The Lion Awakes
Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China
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Rural Chinese shake off poverty through self-development
On a muggy summer day in Xiuning County of central Anhui Province, Wu Fengfeng still chops wood with a five-kilogram carpenter axe in a workshop of the non-profit Desheng Carpentry School.
The 18-year-old boy, who is from a poor rural family in Xiuning, said his only task now is to master the techniques of making the four-sided "immortal eight" table and palace chair -- two types of traditional Chinese furniture -- so that he can "graduate soon and make money."
As part of Xiuning's development-oriented alleviation campaign that started in 2002, the carpentry school aims at improving professional skills through vocational training of people living in the county's poverty-stricken areas, said an official with the county's poverty alleviation office.
Singaporean defence minister says China's growth contributes to peace, stability in Asia-Pacific
Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Friday that China's rapid development had made a great contribution to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.
Overseas market needs five million Chinese teachers
As is shown by statistics, the number of people who are learning Chinese in major countries worldwide in recent years has grown by about 50 percent annually. Chinese has become the fastest-growing language in terms of number of learners. By the end of 2010, the number of overseas Chinese learners has risen to 100 million. Some experts predicted that the number will reach 150 million at the end of 2013.
See Kaixin's - Introduction to Chinese
New law to fight grassroots graft
To fight corruption at the grassroots, China's central authorities have issued the first regulations forbidding township and village officials from appropriation of land, embezzlement and vote buying.
The regulation applies to millions of officials at the lowest administrative level in China's 600,000 villages. Experts said many such officials are key decision-makers but have been under "lax supervision" and have "poor understanding" of the law.
Five Questions about China's aircraft carrier
On July 27, Geng Yansheng, the senior colonel and spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, declared that China is currently carrying out a restoration of a salvaged aircraft carrier for the purposes of scientific research and training.
The reporter interviewed Li Jie, a researcher from the Naval Military Art Studies Institute and asked several questions regarding China's first aircraft carrier that readers are concerned with.
Smaller cities attractive to foreign investors
Foreign institutional investors have increasingly been exploring China's third- and even forth-tier cities, even though the central government is considering a list of smaller cities that will see home purchase restrictions.
See Kaixin's - China Real Estate
Economic engine should be roaring along safe rail
By Li Hongmei
To many Chinese, having the world's fastest trains running on the world's longest high-speed rail is a pronounced symbol of China's modernization and its galloping economy.
But the bullet-train crash which happened Saturday plunges the whole nation into a chilly nightmare in which at least 43 people killed when a stalled train was struck from behind by another train, and the Chinese, still intoxicated by the pride of running fastest, have to wake up to a harsh reality - how to run safely?
Governments' net for outlaws
By Li Hong
The Canadian authorities under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the weekend deported the most-wanted Chinese fugitive -- smuggling ringleader Lai Changxing back to China. The repatriation has beamed up tens of millions of ordinary Chinese people,
who hate corruption and economic fraudulence most.
The revered former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, prior to his retirement in 2003, vowed to take whatever measures to bring Lai back and face justice in China. Now his wish is fulfilled.
Micro blogs find their time is now
"Our train bumped into something.Our carriage has fallen onto its side. Children are screaming . . . Come to help us please! Come fast!"
The words tweeted by a passenger on high-speed train D301 on July 23 were clearly a cry for help. But they also initiated a wave of unprecedented "citizen journalism" on China's Twitter-like micro blogs.
A university sophomore writing under the name Yangjuan Quanyang posted the message on Sina Weibo at 8:47 pm. The train she was on had just crashed into bullet train D3115 outside Wenzhou. Of her fellow passengers, 40 were killed and 190 injured. She survived.
In 10 hours, Yangjuan's plea was reposted 100,000 times. In the following week, there were 10 million messages about the crash on Sina Weibo and 20 million on QQ Weibo, the other major Chinese micro blog.
"Everyone could have been there on the train," bloggers said tens of thousands of times.
In the aftermath of the crash in East China's Zhejiang province, China's more than 20 million micro-bloggers demonstrated unfamiliar power: They broke the news, joined the rescue work, helped survivors and families of victims, and monitored the authorities who were investigating the accident.
