China General News and Discussion

Discussion in 'China' started by bengalraider, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 22November 4, 2009 01:45 PM Age: 7 days
    By: Vijay Sakhuja

    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been tirelessly working to dispel the ‘China threat’ perception, which appears to be increasing concomitantly with the country's rapid economic and military rise. Beijing argues that China's growing initiatives in the Indian Ocean are for 'peaceful purposes' (China.org.cn., June 3). Yet, in recent years, many China watchers in India have captured another side of Beijing's foray that depicts China carving into the Indian Ocean's security architecture by regular incursions into the region and the recent naval deployment in the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy. These initiatives appear based on a strategy that pivots on energy sea-lane security, which can be broadly characterized by the ‘string of pearls’ theory, ‘Malacca dilemma’, sale of military hardware at friendly prices to Indian Ocean littorals, maritime infrastructure developments in Pakistan (Gwadar), Sri Lanka (Hambantota), Bangladesh (Chittagong), road/energy pipeline networks and electronic surveillance installations in Myanmar (Burma). The thrust of these traditional security and economic initiatives are complemented by naval diplomacy involving maritime multilateralism with Indian Ocean littorals, which Chinese leaders believe can facilitate the regional perceptions that China's intent in the region is benign. Indeed, these goodwill visits and naval exercises by the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are an important tool to further China’s attempts to portray its presence in the Indian Ocean as benign. It has effectively created conditions to develop a broad and substantive agenda for building relations with other nations. In some cases, these initiatives have the potential to translate into strategic partnerships that would consolidate its presence and expand its engagements with the Indian Ocean littorals.

    Multinational Naval Exercises

    China’s forays in the Indian Ocean date back to 1985 when the PLAN made port calls to South Asian ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka [1]. Pakistan emerged as an important partner in South Asia for China and today their cooperation covers a wide spectrum of political, economic and strategic issues including the sale and joint development of military hardware and nuclear cooperation. Both sides have also engaged in bilateral/multilateral naval exercises. Commenting on the first ever joint exercise with the Pakistani Navy held off the coast of Shanghai in 2003, Rear Admiral Xiu Ji, a Chinese navy official observed that the exercises were ‘the first [for China] with any foreign country’ (Defencetalk.com, October 21, 2003). Two years later, the second bilateral exercise was held in the Arabian Sea in November 2005 (Voanews.com, November 24, 2005). In 2007, Pakistan hosted a multinational naval exercise, Aman 2007 (Peace 2007), off Karachi and invited the PLAN to join the exercises. Beside the Pakistani Navy ships, warships from Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the United States engaged in maneuvers in the Arabian Sea (Xinhua News Agency, March 9, 2007). Interestingly, the Commander of the Chinese flotilla Luo Xianlin was designated as the tactical commander for the joint maritime rescue exercise and the PLAN missile frigate ‘Lianyungang’ was entrusted with the coordination of the exercise (Chinaview.cn, March 10, 2007). The exercises were significant since it provided the PLAN with the opportunity to coordinate complex maneuvers with other naval forces. In 2009, the PLAN once again participated in Aman 2009, which was held in the Arabian Sea, and this time it carried out exercises along with 19 foreign naval ships (Theasiandefence.com, March 17).

    Although the PLAN has engaged in bilateral and multinational naval exercises, it is important to point out that deployments for multinational operations are relatively different and more complex. Conducting multinational operations involves structured communication procedures, synergy among different operational doctrines, establishing mutually agreed rules of engagement (RoE), helicopter controlling actions, and common search and rescue procedures, which the PLAN is still developing.

    Shifting Geography of Peace Mission


    A close partnership between China and Russia is evident in the maritime domain and rests on joint naval exercises, Chinese acquisition of Russian naval hardware including ships, submarines and aircraft and high-level naval exchanges [2]. In 1999, the two navies conducted a joint naval exercise that involved the Russian Pacific Fleet and the PLAN's Eastern Fleet (China Daily, July 8, 2004) and the 2001 joint exercises included Russian strategic bombers. Peace Mission 2005, another naval exercise involving the PLA Navy and the Russian Navy was conducted under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the six-nation security group. The exercises were conducted off the East Russian coast-Shandong Peninsula in northeastern China (News.bbc.co.uk, August 18, 2005). Peace Mission 2007 focused on counter-terrorism and was conducted on land (En.rian.ru July 24, 2007).

    Interestingly, the two sides utilized their presence in the Gulf of Aden and conducted Blue Peace Shield 2009, a joint exercise involving counter piracy operations, replenishment-at-sea, and live firing (Defencetalk.com, September 18; Taiwan News, September 17). The exercise showcased Chinese intention to be more transparent in its deployment, test interoperability with foreign navies and the PLAN’s ability to engage in a range of operations in distant waters.

    Engaging Straits of Malacca Littorals

    China has adopted diplomacy as a tool to ally apprehensions among the Straits of Malacca littorals thus setting aside their fears that Beijing may deploy its navy in times of crisis to escort Chinese flagged vessels transiting through the Strait. Further, China is averse to any extra regional attempts to deploy naval vessels in the Strait for the safety of merchant traffic transiting. For instance, in 2000, it strongly objected to Japanese attempts to deploy vessels to patrol the Straits of Malacca where shipping had been threatened by piracy (Sspconline.org, April 11, 2005). Instead, it has offered financial and technological assistance to improve the safety and security of merchant traffic transiting the Strait of Malacca. In 2005, during the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in Jakarta, China reiterated its position of supporting the littoral states in enhancing safety and security in the Strait (Xinhua News Agency, September 7, 2005; China Brief, April 12, 2006). In 2005, China offered to finance the project for the replacement of navigational aids damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the estimated cost for the project is pegged at $276,000 [3].

    Benefits of Multinational Exercises for PLAN

    Multinational naval operations are fast gaining higher priority in the PLAN’s strategic thinking. There are at least three reasons. The first relates to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the international disaster relief operations in Southeast Asia-South Asia. PLAN’s conspicuous absence in the operations had exposed the limitation of a rising power and its navy. As a result, China was excluded from the core group comprising the United States, Australia and India who quickly deployed their ships for relief efforts. The Chinese Navy's absence might also be attributed to its lack of experience in working with multinational forces.

