The Chinese government forced some 160 Catholic priests and nuns in the Shanghai diocese to attend three days of classes on socialism, the Communist Party, and their duty to China. The move came after priest Thaddeus Ma Daqin left the Communist Party-run Patriotic Catholic Association as was ordained as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. The government has confined Ma to a seminary since his ordination.
At Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise, a seafood exporter on Vietnam’s southern coast, workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau.
Elsewhere in Ca Mau, Nguyen Van Hoang packs shrimp headed for the U.S. in dirty plastic tubs. He covers them in ice made with tap water that the Vietnamese Health Ministry says should be boiled before drinking because of the risk of contamination with bacteria. Vietnam ships 100 million pounds of shrimp a year to the U.S. That’s almost 8 percent of the shrimp Americans eat.
Using ice made from tap water in Vietnam is dangerous because it can spread bacteria to the shrimp, microbiologist Mansour Samadpour says, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.
At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety.
“The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,” says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China.
On a sweltering, overcast day in August, the smell of excrement is overpowering. After seeing dead fish on the surface, Chen, 45, wades barefoot into his murky pond to open a pipe that adds fresh water from a nearby canal. Exporters buy his fish to sell to U.S. companies.
Yang Shuiquan, chairman of a government-sponsored tilapia aquaculture association in Lianjiang, 200 kilometers from Yangjiang, says he discourages using feces as food because it contaminates water and makes fish more susceptible to diseases. He says a growing number of Guangdong farmers adopt that practice anyway because of fierce competition.
“Many farmers have switched to feces and have stopped using commercial feed,” he says.
The Chinese Government has compelled 80 Catholic priests and 80 nuns of the Shanghai diocese, whose bishop has been detained for three months, to attend “re-education” classes to get them to “think and act in the right way” about Church-state relations.
The move is the latest fallout in the diocese following the resignation on 7 July of newly ordained Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, 45, from the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
The “re-education” involved three 12-hour days of classes during September at the Shanghai Institute of Socialism, UCA News reported. The main subjects included the Communist Party’s religious concepts, policies and regulations. The course aimed at strengthening the participants’ loyalty to the country and to the principle of a Catholic Church run independently of Rome.
A stage performance by bikini-clad women wearing headpieces styled after traditional Peking Opera has sparked debate in China after photos were made public this week, highlighting divided views on how to preserve the country’s traditions.
Organizers of the Miss Bikini International Committee — which was responsible for the show staged in April to promote an upcoming bikini competition — defend the use of Chinese opera elements as a bold artistic attempt.
“We are only adding small elements of the opera to fit the Eastern style, and we are just adding Chinese traditional cultural elements on the stage in order to attract audience,” said Li Jinkun, general manager of Beijing Beauty Cultural Development Co. Ltd., which organizes the bikini contests. “Our goal was to let the audience have a fresh and new feeling,” Li said Thursday.
Supporters say such experiments should be tolerated in commercial endeavors, but opponents say the sexiness of bikinis insults the traditional art form, which typically appeals to older people.
What, older men won’t appreciate these young bikini-clad cuties?
The journalists’ rule of thumb is that you cannot report the so-called three Ts – Tiananmen, Taiwan or Tibet.
We inadvertently discovered a fourth T.
In an article in the country’s English language newspaper, China Daily, I came across an editorial featuring stinging criticism of China from the WTO. Not the World Trade Organisation, this was the less well-known World Toilet Organisation.
This WTO had ranked China as having the worst public toilets in all Asia. The paper explained how, in response, Beijing had introduced rigorous new hygiene standards – now no more than two flies are allowed in any public toilet.
The paper was in no doubt about the importance of the issue. “Clean public toilets are the symbol of a civilized society,” it thundered. The controversy made me chuckle and I mentioned to our government minder that I wanted to cover this storm in a toilet bowl.
It was Mr Chen’s job to ensure we did not break any reporting rules. He had been a cheerful, relaxed companion throughout our three-week journey, but now his face darkened.
“I do not think that would be a good idea,” he said gravely.
I laughed, assuming he was just being a bit conservative.
“No”, he emphasised. “I really do not think that is a good idea.”
I said it would only take a couple of minutes. Just a bit of fun.
