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  1. Default China, the land of opportunities

    Following are excerpts from an article headlined "Welcome to a land of untapped and unmapped opportunity" at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/epa...t_14056506.htm

    The writer, Karl Arney, is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He now teaches English at Henan Business College and Henan University of Economics and Law, and is a contributor to the China Daily newspaper.

    (Begin excerpts)
    For a country that many in the West still believe to be strictly Communist, China certainly has no lack of surprise business opportunities, particularly for foreigners. This is something that should have been apparent to me before I even set foot in the country.

    I never thought of visiting China before I first came to teach English in 2009.

    Yet between February and August of that year I turned in a late application, accepted a job in Zhengzhou (a city I had never heard of) and landed in Shanghai for a weeklong orientation program. A week later, I was teaching college students business English despite a BA in journalism and no prior experience in teaching or business.

    That such a whirlwind process did not immediately show me the nature of possibility in this country reflects just how caught up I was in that gale.

    It wasn't until after a year of acquainting myself with my new profession and the Chinese language that it occurred to me that I should try writing for this column, which I had already been reading for months. Yet one story about a crazy camping trip later, I was already on the verge of doing more with my degree here than I had done in the previous two years in the United States.....

    English is more important that ever, not only for students, but also internationally minded businesses and anyone trying to appeal to the massive influx of foreigners.

    While Zhengzhou may not be a diverse powerhouse like Beijing or Shanghai, that just means there's even less English-language competition and more work to be done.

    Writing for this column became a fun and rewarding part of my schedule.

    By the start of 2011 I had added yet another side job to the list.

    I had responded on a whim (and my girlfriend's suggestion) to an eChinacities.com listing for an English editor at a Chinese company in December 2010 and forgotten about it shortly after.

    Within a month, though, I received a return call and set about editing all of the English-language documents for Shanghai Sourcing Project Consultancy Co Ltd, a company providing consulting and assistance to foreign and domestic companies planning to open factories in China.

    The relationship proved fruitful, and I wound up essentially in charge of English-language marketing for the company.

    One American friend co-founded the most Westernized bar in the city with his Chinese wife, while a French community member manages another.

    A long-term Irish resident is one of the highest-level administrators at my current college's parent organization, and another Irishman is the principal of a school within the company.

    This is to say nothing of the various people who come in for clear business reasons from the beginning.

    And all of this is in Zhengzhou, a relatively small city in the grander Chinese patchwork.

    It's no secret China offers a lot of opportunity for foreigners.

    The continuously growing number of them entering the country is proof that word is out.

    But many, like myself two years ago, come to teach, expecting to do so as a 10-month break from their "real lives".

    The real secret is to tap the diversity of opportunities once you're here.

    Come to China with even the slightest ambition, and there's literally no telling what you might be doing in a year. (End excerpts)
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

  2. Thumbs up

    But not for child trafficking...

    China rescues 178 children in trafficking bust
    7 Dec.`11 – Chinese police arrested 608 suspects and rescued 178 children in busts of two separate child trafficking networks, authorities said Wednesday.
    The Ministry of Public Security said said prosecutors were preparing cases against the suspects, suggesting that charges have yet to be filed. Its statement posted online said 5,000 police across 10 provinces cooperated for six months on the investigation and moved in to arrest the suspects last week.

    Child trafficking is big problem in China, where traditional preference for male heirs and a restrictive one-child policy has driven a thriving market in baby boys, who fetch a considerably higher price than girls. Girls and women also are abducted and used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons. Tens of thousands of children go missing every year, though the exact numbers of victims are difficult to obtain.

    The rescued children will be put into orphanages while authorities try to reunite them with their families, the ministry said. It didn't give the age range of the abducted children or other specifics. An investigation into a traffic accident in south China's Sichuan province in May led police to the first ring, which was allegedly selling children abducted or bought in Sichuan to buyers in central China's Hebei province and elsewhere. The ring had links to at least 26 gangs nationwide, it said.

    The second ring was uncovered in August and was based in southeast China's Fujian province and led by a female suspect identified as Chen Xiumei. The statement said police have cracked more than 7,000 gangs or rings that sold women or children since a special campaign against human trafficking started in April 2009. It said 18,518 children and 34,813 women have been rescued.


  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waltky View Post
    But not for child trafficking...
    When you open all your windows, all sorts of creatures, good or bad, will find their way into your house -- lizards, bees, butterflies, houseflies, mosquitoes, wasps, spiders and even snakes.
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

  4. Icon15

    Granny says, "Dat's right - if ya can breathe the air...

    Beijing Air Quality Worst on Record
    January 13, 2013 - Beijing is under an extreme smog warning Sunday, with pollution at hazardous levels for a third day, and people warned to stay indoors.
    The municipal environment warning center issued an alert Saturday in China's capital, advising the elderly, children and those suffering respiratory or cardiovascular illness to avoid going out or doing strenuous exercise.

