Archive for the ‘China’ Category


Taiwan discovers fake Chinese pandas

April 1, 2009

pandas1An alarming story from my former employers details what happened at the Taipei Zoo when crowds realized the pandas China sent last December were actually painted Wenzhou brown forest bears:

The Taipei Zoo’s head of ursidae ex-procyonidae care, Connie Liu (劉長春), said she became suspicious when the pandas, Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓), began to spend almost all of their waking hours having sex. Pandas are notorious for their low libidos, which make them difficult to breed in captivity.

“Let’s just say Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan would tuan yuan at every chance,” said Liu, referring to the combination of the panda’s names, which means “to reunite” in Mandarin. “They would do it doggy-style and every armchair zoologist knows that pandas favor the missionary position — when they do it at all. Their behavior caused chaos. Children screamed and parents became irate.”

Her suspicions were confirmed yesterday when she noticed that the animals’ new hair growth was discolored.

“Their roots began to show,” she said.

A zookeeper who asked to be identified only by his nickname A-diung (阿忠) because he was not authorized to speak with the media said he and his coworkers had long had their doubts, but were discouraged from publicly voicing their concerns by management.

“Whenever the moaning from the panda enclosure gets too loud we gotta go in there and hose ’em down with cold water,” he said. “After a while, parts of the animals’ black-and-white patches started to turn brown.”

He said he alerted senior zoo staff who dismissed his concerns.

The story has received wider attention from the international press. Here’s more.

UPDATE: James Fallows of the Atlantic was pleased with the story as well.


Chinese evade censors again?

March 25, 2009

It appears there’s a T-shirt, and perhaps more, floating around China alluding to Tiananmen Square. Here. (h/t to The Peking Duck)


Grass-mud horse: China’s answer to censorship

March 12, 2009

I generally avoid linking to the New York Times, but this article should be an exception. From the Times:

The grass-mud horse is an example of something that, in China’s authoritarian system, passes as subversive behavior. Conceived as an impish protest against censorship, the foul-named little horse has not merely made government censors look ridiculous, although it has surely done that.

It has also raised real questions about China’s ability to stanch the flow of information over the Internet — a project on which the Chinese government already has expended untold riches, and written countless software algorithms to weed deviant thought from the world’s largest cyber-community.

This Times piece also highlights the tiresome anachronism of avoiding obscenity in print. It’s grimly ironic that the Times can’t tell us why the grass-mud  horse is so subversive because of self-censorship. In Chinese, grass-mud horse (草泥马) is a string of homonyms that could also mean “Fuck your mother.”

While that could be roughly guessed at, so could a number of bawdy expressions. The Times only tells us that it’s a “vile obscenity,” “a foul named little horse,” “double entendres with inarguably dirty second meanings” (a bumbling tautology), “a nasty curse” etc. It’s astounding the hoops the Times jumps through to convey what they could best convey by simply printing the damn phrase.

In any case, here’s another link and a video:


Chinese Navy Neglects Full Monty

March 10, 2009

This article seems to be getting decent traffic over at The Guardian.