director Tan Pin Pin, has been banned in Singapore due to national security concerns. The film revolves around the lives of activists, student leaders and members of the communist party who fled the country between the 1960's and the 1980's in the midst of crackdowns carried out by the British colonial government and then the government of the new Republic.  The Media Development Authority (MDA) , a government agency that supervises Singapore's media, decided that the film is "not allowed for all ratings", which means that it cannot be distributed or publicly screened in Singapore.  

Taiwanese Woman in Hong Kong Spends All Her Money, Sells Her Belongings on the Street

Two weeks ago, a 27-year-old Taiwanese woman surnamed Wu (吳)  travelled to Hong Kong, but during her stay in the city she spent all of her money, that is HK$2000 (approximately 200 Euros, or 7800 NT$).  Yesterday (September 10) her friends took her to  Kwai Hing , near Kwai Chung Road , where she basically "settled down" in the middle of the street. She took off her jeans, sitting and walking around in her panties; she washed her hair in public; she began selling what she had in her suitcase, mostly beauty products; and she offered "beauty treatment" to passers-by, charging HK$50.  Her behaviour and looks astonished the passers-by, some of whom called the police. 

Chinese Tourists - Good or Bad for Taiwan?

A few days ago I was walking from Taipei Main Station towards Gongguan, when I bumped into a big crowd at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall . Dozens of people were gathered around something which I at first couldn't see. I decided to stop for a while and take a closer look.  I noticed that many people were taking pictures of two guards that were standing by a flagpole. Guards - I don't know if they are actual soldiers - are regularly stationed at the mausoleum of the former President of the Republic of China and perform daily ceremonies that have become major tourist attractions, as has the building itself, which is one of Taipei's most important landmarks.  As I soon realised, a flag lowering ceremony was to be performed. The national anthem of the Republic of China was played. Then, the guards began the flag lowering ritual. While I was watching and taking pictures, I found that many, if not most people around me were mainland Chinese (I could tell from their acc

Chinese Man Wearing Japanese Navy T-Shirt Attacked by Crowd in China

On September a 30-year-old Chinese national from Tianjin took part in the 28th "International Mount Tai Climbing Festival" ( 泰山国际登山节 ), a competition held on Mount Tai , in China's Shandong Province.  The only problem: the man was wearing a T-shirt with the logo of the Imperial Japanese Navy (大日本帝國海軍) . The navy, which was involved in Japan's imperialist wars, was dissolved in 1945 and replaced by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force . At a time of rising tensions between China and Japan, the T-shirt caused an uproar. The sight of what many people consider a symbol of Japanese imperialism arose the anger and indignation of the bystanders. The man was soon surrounded by a furious crowd, and an athlete even assaulted him and forcibly took off his shirt. 

Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and the China-Taiwan Issue

As I explained in my previous post , the claim of the People's Republic of China to Taiwan derives from the nationalist tradition that developed in China after its tragic encounter with Western powers. In this post, I would like to show how the concepts of sovereignty and territorial integrity in China have been shaped by the country's unequal relationship with Western imperialist states and how these concepts have become an integral part of Chinese nationalist discourse. Sovereignty and Territory - Premodern vs Modern States The terms 'modern state', 'sovereignty' and 'territorial integrity' are too complex and controversial to be discussed here. However, some definitions are necessary in order to examine the evolution of the Chinese state in modern times, so I will just provide a general description of them. 

Is Taiwan Chinese? - Or, Taiwan and Chinese Nationalism

Time and again I stumble upon pro- or anti-Chinese articles that try to prove or disprove that Taiwan is a part of China. And I always wonder why - in the year 2014 - we are still discussing such issues as if the past had taught us nothing. Recently I read another one of those posts in which the author tried to show that Taiwan 'never belonged to China'. This question is as irrelevant to Taiwan's future as the question whether Alaska ever belonged to Russia is for the United States. There is a clear distinction between politics and history, and this distinction should be maintained and explained, so that people do not confuse the two categories. Chinese Nationalism and the New State Theory First of all, we must understand why the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that Taiwan is part of its territory. Simply put, when the Qing Empire was defeated, humiliated and colonised by Western powers, Chinese intellectuals began to absorb Western ideas, among t

Hong Kong's Vain Hopes For Democracy

On August 31, 2014, the Tenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress (NPC) adopted a decision  on " Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [HKSAR]  by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 ".  #454428966 / According to Paragraph 2 of Article 45 of the Hong Kong Basic Law , the NPC has the right to reform Hong Kong's electoral system " in the light of the actual situation " and " in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. " As specified in the Basic Law, the " ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee ". 

