Translation: Tan Zuoren’s Verdict

The following is a guest post by K. Drinhausen:

The final sentence for the good man of Sichuan?

Even considering the various indicators of the Chinese governments harder stance against any form of dissent in the past year (or even criticism voiced within the system) the outcome of the appeal of Tan Zuoren still came as a shock to many, with the Chengdu Middle Court raising the prison term from three to five years. In this supposedly open trial journalists were again preventedfrom attending.

Comparing the well prepared defense brought forward by Tan Zuorens lawyers Xia Lin and Pu Zhiqiang with the justification of the harsh punishment given in the verdict by the court doesn’t speak for the Chinese government’s every so often proclaimed efforts in promoting the rule of law. In the end it is the debate or even mention of why the objections failed to convince the court that makes the verdict look like a pre-written script and not the deliberate decision of an unbiased jury. Sometimes silence does say more than a thousand words.

Translation

(The following is a translation of Tan Zuoren’s verdict.)

Criminal verdict by the Chengdu Middle Court

Verdict No. 273 2009, public prosecutor of the Sichuan Province, Chengdu People’s Procuratorate.

Defendant: Tan Zuoren, male, born May 5th, 1954 in Chengdu, Sichuan. Han Chinese. Educational background: polytechnic school, currently unemployed. Residency: Chengdu, Wuhou district, Wangjiang street 29, Taolincun Compound, Apt. 6/6. Taken into criminal custody on March 28th 2008 under suspicion of inciting subversion to overturn the government. Formally arrested on April 30th 2009 on the ground of inciting subversion to overturn the government. Taken into custody by the detention house of the Wenjiang district in Chengdu.

Defense: Xia Lin, Lawyer at Beijing Law Firm Huayi, Pu Zhiqiang, Lawyer at Beijing Law Firm Huayi. The Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu, Sichuan examines the possibility of criminal punishment following the indictment No. 183, 2009 charging Tan Zuoren with the crime of inciting subversion to overturn the government that was presented to this court on July 28th 2009. This court and its panel of judges are hearing and trying this case in accordance with the law. The Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu, Sichuan appoints the prosecutor Wang Yihong as an agent for the public prosecution. The protocol is taken down by Secretary Li Zhenzhen. The defendant Tan Zuoren and his defense lawyers Xia Lin and Pu Zhiqiang are present at the trial. This is the final hearing of the trial.

The Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu formally charges the defendant Tan Zuoren. He has been unsatisfied the CCP Central Committee handling of the “June 4th” incident and their definition of the occurrences and has for many years been commemorating the “June 4th” incident through different means. On May 27th 2007 Tan Zuoren cooked up the essay “1989: Testifying to the Final Beauty – Diary of an eyewitness on the square” (below referred to as “The Square Diary”) and the spreading of this article via the internet and on foreign hosted forums such as “Fire of Liberty“. In this article Tan Zuoren distorted and slandered the CCP Central Committees handling of the “June 4th” incident. Soon after the article was published, the foreign hostile element Wang Dan used e-mail to get in contact with Tan Zuoren and repeatedly send propaganda materials about the “June 4th” incident to the defendant.

On July 4th 2008 Tan Zuoren and others [gathered] on Chengdus Tianfu Square and used blood donations as a means of commemorating the “June 4th” incident. During that period the defendant also accepted a phone interview from the foreign enemy media “Sound of Hope”. After November 2008 Wang Dan repeatedly send materials concerning the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the “June 4th” incident to Tan Zuoren. On February 10th 2009 Tan Zuoren sent Wang Dan an e-mail containing a “Suggestion for a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of June 4th” in which he suggested a commemorative action for the “June 4th” incident called ” Global June 4th Chinese People’s Blood Donation”. After the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12th 2008, Tan Zuoren accepted a lot of interviews by international media, and publicly discussed a lot of issues that seriously slandered the reputation of the Communist Party and the government*. On March 27th 2009 Tan Zuoren was taken into custody by public security organs to face charges.

