Posts tagged ‘Henan’

30/09/2016

Glass loos with a view open in China – BBC News

Whatever will the Chinese think of next?

China’s recent obsession with glass tourist attractions has gone round the U-bend with the opening of some see-through treetop public toilets.

The loos, near Shiyan Lake in southern Hunan province, have fabulous views of both the forest below and other people using the facilities.

Cubicle walls, even those between the men’s and women’s sections, are only separated by lightly frosted glass.

But state media said few visitors dared use the loos on their opening day.

Image copyrightBARCROFT IMAGESImage caption

Shy users of the urinals may take comfort from the privacy barriers between them, though not in the fact they are made of glass

Despite a boom in the construction of glass bridges and walkways in scenic locations in China in recent years – in some cases so popular they had to be closed – these are thought to be the first entirely glass public bathrooms in the country.

However, it not the first time those busting to go have been exposed a little more than they might like by the enthusiasm for glass.

There were reports recently of some male toilets in a university dorm in Hunan which included one very public cubicle.

Image copyrightBARCROFTImage captionUnusually, a head for heights is a requirement for a job as a cleaner there

Image copyrightBARCROFTImage caption Awkward: cubicle walls are only lightly-frosted, even between the men’s and women’s sections

News of the wide-view WCs at Shiyan Lake sparked a range of reactions online.Responding to a Facebook post about it by state television channel CCTV, Ejike Nnadi summed up the feelings of many: “Hell no.”

Others were more taken by the idea. “You’ll be surprised by what you can tolerate when you really, really need to go,” said one post.

Another nodded towards another modern use for restrooms: “I’d be in there ’til my battery hit zero if there was signal in there!”

Image copyrightBARCROFTImage captionThe well-lit lavs are built on a steep hillside

Tina Chen took a dimmer view of all such projects though. “(It) is not about being shy, just again someone had extra money to waste.”

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage caption Unusual glass structures have provided popular photo ops for tourists across China

Awkward or not, it is hoped that these bathrooms for the brave will encourage tourists to visit the countryside around Changsha city and admire the spectacular autumn colours of its forests.

Source: Glass loos with a view open in China – BBC News

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18/06/2016

Study Finds China’s Ecosystems Have Become Healthier – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s skies may be toxic, and its rivers fetid and prone to sudden infestations of pig carcasses. But according to a new study, the country’s environmental battle has also been making quiet, measurable progress.

The paper, a collaboration between U.S. and Chinese researchers published in this week’s issue of Science, found that China’s ecosystems have become healthier and more resilient against such disasters as sandstorms and flooding. The authors partly credit what they describe as the world’s largest government-backed effort to restore natural habitats such as forests and grasslands, totaling some $150 billion in spending since 2000.

“In a more and more turbulent world, with climate change unfolding, it’s really crucial to measure these kinds of things,” says Gretchen Daily, a Stanford biology professor and a senior author on the paper.

The study didn’t examine air, water or soil quality, all deeply entrenched problems for the country.

Beijing’s investments in promoting better ecosystem protection were triggered after a spate of disasters in the 1990s. In particular, authors note, two decades after China started to liberalize its economy, rampant deforestation and soil erosion triggered devastating floods along the Yangtze River in 1998, killing thousands and causing some $36 billion in property damage.

The government subsequently embarked on an effort to try to forestall such environmental catastrophes. According to the study, in the decade following, carbon sequestration went up 23%, soil retention went up 13% and flood mitigation by 13%, with sandstorm prevention up by 6%.

The paper also involved authors from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Minnesota, among other institutions. Data was collected by remote sensing and a team of some 3,000 scientists across China, said Ms. Daily, who praised the “big-data” approach to tracking the quality of China’s ecosystems.

“The whole world is waking up to the need to invest in natural capital as the basis for green growth,” she said.

Reforestation was one particular bright spot, she said. Under the country’s founding father, Mao Zedong, China razed acres of forests to fuel steel-smelting furnaces. To reverse the trend–and combat creeping desertification in the country’s north — the country embarked on a project in 1978 to build a “Great Green Wall” of trees. Today, authorities say that 22% of the country is covered by forest, up 1.3 percentage points compared with 2008.

The authors note that the study has limits. While China has reported improving levels of air quality in the past year, urban residents still choke under regular “airpocalypses.” The majority of Chinese cities endure levels of smog that exceed both Chinese and World Health Organization health standards.

“You can plant trees till the end of time,” says Ms. Daily. “But they’ll never be enough to clean up the air.”

Source: Study Finds China’s Ecosystems Have Become Healthier – China Real Time Report – WSJ

16/06/2016

Reaping what they sow: Shaolin monks harvest wheat as a form of Zen practise | South China Morning Post

Monks at Shaolin Temple in Henan province have been harvesting wheat as a method to practice Buddhism, the China News Agency reported on Thursday.

