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Shanghaiist is a website about Shanghai, China.Managing Editor: Dan WashburnEditor: Kenneth TanPublisher: Gothamist

Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 03:00:28 +0800

Copyright: Copyright 2009

Escapist: Annual Harbin Ice and Sculpture Festival 2009


If you are stumped for things to do for Chinese New Year and the thought of Siberian-like cold and a hot bowl of borscht seem more appealing then the beaches of Boracay, perhaps Harbin is a city you might consider visiting. Harbin's annual ice and sculpture festival started this week and runs until the end of February, weather permitting.

More from after the jump:

Photos by Jonathan Deves from Harbin Ice and Sculpture Festival in 2008.

There is an image gallery to this entry which you can view at Shanghaiist
Established in 1985 as a simple festival, the Ice and Snow Festival has now transformed into one of the biggest winter attractions in China and the fourth largest ice and snow festival in the world, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival.

In the evenings, the sculptures are lit up and ice-lantern park touring activities are held in many parks throughout the city. A number of other winter events take place in the city at the same time as the festival: fireworks display, ice hockey competitions, winter swimming, skiing and speed skating events, football games on expansive snow grounds, poetry jamboree, and ice and snow cinematic festival.

Fancy a graduate ayi?


The Philippines have been exporting college graduates to work as domestic helpers / maids in other countries for many years now, but now, their Chinese counterparts are looking to do the same domestically:

DESPERATE Chinese graduates, facing grim job prospects amid slowing economic growth, are clamouring to find posts as nannies and domestic helpers for the rich in one southern province, state media reported on Wednesday.

Thousands of university students had applied for nanny work through an agency in China's export heartland of Guangdong, the Guangzhou Daily newspaper said.

'There have been five or six hundred people applying every month, with more than 90 per cent of them university students, including 28 Masters students,' the paper quoted a housekeeping recruitment agent as saying.

Only 300 out of 2,000 students had landed jobs over the past few months, however, as slowing growth had seen companies go bankrupt and foreign businessmen desert the province in droves, the agency said.

It's often been said how this willingness to chiku (吃苦, lit. "eat bitterness") seems to be ingrained into the Chinese psyche, and this cannot be more apparent than in the story above. Can you imagine college graduates in your home country doing the same?

Video: Mass rally in Pyongyang, North Korea


(object) (embed) Tens of thousands of people gathered in Kim II Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday holding up banners with slogans including "Long live the Great Leader Kim Jong Il". Shanghaiist was amused to hear we're observing only a "Year of Friendship" with this country in 2009. We've always thought they were our BFF.

Tudou being sued for copyright infringement


(image) China Tech News reports that about 80 copyright holders will be ganging up on Tudou for copyright infringement. Some of these companies in the alliance include, Beijing Polybona Film Distribution, Beijing Orange Sky Entertainment Group and SFS Emperor and are said to be suing for RMB10 million. Tudou is a video sharing website that is bigger than YouTube in China showing 1.2 billion videos each month including bootlegged versions of TV shows and clips from Hollywood movies. Tudou, possibly in response to this suit, will be launching a reporting system for copyright owners after Spring Festival that they are currently testing. Of course the alliance could be fishing for some of that $85 million they raised in funding, most of which is apparently just sitting in the bank.

For previous stories on Tudou, click here.

Video: Are three-wheel Chinese cars "chick magnets"?


(object) (embed) Danwei directed us to the embedded six-month old video of a short local NBC News piece on a Chinese-made three-wheel "car" available from a dealer in Webster, New York (it's actually available in several places in the U.S., like Michigan). The Webster dealer (we think this is his MySpace page ... yes, MySpace) claims women love the Wildfire WF650-C. The jury is still out on that one.

The WF650-C does, though, supposedly get up to 70 miles per gallon. For that, you have to forfeit a wheel, some power and also a little safety, according to this January 2009 review in Car and Driver:

The three-wheeled Wildfire is licensed as a motorcycle and is thus exempt from a lot of safety regs such as airbags and side-impact beams. It doesn’t have a lap belt, either, but it does include a shoulder belt and three features the Bugatti failed to offer: a cigarette lighter, an ashtray, and a pop-up skylight whose leading edge, oddly enough, performs the popping-up part. In that position, it scoops up all of the ventilation you’ll ever need, as well as all of the bees you’ll ever need, every last one of which has had its anger receptors presensitized by, first, a violent collision with Chinese glass and, second, a violent collision with your forehead.

Here are the basics: The Wildfire WF650-C is one foot longer than a Smart Fortwo Passion but weighs more than 1000 pounds less. It is powered by a 650cc, liquid-cooled four-stroke two-cylinder whose output—identical to a Sears Craftsman 27691 riding mower’s—is funneled through a four-speed manual transmission whose linkage is uncanny in its ability to drop flying monkeys on third gear, banishing it to the skies of Oz. (A CVT might have been more useful.) The warranty is two years or 24,000 miles.

Our Wildfire covers the quarter-mile in 27.3 seconds at 48 mph. It cruises most happily at about 40 mph—roughly where third gear tops out—which takes 17 seconds to attain. There’s no tach. You just shift when revs stop climbing. We once got the Wildfire up to 65 mph before it was time to pause for lunch, a meal made less palatable by a trike trait you probably never considered: When you have wheels at both sides and one in the middle, it is tricky to avoid dead animals.

Reading that made us realize we don't know much about cars.

You can find the official Wildfire Motors website here — not all of their vehicles have three wheels. Not sure exactly where in China Wildfires are made or what Chinese company makes them. UPDATE: We found a PDF that says the three-wheeler is "manufactured by Taixing Sandi Motorcycle Co Ltd, sold by Wildfire Motors." Taixing is in Jiangsu and here is the Sandi website.

