The Lion Awakes
Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China
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Giant rabbit lanterns with other lantern decorations are seen at Xinlei Park of Puyang City, Central China's Henan province, Feb 4, 2011 during the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac.
Migrant workers starting to call cities their home
FOSHAN, Guangdong - While Spring Festival is traditionally the time of year when migrant workers from all over China leave their jobs in big cities to return to their hometowns for family gatherings, an increasing number are now choosing to celebrate the holiday in their adoptive homes.
Out of the 1.4 million migrant workers in Foshan city, a manufacturing hub in the Pearl River Delta region, 570,000 decided to welcome Spring Festival in the city this time and not make the trek "home".
It's a big deal
This is a typical day for a group-buying enthusiast: she goes to work after giving herself a little refresher - a Burberry perfume that she bought a few days ago with 59 percent off. At lunch, she and several colleagues have a spicy hotpot in a nearby restaurant, 70 percent off. After work, she decides to have her car washed for Spring Festival with a coupon entitling her to 83 percent off. Midnight is the most exciting moment for her when all the group-buying websites display new offers of the day. Sometimes she cannot get to sleep until she places a couple of orders and marks the deadline of each coupon on a sticker.
Group buying, a business model borrowed from the United States-based Groupon.com, is enjoying increasing popularity in China among people like this enthusiast. The popularity, in turn, is shaping the way companies reach out to customers.
Fire damages 1,000-year-old temple in E China
FUZHOU - A 1,000-year-old building is believed to have been destroyed in a fire at a Buddhist temple in Fuzhou, capital of east China's Fujian province, Feb 7, 2011.
Fuzhou's Fahai Temple was built in 945 and houses a large number of ancient Buddhist scriptures that are recognized as national treasures.
Fireworks blamed for increase in fires
BEIJING - Setting off fireworks, a Chinese New Year holiday tradition to ward off evil spirits, has been blamed for the increasing number of fires across the country during the festive season.
Firefighters fought 5,945 fires nationwide during the 32-hour span from the beginning of Wednesday, the last day of the previous lunar year, to 8 am on Thursday, according to figures released by the fire control bureau of the Ministry of Public Security on Sunday.
That figure, for the 32-hour period, was about 80 percent of the 7,480 fires across the country during the entire seven-day Spring Festival holiday last year, according to previously released figures.
Fireworks were the main culprit for this year's rash of fires, but dry weather in North and East China also played a role, the bureau said.
See Kaixin's - Firecrackers on New Years Day
China has 4.6 million trademarks
BEIJING - China registered 4.6 million trademarks at the end of 2010, with the number of trademark applications exceeding 1 million last year, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Despite the huge number, only one out of eight economic entities in China had a trademark and there are not many famous brands, according to the administration.
Meanwhile, trademark infringement cases took place often as a lot of enterprises were not fully aware of trademark protection, according to official sources.
US: Chinese drill pipe threaten US industry
WASHINGTON - The US International Trade Commission (USITC) determined Monday that imports of drill pipe and drill collars from China threatened the US industry with material injury.
'Empire' shines for Lunar New Year - VIDEO
The Empire State Building in New York lit up its tower red and gold to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year on Feb 2 and 3.
Since 2001, an annual lighting ceremony of the Empire State Building for the Chinese Lunar New Year has been held as a tradition.
Chinese New Year
The Year of the Rabbit
CCTV Events held across China to mark "Po Wu" VIDEO
Events are being held across China to mark the fifth day of the Lunar New Year - or "Po Wu" as it's known in Chinese.
Traditionally celebrations start on New Year's eve, and go on until the fifth day of the lunar calendar's first month. A big part of " Po Wu" is getting up early to clean houses and also to eat dumplings. Some are filled with nuts or candies, and it's believed whoever eats them will have good fortune for the year. It's also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth, so businesspeople usually go back to work and let off fireworks to ensure prosperity.
"Po Wu" is extra special this year as it marks a celestial phenomenon - Jupiter and the moon have now moved to the same longitude creating the shortest distance between the two planets.
CCTV China suffers worst drought in 60 years VIDEO
Minimal rainfall or snow this winter has crippled China's major agricultural regions, leaving many of them parched. Crop production has fallen sharply, as the worst drought in six decades, shows no sign of letting up.
Shandong province has seen only 12 millimeters of rain since last September, fifteen percent of the normal level.