    The second reason for participation in multinational exercises is prospects for interoperability with international navies. Further, these operations assist the PLAN in identifying international trends in naval weaponry, gathering information on operating procedures and gaining a better understanding of the changing nature of naval warfare. The third reason is that multinational exercises help China showcase to the international naval community its military industrial prowess and PLAN technological sophistication.

    Yet, China embraces selective maritime multilateralism. For instance, China did not participate in the U.S. Naval War College's International Sea Power Symposium in Newport (Bernama [Malaysia], October 1). This year's event is the 40th anniversary and provides an occasion for the heads of the world's navies and coast guards to discuss issues of mutual interest (Navy.mil, October 8). The 2009 Symposium focused on common maritime challenges and explored prospects for enhancing maritime security cooperation, including combating piracy.

    Impediments to Chinese Maritime Multilateralism

    Several Chinese initiatives in the Indian Ocean have stirred considerable unease among some regional powers, particularly India, which has a tendency to perceive every Chinese move in the region as a step toward its ‘strategic encirclement.’ Indian strategists have often argued that China’s naval capability is fast growing and would soon be capable of conducting sustained operations in the Indian Ocean supported by the maritime infrastructure being built in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma). Indian fears are accentuated by a suggestion by a Chinese admiral to Admiral Timothy J. Keating, then-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) of dividing the Indo-Pacific region into two areas of responsibility between the United States and China (Navyseals.com, May 6, 2007).

    According to the Indian press, the Chinese naval officer stated, “You, the United States, take Hawaii East and we, China, will take Hawaii West and the Indian Ocean. Then you will not need to come to the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean and we will not need to go to the Eastern Pacific. If anything happens there, you can let us know and if something happens here, we will let you know” (Indian Express, May 15).

    New Delhi has not been receptive to Chinese requests to join Indian Ocean multilateral maritime security initiatives such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the trilateral grouping of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), which has a significant maritime component in its interactions. IONS is an initiative by 33 Indian Ocean littorals wherein their navies or the principal maritime security agencies discuss issues of maritime security, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster-Relief (HADR) throughout the Indian Ocean Region (Indiannavy.nic.in, February 15, 2008). The PLAN had approached the Indian Navy to ‘explore ways to accommodate Beijing as either an observer or associate member’; however, New Delhi turned down the request because, in its perspective, there was ‘no strategic rationale to let China be associated with IONS as it was strictly restricted to littoral states of the Indian Ocean’ (Indian Express, April 21).

    The IBSA trilateral grouping is an offshoot of the broader South-South cooperation started in 2003. Although cooperation in the security domain was not envisaged at its inception, maritime security issues (sailing regatta, trilateral naval exercises IBSAMAR, and high-level naval exchanges) have gradually gained momentum in the discussions. China has been exploring the possibility of joining IBSA, but the fact that “IBSA’s common identity is based on values such as democracy, personal freedoms and human rights” preclude its membership (The Wall Street Journal, April 7).

    In response, China craftily has attempted to dent the IBSA architecture and wean some of the actors away through bilateral political-military engagements much to the consternation of other partners. Beijing has adopted a sophisticated strategy to build-up bilateral military relations with Brazil, and Brasilia has offered to help train Chinese naval pilots on NAe São Paulo, which is a Clemenceau class aircraft carrier (China Brief, June 12). According to discussions (August 2009) that this author had with some Indian naval analysts, there are fears that the above collaboration could well be the springboard for reciprocity involving the training of Brazilian naval officers in nuclear submarine operations by the PLAN and joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. Further, these initiatives would add to China’s power projection capability and could be the catalyst for frequent forays in the Indian Ocean.

    Although the Chinese strategy of maritime multilateralism is premised on cooperative engagements, Beijing is leveraging its naval power for strategic purposes. The development of military maritime infrastructure in the Indian Ocean would provide China access and a basing facility for conducting sustained operations and emerge as a stakeholder in Indian Ocean security architecture. Maritime multilateralism has so far produced positive gains for China and would be the preferred strategy for conduct of its international relations in the future, particularly with the Indian Ocean littorals.

    [The views expressed in the above article are the author’s own and do not reflect the policy or position of the Indian Council of World Affairs.]

    Notes

    1. John W. Garver, "China's Approaches to South Asia and the Former Soviet States" U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission, available at
    www.uscc.gov/hearings/2005hearings/written_testimonies/05_07_21_22wrts/garver_john_wrts.pdf.
    2. Richard Weitz, “China-Russia Security Relations: Strategic Parallelism without Partnership or Passion?” available at Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) | US Army War College.
    3. Hasjim Djalal, “The Development of Cooperation on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” available at
    www.nippon-foundation.or.jp/eng/current/malacca_sympo/6.doc.
     
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  3. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    China 'running illegal prisons'



    By Michael Bristow
    BBC News, Beijing
    China is running a number of unlawful detention centres in which its citizens can be kept for months, according to Human Rights Watch.


    [​IMG]
    Former inmates claim they were beaten and raped in the jails

    It says these centres - known as black jails - are often in state-run hotels, nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals. Among those detained are ordinary people who have travelled to Beijing to report local injustices. China says it is a country ruled by laws, but there are other sources to suggest that black jails do exist.

    'Punched and kicked'
    The human rights group report, entitled An Alleyway in Hell, says ordinary people are often abducted off the streets and taken to illegal detention centres. They are sometimes stripped of their possessions, beaten and given no information about why they have been detained. Human Rights Watch said it collected information for the report by interviewing 38 detainees earlier this year. "I asked why they were detaining me, and as a group [the guards] came in and punched and kicked me and said they wanted to kill me," one former detainee told the group.

    [​IMG]
    Legal detention centres have also come in for criticism

    "I loudly cried for help and they stopped, but from then on, I didn't dare [risk another beating]." Many of those held are petitioners, people who travel to Beijing to present their complaints to the State Bureau for Letters and Calls. This national government department is supposed to help ordinary people across the country redress their grievances. But some petitioners are detained by plainclothes security officers when they arrive in Beijing. "The existence of black jails in the heart of Beijing makes a mockery of the Chinese government's rhetoric on improving human rights and respecting the rule of law," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

    Outcry over deaths
    China regularly denies such claims, but even state-run media outlets have reported the existence of black jails. The China Daily last week carried a report about the trial of a black jail guard accused of raping a 20-year-old woman who had been detained. Black jails are just one aspect of China's detention system that have come in for criticism over recent months.

