Wandering China

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

Beijing cracking down on illegal barbecues [People’s Daily] #RisingChina #BeijingBBQCulture #Pollution

Perhaps a shift to hot plate technology is in order.

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Beijing cracking down on illegal barbecues
By Zheng Xin
Source – Peoples’ Daily, published May 14, 2013

Beijing is stepping up efforts to reduce illegal barbeques, to cut down on roadside airand noise pollution.

May is the peak time for outdoor grill cooking, which takes a heavy toll on air quality,traffic and residents, said Dang Xuefeng, spokesman for the capital’s bureau of cityadministration and law enforcement.

“As the weather warms up, the streets gradually fill up with roadside barbecue spots,sizzling kebabs on the grill and cold beer, which also create serious air pollution andundesired noise for the neighborhoods,” he said.

Please click here to read the full article at Peoples’ Daily.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Culture, Domestic Growth, Entertainment, Environment, Influence, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, People's Daily, Pollution, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Who guards the green guards? [China Daily] #GreenChina #China

Chin Daily performing role of fourth estate on China’s gaps in its green leap forward.

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Who guards the green guards?
By Wu Wenchong and Jiang Xueqing
Source – China Daily, published February 21, 2013


Children from a primary school in Longling county, Yunnan province, introduce endangered fish into the Jinsha River near the Xiangjiaba hydropower project, which borders Longling in Yunnan and Yibin in Sichuan province. [Zeng Lang / for China Daily]

The system tasked with safeguarding and assessing the possible environmental damage caused by infrastructure and construction projects is outmoded and badly in need of reform, as Wu Wenchong and Jiang Xueqing report from Beijing.

‘Smog” and “haze” have become buzzwords this winter after severe air pollution choked China for several weeks. Equally severe are the country’s polluted surface water, ground water and farmland soil. In the face of the worsening levels of pollution, experts have blamed the problem on the disorderly discharge of all kinds of fumes and waterborne waste. They come from factory processes and emissions as well as auto exhausts, during China’s 20-plus years of rapid industrial development.

The laws and regulations, which date to the 1970s, were designed to tackle much lower levels of environmental pollution, and now insiders say that only the Environmental Impact Assessment system – tasked with assessing the potential environmental risk posed by any given project before construction begins – has the ability to be the first line of defense against pollution.
However, many experts believe that the system, instigated with the intention of preventing pollution before it can occur, no longer serves the purpose for which it was established, because the pass rate of projects under assessment is almost 100 percent.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Climate Change, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Green China, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity

Smog solution unlikely without public help #China #Pollution #Consensus [Global Times]

Chinese state media performing the role of fourth estate: The Global Times rallying for a public consensus to take a hard stance on pollution. Despite the semantic gymnastics of late, tossing between words like fog, et al – the Global Times leads the way by calling it just what it is – smog. There probably isn’t an easy solution – so much of the pollution is driven by infrastructure-building on top of production, which in turns drives growth; it really is a question of how to grow in as clean a way as possible that doesn’t cut away jobs and employment downstream. And it’s not like good clean air  isn’t appreciated – many I meet or bring around Australia celebrate with refreshing deep breaths, and eagerly plan return visits because… of the air.

The government needs to increase its sense of urgency and ability to implement its policies. Environmental authorities should enhance their investigation of enterprises and strengthen the punishment of those that cause pollution. Businesses that cannot meet environment protection standards must be eliminated.

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Smog solution unlikely without public help
Source – Global Times, published January 13, 2013

The toxic smog that has been shrouding the capital is expected to be dispersed by a fresh cold front on Wednesday, according to the weather forecast Monday. Recent days cloaked in choking and acrid smog have caused China to reflect on how clean air can be restored to the country.

The dense fog forced Beijing for the first time to implement an emergency response plan for hazardous pollution. According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Monday, 14 inspection teams were organized to oversee pollution reduction in districts and counties of Beijing, and by Sunday night, the production of 58 enterprises had been suspended and 54 businesses had reduced their emissions by 30 percent. The bureau also said relevant authorities are cooperating to the implementation of the regulation that government cars, which make up 30 percent of Beijing’s traffic, will stay in the garages for the moment. Those emergency measures are laudable, but meanwhile, the public is questioning why the strong supervision and decisive attitude to reduce pollution cannot be included into routine work.