    Skyscrapers are obscure by heavy haze in Beijing, China, January 13, 2013.

    The center said Sunday that particulates small enough to deeply penetrate lungs were at nearly four times the level considered safe. The readings were called the worst on record. China's official state-run Xinhua news agency predicted that the pollution could last another three days.

    Meanwhile, fog covering vast areas of eastern and central China has closed numerous highways and delayed flights in several provinces. International organizations say China's air quality is among the worst in the world because of massive coal consumption and car-choked city streets.

    Beijing’s air pollution goes off the index
    Mon, Jan 14, 2013 - EXACERBATING: One of the factors causing the extreme air pollution was a lack of wind as pollutants can easily accumulate and fail to dissipate, a health expert said
    People refused to venture outdoors and buildings disappeared into Beijing’s murky skyline yesterday as the capital’s air quality went off the index. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its Web site that the density of PM2.5 particulates had surpassed 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city. The WHO considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter. PM2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair. They can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods. The Beijing center recommended that children and the elderly should stay indoors, and others should avoid outdoor activities.

    The US embassy also publishes data for PM2.5 on Twitter, and interprets the data according to more stringent standards. In the 24-hour period up to 10 am yesterday, it said 18 of the hourly readings were “beyond index.” The highest number was 755 which corresponded to a PM2.5 density of 886 micrograms per cubic meter. The US’ Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality index only goes up to 500 and it advises anything greater than 300 would trigger a health warning of “emergency conditions” with the entire population likely affected. While some people vowed to stay indoors with air purifiers turned on, streets were still fairly busy and there was the familiar sight of lines of traffic on main thoroughfares.

    A young couple strolled along hand in hand in the central business district, both with matching white masks strung around their faces. Two Taiwanese tourists wore masks they said they had brought with them because they heard Beijing’s pollution was so bad. “I don’t know why there is such heavy haze these past days. It’s really quite serious compared with the air quality three days ago,” said a 33-year-old lawyer, who would give only his surname, Liu, as he adjusted his own mask. He said he had only ventured out because he needed to go shopping. PM2.5 can result from the burning of fuels in vehicles and power plants.

    Weather conditions are a factor in the recent poor air quality as a lack of wind means pollutants can easily accumulate and fail to dissipate, said Pan Xiao Chuan, a professor at Peking University’s public health department. “Recent pollution doesn’t mean there is an increase in the discharge of pollutants,” he said. Experts say they thought the PM2.5 readings were the highest since Beijing started publishing that data early last year.

    More http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worl.../14/2003552502

  5. Default

    That's a really serious amount of air pollution. It will be interesting to gauge the long-term health effects on Beijing's citizens. It really is unbelievable - look at statistics on the increase of air pollution in China between 1990 and 2010. It's absolutely massive. Hopefully something will be done about it, from the photos in the above article, it looks to be a flying/driving hazard in addition to whatever other problems it causes to people, never mind the environment as a whole.

  6. Icon11

    Granny says good luck with dat one...

    China plans rules against air pollution
    Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - THROUGH THE HAZE: Authorities are increasingly concerned about air quality because the issue plays into popular resentment over rising inequality and political privilege
    Beijing is to unveil unprecedented new rules governing how China’s capital reacts to hazardous air pollution, Xinhua news agency said, as deteriorating air quality threatens to become a rallying point for wider political dissatisfaction. The rules will formalize previous ad hoc measures, including shutting down factories, cutting back on burning coal and taking certain vehicle classes off the roads on days when pollution hits unacceptable levels.

    Air quality in Beijing, on many days degrees of magnitude below minimum international health standards for breathability, is of increasing concern to China’s leadership because it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.

    Domestic media have run stories describing the expensive air purifiers government officials enjoy in their homes and offices, alongside reports of special organic farms so cadres need not risk suffering from recurring food safety scandals. Smog blanketed most of the city from late on Friday, prompting the government to warn people to reduce outdoor activities. On Saturday, an index measuring particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), rose as high as 400 in some parts in the city.


    A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the WHO recommends a daily level of no more than 20. The reading was still lower than the previous weekend, when it hit a staggering 755. Lung cancer rates in the city have shot upward by 60 percent in the last decade, according to a report by the state-run China Daily in 2011, even as smoking rates have flattened out. The pollution has also deterred foreigners from living and working in “Greyjing.”


  7. Icon11

    Whadaya want cars or clean air? - now ya can have both...

    China's love affair with cars chokes air in cities
    Jan 31,`13 -- Endless lines of slow-moving cars emerge like apparitions and then disappear again into the gloom of the thick smog that has shrouded Beijing this week and reduced its skyline to blurry gray shapes.
    With more than 13 million cars sold in China last year, motor vehicles have emerged as the chief culprit for the throat-choking air pollution in big cities especially Beijing, which has suffered even more than usual these past few days. As the Chinese middle-class expanded dramatically over the last 20 years, cars became the new symbol of prosperity. With the economy continuing to grow, the love affair with cars will only bloom more, and is already posing a challenge for dealing with the hazardous air pollution in urban China with widespread impact on health, productivity and quality of life.

