Posts tagged ‘natural disaster’

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chinese Press Review: Lushan Mourning, Maritime Disputes, Border Disputes, and CPBS Emergency Broadcasts


1. Offerings to the Spirits of the Dead

On Friday, a ceremony to honor the two earthquake (military) relief workers Yang Bo (杨波) and Li Tangdong (李堂东) was conducted at a funeral parlor in Meishan, Sichuan Province, reports China News Service (中国新闻网, via Huanqiu Shibao). The two are referred to as martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the rescue efforts in Lushan, Sichuan Province, which occurred on April 20.

Yang Bo, a platoon leader (probably around the rank of a lieutenant, with the 13th Army Group) died in an accident when his military vehicle got off a road due to a bursting tire and fell off a cliff.

Li Tangdong, a corporal who drove the vehicle, also died in the crash. Li was from Wuxi County (Chongqing).


2. Maritime Disputes with Japan

Japan has adopted a five-year blueprint for protecting maritime interests, partly in an effort to counter territorial claims by China and South Korea, reports The Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo). It suggests closer cooperation between Japan’s military and coastguard. Okinotorishima as well as other remote islands on what is defined as Japan’s borders reportedly are to play a role as port facilities according to the five-year plan plan, so as to protect interests in the nation’s exclusive economic zone. Methane hydrate, which could become a next-generation fuel, is among the undersea energy resources in the maritime regions in questions, writes Asahi Shimbun.
China’s Huanqiu Shibao quotes Japan’s Yomiuri Simbun on the same topic. According to Huanqiu (or its possibly rather loose rendition of Yomiuri’s coverage), Japan’s five-year blueprint calls for responsive strategies to Chinese vessels that enter the waters of the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese). Rather than port facilities as described by the Asahi Shimbun, Huanqiu Shibao refers the plans for the remote islands as ones for resupply bases or depots (补给站). Okinotorishima is referred to as a “reef” (礁) while the Asahi Shimbun calls it an “island”. According to Huanqiu Shibao, the Japanese government, for wanting to protect its interests in resources, has begun to promote the protection of remote islands and the management of the legalization process [of Japan's claims or rights].

In 2012, a research team from Tokyo University detected large quantities of rare earths beneath the seaground of Minami-Tori-shima‘s adjacent waters. It was then that the Japanese government decided to strengthen the protection of energy sources and natural resources in its exclusive economic zones.



Okinotorishima reef is said to be a southern Japanese atoll in the Pacific [don't quote me on this - I'm not sure that this is what Huanqiu really says about the place in Chinese - JR]. In recent years, the Japanese government has spent huge amounts on creating man-made corals at these reefs, thinking of these atolls as “islands”, trying to declare sovereignty on this basis, taking the opportunity to expand their “territorial” waters and the range of the “exclusive economic zones”, to make the development of nearby marine resources more convenient.


As for the Okinotorishima reef, China believes that this is a reef, and not an island. Okinotorishima reef provides no base for human habitation, doesn’t sustain economic activity, and there is no basis to establish establish [i. e. claim] any connection between it and the continental shelf. On September 11, 2009, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf said that a working group under the commission had commenced the handling of an application from Japan concerning the extension of the southern continental shelf into the Pacific.  China has filed objections with the UN.

有关冲之鸟礁问题,中国方面认为冲之鸟是 岩礁而不是岛屿。冲之鸟礁不能供人类居住,也无法维持经济生活,设定大陆架没有任何根据。2009年9月11日,联合国大陆架界限委员会表示,该委员会下 属的一个工作小组已经着手处理日本提出的南太平洋大陆架延伸申请。中国已向联合国正式提交反对意见。

Huanqiu Shibao’s emoticon vote suggests a strong trend of anger among the traditionally nationalist readership – the option “I’m angry” rose from 160 to 181 within about thirty minutes. Clicks for “this is ridiculuous” stayed at 14.