Comments were highly emotional early on, and rumors abounded. But then some observers who communicate through micro blogs took on the mantle of the fourth estate and its tenet of monitoring the holders of power.
In this way, sociologists say, micro blogs provide a platform for Chinese to develop a mature citizenship, which is a prerequisite for China to steer toward a civil society.
Measures to boost domestic sales
BEIJING - Measures are being drafted to promote domestic sales of goods originally produced for export, a trade official said.
The measures, due in September, coincide with a slowdown in export growth and an upturn in domestic consumption.
"They will include simplifying the approval process for domestic sales, establishing convenient financing, expanding sales channels and enhancing brand image," said Chen Linhui, vice-chief of the processing trade division at the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation in Guangdong province.
Due to the rising cost of labor, yuan appreciation and shrinking overseas demand, China's manufacturers are finding it harder than ever to sell overseas.
See Kaixin's - Economic China
Remake, Remodel, Rebrand
Chinese firms need to raise their game to gain international recognition
BEIJING - Every day, tens of thousands of Chinese products are exported to almost every corner of the globe. However, in the eyes of foreign consumers they all simply have the same label, "Made in China".
So far, few Chinese brands have managed to leave a real imprint in the minds of Western consumers, prompting the nation's business owners to reconsider their international branding strategies.
Herders face five year ban on grazing
HAMI, Xinjiang - In a bid to protect eight key scenic spots in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, pasturing is now banned for five years, according to the regional animal husbandry bureau.
The five-year-long "returning grazing land to grassland" project, which began this year, covers 100,000 hectares of grassland in eight key scenic spots, including Kanas and Tianshan Tianchi, said Zhao Xinchun, chief specialist of pasturage at Xinjiang Animal Husbandry Bureau.
Local herdsmen are being compensated for their loss of grazing and get an annual subsidy of 750 yuan ($116.5) per hectare of grassland.
See Kaixin's - Green China
China to spend $2.3b on NE China forest reserve
CHANGCHUN - China will spend 14.56 billion yuan ($2.33 billion) in the next decade for the forest protection of a natural reserve in northeast Jilin province, local authorities said.
The fund was earmarked to the Changbai Mount Natural Reserve, which borders the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based on a national natural forest conservation program.
Wang Shouchen, deputy governor of the province, said by the end of last year logging in the reserve had been reduced by 18.84 million cubic meters, and the forest acreage had increased 3.8 percent to 3.56 million hectares.
China to reduce carbon intensity by 17% by 2015
BEIJING - China will soon release detailed plans on ensuring that its goal for reducing carbon intensity from 2011 to 2015 is attainable, and it has started looking at technical options for cutting carbon dioxide emissions after 2020.
Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said on Wednesday at a conference that a comprehensive plan to allow China to meet its objective - laid out in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) - of reducing carbon intensity by 17 percent reduction will be released soon.
China has set a target to cut its energy intensity (the amount of energy consumed for each unit of GDP) by 16 percent and reduce its carbon intensity (the amount of carbon emitted for each unit of GDP) by 17 percent from 2011 to 2015.
See Kaixin's - Green China
Officials contend dam not to blame for drought, floods
BEIJING - The China Meteorological Administration has claimed the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower project, did not trigger the severe drought along the Yangtze River earlier this year.
The project influences temperatures and precipitation only within 20 km of the dam, according to a report released by the national climate center under the China Meteorological Administration in July.
The major droughts of recent years were mainly caused by abnormal atmospheric circulation and unbalanced heat distribution, the report said.
"The water area of the Three Gorges Dam is not that large compared with the Yangtze River, which causes little impact on the local climate," said Zhang Boting, deputy secretary general of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.
Talent hunters mean business
Li Yang, a PhD marketing student at Columbia Business School in New York, faces a tough choice when he graduates next year - whether to stay in the United States or return to China to look for a job.
"Several years ago, the answer would have been simple. Of course, I'd prefer to stay in the US maybe long enough to enjoy some immigration benefits. But now China offers equally competitive opportunities for overseas returnees, which many will consider and accept," said Li, 28, who has been studying in the US for more than six years.
Kaixin OpEd - That is the clear message we are getting from the people we know in China.
Share your China stories!