    The attachment for automobiles has turned into a vicious cycle. "To be honest, the more the air is polluted, the more I prefer to drive, as I don't like taking a crowded bus or walking outside in such bad air," said subway train driver Gao Fei. Twenty years ago, bikes, not cars, owned the streets. Today, "buying a car is like buying a bicycle," said Gao as he drove his black Buick Regal sedan in west Beijing. "It hasn't been long since Chinese people owned their own cars. So for them a car is still something quite fresh and so they prefer to drive after so many years of riding bicycles," he said. "They still would prefer to enjoy the traffic jam rather than suffer on the crowded bus."

    In the 1990s, the few vehicles on the roads belonged to the government or state companies. Private car ownership took off exponentially only in the last decade. The government has promoted car buying as a way of keeping the economy growing with banks offering attractive car loans. These policies, and the traditional Chinese habit of saving, have put cars like Gao's Buick Regal (price tag 180,000 yuan, or $29,000) within the reach of many Chinese even though the average annual salary in Beijing is 56,000 yuan ($8,900). The result has been increased vehicle emissions. While burning of coal for power plants is a major source of air pollution across China, vehicle emissions are the single biggest source of PM2.5 - a secondary pollutant that forms in the air and is tiny enough to enter deep into the lungs - in Beijing, according to the capital's former vice mayor, Hong Feng.

    He says vehicles account for 22 percent of PM2.5 in the capital, followed by 17 percent from coal burning and 16 percent from construction site dust. In recent days, air quality went off the index in Beijing as the capital turned into a white landscape with buildings eaten up by murk. Zhang Quan, a former soldier, said the smog was the worst and longest-lasting he had seen in his life. "When I was young, our geography teacher taught us how to recognize the galaxy and I could find it at night, but I guess kids nowadays can't do that anymore," said Zhang, 52.

    China's increasingly informed and vocal citizens have successfully pushed the government to be more transparent about how bad the air is, taking to the country's lively social media to call for better information and even testing the air themselves. Hourly air quality updates are now available online for more than 70 cities, and two particularly bad bouts of hazardous air this month received unprecedented coverage in the state media. But as Chinese get richer, their desire for cleaner air conflicts with their growing dependence on cars.

    See also:

    Chinese Millionaire Sells Cans of Fresh Air
    January 30, 2013 - China's foulest two-week period for air pollution in memory has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by a multimillionaire with a streak of showmanship who is selling canned fresh air.
    Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, on January 30 handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from far-flung, pristine regions of China such as Xinjiang in the northwest to Taiwan, the southeast coast. "I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: don't just chase GDP growth, don't chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment", Chen said. China's air quality is closely watched as it fluctuates dramatically from day to day but in recent weeks has registered far into the unhealthy zone. Air pollution is measured in terms of PM2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are absorbed by the lungs and can cause heart and lung disease. The World Health Organisation recommends a daily PM2.5 level of 20 and says that levels greater than 300 are serious health hazards.

    Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao (R) gives a can of fresh air to a man wearing a mask on a hazy day in central Beijing,

    Beijing's air quality frequently surges past a level of 500, and on Jan. 12 soared to 755, the highest in memory. "I go outside, walk for about 20 minutes, and my throat hurts and I feel dizzy", Chen told Reuters in an interview on a busy Beijing sidewalk. He handed out green and orange cans of "Fresh Air", with a caricature of himself on them saying, "Chen Guangbiao is a good man". "Be a good person, have a good heart, do good things," reads a message along the bottom of each can. The 44-year-old entrepreneur, whose wealth is estimated at $740 million according to last year's Hurun Rich List of China's super-wealthy, is an ebullient and tireless self-promoter. He is something of a celebrity in China, with more than 4 million followers on Sina Weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform.

    He concedes that his canned-air effort is tongue in cheek, but says it's a way to awaken people to the importance of environmental protection. His campaign is attracting bemusement but also plaudits from the media and from people desperate to escape the smog. "Beijing's air really needs to improve, so we need a good man like him to appear," said a 21-year-old resident surnamed Hu. "It reminds people to use less fuel and do what they can for Beijing's air". The cans of air were free on January 30, but usually sell for 5 yuan (80 cents) with proceeds going to poor regions of China, and places of historic revolutionary importance. Sales, which had been moderate, took off after the recent streak of bad air days, with 8 million cans sold in the last 10 days, Chen said.


  8. Icon6

    Big oil called on the carpet in China for smog...

