Wandering China

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

China’s premier to visit tsunami-hit area in Japan [Yahoo News/AP]

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao visit to Fukushima is pitched as a personal choice by Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue as  a personal choice to ‘express the concern and condolences of the Chinese government and people toward those affected by the disaster and to encourage their recovery and show Chinese support for the reconstruction.’

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China’s premier to visit tsunami-hit area in Japan
Source – Yahoo News, published May 18, 2011

Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Japan’s devastated northeast this weekend to show China’s support for reconstruction efforts after the twin earthquake and tsunami disasters, a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

Wen will be in Japan anyway to take part in a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea and bilateral talks with his Japanese counterpart.

Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue told reporters at a briefing in Beijing that Wen himself decided to visit Fukushima and that the head of China’s Earthquake Administration, among other officials, would accompany him on the May 21-22 trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AP, Charm Offensive, Diaoyu Fishing Boat Incident 2010, Foreign aid, Influence, International Relations, japan, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Yahoo 7 News

China’s spying seeks secret US info [Yahoo/AP]

Comprehensive piece on a new breed of spies for China arising. It argues that China has been aggressively recruiting American citizens for secret US info and intel to further its own military and strategic development.

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China’s spying seeks secret US info
Associated Press
Source – Yahoo News, published Sat May 7, 2011

AP – This 2009 picture provided on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 by his family shows Glenn Shriver at a birthday … Photo: AP

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The young man stood before the judge, his usually neatly trimmed hair now long enough to brush the collar of his prison jumpsuit. Glenn Duffie Shriver had confessed his transgressions and was here, in a federal courtroom with his mother watching, to receive his sentence and to try, somehow, to explain it all.

When the time came for him to address the court, he spoke of the many dreams he’d had to work on behalf of his country.

“Mine was to be a life of service,” he said. “I could have been very valuable. That was originally my plan.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AP, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Influence, International Relations, J-20, military, Spying, Strategy, Yahoo 7 News

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

China is no ally of Australia: report [Yahoo7 News]

Here’s a report that takes a very pragmatic look at China’s overseas relations. Go here for Dr John Lee’s full report. Whilst I agree to some extent that “China is too big, too proud, and too independent-minded to be `tamed’, I also believe that at a social level, a paradigm shift in worldview by the Chinese people might counter that ‘political imposition’ – I see enough Chinese friends assimilating so very well to life over here in Melbourne to feel that these good feelings will be transmitted back home.

This article might point the political stick, I believe a positive social counter-force may taper it out. And on this end, trade does lead to many levels of social exchange, so he might be right. Trade is the key to peace, the Chinese have enjoyed commerce for many millennia, there is even the saying that Chinese make the best middlemen. Maybe China can serve as the trading centre of the world, with other countries focusing on their own innate strengths – perhaps we could create a interestingly new and efficient global model.

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China is no ally of Australia: report
Source – Yahoo7 News, published May 06, 2010

China is no ally of Australia and should be treated like the rival it is.

That’s the message from foreign policy expert John Lee in a report published on Thursday.

Dr Lee says decision makers are treating China as if it will be content to grow and work within a US-led world order. But he argues that’s misguided.

“China is too big, too proud, and too independent-minded to be `tamed’,” Dr Lee says in the paper, published by conservative think tank the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS).

“The idea that the US can manage China is failing, and America, including its allies like Australia, must confront the realities of dealing with Beijing.”

China is Australia’s largest trading partner.

The report said China wanted to build its power at the expense of the United States and its allies, and aimed to be the dominant player in Asia.

Dr Lee suggested US and Australian decision makers should get ready to compete with China, particularly over strategic issues.

The CIS foreign policy research fellow predicted this would prolong the US dominance of Asia.

His report, The Fantasy of Taming China’s Rise, said promoting trade between China and the rest of the world would strengthen the incentives for peace.

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Economics, International Relations, Politics, Yahoo 7 News

[Health] China executes two over tainted milk

And yes, the reality is, 350,000 food operations can be hard to monitor. This is a real problem for all of us, if the food we are getting is being unscrupulously prepared.

