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Bird’s Nest Designer Blasts Olympic Opening Ceremony

Ai Weiwei (艾未未), who contributed to the design of the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the “Bird’s Nest,” said of the ceremony, “I’m afraid it’s going to be awful.” He was speaking in an interview for Friday’s issue of a German newspaper Hessische Allgemeine. “The Chinese government has chosen choreographers and directors who sacrificed their so-called art in favor of propaganda,” the artist and architect said. “They were taking part in a grand manipulation of the public.”

Source: Min Pao News, January, 5, 2008

Forty Percent of Chinese Use Mobile Phones

The Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China reported that there were over 539 million mobile phone users in China in November 2007, an increase of 78 million compared with the number of subscribers in 2006. The reform of mobile phone roaming tariffs was part of the reason for the rapid increase.

Guangdong province took the lead with 77 million cell phone subscribers while Tibet has only 765,000 subscribers. According to People’s Daily, the number of text messages sent over cell phones exceeded 535 billion in November 2007.

Source: Ministry of Information Industry Website, January 3, 2008/People’s Daily, December 25, 2007

Prostitutes Help Censorship?

On November 27, an explosion occurred at Lianhua Science and Technology Inc. of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, causing dozens of deaths. After the incident, the city government launched an emergency response mechanism and managed to deter 69 journalists with 21 media outlets including Xinhua News Agency, China Youth Daily, China News Services, Xinhua daily, and Jiangsu TV Stations from covering the incident. Surprisingly, the local government sent prostitutes to the reporter’s hotel rooms, and in addition resorted to bribery and police force in an effort to make sure that the incident was “correctly” reported.

Source: Chinese Media Net, December 31, 2007