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Chinese Workers’ Problems · This New York Times sto­ry, telling ug­ly sto­ries of hu­man suf­fer­ing at Chi­nese out­sourcer­s, isn’t about Ap­ple. It’s pure pol­i­tics and eco­nomic­s ...
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Tibet and Twitter · On the plane home from San Fran­cis­co, I was sit­ting among a bunch of Ti­betans who’d been down from Van­cou­ver for the big protests around the Olympic Torch re­lay. I was hon­oured to be with them. The day be­fore, I’d been fol­low­ing the ac­tion most­ly on Twit­ter: check out @teamti­bet, where they were help­ing or­ga­nize the protest­s. Twit­ter, it’s an activist’s dream. But I couldn’t find on­line video or pho­tos of Ma­jo­ra Carter car­ry­ing the torch and the Ti­betan flag. Oh, and Chi­na, here’s a re­al­i­ty we honkies in­ter­nal­ized way back when: Im­pe­ri­al­is­m, it can do won­ders for your com­mer­cial po­si­tion and in dis­tract­ing the cit­i­zens from the regime’s do­mes­tic fail­ings. But on the oth­er hand, the bad PR is just nev­er gonna go away. So, you want the up­side, you just got­ta suck it up and deal with the im­age dam­age. Public whin­ing ill-suits a wannabe im­pe­ri­al pow­er.
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Missing in Shanghai · Wikipedia. BBC News. YouTube. Every­one on word­press.­com and on blogspot.­com. Plus, all feeds host­ed at FeedBurn­er (and that’s a lot of feed­s, in­clud­ing some pret­ty big-name blog­ger­s). Mind you, all this changes, some­times from week to week, they tell me. Stil­l, you have to feel sor­ry for Chi­nese knowl­edge work­er­s, fight­ing with one hand tied be­hind their back.
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Ups and Downs · Every­body I know trav­els to Chi­na re­peat­ed­ly it seem­s, but I haven’t for a decade or more, and that was Hong Kong, so here­with the Shanghai-newbie ex­pe­ri­ence ...
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Tab Sweep — The World · To­day we have mu­sic, Chi­na, head counts, ter­ror­is­m, and tele­mar­keter­s ...
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Those Commies · One of this week’s de­liv­er­ables was a visa for the Shang­hai trip. This in­volved a to­tal of about five hours in line at the Van­cou­ver PRC con­sulate, an un­pleas­ant place; but the visa looks great ...
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Tab Sweep — The World · You know, each and ev­ery one of these is worth a carefully-considered lit­tle es­say; but I just don’t have the cy­cles, and pub­lish­ing them is bet­ter than not ...
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Great Wall Protest · It was Cana­di­an­s, two of them from Van­cou­ver, who went and hoist­ed the “Free Tibet” poster on the Great Wal­l. What’s the point of hav­ing young peo­ple in the world if they don’t pull off looney stunts like this? I’m so proud of ’em. Here’s the CBC sto­ry, the Flickr pho­tos, and first-person cov­er­age in Bei­jing Wide Open by Lhadon Tethong.
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Hao Wu and Graham McMynn · Gra­ham McMynn is a teenag­er who was kid­napped in Van­cou­ver on April 4th and freed, in a large, noisy, and news­wor­thy po­lice op­er­a­tion, on April 12th. Hao Wu is a Chi­nese film-maker and blog­ger who was kid­napped in Bei­jing on Fe­bru­ary 22nd in a smal­l, qui­et po­lice op­er­a­tion not in­tend­ed to be news­wor­thy, and who has not been freed. Read about it here, here, and here. Mak­ing noise about it might in­flu­ence the gov­ern­ment of Chi­na to mod­er­ate its ac­tions against Mr. Wu, and can’t do any har­m. Mr. McMynn’s kid­nap­pers were a gag­gle of small-time hood­lum­s, one of whom was out on bail while await­ing tri­al for an­oth­er kid­nap­ping (!). Mr. Wu’s were po­lice. In a civ­i­lized coun­try, the func­tion of the po­lice force is to de­ter such peo­ple and ar­rest them. A na­tion where they are the same peo­ple? No­body could call it “civilized”. [Up­date, months lat­er: Hao Wu is free.]
 
Seventeen Years Later · June 4th is the an­niver­sary of the Tianan­men Square mas­sacre. Go search YouTube for Tien­an­men, lots of good stuff in­clud­ing sev­er­al ver­sions of the fa­mous guy-and-the-tank footage. The best book I’ve ev­er read about the spring of 1989 in Chi­na is Jan Wong’s Red Chi­na Blues. It still seems to me that China’s cur­rent po­lit­i­cal struc­ture is flim­sy, tee­ter­ing, and ready to im­plode.
 
Chinese Standing Up · When the Chi­nese Civ­il War end­ed in 1949, Mao Ze­dong fa­mous­ly said “China has stood up.” While it took an­oth­er forty years to get start­ed, the re­cent eco­nom­ic ex­plo­sion has been a world-changer. But that sto­ry isn’t over; there’s a re­mark­able piece in the NY Times this morn­ing out­lin­ing how the Chi­nese are do­ing a bit of stand­ing up on their own, eco­nom­i­cal­ly. They’re walk­ing away from those “cheap labour” man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs that have served as one of the main eco­nom­ic drivers of the last cou­ple of decades. At the end of the day, cheap labour doesn’t stay cheap. And while there are prob­a­bly some more “cheap labour” places for busi­ness­es to move—India, Africa—the con­se­quences for Chi­na have to be pro­found. And I can see the day com­ing, maybe not in my life­time but not that much fur­ther out, when the whole no­tion of mov­ing busi­ness­es around the world so you can pay peo­ple less has be­come, fi­nal­ly, self-defeating. What hap­pens then?
 
The Guy in the Tank · Lau­ren asks a re­al good ques­tion: I of­ten won­der what hap­pened to the per­son driv­ing the tank at Tianan­men Square, the one who didn’t roll over the sin­gle protestor stand­ing in the way?
 
On Freeing China · In the pages of the cur­rent Busi­ness Week, to my sur­prise, a cred­i­ble write-up on how the peo­ple of Chi­na might get out from un­der their government’s thum­b. It takes a bit of a long view, which is ap­pro­pri­ate when ad­dress­ing a big prob­lem ...
 
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