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Archive for February, 2008

Tibetan Antelope Qinghai-Tibet railroad award winning photo is a fake!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Via ifeng

"This is a photograph that everybody is familiar with.  When I first saw it, my eyes lit up: the Tibetan antelopes and the train on the Qinghai-Tibet railroad appeared simultaneously in the eye of the camera.  This was such a precise and decisive moment!  Thus, this photograph was selected as one of the top 10 most memorable photographs of 2006 and its author received innumerable honors … but on the day before yesterday, I suddenly discovered that there was a very obvious line at the bottom of the photograph." On February 12, an essay titled <Liu Weiqiang’s award winning photograph of the Tibetan antelopes is suspected of being fake> was posted to the world’s largest Chinese-language photography forum <Unlimited sights and colors>.  This post quickly drew more than 10,000 page views.  As of 7pm last evening, there were 120,478 page views and 1,524 comments.  Some netizens even compared Liu with "Tiger Zhou."  Could it be that this photograph was the result of PhotoShop manipulation?

The netizen nicknamed Dajiala was the person who made the post.  He questioned the bronze-award winning photograph titled <Wildlife opening the passage of life at the Qinghai-Tibet railway> from the 2006 CCTV news photos of the year.

According to Dajiala, he had liked that photograph before.  On February 10, he passing by the Beijing Number 5 subway’s photograph exhibition and saw this familiar photograph once more.  But this time, he found a suspicious point.  "I suddenly saw a peculiar detail.  At the bottom of the photograph, there was a very obvious line.  I examined it very carefully and it was obviously the stitching of two different parts … if the train and the antelopes came from two different photographs, then this decisive moment was just a simple PhotoShop trick?" Afterwards, Dajiala took out his camera and recorded the details of the photograph.  When he got home, he made a careful comparison with the photograph that he had saved on his computer.  He concluded that the photograph was faked.

Dajiala’s post caused a huge storm and drew many other netizens into an investigation of the veracity of the photograph.  They studied the EXIF information (which are present on digital photographs) and they pored over every detail of the photograph.  They came up with more problems.  "The EXIF information indicated that the time when the photograph was taken was faked!" "The rock in two different photographs taken at different times at the same place was identical!"  "The antelopes were definitely on the move and they cannot but be disrupted by the passing train!"  The netizens used their amateur photography knowledge to cast doubts on this award-winning photograph.  "From how the shutter speed could freeze the Tibetan antelopes, it is reasonable to assume 1/1000 seconds for 20D.  But the date of the photograph was in September, and this is inconsistent with the habits of the Tibetan antelopes." As the doubts rose, netizens said that "Tiger Zhou" has not departed the scene but "Antelope Liu" has arrived.

The reporter took this photograph and consulted a veteran photographer working in journalism in Chengdu.  "A news photograph must emphasize the factual nature of the subject.  If the decisive movement was in fact faked, then the facts do not exist.  It is illogical for this photograph to be entered into a news photography contest." As soon as this photographer took a look at this photograph, he shook his head and said: "According to the habit of the Tibetan antelopes, they will be scared by a passing train and they will scatter everywhere.  They could not maintain a straight-line file so calmly." Then he produced a photograph of a train passing by some Tibetan antelopes, which scattered in fear."  So anyone familiar with Tibetan antelopes would see that this photograph was illogical.  But if ordinary netizens can spot this problem, why did the many judges for CCTV fail to spot it?  Instead, they awarded a bronze award for photojournalism.  This photographer thinks that CCTV should bear the primary responsibility for the mistake.

This photograph is very well-known and has been published in more than 200 media outlets around the world.  The award-winning photographer is Liu Weiqiang, who is presently the assistant director of the photography department at Daqing Evening News.  He is a senior member of the Chinese Photographers Association and a special contracted Xinhua photographer.  Yesterday afternoon, this reporter made contact with Liu by mobile telephone.  At the time, Liu was out of town on assignment.

"The antelopes in the photograph are real.  The overpass bridge is also real.  But it was not easy to capture such a moment."  Liu Weiqiang admitted openly: The photograph was created by PhotoShop.  Liu said that the photograph was taken in 2006 and served as the poster/postcard for the Kekexili nature preservation area.  Later, the Kekexili nature preservation area let the China Environmental News publish it.  This photograph was then discovered by CCTV which selected it as one of the most memorable news photographs of the year 2006.  "I had never published this photograph as a news photograph.  After receiving this award, I did not use it to enter the Holland world competition or the China news photography competition, because this was an artistic photograph that had been modified."  As to why a PhotoShop-ed photograph could win a news photography award, Liu Weiqiang said, "Maybe it is because the award judges were not familiar with the habits of the Tibetan antelopes."

