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Monthly Archives: June 2007

War and peace - the Blair years

Tony Blair said:
May 1997:
Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our entire lives without going to war or sending our children to war. That is a prize beyond value…

December 1998:
Earlier today, I gave authority for UK forces to be deployed against Iraq.
Operation Desert Fox was launched at 10 […]

China and… Sweden

First impressions are often the deepest. You arrive in a new place, a new country and mass of unfamiliar sights, smells and experiences assault your mind - good, bad, confusing. Every sense is heightened. You may not understand everything you see, but you remember it. Later, if you stay long enough, routine sets in. You […]

Doesn’t it make you proud?

144 countries are party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. One of those countries is the United States of America. The Convention begins:
Article 1
1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, […]

Bad news on Fridays

The White House and other US branches of government have a habit of issuing inconvenient news releases on Friday evening so that they get as little public attention as possible. In China, that technique tends to be taken one step further - the news is issued just before midnight, when everyone is either in bed, […]

Of cats, blogs and imperial decrees

The story goes that in 19th century Japan most people had only given names. Then, during the Meiji Restoration, an imperial edict went out: everyone must, by law, have a family name. What to do? All over the nation, peasants looked around and named themselves after pretty much the first thing they saw that they […]

The worst kept secret in the world

Shi Tao has been given another press freedom award. He’s serving a ten-year prison sentence for leaking state secrets - a description of the central government’s instructions to the media on what not to print or broadcast around the anniversary of the June 4 crackdown in Beijing.
But here’s what I wonder:
Everyone at CCTV received [state […]

Don’t drink the toothpaste

Richard Spencer wonders how the British media would deal with the death of a politician of Huang Ju’s stature - some obituaries would be “lengthy and elegant” while other coverage would be “not very dignified”.
Not so in China. Here, the dignified approach is a short statement reassuring us that Huang Ju was not being investigated […]