    China’s oil giants take a choke-hold on power
    Mon, Feb 04, 2013 - The search for culprits behind the rancid haze enveloping China’s capital has turned a spotlight on the country’s two largest oil companies and their resistance to tougher fuel standards.
    Bureaucratic fighting between the Ministry of Environmental Protection on the one hand and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec Group on the other has thwarted stricter emission standards for diesel trucks and buses — a main cause of air pollution blanketing dozens of China’s cities. To be sure, many sources contribute to air pollution levels that hit records last month, but analysts say the oil companies’ foot-dragging and disregard of environmental regulations underscore a critical challenge facing a toothless environment ministry in its mission to curb air pollution.

    With widespread and rising public anger changing the political calculus, it also poses a broader question of whether the incoming administration led by Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and Vice President Xi Jinping will stand up to powerful vested interests in a country where state-owned enterprises have long trumped certain ministries in the quest for economic growth at all costs. To supply cleaner diesel, the oil firms must invest tens of billions of yuan (billions of dollars) to remove the sulphur content, said Mu Xiaoyi, a senior lecturer in energy economics at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

    PetroChina, the listed arm of CNPC, said in a statement that all automotive diesel produced by PetroChina last year met existing Chinese emissions standards. Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu, quoted by Xinhua news agency last week, acknowledged that China’s refineries are one of the main parties that should bear responsibility for air pollution. Even so, he added that was not because fuel failed to meet standards, but rather because fuel standards were not sufficient. The bureaucratic tug-of-war has been going on for years.

    Frustrated by the repeated delays in enforcing existing environmental standards, Chinese Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun called a meeting in late 2011 with officials from the country’s two biggest oil companies. In unequivocal statements, he sought to lay down the law: The ministry was not going to further delay the cleaner China IV emission standard for trucks and buses, despite reluctance by CNPC and Sinopec to supply the fuel that would cost more to produce. The officials from the oil companies responded by promising to supply the cleaner fuel after last year’s Lunar New Year, which fell in January that year.

    However, a few months later, a spot check by the ministry showed the companies were still supplying ordinary diesel, said Tang Dagang, director of the Vehicle Emission Control Center, whose policy research group is affiliated with the ministry. With media focusing on a sudden worsening of the air quality in Beijing at the start of this year — 21 days last month recorded “heavily polluted” levels or worse — urban residents are increasingly impatient with the political wrangling.


  9. Default

    Finding someone to blame for the smog crisis is going to be difficult. How do you pick some culprits out of tens of thousands of dirty companies and hundreds of thousands if not millions of cars. I think if you analyse the situation over a 20 year period, statistics illustrate that China wasn't prepared for the speed of its industrial evolution. Therefore, it's going to be extremely difficult to eliminate the pollution. I can only think of some massive electric car movement or something. But why not? They installed a huge electrical high-speed rail network so why not an electric car network?

  10. Red face

    China has witnessed growing public anger over pollution caused by industrial development...

    China acknowledges 'cancer villages'
    22 February 2013 - China's environment ministry appears to have acknowledged the existence of so-called "cancer villages" after years of public speculation about the impact of pollution in certain areas.
    For years campaigners have said cancer rates in some villages near factories and polluted waterways have shot up. But the term "cancer village" has no technical definition and the ministry's report did not elaborate on it. There have been many calls for China to be more transparent on pollution. The latest report from the environment ministry is entitled "Guard against and control risks presented by chemicals to the environment during the 12th Five-Year period (2011-2015)".

    It says that the widespread production and consumption of harmful chemicals forbidden in many developed nations are still found in China. "The toxic chemicals have caused many environmental emergencies linked to water and air pollution," it said. The report goes on to acknowledge that such chemicals could pose a long-term risk to human health, making a direct link to the so-called "cancer villages". "There are even some serious cases of health and social problems like the emergence of cancer villages in individual regions," it said.

    Beijing smog

    The BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing says that as China has experienced rapid development, stories about so-called cancer villages have become more frequent. And China has witnessed growing public anger over air pollution and industrial waste caused by industrial development. Media coverage of conditions in these so-called "cancer villages" has been widespread. In 2009, one Chinese journalist published a map identifying dozens of apparently affected villages. In 2007 the BBC visited the small hamlet of Shangba in southern China where one scientist was studying the cause and effects of pollution on the village. He found high levels of poisonous heavy metals in the water and believed there was a direct connection between incidences of cancer and mining in the area.

    Until now, there has been little comment from the government on such allegations. Environmental lawyer Wang Canfa, who runs a pollution aid centre in Beijing, told the AFP news agency that it was the first time the "cancer village" phrase had appeared in a ministry document. Last month - Beijing - and several other cities - were blanketed in smog that soared past levels considered hazardous by the World Health Organisation. The choking pollution provoked a public outcry and led to a highly charged debate about the costs of the country's rapid economic development, our correspondent says.


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