Hexun blogger Guan Jiantao on a city in eastern China's Jiangsu province, where twelve senior government leaders were told to take up blogging, in their own names, following the flood of feedback to municipal Party Secretary Zhang Shixin's recent blog post, in which he criticized the hygiene, spitting, littering, picking of teeth and yelling he sees among government staff in the city.
An effective way for public servants to hold themselves accountable to city residents? Or yet another empty symbol of a feedback mechanism?
Of course, there's not much criticism to be made over encouraging views to be made in an unrestricted space, but this is all based upon being able to understand and grasp this special method of ‘leader blogs’
Blogs, as internet diaries, are platforms for the expression of personal thoughts and communication. Opening a blog, anonymous or not, is nothing more than a personal decision. Whether you're a government leader or a common citizen, everyone enjoys this freedom to choose. Secretary Zhang clearly loves to blog, has fun at it, but that doesn't mean others do. The leaders of Suqian city's opening up of identified blogs don't have the legal support that a Party discipline committee order would bring, and appearing without having gone through a process of collective investigation makes it hard for this to escape the suspicion that the blogs have been opened not out of personal will.
Writing a blog takes a large investment of time and energy. As everyone knows, the work of government leaders is “relatively” busy: countless files need to be read, meeting after meeting needs to be chaired, as well as the substantial number of daily tasks. Unless they can clone themselves, maintaing the frequency of a normal grassroots blog is only a dream. At the same time, for these government leaders, of high level or sensitive position, wanting to communicate with the masses of far-removed grassroot bloggers; if that's what their fixed goal is, it's pretty much a “mission impossible”.
领导开博之后，势必有一些投诉、举报的留言，其中不免涉及国家秘密、商业秘密、个人隐私，更不能排除由于网络的开放性，一些别有用心者、对社会不满者做出非常举动，对于此类事件，也必须在现有法律、政策框架内找到合适的对策。 最后，在现有制度框架内，并非缺乏沟通民意的方式与渠道，倘或《宪法》、《信访条例》等法律法规赋予公民的申诉、控告、建议、信访权真正得到尊重，假若各级、各部门接受举报、投诉的专门机构切实雷厉风行，如果各类举报、热线电话，信箱等真正发挥作用，那么，一些政府、部门”看起来很美”、很能吸引人眼球的 “新招”也就没有了存在的必要。”
Now that these leaders have opened blogs, there's bound to be some complaints and feedback comments, some of which will inevitably touch upon state secrets, trade secrets, private information; what can't be ruled out is the openness of the internet and those with ulterior motives, unsatisfied with society enough to take extreme action, for which appropriate countermeasures must be found from within the current legal and policy framework. Finally, within the current political system framework, there is no lack of methods and channels for communicating and dealing with the public. If the constitution and other regulations on public access and correspondence and other laws and regulations which bestow upon citizens the right to appeal, press charges, make suggestions, visit and correspond earn authentic respect, if every department at every level set up to deal with feedback and complaints hurried up and did its best to implement changes, if every kind of feedback phone hotline and mailbox were truly put to use, then some governments and their departments would “start to look pretty good” and attract the eyes of some “new recruits” and then there would be no need for these blogs to exist.
Also from Hexun, blogger rdylx's renarration of a story seen in Beijing media recently. Part urban exploration, part look at a man who's enjoyed thirty years of sitting alone in an a semi-abandoned subway station! Original story by Hao Tao and photos from Wu Ning.
Two Beijing subway stations mysteriously closed for 35 years; not in operation, commuter cars only pass through
Starting at Apple Orchard station, ending at Sihui East, this is the big picture of the number one subway line. Attentive passengers will notice that Apple Orchard station is numbered 103 and Old City as 104. Moving east, the numbers gradually go up. So then where are 101 and 102?
