Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Prayers for quake-hit Ya’an [ChinaDaily] #China #YaAnEarthquake

China mobilizes for Ya’an 雅安, Sichuan.

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Rescue teams head to quake-hit areas
Source – China Daily, published April 20, 2013


Members of the Chongqing Fire Corps gather before heading to the earthquake-hit region of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, in Chongqing, also in southwest China, April 20, 2013. A rescue team consisted of more than 200 fire fighters and 27 rescue vehicles has headed to the quake-hit region on April 20 morning after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan County of Sichuan Province at 8:02 a.m. Beijing Time (0002 GMT) on Saturday.. [Photo/Xinhua]

Prayers for quake-hit Ya’an
Source – China Daily, published April 20, 2013


Students in Liaocheng city of Shandong province hold banners praying for the safety of people in Ya’an city, Southwest China’s Sichuan province on April 20, after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the area on Saturday morning. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya’an city in the province at 8:02 am Saturday, leaving more than 100 dead. [Photo/Xinhua]

Please click here to access the rest of the photo story at its source,

Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Communications, Culture, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Environment, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Natural Disasters, People, The Chinese Identity

Central Committee elected #China #Leadership[Global Times]

The way forward has been set. Scientific development joins the hallways of contemporary Chinese statecraft.

For the full list of the 205 members of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) elected at the 18th CPC National Congress on Wednesday, please go here.

“In the past, the authorities focused on so-called political, economic, cultural and social development, now they have realized the importance of sustainable development, which is related not only to people’s well-being now, but future generations,” Zhang Yaocan, professor of political science with Central China Normal University.

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Central Committee elected
by Wu Gang
Source – Global Times, November 15, 2012

Delegates raise their hands to show approval for a work report at the closing ceremony of the 18th Party congress held at the Great Hall of the People Wednesday. Photo: IC, 2012

The Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has enshrined the “Scientific Outlook on Development,” a political guideline that puts people first and calls for balanced and sustainable development, the 18th CPC National Congress announced as the week-long event concluded on Wednesday.

Some 2,270 Party delegates cast votes Wednesday, electing the new CPC Central Committee and the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Nearly 50 percent of the new Central Committee are newcomers, indicating that the CPC, with 91 years of history and more than 82 million members, has again completed its leadership transition. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Natural Disasters, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The China8 Interviews #5: on Green China with Calvin Quek #China

Wandering China is pleased to release the fifth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife.

This time, the focus is on Green China, with insights from Greenpeace – Calvin Quek brings first-hand insights as he is right in the thick of it all. In a domain where policy formation is at critical crossroads because economic progress has to continue, Calvin is a fellow overseas-born Chinese from Singapore.

China 8.1: You made your way to China to study at Peking University in 2009 after working in Singapore’s finance sector for a number of years. Can you describe what went through your mind then? What prompted the move, and how does it feel now to be in China?

I came to China first to teach at a local university, as I had free time before my original plan to do my MBA in the US. I spent 3 months at Beijing Union University and loved the experience of interacting with China’s youth and discovering Beijing. I then discovered that there was so much to do here in environmental sector and this is what led me to reconsider my decision to study in the US. China needs all the help it can get to address climate change and other environmental issues, and I have some vain hope that I could make a difference. I still feel that way now. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Green China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Natural Disasters, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Singapore, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ten Grave Problems Facing China [The China Story]

From the Australian Centre for China in the World.

Back in 1956, confronted with the task of making a new China, Mao in the speech  ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系 outlined the challenges that faced the CCP’s transformation of China.

Fast forward to 2012, the once-in-a-decade leadership transition sees Deng Yewen, senior editor of the Party mouthpiece Study Times frame a wide spanning ‘The Ten Grave Problems’ as an urgent agenda that demands the attention of the incoming leaders.

This piece by the centre also provides some history into Chinese intelligentsia and their vying to provide intellectual and strategic advice to the contenders for power. Suggestive that the party is not filled with automatons or reinforcing of the idea that the Chinese collective has always been a dynamic process?

China’s Hu and Wen blasted by party paper editor (China Daily Mail, September 4, 2012) provides an interesting perspective on faction and solidarity challenges right at the top.

