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China: What pols blog, where subways end

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?

当然,趁热打铁扩大影响,广开言路畅通渠道的想法无可厚非,但是,这一切须建立在对领导博客这一特殊方式的准确理解与把握的基础上。

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’

“作为网络日志的博客,是个人表达思想、传递信息的平台,开博与否、实名抑或匿名,纯属个人选择,不管是领导干部,还是平民百姓,都享有这种选择的自由。张书记固然爱写博客,以此为乐,但别人却未必如此。宿迁市领导集体实名开博,既没有党纪政令的法律政策支撑,也未见经集体研究的文件出台,之举便不能摆脱一把手以个人意志剥夺其他领导开博与否选择权的嫌疑。

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.

为博客写作需要投入大量的时间与精力。众所周知,领导干部的工作又是”相当”地繁忙,众多的文件需要批阅,一个接一个的会议需要出席,还有大量的日常性事务,除非分身有术,否则能做到正常草根博客般的维护频率已是奢想。另一方面,这些领导干部或者身居高位,或者职位敏感,渴望与其交流的受众数量远非草根博客主人可比,如此一来,要坚持下去更是几乎”不可能的任务”。

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.

北京两座地铁站神秘封闭35年:不运营只开通勤车

Two Beijing subway stations mysteriously closed for 35 years; not in operation, commuter cars only pass through

起点为苹果园,终点为四惠东,这是一张完整的地铁1号线运行图。细心的乘客会发现,苹果园站的标号为103,古城站为104,往东标号逐渐变大,那么,101和102站在哪儿呢?
实际上,苹果园站再往西还有两个鲜为人知的地铁车站,即102福寿岭站和101高井站。因为当年修地铁时这两个地段的标号分别为52和53,所以,福寿岭站和高井站又俗称52号站和53号站。
两站作为非运营车站,一晃就是35年。现在每天早晚仍有两趟车前往52号站和53号站。这两趟车为地铁内部的通勤车,乘客主要是地铁技校的学生和部分地铁内部职工。昨日,记者对这两个神秘的地铁车站进行了探访。

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.

昨日7时40分,记者坐一线地铁赶到苹果园站。这时,只见站台上站满了背着书包、身穿校服的学生。有的学生手臂上还戴有”维护秩序”的红色袖标。

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.

一名戴袖标的姓李的学生告诉记者,他是福寿岭站地铁技工学校二年级的学生,每天早晨都会这里等8时03分开来的通勤车上课,因为学校就在地铁的边上,距离20米左右。

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.

bj1.jpg

地铁福寿岭站站台狭窄,光线昏暗,安静异常。

The Fortunate Life Ridge station platform is narrow, dusky and exceptionally quiet.

bj2.jpg

福寿岭站藏身荒芜树丛中

Fortunate Life Ridge station is hidden among barren trees

bj3.jpg

站内台阶

The station's inner stairwell

“本次列车为通勤车。”8时03分,开往52号站和53号站的列车准时到达苹果园站,站台上的学生涌入车内,不一会儿车厢内就座无虚席,过道里也站满了学生。3分钟后,列车到达52号站——福寿岭站,车内的学生全部下车,几节车厢内顿时空无一人。透过车窗,记者看到福寿岭站的站台非常狭窄,光线昏暗,墙壁斑驳,没有指示牌,没有地图,也没有漂亮的灯箱广告。

“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.

列车继续前行,记者顺着车厢往前车,结果在第一节车厢内看到5名前往53号站——高井站的乘客。一位乘客告诉记者,他们是地铁内部职工家属。

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.

8时10分,列车到达高井站,记者跟随车内仅有的另外5名乘客一起下车。窄窄的空荡荡的站台异常安静,地面上满是灰尘,简陋得不能再简陋,圆拱形的顶还有两边的墙壁简单地刷了一层白灰。白炽灯泡寒冷的光线从上面射下来,有的荧光灯棒已经破碎也没有更换,不多的灯和凹凸不平的墙壁。才停留了十来分钟,记者感觉有点憋闷,空气明显比地上潮湿,细看几扇木门上面全是灰色的霉点。

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.

平缓的水泥坡道一直延伸到地铁的地面出口,长有700余米。这个站内的空间明显比其他站高很多,空旷得好像汽车也可以开进来。
“这个通道可对开吉普车和130卡车。” 一位曾经在值班室上班的地铁员工告诉记者。
记者走出53号站时,只见进出口同为一个两米多高的三面墙的拱形洞,并附有大铁门。车站位于一个大院内,这时陆续有居住在大院的地铁内部职工和家属匆匆通过该扇铁门,走进地铁站。”53号站建在大院里,戒备森严,如果不坐地铁,是很难进去的。”一位乘客行色匆匆地说。

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.

