Tag Archives: blogging

Noodle blogging

No, not really.

Occasionally when I read stories from The Guardian via Google, I have a look at some of the other sites which I’ve added. They’re mostly blogs and quite a number are on blogspot (added when I’ve been in a country where the government is not irrationally paranoid), which means that if you try to click on that particular feed, the system gets completely buggered.

I happened across a post on the China Law Blog about something called noodle blogging. According to the post, this “describe[s] China blogs (often written by ESL teachers) that focused mostly on the blogger’s personal impressions of China”. Chris’s blog gets a very honourable and quite up-to-date mention.

But the feeling is that such blogs have largely slipped into history with a few exceptions such as a blog called Seeing Red in China, which is also on (or powered by?) WordPress. I did use to have quite a few China blogs bookmarked, but with various blog hosts being blocked, unblocked, blocked etc. (including ESWN), I probably gave up a little. Also, most of those blogging do tend to end up going back where they came from. I still have Matt Schiavenza’s site bookmarked, but he’s back in the States as far as I’m aware and I only visit the site once in a while. Another point which has just come to mind while I’ve been making my tea is that even when I did tend to read expat China blogs, I’d already been here several years, had seen it, and had bought the T-shirt.

I suppose at times I’ve been a noodle blogger, but I’ve never tried to be an anthropologist or sociologist about China to the exclusion of almost all other topics. My agenda has never been to blog about China so that others might gain some insight into life here. That’s merely coincidental and some of what I’ve seen and done may be of some interest to others. Nor am I here to go native and get all integrated. If you think of all the annoyances here and you think about how long I’ve been here (nearly nine years), you’d be sorely mistaken if you believe that I now regard the annoyances as a mere nothing. They aren’t and they never will be a mere nothing.

I also think that a noodle blogger might tend to be someone who comes here in their twenties, is probably straight out of college, and isn’t, as I’ve always been, a cynical old bastard. But the first wave of bloggers has been and gone (if you think in terms of the history of blogging), and I can’t help but make a connection between someone like Ben Ross and Peter Hessler. I think I’ve wondered before where the Peter Hesslers of the first decade of the 21st century are. (Don’t look at me. I don’t have that journalistic knack like Bill Bryson and other hacks for spinning an entire book out of next to nothing.)

All right. let’s finish with a noodle blog tale. I was on my travels this morning, heading to 远东百货 to buy lunch from Yamazaki and some more bread. There’s a dog-leg crossing at the side street where I turn off to go to the 红豆 Building. There was someone on en electric scooter ahead of me, and a woman was crossing the road on another electric scooter. Neither was going especially fast, but Mrs Pays-no-Attention still managed to hit Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless. It was a slight knock to his rear wheel, and Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless started yelling. Probably the argument ran: “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” Why don’t you watch where you’re going. (Repeat ad naus. without irony.) From my perspective, while Mrs Pays-no-Attention was principally to blame, Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless was little better as he swept recklessly in front of his adversary.

For the most part, my strategy is to go round behind so that the likes of Mrs Pays-no-Attention get home saying to themselves, “A foreigner? What foreigner?”

Advertisements

There goes another milestone

60,000.

wuxi_evening01Two and a half days ago, the clouds gathered and it eventually started raining. Two days ago, we might’ve seen the eclipse, but it rained almost all day. Yesterday it was overcast and very hazy, which in Wuxi seems to suggest that it may start raining at any moment. Of course, it rained a little in the afternoon, but saved its heaviest downpour for the evening when I happened to be at Carrefour. I knew something was up because a large group of people had gathered at the exit from 保利. It was a short-lived thunderstorm and I actually barely got wet at all in the end. I did at least have my umbrella with me. 

I went to the Sichuan restaurant across the road from 保利, but that turned out to be a slightly posher affair than I was expecting. Because it was up on the first floor, I couldn’t tell exactly what I was going to find inside, but it’s the sort of restaurant where people go in mobs rather than singly. The 宫保鸡丁 was actually decent enough, but it wasn’t a dish intended for one person.

Anyway, the weather has left me stranded inside. Two days ago it was raining and yesterday, there was the perpetual threat of imminent rain. The cloud has broken up a little with hints of blue sky and even a threat of a little sunshine. There might be a short adventure this afternoon. (I’m thinking about a circumnavigation of 惠山.)

But while I’ve been idle,[1] I see that Green Bamboo has now passed 60,000 hits, although that’s mostly from searches via bing (formerly Windows Live Search) on indefinite subjects. I have no idea who the 60,000th caller was. That was 109 visits ago.

