June 10, 2009

China’s New Directive to PC Manufactures to install Green Dam Censorship Software

Filed under: Internet — RedKemp @ 9:06 am

According to the New York Times:

China has issued a sweeping directive requiring all personal computers sold in the country to include sophisticated software that can filter out pornography and other “unhealthy information” from the Internet.

The software, which manufacturers must install on all new PCs starting July 1, would allow the government to regularly update computers with an ever-changing list of banned Web sites.
Zhang Chenming, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, a company that helped create Green Dam, said worries that the software could be used to censor a broad range of content or monitor Internet use were overblown. He insisted that the software, which neutralizes programs designed to override China’s so-called Great Firewall, could simply be deleted or temporarily turned off by the user. “A parent can still use this computer to go to porn,” he said.

If it is true, as Zhang Chenming says, that the software can be turned off, then what is the point? If, as the Wall Street Journal reports, that the software just has to be included on a CD with new computers that can simply be thrown away, then what is the point? If the Green Dam software can simply be deleted, and of course will not be included with computers that users build themselves from parts, then what is the point? I assume that the major PC manufactures (Dell, Lenovo, etc.) will go along with this rather than lose out on the market, but this all serves to once again make China look bad regarding freedom of speech and information to the international community.

Also, before anyone gets very upset about this, I think it is worth reading Rebecca MacKinnon’s measured response to this:

As the week progresses I’m putting more of my money on the likelihood that the Green Dam filtering software edict will not get implemented, or efforts at enforcement will fade quickly. One thing Western observers need to remember is that China has a long history of edicts targeted at the tech, telecoms, and media sectors going un-enforced, quietly retracted, or morphed in practice into something very different. There was the failed attempt to ban encryption software back in 2000. There were multiple failed attempts to force Reuters, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, etc. to sell all their news exclusively through Xinhua. Both were defeated by strong lobbying by international industry groups. The effort to impose a real-name registration requirement on Chinese Internet companies died after fierce opposition from Chinese industry. And last year’s new requirement that online video websites in China must have majority state ownership appears to have gone ignored. Etc.

Further Reading
New York Times: China Requires Censorship Software on New PCs
Wall Street Journal: China Squeezes PC Makers
R Conversation: China’s “Green Dam Youth Escort” software
China Digital Times: Microsoft: China Web Filtering Raises Issues

Popularity: 29% [?]

May 31, 2009


Filed under: Animals — RedKemp @ 4:51 am

RedCat - Chinese Cat Propaganda

Post to resume shortly…

Popularity: 30% [?]

December 1, 2008

‘Venomous’ New Guns N’ Roses Album

Filed under: American Imports — RedKemp @ 6:31 am

For those of you who have not heard this ‘Venomous’ new Guns N’ Roses Album (I won’t mention its name here for fear of getting blocked)…

Popularity: 38% [?]

November 3, 2008

Zhenjiang Dedicates Pearl S. Buck Museum

Filed under: News — RedKemp @ 9:59 am

Via The Philadelphia Enquirer:

ZHENJIANG, China - This smoggy, industrial city is famous for one thing, which it manufactures by the bottle, jug and gallon: vinegar.

But it wants to be famous for something else: being the place where author Pearl S. Buck grew up, where she experienced the sweat and toil of everyday Chinese life that dominated so many of her books and came to define China for a generation of Americans.

In Zhenjiang, where Buck spent much of her first 18 years, the Chinese are working hard to create a viable, profitable tourist industry based on interest in the writer. They are renovating houses and places tied to her to lure visitors from Europe, the United States and Asia.

On Oct. 19, officials here dedicated a grand new Pearl Buck Museum. Here to join them was a 70-person delegation from Pearl S. Buck International, known as PSBI, the Pennsylvania foundation that continues the author’s work in international adoption and children’s aid.

There is also the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace museum in Hillsboro, West Virginia, whose webpage for unknown reasons plays a midi version of “Do You Believe in Life After Love?” by Cher.

Popularity: 31% [?]