The 1,400-year-old temple, famed as the birthplace of Chan (Zen) Buddhism and martial arts traditions, operates a farm of of about 70 hectares where they grow wheat, corn, vegetables and herbs.

During the wheat reaping season in June, groups of monks cut the crops, thrash the grain, bag it and carry it to the barn.

Farming is also a kind of self-cultivation,” said Shi Yanzi, the monk in charge of the farm. “We farm with the spirit of Zen, and plough and sow in our own mind too.

”Shaolin’s millennium-long tradition of farming was interrupted in the past decades, but was resumed by head abbot Shi Yongxin in recent years.

Shi believes producing food in the temple’s fields can also ensure food safety.

The Shaolin temple farm also opens to tourists to experience harvesting fresh vegetables or fruit.

Source: Reaping what they sow: Shaolin monks harvest wheat as a form of Zen practise | South China Morning Post

01/02/2016

Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Whether it is the cold drizzle, factory economics or the annual exodus of migrant laborers ahead of Lunar New Year, Lin Xinge is selling fewer dumplings.

Ms. Lin is chief dumpling wrapper, waitress, cashier and dishwasher for Fujian One Thousand Li Fragrant, a tiny restaurant she owns with her husband in an industrial zone of Shanghai. Just over a fence, her neighbors include iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group and other giant industrial groups that employ legions of workers she counts as customers.

“The workers earn less salary so fewer people come here and our restaurant isn’t doing well,” says Ms. Lin. She says that during the three years she has run One Thousand Li Fragrant, she’s had periods when every seat at her eight tables has been filled. Not lately.

Like her customers who come for $1.50 bowls of noodles and dumplings, Ms. Lin is a migrant worker. On a recent day she was sitting on an orange chair in the restaurant gripping a hand-warmer and thinking of her native Fujian province, where as a young woman she sang opera in the local dialect.

“Our Putian is more comfortable,” she says referring to the ancient city in Fujian where she was born. Though only 34 years old, Ms. Lin said singing in a traveling opera troupe is for the young and made less sense for someone like her, a mother of two.

In the Shanghai factory zone called Songjiang, One Thousand Li Fragrant was among the few restaurants that remained open ahead of the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year. Wind and cold rain whipped across tables placed on the sidewalk that would have been inviting in balmier times. Ms. Lin said the other dozen or so restaurants, also run by migrants and for migrants, had shut a few days before, as their owners departed for the holidays.

China’s mass people movement for Lunar New Year officially began a week ago. Beijing predicts 2.91 billion trips between January 24 and March 3. Ms. Lin’s family will join the throng in coming days.

Economists will be watching how China’s slowdown affects the mass migration. During past years of economic boom in China, until the mid-2000s, cash-rich factory workers returned to interior villages for the holidays, but quickly flooded back to the industrialized east, often along with family members willing to work for low pay. But in more recent years, the monotony of factory work has proved less of a draw, leaving employers to scramble to hold workers, with higher salaries or benefits. This year, jobs themselves are the concern.

Migrants interviewed outside factories in southern Shanghai and northern Zhejiang province this past week provided a mixed picture. Some suggested the economic slowdown is hitting factories. Some noted that workers were sometimes being encouraged to leave for holidays earlier this year while some factories shut outright. Truck traffic in the zones appeared light and some facilities were shut.

Speaking outside some factories, many veteran workers used the word for nothing special, “chabuduo,” to dismiss any suggestion they see dramatic changes this holiday season.

As heavy rain fell in the Zhejiang province industrial city Jiaxing on Friday, a group jostled and pushed an assortment of fancy suitcases, canvas bags and industrial buckets into the hold of a bus. The group was embarking on a 10-hour drive back home to the Henan province city of Nanyang. The mood was upbeat.

One woman, who works in a garment factory, said she was toting gifts for her family, including 100 rice balls. A worker, who said he drives on a construction site, reported he had a pretty good year. They said bonuses had been paid as usual.

Source: Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

04/03/2015

Shaolin Monks Put Payment Down on First Foreign Temple – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s Shaolin Temple, known for its legendary martial arts, wants to replicate its ancient ways Down Under – and it is prepared to pay up to support its vision.

Abbot Shi Yongxin handed over a check of more than 4 million Australian dollars ($3.13 million) to Joanna Gash, mayor of Shoalhaven, in southeast Australia, clearing the outstanding payment on the sale of a slot of land, according to a statement posted on the coastal city government’s website late last month. The payment is part of an expected US$300 million investment in Australia to open a temple there, the Shaolin Temple’s first outside China.

The deal marks the latest move by Mr. Shi – sometimes called the CEO Monk in China – to extend and commercialize the legend of the ancient Chinese temple. The Shaolin brand, which is managed by the Shaolin Intangible Assets Management Co. Ltd., has set up more than 40 cultural institutions around the globe, Xinhua said.

