Explaining the danger of an unjust and partisan prorogation to Chinese-Canadians

Tuesday, 26 January, 2010

photo taken @ Calgarians Against Proroguing Parliament Rally (Jan 23rd, 2010)

As a steering committee member of the Calgarians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group and organizer of the Calgary anit-prorogation rally, and a Canadian with the ability to communicate in Chinese, I felt it was my responsibility to explain to my fellow Chinese-Canadians the danger of an unjust and partisan prorogation (shutdown) of Parliament.

Now, allow me to first sink to mr stephen harper‘s calculating and manipulating level for a moment. stephen harper is a good strategist that has been courting the Chinese votes for years. So it is extremely important to let Chinese-Canadians understand the danger and seriousness of a prime minister that is willing to shutdown Parliament to avoid being held accountable by the Parliament.

The prime minister is accountable to the Parliament, NOT the other way around. harper may be the prime minister, but WE are his BOSS!

The sad irony is that many Chinese left mainland China and Hong Kong where they had no way to hold their governments accountable. In a sad and twisted irony, even the Hong Kong government DID NOT dare to shutdown the Legislative Council to avoid being held accountable by the legislators. In the last few days, some HK legislators have been challenging the rotten core foundation of the Hong Kong political system. And YET the HK Legislative Council is open for business!

It breaks the hearts of many Canadians with Hong Kong and Chinese connections to see our beloved Canada, thanks to stephen harper, is now even LESS democratic than Hong Kong.

The following is a video of the OMNI news report of Jan 23rd, 2010, rally in Calgary (more blog entries about the Calgary and other protests here, herehere, here, and here).

And a video of the Calgary rally,

Google.cn decision (part 2) and China’s Foreign Ministry & White House responses

Thursday, 14 January, 2010

For the record, I will list the China’s Foreign Ministry response to  David Drummond, Google Chief Legal Officer in Chinese and then English, both from Xinhua, the Chinese government officially approved, sanctioned, and mandated news source for all internal Chinese websites re the Google.cn decision (yes, it is illegal to quote or use any other news sources).

From 新华国际 “2010年01月14日 (外交部网站) 姜瑜就谷歌、海地地震、印度逮捕中国工程师等答问“,

问 [Question]:中国政府对谷歌公司宣布可能退出中国市场,不再和中国政府合作对网络内容进行审查有何回应?美国国务卿希拉里·克林顿要求中国对谷歌网络被攻击作出解释,中方对此有何回应?

答 [Answer]: 我想强调的是,中国的互联网是开放的,中国政府鼓励互联网的发展,努力为互联网的健康发展营造良好的环境。中国的法律禁止任何形式的黑客攻击行为。中国同其他国家一样,依法管理互联网,有关管理措施符合国际通行做法。我还想强调,中国欢迎国际互联网企业在中国依法开展业务。


From Xinhua “China says its Web open, welcomes Int’l companies“,

China’s Internet is open and welcomes international companies, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday, just two days after Google issued a statement saying it might quit China.

Spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing that China encouraged development of the Internet.

“China’s Internet is open,” said Jiang. “China has tried creating a favorable environment for Internet,” said Jiang while responding to a question on Google’s possible retreat.

“China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law,” she said. “China’s law prohibits cyber crimes including hacker attacks.”

Here is the thing, China’s constitution is supposed to guarantee freedom of speech too but that hasn’t exactly done Prof. Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) any good, has it? A sentence of 11 years imprisonment right on Christmas 2009 for signing Charter 08 along a few hundred other Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists.

So the bottom line is that we will need to see what the discussion between Google and the Chinese government comes down to.

Now Google has made a strong stand, I hope Google will make the right decision to be transparent and make the right choice between “good” and “profit”.

See my Google.cn decision – part 1.

P.S. What the Chinese based companies are saying now have little creditability in my eyes as the only way for them to survive is to obey the Chinese government.

In fact, I will go one step further and treat all Chinese companies’ spokespeople and senior executives as mouthpieces of the Chinese government. I will be very surprised if they suddenly decided to grow some political spine right at the time when spinelessness is the best way to stay profitable in China and be friends of the Chinese government.

P.P.S. For the record from NYT “Follow the Law, China Tells Internet Companies” (emphasis added),

After a day of silence, the Foreign Ministry said that China welcomed foreign Internet companies but that those offering online services must do so “in accordance with the law.” Speaking at a scheduled news conference, Jiang Yu, a ministry spokeswoman, did not address Google’s complaints about censorship and cyberattacks and simply stated that “China’s Internet is open.”