Despite more than 4-thousand pumping stations continuing to supply water, the situation is severe.
More than half the 4 million hectares of land used for growing wheat have been hit by drought.
Special funds are now being allocated to combat the situation.
CCTV High-speed railway gains popularity VIDEO
The Spring Festival travel rush may be a headache for many passengers, but Shanghai residents now have a novel option for their holiday trips. A new high-speed train line to Hangzhou, the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, is now in operation. Jay Nuttall tells us what commuters think about it.
For some east China residents, the first item on their Spring Festival "to do" list, is boarding the new Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed train line.
Stations in the two cities have experienced major passenger volume increases since the holiday period began.
These trips are different from typical outings around the country at this time of year, with many families traveling together and carrying gifts for their relatives, rather than carting around loads of heavy luggage.
Most say the main reason for these getaways is having fun.
CCTV China attracts more foreign travellers VIDEO
China has surpassed Spain as the world's third-most popular tourist destination. And the country is turning on the charm to boost its international image and attract even more foreign holidaymakers.
With its long history spanning thousands of years, diverse culture and culinary delights, China is now the world's third-most popular holiday destination. The UN World Tourism Organization says China saw over 55 million tourist arrivals last year, marking a 10 percent increase. But the country is not resting on its laurels. China wants to soften its international image, by promoting its culture and lifestyle. It's hoping to attract more visitors, and cushion the impact of its growing assertiveness in global politics.
Photo taken on Feb 6, 2011 shows lanterns at the Daguan Park in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province. A lantern show was held during the Spring Festival holiday here at the Daguan Park.
Leap of adventure
Two geologic wonders far from the urban crowd offer scenery, exhilaration and adrenaline, as Suzanne Ma reports
For first-time visitors to China, Beijing and Shanghai are the default destinations. But for tourists who like to mix city travel with outdoor adventure, two natural landmarks stand out - Yellow Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge. Both are among the country's most popular attractions. Yellow Mountain, or Huangshan, has been an icon in Chinese culture for centuries. Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province ranks among the deepest gorges in the world.
Standing amid billowing clouds high atop Yellow Mountain, you will want to reach out and grasp the silvery wisps in front of you.
Then the clouds part to reveal a stunning mountain range of yellow granite ranging as far as the eye can see. A moment later, the scene changes once again as clouds drift on to reveal a canyon filled with a sea of peaks. The peculiar crests jut out amid smooth boulders. Tall Chinese pines appear rooted in the rocks.
Although the name Huangshan, which means Yellow Mountain, suggests a single mountain, it is actually a range that spans 150 square kilometers in southern Anhui province 480 kilometers southwest of Shanghai. Set aside at least two days for a visit.
Yellow Mountain is actually an entire mountain range spanning 150 square kilometers in southern Anhui province.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
As you hike Tiger Leaping Gorge, you will breathe crisp air under a high-altitude sun, gaze at snowcapped mountains in the distance and hear the churning, wild waters of the river somewhere down below. You probably will step in donkey manure, too.
This is a frontier adventure, after all, and a little donkey dung was not going to stop me, not even on the infamous 24-Bend Path, a rough and rocky road that spirals upward before finally reaching flatter terrain.
Local men who rent the donkeys targeted the women in our group, telling us we would be too weak to make it all the way up.
"Don't put yourself through it. Just hop on," they incessantly beckoned. But adrenaline and pride only goaded me forward and before I knew it, I had finished the 24th bend.
I stood 3,960 meters above the Jinsha River, hiked 29 kilometers on a rocky trail past cascading waterfalls and climbed down rugged cliffs on worn but sturdy ladders.
All the while, panoramic views beckoned of majestic green mountains dotted with the humble villages and terraced rice fields of the southwestern province of Yunnan. We came across plenty of goats and oxen in the fields but only a handful of other human beings on the way.
A tourist looks up at a cascading waterfall along a rocky trail in Yunnan's Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Famille Rose: something novel, something subtle
When western explorers first made contact with the Chinese, they returned with word of many fascinating art forms, products, and innovations. One of these art forms was Chinese porcelain, which subsequently became known as what else - china. The making of china is an art that goes back centuries in China, and it is one that evolved with the various dynasties that make up Chinese history. Over the years, the type of glazing and enamel applied to China changed as new designs and colors became fashionable.