Those sexy photos of Zhang Ziyi topless on the beach canoodling with her fiance Vivi Nevo...


(image) ... aren't here, you naughty bastards. Lately, lots of people have been stumbling on this website through Google searches of Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) while other concerned readers have been writing in to us wondering about our curious silence on Zhang Ziyi's latest paparazzi photos, the biggest celebrity scandal to hit China after Edison Chen's "sexy photo gate". Well those pictures, all 81 of them, belong to who's been known to sue bloggers for using their pictures without permission (even the great Perez Hilton has stopped using their pics after getting sued by them for US$7.5 million). Those brave ballsy souls at ChinaSmack, though, have ripped the pictures and put all of them up on their website. We decided to put up the two animated gifs they found (created by bored Chinese netizens) that totally cracked us up after the jump [NSFW, and not safe for consumption if you've just had dinner].

Related links
ESWN: The season for sexy photos [translated from Hecaitou]
ESWN: Possible Classifications of the Zhang Ziyi Photos [translated from Alone in the Fart]
All previous Shanghaiist stories on Zhang Ziyi HERE

Photo of Apple Daily report from ESWN.



Listen: James Fallows on NPR's "Fresh Air"


James Fallows
Go here to listen to Terry Gross' interview with Beijing-based (and formerly Shanghai-based) writer James Fallows, The Atlantic's "man in China." Fallows discusses a variety of topics, including China's extensive investment in the United States (see his Atlantic story on the topic here), his new book of China essays (excerpt on Danwei), internet censorship and his recently deceased father. Around the 24-minute mark, Fallows makes some interesting statements about how he thinks Chinese people would have voted in the recent U.S. election — we're curious how his observations compare to what Shanghaiist readers saw and heard leading up to November 4.

Report: Concert promoter China West calling it quits


(image) So the rumors we heard over the weekend at Kiito's were true ... and sooner than expected. According to SmartShanghai, China West — the outfit that brought, among others, Norah Jones, James Brown, Black Eyed Peas, The Roots, Incubus, James Blunt, Kanye West and Kylie Minogue to China — was "unable to maintain a profitable bottom line" after five years here. SmartShanghai says China West is "bowing out of the Chinese market for 2009," so perhaps they not ruling out a return to the market in 2010 or beyond. Either way, a shame. And then there was one? (OK, maybe two.)

Chinese web less naughty


As we've mentioned earlier, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center this week published a list of web pages considered "vulgar and unhealthy". Google and Baidu, among others, were warned to clean out the unwanted material... or face the music. Baidu has already issued a very contrite-sounding apology. Meanwhile, high-ranking officials have demanded the resignation of three editors at we hear. At Kuaiche, one of the web portals criticized, we could see clear results today. The first screenshot shows what the page's photo section looked like yesterday, the picture below is the same section today. We feel less vulgar already.


This makes us happy we stayed in on New Year's Eve


(image) A classic Hengshan Lu tale from Louis Lei Yu, Chinese-born DJ at CFUV 101.9 FM, radio station at Canada's University of Victoria: "[T]his is my bitter experience at the cold fairyland NYE show. So I saw cold Fairyland on NYE, I looked on the Internet and saw that they are playing and I thought 'oh cool, at lease I get to see one decent Chinese indie band during my trip to China.' This turned out to be one of the worst concerts I’ve ever saw, and not because of the band at all…" Read on at China Music Radar.

Shanghai skyline recreated in dice and poker chips


Boing Boing points us to this interesting art installation by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua who recreated the Shanghai skyline from dice and poker-chips. This was exhibited at the Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, Italy. A close-up shot follows after the jump. [Photos by Cinghialino]



Weird times, weird people


(embed) Yes, people are crazy and times are strange. Two days ago, a fashionably dressed young woman ate a RMB280 lunch at a Japanese restaurant somewhere near Nanjing Xi Lu and Chengdu Bei Lu. When it was time to get the bill, she told the wait staff that she had no money on her and needed to withdraw some cash. A restaurant employee followed her to a nearby China Construction Bank (CCB) ATM, whereupon the woman locked herself inside and forbade anyone to come near her, saying she had a knife and would kill herself if anyone tried to force their way in. CCB staff tried persuading her to come out but met with no success. Eventually the police were called in and the woman was finally brought out after three hours of self-imposed captivity. The woman is now being subjected to psychological tests to see if she is mentally sound.

Best and worst party flyers in 2008


(image) SmartShanghai has put together a compilation of the best and worst event flyers found on their website last year. Our favourite one has to be this flyer you see on the right, designed by I Love Shanghai for a party last January. We're sure the party went down well (no pun intended) on many a moustached man and cunning linguist in town.