8时40分,记者因半分钟之差,与返程的列车失之交臂。记者从大院内坐了一辆967路公交车,在模式口下车,请当地的一位司机带路找到了位于福寿岭的地铁技校。在地铁技校右侧20米处,记者终于找到了一个显得破旧的地铁站。车站周边是一小片荒芜的树丛,车站入口处的牌子上醒目地写着”本站为非运营区,非工作人员禁止入内”的字样。

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.”

记者顺着台阶进入车站,站内空无一人,安静得只能听到自己的脚步声。这时,从警卫值班室里出来一位工作人员。”此处是非运营车站,外面的人禁止入内。”该工作人员表示。当得知记者的身份后,他将记者请进值班室。值班室里有个电视机,因为没有有线信号,所以看不了。该工作人员称,他姓陈,今年50 岁,是苹果园地铁站派出所负责52号站安全的民警。这里共有4名民警,值一个班是24小时,然后会有人来接替。

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.

“五年来没有出过什么事,也很少有陌生人来这里。”陈警官说,每天早晚有技校的学生和部分地铁的职工和家属乘坐地铁往返,除此之外没其他的人进入,有时候会有一些地铁的工人下到站里检查铁轨。

“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.

“虽然这两站地铁为非运营区,但仍有部分内部乘客和一些非内部职工蹭车。”在福寿岭站值守的民警老陈说,看到学生们可以进入地铁站乘坐,周边的部分村民也跟着学生们一起乘坐。”按地铁的内部规定,这个车站是非运营车站,按规定是不允许外人乘坐的,但这些村民可不干了,有的还以停水、停电来威胁,或搞个小破坏什么的。”陈警官对此很无奈。

“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.

老陈说,特别是夏天的时候,因为地铁站下面特别凉快,有一些外来务工者都会闯进地铁站,每当这个时候,他都会苦口婆心地劝说。 

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.

53号站空荡的站台附近,有一间亮着灯的小屋,屋里的铁门是关着的,记者贴着铁门聆听,里面没有动静。正当记者准备离开时,小屋里突然传来一声咳嗽声。 “屋里有人!”一位身穿深蓝色制服的老工人打开了铁门。这位老工人告诉记者,他姓王,自1971年1月15日北京地铁1号线试运营开始,就被挑选到53号站工作。35年里,同伴走了一拨又一拨,他始终没有提出过离开,也就一直留在这里。因为他家就在车站上面的大院里,所以几十年下来也没觉得闷得慌。

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.

记者在老王的小屋里看到,外屋是一个电气化的操作台,上面有许多按钮,里屋是老王的卧室,里面的陈设非常简单,就放了一张床,床上的被子叠得非常整齐。
老王说,他现在每天的工作就是值守,虽然这个车站一直没有对外开放,但每天早晚有两趟通勤车开到站里,列车在前方掉头30分钟后再返回,给住在大院里的地铁内部职工和家属提供了方便。
老王说,苹果园地铁站之所以标号为103,是因为往西还有两站,分别为福寿岭站(标号为102)和高井站(标号为101),大家之所以又称52、53,用的是当时修地铁时地段的标号。

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:

在对现场附近人群进行疏散之后,民警们小心翼翼用手中的板鸭,花费了好一阵子工夫,才将这只疯狗引到交叉口附近空旷的地方。随后,一名民警掏出G-U-N,准备射杀这只疯狗。

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.

dogshoot.jpg

目睹整个事情经过的黄先生告诉记者说,“啪啪”几声枪响后,这只狗并未被击毙,受惊的它反而发出数声狂吠,吓得围观群众后退好几步。慌乱中,黄先生听见一名小青年发出“哎哟”一声,“他的衣服上有个弹孔”。“他走着,走着,突然痛苦地捂住了肩部,栽倒在地。”同样在现场的孙女士告诉记者说,她当时就在受伤的青年身边,距射杀狗的现场有十多米之远。孙女士回忆说,那名青年几乎是半蹲着瘸着走到民警身边,吃力地告诉民警,子弹射到他身上了。民警们连忙将该青年扶到警车上,朝巢湖市第一人民医院方向疾驰而去。

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.

1 comment

  • […] Over at Global Voices, John Kennedy (via Rebecca MacKinnon) reviews blogging pols in China. Kennedy asks if blogs are “an effective way for public servants to hold themselves accountable to city residents? Or yet another empty symbol of a feedback mechanism?” […]

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