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Apr 14

Massive Earthquake Hits Qinghai Province

Written by Steve on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, natural disaster, News | Tags:, ,
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The latest news clip on the disaster.

Some older clips following the jump.


There are currently 8 comments highlighted: 67508, 67509, 67520, 67544, 67600, 67611, 67634, 67722.

104 Responses to “Massive Earthquake Hits Qinghai Province”

  1. may Says:

    Looks like the video is about the earthquake happened last year in Chuxiong Yunnan not Yushu Qinghai…

  2. Steve Says:

    Thanks May. I originally used a short video from RT but went to a longer one without paying enough attention. So far, the current one is the best I can find on the net.

  3. my mother Says:

    Hey Steve,

    Do you have any info on where we could send stuff / donations and what not for those of us who wish to help out?

  4. Steve Says:

    @ my mother: To be honest, I just wanted to get something online so everyone was aware of the quake but I’ve been busy at work the rest of the day. If anyone can answer ‘my mother’s question, please post it for us. Thanks!

  5. Nimrod Says:

    The place where this happened (Gyegu) used to be called Jyekundo, a famous trading post for tea. Despite that, it appears to be a remote place and these days it is mostly ethnic Tibetan.

  6. June Says:

    Unfortunately the roads aren’t too great, so it looks like it’s really going to affect rescue efforts. Also it looks like the Chinese Red Cross is helping, my mother.

  7. Steve Says:

    What Was Different About China’s Quake?
    Unlike Haiti and Chile quakes, China’s took place in middle of single plate
    By Andrea Thompson
    updated 8:36 a.m. PT, Wed., April 14, 2010

    The earthquake that struck China in the early hours of the morning was different than some of the major temblors that have struck around the world so far this year in that it occurred in the middle of one of Earth’s tectonic plates, instead of at the junction between them.

    The 6.9-magnitude quake, according to estimates by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), struck at 7:49 a.m. ET near the area of Yushu in Qinghai province. This area is part of the Tibetan Plateau, which stands over 3 miles above sea level.

    The Tibetan Plateau was created, along with the Himalayas, about 50 million years ago as part of the Indian subcontinent began to collide with Eurasia.

    But this earthquake didn’t occur where the two plates that crunched together meet; instead, it occurred within the plateau, explained Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

    The deadliest earthquake on record, which occurred in Shaanxi, China, and killed 830,000 people in 1556, was an intraplate earthquake. The New Madrid seismic zone in the central United States is the most seismically active intraplate region in North America. Microseismic earthquakes with magnitudes no greater than 2 occur on average every other day in this zone.

    The plateau, where the recent quake occurred, experiences continued uplift from the processes that originally created it, and is also being squeezed by other forces, which create numerous faults in the area. Exactly what fault ruptured in this quake isn’t yet known, but Baldwin said it is likely a shallow strike-slip type of fault, in which the two sides of the fault slide past each other to release pent-up energy.

    “It’s an active area,” Baldwin told LiveScience.

    But though the type of earthquake is different from those that struck Haiti and Chile in recent months, the signature of these quakes looks the same to the instruments that scientists use to measure them.

    “Earthquakes all share a common seismic signal,” Baldwin said, which consists of a two-phase signal: First, so-called p-waves generated by the earthquake propagate around the world and are detected by seismometers, then come the s-waves. The timing differences are what allow seismologists to pinpoint the locations of earthquakes.

    It will take time for the area that ruptured in the China quake to settle down, and several aftershocks have already struck the region, ranging in magnitude from about a 4.8 to a 5.8, Baldwin said. The number and strength of the aftershocks should decrease with time, he added.

  8. Steve Says:

    @ my mother: This article from The Huffington Post lists non-profit, non-governmental organizations that are accepting contributions.

  9. my mother Says:

    June and Steve,

    Thank you for the info.

  10. wuyueliuhuo Says:
  11. Nimrod Says:

    Here we go again, the New York Times grasping at straws (words of distraught people in this case) at the first sight of disaster.
    After Quake, Ethnic Tibetans Distrust China’s Help

    (This is the same technologically deficient reporter who claimed that the Chinese government hacked his computer when he probably just got phished by run-of-the-mill spam email. Really a sad human being.)

    It is really tragic when a disaster strikes the most vulnerable people, because it feels that much more hopeless. In this case, the remote and forbidding location and the poverty of the people just starting to eke their way out, make it plain that life is unfair. And I can understand that people are distraught and will interpret anything but the utmost effort as failure. After all, these are lives we are talking about.

    The people in Gyegu, the affected town, and in the surrounding area, have always been a hardy and independent people. However, without the recent infrastructure improvement and rapid deployment of state resources now — in short, without bringing the forces of the Chinese state to bear on cases like this — Gyegu would suffer the same fate as Haiti. The fact that this is demonstrated in action is a good thing, it’s rationality at work, it’s why people rely on each other, not political propaganda. So it makes me angry to find the tone and the most repugnant “angle” of this New York Times article on a tragedy of common humanity. The interpretations are not only wrong, but frankly, offensive.

    I especially “like” the part that says

    The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader who has not set foot in China since 1959, has issued a formal request to visit the disaster zone. It will most surely be denied.

    …putting this positive gesture as necessarily in contrast with “negative” Chinese state actions, when in fact one can find more appropriate logistical reasons to posit. Additionally, to another perspective, this could easily be Exhibit A of an aloof Dharamsala “clique” playing politics with disaster. While this view may be unfair to the Dalai Lama’s personal sincerity, at least it is a plausible interpretation of the situation that, while not that sophisticated, I don’t expect this reporter will ever explore. If he did, he would find that, actually in these areas historically, there were free roaming nomads and some self-ruled monastic towns that had nothing to do with the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. He would also find that the foreign Tibetan independence campaigns seem to be on a mission since the earthquake to spam newsgroups everywhere with their talking points on Greater Tibet and denigrate state-dispatched rescuers ([1], [2]). Perhaps he even got some “inside leads” from Dharamsala, who knows. In the end though, he and anybody who truly cared about the Tibetans as people — and I mean not as a curiosity or pets of a feel-good cause — would have noticed that actions speak louder than words or ethnic label, and that the welfare of the Tibetan people is safeguarded by those who lend helping hands, not by those who instigated riots of destruction, that’s for sure.

    It is time for the New York Times reporter to stand on the right side, or if he could not bring himself to do that, then at least observe a moment of silence with the rest of us.

  12. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod,
    yes, this is obviously a humanitarian tragedy (and it seems there’s been a run of natural disasters world-wide of late), and the focus should be on helping the living to survive and to cope with the loss of the dead. The Chinese government has done a remarkable job given the circumstances (isolated terrain at high altitude, etc), and they’ve seemed open to international press coverage.

    I for one always appreciate hearing from the experiences of those on the ground. People are understandably distraught. But how do the words of people in distress constitute “grasping at straws”? And are we reading the same article?

    Paragraph 1-3 are anecdotal. You can believe the author or you can accuse him of making stuff up, I suppose. Paragraph 5-8 seem pretty factual. Paragraph 9 is also true, except that the restive activities described actually don’t occur much in the province where the quake actually occurred. You could say it’s irrelevant to the immediate circumstances there.

    Paragraph 11-12 are eye-witness accounts. 13-16 seem pretty factual to me, or at least can be verifiable. Paragraph 17 is a strong statement of opinion, which may or may not have a factual basis. Paragraph 18 (body counts) is obviously disputable, but given the circumstances, inaccurate counts are understandable.

    Paragraph 19 refers to a school, which might be a somewhat sensitive topic given what happened in Sichuan. But again, an eye-witness account.

    THe entirety of page 2 is anecdotal. Could you question whether those people are real people who actually said those things? That’s up to you. Are there locals who are more unabashedly thankful for the help of the Chinese government? Probably. However, do you question the plausibility of the general sentiment that is described by the article? And if you do, on what basis do you do so?

    In the entire article, the Dalai Lama is mentioned ONCE (in the statement that you “liked”). And you’ve focused you criticism of the entire article on one statement therein. Do you think that’s fair? Now, an article may have a key message, one that may well be encapsulated by one statement. Do you think the statement on which you chose to focus is the linchpin of the entire article? If so, then I guess that’s that. But if not, then why did you focus on that statement, to the exclusion of others?

    Now let’s examine the statement. Is it erroneous on its face? Do you think the Dalai Lama’s request will be granted? If so, you can certainly criticize the author for drawing poor conclusions, in your view. But the proof will be in the pudding. How does denial of a visa automatically cast negative aspersions on the CCP? As you’ve even suggested, with one road from the provincial capital to the disaster area, the CCP can probably better serve her people by using that road to ferry supplies rather than worry about the security of ferrying the Dalai Lama around. So in fact, the request will most surely be denied; but you’ve assumed the “negative(s)”, not the author. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan last year after the typhoon. It seems he has a very contemporaneous track record for offering spiritual comfort to stricken Chinese people. Haven’t you prejudged just a little bit to question his motives? And doesn’t that reflect more on your headspace than his?

    If you’re going to implore the NYT reporter to stop using a disaster to make a point, I’d suggest it might be time you do likewise (and for those not keeping track, those points would include railing against “western” media, and against the Dalai Lama).

  13. Wahaha Says:

    Hey, SKC,

    How are you ?

    BTW, the following one definitely will let you smell the “truth” you like to hear.

    http://news4.pchome.com.tw/internation/libertytimes/20100417/index-12714552214019625011.html

  14. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Hi Wahaha,
    fabulous, thanks. How’s NYC treating you? Great as always, I suspect.

    I read your link. I’m not sure what you’re driving at. It seems to be a Taiwanese online news blog. If that’s the case, it’s not “western” media, so I’m surprised that it’s on your radar, since we’re all familiar with your preferred topics of focus.

    The bit about upwards of 10,000 dead certainly seems unsubstantiated. I certainly hope they’re wrong. And I certainly hope they have some basis for quoting such a number. But based on the logistical difficulties alone, I don’t think even the CCP can quote a definitive number right now; perhaps only the number who have been found and confirmed dead.

    The other bit is Taiwan offering to send a rescue team, and being turned down. I wasn’t aware that China had sought international assistance, so if Taiwan is offering something China doesn’t need, obviously she’d be turned down. To suggest that turning down Taiwanese assistance is “inhumane” is wrong.

    Besides that, the rest of the article seems like fairly common knowledge. We know it’s high altitude. We know it’s cold there at night. We know survivors are having a tough time. Not sure if much of that is fodder for debate.

    I’m not sure what there was that I’d like to hear. But you’ll have to do better than that. Cheers.

  15. Wahaha Says:

    SKC,

    I am not talking about western media, just give you some opium to make you happy, glad you like it.

    Nite.

  16. S. K. Cheung Says:

    What, you’re not talking about western media? Mark the time, folks, it is in fact physically possible.

    Thanks, but I don’t smoke. If you had some Guinness, I’d consider it. BUt your article is not to news what Guinness is to beer.

  17. Nimrod Says:

    S. K. Cheung,

    The anecdotes are what they are, who am I to dispute them. However, it’s the interpretation of them that is at issue. We can all listen to the same people say the same words yet come away with different thoughts. The writer clearly came away thinking “Tibetans distrust China’s help”. In fact, I believe that’s the title. But why? It goes on to say China is doing this for propaganda or it’s because of riots two years ago. I don’t think this is supported by what he observed, or by anything but personal speculation. But is this news or editorial? This is, in short, a fabricated narrative. The anecdoctes may not be fabricated, but the narrative is.