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The Ten Grave Problems Facing China
by Geremie R Barmé
Source – The China Story by the Australian Centre for China in the World, published September 8, 2012

In April 1956, Mao Zedong gave a speech to the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party titled ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系. It was a decisive period for New China. The initial surge of nationalisation that saw the country’s industry and agriculture come under state control was building into a tidal wave of radical socialism that would dominate the country for the next two decades. In the build up to this next stage of dirigisme Mao thought it essential to articulate the problems facing the fledgling People’s Republic. He listed ten issues that underlined social, economic, regional and national policy; he was in reality outlining the challenges that faced the Communist Party’s experiment in transforming China.

A popular observation about political uncertainty in Chinese holds that ‘when evil prognosticators appear in all quarters it is a sign of the end of days’ 末世征兆,妖孽四起. Elsewhere we have noted the dire warnings issued by left-leaning critics of China’s Communist Party such as the Children of Yan’an and the latter-day red fundamentalists of the Utopia group. In recent days, an editor with the journal Study Times 学习时报 has published a lengthy article in which he outlines ‘The Ten Grave Problems Facing China’.

During the once-in-a-decade ‘transition year’ of 2012-2013 which will see a change of party-state leadership, Communist Party propagandists have set the tone and require media outlets to celebrate clamorously the ‘ten golden years’ of rule under President/Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao (for an example of these hosannas, see People’s Daily, ‘The Reasons for China’s “Glorious Decade” ’, in our China Story Yearbook 2012: Red Rising, Red Eclipse, ‘From Victory to Victory’). It is a time of extreme tension and high stakes, one in which China faces major political decisions that may well determine its direction not only for the next few years, but, as many feel, for long into the future. At this juncture a more lowly Party member than the late Chairman has offered his version of the problems facing the restive and fractured nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Chinese Model, Corruption, Crime, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Fu Er Dai 富二代, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Green China, History, Human Rights, Inflation, Influence, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migration (Internal), military, Modernisation, Nationalism, Natural Disasters, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Property, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Red Yangtze? Residents swim on [Straits Times]

The public sphere on the internet can sometimes propagate distortions. Indeed, access to all these stories via the Internet is changing the way the world sees China, apart from its intended projection of national identity.

The Yangtze 扬子江 is the third longest river in the world. It flows for 6400km from the glaciers of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (in some parts it explains China’s need to maintain control over the autonomous region) and flows into southwest, central and eastern China. It eventually meets the East China Sea at Shanghai. The river is as rich as Chinese history itself and today still generates 20% of China’s GDP. Its reddening can be argued in many ways, a natural course of sedimentation, but a quick look on Google Earth will reveal the sheer amount of heavy industry – it doesn’t take a genius to see where contributory factors come from.

Some had taken the reddening of the river with a narrative of speculation – What has a ‘red Yangtze’ got to do with Xi Jinping? (Straits Times, in the China Post Sep 13, 2012). To lay those rumours to rest…

The Straits Times understands that Xi, 59, injured his back while swimming, and no ulterior motive is suspected behind his diplomatic no-shows…

But the official silence has not stopped Chinese microbloggers and overseas websites from coming up with all kinds of speculation. Some rumors suggest Xi has suffered a mild stroke. Others, that he has suffered a minor heart attack.

Boxun, a well-known Chinese website based in the U.S., went so far as to say that he had been part of an assassination attempt by supporters of Bo Xilai.

A most interesting bit of citizen journalism with The Huffington Post. The Yangtze is red alright, but not the blood red found in popular circulating images. In the article Yangtze River Turns Red – Biblical Curse or Industrial Pollution? Rama Hoetzlein investigates the myths and alarmist bells (comes with a neat infographic based on Google images).

For a gallery of the allegedly doctored photos check out – The River Runs Red: Yangtze River In Chongqing Mysteriously Discolored (Beijing Cream, September 8, 2012)

Beware the myth of photographic truth in the digital age. One of the alleged doctored photos addresses by the Huffington Post. Source – Beijing Cream 2012

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Red Yangtze? Residents swim on
By Kor Kian Beng, China Correspondent
Source – Straits Times, published September 15, 2012

BACK TO NORMAL: The Yangtze River, seen here at Chongqing city’s container terminal, is back to its usual colour: murky yellow. — PHOTO: CHINA FOTO PRESS

BEIJING – Swimming in the Yangtze River is a daily ritual for Chongqing resident Xie Tian- zheng, and he did not stop when its usual murky yellow water turned bright red last Thursday.

