I don't know where that uncited Wiki bite came from - none of the foreign editors I know at China Daily have heard the paper will no longer receive state subsidies. There's no way they could continue to publish if that were the case. Today's 24 page edition has 22 ads -seven of them tiny and three for China Daily-related stuff. Not much revenue there. If they really needed to make money, they would sack dozens of surplus staff and get an advertising team that had a clue. The paper's sister publication, 21st Century- a stable of weekly mags for kids learning English - is known to be propping up the loss-making daily.
Yep, top of China Daily website's popular stories right now is "German Olympic Sportswomen Pose Nude for Playboy". The paper's hard copy edition regularly runs Hooters ads featuring busty young women in short shorts and tight tees on page one. Yes, page one. And this in a state-run paper that doesn't even need to make money.
Paul, I don't know you but I feel like I would enjoy seeing you in speedos glittering with diamantes and sequins cavorting with another bloke in the water.
And Anjum, thanks for the link. Interesting pics there. I hunted for beach volleyball uniform specifications and found only this on the FIVB website: "A player’s equipment consists of shorts or a bathing suit. A jersey or “tank-top” is optional except when specified in Tournament Regulations. Players may wear a hat." Regulations for the Athens Games stipulate the 6cm rule for women's bikini briefs. It also says men's shorts must be no longer than 20cm - not the board style shorts they actually wear. Hmm.. What annoys me is that if all the female players just refused to wear skimpy bikinis then it wouldn't be an issue. We women are our own worst enemies sometimes.
The thing that I find most interesting about the democracy in China debate is that after two and a half years here I would have to say that the average westerner is far more anxious about China's political system than the average Chinese. Activists and dissidents aside (and these people are widely viewed as pointless troublemakers) for most people making a decent living trumps all political concerns. Without money, Chinese generally have no access to healthcare, education and a decent place to live - not to mention the prospect of living out their last days penniless without a pension.
The days of of cradle to grave state care and the 'iron rice bowl' are long gone. Now it's everyone for themselves, and with millions of people to compete with that doesn't leave much time for political discussion.
As the central goverment knows, the main challenge to their grip on power comes from outside Beijing, at grassroots levels. Corrupt local officials and police who are not accountable pose a major threat to social stability as the growing number of 'mass incidents' demonstrate.
Meanwhile President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao (fondly known as Wen Baobao - Grandpa Wen) are enjoying huge support here in a year studded with events that have whipped up nationalistic pride.
Anyway, China already has a multi-party system. There are eight minor parties besides the CPC. Just for decoration though you understand. And then there is the much-vaunted 'inner party democracy' they're building on. Hmm... Well it's a start and I suspect also an end to democracy as we know it in China for the foreseeable future.