Rephone makes modular open source hardware cellphone components -- GSM cores, touchscreens, speakers, GPS, miscellaneous sensors, and antennas -- that you can mix and match to build cellular capability into everyday gadgets; one project builds a complete cellular phone into a watch-strap for a Pebble smartwatch. Read the rest
Cheap Internet of Things devices like Foscam's home CCTVs are designed to covertly tunnel out of your home network, bypassing your firewall, so they can join a huge P2P network of 7 million other devices that is maintained and surveilled by their Chinese manufacturer. Read the rest
Chinese law makes independent mapmaking a crime (you may not document "the shapes, sizes, space positions, attributes, etc. of man-made surface installations") and requires tech companies to randomly vary the locations of all landmarks by 100-500m. Read the rest
Chinese Internet giant Baidu -- a combination between Google, Facebook and Twitter, with key investments in many companies, including Uber -- makes its own Windows/Android browser, long believed to be a de facto surveillance tool. Read the rest
China's millionaires, having looted their country, are anxious to get their money out of reach of the Politburo, to guard against confiscation should the political tides turn. Only one problem: the government will only let Chinese nationals move $50K/year out of the country. Read the rest
As China's banks struggle under the weight of never-to-be-repaid subprime loans (which were turned into bonds using the same trick that produced the US/EU subprime crisis), the Chinese government is throwing money at them to loan out to ever-dodgier borrowers, just to change the ratio of delinquent debts to ones that have yet to turn delinquent. Read the rest
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:
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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.
The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment's licensing arm to Visual China Group. Read the rest
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
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
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
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
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