Jue Festival starts today


Just one week in and 2009 has been largely dull, grey, and wet. Thankfully then, the good people at Split Works have put together a ten day long festival of art and music to warm our cockles - starting today. According to the organisers, Jue Festival is "an excuse to leave your hidey-hole and experience a punk show, an art installation, and everything in between", which sounds pretty good to us. The festival (which is also taking place in Beijing), will showcase some of Shanghai's best creative talent and is hosting a diverse set of artists and performers. Here's what to look out for: Today Chen Hang Feng's Daily Prosperity @ Art Labor There's a whole load of artists who fuse modern and traditional China, but Chen's work is one of the more interesting takes on the clash of the old and the new. His work appropriates corporate logos to create artworks and patterns in a traditional Chinese mold while for this show he's promising a chandelier made from rubbish he's collected around the city. Liu Jin's Realistic Odeum @ 140sqm Gallery Apparently, Liu Jin creates "anti-realistic suppositional environments". We're not really sure what that means, but we like his photos of fallen angels wandering through forests or getting into scrapes at factories. Wang Tingting's Painted Skin @ FQ Projects Young artist Wang Tingting's works give a glimpse in to the world of a born-in-the-'80s girl. This is no sweet Shanghai princess though, Wang's work features flowers and fairytales, there's also plenty of "blood and blades". The Artist Died Yesterday @ Island6 We know it's bad luck to talk about death in the run up to Chinese New Year (or at any time really), but the theme seems to be getting some interesting treatments lately. This collaborative exhibition from 26 foreign and Chinese artists even comes with its own obituary. Tomorrow South Rakkas Crew @ Shelter Teaming up with the Uprooted Sunshine gang, the dancehall masters blaze a trail to the Shelter to drop their electro-reggae influenced sound. You've probably heard their reworking of The Jacksons' 'Can You Feel It' bouncing off the walls of a club before, but if not check it out here. Coming Soon we are ENFANT TERRIBLE lead a Parisian pop and French electro invasion of LOgO on Friday; Saturday sees local IDM masterclasses from Dead J and Liman down at Shelter; The 5th Wall ensemble stage some marriage counseling in their original piece of theatre from January 16-17; Also on the 16th, outstanding local pop-punkers Pinkberry support Beijing punk act Demerit at The Dream Factory; Pioneering Beijing music label Maybe Mars bring a night of top quality acts to Shanghai with Ourself Beside Me (featuring former Hang on the Box members), Carsick Cars, and Snapline. Keep an eye on Shanghaiist for more info on all of these events nearer the time. [...]

Phelps signs exclusive China deal with Mazda


(image) Michael Phelps (菲尔普斯) has signed the biggest ever endorsement contract for a Western celebrity in China, claims DMG Entertainment group, the agency that reportedly signed him to a seven-figure deal with Mazda.

Phelps, who captured the awe of China (along with the rest of the world) while winning eight swimming gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, will promote the Mazda 6 through television and print ads, as well as public appearances. According to Bloomberg News, Mazda sold 105,000 cars in China in the first 10 months of 2008. Phelps will come to Beijing soon to start pitching for the Japanese automaker.

Michael Phelps image:

For more China sports news, check out China Sports Today.

Clam chowder in Shanghai's own Pier 39


(image) Someone in Shanghai is looking out for us Californians. First, Cantina Agave arrived and delivered Mexican food the way we remember it. Now, a cafe on Jinxian Lu has brought us New England clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.

Yes, this creamy chowder has its roots in the northeast, but when its purveyors serve it in sourdough and name their restaurant after the famed Pier 39 in San Francisco, you're definitely aiming for that Northern California vibe. And that's just what Candy, a former resident of our beautiful hometown and owner of Shanghai's Pier 39, is hoping to accomplish.

On the day we tried it, the dough wasn't quite sour enough and the garlic was threatening to crowd out the clams a bit, but for the most part it was done right: creamy and smooth enough to seep into the sides of the bowl. It's not San Francisco, but it's decently priced (45 RMB) and really massages the spot, especially when the temperature outside clings to zero like chowder on bread.

Pier 39 - 172 Jinxian Lu, close to Maoming Lu (39号码头 - 进贤路172号, 近茂名路), Tel: 6258-1939

Eric Hu is Shanghaiist's Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai's food scene to food at

Angry protestors, timid policemen


height="339" width="425" class="image-right" src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Another day, another factory closure, another worker protest. That's not new in Guangdong anymore but with the Chinese New Year drawing close, people are desperate to claim their unpaid wages so they can travel home for the annual reunion with their family. This is an otherwise regular report if not for the footage of the angry crowd pushing policemen back when they tried to stop the NBC crew from doing their work. Outnumbered, the cops could only watch timidly from a distance, quietly video-taping all the goings-on to report back to their higher-ups.

Shaq fighting terrorism on Shanghai streets



We pass this billboard (almost) every day, between Shanghaiist headquarters and the gym. For a long time it featured Barack Obama on the cover of the Chinese version of Men's Health. Recently a Twitter user named Shaquille O'Neal has taken the president elect's place. It's an ad for Li Ning basketball shoes, Shaq's brand of choice for a couple years now. (You might remember the real Li Ning from such Olympic opening ceremonies as Beijing 2008.)

Here's the text of the ad:


Fight hard1, who's afraid of whom!
Li Ning Basketball Anti-Terrorism Training

Bigger versions of the image are on Flickr.

1 Is "fight hard" the correct translation for 斗硬?

Today's Links: Guangzhou girl found dead in fridge, Google and Baidu deemed 'vulgar' and thrifty youngsters


Photo by fateless_gypsy.

  • A four year old girl in Guangzhou has been found dead in a refrigerator belonging to a migrant worker who is thought to be mentally ill and who once told neighbours that human flesh was "delicious". [BBC]
  • In the latest internet crackdown, Google, Baidu, Sina and QQ, other portals have been deemed "vulgar and unhealthy", and ordered to clean up their act. [Danwei]
  • A total of 14 people were killed in two separate illegal fireworks plant blasts, one in Hebei province and another in Shandong. The former took place in a factory that originally produced hell money which are burnt to the dead by Chinese folk religionists. [Xinhua]
  • China's young generation are tightening their belts and cutting their spending, and one young man in Beijing who launched a campaign to curb weekly living expenses to 100 yuan says he's already garnered 55,000 participants. [Reuters]
  • The 15,000-seat Wukesong Sports Center baseball field, which was Beijing's Olympic baseball venue, has been slated for the wrecking ball to pave way for the development of a shopping mall, dashing all hopes for the preservation of the venue as a centre for the future development of the sport in China. [Reuters]

3G licenses to be issued before Spring Festival


(object) (embed) As it turns out, China's 3G licenses will be issued to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom by Spring Festival. Guangdong Mobile (a China Mobile subsidiary) is already releasing a new set of 3G numbers all starting with "188" beginning this Thursday. In addition GPRS fees will be cut by as much as 2/3 in most cities. According to Pacific Epoch, Shanghai Mobile users can "now pay RMB 5 per month for 30MB, rather than the RMB 5, 10 MB package originally available, while RMB 20 per month gets 150MB, also three times more than before".

