Chinese World of Warcraft crime-boss sentenced to two years


The leader of a clan of Chinese Warcraft fences has been sentenced to two years in prison and been fined $8,000 for buying stolen World of Warcraft logins, then logging into the accounts and selling off all their virtual gold and assets. They reportedly attacked 11,500 accounts and netted $10,800.

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Replace bank chiefs with small dogs: Chinese top economist


China's former chief economist has excoriated the nation's banking system, which charges high fees and maintains a greedy-large gap between its deposit interest and lending interest rates.

Such a business provides no value, and is merely parasitic on the people: "With this kind of operational model, banks will continue making money even if all the bank presidents go home to sleep and you replaced them by putting a small dog in their seats."

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How is China's lunar mission going? Here's a rover postcard from the moon.


"The Chang'e 3 lander took this photo of the rover Yutu on December 22, 2013. The rover had completed a semicircular tour of the lander and was departing the lander due south. This version of the image has been white-balanced and color-corrected." Image: CNSA / Gordan Ugarkovic

Planetary Society blogger Emily Lakdawalla has posted a roundup of what China's lunar rover Yutu has been up to on the Chang'e 3 unmanned space exploration mission. Lots of pictures.

Auctioning a conceptual copy of Banksy's thrifted "Banality of the Banality of Evil" to benefit 826 Valencia


A San Francisco artist commissioned a Chinese artist to make a copy of "The Banality of the Banality of Evil" -- a painting that Banksy thrifted, added a Nazi to, and shop-dropped back into the thrift store. The copy, called "The Banality Of The Banality Of The Banality Of Evil," is now being auctioned to support 826 Valencia, a literacy for kids program in San Francisco.

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Severed hand grafted to ankle, reattached to wrist a month later


When Xiao Wei's right hand was severed in an industrial accident, doctors at a hospital in Changde, China, grafted it to his ankle. The blood supply from his ankle kept the hand alive and viable on the seven-hour journey to a larger hospital with better facilities, where it was removed a month later from his ankle and reattached to his wrist. It's not clear whether he'll regain the use of his hand, but doctors are hopeful.

Severed hand saved after being attached to man’s ankle [Metro]

(via JWZ)

(Image: Rex)

Shareholder sues IBM for spying on China, wiping $12.9B off its market cap

A pension fund with a large stake in IBM is suing the company for colluding with the NSA and lobbying for the right to spy on Chinese customers. The Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension & Relief Fund claims that the company's behavior resulted in a $12.9 billion drop in its market cap.

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Bunnie Huang explains the nuts-and-bolts of getting stuff made in Shenzhen

In this talk from Maker Faire New York, Bunnie Huang of Chibitronics gives an amazing run-down of the on-the-ground reality of having electronics manufactured in Shenzhen, China. It's a wild 30 minutes, covering everything from choosing a supplier to coping with squat toilets and the special horrors awaiting vegetarians in the Pearl River Delta. There are some dropouts at the start of the video that you'll need to scroll past, but it's well worth the hassle.

Getting it Made: Stories from Shenzhen (via Make)

China air pollution from space

Speaks for itself, doesn't it? NASA:

When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image on December 7, 2013, thick haze stretched from Beijing to Shanghai, a distance of about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles). For comparison, that is about the distance between Boston, Massachusetts, and Raleigh, North Carolina. The brightest areas are clouds or fog. Polluted air appears gray. While northeastern China often faces outbreaks of extreme smog, it is less common for pollution to spread so far south.

China City of America coming to the Catskills?

Chinacity6n 6 web

Chinese developers are vying to build a massive China-themed retail center and casino in New York's Catskills. The 600-acre project is called "China City of America" and, surprise, it's highly controversial. I think it might do better in the hometown of hyperreality, Las Vegas! You can see the pitch at the China City of America site and read about it below:

"Developers pitch bringing a piece of China to Sullivan County" (YNN)

"Mysterious China-themed 'city' proposed in New York’s Catskills" (Fox News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

China launches lunar probe

The China National Space Administration has launched Chang'e 3, a plutonium-powered lunar lander on-board a 185-foot-tall Long March 3B rocket. The lander is on a four-day trajectory for the lunar surface, and will brake and enter lunar orbit on December 6th. It is scheduled to land on December 14th, in the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum). The rover masses 140kg, with nuclear heaters to keep systems alive during the two-week-long lunar nights, and will use radar to probe the lunascape as it roves during its mission. It is also outfitted with high-resolution panoramic cameras and telescopes. The Chinese space program's stated goal is to establish a space-station and autonomous landers that can return to Earth with samples.

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What is China censoring today?

According to a recent study by ProPublica, images insta-censored on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo include pics of corrupt politician Bo Xilai yawning, archive images of the Korean war, and the lead singer of underground rock group Happy Avenue. [BBC]

Letter from a Chinese forced-labor camp found in Kmart Hallowe'en decorations


Since last Hallowe'en, a woman in Oregon has been circulating a letter she found in a box of decorative tombstones she bought at Kmart. The letter was written by a prisoner in a forced labor camp in China's Masanjia camp; he was imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong, a banned religion whose members have long been targetted for brutal suppression by the Chinese state. CNN located the ex-prisoner and interviewed him as he narrated a story of "inhumane torture" at the camp.

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Blue sky billboard in smoggy Beijing


Reddit user D3cker posted this amazing photo of an electronic billboard showing a gorgeous blue sky in a smoggy Beijing square. No idea if the photo is original to D3cker or whether it's been shooped, but it's pretty sweet contrast, and plays neatly into the China-is-collapsing narrative.

Beijing Tv Sky.


Update: In the comments, m1ck3y posts, "The picture is real—it's from the Atlantic Magazine article China's Toxic City. This particular photo eerily looks like a screencap from Blade Runner."

(Image: China's Toxic Sky, Feng Li/Getty Images)

Explaining the banned phrases in a Chinese microblogging client

LINE is a Twitter-like service chat app popular in Asia. @hirakujira discovered that its Chinese-language client, Lianwo, had a file listing 24 150 forbidden phrases that set to trigger an error reading "Your message contains sensitive words, please adjust and send again" (though this was not yet enabled). The Blocked on Weibo Tumblr has begun a series of posts listing every one of these banned phrases and explaining their context -- for example, Zhejiang’s receipt-signing Brother (浙江签单哥) refers to an embezzlement scandal involving Zhejiang's Vice Minister of Propaganda.

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Huawei: unlike western companies, we've never been told to weaken our security

Huawei, the Chinese electronics giant that was accused of being "a security risk" in a paper by the House Intelligence Committee (its chair, Mike Rogers [R-MI], said "find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers' privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America") has come out swinging in a new cybersecurity paper.

In the paper's foreword, the company's deputy chair Ken Hu writes:

[Huawei] never received any instructions or requests from any government or their agencies to change our positions, policies, procedures, hardware, software or employment practices or anything else, other than suggestions to improve our end-to-end cyber security capability.

“We can confirm that we have never been asked to provide access to our technology, or provide any data or information on any citizen or organization to any Government, or their agencies."

Unlike the companies that were on the target of the NSA and GCHQ's BULLRUN/EDGEHILL programs, which spent $250,000,000 a year to subvert security standards, and to convince western electronics companies to sabotage their own security.

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