"Actually, I hoped that this incident would blow up because more people will pay attention to the Tibetan antelopes!" said Liu Weiqiang.  As for netizens calling for his award to be rescinded, Liu said that he only has a piece of paper and a cup to show and therefore this does not mean much to him.  "Presently, the focus of my attention is on the Tibetan antelopes!"

Edison Chen asks for another chance and lawyers threaten to sue for breach of copyright

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Beleaguered actor-singer Edison Chen Koon-hei returned to Hong Kong yesterday and apologised unreservedly for his involvement in the nude pictures controversy, saying he would quit the local entertainment scene indefinitely.

He admitted for the first time he had taken pictures of female celebrities engaging in sex acts with him. His lawyers issued a statement warning that further publication of the images would be a breach of copyright, a move that could foreshadow legal  action.

It is interesting to see how legal action against proprietary images is being used, since they were "stolen" and published without consent, does this mean we will be seeing multi million dollar lawsuits headed towards media outlets that published these photos?

"I would like to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong. I give my apologies sincerely to you all unreservedly and with my heart," the Canadian-born Chen, 27, told a packed press conference at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay. "I hope you all will accept my apology. Give me a chance."

He added: "I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the internet were taken by me. But these photos were very private, and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone. These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent."

Chen said he would leave the local entertainment industry after fulfilling current commitments. His  lawyers released a statement saying Chen was the owner of the photographs and images "featuring himself and his lady friends in intimate circumstances", in an attempt to stop the pictures being circulated on the internet or published in the press.

The statement said that downloading the photographs was an act of copyright infringement and the  reproduction and dissemination of the photographs to the public was an "even more serious act of copyright infringement".

The photographs, featuring Chen and seven female celebrities including Gillian Chung Yan-tung of girl duo Twins, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and his current girlfriend Vincy Yeung Wing-ching, niece of Emperor Group tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-shing, have been circulated globally since the scandal broke nearly four weeks ago.

During his seven-minute speech, Chen repeatedly apologised to the  female stars who had been  embroiled in the scandal.

"I would like to apologise to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been  feeling. I’m sorry," he said calmly. He added: "I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society. And in this regard, I failed as a role model. I will wholeheartedly fulfil all the commitments that I have to date but after that I have decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry."

Albert Yeung said last night Chen had spoken well and was "very sincere". "I think we should give him a chance." On Chen’s decision to quit local showbusiness he said: "It’s a pity, but this is his personal decision."

Gary Chan Chi-kwong, director of East Asia Music, said the company supported Chen’s decision.

Defending his decision to disappear after the scandal broke, Chen said: "I have never escaped from my responsibility … I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published, and I will continue to assist them."

Chen said he would dedicate his time to charity in the next few months and hoped his predicament would be a lesson for the wider  community.

After the press conference, police went to Chen’s home in Magazine Gap Road to continue their investigation and search for evidence.

"We have collected evidence including some computer-related items and a computer," said Chief Inspector Kenny Wong Tak-cheung from the Commercial Crime Bureau.

Hello Kitty Zippo???

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Now, although there are many adult Hello Kitty fans out there, the majority are still children so is selling a Hello Kitty Swarovski Zippo a wise move? Well, someone seems to think so as this pink lighter is set to hit stores soon.

The Zippo has an etched Hello Kitty on both sides and has Swarovski crystals adorning the case in a pretty bow shape. It is covered with an acrylic case so that you won’t lose the crystals if they decided to come off.

I’m not sure I like the idea of Hello Kitty promoting smoking, afterall that is what a Zippo is used for mostly.

Edison returns and apologizes deeply

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Beleaguered actor-singer Edison Chen Koon-hei returned to Hong Kong yesterday and apologised unreservedly for his involvement in the nude pictures controversy, saying he would quit the local entertainment scene indefinitely.

He admitted for the first time he had taken pictures of female celebrities engaging in sex acts with him. His lawyers issued a statement warning that further publication of the images would be a breach of copyright, a move that could foreshadow legal  action.

"I would like to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong. I give my apologies sincerely to you all unreservedly and with my heart," the Canadian-born Chen, 27, told a packed press conference at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay. "I hope you all will accept my apology. Give me a chance."

He added: "I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the internet were taken by me. But these photos were very private, and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone. These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent."

Chen said he would leave the local entertainment industry after fulfilling current commitments. His  lawyers released a statement saying Chen was the owner of the photographs and images "featuring himself and his lady friends in intimate circumstances", in an attempt to stop the pictures being circulated on the internet or published in the press.

The statement said that downloading the photographs was an act of copyright infringement and the  reproduction and dissemination of the photographs to the public was an "even more serious act of copyright infringement".

The photographs, featuring Chen and seven female celebrities including Gillian Chung Yan-tung of girl duo Twins, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and his current girlfriend Vincy Yeung Wing-ching, niece of Emperor Group tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-shing, have been circulated globally since the scandal broke nearly four weeks ago.