    With regard to DL vs. the Chinese state, one can argue for the sake of arguing, and the author can even defend himself for his cleverness, but I doubt anybody with some reading comprehension will miss the point being made in the line I quoted, first by its own rhetorical structure (1959, “surely”), then by the context of the main point of the article, and further by the ideological background that the author assumes for the reader. Not asking anybody to be a public defender here, it’s not a crime to bash China after all, but it’s pretty embarrassing to fail a simple reading comprehension test for the sake of defending a China-basher.

    Anyway, I think the citizens everywhere in China have their heart in the right place, when they proclaim “everybody is with Yushu”. They are not seeing Han vs. Tibetan. In fact, it doesn’t even come up. I am not sure why this is all that some people see, as soon as they found the “97% Tibetan angle” on this. Their heart is probably not in the right place. Shame shame…

    By the way, there is nothing against the Dalai Lama here or against the Western media, just a dissection of one reporter.

  18. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod,

    Perhaps the following quotes from the article might explain why the writer made the conclusions that he did:
    ““We want to save lives. They see this tragedy as an opportunity to make propaganda.” ”

    “Later, he and more than 100 others headed to the vocational school, where the voices of trapped girls could still be heard in the rubble of a collapsed dormitory. They said the soldiers blocked them from the pile and later, the chief of their monastery, Ga Tsai, scuffled with a man they described as the county chief. “He grabbed me by my robe and dragged me out to the street,” Ga Tsai said. In the evening after the soldiers had left the scene, they went to work, eventually pulling out more than a dozen bodies.”

    “A day earlier, she said, the machinery inadvertently tore apart the body of a classmate. She was still waiting for them to recover the body of her older sister. “I wish they would work more carefully,” she said numbly. “Maybe they don’t care so much because we are only Tibetans.”

    As you say, “We can all listen to the same people say the same words yet come away with different thoughts.” Could someone draw a different conclusion from the same words? You’ve already demonstrated that. Did the writer exclude anecdotes not consistent with his theme? Who knows. But if you can draw conclusions simply from “1959” and “surely”, then one guy’s narrative will most certainly be another guy’s non-narrative. Now, if you can accept that some might harbour distrust, and some might interpret the presence of distrust, well, everyone is still welcome to their own 4-part suppositions as you’ve described.

    “there is nothing against the Dalai Lama here ”
    —good to know. I guess I’ve misinterpreted the second and third sentences of your second-to-last paragraph in #11. My apologies.

  19. r v Says:

    Maybe the “we vs. them” conclusion is perfect example of the Tibetan propaganda already being spread to the Western media.

    If that’s the starting point, what possible conclusion can be reached?

    Of course, we should allow these same monks to go into rubbles, perhaps take some pictures and make some additional claims of massacres and genocides?

    I can see the headlines now: “Earthquake unmasks secret prisons in China.”

  20. r v Says:

    On second thought, aren’t some anti-China Western media selling their propaganda while China is trying to save lives?

    Isn’t the Dalai trying to grab some spotlight for his propaganda with his offer?

  21. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Good grief, RV. It’s like a broken record. If it’s not “western media” spreading anti-China propaganda, it’s “Tibetan propaganda already being spread to the Western media.”. Everything is propaganda, except what the CCP says.

    Oh, and the Dalai Lama offering to visit the quake zone is propaganda. Hmm…I hear Hu Jintao is going to the quake zone too…perhaps that too is propaganda, but then probably not, cuz we know the CCP wouldn’t engage in that sort of thing, and in that way they are unique in the world.

    If I may borrow a line from the Incredibles, “when every(thing) is propaganda, nothing is”.

    BTW, do you think it’s conceivable that some Tibetans might harbour distrust of China? Probably not, and you’d know, given your extensive experience of living in Tibet as a Tibetan.

  22. r v Says:

    What was that? Do I think it’s conceivable that some Chinese might harbour distrust of the Western media?

    Why, that must be another CCP propaganda.

    Alright. Nothing is. Everything is.

    Oh yes, well, such propaganda is well beyond the goodness of spotlight grabbing media and the Dalai Lama, who obviously done so much in real good beyond the books, interviews and the photo-ops in the last 60 years.

    I think CCP and Hu and Wen better learn from the real masters, and catch up on the fine art of “nothing is propaganda.”

  23. r v Says:

    I frankly have a problem with the Monks going in on their own, without authorized personnel, and pulling out bodies.

    Foremost, these monks are not trained medical personnel, they don’t even have some basic field medic training as the PLA soldiers do.

    How do these monks tell when somebody is dead or not?

    And they are hastily piling bodies by the hundreds and burning them. And according to some reports from Western media, not going through official rescue efforts at all.

    Are all the bodies examined before being burnt?

    I frankly don’t know what is the rush to burn all the bodies without quick proper medical examination.

  24. Wahaha Says:

    Thanks, but I don’t smoke. If you had some Guinness, I’d consider it. BUt your article is not to news what Guinness is to beer.
    ______________________________________________

    Nah, you always search for something that can make you high when it is about China.

    I dont have much interest in talking about western media anymore, as they already lose their credibility in China. Now the issue is the newspapers in China that twists the storys or even make up story. for example, government explained clearly why they declined the foreign help, and someone certainly can make some stories out of it, right ?

    BTW, didnt you notice that DL has not been mentioned as frequently as before, and no big splash when Liu XiaoPo was sentenced to, 11 years ?

  25. Jason Says:

    @Nimrod

    Here’s a take on the fallacy of playing the “race card”: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/malcolmmoore/100035153/thoughts-from-the-earthquake-zone/

  26. r v Says:

    There will always be some who will reach for the “race card” in any news regarding Tibet.

    And if China didn’t send all the aid and the money and people to the quake zone, it’s also because of race.

    So really, everything is about race, and then of course, nothing is. (because it does boil down the generalized imagined worst possible images of some fictionalized CCP in the minds filled with words like “genocide.”)

    I cannot argue with someone’s imaginary Adolf Hitler with a Chinese face.

    Yes, it’s possible that these Brain Nazi’s want to destroy all peace-loving Buddhist Munchkins in the land of Shangri-Oz.

    :)

  27. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To 22:
    “Do I think it’s conceivable that some Chinese might harbour distrust of the Western media?”
    —absolutely. Which is why I don’t flippantly say that individuals are spreading propaganda when they criticize the media. Similarly, it’s quite conceivable that some Tibetans harbour distrust of China…then again, maybe not to you, which might explain why you can flippantly assert that any such suggestion constitutes propaganda. Hope I’ve cleared it up for you.

    ““nothing is propaganda.”
    —once again, you’ve demonstrated the capacity for missing the point…or maybe you didn’t see the movie. Anyway, the point isn’t that “nothing is propaganda”; the point is that, when you flippantly call this/that/and the other “propaganda”, you diminish the term and render the concept meaningless. BTW, it’s a good movie. You should check it out.

    “and pulling out bodies.”
    —if they’re “bodies”, it’s a little late for medical training. And even if they are fortunately still people, to me it’s still better to be unearthed and waiting for medical assistance than still buried alive. But that’s just me.

    “I frankly don’t know what is the rush to burn all the bodies without quick proper medical examination.”
    —are you suggesting they’re cremating without confirming if someone’s dead? Are you serious? If not, then what is gained by awaiting medical examination? It’s not like the cause of death is in question or there is suggestion of foul play. And it’s a public health issue to properly dispose of corpses in a timely fashion. Sadly, this is a reality in many disaster regions.

    To #24:
    “government explained clearly why they declined the foreign help, and someone certainly can make some stories out of it, right ?”
    —you’d have to ask that Taiwan website about that. Maybe that can be your new fascination. Cuz if you’ve given up on the “western media” infatuation, what will you do with all that free time?

  28. Wahaha Says:

    #27,

    are you hungry ? here is your favorite snack :

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/world/asia/18quake.html?src=me

  29. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Ummm, Einstein, you just linked to the article to which Nimrod had already referred in #11 more than 24 hours ago, and about which Nimrod and I had already discussed in #12/14/17/18. But nice try nonetheless. Better late than never, I suppose. And I guess you’ve rekindled your interest in western media. Well, that’s just fabulous news for the rest of us. Well done.

    BTW, it’s apparent that Nimrod read the article, and formulated an opinion. You, on the other hand, appear to have left us with what we’ve come to expect from you.

  30. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    It is quite interesting to see how the New York Times is trying incredibly hard to influence its readers in subtle ways.

    An NYT article by Andrew Jacobs says,

    China’s leadership has treated the quake as a dual emergency — a humanitarian crisis almost three miles above sea level in remote Qinghai Province, and a fresh test of the Communist Party’s ability to keep a lid on dissent among restive Tibetans.

    BREAKING NEWS: China’s leadership called up the New York Times and said that they have treated the earthquake as a ‘dual emergency’!

    It also twisted Wen Jiabao’s comments,

    Wen Jiabao postponed his own planned visit to Indonesia and came to the quake site promising that China’s Han majority would do whatever it could to aid the Tibetans.

    Wen Jiabao had not said anything of that sort.
    Why would Wen Jiabao speak as a representative of ‘China’s Han majority’, and not as a representative of the government?

    And in another NYT article by the same author, it is alleged that,

    Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spent Friday in the Tibetan high country, comforting survivors of this week’s devastating earthquake in a prominent display of concern by the country’s Han leadership for one of China’s most troubled ethnic minorities.

    thereby suggesting that the reason that Wen Jiabao went to the earthquake site and comforted people was that the earthquake took place in a minority dominated region. The author has conveniently chosen to ignore (or he didn’t know) that after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, a Han dominated province, Wen Jiabao was airborne within 90 minutes, headed for the earthquake site.
    Hence, the fact that he visited the site has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the fact that the earthquake took place in a minority dominated region. The author is reprehensibly trying to relate the two.

    It is downright cheap and quite frankly, inhuman, that the media is trying to exploit a natural disaster in this manner. It’s almost as if Andrew Jacobs and NYT were waiting for something like this to happen, so that they could get a chance to publish such atrocities.

  31. Wahaha Says:

    You, on the other hand, appear to have left us with what we’ve come to expect from you.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    SKC,

    Youappear to have left us with what we’ve come to expect from you.

    I still cant believe that NYT would like a report like this on their papers, it basically lowered it to the level of Epoch.

  32. pug_ster Says:

    @Maitreya Bhakal 30,

    That’s the problem with newspapers as desperate as NY Times is: They are already waist deep in debt and they need to sell newspapers so badly so that they had to resort to sensationalism. Personally, I like to see that newspaper bankrupt because they’re selling propaganda anyways. In Western Media, journalism is dead.

  33. r v Says:

    Last time I checked, there is still such a thing as a CERTIFICATE of DEATH in most countries’ legal system.

    Unauthorized persons are not qualified to CERTIFY someone as dead.

    “Foul play”? Who knows.

    I’m not the one started to question motives of various rescuers.

    But, hey, I’m game for entertaining myself with any number of wild speculations and Spanish Inquisitions.

  34. Otto Kerner Says:

    Maitreya B,

    You make some good points. The area affected by the 2008 earthquake is actually an ethnically mixed border area, not Han-dominated, but your overall point is still valid, that there’s no evidence the ethnicity of the victims influenced Hu’s decision to visit.

