Archive for ‘Social & cultural’

27/01/2015

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners – Chinadaily.com.cn

A room with a 360-degree road view

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners

If you can’t build through it, build around it – city planners seem to have taken this advice quite literally.

Motorway builders encircled the homes of three Chinese families with a four-lane flyover after they refused to make way for the bulldozers.

Demolition teams in Guangzhou had planned to destroy the houses in order to connect the city’s road network to a recently opened tunnel under the Pearl River.

A photograph of the so-called “nail houses” – so named because they proved difficult to move–completely surrounded by the flyover, proved popular on the Chinese Internet this week.

Some Internet users joked that authorities had given locals homes “with a 360-degree road view”.

via New highway encircles stubborn homeowners[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

20/01/2015

Tapping China’s ‘Silver Hair Industry’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Researchers at Abbott Laboratories in Shanghai are busy testing flavors of nutritional drinks for China’s senior citizens. Kimberly-Clark Corp. has launched television ads for its Depend adult diapers and expanded distribution online. Local e-commerce companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. are rolling out senior-focused marketing pushes.

The companies are after the growing ranks of people born during a Mao Zedong-inspired baby boom that took the country’s population to nearly one billion people in 1980 from 542,000 in 1949. China’s birthrate dropped sharply during the 1970s and 1980s as the government reversed course and implemented a one-child policy.

The boomers are now hitting old age: China’s over-65 population is projected to soar to 210 million in 2030 from 110 million, and by 2050 will account for a quarter of China’s total population, according to United Nations data. By then, the U.N. says, China’s elderly population may exceed the entire U.S. population.

“What has us interested…is that half a billion people over the age of 60 will be living in China over the next 35 years,” said Scott White, president of Abbott’s international nutrition division.

via Tapping China’s ‘Silver Hair Industry’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

19/01/2015

India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ

One of India’s largest taxi companies says it has a solution for women worried about their safety after the alleged rape by an Uber driver: pink cabs with pepper spray.

Meru Cab chief executive Siddhartha Pahwa announced the new service–called Meru Eve– Friday from a dais decorated with daisies and gladioli.

“The incident last month forced all of us to think how we can make roads safer for women,” he said.

Its new line of taxis in Delhi will be driven by women . They will have pepper spray and panic buttons that immediately notify Meru if there is trouble.

There have been taxi services for women for years-such as ForShe Taxis and Sakha Cabs–but Meru Eve promises to take the concept to the next level. The service started in the capital region Friday with around 20 vehicles and may be rolled out in other cities later.

Meru worked with the Delhi police to equip the cabs and give the women drivers self-defense training to protect themselves and their passengers.

Meru’s Mr. Pahwa said that after the alleged rape of a female passenger by an Uber driver, Meru received calls from anxious passengers asking for female taxi drivers.

“This is an important step towards women’s empowerment,” said Tajender Singh Luthra, a joint commissioner of police in Delhi.

Meru’s regular drivers have always been given specific training on the appropriate ways to interact with women passengers. It says it has never had a complaint but decided to go further to make women passengers feel more safe.

“These drivers come from small towns and are not used to big city culture, like women smoking, wearing a short dress or travelling alone at night,” Mr. Pahwa said. “We train our drivers to avoid eye contact with women, maintain two feet of distance and not to adjust the rear view mirror to watch the passenger.”

The Meru Eve drivers will wear pink vests and drive white-and-pink hatchbacks.

One of the new drivers, 22-year-old Sarita Dixit, said that she expects her income to jump with demand for women drivers as more companies start women taxi services. Meru drivers typically earn between 20,000 and 30,000 rupees ($322 to $483) a month, which is more than she earned in her last job working as a chauffeur.

The new services will not only help empower women that can afford taxis but also woman looking for work, said Vimla Mehra, Delhi’s special police commissioner for administration.

“You don’t see many women professionals in India. Programs like this build confidence in women to earn a living. They become role models,” she said.

via India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ.

16/01/2015

Ethnic minorities: Don’t make yourself at home | The Economist

CHINA is urbanising at a rapid pace. In 2000 nearly two-thirds of its residents lived in the countryside. Today fewer than half do. But two ethnic groups, whose members often chafe at Chinese rule, are bucking this trend. Uighurs and Tibetans are staying on the farm, often because discrimination against them makes it difficult to find work in cities. As ethnic discontent grows, so too does the discrimination, creating a vicious circle.