The lingering smog sends a warning message. Coal burning, dust and industrial and vehicle emissions are the fundamental causes of the hazardous haze this time. The government bears more responsibility for tackling the problem, but no one should be just an onlooker. Reducing pollution and improving the living environment need the participation of the whole of society. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Politics, Pollution, Social, , , ,

Polluting brand names #China [Global Times]

Protecting China’s environment despite the baggage of global production networks. Global Times leverages Greenpeace to make a point on polluting brand names.

At a Greenpeace early report published in November 20, it stated some 20 well-known fashion brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, adidas, Benetton, Bestseller, C&A, Coop, Esprit, Gap, G Star Raw, Guess, H&M, Levi Strauss, Limited Brands, Metersbonwe, Nike, PPR, PVH, Uniqlo, VFC, WalMart, and Zara (Inditex) had used similar harmful substances in their clothing manufacturing, traces of it which could be found on their products.

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Polluting brand names
By Liu Dong in Shaoxing and Hangzhou
Source – Global Times, published December 10, 2012

Several models, wearing trousers made by global fashion leaders alleged to have been using harmful substances in their clothing process, are set up outside a sewage drain exit at the estuary of Hangzhou Bay on December 4. Photo: Courtesy of Greenpeace

Several models, wearing trousers made by global fashion leaders alleged to have been using harmful substances in their clothing process, are set up outside a sewage drain exit at the estuary of Hangzhou Bay on December 4. Photo: Courtesy of Greenpeace

It seems to be an endless fight for 44-year-old villager Wei Dongying. Having been fighting against the water pollution discharged from a nearby industrial zone for years, she now says she is giving up.

“It has been almost 20 years. The pollution is still there. What can we do? What’s the use of appealing to them about environment protection? How many decades does one person have?” Wei asked.

Wei lives in a small county in the Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province, one of China’s most economically developed areas. She said the pollution began around 1997 when Nanyang Chemical Industry Zone, one of the earliest industry parks in Zhejiang Province, was established near her village. “Then everything changed as the air, soil and water all became polluted,” she said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, global times, Government & Policy, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, People, Pollution, Population, Strategy, Trade

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., , , , , , , , , , ,

Trees planted to form a barricade to pollution #China [China Daily]

China Daily: Adding on to the Green Wall of China, its longer-term plan to hold back the expansion of the Gobi desert. Slated to be 4500km long when completed in 2050, it currently progresses with a great ring of 13 million trees been planted over 138sq km  in Beijing’s bid to deal with pollution from industry to the north.

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Trees planted to form a barricade to pollution
By Zheng Xin
Source – China Daily, published November 8, 2012

Workers plant trees in the Caijiahe area of Beijing on Nov 1. Wang Jing / China Daily

More green plants are standing sentry on the outskirts of Beijing as authorities attempt to reduce pollution and make the city a more pleasant place to live.

By the end of October, more than 13 million trees had been planted over 138 sq km, mostly around the Sixth Ring Road.

The area was equal to more than 83 percent of the target the capital’s forestry bureau had set for the project this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Great Wall, Green China, Infrastructure, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Trade, , , , ,

Viewpoint: Fear and loneliness in China [BBC]

From 26% in 1990 to 51.3% urbanised by end 2011, but at what cost? A British sociologist known for researching the urban and housing policy sums up his field work on the fragmentation of collective community in China.

..[t]his way of life is disappearing, in the cities and in the countryside. For many in China isolation is a new experience brought on by economic transformation. In the neighbourhoods where I worked in Chongqing and Beijing, loneliness was spreading like pollution.

Gerard Lemos was a visiting professor at Chongqing Technology and Business University from 2006 to 2010 and author of The End of the Chinese Dream: Why Chinese People fear the Future. Whilst he makes many pertinent observations, his book has a rather polarizing title I must say. It is not in the method of academic inquiry to apply one’s results as self-assertive blanket, in this case, over the entire Chinese spectrum.

Perhaps this study also completely discounts the transition where community, like in many places in developing Asia, is shifting quickly, in other cases, augmented from public to virtual space. In a way, it really is a decade in, figuring out how to balance the two, in the midst of the reality of intense domestic and foreign competition.

An Op-Ed titled What Keeps the Chinese up at Night for the New York Times on his book can be found here.

