Chinese Internet Turns Black and White

From yesterday, all major Chinese Internet providers changed their home page to black and white to show respects to the victims in the Sichuan earthquake. Here are some screenshots (caution: big image, and may takes some time).

Yahoo China


Sina News







We also changed our homepage to black and white at


Including my small blog:


Thoughts after One Week of Earthquake

  1. The whole country mourned at 2:28, and it is the first time I experienced – and maybe the only one in the recent history of China. That is very moving experience. When I lowered my head with all my team members in the lobby of the 18th floor of my office building, and standing under the sunshine, which pulled in from the glass roof 20 meters above my head, I saw the structure of the roof from the reflection of the tiled floor. I don’t really remember what I thought, but I know the picture has ironed deeply into my memory. I am sure even after few years, I still can recall this exact moment. Compassion makes people better, and to feel the pain of others as ours is so important for us to create a better world. Mourning and remember those who lost lives during all kinds of disasters is so important for us to continuously improve the world. I am just afraid that people will forget them very soon as we did for the Luoyang fire (in which about 400 people were killed)
  2. The central government is doing great during this event. If during the SARS, the government is completely unprepared of such disaster, during the snow disaster this Spring Festival, it is a good rehearsal of all the contingency plans, during this earthquake, we saw a much more mature modern government. Kudos go to them, and especially Premier Wen Jiabao – he did great.
  3. Media plays an important role in this event, especially state-run media CCTV, and Central Radio Station. Their 24-hour real-time broadcast helped a lot. It is again, the first time, and there are much breakthrough. It is rare that people like me and Wendy really sit before TV set instead of computer to get the latest information about the earthquake. It shows the positive contribution of the free information flow to disaster relief.
  4. Compassion shows more commonality than difference in this event. I am moved that before natural disaster, many countries and media paused the dispute and started to donate and help. In Shanghai (I always avoid using big words like "China" since I only experienced the situation in one city, and don’t want to take it for granted that I saw "China". In this sense, even Shanghai is a big word, which I’d better say "I"), after the 3 minutes mourn, I feel people are closer, since people realized there are more commonality between people than difference – the same will to help, and the same pain of compassion.

P.S. At night, spent one hour with Margaret Warner from NewsHour of PBS for an interview Internet space in China. At the end, via the program, I said, I do appreciate the concerns, help, donation, and all relief effort from the people in the United States and other countries to Sichuan in China. I did mean it. Thank you.

How We Can Help?

I admit, that I didn’t wrote too much on the recent earthquake…

I didn’t write, not because I am not concerned. To be honest, there are many reasons.

1. TV has been out of my life for a long time. But recently, TV is the center of Wendy and my time at night. We surround the TV set, and watch the latest news from TV all the time – switching between CCTV-1 and Oriental TV, to get the latest reports. At night, we watch TV till very late, which basically occupied my time. Although the scene of the TV is sometimes repeated, but I cannot help sticking with it, and to get latest update.

2. I don’t feel that I can provide unique values by writing too much. As a guideline of this blog, I write things around me that I personally experience, or have personal opinions. First hand information is always what I am seeking for. These days, I suffer from not having any first hand information myself. News site and my friends’ already did great job in covering real time news or aggregate information from other sites, and bloggers in Sichuan area did wonderful job to continuously broadcast so I don’t think by quoting their story add unique values.

3. I feel very sad these days when I watch TV programs, when I saw many people were buried under the rubble, and this is already the 4th day of the disaster, and the hope for them to get back is turned into deep sorrow. For me? I don’t have too much comments. What can I say, other then share the pain of the people there? Keeping silent may be the best way for me to do – I mean emotionally, I don’t want to post photos of the misfortunate people there.

I attended the special program by ICS Culture Matters on earthquake as guest speaker, and I was asked the question: "How, as an individual, can help?"

Well. Besides donate money, or cloths, and spread out the news and method about how to help, there is not too many things we can do currently. The bottleneck is at the epicenter. During the program, we had telephone call with a volunteer from Shanghai, who rushed into the area to help. He said: Don’t rush into the area now, since it will add burden to transportation system, and the volunteer him/herself needs food, which is really rare resources there. So what we can do to help?

