Beijing to base China security agencies in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy lawmakers denounced the plans as “the end of Hong Kong”.

What it's like to buy a $900 electric car from Alibaba

On Jalopnik my friend Jason Torchinsky is writing about his experience ordering a $900 electric car from China using Alibaba. It has been an incredibly long and complicated process, involving lots of red tape. Including extra charges and document filing fees the price of the car is now close to $3500. Nevertheless, it's a really cool looking a little electric car. Read the rest

Tickets for Shanghai Disneyland re-opening sold out in 3 minutes

People in China can't wait to enter the Magic Kingdom now that coronavirus deaths in that country have declined. Read the rest

Amazon used a China firm on U.S. blacklist for thermal cameras to monitor workers for COVID-19 fever

Amazon's new Chinese thermal spycam vendor was blacklisted by U.S. over allegations it helped China detain and monitor Uighurs and other Muslim minorities Read the rest

Trump owes 10s of millions to Bank of China, reports Politico

“The president's financial dealings with the state-owned bank complicate his attacks on Biden.”

Maybe the coronavirus emanated from a China research lab after all, say US and UK intelligence

“[U.S.] officials are seriously pursuing the possibility that a natural sample of the virus escaped a laboratory.”

The question was dismissed as a conspiracy theory in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.

But now, some intelligence experts admit they are seriously looking into the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic might have been touched off by an accident at a research facility in China, various news outlets report. Read the rest

Kevin Kelly on the future of the Internet in China

My friend and Cool Tools partner, Kevin Kelly created a 36-part lecture series about the future for China Mobile. He's running them on his YouTube channel. The first one is about the future of the Internet in China.

There are three big challenges in the Internet space that all countries must face in the near future. China's approach to the challenges will impact not only Chinese Internet users, but potentially all Internet users. What interface follows the smart hone, whether it be AR-enabled glasses, foldable screens, or wearable projectors, will not only be influenced by China's substantial Internet-using population, but also by their manufacturing. Privacy, as it relates to online information collecting and sale, has consequences for broader community standards, and there is no one-size fits all approach to this issue. China must engage their own ethicists, community, government and technologists to develop a solution that works for China. Finally, globalization. Most of China's internet success has been within China, but as China begins to consider how it might attract users from outside its borders, it will need to consider dialing back the protections that have held foreign Internet companies at bay.

Read the rest

An American artist illustrates a webcomic love letter to her hometown of Wuhan

Laura Gao was born in Wuhan before moving to the US at the age of 3. An experienced graphic designer who now works for Twitter, Gao has been — understandably — frustrated with the virulant racism that's accompanied the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and Trump's continued insistence on blaming China for the virus.

But Wuhan isn't as well-known as other cities in China, even though it has a larger population than London or New York. So instead of letting her hometown continue to be associated with a pandemic, Gao wrote and illustrated a new webcomic to help people get to know the city where she was born, beyond those gross racist implications.

It's a short read, but it will remind you that Wuhan is indeed a place of humans, culture, and history, all of which deserve appreciation and respect.

The Wuhan I Know [Laura Gao]

Image: Creativity City in Wuhan by Majorantarktis / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0) Read the rest

Mass graves are being dug for Iranian coronavirus victims

It's been suggested by experts for some time now that the COVID-19 situation is far more dire in Iran than the nation's government has been willing to admit. According to Iran, 10,000 of its citizens have been infected with the novel coronavirus, of which 429 have died. However, satellite images that appear to show mass graves being dug outside of the city of Qom are a bad sign that the number of dead may be far higher.

From The Guardian:

The pictures, first published by the New York Times, show the excavation of a new section in a cemetery on the northern fringe of Iran’s holy city in late February, and two long trenches dug, of a total length of 100 yards, by the end of the month.

They confirm the worst fears about the extent of the epidemic and the government’s subsequent cover-up. On 24 February, at the time the trenches were being dug, a legislator from Qom, 75 miles (120 km) south of Tehran, accused the health ministry of lying about the scale of the outbreak, saying there had already been 50 deaths in the city, at a time when the ministry was claiming only 12 people had died from the virus nationwide.

According to The Guardian, it's believed that, as China is Iran's primary trade partner, the Iranian government wasn't thrilled with the idea of halting travel to one of the few big international players who will still do business with them. This, combined with the Iranian government's reluctance to order social distancing or quarantine measures for its nation's citizens allowed the virus to spread faster than shit through a goose. Read the rest

Footage of empty Beijing mall

A man in Beijing, where everyone is told to stay home due to the coronavirus, visited a mall and took a video camera. It's all but deserted: you can get served, but you're not allowed to hang around. Jump a third of the way in for the "action".

P.S. This is basically every mall in Pittsburgh on a weekday except the one nice one with the Nordstroms. Read the rest

Robbers in Hong Kong steal 600 rolls of toilet paper, a hot commodity due to coronavirus

In Hong Kong, knife-wielding robbers stole 600 rolls of toilet paper from a delivery worker outside Wellcome Supermarket. Police reportedly nabbed two suspects and recovered some of the toilet paper, a hot commodity as people stock up in fear of the coronavirus. From the BBC News:

Other household products have also seen panic-buying including rice, pasta and cleaning items.

Face masks and hand sanitisers are almost impossible to get as people try to protect themselves from the coronavirus, which has already claimed more than 1,700 lives...

Authorities blame false online rumours for the panic buying and say supplies of food and household goods remain stable.

Read the rest

China: 116 new coronavirus deaths in Hubei

China's government health commission in Hubei province reported on Friday that the daily death toll from coronavirus rose by 116. Read the rest

DOJ charges Huawei and CFO Meng Wanzhou with racketeering, conspiracy to steal IP

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced a 16-count superseding indictment against the Chinese technology company Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou. Among the charges: racketeering and conspiracy to steal intellectual property. Read the rest

Purported footage of Chinese people being forced into coronavirus quarantine

The coronavirus outbreak (previously) has now claimed more victims than SARS, with more than 1,000 dead in China and 45,000 infected worldwide. The Chinese government, illiberal by any measure, is definitely taking prisoners: video shows biohazard-suited men dragging people off, purportedly to quarantine facilities, in an effort to prevent the disease's spread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3ZovsudheQ&feature=youtu.be

PREVIOUSLY: Coronavirus exposes China's surveillance state Read the rest

Coronavirus emergency is 'Public Enemy Number 1,' says World Health Organization

• UPDATE from WHO: China has reported 42,708 confirmed cases of "COVID-19" (coronavirus disease 2019), and 1,017 deaths

• Fewer than 400 cases reported in 24 other countries, one death

• World leaders must “wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today

The global outbreak of Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV represents a “very grave threat for the rest of the world,” and should be seen as a global “Public Enemy Number 1”, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday. Read the rest

Coronavirus: 'When Fury Overcomes Fear,' a 'Viral Alarm' by Xu Zhangrun

This essay on the Wuhan coronavirus by Xu Zhangrun, translated from the original Chinese and annotated by Geremie R. Barmé on Chinafile.com, is absolutely amazing. I'm grateful it is now available for English-speaking audiences. Read the rest

Coronavirus: More than 1,000 people have died, mostly in China

The death toll from the Wuhan virus has officially passed 1,000, according to China's health commission. Read the rest

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