    There has been a public outcry over the numbers of deaths in prisons and detention centres, a situation the government has promised to stamp out.
     
  4. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    Mao and Chiang heirs bridge gap



    The grandchildren of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong and his arch-rival for control of China, Chiang Kai-shek, have met for the first time.

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    Chiang Kai-shek (L) and Mao Zedong had a complex relationship

    Mao's granddaughter, Kong Dongmei, met John Chiang as she visited Taiwan as part of a delegation to promote cultural and educational ties.

    Taiwan split from China as Chiang's Nationalist forces fled the victorious Communists in 1949.

    The island has been self-governed since but China maintains its claim.

    The civil war cost the lives of millions of people, and China continues to regard Taiwan as a renegade province.

    Impressed

    The meeting between John Chiang and Ms Kong is seen as an indication of improving ties between China and Taiwan.

    She is believed to be the first of Mao's offspring to visit the island.

    John Chiang is the vice chairman of the Kuomintang, or Nationalist party, which hosted the delegation.

    The two shook hands, exchanged greetings, but played down the significance of their meeting.

    Mao's granddaughter told reporters she was impressed with Taiwan's advanced culture, education and creative industry, but did not mention its democracy.

    A spokesman for Mr Chiang's office told the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei he thought it was natural that as relations between Taiwan and China improved, he would meet his grandfather's former enemies or their offspring sooner or later.

    But many see the meeting as a reflection that ties between the two sides have vastly improved recently, despite Beijing still claiming the island as its territory.

    This year, the first direct flights between China and Taiwan took off and a free-trade agreement is expected to be signed next year.
     
  5. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Obama's townhall in Shanghai

    [​IMG]




    President Obama looks to be weakening the position america had built up for itself as a champion of human rights.
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    China General News

    [mod]All general news related to China in this thread[/mod]
     
  7. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    China to US: loosen hi-tech export limits

    China to US: loosen hi-tech export limits

    As the United States reviews its restrictions on hi-tech exports to China, the Ministry of Commerce's spokesman urged the US to shorten the timetable for loosening export controls. US President Barack Obama has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and relevant agencies to re-examine the nation's limits on hi-tech equipment shipped to China, said US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in Beijing yesterday. He is accompanying President Obama on his visit to China. The US is making efforts to "rebalance export control," said Locke.

    Though the US must maintain oversight of sensitive technologies dealing with national security, it needs to loosen restrictions on technologies that pose no harm to the US, he added. Hi-tech export control is among the topics, including anti-protectionism and intellectual property rights, to be discussed between Chinese and US trade officials during Obama's visit, said Yao Jian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce at a briefing yesterday in Beijing. He urged the US to "loosen the hi-tech export restrictions as soon as possible".

    Washington's restrictions on hi-tech exports have "indeed affected unbalanced Sino-US trade ties" and "strongly restrained the competitiveness of US-made products," Yao said. Chinese hi-tech imports from the US have shrunk since 2001. Eight years ago, the US accounted for 18.3 percent of Chinese hi-tech imports - it is now at 7 percent, said Yao.

    "The US exports less than most developed countries and must do more Increasing exports is a key part to create jobs in the US," said Locke.
    "China welcomes the US expanding exports to China," says Yao. "Service industries and high technologies should be the strength of the US in Sino-US trade," he added.

    Tensions between China and the US have been rising as the US has imposed 10 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on Chinese products this year.
    Locke said trade disputes are a "natural part" of bilateral trade ties and "the US is not engaged in protectionism." Several agreements related to clean-energy technologies will be signed between China and the US during Obama's visit, Locke said. Direct investment from the US to China was $2.83 billion in the first 10 months, ranking fifth in terms of amount after individual investments in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore, according to figures released by Ministry of Commerce yesterday.

    Foreign direct investment in China continued to grow in October for the third consecutive month, indicating that China remains buoyant on the prospects of attracting foreign funds. China's foreign direct investment increased to $7.1 billion in October, up 5.7 percent over the previous year. More than 18,000 foreign-invested companies were approved in the first ten months, down 20.1 percent year on year, involving investments worth $70.9 billion.


    China: loosen hi-tech export limits
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    by the time Obama is done begging to these devils to save the US economy,China will own USA and only way back to number one for USA will be thru war with China.
     
  9. redragon

    redragon Regular Member

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    a war between USA and China will be the end of this world, god bless you
     
  10. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    China's Ministry of National Defense website attacked 2.3 million times in first mont

    China's Ministry of National Defense website attacked 2.3 million times in first month


    Approved by the Central Military Commission (CMC), the official website of the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China started its online trial operation on August 20, 2009. Since its online trial began the website was attacked 2.3 million times in first month, said Ji Guilin, chief editor of the website.

    China's Ministry of National Defense's website (??????????) has become a window for the Chinese PLA to show peace, openness, confidence and cooperation willingness to the world within its first three months. So, how does it work? A reporter from People's Daily had an interview with Ji Guilin, chief editor of the website to reveal the stories behind its operation.

    Total hits reach 1.25 billion in three months and netizens pay more attention to "armed forces" and "military pictures"The website has been online for three months. Would you like to tell us how about its operation now?
    Ji Guilin: Basically, it's doing well. Website hits has reached 1.25 billion in three months. And the webpage's can be opened in 3 seconds in China and 5 seconds abroad. 40 percent of its readers are from Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu. And the Chinese version's overseas readers are mainly from U.S., Australia, Singapore and Japan and the English version's overseas readers are mainly from U.S., Australia and UK.

    Website hits have reached 70 million in first day and rushed to 130 million the second day.What most concerns the netizens?

    Ji Guiin: The focuses vary between the Chinese and English versions. It can be clearly seen through accessible statistics, Chinese versions readers pay more attention to leadership of Central Military Commission, leaders activities, weapons, military exercises and military science and technology; while, the English versions readers pay more attention to military photos, leadership of Central Military Commission, leaders activities and armed forces.

    Amount of authoritative information from the Central Military Commission headquarters is increasing continuously.

    As the military departments' authoritative website, how can we distinguish it from portals' military channels and the military forums?

    Ji Guilin: "Small but excellent." The portals' military channels always pursue "large and all-inclusive", but there are few websites that can provide exclusive military information. The Ministry of National Defense's website emphasizes more exclusive and authoritative information. When unexpected or major events occur, the relevant departments would promptly inform the Ministry of Defense website to ensure the significant information is promptly released.