To support the accuracy of the charges stated above the Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu submitted documentation and evidence including the detention order, documentation of the arrest and the warranted search, a list of belongings of the detainee, witness testimonies and the defendants deposition. The Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu believes that the actions of Tan Zuoren constitute a violation of the article 105 of the Criminal Law of the PRC and that he should therefore be held responsible and accordingly punished for the crime of inciting subversion to overturn the government. The defendant Tan Zuoren and his defense lawyers have no real objections against this case, but argue that his conduct didn’t constitute a criminal action and submitted several pieces of evidence that the defense collected to the court. After considering the evidence, it is still clear that the defendant Tan Zuoren is opposed against the way the Chinese government dealt with the “June 4th” incident in accordance with the law. On May 27th 2007 Tan Zuoren cooked up the article “The Square Diary”, claiming it to be the record of the actual events. This article really paid no attention to objectivity and misrepresented and distorted on a large scale, slandering and vilifying the Chinese government’s management of the “June 4th” incident in accordance with the law and thus incited people inside and outside of this country to oppose and protest the Chinese government. On July 4th 2008 Tan Zuoren colluded with other people to “donate blood” in a commemorative action of the “June 4th” incident on the Tianfu Square in Chengdu, where he accepted interviews from the foreign media “Sound of Hope” via his phone and publicly stated that by “donating blood” they were “keeping alive the spirit of June 4th”. On the same day the content of the interview given by Tan Zuoren was published on the “Sound of Hope” website. On March 28th 2009 Tan Zuoren was then taken into custody by the security forces to face charges.

The facts stated above were already subject of a court hearing; the authenticity of the following items of evidence was verified: […] All documents and pieces of evidence relevant to this case is listed.

The facts behind the charges the Peoples Procuratorate of Chengdu brings up against Tan Zuoren – concocting the article “The Square Diary” and spreading it through international media – are clear; the evidence is definitely sufficient and was confirmed in accordance with the law. Concerning the charges that weren’t recognized by the defense, which submitted evidence and interpretations, the facts they presented were found to hold no relevance and failed to convince the court.

This court found that the defendant Tan Zuoren incited subversion to overturn the government and the socialist system by spreading vilifying rumors and that his actions constitute the crime of subversion against the power of the state. The objections the defendant Tan Zuoren and his defense put forward – that his actions didn’t fulfill the crime of subversion against the power of the state – and the facts proven through the investigation and the relevant law are inconsistent and therefore were rejected by this court. On the basis of the articles [listed again below, including the content of the regulations] of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China this court announces the following verdict: The defendant Tan Zuoren was found guilty of the crime of subversion to overturn the government and is sentenced to serve the full sentence of five years in prison and furthermore will be deprived of his political rights for three years. (The prison term will be active after the sentence is served; the time already spend in custody will be deducted, meaning the sentence will be served from March 28th 2009 to March 27th 2014). If the defendant doesn’t consent with the sentence, then he can appeal within 10 days following the day after receiving the sentence, either trough this court or directly trough the High Court of Sichuan Province. The written appeal has to be submitted in one original and two additional copies.
The relevant law article 105, passage 2 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China states that starting rumors, slander or other means of inciting subversion against the government or overturning the socialist system can be punished with up to five years of imprisonment; if the defendant is a major culprit or [his actions] constitute an indictable offence then he can be punished with five years or more of imprisonment.

  1. Article 65, passage 1 states that the crime of endangering national security can additionally be punished with the deprivation of the political rights; intentional manslaughter, rape, arson, explosives, poisoning, plunder and other serious offences against the public order can also additionally be punished with the deprivation of political rights.
  2. Article 55, passage 1 states that the limits for the deprivation of political rights, except for regulations concerning article 57. The time limit is set between one to five years.
  3. Article 47 states that the fixed term of imprisonment starts from the day the sentence is delivered by the court; the time already served in custody before the sentence can be deducted.
  4. Article 58, passage 1 states that the time of deprivation of political rights starts from the end of the prison term, the detention or with the parole, the deprivation of political rights should of course be taken into account in the general penalty.

