Tag Archives | China

The Pop Culture Edition – What Had Happened Was Ep. 27

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by Susan M Omand, Omand Original, All Rights Reserved

From ModernMythology:

What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this “week-in-review style” show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective. 

Hello people of the internet! Today grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs are talking about China collecting body parts from prisoners and how that will now be optional, Snowden denies giving sensitive information to the Guardian, Arkansas bill limiting body modification goes to the State House of Representatives, Time Warner Cable offering antennae to their customers as a way to alleviate the CBS situation, Marvel to bring superhero-themed road show to the US next year, and Ben Affleck as the new Batman. All on today’s episode, The pop culture edition.

Show Notes:

  1. China says it will stop harvesting organs from prisoners
  2. Snowden denies being source of The Independent’s “NSA leak” story exposing UK base
  3. Senate Passes Bill That Bans Certain Tattoos, Body Markings
  4. Time Warner Cable offers free antennas, Best Buy credit to customers caught in CBS blackout
  5. Marvel to bring superhero-themed road show to the US next year
  6. Ben Affleck is the next Batman

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China’s Scary And Fast-Growing Cult Eastern Lightning

eastern lightning

Chinese Christians live in fear of being kidnapped and brainwashed into Eastern Lightning. Vice writes:

In some ways, Eastern Lightning are hilarious. For starters, the cult’s core belief is that Jesus Christ has been reincarnated as a middle-aged Chinese woman called Lightning Deng who now lives in Chinatown in New York. Then there are the bizarre evangelizing attempts to recruit China’s rural communities—stuff like the sudden appearance of live snakes painted with scripture and mysterious glow sticks hidden in people’s homes that somehow (I’m really not sure how) signal the second coming of Christ.

To their victims, though, Eastern Lightning aren’t a joke. The cult operates by infiltrating China’s underground house churches (proper ones are banned in China) and integrating themselves into the community, before allegedly seducing, kidnapping, bribing, or blackmailing members into joining them. Highly organized and comprised of more than a million members, according to some estimates, Eastern Lightning train their leaders to build trust slowly over months before making their move.

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Monstrous 33 Pound Mushroom Discovered in China

china-s-monster-mushroom-weighing-33-pounds-could-be-a-world-record-breaker

Fungi from Yuggoth. I mean China.

How…Lovecraftian.

Via Science World Report:

A huge mushroom that is almost the size of a tire weighing 33 pounds has been unearthed by locals from the township of Puxiong in China’s Yunnan province.

The giant mushroom that stretches across 36 inches in diameter may be one of the largest ever mushroom discovered. The finder proudly put the large mushroom on display, triggering great excitement among the locals eager to take photographs of the unusual mushroom.

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Chinese Wizard Makes Nearly $2 Million In A Year Selling Magic Spells Online

spellsWhen is someone going to found a metaphysical eBay? Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

A Chinese magician’s online “spell” emporium that is reportedly earning him more than one million yuan ($180,000) each month from clients who hoped to find love, atone for sins or improve relations with their mothers-in-law.

University dropout Luo Shun, 31, began working as a freelance feng shui consultant, charging for advice on auspicious dates and names, in 2002. He opened an online store on Taobao, China’s answer to Amazon, in the hope of reaching some of the country’s 538 million-plus internet users, last October.

Mr. Luo’s site offers more than 160 spells or products. Last month it sold 2,825 spells, the most popular a $53 love charm. Mr Luo declined to discuss how much money he was making but promised to channel his wealth into philanthropy.

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Human Breast Milk A New Luxury Service For China’s Rich

human breast milk

The extremely wealthy regress to early childhood? The Taipei Times reports:

Human breast milk has become a new luxury for China’s rich, with some firms offering wet-nurse services, a report said. The report sparked heated debate in the media and on Chinese social media, with most users condemning the service as unethical.