    For example, the news "13 million college students will become eligible for recruitment into the People's Liberation Army" was first reported by mod.gov.cn. And an exclusive report can bring over 10 million hits. Hereafter, we will carry out live video feeds from the press conferences held by China's Ministry of National Defense. And the spokesmen's speech will be published on our website first.

    To grasp the right to talk on defense is also the strategic task for Chinese army

    With the concept of opening up for army building, the Chinese army carried out many moves toward opening up. Is the mov.com.cn also aimed at this?
    Ji Guilin: For a long time, the channels for unveiling China's military information have been blocked, thus irresponsible talk and rumors spread, giving a very bad impression. The founding of the website is designed to let the outside world have a better understanding of China's national defense policy, and help enhance foreign exchange and cooperation.

    How does the website set its columns?
    Ji Guilin: In brief, the website has three columns: news coverage, including military news, activities, ideas and so on; material, including leadership, history, weapons and equipment, etc.; special columns and features, including pictures, videos, hot topics and services and other columns.

    Which advantages did you draw from similar experiences of foreign websites in the process of pre-survey?[/B]

    Ji Guilin: Mainly the form of information communication. They are more like "weapons" concluding plenty of elements with visual impact. As a form of enhancing troop morale, the website continues to shape a strong, professional and fair image of the military, increasing social identity and attracting young people to join the army. All of these are worth learning.

    The website has two main functions: first, to release authoritative information, and second to provide for the military services. We added a column named "Defense Affairs Service Center ", which is popular with netizens.

    Some media said that the Ministry of Defense website suffered hacker attacks. Is this true?Ji Guilin: You are well-informed. Since the day it launched, the website has been attacked many times. During the first month, it was attacks by 2.3 million times including invasive attacks and block attacks. Whenever there are events, especially related with the military and national defense, the attacks are more frequent. But, thanks to the security measures providing strict protection those attacks failed.

    In surveillance to continuously improve the safety of our website, we have used intrusion detection, anti-tampering and multiple means for data backup.

    Does being transparent mean contradicting keeping state secrets?
     
    Ji Guilin: No. Some military websites often release irresponsible information on the Internet. But we have strict measures to keep secrets. We release what can be released and must not give away hits at the expense of disclosing secrets.

    What's the website future direction?

    Ji Guilin: To enhance the interaction with netizens. Some mature overseas Department of Defense websites use the web 2.0 format and encourage netizens to participate in website construction. At present, we are focusing more on the release of authoritative information. And after, we will set up some interactive columns to attract more netizens to be involved in the website building. China's Ministry of National Defense website will definitely be a more open website with rich content to respond to the netizens concerns and passions in future.


    China's Ministry of National Defense website attacked 2.3 million times in first month (2) - People's Daily Online
     
  11. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    GE puts faith in China's aerospace industry

    GE to Set Up China Venture to Produce Aircraft Electronics - WSJ.com

    By NORIHIKO SHIROUZU

    BEIJING—General Electric Co. made a big and potentially risky bet Sunday on China's aerospace industry as it struck an agreement with leading Chinese aircraft company Aviation Industry Corp. of China to jointly supply avionics systems for jetliner makers globally.

    GE is essentially moving its avionics platform to China, angling in part to grab business for a planned aircraft China hopes will compete with jets from Boeing Co. and European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.'s Airbus.

    At the heart of GE's decision is the growth in China's appetite for planes, but the U.S. company also is betting that a China-made jetliner eventually could challenge Boeing and Airbus outside China—a notion seen with skepticism in the industry

    GE and AVIC agreed to establish a 50-50 joint venture in China that GE said would be its main platform to develop and market avionics systems for global commercial-aircraft manufacturers. No financial details were given, but GE called it "a substantial investment."

    GE defines its avionics systems as the "brains" of the aircraft, helping pilots navigate and operate the plane. The business is is part of its aviation-systems division, which has annual revenue of about $2.5 billion, roughly 13% of GE's total aviation revenue of $19.2 billion in 2008.

    The agreement highlights increasing competition among Western aircraft-engine makers and others to supply technology for a large passenger jet China's main state-owned commercial-aircraft maker, an AVIC offshoot called Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac, is trying to launch by 2016. The aim for that aircraft, the C919, is to compete with Boeing Co.'s B737 and Airbus's A320.

    The GE-AVIC joint venture, which requires Chinese regulatory approval and is expected to launch in mid-2010, will be "GE's only way to go to market with avionics systems around the world," a senior GE executive said Sunday in Beijing.

    Thus, he said, GE will make advanced commercial-avionics technology available for the joint venture without holding back and will do so with the understanding of regulators in Washington.

    "This market is huge, and the Chinese aviation industry likely over the coming decades will be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, of the world," said GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt in a speech before signing the agreement with Lin Zuoming, president of state-owned AVIC.

    "This joint venture also opens the door for us to serve customers in every corner of the world," said Mr. Immelt, whose presence at the signing further underlined the importance GE attaches to the venture.

    Boeing and Airbus are expected to come up with next-generation narrow-body jets to replace their aging jetliners, but by some projections, those replacements won't enter service until the early 2020s. Comac is aiming for a crucial edge by launching the C919 by 2016. Comac, based in Shanghai, has told suppliers it plans to sell 2,500 C919 planes over a period of 20 years.

    A top executive at a major U.S. aerospace supplier calls this "overly optimistic," saying it would be a feat if Comac were able to sell 600 to 800 C919s over 20 years. The C919, even if successfully developed and marketed, might lose its luster once Boeing and Airbus come up with new aircraft to replace the B737 and the A320, respectively, he says.

    Lorraine Bolsinger, head of GE Aviation Systems, said that while GE's immediate focus is to compete for C919 business, its venture with AVIC also is being established with an eye toward supplying technology for the next-generation narrow-body jets being planned by Boeing and Airbus, as well as business jets and other aircraft in the pipeline.

    She said overall world-wide demand for narrow-body jetliners might amount to 20,000 aircraft over the next few decades. GE expects Comac to take a "fair share" of that demand. Such high expectations help explain GE's willingness to share the latest technology to help Comac come up with a competitive passenger jet.