It also became common for designs originating in China to become widely popular in Europe. In fact, many Chinese porcelain innovations were trend setters for the European markets. One of these innovations was the color "family" known as Famille Verte. But European influences can also be found to have influenced Chinese designs; this is the case with the color family and designs associated with Famille Rose.
Relics of the Tang Dynasty
On the Relics of the Tang Dynasty – the Exhibition of the Hoarded Classic Excavations from Hejiacun village opened at Shannxi Historic Museum, over 300 selected hoarded excavations from Hejiacun village were displayed, including the Gilded Ox Head Agate Cup, the Gold-decorated Handled Silver Pot with the Pattern of Parrots, the Gold-decorated Silver Kettle with the Pattern of a Dancing Horse and the Gold Bowl with the Pattern of Mandarin Ducks and Lotus Petals. For more than half of these items, this show marked their debut.
The Gilded Jade Armlet
Literally meaning "sun and moon in heart" in Tibetan, Shangri-la, an ideal home only found in heaven, is located at the meeting point of Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan.
- The Forbidden City
- Experiencing Japan
- Portraying China
- The seven sages in the bamboo grove
- The Story of Wu
A BRIEF HISTORY
What will Year of the Rabbit bring?
For Chinese people, the New Year doesn't officially start until after the Spring Festival. In two days, the year of the Rabbit will kick off. An event-laden January may cast some predictions for the year ahead.
The frozen rain in the South and drought in the North suggest natural disasters will continue to be the biggest challenge to China. The No. 1 Central document has outlined a timetable for water control. The central government released tighter measures to tame the property market, including levying a property tax in Shanghai and Chongqing.
Tests for the government will also be controlling inflation and reducing Beijing's clogged-up roads.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the US in January, signing a joint statement framing the bilateral relationship as a cooperative partnership and reversing the 2010 downward trend in bilateral relations, giving hope for growth this year.
A year ago, China became the world's second largest economy, a title that has not translated into effective comparative might. In coping with challenges from natural disasters to reducing misunderstandings held by the outside world, China appears to be scrambling for solutions.
China is far from an ideal state. We should both avoid overreaching and an inferiority complex. In the year of the Rabbit, domestic and diplomatic conflict will most likely still happen. As long as China's development is not disrupted, we have reasons to believe this year will be a positive one.
There are several major tasks that the government should try to score points on. Securing a good agricultural harvest and ensuring the upgrading of the irrigation system are high on the list. In addition, there should be immediate efforts to control inflation and the property market. With a positive start of the Sino-US relationship, this year should see fewer diplomatic troubles.
In this year, perhaps every one of us should reflect. China is much stronger than before, however, what makes us feel vulnerable so often? We are leading better lives, yet we are seemingly less happy. We hold higher hopes for the country's future, but it should not become an unpractical goal.
China will continue to be scrutinized in this year. It will not be an easy task. If faced with uncertainty, let us face it with hope.
Color revolutions will not bring about real democracy
In a sense, democracy means to convey all grass-roots sentiment to the government level, but many existing governments do not do this. The more extreme elements exist in a society, the harder it is for a government to maintain a reasonable line. The Middle East is the region where beliefs and viewpoints clash most with the Western world view. Hence, Western countries support non-democratic governments who play into their hands.
Most Western democracies matured over a long period. Japan and South Korea, though implanted democracies, have to pay the price of accepting foreign armies on their territory. Some other countries have had an even tougher time in adopting a democratic system.
In general, democracy has a strong appeal because of the successful models in the West. But whether the system is applicable in other countries is in question, as more and more unsuccessful examples arise.
In the West, democracy is not only a political system, but a way of life. Yet some emerging democracies in Asia and Africa are taking hit after hit from street-level clamor.
Democracy is still far away for Tunisia and Egypt. The success of a democracy takes concrete foundations in economy, education and social issues.
As a general concept, democracy has been accepted by most people. But when it comes to political systems, the Western model is only one of a few options. It takes time and effort to apply democracy to different countries, and to do so without the turmoil of revolution.
A 30 Minute Current Affairs Programme on CCTV - 9 (In English) where current issues are discussed by experts from China and Internationally:
See Also - The New York Times 31/1/2011
China Might Force Visits to Mom and Dad
Under a proposal from the Civil Affairs Ministry, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.
