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Stuck In Macau For One Night

Senado Square On Friday I decided to go to Macau , a city which in my opinion - as I wrote in the past - is one of Asia's most charming travel destinations. I was planning on staying there for just one day, taking a walk in the afternoon and later meeting an old friend of mine, before returning to Hong Kong at around 11 p.m. The original idea was to take a ferry in the morning, but because I slept miserably the previous night I ended up leaving home at 3 p.m. The weather was hot and humid, the sky grey. Around one hour later I arrived at the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. After buying a ticket and going through the immigration control, I joined the unavoidable long queue largely consisting of mainland Chinese tourists: young and old, fancy and sporty, all invariably holding shopping bags with names of fashion or food brands written on them.  Riding a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau may seem like an enjoyable and relaxing experience - to those who ha

Launching A New Website - china-journal.org

In this post I would like to introduce my new website: china-journal.org , in which I will be writing about Chinese culture, history and society.  I had been thinking for quite some time about starting a new website, since I was very unhappy with how this blog has developed over the years. At the beginning "My New Life In Asia" was supposed to be a platform where I could write about my personal experiences and thoughts - which is what blogs have been invented for. Instead, I started to write about Confucianism, politics, culture etc. In the end I totally abandoned my original purpose.  This created two problems: first, many posts I published on this site are out of place; second, I have no space for a "public diary" as I had envisioned it. The only way to solve this issue was to separate blogging from more "serious" writing by creating an entirely new website. Let me now briefly explain the concept and structure of china-journal.org. First of

Should Supporters Of The Chinese Communist Party Be Allowed To Stage Demos in Taiwan? A Few Thoughts On The Limits Of Freedom Of Speech

On May 15 Taiwanreporter published a video (see below) showing people demonstrating against Taiwan independence and in favour of "peaceful unification" with Communist China. In Ximending one usually sees scores of supporters of Taiwan independence waving flags and banners, but apparently pro-Communist forces are now trying to counterbalance those demonstrations by staging their own.  The video shows a number of protesters waving flags of the People's Republic of China (PRC). They seem to belong to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Association (中華愛國同心會), a group that supports the incorporation of Taiwan into the PRC according to the "one country, two systems" (一國兩制) framework that Beijing already used for Hong Kong and Macau. This is not the first such demonstration organized by "Chinese patriotic" groups. Taipei 101 used to be one of the patriotic association's favourite spots, before an incident involving peaceful Falun Gong demonstrators led

Law In Imperial China – Confucianism And Legalism

Killing the scholars and burning the books   (anonymous 18th century Chinese painting depicting the alleged burning of books and killing of scholars under China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang; source: Wikipedia )  The legal system of imperial  China  developed from two schools of thought:  Confucianism  and  Legalism . Although both of them exerted a deep influence on China’s state-building as well as on its moral and legal traditions, at the beginning these two philosophies were bitterly opposed to each other, as they were based on entirely different principles (see: Xin Ren:  Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China , 1997, p. 19). Confucianism  (儒家) originated from the teachings of  Confucius  (551 – 479 BC), a Chinese scholar, politician and philosopher who lived in the  Spring and Autumn period . The main body of the Confucian canon comprises the Four Books and the Five Classics (四書五經), texts which have been traditionally attribut

China’s Legal System – Communist or Feudal?

Emblem of the People's Court of the People's Republic of China (source: Wikipedia) On October 13, 2014, Yu Wensheng , a lawyer from Beijing, was arrested and detained by the police for 99 days . He was interrogated approximately 200 hundred times by 10 officers who worked in shifts night and day. Yu's wrists were fastened behind his back with handcuffs. "My hands were swollen and I felt so much pain that I didn’t want to live", he told Amnesty International. "The police officers repeatedly yanked the handcuffs and I would scream". Two days before his arrest, Yu had submitted a request to Beijing Fengtai Detention Centre for meeting one of his clients. The authorities had rejected Yu's request without reason. As an act of protest, he stayed in front of the detention centre and later published a post online describing the incident. At around midnight the police forced him to leave, and on October 13 the Beijing Daxing District Public Secur

Sex Meetings - Taiwan's 'Yuepao'

Sexuality in Taiwan is a controversial topic which highlights the contrast between publicly sanctioned virtue (德道) and actual individual behaviour. As far as women are concerned, Taiwanese society tends to value female characteristics such as faithfulness, filial piety , innocence and submissiveness to men. Many women create a public persona that conforms to such standards, as it is assumed that following the accepted social norms will advance one's prospects of a good marriage and career. However, the reality often contradicts abstract ideals, as the phenomenon of Taiwan 's yuepao shows. Yuepao is a neologism that describes a sexual relationship between two people who typically have met through social media or dating apps (徵友). The term yuepao   (約炮; often also spelled 約砲), is the contraction of the words 約 會 (meeting) and 放鞭 炮 (to set off firecrackers). It can be roughly translated as "sex meeting". 