Notes
1. Actually, I haven’t been that idle, although I was a little yesterday when the afternoon became snooze time. The point is that just because there’s nothing worth posting here [Like this whole entry. –ed.], it doesn’t mean that I’m not busy doing something else.

All right, I have six

But I don’t use most of them.

Victor Keegan makes the observation in To the average Joe, blogs aren’t cutting it that blogs are still a minority sport in spite of their increasing numbers. As he says

since Technorati’s figures include people with multiple blogs and maybe (they don’t say) little-used ones as well, the number of individual bloggers is even lower.

True, I suspect. When I originally wrote this entry, I had six blogs. Seven years later, it was down to five, which are all intermittently active. Two have identical content (which tends to be book and film reviews these days; occasionally other things), one has come to deal with education more than anything else, although I’ve been tempted to purge it, or even delete it and start again, and the remaining two about different aspects of gaming. (11.08.14.)

If I’m not atypical (well, I am, but that’s another matter), then 71 million blogs may be the product of about 13 million bloggers.

Social networkers, late arrivals on the scene as a mass movement, prefer to communicate directly with others in their chosen groups such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and all the others rather than blog or even email each other.

I have a preference for talking to myself; talking to chance visitors (often enticed here for the wrong reason); and talking to people who found they like a daily or weekly dose of Mr Bamboo’s words of wisdom. But I also like blogging because I like writing. It’s good practice, although I don’t know whether I improve as a writer because of it, or whether I’ve merely reached my level of incompetence.

Of course, as Keegan notes, with this whole networking thing, you have an audience who share your interests; but I tend to do that via on-line forums rather than Gossip Central.

Keegan suggests “that the vast majority of people prefer just to read blogs rather than write them”. Although reading is, properly speaking, more strenuous than writing because perception is more difficult than pro­duc­t­ion, writing takes more time overall, and many people probably feel that they just don’t have the time to spare.

Who knows? Though my blog may not bring me much fame now, long after I’ve gone, I may be hailed as the Samuel Pepys or John Evelyn of the 21st century. Or perhaps simply as “The dead guy whose blog we just deleted”.

[11.08.14. Who does blog these days? At the time of writing, I’ve been going through old entries in the Computers and Internet category and mostly deleting them. Probably, apart from a few posts in that section which I deem worthy, the rest will go, and I’ll replace them with a single page. The reason for this review is the observation that most of what I’ve said, especially in this category, would have been better off on, say, Facebook or Twitter where such ephemera belongs.]

There are places for these people

They’re called ‘Online forums’.

With the news that there are 71 million blogs (probably 75 million by now), comments have started to appear about the validity and worthiness of blogs. I mentioned a couple of days ago some comment that depreciated the value of people’s blogs which, I thought, was an instance of gross arrogance on the part of the writer. There was some guy called Oliver Krumm on the Guardian’s commentisfree section in the past few days whose basic thesis seemed to be, “The little people shouldn’t blog”. Then some bunch of clown boys, including Jimmy “Wikipedia” Wales, declared some blogging code of conduct (apparently, we’re not allowed to use the word “faeces”; I have to admit that I seldom pay that much attention to intellectual minnows no matter how much money they have, so I may be slightly wrong at this point).

Now Jonathan Freedland of The Grauniad has written The blogosphere risks putting off everyone but point-scoring males. Of course, being a thorough relativist, I have to accept that Jon (Can I call you Jon?) has the right to write nonsense. Hell, I write nonsense all the time; but he seems to be confusing heavily trafficked blogs with all blogs. The former, in truth, are really like on-line forums; the latter are what most of us write.

I’ve been knocking around the Internet for years. I was there when the Internet was mostly boring (I think Germaine Greer said that). I was there when everyone thought that the Internet was the sole preserve of big busi­ness, or that we were all going to be watching telly on the Internet, or some other piece of idiocy that came from the fevered brains of people who probably needed help switching their PCs on. I have no doubt that Internet etiquette will develop in its own merry way. I also know that in on-line forums, twentysomething males probably tend to be the most vociferous, while you barely hear a squeak out of their female twentysomething counterparts.[1]

The same seems to be true of high-profile blogs. On commentisfree, I’m only aware of a few prominent female commentators. There may be others, but they may be careful not to advertise their gender.

For the blogosphere represents an enormous democratic opportunity.

