People’s Daily demands rectification of parody Twitter account (UPDATED)

Sometimes Chinese state-run media do something so tone-deaf, so ham-fisted, that you wonder if you’ve accidentally been reading the Onion. Like they apparently do. Enter the tweet below.

Some background on this beauty: The Relevant Organs is a parody Twitter account that tweets in the collective voice of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s been running since 2010, and it’s absolutely hilarious in its skewering of Chinese officialdom, Western views of China, and everything in between. Not sure who’s behind it, but guessing a former China journalist(s) who’s amazing at dinner parties.

The People’s Daily, meanwhile, which lists itself on Twitter as “the largest newspaper group in China,” somehow forgetting to mention the whole “directly controlled by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China” thing, seems to have just now discovered the existence of the Relevant Organs. And they are not happy. Continue reading

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Your Daily Panda: Sad TV panda makes emotional recovery

cute panda selfie

And now, your daily panda. This is Sijia, who made a lot of news last week when keepers at the Yunnan Wild Animal Park installed a TV and playground to help cheer her up. She was depressed after her panda bestie Meixi was moved to another zoo. And what was on TV? My Love from the Star? Actually, it showed videos of Sijia and Meixi playing together. I have to say, as a human, that actually seems like it might be more depressing–reminding you of how much fun you had with your friend, which then just reinforces the fact that you’re all alone now, crying into your bamboo.

But apparently, it works for pandas. As proof, there’s a new set of photos of Sijia looking all sunshiny again, including the one above.

(Source, in Chinese)

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The Company Man: a sequel (of sorts) to the FBI’s Game of Pawns

As newbies to the world of FBI-produced docudramas, the China Girls were excited to find out that there is a sequel, kind of, to Game of Pawns. No, we don’t get the further adventures of Voiceover Glenn Shriver. But, we do get to see another American get snagged in the web of Chinese espionage.

The Company Man looks grittier than its predecessor, and the protagonist looks less clueless and more tortured. And if you look closely, you’ll recognize a familiar face in the trailer…SPOILERS…

Yes, it’s Mr. Wu (now Wei)! [Insert obscure Taoist non-action joke here.]

In any case, we look forward to watching and recapping The Company Man…when it eventually comes out. We learned from Sean Paul Murphy, the screenwriter for both movies, that it could be a while before the FBI releases it publicly.

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by | April 22, 2014 · 6:53 pm

Recapping the FBI Game of Pawns “Don’t Be a Spy, Kids” Movie

So, yesterday we discovered that the FBI had made an “after school special” type of movie warning young Americans against becoming accidental spies recruited by the Chinese government, which we think is overall a good message. The movie is a “ripped from the headlines” story based on the unfortunate real-life case of Glenn Duffie Shriver, who first went to China as a study-abroad student and was eventually recruited by the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Ying and I decided to watch and recap the 28-min movie, so you wouldn’t have to. Sure, there’s an official transcript. But we’re much more fun. Actually, as soon as we first clicked on the YouTube video and heard the wise old Chinese man voiceover, we knew this was going to be a keeper. Enjoy. Continue reading

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Why China Won’t Stop North Korea’s Human Rights Atrocities

After the UN released its report on human rights in North Korea, Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, argues in Foreign Policy that China needs to do more on North Korea:

No country has more influence over North Korea than China, which has long provided a lifeline of economic aid and political cover to the Kim dynasty of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and, since Dec. 2011, Kim Jong Un, while refusing to do anything about the horrendous cruelty being committed next door. If it wanted to, Beijing could use its considerable influence to press Pyongyang to curb its atrocities.

Now, experts have different views on just how much influence China has over North Korea. But regardless of whether Beijing could really get Pyongyang to stop its human rights abuses, the reality is that Beijing won’t. At least not as part of the UN Security Council. CNN has a good roundup of why North Korea won’t change as a result of the UN report. And Roth, who argues passionately that Chinese authorities have a moral obligation to do something, acknowledges that there are challenges to appealing to China:

[China] fears a precedent of international attention to peacetime repression, lest China’s own conduct — whether in the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet or among its dissident community — be the next subject of interest. And despite the brutality of the Kim government, China worries that North Korea may collapse, sending a flood of refugees into northeastern China. A collapse would also mean that South Korea, a Western ally that hosts some 28,500 U.S. troops, would border China as part of a unified Korea.

Roth goes on to say that the problems are “resolvable” but he only addresses the latter issues, that of potential North Korean refugees in China and of a new border with Korea. But it is unequivocally the first issue that is the dealbreaker: Chinese leaders do not want a precedent set that the UN, or other foreign powers, could scrutinize a repressive regime for their human rights abuses and then do something about it. Period. This is the dreaded “interference in [country’s] internal affairs” that Chinese officials are always harping on. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

North Korea is an easy target when it comes to human rights abuses. It’s already considered a pariah state, and there is little risk for other countries in condemning its actions. While the reports of the conditions in North Korean prison camps are appalling, it’s unlikely that they will “shake the consciences” of the Chinese leadership, as Roth hopes. And that’s because Chinese authorities have used the same torture methods on their own people. But it’s a touchier issue when it comes to China, both for other countries and for human rights groups.

In China, domestic politics trumps international politics every time. And when it comes to human rights abuses, every Chinese leader has a skeleton or several in their closets. And they are going to keep them there. So, yes, Beijing will have to lose some face in the international community for not acting on North Korea. But the leadership would rather deal with that than risk being called out themselves, even if that’s unlikely with China’s current economic and political place in the world.

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