Wishing all bbc blog readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Keep your emails and comments coming and I'll see you in 2010 for more bbc-related blogging!
"The worst ethnic unrest in decades began on 5 July when minority Uighurs attacked Han people, who make up China's dominant ethnicity, only to face retaliatory attacks two days later. Many Uighurs resent Beijing's heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, the traditional homeland of their Turkic Muslim ethnicity.
Four months later Xinjiang remains smothered in heavy security, with internet access cut and direct overseas phone calls blocked.
The official China News Service has reported that the nine were executed after a final review of the verdicts by the supreme people's court as required by law. It gave no specific date or other details. Earlier reports had identified those condemned as eight Uighurs and one Han.
The executions did not come especially quickly for China, which puts more people to death than any other country. Politically sensitive cases are often decided in weeks, especially when they involve major unrest.
The nine had been convicted of murder and other crimes committed during the riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. China blames the rioting on overseas-based groups agitating for broader rights for Uighurs in Xinjiang."
Immigration reform in 1965 opened the door to a huge influx of Cantonese speakers from Hong Kong, and Cantonese became the dominant tongue. But since the 1990s, the vast majority of new Chinese immigrants have come from mainland China, especially Fujian Province, and tend to speak Mandarin along with their regional dialects.
“I can’t even order food on East Broadway,” said Jan Lee, 44, a furniture designer who has lived all his life in Chinatown and speaks Cantonese. “They don’t speak English; I don’t speak Mandarin. I’m just as lost as everyone else.”
A group of mainland Chinese academics and media professionals wrote an open letter calling Chan the "spoiled brat" of the Chinese race.
"You are born in Hong Kong, a free Hong Kong which provides you with excellent conditions to become an internationally renowned martial arts star," the letter said.
"You are now the cream of the crop, and yet you don't know the importance of freedom."
In these ten years -I grew up in Hong Kong- I slowly felt, I don't know how much freedom we should have. Too much freedom and we'll be like Hong Kong right now, very chaotic. Or become like Taiwan, also very chaotic. I slowly feel like we Chinese needs to controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want.
If we don't control things, we'll do things as we wish. Why can't I eat gum in Singapore? You would think that not being allowed to eat gum is correct. If I give you gum, some people might take the gum and stick it on tables, put it on chairs without self-respect."
"Westerners look like they’re frothing at the bits to use anything they can to paint China in a negative political light: “Oh look, even lovable kung-fu funny-man Jackie Chan has betrayed his own, selling out both himself and his kind to the evil Communist regime!” To which the Western masses reply in unison: “Gasp!”"
If there is too much freedom, it becomes like Hong Kong today ... very chaotic ... furthermore, it becomes like Taiwan ... it is also very chaotic ... eh ... I have slowly come to realize that we the Chinese people need regulation ... If there is no regulation and we suddenly opened up, we can do whatever we want.
"I slowly feel like we Chinese needs to control. If we don't control things, we'll do things as we wish."
The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.
The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde.
People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.
But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.
Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant food capitals in the world, with a staggering 12,000 restaurants to choose from. The Michelin Guide launched here at the end of last year- a foreboding green light for celebrity chefs to open expensive gourmet restaurants. They would be missing the point: Hong Kong certainly isn't somewhere you have to spend a fortune for fabulous Chinese food.
So here is an alternative guide for budget eating out, where the quality and freshness of the food is what counts, not the decor and service.
You: Asian, young(ish), cute, petite, left-of-center, cosmopolitan.
Me: The Asian guy you would never dream of giving a second glance.
Hi! I’m so sad that you were offended by my very presence at your favorite boutique coffee shop...
AOMORI, JAPAN—At first glance, 17-year-old Misaki Nakajima seems like any other shy and submissive Japanese schoolgirl. She loves shopping, text messaging, and the color pink. But beneath her wholesome exterior lies a wicked secret: Misaki Nakajima is consumed by ... fantasies involving sweaty, middle-aged American men.
[Takeaway owner...] Paul Chen was waiting on a customer when three men came through the back and robbed him and his family.
According to Chen, the customer out front saw all of this and walked out the front door, but didn't call the police.
Instead, after the robbers were gone the customer actually returned and wanted to know where his food was.
Chen gave the man back his money and told him to leave.
"Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions."
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist"has been left out of transcripts on some Chinese websites such as Sina.com.
"According to the philosophy in Yi Jing (The book of Change) and that of ancient philosopher Laozi (Laocius), things will take a reverse course when developing to an extreme. A situation with all yin or all yang is very unstable and risky.
By this doctrine, the Beijing Summer Olympic Games may have exploited the luck of the number 8 to the extreme: the event is set to open at 8 pm, on August 8, in the year 2008 - or 08.08.08. It may be too perfect, and something too perfect needs to be complemented by some imperfections."