July 23, 2011
Baidu's love-hate relationship
Aha. I thought the seemingly incomplete title might grab you. Here's a post from Victor Mair over at the Language Log blog about how Baidu's new Chinese-English machine translation service refused to translate "我恨中国" ("I hate China") accurately, insisting on rendering it "I love China". Other experiments with the Chinese text for "I love China," "I love America," and "I hate America" were all translated accurately, so it definitely seems like something odd was going on. I say "was" because commenters, being commenters, immediately tried it themselves and found that the problem had been fixed. I of course also tried some experiments, too, using different pronouns and different synonyms for "love" and "hate". Alas, for some reason the system just hangs and refuses to translate at all. Probably something wrong with my connection.
Lai Changxing returned to China
After 12 years of struggling to avoid deportation, Lai Changxing finally lost his last court battle and was deported to China. Whatever one might think about the case, it's rather remarkable that the judge found that “Mr. Lai has failed to establish that he will suffer irreparable harm if he were returned to China.” Say what? Of course, irreparable harm is not and cannot be the only consideration; the same could be said of the guiltiest criminal ever, to be tried under the fairest procedures ever. Here's Jerome Cohen's commentary.
July 22, 2011
Who owns the Chinese internet: follow-up
Earlier this month I posted on the subject of ownership of the Chinese internet; a slightly shortened version has now been published in English and in Chinese on the Caixin Online web site. I'm particularly happy to see it in Chinese and am wondering what kind of comments, if any, it will generate. The English version went up with no substantive changes; the only substantive change I was asked to make in the Chinese version was not to directly name the source of the article i was criticizing (i.e., the Central Party School's Study Times). But I was still able to keep the link to the article, so it doesn't make much difference.
JULY 25 FOLLOW-UP: Just noticed one of the comments on the Caixin Online web site: "如果外资控制能够做到不删贴，保持中立，保持底线，那我愿意所以的企业都让外资控制" (If control by foreign capital means no deleted posts, neutrality, and an adherence to basic standards [this is how I translate what literally means "maintains a bottom line"], then I hope all enterprises can be controlled by foreign capital).