Turns out, if you go west of Apple Orchard station there are still two little-known subway stops; 102 is Fortunate Life Ridge and 101 is Tall Well. Because during repairs to the subway, these two stops were renamed 52 and 53, that's why Fortunate Life Ridge and Tall Well station are also known as nos. 52 and 53 station. Thirty-five years have flown by since the the two stations were last in service, but there remains two cars passing through stations 52 and 53 every morning and night. These two cars are for subway internal commuting use, with most passengers being students at the subway's technology school or some subway staff. Yesterday, the reporter paid a visit to these two mysterious subway stations.
Yesterday at 7:40, the reporter took subway line #1 to Apple Orchard station. At this time, the station was full of bookbags, school uniforms and the students wearing them. Some students are wearing red ‘maintain order’ cloth bands on their arms.
One band-wearing student surnamed Li told the reporter that he is a second year student at the subway school of technology. Every morning he takes the 8:03 train to class, because the school is right next to the subway, less than twenty meters away.
The Fortunate Life Ridge station platform is narrow, dusky and exceptionally quiet.
Fortunate Life Ridge station is hidden among barren trees
The station's inner stairwell
“This train is for commuting.” At precisely 8:03, the train from #52 to #53 arrives at Apple Orchard station; the students on the platform pour into the car; before long, all seats are filled and the car is packed full of students. Three minutes later, the train arrives at station 52, Fortunate Life Ridge station, and all the students alight, and all at once several cars are left empty. Looking out the window, the reporter sees Fortunate Life Ridge station's platform, is extremely narrow, dimly lit, the walls are mottled and there are no direction signs, no maps and no beautiful backlit advertisements.
The train continues on, and the journalist walks forward through the train cars, ending up in the front car where he sees five passengers going to station 53—Tall Well station. One passenger tells the reporter that they are family of subway employees.
At 8:10, the car arrives at Tall Well station and the reporter follows the other five passengers off the train. The narrow and deserted platform is unusually quiet, the floor is covered with dust and couldn't be more simple. Two sides of the arched ceiling have been painted with a simple layer of whitewash. The cold glare from the fluorescent lights shoots up from the floor; some of the lights have been smashed and not changed. Too few lights and concave walls. Having arrived not yet even ten minutes, the reporter feels a bit depressed. The air appears wetter than the floor. Looking closely, several of the wooden doors are covered in spots of grey mold.
The descending concrete ramp stretches all the way to the subway exit, more than seven hundred meters. This station appears much spacier than the others, wide enough to drive a car into.
“This tunnel can fit jeeps and large trucks,” said one employee in the on-duty room, to the reporter.
Leaving station 53, the reporter only could only see a two-meter high wall and its three-sided arch, attached to which was an iron gate. The station is located Inside a large courtyard. Here, subway staff living in the courtyard and their family members are hurrying into the subway. “Studio 53 was built within the courtyard, is heavily guarded. If you're not taking the subway, you won't get in so easily,” said one commuter hurriedly.
At 8:40, the reporter missed the return train by just half a minute. The reporter caught bus 967 from the courtyard, got off at Moshikou and asked a local driver to take him to Fortunate Life Ridge subway technical school. Twenty meters to the right of the school, the reporter finally found what appeared to be an old, run-down subway station. Surrounding the station were a grove of barren trees. The sign at the station entrance warns, ‘this station is out of service. Non-employees forbidden from entering.”
The reporter went down the stairs and into the station, which was completely empty, quiet enough to hear your own footsteps. Now a worker comes out from the security guard control room. “This station is not in operation, outsiders are prohibited from entering,” this worker says. After seeing the press ID, he invites the reporter into the control room. Inside is a television set. Because there is no cable connection it can't be watched. The worker says his name is Chen, fifty years old this year, a policeman from Apple Orchard subway station police station responsible for the safety at station 52. There are four policemen in total; each shift is twenty-four hours long, and then someone comes on.