Wrestling For A Seat In The Metro - Fight Erupts Between Two Couples In China's Wuhan

In any major city grabbing a seat on the metro can be a stressful experience. But in China  disputes between passengers may lead to violent clashes, like the one which happened a few days ago in Wuhan city, capital of China's Hubei Province. According to local media, on April 20 at around noon a middle-aged couple got on a train of Wuhan metro . The wife put a bag on the seat next to hers. Shortly afterwards, an older couple, about 60 years of age, asked the woman to free the seat. However, the woman refused. The old man insisted that she ought to yield her seat to elderly people, but she would not back down. At that moment, the woman's husband intervened and started cursing the old man, who instead of turning away yelled back. In a fit of rage, the younger man pushed the other away, thus giving rise to a fight  between the two couples.

"Listen To The Masses" - Xi Jinping Wants Chinese Government To Take Citizens' Petitions Seriously

Mao Zedong once said that Communist cadres "must be models in applying the Party's democratic centralism, must master the method of leadership based on the principle of 'from the masses, to the masses', and must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the masses".  "Listening to the masses" - whatever this may mean - has become a common catchphrase of Xi Jinping 's new vision for China's Communism . In perfect Maoist rhetorical style, Xi coats his ideology in vague high-sounding phrases, a vagueness that suits a Party leader who doesn't have to engage in debates with opponents and who needs ideological ambiguity in order to rule. Xi's last attempt at reviving the old Maoist principle of "listening to the masses" is the strengthening of Communist China's system of popular petitions , the so-called xinfang (信访).  The xinfang system dates back to 1951, when the Government Administration Council is

This Year China May Oppose Taiwan's Participation In World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly (by Tom Page - licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) In 2009 Taiwan received a historic invitation to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer. That was the second year of President Ma Ying-jeou 's administration, a time in which relations between Beijing and Taipei were improving on the basis of the " 1992 consensus ", an unofficial agreement between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Guomindang . Since the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises the one-China principle, Taiwan could not participate with its official name "Republic of China". Taiwan was therefore represented with the name " Chinese Taipei " (中華台北).  The Republic of China (ROC) was a founding member of the WHO, but after the United Nations shifted recognition from the ROC to the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Executive Board of the United Nations passed resolution EB49.R37 recommending to the WHA to adopt a sim

Visiting Missing Hong Kong Booksellers' Causeway Bay Bookstore

Yesterday I was walking with a friend in Causeway Bay, when she suddenly pointed at one of the countless colourful billboards that decorate the shopping district's building facades and said, "That's the bookstore of the missing booksellers !". The bookstore is called " Causeway Bay Books " (銅鑼灣書店) and it's located on the second floor of a building on Lockhart Road. I and my friend went upstairs and, of course, the bookstore was closed. Next to the entrance door there were messages written on the wall by sympathetic citizens.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Violates Airport Security To Give Hand Luggage To His Daughter

Hong Kong 's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) and his wife Regina Tong Ching Yee (唐青儀) allegedly used their political influence to violate airport's security regulations.  According to Apple Daily , on March 28 Leung Zung-jan, daughter of the Chief Executive , was waiting at an airport lounge for a Cathay Pacific flight bound to San Francisco. She then realised that she had forgotten her hand luggage outside of the security area.  Her mother, who had accompanied her to the airport, asked the airline's staff to bring the hand luggage to her daughter. Her request was turned down because, according to existing security regulations, passengers need to exit the security area and claim their luggage personally. Mrs Leung reacted angrily. "Do you know who I am?", she allegedly said. "There are no drugs or forbidden items inside [the luggage]". 

Taiwan Independence versus ROC Independence

(source: Wikipedia ) On March 22 J. Michael Cole published an interesting piece about Taiwan independence vs Republic of China independence . I usually disagree with Cole's opinions, but not this time. Cole is a great investigative journalist and political analyst, however his point of view is often biased and more similar to that of a political activist than to that of a journalist.  In his article about the independence issue Cole explained something that I have been arguing for quite some time. In a nutshell, it is not true that the Guomindang is pro-Beijing (in the sense that it supports unification with the People's Republic of China) while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is in favour of Taiwan's independence. Both the Guomindang and the DPP oppose unification with Communist China. But while for the Guomindang independence means that the Republic of China is an independent sovereign state, the DPP holds that Taiwan is an independent nation. Cole rightly