Along with about 10 members of a swimming club in the south-western city, he jumped in and swam for 30 minutes.

“We swam, we got up, we washed up. There was no problem at all,” said Mr Xie, 48.

While photos showing the Yangtze with red water may have shocked the world last week, the occurrence did not faze the locals.

Nor did any of those interviewed by The Straits Times view it as a bad omen for China, coinciding as it did with thousands of alligators mysteriously surfacing at a Nanjing lake and an earthquake in Yunnan that killed 81.

The reason is that the Yangtze changes colour around this time every year when the summer rains result in heavier river flows from the upper parts of Sichuan province. As the water reaches Chongqing, soil deposits settle, causing the river to change colour.

Sure enough, the river was back to its usual colour by Sunday, according to residents.

“Of course, this year the colour was redder than usual because of the heavy rains,” said retiree Lin Xindong, 60, who also swam in the Yangtze last week. “But it didn’t bother me. The water had no foul smell.”

The Chinese media carried only short news stories on the red river last Friday and Saturday.

But the phenomenon gained global attention after the British newspaper Daily Mail ran a report last Friday with a photo showing locals collecting water samples in bottles.

Officials from the Chongqing Environmental Protection Bureau also collected samples and found no toxic particles in the water.

They visited firms and residents along the river, before ruling out the possibility that the change in colour was caused by sewage or industrial discharge.

Nonetheless, water supply to some areas in Chongqing was cut off last Thursday afternoon as a precautionary move. It resumed the following day.

Geologists believe that massive soil erosion after heavy rains caused the water to turn red.

However, some locals are not convinced, pointing to China’s record of ecological mishaps caused by industrial pollution.

In 2007, a toxic algae bloom – likely caused by pollution such as chemical fertiliser – in Lake Tai in coastal Jiangsu province contaminated the water supply of more than 2.3 million people.

Last December, a stretch of the Jian River in Luoyang city in central Henan province turned red after two illegal dye workshops dumped their waste into the sewage network.

Said serviced apartment manager Kuang Dong, 30: “The first question I had when I saw the red Yangtze was whether pollution caused it. After all, this city has become much more industrialised in recent years.”


The Yangtze changes colour around this time every year when rains result in heavier river flows from the upper parts of Sichuan province and soil deposits settle.

The Chongqing Environmental Protection Bureau found no toxic particles and ruled out the change in colour was caused by sewage or industrial discharge.


Some locals are not convinced, pointing to China’s embarrassing record of ecological mishaps caused by industrial pollution.

Last December, a stretch of the Jian River in Luoyang city turned red after illegal dye workshops dumped waste into the sewage network.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Environment, Health, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Natural Disasters, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , ,

Hero pig of China’s earthquake is cloned [Telegraph]

China’s favourite swine Zhu Jianqiang, survivor of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake gets cloned. Could this be another icon for Chinese willpower? From the pig’s efforts to survive  ‘by chewing charcoal and drinking rainwater’ to the efforts to clone it , it sounds like a compelling narrative there already.

For more on Zhu, check out the youtube video below –

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Hero pig of China’s earthquake is cloned
A heroic pig who survived more than a month buried under rubble after the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province has been successfully cloned, according to a report Sunday.
Source – Telegraph, published September 18, 2011

File image of Zhu Jianqiang Photo: REUTERS

Scientists in the southern city of Shenzhen performed the experiment on Zhu Jianqiang, or “Strong-Willed Pig”, and produced six offspring with DNA identical to their dad, who was hailed as a national hero following his harrowing ordeal, the Sunday Morning Post reported.

The births over the past few weeks of six piglets happened even though Zhu had been castrated before the quake, suffered severe trauma from being buried for 36 days, and is five years old – or about 60 in human terms.