Besides the link I posted just now, I think we need to take longer term to think about help in the next few months or even two years time-frame. After the first 72 hours of rescuing people, the whole area needs to be reconstructed, and orphans need to be taken care of, and the disabled needs to make a living… There are many things in the long run that we can help. Just keep the helping spirit going, and help in longer terms.

Earthquake is Much More Terrible than I Thought

When I wrote my blog on May 12, I just focused on what happened around me. At that time, there is completely no detailed news about how bad the earthquake in Sichuan was. (I still remembered that when we flee out of the building, I thought the earthquake was happening some where in the Pacific). Even when I know it was in the mountain area in Sichuan, I said: “It is lucky that it is in very rural area, and not many people are living there”. I was wrong, deadly wrong.

Last night, Wendy and I watched news report on TV for the whole night. As young parents, we were really sad to see the primary schools were destroyed and more than 1000 kids are buried in the building – I can feel every second counts. Now they are in the ground for more than 48 hours. When I saw small school bags on the ground, my tears really run down, for long time…

It is sad. Really sad.

Now, according to Sina, 14866 people already died and about 25788 were still buried under the collapsed building. Let us keep praying for the people who are still alive and hope they get rescued very soon.

Earthquake and Flee from 18th Floor

At around 3:00 PM, it is clear that everyone feels dizzy on the 18th floor of the building. The feeling is similar with what I felt in 1996 on the same campus. I immediately ask the whole company to recuse from the building – I am happy that we are the first company in the building to flee to the outside. – The security looks puzzled when they saw us running down the fire stairs. I will talk more when I get back home from work. (We run so fast, and I didn’t bring my camera and mobile phone with me).

Everything is safe, but I don’t know what is happening in the center of the earthquake.

Update May 12, 2008

Now I am back to my small white table in my living room in my home. It is already confirmed that the earthquake happened in Wenchuan near Chengdu, at 7.8 magnitude. It is more than 2000 km away from Shanghai, but we felt the shack so clearly in Shanghai.

What to Do During Earthquake

The last time I felt earthquake is back in 1996 in Shanghai, when I was in grade 2 of Shanghai Jiaotong University. It was a stronger earthquake than this one (as felt from where I stayed). We were in the dorm at floor 6.

When we felt dizzy, and felt many furnitures in the rooms are moving, everyone rushed out of the room. At that time, I made a choice that I felt very regret at that moment, although it is the right action to take.

Because of the expectation of Luoyang to have a big earthquake within 10 years, the earthquake education in Luoyang was pretty good, and I was told the best place to stay during earthquake is the rest room. There are several reasons:

  • It is small in space, and concentration of building structures, so it is the strongest part of most residential building.
  • It has water if you are trapped, so you can survive longer.
  • It has long line of water pipes. Even if you are buried in the building, you can make some noise with the pipe so others can help you.

So, I grasped another friend and rushed into the washroom. Guess what happened?

At the very beginning, we heard many people rushing around and the whole building is very noise. They all rushed to the stairs to get out of the building.

Within 1 minute, the whole building is deadly silent, and there are only two people still in the building – my friend and myself. The worse thing is, the earthquake is stronger and stronger – it is obviously a bad idea to rush out to the stairs at this time.

So I understood that if the building did collapse, there will be only two people injured – my friend and me.

We are lucky that the earthquake passed very quickly, and when everything is fine, we are the last two person got out of the building.

Well. Today, and according to most instructions, we did the right thing, but…. I swear that I firmly believed that we made a wrong decision at that time…

This earthquake reminds me of the same thing. What is your choice the next time? To follow the majority or follow the “right” way?

The Current Earthquake

There is no report about the causality or injures in Wenchuan. I guess it will be another big number. It is too bad. My best wishes that after the recent many accidents in China, people get more experienced and can take more efficient action to rescue the people there.

More Accidents in 2008

Update May 6, 2008 Changed the title from 2008, a Year of Terror to current title – just to be more objective.

