Tag Archives | China

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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China’s Elite Uses Air Purification Systems And Giant Domes To Retreat From Toxic Urban Air

giant domesIs life in some of our planet’s main cities beginning to resemble life on the moon? The New York Times reports:

Levels of deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children.

Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing.

Face masks are now part of the urban dress code. Parents have scrambled to buy air purifiers. IQAir, a Swiss company, makes purifiers that cost up to $3,000 here and are displayed in shiny showrooms.

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China Releases Its 2012 Report On Human Rights In The United States

human rightsIt may be a bit ludicrous for the Chinese government to criticize other nations over human rights, but that doesn’t mean that their observations are wrong.

Via China Daily, excerpts from the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China’s report titled “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012,” released a week ago:

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as “the world judge of human rights” again. However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it.

In the U.S., elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions had, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

The U.S. has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gap.

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China’s Government Is Aiming To Eradicate Superstition

eradicate superstition

Perhaps we could use a bit of this policy approach here in the United States? Reuters reports:

China is struggling to get its estimated 100 million religious believers to banish superstitious beliefs about things like sickness and death, the country’s top religious affairs official told a state-run newspaper.

Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said there had been an explosion of religious belief in China along with the nation’s economic boom, which he attributed to a desire for reassurance in an increasingly complex world.

While religion could be a force for good in officially atheist China, it was important to ensure people were not mislead, he told the Study Times: “We need to help people establish a correct world view and to scientifically deal with birth, ageing, sickness and death, as well as fortune and misfortune, via popularizing scientific knowledge.”

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Men Jailed In China For Stealing Corpses For ‘Ghost Marriages’

Just because you’re dead and rotting doesn’t mean you can’t be a hot ticket as a bride or groom. The Global Post reports:

Four men in northwest China have been sentenced for digging up the corpses of women and selling them for “ghost marriages” to families whose sons died as bachelors. The remains of ten “brides” were sold for a total of $38,000, according to court reports.

Ritual ghost marriages, which is believed to date back to the 17th century BC, is a custom in which parents find “spouses” for their unmarried, deceased children so that they can have a family in the afterlife. The tradition is rare in contemporary China, but still practiced in rural [areas].

Families often employ a matchmaker to help find a suitable spouse for their deceased loved ones. Chinese media have reported cases of brokers murdering women and selling their bodies. In 2006, a man from northern Hebei province murdered six women and sold them as “ghost brides.”

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China’s Massive Eugenics Project To Choose High-IQ Embryos

Via Edge.org, NYU evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller on how the biggest eugenics push in history is just unfolding, which he feels will dramatically shape the future:

China has been running the world’s largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China’s ever-faster rise as the global superpower. When I learned about Chinese eugenics this summer, I was astonished that its population policies had received so little attention. China makes no secret of its eugenic ambitions, in either its cultural history or its government policies.

The BGI-Shenzhen Cognitive Genomics Project is currently doing whole-genome sequencing of 1,000 very-high-IQ people around the world, hunting for sets of sets of IQ-predicting alleles. I know because I recently contributed my DNA to the project, not fully understanding the implications. These IQ gene-sets will be found eventually—but will probably be used mostly in China, for China.

Potentially, the results would allow all Chinese couples to maximize the intelligence of their offspring by selecting among their own fertilized eggs for the one or two that include the highest likelihood of the highest intelligence.

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