Full Text of the Decision of the National People's Congress on the Issue of Universal Suffrage for the Election of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 Adopted at the Tenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress on 31 August 2014 The Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress considered at its Tenth Session the Report on whether there is a need to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2017 and for forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2016 submitted by Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, on 15 July 2014. In the course of deliberation, the relevant views and suggestions of the Hong Kong community w

"Little Thirds" (小三) - Taiwanese Businessmen and Chinese Mistresses

One day I went with a friend of mine to a nice coffee shop near the campus of National Taiwan University. I don't know how or why, but we began talking about family values. I don't recall the details of that conversation, but one scene I remember vividly as if it had happened yesterday. She smiled at me and said, " We are more responsible ." What she meant, of course, was that Taiwanese people care more about their families than Westerners. I have challenged this view several times, showing that terms like 'love' or 'responsibility' have different meanings in the West and in East Asia. In this and the next posts, I would like to talk about the phenomenon of the "little thirds" ( xiaosan , 小三, also called 二奶), which, as I will show, derives from traditional East Asian concepts of family life. In this post I will tell a few stories of Taiwanese businessmen who took mistresses during their stay in mainland China. In the second post I w

42 People Injured in Clash Between Students and Military in China's Hunan Province

41 hurt as fight breaks out during student military training in Hunan Province — (@chinaorgcn) August 26, 2014 On August 24 at about 16:30 a fight broke out between students and military instructors at Huangcang Middle School (皇仓中学) in China 's Hunan Province. 42 people have been injured , including a teacher and a military instructor . According to an  eyewitness , one of the students was unhappy about how a military instructor joked with a female student. He argued with the instructor and an altercation followed. The other instructors intervened and punished the whole class: they had to do push-ups, were kicked and beaten with sticks. The student who had started the quarrel apologised to the instructor he had attacked and the incident seemed over.  However, in the evening the commander of the instructors' team sought revenge. As the classes gathered for the evening session, he ordered the stude

Bao'an Temple (保安宮) in Taipei's Datong District

Bao'an Temple ( 保安宮 , pinyin: Bǎo'āngōng) is one of the major temples of Taipei's Datong District . It is located on  Hami Street , in an area known as Dalongdong , one of the oldest Han settlements in the Taipei Basin. Bao'an Temple is just a few minutes walk from the Confucius Temple, and close to Chen Yueji Residence as well as Yuanshan MRT Station .  The first nucleus of Bao'an Temple was built in the 7th year of Emperor Qianlong (1742) by Han settlers from Tong'an , in Fujian Province. The temple is devoted to Baosheng Dadi ( 保生大帝 , literally "Life Protector Great Emperor"), a deity of the Chinese pantheon worshipped in Fujian Province and Taiwan. As is often the case in Chinese folk religion, Baosheng Dadi is a deified historical figure, a doctor and Daoist practitioner surnamed Wu (吳), born in the village of Baoliao, near Xiamen , in Fujian Province. He is said to have performed medical miracles, and after his death in 1036 he began to

Cisheng Temple (慈聖宮) in Taipei

Cisheng Temple (慈聖宮, pinyin: Císhènggōng; literally "Palace of kindness and holiness") is a temple located in Taipei's Datong District . Along with  Xiahai Chenghuang (霞海城隍廟)  and  Fazhugong Temple (法主公廟) , Cishenggong is one of the three major temples of Dadaocheng , an area of Datong which under Qing rule used to be a small port town outside of Taipei walled city . As one of the oldest parts of what is now Taipei City, Dadaocheng has retained its "Chinese" character, shaped by the immigrants who came to Taiwan from southern China over the centuries.  Cisheng Temple was built in the 19th century by immigrants from Tong'an , a district of Xiamen  city, in China's Fujian Province. It is devoted to the Sea Goddess Mazu , one of Taiwan's most popular deities. In imperial times, crossing the strait was dangerous and the Chinese settlers who went there often risked their lives; this explains why so many of them were eager to thank Mazu after t

German National Sentenced to Death in China

Yesterday (August 20) a court in Xiamen , a coastal city in China's Fujian Province,  sentenced a German national to death. The man, whose name has not been revealed to protect his privacy, was found guilty of manslaughter: he allegedly  killed  his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend on a street of the Southern Chinese city. This is the first time a German citizen faces the death penalty in China.  According to reports , the 36-year-old German had met his Venezuelan girlfriend in Munich, where they both studied sinology. They broke up in 2005, but allegedly the man did not get over the end of their relationship. The woman and her new boyfriend later moved to China. They have a child together, who lives with relatives in Germany. 

Chen Yueji Residence - Taipei Qing Dynasty Historic Site

The Chen Yueji Residence (陳悅記大厝, also called  陳悅記祖宅 ), commonly referred to as "Teacher's Mansion" (老師府), is one of Taipei's lesser known treasures. It is located  on Yanping North Road, in Taipei City's Datong District . It is one of the few remaining residences built during the Qing Dynasty era . The residence is close to other major tourist attractions, such as the Confucius Temple. It can be reached on foot from Yuanshan MRT station .  During the Qing Dynasty, the Chen Yueji Residence was part of Dadaocheng , which at that time was a city of its own. When the Japanese occupied Taiwan in 1895, they set about building a modern colonial capital . They tore down Taipei city walls  as well as nearly all buildings constructed in Taipei walled city under the Qing. The only Chinese buildings that they did not destroy were four out of five city gates  and a part of Taiwan provincial administration hall . On the ruins of Qing Taipei they created the governme