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Can you read me now?: The Oiwan Lam case…

China Censorship

Recently, I posted an article regarding Oiwan Lam and the absurd allegations of obscenity that have her facing a potential fine of $50,000 and a year in Hong Kong prison.

If you think it is a case that does not impact you as a blogger or as a citizen, please think again. It was a relatively benign Flickr photo that has her headed to court next month.

Recently, a staunch advocate of China NGO’s, the China Development Brief, was forced by authorities to close its Chinese edition, missionaries have been deported by the hundreds, and hundreds of thousands of blogs were blocked (or re-blocked) in the shut-downs of Blogger, Blogspot, Typepad, LiveJournal, WordPress.com and others. One voice silenced or oppressed is not a delicate rebuff of human rights: It is violent and terrifying and part of the cyber-genocide of ideas that represent and celebrate dialectical ideologies. Liberal or Conservative, no one is in a privileged class once purging becomes routine.

John Kennedy of Global Voices Online, and elsewhere in the blogsphere, has listed the salient issues involved in Oiwan’s case as demands on the Free Oiwan Lam cause group now on Facebook:

-Grant Oiwan judicial review and strike down this ridiculous case, as was done with the Chinese University student magazine and Ming Pao newspaper (see my article The Hong Kong Monkey Trials) before her.

-Make the currently unelected members of the Obscene Articles Tribunal accountable to the public.

-Demand a legal definition in Hong Kong of ‘indecent’ so that the term will no longer be abused by crusading judges and applied at their unjustified discretion.

I will be posting a link soon to Oiwan’s defense fund is at interlocals.net .…Be sure to click on the button created for Oiwan. PLEASE Drop a few dollars in the kitty, And please blog about this issue….

More:

Oiwan’s interview with the BBC
The latest information here: RC

American Professor in China,Asian Women,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,Human Rights,Human Rights China,In the news,The Internet,中国,中文

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Global Voices Correspondent Facing Jail and $400,000 HKD Fine For Obsenity

Posted in ESNW:
In brief, Oiwan Lam published an essay at the InMediaHK website that included a linked photograph from Flickr for the purpose of discussing the state of censorship in Hong Kong. Oiwan Lam has just been informed that the essay was classified on a preliminary basis as “Category II: Indecent” by the Hong Kong Obscene Articles Tribunal. The maximum penalty is HK$400,000 and 12 months in jail”

Oiwan has been an important freelance voice who also writes, edits and aggregates for Global Voices Onine. A fund to assist her with what is likely to be a lengthy court battle may be found at: InMediahHK

The offending picture is here: Continue Reading »

Asia,Asian Women,Censorship,China Photos,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,Human Rights,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Photos,The Great Firewall,中国,中文

2 responses so far

The trouble with Oiwan….

censored in china

When the Oiwan Lam controversy began I predicted four things:

  1. Support for her cause would be hard to muster because people might feel as though Oiwan invited trouble by publishing a picture that she knew might provoke the ire of Hong Kong Censors. Civil disobedience is not as cherished as it was in the past;
  2. Support would quickly wane as the matter did not seem as urgent or foreboding as the Hao Wu case. Oiwan is facing 12 months in jail, a costly defense and a hefty fine, but she is not incarcerated at the moment;
  3. Bloggers might not pass the torch, or the hat, because the issues are complicated and Hong Kong specific;
  4. People would find it hard to empathize with Oiwan: Hong Kong is part of China and censorship is expected here.

EastSouthWestNorth, Rebecca McKinnon Boing Boing, Lost Laowai, Image Thief and a handful of others have done their best to explain the issues while rightfully advocating for one of their own. An advocacy group on Facebook has collected 69 members, but few calls for action have subsequently originated from western computers.

Oiwan did not invite this kind of response. She put her journalistic foot in the water and was dragged below the surface by the well-mapped but unpredictable undertow that is the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Authority (TELA) and the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT). These are the same forces that roiled against a Hong Kong University student newspaper for a ridiculously benign sex survey, Michelangelo’s David in a 1995 magazine ad and Cupid and Psyche on a book cover at the most recent Hong Kong Book Fair.

The charges against Oiwan created a tremor in the blogsphere , but the aftershocks are so imperceptible that we have gone about life as usual. Some Hong Kong bloggers are taking up the cause by posting other classic art works as an act of protest and solidarity. The rest of us should also act on her behalf.