* In regard to the order in which the “victims” of his supposed attacks are named I can’t help but wonder if damaging the image of the Communist Party wasn’t the real crime that he was found guilty of.

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0 thoughts on “Translation: Tan Zuoren’s Verdict”

  1. IMHO a very important translation wrt Sound of Hope seems to have been missed. The verdict refered to SoH as “hostile foreign media outlet”:

    其間還接受了境外敵對媒體「希望之聲」的電話採訪。

    I really wonder if downplaying the role Sound of Hope in the verdict (SoH was mentioned 6 times in the document) is an attempt to not call attention to the fact Sound of Hope is a Falun Gong propaganda outlet?

    (verdict quoted from HK newspaper in traiditional Chinese.)

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  2. The blogpost referenced as source also has the “hostile media” verbage:

    期间还接受了境外敌对媒体“希望之声”的电话采访

    I really wonder why it was left out…

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  3. It was left out as part of the worldwide conspiracy among Westerners to vilify China.

    Either that or, you know, a translation mistake. Given that you continually post traditional character quotations with no translation, you’re not really in a position to be throwing stones at minor translation errors, though. It is regrettable, but this sort of thing happens all the time, especially when you’re translating something like this, which is time-sensitive.

    Anyway, you’re right that it should be there — I added in “enemy” before the first reference to Sound of Hope, but whether or not it’s a “hostile news organization”, the fact remains that (1) Tan Zuoren was not “working with them”, as you previously said, he just gave them an interview and (2) Participation in FLG is not what Tan was charged with, and there is no mention of FLG whatsoever in the verdict.

    While we’re talking about things that get left out, though, I wonder why you continually ignore the reference to his earthquake project that is here, especially given that seemingly his worst crime (conspiring to organize blood donation, how awful!) isn’t something that he even did, as he was arrested in March. If the earthquake project is irrelevant, why would they mention it in the verdict? And if his “connection” to FLG is so important, why isn’t FLG mentioned in the verdict at all?

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  4. What he did for the earthquake or related are not the reason he got the sentence IMO. It’s his foreign connections, especially the connections with abroad “democrat movement” activists, FLG, etc. He probably had stepped into some gray area and got attentions from National Security Agency or similar. And he has no low key in doing that. Cases involving intelligence agencies, like NSA, get no or short trail before sentencing, especially for spies who are generally secretly executed without announcing. Foreign (US and European) diplomats’ attending (or attempts to attending) of his trial made the situation worse since generally speaking, Chinese people don’t have much sympathy to activists who are directly or indirectly backed by a foreign country. I’m not going to argue on the validity of it and there’s probably no way to find out what’s the real nature of relation between Tan and his ‘foreign friends’. I’m talking about the public sensation – most Chinese folks wouldn’t continue reading on the details of the trail when they heard he got interviews by a FLG paper and a foreign government representative gets involved. Sure, that’s probably ignorant on the Chinese side, but, it’s equivalent true that some people outside China are inclined to get emotional and blind when they hear “a activists got jailed by Chinese government”. The whole thing is just too political, and in talking politics, most people take a side before opening their mouth.

    Some recent political posts on ChinaGeeks are not quite balanced in political view IMO. Absolute no shame in doing that, but, please think about a Chinese blog on US by a Chinese that puts too much focus on US activists and dissents. It’s definitely a valuable one but when its getting extreme on that way, it becomes less relevant and starts to piss off some people, especially when the blog editors are defensive in some way.

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  5. @ anonymous: I actually sort of agree we’ve been doing a lot of dissident stuff as of late, but there isn’t much else going on. Even bloggers who generally talk about other things (Han Han, Hecaitou, Wang Xiaofeng, etc.) have been doing stuff related to the government, censorship, etc. Everyone is getting ready for 春节, which means there isn’t much happening. But the Tan Zuoren case is important anyway.