    At The China Beat, Robert Barnett has a somewhat more balanced view.

  35. S. K. Cheung Says:

    #33:
    “there is still such a thing as a CERTIFICATE of DEATH in most countries’ legal system.”
    —indeed there is. However, whether such things are insisted upon in disaster areas where there is a need to bury a large number of dead in the face of shattered infrastructure so as to safeguard the public health of those still living, I certainly can’t say. I’d have to defer to you since this is obviously your area of expertise.

    To Maitreya #30:

    I’ve previously said my bit about the April 18th article, so I’ll just focus on the April 17th one:

    “Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spent Friday in the Tibetan high country, comforting survivors of this week’s devastating earthquake in a prominent display of concern by the country’s Han leadership for one of China’s most troubled ethnic minorities.”
    — pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect? The only word I would exclude is “most”. And how does this statement thereby suggest what you claim it suggests?

    “Hence, the fact that he visited the site has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the fact that the earthquake took place in a minority dominated region. The author is reprehensibly trying to relate the two.”
    —I agree with your first statement. But how does your quote suggest that the author was trying to relate the two? Does the author say that Wen visited BECAUSE the quake was in a Tibetan region?

    I also note that you’ve restricted your comment to the opening paragraph. I read the article with my bias-sensor set at full scale deflection, and honestly didn’t detect much else. It’s full of anecdotes and interview snippets, which I suppose you can choose to accept/believe or not. And I suppose the mention of schools is a potentially sensitive subject. But how does the article attain the level of “atrocity”?

    The desire to identify “western media bias” is certainly ripe in certain quarters. But it makes me wonder if the bias is in the people who write articles, or in the people who read them.

  36. Nimrod Says:

    Guys, here is the other story from Hong Kong’s Ming Pao. Minority tilting policies since the 1980s have often been described and it is not unique. Whether it is the case here or not is unclear, but it’s a tough situation for many people. It is a reminder that things can seem completely opposite depending on whom you talk to. Sometime it’s pointless to focus on things like ethnicity.

    http://news.mingpao.com/20100419/gco1.htm

    Sichuan migrant worker in Gyegu cries, says rescue effort 厚藏薄汉 (“gracious to Tibetans, stingy to Han”), rescuers neglected the needs of Han victims and they could not get resources like water at first.

    Gyegu demolished … self-described migrant from Sichuan walks up to reporter and cries. He is 53, engages in trade in Qinghai… day before earthquake was here to inspect some construction work. Was staying in a shop owned by Han migrants, but it is now uninhabitable…. For days has not received tent, food, or water… sleeps by river at night, very cold … government delivers goods first to Tibetans.

    “Many migrants got nothing. Only after asking lamas did they get two bottles of water and instant noodles. The migrant guessed in recent years due to to pro-independence activities, ethnic relation strained… so government give goods to Tibetans first … nothing to Han… He sighs, eyes red, choking on tears, says: I also built the government building in Qinghai, I also contributed, why treat me like this. This is how the CCP is!”

    He has two sons… elder son in Xinjiang security bureau … younger one in Heilongjiang studying for masters degree… Doesn’t understand why government treats Han like this but fears speaking out could endanger the sons’ future, so while still crying, he did not elaborate further. Has only 100 yuan on his body, not enough to return to Sichuan … this was given to him by passer-by who was moved … needs 400 yuan to go back, no way to come up with this amount … so he can only stay there.

    “I saw rescue team from Sichuan passing, but they did not give me a tent…” Those listening felt bad and wanted to give him another 200 yuan, but he refused to take… and kneeling down made (the traditional greeting gesture with hands). Temperature last night was below freezing and it is believed he still could only camp by the river.

  37. r v Says:

    If I have a relative who may or may not be dead, I want a qualified medical personnel to check for life signs and try to revive, instead of just have the monks toss the body out.

    But that’s me. (Qualified medical personnel would take less a few minutes to assess each body. It’s not like they are digging out bodies faster than qualified personnel can check. In fact, the digging out part is slower.)

    Others will toss out a body if appears dead to some Monks.

  38. S. K. Cheung Says:

    “Qualified medical personnel would take less a few minutes to assess each body.”
    —you’re probably right. You’ve gone from “quick proper medical examination” (#23) to “CERTIFICATE of DEATH” (#33) to “checking for life signs”. That you would assume that this wasn’t done (or that no one ascertained the absence of a pulse or that the “body” was truly “dead” before burying it) is an interesting testament to your state of mind. I’ll leave you to your assumptions, which appear varied and colourful.

    To Nimrod:
    agreed. Everyone there, be they Han, Tibetan, or American, deserve help.

    I read elsewhere that some locals were hoarding the government-issued blue tents, then selling them to other victims who hadn’t gotten any.

  39. r v Says:

    I have no doubt it would take you much longer to even locate a pulse.

    Yes, that’s why we have QUALIFIED as a description of those who can do it correctly!

    If anyone can do it, why even bother to certify death?

    Never heard of faint life signs? (Talk about some people making all kinds of assumptions).

    Yes, let’s assume that anyone can check for life signs, and that 1000’s of bodies’ life signs were checked properly by the monks, who apparently must know how to do that in their daily chants.

    that is of course, if we assume like some people does.

    I for one, make no such assumptions. I assume that if someone is not QUALIFIED, he is not QUALIFIED. (That’s about a great of a leap as I am willing to make).

  40. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Yes, let’s assume that the monks pulled people out of the rubble who were alive, then burned them alive (I guess you can’t even call that cremation). Like I said, I’ll leave you to your varied and colourful assumptions….you are definitely qualified for that.

  41. r v Says:

    Oh yes, if they were any herdsmen or farmers, or monks, they would naturally know how to check for life signs, even faint ones.

    I think you are the one assuming a lot about people you don’t even know.

    Hmm… my colourful assumption is that you are full of yourself.

  42. S. K. Cheung Says:

    “I think you are the one assuming a lot about people you don’t even know.”
    —once again, you’re absolutely right. I tend to assume that rescuers, be they monks or not, will not burn corpses unless they’re actually corpses. You’re free to engage in your own colourful and varied assumptions. To each his own, as I always say.

  43. r v Says:

    Suit yourself. I prefer to assume that people are alive and need to be checked by QUALIFIED medical personnel.

    If you want to skip that step to go to your private Heaven, be my guest.

    But you don’t get to make that decision for other people.

  44. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Indeed, people are alive; corpses, not so much. How one makes that distinction in a disaster area is fortunately something about which I have absolutely no experience. I’m happy to leave it to them to decide. If you care to lend them your vast expertise in this arena, good on ya.

  45. r v Says:

    You have no experience, and you assume other UNQUALIFIED like yourself have the experience, and “leave it to them to decide”?!!

    Laughable. Colorfully laughable.

  46. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Yes, and I’m sure you have vast expertise in dealing with large numbers of dead in earthquake zones, which eminently qualifies you for passing judgment on how rescue workers there are disposing of the dead. I have no such expertise, which is why I won’t pass judgment on how they’re doing things. I imagine the victims there could greatly benefit from the type of expertise you so obviously possess. I am rather envious of your obvious expertise…it must be rewarding to be in a position to advise people in a disaster zone to avoid cremating those who aren’t dead, since that’s something that would never cross the minds of the rescuers.

  47. r v Says:

    If you are envious of my knowledge of faint life signs, then it only shows how colourful you have been with your assumptions.

    Perhaps you will also be envious of small rocks and amusing twigs.

  48. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Now now, I would never equate your knowledge with “small rocks and amusing twigs”. One is clearly of far greater profundity than the other…and I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

  49. r v Says:

    Now now, all you see are small rocks and amusing twigs. I have no ambition of trying to make you see more in other people’s knowledge.

  50. S. K. Cheung Says:

    I must say you’re very good at mimicry. There are other creatures in the animal kingdom who share your gift. Oh, and I would be happy to see, if only there was something to be seen.

  51. r v Says:

    Oh back to that old line again, are you?

    Well, you are the envious one. I only feel sorry for you.

  52. wuen Says:

    The earthquake in Yushu county have brought grief to many people. People are shaken by their lost of family, severe injury and the disappearance of a place call home. The victim of the quake are experiencing an event in which they have no knowledge on how to handle. They require guidance, support and encouragement so they do not fall deeper into darkness. Love, affection and care are the pillars which will prevent these victims from succumbing into despair.

    Now is the time to help them rebuild their lives. Their are many way of given support to these victims of the quake:

    A- Write a letter addressing to the victims of the quake. A pen is mightier than the sword and in this case a letter from the heart can reduce one grief. For the people who had experience a disaster event like an earthquake can really make a difference by writing a letter.

    B- Offer a personal creation of arts object like painting, paper cutting and sculpture. These arts could transmit one personal good wish.

    C- Thank the people who help during the search and rescue operation and joining the relief work.

    These gesture are precious. These gifts are not lost to the people who are good at heart and had experience the difficulty of life. The right place to send these gift is to the Chinese embassy. The ambassador will gladly accept these gift and send it to the victim of the quake. Make sure the box is identify clearly as harmless gift, because of terrorist box. Please contact the embassy before sending gift. This is my own ideal, not the embassy.

  53. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    @Otto

    I said that the province is Han dominated. The epicentre, Wenchuan County, however is 46% Han, and hence, as you say, is an ethnically mixed region. Thanks for pointing that out.

    @ S. K. Cheung #35

    “pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect?”

    When have I EVER said that the statement is incorrect?

    “And how does this statement thereby suggest what you claim it suggests?”
    But how does your quote suggest that the author was trying to relate the two?

    We already know that Wen’s visit had nothing to do with the ethnic composition of the region. Now, what on earth is the author trying to convey by writing both the points together? There has to be some motive in the author’s mind for relating these two unrelated facts.
    Also, note the usage of words: “prominent”:outstanding: having a quality that thrusts itself into attention. Which means, the reason (or atleast one of the reasons) why Wen visited the site was to ‘thrust into attention’ or to ‘show off’ the concern of the ‘Han’ leadership for the ‘troubled’ minorities.

    “Does the author say that Wen visited BECAUSE the quake was in a Tibetan region?”

    Again the same thing. You are putting words in people’s mouths. When have I ever said that the author SAYS so? I said that the author is SUGGESTING so, in a very subtle manner. There are many meanings of the word ‘suggest’, depending on the context, and it is very clear what my context was: Drop a hint; intimate by a hint or to imply a possibility., without actually saying it directly. That is why I used the word ‘subtle’. One needs to read between the lines.

    Here’s another example.

    Sometimes the bias is not so subtle

    “I also note that you’ve restricted your comment to the opening paragraph”
    “It’s full of anecdotes and interview snippets, which I suppose you can choose to accept/believe or not.”

    Exactly. That is why I have focused on the ‘opening paragraph’. The other anecdotes can be proved or disproved only by someone who has actually visited that region. Now, as Nimrod pointed out, it all depends on whom you talk to. My guess is, it all depends on who you talk to and whose talk you choose to publish. If a journalist encounters, say n people who say that the government discriminates rescue efforts based on ethnicity; and m people who say that it does not; then the journalist may very well choose to publish the interviews and quotes from the former group only, regardless of whose number is greater. I tend to believe that in case of publications like NYT, it will always quote this group, even if m is much greater than n.

