Saturday, January 21, 2006

Wow and gosh and blimey and wow! Things turn from strange to somewhere off the scale!

As I explained a couple of posts ago, we've been having threats from the owner of a yahoo group who has been opposing the book and movie club that we've set up. I've attached our correspondence here with all other peoples names changed as I don't want to start playing their games of defamation of character, you'll see.

So, the other person and I who started the club terminated our membership of this first one as we'd had enough of the threats and didn't want to be in a club with which we had such disagreements. I thought the problem was resolved and I had e-mailed the British embassy to make sure that our positions were firm and we really weren't doing anything illegal.

So, today I receive an e-mail from a friend who is still on the original group saying that someone had put a strange post up about us. There are usually 10-20 posts a day on the group and around 1000 people read them. I've posted quite a few times and I would guess that my name is reasonably well known on the group. My friend sent me the post which has left me truly shocked. Below is a copy of the post with all names but my own changed. Stupendously bizarre, though I have to fill you in on a couple of bits of info to put some of it in context. Somebody a couple of weeks ago in Shanghai put up a post trying to organise a jacuzzi party and inviting all the 'sexy' girls to hang out with him and his handsome friends. Fine, whatever, if he wants to say stuff like that and people want to go, I don't have a problem with it. Anyway, that's what that's all about. The other important point is that we'd explained many many times to this group that our club is not one where we review individual books, we just chat about books we've read in the past, this is why we didn't 'provide titles for moderation'. The text follows:

Just share the incident heard from someone that have experience in
forming book-clubs in China. After compare with the Jaccuzi Party,
I think F's honesty and directness are remarkable in
compares to wheeling ways to invite girls.

Some recent book club in Beijing revealed the highly danger case
for innocent girls in China to give away their virginity under
literal hypnosis. They way it operats is by utilizing a low level
of hypnosis technics, by guiding from 1-2-3. No reviews were priorly
given to the book club party to avoid sense of on-guard. When a
simple "book-club party" made ease for girls to accept.But once
attending the result can be high danger in "sexual hypnotise within
literal fascination". It leads to emotional dependence.

The type of bookclub is unlike F's Jacuzzi Party. F made
clear about "he is handsome so who is sexy". He allows people to
be in charge of their own choices and respect their state of being.
No misguiding,nor emotional and spiritual defraud. Adult made
choices based on the information given.

Hypothetically, when a book-club is utilizing materials such as
describing EYES. IT may slowly work their way in for Chinese girls
to use eye contacts and stimulates emotions in which they are not
used to by nature of own cultural. By the end of the material, the
hypnotiser/teaser will bring you into the next level of exploring
body contacts. Then eroticism at last. BOOK CLUB that took
advantage of criteria between the two culture in training the
innocence on eyes of soul is recognized in many culturals. Chinese
girls are happened to be the likely victims due to the traditional

Both F & Jonathan Shock and M use this group
to invite people. One is direct, the other one is not. The innocent
girls here in China which many people earlier discussed and agreed.
Chances are F will not invite innocent ones by mistake. But such
misguiding bookclub could ends in abusive result without a trace
on betraying sexual unwillingness in girl's original intention.

I strongly think Proper Book Club must fit the criteria especially
innocent Chinese girls before they join, I also recommand any
future book club must provide reviews to the moderators to ensure
members' safty. Public places instead of someone's home to avoid
special mist or aroma senses trap for girls to reach unexpected
cloud 9 by mistake. I also suggest the host to provide you or the
group with the SN # and name of the author to make sure they are
approved by the local principle in China.

That's some SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS, and read by around 1000 people!!! I would imagine most of them realise how bizarre this rumor is but it wouldn't take many of the 1000 people to make our lives pretty tough.

From starting a club where people talk about books they've enjoyed reading I did not expect this.

I'm attempting not to exacerbate matters any more and am going to go to the British embassy to make sure that we are completely in the clear. If people did take this seriously, things could really get nasty so I want to clear up the matter ASAP.

This has all left me a little shaken but hopefully it can all be cleared up very soon.


Anonymous said...


Firstly, on the issue of learning languages and your little rant (excellent!), you've made two implicit assumptions: firstly, that children learn in the same way as (young) adults (a point challenged by luca in his comment), and secondly that other people learn this kind of material in the same way as you (i.e. rote learning). Both assumptions may be false. I know you know a little about NLP and the three distinct learning styles it identifies. I'm not sure I know which type you are, but surely a visual learner is well-suited to memorising written characters? I'm also perlexed by your statement that language is simply communication and should therefore be efficient. For a man who not only enjoys reading as much as you (and what is storytelling but a most basic form of communication?), but does so primarily in a language with the largest vocabulary known (efficient? Hardly), your arguments are incongruous.

Secondly, I'm dismayed at your tales of book club. it seems you're being dragged into a murky world of propaganda and hidden agendas. Curiouser and curiouser...

Unknown said...

Sure, I agree with your first comments about it being suited to different people. From speaking to Chinese people on this subject, the way they learn the characters in schools here is many many hours of rote learning. Perhaps that's just because that's the way it has always been done here and some other system could work equally well for other people, I don't know.

The second statement, I did mention that from an aesthetic point of view I thought that my arguments were in no way valid. I think that my rash comments (which I knew were rash at the time) are being fuelled in a large part through my current frustrations. The only reason that I'm learning the language is to be able to chat and hold a small conversation.

Yes, I completely agree, in terms of literature and in terms of speaking, languages can be a lot more pleasurable (or unpleasent) than the reasons that I'm currently struggling with a new language.

in terms of the book club, I just hope it's all cleared up on Monday.

Anonymous said...

so interested to read your blog, link courtesy of Tim. And I love Pandora.

Thought you might be interested in this news article from

Keep your pecker up!

"Just last week, eight members of a book club were detained in Hunan province, not for reading banned books, or inviting dissidents to speak, but simply for holding a meeting without government permission. According to the wife of the book club's founder, Mr. Xiao Qingming, a former middle school teacher, the meeting was shut down because the book club had failed to register with the authorities."

Unknown said...

Richard, many thanks for the link and great to hear from you.

Not at all easy to view that site here! Extremely interesting though and goes against what a lot of Chinese friends have been telling me. I think they've been giving me a somewhat rosier picture than the truth.

As the British Embassy have been no help at all, we are going to get in touch with 'the authorities' in Beijing and see what the official line is. I can't really be doing with being chucked out of the country so better safe than sorry on this one.

Many thanks again,