The remarks, and those of another high-ranking official who called for even tighter Internet restrictions, may speed Google’s departure and increase friction between Beijing and the Obama administration, which has made priorities of Internet freedom and online security.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers for Google.cn (Goolge likely to exit China)

Tuesday, 12 January, 2010

Jan 14: More from WSJ “Flowers for Google in China”.


As a result of Goolge’s decision and likely exit from China, some people decided to deliver flowers to Google.cn.

Flowers for Google.cn

Flowers for Google.cn

For the last few years, I have little respect for Google’s way of operating in China. Today, Google has regained a portion of my lost respect. It is probably to early to draw a conclusion. Lets see what happen in the next few days.

Google attacked and likely to exit China

Tuesday, 12 January, 2010

Here is an excerpt from an entry posted by David Drummond, Google Chief Legal Officer on Google’s official blog (emphasis added),

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

[...] We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. [*****] We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China. [*****]

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China [k-note: I read this as a message to Chinese government, don't blame the Chinese employees] who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

An excerpt from WSJ “Google Warns of China Exit” (emphasis added),

For Google to withdraw from China would be an extremely rare repudiation by a Western company of what is almost universally seen in business circles as one of the world’s most important markets. The country has 338 million Internet users as of June, more than any other country. Even the public suggestion that it is considering such a move is likely to infuriate Chinese authorities. Google’s statement could complicate matters for other tech companies sensitive to being seen as [****] accomplices of the Chinese government. [****]

More reports in UK Guardian “Google sends a shockwave through Chinese internet”, TIME “Google Ends Policy of Self-Censorship in China”Wired, CNet, ZDnet, Reuters “Chinese Internet activists applaud Google, see no backdown”, UK Guardian “Google strikes a blow to China’s Great Firewall”.

Congrats to Google for regaining its backbone in China! And I also agree with ZDnet in saying “Bravo! Google takes a stand for human rights in China”.

Chinese Christmas gift: Dissident Liu Xiaobo Sentenced to 11 Years for “subversion”

Thursday, 24 December, 2009

Chinese Christmas gift: Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo Sentenced to 11 Years for "subversion"

From BBC (emphasis added),

Leading Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been jailed for 11 years for “inciting subversion of state power”, after a trial condemned in the West. [...]

Mr Liu is a prominent government critic and veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests.

A writer and former university professor, he has been in jail since 2008, after being arrested for writing a document known as Charter 08.

The charter called for greater freedoms and democratic reforms in China, including an end to Communist one-party rule.

Mr Liu is the only person to have been arrested for organising the Charter 08 appeal, but others who signed it have reported being harassed.

From VOA,

Rights groups suspect the date of the verdict, Christmas day, was chosen to reduce international attention to the case.

Diplomats from the United States, Canada, Australia and several European countries were among those who stood outside during Liu’s trial Wednesday, after they were denied entry to the court house.

China has denounced the foreign diplomats for what it calls “meddling.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters Thursday that Liu is a Chinese citizen and, as a result, his case is an “internal” affair.

Liu has been in detention for more than a year for his role in writing the pro-democracy manifesto called “Charter 08.”

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that China’s prosecution of Liu is an action “uncharacteristic of a great country.” A State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said the U.S. will continue to have frank discussions with China about human rights and China’s future.

Prof. Liu Xiaobo YouTube video at PEN American Center,

An earlier AP report,

Historical Chinese Pawnshop org chart and photos

Wednesday, 9 December, 2009

照片 2548 by mad_dog

照片 2531 by mad_dog

照片 2558 by mad_dog

照片 2557 by mad_dog

More Macau pawnshop photos here.

President Obama Holds Town Hall with Chinese Youth

Monday, 16 November, 2009

President Obama Holds Town Hall with Chinese Youth (video from White House). Good town hall session,there are some interesting questions from students and people from the internet, for example,

  • Taiwan relations
  • firewall in China, and access to Twitter

Snow Leopard Chinese Input System Demo – (using the lyrics of a song by Sandy Lam)

Wednesday, 28 October, 2009

In the following YouTube video, I used the lyrics in Sandy Lam’s (林憶蓮) song “願” to demonstrate Apple Snow Leopard’s Chinese input system. I hope you and other Snow Leopard users will enjoy it.