I met with John Kennedy of Global Voices Online today and he spoke again to the issues involved in Oiwan’s case that affect all of us:

  • He thinks, and public opinion in Hong Kong backs him up, that the Tribunal and the TELA are antiques in need of dry storage and replacement (my sorry metaphor, not his). He thinks the Tribunal, which operates independently without reliable standards and accountability, should be elected officials that have to answer to the public.
  • He feels, and again is far from alone in his opinion, that a legal and reliably quantifiable definition of “obscene” or “indecent” should be adopted.

The latter is important to all of us as it would prevent dissidents from being punished at the whim of judges with personal or political agendas.

IF blogger’s rights can be upheld in Hong Kong it can instruct and inform governments and lawmakers everywhere about the need for free speech legislation and reform. Oiwan, who has no desire to be a martyr, is every man and woman who wants to speak their mind or read another’s in cyberspace. And, as Rebecca McKinnon has said so well in her blog, Oiwan is a writer who has devoted herself to the non-profit sector most of her adult life, so she has few financial resources to assist with what will be a costly and important court battle.

Help Oiwan and help yourself with a little link love to her cause blog (Banned in Mainland China), a posting of the banner below (feel free to use my bandwidth) and by, please, donating a few dollars to her legal campaign by clicking here:

Free Oiwan Lam

Asia,Blogroll Diving,Censorship,China Business,China Editorials,China Law,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Greater Asia Blogs,Heartsongs,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,Human Rights,Human Rights China,In the news,Intercultural Issues,The Great Firewall,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国,中文

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China Photo Contest

fotolia_1684848.jpg

Have picture of the Middle Kingdom you like and want to share with the world?

OMBW will sponsor a contest that will run all year and culminate in a coffee table book that will raise funds for China charities and the Literacy Group The Reading Tub.

It is simple:

Send your best shot of people, places or events in China to: dreamblogue@gmail.com with the information required below. We will post several shots, once a week, on OMBW and on http://blogof dreams.com where you and your friends can vote for your favorites. The top 250 will make it into the book. There is NO entry fee.

There will be prizes, yet to be decided, for the winners, links back to blogs or sites if requested, contributor copies of the coffee table book. All rights are returned to the creator upon publication and you are free to multiple submit your work to other sites, magazines or contests. First prize in each division will be an expense paid week on the road with Yanzhi and Dawei and the Dreanblogue Team during their charity and friendship tour of China

Ideally there will be three divisions:

Hobby Photographer: You take pictures for personal enjoyment and you have a shot that you would like to share with the world

yangshuo

Amateur: You aspire to be professional and have a bit more experience or training than do most of us in the amateur ranks

heart on

Professional: You get paid for your work, but are willing to share it with us at OMBW and the Dreablogue so we can raise a few dollars for charity

great-wall-1.jpg

We will try to post new pictures once a week on Friday. The rules:

Make the photos as Web-friendly as possible: No more than 450 Pixels wide please. If you win we will ask for the high resolution file.

Include the following information with your email:

  • Real name
  • Division
  • Province where picture was taken
  • Name of Photo as you want it in the ALT tag
  • Your location and email (not to be published)
  • Your desired screen name for voting and picture tags
  • A short statement giving us permission to place the picture on OMBW and The China Dreamblogue during 2006-7
  • Your blog or website URL, if there is one, to which we should link the photos

There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit….
Look for the first photos next week!

Charity in China,China Expats,China Photos,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Expats,Greater Asia Blogs,Heartsongs,Hong Kong Blogs,Intercultural Issues,New Blogs,Photo Contest,Photos,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,Teaching in China,The Great Wall,The Internet,The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women,Tibet,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,Travel in China,Yangshuo China,中国,中文

3 responses so far

The trouble with Oiwan

censored in china

When the Oiwan Lam controversy began I predicted four things:

  1. Support for her cause would be hard to muster because people might feel as though Oiwan invited trouble by publishing a picture that she knew might provoke the ire of Hong Kong Censors. Civil disobedience is not as cherished as it was in the past;
  2. Support would quickly wane as the matter did not seem as urgent or foreboding as the Hao Wu case. Oiwan is facing 12 months in jail, a costly defense and a hefty fine, but she is not incarcerated at the moment;
  3. Bloggers might not pass the torch, or the hat, because the issues are complicated and Hong Kong specific;
  4. People would find it hard to empathize with Oiwan: Hong Kong is part of China and censorship is expected here.

