News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

40 years on, the Cultural Revolution comes full circle : Art in China is fiercely tribal and regional. While Shanghai, the glistening financial metropolis, has shiny galleries of contemporary art. Beijing, the grungier political capital, houses its artists' colonies in disused factories and condemned villages, but is where many of the emerging talents live. Factory 798 is trying to help Chinese artists forge an identity. It is as much a community centre as a Hoxton-style hang-out. Mao is everywhere. In Ma Han's work, people issue forth from the Great Helmsman's mouth, while the Zero Field gallery has a sculpture of the young Mao, taken from a famous picture, gazing keenly at the viewer. "The Cultural Revolution was a special time, it never happened anywhere else, it was unique, and it figures in both the young and older artists' work," said Susan Sun from the New Art Warehouse.
Militants Warn China Over Oil in Niger Delta: In a second e-mail, the spokesman, who uses the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo, specifically criticized the Chinese, who last year took a $2.2 billion stake in an oil field in the Niger Delta. Nigeria is a major oil exporter and the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States. "We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to steer well clear of the Niger Delta," Gbomo wrote. "Chinese citizens found in oil installations will be treated as thieves. The Chinese government by investing in stolen crude places its citizens in our line of fire." Biff- welcome to the jungle the US is also entangled in. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. And how is buying something tantamount to stealing? Just as implausable as Brits 'forcing' opium on Chinese buyers in the 19th century. Laughable nonsense... The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has asserted responsibility for other violence in the region, including attacks on oil facilities and the kidnapping this year of several foreign-born oil workers, all of whom have been released unharmed. Biff- and how much ransom was paid? Or would that inconvenience the narrative? The Niger Delta has been a source of political and ethnic unrest for decades. Most residents of the vast region, much of which is reachable only by boats that traverse networks on mangrove swamps, live in intense poverty, while oil facilities in the area earn billions of dollars for foreign companies and the Nigerian government. Biff- Awe shucks... Life isn't fair. Ain't that a surprise. And some things, professional activities, etc. are worth more than others. I'm shocked!
Cambodian Train Ride - Wrenches and rocks are the most evident tools in the yards in Phnom Penh. The train barns are filled with damaged, irreparable cars where workers spend their days playing cards, as there is not enough work, tools, or money to pay them. Biff- Bullshit. I'm supposed to feel sorry for who/whom? What's really going on? Why are things this messed up? Lazy sod. Reporters are often a crude and transparent form of information vermin. Worth it for the photos though. In 2004 China gave Cambodia two new locomotives. They are not in regular use, as they cannot run on the country’s dilapidated tracks. They sit — blue, shiny, new — in a barn in Phnom Penh. Biff- Now we're getting somewhere.
Gary Glitter denies abusing girls : In his first interview since he was convicted of child sex abuse in March, he admitted letting a girl into his bed but said he knew "the line to cross". Biff- nice setup by the reporter to make you think he's a freak. Let's see what he really said according to this very same article: When asked if sleeping with an 11-year-old girl was alright, Glitter said: "I'm a father, so from time to time these things happen. "Your daughter will come into your bed in the night because she's scared or something like that. This happened in this case over here. She was scared of ghosts, so under pressure I said OK." Biff- I have no opinion on Glitter's guilt and I've even hung out with someone I eventually became convinced was a genuine pedophile banging kids in Cambodia. However, the pedophile charge is much the rage these past few years and should be taken with many a grain of salt. Clinton's justice department head, Janet Reno, earned her stars via a couple of high profile child rape cases in Florida, both of which were overthrown on appeal after she moved from Miami to the state justice department. Remember Axel Rose claiming his dad raped him as a child? Remember the 1990's Colorado kindergarten child rape hoax and the other related hoaxes. I have a friend whose wife (his former accountant) ripped him off for US$35 million, claimed indigence and went on welfare, and then got the state to press a charge of child molestation on him (ergo, by being on welfare, she didn't have to pay for the lawyers and was able to keep him busy while she took care of the loot). He lost everything and barely stayed out of jail. No joke...
Bee farmer protests over islands: A South Korean bee farmer has covered his body with nearly 200,000 bees in protest over a territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea. Biff- sounds ominous. Ahn Sang-gyu, known for his bee performances, had tears running down his face as he was stung 200 times. Biff- brings tears even to mine jaded eyes too... tears of mad barking, carpet-chewing laughter... "The honeybee dares to abandon its life when enemies are attempting to attack, to protect its own home. From now on, I hope these bees will contribute to protect our Dokdo", Ahn Sang-Gyu said.

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