I have a coldframe I cobbled together last fall. Later I saw one for sale
for $25. I thought it an unusual price so I ordered it. I'll replace my own
with it since it is deeper and angled. If anybody is interested, you can get
one from Harborfreight.com
Here is what they look like and what they are used for.
Google is your answer
Chuckie in the Frozen North, Zone 5
Low today was 4F. Wow heat wave!!
If it's made where most of Harbor Freight's stuff is made......support your
The New York Times
December 31, 2005
Rule by Law
In Worker's Death, View of China's Harsh Justice
By JIM YARDLEY
YUJIAGOU, China - From the prison cell where he contemplated an
executioner's bullet, a migrant worker named Wang Binyu gave an anguished
account of his wasted life. Unexpectedly, it rippled across China like a
For three weeks, the brutal murders Mr. Wang committed after failing to
collect unpaid wages were weighed on the Internet and in Chinese newspapers
against the brutal treatment he had endured as a migrant worker. Public
opinion shouted for mercy; lawyers debated the fairness of his death
sentence. Others saw the case as a bloody symptom of the harsh inequities of
But then, in late September, the furor disappeared as suddenly as it had
begun. Online discussion was censored and news media coverage was almost
completely banned. Mr. Wang's final appeal was rushed to court. His father,
never notified, learned about the hearing only by accident. His chosen
defense lawyer was forbidden from participating.
"All of you are on the same side," Mr. Wang, 28, shouted during the hearing,
his father said in an interview here in the family's home village in
northern Gansu Province. "If you want to kill me, just kill me."
On Oct. 19, they did. Mr. Wang was executed so quickly, and quietly, that it
took weeks for the word to fully trickle out that he was dead.
China executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined.
By some estimates, the number of executions is more than 10,000 a year. The
government's relentless death penalty machine has long been its harshest
tool for maintaining political control and curbing crime and corruption.
But it has now become a glaring uncertainty about China's commitment to the
rule of law. There is widespread suspicion, even within the government, that
too many innocent people are sentenced to death. This year, a raft of cases
came to light in which wrongful convictions had led to death sentences, or,
in one well-publicized case, the execution of an innocent man.
Reforming capital punishment has become a priority within the Communist
Party-controlled legal system, partly because of international pressure to
reduce abuses. Within the party-run legislative system, there is a broader
debate about how to improve criminal law.
But achieving those reforms is hardly certain. Hard-liners are loath to
restrict the power of the police and the courts to take a tough line. Death
penalty reforms announced by the People's Supreme Court - and broadly
trumpeted in the state news media - are mostly just a return to the status
quo of 1980.
The case of Wang Binyu lacked the moral clarity of an innocent man wrongly
convicted. He killed four people in a rampage after a final dispute over
wages. But his saga of abuse and disdain from his bosses resonated deeply
with a public disgusted with corruption and inequality and resentful of a
legal system perceived as favoring the wealthy and well connected.
"Wang was forced to fight against those who exploit and tread on the poor,"
one person wrote at a Chinese Web site. "Why is the law always tough on the
Mr. Wang's case also illustrates how a system built for convictions has few
safeguards or protections for a defendant facing death. Officials in the
High Court of Ningxia Autonomous Region, the area in western China where the
case was heard, refused several requests for interviews. But Wu Shaozhi, the
Beijing lawyer who tried to represent Mr. Wang, said the Ningxia courts
obviously wanted fast results.
Before the appeal, the Wang family signed power of attorney to Mr. Wu. But
Mr. Wu said court officials had initially lied, telling him the appeal was
over. Then they refused to let him enter the case. Instead, Mr. Wang was
represented by a lawyer approved by the court.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wu noted, the same judges who heard the appeal also
concurrently handled a mandatory final review of the case. It meant that
judges were reviewing their own ruling - a practice that legal experts said
is not uncommon and provided little real check and balance on the use of the
"An unjust procedure will undoubtedly lead to unjust results," Mr. Wu said.
China is wary enough about its death penalty system that it has long
designated its number of executions as a state secret. A hint at the number
came last year when a high-level delegate to the National People's Congress
publicly estimated that it was "nearly 10,000." In 2004, Amnesty
International documented at least 3,400 executions - out of 3,797 worldwide
that year - but cautioned that China's number was probably far higher.
Outside scholars have put the annual number as high as 15,000.
In late October, the People's Supreme Court announced that it would reverse
a decision from the early 1980's that ceded the final review on many death
penalty cases to provincial high courts. Legal analysts say Deng Xiaoping,
then the paramount leader, ordered the move out of anger that courts were
moving too slowly to crack down on crime. The shift meant that provincial
courts could often operate without any oversight.
