Be Positive

From the 2007-08-20 print of the 新京报, the Beijing Paper. On page A21, in the International News: Asia Pacific and Europe section. Written by Xu Chao, and is from the Xinhua Press. Under the “Taliban Kidnaps 23 South Koreans” news track.


The Taliban Threatens to Kill More Korean Hostages

- A spokesperson says that continuing negotiations won’t yield any progress; on the 17th 4 Afghani engineers were also kidnapped by the Taliban.

Calling himself the Taliban’s spokesperson, Yousef Ahmadi said on the 18th that if the South Korean party doesn’t express a more “positive attitude” in future negotiaations, then the Taliban will kill more hostages. Before the Taliban released two of the female South Korean hostages on the 13th, the Taliban had also threatened to kill them.

Ahmadi said that the face-to-face negotiations between the Taliban and the South Korean government’s representatives concerning the hostage problem have already failed, because the South Koreans did not respond to the Taliban’s demands.

“If the South Koreans don’t express more positivity during the negotiations, then in that case two hostages will possibly be killed,” Ahmadi said in a telephone interview with the Korean United Press Agency. He reiterated the demand made by the Taliban that 8 Talibani prisoners be released still “hasn’t changed”.

This is the newest threat since the release of two female South Korean prisoners. On the 19th of July the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean hostages, and afterwards killed two of the men. After the release of the two women, the Taliban still holds 19 South Korean hostages captive. Ahmadi said the upper levels of the Taliban are now discussing how to deal with these 19 hostages.

“I think that continuing negotiations won’t improve anything. I am currently waiting for the decision of the (Taliban’s) upper levels,” said Ahmadi.

And while this kidnapping affair has yet to come to a resolution, on the 18th two more kidnapping incidents occurred elsewhere in Afghanistan. Afghani authorities confirmed that on the 17th armed Taliban forces kidnapped four Afghani engineers in Afghan’s southern Kandahar province. The four engineers were kidnapped in Shawalikute, in the north of the province, where they were constructing a bridge. The building project is sponsered by the Afghani government.

Translator’s notes:
- Pretty straight forward article. It read much faster since I had all the vocabulary from the last one. I felt like I should follow up that lost hostage story, and sort of see where it goes. Otherwise there was an article about the US Navy pulling a video one of its officers posted on Youtube. Okay can’t talk too much I’ve really got to use the bathroom.
- Also didn’t know what name Shawalikute is transliterated from originally, but like I said I have to go to the bathroom.

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From the 2007-08-19 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), in the Global Publications-Front Page News section on page B05. This was written by a Xie Lai, under the heading of Observations.


Is America Turning to the Left?

The time of the “Big Shuffle” that Rove dreamed of never came to pass. Instead the exact opposite occurred, and the Democratic Party recovered both Houses of Congress after Bush’s approval rating dropped to the lowest point of all the American presidents in the past 30 years. Now the democrats are itching for a fight, and are preparing to launch a turbulent offensive in the 2008 general elections.

Bruce Babbitt, the Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton era, believes that Rove’s error lay in “knowing too much.” He said, “If you take into account every public opinion poll and every interest group’s viewpoint when you are looking at a problem, then you can’t honestly establish policy. And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from policy being able to achieve actual results.”

Andrew Kohut, the Chairman of America’s famous public opinion polling organization–the Washington Pew Research Center, pointed out that with the Rebublican Party’s failures in domestic and foreign policies, the subsequent estrangement of public opinion can’t be avoided. According to data from a 2002 Pew Research Center public opinion poll, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party had been equal to one another; each side had 43% of the pollees consider themselves to belong to one of the two parties. But after 5 years, 50% stood behind democratic lines, and only 35% still answered that they were Republicans.

However, just because the conservative party is going through some troubles does not mean the liberal party will achieve an automatic victory. Democratic campaign analyst Mark Meiershi said that 9/11 let the Republic Party achieve temporary glory, but the following Iraqi war quickly leveled that success, and now everything has returned to the original state. Until today, there has still been “no sign that the Republican Party occupies an advantageous position, but it also doesn’t signify that the Democratic Party’s time has come. In fact, the split between party lines has been growing larger, and the voters in the two parties are less and less willing to vote for the opposing camp.” Meiershi believes that despite the Bush administration’s quagmire, in the 2008 presidential election the Republican Party still has at the very least a 40% chance at victory.