    That said, I don’t really care if our coverage of dissidents pisses people off or not, and ChinaGeeks has never claimed to be a “fair and balanced” blog. I do try to be fair in choosing what I translate, and we have translated plenty of stuff I don’t agree with, or don’t agree with all of, but the analysis is obviously all opinions.

    If you have suggestions of alternate stuff we could feasibly cover/translate, send them to custerc at gmail dot com.

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  6. @C.Custer

    (not sure if this gets posted twice)

    Thanks for the reply. There are a lot other things that I think worth being covered on ChinaGeeks and I can understand how your reading affects the topics discussed here. I guess most of what you read are from English sources (including China related blogs in English) and few Chinese blogs, such as Hanhan’s, Hecaitou and Wangxiaofeng’s, and these blogs may talk a lot about Chinese dissents, GFW, etc (but I’m sure Hecaitou talks more on non-political stuffs). However, for Chinese, there’s a wide spectrum of topics being talked and talking online. I suggest you read more on Chinese portal sites that usually have news sections (a list of my favorite is attached at the end). Personal blogs and microblogs (twitters etc) are a bad starting point to learn about Chinese news or what Chinese are concerned because a lot of sensational stuffs, satire and even rumors are created there, and it requires some deep understanding of Chinese society and Chinese language to ‘dig the gem from the sand’. Don’t treat personal blogs too seriously, though some of them are quite ‘popular’, because most time these people get such popularity by creating hypes (炒作) and cult. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read them, but, if your only or most readings are from these blogs, you will get a unilateral view on Chinese society. Forums and BBSes are even worse since even almost nobody would be responsible to what they say there (but if you want to be entertained that’s a different story). Even you want to cover more about scandals, there are a lot of them that are not political, for example, the recent one about Zhang Ziyi. The most important thing in “reading China” is to realize, a lot Chinese phenomenon can’t be understood by telling the difference from the ‘west’ (or the country you are familiar with) and then simply “patching the west with the difference to get Chinese counterparts”. A lot info could be missed or misinterpreted without knowing the context. A good reading tactic is to not find how different Chinese things are from the ones you are familiar with, but to receive as many information as possible without leap to a conclusion too earlier.

    But I’m too greedy to ask you so much. You have done a fairly good job here on ChinaGeeks and some posts are actually very inspiring. However, it could be better if perspectives were more diverse, and, Chinese.

    ====
    As I promised, here’s the list. It’s far from complete but you can follow links on these sites to find more.

    Baidu news: the best search engine for Chinese news
    news.baidu.com

    Major domestic and international news, and stuffs on sports, technology and entertainment
    news.sina.com.cn
    news.163.com
    news.sohu.com

    Popyard: A news aggregation site and one of my favorite. Note: there are a lot unverified “news” there. However the range of the news is tremendous and a lot of them are pretty interesting
    popyard.org

    Movie/book/music review site. Good one if you are interested in what serious stuffs Chinese are reading
    http://www.douban.com
    You can buy electronic versions of books from
    http://www.ssreader.com
    it requires downloading a ebook software and purchasing a monthly/yearly subscription.

    Don’t have a Chinese CC? You can buy almost everything from Chinese Internet via Panli with paypal/visa and let them ship it to everywhere in the world (they charge a 1%-4% transaction fee + S&H)
    panli.com

    popular science and scientists’ blogs
    songshuhui.net
    http://www.sciencenet.cn

    Novels, fictions, etc
    http://www.jjwxc.net

    Local newspapers are good to learn about a city or a region, and journals and magazines are useful for learning about a specific area, such as fashion or education. The problem is there are too many of them!
    http://www.15525.com
    http://www.shuzibao.com.cn
    http://www.bonsou.com
    http://www.zcom.com

    You can watch Chinese TV channels (and pretty much every Chinese TV drama program, including Nail House) online from PPStream for free. (software downloading is required)
    http://www.ppstream.com

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  7. ChasL, are you ethnically Chinese? If not, how did you end up thinking like a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry? I’m genuinely curious.

