Bill Spanks Wrong Bottom
Last year Microsoft sued the Yadu
S&T Group for RMB150,000 after illegal copies of Microsoft
95 and other Microsoft software were found. The Haidian
District Industrial and Commercial Bureau investigated,
and found proof and witnesses onsite of the copyright
violation. The company responded that the Bureau enforcement
personnel hadn't gone to their offices and so the "proof"
was fake. On November 18 in court, Yadu explained that
the company that had the illegal software was not the
Yadu S&T Group but its subsidiary, the Yadu S&T Co.,
Ltd. Thus, argued the Group, the Microsoft suit is against
the wrong company since Yadu S&T Company Ltd. is a distinct
entity from Yadu S&T Group. The court accepted that
argument and found Yadu S&T Group not liable for infringement
of Microsoft's IPR.
The Beijing Evening News went on
to comment "The result of this court case surprised
many people. Although Yadu S&T Group won the case, they
cannot deny that the illegal software was being used
in the Yadu S&T building. We don't know if Microsoft
will now sue Yadu S&T Co. But there is no denying that
illegal copying of software is widespread in China.
People in the [software] industry say that China is
still in the initial stages of development of a free
market economy. Companies do not obey the rules. Piracy
is widespread. But if China is to truly become a competitor
on world markets and wants to do business on an equal
footing with foreigners, then Chinese companies must
obey the law and act in a self-disciplined manner."
Lee Sues Uncle Sam
Scientist Wen Ho Lee, being held
without bail on charges of mishandling top secret nuclear
weapons data, sued the US government, alleging violations
of the 1974 Privacy Act. Lee, at the center of allegations
of Chinese espionage on US nuclear targets, was indicted
by a federal grand jury on December 10, on charges stemming
from his alleged copying of computer files on the research,
design, construction and testing of nuclear weapons.
But Lee hit back strongly, filing
the lawsuit against the Justice Department, the Energy
Department and the FBI. The Privacy Act makes it illegal
for government agencies to willfully or intentionally
disclose confidential and personal information in their
"Government officials ought not to
be allowed to make unlawful leaks and disclosures to
the press, and try cases through the media," Lee's attorney
"Our system of justice is based upon
the notion that the government should be playing according
to the rules on a level playing field. We don't think
that in this case they did. And with the use of unlawful
and unauthorized leaks, distorted the case involving
According to the Privacy Act, each
unauthorized disclosure made by a government agency,
its officers or employees constitutes a separate violation
subject to criminal investigation and fines. The suit
seeks to make those government agencies and their employees
accountable for a pattern of repeated Privacy Act violations.
According to the complaint, "selective
leaks of private information" caused Lee to be unfairly
portrayed by the media as a spy for China. Lee worked
for nearly 20 years at a top-secret laboratory at Los
Alamos before being fired in March after U.S. Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson launched an investigation
into allegations of nuclear spying by Beijing.
Prosecutors allege Lee violated the
1954 Atomic Energy Act and the Federal Espionage Act,
and caused severe damage to US military interests. His
indictment stopped short of accusing Lee of actually
handing secrets over to China or any other nation, and
some investigators believe such charges can never be
proved. Lee's supporters and leading members of the
US Asian-American community have accused the government
agencies of focusing on the Taiwan-born Lee because
of his race.
Web Wiz Fights Prejudice
When government organizers dreamed
up the idea of China's first "Miss Internet" competition,
they envisioned a winner with the mind of a computer
programmer and the body of a beauty queen. Smart and
shapely, she would be a television role model to encourage
more Chinese women to venture online. So when Chen Fanhong
burst into contention, the organizers determined she
must be stopped. Chen had sailed through the qualifying
rounds with an easy mastery of Web design and a knack
for surfing cyberspace. But she is disabled: a battle
against bone cancer has left her temporarily wheelchair-bound.
In words that hurt more than her excruciating cancer
treatment, the official in charge told her sternly:
"You have lost your spring bloom."
She could attend the finals, but
only as a "specially invited" observer. How this frail
24-year-old used a laptop and modem to fight prejudice
and ignorance, and eventually claim the winner's crown
as the people's choice, speaks volumes about the power
of the Internet to change China.
Having breezed through the Zhejiang
provincial round of the competition - whose sponsors
included Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson -
Chen could hardly believe her ears when the organizer
told her she was spoiled goods.
"He didn't even try sugar-coating,"
The televised final in Shanghai would
require contestants to fish out obscure information
from the Web, design and email a greeting card and answer
But, the official told her, there
would also be aerobic exercises to "appraise the physiques
of the contestants."
"How could you possibly try to compare yourself with
normal people?" he demanded.
There was no room for people like her, he said, using
a stock Chinese word for "disabled," which translates
literally as "damaged and diseased."
Says Chen: "I cried for the first time since the operation."
Chen was ready to call it quits, and so were her parents.
In July, she had undergone surgery to fit a steel replacement
part into her pelvis, where doctors had discovered two
Angry and humiliated, she wrote an
impassioned essay and posted it on her Web site.
"The Internet is the Internet. It's no substitute for
the real world. I thought I could walk into the real
world through the Internet, but found that the door
to the real world was shut."
A newly-minted chemical engineer
when she was struck down by cancer, Chen soon came across
medical uses for the Internet. On her back for six months
last year recovering from a prior operation, she set
up a Web site packed with information about bone disorders
and persuaded doctors at a Shanghai orthopedic hospital
to dispense advice in her chat room. Her other exploits
as a 'Web Worm', as surfers are popularly known in China,
included piecing together a digital mugshot from video
clips of a man in glasses and fake beard robbing a bank
in her home town of Ningbo, eastern China.
Within days the culprit was picked
up at a gas station by police carrying a printout of
her composite photo.
She has also began writing a novel
modeled after the literary kungfu stories of Chinese
author Jin Yong, to be first published - where else?
- on the Internet.
So when she came across a Web announcement
for a Miss Internet contest, she naturally signed up,
inspired by the competition's stated goal of getting
more Chinese women online. Of the 4.5 million Internet
users in China, 85 percent are men.
After she was ejected from the competition,
a newspaper in the nearby city of Hangzhou picked up
Chen's essay and printed the story.
Dozens of newspaper and television
stories followed. Emails poured in to Chen's Web site
(http:/fchen.yeah.net), which registered more than 1,000
hits per day. Within a week, the beleaguered organizing
committee had issued an apology and invited Chen back
into the competition.
This month, when the finals were
held, Chen traveled the few blocks to the television
studio on her own, by wheelchair.
At the studio, during a lull in rehearsals,
an exhausted Chen draped a scarf over her head to snatch
a few moments of sleep.
Several hours later, a panel of 10
judges declared Chen "Miss Internet." Journalists swarmed
the stage, where she sat calmly, clutching a bouquet
"An Internet friend had asked whether
I'm able to stand up," she said. "Just now I did, and
it was my happiest moment."