And in American history, examples of being favored by public opinion and yet being unable to rally this advantage are not few–for instance in the early 90s public opinion clearly favored the conservative party, but Americans were simply not interested in the radical government projects the Republican Party was proposing. Karl Rove is a recent lesson in such failure.

So will America welcome a new era for the democratic party? Kohut thinks that this will depend on two criteria: first, the Democratic Party needs to win the 2008 presidential election. Looking at the current situation, although the Democratic Party seems to have few advantages, who can tell who will be ensured the last laugh? Secondly, and more importantly, after winning, the Democratic Party needs to resolve the domestic and foreign problems left behind by the Bush administration–the Iraq problem, medical insurance reform, the income gap between the rich and poor, etc. Kohut says that of course the direction of public opinion is important, but it will only be through producing a successful leader and realistic results that the democrats will truly be able to usher in their own era.

Translator’s note:
- I’m not sure if they translated that “honestly establish policy” bit right. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like that’s how it should be translated, and maybe the original quote was something along the lines of “honestly can’t make policy” or some such.
- “And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from a policy being able to achieve actual results.” Ba-zing.
- Mark Meiershi, democratic campaign analyst, I don’t know how to translate that last name, and I can’t find him on the internet. Well, on the first page of Google.
- It’s funny how they list the rich/poor gap and medical insurance as a Bush administration problem. The Chinese are definitely rooting for the democrats, although I have talked to a few old men who are fairly sure either party will change America’s power-mad and blood-thirsty tendencies.
- Here’s an article on Russian media control:
I can’t decide if it sounds worse than China. The article I linked to yesterday, about the bridge collapse, I made sure to look for in the paper today. I found it buried in the Regional News section, overshadowed by a different infrastructure calamity. There was another mine collapse that trapped near 200 people. Although America has had these fairly recently as well, it certainly never meets the extent of the Chinese disasters.

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Electric Medicine

This one’s from the 2007-08-18 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报). It was on page A21, no author listed, and it’s from a Xinhua Press dispatch. This one is related to healthcare in the United States.


America’s Nationwide Electronic Prescription System Opens

- Patients can use electronic prescriptions to pick up medicine from pharmacies in every state throughout the country.

The American state of Alaska received the electronic prescription system this week, becoming the last state to be added to the system. Now America’s patients can use the electronic prescriptions written by their doctors to pick up medicine from pharmacies of all 50 states.

In the last year, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia have all entered the system, and the addition of Alaska has completed the nationwide network.

In contrast with written prescriptions, electronic prescriptions have clear advantages. They will reduce the likelihood of pharmacists giving out wrong prescriptions because they are unable to read a doctor’s handwriting, and will also reduce the amount of work that will have to be done by the medical and insurance industries. Because the prescriptions entered into the system will go directly to the pharmacists, this can prevent the likelihood of counterfeit prescriptions. And for patients travelling to places without having brought their medical records with them, electronic prescriptions are a great convenience.

An Alaskan representative, democrat Bessie Davis, says that although the promotion of electronic prescriptions in Alaska still needs some time, in the end these types of prescriptions will be a great convenience to many people. She said, “I hope we will as fast as possible become a part of this new system, the overall proportion isn’t strong.”

However, there are also those who think that electronic prescriptions will bring no small amount of problems themselves. A few people believe that electronic prescriptions will be vulnerable to computer attacks by hackers, and that it will be difficult for some doctors, who have for so long written out prescriptions, to alter their habits. The Alaskan Pharmacists Union Executive Chairperson Nancy Davis said, “Doing this will have a big effect on some smaller pharmacies.” She continued to say that electronic prescriptions require a high speed integrated network and special internet services, and at the same time new software must be bought, and all of this will increase the costs of implementation.

Translator’s notes:
- I’m pretty sure the name Bessie Davis translates as such, I can’t find her on the internet, maybe she’s a state rep?
- The line “the overall proportion isn’t strong”, I’m very sorry, sounds like a babelfish translation. It’s a phrase I really can’t figure out, I’m going to ask my tutor tomorrow and I’ll get back to this.
- Nice and fast little article, about healthcare, which is different then what I’ve done before, but I think I’d like to do some articles that have to do more with science or medicine themselves. I feel like I’d have a stronger background in those subjects. Unfortunately the Beijing Paper, which I usually buy, is more of a current events publication, and it doesn’t have a section devoted to science, just stories every once in a while.
- AP Press article about media censorship in China:

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Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act III)

More of the same from the Global Journal (世界报), 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper. I’ve been slow to type this one up.


