Great Leap Forward

Right into the abyss. I’ve once heard a PRC say: “If we don’t steal their technology, we won’t be able to develop so quickly.”

The new rules are as long as you are Chinese and as long as China benefits, you don’t have to follow the rules.

Beneath The Surface

Going beneath the surface of China’s impressive infrastructure. Get off the tourist trail/commercial centres and you’ll see a very different China.

Just Like Animals

China’s Covid prevention measures for a human epidemic are no different from what farmers would do for an animal epidemic. Perhaps just one step away from culling the infected?

Dr Sean Lin – Microbiologist & Former US Army Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the research industry and field infectious diseases surveillance. Skilled in Operational Planning, Disease Outbreak Response, Next Generation Sequencing, Viral Vaccine Production, Cell Culture, Information Assurance, Public Speaking, and U.S. Army. Media operation and production experience on independent Chinese media that are free from Chinese government control. Human Rights activist and Indo-pacific political and military analyst with Master Degree on International Relations from Syracuse University – Maxwell School.

Famous Words From Ju Shou

“上盈其志,下务其功;悠悠黄河,吾其济乎!”

– 袁绍监军都督,沮授

200 AD, Yuan Shao, with territories north of the Yellow River had a military strength of over 100,000. Across the river in the south, was Cao Cao with an army of only 30,000, still recovering from a recent battle.

Yuan Shao was fully confident of victory as he crossed the river to attack Cao Cao. His commander Ju Shou and advisor Tian Feng were the only ones against the move. Ju Shou lamented that his future was uncertain with the leader desperate to conquer and his subordinates desperate to claim credit.

“救乱诛暴,谓之义兵。恃众凭强,谓之骄兵。义者无敌,骄兵必败.” – 沮授

Ju Shou also said: An ethical army would only use violence to suppress cruelty. An army that depends on numbers to intimidate others is an arrogant bully. An ethical army keeps absorbing allies till it becomes invincible. An arrogant army is ostracized and doomed to fail. Ju Shou was spot on. Cowards on Cao Cao’s side defected to Yuan Shao’s side. Men of talent and principles on Yuan Shao’s side defected to Cao Cao’s side. Ju Shou remained loyal to Yuan Shao. When captured after Yuan Shao’s defeat, Ju Shou refused to surrender and was executed.

This battle is called 官渡之战 which is even more instructive (albeit less dramatic) than 赤壁。1800 years thence, the likes of Yuan Shao and his sycophants still exist.

Hero Who Refused To Obey

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Xu Qinxian

This is Xu Qinxian (Chinese: 徐勤先; August 1935 – 8 January 2021) who passed away one year ago at the age of 85. He is one of those who received the “highest award” from the Chinese government – cancellation on Baidu after he was imprisoned. So what’s his crime?

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Back in 1989, Xu Qinxian was the commander of the 38th Division of the People’s Liberation Army. On the 20th of May 1989, General Xu received orders to open fire on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square. He refused to obey, telling friends that he would rather lose his head than to to go down in history as a sinner. If General Xu had not disobeyed orders, the Tiananmen massacre would have taken place on that day itself. It wasn’t till 4th June 1989 that they found someone willing to do the “dirty work”.

For disobeying orders, Xu was court-martialed, jailed for five years and expelled from the Chinese Communist Party. During his court martial, the unrepentant Xu said to the military tribunal: “This is a political crisis and not a military crisis. A political crisis cannot be settled using military means. The People’s Army has never in its history been used to suppress the people. I absolutely refuse to besmirch this historical record!”

After serving his sentence, he was exiled to Shijiazhuang, Hebei, where he spent the remainder of his life under virtual house arrest.

Crypto Scam

They used to be guys behind a sexy, pretty profile on Line or WeChat – not very convincing. Now, there’s 杀猪盘 which takes online scams to the next level. They employ real girls who show their pretty faces and video chat with you. They direct you to a real cryptocurrency exchange and even earn you some real profits until … you’re fat enough to slaughter. Not too much details here from Winston as the scheme is just beginning its foray into the overseas market.

Next, a video by another former expat (another Chinese son-in-law and also a good friend of Winston’s in China) Matt Tye. It’s not something I find terribly surprising (given my personal experience with friends and relatives), but that chart showing the proportion of favourable versus unfavourable view of China compared to the rest of the world really sets Singapore apart. We have 64% who still think favourably of the current regime and situation in China, which I find bit uncanny if you think of our relative ease of access to information. The fact is, I still see many old folks with their smart phones, tuning in to heavily censored information and staged performances on Chinese apps.