    "The whole premise of this joint venture is to bring [to market] advanced technology," Ms. Bolsinger said. Asked how GE would treat technology the U.S. government might consider too sensitive to transfer to China, she said GE wouldn't jeopardize its relationship with the U.S. military but noted that there is a lot of know-how and expertise outside the military realm.

    For Comac, the C919 follows last year's launch of its first passenger jet, a 70-seat regional plane called the ARJ-21. GE provided engines for the ARJ-21 and last year signed a deal with Comac to purchase five ARJ-21 jets, with an option to buy 20 more. GE said it planned to lease the regional jets to Chinese airlines.

    A major unknown for the C919 is acceptance by consumers, especially in key markets such as North America. Brazil's Empresa Brasileira de Aeronutica SA, or Embraer, which has aimed to compete with Boeing and Airbus for decades, has only been able to break into the smaller, so-called regional-jet business.
     
  12. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Chinese mine death toll doubles




    [​IMG]


    At least 92 people are now known to have died in China's worst coal mine accident in two years, state media say.

    Another 16 miners are missing after the blast at Xinxing pit in Hegang City in Heilongjiang province.

    The toll has more than doubled from 42 dead earlier. Some 528 workers were in the mine when the blast hit before dawn on Saturday local time, said Xinhua.

    A top official, Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, has been sent to oversee rescue efforts at the state-owned mine.

    President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had also been in contact with rescue workers, state media said.

    China's mines are notoriously dangerous. The central government has made improving safety standards a priority, but rules are often ignored in favour of profit.


    Lax safety

    The blast in the mine, in the region bordering Russia, occurred at 0230 local time on Saturday (1830 GMT on Friday). More than 400 people managed to escape.

    Many of the injured were being treated at the Hegang Mining Bureau Hospital, which said all 800 of its medical workers had joined the rescue operation, Xinhua reported.

    [​IMG]

    Rescue official Zhang Fucheng was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that attempts to reach the trapped miners were being hampered by dense gas and collapsed tunnels. No-one has been rescued alive since Sunday morning.

    But a spokesman for the mining company, San Jingguang, said he believed the remaining 16 men were still alive and that rescuing them was the "first priority".

    The BBC's Michael Bristow in Beijing says it appears that a build-up of gas was the cause of the explosion.

    One of the rescued miners, Wang Xingang, said the blast knocked him out briefly.

    "When I regained consciousness, I groped my way out in the dark and called for help," Xinhua quoted him as saying.


    China's Worst Mine Disasters
    • Feb 1950: Yiluo mine, Henan province - 174 dead
    • May 1960: Laobaidong mine, Shanxi province - 684 dead
    • Sept 2000: Muchonggou mine, Guizhou province - 162 dead
    • Nov 2004: Chenjiashan mine, Shaanxi province - 166 dead
    • Feb 2005: Sunjiawan mine, Liaoning province - 210 dead
    • Nov 2005: Dongfeng mine, Heilongjiang - 171 dead
    • Aug 2007: Xintai City, Shandong province - 181 dead
    • Dec 2007: Rui Zhiyuan mine, Shanxi province - 105 dead


    The mine is operated by the state-owned Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding Group and has an annual capacity of 1.45m tonnes of coal, said Xinhua.

    The authorities are likely to be concerned that the accident happened in a state-run mine, says our correspondent.

    They are generally considered to be safer than private collieries, whose lax safety standards have contributed to a high rate of accidents.

    Most incidents are blamed on a failure to follow safety guidelines, often in an attempt to cut costs and meet an increasing demand for fuel.

    The Chinese authorities have been trying to deal with the dangers by closing smaller mining operations and forcing local authorities to regulate the industry.

    The government closed some 1,000 small mines in a recent safety drive, and says the number of miners killed has been halved as a result.

    But miners are still dying at a rate of six a day, and independent labour groups say many accidents are covered up in the drive for profit and coal.

    In February, more than 70 workers were killed in an explosion at a mine in Shanxi province.


    BBC News - China coal mine blast death toll reaches 92
     
  13. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    NK's only ally

    China and North Korea defence ministers pledge ties


    [​IMG] China and North Korea are allies, but China has other interests in play too

    Chinese and North Korean defence chiefs have pledged to strengthen their long-standing military alliance. The Chinese Defence Minister, Liang Guanglie, is visiting North Korea two weeks before the US North Korea envoy, Stephen Bosworth, is due to visit.
    North Korea's neighbours and the US are trying to re-start talks on the ending of Pyongyang's nuclear programmes.
    China has been a firm ally of the North since they fought together in the Korean War against the South.
    Analysts have noted, however, that China appears increasingly willing to push the boundaries of its special relationship with the North to support the nuclear talks.
    Blood ties
    China fears a huge influx of refugees if the North Korean state collapses, and has little desire to see a nuclear-armed state with an uncertain political succession on its border.
    Mr Liang told a reception by Pyongyang's defence chief Kim Yong-chun that the bilateral relationship was "sealed in blood" when he and other Chinese troops fought the Korean War on the North Koreans' side.
    "No force on earth can break the unity of the armies and peoples of the two countries and it will last forever," Mr Liang said, according to KCNA, the North Korean news agency.
    "It is the fixed stand of the Korean army and people to invariably consolidate and develop the DPRK (North Korea)-China friendship, which has stood all trials of history," Kim Yong-Chun said.
    The defence chiefs then had "comradely and friendly" talks, according to the report.
    Mr Liang arrived in Pyongyang by plane on Sunday, inspected an honour guard, attended a fete, presented a gift for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, and met Kim Yong-chun.
    Chinese state media has said that Mr Liang would be going on to Japan and Thailand after his North Korean visit.
    China has hosted the six-party nuclear negotiations, including delegates from the two Koreas, China, the US, Russia and Japan, since 2003.
    China's President Wen Jiabao recently visited Pyongyang and reported that the North was "willing to attend multilateral talks, including the six-party talks, depending on the progress in its talks with the United States".
    US President Barack Obama was recently in Beijing, South Korea and Japan where he and his hosts all affirmed the importance of getting North Korea back into talks.

    BBC News - China and North Korea defence ministers pledge ties
    ________________________________________________________

    It seems that China is the only country in the world (of course other than Pakistan, who had close nuclear and ballistic missile tech collaboration with them earlier) that is the ally of this globally hated and despised regime.
     
  14. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    Worried wives of miners trapped after a Chinese pit blast killed more than 100 fellow workers scuffled with police today as they demanded answers from bosses.

