Category Archives: Dispute

Chinese in Africa (continued)

Good Al Jazeera 20 minute documentary on Chinese immigrants in Senegal.

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Filed under Africa, Dispute, Film, Politics

A tale of murder, fog, beef noodles and the ‘greatest gangster in China’

This story is a Chinese Agatha Christie style murder mystery Cluedo on crack.

The backdrop to this tale of political intrigue is Chongqing, (think Gotham with dumplings)  – an overpopulated, murky, fogged up city run by corrupt gangsters and even more corrupt officials.

Gotham

Chongqing

In November of last year a 41 year old British ‘businessman‘ Neil Heywood was found dead in a hotel room and was swiftly cremated, with the official verdict being that he had drunk himself to death. Only Neil Heywood didn’t drink. Heywood was a Mandarin speaking ex public school (Harrow) businessman, Aston Martin dealer and freelance consultant for ‘intelligence’ agency Hakluyt, who seem to be rapidly distancing themselves from the story.

The death of Mr Heyman is one of the key events in the drama of the downfall of the Communist Party chief in Chongqing, Bo Xilai.

Bo had it all. Just a year ago, he was tipped to be one of the new leaders of China and now his political career is in ruins and his wife is being accused of  murder. Bo was one of the rising stars of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was lauded for his stints as Mayor in Dalian, Governor of Liaoniang and party chief of Chongqing. However, his stellar career has come crashing down after he was  suspended from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) after his head of police, Wang Lijun was accused of trying to defect to the US at their consulate in Chengdu. Reports have suggested that Wang discussed the death of Heywood with Bo and suspected foul play.  Then in a frightened state he tried to seek refuge from Mr Bo by defecting to the West.  An article supposedly penned by Wang referred to Bo as the ‘greatest gangster in China’

Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai has been ‘transferred to the judicial authorities’ in relation to death of Mr Heywood. The relationship between Heywood and Bo is not fully clear. It has been reported that he was a ‘fixer’ for Bo’s family and helped his son gain a place at Harrow school in north west London.  Whether the relationship between Bo, Gu and Heywood turned sour or not is unclear.

Bo made a name for himself in Chongqing with his no-nonsense approach to corruption and organized crime. Did he broke a few eggs too many in trying to make his omelette of Chinese power? Over the course of a few months he has gone from hot prospect to hot potato and has been dismissed from the Politburo and is now being investigated for “serious discipline violations”

This is being reported as one of the most significant political upheavals in China for 20 years . The British government have added their approval to the ongoing investigations into Heywood’s death. The reactions on the Chinese blogosphere are also interesting to note. In the censored and monitored world of the Chinese internet Chinese netizens often find their freedom to use language as they please is  suppressed so they invent nicknames for people and events to make sure they can still talk about what is going on. In the internal struggles to remove Bo and Zhou Yongkang from power, bloggers reported the following:

In the 18th tugging war contest (18th National Congress) the “carrot ball” (Hu Jintao) led his team members “antenna baby” (Wen Jiabao), ‘learning machine” (Xi Jinping) and “wood seed” (Li Keqiang) to win against their rivals “Master Kong beef noodle” (Zhou Yongkang) who severely lost the game without support from “Tomato” (Bo Xilai).

The drama continues….

Bo, Gu and Neil

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Filed under Blogs, Bo Xilai, censorship, Communist Party, corruption, Dispute, media, News, Politics, Propaganda

The Nike Detox Plan

I have just read an interesting article from China Dialogue on how top sporting brands: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Li Ning etc are getting together for a ‘detox’. The world’s top sporting brands are setting out a plan to ‘wean themselves off’ the toxins they use to dye clothing.

In August last year Nike committed to a challenge set by Greenpeace to ‘eliminating all hazardous chemicals across its entire supply chain, and the entire life-cycle of its products by 2020’

Puma have also agreed to up their game and have been taking steps to evaluate their environmental cost. They have ‘calculated that the cost their operations had imposed on the natural environment last year through their greenhouse-gas emissions and water consumption was 94.4 million euros’

I happen to be reading an excellent book on the history of cancer at the moment and just read about how many of the toxins this article talks about were discovered.