With the approach of Beijing Olympics, I just feel that it is becoming a year of terror. Many bad things happened one after another, and news report says every single one is not related to terrorism, but…

Bus Explosion

Today, a bus in Shanghai exploded during rush hours this morning, killing 3 persons, and injured 12. The news used a term “explosive fire”, instead of “explosion”, but I never heard of the newly-created term before. Why not just say “explosion”? Again, Sina’s report (Chinese with pictures).

Train Collision

I just recorded the train accident within one week, which killed 71 people.

EV71 Virus

Just like SARS, the recent EV71 virus broke out in Anhui, and spread to Zhejiang, and Henan… 5840 people were affected along, 20 died, and about 100 are still in danger.

The virus seems to be only infectable by children. As parent of a kid, I understand how serious everyone is taking about it. Yifan has been highly protected, and his visit to supermarket or other crowded area has been restricted.

What’s next? Will it be another SARS in China? I am deeply concerned. More Report

Suspecious Stuff Found in Beijing Metro

Beijing Metro was just paused for 20 minutes because of suspecious stuff found in the metro cart. I didn’t find meaningful follow up news about what is found (or not found) after that.

What happened? It is so rare, since before, bad news like this is not reported at all. Is it a sign of improvement of news report, or just a sign to tell me that it is bad enough than I thought? More about this news.

Airplane Conflict

Another news is, two aircraft almost collapsed with each other face to face in Dalian airport. One of the airplane on the runway already ready to depart was forced to pull down. Otherwise, there will be another air crash. Again, the reason is unknown yet.

A Year of Terror

Bad news after bad news these days, and it all happened around 100 days before Olympics. Will the year of 2008 be the year of terror? Terror means two things. It may mean the real threat from terrorism, but it may also mean that even the fact is there is no terrorism at all, but if people feel that way, that is also a big problem.

On April 9, 2003, I wrote Panic Under Control. SARS May Not. That was three weeks before the head of Health Department was sacked, and the media report just repeat that there is no SARS at all, and ask people not to worry, and do whatever they want to do, instead of staying at home… At that time, people are trying to control panic, but not SARS.

Today, it may be another situation. I don’t know whether all these are related to terrorism or not. I completely have no idea, just as I don’t know whether there is SARS or not before May holiday of 2003. But how about panic? I personally feel it – I am really concerned with public transportation, and cares about my child, and so do some of my friends. What is the best way to control panic? I may give it a sub-title like “There is no Terrorism. Then How about Panic?”.

Your Opinion about French Revolution

The recent events in France brought my interest to this country. Just as what I always believed, “seek first to understand before seek to be understood”, I started to read about the history of France, especially during the French Revolution around the year of 1793.

The chaos in the 10 years in France is so interesting to me since it seems very similar to me as the Culture Revolution in China in 1970s. In history book (my history score in middle-school is not so good), I remember all kinds of praises to the French Revolution, and concluded that it is such an important event in the history of man-kind, and the “revolution” is a great success. But my recent reading didn’t suggest that way.

So, my dear knowledgeable readers, what do you know about the French Revolution? What is your thoughts about the 10 years? I just feel that Chinese and French history are similar enough (for this period of time) for both side to join hands to do some reflection together.

P.S. I am reading piece of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, and also found out something similar to China.

Generalization Plays the Trick

My reader wishing star quoted a poem about people’s confusing about the reaction of western world in this comment.

This morning, I received a poem entitled ” to the western world ” from a friend of mine. I have no idea where the poem was from and how many people have read this before. Anyway, I tried to translate it into English as the questions put forwarded in the poem reflect the real thinking of quite a lot of ordinary Chinese people.

Due to limited time, I was not able to polish my translation well enough. However, I tried my best to make it true to its original . I know some visitors to this blog have profound understanding of both English and Chinese languages. Your comments to the translation is welcome.

Here goes the poem in both Chinese and English:


During the opium war, when the opium smuggled from the Britain undermined our body and morality, turning us into ‘the Sick men of East Asia’, you called us yellow disaster;


When your propaganda portrayed us as “the next super power “, you said that we are a threat to all of you.


When we closed our door, you broke it through with your drugs.