    A total of 11 pitmen remain stuck 1,500ft below ground after tunnels collapsed when a gas leak caused a huge explosion.

    Rescuers managed to evacuate 420 people following Saturday’s blast but fears are mounting for those stuck in the freezing conditions.

    [​IMG]
    Worry: A police officer tries to stop journalists from filming anxious miners' relatives at a colliery in Hegang

    [​IMG]
    Anguish: Wives, braving -20C cold to demand answers about their husbands' fate, weep outside the gates

    Their wives, braving temperatures of -20C outside Xinxing colliery in Hegang, north east China, scuffled with police and security staff after complaining of a lack of information about the fate of their loved ones.

    One shouted: ‘None of the officials have died, all of the dead are the workers.

    ‘The officials are all alive, the workers are all dead. Not one of those officials has even been down into that mine.’

    The official death toll for the blast stands at 104 - and is the deadliest Chinese mining disaster for two years.

    Following today's protest, some of the women were taken inside the mine compound, while others were put into a large white van.

    [​IMG]
    Rescued: A worker injured by Saturday's explosion receives treatment while 11 of his colleagues are trapped

    [​IMG]
    Tough task: Surviving miners prepare to search for victims trapped in freezing conditions 1,500ft below ground

    One woman was seen being dragged screaming into a car and driven away.

    Some relatives complained that nobody had told them anything, and that could not reach local officials and mine bosses.

    ‘Why have their mobile phones been off for several days? What’s the reason behind it?’ aked one miner’s wife protesting at the colliery.

    ‘Why haven’t they given us answers? When will they respond to us and tell us what happened?’ another woman said.

    Police moved along bystanders, and formed a line with mine security guards inside the entrance to prevent unwanted visitors.

    Security staff also tried to stop reporters speaking to the women, putting their hands in front of cameras.

    [​IMG]
    Aftermath: A miner at the blast site (above) as smoke rises up though a hole beside two rescuers (below)

    [​IMG]


    China’s stability-obsessed government is nervous about any public protests, and will be keen to keep discontent under control.

    China has the world’s deadliest coal-mining industry with more than 3,000 people killed in mine floods, explosions, collapses and other accidents in 2008 alone.

    In 2007, after more than 180 miners died in a flooded coal mine in the northern province of Shandong, relatives stormed the offices of the company that operated the mine, smashing windows and accusing managers of not telling families what was happening.

    Compared with other manual jobs, Chinese coal miners can earn relatively high wages, tempting workers and farmers into rickety and poorly-ventilated shafts.

    Safety staff at Hegang colliery knew gas in the mine had reached dangerous levels and were rushing to evacuate the miners when the blast erupted, state media agency Xinhua reported.

    [​IMG]
    Mission: Rescuers line up to jump into mining carts (above) before descending into the pit (below)

    [​IMG]

    Central government prosecutors are already in Hegang overseeing investigations into any possible crimes or official misconduct behind the blast.

    The Xinxing mine lies near China’s border with Russia and produced more than a million tonnes of coal in the first 10 months of this year, local reports said.

    It is owned by the Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding Group, making it larger than most operations where colliery accidents occur.

    In the first half of this year, 1,175 people died in officially recorded coal mine accidents across China, a fall of 18.4 per cent compared with the same time last year, according to the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.
     
  15. redragon

    redragon Regular Member

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    Understanding China

    Understanding China
    The West has gotten it wrong on China for decades -- even as it embraces a market economy, it has shunned Western-style freedoms. And its power is only growing.
    By Martin Jacques

    November 22, 2009
    E-mail Print Share Text Size

    The dynamics of President Obama's trip to China were markedly different from those evident on visits made by President Clinton and President George W. Bush. This time the Chinese made clear that they were unwilling even to discuss issues such as human rights or free speech. Why? The relationship between the countries has changed: America feels weak and China strong in their bilateral ties. This is not a temporary shift that will reverse itself once the U.S. has escaped from its mountain of debt. Rather, it is the expression of a deep and progressive shift in the balance of power between the two nations, one that is giving the Chinese -- though studiously cautious in their approach -- a rising sense of self-confidence.

    Nor should we be surprised by the Chinese response. They may have appeared more conciliatory on previous visits by American leaders, but that was largely decorative. The Chinese have a powerful sense of their identity and worth. They have never behaved toward the West in a supplicant manner, for reasons Westerners persistently fail to understand or grasp.

    Ever since the Nixon-Mao rapprochement, and through the various iterations of the Sino-American relationship over the subsequent almost four decades, there has been an overriding belief in the West that eventually China would become like us: that, for example, a market economy would lead to democratization and that a free media was inevitable. This hubristic outlook is deeply flawed, but it still prevails, albeit with small cracks of self-doubt starting to appear.

    The issue here is much deeper than Western-style democracy, a free media or human rights. China is simply not like the West and never will be. There has been an underlying assumption that the process of modernization would inevitably lead to Westernization; yet modernization is not just shaped by markets, competition and technology but by history and culture. And Chinese history and culture are very different from that of any Western nation-state.

    If we want to understand China, this must be our starting point.

    The West's failure to understand the Chinese has repeatedly undermined its ability to anticipate their behavior. Again and again, our predictions and beliefsabout China have proved wrong: that the Chinese Communist Party would fall after 1989, that the country would divide, that its economic growth could not be sustained, that its growth figures were greatly exaggerated, that China was not sincere about its offer of "one country two systems" at the time of the hand-over of Hong Kong from Britain -- and, of course, that it would steadily Westernize. We have a long track record of getting China wrong.

    The fundamental reason for our inability to accurately predict China's future is our failure to understand its past. Although China has described itself as a nation-state for the last century, it is in essence a civilization-state. The longest continually existing polity in the world, it dates to 221 BC and the victory of the Qin. Unlike Western nation-states, China's sense of identity comes from its long history as a civilization-state.

    Of course, there are many civilizations -- Western civilization is one example -- but China is the only civilization-state. It is defined by its extraordinarily long history and also its huge geographic and demographic scale and diversity. The implications are profound: Unity is its first priority, plurality the condition of its existence (which is why China could offer Hong Kong "one country two systems," a formula alien to a nation-state).