    For example, even if 8 out of 10 people say that the government does not discriminate, the NYT will publish interviews of the remaining two only. Which means that what they have published is not incorrect, but still biased and, one can say, completely beneath contempt. ( Since only 2 people have said so, it can safely be accounted to those people having some personal hatred against the government or to some personal experience, and to many other similar factors – and it can’t be extrapolated to include the opinion all Tibetans affected by the earthquake – which is exactly what NYT might do)

    Now what is interesting is, if a some (or even a majority) of people say that the government is discriminating in FAVOUR of Tibetans, then we all know that the sky will fall, mountains will collapse, and all hell will break loose before the NYT publishes that!

    But of course their is no way of proving it until one actually visits the site. My point is, NYT can’t be trusted.

    And there are scores and scores of examples of even more explicit cases of such bias; some of which publish absolute lies to our faces and print false statistics.

    “But how does the article attain the level of “atrocity”?”

    Let me summarize it for you:
    1) It tries to politicize a humanitarian disaster.
    2) It not only misquotes, but puts words in a Head of Government’s mouth.
    3) Tries to relate two unrelated facts.

    Just (1) is enough to call it ‘atrocious’, don’t you think?

  54. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To Maitreya:
    “When have I EVER said that the statement is incorrect?”
    —no need to get defensive. I didn’t suggest that you’d said that. I was merely asking a question. So is it reasonable to infer that you are objecting to a statement that is factually correct in your mind?

    “We already know that Wen’s visit had nothing to do with the ethnic composition of the region.”
    —agreed.

    “Now, what on earth is the author trying to convey by writing both the points together?”
    —he is trying to convey exactly what his words have stated.

    “There has to be some motive in the author’s mind for relating these two unrelated facts.”
    —does there? Or is it simply a reflection of your own preconceptions which inform the inferences you make from a fairly straightforward sentence?

    “Which means, the reason (or atleast one of the reasons) why Wen visited the site was to ‘thrust into attention’ the concern of the ‘Han’ leadership”
    —but of course it was. It’s no different than what the leader of any country would do in response to a disaster on their own soil. What was Wen personally going to do in physically contributing to the rescue effort? No more and no less than what one able-bodied man would be able to offer. But his arrival brings attention, and boosts morale of the rescuers and the survivors, and shows that the central government cares. Unless he was personally bringing tents, or food, or excavators, his visit is symbolic. But certainly no less prominent.

    ““Does the author say that Wen visited BECAUSE the quake was in a Tibetan region?” Again the same thing. You are putting words in people’s mouths.”
    —can someone ask you a question without you getting defensive? The point of the question is to have you acknowledge, as you have done, that you are making a bunch of inferences, the foundation of which may be questionable.

    “I said that the author is SUGGESTING so, in a very subtle manner.”
    —and you know this because reading between the lines allows you access to his mind? Or is the manner with which you read between the lines more a reflection of you than of the author?

    “I tend to believe that in case of publications like NYT, it will always quote this group, even if m is much greater than n.”
    —that sounds like bias (or at least prejudging), does it not?

    “My point is, NYT can’t be trusted.”
    —and of course that is your prerogative. I merely wish to point out that you’re claiming NYT bias from a position of anti-NYT bias. And you’re not alone when it comes to that.

    “That is why I have focused on the ‘opening paragraph’.”
    —indeed. To me the opening paragraph is a factual statement. Certain facts can be atrocious, but not in this case. And i think it is you who is trying to politicize a fairly benign article, owing to your own preconceptions. My last statement in #35 sums it up, and you have added to the tally.

  55. r v Says:

    bias from bias? colorful denial.

  56. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To Maitreya:
    read your links. I imagine you object to paragraphs 4 and 5 in that Time article, specifically the “background” statements that don’t directly relate to quake events.

    I agree about the grammatical mistakes you’ve highlighted in your blog. I’m also impressed you were able to make a blogpost out of it.

    To 55:
    that was useful. Any more where that came from?

  57. r v Says:

    bet you are envious again.

    If you don’t know if more where that came from, at least you know there will be more coming to you.

    Which makes your question all the more pointless.

    Which to you, must have been pretty useful indeed.

    So, yes, that was useful to you, and cost nothing to me at all, thus, plenty more!

  58. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Rarely has so little been said with so many words. Definitely worthy of envy. They say brevity is a sign of intelligence…and now we know why.

  59. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    @ S.K.Cheung

    “no need to get defensive. I didn’t suggest that you’d said that.

    Then why did you ask it? If you know that I haven’t said that the statement is incorrect, then what’s the point of asking me the same? And if someone points this out to you, is he being ‘defensive’?
    You know that I know that Andrew Jacobs is not factually incorrect. Then what is the need for asking?
    Here is how the conversation panned out:

    Me: Andrew Jacobs’ statement is biased
    You: pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect?
    Me: When have I EVER said that the statement is incorrect?
    You: “I didn’t suggest that you’d said that. I was merely asking a question”

    “The point of the question is to have you acknowledge, as you have done, that you are making a bunch of inferences, the foundation of which may be questionable.”

    The word ‘inference’ does not apply here, because their are no prior conclusions involved. A more correct word would be ‘analysis’.

    ““There has to be some motive in the author’s mind for relating these two unrelated facts.”
    —does there? Or is it simply a reflection of your own preconceptions which inform the inferences you make from a fairly straightforward sentence?”

    That sentence was anything but fairly straightforward. When a journalist writes an international article, he reviews and proofreads it a hundred times. Each and every sentence of the article is expected to be scrutinised by him before publication. Hence, we can certainly expect that the author knew what he was doing.

    “It’s no different than what the leader of any country would do in response to a disaster on their own soil. “

    It’s not. But then, WHY exactly is the author including the (unrelated) fact that the leadership is Han, and that they are comforting ‘Tibetans’, and not all ‘Chinese’ citizens who were affected by the earthquake in general?
    It is a fact that the majority of the people affected by the earthquake are Tibetans, but that fact is again irrelevant.

    No leader of a country would select his visits based on the ethnicity of the region, atleast not Wen Jiabao.

    “So is it reasonable to infer that you are objecting to a statement that is factually correct in your mind?”

    Yes, I am objecting to two statements which are factually correct. I am not questioning whether or not they are factually correct ( we both know they are), but I am objecting to the author’s implied relation between these two factual statements, which have nothing to do with each other.

    “and you know this because reading between the lines allows you access to his mind?”

    Of course it does, atleast in this case, and I’ve proved it. That is what ‘reading between the lines’ means – we can find the point of view of the author to some extent.

    ““I tend to believe that in case of publications like NYT, it will always quote this group, even if m is much greater than n.”
    —that sounds like bias (or at least prejudging), does it not?”

    Yes, I am biased against NYT. And I can give you scores and scores of examples and evidence on the basis of which I have reached that conclusion.

    “and of course that is your prerogative. I merely wish to point out that you’re claiming NYT bias from a position of anti-NYT bias. And you’re not alone when it comes to that.”

    There is a reason for that “position of anti-NYT bias” – NYT bias (against China).
    Also, have you ever wondered why ‘I am not alone’?

    “I imagine you object to paragraphs 4 and 5 in that Time article, specifically the “background” statements that don’t directly relate to quake events.”

    I’m glad that you’ve finally understood. However, those paragraphs can hardly be called ‘background’ since they are related to the earthquake.

    “I agree about the grammatical mistakes you’ve highlighted in your blog. I’m also impressed you were able to make a blogpost out of it.”

    BREAKING NEWS everyone: S.K.Chueng thinks that The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, LA Times, TIME Magazine ALL made ‘grammatical mistakes’!! And that too the same one at the same time!!

    I blogged about it because not one, not two, but countless publications have made what you call a ‘grammatical mistake’.

  60. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    “However, those paragraphs can hardly be called ‘background’ since they are related to the earthquake.”

    Skipped a word there by mistake. I meant: However, those paragraphs can hardly be called ‘background’ since they are not related to the earthquake.

  61. r v Says:

    I suggest some people take their own gushing envy and tributes to their own private shrine.

    It’s frankly wasting bandwidth.

  62. S.K.Cheung Says:

    To Maitreya:
    “Then why did you ask it? If you know that I haven’t said that the statement is incorrect, then what’s the point of asking me the same?”
    —you’re kidding, right?
    If you weren’t being defensive, here’s how the conversation would’ve played out long ago:
    Me: “pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect?”
    You: it’s not; the statement is factually correct.
    Me: If he’s stating facts, then where’s the bias?
    You: I detect bias because of how I assume he intends those facts to be interpreted.
    Me: So the bias is not in the words he wrote, but based on your assumptions of his intentions.

    If you hadn’t complained about answering a simple question, we would’ve arrived at the same spot we’re at now, only a lot sooner.

    “A more correct word would be ‘analysis’.”
    —you know what, have it your way: “The point of the question is to have you acknowledge, as you have done, that you are making (an analysis), the foundation of which may be questionable.”
    Same difference. Whatever floats your boat. But apart from word play, you haven’t really responded, or dare I say, defended yourself.

    The above notwithstanding (“The word ‘inference’ does not apply here, because their are no prior conclusions involved.), I think we both know you’ve already jumped to a lot of prior conclusions to get to this point in terms of your preconceptions.

    “we can certainly expect that the author knew what he was doing.”
    —well of course he did. I certainly don’t think he wrote it in the throes of psychosis. What interests me is your apparent ability to know what he was doing. That’s the mind-boggling bit.

    “WHY exactly is the author including the (unrelated) fact that the leadership is Han, and that they are comforting ‘Tibetans’, and not all ‘Chinese’ citizens who were affected by the earthquake in general?
    It is a fact that the majority of the people affected by the earthquake are Tibetans, but that fact is again irrelevant.”
    —-if I may borrow your own statement to answer your question: “a journalist writes an international article”. Certainly seems like a reasonable time to introduce some factual information for the education of an international audience.

    “No leader of a country would select his visits based on the ethnicity of the region, atleast not Wen Jiabao.”
    —I’ve already suggested as much. Interesting that you use “at least not”, however. But I’ll refrain from inferring any bias you may hold towards the humanity of other world leaders.

    “I am objecting to the author’s implied relation between these two factual statements”
    —actually, what you’re objecting to is your assumption of the author’s intent. Definitely not the same thing.

    “Of course it does, atleast in this case, and I’ve proved it”
    —again, you’re kidding, right? You’ve “proved” that you’ve read his mind? Where, and how, have you done that? Short of Mr. Jacobs coming here and confessing, you seem to have overstated things a smidge.

    “Yes, I am biased against NYT.”
    —-there, that wasn’t so hard. Might even be cathartic for you. BTW, that’s not as atrocious as some on this board, who can’t seem to get out of bed without shouting “western media bias”. You’ve at least narrowed things down a bit. And you’ve shown the self-awareness to acknowledge it, which puts you light-years ahead of some others.

    “There is a reason for that “position of anti-NYT bias” – NYT bias (against China).”
    —in general, I think a more compelling case can be made when one identifies bias from a position of neutrality. Otherwise you’re a pot calling the kettle black…it’s not very convincing unless you’re in the company of like-minded folks, who themselves are equally unconvincing to everyone except each other.
    I’m not familiar with your writing, but there are many around here who vigorously suggest that the NYT is biased, but are only too happy to trot out an NYT article that supports their POV. One concludes from such behaviour that “NYT bias” is no more than the fact that NYT may not agree with their POV from time to time. So I have a pretty good idea why “you are not alone”, and it’s not a flattering sight.

