New York Times: China Has Been Unhelpful In MH370 Search

Haixun 01
The latest update on still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 -- New York Times: "China’s Actions in Hunt for Jet Are Seen as Hurting as Much as Helping" -- puts the attention on China's naval incompetence and prestige hunting. Apparently good intentions don't get you good press. I read the Times's article while slowly shaking my head at the entirety of the MH370 situation/mess. Then I came to this quote:

Chinese Passenger Train Derails En Route To Harbin [UPDATE: Sabotage]

Passenger train derails on way to Harbin 4
At least 15 people were sent to the hospital after a passenger train derailed early Sunday morning (3:17 am) in Hailun county in the city of Suihua, Heilongjiang province, Xinhua reports. The train, K7034, departed from Heihe, Heilongjiang and was headed for Harbin, the provincial capital. There were no reported deaths.

No Survivors On MH370, Says Malaysian PM, Sparking Sanctioned Protest In Beijing

MH370 headlines in black and white
In a televised statement on Monday at Lido Hotel in Beijing, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which has now been missing for 18 days, likely "ended in the southern Indian Ocean." After his statement, family and friends of MH370 passengers were reportedly notified by text that "none of those on board have survived."

Watch: “Naked Run” In Beijing Olympic Park Features Bare Chests, Gas Masks

Naked pigs run Beijing Olympic Park featured image
Heavy smog couldn't deter runners of the annual "naked pigs run" in Beijing's Olympic Park on Sunday. According to China Daily, more than 300 participants -- "only allowed to wear underwear" -- partook in the event. (Clearly some people wore more than underwear, but let's let that be neither here nor there.) Some wore gas masks, making for interesting photos:

Firecracker Dropped Into Sewer Causes Explosion That Kills 9-Year-Old Boy [Video]

Boy killed by firecracker in Shenzhen featured image
A nine-year-old boy is dead as the result of a firecracker dropped into a sewer. Reports say he was playing with another boy around 3 pm on Saturday near Fenghu Building in Shenzhen when one of them lit a firecracker and threw it down the drain. The ensuing explosion popped off two manhole covers, one of them flying as high as five meters. The victim, a third-grader in nearby Luohu district, reportedly fell in. His lifeless body was recovered about three hours later.

An Old Tibetan Town In Shangri-la Burned Through The Night [UPDATE]

Shangri-la fire featured image
Xinhua reports that a massive fire swept through Dukezong Ancient Town last night in the northwest Yunnan county of Shangri-la, a tourist resort ever since marketers changed its name from Zhongdian in 2001. Preliminary reports say the began at 1:30 am from a local shop, then spread due to windy conditions and the prevalence of wooden structures in Old Town. The exact cause is under investigation.

Visas For All Western Correspondents! Except Austin Ramzy, Not You

Austin Ramzy
"Several Western journalists who faced expulsion from China were issued renewed visas by the Chinese government Thursday, ending a months-long standoff," writes William Wan for Washington Post. Yay! "Austin Ramzy, a journalist who previously worked for Time magazine, has not been given press accreditation or a permanent visa since he joined the Times, according to journalists in Beijing." Well shit.

Has The Guardian Been Blocked In China? [UDATE]

Guardian blocked in China
A question worth repeating: has the Guardian been blocked in China? The eye test and GreatFire.org say yes, though we've seen technological glitches involving major English-language news sites in China before -- Wall Street Journal, namely -- so we're not ready to call this yet. Also, why the Guardian?

Lanzhou Workers Threaten Suicide To Claim Unpaid Wages

Six men threaten to jump off building due to unpaid wages
Confrontations over unpaid wages are common in China, especially in the run-up to the lunar new year (it falls on January 31 this year), as this is often the only time when migrant workers can return home. Many fear they'll never be paid if they leave the city while still owed money. But to get paid, some have to resort to extreme measures.

That Marooned Balloon

Crashed balloon Diaoyu
For the proud nationalists of China, Japan and Taiwan, the Diaoyu island chain remains the perfect outlet to exercise one’s willfully blind patriotism. Which is -- fortunately for the rest of us -- shouting distance from stupidity. Hilarious, utter stupidity.

People Are Now Taking Pictures Of The Box Meal That Xi Jinping Ordered At Qing-Feng

Xi Jinping at Qing-Feng 4
On Saturday, Chinese president Xi Jinping surprised diners of a neighborhood eatery in Beijing when he walked in and ordered a set meal that included steamed buns, some veggies, and a chitterlings. It was a modest lunch that cost 21 yuan, reports Global Times. But what do we know about this place, Qing-Feng, located in Xicheng District?

Watch: Xi Jinping Takes Lunch At A Beijing Eatery, Is Just Like Us

Posing with Xi Jinping 3
Look at Xi Jinping eating lunch. When the story broke yesterday that the president of China was spotted in Beijing ordering steamed buns at a local restaurant called Qing-Feng, I noted that we'd be seeing more pictures, since if you can't take pictures of the president of China on your camera phone, you might as well never take another camera phone picture again. Well, here's a video, which surfaced on Youku about nine hours ago. It is wonderful in the following ways:

Anhui Officials Exhume Grave, Perform Open-Air “Cremation”

Forced cremation
Most of the dead in China are cremated because it's expedient to do so, both for families -- burial plots are becoming increasingly expensive, even exorbitant -- and society, since nearly 10 million people die per year in a country already short on land. In Jingxian county, Anhui province, one family learned what happens when they try to defy a cremation order by putting a dead body into the earth: that body is exhumed, and cremated.

Evan Osnos: “China Is Gradually Losing Interest In Soft Power”

China's new generation of leaders
Why is China threatening to expel foreign correspondents? Old-fashioned intimidation, says the New Yorker's Evan Osnos, still writing incisively in absentia. (A lesson for you, China: journalists can churn even when they don't live here.) His latest analysis of China's ongoing crackdown on media is worth a complete read, but let us highlight this paragraph:

A Reminder To Register Your Motorcycle And Don’t Run Into Anyone

Motorcycle accident in Beijing
A foreigner who knocked down a woman with his motorcycle in Beijing on December 2 -- he's pictured above being grabbed by the victim -- apparently was working "without a permit" in Beijing and has been deported. Talk about escalating fast. Also, he had been driving the motorcycle without a license, so he was fined 5,000 yuan. Oh, and his father was deported as well for working without a permit. What did either of them actually do?