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Thursday, July 19, 2018

An Accumulated Thought From Shenzhen

I had planned on sharing so much more this week, both in terms of photos and thoughts. And I have more than enough to share. That's not the problem.

For now, here is a shirt I saw tonight for sale at Dongmen in Shenzhen.

"Black White Water Accumulates Into The Ocean" shirt


Hard to argue.

Monday, July 16, 2018

World Cup Spirit at Restaurants, Bars, and Urinals in Shenzhen, China

Unlike at a mall in Hong Kong, I didn't come across any malls in neighboring Shenzhen showing every FIFA World Cup match. However, I did see some bars and restaurants in different parts of Shenzhen which were promoting the World Cup or showing games, such as these two eating & drinking establishments which are next to each other at the Central Walk Shopping Mall:

Shewhy British pub in Shenzhen decorated for the FIFA World Cup


Thai Joy restaurant & bar at the Central Walk Shopping Mall in Shenzhen decorated for the FIFA World Cup


There were other bars, at least some of which are popular with foreigners, showing matches at the same mall. For part of the third place playoff match between Belgium and England, I went to The Brew. Even though I showed up late, I was still able to get a table with a great view.

view of a TV partially blocked by a man sitting in front of me


For the championship match between France and Croatia, I decided to watch from my hotel room, in part due to it beginning at 11 p.m. China time. Fortunately, my a combo of a fast enough internet connection, a fast enough VPN connection, and Telemundo meant all went reasonable well. I couldn't understand most of the Spanish commentary but "GOAAAAAALLLLLL!" was pretty clear.

And finally . . . I saw an especially unexpected sign of the football spirit in Shenzhen in restroom urinals at several different malls.

urinal with a miniature football (soccer ball) and net at the bottom


I didn't hear anybody shouting "GOAAAAAALLLLLL!"

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Bubble Wrap Cat and Uploads

Yesterday I spent a lot of time troubleshooting why sometimes websites loaded at decent speeds yet I couldn't upload anything. As I am in mainland China, I wondered if the Great Firewall had something to do with it, since I was using a VPN to access blocked sites.

So . . .

I have one photo I took in Shenzhen which I managed to upload as a test.

cat sitting next to a large roll of bubble wrap


Yes, that it is a cat proudly standing next to a fine roll of bubble wrap.

Yes, I had to walk to the elevator lobby with my laptop to make this happen.

Yes, it is more complicated than that.

Maybe this post will publish. Maybe it won't. But that cat will have plenty of bubble wrap regardless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

An Apartment Visit and Another Activist in Jail in China: Two Post Liu Xia Departure Links

After years of detainment despite never being charged with a crime, yesterday Liu Xia left China. Here are links to two relevant articles, both from Agence France-Presse, published today:

1. In "On the eve of freedom, a glimpse inside Liu Xia's flat" Becky Davis shares her recent visit to Liu Xia at her home in Beijing:
Judging by her apartment on the eve of her departure from Beijing to Germany, Liu Xia seemed completely unaware of her impending freedom -- or perhaps unwilling to believe it.

AFP on Monday evaded tight security to gain rare access to the fifth-floor duplex apartment.
Perhaps the Chinese government deliberately allowed Davis to slip by security as a test to see if Liu Xia would follow a "request" not to say anything about an upcoming departure.


2. In "Chinese democracy activist sentenced to 13 years for 'subversion'" Joanna Chao reports an example of how human rights remain a significant issue in China despite Liu Xia now being free:
A prominent Chinese political campaigner was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Wednesday, a court in central China said.

Qin Yongmin was found "guilty of subversion of state power," the Wuhan City Intermediate People's Court said on its official website. . . .

The European Union on Wednesday criticised a "deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in China, which has been accompanied by the detention and conviction of a significant number of Chinese human rights defenders."
And the world turns.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Liu Xia Free and Out of China After Years of Detainment for No Crime

Post updated with additional tweets and attributions at 5:42 p.m.

Nearly one year ago, Liu Xiabo died in China. Today his wife Liu Xia, who faced her own long and difficult journey, is finally free under more positive conditions — as reported by Suyin Haynes in Time:
Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Europe after eight years under de facto house arrest.

Family friends said that Liu Xia boarded a flight from departing from Beijing on Tuesday headed for Berlin . . . .

An accomplished poet and writer, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest by the Chinese authorities in 2010, after her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize but was unable to collect it due to his detention on political grounds. She had never been charged with a crime and was placed under close state surveillance. Concerns for her health mounted after she was heard in an April audio recording saying that she was “prepared to die” under house arrest following the loss of her husband.

