PRC News China Briefing: 2004-04-14

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run regular updates on news around the world. This update appeared there on April 14, 2004 and was posted by Adam Morris in Tianjin. The comments offer an insightful opinions on a number of these topics.


  • The China blogosphere widely reported that all blogs using Typepad and all blogs have been blocked just as blogspot blogs were earlier last year. Six Apart ruled out technological problems on their end. The move prompted a 100-strong blackout in virtual protest, and other schemes have been initiated in response.
  • The controversial anti-China referendum failed on account of not making a quorum but Chen Shui-bian took the Taiwan election, but not without further controversy. See below for full coverage.
  • Beijing asserts superiority in all things political in Hong Kong, unilaterally interpreting the island’s mini-constitution. The central government has likely taken over the political situation there, possibly leaving Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa without any power to speak of.

Other Topics Today Include:More Taiwan election coverage; Cheney’s upcoming Beijing trip; Hepatitis B carriers are damned to be jobless; You just can’t win a Chinese lottery; and the implications of the impending death of the man who took the fall for the Tiananmen Square Massacre 15 years ago this June.


  • A small group of miscreants sailed to a group of tiny, resource-rich, but nationless islands called Diaoyu (Fishing Islands, or Senkaku islands in Japanese) and planted a Chinese flag only to be met by (according to them, anyway) three Japanese warships. The result is yet more anti-Japanese feelings, and Shanghai Eye points out some of the recurring players in such movements.


  • A BBC article dissects all the conspiracy theories associated with the assassination attempt, and systematically debunks them.
  • Lien’s credibility has been largely discredited as a result of his inciting the population to reject the results of the election, and other, various absurdities.
  • The aftermath of the election has seen various protests and light skirmishes with police. Wayne of A Better Tomorrow has a good round up of some of the more recent ones.
  • Cyril H. Wecht, a US forensics expert famous for debunking the “magic bullet” theory associated with JFK’s assassination, is on board to investigate the crime.


  • Zhao Ziyang, liberal-minded and purged communist leader who was last seen 15 years ago warning Tiananmen student leaders of the impending crackdown, is on his death bed. The PRC has been arresting Tiananmen activists for some time now and the blocking of various blog communities might have some connection. Government officials are concerned that with his death might come with renewed calls for reform, as what happened when Hu Yaobang passed away that initially sparked the student movement.
  • China Digital News carries a translation of a Chinese politician reflecting on Zhao Ziyang and the plight of human rights in China.


  • Lucent Technologies fired four of its executives in the China branch, claiming that they violated US law against offering bribes to government officials while overseas. The event reminds us that doing business in the Middle Kingdom often means getting your hands dirty.
  • A 17-year-old boy wins a BMW, is declared the winner, pictures are taken, and the next day he’s notified that his ticket was a fake. In anger he scaled a wall and became the hot story in the Chinese-language press for a day.