“Nothing's happened here in five years, and very seldom do strangers come here,” officer Chen says. Every morning and night students from the technical school as well as subway staff and their families take the subway to and from here. Other than them nobody else comes in here. Sometimes some subway staff will come down to the station to inspect the tracks.
“Although these two stations are out of service, there are still some staff passengers and some non-staff riding it.” Old officer Chen as Fortunate Life Ridge says some villagers, after seeing students coming in and riding the subway, have started riding with the students as well. “According to subway regulations, this station is not in operation, and outsiders are not permitted to ride. But these villagers don't listen. Some come and threaten to turn off the water, turn off the power or destroy this and that.” Officer Chen feels helpless about this.
Especially in the summertime, Old Chen says; because it's very cool inside the subway station, some construction workers will break into the subway station. Every time this happens, he remains kind but firm.
Near the vacant platform of station 53, there's a small brightly-lit hut, the steel door to which is closed. The reporter puts an ear to the door and listens. No sounds of movement. Just when the reporter is preparing to leave, the sound of coughing suddenly comes out. “Someone's in there!” An old worker wearing a deep blue uniform opens the steel door. This old worker tells the reporter his name is Wang, was transferred to work at station 53 after Beijing's number one subway began running on January 15, 1971. In thirty-five years, friends have come and friends have gone, but since he began he has never thought about leaving and never will. His family live in the courtyard above the station; that's why in thirty-something years he's never felt cooped-up.
In Old Wang's hut, the reporter saw an electric control panel outside, with many buttons on it. Inside is Old Wang's bedroom, furnished extremely simply, just a bed with a perfectly-folded blanket on top.
Old Wang says his job now is just keeping watch every day. Although this station has never been open to the public, every morning and night there are two cars that will stop here. Thirty minutes after the the car comes in, it turns around and heads back, making things convenient for those who work and live there.
Old Wang says Apple Orchard station is numbered 103 because futher west there are two more stops. In differentiating between Fortunate Life Ridge (number 102) and Tall Well (number 103), most people just call them 52 and 53, the numbers used from back when the subway was being repaired.
Internet video sharing has exploded in China, says China Herald‘s Fons Tuinstra. That might very well be, as he wasn't the only one channeling the thought this week. While mobile phones are definitely catching on as the citizen journalist tool of choice, flat up photography works too. Two nicely documented stories off the front page of photojournalism site Molive.cn: young women part-timing as promoters of Fruity Mix, a chain of fruit smoothie shops, with t-shirts reading ‘bite me‘ and, as it is that time of year again—no not gay pride—when Chinese PLA soldiers finish their terms of duty and cry at the thought of saying goodbye to their buddies. Either that or re-entering the work force.
From Chinese forum site MOP, a cop story. They're human, sometimes they need to shoot nothing and hit someone. Sometimes they need to shoot something and hit someone. Here a dog has gone nuts, attacking people and needs to be put down:
After evacuating those at the scene, with a great deal of time and effort and a piece of salted duck, police finally lured the crazy dog out into a wide open space near the intersection. Then one office pulled out a gun and prepared to shoot the crazy dog.
Mr. Huang, who witnessed the whole affair told reporters that after hearing a “pow pow” sound, not only was the dog not hit, but startled as it was, started barking madly, scaring the encircling crowd back a few steps. In the midst of the frenzy, Mr. Huang heard one youth yell ‘aye yo’. “There was a bullet hole in his clothes. He started walking, walked some more, then suddenly grabbed his shoulder as if in pain, then dropped onto the ground.” Also at the scene was Ms. Sun, who told reporters that at the time she was standing beside the wounded, just a bit over ten meters from the dog. Ms. Sun recalls, saying that young man hunched over and walked over to beside the police, summoning up the effort to tell them that a bullet had struck his body. The police then rushed to help him into the police van, and tore off to Chaohu No. 1 hospital.
The young man was okay, the blogger says. The dog, however, bit someone else the next morning and was then put down.