EastSouthWestNorth, Rebecca McKinnon Boing Boing, Lost Laowai, Image Thief and a handful of others have done their best to explain the issues while rightfully advocating for one of their own. An advocacy group on Facebook has collected 69 members, but few calls for action have subsequently originated from western computers.

Oiwan did not invite this kind of response. She put her journalistic foot in the water and was dragged below the surface by the well-mapped but unpredictable undertow that is the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Authority (TELA) and the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT). These are the same forces that roiled against a Hong Kong University student newspaper for a ridiculously benign sex survey, Michelangelo’s David in a 1995 magazine ad and Cupid and Psyche on a book cover at the most recent Hong Kong Book Fair.

The charges against Oiwan created a tremor in the blogsphere , but the aftershocks are so imperceptible that we have gone about life as usual. Some Hong Kong bloggers are taking up the cause by posting other classic art works as an act of protest and solidarity. The rest of us should also act on her behalf.

I met with John Kennedy of Global Voices Online today and he spoke again to the issues involved in Oiwan’s case that affect all of us:

  • He thinks, and public opinion in Hong Kong backs him up, that the Tribunal and the TELA are antiques in need of dry storage and replacement (my sorry metaphor, not his). He thinks the Tribunal, which operates independently without reliable standards and accountability, should be elected officials that have to answer to the public.
  • He feels, and again is far from alone in his opinion, that a legal and reliably quantifiable definition of “obscene” or “indecent” should be adopted.

The latter is important to all of us as it would prevent dissidents from being punished at the whim of judges with personal or political agendas.

IF blogger’s rights can be upheld in Hong Kong it can instruct and inform governments and lawmakers everywhere about the need for free speech legislation and reform. Oiwan, who has no desire to be a martyr, is every man and woman who wants to speak their mind or read another’s in cyberspace. And, as Rebecca McKinnon has said so well in her blog, Oiwan is a writer who has devoted herself to the non-profit sector most of her adult life, so she has few financial resources to assist with what will be a costly and important court battle.

Help Oiwan and help yourself with a little link love to her cause blog (Banned in Mainland China), a posting of the banner below (feel free to use my bandwidth) and by, please, donating a few dollars to her legal campaign by clicking here:

Free Oiwan Lam

Asia,Blogroll Diving,Censorship,China Business,China Editorials,China Law,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Greater Asia Blogs,Heartsongs,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,Human Rights,Human Rights China,In the news,Intercultural Issues,The Great Firewall,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国,中文

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The best short-bus blogs

DUMB BLOGS

The other day I was not tagged as one of five thinking blogs by the Silicon Hutong or the China Law Blog. Imagine that! So, I am tagging other five blogs which don’t themselves purport to be smart, but are regular reads for lots of folks anyway.

I have tagged China and non-China blogs and call them short-bus blogs because it seems we cannot yet ride with the big kids..

1: The Platypus Society Cap’n Platy is a panic most of the time. He takes nothing seriously and is a breath of fresh bandwidth. He has successfully set a record for losses in the Weblog Awards for best humor blog to the most subscribed to in the business. Cap’n is the lovable pyromaniac little brother you can’t disown. Check out his Random Acts of Stupidity section.

2. The Humanaught: Few have done more for the China Blogsphere than this guy. He needs a job that gets him off the computer a few more hours a day. He seems to have more irons in the fire than a sword sharpener for the 300. That he can read Chinese impresses this dullard as much as it make me jealous. His recent conversation with the new ethnocentric cyber-buddy Xiao I made me blow cloves through my nose. Here is a sampling:

Xiao I

Ryan says:
你认为日本人好吗? (Are Japanese people good?)
小i机器人 says:
世界上最坏的 (They are the worst in the world)

洲人好吗? (How about Africans?)
小i机器人 says:
非洲人都黑漆漆的。(Africans are all dark – exact translation’s a bit weird)
Ryan says:
非洲好吗? (Is Africa any good?)
小i机器人 says:
没有呀。我怕遇到食人族。(No way. I fear encountering cannibals.)

Alright, so it doesn’t like Africans, what about my countrymen?

Ryan says:
你认为加拿大人好吗? (What do you think about Canadians?)
小i机器人 says:
酷,当然比谢停峰还酷。(Cool, of course. Cooler than [HK singer] Xiè Tíngfēng.)