Here’s a WSJ review of his book with a further interview here. Further check out reviews from  America: The National Catholic Weekly or the Financial Times here.

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Viewpoint: Fear and loneliness in China
by Gerard Lemos
Source – BBC, published October 16, 2012 

Source – Getty Images

What kind of society will China’s new leaders inherit? China has developed at unimaginable pace, lifting millions out of poverty. But as part of a series of viewpoints on challenges for China’s new leadership, Gerard Lemos, who conducted research in the mega-city of Chongqing, says it is easy to overlook its lonely underbelly.

An old man was hanging upside down in the public square. His feet in traditional cloth shoes were over the parallel bars from which he had suspended himself, for what were presumably his morning exercises. He was fully clothed and in a padded overcoat to combat the spring chill.

I saw this when visiting a factory community in Beijing in 2008. On the face of it, this was a peculiar act to perform in a public space, but people walked past taking no notice. In such traditional Chinese communities, this public square served as a communal living room; most of the people around are friends and neighbours. Not being surprised by the unusual behaviour of your neighbours is an aspect of intimate community life. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , , , , , , , ,

Sihanouk reminds China of shared stand [Global Times]

The once leadership-turmoil stricken former King of Cambodia has passed on.

And it’s not just China, Singapore’s former president SR Nathan too, weighed in with the true friend narrative – Singapore loses a “true friend” with Sihanouk’s death (Channel News Asia, October 16, 2012)

See also – Int’l society mourns passing away of ex-Cambodian king (Xinhua, October 16, 2012)

The Global Times communicates China’s ideological memories on anti-hegemonic diplomacy:

Looking around the world, China has too few friends like Sihanouk. We have too many scruples regarding Western diplomatic actions. We rarely have the opportunity to express China’s values and developing countries’ common moral principles. Of course, China has come a long way from the maverick country in the 1970s that was at odds with both the US and the Soviet Union. It has deeply integrated itself into world systems, upholding a cautious and balanced approach to diplomacy. The era in which Tiananmen Square hosted an anti-US rally to welcome Sihanouk is forever gone.

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Sihanouk reminds China of shared stand
Global Times Op-Ed
Source – Global Times, published October 16, 2012

Retired Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk died in Beijing early Monday morning at the age of 90. Sihanouk was one of China’s closest friends. He reminded us of the close relations between the two countries and provided enlightenment on the future of China’s diplomacy.

Chinese society is more familiar with “Prince Sihanouk.” His government was overthrown by a US-instigated coup in 1970 because of his persistence in adhering to neutral diplomacy, and his refusal to join the US-dominated Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty. China accepted him at his most difficult time.

It was a high-profile action by China’s anti-hegemonic diplomacy. Some Web users think that China’s investment into Cambodia is a poor decision. This argument itself is small-minded and populist. These views are totally incompatible with China’s fundamental interests. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Cambodia, Chinese Model, Communications, Government & Policy, History, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , ,

Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction [Foreign Policy]

Is China’s return to superpower status predicated on the same conditions as America? America ascended as a new-found identity with recent memory of empire. This is, according to some historians, China’s fourth rise as a world power. In a sense, it has four times as much experience in its collective memory.

Foreign Policy has Peter Calthorpe, architect and thinker on sustainable building paint broad dystopian brushstrokes. Perhaps as a fundamental starting point, Calthorpe leaves out the difference in scale in comparing the two – Self-inflicted, or regulated depending on how you see it, or otherwise, China has four times more mouths to feed, and the article sees little emphasis on what it is getting right with its green efforts (Nat Geo, 2011: Can China go Green?). Anyone who has been to Hangzhou for example, will see where they have got it right. The challenge is to replicate that model consistently.

China has just about the 80th densest population in the world.

At around 140/km2 it also has 4 times the number of individuals than the United States, with both about the same in terms of land area.

The US is 178th with about 34/km2.

Singapore where I was born has the 2nd largest population density for an independent country with about 8,000/km2 – it’s a sardine can compared to those numbers.

Maybe this provides a clue into Chinese long-term thinking –  what are the empty forts/cities (Daily Mail, 2011) around China are for? Classic 36 strategem misdirection. Fair assessment perhaps if China is a developed country. It isn’t. Half developed at best at the moment , based on just a urbanisation benchmark. Perhaps China’s push to develop inland to re-route its socio-economic arteries hasn’t caught his attention yet. This frame of thinking in the piece assumes that China is simply going to build more rings around its existing cities.

