Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Foreigners Working in China

the Central Business District in Beijing is one of the places in the Chinese capital that see a large number of working foreigners

Nearly 180,000 foreigners were registered as working in China by the end of 2006, double the number three years before, according to a newly released official report.

The United States, Japan and Korea are the main origins of the foreign workforce in China. Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou took in about half of the workforce by the end of 2006, and the other half mostly gathered in big cities in Eastern China.

Most of the foreigners working in China are well-educated professionals, working in businesses such as service, manufacture, information technology and computer software. Many of them are senior executives, the report says.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Dams in the Three Parallel Rivers Area, Yunnan Pleadges

The Yunnan provincial government has announced that there will be “absolutely” no dams built and no mines opened in the Three Parallel Rivers area, one of the World Natural Heritage sites listed by the UNESCO.

An investigation by Untied Nations officials of this area last year showed that the natural heritage site, inscribed in 2003, was facing serious threats, such as planned hydro-electronic power plants, mining and tourism. Some Chinese environmentalist also fought fiercely against such developments approved by local governments, who were eager to reap economic gains even at the price of the well-being of the environment.

Still, an official from Yunnan government told China News Services that a hydro-electronic power plant was planned for a site close to the heritage area, although the plan has not been approved by the central government. He also said there are scores of mines within the heritage site and need to be shut down.

The Three Parallel Rivers site, located in the mountainous area of north-west Yunnan, features sections of the upper reaches of three rivers: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween, which run roughly parallel. “The site is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity,” says the UNESCO.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Child Sexual Abuse in China Documented by Scholar

The book, titled "Shame of Sex ? Or Pain of Harm?"

The first social study report in mainland China about child sexual abuse was published recently. The author, education researcher Long Di, told Beijing Morning Post that the case of child sexual abuse is increasing in China.

There were 135 cases of girl’s rape reported to All-China Women’s Federation in 1997, and the number reached over 3000 in 2000, she said.

Ms. Long Di’s book documented the experience of six young girls from a northern China village who suffered sexual abuse. They were abused by their school teacher since the second grade for two years.

The six families finally reported to the police, but then some villagers started to gossip with exaggeration about the girls' experience, and some others prohibited their own children to socialize with those victims.

Ms. Long said in order to prevent sexual abuse of children, researchers need to study those sex offenders first, and listen to their stories. More education to increase the awareness of child sexual abuse among students is also necessary, she added.

Child sexual abuse has long existed in China but started to gain attentions from scholars and the public only in recent years. Victims, especially those in rural area, are often times too ashamed to report abuses to the police or officials in fear of losing their own and their family’s dignity. Many people still don’t see such abuse as a crime of the offender, but merely a shame of the victim.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Development of China’s National Grand Theater Renews Public Criticism

The Grand Theater surrounded by the pool (top)
The Great Hall of the People is located to the east of the theater(bottom)

The newly constructed reflection pool surrounding the unfinished National Grand Theater of China did not turn around the disapproval attitude of the public toward the long-time controversial project, despite the apparent beauty added to the scene by the water.

Most of the over 700 online comments still hold a negative tone toward the construction, calling it too lavish, a ill-match with the Great Hall of the People standing beside, a waste of money and water.

“The water should be placed in the impoverished wild north west. It is too poor there,” one comment reads.

“Is it necessary to do something so extravagant?” questions another. “[The government itself] is still advocating frugality.”

There are also a few comments saying that the building is pretty and a testimony of China’s advance in architecture.

The 35,000 square-meter pool will need 14,000 cubic meters of water to fill up, and the source will be underground water, state media reported.

The grand theater, generally known in China as the huge egg shell, is a project of nearly 150,000 square meters floor area consisting of three theaters, plus huge parking facilities and surrounding landscape. It received a central government funding of around $340 million.

Since, and even before the construction started in 2001, the project has been widely criticized by the public and some academics as wasteful, damaging to the nearby scene of the Tiananmen Square area, and a poor architecture design of the building itself.

The theater was supposed to be finished and ready to have performances by 2005, but the construction is still going on.

Media reports about the pool

Online comments

Official website of the theater

Friday, May 04, 2007

Chinese People who Shape the World

the latest issue of Time magazine

The Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world features four figures from mainland China this year, one of the biggest pool of Chinese honorees in the past four years.

Chinese president Hu Jintao is on the list for the third time since 2004, and is the only Chinese figure appearing on the list for more than once in recent years.

Also on the list is Mr. Liu Qi, Beijing Communist Party Secretary and the head of the city’s Olympic Organizing Committee. He was chosen for his important and challenging role in organizing the 2008 Olympic Games.

Zeng Jinyan, wife of environmental activist Hu Jia, is listed as one of the “heroes and pioneers” for her bravery of keeping blogging about she and her husband’s battle against government oppression.

Internet pioneer Pony Ma, inventor of China's popular online communication service QQ, was selected, too. The online service has evolved into a 100-million-user network for online socializing and entertainment.

It’s also interesting to look at who else from mainland China were selected into Time 100 in recent years.

There were four in last year’s list, too. They were Chinese premier Wen Jiabao; Ma Jun, a journalist turned environmental advocate; blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng who filed a lawsuit against officials forcing women to have abortion or sterilization when enforcing the one-child policy; and business man Huang Guangyu, an entrepreneur who made a big fortune by building a discount electronics chain around China.

In 2005, Hu Jintao and actress Zhang Ziyi were on the list. Ms. Zhang Ziyi was called “China's gift to Hollywood.” A year before, again, Mr. Hu was on the list. Accompanying him were Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and NBA star Yao Ming.

The annual Time 100 list provides a window to see the reach of some Chinese figures’ international influence, and as China grows, chances are there will be more and more Chinese faces appearing among “the people who shape our world.”

The 2007 Time 100
Hu Jintao,28804,1595326_1615513_1615464,00.html
Liu Qi,28804,1595326_1615513_1614661,00.html
Zeng Jinyan,28804,1595326_1615754_1616169,00.html
Pony Ma,28804,1595326_1615737_1615710,00.html

The 2006 Time 100
Wen Jiabao,9171,1187198,00.html
Ma Jun,9171,1187271,00.html
Chen Guangcheng,9171,1186887,00.html
Huang Guangyu,9171,1187472,00.html

The 2005 Time 100
Hu Jintao
Zhang Ziyi

The 2004 Time 100
Hu Jintao,9171,993962,00.html
Wu Yi,9171,993958,00.html
Yao Ming,9171,994049,00.html