Kaixin OpEd – ‘Once ensconced in intimate neighborhoods of courtyard houses and small lanes and surrounded by relatives and acquaintances, older people in China are increasingly moving into lonely high-rises and feeling forgotten, he said.’
Welcome to the west!
This proposed law is founded in compassion but will be dashed on the rocks of reality.
Xiaosui and our friends in China agree that the elderly are being forgotten, however a law will not address the issue. It will take either a change of attitude or the revival of the old ways where the elderly were treated as respected members of the family, not burdens.
How do you ‘prove’ in a court of law such a proposition? What defences will be allowed?
The first generation of only children are far more mobile, often live in different cities and are facing increasing costs of living. Many have neither the time nor means to visit their parent, even if they wanted to.
Will lack of money be a defence?
The elderly in China, and Asian societies in general, feel an obligation to their children. It is why the suicide rate is climbing. They are lonely and isolated, but do not want to be a burden on their children.
High quality aged care is probably the answer. The west has some good models to work from.
It is not ideal, but perhaps it is better than being alone and isolated in a high rise apartment.
International News Sources
The Wall Street Journal - China RealTime Report
SHANGHAI—China is building strategic reserves in rare-earth metals, an effort that could give Beijing increased power to influence global prices and supplies in a sector it already dominates.
For Investors, China's Boom Is a Rough Ride
Investing in China is the only way to enjoy heady gains over the next few years, bulls say.
Bears counter that investors risk huge losses unless they protect against a bursting of what they view as a bubble in China. Such an event could rock global markets, they warn.
Adding to the challenges for investors: Betting on -- or against -- China is not easy.
Video: Analyzing China’s Rare-Earth Reserves
On Asia Today, SJ’s Jake Lee and Asia Pacific Finance Reporter Alison Tudor examine China’s efforts to build its strategic reserves of rare-earth metals, including the construction of new storage facilities in Inner Mongolia than can hold more than the 39,813 metric tons China exported last year. Also, South Korean authorities are investigating units of Deutsche Bank over a sharp stock market fall last year:
The Financial Times
Beijing’s motives are often just pragmatic
By Yang Yao
China’s economic ascent was once welcomed in the west. Since the financial crisis, however, China is increasingly viewed as pursuing a domestic policy of government domination and an international policy driven by beggar-thy-neighbour mercantilism. There is evidence to support these fears but they do not add up to a conscious decision to embark on a more aggressive model. And if the west misinterprets Chinese changes, it will only make matters worse.
Kaixin – You will have to register with the FT to view this article. There is FREE registration for limited access, plus competitive rates on full access.
China's economic invasion of Africa
A million Chinese people, from engineers to chefs, have moved to work in Africa in the past decade. How has the trade boom changed their lives?
Chinese civil engineer Liu Hui, who is overseeing the construction of a highway between Nairobi and Thika. Photograph: Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures
China says booming trade with Africa is transforming continent
Report from Beijing predicts even faster rate of growth, although critics warn of failure to recognise human rights abuses
China said yesterday its two-way trade with Africa had increased by nearly 45% in a year to hit a record $114.81bn (£75bn), highlighting a trend that could be helping transform the world's poorest continent.
Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping in November, at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Pretoria. Photograph: Paballo Thekiso/AFP/Getty Images
Central planning is high on China's agenda
The Chinese Politburo is unlikely to give up its partiality to organising the economy and workers in every detail.
Cai isn't game to say whether China's control-obsessed leaders will follow the Japanese path to stability by loosening their grip and giving workers authority to organise themselves.
But at least they are listening.
Kaixin Oped – Awww, I dunno …
Kaixin sees definite signs that the unskilled migrant labour market is starting to flex its bargaining powers.
Kaixin also sees definite signs that industrial unions are becoming stronger.
Remember, just 30 years ago China was under the repression of a Mao led China. It has come a long way in that time in many areas including labour reform.
Kaixin is not saying it has got there yet, but it is moving in the right direction.
The fact that such a senior figure as Professor Cai Fang is promoting the issues would seem to indicate that it has standing.
A recent report said that migrant works now receive more income per month than first year graduates. Indeed, there is a shortage of labour and a surplus of graduates in China.
Naturally, where there is a shortage, the bargaining power of the commodity – in this case, unskilled migrant labour – increases. This trend will only continue as conditions in rural China improve under this current five-year plan. Workers will not want to, or need to, move to the city.
