Kunming

China uses ‘Charlie Hebdo’ to Justify Its Own Crackdown on Free Speech

There is no such thing as free speech in China, and now it appears there is a crackdown underway with Chinese authorities using the Charlie Hebdo massacre as an excuse….blaming media for the massacre.

On January 10, the day 1.5 million people filled Paris’s streets in solidarity against the terror attacks in that city, China’s official Xinhua news service published a self-serving editorial arguing that France’s free-wheeling media abetted the attack.

“The world is diverse and there should be limits on press freedom,” read the editorial by Paris bureau chief Ying Qiang. “Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation, and free speech are not acceptable.

Any doubts China has no respect for freedom of the press, freedom of speech or indeed freedom of expression are now removed.

Such a remark is par for the course for China’s state media, which rarely miss an opportunity, no matter how distasteful, to trumpet the Communist Party line. But, pointedly, the Paris attacks on the satirical Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket resonated with recent events in China. Over the past year, clashes between China’s majority Han and its ethnic Uighur population have escalated. On Monday, a government website located in Xinjiang reported that police killed six Uighur men who had attacked them with axes. And in September, following explosions that killed six police in Xinjiang, an ensuing riot led to police killing 40 people. Most spectacularly, masked militants armed with swords and knives entered a train station in Kunming, a regional capital in southwest China, and stabbed 30 people to death.   Read more »

There is plenty of affordable housing, it’s just all in China

People go on and on about affordable housing…there is plenty available…it is just all in China where there are hundreds of thousands of empty homes just waiting for occupiers.

Wait! There’s an idea…let’s ship out the underclass to go live in China.

Over the last two years of traveling constantly in China, I can say that I have not seen a single city, town, or hamlet without massive empty housing stock. A colleague, on two trips crossing about 1,500 kilometers overland, said that he was not out of sight of empty buildings even once. Up by the Siberian border, the town of Manzhouli has decided to become a tourist resort and built thousands of empty “villa” developments. In the southern mountains of Yunnan, a colleague took video footage of 15 kilometers unbroken of empty highrises. The ghost developments stretch along Beijing’s southern Fourth Ring and through Shanghai’s Pudong and Xuhui. The East District Zhengzhou looks like a post-apocalyptic landscape. The new districts of Harbin could earn some revenue as sets for a remake of I Am Legend.   Read more »