Mr. Shi himself is a member of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a national political advisory group that is currently holding its once-a-year meeting in Beijing.

Mr. Shi told the official Xinhua News Agency that the construction of a Shaolin culture center has been kicked off in New South Wales of Australia and will likely be completed next year, Xinhua reported on Tuesday. A preliminary blueprint includes a Buddhist temple, a Kung Fu school, a medical center, a golf course as well as a resort hotel.

via Shaolin Monks Put Payment Down on First Foreign Temple – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

21/11/2014

Four regions to scrap urban-rural ‘hukou’ distinction – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

In a long-awaited reform, four Chinese provincial regions have removed the rural/urban distinction in the household registration system, or “hukou“, making things fairer for residents, chinanews.com reported.

Four regions to scrap urban-rural '<EM>hukou</EM>' distinction

The four regions are Henan, Heilongjiang and Hebei provinces and Xinjiang Ugyur autonomous region, said the report.

The regions stipulated there will be no more rural hukou and urban hukou, with both rural and urban dwellers registered as “residents”.

They are the first provinces to put into action a State Council document on reform of China’s household registration system, which was released on July 30, urging officials to scrap the urban-rural distinction.

Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province said the distinction was removed since Nov 1 this year, and people can now change their hukou at local public security stations. For example, dwellers with a “rural hukou” can change it for one that just reads “resident”.

Southwest China’s Guizhou province and East China’s Jiangxi province also introduced drafts of reform plans, and the public’s feedback is being solicited on the drafts.

Guizhou’s draft schemes propose that from Jan 1 next year, households will no longer be labeled as “urban or rural” but as “collective households or family households”. The collective households refer to those who register under an organization, such as a workplace.

Set up in 1958 in order to control mass urbanization, China’s hukou system effectively divided the population in two – urban households and rural households.

Under the system, rural citizens have limited access to social welfare in cities and are restricted from receiving public services such as education, medical care, housing and employment, regardless of how long they may have lived or worked in the city.

via Four regions to scrap urban-rural ‘hukou’ distinction – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

30/09/2014

Water consumption: A canal too far | The Economist

THREE years ago the residents of Hualiba village in central China’s Henan province were moved 10km (six miles) from their homes into squat, yellow houses far from any source of work or their newly allocated fields. These days only the very young and very old live there. Close to their old farms, a giant concrete canal now cuts a swathe. From October 31st the channel will gush with water flowing from China’s lush south to the parched north.

The new waterway is part of the biggest water-diversion scheme in the world: the second arm of what is known as the South-North Water Diversion Project. This is designed to solve an age-old imbalance. The north of China has only a fifth of the country’s naturally available fresh water but two-thirds of the farmland. The problem has grown in recent decades because of rapid urban growth and heavy pollution of scarce water supplies.

The result is a chronic shortage. The World Bank defines water scarcity as less than 1,000 cubic metres (35,300 cubic feet) of fresh water per person per year. Eleven of China’s 31 provinces are dryer than this. Each Beijing resident has only 145 cubic metres a year of available fresh water. In 2009 the government said that nearly half the water in seven main rivers in China was unfit for human consumption. All this has encouraged ever greater use of groundwater. Much of this is now polluted too.

In 1952 Mao Zedong suggested the north could “borrow” water from the south. After his death China’s economic boom boosted demand for such a scheme and provided the cash to enable it. In 2002 the diversion project got under way. An initial phase was completed last year. This involved deepening and broadening the existing Grand Canal, which was built some 1,400 years ago, to take 14.8 billion cubic metres of water a year more than 1,100km northward from the Yangzi river basin towards the port city of Tianjin.

In late October the second, far more ambitious and costly route is due to open. This new watercourse, over a decade in the making, will push 13 billion cubic metres of water more than 1,200km from the Danjiangkou dam in the central province of Hubei to the capital, Beijing. The aim is to allow industry and agriculture to keep functioning; already in 2008 Beijing started pumping in emergency supplies from its neighbouring province, Hebei. The new canal will help avert an imminent crisis. But the gap between water supply and demand will remain large and keep growing.

The transfer will supply about a third of Beijing’s annual demand. A spur of the canal will provide an even greater proportion of Tianjin’s. But these shares will shrink over time. Even if people use less water, population growth, the expansion of cities and industrialisation will increase China’s overall demand. By lubricating further water-intensive growth the current project may even end up exacerbating water stress in the north.

Shifting billions of cubic metres across the country has caused huge disruption. The government says it has moved 330,000 people to make way for the central route. Laixiang Sun of the University of Maryland in America reckons the number uprooted is at least half a million. There will also be health and environmental costs. Diverting river-water northward could promote the spread of diseases common in the south, particularly schistosomiasis, a debilitating snail-borne disease. Reduced flow in the Yangzi may make coastal water supplies vulnerable to intrusion by seawater and increase the potential for drought.