    The Chinese state enjoys a very different kind of relationship with society compared with the Western state. It enjoys much greater natural authority, legitimacy and respect, even though not a single vote is cast for the government. The reason is that the state is seen by the Chinese as the guardian, custodian and embodiment of their civilization. The duty of the state is to protect its unity. The legitimacy of the state therefore lies deep in Chinese history. This is utterly different from how the state is seen in Western societies.

    If we are to understand China, we must move beyond the compass of Western reality and experience and the body of concepts that has grown up to explain that history. We find this extremely difficult. For 200 years the West, first in the shape of Europe and then the United States, has dominated the world and has not been required to understand others or The Other. If need be it could always bully the latter into submission.

    The emergence of China as a global power marks the end of that era. We now have to deal with The Other -- in the form of China -- on increasingly equal terms.

    China, moreover, is possessed, like the West, with its own form of universalism. It long believed that it was "the land under heaven," the center of the world, superior to all other cultures. That sense of self, which has engendered a powerful self-confidence, has been persistently evident over the last 40 years, but with China's rise, it is becoming more apparent as the country's sense of achievement and restoration gains pace. Or to put it another way, when the presidents of China and the United States meet in Beijing in 2019, with the Chinese economy fast approaching the size of the American economy, we can be sure that the Chinese sense of hubris will be far stronger than in 2009.

    But long before that, we need to try and understand what China is and how it behaves. If we don't, then relations between China and the United States will never move beyond the polite and the formal -- and that will be a bad omen for the future relationship between the two countries.

    Understanding China -- latimes.com
     
  16. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    pilgrims and riot police

    Chinese security personnel patrol a street near a temple in Lhasa as Tibetan pilgrims carry out their ritual religious walk next to them in the Tibet Autonomous Region November 23, 2009. Chinese security presence could be felt at the Tibetan capital of Lhasa as pilgrims' practice their religious rituals and shops open for buyers.
     
  17. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    chinese defence minister in pyongyang

    [​IMG]

    Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, center, waves to well-wishers after he was received by his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chun, left, on his arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009. It was the latest in exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.
     
  18. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    fullstory

    Nine dead in China mine explosion

    Beijing, Nov 27 (PTI) At least nine workers died and one missing after a deadly gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in southwestern China, less than a week after a similar tragedy killed 107 people in the country.

    The incident occurred at late last night at the Zhenxing coal mine, state-run Xinhua news agency said today quoting an official of Guizhou Provincial Work Safety Bureau.

    A total of 172 miners were working when the incident occurred, it reported, adding 162 people have escaped. The nine workers died of asphyxiation while three others were injured by the flying debris and now being treated at a hospital in Xingren county.

    The search operation for missing miners are on, the official said.

    Located in southwest China, Zhenxing coal mine has an annual production of 600,000 tonnes, making it one of the biggest mines in the region
     
  19. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Academic Corruption in China

    By Stephen Wong

    SHANGHAI - Often overlooked in the "miracle" of China's rapid economic development over the past three decades is the "miracle" in the massive number of PhD graduates it now produces.

    China is expected to replace Japan as the world's second-biggest economy - after the United States - this year or the next in terms of gross domestic product. But by 2008, it had already surpassed the US as the world's top producer of PhD holders - despite post-graduate programs only resuming in 1978 after the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.

    Unlike national pride over China's economic success, the expansion of PhD programs is viewed with suspicion, due to allegations that corruption in the education system has severely compromised academic standards.

    According to statistics released by Yang Yuliang, the director of the Academic Degree Commission under the State Council - China's cabinet, China's first PhD programs in 1978 had only 18 candidates. In 1982, the first doctorates were awarded to six of the 18.

    However, post-graduate programs increased exponentially with the fast expansion of tertiary education in 1999 as a result of the government's policy to "industrialize" universities. The government believed that higher enrollment would create a generation of educated urbanites, boosting domestic consumption and reducing dependence on exports after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

    Graduate enrollment in PhD programs has grown by some 23.4% annually since 1982. In comparison, the average annual growth rate for students enrolling in master's degrees during the same period was 15%. By the end of 2007, China had awarded 240,000 doctorate degrees.

    However, the number of qualified professors needed to supervise such doctorate programs has not kept pace, raising fears that quantity is not being matched by quality.

    According to Yang, each qualified Chinese professor has to supervise 5.77 doctorate candidates, much higher than the international level. A dozen professors from Anhui province last week wrote to the Ministry of Education asking why the educational system was failing to produce world-class scientists and scholars. The question was also raised by Qian Xuesen, the father of China's space industry, before his death in October.

    There is also concern over the often opaque relationship between universities and businessmen and officials, many of whom are enrolled in doctoral studies. Professors say that businessmen and officials often use cash, power or influence to avoid doing the work necessary to obtain PhDs.

    Sources from the Graduate School of Chongqing-based Southwest University said that about half of all senior party and government officials in the districts and counties of Chongqing municipality were PhD candidates at their school. And Chongqing is by no means an isolated case.

    It is so commonplace nowadays for senior officials to have doctorate degrees that the media were surprised that Zhang Ping, the recently appointed minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission - China's top economic planning body - only has a diploma from a vocational secondary school. Zhang later earned plaudits for not exaggerating his academic background.

    Demand for doctorate degrees has grown as the authorities in Beijing often base promotion decisions purely on a candidate's educational background. For many officials, higher degrees are also a way to gain face.

    Officials see universities as being under their jurisdiction. In turn, officials' need for higher degrees has become a business opportunity for universities. Many universities (even some foreign ones) have set up enrollment offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, promising diplomas. In some programs, officials can earn their degree from home without having to attend exams.

    While for most ordinary Chinese earning a doctorate degree remains an arduous process, powerful Chinese officials are now offered a so-called "green route" - from entrance examination to graduation. Entrance exams are generally organized by the university independently, and to attract students with political clout some colleges and universities even offer "exam-free admission".

    Once enrolled, privileged students do not need to take the courses seriously; in many cases sending their secretaries to take the classes and exams. Professor Cai Jiming at Tsinghua University remarked that "most degrees earned by Chinese officials are questionable".

    Wang Yi, the former chairman of China's Securities Regulatory Commission, who was arrested in February on suspicion of taking bribes, is one example. His curriculum vitae listed him as a doctor of economics, but his master's degree was in history, and it took him only two years to obtain his PhD.