Under the new policy, the People's Supreme Court will reclaim responsibility
for reviewing all capital cases. The state news media have estimated that
executions could drop by as much as 30 percent - an estimate that could not
be proved but that implied deep flaws within the current system.
"They feel that mistakes were made in so many cases," said Yi Yanyou, an
associate professor at Tsinghua University Law School, in explaining the
motive for the change. Mr. Yi said the new changes would be meaningful, but
did not represent reform, because they merely re-established central
control. One idea for a change that he offered was to require unanimous
consent among judicial panels making final reviews.
He Weifang, a liberal constitutional scholar at Beijing University, said the
new changes should improve the review process, but argued that only deeper
constitutional reform, to establish a more independent judiciary, could
remove the political pressures that can seep into many high-profile death
Out in the arid hills of southern Gansu where farmers scratch a living from
soil that seems as fertile as chalk, Mr. Wang's family is unaware of such
legal debates. At age 15, Mr. Wang left home for migrant work after a
childhood marred by poverty and tragedy. When he was a young child, his
mother died after an infection from a botched sterilization. Family planning
officials had ordered the procedure after she gave birth to Mr. Wang's
younger brother. The family sued, without success.
Mr. Wang worked at a succession of migrant jobs until he took a job three
years ago wrapping steel pipes in the power plant of a factory in Ningxia.
His younger brother, Binyin, who also worked at the factory, described the
bosses as brutal men who beat Binyu and later mocked him when he became sick
The bosses also withheld Binyu's salary for two years, a problem common to
migrant workers. This spring, his father called to say he urgently needed
surgery for a leg fracture. The brothers decided to quit and return home.
But first they needed to collect more than $1,000 in unpaid wages.
For weeks, Wang Binyu approached the bosses to collect the money. At one
point, Wu Hua, a foreman, promised to pay the brothers if they would work a
few more weeks. They did so, but still were not paid. "Once, my brother went
to the bosses and began crying and begging them to pay him," Wang Binyin
Finally this May, the factory boss, Chen Jiwei, relented and paid the 2004
salary, but only after making large deductions for fees and boarding
expenses. He then refused to pay the 2005 wages until next year.
Frustrated, Wang Binyu sought help from the local labor bureau, but was told
it had no jurisdiction. He went to the courts, but was told a legal case
would take months. He then returned to the labor bureau, where a senior
official agreed to intervene and persuaded a boss, Wu Xinguo, to pay the
back wages within five days. It seemed like a victory.
But after leaving the labor bureau, Wu Xinguo barred the brothers from their
dormitory. Later that night, locked out of their room, the brothers began
beating on Wu Xinguo's door to demand payment. Wu Hua, the foreman, and
others soon arrived and tried to run off the Wang brothers. The group began
pushing and slapping Wang Binyu until a fight broke out. Wang Binyu, who was
carrying a fruit knife, exploded in a rage that would end with four people
dead and one injured.
Wang Binyin said he tried to pull his older brother away. He recalls saying:
"You can't do this. We still have an old father at home. What am I going to
do?" When the rampage ended, Wang Binyu tossed his knife in the Yellow River
and turned himself in at a local police station. As it turned out, the two
top bosses - Mr. Chen and Wu Xinguo - escaped harm.
Mr. Wang's initial trial, on June 29, ended with a death sentence. His
family was not notified of the trial date and did not attend. He seemed
destined to be one of the thousands of people executed each year with little
public notice. But on Sept. 4, the New China News Agency, the government's
news service, published a jailhouse interview with Mr. Wang that was
astonishing for its content and for the mere fact that it was printed.
"I want to die," Mr. Wang said. "When I am dead, nobody can exploit me
Of his crime, Mr. Wang said, "I just could not take it any longer. I had
taken enough from them." But, he later added, "I should not have killed the
other people. I did not mean to let it happen."
Finally, he offered a lament for his fellow migrant workers. "My life is a
small thing," he said. "I hope that society will pay attention and respect
Chinese journalists say the authors of the article picked the case because
they thought it dovetailed with a campaign by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to
help peasants. Newspapers, assuming the interview signaled official
approval, jumped on the story.
Interviews with legal scholars followed, with some arguing that the system
should be nimble enough to give Mr. Wang a more lenient sentence. Internet
discussion boards were filled with indignation.
But the coverage was put to a sudden stop. Internet search engines were
ordered to censor Wang Binyu's name, and newspapers were told to drop the
story before the appeal was heard in late September. Most likely, the public
outrage had alarmed central government officials who did not want to see a
death sentence so openly questioned. From his jail cell, Wang Binyu told his
younger brother that he thought local officials were eager to execute him,
because a reversal of the death sentence could harm their careers.