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  8. “but, please think about a Chinese blog on US by a Chinese that puts too much focus on US activists and dissents. ”

    Are you saying there’s no space for a blog about the Republican Party? 😉

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  9. Thank you for the translation. It pretty much seems to me, the verdict is about the Earthquake investigations… Blood Donations as a crime to overthrow the government? Are they paranoid?

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  10. @ anonymous: That’s a bit pedantic, don’t you think? I spent four years at an elite college studying Chinese culture, literature, language, and history, then lived in China; now I teach Chinese. I am well aware that there’s much more than “the difference between East and West”, and I don’t think this blog ever engages in that kind of simplistic crap.

    I agree more diverse perspectives are good. But more Chinese perspectives? More than half our posts are translations of things Chinese people wrote. Just because you don’t agree with them or feel they don’t reflect the “mainstream” doesn’t mean they aren’t Chinese perspectives.

    If you read our blogroll, you can get a good idea of the news sources and blogs I generally read in Chinese (it’s not just Hecaitou and Han Han, I just happen to find those guys much more interesting than the average Anti-CNN post or Xinhua news story or Qiushi propaganda crap or whatever).

    As for covering the Zhang Ziyi scandal, that’s not the kind of thing we write about, or have ever written about here. I would rather write the comics on the back of gum wrappers than write celebrity gossip. We write about celebrity issues only if they intersect with major national issues or trends. If you want to read about that stuff in English, go to ChinaSMACK or ChinaHush.

    Similarly, we don’t really write about books, TV, movies, or music, unless they’re representative of some larger national trend. So we might comment on Chinese people’s reactions to the movie Confucius, for example, because we think they’re indicative somewhat of the national mood, but you won’t find a review or anything like that here.

    (As a sidenote, I do wish they would make a Mac client for PPStream, though, just for my own amusement).

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  11. @C.Custer

    Not trying to be pedantic because the list of websites is nothing special for a native Chinese reader, and I attached the list because you asked for sources of alternative stuffs so I wanted to share with you some sites I often visit. It’s not showing off (similarly an American wouldn’t show off that s/he knows facebook or amazon or CNN) but a suggestion. I guess it’s your part to be a little pedantic to say how you graduated from an elite Chinese university and is teaching Chinese. It’s like talking to an American to hint at how one knows America better because he has been in a US college and is teaching English in China. A lot things in the society can’t be learning from schools.

    I didn’t say most other posts are useless. To the opposite, as I said, I appreciate your effort and think some posts here are actually very inspiring. However, I want to voice my opinion that the perspectives present on this blog are biased in some way and these perspectives are appealing only to (maybe) American readers, not most Chinese readers.

    An example of how the opinions and sources are less relevant is the blogroll you provided. I will leave the English part alone and only talk about the Chinese part. The Chinese News Sources only have five items and two of them, Xinhua and Qiushi, are “propaganda crap” as you said. Yes, Xinhua and Qiushi are two CCP mouthpieces, however, most of Xinhua’s reports on domestic and international incidents are quit reliable and timely and the magazine Qiushi gives insights on how the Communist party’s policy evolves and what’s the trend of theoretical research inside the party. Qiushi is a party paper and its audience is almost exclusively CCP members. They could leave it out of public domain, but it’s fortunate that they publish it so everyone can read from it. Magazines like Qiushi are propaganda works for no doubt, however, they are not crap but valuable sources for interested parties to learn what’s going on in CCP (aka Chinese government).