林憶蓮 – 願(電影”晚9朝5″主題曲) 作曲:許願/黃偉年,

填詞:林夕, 編曲:符元偉

Snow Leopard Chinese input Example use Sandy Lam song 蘋果雪豹中文輸入示範 - 林憶蓮 願

P.S. It should be noted that the word “隨” took me a long time to write without success in the above demo. Since it would be rather boring for you and me to see me write the word “隨” for much of the demo, I eventually gave up after trying for about 38 seconds. As for the rather simple word “生”, I got stuck again. It proves that sometimes simple words also tricks me.

I think sometimes it was my pen stroke and other problems that lead to the system missing the words.

P.P.S. For the record, in this demo, I used Snow Leopard 10.6.1. This video is shown in real time, only two edits were made for the words “隨” and “生” to make it fit into the YouTube 10 minute per video limitation.

P.P.P.S. By the way, here are the words I typed in the demo.

最美一幕 還未閉幕
聽我講 我從不說謊

我想相聚 誰便再聚

* 我自信有日如願
縱使天高地厚 仍被我逆轉
總有日會如願 *


China shows military might at 60th anniversary celebration

Thursday, 1 October, 2009

For the record,

Miao Miao @ 2009 CIFF

Tuesday, 29 September, 2009

Just watched Miao Miao. It is one of the best 2009 Calgary International Film Festival films that I have seen. It will be screening again this Sunday Oct 4.

P.S. Lots of spoilers in this Variety review.

Two Cute Swedish Girls

Wednesday, 23 September, 2009

Two cute Swedish girls singing a song, in Cantonese, in our global village.

P.S. In our global village, the ability to speak more than one language is certainly a big plus. Good for these super cute girls to be able to speak Swedish and Cantonese.

The Most Amazing – Voice Over

Saturday, 12 September, 2009

I have four more episodes to record and then I’ll have finished the voice over (and VO translation) work of the Cantonese edition of “The Most Amazing“, a “top 10 countdown” entertainment show.

You can watch the show across OMNI TV in Canada and also on OMNI TV (Alberta) . It airs each episode like a total of four times a week!

Here is a sample of the first aired Cantonese episode. (note: I think my voicing actually get better in later episodes.)

P.S. After recording the last four episodes, I will have done 52 episodes and thats a wonderful learning experience to have. It was a ton of fun working with the many audio-engineers and the people at the TV production company are great to work with.

For someone new to vocing, I am voicing like a “pro” now. :)

Classical Chinese Poems in English

Saturday, 15 August, 2009

杜牧: 泊秦淮
Du Mu (803-852): Moored on River Qinhuai

1 煙籠寒水月籠沙
2 夜泊秦淮近酒家
3 商女不知亡國恨
4 隔江猶唱後庭花

1 Mist-clad, the coldish water! Moon-filled, the riverside sand!
2 I moor for the night on the Qinhuai, where wining houses stand.
3 O simple song-girls know not, the shame of a kingdom demised,
4 Still sing from o’er the river, that song by the merry king’s hand.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
2nd June 2009 (revised 3.6.09; 4.6.09; 5.6.09; 6.6.09; 8.6.09)

It is wonderful to read Mr. Andrew Wong’s (黃宏發) English translation of some classical chinese poems. To me, a self-proclaimed translation geek (translating English TV shows to Cantonese), I am even more amazed of the scholarly and insightful notes accompanying all the translations. Andrew’s choices of words are also careful and well thought out.

Canada Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney’s policies (two misguided and two positive policies)

Wednesday, 22 April, 2009

Last Tuesday (Apr 14th, 2009), Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, came and delivered a speech at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and answered some media questions afterwards.

Before I go into the details of two of Minister Kenney’s misguided policies, I like to point out two things minister Kenney is doing right. For example, I commend his effort in trying to work with various federal or provincial licensing and governing entities to try to get valid foreign credentials recognized promptly in Canada so these immigrants can fully utilize their skills and knowledge in their fields of expertise. And the minister’s willingness to stand by Canada’s long term objective and goal of having more immigrants to help solving employment problems (filling vacant jobs that no Canadians want to fill, e.g. in remote locations) should be commended and praised.

Now let me talk about what I disagree with Minister Kenney.

English or French or out

At the press conference, I asked Jason how does he know if the Indian-Canadian, “who has been here for 15 years and can’t speak English or French“, and her sons and daughters did not make any contributions to Canada? Here is video clip of my question and Jason’s answer.

