Monthly Archives: March 2013

Chinese Lawyer Sues Chinese Parliament

The full details of this fascinating story is contained in Chew Man’s latest book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — the Rise of Rogue Pluralism in China.” On sale now on Amazon.

On March 18, 2013, Mr. Zhang Dejiang, the 3rd-ranked member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, was appointed as the Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee while five other preordained career bureaucrats, Messrs. Wang Shengjun, Zhang Ping, Chen Zhu, Wan Exiang and Wang Chen were appointed as Vice Chairmen of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, after perfunctory votes.

Four days later, Mr. Wang Cheng, an attorney in Hangzhou, filed a lawsuit with the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China, alleging afore-mentioned appointments unconstitutional. The ground for his allegation? It turns out that Chinese Constitution has a stipulation explicitly prohibits any incumbent member of the government’s executive or judiciary branches from taking a seat in the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, namely, the legislative branch.

Mr. Wang Cheng’s was a first-ever lawsuit against China’s parliament and it appears that he did his homework: The Chinese Constitution does have such a stipulation and the six individuals whose appointments were in question were indeed incumbent top-ranking members of the central government’s executive and judiciary branches. The following is a list of their then-incumbent positions:

Zhang Dejiang: Vice-Premier in charge of energy, telecommunications, and transportation.
Wang Shengjun: President of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China
Zhang Ping: Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, a prominent department within the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
Chen Zhu: Minister of Health of the People’s Republic of China.
Wan Exiang: Vice President of the Supreme People’s Court of China.
Wang Chen: Director of the Information Office of the State Council.

It deserves a clarification that these gentlemen did resign from their then-incumbent executive or judiciary branch positions; however, the resignations all happened after their appointments into the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. This clear violation of the Constitution was more of a careless error than deliberate abuse. But it goes to show how little attention the National People’s Congress has or is paying to the country’s Constitution. After all, nobody has ever taken it seriously. That is, nobody until Mr. Wang Cheng.

Chinese Lawyer Sues Chinese Parliament -- Breaking News by M. Eigh

According to the well-established procedures of China’s Supreme Court, it has to deliver a decision on whether to hear a case or not within seven days of its filing. Mr. Wang Cheng mailed his filing to the Court on March 18 by Express Mail Service and got the delivery confirmation on March 19. Seven days quickly went by after that and Mr. Wang has not heard a thing from the Court. In the meantime, Mr. Wang’s two major weibo (microblog) accounts got mysteriously deleted. Other than a few Chinese social networks, Mr. Wang also got largely snubbed by mainstream Chinese media. As of this writing, Mr. Wang’s suit is still a developing story.

Say It Aloud: Revolution Is a Dinner Party

The full text of this article is contained in M. Eigh’s latest book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China

M. Eigh’s long-awaited book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.”

Table of Contents

Farces vs. Gravitas
Vulgarianism vs. Censorship
Pidginization vs. Purism
Cyber Slang vs. People’s Daily    
Lei Ren vs. Lei Feng
Disparity vs. Equalizer
The Great Firewall of China vs.  27 Million Wall-climbers
First Time Ever vs. Just another One of Those
Bullshit Talks while Money Walks
Epilogue, or a List of Spoilers for the Dinner Party

Readers have these to say about it:

Tina Walton —

Witty and irreverent, as well as scholarly and insightful, Chew Man’s new book Revolution is a Dinner Party offers readers a rare insider’s view of China’s shifting political and cultural climate.

The title alludes to the famous quote by Mao Zedong, who once said, “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

I would suggest that Chew Man might respectfully disagree with the late Chairman Mao’s point of view. According to the author, in spite of the government’s best efforts, progressive thought is seeping, if not sweeping, into China’s collective consciousness. However, the author acknowledges that along with the positive there are also “ugly and ridiculous elements” in the mix, and coins the term “rogue pluralism” to describe the phenomenon.