    The Chinese Language Blogs part in the blogroll is a great compilation of dissident and irrelevant. It consists of a majority of Chinese activists, and …. Mao’s Grandson’s blog … and a blog of “Fuck the World”? Yes, there are some popular blogs like Wang Xiaofeng’s and Hanhan’s, but there are a lot more equally popular blogs that talk different things in different areas. I’m actually surprised that a writer who likes to talk about racism and fenqing and Han traitors could miss the righteous rxhj.net, where they should invite you to write few guest posts and gain more supporters.

    The recent Zhang Ziyi scandal does intersect with a major national issue – the Sichuan Earthquake, which is one of your favorite topics I guess.

    From reading the posts here, I got the impression that you had a bad time studying and living in China, or at least the sad (dissent) and hatred (racism) news are what you have received most from the country. (I could be wrong since I didn’t go much back in the archive). I’m afraid to say it’s not the reality. Maybe you have been pissed off by someone in China or by some Chinese commenters here, sorry about that. I don’t know what’s the purposes of your blogging, but if learning about China is one of them, I suggest you take a more optimistic way. If you are not getting paid to do it, why immersing yourself in nitpicking the defects of the country and offending a lot people from a place (you said you got some fenqing responses) that you probably have a good understanding of? At the end, you wouldn’t enjoy the learning process but be trapped in a cycle of paranoia. I say leave the headaches and complaints to local people who are mostly qualified to solve their own problems. From my experience, exploring a new culture should always be fun and if something bad happened in that country I would just shrug and move on and find something else interesting to learn, because 1) it’s good to show my respect to the country, 2) for a foreigner who doesn’t know the context well and lives outside the country, I could be quite ignorant and naive to meddle with their business and 3) why make my life sad and less constructive?

    Anyway, I like to say Happy Chinese New Year to you, though China and Chinese affairs must have given and is continually giving you a lot bad influencing and I doubt there’s anything in China that you may want to celebrate.

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  12. @ anonymous: You misread my comment. I was saying Qiushi was propaganda crap, not Xinhua. I agree Xinhua is generally pretty reliable and an indispensable source for China news.

    I agree there are a few blogs on there that are irrelevant. The two you mentioned I don’t often read, but Mao’s grandson’s blog got added a few months ago when there was that big flurry about him getting promoted, the “Fuck the World” blog was added earlier, when Danwei reported it was getting popular, but I think it is valuable because it’s an example of a young Chinese who supports the government wholeheartedly, and I think a lot of Westerners think that most young Chinese are ambivalent or anti-CCP. As for rxhj, I get enough of that on hanminzu.com…(rxhj has too few members to be indicative of anything national, anyway). And again, if you think there are other really popular blogs that discuss important national issues, by all means, suggest them.

    The Zhang Ziyi scandal is about schadenfreude, at the moment it’s about the Sichuan earthquake donations because that’s convenient, but if it weren’t that, there would be some other scandal (and if she survives this scandal, there will be another, just like that stupid scandal last year about her boyfriend touching her ass on some beach). It is not the kind of thing we cover here.

    Also, please, do yourself a favor and stop trying to psychoanalyze me, because you’re terrible at it. You couldn’t possibly be more wrong. I loved living in China and will be moving back as soon as my contract here is up (I had to come back this year because of some family stuff happening in the States). Because I don’t want to wait that long, I will also be heading back in March.

    I realize this blog isn’t attuned to Chinese sensibilities, and there’s a reason for that: I am not Chinese, and the majority of my audience is not Chinese. We have been raised in countries where, for the most part, things that are positive are not “news”, they are not “issues”. Lot at the top headlines on CNN (or any US news site); how many of them are positive? The reason is not that the people who write the news think America is terrible and everything here is bad, it’s because the good isn’t news (by our definition). I don’t find it interesting to read about how the air where I live, for example, is extremely clean and healthy. What I want to read about is the local politician trying to cover up injustice or (to use another local example) the school whose students are suffering high levels of carbon dioxide because they didn’t build a proper ventilation system, because that’s a problem we need to be thinking about, discussing, and hopefully fixing.