    “those paragraphs can hardly be called ‘background’ since they are not related to the earthquake.”
    —actually, the very fact that they are NOT related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND. I’m not sure why you object to background information that educates the reader as the article they’re reading informs them.

    “I’m glad that you’ve finally understood.”
    —your headspace is not particularly elusive, and hence not very difficult to find. But it’s not an area in which I choose to spend much time.

    “countless publications have made what you call a ‘grammatical mistake’.”
    —which you’ve tried to make into something more. Anything to create a blogpost, I suppose.

  63. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    @ S.K.Chueng

    “If you weren’t being defensive, here’s how the conversation would’ve played out long ago:
    Me: “pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect?”
    You: it’s not; the statement is factually correct.
    Me: If he’s stating facts, then where’s the bias?
    You: I detect bias because of how I assume he intends those facts to be interpreted.
    Me: So the bias is not in the words he wrote, but based on your assumptions of his intentions”

    You are again putting words in my mouth. I have not ‘assumed’ anything. The fact remains that you ‘merely’ asked an irrelevant question.

    “If he’s stating facts, then where’s the bias?”

    You are assuming that stating facts and being biased are mutually exclusive. In fact, they are not. One can state facts and still be biased (In this case, by stating irrelevant facts).
    I’m surprised that you don’t seem to understand this very simple thing, while everyone else understood it long ago.

    “If you hadn’t complained about answering a simple question, we would’ve arrived at the same spot we’re at now, only a lot sooner.”
    I only answer questions which are worth answering. If I had never stated that Andrew Jacobs is incorrect, then what is the point of asking me whether I think he is incorrect or not?

    “—you know what, have it your way: “The point of the question is to have you acknowledge, as you have done, that you are making (an analysis), the foundation of which may be questionable.”
    Same difference. Whatever floats your boat. But apart from word play, you haven’t really responded, or dare I say, defended yourself.”

    Questionable to whom? To you?
    If you don’t know the difference between ‘inference’ and ‘analysis’, then I suggest that you refer a dictionary.

    As for my ‘response’, I thought it was perfectly clear – The ‘foundation’ is only questionable to you – not to anyone else.

    “in general, I think a more compelling case can be made when one identifies bias from a position of neutrality. So I have a pretty good idea why “you are not alone”, and it’s not a flattering sight.”

    If you were familiar with my writing, you would know that I’ve exposed a LOT of biased and falsities in both the western and Indian media. I can give examples here too, but I don’t want to divert the topic too much.

    ““Yes, I am biased against NYT.”
    —-there, that wasn’t so hard. Might even be cathartic for you. “

    Speaking the truth is never hard, nor cathartic. I’ve never denied, ever since the beginning, that I’m biased against NYT. You, just like Andrew Jacobs, make it sound like I have been denying it all along, and only now have accepted it. Are you really that desperate?
    I now see why you are defending him – because you both put words in people’s mouths and are quite similar.

    “…..who themselves are equally unconvincing to everyone except each other.”

    Unconvincing to you, I think you mean.

    “in general, I think a more compelling case can be made when one identifies bias from a position of neutrality.”

    If you had read even a single one of my articles (which I post even here at FM), you would have realized how erroneous that statement sounds.
    I can give you numerous examples of media bias, but I don’t want to divert the discussion. I’ve made these points in many of my articles.

    “Certainly seems like a reasonable time to introduce some factual information for the education of an international audience.”

    Oh Really! Then why didn’t the author include ‘factual’ information about the geography of Tibet, or the medieval history of Tibet, or the king who ruled Tibet in 1589, or the minerals found in that region, or the height of the highest mountain in that area, or the name of the person who first climbed it! There is lots of ‘factual’ information to include, why didn’t the author include them?

    “actually, the very fact that they are NOT related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND. I’m not sure why you object to background information that educates the reader as the article they’re reading informs them.”

    So your argument is: BACKGROUND should have NO relation to the FOREGROUND!!
    For the second time: refer a dictionary (and see the context of the word too)

    Now let me give you a couple of hypothetical examples:

    1. A few years ago, an earthquake occurred in Pakistan. Now suppose a newspaper reports: A massive earthquake, measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale occurred in the Quetta region of Pakistan, a country which has fought four wars with India.

    Now doesn’t this strike you as fishy? The statement is not incorrect. It states facts. It gives ‘background’ information. But are the facts relevant? What relation does the earthquake have with the fact of Pakistan’s military endeavors?

    2. A newspaper says, Team X inflicted a crushing defeat on Team Y, which has 50% black players, on Tuesday Now, one would normally assume that the point the paper was trying to make was that there is a relation between the team losing and the fact that it is 50% black. Otherwise why on earth would the newspaper say such a thing?

    ““countless publications have made what you call a ‘grammatical mistake’.”
    —which you’ve tried to make into something more”

    YOU call it a grammatical mistake. It is actually not a ‘mistake’. No newspaper sends headlines to be published without proofreading. I’ve not tried to make it into anything more than it actually is – a mock and ridicule of the mine rescue effort.
    Do you actually still believe that all those media houses would make a grammatical mistake? And that too the same one at the same time? This is the third time that I am suggesting that you look up a dictionary or a grammar textbook.

    “I’m not familiar with your writing………. Anything to create a blogpost, I suppose.”

    Exactly. You Suppose. While I don’t suppose anything. I analyse and deduce based on evidence.

    Nobody who has read even a single one of my articles would make that statement. If you are not ‘familiar’ with my writing, then you have no right to comment on it or my blog.

    ************************
    Quite frankly, I’m not interested any more in your ad hominem statements and also your opinion. One has better things to do than to argue with the likes of people who play the man instead of the ball (and that too unsuccessfully).

    I’ve tried to explain my viewpoint to you on a number of occasions, but if you still don’t understand or agree, I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with it and neither do I care. Your vacuous and partial approach towards the issue renders any reply on my part completely needless.

    Everyone here has understood what my point was, except you.

  64. Buru Says:

    so u guys are intent on closing down this thread too?

    Question to seismologists : is the number of high-intensity quakes lately increasing or is it maintaining the usual average..?

  65. my mother Says:

    I am not a seismologist. But here’s some info that might be of interest to you.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php

    The absolute number is fairly constant, but the media coverage has increased. Thus giving the perception that the number of earthquakes has increased over the years.

    I will refrain from making a political statement, but it is this mediating variable that has often been overlooked when [insert some self-righteous person or group] makes a proclamation that [insert whatever you want] abuses have drastically increased / worsened in [insert country of choice] in the last [insert number] of years.

    It’s not always the case, but it’s fast becoming the norm in [insert hemisphere / region of choice].

  66. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    “so u guys are intent on closing down this thread too?”

    None of us here have made any statement which would warrant the closure of the thread, and you know it. If you have something to say, come out and say it directly. You didn’t object when the other guys were debating, did you?

    Need I remind you – You post absurd and offensive comments, to which I had shown substantial patience and civility. Or have you also conveniently forgotten how I replied to it? Do you really expect to get away by using smileys after abuses?

    Remember – People who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others’.

  67. WYA Says:

    Hey Maitreya, I always enjoyed reading your post and impressed by your research. don’t mind SKC, he’s been gone for a while and now he’s back, usually conversations with him end up in the same fashion (see his back and forth with r.v and it’s quite entertaining) ha ha. Back to the topic though I read that the monks were orderd to abandon the rescue efforts and leave it to the state to handle, What’s your take on this new development? Is it a bad decision on the part of the government since this decision is being used by Tibetan exile and their allies in the west to re-enforce “evil” government intentions toward the minorities.

  68. r v Says:

    Seriously, the man cannot finish what he starts. Always want to indulge on his own assumptions and then won’t let me have my inquisitions.

    It is rather entertaining, isn’t it? I know I always get a kick out of it.

    So far, he’s pretty much disclaimed expertise in every field of learning, and turning envious and continuing to assume.

    And that’s how it always ends with SKC. He’ll run out of arguments, admit his lack of expertise (and mock yours), which of course, degenerates into his usual snippy 1 liners.

    The same old, “well aren’t you just a smart as*” argument from SKC is just his tagline.

    And that’s when you know he proves himself pointless again (and just doesn’t want to quite go away yet).

  69. Buru Says:

    Maitreya,
    I am not taking your bait…and meanwhile pl do something about your inferiority complex. Rant over :)

  70. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To Maitreya:
    “You are again putting words in my mouth. I have not ‘assumed’ anything.”
    —ummm, first off, note that only my initial question was in quotes; the remainder is not (and I know you’re good with the quotation marks). It’s my impression of how the conversation would’ve gone, had you answered a simple question rather than whine. And you ended up answering the question anyway, after a few songs and dance numbers. If you can’t answer a simple question with a simple answer…well, you do what you gotta do.

    Second, you’re assuming you know the author’s intent (through your expert “reading between the lines” bit). I think that amounts to something. I’m still interested in how you came to ‘know’ this, and I note you’ve been rather silent on that question.

    “You are assuming that stating facts and being biased are mutually exclusive. In fact, they are not. One can state facts and still be biased (In this case, by stating irrelevant facts).”
    —I find it interesting that you are so keen to assume things. First, you assume that you know what the author intended. Now, you assume to know what I am assuming. Either you’re a mind reader, or you assume too much. And you’re not a mind reader.
    Once again, I’m just asking a simple question. Your answer (wrt your objections about the article) is pretty much what I had suggested. Alternatively, you could’ve said that the bias comes from which facts he chooses to include, and which facts he chooses to discard from the article. In the latter scenario, we could then discuss whether the facts he included adds to the article, detracts from the article, or does nothing at all. But you seem more interested in making more assumptions.

    “If I had never stated that Andrew Jacobs is incorrect, then what is the point of asking me whether I think he is incorrect or not?”
    a. really, are we still fixated with this? Because you hadn’t stated it, I wanted to know one way or another. The way I do that is often by asking a question.
    b. you answered the question in the end anyway
    c. my discussion sequence already showed you where that question was going to lead….and look, that’s where we ended up. How many times does a guy have to draw it out for you?
    d. your question here has also been asked and answered. How many times do you plan to ask the same question that I’ve already answered?

    “Questionable to whom? To you?”
    —potentially anyone other than you. I thought that was pretty obvious.

    “The ‘foundation’ is only questionable to you – not to anyone else.”
    —you seem to have a pathologically high yet unwarranted opinion of the ‘foundation’ of your assumptions. Means nothing to me…but may not be a healthy state of mind for you.

    “If you were familiar with my writing”
    —-if they’re anything like what you’ve made me endure here, then thanks but no thanks. I’ve seen enough of your assumptions to last me a while.

    “I’ve never denied, ever since the beginning, that I’m biased against NYT.”
    —like I said, I’m not familiar with your ‘work’. And quite a ‘piece of work’ it must be. But I’m acquainted with your biases now.

    “Unconvincing to you, I think you mean.”
    —me, and quite possibly many others…a few of whom I know by name on this blog alone. You really need to dial back your assumptions about how pervasive your ‘mode of thinking’ is.

    “I can give you numerous examples of media bias”
    —I imagine you can…and each requiring its own set of assumptions. BTW, is it better to identify bias from a position of bias? And if so, how so?

    “There is lots of ‘factual’ information to include, why didn’t the author include them?”
    —finally, a reasonable question from you. My answer is “I don’t know”. And if you were being honest, instead of engaging in your penchant for assumptions, that’d be your answer too. I think we can stipulate that you obviously can’t include every single “fact” in every single article. So the author has to choose…as it is the author’s prerogative.