Breaking this circle is crucial to China’s efforts to defuse unrest in Xinjiang, Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited areas of other provinces, which collectively account for nearly one-third of China’s land area. In Xinjiang, Uighur grievances have triggered numerous outbreaks of violence. On January 12th, in what appeared to be the latest such example, six people were shot dead after allegedly attacking police in Shule, a town near China’s border with Central Asia. Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim, minority who number about 10m in Xinjiang. In 2000, 80% of them were farmers; ten years later 83% of them were.

There has been far less violence in Tibet, but separatism in the region is no less a headache for China’s leaders. There are more than 6m Tibetans in Tibet and four neighbouring provinces. The proportion of farmers fell only slightly between 2000 and 2010, from 87% to 83%. Some prefer to stay in the fields. But many others feel excluded from the benefits enjoyed by the ethnic Han Chinese, who make up more than 90% of China’s population. Neither Uighurs nor Tibetans enjoy ready access to the job market that has drawn tens of millions of Han to cities in recent years. They are unwelcome, and they know it.

In 2010 about 1% of Tibetans had settled outside the provinces that encompass their homeland, and less than 1% of Uighurs had migrated from Xinjiang, according to census data compiled by Ma Rong of Peking University. Many of the migrants are either officials or in government-sponsored education programmes. The rate of voluntary exodus from Xinjiang and Tibetan areas is slowing considerably.

Part of the problem is linguistic. Uighurs and Tibetans brought up in the countryside often have a very poor grasp of Mandarin, the official language. The government has tried to promote Mandarin in schools, but has encountered resistance in some places where it is seen as an attempt to suppress native culture. In southern Xinjiang, where most Uighurs live, many schools do not teach it.

But discrimination is a big factor, too. Even some of the best-educated Uighur and Tibetan migrants struggle to find work. Reza Hasmath of Oxford University found that minority candidates in Beijing, for example, were better educated on average than their Han counterparts, but got worse-paying jobs. A separate study found that CVs of Uighurs and Tibetans, whose ethnicities are clearly identifiable from their names (most Uighurs also look physically very different from Han Chinese), generated far fewer calls for interviews.

Government programmes help some Uighurs, Tibetans and other minorities get a better education; affirmative-action policies can boost their chances of going to university. One scheme, known as the Xinjiang Class, sends thousands of Uighurs as well as Han Chinese from Xinjiang every year to other parts of China to complete their schooling. But it also encourages them to return to Xinjiang to work among Uighurs. Official figures suggest that 50% end up going back to Xinjiang. Timothy Grose of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana found that most he interviewed would have preferred not to.

via Ethnic minorities: Don’t make yourself at home | The Economist.

15/01/2015

China to create $6.5 billion venture capital fund to support start-ups | Reuters

(Reuters) – China will set up a government venture capital fund worth 40 billion yuan (4 billion pounds) to support start-ups in emerging industries, in its latest move to support the private sector and foster innovation.

“The establishment of the state venture capital investment guidance fund, with the focus to support fledging start-ups in emerging industries, is a significant step for the combination of technology and the market, innovations and manufacturing,” China’s State Council, the cabinet, said in a statement.

“It will also help breed and foster sunrise industries for the future and promote (China’s) economy to evolve towards the medium and high ends,” it said in the statement published in the government’s website, http://www.gov.cn, referring to sectors which the government is promoting such as technology and green energy.

The government issued the statement after a meeting on Wednesday. It did not give a timetable, but past experience has shown that such a fund could be established within a few weeks after an announcement.

China’s venture capital market remains small, the legacy of the country’s decades of the planned economy in which private sector’s development is largely subject to a great variety of restrictions.

via China to create $6.5 billion venture capital fund to support start-ups | Reuters.

12/01/2015

1 mln Chinese couples apply to have second child – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Nearly one million couples have applied to have a second child since China eased its one-child policy in 2014, allowing couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child.

The number of applications is in line with the estimate of less than two million annually by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said Mao Qunan, a spokesman with the commission, at a press conference on Monday.

Since China’s one-child policy was eased in a pilot program in east China’s Zhejiang Province in January 2014, couples nationwide may now have a second child if either parent is an only child.

