The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, April 04, 2016, Page Page 2, Image 2

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April 4, 2016
China says no more foreign street names like “Manhattan”
BEIJING (AP) — China says it will clamp down on foreign-sounding and
“bizarre” names after too many streets and developments called “Manhattan” or
“Venice” have popped up amid decades of frenzied building. Civil-affairs
minister Li Liguo said in a televised speech that the government will change
over-the-top or imported names and encourage real-estate developers and city
planners to seek inspiration instead from China’s rich cultural heritage. “Some
cities have multiple ‘Manhattan’ or ‘Venice’ roads,” Li said. “It’s not only an
inconvenience to travellers, but also erodes a sense of home.” It’s common in
Chinese cities to encounter words like “elite” or “chateau” in the names of
shopping malls or housing compounds. In Beijing, there’s a “Central Park”
condominium compound while another upscale project goes by “Yuppie
International Condos.”
Japan regulators OK costly ice wall at Fukushima plant
TOKYO — Japanese regulators have approved the use of a giant refrigeration
system to create an unprecedented underground frozen barrier around
buildings at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in an attempt to contain
leaking radioactive water. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said the structure,
which was completed in February, can now be activated. The plant’s operator,
Tokyo Electric Power Co., said its plan to turn on the ice wall starts with the
portion near the sea to prevent more contaminated water from escaping into the
Pacific Ocean. The system is being started up in phases to allow close monitoring
and adjustment. Nearly 800,000 tons of radioactive water that is already stored
in 1,000 industrial tanks at the plant hamper the decontamination and
decommissioning of the nuclear facility, which was damaged by a massive
earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The success of the ice wall is believed to be key
to resolving the plant’s water woes.
South Korea registers first case of Zika virus
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported the country’s first
case of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that has been linked to birth
defects and other health issues. A 43-year-old man who recently returned from
Brazil was diagnosed with the virus after suffering fever, muscle pain, and rash,
according to a statement from the state-run Centers for Disease Control &
Prevention. The tropical disease, which has become epidemic in Latin America
and the Caribbean, usually causes a mild illness. But the World Health Organi-
zation in February declared the explosive spread of Zika in the Americas to be a
global emergency, due to its link to the spike in the number of babies born with
abnormally small heads and the rise in a rare neurological syndrome that can
cause paralysis and death. The virus has so far triggered outbreaks in more than
40 countries.
Fire at prison kills five inmates in western Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A fire started by rioting prisoners at a
penitentiary in western Indonesia has killed five inmates, police said. The fire at
Malabero prison in Bengkulu on Sumatra Island began after officers of the
anti-narcotics agency entered the facility and took away a drug kingpin, said
regional police chief Brig. Gen. M. Ghufron. He said the inmates were believed to
be acting in solidarity with the kingpin, who was allegedly controlling the
business from inside the prison. Five inmates were killed in the fire, one was
treated, and 252 others were moved to Bentiring, another prison in the same
town. Indonesia, which has extremely strict drug laws and often executes
smugglers, has been intensifying raids as the number of users jumped from 4.2
million to nearly 6 million last year. More than 130 people are on death row,
mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.
Bird stops roller coaster, leaves riders hanging upside down
BEIJING (AP) — Roller-coaster riders at one of Beijing’s major amusement
parks were left hanging upside down for almost 20 minutes when a bird stood on
one of the ride’s safety sensors. The Happy Valley Amusement Park in the
Chinese capital said it took 18 minutes to bring the 26 riders to safety during the
incident. The roller coaster was back in operation later in the day. The park said
in a statement that a bird landed on the sensor and in doing so activated an
emergency procedure, immediately stopping the roller coaster as it travelled
upward. Ironically, the Happy Valley park describes the ride on its website as
“the feeling of flying like a bird.”
Japanese fleet returns with quota of 333 whales
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s whaling fleet returned with 333 whales it caught in
its first Antarctic harvest since an international court ruling stopped its hunt
two years ago. The Fisheries Agency said that Japanese whalers in the four-ship
fleet killed 333 minke whales, filling its catch quota, during the four-month
expedition in the Antarctic. The International Court of Justice in 2014 ruled
that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific as Tokyo had claimed
and must stop. Japan last year conducted only non-lethal research into whaling,
but it says killing whales is essential to obtain data on their maturing ages.
Scientific research is exempt from a 1986 international ban on commercial
whaling. Opponents of Japan’s Antarctic hunt say it’s a cover for commercial
whaling, since the surplus is sold. The catch quota under the new research
program is about one-third of what Japan used to kill. Its actual catch has fallen
in recent years in part because of declining domestic demand for whale meat.
The government has spent large amounts of tax money to sustain the whaling
DYSTOPIAN FUTURE. In this undated scene from the Hong Kong movie Ten Years, a schoolgirl who is a member
of a Red Guard-like neighborhood patrol group prepares to throw an egg at a shop. Made on a shoestring budget, Ten
Years became a surprise hit with Hong Kong audiences for its dystopian view of the former British colony’s future under
Beijing’s rule. (Andy Wong/Ten Years via AP)
Film’s dark vision of future
Hong Kong unsettles Beijing
By Kelvin Chan
The Associated Press
ONG KONG — It’s the Hong Kong
movie Beijing doesn’t want you to
Made on a shoestring budget, Ten Years
became a surprise hit with local audiences for
its dystopian view of the former British
colony’s future under Beijing’s rule.
The filmmakers imagine a Hong Kong in
which protesters set themselves on fire, politi-
cal assassinations are used to scare the popu-
lation into supporting repressive laws, and
children are enlisted as neighborhood political
watchdogs reminiscent of Mao’s Red Guards.
The film, an anthology of five short stories,
each by a different director, has provoked
widespread discussion and raised the ire of
Beijing, with China’s Communist Party
newspaper Global Times denouncing the film
as “absurd.”
It was a hit at the box office, earning more
than 6 million Hong Kong dollars ($770,000),
or more than 10 times its budget. But it
abruptly disappeared from cinemas in
January after an eight-week run, leading
many to wonder whether pressure from
Beijing was responsible.
Now the only way to see it is at private
screenings at universities and community cen-
ters, where it’s often followed by a panel dis-
cussion with the filmmakers. It screened at
about 30 Hong Kong venues on April 1.
Ten Years depicts Hong Kong a decade from
now, more than halfway through a promised
50-year period in which civil liberties such as
freedom of speech will remain intact as the city
transitions from British to Chinese rule.
Executive producer Andrew Choi said the
project began two years ago, before
pro-democracy street protests over Beijing’s
plans to restrict elections gripped the city for
more than two months.
“We wanted to do a movie about Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong became very
political in every way. So our topic has to
involve the current situation in Hong Kong,”
Choi said after one recent screening of Ten
Years organized by local pro-democracy politi-
cians. “I think the movie kind of hit some of the
feelings for most of the Hong Kong people.”
The film comes at a time of increasing
anxiety about Beijing’s influence. Such fears
were highlighted by the disappearances of five
men linked to a publisher specializing in juicy
but hastily written titles about Chinese elite
politics and by a violent clash in February
between protesters and police who had
cracked down on vendors selling fishballs, a
holiday delicacy.
In Dialect, a taxi driver struggles with a
Mandarin proficiency requirement, reflecting
nervousness among Cantonese-speaking
residents about the influx of mainlanders.
Another segment has a woman who sets
herself on fire in support of independence for
Hong Kong — a cause that might have been
unimaginable a few years ago but now is
advocated by a number of radical groups. The
movie’s final story, Local Egg, revolves around
Chinese censorship in the form of schoolkids
Continued on page 4
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