“But the wonderful pig surprised us again,” Du Yutao, the leader of the cloning project, told the Post. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Culture, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Nationalism, Natural Disasters, Population, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, The Independent

China Bars Japanese Food From Region Near Plant [New York Times]

Like the United States, Russia, Australia, Singapore and South Korea, China has banned the import of specific Japanese products. The authority in question is the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (中华人民共和国国家质量监督检验检疫总局)

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China Bars Japanese Food From Region Near Plant
Source – New York Times, published: March 25, 2011

BEIJING — China on Friday joined several other nations that have sought to limit potential radioactive contamination from Japan, by banning fish, vegetables and other food products from regions closest to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The measures were announced the same day Chinese officials said they had detected elevated radioactivity on a Japanese merchant vessel that had docked in southeast China. Farther up the coast, two Japanese tourists who arrived earlier in the week were said to have emitted “abnormally high” levels of radiation.

Officials did not specify the extent of contamination and said it posed no threat to the public, but the episodes highlighted China’s anxiety over the possible effects of Japan’s nuclear crisis. Last week, fears about spreading toxicity prompted a salt-buying panic among Chinese in the mistaken belief it might protect them from radiation poisoning. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Disaster, Economics, Environment, International Relations, japan, Natural Disasters, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Trade

China asks N. Zealand for extra quake dead cash [The Age]

Breaking News in Australia | My heart goes out to all in New Zealand and the seven Chinese students who died in the recent New Zealand earthquake.

It has been hard to trace the origin of what this article reports from the Chinese end. This AFP article that appears on the Age came up on at least the first five pages of a google search on the search terms, ‘China’ + ‘New Zealand’ + ‘Quake’ today. The headline unveils with a smidge of a sensationalist attitude – extra quake dead cash? Very loaded it seems. The BBC on the other hand offers a fairer and less-emotion laden headline – NZ quake: China wants higher payments as Inquiry opens (BBC, 14 March 2011)

To find out more about New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), click here.

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China asks N. Zealand for extra quake dead cash
Source – The Age, published March 14, 2011

Beijing asked New Zealand Monday to pay extra compensation to Chinese parents whose children died in the Christchurch earthquake, saying China’s one-child policy had exacerbated their loss.

Cheng Lei, a counsellor at Beijing’s embassy in Wellington, said the one-child policy meant Chinese parents whose son or daughter died in the quake had not only lost a loved one, but also their family’s future breadwinner.

“You can expect how lonely, how desperate they are, not only from losing loved ones, but losing almost entirely the major source of economic assistance after retirement,” Cheng told Radio New Zealand. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese overseas, Disaster, Environment, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Natural Disasters, New Zealand, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social

Geological disasters spike in China this year [China Daily]

“From 1999 to 2008, the Ministry of Land and Resources identified about 240,000 places in 1,640 mountainous counties that were vulnerable to geological disasters and put them under inspection… “

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Country hit by tenfold increase; extreme weather ‘partly to blame’
By Chen Xin (China Daily)
Source – China Daily, published August 21, 2010

“]BEIJING – The country recorded more than 26,000 geological disasters in the first seven months of this year, nearly 10 times the number in the same period last year, Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi said on Friday.

The disasters, ranging from landslides to ground subsidence, left 843 people dead or missing and led to direct economic losses of more than 3.34 billion yuan ($491 million), Xu said in an interview excerpt posted on the ministry’s website.

Xu attributed the disasters to frequent extreme weather such as severe drought and rainstorms, as well as to the impact of seismic activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: China Daily, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Environment, Natural Disasters, Population

US expert: China oil spill far bigger than stated [Yahoo News/AP]

US expert: China oil spill far bigger than stated
By CARA ANNA, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jul 30, 12:07 pm ET
Source – Yahoo News, published July 30, 2010

AP – In this photo taken on Sunday, July 25, 2010, a worker cleans up the oil at the Nantuo Fishing Harbor …

BEIJING – China’s worst known oil spill is dozens of times larger than the government has reported — bigger than the famous Exxon Valdez spill two decades ago — and some of the oil was dumped deliberately to avoid further disaster, an American expert said Friday.

China’s government has said 1,500 tons (461,790 gallons) of oil spilled after a pipeline exploded two weeks ago near the northeastern city of Dalian, sending 100-foot- (30-meter-) high flames raging for hours near one of the country’s key strategic oil reserves. Such public estimates stopped within a few days of the spill.

But Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska marine conservation specialist, estimated 60,000 tons (18.47 million gallons) to 90,000 tons (27.70 million gallons) of oil actually spilled into the Yellow Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AP, Beijing Consensus, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Natural Disasters, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Yahoo 7 News

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