Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Adam Morris of Brainysmurf and PRC News. You may want to use the "print friendly" icon in the upper left corner for this one. Top Stories: * Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Washington and wins some very pro-China language from Bush. Taiwan's President, Chen Shuibian, wants to have a referendum on Chinese missiles pointed at the mainland but Bush said that it would be a change from the status quo. Last we heard from Chen he was daring the mainland to lob some missiles his way. * The Internet itself is becoming one of China's hottest topics, not only because of the PRC's attempt to smother cyberdissidents and related folk, but because an internet sex writer by the name of Mu Zimei got so many visitors it brought servers down. Furthermore, a gallery of naked, painted bodies available on the official news agency of the PRC net that just a decade ago would have been unheard of. * Nicholas D. Kristof of the NYT is currently in Beijing, and has a flurry of interesting dispatches, all of them tests of the government. One tests how anti-government you can be on Chinese BBSs and another tests how far he can go in getting honest answers from the government. * Richard of Peking Duck, interviews a Shanghai-based protester during the 1989 Democracy movement ... and finds that he's totally flip-flopped on his political views. A snippet: "Looking back, I firmly believe the government did the right thing ... let's live with Communism for now and change things one thing at a time." Further topics include: Various takes on the PRC and Taiwan give-and-take ... Native Chinese interaction with expat bloggers ... The Information Revolution is coming to town ... Economic indicators ... Asian Weblog Awards ... And your one-stop shopping for China-based blog commentary.
Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, er, well maybe not * Bush's licking Taiwan on changing the status quo got Tacitus to say it's odd that the administration would disapprove of Taiwan's exercise in democracy, and Calpundit responds it's just another rhetorical speech. Brainysmurf disagrees and says it's at least bad politics and may even mean a change in policy. Meanwhile the Gweilo takes Wen to task for some of his less enlightened comments during the trip. * Native Beijing blogger Hailey Xie provides a rare look into what many Chinese think on the Taiwan/China issue. She has a post written for a foreign audience here, and snippets of an earlier post as well as a discussion on it can be found here. Before choosing to comment though, consider that people such as Hailey are resources that we shouldn't attack with scathing comments. * Flying Yangban devotes not one but two posts to the crisis and his viewpoint on them, noting that war is more likely with every passing year. Den Beste documents why Taiwan will never invade, and Vodkapundit wonders out loud if the PRC won't just launch a bunch of missiles at them. * Prince Roy, writing for Living in China, documents why he thinks China is actually pursuing a policy of peaceful evolution towards Taiwan. This time writing for PRC News, the Prince flexes his knowledge of the legal language surrounding the Taiwan/PRC relationship while opining on Hoagland's latest. * Parapundit provides a link fest on the issue as well as some deep-cutting questions, and points to the growing economic inter-dependence with the PRC and the US as reason to believe the US will have no choice but to choose the PRC over Taiwan. The Information Revolution -- with Chinese characteristics * Sex blogger Mu Zimei received so many visitors to her blog talking about her sexual encounter with a Chinese rock band star that she voluntarily stopped blogging on her own. Background, saucy pics (if you like women with big hair), and even a translation of her most recent blogging, and much much more is available by one of Beijing's newest blogs by a media professional, danwei. Meanwhile there's available some thoughts on what Mu Zimei's done to the blogging community in general, as well as some translations of native Chinese bloggers' reactions. * China Digital News tells us that "Twenty-five percent of Chinese city dwellers (especially small cities) are regular Internet users... Nearly 85% of them were below the age of 35." * So far this year both times Iraq was huge in the news China offered live news coverage of the events. During the Iraq War II it got unprecedented live coverage with no censoring. When Saddam was covered the same happened, as Living in China tells us, although Voluntarily in China says it was rudely interrupted by a talking foreigner figure in the middle of the broadcast. Nonetheless, the news agency is learning the value of live feeds. Economic activity * Robert Frost of Asia Labour News, a new Hong Kong-based blog that digs into economic and labour figures and the like, tells us that China's biggest overseas textile investment is in ... where else? ... Mexico. Frost also documents labour unrest in Liaoyang Province, and reveals that a Christian Science Monitor article on China's economic output contains a ringer of a statistic that rivals even China's own generous estimates. * Currency is gaining on the notion that China is steadily rising as Asia's default power as their economy gains strength. A string of articles discussing China's recent diplomatic moves and their breakout from their Leninist straightjacket provide the argument. * Peking Duck wonders if China hasn't been hit with "Irrational Exuberance". Simonworld points to evidence of a market bubble. China-related discussions * Various posts have led to healthy discussion in the blogosphere lately, including Andres Gentry on the possibility of Chinese democracy and a follow-up post examining some of the comments and criticisms given by readers. * Language Hat hosts an interesting discussion on the categorization of Chinese as a Sino-Tibetan Langauge. * The Duck comments on a spirited intra-blog discussion on how expat bloggers should be interacting with local bloggers that erupted on the local China and Hong Kong blog scene. Etcetera: * Zhuhai (in southern China)'s night life hasn't been the festive party it once was, but that's because of China's biggest sex crime involving three Japanese tourists and their "comfort tour" with reportedly hundreds of prostitutes led to a court case and a crackdown on the partying there. The reported orgy resulted in a repeat of anti-Japanese feelings, and the pimps got life in prison. It also resulted in some great fodder for a bad soap opera. * The founding chairman of Human Rights Watch, Robert L. Bernstein, writes an op-ed in WaPo making the claim that two to three million Chinese live in 800 "virtual 'slave' camps," and accuses western journalists everywhere of ignoring the story. Brainysmurf takes a careful look at the claim and finds it wanting, while the Gweilo thinks its more evidence that the current Chinese leadership is just as bad as previous regimes. * Phil of Flyingchair reports that Hong Kong's cell phone saturation rate is now above 100 percent. Simonworld comments and links to relevant articles on the mobile phone disease. * Hemlock says that claims about Shanghai catching up to Hong Kong is all about impressions. * The Marmot notes the PRC's latest historical revisionism, in particular it's attempt to call two ancient Korean kingdoms its own. The Marmot follows up on the story here, and Oranckay has some comments as well. * Media in China notes that Shanghai is banning bicycles on the streets, a policy that is becoming more and more standard as they interfere with traffic flow and the rising number of automobiles. * Taiwan-based blogger A Better Tomorrow found an online version of the book Formosa Betrayed. Quite possibly your one-stop source for decoding the history of Taiwan. * Vote for your favorite Asia-based blogs, or bookmark ones you've discovered for the first time, over at the first annual Asia Weblog Awards. A lot of work was put by Phil and everyone taking part in it says that the best part about it is the grand blogroll that's been created. Perfect for a lazy holiday afternoon of web surfing. * Finally, most China- and Hong Kong-based bloggers are gathered around a community with the central location of Living in China. It has its own original postings, photos, and most notably a constantly updated aggregator of RSS feeds from participating blogs that lets readers check out the latest in China-based blogs. Thoughts and reflections on the site by participants can be found here and here.