Top-of-the-Week Links: More sex tapes of Chongqing officials exist, if you can stand them; China is killing manta rays, and Ai Weiwei screws with Party Congress

Via MIC Gadget

We hope you enjoyed the Elton John concert on Sunday as much as Ai Weiwei and friends. We have more coverage for you forthcoming, but for now, links.

If you’re an official in Chongqing who has a mistress, ask yourself: is she much hotter than someone you should deserve? Because you’re in trouble. “The whistleblower who uploaded a video that led to the sacking of a district Party secretary in southwestern Chongqing City says he has videos featuring five more senior government officials. // Beibei District’s Party Secretary Lei Zhengfu was sacked last Friday after he was identified as the person having sex with a young woman in a video which was widely spread on the Internet. // But the whistleblower, Zhu Ruifeng, told Beijing News yesterday that Lei was only one of six senior Chongqing officials who had been recorded in different sex videos he received from a police insider.” [Shanghai Daily]

We’re still holding out hope that Elton John’s shout-out to Ai Weiwei won’t have consequences, but… “Promoters across China work hard in the margins, trying to incrementally increase their ability to do more and at the same time increase choices for the Chinese public. In fly cosseted stars on their private jets, stay in their Chinese presidential suites for a night and think they will solve the problems of a nation by embarrassing the state in their own back yard. Then fly out, back to their mansions in Cannes surrounded by sycophants that tell them how brave they were and how significant those actions will be, and we are left to clean up the mess. // So what are the consequences likely to be? Most probably an increase in the already expensive and weighty Ministry of Culture approvals process. Most likely more scrutiny for international artists wanting to come and play China and subsequently less variety and frequency of shows. Life post Bjork was tough here in China…” [China Music Radar]

Corollary: “Some on the Sina Weibo microblogging service on Monday worried about the impact. ‘Bjork, Elton John, I hate you,’ wrote one poster. ‘Next year to see anything we’ll have to go to Hong Kong.’” [WSJ]

PSY may or may not play at the Spring Festival Gala, which means the Spring Festival Gala may or may not have, yet again, any viewers under the age of 45. “Others don’t like the idea because they think the gala is part of Spring Festival celebration tradition and someone foreign shouldn’t be part of a Chinese tradition. Netizen 傅如吟 commented: ‘It’s a gala for the Chinese people. It’s for a happy family reunion. Why invite a South Korean?’ 沈文臆的小小罗agreed: ‘Spring Festival is a Chinese festival, why invite a South Korean?’ 韩乐_Anne said: ‘There are many talented performances and singers in China. Please give them more chance and they are much cheaper, too. There is no need to invite an international star.’” [Offbeat China]

Manta rays are called “pandas of the ocean.” “Anecdotal evidence suggests mantas are under threat, and China may be a major reason for it. // Manta rays are vulnerable on two fronts: as bycatch — getting caught in industrial fishing nets targeting different types of tuna — and, increasingly, because of traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM.” [Behind the Wall, MSNBC]

Maybe they want to reconsider if they think the Chinese are so good at potty-training? “Called ‘elimination training’ or ‘elimination communication,’ the practice encourages babies and toddlers to use the toilet on demand while a caregiver is making whistling or shushing noises. Eventually, the baby learns the cue to ‘go’ on cue and becomes diaper-free. // Move over, Sigmund Freud. // Using slit-bottom pants called kaidangku, Chinese children have traditionally used very few diapers. Instead, they’re encouraged from as early as a few days old to release when they’re held over a toilet. And when they’re out in public, they often wear kaidangku, which allows them the freedom to do what they need to do in a tree box, on the sidewalk, or while they’re being held over a trash can.” [Christian-Science Monitor]

Government jobs popular again. “On November 25th the national civil-service examinations will take place, and about 1.4m people will sit them, 20 times more than a decade ago. Of that number, only 20,800 will be hired by government (millions more sit the equivalent provincial exams with similarly long odds of being hired). This increase is due in part to a surge in the number of university students entering an intensely competitive market for jobs—nearly 7m graduated this year, compared with 1.5m a decade ago. It is also thanks to health, pension and (sometimes) housing benefits, which are seen as generous and permanent in a society with an underfunded safety net—a modern version of the unbreakable Maoist ‘iron rice-bowl’ of state employment.” [Economist]

So… cheap baijiu is safer? “Provincial authorities have confirmed that a high-end band of Chinese liquor contains a harmful chemical, while the liquor association has defended the company saying there is no national standard regulating the use of the plasticizer.” [Global Times]

Laowai bandit. “Staff at Chill’s Bar in Shekou are recovering from having tens of thousands of yuan stolen from them by an American who fled the city last month, according to Shenzhen Daily. Real English, a nearby language training centre, was also a victim of the theft that has caused outrage across Shekou.” [The Nanfang]

Introducing: “Shi-min Fang has held research posts at the University of Rochester in New York and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. He is now a freelance science writer. He just won the inaugural Maddox Prize for exposing scientific misconduct in his native China.” [Slate]

Ai Weiwei does thing (via Alicia) interlude:


Will Moss is leaving China after eight and a half years. He’s one of the good ones. [Image Thief]

“Last Words of 19 Tibetans Who Committed Self-Immolation.” [Global Voices]

China-related English words on Twitter. [chinaSMACK]

Finally, finally…

Via Shanghai Daily via Sina: “Netizens are ridiculing a self-acclaimed ’7-star’ hotel in Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, saying it looked like a toilet seat.”

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