    Wang's case drew a sarcastic response from Professor Ge Jianxiong of Fudan University in Shanghai, "It is pretty impressive that Wang was admitted to the highly sought after doctorate program of economics He must not only be a quick learner, but also a capable multi-tasker to complete his course, pass his exams, finish his dissertation and pass his oral defense within only two years.

    "To achieve this while at the same time being also engaged in his no doubt hectic official business. If not a genius, he must be a brilliant talent," added Ge. He called for an investigation into the acquisition of Wang's doctoral degree, but his demand was not met.

    Observers say that Chinese officials obtaining dubious doctorate degrees not only wastes scarce education resources, it has also triggered a crisis of confidence in the education system, undermining genuine PhDs gained in China. Yet some Chinese universities say they need to meet officials' wishes if they want to ensure their financial survival.

    A vice president of a university based in central China's Zhengzhou City, who wished to remain anonymous, said most universities relied on government funding, especially for research funds, projects and university development plans. If one university dared to refuse admittance to a powerful official, another university would quickly say "yes". Officials may also consider the rebuttal as a humiliation and seek revenge.

    For the PhD tutors of high-ranking officials, this teacher-student relationship can be a win-win situation: it enables the tutors to get more access to research projects and resources, while they can piggyback their powerful students' clout to gain other resources.

    Most universities in China are public, with their presidents assigned by the government and their funds mostly allocated by the government. To some degree, university officials themselves are government officials - they are often transferred from or to a government department, and so are linked with government officials from other branches.

    At universities, the influence and status of an employee is not his academic title but his administrative ranking. The higher the ranking, the more power the person has. So university employees often target higher administrative rankings than decent academic titles.

    Ironically, this has led to a situation where government officials are queuing up for higher academic degrees while university officials and professors are competing for higher administrative rankings.

    Academic corruption in collusion with corruption in officialdom has become common in China. As a result, Chinese universities struggle to produce great scholars while Chinese officialdom lacks sophisticated politicians. Famous mathematician and Harvard professor, Shing-Tung Yau, in a speech at Nankai University, lambasted China's academic corruption as "the national stigma".

    Growing public anger over widespread academic corruption and other problems in education recently led Premier Wen Jiabao to fire the minister of education, Zhou Ji, who had been in office since 2003.

    Stephen Wong is a freelance contributor from Shanghai.
     
  20. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    China – in numbers

    by Simon Usborne

    30,000: The expected number of Chinese MBA graduates in 2008. The number in 1998: 0


    5.7 million: Students graduated from Chinese universities in 2007 (compared with 270,000 in 1977)

    30: Number of nuclear power plants being built in China

    500: The number of coal-fired power plants China plans to build in the next decade

    10 million: The estimated number of Chinese people who have no electricity

    97: New airports to be built in the next 12 years, bringing the total number to 244 by 2020

    540 million: Number of mobile phone users in China, with an increase of 44 million in the past six months

    180: The number of foreign press correspondents arrested or harassed in 2007

    160: Cities in China with populations that exceed a million. In the USA there are nine; in the UK just two

    21 million: The number of Chinese-made toys recalled last year by the US toy company Mattel

    0: Miles of motorway in 1988

    30,000: Miles of motorway today

    6.3 million: The number of passenger cars registered in 2007 (compared with 2.3 million in 2004). More than 1,000 new private cars hit the roads every day in Beijing alone

    68: The number of crimes thought to be punishable by death in China, including non-violent offences such as tax fraud, embezzlement and the taking of bribes

    1.3 billion: China’s population. The country accounts for one in five people in the world

    400 million: The estimated number of births prevented by China’s one-child policy, introduced in 1979

    22: The number of suicides per 100,000 people, about 50 per cent higher than the global average. Suicide is the fifth most common cause of death in China, and the first among people aged between 20 and 35

    700,000: The number of people living with HIV or Aids in China. The UN has warned China it could have 10 million cases by 2010 unless action is taken

    45 billion: Estimated number of chopsticks China produces every year, the majority of them disposable. In 2006, Beijing introduced a five per cent tax on disposable wooden chopsticks in an attempt to help save the country’s forests

    30: The number of different animal penises on the menu at Guolizhuang, Beijing’s ‘penis emporium’. A yak’s costs about £15, while a tiger’s (which must be pre-ordered) will set you back £3,000

    By arrangement with The Independent
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China´s Raging Sands (LOGIN TO VIEW THIS PROGRAMME)
    China from within

    Giant sand storms are wreaking havoc in China. They’re the biggest, most destructive storms in China’s history. And they’re not confined to the countryside. Beijing, the capital of China, frequently grinds to a halt as it is blanketed in airborne sand. Once a rare occurrence, sand storms are now a frequent blight on Beijing life.

    In the most severe storms, residents say that “It’s like it is raining sand”. An early warning system sounds to alert residents of the danger as people stay indoors and airports are shut down. Much of the sand originates in the northern and the western deserts of China – the Gobi, the Takla Makan, the Ordos. But once airborne the sands do not respect national boundaries. They increasingly fall on Korea and Japan. The sands even cross the Pacific Ocean to fall on the United States. The environmental disaster in China is reaching global proportions.

    The sandstorms are awesome. In China’s Raging Sands we see walls of sand a kilometre high stretching from horizon to horizon. The sandstorms are also lethal. They have the force of a mid-sized earthquake – and unlike earthquakes they last not for minutes but for days. Forty-seven schoolchildren died in a single storm. Visibility in these tidal waves of sand can drop to less than a metre – and temperatures have dropped as low as minus 55 degrees Celsius. The storms can move at the speed of a freight train, overwhelming everything in their path. And when the winds die they deposit a layer of sand that suffocates the countryside.

    The deserts of China are increasing at a furious rate. In China’s Raging Sands we see how fierce winds blow the sands of the old deserts. Worse yet, we see new deserts being created. Desertification – the turning of once fertile land into desert – is a major problem. Global warming and environmental damage put a third of the country at risk. Just 70 km north of Beijing the Great Wall was built to keep invaders out of China. Today, desert sands reach that wall. At the current rate of expansion Beijing will be surrounded by sand before the end of the century.

    China is now engaged in a desperate race to stop the sands. Scientific research and government policy are converging to address the problem. But for herdsmen who have seen their entire flocks wiped out or for farmers who have seen two-thirds of their village disappear, a solution cannot be found soon enough.

    China´s Raging Sands : Off the fence : documentaries, wildlife television, natural history programs
     

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