Xinxinyu, a domestic staff agency in the booming city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, provided wet nurses for newborns, the sick and other adults who pay high prices for the milk’s fine nutrition, the Southern Metropolis Daily said. Wet nurses serving adults are paid about 16,000 yuan (US$2,610) a month — more than four times the Chinese average.

“Adult [clients] can drink it directly through breastfeeding, or they can always drink it from a breast pump if they feel embarrassed,” the report quoted company owner Lin Jun as saying.

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Chinese Factory Workers Take Their American CEO Hostage

ceo_chipChip Starnes, CEO of Specialty Medical Supplies, flew to his company’s factory in China to lay off 30 workers as a first step in shifting production to India, where wages are lower. It is difficult to feel sorry for him regarding what subsequently occurred. Via Libcom:

Workers at a medical supplies factory in Beijing, China, have taken the owner of the factory hostage. He has been locked in his office for several days, and subject to sleep deprivation techniques. The action was taken following a dispute over unpaid wages and severance pay.

The factory boss, Chip Starnes, visited the factory last week to lay-off thirty workers. He gave them a redundancy payment and then intended on leaving. As soon as the rest of the workers on shift realised what was happening they thought the entire factory was about to close down and barricaded him in his office.

When interviewed, workers also claimed that their action was also due to unpaid wages over the last few months.

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China To Introduce Death Penalty For Egregious Polluters

pollutersHarsh but fair? Via Scientific American:

Chinese authorities have given courts the powers to hand down the death penalty in serious pollution cases, state media said, as the government tries to assuage growing public anger at environmental desecration.

A new judicial interpretation which took effect on Wednesday would impose “harsher punishments” and tighten “lax and superficial” enforcement of the country’s environmental protection laws, the official Xinhua news agency reported: “In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down.”

Protests over pollution have unnerved the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party. Thousands of people took to the streets in the southwestern city of Kunming last month to protest against the planned production of a chemical at a refinery.

Severe air pollution in Beijing and large parts of northern China this winter have added to the sense of unease among the population.

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Man In China Jailed For Alien Hoax

alien

This eerie yet funny alien was made of rubber, steel, and a substance called antholeucin and was stored in Mr. Li’s freezer. Via the New York Daily News:

A Chinese farmer has been jailed for disrupting social order — after he posed with an “alien” he claimed he’d electrocuted after its UFO crashed near his home.

Mr. Li sparked a social media frenzy on Monday when pictures of him standing next to what appeared to be an extraterrestrial life-form were uploaded online. But, following police interrogation, he reportedly confessed to making the whole incident up — admitting that the “body” was in fact rubber.

The Shangdong farmer now faces five days in jail. “The alien purportedly electrocuted and discovered by a man in Binzhou is a high-quality imitation,” posted Jinan Police on its Sina microblog.

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How Censorship In China Allows Criticism But Silences Collective Organizing

censorship in chinaVia the American Political Science Review, Harvard researchers pinpoint the surprising heart of authoritarian state censorship — anti-government criticism is in fact allowed, but not references to collective action of any sort:

We have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of posts from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to find, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the subset they deem objectionable. We compare posts censored to those not censored.

Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not likely to be censored. Instead the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future—and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.

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American Engineer’s Death Suicide or Cyber-Espionage?

via CBS News Year of the Snake

The death of an American computer engineer, Shane Todd, in Singapore has created quite a stir. His parents contend he was murdered, but authorities say it was suicide. The mystery seems to have links to the dark world of cyber-spying and could possibly involve China.
Rick and Mary Todd traveled from Montana to Singapore to prove that their son was actually the victim of a web of international cyber-espionage.

“We really appreciate the process that is going on; it’s a slow process so we really appreciate the way Singapore conducts its court system,” said Rick Todd.

The Todds are attending an 11-day inquiry into their son’s death. Shane Todd had been an engineer for a Singapore government research agency called the Institute of Microelectronics (IME). Then two days after quitting last June, he was found dead, hanging in his apartment bathroom. Police and the coroner ruled it a suicide.

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