I’ve already commented about such a view. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not sustainable. It’s also meaningless unless you’re getting a lot of traffic. I’d be very surprised if Green Bamboo became a forum for debate.[2]

Those who want to challenge tyrannies, or even corporate misbehaviour, can do so directly.

It’s that misguided example about the donkey. I don’t remember the story exactly, but it’s an argument against democracy: some people suggest that the man should lead the donkey; some that he should ride it; some that he should carry it. Democracy, if you look closely, is about choosing a party of a certain ideology to be the government. After that, the people who win the election abuse the electorate because they believe they’re fulfilling the democratic will of the people, regardless of what their (i.e., the govern­ment’s) actions might be. The (alleged) majority of people voted for them, ergo they’re doing what most people want.

I can say what I like (sort of), but I’d never kid myself that anyone’s be­hav­iour is going to change because of what I say. No government, democratic or otherwise, can afford to change its policies because of what the ordinary people might say on their blogs.[3] As I also noted, such a survey would take far to much time to conduct.

I see, though, that tea time is nigh, thus sparing you from my rambling any longer.

Notes.

1. I should admit that I don’t frequent forums where there are likely to be a lot of women. At the moment, of the three or four forums I usually haunt, one is a reasonably good mix, while on two of the others, there’s this Italian girl I’ve known for about six or seven years, but her presence invites no comment. If it did, the commenter would get seriously slapped down. On the fourth, we have at least one lesbian and absolutely no one gives a damn. In other words, it shouldn’t matter.

2. I suspect that as Chris said, he didn’t comment here because he didn’t want to sign up to MSN. It’s possible that I get a lot of visitors like that, as well as many who feel that they have nothing to say or no reason to say anything.

3. Of course, I’m not ordinary, but I’m wise enough not to expect that anyone will pay the slightest amount of attention to me.

[11.08.14. I’m going to refrain from deleting this entry for the moment, but may come back to it later and decide it ought to be binned. One observation I will make is that unless a blogger is a celeb to begin with, they’re unlikely to ever attract much at­tent­ion, and thus have no impact on the rest of the world. A second observation I will make is that Twitter is better than blogging if the tweeter craves a rapid response from their audience.]

Happy Birthday, us

The 10th year of blogging.

I has no idea that blogs have been around for 10 years (Blogs mark the first 10 years).

Technorati’s figures suggest that the medium is dominated by Japanese and English-speaking people, who contribute around two-thirds of all posts on the web.

I wouldn’t have suspected that Japanese accounted for so much of the blogosphere.[1] I know that on random trawls through blogspot I would often encounter a lot of blogs written in Spanish or Portuguese. I suspect that Chinese accounts for far fewer blogs than might be expected.

Most sites are read by a tiny group of friends and family, acting like public noticeboards, but some have grabbed headlines and helped build careers for their authors.

I’m neither one nor the other. The number of people I know who know the URL for Green Bamboo is slight. In spite of signing up for a couple of blog lists, most of the hits I get are probably hit-and-run – someone on Spaces checking new posts or I’m returned as an unhelpful search result – and the unfortunate visitor flees.

Many writers – some of them anonymous – have signed lucrative book deals on the back of their blog’s success, and others have become minor celebrities.

Perhaps I’m a minor celeb. [Looks like we need to redefine ‘celeb’. –ed.]

Businesses are using the medium to reach out to customers…

Just the sort of blogs I like to read, said Mr Bamboo sarcastically.

There are also significant minorities blogging in politically repressive countries such as Iran and China, which has led many to hail blogs as a powerful force for challenging the establishment.

Heard it before. Didn’t really believe it then; don’t really believe it now.

Not everyone believes the influence of blogging will be long lasting. Andrew Keen, a former dotcom entrepreneur and the author of the forthcoming book Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture, says that though it is enticing to believe that online diaries are empowering, the hype is dangerous.
 
“It’s seductive in the sense that it convinces people to think they have more to say and are more interesting than they really are,” he said. “The real issue is whether it adds any more to our culture. Most of it is just so transient and ephemeral.”

I agree to some extent. This is why I think the notion of bloggers chal­leng­ing the establishment is self-deluding. At best, bloggers might give a government some idea of the general mood of a country; but even then, so many different shades of opinion are likely to be expressed that it wouldn’t be possible to arrive at any firm conclusions. Besides, think of the time that’d be needed to go through a sufficiently large sample of blogs, read entries and analyse them.