    “Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spent Friday in the Tibetan high country, comforting survivors of this week’s devastating earthquake in a prominent display of concern by the country’s Han leadership for one of China’s most troubled ethnic minorities.”
    —so do you think these facts (“the medieval history of Tibet, or the king who ruled Tibet in 1589, or the minerals found in that region, or the height of the highest mountain in that area, or the name of the person who first climbed it”) would be more beneficial to the reader, or the ones the author chose? Your ‘geography’ point is the one reasonable “fact” in your list…that’s not a good ratio.

    “So your argument is: BACKGROUND should have NO relation to the FOREGROUND!!”
    —do you manage to do much else besides making assumptions? The Time article was about the quake (the “foreground”, as you like to call it). Paragraphs 4 and 5 describe some aspects of the region in which the quake occurred. Is it directly related to the quake? No. But does this “background” provide the reader with some additional appreciation of the devastated region, in so doing indirectly helping the reader to better relate to the quake story itself? Yep. You know, the “background” to an earthquake story doesn’t just have to be geology assessments of the quake zone, and dissertations on the inner workings of a seismograph. Or perhaps you’re only capable of comprehending very literal relationships…for everything else, you have to make assumptions.

    “Now doesn’t this strike you as fishy?”
    —no, why would it. Another piece of information.

    “one would normally assume that the point the paper was trying to make was that there is a relation between the team losing and the fact that it is 50% black.”
    —in the 1950’s, perhaps.

    Here’s one out of what is hopefully a long list of differences between you and me. You start off from a position of bias, and you read an article in the self-fulfilling-prophecy quest to find the bias that you’re convinced must be present. And lo and behold, you find some. I read an article first, then decide if it said what it wanted to say, then see if what it says and how it says it are biased or not. Granted, might take a little more time, but it’s time better spent than making assumption after assumption. But you do what you gotta do, as I always say.

    “While I don’t suppose anything. I analyse and deduce based on evidence.”
    —do you often give yourself such large amounts of undeserved credit? You might analyse; you certainly deduce/assume an awful lot. But your use of a biased lens to examine the evidence renders the product of such analysis and deduction fairly meaningless.

    “Nobody who has read even a single one of my articles would make that statement.”
    —oh really…perhaps I should start….someday….

    “you have no right to comment on it or my blog.”
    —-umm, I just did. You need to reassess what you can and cannot control, then grow a thicker skin. Your last 2 paragraphs clarify once more your mode of thinking…one which permits an overinflated valuation of your own opinion, which reacts poorly to someone who challenges the basis for said opinion, and which tends to imagine that everyone in the world must share your opinion. I can only surmise that such thought processes stem from an over-reliance on the use of assumptions, one or more of which have evidently led your thinking astray. My sympathies.

    BTW, based on how you concluded your last post, and if you were a man of your word, then I’ve heard the last from you for a while. Just as well, since my questions often render you unwilling, or unable, to answer…at least not without the sense of security afforded by a lifetime’s-worth of assumptions.

  71. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    “potentially anyone other than you. I thought that was pretty obvious.”

    Is that why people here are sick of you?

    “Alternatively, you could’ve said that the bias comes from which facts he chooses to include, and which facts he chooses to discard from the article.”

    It took you so many comments to understand what others had understood from reading just the first one.

    “Because you hadn’t stated it, I wanted to know one way or another”

    Aha! Finally the truth from your mouth!
    You asked: “pardon my asking, but how is this statement incorrect?”
    If one merely wanted to know, one would have phrased the question entirely differently. Your inherent bias was evident from your tone, without you even realising it perhaps.

    ““Now doesn’t this strike you as fishy?”
    —no, why would it. Another piece of information.”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ““So your argument is: BACKGROUND should have NO relation to the FOREGROUND!!”
    —do you manage to do much else besides making assumptions?”

    Your words: actually, the very fact that they are NOT related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND

    ““you have no right to comment on it or my blog.”
    —-umm, I just did. You need to reassess what you can and cannot control”

    Typical. Again you are misquoting me. My complete statement was: If you are not ‘familiar’ with my writing, then you have no right to comment on it or my blog.

    “and if you were a man of your word, then I’ve heard the last from you for a while.”

    Can’t stop misquoting me, can you? When did I give you my ‘word’ that you had heard the last from me?

    “My answer is “I don’t know””
    So you ‘don’t know’ why the author deliberately stated facts which are not related to the earthquake. You are focusing only on the literal side of things and assuming things are completely black and white. In fact, this is how the media works – by exploiting shades of grey.

    You assume that one actually needs to talk to the author to know what he meant by including that irrelevant fact. That’s the height of naivete.

    Here is what your argument is –
    1. A child falls and hurts himself and starts crying. Now if someone asks me – Why is the child crying?. I will reply – because he fell down and hurt himself. You will reply – “I don’t know”. probably you expect that if the child cried BECAUSE he fell, he would come and tell you.

    2. A man eats an apple. If someone asks – Why did he eat the apple? almost everytime, pat will come the reply – because he is hungry. Now you will say – ‘I don’t know why he ate the apple! He didn’t tell me why! And you are ASSUMING that he ate it because he was hungry. ergo – You are making a lot of assumptions!’

    3. A parachuter falls to the ground after opening his parachute. Why did he fall? Because of gravity – would be the scientific answer. But you will say – You are assuming that. I don’t know why he fell! You are making assumptions!!!

    A child could understand this.
    It is a simple step from cause to affect. You are saying that this deduction should not even be undertaken!
    THAT’s how ridiculous your argument is.

    Not to mention that you are conveniently ignoring the fact that Jacobs put words in Wen Jiabao’s mouth. I mentioned it before, but you seem to have completely forgotten it, haven’t you?

    Again – It is a universal fact that the facts which people choose to include or not include provide a window to their minds.

    “I’m still interested in how you came to ‘know’ this, and I note you’ve been rather silent on that question.”

    yawn…

    “b. you answered the question in the end anyway
    c. my discussion sequence already showed you where that question was going to lead….and look, that’s where we ended up. How many times does a guy have to draw it out for you?”

    yawn…

    “I can only surmise that such attitudes stem from an over-reliance on the use of assumptions, one or more of which have evidently led you astray”

    yawn…

    “Nobody who has read even a single one of my articles would make that statement.”
    —oh really…perhaps I should start….someday….

    yawn…

    “You might analyse; you certainly deduce/assume an awful lot. But your use of a biased lens to examine the evidence renders the product of such analysis and deduction fairly meaningless.

    yawn…

    Just as well, since my questions often render you unwilling, or unable, to answer.

    yawn..

    This is making me sleepy. You are posing the same questions over and over again. And I am certainly not going to repeat myself for the third time just for your sake. If you had read my previous comments carefully and reviewed them, you will find that I have answered all your queries.

    But don’t let me stop you. We all are interested in seeing how many more own goals you are capable of scoring!
    In fact, to prove you wrong, one doesn’t need to do much – except just sit back and enjoy you contradicting yourself and let your vacuous approach towards the issue render any reply on one’s part completely needless.

    @Buru

    “pl do something about your inferiority complex.”

    So what you are saying is – The person who hides behind a smokescreen of abuse and smileys doesn’t have an inferiority complex, and the person who doesn’t and tolerates you and replies with civility, does!!

  72. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Well look who’s back…and it didn’t even take long. I guess Maitreya has more assumptions he feels compelled to share.

    “It took you so many comments to understand”
    —it actually took that long for me to be sure that you knew the difference. I would never ‘assume’ that you could distinguish between “facts” and the biased use thereof.

    “Your inherent bias was evident from your tone”
    —more assumptions, I see.

    “Your words: actually, the very fact that they are NOT related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND”
    —here are more of my words : “The Time article was about the quake (the “foreground”, as you like to call it). Paragraphs 4 and 5 describe some aspects of the region in which the quake occurred. Is it directly related to the quake? No. But does this “background” provide the reader with some additional appreciation of the devastated region, in so doing indirectly helping the reader to better relate to the quake story itself? Yep. You know, the “background” to an earthquake story doesn’t just have to be geology assessments of the quake zone, and dissertations on the inner workings of a seismograph. Or perhaps you’re only capable of comprehending very literal relationships…for everything else, you have to make assumptions.”
    Hope that clears it up for you. For a guy who complains about misquoting, you managed to ignore an entire answer. Brilliant.

    “My complete statement was: If you are not ‘familiar’ with my writing, then you have no right to comment on it or my blog.”
    —ummm, here’s my answer again: “umm, I just did. You need to reassess what you can and cannot control, then grow a thicker skin.” Deal with it already!

    “When did I give you my ‘word’ that you had heard the last from me?”
    —evidently, you didn’t. So here you are. What pearls of biased wisdom do you have for us this time?

    I see that, when faced with questions that you are unable or unwilling to answer, you resort to tactics which reside on the more juvenile side of the spectrum. That is certainly your prerogative. If you need to satisfy the inner-child, be my guest. But worry not, I don’t stoop to such levels. You and RV are more similar than I had initially thought.

    “You are posing the same questions over and over again.”
    —it would serve for you to notice that some of those aren’t even questions. Maybe you’re more adept with quotation marks than you are with question marks, or the absence thereof.

    “If you had read my previous comments carefully and reviewed them, you will find that I have answered all your queries.”
    —oh brother, here we go. Tell someone to re-read comments rather than answer questions. That’s useful….and fairly common around here. But your comments aren’t worthy of re-reading or review, and you certainly shouldn’t assume them to be, partial though you are towards making assumptions.

    “let your vacuous approach towards the issue render any reply on one’s part completely needless.”
    —oh look, that’s what you said last time, and yet reply you still did. Perhaps there was a need after all. I suggest you get the sleep that you apparently need, and hopefully that will serve your writing well. Perhaps a clearer mind might allow you to forgo some of your usual requisite assumptions. And maybe, just maybe, the next time you’ll actually demonstrate the intestinal fortitude to address my questions, and your assumptions, rather than relying on the grade school stuff you felt necessary this time out. For the reach should exceed the grasp, or what’s a heaven for? (you don’t need to answer that last question; don’t want to overburden you).

  73. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    On the one hand, you say, ” actually, the very fact that they are NOT related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND” and on the other, you say, “But does this “background” provide the reader with some additional appreciation of the devastated region, in so doing indirectly helping the reader to better relate to the quake story itself? Yep.

    Do you even realize how you contradicted yourself?

    ” I suggest you get the sleep that you apparently need, and hopefully that will serve your writing well.

    So I need your permission to go to sleep, is it?

    “you resort to tactics which reside on the more juvenile side of the spectrum.”

    Is that why so many of your comments have been collapsed? And not a single one of mine?

    ————-
    The fact is, that people like you need a string of expletives and personal abuse to hide behind, since you don’t have much of a point to make. That is why everyone here is so annoyed at you. Have you ever wondered why most of the comments which have been collapsed are yours?

  74. S. K. Cheung Says:

    I see you’ve felt it somewhat less needless to reply some more by adding to your post. I’ll respond here…

    ““My answer is “I don’t know””
    So you ‘don’t know’ why the author deliberately stated facts which are not related to the earthquake.”
    —for a guy who bemoans people misquoting him, you engage in the exact same thing with a fair degree of regularity. For your benefit, here’s the entirety of my answer again: “I think we can stipulate that you obviously can’t include every single “fact” in every single article. So the author has to choose…as it is the author’s prerogative. So do you think these facts (“the medieval history of Tibet, or the king who ruled Tibet in 1589, or the minerals found in that region, or the height of the highest mountain in that area, or the name of the person who first climbed it”) would be more beneficial to the reader, or the ones the author chose? Your ‘geography’ point is the one reasonable “fact” in your list…that’s not a good ratio.”

