Why can't the local government shoulder more responsibility?
When three college students in Jingzhou, Hubei died trying to save the lives of some children who had fallen into the Yangtze River, the nation came together in mourning the loss of the young heroes. But later some facts about the circumstances surrounding their deaths began to surface. Some local fishermen had stood nearby, refusing bystanders' pleas to try to save the students. They even refused to help retrieve the bodies when their hefty price for the job wasn't met. The local Jingzhou government has begun looking into the matter after the public began demanding that the men be punished.
Tian Guolei, writing in China Youth Daily, says that punishing the fishermen wouldn't completely calm the public down or stop incidents like this from happening again. What the public really wants, Tian says, is for local governments to begin taking responsibility for helping drowning victims as a public service. In some ways, it is the government's failure to act that has resulted in a new market, with fishermen morbidly demanding a hefty price to retrieving victims' bodies, according to Tian.
The Southern Metropolis Daily carried an editorial on the Jingzhou government's blaming the fishermen. That seemed to have put an end to the controversy surrounding the student deaths, it says, but something is missing. And that is a fuller examination of the government's responsibility in the matter.
This reaches beyond Jingzhou in that it is symptomatic of a general problem with public administration and policy. It goes on to explain that retrieving victims' bodies from a river should be the government's responsibility, something that could be done either by the police or related departments.
OK, tell us what you did with all that cash
During press interviews over the whereabouts of 12 million yuan in “canine regulation fees” collected by Zhengzhou's Canine Regulation Office, an official replied to reporters by asking, “Are you Party members?”
The question stirred up instant controversy on
Zheng Genling, writing on Chinanews.com.cn, relates the case to similar incidents in which officials burst out with ridiculous questions when they were caught doing wrong things. Zheng points out that they obviously have a wrong notion of what Party members should be. They seem to think Party members shouldn't find fault with other Party members, obviously in contradiction to Party policies and teachings.
I'm at my wit's end at work. My boss has given me five new projects to do next week, and I haven't even finished the old on
During the investigation, several key clues surfaced and led police to the home of an elderly woman.
If you want luck, go make your own
“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity,” said the American talk show host Oprah Winfrey. I've never watched her show, but when a self-made billionaire gives life advice it's probably worth listening to.
Her point is that blind luck is very rare. You may have to be lucky to find a good job these days but that does not mean you should sit at home waiting for the opportunity to come to you. If you're Chinese, you will already be familiar with the tale of a farmer waiting by a tree stump for a rabbit to run out and break its neck, so I won't belabor the point.
A book by the UK psychologist Richard Wiseman, called The Luck Factor, argues we can all make ourselves luckier. It's not about going to a temple to burn some incense in hopes that the gods will give you good fortune: it's practical advice you can follow each day.
Wiseman conducted an experiment as part of his studies. First he split volunteers into two groups: those who said they were lucky in life and those who said they were not. He gave everyone a newspaper and asked them to look through it to count how many photographs it had inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs while the lucky people took just seconds. Why? On the second page of the newspaper, a command, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper,” was written in big letters. The unlucky people mostly did not spot the message.
It's easy to compare this situation to a young person looking for jobs in a local paper. They might search so hard for on
I first came to China in 2002 when it was considered a rather strange thing to do. Like many foreigners, my plan was to teach English for on
As Wiseman advises, I usually trust my own judgment. Your friends and parents may give you advice based on rational thinking, but it's imp
Finally, try to turn bad luck into good. Even if you do fall down and break a leg, the time spent at home can be used wisely to study English.
Lighten up on bribery charges?
Zhang Jun, a deputy chief justice at the Supreme People's Court, said in a lecture at Renmin University recently that the minimum amount for a bribe to be considered a crime should be higher than the current 5,000 yuan.
Zhang explained that many cases of bribery involving thousands of yuan are never prosecuted. True, if they do go to court, the person involved could be convicted. So people who commit the same offence may not end up getting the same punishment. That's an injustice, according to Zhang.
The minimum amount has gone from 1,000 yuan, in 1979, to 2,000 yuan, in 1988, and 5,000 yuan, in 1997.
Zhang's comment has attracted a certain amount of media attention and comments. Some worry that if the amount is changed, many corrupt officials will go unpunished. Others have expressed some concern that Zhang's comment may represent a trend among officials.
So how do you feel about this judicial matter? Should officials be allowed to raise the minimum above 5,000 yuan?
Legal standards should reflect the reality of the times.
1. As Justice Zhang said, Chinese courts may sentence many bribe-takers every year, but the penalty may not reflect the seriousness of the crime. Raising the minimum could help standardize sentences.
2. The fact is that very few courts these days actually take bribery cases involving 5,000 yuan or even much more. It would give the court too heavy a workload and slow the pace of justice. Standards should change with the times.
3. As incomes and standards of living improve, even ordinary people may get gifts that are worth more than 5,000 yuan. It's hard for courts to convict people of bribery if the amounts involved do not reflect this change.
We shouldn't be more lenient on corrupt officials just because economic conditions are improving.
1. Raising the minimum above 5,000 yuan would send a message to criminals and corrupt officials that the authorities are going to be more tolerant. That is a very damaging move for society and the government's campaign against graft.
2. In fact, many government officials do take bribes of 5,000 yuan or less. If we de-criminalize such beha
3. Even if there is a need to discuss changing the standards, it should be done seriously through appropriate channels like the National People's Congress, and voted on by legislators.
I took her to fancy dinners and bought her gifts and she still doesn't seem very interested in me. So, what's my next move?
I won't go to that polluted, disease-ridden city no matter how many historic sites you say they have.
I don't understand a word of what that character just said
“Subtitles: ‘Mistakes are inevitable'”
The Chinese subtitles for US and UK TV dramas are usually good, but it's often not the same case when it comes to foreign movie DVDs distributed through legal channels.
I've been watching an Ingrid Bergman film collection these days and most of them really let me down. I don't mean that the films themselves are awful – I'm talking about the sickening, mistake-ridden Chinese subtitles, which usually appear quite strange and hard to understand, at least for me. So, I switched to English subtitles, which are much better.
I would like to see films in English with Chinese subtitles. I could listen to authentic English and the Chinese subtitles could help me with difficult parts in the language. For easy parts, surprisingly enough, some translators can be a bit confused. This brings big problems to people who don't understand English at all.
I complained unhappily about the subtitles when watching Joan of Arc with Mom. “Those translators seem to be unprofessional, don't they? Otherwise, look, there wouldn't have been so many stupid mistakes! Thank heavens, I know some English!”
“I just have no idea,” she replied. “I understand very little, you know.”
Mistakes may be inevitable, no matter what, but what we could do is make as few mistakes as possible. Subtitle translators should be chosen carefully, if you ask me.
What makes a good translator? It's quite simple: He or she has to be the most qualified, someone who has the most living or working experience both in China and abroad and who has mastered both languages. Also, they should be able to translate expressions with the real meaning and have a good knowledge of idioms.
If anyone is allowed to translate subtitles, then even the most awesome, top-rated movie would be a disappointment to movie fans. There's no doubt about that. I think there's quite a lesson to be learned from student translators of TV dramas.