For many Westerners, China remains an enigmatic land, so some American readers may be surprised to see clear parallels between the less desirable elements of this “rouge pluralism” in both cultures. If you’ve ever secretly wished you had the power to rid American television of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and its ilk, you’ll enjoy reading Chew’s account of the Chinese government’s attempt to suppress the career of comedian Guo Degang. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

There’s also much to be learned from Chew’s stories of “ordinary” Chinese citizens. I’m  embarrassed to reveal that I was surprised to learn of the relaxed and tolerant attitude that the Chinese have regarding homosexuality; and both impressed and amused by the story of Luo Baogen, a man who refused to sell his home below market value in order to make way for a new highway. Revolution is a Dinner Party is must read for anyone seeking insight into the 21st Century Chinese psyche.

If you’re thinking, however, that you’re settling in for a slow, if well-reasoned read, nothing could be
further from the truth. Revolution is a Dinner Party is briskly paced and frequently hilarious. Personally, I can’t wait to start working expressions such as “My Dad is Li Gang” and “Watch Uncle” into my daily conversations. I won’t reveal the meanings here, but read the book, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

Revolution is a Dinner Party is not only a pleasure to read, it’s great to look at. The cover design is
colorful and clever, and the author highlights the text with historical photos and original artwork
throughout. The book is a quick read, but don’t let the page count fool you. Chew Man conveys in 60 pages what a lesser author would fluff into 500. There’s no word wasted here. Revolution is a Dinner Party is a fast, fun, and fascinating read that’s not to be missed.

Lynda Belcher —

One of the most challenging aspects of books about Chinese culture is an inability to capture the mainstream consciousness of this private and closed international demographic. The first thing that instantly stands out about this book is the fact that it seems to tap into this consciousness, giving the reader a good grasp on the inner workings of those individuals living and working in a country that remains on the cusp of major change.

Perhaps one of the more interesting elements of the book is the fact that the author effectively intersperses entertaining anecdotes amidst hard facts, a mix that makes the information just that much easier to digest. The formatting in the ebook version of this work leaves a bit to be desired, as there are sometimes hard breaks and ill-placed design elements that interrupt the fluidity of the read. However, overall, this is a great find for someone interested in learning more about the inner workings of the Chinese culture and how its history as well as its present will set a new and different kind of revolutionary course for the future.

Fabiola Gutierrez (“College Student in Amsterdam”) —

Revolution is a Dinner Party is the first book I’ve read completely in kindle, and while I’m usually not a fan of reading in a computer screen I found myself engaged throughout the entire book. In fact, I was able to finish reading the book in an entire sitting.

As China increases in stature and importance in global affairs, many people, like me, can find themselves at a loss with how to grapple with the stories they hear of China and Chinese politics. This book deals with some of the current sociopolitical realities in current Chinese society. The book is filled with anecdotes that help illustrate the theoretical topics that subdivide the book. In general, the anecdotes were educational yet entertaining. I was completely ignorant of Chinese slang and forms of popular culture prior to reading the book, yet I never felt like I was reading a boring academic article. The pictures that accompanied each subsection were interesting in their own right.

The book not only deals with modern Chinese society, but also delves into Chinese history especially in regards to Mao. As I wasn’t too confident with my Chinese history, that was an especially helpful move by the author and not once did I feel lost.

Overall, I thought this was a worth-while read. There are probably books that cover broader topics in Chinese society, and there might be books that go more in-depth, but the entertainment value of this book definitely makes it worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in current Chinese politics, society, and culture. There were a few grammer mistakes, and a final epilogue that really tied all the topics back to the concept of “rogue populism” would have been helpful, but it regardless an entertaining book. I am glad I read this book, because I was really tired of being ignorant on Chinese issues, and this was a great starting point to further my knowledge on current day China.

The full text of this article is contained in M. Eigh’s latest book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.”


The Great Firewall of China

The full text of this article is contained in M. Eigh’s latest book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.” On sale now on Amazon.

The late Supreme Leader of China, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, is remembered for his candid and colorful speech. In an apparent allusion to freedom and democracy, Deng said, “Open the windows, breathe the fresh air and at the same time fight the flies and insects.”
His words proved to be seminal. Unlike North Korea, which still bans the Internet, China embraced it in 1994. The Internet in China in those early days was no more than a skeletal fishnet featuring dial-up connections. Still, the Chinese government got extremely uneasy with the “flies and insects” that wandered into China through this opened window. By 1998, when state-owned ISP’s started selling broadband connections, it took firm action to build a screen to filter the traffic through this window.
Enter the Golden Shield, an $800 million project, commonly known as the Great Firewall or GFW, to be operated by the Ministry of Public Security. Since its inception in 1998, the Great Firewall went from using brute IP blocking to implementing cutting edge technologies such as DNS filtering and redirection, URL filtering, packet filtering, man-in-the-middle attack and connection reset, network enumeration, speech and face recognition. Today, it is speculated that some 60,000 people work for the Great Firewall of China.
The GFW’s tight grip on Chinese surfers is devastating. First of all, the stalwarts of the Internet, namely, Google, Facebook, Tweeter and YouTube, are blatantly blocked. And the Chinese government’s blacklist is whimsical and largely retaliatory. After the New York Times ran a lengthy report on October 25, 2012 revealing the $2.7 billion of hidden wealth held by the family of then-Premier Mr. Wen Jiabao, has been blocked in China.
Secondly, the GFW is effective mainly thanks to its terrifying Panopticon effect. With the largest number of imprisoned journalists and cyberdissidents in the world, China puts the burden of enforcing its ubiquitous Internet censorship on all stakeholders of the Web, from search engines, online markets, and social media communities to individual surfers.
Just how bad is China’s online censorship? The author ran a quick test with China’s largest and most popular search engine by searching for the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Laureate, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mr. Liu Xiaobo. The term used in the search was “刘晓波 08宪章” (“Liu Xiaobo, ’08 Charter”), Liu’s political manifesto, and Baidu returned only one result.


The sole link delivered by Baidu against my search opens to a statement of criticism and disapproval from a spokesperson regarding Liu’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Not surprisingly, the author ran the same search in Google and got about 163,000 returns.


Like the brick and mortar Great Wall of China, the Great Firewall of China may prove to be yet ineffective in the long run. Zigzagging from Shanhaiguan on the Bohai Gulf in the east to Jiayuguan on the edge of Tarim Basin in the west, through the tough northern terrains, China’s iconic Great Wall boasts a massive length of more than 6,000 kilometers. An ancient civil engineering feat notwithstanding, the Great Wall did little to defend China against nomadic Mongols in the 13th century and the Manchu’s in the 17th century.



Today, the Great Firewall of China is suffering more or less the same ineffectual fate as its brick and mortar sibling: An estimated 27 million Chinese surfers routinely circumvent the Great Firewall, by performing cyber acrobatics, known in China as “climbing the wall.”
According to statistics released by The Epoch Times, China’s brave army of wall-climbers consists mainly of male college students located in Beijing, China’s eastern seaboard and southern coastal regions. Three quarters of the wall-climbers, most of them between the ages of 19 and 28, are college graduates.
For now, wall-climbing is not for the vast majority of China’s 538,000,000 Internet users,  as all wall-climbing tools present a learning curve and the clear and present danger of getting caught. The tools the Chinese wall-climbers use range from good old Web proxies for the casual, occasional wall-climbers, to corporate VPN, SSH tunneling, and installed applications on computers and devices for the die-hard, everyday ones.
Thanks to these 27 million brave souls, the Great Firewall of China has failed to isolate China. Whatever you post online outside China, if it happens to be apropos of China, rest assured that your voice is heard on the other side of the Great Firewall as well.


The full text of this article is contained in M. Eigh’s latest book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.” On sale now on Amazon.