    “You assume that one actually needs to talk to the author to know what he meant by including that irrelevant fact.”
    —I don’t merely assume that; I would happily state that. Anything less than that (which is where you find yourself) might allow you to think you know what he meant, but that’s as close as you’ll get. And the fidelity of your guesstimate of what he meant to what he actually meant is dependent upon the degree of bias in your own thought process. We already know there’s a fair degree of that in yours. In case you’re wondering, that doesn’t help with the fidelity.

    “Here is what your argument is –
    1. A child falls and hurts himself and starts crying. Now if someone asks me – Why is the child crying?. I will reply – because he fell down and hurt himself. You will reply – “I don’t know”. probably you expect that if the child cried BECAUSE he fell, he would come and tell you.”
    —how could you offer your reply unless you saw him/her fall? If you saw it happen (much like if you had that magic tunnel into Jacobs’ mind), then you can utter the reply you have. If you didn’t see it happen, how can you be sure that the child wasn’t crying because someone stole his ball, or because he has a toothache? This again speaks to your penchant for assumptions.

    “2. A man eats an apple. If someone asks – Why did he eat the apple? almost everytime, pat will come the reply – because he is hungry. Now you will say – ‘I don’t know why he ate the apple! He didn’t tell me why! And you are ASSUMING that he ate it because he was hungry. ergo – You are making a lot of assumptions!’”
    —this is, pardon the pun, apples and oranges. Why does anyone eat anything? There aren’t a lot of possibilities to consider. But if you want to know why an author included certain facts and excluded others, the answer is likely much less biological. Too assume that those 2 things are even comparable does not reflect well on your thought processes.

    “3. A parachuter falls to the ground after opening his parachute. Why did he fall? Because of gravity – would be the scientific answer. But you will say – You are assuming that. I don’t know why he fell! You are making assumptions!!!”
    —that’s a good one. Now you’re comparing scientific facts (Newton’s Laws, no less) to your assumptions. First, scientific “facts” become that way by way of proof; not assumptions. Second, in science, you draw conclusions based on observations. In your world, you start with conclusions then seek out observations which might support them. Your mode of thinking is the anti-science way of life. BUt thanks for giving me a good chuckle.

    “You are saying that this deduction should not even be undertaken!”
    —I certainly haven’t said that. More faulty assumptions on your part. Here’s what I have said: “I think a more compelling case can be made when one identifies bias from a position of neutrality.” So deduce away…but it’s best to deduce to come to a conclusion, rather than to deduce to come to a pre-determined conclusion.

    “THAT’s how ridiculous your argument is.”
    —I wonder if you still feel that way after reading what I’ve written here. I must say I enjoyed your revision here more than anything else you’ve written to date. You’re funnier than I thought. But if the logic you displayed in #1-3 is the basis upon which you arrive at your pre-determined conclusions, than I am even more wary of your ‘assumptions’ than I had previously imagined possible.

  75. S. K. Cheung Says:

    You know what, I’ll rephrase so that you can move on from nitpicking at individual words…

    “actually, the very fact that they are NOT (DIRECTLY) related to the quake is why they are BACKGROUND”

    “So I need your permission to go to sleep, is it?”
    —if you think you do, then you have it. Or you can note that it was a “suggestion”. Or you can stop the disturbing regression into childhood that you’re putting on display. Just so we’re clear, the choice is yours.

    “Is that why so many of your comments have been collapsed?”
    —well, up till now, I don’t see you at the level of someone like RV or Wahaha. But you’re heading in the right direction if that is your destination.

    As for your last paragraph, I’d like you to show me where i’ve used expletives. Personal abuse, sure, for those who in my mind are deserving of it. I respond in kind. If someone is polite with me, I’m polite with them; if someone is snarky with me, then snarky it is. If you want to talk about collapsed posts, you could also try to see whether i initiate, or respond. But I don’t want to put observations in the way of your assumptions.

    I’ll take your word for it if you’ve yet to be collapsed. But I’ve been around here considerably longer than you, I believe….so you’ve got time yet. And as I said, you seem to be heading in the right direction.

  76. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    S.K.Chueng:

    “-how could you offer your reply unless you saw him/her fall?”

    Read what I had wrote carefully: I said: “A child falls..”. It is a fact for the analogy.
    You on the other hand, would deny the reason for crying even if you saw him fall. That’s what my point was and which you didn’t understand. Why do I have to explain everything multiple times to you?

    “Now you’re comparing scientific facts (Newton’s Laws, no less) to your assumptions. “
    “First, scientific “facts” become that way by way of proof; not assumptions. “

    Ok, I’m saying (heck, ‘assuming’) that he fell due to gravity – is that an assumption? If there was no gravity – would he still fall? Is attributing a fall to gravity an ‘assumption’ that gravity was the reason for the fall?

    “You know what, I’ll rephrase so that you can move on from nitpicking at individual words.”

    So changing your statement again, I see.

    Lets face facts – when you have been proven wrong – you either a) accuse others of making ‘assumptions’ or b) “rephrase” your statements and accuse others of ‘nitpicking’ at ‘individual words’.
    and yes, I forgot, c) hurl personal abuses, which results in people ignoring you and your comments being collapsed.

    BTW, I don’t think you replied it completely , so i’ll repeat my previous comment again in bold:

    Have you ever wondered why most of the comments which have been collapsed are yours?

    “Personal abuse, sure, for those who in my mind are deserving of it.”

    Exactly. In YOUR mind.

    “I’ll take your word for it if you’ve yet to be collapsed”

    Nobody’s asking you to take my word for it. Look around you.

    “And as I said, you seem to be heading in the right direction.”

    ‘seem’ to whom? To you?

    @WYA

    “Hey Maitreya, I always enjoyed reading your post and impressed by your research. don’t mind SKC, he’s been gone for a while and now he’s back, usually conversations with him end up in the same fashion (see his back and forth with r.v and it’s quite entertaining) ha ha. Back to the topic though I read that the monks were orderd to abandon the rescue efforts and leave it to the state to handle, What’s your take on this new development? Is it a bad decision on the part of the government since this decision is being used by Tibetan exile and their allies in the west to re-enforce “evil” government intentions toward the minorities.”

    Thanks for commenting.

    We all know that the rescue workers were overworked and understaffed, atleast in the initial stages of the rescue effort. Now, one can certainly expect that they were very stressed. Hence, if someone comes to offer their help (like monks), the already stressed workers will probably order them to go back if they came in the way, maybe even impolitely.

    As far as burning bodies are concerned – the main reason for this is that they are not qualified, as r v pointed out, and CANNOT verify whether someone is dead or not. Monks simply can’t take a body out of the debris, conclude that it is dead, and then burn it. The prudent course would be to verify that he/she is dead or alive. Now I don’t know whether or not the monks have done that verification or not.

    I think that the monks were ordered to leave the rescue efforts (if it is indeed true) because they would simply come in the way. They can always help by offering food etc. to the survivors who have already been rescued. The fact that monks were ordered to stop might have nothing whatsoever to so with the fact that they were monks – any other civilian would be refused too if he/she came in the way of the rescue effort of experts. Of course the rescuers need all the help it can get – but not if it hinders rescue work.

    The government cares more about saving lives and less about what Tibetans exiles and their allies would think. Of course the western media will exploit the situation, and so will the monks.

  77. S. K. Cheung Says:

    ““A child falls..”. It is a fact for the analogy.”
    —nice try. Had that been your intent, then you should have said “IF A child falls and hurts himself and starts crying, AND someone asks me – Why is the child crying?, THEN I will reply – because he fell down and hurt himself.”
    If it’s an established “fact” in a causal sequence as reflected by my wording, then there’s only one answer. But how does this apply to Jacobs, where your accusation of his bias is NOT an established fact? Are you going circular on me?

    “Ok, I’m saying (heck, ‘assuming’) that he fell due to gravity – is that an assumption?”
    —no. It’s a scientific fact that is well established, and reproducible for anyone so interested. Which is what makes it entirely unlike the assumptions you espouse. Clearly physics isn’t your thing? Perhaps being argumentative is.

    Nice attempt at trying to resurrect your wounded examples. You’re welcome to resuscitate them again if you want me to bat them around some more. Maybe bring back #2 next time.

    “So changing your statement again, I see. ”
    —I had little choice because some people preferred to obfuscate rather than respond, and it was getting tiresome reading it even they had nothing more worthwhile to offer.

    “when you have been proving wrong”
    —and you have proven me wrong in which lifetime? You seem to have a loose definition for “proof”. Are your assumptions similarly loosely-constructed?

    “As far as burning bodies is concerned – the main reason for this is that they are not qualified, as r v pointed out, and CANNOT verify whether someone is dead or not.”
    —here’s another assumption: that the bodies hadn’t been verified by someone else to be dead (yes, redundant to be sure) before they were burned.
    —and another: that the monks were potentially or possibly burning people alive.
    Nice, solid, unbiased assumptions, to be sure.

  78. Wukailong Says:

    @Everybody: Cool it a little. No need to be so personal with these things. I think Allen pointed out a long time ago that we’re here to discuss and have a good time, not throw stuff at each other.

    Even better, donate some money to the victims. I’ve done that.

  79. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    “It’s a scientific fact that is well established”

    You don’t need to tell us that. That’s why I said that it is not an assumption. Nobody’s assuming anything. My point was that you choose to call facts ‘assumptions’.

    “entirely unlike the assumptions you espouse”

    correction: “entirely unlike the assumptions I THINK you espouse”

    “I had little choice because some people preferred to obfuscate rather than respond”

    correction: I had little choice because I THOUGHT THAT some people preferred to obfuscate rather than respond

    “here’s another assumption: that the bodies hadn’t been verified by someone else to be dead (yes, redundant to be sure) before they were burned.”

    Nobody is making that assumption. It’s about keeping an open mind and double checking when people’s lives are involved.
    ‘someone else’? Quite frankly, I trust the rescue experts more than the monks.

    Again you keep misquoting. I had EXPLICITLY said: “The prudent course would be to verify that he/she is dead or alive. Now I don’t know whether or not the monks have done that verification or not.

    I was commenting with regard to the following statement of r v: “I frankly have a problem with the Monks going in on their own, without authorized personnel, and pulling out bodies.”

    Nobody’s saying that the monks would PURPOSEFULLY be burning bodies. They might not even know that a seemingly dead body could be resuscitated, and hence they themselves would be completely innocent. The conclusion – they need to stay away from the debris and let the experts do their job; and maybe help the people who have already been rescued.
    I was giving my opinion as to why monks were asked to leave the area.

    ————-
    But you are again not answering my question: Have you ever wondered why most of the comments which have been collapsed are yours?

  80. r v Says:

    One self-admitted non-expert willing to let other non-experts make the decisions about life/death.

    Well, talk about the blind leading the blind.

    *Oh, surly, the blind wouldn’t lead the blind to danger?

    Why yes, that’s why I go to hospitals to see qualified doctors if I’m sick, instead of going to temples for a check-up.