During his seven-minute speech, Chen repeatedly apologised to the  female stars who had been  embroiled in the scandal.

"I would like to apologise to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been  feeling. I’m sorry," he said calmly. He added: "I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society. And in this regard, I failed as a role model. I will wholeheartedly fulfil all the commitments that I have to date but after that I have decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry."

Albert Yeung said last night Chen had spoken well and was "very sincere". "I think we should give him a chance." On Chen’s decision to quit local showbusiness he said: "It’s a pity, but this is his personal decision."

Gary Chan Chi-kwong, director of East Asia Music, said the company supported Chen’s decision.

Defending his decision to disappear after the scandal broke, Chen said: "I have never escaped from my responsibility … I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published, and I will continue to assist them."

Chen said he would dedicate his time to charity in the next few months and hoped his predicament would be a lesson for the wider  community.

After the press conference, police went to Chen’s home in Magazine Gap Road to continue their investigation and search for evidence.

"We have collected evidence including some computer-related items and a computer," said Chief Inspector Kenny Wong Tak-cheung from the Commercial Crime Bureau.

Women are from Venus and Men from Mars

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

WOMAN’S LOVE POEM

Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man, who’s not a creep,

One who’s handsome, smart and strong,
One who loves to listen long.
One who thinks before he speaks,
One who’ll call, not wait for weeks.
I pray he’s gainfully employed,
When I spend his cash, won’t be annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
Massages my back and begs to do more.
Oh! Send me a man who’ll make love to my mind,
Knows what to answer to ‘how big is my behind?’
I pray that this man will love me to no end,
And always be my very best friend.

MAN’S LOVE POEM

I pray for a deaf-mute nymphomaniac with
Huge boobs who owns a bar on a golf course,
And loves to send me fishing and hunting. This
Doesn’t rhyme and I don’t give a shit

Hello Kitty Online Game in Beta

Monday, February 18th, 2008

More information at the Hello Kitty Online webpage. It’s very cute, love the music!

Edison Chen not coming to Hong Kong afterall

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Apple Daily and The Sun continued to have Edison Chen on the front page.  Apple Daily said that Edison Chen has backed off on his plan to return to Hong Kong, while The Sun went further by saying that he threatened to slash his wrists in order to force his girlfriend Vincy Yeung into marrying him. I suppose if I was Edison I might not want to come back either but now he might be branded a coward together with everything else people are calling him these days.

In the meantime

The first man arrested over the celebrity sex-photos scandal was freed yesterday when the charge against him was abruptly withdrawn after he had spent two weeks behind bars. Amid a storm of criticism over police handling of the case, Chung Yik-tin, 29, walked out of Tuen Mun Court disguised in a surgical mask and hat after the Department of Justice withdrew a charge against him of publishing an obscene article. On Thursday the Obscene Articles Tribunal, in response to an application by a newspaper, ruled that photographs circulating on the internet of a woman, allegedly Canto-pop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung, naked and spread-legged on a bed with singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei, were indecent but not obscene. Its ruling is an interim one. “After a thorough review we found the possibility is low that the tribunal will make a [final] classification of the photo as obscene. For justice to be seen to be done, we’ve decided to withdraw the charge,” senior government counsel Hayson Tse Ka-sze told the court.

Steven Spielberg quites China Olympics as artistic advisor

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg withdrew on Tuesday as an artistic adviser to the this year Summer Olympics in Beijing over China’s policy on the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual,” Mr Spielberg said in a statement issued on a day when Nobel Peace laureates sent a letter to China’s president urging a change in policies toward its ally Sudan.

Steven Spielberg withdraws as advisor to the Olympics in China

“At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur,” he added.

China is a leading oil customer and supplier of weapons to Sudan and is accused by critics of providing diplomatic cover for Khartoum as it stonewalls international efforts to send peacekeepers into Darfur.

In April, Mr Spielberg wrote a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao adding his voice to the chorus of people who have protested China’s involvement with the Sudanese government over the crisis in Darfur. At that time, Mr Spielberg had asked to meet with Hu, but the president failed to respond.

In his statement on Tuesday, Mr Spielberg said Sudan’s government shouldered the bulk of responsibility for “these ongoing crimes” in Darfur but said China “should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there.”

Earlier on Tuesday, nine Nobel Peace Prize laureates – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel and Jody Williams – sent a letter to Mr Hu urging China to uphold Olympic ideals by pressing Sudan to stop atrocities in Darfur.

“As the primary economic, military and political partner of the Government of Sudan, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has both the opportunity and the responsibility to contribute to a just peace in Darfur,” said the letter.

“Ongoing failure to rise to this responsibility amounts, in our view, to support for a government that continues to carry out atrocities against its own people,” said the letter, released on a day of events by the Save Darfur Coalition.