The SH Magazine issue you weren't supposed to see


SH's tombstone
Late last year we documented SH magazine's trials and tribulations. The English-language weekly stopped publishing in December, but it continues to be a source of drama in 2009. A final "funeral issue" — death themed from front to back — was finished and set for publication on December 19. But the swan song never saw the light of day. Until now. The issue in its entirety can be found after the jump on this post. Here's some back story from someone familiar with the situation:

It was supposed to be published on December 19th but the China Foreign Language Advertising people, SH magazine's partners and the holders of the actual license, demanded so many changes that it became unfeasible. There's evidence of one in the PDF, which is the shopping "I Want It". In this version, it's an acoustic guitar. In the original, it's an urn, and the contact details for the urn are still there. A little glimpse of what it would have become with all of their suggested changes — terribly boring.

So have a look, and tell us if you can find anything particularly controversial.

SH mag to fold
You could be the next owner of SH Mag!

(object) (embed)

If you're feeding your dog Optima, stop right now and read this


This warning may have come a little too late for some of you but the story needs to go out anyhow. The dog you see on the right, Addie, which belongs to Ryan McLaughlin (who also writes LostLaowai and CNet Asia's The Tech Dynasty) has just died from contact with aflatoxin-contaminated Optima dog food. Aflatoxicity leads to rapid liver failure and kills 80% of all dogs afflicted with it. After Ryan's local pet store in Suzhou was nice enough to inform him of the aflatoxin contamination which has killed about 30 dogs in the region around Shanghai on Dec 23 (how's that for a Christmas present?), Addie was taken from vet to vet, put on IV, given all sorts of jabs and drugs over the next twelve days, but nothing would save her. She lost the fight. Yesterday. It remains unclear whether Optima in China is imported from the US or from Australia, but this bit on the corporate damage control mode that the company went into as described by Ryan is interesting:I watched Addie while Maggie [Ryan's wife] went into a room with them and talked about the situation. They essentially laid out that they would cover all medical costs related to this, and in the event of her death they would come up with compensation of some sort. How exactly do they calculate that? Pro-rated from time of birth with a bonus for a good temperament and numbers of hours trained? I realize they’re managing the damage and just doing their jobs, but fuck - assholes. They very likely killed my dog and actually had the audacity to tell Maggie they’ll reimburse us based on book value for the breed plus a bit for pain and suffering. The one good thing that came out of the conversation is that we learned a bit more about what happened. Apparently the Olympics are to blame. Fucking Olympics. Allegedly, the reason for the contamination is because during the Olympics the Chinese gov’t set tight restrictions on ports of entry for importing. All the dog food was therefore brought in through the hot and humid Guangzhou, where it sat in a non-temperature controlled warehouse long enough for the aflatoxin to develop in the food. More drama ensued over the next few days as the Optima distributor eventually backed out of working with Ryan's vet and paying the RMB1,500/day they were charging:...we’ve switched from Cao Lang Feng down by the Suzhou Zoo to Wang Wang Gong Guan (汪旺公馆) here in SIP. The closer proximity is a bonus, but the choice was hardly ours. After going to Vet Cao for the last few days, when Maggie went there yesterday the staff explained that if we wanted to stay we’d have to pay the approx. 1500 RMB/day because the dog food distributor had cut off payment there. Rather confused by this turn of events, the story we got from Vet Cao was that the cheap-ass distributor didn’t want to pay the high costs associated with the “premium” care at Cao Lang Feng Animal Hospital - largely considered the most well-equipped vet in Suzhou. The distributor (predictably) had a different opinion. He told Maggie that Cao Lang Feng had been using this aflatoxin exposure as a big payday. He accused Vet Cao of ordering unneeded and excessive testing and expensive blood transfusions as a way to beef up the bill - which he knew the “clients” wouldn’t have to pay for. He then also said he’d heard that Vet Cao was overheard saying to a friend, “When else am I going to get a chance to make this money from them?” The [...]

Week Around the Ists


Photograph of Times Square during the first moments of 2009 by Neil Epstein/Gothamist Gothamist said good-bye to 2008 by looking back at the year and rang in 2009 in Times Square. (God bless YouTube for capturing Kathy Griffin's salty New Year's comments to a heckler.)Phillyist interviewed Robert Bielski, whose father will be played by Daniel Craig in the upcoming film, Defiance.Seattlest entered 2009 shaking off some bad pizza recommendations and debating whether or not the New Year's Eve police shooting of a UW student--who was dressed in a military costume, holding a rifle with a bayonet--was justified.Bostonist was all about vice this week when they dispensed sparkling wine buying advice and celebrated Massachusetts' first annual Marijuana Possession Day.Londonist gawped at an utterly deserted London -- not even a zombie to be seen.SFist asked why in God's name did you bother going to work this holiday week; and, also, was tickled and awed to see Bay Area Rapid Transit (i.e, BART) ask subway riders to snitch on and snap images of fellow passengers behaving badly. To make public. On BART's Facebook page.LAist bid a fond farewell to last year by looking back on what was a tedious, musical, and delicious year in Los Angeles.Chicagoist dealt with more gubernatorial shenanigans as embattled Gov. Blagojevich introduced Roland Burris as President-elect Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate (much to everyone's chagrin), bid farewell to Congressman Rahm Emanuel, and welcomed in the new year with the NHL's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.Torontoist looked back at the most notable images submitted to their Flickr pool in 2008.Shanghaiist reported on a remarkable 16-year-old Chinese girl who received a coveted invite to Barack Obama's inauguration. [...]

Around Shanghai


  • 50 year old Shen Zhengjuan, director of the state-owned assets administration, or SASAC, jumped to her death from her apartment in Shanghai’s Huangpu District on the last day of 2008. Caijing Online speculates her suicide may have to do with the corruption scandal of former mayor Chen Liangyu. More here and here. (Update: The Huangpu District has issued a statement to state that Shen was not corrupt and was "a person of decency" and "an official who showed true conviction to her job.")
  • Approximately 80% of college students in Shanghai are willing to lower salary expectations for their first jobs, with 2% saying they would even consider a job that paid a monthly salary of under RMB1,000.
  • Intestinal washes are now becoming increasingly popular in Shanghai as a result of the all the recent food scandals. One hospital reports as many as 200 customers a month.
  • An unemployed 20 year old woman has been jailed for 12 years for pretending to be a man and conning an unsuspecting female victim out of over RMB400,000.
  • Beauty salon disputes are on the rise in Shanghai, with many of them related to unlicensed salons offering services such as face-lifts, breast augmentation and scar removal.

Edison Chen nominated for "Person of the Year 2008" alongside Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Wen Jiabao and the Dalai Lama in Hong Kong


(image) Edison Chen was narrowly beaten by Barack Obama for "Person of the Year 2008" in Radio Television Hong Kong's poll. The public was "cordially invited to vote for the most outstanding personality of the year at RTHK or by calling in during the program "Backchat". The results of the poll were announced on Radio 3, on Friday, January 2nd. The RTHK nominees were as follows:

Dalai Lama - Spiritual Leader
Edison Chen - Artist and photographer
Tony Hedley - Health campaigner
Regina Ip - Legislative Councilor of Hong Kong
Jin Jing - Torchbearer of the 2008 Olympic torch relay
Sarah Palin - U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate
Barack Obama - U.S. President-elect
Siu Wing-fong & Chan Siu-lung - Fallen fire-fighters of Hong Kong
Donald Tsang - Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR
Wen Jiabao - Chinese Premier

From The Times:

A pop star at the centre of a celebrity sex photo scandal was narrowly beaten to the title Person of 2008 in a Hong Kong government radio station poll. Edison Chen, 27, who fled Hong Kong after pictures of him romping with a string of young women starlets appeared on the internet, was runner-up to US president-elect Barack Obama in the poll. Chen collected just under 30 per cent of votes in the Person of the Year survey by government-run RTHK radio compared to Obama’s 35.67 per cent. Third place went to Hong Kong anti-smoking campaigner Tony Hedley with 12 per cent of the votes while the Dalai Lama collected 6 per cent of votes, twice as many as Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang, whose popularity has fallen sharply since the onset of the economic crisis, at the bottom of a short-list of 10 people nominated for the award. The scandal involving Edison Chen erupted last January when pictures were downloaded from his laptop computer after he took it in for repairs. The pictures were then distributed over the internet. Millions of internet users viewed the images, and Chen was forced to announce his early retirement from show business and apologize to the women involved including Twins singer Gillian Chung. Several people have been arrested and charged in connection with the downloading and distribution of the photos from Chen's laptop. Criminal proceedings are ongoing.

RTHK's annual Person of the Year title traditionally goes to anti-establishment figures.Previous winners have included outspoken Catholic church leader and China critic Cardinal Joseph Zen and an escaped crocodile that won celebrity status by avoiding capture for months.

Perhaps it's a bit of a stretch to suggest Chen is "anti-establishment" and titling him a "photographer."

Gillian Chung was not nominated for the award. She was a "singer", apparently.

Photo of the Day: Freedom


Photo by fateless_gypsy

More photos on the Shanghaiist Contribute page. To see your photos on our Contribute page, use Flickr and tag your photos “shanghaiist”. Or you can email your photos to and they will automatically appear on our site (and here).

Tonight: Decks and Drum Machines @Void


(image) In their first show of the year, the Shanghai's underground house and techno crew, Void, take a break from hosting the likes of Underground Resistance, Robert Hood, DJ Bone and Neil Landstrumm to showcase their own residents with a live, improvised decks and drum machine performance.

Shanghai Ultra dusts off the TR-909 drum machine - a legendary piece of music techonolgy first produced in 1983 - to deliever live rhythms jammed on the fly over a conventional DJ set. He's also rumoued to be bringing along his SH-101 analogue monosynth to add instant basslines too, so bring your dancing shoes.

Supporting will be Nat Alexander, whoose work is being followed in the online electronic music community. "Nat's Detroit 2 Berlin" mix is ranked as a top download on the blog, alongside respected DJ / Producers Vince Watson and Paul Mac.

Also appearing will be young Shanghainese DJ Fish, bringing his charasmatic presence on the wheels of steel once again, with new sounds for 2009.

Void recently released a live recording of DJ Bone's set one month ago which is now on dance music bulletin boards and forums all over the internet. Check it out here.

Void: Begin 2000 + 909
Live 909 jam from Shanghai_Ultra
Tonight, 10pm @ The Shelter, 5 Yongfu Lu Near Xingfu Lu
30rmb on the door

The author of this post is a member of Void Shanghai.

2009 is China's 'Year of Friendship' with North Korea


(image) China and North Korea will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2009 in a 'Year of Friendship', reports AP. Yesterday, Chinese President Hu Jintao praised 'deep and traditional friendship' between the two nations and said, "The development of bilateral relations not only conforms to the fundamental interests and common will of the two peoples, but also contributes to the peace and stability of the region." What will the two good friends do in this new 'Year of Friendship', you ask? For a crystal-clear answer, let's turn to Xinhua:

During the year of friendship, China is willing to work together with the DPRK to further enhance friendship, promote exchanges and deepen cooperation through a variety of activities, in order to have a better future of China-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.
In other interesting DPRK news, North Korea may use parliamentary elections in 2009 to lay the groundwork for the post Kim Jong-Il era. Meanwhile, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), North Korea's first foreign-funded university is finally expected to open this year after several delays. The initiative to build this school came from a Korean American man by the name of Kim Chin-Kyung who was detained for six weeks in North Korea in 1998 for allegedly spying for the US, and who also helped found the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in northeast China. He raised about US$31.5 million from Christian churches and individual donors in South Korea and abroad to build this new school.

Rocket that hit school in Beersheba was made in China, says Israeli Defence Forces


(image) Last month, we reported that Chinese-made grenades were found to have been used by the terrorists that launched the deadly spate of attacks in Mumbai. This time, Israel is saying that whereas previously Palestinian terrorists used predominantly home-made rockets, now they're using more sophisticated rockets, some made in China. Said Brigadier-General Avraham Ben-David of the Israeli Defence Forces to YNetNews:

The army official said the rocket that struck the school in Beersheba was manufactured in China, is heavier than the Qassam and can "potentially cause much greater damage." He said the rocket contains metal pallets that can spread out across a radius of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet) from the point of impact.
As a result, all planned events with over 100 participants would be cancelled in Beersheba, and Ben Gurion University will remain closed till the end of the week.

As for the Chinese grenades found in Mumbai, the only statement we were able to find coming from China was one made by the new Chinese ambassador to Nepal Qiu Guohong:

"China is a responsible country and we have adhered to the UN (guidelines for manufacturing arms and explosives)... However, no country can give 100 percent guarantee that the weapons made by it will not be used by others... Most weapons used by terrorists are not made in China... China will never provide offensive weapons to any country."

Top stories on Shanghaiist in 2008


Here are the top running stories and recurring themes on Shanghaiist for the year 2008. Looking back, we can't help but marvel at what a crazy year it's been! The Edison Chen sex scandal Edison Chen, Bobo Chan, Gillian Chung and Cecilia Cheung embroiled in Hong Kong's biggest sex photo scandal ever The Edison Chen sex scandal rages on with more pictures released by mystery man Jolin Tsai, Maggie Q, Vincey Yeung sucked into Edison Chen scandal; Gillian Chung admits involvement Edison Chen sex scandal: Witchhunt hits China Edison Chen stuns Hong Kong by quitting showbiz Someday, China may look back at the Edison Chen scandal and thank the man for its privacy laws Now available: Edison Chen T-shirts! The pre-Olympic madness Buy your own "I Love Tibet" T-shirt on Taobao (L) China: Nationalist netizens on MSN Messenger "heart" China Artistic rendition of the state of Sino-US relations by one Chinese netizen Attack on an American volunteer by anti-Carrefour mob in Zhuzhou, Hunan: UPDATED Volunteer in China: "I was not in fact attacked by a mob" Nationalist netizens call for boycott of Carrefour and other French brands Hillary Clinton calls for Bush boycott of Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing Anti-CNN website hacked Westboro Baptist Church to picket the Beijing Olympics against a "godless, filthy, sodomite China" Go ahead, buy your Olympic tickets, but you may not get your China visa Riot in Weng'an County, Guizhou Province All for the Olympics: Man sticks 2008 needles in his head Report: Beijing bars told to ban black people during Olympics No pirate paradise for Games visitors Amnesty ads stirring up the Chinese internet Jihad in China — 5 "Muslim terrorists" shot dead in Urumqi, Xinjiang Spielberg boycotts Beijing (Gebrselassie, too?) Go Olympics! Go China! 奥运加油!中国加油! Tibet-related chaos Terrorism, the Olympics, and the Xinjiang crackdown Chaos continues in Dharamsala and Lhasa Tibet Update: Press freedom, Nancy Pelosi and an ensuing PR battle Recommended Reads: Tibet, Tibet and Tibet Björk's "Tibet, Tibet" caught on Youtube Did Björk actually root for Tibetan independence in her Shanghai concert? YouTube blocked in China, Tibet content likely to blame China organises second media tour to Gansu; Tibetan monks disrupt tour again The great Sichuan earthquake Breaking News: Earthquake 7.9 on Richter scale hits Sichuan, tremors felt across China, more than 10,000 dead, thousands more trapped under rubble The great Sichuan earthquake: What we know so far (and a second earthquake this morning) News from Wolong: Giant pandas safe after earthquake Premier Wen Jiaobao with a loudhailer Great sorrow, great grief in Sichuan Province Shanghai stocks weather the great Sichuan earthquake Earthquake Updates: 32,477 dead, foreign rescue teams, lakes burst, three days of national mourning and suspension of Olympic torch relay Video News: The smell of death, the British tourists at Wolong and the shift to a recovery mission as time runs out Sichuan Earthquake: List of missing foreigners so far Scene from Xinjian Primary School at Dujiangyan, Sichuan This is what an earthquake feels like More Sichuan earthquake video clips from NoComment TV Probe into why close to 7,000 classrooms were destroyed begins; Day of re[...]