When we embrace the free trade, you condemned us for “stealing’ your jobs.


When our territory was split into pieces, your armies marched in to share a spoon of soup,


When we tried to put together all the fragments back, you said we are impeding a free Tibet.


When we tried to pratice communism, you hated us because we are “communists”


When we tried to learn from Capitamlism, you hated us because we want to be capitalists.


When we possess 1.3 billion people, you said that we were destroying the earth.


When we tried to control the population, you said that we are violating human rights.


When we were struck by poverty, you thought we were dogs.


If we offer you with loans, then you will say we put your countries in debt.


When we establish our own industry, you said we are the cause to the pollution.


When we sell our products, you accused us of resulting in the global warming;


When we buy petroleum, you called that exploitation


But when you started a war because of oil, you called that liberation,


When we get lost in the chaos and confusion, you said we should rule the countory by law


When we tried to safegard the law and strike down the violence, you said we were violating human rights.


When we keep silence, you said we should be entitled to free speech.


When we utter our own voices, you said we were brainswashed or behaved too defensive


Why do you have such a bottomless hatred for us ? We asked.


No . We don’t hate you. You answered.


We don’t hate you either. But, do you really understand us ?



Of couse we do. You repied, You have AFP, CNN, BBC…..


What on earth do you want from us ?


Think clear before you make an answer …


Because all you have is limited chances


Enough. It’s hypocritical to say that we have the same world.


What we called for is one world, one deam and peace for all.


This blue planet should be big enough to hold us all.

At the first read, it seems pretty reasonable poem that it reflects the truth – the timing, the reason and the results seem all accurate. Then “What’s wrong with the western world?”

However, at second thoughts, you may found out the problem in the reasonsing there: generalization plays the trick.

I think, if you add just one term in front of “you”, the poem may reflect the truth better, and don’t cause too much problem. The term is:

Some of

Adding the term transform the poem to

When we possess 1.3 billion people, some of you said that we were destroying the earth.

When we tried to control the population, some of you said that we are violating human rights.

When we were struck by poverty, some of you thought we were dogs.

If we offer you with loans, then some ofyou will say we put your countries in debt.


To generalize what is happening in part of China as the whole China, or to generalize some of the many piont-of-views as the western world opinion can cause a big problem here. What I learnt was, be very careful to use the word of “China”, or “western world”, or “France” when we talk about somethi. Even if we have to use it to form a sentence, we need to understand by using the “big term”, it actually mean part of it.

That is the logic mistake I found out in the poem. It is just like the following one:

In a football game, when China wins, Chinese people are very sad;

when China loses, Chinese peole are very happy.

What’s wrong with this country?

To explain the confusing situation, we can better explain the same fact ths way:

In a football game between Henan and Shandong,

when Henan wins, people in Shandong is sad;

when Shandong loses, people in Henan is happy.

To describe “Henan” as “China” – the example of generalization – is root cause of the logic problem. However, it is very hard to find out this kind of mistake – the same mistake as the blind man claiming the elephant is a pole. That is also the reason in many debates, I found people are arguing whether China is rich or poor – a question that don’t have a good answer forever.

Train Collision in Shandong

The train collision near Jinan killed 71, and injured 416.

Little flower for the victim in the accident

That is too bad. Not to mention those who were killed, I am horrified by the news story of a young man who broke his own arm to be able to escape from the train cart.

When I talked about risk of altitude sickness in Tibet, but to be fair, the risk of living anywhere in China is also high. I don’t want to count the long list of big accident country wide in the past, just to name a few that seems close to me:

A gas station near my home may exploded, killing 4, and injuring 40.

Maglev, which I am both a big fan of in terms of technology, and am writing against it for its cost, can catch fire.

The Metro train also kills. Not only this time, it happened once again, again and again.

If I keep counting the experience I had before I started blogging in 2002, I also can list some terrible accidents I feel very close to:

At the Christmas eve of 2000, fire in my home town, Luoyang, killed 309 – a number till now I cannot believe. When I was in middle school, that shopping center is the closest and the biggest in the area of my high-school.