I already know that most of what I’m writing is ephemeral, although a small part of it is more enduring.

“Not every blogger is a narcissist who has nothing to say. In particular there are people in China and Iraq who are blogging – and that is very brave,” he said.

No it’s not. It’s only those few who express dissenting views. This makes it sound like every Chinese blogger is a dissident. Most of them never get further than trivia and  ephemera, and never will.[2]

“But generally I don’t see a social benefit. It’s just a great vehicle for next-generation media personalities. Why do I want to know what some guy sitting on the west coast of America thinks about Iraq? Would you pay to listen to this person?”

I don’t like this statement. It’s arrogant and depreciates the value of individual people. It doesn’t matter what I say, nor what my neighbours might blog about (which they almost certainly don’t do); we’re free to say it even if no one’s listening or cares. You may as well say the same of old-fashioned pen-and-paper diaries.

Anyway, happy 10th, blogosphere.

PS. I should mention Bobbie Johnson’s Blogs turn 10 from The Guardian’s newsblog.

Notes.
1. From Japundit, I learn that posts in Japanese top the blogosphere at 37%, followed a smidge behind by English at 36%. Everything else comes in a distant third.
2. I should point out that I still can’t access Peking Duck even although, as far as I’m aware, it’s still accessible elsewhere.

The head eats the tail

Green Bamboo bites back.

I’m checking my stats this afternoon to see what’s washed up on the shores of my cyber-island, and find that having reached 5000 hits yesterday, I’ve suddenly leapt to 5131 because I’ve had a bunch of visitors via Language Log. I click on the link (see next link) and find myself taken back to this entry by Mark Liberman on LL, which has link to my entry here about the Telegraph blog.

Regular readers will know that I have quite a few entries about things I’ve seen on Language Log; but I never expected to get pinged myself. And what’ve I just done? I’ve blogged about the blog that blogged my blog. [Someone shut him up. –ed.]

Well, of course I’m Gordon Brown

I am the revolution. But I’m wearing my pyjamas.

Nick Cohen has written an entry (A connected world proves no threat to tyrants) in the comment is free section of the Guardian about how bloggers aren’t changing the world after all. He says

…most bloggers aren’t interested in the democratisation of opinion. They write about their lives, what books they are reading and music they are listening to.

which is something I’ve already said here.

Contrary to the optimism of the Nineties, that it would allow oppressed peoples to escape censors and read forbidden opinions, the net is proving surprisingly easy for dictatorships to control.

Well, sort of. In spite of all the hype about the Great Firewall, if Nanny wanted to be a total bitch, she’d block access to all foreign news sites because I’m still able to read plenty of stories on line that are unflattering to the image of the inGlorious Motherland. Take ESWN, for example. Somehow it remains accessible from the mainland in spite of much of its content. If I mention stories from there, there’s a good chance that I’ll be returned as a search result for the same subject. But none of it is leading to any sort of change in the politics and political structure of China because the audience is external to the country. Unless the stories are translated, very, very few foreign journalists have the faintest idea what’s getting Chinese netizens agitated because of the language barrier.

The Chinese part of Cyberia remains closely monitored, but from what I’ve read, it seems people go online, have a rant about some controversial issue, it gets deleted, end of story. It seems to have been awhile since there was any Internet story from China which stirred the foreign press into the usual denunciation of Internet censorship. When I remember him, I keep wondering whatever happened to Mr Anti. It seemed that if anyone was going to get Spaces blocked, it was him, but he’s disappeared into the void. There haven’t been any stories about prominent Chinese bloggers losing their bus passes to the Web in ages.

However, I’ve just found that I still can’t access the Peking Duck blog. I happened to click on a link to it from Chris’s blog a few days ago and got a 403 Forbidden message. The blog doesn’t appear to have been blocked. Perhaps it’s local Nanny being quirky.

A pot pourri post

No voiceless labial stop was left unalliterated

Yeah, it’s another this and that sort of post.


My name’s Uncle Angel and I’m a blogspot addict

I’ve been going a bit mad on blogspot blogs via Britblog because you never know when Nanny’s going to clench again. [13.11.13. It should be noted that britblog has long since become extinct, but not because Nanny clenched, although she did eventually.]


Do you mean “migratify”?

In recent days I’ve encountered a couple of instances of “migrate” as a (shudder) transitive verb. It seems to be Geek Speak for “move” or “transfer”, but why neither of those verbs is considered suitable I don’t know. Perhaps some stylistically retarded programmer thought “migrate (vt)” was formal. Ugh. This sort of thing makes me cringe. It’s “migrate (vi)” and takes a [+animate] subject.