If anything, due to China’s high population density, the Chinese urban reckoning will be even more severe than America’s. Already, traffic in Beijing is frequently at a standstill despite the incredible pace of road construction (a “solution” akin to trying to lose weight by loosening your belt). The situation is so dire that Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai are using a lottery to allocate a limited number of vehicle registrations. In August 2010, a 60-mile traffic jam stopped a highway outside Beijing for 11 days. There’s a reason no high-density city has ever been designed around the car: It simply doesn’t work. Peter Calthorpe

China in my mind, simply isn’t done rechanneling, yet. Looking at the speed policy translates to fiscal, infrastructural manifestations in China, China’s weakness is weak policy with insufficient foresight bearing in mind the global condition and neighbourly concerns.

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Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction China’s cities are making the same mistake America made on the path to superpower status. By Peter Calthorpe | SEPT/OCT 2012 Source – Foreign Policy, published August 13, 2012

Image Source – Foreign Policy, 2012

In the last five years, China has built 20,000 miles of expressways, finishing the construction of 12 national highways a whopping 13 years ahead of schedule and at a pace four times faster than the United States built its interstate highway system. Over the last decade, Shanghai alone has built some 1,500 miles of road, the equivalent of three Manhattans. China’s urban population is projected to grow by 350 million people by 2020, effectively adding today’s entire U.S. population to its cities in less than a decade. China has already passed the United States as the world’s largest car market, and by 2025, the country will need to pave up to an estimated 5 billion square meters of road just to keep moving.

China’s love affair with the car has blossomed into a torrid romance. In April, nearly a million people poured into the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition to coo over the latest Audis, BMWs, and Toyotas. But China is in danger of making the same mistakes the United States made on its way to superpower status — mistakes that have left Americans reliant on foreign oil from unstable parts of the world, staggering under the cost of unhealthy patterns of living, and struggling to overcome the urban legacy of decades of inner-city decay.

The choices China makes in the years ahead will have an immense impact not only on the long-term viability, livability, and energy efficiency of its cities, but also on the health of the entire planet. Unfortunately, much of what China is building is based on outdated Western planning ideas that put its cars at the center of urban life, rather than its people. And the bill will be paid in the form of larger waistlines, reduced quality of life, and choking pollution and congestion. The Chinese may get fat and unhappy before they get rich. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Foreign Policy Magazine, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, Media, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Population, Property, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , , ,

Sinopec in sewage dump controversy [Global Times]

On the democratisation of information in domestic China (or having learnt to act quicker than public sphere 2.0): Global Times spares no quarter on the latest environmental incident.

In fact the expose started from the state-owned CCTV. This article sheds light on the state-owned Sinopec‘s alleged misdeeds dumping industrial sewerage through flood channels in Guangdong province.

Sinopec, headquarted in Beijing was established in 1998 with a registered capital of RMB 182 billion, according to its website. The Group was ranked fifth in the Fortune Global 500 in 2011 and 2012.

This same report appears in the People’s Daily, it comes with a video segment if you have a few minutes to spare.

Lü Dapeng, a Sinopec spokesperson, leapt to the company’s defense, telling the Global Times that “our preliminary investigation shows that the issue is merely a problem of design.”

“What the local environmental protection authority has found could be a problem that may occur in the future, not something Dongxing has already done.”

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Sinopec in sewage dump controversy
by Bai Tiantian
Source – Global Times, published September 27, 2012

A subsidiary of the nation’s oil refinery giant Sinopec has been found to have been discharging industrial sewage through flood channels into a nearby river in Guangdong Province, State broadcaster CCTV reported.

The China Petroleum & Chemical Zhanjiang Dongxing Company has been circumventing environmental inspections by pumping unprocessed sewage through flood tunnels into the Nanliu River without treating it, according to the report aired Wednesday.

The plant was also caught replacing sewage samples with tap water to cheat an online supervision system, in an effort to fudge the results of the real-time pollution control network monitored by the local government, the CCTV report said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, CCTV, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Democracy, Environment, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Media, Politics, Pollution, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , ,

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