Another Kind of Labour Camp

Where does China’s 50 cent army 五毛/网军 come from? Imprisoned dissidents like Xiao Yiwu once wrote his book that many prison inmates were offered a reduction of sentence by working in prison sweatshops. Those who hit certain quotas were granted paroles or even a reduction of prison time. Xiao wrote that many of the inmates worked 18 hours a day to get out of prison fast.

What about working online to make it look like millions of people are supporting or believing the official narrative? Like Russia’s troll factories, prisoners in China could be recruited as cyber mercenaries working for the state.

Traditional Chinese Toilets

The toilets that you see on the tourist trails are specially built to impress tourists. Many toilets in countryside or even obscure corners of the city still follow this traditional design. Things have not changed here since I first visited China in 1995.

More Banking Troubles

Xiao Shu is facing his first major banking issue. He bought some endowment funds some time ago and decided to redeem then upon maturity but his card suddenly didn’t work. He approached his bank but was given lame excuses like they blocked his card because of unauthorised use. He asked for the statement showing unauthorised use, but they were unable to produce it. They also claimed to be unauthorised to unblock his card.

Xiao Shu only managed to get them to fix his problem when he yelled at the folks at the main office and demanded to see their leader. Apparently, his card was blocked for “suspicious activity” after he applied for more than one card within a short period of time. These are obviously orders from the top. One must be very careful with Chinese financial products and bank operations. Banks are now under great pressure to block capital flight and fund ailing property developers. Xiao Shu is not the only “suspect”. Many netizens have faced the same risk. Trust these banks at your own risk.

Excerpts From Lu Xun

China’s most revered leader Mao Zedong was a great fan of Lu Xun. That’s because Lu Xun was a leftist writer. Some of his essays and stories supported the Communist ideals of that period. However, though Mao promoted Lu Xun as a revolutionary writer and even a communist, the dead Lu Xun could not argue.

He has been used. That’s why when asked what would happen to Lu Xun if he had lived to see the communist era, Mao candidly and honestly replied that he either had to keep quiet or go to prison.

Ironically, Lu Xun’s works are taken out of context and studied in communist China, not in their entirety but selectively. For instance, Lu Xun would have supported Mao’s breaking of the “Four Olds”, but definitely not to the extent that went on during the Cultural Revolution. A book that presents Lu Xun as he actually was, will certainly be banned in China today.

Guiyang Starving

Guiyang is the provincial capital of Guizhou. Why is it that zoo animals get priority over people? Because when strangers go missing, no one will notice. If the the zoo cages are empty, everyone will notice. I still can’t get used to seeing a former star of Chinese propaganda from CCTV finally “opening up” reporting embarrassing news.

Weaponising Zero Covid

Miles Kwok again. I don’t know if Xi would say such things to the leader of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan when he visits them, but one thing we can be sure of, is that the CCP is aware that zero Covid measures could be used as a weapon to control movements and prevent rebellions and challenges to its legitimacy.

Inspector Liu Has Been Imprisoned

On many occasions, decorated police officer Inspector Liu Jian had complained about his colleagues destroying evidence (possibly after being paid to do so). It became so difficult for him to do it through proper channels that he had to go on social media to report these wrongdoings and present the evidence. He has been arrested and imprisoned for 寻衅滋事罪 (Picking quarrels and provoking trouble)。

The most heartbreaking part is that Inspector Liu made it his calling to be a police officer because his father was once saved from starvation by a police officer.

Violent Crimes In China

It’s actually a lot more common than we think. 10 years ago, when I still saw a lot of promise in the rise of China, I was flummoxed about why so many Chinese people told me that they want to leave. Some were so desperate that they allowed themselves to be smuggled out like animals.