October 25, 2008

American McGee’s Baijiu Racer

Filed under: Gaming — RedKemp @ 11:04 pm

American McGee, a video game designer living in Shanghai and probably best known for the game Alice, is working on a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) racing game titled Baijiu Racer (白酒赛车). The following is the announcement that is featured on American McGee’s blog:

Announcing “BaiJiu Racer” - An MMO-lite racing game concept with China as the core theme. The concept has been in focused pre-production for the past three months here at Spicy Horse. Working with our Chinese publishing partner ICEE we’ve crafted a solid Game Design Document, Technical Design Document, Art Bible, Visual Target Demo, and Development Plan. Together these materials constitute a compelling pitch for a title we think will be a strong competitor in the worldwide, lite-MMO, online racing category (think “Kart Racer”).

A lot of teams dream of a “Mario Cart” or “KartRider” killer - and we think our concept goes a long ways towards being a viable contender. For one, it’s the first Chinese cart racing game developed with an authentic and original Chinese art style, set in real-world locations, and featuring some of the funkiest racing vehicle designs the world has ever seen (inspiration coming from actual Chinese vehicles). We’re focusing on semi-realistic (and fun) physics-based racing dynamic, going light on the power-ups, and throwing in a lot of visual action. Check out the art and video to see the result.

The game certainly seems promising, and I can’t think of any other racing games that are set in China. Based on the concept art and the video it has a cartoony but authentic look. I am also interested in how successful this “game pitch for the next generation” will be.

Further Reading
American McGee Pitches New MMO-lite Racing Game “BaiJiu Racer”
American MaGee’s Blog

Popularity: 34% [?]

October 14, 2008

Chinese Ping Pong Champion Wang Hao Caught Urinating Outside of a Karaoke Bar

Filed under: Sport — RedKemp @ 4:37 am

From Today’s Drunken Ping Pong Karaoke Peeing Incident Brought To You By China

It doesn’t seem that Chinese sports stars get into as many embarrassing incidents at bars as American sports stars do (See Adam “Pacman” Jones for a good example), but perhaps that will soon change. Wang Hao, one of the premier ping pong players in China, was caught peeing outside of a Karaoke bar, and while struggling with the guard allegedly said:

“I am the famous Wang Hao! I am the world champion! Does it matter if I beat you?” shouted the 24-year-old, according to a witness quoted by the papers.

Wow. It appears that he will get fined by his army affiliated club Bayi for this, as well as receive counseling. Wang later told CCTV “It taught me that I have to be very careful about anything I say or do.” Who would have thought that peeing in public and screaming like a evil villain from 1980’s action movie would be something you need to be careful about.

Further Reading
Table tennis-China’s Wang to get help after karaoke club fight

Popularity: 34% [?]

China and the Import of Illegal Russian Wood

Filed under: Chinese Products — RedKemp @ 4:07 am

Hauling timber in China

Photograph by Flickr user silverlinedwinnebago

There has been much written about the toll that China’s rapidly improving economy is having on its own environment, but we hear less about what effect it has on the rest of the world’s environment.

From the the New Yorker, The Stolen Forests (found via Green Daily)

Chances are good that if an item sold in the United States was recently made in China using oak or ash, the wood was imported from Russia through Suifenhe. Because as much as half of the hardwood from Primorski Krai is harvested in violation of Russian law—either by large companies working with corrupt provincial officials or by gangs of men in remote villages—it is likely that any given piece of wood in the city has been logged illegally. This wide-scale theft empowers mafias, robs the Russian government of revenue, and assists in the destruction of one of the most precious ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere. Lawmakers in the province have called for “emergency measures” to stem the flow of illegal wood, and Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources has said that in the region “there has emerged an entire criminal branch connected with the preparation, storage, transportation, and selling of stolen timber.”

In 1998, the Yangtze River watershed flooded, killing more than three thousand people and causing more than thirty billion dollars in damage. At the time, some Communist Party officials believed that the flood was exacerbated by soil erosion—the result of “over quota” cutting of trees—and the government banned logging throughout much of the country. In order to meet its immense demand for raw materials, China began to buy unprecedented quantities of wood from abroad; it is now the largest importer of logs and also the largest exporter of finished wood products. China began to act the way many developed countries in North America and Europe do: it had destroyed much of its primary forests, gained from doing so, and was now protecting the trees it had left by buying wood indiscriminately, often from “high risk” countries, like Indonesia. The year of the flood, China started importing large volumes of wood from Russia, which has more forest than any country in the world and was in a state of political and economic anarchy. The greatest traffic in illicit wood is now thought to be from Russia to China.