Quotable Quotes – “…Beijing continues to struggle to regulate small and illegally run operations, often blamed for introducing chemicals and additives into the food chain. The country has 450,000 registered food production and processing enterprises, but many – about 350,000 – employ just 10 people or fewer. The UN said in a report last year that the small enterprises present many of China’s greatest food safety challenges.

China executes two over tainted milk
By Christopher Bodeen, AAP
Source – Yahoo 7 News, 25 November 2009

China has executed a dairy farmer and a milk salesman for their roles in the sale of contaminated baby formula – severe punishments that Beijing hopes will assuage public anger, reassure importers and put to rest one of the country’s worst food safety crises.

The men were the only people put to death in a scheme to boost profits by lacing milk powder with the industrial chemical melamine; 19 other people were convicted and received lesser sentences. At least six children died after drinking the adulterated formula, and more than 300,000 became ill.

Beijing is eager to show it has responded swiftly and comprehensively to eliminate problems in its food production chain that have spawned protests at home and threatened its export-reliant economy. The milk powder contamination struck a nerve with the public because so many children were affected, but was only one in a series of product recalls and embarrassing disclosures of lax public health safeguards.

Melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilisers, has also been found added to pet food, eggs and fish feed, although not in levels considered dangerous to humans. The chemical, which like protein is high in nitrogen, fooled inspectors. It can cause kidney stones and kidney failure.

China has tightened regulations and increased inspections on producers and exporters in cooperation with US officials, who have noted a drop in the number of product recalls on Chinese exports.

But Beijing continues to struggle to regulate small and illegally run operations, often blamed for introducing chemicals and additives into the food chain. The country has 450,000 registered food production and processing enterprises, but many – about 350,000 – employ just 10 people or fewer. The UN said in a report last year that the small enterprises present many of China’s greatest food safety challenges.

Zhang Yujun, the farmer, was executed on Tuesday for endangering public safety, and Geng Jinping for producing and selling toxic food, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Much of the phony protein powder that Zhang and Geng produced and sold ended up at the defunct Sanlu Group Co, at the time one of China’s biggest dairies.

Xinhua said an announcement of the execution had been issued by the Shijiazhuang Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, although a court clerk who answered the phone on Tuesday said he was unable to confirm the sentences had been carried out. Most executions in China are performed by firing squad.

Of the others tried and sentenced in January in the scandal, Sanlu’s general manager, Tian Wenhua, was given a life sentence after pleading guilty to charges of producing and selling fake or substandard products.

Three other former Sanlu executives were given between five years and 15 years in prison.

There was outrage after news spread of the doctored milk in September 2008, both because of the extent of the contamination and allegations that the government prevented the news from breaking until after the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The cover up accusations were never publicly investigated, and authorities have since harassed and detained activist parents pushing lawsuits demanding higher compensation and the punishment of government officials. Families were offered a one-time payout – ranging from of 2,000 yuan ($A318) to 200,000 yuan ($A31,500), depending on the severity of the case – to not pursue lawsuits.

Tuesday’s executions brought some comfort to Li Xinquan, who lost one of her eight-month-old twin daughters who was fed with melamine-tainted formula from Sanlu. Li has campaigned to force authorities to admit negligence and provide fair compensation.

“They deserved it. This is the punishment they have received from the government,” said Li, whose other daughter survived because she was breast fed.

Another parent, Wang Zhenping, also voiced satisfaction with the executions, reflecting strong support for the death penalty in China, which executes more people annually than the rest of the world combined.

Wang, who said his two-year-old son appeared to have recovered from melamine poisoning, rejected the compensation offer and said he was growing weary of the struggle.

“I feel like it doesn’t really matter now,” he said.

US Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said last month that Beijing has made progress in increasing product safety.

The numbers of consumer recalls of toys imported from China had fallen from more than 80 in fiscal 2008 to about 40 in fiscal 2009, Tenenbaum said.

“Chinese suppliers and US importers are now on notice from both governments that it is a mistake to depend on good intentions and a few final inspections to ensure compliance with safety requirements,” she told a conference in Beijing.

Filed under: Health, Politics, Yahoo 7 News

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