Mr Chen vanished for a few moments. When he returned his manner was forbidding.
“I am sorry Justin but I have to tell you cannot report this story at all.”
This was getting serious. Our Chinese fixer was visibly anxious and quietly warned me that if this went any further Mr Chen was likely to close down our production completely.
I was learning an important lesson. China may be undergoing the most incredible economic transformation, but the Chinese Communist Party’s instincts have not changed.
It may let you speak to the idle rich and the abject poor but threaten to embarrass it – even with something as trivial as some criticism from the World Toilet Organisation – and the sinews of power become all too apparent.
We were close to the end of our long journey and could not afford to jeopardise our project now.
I decided I had to close the door on the Chinese toilets.
Pathetic excuse for a journalist. That’s what you get for being ‘embedded’…
It was billed as China’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe — a spectacular £445m British-designed skyscraper paying homage to the Asian country’s turbo-charged economic rise.
But even before the 74-storey Gate to the East is complete it has come under attack from critics who compare it not to the famous Parisian war memorial but to a pair of “giant underpants”.
Media and blogger reactions:
“Is it an arch or just plain pants?” wondered the front page of the Shanghai Daily. Headline-writers at state-run agency Xinhua were more direct. “New giant tower branded ‘pants’,” they wrote.
“This should be called the Pants of the East, not the Gate of the East,” complained one user of China’s Twitter-like micro-blog Weibo.
Another micro-blogger suggested walking through the Gate of the East would be “humiliating”, “like being forced to crawl between someone else’s legs.”
Some were more risqué with their critiques, pointing out that London’s phallus-like “Little Cucumber” — Norman Foster’s 30 St Mary Axe or Gherkin project— would fit snuggly inside Suzhou’s Gate to the East.
“Together, together!” cooed one of the raunchier posts.
Other bloggers condemned the 4.5bn yuan construction as a further example of the increasingly odd foreign creations appearing on Chinese skylines.
“Any design that can not be sold in foreign countries can come to China and sell at a good price,” wrote one.
“Why does China look like the playground of foreign designers with laughable architecture ideas?” said another blogger quoted by Xinhua.
The Gate to the East is not the first foreign-designed building to fall foul of Weibo’s budding architecture critics. The recently completed Beijing HQ of television station CCTV also stirred up an online storm.
The building — created by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas — earned rave reviews in many architectural circles and a New York Times critic suggested it “may be the greatest work of architecture built in this century”. But Chinese internet users were unimpressed. They nicknamed Mr Koolhaas’ creation “Big Shorts” and posted online photo-mock-ups of the building likening it to a man perched on a toilet.
This week bloggers joked that Suzhou’s “Giant Underpants” fitted well with Beijing’s “Big Shorts”.
“I heard the CCTV Big Shorts now have company – an authentic pair of low-rise jeans.” Calls to the RMJM’s Shanghai office and the Suzhou real estate company went answered.
Payback for I.M. Pei, bitches…
Mr Yun’s four-year-old son was hogging the microphone and his parents were indulging him.
Two of the boy’s uncles began chastising Mr Yun and his wife for having raised a spoilt child; a “Little Emperor”, as the Chinese say.
According to the Xi’an police, the argument became heated to the point where the two uncles began pushing, and then punching, Mr Yun.
Finally, Mr Yun’s nephew, who also worked in the noodle shop, ran back to the restaurant and fetched a meat cleaver.
The man, named as Mr Hui, hacked the two uncles to death, inflicting at least ten wounds on each uncle. He has since been arrested.
There is no shortage of criticism inside China for the bad behaviour of the Little Emperors, the children raised under the one-child policy and doted on by their parents.
Karaoke, meanwhile, is taken very seriously not just in China, but throughout Asia, where singing rivals alcohol as a social lubricant.
Other karaoke massacres have taken place in the Philippines, where the Frank Sinatra song “My Way” has had to be removed from many songbooks after sub-standard renditions provoked a string of killings.
In Thailand, meanwhile, a man shot eight of his neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their tuneless reprisals of John Denver’s “Country Roads”.
The Japanese must have invented karaoke as a means of Asian population control…
Media reports from Japan say the government has reached a deal to buy disputed islands in the East China Sea from their private owner.