The appeal was held in secret. Mr. Wang's father, Wang Liding, happened to
bring his son a pair of shoes a day earlier. Otherwise, he would not have
known. At one point, the father said that he shouted out during the
proceeding because prosecutors said his son's wages had been fully paid. The
elder Mr. Wang was briefly removed after the outburst.
Now, the family has still not collected the unpaid wages owed the dead son.
Donations have helped them build a new room on their crumbling house. The
father has wrapped the green booklet certifying his son's cremation in
folded paper. It is his last record of his son.
In October, before the execution, court officials in Ningxia called the
father with what he thought was good news. He was told he could come collect
his son's unpaid salary. He traveled for more than a day to Ningxia from
Gansu. But when he arrived, he found that the lure of wages had been a lie.
Officials wanted him to sign his son's execution warrant.
Illiterate, the father could only smudge the paper with his thumb.
"It was wrong of him to kill people," the father said. "But there was a
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If you want to examine the circumstances for fairness surrounding every
consumer item , you will most likely starve.
The globalisation concept benefits the consumer, provides economic benefit
to third world countries and others wanting to improve their trade. That's
why the outsourcing takes place. It's been happening ever since the end of
the civil war. The problem is that the American worker takes it on the chin
and is left to hs own devices for a different living. That's not pretty
either but it's the way things work these days.
The NY Times and some of the other media love these "misery" stories and
present them much like they did from the ghetto misery stories of 40 years
"Forbid" is a mild word for it. Suggest "union" and it's likely you'll find
yourself in jail by the end of the day.
If prices on Chinese goods rose significantly due to wages becoming more
like ours, there would be financial catastrophe here. The Wal Mart economy
supports small towns which would've otherwise vanished for lack of jobs.
Hmm. Where? You don't simply up & move your t-shirt operation to another
country in a week.
I think it's handy to be able to discount what a lousy place China is in
terms of human rights, because it enables people to pretend everything's
fine. Then, they can get back to doing whatever it is they prefer to
thinking. Nose picking, watching Oprah, etc.
Progress in one area does not cure horrors in other areas, such as human
rights, working conditions and environmental problems, all of which the
Chinese government brushes off like these things were nobody else's
business. It's simply wrong to support a system like that. If you worked for
a company that treated its workers like trash, you'd be looking elsewhere
for work, and in the meantime, you'd be telling any who'd listen that they
shouldn't send business to the company.
On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 20:45:50 GMT, "Doug Kanter"
Hah! Well said!
What's REALLY interesting is how mainline American churches,
Presbyterian, Episcopalian, maybe others by now, vote to boycott
trading with Israel because of what they perceive as its human rights
violations . One of their targets is the Caterpillar Corporation.
The Church of England, a state religion, also just jumped on the
"boycott Israel" bandwagon.
Not a peep out of these chuches re: China, the world's major human
rights violator, nor the 22 Arab countries, all dictatorships, all
repressive regimes that consistently violate human rights.
 Awful stuff! Keeping murders from infiltrating their borders
and blowing up innocent civilians! Tracking and arresting where
possible, killing where not possible, the instigators of the so-called
"suicide bombers", who hide behind civilians, including young
children. Poor naive Israel, maintaining in the face of daily
horrors, an open society where Israeli Arabs have the same civil
rights as the Jews; where newspapers, radio and TV can and do sharply
criticize the government; where Arab children, e.g. get kidney
transplants in the excellent Israeli hospitals in the same ratio as
Jews. The Israelis are just not as sophisticated as the Arab world
in terms of spinning and propaganda. They actually think that the
truth will prevail.
Sounds like what the U.S. used to be like before the Bushies
started suppressing dissent.
I find the discussion being completely off topic and very sophomoric. If you
feel it's your lot in life to point out the ills of the world with some well
worn phrases on the inhumanity of others, then you have issues that can't be
James, I think you owe it to yourself and your children to have some grownup
newspapers delivered to the house at least once a week. You made a comment
earlier: "The NY Times and some of the other media love these "misery"
stories and present them much like they did from the ghetto misery stories
of 40 years
ago". The fact is that nasty things happen. You can't stick your head in the
sand and pretend they don't. More important, you can't pretend that your
dollars are not directly funding evil.
You've mixed a lot of apples and oranges there. Every Chinese citizen has
benefitted from China's improved economy in one way or another. Every new
road, every communication improvement, every project in some way benefits
the Chinese. You apparently think there should be a classless society but
there are always the privileged. I don't know what any of what you said has
to do with coal mining accidents. China is still a socialist country and
they do it any way they want but I doubt pulling the plug on trade with
China would be any kind of good thing. I don't know of any communist
governments that allowed unions.