  81. wuen Says:

    Before I make an opinion on whether the Lama correctly or not correctly handle the corpse, I have a few questions.

    I like to know if the Lama are qualified for identifying if a body is alive or dead. To see if they are qualified I like to know what is the method they used to make the distinction. Which Lama are responsible for this task and what is his credential or experience relating to this activity. Did they follow a established procedure in handling of the body according to law.

    I hope they recorded or take photo of every corpse they burn. The people who are searching for their love one have the right to identify their family member before any burial or burning. Even if the face is unrecognizable, the clothing, bracelet or others articles the corpse is wearing could help for identification. Not anyone is able to correctly take a photo of a corpse for identification — a specialist is require.

    If the body of family member is burn by the monk without the consent of the family, then the family could file a lawsuit to find out the truth if the monk are qualified to handle the body. If the monks are found guilty of unlawful practice, then the monk who is responsible for given the order to burn the body will be punish according to the law. If no family file a lawsuit, then the people in Yushu accept the practice of the monk for handling the body during a disaster incident. Filing a lawsuit could people being aware of an established general procedure in handling of body during a disaster incident.

  82. r v Says:

    That’s what I was getting at, Wuen,

    Obviously, determination of life/death (and determination of whether further medical procedure should be used to save someone near death) involves practice of medicine.

    Granted, in an emergency, if you see someone injured, there are no doctors around, you should render first-aid the best you can.

    But, if there are doctors or trained medical personnel around, you shouldn’t interfere. (And that means, if those qualified people tell you to stop messing with the bodies, stop messing with the bodies. ESPECIALLY, don’t burn the bodies without authorization.)

    In US, if someone unqualified examined a body, pronounced death, and then disposed it without authorization, it would be at a minimum, mishandling of dead body, or even practicing medicine without a license.

    *Of course, I’m not saying that every monk in Yushu area were burning bodies without authorizations. Reports suggest that most are working with the authorities to do what they can do properly to help, ie. help pull out the bodies and let the medical personnel examine them.

    But there are a few reports that suggest that some of the monks are doing “rescue” without going through the trained qualified medical personnel. (even at night, when inherently rescue is dangerous, and difficult to examine bodies for life signs.)

    That, is just playing politics with the survivors’ lives.

  83. miaka9383 Says:

    @Admin
    Please shut down this thread. From the first minute that Maiterya and RV started to argue with SK and having this thread degenerate into petty arguments with personal attacks.
    @Maitereya I am sorry I don’t agree with your point of view and frankly your failure to back it up is causing you to be frustrated. But it is ok that I disagree with you, and I don’t feel compelled for you to convince me that you are either correct or not. It is just a different idea.
    @SK dude, chill out and stop antagonizing a person who has a different opinion than you. Its ok that you guys disagree no big deal. This is a discussion platform for exchanges of ideas.

    Frankly RV I don’t like you, I have never like you but that doesn’t matter. But what matters is stop putting the fuel on the fire. Stop instigating things.

    So Admin either please shut this thread down and let us mourn this tragedy. This is not anyone’s platform to attack western media or defend it. If you want to attack how the western media treated this incident go to open thread or create another thread. If you are going to do something donate some money or go over there and help if you are in China.

  84. r v Says:

    I don’t know on what basis I am accused of “instigating things.” (what exactly are these “things”?)

    As far as I am aware, I am DISCUSSING some people’s lack of qualifications and expertise in a rescue.

    I reserve the mourning offline.

    Here no one can hear anyone mourn.

    And it requires no one to shut down this thread to mourn. I don’t see Western Media shutting down to “mourn” anything.

    *And as for someone not liking me, that’s no more appropriate a subject here than someone else being “envious” of me.

    Those are both “fuel on the fire” kind of comments, in case it is unnoticed.

  85. r v Says:

    Now that Chinese Government has warn of possible disease outbreak in the quake area, many Monks have returned to their monasteries.

    I guess the Chinese government finally figured out the proper use of Fear. That being, a truly wise government does not wave a gun in the face of its people, but point to something even more terrifying and then remind the people that the Government has the only protection. (That is afterall the Western philosophy by Machiavelli).

    Why capitalize on disasters and disease?

    Because in Earthquakes, even staunchly independent people want help, usually from the government.

    And Monks may think that they can “rescue” people without government’s help, but you mention disease outbreak, and suddenly, monks’ prayers don’t seem so healing any more.

    *I think the Chinese government finally see the clear lesson, well learned even in US.

    Even most “free thinking” Westerners cringe at the possibility of biological chemical attacks, like the Anthrax scare of 2001 in US.

    That is the modern application of POWER, not in the bigger gun, but in two small vials, one containing deadly uncontrollable disease, the other containing the only cure.

  86. S. K. Cheung Says:

    #79:
    “My point was that you choose to call facts ‘assumptions’.”
    — ummm, you seem to be having difficulty with this. Newton’s Laws are definitely facts. But your ill-conceived assumptions about Jacobs can hardly be characterized as “Laws”, or “facts”. I hope that clears it up for you. But if not, please ask and I’d be happy to phrase it in yet another way for you.

    “correction: “entirely unlike the assumptions I THINK you espouse””
    —here’s the thing. Do you think there is much difference between your assumptions and what I THINK are your assumptions? You know, those assumptions that you’ve never tried to deny. I”M THINKING no.

    “correction: I had little choice because I THOUGHT THAT some people preferred to obfuscate rather than respond”
    —ahhh, the little games you like to play. Considering that I WROTE it, it should be fairly obvious that it represents what I THOUGHT. Unless, of course, you choose to assume that I am actually transcribing someone else’s thoughts onto the page. With you, who can say for sure? It is ironic, however, that you are keen to indicate that I speak for myself, when you’ve floated gems such as these: “Everyone here has understood what my point was, except you”; “That is why everyone here is so annoyed at you.”. I think it’s time for you to look into the mirror.

    “Nobody is making that assumption.”
    —I’m heartened that you’re not; some others around these parts, I’m not so sure.

    “Quite frankly, I trust the rescue experts more than the monks.”
    —fair enough.

    “I was giving my opinion as to why monks were asked to leave the area.”
    —again, fair enough.

    “Have you ever wondered why most of the comments which have been collapsed are yours?”
    —nope. I know the rules, and I know when I’m breaking them. But have you tallied all the collapsed posts on all the threads since May 2008 to come to your assumption/conclusion?

  87. WYA Says:

    Woa Miaka where did that come from? I think you are being unfair to Maitreya, from his first post (#30) he didn’t engage in personal attack and he always explain his argument unlike some people. so I don’t see where your accusation comes from.

    “This is a discussion platform for exchanges of ideas. ”
    -exactly, we are discussing the western media treatment of this earthquake for the last 50 posts or so, and I read Steve’s first post, nowhere did it say this post is for people “mourning” only, so your recommendation to shut down is post is bizarre to me. I think you should start a new post for people who like to join and mourn for the victim and contribute to the relief effort.

  88. r v Says:

    And…. As I suggested before, Admins should tally all the collapsed posts.

    Obviously, this is getting already too personal between some people. I for one, want to see who is the actual “instigator” of all these, and have the admins make a determination.

    For example, I find this statement from post# 38 insulting,

    “You’ve gone from “quick proper medical examination” (#23) to “CERTIFICATE of DEATH” (#33) to “checking for life signs”. That you would assume that this wasn’t done (or that no one ascertained the absence of a pulse or that the “body” was truly “dead” before burying it) is an interesting testament to your state of mind.”

    From what I have read, the writer of post # 38 is in the habit of making similar remarks, ie. turn a disagreement into a passing personal insult, and generally via twisting other people’s words.

    Since such instigations of insults are not collapsed, I feel no reservations about responding in kind. I have no problem with post #38 not being collapsed. Everyone can see who is instigating the insults.

  89. WYA Says:

    I second that, I personally feel SKC’s comments are not contributing to the content of the discussion, his main message from most of his postings is that rest of the commentators are not at his level intellectually or their comments are “worthless” since they are just “floating their boat” or “digging their hole”. SKC rarely exchange with other commentators his insights or conclusions, so majority of his comments are not constructive. Allen has pointed this out as well in his previous post which he banned SKC from commenting.

  90. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Here’s something you can try. Just start by tallying this thread. That should be informative. Then see who is collapsed first in a discussion sequence. Then note that I’ve debated four people on this thread already, while others have only managed to debate one (admittedly I’m discounting the back-slapping between like-minded folk). Do that first, then we’ll talk.

  91. r v Says:

    Your questioning of other posters’ “state of mind” is not “debate”.

  92. S. K. Cheung Says:

    It’s actually an ‘observation’. I’m way past “questioning”. How’s the ‘counting’ going on this thread? Need a hand? Between you and Maitreya and #89, I figure you guys can get ‘er done.

  93. Steve Says:

    Sorry everyone, I’ve been away for awhile on family business. If anyone has any interest in the comments I collapsed, you’re welcome to un-collapse them with one click and read them to your heart’s content. For my threads, here’s the scoop…

    1) Make your point and get out. If someone disagrees with you, let them make their point and get out. We’re all pretty smart on this blog and don’t need to read endless juvenile rebuttals to make up our minds.

    2) If I see more than a couple of rebuttals to rebuttals, I’m going to collapse all the comments involving said rebuttals. They’ll still be there for anyone to read if they are interested, just a click away, but I’m not going to let them take up page space for people who actually want to read pertinent comments.

    3) If people write in one sentence paragraphs, those comments will be collapsed and still readable with one click. It simply takes too much page space to say a few words.

    I don’t care if people want to argue endlessly amongst themselves so I’m not going to shut down the thread or delete comments unless they’re way out of line. But I’m also not going to bore most of the readers with them unless they choose to be bored. As I said before, they’ll all be one click away. If you want your comment to be visible, make your point and get out. Group your sentences into viable paragraphs. It’s not that difficult.

    Note: I want to make it very clear that I love good discussions between two or more bloggers and those will be welcomed and probably highlighted. I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone which are discussions and which are petty arguments.

  94. r v Says:

    BEIJING — China’s Health Ministry announced Sunday it has detected Himalayan marmots in quake zone and called for step-up measures in preventing and controlling an outbreak of marmot plague.

    Related readings:
    Official: Marmot plague risk growing
    Health Ministry warns outbreak of marmot plague
    Water supply back to normal in Quake-hit Yushu
    Marmot smugglers get holed up for plague fears

    Himalayan marmots have been found in Saimachang, a temporary settlement for quake survivors, in quake epicenter Gyegu Township of Yushu prefecture in China’s northwestern Qinghai Province,read a notice posted on the ministry website Sunday.
    The ministry said the quake zone had so far recorded no outbreak of major epidemics but faced “severe” challenges in preventing and controlling an outbreak of marmot plague.

    The ministry is closely monitoring marmots activities on a land area of 600 hectares in the quake zone which had historical records of plague outbreaks.

    The ministry has urged health authorities in Qinghai Province to distribute bilingual disease prevention brochures and leaflets in both Chinese and Tibetan.

    More than 3,000 people including medical experts and monks were told and trained on how to control and prevent marmot plague, according to the ministry.

    The ministry has asked the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to mobilize national efforts to assist local health authorities in Qinghai Province to prevent the outbreak of marmot plague.

    Marmots come out of hibernation in April each year but might wake earlier this year because of the quake, Ni Daxin, an epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in charge of epidemic risk evaluation of the quake zone, told Xinhua on April 20.

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