The China Daily website is inviting foreign readers to share their China stories with our worldwide audience. Please send your story with your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos of the author or the story are also welcome.
China to enhance modernization of military forces: defense minister
BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- China will steadily reform national defense and the army and constantly modernize the military forces, said China's Minister of National Defense.
Defense minister Liang Guanglie made the remarks at a reception here Sunday celebrating the 84th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
August 1 every year is China's Army Day.
Chinese official meets with U.S. Secretary of State on arms sales to Taiwan
WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese official on Taiwan affairs on Friday held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other officials to reiterate China's strong opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
No ultimatum to force relatives of train crash victims to accept compensation
WENZHOU, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities said on Sunday that it is baseless speculation to say that an "ultimatum" had been given to force relatives of those who died in a fatal high-speed train crash in east China to agree to accept government compensation.
China donates 1,000 more sewing machines to Fiji's rural women
SUVA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Rural women in Fiji are expected to generate money for their organizations and communities as China pours in more than 1,000 sewing machines to change their otherwise struggling lifestyles.
Since the initiative started in 2009, 1,900 household sewing machines from China have been distributed around Fiji. All rural villages and settlements in the island country with a women organization are entitled to receive two household sewing machines as a form of assistance from the Ministry for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation that received their support from China's women organizations who are determined to alleviate the status of their counterparts in Fiji.
Fiji's Minister of Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Jiko Luveni on Sunday praised China for the timely donation, saying the distributed sewing machines are to encourage women to acquire a skill to enable them to generate income for their families and community easing the handout mentality from the government.
Crash victim families accept new deal
Nineteen of 31 families bereaved by a deadly bullet train crash in Zhejiang Province have accepted compensation of 915,000 yuan ($143,000) per deceased family member as of on Sunday.
The compensatory payment was adjusted Friday from the original offer of 500,000 yuan ($77,399).
Jiang Zheng, brother of victim Jiang Zhengtong, told the Global Times on Sunday that he has accepted the compensation.
"I signed the deal on Sunday… I hope to end the matter as soon as possible, leaving my brother in a peaceful world," he said.
Despite the raise in compensation, the relatives of victims from 16 families still refused to accept the offer, demanding higher compensation or the results of an investigation before any deal was struck.
'We will punish those responsible'
Initial investigations into Saturday's train crash in Zhejiang Province found that signal failure and human error were the likely causes, authorities said on Thursday, on the same day that Premier Wen Jiabao promised the probe result would "stand the test of history."
"The signal system at Wenzhou South Railway Station has serious design flaws. After being hit by lightning, it failed to turn one of its lights from green to red, which then failed to prevent the collision," An Lusheng, head of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, said at an investigation meeting held by the State Council in Wenzhou on Thursday.
China confirms first aircraft carrier
China announced it is refitting its first aircraft carrier in the official confirmation of what is viewed as a symbolic breakthrough for the country's naval force.
As the date of its first trial at sea is unknown, strategists said the operational significance and implications of China's first aircraft carrier will not be seen in the short term.
"China is using an old aircraft carrier platform for scientific research, experiment and training," Geng Yansheng, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
China needs to acquire an aircraft carrier due to the country's long coastline and large area of territorial waters, he said, adding that the vessel will help to keep the peace.
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Dialogue (30 Minute Current Affairs Program) - Water crisis looming larger
As the world’s population increases, so too does its need for food and water-the two resources which are absolutely necessary to sustain life. Chinese experts warn that by 2030 when China''s population reaches 1.6 billion, per capita water resources will drop to 1760 cubic meters -- perilously close to 1700 cubic meters, the internationally recognized benchmark for water shortages. The China water crisis threatens the stability and prosperity not only in China but globally too. The government must adopt a new policy to reduce water consumption.
Dialogue (30 Minute Current Affairs Program) - China's economy strong but challenges remain
The momentum of China''s economic growth remains strong as the country rolls out policies to develop strategic emerging industries, accelerate the construction of low-income homes and encourage private investment. However, the country also faces resource and environmental constraints in the domestic market, as well as pressure to transform its economic growth pattern and create sustainable economic growth.