The financial cost is also high. Mr Sun puts the cost of the project at more than $62 billion—far higher than the original $15 billion price tag. His estimate does not include the running of the project or the building of 13 new water-treatment plants to clean the water.

By increasing supply, the government is failing to confront the real source of the problem: high demand for water and inefficient use of it. Chinese industry uses ten times more water per unit of production than the average in industrialised countries, according to a report by the World Bank in 2009. A big reason for this is that water in China is far too cheap. In May 2014 Beijing introduced a new system that makes tap water more expensive the more people use. But prices are still far from market levels. Officials turn a blind eye to widespread extraction of un-tariffed groundwater by city dwellers and farmers, despite plummeting groundwater levels.

Raising the price would cut demand and encourage more efficient use. It should also help lure industry away from water-scarce areas where prices would be set at higher rates. Arid areas that are forced by the government to pipe water into desiccated cities like Beijing could offset their losses by charging higher tariffs.

via Water consumption: A canal too far | The Economist.

18/08/2014

Drought in Northeast China Is the Worst in 63 Years – Businessweek

Southern China is a rice-growing region, while the northeast is the country’s wheat and corn-growing “bread basket.” This summer the northern province of Liaoning is suffering the worst drought in 63 years, according to the local meteorological bureau: The province has seen the lowest precipitation since the government began keeping records in 1951. The dry summer threatens immediate drinking water supplies and autumn harvests.

A farmer stands at the bottom of the Zhifang Reservoir, near Dengfeng, China

The agricultural research service Shanghai JC Intelligence predicts that China’s corn yields may drop 1.5 percent this year, which could drive up domestic corn prices and compel farmers to use alternative grains for animal feed.

(China also imports from the U.S., but since last fall, Chinese inspectors have rejected an increasing number of shipments found to contain unapproved genetically modified organisms (GMO) varieties.)

Other regions have also suffered under the drought, including the northern provinces of Inner Mongolia and Jilin, and central Henan province. In Inner Mongolia, 300,000 people have faced drinking-water shortages, according to state-run Xinhua newswire. More than 270,000cattle have also gone without water. Xinhua reported economic losses to the poor northwestern province total $37 million so far.

Harvests of soybean and barley may also be hurt by the drought, as well as livestock health.

via Drought in Northeast China Is the Worst in 63 Years – Businessweek.

14/06/2014

‘Fake’ government toppled by Chinese police – Telegraph

It will go down as one of the most audacious attempts at Chinese fakery yet: a bid to forge an entire government.

Police in central China say they have brought down a 'counterfeit government'

That is what police claim happened in Dengzhou, a city 480 miles northwest of Shanghai, in Henan province, with more than 1.5 million inhabitants.

Three of the city’s farmers were this week facing charges of forging official documents after allegedly trying to build a parallel and entirely fictitious government for reasons that remain obscure, the local Dahe News Online website reported.

The “counterfeit government” began operating last September when Zhang Haixin, Ma Xianglan and Wang Liangshuang, three villagers, proclaimed themselves the leaders of the self-styled Dengzhou People’s Government.

The trio reportedly accused the incumbent Communist Party administration of “dereliction of duty” and opened their own headquarters just around the corner from those of the city’s real governors.

via ‘Fake’ government toppled by Chinese police – Telegraph.

06/05/2014

Fake Government Busted in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

This must take top prize.

“China has seen its share of counterfeits, from fake Apple stores to fake reporters to fake Gucci. Now add fake government to that list.

State media recently reported that a “People’s Government of Dengzhou” set up in central Henan province was toppled after it was found, in fact, to be a fraud.

According to reports, the government was set up late last year by three residents who had gone so far as to counterfeit fake government seals and issue papers in the bogus government’s name. They also tried to build up their own “civil service,” sending out recruitment ads that attracted more than 10 applicants before the real government shut it down.

Apparently the trio wanted to independently annul their existing government on the basis of its “nonperformance.” They located the headquarters of their faux government adjacent to the real one.

This isn’t the first time Dengzhou has made headlines for unusual political news. Four years ago, government mouthpiece China Daily wrote a story about the city titled “Democracy takes root in rural areas.” It chronicled Dengzhou’s measures to involve more residents in the vetting of proposals relating to villages in the region, in what the publication called an “innovative experiment” that was also hailed at the time by then-Vice President Xi Jinping.

No one, evidently, thought the farmers would get quite so innovative.

In the end, the would-be bureaucrats were outed after they served a property developer a suspension notice and tried to levy penalties for illegal construction in the area. The developer got suspicious, and the trio were rounded up. They have been charged with the forging of government documents. Attempts to reach them for comment weren’t successful.

via Fake Government Busted in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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