Mao said that the commission will put more effort toward improving the population monitoring mechanism and will stipulate relevant policies.

“We will also collect public opinion on health care for pregnant women and children in a timely manner,” Mao added.

via 1 mln Chinese couples apply to have second child – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

12/01/2015

Han cadres required to learn Tibetan language – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Mastery of the Tibetan language will become a requirement for non-native cadres in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

All seven prefecture-level cities in Tibet have started organizing Tibetan language training for non-native cadres, according to the regional bureau of compilation and translation on Monday.

Qoizha, deputy director of the bureau, said they have handed out 40,000 books on basic Tibetan language for daily conversation.

President Xi Jinping stressed at a conference on ethnic work in September 2014 that in ethnic regions, ethnic minority cadres should learn Mandarin, and Han cadres should also learn ethnic languages. The language skill should become a “requirement” for cadres.

“One cannot serve the local people well if one cannot speak the local language,” Xi said.

Tibet has adopted a bilingual policy since the regional legislature passed a law in 1987 stipulating both Tibetan language and Mandarin as official languages in the region.

Qoizha said over 90 percent of Tibet’s population of 3 million is of Tibetan ethnicity. Breaking the language hurdle can help non-native cadres better interact with local communities.

In the past 20 years, close to 6,000 cadres and technical professionals from various Chinese provinces and municipalities have been sent to help develop the southwestern autonomous region of Tibet. Cadres usually stay in the region for three years.

via Han cadres required to learn Tibetan language – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

12/01/2015

Police in China shoot dead six in restive Xinjiang | Reuters

A group of “mobsters” on Monday tried to set off an explosive device in a business district in China‘s troubled western region of Xinjiang, prompting police to shoot six of them dead, the local government said.

Hundreds of people have been killed in resource-rich Xinjiang, strategically located on the borders of central Asia, in violence in the past two years between the Muslim Uighur people who call the region home and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

The government has also blamed attacks elsewhere in China, including Beijing, on Islamist militants from Xinjiang.

Monday’s violence came two months after 15 people were killed when a group threw explosives into a crowded street of vendors selling food in Xinjiang.

Police in Shule county, south of the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, had acted on a tip-off about “a suspicious person carrying an explosive device”, the Xinjiang government said on its official news website.

An axe-wielding individual tried to attack police officers and set off an explosive device, prompting the officers to shoot him, the government said.

via Police in China shoot dead six in restive Xinjiang | Reuters.

31/12/2014

Religion in India bubbles over into politics – Businessweek

In small-town northern India, Muslims are offered food and money to convert to Hinduism. If that doesn’t suffice, they say they’re threatened. Across the country, the Christmas holiday is canceled for hundreds of government servants who spend the day publicly extolling the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Powerful Hindu nationalist leaders — some with close ties to Modi’s government — say they intend to ensure India becomes a completely Hindu nation.

But Modi himself? He has remained silent as nationalist demands have bubbled over into day-to-day politics, and amid growing fears among minority religious groups of creeping efforts to shunt them aside.

“We told him we feel insecure and fearful,” said the Rev. Dominic Emmanuel, a Roman Catholic priest who was in a delegation of religious leaders who met a few days ago with Modi. “We told him, ‘If there were just two words from your side, prime minister, we would feel so much better.'”

via Religion in India bubbles over into politics – Businessweek.

19/12/2014

Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post

The former deputy chief of China’s Beijing Zoo – who claimed his 8 million yuan (about HK$10 million) fortune was earned from part-time jobs, including working as a taxi driver – was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Beijing court this morning.

Xiao Shaoxiang was jailed for life today after being found guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”. Photo: Xinhua

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Xiao Shaoxiang guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”.

All his personal property would be confiscated, the Beijing-based newspaper, Mirror, reported on its official mainland microblogging Weibo website.

Prosecutors said six million yuan in cash, paintings and gold bullion from unknown sources were found in Xiao’s apartment – a cache worth a total of 8 million yuan, the court said during his trial in August.

He was charged with accepting bribes totalling more than 140 million yuan.

Xiao, 59, had denied all the charges during the trial.

He had defended himself by claiming that he had earned the money from moonlighting as an unlicensed cab driver after work at the zoo from 1991 to 1994.

via Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post.

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