In the mid 19th century, the cotton industry was undergoing a revolution and  represented about 50% of all of the British exports, however, extracting the dyes used to colour the cotton was still a labour intensive process. The booming cotton industry led to new techniques of dyeing being developed and hastened the creation of the field of synthetic chemistry.

The new dyes that were being developed led chemists to create a whole range of chemical byproducts: solvents, alcohols, alkaloids, amides, alizarins and other non natural chemicals. It was the development of these synthetic chemicals that gave birth to modern pharmacology. They also have serious environmental consequences and it has taken a while for any clothing corporations to take notice. I wonder how long it will take big pharmaceuticals to follow suit.

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Filed under Advertising, Dispute, environment, Propaganda, Sport

A Sichuan dog barks at the Sun – Nicolas Anelka off to China?

Anelka to Shenhua?

The Chinese idiom a sichuan dog barks at the sun 蜀犬吠日 (Shu quan fei ri) is used to indicate being suprised at something being normal, due to one’s ignorance. During the Tang dynasty Sichuan was a foggy place (now it is just polluted) and when the Sun came out it was a rare occasion. So the dogs barked, thinking something strange was happening.

This link is pretty tenuous. Yesterday, I got pretty excited and started barking at an article in the Sun linking Chelsea forward Nicholas Anelka to Shanghai Shenhua. Apparently, Anelka was being offered £9.2 million per season to join the struggling Shanghai outfit. Where these numbers or stories come from is anybody’s guess.

According to the Sun (and the Mail), Shenhua also recently appointed Miroslav Blazevic, 76, as their new coach. However, standards of journalism at these national papers are clearly not very high. Not only was the Anelka  story a load of tosh, but it is also quite clear that Blazevic is not the manager of Shenhua. Blazevic took the job as national team coach for China, then didn’t qualify for the 2012 Olympics and is now working in Iranian league football side Mes Kerman.

Shenhua’s coach is of course Croatian legend Drazen Besek. To verify, here is a fantastic video of Besek, doing what some managers in the English Premier League should do. One of the Shenhua players ‘collides’ with another on the field, he drops to the floor as though mortally wounded. Besek has none of it and rushes on to the field, tells him to stop faking and picks him up.

Although football fans have come to expect transfer rumours to be just that, they still manage to sell newspapers and generate stories where there are none.

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Filed under Dispute, EPL, Football, News, Sport

One Tiger Eight Breasts

the image now known as “一虎八奶图” one tiger, eight breasts (I can only spot 4)

According to an article in the Guardian : Ai Weiwei is now being charged with spreading ‘pornographic’ images all over the web. Ai invited some 网友 (net friends) over to his studio, shot some nudies and put them up on the web and then forgot he had done so.  The Chinese government view Ai as a tax evading dissident who is supported and praised by those in the west. The government are often cracking down on online pornography (they arrested 5,394 for disseminating online porn in 2009)

Ai told associated press: “If they see nudity as pornography, then China is still in the Qing dynasty,”

In a similar story the French government have removed works of Henri Matisse from gift shops all over Paris and put his grandson under house arrest.

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Filed under Art, censorship, Dispute, Fashion, Politics, Propaganda

Obama loves Hu

Although the White House has announced its disapproval at Benettons’ new ad campaign there has been no denial of the romance that has been slowly blossoming. White House spokesman Eric Schulz wrote: ‘The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.”

No denial then.

Tensions between the two world leaders have been rising in recent weeks after Obama announced that he was sending 2,500 US troops to be based in Australia. This is presumably to remind China that America exists and hasnt forgotten that there is lots of oil in the south China sea and to give the troops a snorkeling holiday.

China has recently signed an agreement with other South Asian countries setting out some guidelines as to what the laws of the sea should be. There have been a number of disputes in the South China Seas in recent years over oil and land rights. The US are remaining ‘neutral’ but are backing up the Phillipines in an argument over the Spratly islands. 

The argument seems to stem from a debate over who has the oldest map. China claims it found some really old ones.

For more research into the South China Seas disputes, please watch this educational clip:

 

 

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Filed under comedy, Dispute, Military, News, Politics, Spratly