While China’s propaganda is definitely not going to win many hearts and minds in most parts of the world, it does pretty well in places like Singapore and Chinese communities in Malaysia. It saddens me and this is the main reason that I’m going to town with all this seemingly “anti-China” (which is not btw, I love Chinese culture).

Over here in Singapore and Malaysia, I hear many people say that freedom and democracy cannot be eaten. Well, tell that to the victims of 强拆. Tell that to the hawkers who are constantly bullied by 城管. Tell that to people who are disappeared simply because they 上访 and lodged a complaint against someone powerful. You think that will never happen to you because you mind your own business and 闷声发大财? Think again. Finally, Simon’s presentation struck a very familiar chord. A paternalistic government is often worshipped by its spoon-fed people. These folks can’t imagine a better system or government than the one they grew up with. But governments and situations can change. Leaders may not be that altruistic and focused on serving the public. Their policies may benefit the big corporations more than they benefit the common folks. Do we have a system that allows those with a courageous mindset to make changes? We do have the former, but it’s the latter that is only found in the minority.

Made In China

Sure, you can’t get a very balanced report on China from an Indian channel, but while you may not like the journalistic “slant”, the facts cannot be denied.

It happened to Singapore’s MRT trains some years back and the issues are going to crop up elsewhere as the Belt & Road Initiative takes hold in other Asian countries. Even with all this negative publicity, there are people who continue to trust China Daily and CGTN’s reports singing praises for new technology and military hardware. Perhaps the apologists should put their money or their safety where their mouths are and ride on one of these planes. In Nepal, give me a Russian plane any time.

And below is a video by aviation vlogger Sam Chui documenting his flight on one of these Chinese planes Y12E on Nepal Airlines. The Bhairahawa-bound Nepalese pilot (a Sherpa who looks a bit like Tenzing Norgay) spoke very frankly about the aircraft. It’s definitely not for inexperienced pilots. Even experienced pilots can’t fix technical issues in the air.

As of now, only five of the six Chinese aircraft are functional and one requires maintenance after crash landing on the runway of Nepalgunj Airport on 28 March 2020.

The carrier stated that it incurred financial losses due to various reasons including load penalties, insurance, scarcity of spare parts, expensive parts, etc. After awarding a huge construction project for the new international airport at Bhairahawa to a Chinese company, Chinese aircraft manufacturers dumped all the junk they don’t want or can’t sell on Nepal. That’s Belt and Road for you.

I believe that China is fully capable of producing good planes, but it also produces a lot of junk which they dump on other countries. You’ll never see these planes running on any major airline in China. Confucius said 己所不欲,勿施于人. No, such dishonourable acts have nothing to do with Chinese culture.

Guo Mei Mei Part 2

Influencer Guo Meimei, a pioneer in wealth-flaunting on social media in China, was arrested again. Back in 2014, she was sentenced to 5 years in prison for operating a casino (ostensibly to cover up other shady deals involving the Red Cross Society in China). She was released in 2019 after which she quickly regained her place on social media. She was back to her old self (albeit a very different face) and her old habit of flaunting her wealth. Not surprisingly she got into trouble again. This time, the story is a lot less complicated. She was tried for the crime of producing and selling toxic and harmful substances. The verdict was announced on 18 October 2021.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

According to reports, the Shanghai Railway Transportation Court found the defendants Guo Meimei and Wang Zouya guilty of selling toxic and harmful foods substances. Guo Meimei was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and a fine of 200,000 yuan for the crime while the defendant Wang Zouya was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 yuan.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

According to previous official reports, starting from September 2020, a certain individual by the name of Mr Zhou supplied a weight-loss candy produced by the manufacturing plant run by Mr Zeng. Sales and distribution of the candy were managed by agents Zhao, Li and others. Mr Zhao supplied the product nationwide through WeChat and other channels.

In January 2021, Zhao recruited previously jailed influencer Guo Mei Mei (real name Guo Meizhen) as his sales agent. Using her social media presence, Guo Mei Mei promoted the weight-loss candy through WeChat and Weibo.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

Sibutramine, a banned substance which is known for severe life-threatening side effects, was detected in the diet candy after many users ended up in hospital. The substance is believed to have been deliberately added to the candy to give it weight/fat trimming effect.