In the summer of 1993 (July 10, 1993), just one day before I took train from Luoyang to Beijing to visit the capital for the first time, a passenger train No. 163 from Beijing to our direction collapsed with the cargo train in the front, killing 40 people (again, most of them comes from my city). I remember the sad face of the crew of my train after they hear about the news.

These are just few accidents that I feel pretty close to me. There are much more than that in the whole country, not to mention the frequent airlines disaster.

Transportation is a big thing everywhere, but how can I be assured that I am still lucky enough in the next accident? The key question is, who cares after so many accidents happening everywhere? Most of them are because of very stupid mistakes that are so easy to prevent.

I complained about sense of safety in the cyberspace (website can be easily shutdown at any time), it seems we need to move our focus to the safety of lives also.

The country needs some change to make it better. I keep thinking about it….

Standing Cross Different Lines

One interesting thing I found from writing this blog and reading comments is, this world is far more complicated than black and white, and there are so many ways to look at the same thing (or we call it “perspectives”). Just I always referred (did I refer to the article everyday?) to the Blind Men and Elephant story, different perspectives tell completely different story. (I hope I don’t emphasis this too many times, but I do mean it).

Chinese Media and Western Media

Sorry to use the too generalized word, but this is what they both use when pointing finger to the other party. We saw direct attack between the two groups, but stand up against one does not automatically mean to be supportive to the other (just as I was misunderstood by being supportive to what CCTV said when I pointed error in CNN). To some extend, the truth seekers are standing on one side of the line, while both media (western and Chinese) stand at the other side. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying Chinese local news made exactly the same mistake as western media – the types are different, and the degrees are different, but, still on the same side of the line.

News-Lover or not

Recently, there are no big news around the Torch. Local people welcome torch is not something exciting, at least for media, and the last round of news debate started to fade out. I know many people are not happy, including pro-China protesters, and anti-China protesters. Confrontation is exciting for most people.

If there is a line of “no-news” is good news type of people, and news-lover, people protesting against each other may stand on the same side of the line.

Government vs Government

EU and US congress had past resolution (is this the right word) against China, and China is standing up to fight back. At the same time, I am still emailing back and forth with my friends in other countries, and people started to discuss in many places, like in this blog. This time, people (common people) are standing on one side of the line and governments (of both countries) on the other.

Speaker vs Listener

One highlight of our discussion in the past was from Peter Duong (here and here, who are protester against human right record of China in San Francisco, but willing to discuss, and actually shared a lot of insight. Me and other people from China are also those guys who want to listen. If you draw a line of those who are pure “speaker” and just want their voice heard without trying any effort to hear what others are saying, Peter, me and many others are on the same side of the line, while others on the other side.

Interesting, isn’t it?

By seeing the things from different perspective, the lines are so blurred. In many people’s eyes (I met many and read many of the comments), the world is made up of black and right, or right and wrong. However, there is something common to put some guys from the black group and someone from the white group to form a new group, and the rest in the other… Complicated? The world is even more complicated than this. That is why we have something called “Novel”. If the world is simple, we should be able to stop writing novels or any other form of literature already.

P.S. Besides what I talked before, I may want to spend some time to analyze the huge different between Shanghai and inner part of China – Henan Province where Wendy and I came from. Even within China, the value for family, freedom, money is completely different. I would even wonder whether the gap is bigger between France and Germany. To be short, I am consistently shocked when I witness the gap.

P.S. 2 Another thought about why people want to boycott French product: it is not allowed to protest against anything that matters (it is allowed according to law with a permit, but no one can get the permit), and boycotting is not explicitly banned, boycotting is the (maybe) only way to show people’s voice in China. quoted a video on YouTube about a single girl (from the video, just herself) holding a banner (cannot see what’s on the banner. Should be related wither boycott, or the torch relay) standing on the street corner, and policeman politely talked to her….

1 USD = 6.9966 RMB

Just checked Yahoo Finance, the current exchange rate between RMB and USD is:

1 USD = 6.9966 RMB

Look at the exchange rate between USD and RMB in the last 5 years:

Graph credit: Yahoo Finance

Please note: This is not a stock chart – it is the exchange rate between two of the most important economic bodies in the world.