It puzzles me why the minister’s original intend of helping immigrants has now been twisted and turned into a “big stick” that punishes immigrants by denying them the most fundamental step of being integrated into Canada.

Instead of helping immigrants, the minister’s action of emphasizing the language requirement is the same as creating obstacles for these hard working immigrants. I don’t know if Minister Kenney realizes that many Indian-Canadians, Chinese-Canadians, and others can and are following Canadian local and national news plus International news development in their native languages newspapers and TV programs? Is it because these news are not delivered in either of the official languages (or from CTV), then these Canadians are somehow “less qualified” to be Canadians and to fully participate in the effort to create a better Canada?

It is true that the Citizenship Act, in particular section 27 (d) (i) & (ii), requires perspective Canadians to have an “adequate knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada” and have an “adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship“. But we all know the devils are in the details and what is “adequate knowledge” are up to interpretation. And more rules means there are more rooms for these rules to be misused, misinterpreted, and, in the rare case, abused by Citizenship officers.

Limiting citizenship by descent to one generation outside Canada

I believe this limitation in the new law/rule is unconstitutional as it effectively created two classes of Canadian citizens with different rights. Those Canadians that are “born in Canada” and those that are “born outside of Canada” and this clearly violates the Equality Rights as stated in section 15 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

While this new law may have been passed by all parties in the Parliament of Canada, wise Canadians will remember that a few unjust and unconstitutional laws have been passed by federal and provincial legislators over the years. And our elected politicians are well aware that is why we have an independent court system to review laws created by legislators. If laws created by legislators are always “right” and always applied “justly”, then why do we need an independent judicial system in Canada?

Concluding Thoughts: The need for full and principled debate before further citizenship laws are passed

While I usually support government ministers to gain insights in how things actually are done in the “real world”. At the same time, I am concerned that Minister Kenney may have overdone this by having too many of his policies or views shaped too quickly by what he saw in the field and what he and his officials quickly came up with as “solutions” to these problems without proper and principled debates. This is why I agree with Natalie Brender when she wrote in The Globe and Mail that,

Citizenship has both instrumental and intrinsic value for Canada and its people. That’s why debates about citizenship law should be fraught with complexity – and why they do need to take place. When the government introduces further changes, it owes Canadians an account of the goals and values it aims to advance. Federal legislators must ensure that a full and principled debate on these topics happens before further citizenship laws are passed.

I hope the essence of my question has reminded with Jason as it is important to focus on the contributions of these Canadians (I would say valued and treasured Canadians) instead of the narrow focus of their existing language skills in either official languages. Helping is good. Putting up obstacles and creating a big stick to punish is not.


Some news and video clips about citizenship and immigration policies and Minister Jason Kenney:

Here, Jason got asked about the deportation of U.S. Iraq war resisters by this Canadian in this YouTube clip.

Jason Kenney meets Iraq war veteran Kim Rivera facing imminent deportation (March 2009).

Jason Kenney and Maurizio Bevilacqua – Liberal Citizenship & Immigration critic appearing on CTV.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Elizabeth at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for her kind help.


Tuesday, 14 April, 2009

Former CNN journalist and HKU professor Rebecca MacKinnon’s online chat with a group of patriotic young Chinese people who run Anti-CNN.

Chinese Cybertarianism

Thursday, 9 April, 2009

Opening paragraphs of Rebecca MacKinnon’s “Cybertarianism: China and the Global Internet”,

A new form of highly networked authoritarianism is emerging in China. Call it “Cybertarianism.” It’s not uniquely Chinese, but understanding how the Internet is mediating the relationship between state and society in China can help us understand what’s happening around the world.

Signs of cybertarianism can be found in many countries. A number of democracies have creeping “cybertarian” tendencies, too. This is not a doomsday book, however. There are plenty of things that people around the world can do in the Internet age to expand genuine free expression and accountable government. But first we need to wake up and recognize what’s happening. 21st Century authoritarianism is not your father’s or grandfather’s authoritarianism. It can’t be addressed or understood in the same way.

Compared to classic authoritarianism, cybertarianism permits – or shall we say bows to the Internet’s inevitable consequences and accepts – a great deal of give-and-take between government and citizens. Cybertarianism is much more deliberative and participatory than [... More plus a video in Rebecca's site]

Unwanted Soldiers (衛國無門) – Great NFB doc

Saturday, 4 April, 2009

Last night I watched a wonderful NFB doc call Unwanted Soldiers(衛國無門).

