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?

David Cameron Is In China, On Sina Weibo, And Hated By Global Times

David Cameron in Beijing
UK Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Beijing yesterday to boost China-UK relations -- to "appease" Beijing, as Western media types would put it -- and to back a new EU-China free trade agreement. A few days before, on November 29, Cameron opened a Sina Weibo account, with the first message reading: "Hello my friends in China. I'm pleased to have joined Weibo and look forward to visiting China very soon."

Spain Is Calling For The Arrest Of Jiang Zemin For Alleged Genocide In Tibet

Jiang Zemin
Spain, which recognizes universal justice -- meaning its court magistrates walk eternally with backs bowed under the burden of universal injustice, the weight of sadness -- issued a warrant on Tuesday for the arrest of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and four others "as part of a probe into alleged genocide in Tibet," reports AP and Al Jazeera.

Gary Locke, US Ambassador To China, Resigns

Gary Locke resigns
The US will have a new ambassador to China in early 2014. Gary Locke, who has served in that role since July 27, 2011, said this morning that he will step down "to rejoin my family in Seattle." SCMP has the full text of Locke's statement.

Fake Leaves Tied To Shenyang’s Real Trees

Fake leaves on Shenzhen's real trees
One of O. Henry's most famous stories is "The Last Leaf," a tale of hope, perseverance, and sacrifice. In it, a young girl dying in a New York hospital believes that once the last leaf falls from a vine outside her window, it'll be time for her to go. "Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," her friend, Sue, tells her, but she believes it, and so, lying in bed, she counts down the leaves. Five. Four. Three. Two...