Photos: Hong Kong Disneyland in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Mangkhut

All of Hong Kong was devastated by the violence of Super Typhoon Mangkhut this week, but there's something really striking about the damage to Hong King Disneyland -- a perfect little jewel of a themepark. It's in the contrast of the very carefully maintained surface veneer of the park and the damage from the storm. Read the rest

More googlers are quitting over the company's plan to launch a censored, surveilling search product in China

The revelation that Google had been secretly creating a censored, surveilling search product (codenamed Project Dragonfly) in order to re-enter the Chinese market prompted more than 1,000 googlers to sign a letter of protest and a high-ranking resignation from the one of company's top scientists. Read the rest

Google's censored Chinese search engine links every search to the user's phone number

Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize." Read the rest

USDA approves shipping slaughtered chicken to China and back, says you can eat it

If you've ever seen what a poultry farm looks like you would not believe chicken that has been slaughtered, frozen, shipped to China for processing, and then shipped back to the US to be sold to consumers was still edible.

I can believe it is cheap, or no one would have thought to put other people at risk to make it happen.

Real Farmacy:

“Chinese chicken” will soon have a whole new meaning, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here. Furthermore, the imported processed poultry will not require a country-of-origin label nor will U.S. inspectors be on site at processing plants in China before it is shipped to the United States for human consumption.

Food safety experts worry about the quality of chicken processed in a country notorious for avian influenza and food-borne illnesses. And they predict that China will eventually seek to broaden the export rules to allow chickens born and raised in China.

“Economically, it doesn’t make much sense,” said Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, in a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle. “Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the U.S., pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles.

Read the rest

Viral road-rage video sparks mob violence in Beijing, revealing deep regional rifts

A road-rage video went viral on Chinese social media last month, showing a motorist from the northeastern province of Dongbei berating an e-bike rider from Beijing, deriding him for being a native-born Beijinger (the cyclist spoke in Beijing dialect) and lording it over him that migrants from outlying provinces are prosperous enough to drive cars while Beijingers are riding e-bikes ("F*ck you Beijingers! ...While us outsiders (外地人) are driving cars, you poor-ass Beijingers are still riding miserable e-bikes." Read the rest

This is the golden age of Chinese science fiction

We've been covering the rise and rise of Chinese science fiction here since the early part of the decade, as Chinese authors have been successfully exported to the English-speaking world (a rare feat, as there are enough books written in English to satisfy demand, leading to a real poverty of literature translated into English), which broke through in 2016, when authors like Hao Jingfang took home Hugo awards, along with the incredible Cixin Liu. Read the rest

How to: beat Chinese social media image-filtering

Researchers from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (previously) have published an extensive report on the image filtering systems used by Chinese messaging giant Wechat to prevent the posting of banned political messages and other "sensitive" topics that are censored in China. Read the rest

Kindergarten principal fired after welcoming back students with pole dancers performance

The principal of Xinshahui kindergarten in Shenzhen, China was fired after bringing pole dancers to perform for the students during back-to-school celebrations. From CNN:

"The district education bureau believes performing pole dancing for kindergarten children is not appropriate," the statement (from the local education board) said, adding the school had been asked to apologize to students and parents.

Principal Lai (Rong) told state tabloid Global Times that while "a few parents" had requested a refund (for tuition), others wanted to "learn a new type of dance."

She said she arranged the dance because of the dancer's "excellent skills."

Read the rest

Adding wireless charging to an old iPhone is both terrifying and satisfying

I've never had a problem with plugging a cable into my smartphone to charge, but a lot of folks feel it's an inconvenience. If you're one of those and own an older iPhone, you're in luck! Thanks to some sketchy grey market parts from China, nerves of steel, and a devil-may-care attitude towards any warranty you might have left on your handset, you can totally add wireless charging to your phone. Read the rest

Chinese spies force US-based Uighurs into "voluntary" surveillance by threatening their families in China

The Chinese state crackdown on the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority -- involving the imprisonment and torture of upwards of a million people in brainwashing camps -- isn't limited to China itself. Read the rest

1,000 Googlers sign petition opposing Google's plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine

Over 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition urging senior management to reconsider the company's plan to launch a censored Chinese search product (codename: Dragonfly), a revolt that's been in the works since the news broke; the employees demand transparency about the project and point out that it violates the Association of Computing Machinery's code of ethics. Read the rest

New Zealand bans most offshore residential real-estate ownership

With today's passage of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, the Parliament of New Zealand has banned nonresidents from buying most residential property in the country, in an effort to end the skyrocketing housing expenses (Auckland is one of the world's least-affordable cities) by freezing out overseas speculators, though these account for less than 3% of total real-estate transactions, with the majority coming from China. Read the rest

United Nations: China is running forced re-education camps for Muslims and ethnic minorities

One million ethnic Uigurs are being held in a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy" by the Chinese government, says a United Nations Human Rights panel that has received multiple credible reports to back up their claim (this story has been percolating all summer long). According to Gay McDougall of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, you can tack an additional million people on to that initial figure: it’s estimated that another one million Muslims living in China’s western Xinjiang autonomous region have also been sent to similar camps for political indoctrination. The reasoning for this, according to Reuters, is that China’s sovereignty in the western Xinjiang autonomous region is being threatened by separatists and Islamic militants. The Uigurs mostly identify as Muslim, so there you go.

At the meeting in Geneva, McDougall was quoted as saying:

“We are deeply concerned at the many numerous and credible reports that we have received that in the name of combating religious extremism and maintaining social stability (China) has changed the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of ‘no rights zone.”

The Chinese, for their part, have responded, "nuh-uh."

From The Globe & Mail:

The Chinese government has flatly denied rounding up large numbers of Muslims into internment centres for political indoctrination, telling a United Nations committee that such places do not exist.

The idea that “Xinjiang is a ‘no-rights zone’ is completely against the facts,” Hu Lianhe, deputy director-general of the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, told members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva Monday.

Read the rest

Googlers revolt against Google's secret plan to offer censored search tools in China

Two days ago, a source leaked the existence of "Project Dragonfly", a super-secret Google plan to create a censored search-tool for use in China. Read the rest

Leaked documents reveal Google's plan to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market

Project Dragonfly is a secret Google plan to create an Android-based search tool (early versions were called "Maotai" and "Longfei") for use in China (where Google is currently blocked), in collaboration with the Chinese government, where search results related to human rights, democracy, protest, religion and other "sensitive" topics will be censored. Read the rest

How a quirky Finnish comic came to resonate with Chinese millennials

The Chinese slang term jingfen means "spiritually Finnish." It was coined thanks to the popularity of an online comic called Finnish Nightmares. Liang Chenyu speculates why so many Chinese millennials identify with the comic. Read the rest

Fitness tracker cheating is big business in China

At some Chinese universities, students have a fitness requirement, so that means fitness tracker cheating has become a lucrative business for a few enterprising entrepreneurs. Read the rest

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