3. Sino-Indian Border Conflicts

Meantime, Huanqiu Shibao has soothing news from the South:

China News Service, April 26 [published by Huanqiu Shibao on April 27] — Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid answered questions from Indian media on April 25, concerning the confrontational incident on the Sino-Indian border, and said that the consultation mechanism on border issues had been started. He believed that this mechanism would find a solution for the issue in question, just as it had found solutions in the past.

中新网4月26日电 4月25日,印度外长库尔希德在回答印媒体关于中印边境对峙事件的提问时表示,印中双方已启动边境事务磋商机制,相信该机制能够像过去一样,为此次事件找到解决办法。

Huanqiu Shibao quotes Salman Khurshid as saying that bilateral relations grown over many years shouldn’t break down by overemphasizing small issues and were just like some acne on a face which only required some ointment.


Kurshid was looking forward to his planned visit to China next month.

Correspondingly, only eleven clicks from the readership were made to express anger, while 374 clicks express delight. Still, 46 clicks find the article (or the news) ridiculous. Both the “delight” and the “ridiculous” numbers are increasing quickly. Those readers who take the trouble to comment appear to be less conciliatory though.

4. Emergency Radio Frequencies (older news)

On Monday, Central People’s Broadcasting Station (中央人民廣播電台, CPBS, now also known as China National Radio, but only the English name changed in 1998) started special emergency broadcasts in the wake of the Lushan earthquake. These were the first broadcasts of this kind, according to CPBS itself. A studio was established in the hardest-hit county of Lushan, broadcasting rescue information, expert interviews, news, psychological support and consolation, and practical information. Frequencies used were 9,800 kHz and 12,000 kHz on shortwave and 92.7 MHz on VHF/FM.

The 6th plenary session of the CCP’s 17th Central Committee*)  had issued plans for such an emergency broadcasting system, and the plans were then included in the country’s 12th five-year plan, according to CPBS.



*) the same plenary session adopted the party’s cultural decision, in October 2011.

Friday, October 5, 2012

An Old China Hand, Thirty Years On


A shocking epiphany: cigarettes smell!

A shocking epiphany: cigarettes smell!

One senior retired western diplomat who specialised in China for nearly 30 years recently confided to the FT that the Bo Xilai case had prompted an epiphany when he finally realised the top mandarins were just as tainted as officials at the lower levels.

Financial Times, October 4, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Zhou Yongkang Awards Heroic Police Collectives and Expresses Four Hopes

Main Link: People’s Daily / Enorth, May 19, 2012. Translated off the reel, and posted right away.

The General Meeting for the National Police Collective Heroic Model Award was held in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Friday. Before the meeting, CCP Central Committee General Secretary, State Chairman and Central Military Commission Chairman Hu Jintao expressed his heart-felt congratulations to the National Police Collective Heroic Model Award collectives and his sincere greetings to all the police and military police who stand at the front line and fight bravely to protect national security and social stability.

Permanent Politbureau member and State Council Chief Councillor Wen Jiabao, Permanent Member of the Standing Committee of the Politbureau, Deputy State Chairman and Deputy Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping attended. Permanent Politbureau Member and CCP Political and Legislative Affairs Committee Secretary Zhou Yongkang attended the meeting and spoke at the award ceremony.

At about 9.30 a.m., Hu Jintao and the other central leading comrades entered the Great Hall of the People’s North Hall, came to the middle of the delegates, the entire audience sounded an enthusiastic applause. Hu Jintao et al happily and warmly shook hands with delegates, and had a keepsake photo taken with them.

A souvenir photo with Comrade Yongkang

A souvenir photo with Comrade Yongkang (CCTV 新闻联播, main evening news, May 18, 2012). Click picture – video should be online for at least a few days.