An interesting factor in this transformation of rural China is the surplus of graduates. They have lost their bargaining power. Beijing is encouraging them to move to rural areas to find work. This will lead to more and more opportunity in rural areas and less and less need for people to move from those areas to the city.
Hence, the price of unskilled labour will inexorably rise, along with their industrial bargaining power.
The free ride the west had on the backs of those workers is now over. This will be reflected in increasing prices for goods made in China.
It’s a pity the west squandered that window of economic opportunity.
China did not.
The west has huge deficits, where as China has trillions of dollars.
Back to basics, fellas, hard work and thrift.
The New York Times
China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Of course, China per se is not fueling the revolt here — but China and the whole Asian-led developing world’s rising consumption of meat, corn, sugar, wheat and oil certainly is. The rise in food and gasoline prices that slammed into this region in the last six months clearly sharpened discontent with the illegitimate regimes — particularly among the young, poor and unemployed.
The Arab world has 100 million young people today between the ages of 15 and 29, many of them males who do not have the education to get a good job, buy an apartment and get married. That is trouble. Add in rising food prices, and the diffusion of Twitter, Facebook and texting, which finally gives them a voice to talk back to their leaders and directly to each other, and you have a very powerful change engine.
Kaixin OpEd - In China Kaixin calls it Tech-Democracy. The voice of the people shouting to the small group of people in control of the world that they have had enough.
Is this a call for democracy?
This is where it is important to define just what 'democracy' means.
Define clearly what it means to each person, to each group of people, to each stratum of society ...
Define what each person hopes democracy will achieve for them as individuals.
Define what benefits democracy will bestow on a country and the various social stratum within that country.
You see, Kaixin believes that most people do not have a clear idea what democracy means. Oh yes, they have a hazy notion that it means the right to vote, but it goes little further than that. Such notions as the finer points of democracy do not mean much to the majority people in the west who live very comfortable lives.
It is when you life ceases to be comfortable that you look around for an effective voice.
The Internet and mobile phones have provided an effective platform for everyone to voice their opinion. If that opinion resonates then it spreads quickly and cannot be stopped by governments or rulers in any country.
Kaixin defines democracy as the voice of the people being heard. Kaixin considers that in the west that voice has been smothered for some time, however life is still too comfortable, so the voice of the disaffected does not resonate.
In China Tech-Democracy has given a strong voice to the people, a voice that was lost under Mao but has slowly emerged over the last 30 years. It is interesting, and frustrating to many in the west, that the voice in China does not call for 'democracy'. Tech-Democracy is being used to address specific issues in China, but those issues do not provide a basis for revolution. Life is becoming more and more comfortable in China .... why rock the boat?
Egypt has clearly shown that the voice on the street has not been heard for many years. It is now demanding to be heard and is questioning the legitimacy and effectiveness of the current system of government. A system propped up by the 'west, in particular America, for its own ends. The voice on the street now has Tech-Democracy. The issues in Egypt do go to the heart of people's concerns and do resonate, hence the mass riots.
The small ruling elite in the Arab world are doing a Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake", and shovelling money at the voice .... money they don't have it would seem.
It has worked before, will it work this time?
Kaixin has noted for some time the emerging crisis in food supply for the world.
While the world has been distracted with other issues, this issue has been slowly heating like a pot of boiling water. It would appear it is near boiling point.
It this the first signs of the pot boiling over?
The price of food (and water) will come down to simple economics, supply and demand. The price will rise as demand outstrips supply.
Those who can pay, will, those who can't, will go hungry.
No .... of course it is not that simple.
Will a country let its food be exported if it cannot feed its own people?
What if foreign countries or nationals own the land on which the food is produced? Is it not their food?
Will governments see their people go hungry or starve rather than take control of that land?
Will foreign countries with very big armies allow that to happen?
I fear the world is headed for what the Chinese saying warns against: "May you live in interesting times"
Asia Times Online
A Snow Dragon in the Arctic
By Joseph Spears
China is stepping up its activities in a warming and changing Arctic Ocean Basin. While Beijing's interests and policy objectives there remain unclear, it is increasingly active and vocal on the international stage on issues concerning the region.
To that end, China is actively seeking to develop relationships with Arctic states and participate in multilateral organizations such as the Arctic Council.