The recent lack of high-level official condemnation over Liu Xia's previous ongoing detention was striking. Jane Perlez in The New York Times reports Germany played a key role in her release and provides one reason for the relative quiet:
European diplomats had said over the last several months that China had left Ms. Liu in limbo as a show of resolve against Chinese human rights dissidents, despite aggressive efforts by Germany to press for her release.

After Ms. Merkel’s visit to Beijing in the spring, the Chinese authorities let the Europeans know that if Ms. Liu’s case was not publicized, her release would be possible, a European diplomat with knowledge of the case said.

Although Liu Xia is now in Europe, as reported by Catherine Lai and Tom Grundy in the Hong Kong Free Press she may not yet be entirely free.
Patrick Poon, researcher for Amnesty International, told HKFP: “It’s really wonderful news to hear that Liu Xia is eventually able to leave China. She has been suffering depression. It’s good that she can receive medical treatment in Germany now. Her brother Liu Hui is still in China. Liu Xia might not want to talk much as she would be worried about his safety.”

So some are calling for her brother to take a similar voyage.


Some see positive signs in the news that extends beyond Liu Xia's freedom.


Some don't see Liu Xia's release as a sign of broader positive change inside of China.


But the news may still suggest something about changes outside of China.


I found Liu Xia's detainment extremely troubling and feared she would meet final circumstances similar to her husband's. So it is heartening to see she will now be in a far better situation, to say the least. Hopefully she can recover her health. And may she find it possible to safely express herself.

"Created by Liu Xia during the time of Liu Xiaobo’s labor reeducation in 1996-1999, the 'ugly babies,' as Liu refers to the dolls, are positioned in tableaux that evoke confinement and repression."
Source: Columbia University's The Italian Academy

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Hong Kong Mural: Donald Trump and Barack Obama Still at a Noodle Cart

Early last year I came across the Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) — a restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong — and noticed the mural on its side. Remarkably, its depiction of a line of people waiting for noodles cooked at a cart included both Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

So a few weeks ago I was curious to check up on the restaurant. Much had changed in the world since my previous visit, but I found the mural appeared to be exactly the same.

Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


See the earlier post for close up photos of the mural. Obama is smiling while he waits in line. Trump isn't in line and is making a familiar definitely-not-smiling expression. I had eaten just prior to passing the restaurant, so I am still not able to offer any opinion on the noodles. But it seems that if there's a line, nobody gets to cut in front.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Dinosaur Dining on Bus Passengers in Hong Kong

The "Meet The T. Rex" tram wasn't the only example of dinosaur-themed vehicular advertising I recently saw in Hong Kong. In the other case, the vehicle was a double-decker bus instead of a double-decker tram.

Jurassic World movie ad on a Hong Kong bus


Similar to the trams, Hong Kong's double-decker buses are commonly covered with a single advertisement. In the above advertisement for the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the special setting offered the opportunity to make it look like some of the passengers are about to become a snack. Most Hong Kong buses are safer than this.

For those wondering how I photographed the bus from this angle, I must admit it required a quick reaction, especially since I was heading the opposite direction. And of course I was sitting on the second level of a tram. Unfortunately (fortunately?), it had no dinosaurs on it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Surrounding the Dolphin Sculptures in Jiangmen and Hong Kong

Next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen, Guangdong, earlier this year I saw a sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen


More recently at Tsuen Wan Park in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, I saw another sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins in Tsuen Wan Park in Hong Kong


In both cases I couldn't find anything indicating the name of the sculpture or the artist. Notably, they are both partially surrounded by structures. But the structures are rather different in style.

And that's as deep as I'll go with these dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins bordered by classical columns in Jiangmen

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Flower Ice Cream and Giant Hummingbird Mural in Hong Kong

Happy Fourth of July to the U.S. folk. Remember, fireworks don't work without fire. And rose-shaped ice cream attracts giant hummingbirds. Goodness can result from both of these things. But nothing is totally safe, so please take care and have a joyous day. Those giant hummingbirds are enchanting yet ravenous.

mural of a girl eating flower-shaped ice cream next to a large hummingbird
Alongside Shelley Street in Central, Hong Kong

Monday, July 2, 2018

Looking Across Victoria Harbour from a High Place

Posting has been intermittent lately, but I plan to return to a more regular schedule soon. For now, here is a view from Hysan Place in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, looking northward across Victoria Harbour:

view from Hysan Place in Hong Kong looking northward across Victoria Harbour


More later . . .