Zhou Yongkang said in his speech that under the correct leadership of Hu Jintao as Secretary General, police work had centered around the goal of comprehensively building of a modest-prosperity society, firmly mastering and protecting the general requirements of important times of strategic opportunities. They solidified the leading ruling position of the party, protected the country’s lasting stability and peace, safeguarded the lives and work of the people in peace and contentment, and  served economic and social development, thus making outstanding contributions. A large number of heroic models and advanced collectives had emerged, who completed major security tasks, took part in natural disaster relief, carried out specialized actions, and broad ranks of police didn’t shrink from life-and-death situations, never gave up in the face of numerous difficulties and dangers, and dedicated blood, life, and sweat to write a great song of heroism that shook heaven and earth (感天动地).

Zhou Yongkang emphasized that this year is especially meaningful for our country’s development in that our Party will hold its 18th National Congress. Creating a harmonious and stable environment for this a victorious event was the public security organs’ primary task. Public security organs on all levels needed to clearly understand the complicated nature of the current international and domestic situation and the particular importance of maintaining stability this year, and with the meeting with Secretary General Hu Jintao and other central comrade-leaders as a collectively motivating force, they should improve their abilities to combat crime, to serve the people, and to protect national security and social stability. To accelerate the building of a country under socialist rule by law, to actively build a socialist and harmonious society, and to ensure the timely and comprehensive building of a modest-prosperity society, new contributions needed to be made.

Zhou Yongkang expressed for hopes to the public security authorities and the police:

  1. That they be steadfast in their ideals and beliefs, and forever preserve their political qualities, deepen the development of political and legal core values in their actions and activities, adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, maintain the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, maintain the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, firmly establish a concept of socialist rule by law, that they be  unswerving builders and defenders of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
  2. [more practical, work-related aspects, plus being close friends of the masses ... .] That they sing and sound (唱响) the People’s Police for the People theme, give their best in working practically for the people, solve problems, do good things, and deepen interaction on good terms.
  3. That they [keep holding] the Three Assessment Activities (“三访三评” 活动), deepen their understanding of the problems of the masses, build harmonious police-to-people relations while solving mass difficulties, win the trust and support of the masses in the process of safeguarding their rights and interests, and that they continuously improve public credibility and the masses’ degree of satisfaction.
  4. That they  maintain their determination for reform and innovation, constantly promote the development and progress of public security work. That they firmly establish a people-oriented (以人为本) concept that puts service first that carries out action and prevention in a coordinated manner and that puts prevention first. That they consolidate the foundations, focus on long-term concepts, progressively improve and perfect work mechanisms, that they guide police work in accordance with the will of the people, guarantee police work by systematic standards, by effective prevention and control, precise action, scientific management and modern technology improve police work, and that they constantly improve the scientification of police work.


Zhou Yongkang demanded that party committees and governments at all levels strengthen their leadership of police work under the new situation, to support the public security organs in their performance in strict accordance with the law, to coordinate solutions of problems and difficulties timely, to conscientiously implement the political building of the police, to administrate police seriously, to manage the police forces well by  taking steps in all fields of preferential treatment of police policies, by building and making good use of the police, and to conscientously shoulder the major policies in the areas of maintaining stability and of safeguarding the peace.

General Office of the CCP director, State Council Secretary and State Councillor Ma Kai attended the meeting.  State Councillor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu*) attended and presided the meeting.

The award decisions were announced, and National Police Collective Heroic Model Awards were given. Hebei Provincial Highway Traffic Police (Baoding Detachment detachment heads Jian Zhuozhou and Gu Huaigang, Hubei Province Wuhan City Public Security Bureau Hanyang Divisional office Zhoutou Street local police station deputy chief Wang Qun, Gansu Province Lanzhou City Public Security Bureau criminal police’s Zhang Jingang and other spoke on behalf of the prize winners [i. e. prize-winning collectives] and took the prizes.