Moxi Lin also believes the Luwushenme government’s negotiations with the Taliban are weak, because in their isolated state, they can only offer economic or financial assistance as an exchange. Lin firmly believes that the South Koreans can accept this means of securing release. Gu Jie optimistically believes that with the continuing delays in this hostage crisis, the Taliban will accept the money in the end, and the prospects for the release of the prisoners is high. “The Taliban’s tribal leaders should now be intensely debating how to deal with these 21 South Korean hostages, and they will certainly have many different ideas, like whether or not to harm the female hostages. It must be known that the Taliban and “base organizations” are different, their faith in Islam is firm, but at the same time there are many different places whose customs and habits must be respected,” expressed Gu Jie, who once lived in Afghanistan, “I believe the Taliban will, in the end, be able to compromise, and accept this ransom money. A monetary exchange to the local tribes is an acceptable means of resolving this situation.

Translator’s notes:
- Not sure what the Luwushenme (as in I don’t know the last character is) is, I suppose whatever the Korean administration in charge is.
- Sorry, not much to write, I’m tired! More tomorrow!

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Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act II)

More of the same from the Global Journal (世界报), 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper.


Two key leaders in charge of handling this hostage situation don’t want to make this announcement themselves, because it would magnify the situation’s high degree of political sensitivity, and will also make the diplomatic dilemma of Korea’s struggling alone that much more obvious.

An assistant professor in the political science department of America’s UCLA, Moxi Lin, has stated,”However, this doesn’t mean the Bush administration won’t actively work hard for the safe release of the South Korean hostages. I am certain that Washington is right now carrying out many types of rescue attempts. After all, in America’s eyes South Korea is still a very important ally, and the Bush administration can in no way turn a blind eye towards this problem.”

Yet in March of this year, pressured by the Italian government, Karzai released several Taliban officials in order to secure the release of the kidnapped Italian reporter Mastrogiacomo. One of them was the Taliban spokesperson Hajimi, who had been captured in Pakistan.

But if severasl foreign hostages are now faced with a “death ticket”, the United States and Karzai’s government will not be willing to bend the rules. Last time, the United States bent under Europe’s pressure and tacitly consented the the Afghani government’s prisoner release. This time, despite much imploring from the South Korean government and people, the “no negotiating with terrorists” banner has been taking. To compare the two really makes one sigh.

- South Korea Erupts in Anti-American Fervor

Bush’s and Karzai’s unyielding stance on no negotians not only does nothing to help the circumstances, but it also complicates the situation. In the last several days the Taliban has pledged every day that if the two do not change their standpoint, they will have the face the hostage’s “miserable conditions”. It is difficult to imagine how the South Korean government and the hostages’ families can endure these types of threats. With the lack of resolution in the development of this situation, the public sentiment in South Korea is like a spear pointed towards Washington. According to a poll carried out by the South Korean “Central Daily Paper”, 76.9% of those polled hope that America will go into action, and will take on an active role in the resolution of this problem. Not a few political commentators worry that the American-South Korean will be injured because of this.

The current eruption of anti-American sentiment reflects the South Korean peoples’ dissatisfaction. South Korea’s left wing has for the past several years steadily protested South Korea’s sending troops to the Middle East, and this hostage situation may be an opportunity to garner political support. The left wing criticizes America for being unwilling to persuade the Afghani government to release prisoners, and consider this as equal to disregard for the life and safety of the South Korean hostages. And if one takes the political inclinations of South Korean Christians into consideration, the hostage affair becomes even more complex. In Korea, a portion of the Christian clergy are always at the vanguard of anti-American demonstration parades. And a few South Korean left wingers want to place the blame of this situation on America’s head.

- Exchanging Hostages for Ransom Money May Be an Exit

According to the Washington Observer report, Gu Jie has said that the South Korean government is privately trying provide money to the Taliban in excahnge for the hostages; although this may incur Washington’s displease, it may be a lifeline for the hostages lying on their deathbeds. “It is said that the price for each hostage will probably be US$130,000, and the South Korean government will in the end have to pay in excess of US$2 million worth of ransom money,” stated Gu Jie, “But I think that if this money can secure the safe return of the South Korean hostages, then it’s worth it.”

(to be cont.)

Translator’s notes:
- Not sure if it’s assistant professor or associate professor.
- Also, don’t know about Moxi Lin, maybe Moishe?
- Ahh! I’ll finish and revise this tomorrow!