I remember Alexandra, author of China Price told me that during her two year research in south China, many factory owners told them that if the exchange rate keep going on the same trend for one more year, they are going to close the factory.

I suspect the current below-7 exchange rate will cause big problem for them. Anyone can confirm or show evidence to object my guess?

Taiwan Election – Ma Wins

Last night, we left home and went to watch Phoenix TV in Zhangjiang. The final result of the Taiwan Election came out, and Ma won.

During the whole day, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, about it on all the channels I can receive on my TV. It is as if there is nothing called “Taiwan Election” in the main stream media in China. There is some coverage on the Internet, of cause.

Phoenix TV is the only TV station covering the vote, and they are doing a whole day coverage of the election.

My comment? I don’t have too much source of information about the election, and didn’t know too much. I think I will need more time to dig into details about the Taiwan Politics – don’t take it for granted that I know everything. However, I am very interested in what is happening in Taiwan, since it sheld some light about the future of mainland China.

No matter what, I think people in Taiwan is lucky – to have advanced in the democratic path, although the path is not smooth, and sometimes seem naive when the journey gets started – as every democratic society did – but it provides a way for the people, as a whole, to correct mistakes, and to evolve the society for the good of the whole people. I will certainly keep an eye on it.

Some Interesting Random News

  • AMD’s newest chip is codenamed “Shanghai” – a 8-core processor. Why they choose Shanghai as its code name?<
  • I am going to install IPTV in my home at last – it is free anyway, with requirement to open the equipment at least 8 days every month
  • Zendai MOMA (Museum of Morden Art) at Thumb Square in Pudong is a great place. They are now showing the exhibition of “Europe Attribute”
  • Shanghai is going to install Wireless Service for the whole city before 2010. Hope then I can do a broadcast. :-) since wireless is everywhere in my big 16million people city.

Watching Spring Festival TV Show Now

I am watching tihs year’s Spring Festival TV Show on CCTV now. It is from 8:00 PM to 12:30 AM next day.

This is the 20th year of the same TV show. According to the latest statistic, 500 million people in China are watching this program, and maybe the TV program with the largest audience.

Fireworks are everywhere outside the window. However, with the Snow Storm across China, this Spring Festival is not as excited as the previous few.

P.S. For the next few days, I am on vacation, and I bought some DVD to watch. The interesting thing is, most of the DVD I bought are the latest movies that were just put into theatres, and they are GENUINE copies. Also, these genuine copies are selling at very cheap price – 15 to 12 RMB (2 USD). I talked about a copy of the genuine DVD before, but this time, they have so many genuine copies! In a store of 1,000 completely pirated DVD, 10 genuine DVDs are still not too much.

Why Snow Caused Power Failure

I was wondering why snow in south China caused large scale power failure – snow is snow, and electricity power is electricity power. What is the connection?

Wendy sent me the photo, and I was shocked. This is what happened in South China in the last two weeks…








The Most Severe Disaster I Experienced

Recently, I experienced the most severe disaster I have ever experienced in China. The snow + the Spring Festival transportation peak made the country a mess. To be exact, this may not be the most severe disaster, but I didn’t experience it personally in the previous few, but this one, I feel people around me are impacted, and can imagine how bad the situation is.

On the way home, I listened to the radio and there is a story about a woman and her 22 day old infant was stack in the middle of the highway for 7 days, and were sent to hospital. This is just one of the almost one million of people on their way home.

Due to the snow in South China, many roads are completely blocked, and long distance bus were stuck there for 7 or more days. Instant noodle is reported to raise to 80 RMB from 1-3 RMB – and you can get it only after you still have money (after spending it to buy expensive goods), and you are lucky enough to find a seller. I cannot imagine to be stuck in the bus for so many days in snow – of cause there will be no air conditioning.

Zhangzhou in Hunan enters its 8th days out of water and electricity. Many places are the same. The whole country suffers from electricity shortage, and half of the 30+ provinces experience electricity pause.

There are still so many people rushing to train station and bus station, although there are no bus departure or train there.

In the next few days, my friends and colleges are heading back home. Good luck to them!