Adult entertainment studio Harmony Films wants to offer 'Kappa Girl' a real job


Another day, another Kappa Girl story. Looks like our good friend has caught the attention of professional pornographers and may finally be getting her big break soon. You see, the kind souls at adult entertainment studio Harmony Films were totally flabbergasted to hear that Kappa Girl was sacked by her employer, and after purveying the 12 minute sex video that got her into trouble, have decided to help her do what she does best and make money at the same time by offering a contract to her — no, not as a fluffer or a lighting assistant, but as a pornstar. A publicist for Harmony Films has sought Shanghaiist's help in reaching out to Kappa Girl. Here's what part of the press release they sent us looked like: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Harmony Films Offers Contract to X-Rated Shanghai Internet Sensation LONDON — Harmony Films is extending a contract offer to Chinese Internet adult sensation "Kappa Girl" to further her career in the adult industry by shooting for the international award winning X-rated studio in the West. Kappa Girl, a Shanghai resident identified by her surname Huang in news reports, is featured in a 12 minute clip that catapulted her to the top of Chinese peer-to-peer download search queries. She announced through her blog that she'll make bar appearances, sit down for exclusive interviews and accept underwear modeling assignments — for a price. However, since her video gained notoriety, Kappa Girl reportedly lost her full time job for "tarnishing" her store's image and was detained by the police. Uploading and shooting adult videos is a crime in China. "Ms. Huang is a huge star in her native China," Jason Maskell, manager of sales and marketing for Harmony Films, said. "We'd like to offer her the chance to make some real money by working and shooting with us in the West. She won't be persecuted for being on video as an X-rated performer and she can gain an even larger base of fans. She just needs to contact us." While the Chinese is market is closed to the adult industry, Maskell said it's only a matter of time before it opens up. "We know the population is aware of porn and that Ms. Huang's scene isn't the first piece of pornography to be seen in the country," Maskell said. "When China does open up to adult content, partnering with someone identifiable like Kappa Girl will help us gain a foothold in that market. Like any other business, we're eager to bring our products to its billion-plus consumers." ___ About Harmony Films: Featuring premier talent from around the world shot by directors of global acclaim, Harmony Films is known for its polished, high budget productions featuring raw, hardcore sex. Scots-born Gazzman and Tanya Hyde, fan favorites and internationally awarded directors, call the company home for their consistently over-the-top productions that can compete with the best in the adult market.We asked Harmony Films to give us a rough idea of what Kappa Girl's contract would look like, what remuneration she should be looking at and any idea of what her first film would look like. No answers were forthcoming, but they did take pains to highlight this to us:Harmony Films is a UK-based company, and most of the content they shoot is in Europe and US. I[...]

CCTV rings in the new year


CCTV's new year gala this year was presented in French, Spanish, English and Chinese. Top temples around China, including Fuzhou's Gu Shan Yong Quan Si, Mount Emei's Baoguo Si, Sanya's Nanshan Si, Suzhou's Hanshan Si, and Luoyang's Baima Si, rang in the new year by chiming their bells simultaneously.
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President Hu Jintao's new year message for 2009 is entitled "Make joint effort to promote world peace, stability and prosperity".
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CCTV9's report of the countdown
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2008 State: Electronic music's mis-programmed year


2008 Anno Domini / Year of the Rat will be remembered as a difficult one for China in general. Its effects were felt by all, including those involved in Shanghai's numerous musical scenes. It was a year in which artists, promoters and fans had to deal with even more obstacles and barriers than usual in their quest to generate culture and make the whole metropolis live up to its reputation as one of Asia's most dynamic and happening cities. This was just about achieved, against all the odds. Spiraling real estate costs in the city pushed up rents and in turn drink and admission prices, and the revolving door of new venues continuously opening and closing every weekend spun at dizzying pace, confusing punters and making it harder for established spots to develop their regular crowds. These problems, of course, carried over from the previous couple of years. However, 2008 had some fresh shenanigans up its sleeve. The Chinese bureaucracy spider went into Olympics overdrive, furiously spinning a complex web of red tape in which many of the creative community became hopelessly entangled. Strict new visa rules came into effect in May, and since so few had "real jobs", many had no choice but to bail as expiry dates neared, either to France, or friendly neighbouring Asian states. This meant that Shanghai, whose nightlife is generally more bustling in the summer, was somewhat dusty and cobweb-ridden from July onwards, at least for foreign-frequented venues anyway. But a few cunning underground flies did manage to evade the trap and create a real buzz. The start of the year began in ominous fashion, when DKD, one of Shanghai's long standing clubs, and one of the first to bring international Djs to the city, closed in January. DKD had led a pioneering role in Shanghai's electronic music scene since 1999 when Maoming Lu was the only place in town to be. Later moving to a basement on Huai Hai Zhong Lu, it hosted top names such as Nick Warren, Carl Cox and Armin Van Buuren. Not personal favourites of this Shanghaiist by any means but DKD laid the foundations and introduced the city to electronic music culture and for that alone its closure is regretted. It was a Shanghai institution. Somewhat ironically, it succumbed because it stopped blazing a trail and changed itself to try to follow trends. It closed down for a period in 2007 for a makeover which served only to alienate some of its old fans and fail to capture the dice-shaking, hip-hop demographic deemed necessary for survival. Local DJ Carl Lorimer documents the the rise and fall of DKD in an excellent article on Smart Shanghai. In many ways, it was superceeded by Bon Bon, who this year brought a steady diet of big name DJs from the world of mainstream Hip Hop and dance, although it too was hit by mysterious closures during the Olympic period. Bon Bon also deserves kudos for giving local Drum and Bass crew, Phreaktion, the chance to shine, who brought some of the biggest names from the genre to the city, such as Goldie, LTJ Bukem and Dieselboy, to name a few. Also closing within weeks of DKD was Mint, which shocked many as it was previously always a safe bet at the weekend for some house music and a bus[...]

