Kevin Kwok (@discoballs) rounds up the week’s most eye-catching news from the Middle Kingdom.
- We launch this new weekly feature of the blog just in time to gawp at another launch involving the final frontier. The national press is giddy over the launching of China’s Tiangong 1 space module, which blasted into space on Thursday evening at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Tiangong 1 will serve as practice material for Chinese scientists and astronauts as they work towards designing, constructing, and launching larger space structure such as the much-mooted fully equipped Chinese space station à la the ISS. [Guardian]
- In far less cheery news, this week also saw a Shanghai subway accident which injured 271 people and added fresh questions to the country’s breakneck infrastructure expansion. [NYTimes] Like the Wenzhou railway accident earlier this summer, everything was in place for another PR disaster; in response, the Shanghai Metro wheeled out their president in a press conference featuring lots of profuse bowing. It is an unusual move which Evan Osnos of the New Yorker analyzes in his column here.
- Two Tibetan monks have set themselves on fire to protest China’s policy towards religious freedom. Named as Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok, the two teenagers were reported to shout “Long live the Dalai Lama!” before beginning the grisly process. Both are now hospitalized in stable condition; since 2008 they are the fourth and fifth Tibetan monks to have self-immolated. [LATimes]
- Independent news sources reporting from Darfur have observed attacks by local youth on Chinese workers there that have left 1 Chinese engineer dead and 3 workers injured. The angry mobs, most of whom are from the Misseryia tribe, are organizing attacks due to the perceived theft of jobs by the Chinese working in that area. [Radio Dabanga]
- Jack Ma, chairman of the massive Internet-based business conglomerate Alibaba Group, has publicly revealed his interest in purchasing Yahoo. Alibaba and Yahoo of course have ties originating from Ma’s close relationship with Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, and the 40% stake Yahoo has in Alibaba. [Reuters]
- Finally, always interesting, perpetually photogenic, massively popular internet blogger/writer/rally racer Han Han is interviewed on his views towards censorship, social media, and why a Chinese-style Arab Spring would never work as well as the original. Watch for when Time’s 2nd Most Influential Person in the World explain why he turned down a meeting with Barack Obama (Hint: He likes girls and he likes a lie-in). [ChannelNewsAsia]