As to junk products, you need to do some homework. Would you buy a pair of
pliers made in the USA for $12 or would you buy the same pliers with the
same exact specifications from China for $3. Hint. They won't make those
pliers in the USA for very much longer. The fact is simple. Business goes
where labor is cheaper in order to lower the price to the consumer. That is
the nature of the beast of outsourcing.
China can take care of their own social structure without any help but the
west still pushes for better human rights as they should. The fact that it
is changing at all can only be good for them IMO. The government will change
in time but don't look for any classless society. Socialism has demonstrated
that it's no utopian system.
Did I say anywhere that I hoped for a classless society? I said that only
societies in which the middle class representated the majority of the people
could be termed healthy societies, since, as the majority, they can then
begin to wield some political power. ANYTHING else goes by another term -
oligarchy. (I'm not sure that word appears in your economic textbook, but it
means "rule by a favored few"). Often it takes the form of plutocracy "Rule
by the rich". It seems to me that EVERY single action, political and
economic, by the Chinese government, is dedicated towards creating and
sustaining an oligarchy.
I'm fascinated by the sentence above: "China can take care of their own
social structure without any help". Well, by golly, Tianamen Square proved
that correct, didn't it? Since when did authoritarian crackdown on all
dissent, and using government forces to prevent people from agitating for
higher wages and better work standards (referencing my coal mining accident
sentence which so discombobulated you) translate into "taking care of their
own social structure"? I would translate those actions as "dictating their
own social strucure".
Did the millions of people displaced by the building of the three gorges dam
benefit from it? Does the building of a railroad to service slave-wage
factories somewhere benefit the workers? You made a sweeping pie-in-the-sky
statement about how improved trade benefits every Chinese person. Where's
I don't deny that it COULD....I'm just saying that pretty definitively,
Here's another example of China taking care of its own social structure:
An article we can read here, about our political system. You could google
for it, or go directly to the web site.
Small chunk of article - get all the way past it:
Photograph Shows Lobbyist at Bush Meeting With Legislators
By PHILIP SHENON and LOWELL BERGMAN
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 - After weeks in which the White House has declined to
release pictures of President Bush with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced
lobbyist, the first photograph to be published of the two men shows a small,
partly obscured image of Mr. Abramoff looking on from the background as Mr.
Bush greets a Texas Indian chief in May 2001.
By itself, the picture hardly seems worthy of the White House's efforts to
keep it out of the public eye. Mr. Abramoff, a leading Republican
fund-raiser who pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to corrupt public
officials, is little more than a blurry, bearded figure in the background at
a gathering of about two dozen people.
But it provides a window, albeit an opaque one, into Mr. Abramoff's efforts
to sell himself to Indian tribes as a man of influence who could open the
most secure doors in Washington to them. And it leaves unanswered questions
about how Mr. Abramoff and the tribal leader, whom he was trying to sign as
a client, gained access to a meeting with the president on the White House
grounds that was ostensibly for a group of state legislators who were
supporting Mr. Bush's 2001 tax cut plan.
And, here's how China "manages" its social structure - by censorship:
So Long, Dalai Lama: Google Adapts to China
By JOSEPH KAHN
SO what does the Dalai Lama look like, anyway?
Chinese Tibetans or other Buddhists who might be curious could try finding
images of the spiritual leader on Google.cn, a new search engine that Google
tailored for China and is now, two weeks after its unveiling, on full
display to local Web users.
Is he that guy with puffy cheeks wearing a Western suit? No, that's Liu
Jianchao, China's foreign ministry spokesman, demanding that the Dalai Lama
stop trying to split the motherland. What about that balding man leading a
big delegation? No, that's Chen Yi, a late Chinese vice prime minister,
offering grain to the Tibetan people.
Only one of the 161 images produced by searching in Chinese for the Dalai
Lama on Google.cn shows the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet
since 1940. He is pictured as a young man meeting senior Chinese officials.
That was before 1959, when China's People's Liberation Army invaded Tibet
and the Dalai Lama fled into exile.
For people outside China, or Chinese who can circumvent the Internet
firewall, the 2,030 images on unfiltered Google.com favor the Dalai Lama of
today. He is the genial-looking guy in the burgundy and saffron robe, here
meeting President Bush, there speaking to 40,000 people in New Jersey.
Several of the biggest media and technology companies have come under attack
for helping the Chinese government police the Web. Yahoo provided
information about its users' e-mail accounts that helped the authorities
convict dissidents in 2003 and 2005, Chinese lawyers say. Microsoft closed a
popular blog it hosted that offended Chinese censors. Cisco has sold
equipment that helps Beijing restrict access to Web sites it considers
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