Highly recommended, (Free on the internet)

“This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne’s father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father’s involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia’s Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne’s father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than Read the rest of this entry »

Congrats Dr Shan Muk Lam – Respected Writer, Journalist, Outlier

Sunday, 29 March, 2009

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – Arthur Miller

When my friend forwarded me the wonderful and well deserved news of Mr. Shan Muk Lam (林行止) being awarded an honorary Doctor of Social Sciences degree, I immediately thought of the above quote.

Congrats Mr. Lam.(Click here for the Chinese version of this article. 這篇文章的中文版在這裡。

Here is an excerpt of the information and citation at HKU (emphasis added),

Dr Lam founded the Hong Kong Economic Journal in 1973 and the Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly in 1977. For 25 years, he wrote a daily column, ‘Politics and Economics Review’, in which he analysed Hong Kong and international affairs. Dr Lam’s articles are widely acclaimed for being objective, insightful and well-argued. Since 1997, ‘Lam Hang Chi’s Column’ has seen him writing about an even wider range of subjects, including economic theories that interest him, and which he hopes the reading public will find educational and interesting too. His writing has been anthologized into over 100 books in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Mainland. Dr Lam was awarded an OBE in 1991 and an honorary degree from Lingnan University in 1999.

In recognition of his contributions to the journalism sector in Hong Kong, HKU will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.


I believe that Mr Lam Shan Muk will be the first illegal immigrant to be awarded an honorary doctorate by this University! Since his unconventional arrival, Mr Lam has, of course, risen to become one of Hong Kong’s most famous and respected writers and journalists. Of the profession of journalists, Warren Buffet wrote:

`The smarter that journalists are, the better off society is. For, to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves and the better the teacher the better the student body’.

Through his writing Mr Lam Shan Muk has proved himself a remarkably able teacher and Hong Kong society, together with his Mainland and Taiwanese readers, have greatly benefited over many years from his enlightening editorials and articles.

First Bilingual Chinese & English 2 weeks 1 gather (number 11)「兩周一聚」(十一): 傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom

Saturday, 28 March, 2009

I proposed the topic for our first bilingual Chinese & English “2 weeks 1 gather (number 11)「兩周一聚」(十一): 傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom”. And now I’ve posted my “傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom” entry.

I took a chance in proposing a topic to be written in two languages by the self-nominated participants but I believe it is a chance that I want to take. The Canadian sensibility in me lead me to give this bilingual idea a try.

You see, in Canada, English and French are official languages and the two languages are being used daily in businesses and in parliamentary debates, etc. Hong Kong and other cities we may have come from may use Chinese & English in their daily lifes, which is why I love to see the participants in this virtual and self-nominated gathering to give both Chinese and English a try. As I mentioned in the topic proposal, even one sentence in Chinese or English is good enough for this idea.

Now, let me share with you a “secret” and please don’t laugh too hard! (smile) I am still waiting for the day when my French is much improved (getting to know a pretty French-speaking lady will help (smile)). I took a French class in Hong Kong years ago but not much of those French are left in my head now. But I think, fundamentally, the willingness to communicate will travel a long way in creating a better world.

So here is my “secret”. My two fluent French sentences are,

“Excusez-moi, je ne parle pas Français. Parlez-vous Anglais?”

which you may have guessed the meaning in English and it is of course,

“Excuse me, I don’t speak French. Do you speak English?”

I believe when I am willing to step into another person’s shoes and try to speak her/his language, then the other person may be much more willing to help even if his/her English is not fluent. (Thinking about it, who said my English is fluent? (big smile))

China: Reform the International Monetary System

Tuesday, 24 March, 2009

It is understandable that China wants some reform of the International Monetary System and doesn’t want to see its massive and predominantly US foreign currency reserves to be inflated away and turned into toy paper money. (smile) But the chance is low that there is a politically acceptable solution to the world (in particular US). We have Euro but my gut feeling tells me we won’t have Woro anytime soon. (Update: In a news conference tonight, President Obama rejected the idea of a world currency posted in a question by a reporter.)

Here is a speech by Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川), Chairman, Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China, in both Chinese and translated into English. Mr. Zhou wants to be listened to but will he? We will find out soon when G20 meets.


Reform the International Monetary System


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