In about mid-autumn, the birds migrate south to the shores of Lake Victoria.
The sysadmin transferred/moved the files to his flash drive.
*!The sysadmin migrated the files to his flash drive.
??The sysadmin migratified (= caused to migrate) the files to his flash drive.

Actually, I’m not the inventor of “migratify”, although Google only returns four hits for it. However, at some stage in the future am I going to see instances of “migratify” and regret that I may be responsible for such a travesty? [13.11.13. I never have seen the hideous “migratify” again, but I’m sure I’ve seen “migrate” grossly misused a few times in the past seven years.]


The Ashes

Everything’s going well so far – for Australia. This is why I don’t tend to mention England’s cricketing antics. Too much, “Oh bloody hell. Here we go again.” [13.11.13. Things have changed a bit since then, and although England can still make utter asses of themselves, they’ve occasionally managed to emerge from test series in (well-deserved) triumph.]


Loving you heaps, David Cameron.

You know when the Tories have a new leader because he starts talking about caring and sharing, which seem to be words the Tories only understand (vaguely) after consulting a dictionary. I hope Polly Toynbee (Leaves out of my book; If Cameron can climb on my caravan, anything is possible – these appear to be the same article) is enjoying Dave’s hot lovin’.

This latest attempt at repositioning shows that the UK really is becoming more like China. There’s not just the excessive surveillance and lack of privacy protection, but real choice in elections seems to have disappeared. Here you vote for the Party candidate of your choice. In the UK, the main parties have different names, but, well, that’s about it. [13.11.13. The country ended up with a coalition at the last election, which seems to suit no one. I can see Britain swinging back to being a two-party state at the next election, although the lunatics of the UKIP might make things a little more interesting.]


Farewell, Nick Clark.

I was sorry to hear that Nick Clark died from cancer at the age of 58. I would’ve listened to him on the World at One quite a lot when I was incarcerated in Widow Twanky’s dungeon in Cambridge. Damn Nanny for blocking R4 on line.


The perils of polytheism.

I happened to stumble across Ethics Updates at the University of Sandiego just recently. One of the essay topics under Religion and Ethics is

Many cultures, such as ancient Greek culture, are polytheistic, that is, they believe in many different gods. How would a polytheist interpret a divine command? What problems would the polytheistic divine command theorists encounter that their monotheistic counterparts do not have to confront? Is the (alleged) existence of more than one god an argument for moral relativity?

I’m not sure that the object of the exercise really turns out to be the object intended.

The only polytheistic religion I know anything about is that of Greece. The answer to the first question is that the Greeks would’ve interpreted divine commands in the same way that a monotheist would. As for the second question, I assume we’re meant to believe that a polytheistic religion may produce ethical conflicts because of contrary demands from different gods. I can’t think of a single instance of this in Greek mythology. From a Greek perspective, the answer to the third question is negative because the Greek gods conformed to Greek notions of morality (which included the maxim, “I can bonk your wife; you can’t bonk mine”).

However, perhaps there are divinely inspired ethical conflicts in other polytheistic religions, although such paradoxes would render such a religion inherently unstable.

Hong Kong. Again.

Where’s my holiday home?

Just as my suitcase was about right for my departure, it stopped me spending too much money in Hong Kong because I didn’t have the space for too many bulky items. I raided M&S; bought a few books (natch); and bought the first series of Extras on DVD.

Like my trip in August, a taxi turned up just at the right moment to take me to the Apollo Hotel for the airport coach. But when I got out of that taxi, I was accosted by another driver who wanted to take me to the airport for ¥30. I was having none of that because it only costs ¥20 on the coach, but even when the driver saw that I wasn’t going to cave, a second taxi driver made the same offer. How dumb are these guys?

I was in a room on the 7th floor of the building where the guesthouse is. It was somewhat bigger than what I’ve been in upstairs, but the view was non-existent. I could just see the building where that line of disused loos is sitting on the roof, but most of the view was the room around the corner from mine. It struck me that I could really do with a holiday home in Hong Kong, not that I could possibly afford such a luxury even in the less salubrious parts of Kowloon City.

I noticed that The Washingtonienne and Belle du Jour were available in Page One, which prompted me to write the following tale about getting your blog published.

“Welcome to Trend Publishing, Mr Bamboo,” said Tony Burton-Hughes who had just been introduced to me as a senior editor. We shook hands.