The letter was also signed by US politicians, Olympic medalists and entertainers and delivered to Chinese embassies and missions as part of events in the United States and Europe staged to mark six months before the August 8-24 Olympics.

In more than four years of conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes, according to estimates from international experts. Khartoum says 9,000 people have died.

Sudan’s government, in its largest offensive in months, attacked three towns in Darfur on Friday, forcing about 200,000 people from their homes and leading thousands to flee into neighbouring eastern Chad.

US actress Mia Farrow, who has led the coalition’s global campaign to press China to change its policies, gathered a crowd outside the Chinese mission to the United Nations in New York as she tried to deliver the letter.

“China hopes that these games will be its post-Tiananmen Square coming out party. But how can Beijing host the Olympic Games at home and underwrite genocide in Darfur?” she said, stuffing the letter under the mission door after her knocks went unanswered.

The letter to President Hu acknowledged Chinese support for a UN Security Council resolution calling for deployment of a UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

“However, we note with dismay that the Chinese government worked to weaken the resolution before it passed,” it said. The letter said China doubled its trade with Sudan last year and continued its military relationship with the African country.

Jody Williams, a US citizen who won the prize in 1997 for her campaign against land mines, said she and fellow female laureates had formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2006 to focus on conflicts and particularly their impact on women.

Mass rape has been a weapon of warfare in Darfur and in Myanmar, the former Burma, another Chinese-backed regime.

“In Darfur and in the case of Burma, China is the eight-jillion-ton elephant in the room and needs to use some of its weight in a positive way,” Ms Williams said by telephone from Virginia.

The Save Darfur Coalition said it staged similar events in Britain, Portugal and Italy on Tuesday and planned more protests in Nigeria, France, Australia and elsewhere.

The campaign has so far not called for a global boycott of the Beijing games, although activists advocate not attending or watching the Beijing Olympics on television.

China’s embassy had no immediate comment. But last month, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper and foreign ministry said China would never submit to pressure from groups trying to use the Olympics to change Chinese policy.

Edison Chen Photo Scandal exposes hypocrisy and concern on free speech

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

A good article on globalvoices today. The most striking comment being that even possession of the photos were illegal by a Police commissioner who clearly did not know better. A major protest was out on the streets to protest the obscene photo case and relevant arrest.

There is now even a facebook group calling for Edison Chen’s arrest.

Depending on the source, anywhere from 250-500 people were marching on the street, a sample from hkdigit.

More than 250 Hong Kong people included members of the League of Social Democrats(Organizers Article23.net said more than 500 people attended) marched from Victoria Park to the Wan Chai Police headquarters to protest against the police’s handling of the obscene photo case involving local pop and film stars including Edison Chen Kwoon-hei(陳冠希), Gillian Chung Yan-tung (鍾欣桐), Bobo Chan Man-woon (陳文媛) and Cecilia Cheung Pak-zhi (張栢芝), implicated Edison’s current girlfriend Vincy Yeung (楊永晴). They accused the police of selective prosecution.

For more information on this there is even a Wikipedia entry.

There are several events of hypocrisy, starting from the lie that the pictures were fabricated, to the innocent and quick arrests of people and the police threatening to jail people simply for possession. I guess being a celebrity gives you some extra benefits in Hong Kong society?

Gillian Chung’s statement to the Press since the scandal

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Gillian Chung makes a public appearance after the Edison Chen scandal, here a brief sample from the article.

Gillian Chung began by saying Happy New Year to those present. She said that this incident has caused great distress and hurt to herself and those around her. She admitted to being very naïve and very stupid before, but she has now grown up. She expressed her gratitude towards the company, her family and her friends for their concern and support. She apologized for the effect of the affair on society at large. In the future, she will continue to work hard and live actively. Finally, she thanked the media for their concern and the fans who never abandoned her.

The Internet forum response has been quite negative. Throughout her statement, there was no description of what the affair was about. The netizens did not take kindly towards her description of being “
very naïve, very stupid.” People pointed to the KY jelly in the background of one of her photographs and asked: “If she had been ‘very naïve, very stupid’ at the time when she was using KY jelly in a hotel room, then what is she doing now that she has grown up?”

Why is the Internet forum public so hostile towards Gillian Chung this time? When photographs of her changing in the dressing room appeared in EasyFinder magazine in August 2006, the public was overwhelmingly on her side. But the tide appeared to have swung the other way around. One reason was that her company Emperor Entertainment Group had claimed initially that the photographs were computer modifications. When more photographs appeared, EEG went silent and refused to comment on the grounds that there was an ongoing police investigation. Even at today’s press conference, EEG stated that the company and all its artistes will decline comment in the future in the interest of not causing more social harm. The Internet forum users consider Gillian Chung and EEG evasive.

The whole video of the interview is here: