Tag Archives: china

Merchant Bankers

Citi Sign

I came across this sign while exploring China Town in San Francisco. Certainly in my dealings with CitiBank I have often thought that they were speaking a different language. This sign explains a lot.

(Yes, I know that this is the retail banking arm of Citi, but I didn’t want to spell out what I think of them on a family website.)

Train to the Roof of the World

I couldn’t let the inaugural train journey betweeen Beijing and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, go by without comment. It represents a huge shift for the Tibetans and, while it could bring some positive changes, it’s more likely to bring large numbers of Chinese and a quickening of the pace of the decline of their unique culture.

Wired has a nice article — “Train to the Roof of the World” — that takes a balanced view of the technology and politics. The BBC’s — “First Beijing train reaches Lhasa” — is much shorter if you’re pushed for time!

Also see the pictures from my 2002 trip to the region.

Civil liberties, national security and irony

This is a big subject and one where I’m increasingly of the opinion that we’re going too far in the wrong direction. ID Cards and imprisonment without trial are bad enough but things seem to be going even worse on the other side of the Atlantic (or the UK Government is better at hiding their nefarious plans).

Last weekend I came across an article in the Washington Post that says that the Bush administration is trying to pass a law which would restrict the rights of the press. It would, for example, make it possible to prosecute reporters who found that the President did something illegal or to publish information about a wiretap.

Fortunately press freedom hasn’t been completely decimated yet. The University of Chicago recently held a panel discussion on Civil liberties vs. national security. This write-up on Artstechnica is scary in places — why are such senior legal experts willing to toe the party line based on such flawed logic?

Meanwhile, apparently missing out on the irony, Congress is investigating some big Internet companies activities in China to see whether they’re doing naughty things like helping suppress free speech and imprison dissidents.