    Like most Americans, I believe that this kind of “nitpicking” serves a purpose, in that having a discussion about those things that are problems gives us a chance to improve them. And although we are not Chinese, the world has a vested interest in China improving, just as it has a vested interest in America improving. Our economies, and to some extent, our fates, seem bound inextricably, whether China wants it that way or not. Moreover, most of the people who read this blog have friends and loved ones in China. Some of us have many Chinese friends, others have spouses and even children who are Chinese citizens. We have every right to care about China’s future, its policies, and its people, and every right to discuss those things from our perspective.

    Regarding your three points, (1) I believe that having the guts to discuss these things honestly (criticizing when it’s the right thing to do, and praising when it’s the right thing to do) is the highest form of respect a person could pay, (2) If I am ignorant about something, what better way to find that out and learn the truth than to publish my ignorant view here? Someone will call me out on it; mistakes are how people learn; (3) I consider what I’m doing here to be constructive, if occasionally sad. But ignoring things that make us sad is just passing them on to our children to deal with…

    Anyway, a happy Chinese New Year to you too. There is plenty in China that I want to celebrate, and I must admit I felt very disappointed yesterday to be sitting in a classroom in America as I knew all my friends in China were celebrating…

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  13. …and as a case in point: note that stories like this don’t attract much traffic or discussion. It’s interesting, but no one really learns anything from it, and it doesn’t make people think anything new. Criticism, on the other hand, does attract attention and discussion. (Not that attention or discussion are fundamentally good or anything, but they do create more communication, which I think is a good thing for mutual understanding).

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  14. anon, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the FLG connection in Tan’s verdict. Custer, Tan’s quake investigation is only mentioned as his prior interaction with foreign media. The fact Tan’s involvment with foreign element being the bulk of his indictment shouldn’t be a suprise to anyone who actually read the verdict.

    As to the quake investigation and allegation of tofu construction, experts looking at this have said it’s not as simple as blaming construction problem, as it is unlikely to be the sole factor:

    – Chengdu’s building code after 1978 required quake resistance to 6.0 mag, and was updated to 7.0 after 2001. The quake struck was 7.8; building’s quakeproof depended on the age of the building and code at the time.

    – Shearing effect varied throughout the region depending on soil condition; some area without rocky substrate sustained 10-11 mag shearing force (think Kobe)

    – (sorry shameless promotion) After the usual suspect in the expat blogsphere jumped on the Ai Weiwei story last April, I too searched for some answers, and found the fatality name lists distributed werer decentralized (newspaper, hospital, local authority) and counts of student victims were published by regional/central government.

    Here’s a blogger that have touched on some of these points.

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  15. Hi, Custer,

    Thanks for letting me know that I misread you, and I’m sorry I was off from this site and didn’t follow up in few days (life isn’t easy offline, is it?).

    On the “fuck the world” blog, I was pointing it out because I think the site isn’t a serious source but a kind of mockery since the title or content is hardly along with any partyline.

    However, I can’t agree on the “bad news is more news” statement. Most news from those big news agencies you mentioned (like CNN) are mostly (in volume) “neutral” news (entertainment, business, sports, etc), just like the motorcycle one you posted on this blog days ago. This is especially true for local news where most coverage is on trivia. Surely they are not as attractive as negative ones but they are more valuable for readers who are not living in the environment and doesn’t understand the whole picture well. (but again, it depends on what you want to present to the readers)

    And I understand your methodology in experiencing a culture, though the way is quite different from mine. You may take similar route between reading a culture you are familiar with and reading one that are relatively new to you, while I take a very different way – try to understand from an insider’s perspective and emphasize on the neutral to positive side. Education background matters I guess, you are more a culture research type of person while my field is engineering.

    Anyway, keep writing good ones. and I may come back occasionally (when I have time) to bug you with my Chinese perspective, in an ‘American way’ of criticism that I would like to learn and practice.

    Like

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