Dialogue (30 Minute Current Affairs Program) - Tougher IPR battles
The Wall Street Journal
Chew on This, Yuan Critics: New and Improved Big Mac Index
New York Senator and prominent yuan critic Chuck Schumer might want to make sure he’s sitting down before he checks out the Economist’s results, which show that on this basis the yuan is actually overvalued against the dollar by 3%. Against a group of various currencies, the yuan is still figured to be undervalued by 7%. which the Economist says is “hardly grounds for a trade war.”
See Kaixin's - Yuan Revaluation & Internationalisation
Volts Don’t Lie? An Alternative Approach to Calculating China’s Growth
Following a weak April and May, electricity output was up 16.2% year-on-year in June, suggesting a strengthening economy. That contrasts with a weak reading from the preliminary HSBC PMI report in July, which suggested contraction is on the cards.
See Kaixin's - Economic China
China Regulator: Banks Can Take Property Hit
SHANGHAI—Chinese banks can withstand a 50% decline in property prices, the chairman of the country's banking regulator said, citing the results of the latest stress tests.
See Kaixin's - China Real Estate
China Slams U.S. Over Debt
With Beijing's Choices Limited, U.S. Sees Little Change in Its Treasury Purchases
As China criticized U.S. leaders over their debt wrangling, a U.S. official said the U.S. doesn't see any significant change in the pattern of Chinese bond purchases, reflecting the limited choices Beijing has in managing its money.
A Letter to Yiyi: Chinese Newspaper’s Defiant Commentary on Train Collision
China’s Economic Observer decided this weekend to publish a hard-hitting special report on the previous week’s high-speed train collision near the city of Wenzhou, defying strict orders from propaganda authorities in Beijing to play down coverage of the accident.
China's Wen Signals Caution in Wake of Rail Crash
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signaled new caution on the country's huge high-speed rail network on a visit to the site of a deadly bullet train crash as his government struggled to contain anger over the disaster.
Weibo Watershed? Train Collision Anger Explodes Online
A torrent of outrage over a deadly high-speed train accident grew further on the Chinese Internet Tuesday, reflecting the mounting challenge China’s leaders face in managing opinion of their governance among an increasingly wired and demanding public.
The Opium War is a touchy subject, admits Julia Lovell.
The Chinese often refer to the conflict that began in 1839 as the beginning of colonial submission, while for many British it has faded to the footnotes of history.
But the myths of the war are still relevant, as they explain China's complicated relationship with the West, Ms. Lovell argues in her new book, "The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China."
But it was fun to compare the English and Chinese accounts and found that they diverged on every point.
The New York Times
Roaming Fees as Low as China's Won't Be Matched Soon
While Europeans and Americans traveling abroad still face steep roaming charges, travelers from mainland China can call home for as little as it costs to make a local call in that market.
In China, a More Western Approach to Elder Care
Nursing homes are popping up all over China, a researcher finds, signaling a sea change in attitudes toward the elder care.
I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor
Counterpoint: Debunking Myths About China
By ERIC X. LI
SHANGHAI — On these pages on July 1, two prominent China watchers — David Shambaugh (“China’s Communist Party at 90”) and Minxin Pei (“Great party, but where’s the Communism?”) — analyzed the failures and challenges of the party as it faces a major leadership transition in 2012. Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist in Shanghai and a doctoral candidate at Fudan University’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs, joins the debate.
The Chinese Communist Party has been running the largest country in the world for 62 years. How has it done?
See Kaixin's - A Color Revolution in China? Keep It Red - Eric Li
Geopolitics at a Mongolian Mine
The Mongolian government is trying to divide a coking coal mine among Chinese, Russian and American interests
A coalition led by China's largest coal company Shenhua Group was granted a leading 40 percent share of a massive Mongolian mining project in July, leaving a Russian-Mongolian concern with 36 percent and U.S.-based Peabody Energy with 24 percent.
Southeastern China's Labor Shortages
Labor shortages in southeastern China are growing more acute, on factors which include less competitive wages and the ongoing movement of industry to inland provinces
(Beijing) -- Labor shortages in China's southeastern coastal areas continue to aggravate the woes of small- and medium-sized business owners, already facing a challenging business environment including decreased access to credit, rising costs of raw materials and the appreciation of the yuan.