*) A number of reports have recently suggested that Meng Jianzhu had effectively taken control of what had previously been Zhou Yongkang‘s central responsibilities. However, it should be noted that Zhou Yongkang’s downfall has been anticipated in the foreign press for many weeks, and the sources seem to be anonymous, for obvious reasons. Without official confirmation, or with obvious shifts in “public-security” policies, I don’t see a lot of evidence for Zhou “falling from power”, but it might be plausible that he wouldn’t involved in investigating the cases of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai. That alone, if true, would suggest quite a loss of control, and possibly the beginning of the end to his career.



» Social Management, Febr 21, 2011


Friday, May 11, 2012

Experts: How to Win Friends Abroad, and to Lose them at Home

Huanqiu Shibao quotes the gist of what ten academics said in a Central Party School discussion on May 5. This post contains translations from four of the quotes, and a few comments from the Huanqiu readership.

Wang Fan (王帆, Professor, Director of the Institute of International Relations, and Assistant President, China Foreign Affairs University):

In terms of power and politics in Asia, the cold-war mentality won’t go away. China should reduce the negative effects of cold-war mentality, manage crises, and take preventive measures against crises. In the framework of the maintained status quo, a consensus with America should be worked out. On the one hand, multilateral security cooperation should be strengthened, on the other, untraditional security cooperation should be strengthened, and the East Asia Kyousei Forum (东亚共生) model be used, to solve issues of balanced development in East Asia.

Zhang Yansheng (张燕生, the Institute for International Economics Research of the National Development and Reform Commission’s academic-commission secretary):

In the next few years, according to the current pace of development, the size of China’s economy will overtake America’s. During this process, there will be competition between China and America, and China  [correction, May 12: America] will do everything in its power to hold China back. This is a critical stage for China as a country. To respond to these unfavorable prospects, China needs to change its development pattern and establish a pattern which lends support to a order and to a legal system. From an export-oriented economy, it must internationalize [in terms of] talent, markets, industry, capital etc., strategically and structurally link China with the international systems, and structural transformation is the core here.

Shao Feng, (邵峰, CASS Global Economics and Politcs Research Institute’s Strategy Office director):

A country’s overall level of development is the actual embodiment of its soft power. Four international strategic issues urgently need research and solutions:

  • the issue of strategic timing, how China should seize its opportunities and solve issues inherited from history
  • the issue of China having too few friends internationally, of how to win more friends through the establishment of common values and common benefit
  • the issue of raising China’s international image, and
  • the issue of building the national economy and society.


Wang Hongxu (王红续, Central Party School International Strategic Research and Chinese Diplomacy Research Office director):

In the definition of international strategies [an international strategy], the domestic environment and the international environment are equally important. China’s current unbalanced development and cultural soft power stays far behind its economic development, and its position in international public opinion and  discourse dominance [also: the right to speak - 话语权] is weak. In view of that, China still needs to practise, on the global stage, the basic strategy defined in the 1980s. Obviously, there need to be adjustments in accordance with new situations and new characteristics. China hasn’t yet achieved an international cultural strategy, and that has to change.


Comments from the Huanqiu Shibao readership:

It only takes very small numbers of troops to regain ones territories and territorial waters! Why all the pondering? In the War to Resist America and to Aid Korea, and the self-defense strike against Vietnam, it took very few troops! These so-called experts are apparently all women! — There is no masculine disposition here! This becomes especially apparent in the ideological methods. Take these [experts] and put them next to Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping to compare their ideological methods would do too much honor [to these experts].
收复自己的领土领海而动用非常少量的军队!用得着这样思前想后的吗?和在抗美援朝战场及对越反自卫击战投入的兵力比 真的只需动用非常少量的军队!这几位所谓的专家应该都是女性!—没有男子汉的气质与胆量!特别是体现在思维方式上更是如如此 当然啦 拿这几位和毛泽东,邓小平去比较思维方式确实是太高看其人了.
– 21 minutes ago

This bunch of traitors is misleading the citizens! Stomp [them]!
– 26 minutes ago

In reply to the previous comment:
Correct. 正确
– 13 minutes ago.

