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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Follow-On Article (1) (for the Sichuan Quake article)

June 24th, 2009 41 comments

*** ( NOTE : This is a follow-on of the artcle titled : Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective“. This 2nd article is NOT meant to be a stand-alone article. I would therefore highly recommend you read that article before starting this one. The 1st article is only 1 page long, and should provide the context in which this article should be viewed ) *** ( click here to read the 1st article )
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Putting the Sichuan Quake into Perspective (Re-Post)

June 22nd, 2009 84 comments

( Note : This is a re-post of the same article taken from the blogsite : chinablogs.wordpress.com dated May 10, 2009. You are most welcomed to give your feedback using the Comments section here or on my above blogsite. You may also find the comments and my feedback on the above blogsite interesting. It includes an interesting comment from an American with first hand experience of the quake. )

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Saving Grace

May 12th, 2009 39 comments

This post was a translation from Li Chengpeng’s blog as part of our effort to memorize the tragic earthquake one year ago.  The author Li was a sports commentator who later on became active in other public spheres.  After the Sichuan earthquake, he went to Beichuan as a reporter as well as a volunteer.   As far as I know, this blog post had not been published anywhere other than his blog.  However, I find it to be a touching story of the human spirit  when faced with such disasters, and the miraculous impact a good conscience may have.

Original title: 北川邓家”刘汉小学”无一死亡奇迹背后的真相  (The truth behind the zero death miracle of the Bei chuan Liu Han Elementary School)

Today, I am not going to write how many died. It pains me to write about these today. Let me talk about miracles. Read more…

Climate Change: Tibetan Plateau in Peril

January 20th, 2009 7 comments

Too often when we discuss Tibet, we reflexively focus our attention on the political spat between the CCP and the Dalai Lama.  However, Tibet is much more than the current political spat.

For one thing: there is the people; the indigenous culture; the land – and of course the important environmental role the Tibetan Plateau plays in regional as well as global environment.

The following is a video from Asia Society on the Peril the Tibetan Plateau is under – as well its implication for all of us in light of global climate change. Read more…

Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province

January 17th, 2009 52 comments

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Huaiyuan Lou Tulou; built in 1907

We’ve had discussions about Hakka culture in the past with several of our commenters being of Hakka ancestry, so I wanted to show some photos taken by Ted of tulou (土楼; 土樓) in Fujian province. 60% of Hakka are from the Xingning/Meixian area of Guangdong province and over 95% of overseas Hakka were originally from that region, but tulou exist only in Fujian.

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China's 30-Year Journey of Reform and Opening Up

December 20th, 2008 124 comments

China’s journey of reform and opening up over the last the last 30 years have definitely been, if nothing else, colorful and eventful.  Last week, Chinese officials marked the 30 year anniversary of China’s reforms and opening up with a series of meetings and speeches. Read more…

The Princess Tai Ping Crosses the Pacific Ocean

December 15th, 2008 29 comments

And now for something completely different!

After sailing across the Pacific Ocean in a 15th century Chinese junk, Captain Nelson Liu and his crew of seven on the Princess Tai Ping spent their last few days at the San Diego Maritime Museum before making their way to Hawaii and eventually back to Japan and Taipei.

The 54 foot, 35 ton Fujian style warship, built and launched from Xiamen using the same materials as their ancestors, is following the conjectured route of 15th century Chinese admiral Zheng He who, according to some theories, may have arrived on the North American West Coast long before Cabrillo.

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Categories: culture, education, Environment, technology Tags:

Beijing's New Air Pollution Control Measures

October 2nd, 2008 13 comments

Whatever your views on the proper role of government in societal, cultural, and economic affairs, few would argue against the government’s role (if not duty) in helping to confront the myriad environmental problems facing modern industrialized societies. Read more…

Netizens vote for sparrow as China's national bird

September 10th, 2008 29 comments

America has the Bald Eagle, a powerful symbol of might, individuality, and freedom — even if Benjamin Franklin thought it was a bird of “bad moral character” inferior to the Wild Turkey.

sparrowWhat does China have as a national bird? Well, it doesn’t yet.

The house sparrow, so common in China, and named one of the four vermin during the 1950’s (and killed en masse), has received a plurality of votes among ten birds in an unofficial online poll for China’s national bird. This has stirred up a conversation online about what constitutes a national bird, and more interestingly, about the national character and outlook of the common Chinese people.
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China's Hazy Future?

September 4th, 2008 39 comments

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago, China will face three major problems in the coming years.  The problems involve: the nation’s changing demographics, the increasing strain on energy and environmental resources, and widening social inequalities between the rich and poor.

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Recently completed mega-construction projects in China

September 1st, 2008 44 comments

For about two decades straight, day-and-night, 24/7, China has been the world’s construction ground, with architectural marvels and giant infrastructure springing up at a swift rate and on an enormous scale. The Beijing Olympics set some ungodly tight deadlines on a few of these projects, but with sheer drive, massive manpower, capital investment, and the directive planning power of the state, nearly all of these mega projects have been completed in a matter of years — unheard of anywhere else in the world.

The world may know about pieces like the Bird’s Nest, the Qinghai-Tibet railroad, and the Three Gorges Dam, but here are some others that have been delivered around China in the past 5 years.

1. Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3, biggest building in the world:

Here’s a pretty good discovery channel documentary on its construction process, and alludes to some of the land issues we encounter in a fast-developing China.
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Beijing Olympics a learning experience for all involved

August 24th, 2008 32 comments

It is said that the Beijing Olympics was a big draw, perhaps proving the adage that no publicity is bad publicity. Did the worldwide protests before the Olympics ironically serve as a big advertisement for the Beijing Olympics? And now that a record number of people have watched the Olympics, what have they learned about China?
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Categories: Analysis, Environment, media Tags:

Snapshots from Beijing

August 2nd, 2008 10 comments

I’ve been in Beijing for a little over a week.  While Western media seems mostly intent on investigating nail-houses and Internet access in the Olympic media center, I’ve been playing tourist.  But because I’ve been to Beijing numerous times, no pictures of the Great Wall or Forbidden Palace.  Here are a few stories from every-day life that caught my eye:

First, the first day of what I hope are numerous days of blue skies.  This picture comes from Friday afternoon, looking at the Beijing railway station:

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Categories: culture, Environment Tags: ,

"Direct" flights commence between Taiwan and mainland

July 4th, 2008 19 comments

Today, without too much fuss, regular direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan began, fulfilling a campaign pledge of Ma Yingjiu. The flights run Friday-to-Monday between Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Taipei. As you can see from the maps (from Sina & Chinanews) below, all flights still route near Hong Kong airspace so they are “direct” only in the sense of not having to actually stop in Hong Kong or somewhere else. Still it’s the start of something new — the “direct” flights put major mainland cities within a one- to two-hour radius of Taiwan, make it possible for day trips back and forth, for business or leisure. This is a popular move. Why has it taken so long and why is this significant?

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Dalai Lama tries speaking to the Chinese

June 21st, 2008 69 comments

If there’s one thing we’ve consistently criticized here, it’s that the Dalai Lama (and “clique”) has largely failed to reach out to the Chinese people directly. For every interview he provides to the Chinese-language press, it seems he’s done fifty for foreign language press. And even when he makes an attempt to speak to the Chinese (as with an open letter released earlier this year), his ignorance and lack of familiarity shows through.

But he is at least making an active effort to change this. He has met with individual Chinese in the United States and Germany in recent months. And in his just completed trip through Australia, he met with the Chinese-language press, and also hosted an open Q&A session targeted at overseas Chinese. (Unfortunately the session was organized with a dissident group with links to the FLG… but that’s not the point here.)

Here’s what he had to say in Australia, courtesy of the International Campaign for Tibet (原文):

Dalai Lama: … Problems related to Tibet must absolutely be resolved between the Han and Tibetan races, no one else can deal with this type of problem. And precisely because of that, the Chinese, the Han in inland China, you must understand the real situation, this is very important.

So, what is the real situation in his opinion? Read on for more.

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China phases out thin plastic bags

May 30th, 2008 12 comments

In the deluge of earthquake news, something like this that affects daily life in China has managed to slip under the radar.

This article describes a situation that people in China are already aware of. At least in Shanghai, it’s said that an extra charge will be imposed to get your goods in those familiar plastic grocery bags.

Details:

The Chinese government is set to ban the manufacture and force shopkeepers to charge for the distribution of bags thinner than 0.025 millimeters thick as of June 1.

The Chinese government is banning production and distribution of the thinnest plastic bags in a bid to curb the white pollution that is taking over the countryside. The bags are also banned from all forms of public transportation and “scenic locations.” The move may save as much as 37 million barrels of oil currently used to produce the plastic totes, according to China Trade News. Already, the nation’s largest producer of such thin plastic bags, Huaqiang, has shut down its operations.

The effort comes amid growing environmental awareness among the Chinese people and mimics similar efforts in countries like Bangladesh and Ireland as well as the city of San Francisco, though efforts to replicate that ban in other U.S. municipalities have foundered in the face of opposition from plastic manufacturers.

The last sentence is ironic. China is no stranger to big government regulations, of course, but one can’t argue with the efficiency with which it can operate.

Donations for Sichuan Earthquake Relief

May 14th, 2008 3 comments

For those who care about China, your effort is needed now more than ever. Here are a few more options for those looking to make a donation to the Sichuan earthquake relief effort.

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Categories: Environment, News Tags: , ,

Enviroment of China: Challenges and Hope

May 11th, 2008 3 comments

One of the most serious side effects of China’s unprecedented growth is the rapid degeneration of her environment, as it was recently covered by the NYT’s special series Choking on Growth.

James Fallows has a long feature article in the June issue of the Atlantic entitled “China’s Silver Lining,why soggy skies over Beijing represent the world’s great environmental opportunity.” The gist of it is that “China’s environmental situation is disastrous. And it is improving. Everyone knows about the first part. The second part if important too. ” The article is not available online yet and we will provide a link when it’s up.

I would also recommend readers who concerned on this issue checking out this excellent bilingual website China Dialogue.

As a side note: for people who plan to travel to Beijing, WSJ’s take on the World’s best Chinese food.

Categories: Environment Tags: , ,