3. FiLi’s World: This guy is fluent in at least three languages: Chinese, Geek and English. He has forgotten more about technology and the China Websphere than I will ever know. I will be using his most recent post on Baidu SEO Basics as a point of reference next Saturday as I dumb down (for me, not you) his well researched China Search Engine Marketing Basics.

4. Mask of China: Dezza just keeps getting better. He could take spectacular pictures with just a box camera. Based in Hong Kong he chases after its crazy political contradictions and injects wry humor into posts about life in the mainland as well his new home ( and new baby) in the former colony down south. Dezza has been on my blogroll since Mao was a corporal.

5.The Peer-See Blog: This movable feast of words is a 12-gauge shotgun approach to blogging in China. There may be a recipe, a film review or a Bronx Cheer over the coverage on the Starbucks threat to Chinese culture at the Forbidden City there. A blog with an occasional bite there are always wonderfully inventive posts like this one:

Single Asian Female Seeks Spanking:

Single, Asian Female seeks American couple for LTR – and maybe some light spanking 😉

I am a cute, young Chinese girl.

You are educated, married, and between the ages of 30 and 50. You must also be well-endowed and generous with your assets 😉

Please no singles or psychos. And definitely NO FATTIES.

If interested, contact China Center for Adoption Affairs

If a Tree falls

This is by no means a full list of all the Bozos I could have loaded onto the short bus. My apologies….

All aboard!

Asian Humor,Blogroll Diving,China Expats,China Humor,Chinese Internet,Expats,Greater Asia Blogs,Hong Kong Blogs,Humor,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,中国

11 responses so far

The Bloggie Awards

Bloggies

The results are finally in:

Best Asian Weblog

Tokyo Girl Down Under

The Finalists for Best Asian Blog all deserve a look. They are wonderfully diverse. Unlike Tokyo Girl they are truly Asia based:

PingMap

Popagandhi

Bryan Boy

And OMBW ( I was an also-ran)

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog

The Breakfast Blog

Best African or Middle Eastern Weblog

Secret Dubai Diary

Best European Weblog

My Boyfriend is a Twat

Best British or Irish Weblog

Girl with a One-Track Mind

Best Latin American Weblog

Cooking Diva

Best Canadian Weblog

Drawn

Best American Weblog

Cute Overload

Best Photography of a Weblog

Flikrblog

Best Craft Weblog

Make: Blog

Best Food Weblog

Help I have a Fire in My Kitchen

Best Sports Weblog

Arseblog

Best Weblog About Music

Pitchfork

Best Entertainment Weblog and

Most Humorous Weblog

Go Fug Yourself

Best GLBT Weblog

Perez Hilton

My condolences to the other finalists who are truly representative of GLBT culture, humor, politics, llifestyle and celebration. This is my only truck with popular vote contests. Perez Hilton is to GLBT blogs what Rush Limbaugh is to political radio: entertainment! Visit the finalists:

Queerty

Scott-O-Rama

Daily Dose of Queer

LesbianFamily.org

Best Writing of a Weblog

And this guy can shape a story! Waiter Rant!

Best Group Weblog

Lifehacker

Best Community Weblog and

Weblog of the Year

One of those “I wish I had thought of it” blogs that takes you through the full spectrum of emotions evry single visit!

Post Secret

Best New Weblog

Say No to Crack!

Best-Kept Secret Weblog

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman

Congrats all….

As a postscript: I hope the folks over at The Asia Blog Awards revive their contest. They had the best formula in the blogsphere: Popular vote, Technorati rank, Distinguished Judges scores ….

Asia,China web 2.0,Hong Kong Blogs,In the news,India,Japan,New Blogs,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,中国

3 responses so far

Zaijian

chinglish

Books have been virtually replaced by blogs. But, puns aside, many of them showcase the transformative elements Pablo Neruda* suggests as essential to written art in Ars Magnetica:
“From so much loving and journeying, books emerge.

And if they don’t contain kisses or landscapes,
if they don’t contain a woman in every drop,
hunger, desire, anger, roads,
there are no use as a shield or as a bell:
they have no eyes and won’t be able to open them….”

Here I have I have tried to smooth the stubble of memory, share poetry, attempt humor, journal my social conscience, and reconcile my longings while shoutng to you in some far-off room. I leave here absolutely bewildered that anyone, other than my long-suffering friends, ever returned to listen. I am grateful you did.
Continue Reading »

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44 responses so far