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Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act I)

Today I grabbed a copy of the Global Journal (世界报), which turns out to be one of the more fringe papers. I could tell immediately, because plastered on the front page was a gigantic photo of a fighter plane, and both “Taiwan” and “War Strategy” are mentioned in the same headline. Although, I hesitate to call it a fringe paper–with every other news story about some conflict somewhere, or some impending conflict, or some expose on the machinery that would be used in said conflicts, because there are about five of these types of publications to every “normal” newspaper at any newstand.

But naturally you’ll get a lot more interesting opinions.

Today’s article is about the current crisis with the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan, which I haven’t really paid much attention to, but which turns out to be a fascinating, if distressing, situation. This is from the 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper.


The Taliban Hostage Strategy is Dividing the American-South Korean Alliance

Since July 19th, of the 23 South Koreans who were taken hostage by armed elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, two of the hostages have already been executed and several more have become severely ill. Because the Afghani government is decidedly unwilling to yield to the Taliban’s demands to exchange prisoners, it looks like the prospect of survival for the remaining 21 hostages is grim. Not long ago, Afghani President Karzai met with President Bush at Camp David in the United States, where the two reaffirmed their position to refuse to negotiate with the terrorists’ demands for a prisoner exchange. America, which has long been a protector and a big brother to South Korea, has chosen this critical moment to maintain its own position, and South Korean citizens, excessively disappointed, have let out a cry of indignation, and their blazing fury could soon burn a bridge between the United States and South Korea.

In the past the South Korean government has been a strong supporter of America’s operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. But with the development of this hostage situation, not only has there been a challenge to whether or not Korea should support America’s policies in the Middle East, but there has also been a challenge to the the American-Korean allied relationship itself. How could it be possible for America to let Korea believe that it is doing everything she possibly can to rescuse the hostages and at the same time express its strong support of the resident authorities in Afghanistan? America has no way to respond to this question, and with this hostage situation at a deadlock, it is certain that it will injure the American-South Korean relationship.

- America’s Stubborn Opinion Will Make Korea Fight a Lone Battle

According to a US report by the Washington Observer, the head of the US Johns Hopkins University School of Internation Relations, Gu Jie, has said that, “Washington has already stated many times that they are not going to respond to the Taliban’s demands. I am guessing that however earnestly the South Koreans implore the United States government, it will not change its policy and give the Taliban any loopholes.” “America’s standpoint is to maintain its policy of “zero negotiation with terrorists”, and to prevent further hostage taking situations from occurring,” Gu Jie commented,”and now it doesn’t look like Washington is taking any action to change that standpoint.” Furthermore, the Washington Observer article mentions that the reason the Bush administration is unwilling to break with established policy is clear: doing so would set a disastrous precedent, and would open wide the door for more kidnappings and extortion.

After Bush’s and Karzai’s summit at Camp David, America’s National Safety Council spokesperson Geerdeng-yuehandeluo (Gordon…Yuehandeluo?) expressed the following viewpoint for his organization: there cannot be an exchange (with the kidnappers).

(to be cont.)


Translator’s notes:
- One thing I have been doing in the previous articles is sticking as well as I can to the Chinese mode of expression and their idioms. So I realize the articles’ English might sound a little off. Since I’ve never formally studied professional translation, I don’t know if it’s expected to really alter the language in order to get the point across. Well, I know that it’s done all the time actually, in books I’ve been reading with English and Chinese, but I feel like some translators stick more to the quirks of the source language than others. So I’m just not sure where I stand with that. In this article I’m going to go for stream-lining the English, replacing idiomatic expressions where I have to. I do like how this writer expresses himself though.
- The Washington Observer ( is a US based Chinese Language newspaper that focuses on foreign affairs.
- I’m assuming the article is referring to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Internation Studies. However the Dean is named Jessica Einhorn, so either Gu Jie is her Chinese name or Gu Jie refers to some other person. (She graduated from Barnard!)
- I am hard pressed to imagine how the US expects to stop kidnappings from happening unless it bars foreigners from entering anywhere in the world where the Taliban might operate. Which is slightly unrealistic.
- Any guesses on what name Yuehandeluo might be?
- A long article, so I’ll finish tomorrow. One interesting mention, in Korea they are seriously inflamed about this hostage situation. I saw a picture of a protest in Seoul where they burned a stack of Korans! Imagine if that made headlines in the world media!

Finally, an AP article on China in the upcoming 2008 election:

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