Court documents revealed that the candy Guo Mei Mei sold cost 69 yuan per drop while the cost was only 80 jiao. Medical experts testified that apart from causing the consumer to lose weight, sibutramine, an ingredient that is prohibited by the state, can harm the human heart and brain, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and even cause sudden death.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

Sibutramine was originally a prescription drug for severely obese patients. It was listed as a banned drug in China on October 30, 2010 and it was forbidden to be added to foods including weight-loss products after its life-threatening effects became known.

According to relevant laws and regulations, sibutramine is classified as a “toxic and harmful food additive.” The illegal production and sale of weight-loss candies laced with sibutramine constitutes the offence of producing and selling toxic and harmful food substances in accordance with Chinese law.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

In the case involving Guo Mei Mei, the police cracked down on 3 production sites and 24 sales sites, seizing more than 65,000 packets of toxic weight-loss “health foods” and about 34 kg of raw materials, 3 production lines, and more than 20,000 packaging boxes. The market value of the products seized is estimated to be more than 50 million yuan.

Chinese Influencer Guo Mei Mei

Below. The slimming candy that Guo Mei Mei sold on her live stream. Each piece was sold for 69 yuan. Influencers should never sell things they cannot control. Of course in this case, Guo Mei Mei knew exactly what she was doing and no high-ranking officials are implicated.

I still find it incredible how a person who has so little talent other than showing off, editing selfies and enduring the pain of plastic surgery (not that I’m against any of that but they are not credentials per se) can get so many people to trust her recommendations. What will she think of next?

Teresa Teng Resurrected

It was quite impressive. Using AI, China’s media industry produced a very realistic holographic projection of the legendary Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng (1953- 1995) during Jiangsu TV’s new year concert on 31 Dec 2021. The virtual Teresa Teng shared the stage with popular Mainland artiste Charlie Zhou (Zhou Shen), singing three Mandarin songs together. 

The virtual Teresa didn’t just sing, she spoke too. In a self-introduction before the final song of the three-piece set, she was seen mouthing the words in her signature dulcet voice: “Hello everyone, I’m Teresa Teng, I’m happy to be here at Jiangsu Satellite TV, working with Zhou Shen (Charlie Zhou). Here, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year.”

The audience loved it (her).

The great irony here is, the real Teresa Teng not only urged mainlanders to support democracy, she clarified that she had never accepted any offer to perform in mainland China and even if she would do so in future, that would be the day the PRC adopts Sun Yat Sen’s Three Principles of the People – national unity, government by the people and government for the people. Joke or insult, you decide.

Nevertheless, this was certainly not the first time that the PRC has hijacked a dead person’s philosophy to espouse its own values. China’s great writer Lu Xun and its first leader after the fall of imperial China, Sun Yat Sen have both been “honoured” as communists, even though they would certainly have been persecuted if they had lived to see the communist era.

What about the late Anita Mui who contributed to the Yellow Bird Project, a Hong Kong-based operation to help the Chinese dissidents who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 to escape arrest by the Chinese government by facilitating their departure overseas via Hong Kong. Yellow Bird successfully helped more than 400 dissidents, who were smuggled through Hong Kong, and then onwards to Western countries. Some escapees included Wu’erkaixi, Chai Ling, Li Lu, Feng Congde, Chen Yizi, and Su Xiaokang. Three Hong Kong based activists were arrested by the Chinese authorities, but later released after intervention by the Hong Kong government. Yes, the HK government actually had a say in such matters back then. Boy, have things changed.

After that “successful” project with Teresa Teng, are they going to resurrect the Cantopop singer (1963-2003) and make her hologram mouth communist propaganda? Who can say no? The dead can’t protest. The fearful don’t protest and most people are ignorant or forgetful or both. Don’t be surprised if people who have known Anita Mui or Teresa Teng all their lives embrace the fake image and forget all about the one they once knew.

I would also not be surprised if some people with “flexible principles” would say “never mind lah”. Is it wrong? Of course it is. In fact, what the folks at Jiangsu Satellite TV did is not very different from the fake celebrity endorsements that so many naive netizens fall for. Either way, there are commercial interests and political mileage gained in a very unethical way. If only the dead could rise and set the record straight like the misrepresented celebrities.

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What next? They could even make a hologram of the Dalai Lama and make him confess to all his “crimes” or preach a religion other than Buddhism. Believe me, there are people who will say “never mind lah”.