How are wood products at major retailers like Walmart so cheap? Well it is a complicated story involving the the Russian Mafia, the Chinese city of Suifenhe and globalization, and I would highly recommend reading the whole piece. We often only think of China as an exporter of goods to the West, but as the Chinese economy grows, and their own natural resources are strained, commodities like wood need to be imported to produce the paint brushes, baby strollers and other goods that are bought by stores like Walmart.

This is not to say that Walmart is the only one to blame here for buying these products produced with illegal raw materials. However, they are the biggest. According to the article referenced above, “A tenth of China’s exports to the United States are sold by Wal-Mart; if the company were a sovereign nation, it would be China’s eighth-largest trading partner.” As the 2007 estimate of China’s exports is $ 1.22 trillion, that means the dollar value of Chinese exports sold by Walmart is $122 billion!

Further Reading
A Ravenous Dragon (The Economist)
A Large Black Cloud (The Economist)
The China Price and why China should buy Wal-Mart (Source Juice)

Popularity: 40% [?]

October 12, 2008

E-Sport (Video Game Tournament) Restrictions in China

Filed under: Gaming — RedKemp @ 10:14 pm

From Internet Business Law Services (via ConsoleJocks):

E-sports, or video game tournaments, have become increasingly popular in China. At the same time, Chinese regulations governing the e-sports market are extraordinarily restrictive and serve as a barrier to foreign investors; forcing them to adopt creative solutions iq-trading.com.br/baixar-iq-option in order to reap the benefits of access to Chinese e-sport consumers.

E-sports can be generally described as video game tournaments. This type of sport has been formally recognized by the Chinese government as the 99th Official Sport of China and was featured as the “Welcome Event” of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Although this emerging industry is very attractive to foreign investors, the difficulty in entering the Chinese e-sports market arises from the Chinese government’s strict regulations on e-sports and on video games in general, and does not differentiate between e-sports and home video games. Due to the stringent nature of Chinese regulations in this area, investors are forced to seek creative solutions if they wish to enter the e-sports market.

The Chinese regulations governing video game websites came into effect on January 31, 2008. The relevant regulation, entitled the “Regulation on Managing Video Sites,” establishes rules for to the lawful operation of video game websites in China, including those devoted to the promotion of e-sports. Individuals and entities that wish to operate e-sports games in China must obtain three necessary permits, all of which have stringent requirements. One of the permit requirements even goes so far as to bar companies that are “foreign-invested operational entities” from receiving the permit and, thus, from legitimately operating e-sport services in China. One hallmark of this regulation is that it is highly protective of the internal industry and creates barriers for foreign companies that seek to access the Chinese video game market.

One can see the possibilities of what could be in South Korea, particular in regards to Starcraft competitions (one of the professional Korean Starcraft teams is sponsored by the Korean Air Force!). Perhaps the Chinese government is afraid that if they allow foreign companies to invest in these events, that more foreign video game players will compete, and more incidents like the Taiwanese Controversy at the World Cyber Games will occur.

Most surprising is that video game tournaments are the 99th Official Sport of China. What are the other 98?

Popularity: 39% [?]

October 11, 2008

South Park: The China Probrem

Filed under: video — RedKemp @ 6:18 am

For those of you who have not seen it, the latest episode of South Park, The China Probrem (link goes to full length video), begins with Cartman having nightmares about the Beijing Olympic’s opening ceremony, and he is then convinced that China is going to invade the US. Not a great episode by any means, but it has its moments iq option baixar.

Popularity: 31% [?]

October 5, 2008

Chinese Ugly Betty Not Ugly Enough!

Filed under: American Imports, Chinese Media — RedKemp @ 1:12 am

Chinese Ugly Betty Ugly Wudi

The actress who plays Wudi in a Hunan television adaptation of Ugly Betty (Ugly Wudi) recently made her first public appearance, but the public felt the title was a bit misleading.

Though the actress wears black-framed glasses and ill-fitting braces like the other Betty, her image was largely dismissed by the audience because she is not ugly enough, Oriental Morning Post reported.

Audiences hold the view that the “ugly girl” is beautiful, with a normal figure, big eyes and long hair, aside from the deliberate ugly costuming.

Agreed. I have a similar problem when they dress up beautiful people as nerds in movies. The truly unattractive need work too!

Popularity: 39% [?]