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Quick Reads + East Asia

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + East Asia

Call to Stop Construction to Protect the Leopard Cats in Taiwan

A small leopard cat. Photo is taken by the Wildlife First Aid Station and reprinted by leopardcatgo. CC BY-NC 2.0

A small leopard cat. Photo is taken by the Wildlife First Aid Station and reprinted by leopardcatgo.

Leopard cat is listed as a vulnerable species [zh] in Taiwan. Since the big cats live in the forests and jungles in both plains and in hilly areas and their home range is very broad, their habitats in Taiwan are easily disturbed by new construction projects. The Taiwanese environmental evaluation committee had temporally rejected the request from the Miaoli Government to develop an alternative road in Miaoli across the habitat of leopard cats on April 16 2014 after a round of protests and petition. However, this development project was not dropped, and more development projects in this area are coming up. A facebook page [zh] was set up so people who want to protect the leopard cats in Taiwan can be well informed and mobilized.

China Clamp Down on Slash Fiction

China recently launched a crackdown on online pornographic content: ”Cleaning the Web 2014″. According to the campaign, all online texts, pictures, videos, and ads with pornographic content will be deleted in order to “create a healthy cyberspace”. 

According to Offbeat China, since the launch of “Cleaning the Web 2014″, many Chinese fiction-sharing websites have removed their slash collections, including jjwxc.net, the most popular self-publishing website in China. Websites dedicated to slash, such as dmxsw.com, have been shut down. At least 20 writers have reportedly been arrested for producing slash fiction. 

Top 10 Sites to Listen to Free Chinese Music Online

China Whisper listed 10 most popular online music sites in China. These sites provide online music, free music downloads and many other functions. Most of the sites offer not only free Chinese music but also western music.

East Timorese Protect Land Rights Against Australian Cement Plant Deal

The announcement of a new cement plant project by an Australian company in Baucau, northeast of East Timor, has led local community groups to set up a non-governmental organization “to protect and preserve the communities’ rights to their culture, development and traditional land rights.”

According to the community organization, Kapeliwa, the government of East Timor gave the largest construction company in Western Australia, BGC, permission to construct [tet] a cement plant with the annual capacity of 1.5 million tons in Baucau, as well as a license to extract limestone for 100 years. The construction project was awarded to the South Korean company POSCO E&C, from East Timor’s TL Cement (“a special purpose corporation wholly owned by BGC”), in December 2013.

Kapeliwa was publicly launched on April 19, 2014, by a group of intellectuals from Kaisido, Parlamento, Lialailesu and Osowa - four villages located in the northeast coast of Timor-Leste, Baucau district. The four villages, situated near the airport of the country's second city, are part of the administrative area of Suco Tirilolo, where the minority ethno-lingusitic community Uaima'a live.

In the first public meeting with the community members and leaders of the four villages, the group's founders presented the ”potential positive and negative impact of the proposed cement factory in and on Uaima'a land known as Kaisido.” The group claims that there is lack of information about this project and that there hasn't been a proper viability study for the development.

Historical Overview of Cambodia's Land and Housing Problem

Hallam Goad analyzed the problems and issues that plagued Cambodia's urban development in the past two decades:

Phnom Penh has followed the clichéd patterns of newly emerging nations almost to the letter with the urban poor shouldering many of the downsides. What few people recognise is that most of it could have been avoided.

With over 150,000 residents displaced since 1990 the story has been far from positive and in many cases has compounded and exacerbated what was already a very precarious existence.

State of Political Blogging in Vietnam

Doan Trang observed that a growing number of Vietnamese bloggers have been tackling human rights and other political issues by

writing commentaries and analyses, even finding supplementary facts. Despite the emotional style which may sometimes reveal their non-professionalism, they filled the vacuum left by the mainstream media which in most cases would only report news without producing any in-depth analysis.

But only few are writing in English:

Though much progress has been made, alternative media in Vietnam still aims mostly at the Vietnamese audience. In other words, bloggers still “talk to themselves” or “write for their fellow citizens” only. News stories in English, if any, came as a result of the accidental attention by some foreign reporter about Vietnam's human rights situation via his/ her individual contact network.

Baidu Censors New Citizens Movement Website

After Chinese court affirms Chinese lawyer and activist Xu Zhiyong’s conviction of four-year sentence in prison for assembling a crowd to disrupt order in public places, New Citizens Movement website, of which Xu was one of the founders, disappeared from Baidu search results. 

This is not the first time that information relating to Xu Zhiyong has disappeared from Baidu and other China-based web sites. 

Expat Life in China: A Review Of Unsavory Elements

Unsavory Elements is an anthology of true stories about foreigners “on the loose” in China. Through their stories, the authors and journalists from the book also explore illegality and ethics in China. As China Law Blog describes: 

Ranging from transactions and deeds that would raise the eyebrows of those enforcing America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to stints in prison for drug dealing to flagrant violations of prostitution laws, what results is 300 pages of business and law school case studies written not in legalese but in literary prose, and what a read it is.

Myanmar's First Digital Library for Higher Education

Myanmar's Ministry of Education and the Open Society Foundation have teamed up to establish the country's first digital library. Oleksandr Shtokvych, Senior Manager at the Open Society Foundations’ Higher Education Support Programme, explained the importance of the project:

It will also mean including their students and scholars (of the University of Yangon and the University of Mandalay) as active participants in the production of new knowledge and critical thinking, and bringing the unique and rich legacy and current developments in Myanmar into the limelight of international scholarship.

South Korea: Samsung Sues Newspaper Over Negative Report

South Korean tech giant Samsung has launched a lawsuit against a local IT newspaper for publishing an unfavorable report. Marmot's Hole blog wrote about how things developed and the repercussion of Samsung's response to negative press coverage. Some of the highlights read;

I’d caution Samsung that in terms of PR, lawsuits of this sort often cause more harm than good[...] To make matters worse, a story at AppleInsider compares the Korean electronics giant rather unfavorably to the Cupertino Fruit Company, which—assuming the report is true—almost never sues newspapers/blogs despite the countless groundless rumors that accompany the release of just about every iPhone model.

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