The government will pay 2.05bn yen ($26m, £16.4m) to buy islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
There was no confirmation from officials, but the reports were carried by major Japanese media outlets, citing government sources.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Beijng was watching the situation.
“The Chinese government is monitoring developments closely and will take necessary measures to defend its national territorial sovereignty,” Hong Lei said.
It will be interesting to see if the Chinese government allows their incorporation into Japan…
In what’s actually a pretty scary scene over in Shenzen, China where anti-Japanese protests have culminated in rioting, comes this odd story about a mob so blinded by anti-Japanese rage that they trashed a Japanese restaurant only to find out that it was actually owned by a Chinese person. As we noted yesterday, the anti-Japanese sentiment is based on a territorial dispute between the two countries, and the repercussions continue within China. “The owner opened the restaurant five years ago after investing 5,000,000 yuan ($786,250) of capital. He says he had just heard of the demonstration and was thinking of closing down the store when the mob broke in and destroyed over 100,000 yuan ($15,725) worth of property,” reports Japan Today’s Steven Simonitch, which adds that the mob vandalized Japanese cars and burned Japanese flags. “Needless to say, the Japanese internet community has gotten a kick out of the incident, pointing out that the cars they toppled were also likely owned by Chinese,” according to Japan Today, in what’s basically the equivalent of “Neener-neener-neener.”
The first Chinese ship has travelled from the Pacific to Atlantic via the Arctic along the Russian coast, an Icelandic scientist who participated on the expedition said Friday.
The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, docked in Iceland after having sailed the so-called Northern Sea Route from the Pacific, Egill Thor Nielsson told AFP.
“This is the first Chinese ship to sail this route and of course it is important because it’s a more than 40 percent shorter route to Europe,” he said.
The Chinese are even more interested in this route after having found the passage relatively easy.
“It took almost ten days to sail from the East Siberian Sea and through the Barents Sea, and during that time there was real pack ice for only seven days,” he said.
Climate change is opening the prospect of commercial shipping via the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage north of Canada.
More and more ships are travelling via the Northern Sea Route. Four made the passage in 2010, 34 last year and the figure will be higher this year, said Nielsson.
The Northwest Passage isn’t ‘north of Canada’; it’s through Canadian waters, foreigners; you need our permission to go through them.
Workmen digging up a square in Zhangjiakou city, Heibei province, near the wall have been blamed for triggering the collapse of 100 ft of Great Wall.
“There is an investigation into the causes of the collapse. A number of things may have contributed, including the building work,” said a city official.
City officials said that “conservation and a rebuilding plan is already underway.”
More Communist Party members in the Peoples Republic of China are attending church, according to the U.S. State Department’s latest report on International Religious Freedom.
“Although CCP members are required to be atheists and generally are discouraged from participating in religious activities, their attendance at official church services in Guangdong Province was reportedly growing, as authorities increasingly chose to turn a blind eye to their attendance,” the report stated.
Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who authored the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, backed up claims that more Chinese Communists as well as members of the media are becoming Christians, despite continuing religious repression in China.
“It is definitely taking place around the country,” Wolf told CNSNews.com. “There’s a large number of Chinese who have become Christian, there are a number of people in the government and even some in the media who have become Christians.”
China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan to put a man on the moon.
China’s third lunar probe will blast off in the second half of 2013 and attempt to land and transmit back a survey of the moon’s surface, state television reported late Monday.
India’s government has cleared plans to put an orbital probe around Mars next year to study the red planet’s climate and geology, a report said Saturday.
The mission would mark another step in India’s ambitious space programme, which placed a probe on the moon three years ago and envisages its first manned mission in 2016.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is expected to launch the Mars Orbiter as early as November next year, the semi-official news agency said.
For during recent years its swimmers and coaches have been caught cheating so many times it is difficult to keep count – and it has modelled its draconian training system on precisely that which produced Schneider and other turbo-charged East Germans before the Iron Curtain fell.
It began in the Eighties when, determined to end the nation’s perennial humiliation at major athletics and swimming championships, China’s Communist regime decreed that a generation of future champions must be harvested and honed.
To that end, school teachers were ordered to scrutinise their pupils for signs of natural sporting ability and report any child with obvious potential to regional coaches who would install them in one of 3,000 new state training camps.