China issues 3G licenses tonight?


(image) A nameless source in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has leaked the news that the three restructured mobile telecommunications carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, will be issued licenses on the same day after a meeting with the State Council today.

This green light will most likely mean that 3G services will be available early next year and will provide a much needed boost to the telecommunications industry. China Mobile, the world's largest telecommunications carrier is expected to sign up 100 million users over the next 3 years.

China's 3G market will be fragmented as all three providers will be using different 3G standards; with China Mobile using the home grown TD-SCDMA standard. China Unicom and China Telecom will use the more globally accepted W-CDMA and CDMA2000 standards respectively.

This information comes at a particularly opportune time for 3G iPhone users as the iPhone Dev Team is also about to release its much anticipated software (Yellow Sn0w) to unlock the 3G iPhone on New Years Eve (Pacific Standard Time). The iPhone is compatible with the China Unicom W-CDMA standard.

Image by The Tenth Dragon

For those of you pining for a Minhang-Pudong linkup ...


(image) 2012 could be your special year. Construction began yesterday on metro Line 12, which will connect Minhang district with northern Pudong, passing through Xuhui, Luwan, Jing'an, Zhabei, Hongkou and Yangpu along the way. Most eye-popping line: "Nineteen stations on Line 12 will connect with 16 other Metro lines." Line 19 (still in planning stage) being one of them. It doesn't seem too long ago that there were only two metro lines and there would be a mad dash for open seats at Shanghai Railway Station, because that is where Line 1 began. It doesn't seem too long ago, because it wasn't. By 2012, Shanghai is supposed to have 13 metro lines covering 500 kilometers. [Shanghai Daily]

16 year old Sichuan girl to attend Obama inauguration


(embed) A 16 year old Sichuan schoolgirl has been invited to attend the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20. The girl, Li Zizi (李紫子) was actually born and raised in Japan but returned to her family home in Sichuan to attend the Chengdu Experimental Foreign Language School, close to some of the areas hit hardest by the great Sichuan earthquake in May.

When the quake struck, Li started volunteering and raising funds for victims by selling cookies and her own watercolour paintings, and eventually managed to put together US$500 to buy school supplies for children in the quake zone. In addition she now sponsors two children -- a first-grader and a third-grader -- pocket money and tickets to visit their parents who've been forced to find work far away to earn money to rebuild their homes.

Li is making this trip to attend the inauguration because this past summer she was a participant in the Global Young Leaders Conference in New York and Washington, whose alumni are invited to attend the presidential inauguration every four years. Tickets to the US presidential inauguration are supposed to be free, but this time all the optimism surrounding Obama has caused tickets to be touted for as much as US$40,000 and hotels in the area to be fully booked up at inflated rates.

In this interview with Chengdu Television, Li who exudes a quiet, calm confidence and a mature disposition spoke with the reporter in Sichuanese and gushed over the fact that she may get a VIP seat at the event, which means she will be much closer to the President-elect than most people attending the inauguration. When asked what she'd tell Obama if she was lucky enough to get one moment with the President-elect, she said in perfect English:

"I'm looking forward to the changes that you will bring to this world."
Downplaying her own foreign upbringing, the girl joked with the reporter:
("I grew up eating koushuiji" [a Sichuan delicacy of cold marinated chicken in chili oil])
In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Li described Barack Obama as the "perfect thing at the perfect moment for America" and said she is excited about seeing the White House.

Related links
AP: China girl at inauguration
Sichuan Online: 成都高一女生获邀出席奥巴马就职典礼

Student accused of cheating in English test jumps from 5th floor to prove his innocence


(image) The Shanghai Daily reports yesterday that a senior at the Shanghai University of Engineering Science who was accused by his teacher of cheating in an English proficiency test was so distraught he jumped from the fifth floor of his school building. As a result:

The student, Zhang Meng, is now lying in an intensive care unit at No. 1 People's Hospital in Songjiang District, the news Website,, reported today.

His classmates said Zhang was accused of cheating in the final English examination and he tried to explain to the teacher, but came to nothing.

Zhang's uncle told the Website that he suffered bone fracture in thigh, chest, pelvis, waist and may be paralyzed in the future.

The paper further adds that the university president has since visited Zhang in the hospital (as if he can do anything while the child is in ICU) but a school spokesman surnamed Yu (spokespeople in China never ever go by their full names) denied that the student had been accused of cheating. He said:

"Zhang's English has always been poor but the teacher didn't allege him of cheating."

Related links
Shanghai Daily: Student jumps from 5th floor to prove innocent in English test 工技大学生英语考试后跳楼 未来可能瘫痪

This is what a luxury dildo factory in China looks like


Shanghai-based photographer Andreas Larsson takes us around the Suzhou production facilities of Lelo, a Swedish high-end sex toy label that manufactures adult toys for upwardly mobile women. We hear they're known for producing dildos so cute you'll want to put them into your handbag and carry them with you wherever you go. Now who says you can't be horny and classy at the same time?

There is an image gallery to this entry which you can view at Shanghaiist

Note from the Editor


(image) Nihao everyone! You might have noticed that Shanghaiist looks a little different today. In fact, all of the Gothamist network has been going through a bit of a remodelling lately. The goal of the new design was to make content easier to read, and to make the site as a whole easier to use. The content area is now better visually defined (with borders!) and we've added featured posts to the top of the page. Additionally, we've migrated the blog to the newest Movable Type software. That should make the site faster and more stable, and allow us to add new features over the next year. The new design you see before you is a work in progress -- we'll be making tweaks to it as we go along, and we welcome your feedback (and bug reports) in the comments on this post. Hope you like our new look as much as we do!