“Please,” I said, “call me Green. It’s very nice to be here.”

“I trust you had a pleasant trip.”

“Very.” I’d never travelled first class before. It was going to be a hard blow to return to economy as I felt I inevitably would.

“Let me introduce you to everyone. You’ve met Caroline, my PA. This is Polly Collins. We’ve taken the liberty of appointing her as your literary agent. Several of our authors are under her wing.” Ms Collins seemed to be in her late forties and a little overfond of unsubtle makeup. “This is Sarah Hyde. She’s the project editor and will be in charge of seeing your magnum opus through to publication. Since this is her baby – and yours – I’ll let her have the floor.”

“We’ve been enjoying reading your blog,” Sarah began and I muttered my thanks. “We think it has definite potential and we’ve come up with a proposal which we’d like to run past you. It’s more or less a bunch of minor edits.”

I’d been expecting some suggestions since there were quite a few entries which would hardly appeal to most people, and I’m sure others needed appropriate editing.

“For a start, you’re a bit too, er, male. We really need you to be a woman. And,” she continued without pausing, “there’s not much about sex. It’d help if you were a woman with an overactive sex life. You’re in about the right age range, but let’s make you a little younger – early thirties, say.”

“I’m forty-one,” I said. Curse my youthful good looks!

“Don’t worry,” interjected Tony. “Airbrushing can work wonders.”

“And you need to be Chinese. So from now on, you’re Wang Fei, blogging about your very active sex life during the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai, bonking your way through the Politburo. That sort of thing.”

“There are a couple of problems,” I said not wishing to ruin the deal by observing that all of it was a problem. “Most Chinese people are married by the time they’re in their mid-twenties. Even if Wang Fei was in her early thirties, she wouldn’t even remember the Cultural Revolution.”

“I see where you’re going with this,” said Sarah. “You’re twenty-five, in Shanghai looking for Mr Right during the Cultural Revolution, bonking your way through the Politburo, and blogging about your elusive search for love.”

Somewhere nearby, I’m sure reality was asking to be excused.

Another theme of my trip to Hong Kong was afternoon tea. By about 3pm, it was very difficult to find anywhere to sit down and relax.

I did do one touristy thing and that was to take a trip on the Skyrail up to Ngong Ping. I was a little bit wary about taking the MTR out to Tung Chung because the Airport Express costs HK$100 and the airport is barely a stone’s throw from Tung Chung, but the Tung Chung line costs the usual amount, which rather reveals what a major-league rip off the Airport Express is. The Skyrail is a cable car running up the north side of Lantau to the seated buddha which I visited a couple of years ago. I must admit that I wasn’t impressed. There really isn’t much of a view and even if it’d been clear, there wouldn’t have been much of a view. You could see the airport, but the rest was merely an inlet and some hillside, neither of which had anything to recommend it.

I think living in China does something to your sense of perspective. I saw several groups of foreigners in Hong Kong all of whom seemed to be grotesquely large (all right, so they were fat as well). In spite of claims that obesity is on the rise in China (certainly in cities like Beijing or Shanghai where the populace is noticeably larger), the average sizes here are still weedy and scrawny.

[05.07.14. I assume that this entry popped up because of the protest in Hong Kong on the 1st of July. Mention of it on this side of the border got throttled, with the punters saying that the news was censored even more severely than news about the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square in June.

In the eight years that have passed since I wrote this entry, the imperial government has grown even more paranoid. Blocks on various sites such as Facebook, blogspot, and WordPress have gone from contrary to permanent. Various newspapers such as The Guardian have also been blocked for daring to reveal that the leading families in the land aren’t short of a bob or two.

The Emperor’s current campaign against corruption may have more to do with Party politics than anything else, but is presented in the guise of tackling one of China’s endemic problems.

As for Hong Kong, the writing on the wall suggests that China’s plan for the Territory was to regard any handover agreement as yet another unequal treaty which it could, after a sufficient amount of time, ignore. It’s already been doing the migrant thing by allowing Mainlanders to visit Hong Kong in vast numbers, and has never been keen on letting Hongkongers have some­thing approximating to proper democracy, which would merely make the claim that China and democracy don’t mix a bigger lie than it already is.

I don’t know what the future for Hong Kong is going to be like. I suspect the cancerous growth of interference from Beijing will continue, but if Hong Kong manages to maintain a reasonable degree of autonomy to 2047, what will happen after that?]