100,000 people stuck in Chinese train station

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At least 100,000 people became stranded at the Guangzhou Railway Station southern China. They were trying to get a jump on Chinese New Year, which starts next week. The image above is a small portion of a photo that will send a chill down the spine of agoraphobics.

From The Guardian:

Aerial photographs published by one website showed a crush of bodies snaking towards the train station through metal barricades. About 176,000 passengers had been due to pass through the station on Monday alone.

“There are too many people and it is too crowded,” one stranded passenger, who was not named, told state broadcaster CCTV.

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Bill Gates sold rights to the Tiananmen 1989 pictures to a Chinese company

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The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment's licensing arm to Visual China Group. Read the rest

Chinese snatch-squads roam the globe, kidnapping dissidents and critics

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It's not just dissident Hong Kong booksellers who're being snatched -- China's snatch-squads have kidnapped expatriate dissidents (including those with foreign passports) from Sweden, Burma and Thailand. Read the rest

Don't agree to do record-breaking tricks on Chinese TV. Just don't.

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Gentleman juggler Mat Ricardo writes, "Last week I got booked to travel to China and appear on their big world records TV show to pull the biggest tablecloth ever. Here's how none of that happened and I ended up literally fleeing to the airport." Read the rest

Hong Kong's dissident publishing workers are disappearing, possibly kidnapped to mainland

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Five employees of the publisher Mighty Current and its retail arm, Causeway Bay Bookstore, have disappeared from Hong Kong, and pro-democracy leaders say that they were kidnapped to the mainland by PRC security forces in retaliation for publishing books critical of the Chinese government. Read the rest

TPP is a giftwrapped wealth-transfer to China

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Writing in the Globe and Mail, University of Toronto Munk Chair of Innovation Studies Dan Breznitz explains how the TPP -- negotiated in secret without any oversight or accountability -- will enrich a few multinationals at the expense of US and Canadian growth, making the whole trade zone less competitive and more ripe to be overtaken by Chinese firms. Read the rest

Gamified compliance: China's reputation network Huxleys to the full Orwell

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The Extra Credits video series has a great segment on Sesame Credit, the Chinese government's public-private "reputation economy" that uses your social media postings, purchases and known associates to assign you a public score rating your citizenship and reliability. Read the rest

China's top Internet censor: "There's no Internet censorship in China"

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Lu Wei is chief of China's State Internet Information Office, a man they call "the gatekeeper of the Chinese internet." According to him, the world's most notorious and ambitious system of Internet censorship is actually just "management." Read the rest

The TPP's ban on source-code disclosure requirements: bad news for information security

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The secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership is 2,000 pages' worth of regulatory favors for various industries, but one that stands out as particularly egregious is the ban on rules requiring source-code disclosure. Read the rest

Man buried retirement cash, only to have it eaten by worms

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Five years ago, a fisherman in Deyang, China, buried his entire life savings. The amount he buried totaled about US$5,500. When Wu Chen, 67, and his family recently dug it up, they discovered that the plastic bag the bills were in had deteriorated. Worms and insects had eaten through much of his cash.

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Pre-mutated products: where did all those "hoverboards" come from?

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Those bowtie-shaped "motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooters" you see in the windows of strip-mall cellphone repair shops and in mall-kiosks roared out of nowhere and are now everywhere, despite being so new that we don't even know what they're called. Read the rest

Caterpillar's heavy vehicles are killswitched subprime computers on wheels

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In an earnings call in which Caterpillar execs explained their dismal takings to investors, Cat execs explained their plan to grow by leasing tractors to Chinese companies with crummy track-records for payment. Read the rest

China routinely tortures human rights lawyers

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Amnesty International's No End in Sight: Torture and Forced Confessions in China interviews 37 Chinese lawyers and analyzes 590 court decisions in the process of documenting the routine torture of human rights lawyers in China. Read the rest

A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market

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The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Shanghai Disneyland: "Ignite the magical dream within your heart"

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The Walt Disney company has been trying to extend its reach into China for years. After the years of sputtering trying to get Hong Kong Disneyland on its feet, they built three more lands in the last few years and visitors are starting to come. But that’s nothing compared to the Disneyland they’re building in Shanghai, which is an enormous park with many attractions that are unique to it and have piqued the interest of Disney theme park fans all around the world.

Now, thanks to my friend Alain Littaye over at his swell Disney and More Blogspot I can tell you a lot about Shanghai Disneyland, whose animated map has just gone live on line here. While the site is not yet fully functional, it will whet your appetite!

Divided into seven “lands,” Shanghai Disneyland will open with a full day of attractions (unlike most Disney parks build in the last 25 years). Rumor has it that the Chinese government has closed over 100 factories in the immediate Shanghai area to eliminate the hideous gray throat-burning haze one encounters in Beijing, for example.

Guests will first encounter Mickey Avenue, which takes the place of the usual “Main Street U.S.A.” Filled with shops and character meet-and-greets, this is a new style of entrance for a Disney park.

A nod to the Chinese host country takes place in the new land Gardens of Imagination, which boasts seven “whimsical gardens,” as well as a carousel themed to the film Fantasia, a Dumbo spinning ride, as well as serving as the “hub” (a term Disney folks call that round spot in front of the castle from which paths to the other lands emanate). Read the rest

Amazing photos along China's Silk Road

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My friend Kevin Kelly wandered down the Silk Road (the one in China) and took many stupendous photos. He wrote, "Technically this region is called Xinjiang (New Province), also once known as East Turkestan. This area has more in common with the culture of Turkey than with Beijing. It's kebab with chopsticks. But this is really China. In fact it is the largest province of China. I took a bunch of photos and the usual caveat applies: this is a very selective view, and it does not represent the typical scene in the province at all. Like most of China it is rapidly urbanizing. But I think these images capture the spirit of this part of Asia, which once connected east and west."

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China plans to ban ivory trade “within a year or so.” US official: Yes it's a “huge” deal.

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During his visit to Washington last month, China's President Xi Jinping vowed to stop the commercial trade in ivory in his nation, but didn't say much about when or how.

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