Death of Disabled Vendor Sparks Riot in Guizhou
Thousands of local residents demonstrated against local authorities in Anshun City in southwestern China's Guizhou Province on July 26
(Beijing) – Thousands of angry local residents clashed with city authorities following the death of a disabled fruit vendor, after being allegedly beaten by urban management officials in southwest China's Guizhou Province, according to a report by China Daily on July 27.
Government Mulls More Support for SMEs
The State Council is currently considering the loosening of taxation and financing policies toward SMEs, according to an MIIT official
(Beijing) -- The State Council, China's cabinet, may ease taxation and financing policies toward small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), according to Zhu Hongren, Chief Engineer and Spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Silk Prices Continue to Drop
Silkworm farmers have been forced to shutter businesses amid a slump in international demand for raw silk
(Beijing) – Silk and silk cocoon prices have dropped by more than 11 percent since mid-June, hitting both silkworm farmers and raw silk producers.
Asia Times Online
Dragon, eagle, elephant and a black swan
By Dinesh Sharma
Hype over China's and India's rise is too easily undermined by hard facts, with innovation keeping the United States in its lead role. The race between the flying dragon, lumbering elephant and swooping eagle is still on for the 21st century, but the "rugged individualism" that defined America's success may - like a lonesome cowboy - soon ride into an Asian sunset.
US opens regional trade gambit in Asia
By Sreeram Chaulia
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants the United States back in the driving seat in pursuit of "genuine" free trade in the Asia Pacific region. The uncomfortable fact is that US export-oriented businesses are feeling the pinch as intra-Asian trade booms with China as the center of the wheel.
US in 'denial' over China's Pacific strategy
By Craig Guthrie
Reports that China's eyes in the skies over the Pacific are approaching the same strength as the United States' spy satellite capabilities feed into the Pentagon's "access denial" doctrine that China is building an asymmetrical strike force. It is more likely however that China is sticking to its "active defense" strategy and building on "space deterrence".
China hand seen behind
vast buy-up of Japanese shares
By Hussain Khan
China's five-year plan requires development of several "strategic", technologically demanding industries. An Australia-based fund that has become a leading shareholder in many top Japanese companies appears to be helping Beijing towards that goal. Why the fund is a top-three stakeholder in Japan's three biggest banks is more mystifying.
Taiwan consulate stirs Hong Kong
By Augustine Tam
A symbolic renaming of Taiwan's consular office in Hong Kong from the Chung Hwa Travel Agency to the Taipei Trade and Tourism Office reveals how Beijing will use its "model for reunification" to spearhead exchanges in an improved cross-strait climate. The opening also gives Taipei's ruling Kuomintang party a chance to reprise a role it played in Hong Kong's political past
Speedy growth lays tracks of China's tears
By Wu Zhong, China Editor
The seeds of China's bullet train disaster on Saturday were laid in the high-speed growth responsible for the economic achievements of the past 30 years. An autocratic system has been the engine of Beijing's advances, but 39 lives will have been lost in vain unless the government conducts a thorough review of nationwide railway expansion and of the wider decision-making processes.
Like daughter, like mother
In 2004, at the age of 36, Iris Chang shot herself to death, seven years after her novel The Rape of Nanking had become an international bestseller. Iris' mother Ying-Ying Chang recalls how she converted this tragedy into a positive force to write the recently released memoir The Woman Who Could Not Forget - a tribute to Iris' courage.
Pomp and porn during the Qing Dynasty
Decadence Mandchoue by Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse
Reviewed by Kent Ewing
In an erotic romp through the twilight years of the Qing Dynasty, these memoirs recount among other trysts the Victorian Orientalist author's subservient servicing of the Empress Dowager Cixi, then 69, and adventures with the eunuchs and catamites of Peking's bathhouses. Intermingled with fantastical imperial palace intrigue, the work has faced charges of fraudulence and obscenity; this belies its charm and historical significance.
THE ROVING EYE
An extreme traveler, Pepe's nose for news has taken him to all parts of the Pepe Escobar globe. He was in Afghanistan and interviewed the military leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Masoud, a couple of weeks before his assassination
"The Real China is made by Chinese mothers and grandmothers, from each individual family's hard work," says Xue Xinran
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