[A rather sophisticated comment - and too sophisticated for JR to grasp its first line (谁想打仗让谁上好了)]:

[...] A bunch of screaming and chattering lunatics. Do you know the cruelty of war?
– one hour ago

I can’t translate the replies to the latter comment, but neither of them appears to be friendly, but one of the three (possibly all the same person) writes:

In the past, territory was given away in exchange for peace, but in the end, there was still war. Cruelty? I would rather die than live without dignity, sovereignty is fought for, it’s not resistance with each passing day.
– one hour ago.



» First School Lesson: Patriotic Essays, Sept 1, 2009
» Concerning Traitors, Aug 25, 2009


» Orgasm is Easy, Rectified.Name, May 12, 2012


Monday, July 18, 2011

Award Chaos: No “Quadriga” for Nobody

“Workshop Germany” (Werkstatt Deutschland), a non-profit organization based in Berlin-Charlottenburg, has an award in store for those who commit themselves successfully to innovation, renewal, and a pioneering spirit through political, economic, and cultural activities – the Quadriga. German and international artists, activists, and quite a number of  politicians, have been laureates since 2003. Of all former German chancellors who are still alive, only Helmut Schmidt has missed out on the prize so far, even though one might argue that both Schmidt and former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing would have deserved the prize for pioneering the European Currency Unit. (Maybe the workshop is waiting for a ready-for-use solution to the current Euro crisis from the two.) José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission’s president, on the other hand, got his Quadriga in 2009. God and the jury may know why.

And Vladimir Putin and the jury may know why Russia’s current prime minister (and former and possibly future president) was one of the chosen people this year. Actually, the jury was kind enough to give us their reasons: to honor Putin’s merits in German-Russian relations’ “reliability and stability”.

The Green party’s co-chairman Cem Özdemir left the jury, protesting against the choice. Several previous laureates either returned their prize, or threatened to do so, among them Former Czechoslovakian and Czech president Vaclav Havel. Most of the German press was negative, too.

Late last week, the workshop decided to cancel the 2011 award altogether. Neither Putin, nor the other laureates-to-be would receive a prize this year, even though the other choices, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa and Turkish-German author Betül Durmaz, were not contested.

Frankly, this year was the first time that I have even heard of the Quadriga prize at all. There are too many prizes to keep track of them, and the European award culture – as far as I’m aware of it, and with the possible exceptions of the Nobel Peace Prize and the EU Parliament’s Sakharov award – has started to look like the kind of “quality” prizes German agricultural associations or folk music trades habitually award within their own mishpokhe, to adorn their own commercials with them later on.

There’s no meaningful prize without a clear set of values behind it.  Business interests are no such values. They may be an honorable motivation for an award, too, but only if they are consistent with an organization’s policy.


» Article seeks Author, December 29, 2010
» Saxony’s Order of Gratitude Award to Putin, The Guardian, January 16, 2009


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hydropower: Dam if you Do, Dam if you Don’t

The Three Gorges Dam

is being subjected to a level of public criticism not seen in China since construction of the project began in 1992,

David Bandurski of the China Media Project (CMP, Hong Kong) noted on June 1, and explained that

One important reason for this, of course, is that the State Council is debating the passage of a “Three Gorges Follow-Up Work Plan” (三峡后续工作规划) and a “Yangtze Middle and Lower Reaches Water Contamination Prevention Plan” (长江中下游流域水污染防治规划), exposing a number of serious issues with the Three Gorges Dam Project. Media have seized on this as an opportunity to probe deeper into the project and its impact (including the history of its approval).

Zipingpu Dam (紫坪铺水利枢纽), Sichuan Province

Zipingpu Dam (紫坪铺水利枢纽), Sichuan Province (Wikimedia Commons - click on this picture for source)

Chinese news coverage may be more critical than ever (except, possibly, the run-up phase to approval by the “National People’s Congress” which eventually passed the project by an unusually narrow margin of “only” two thirds, but the debate never really ended. Another dam, the Zipingpu Reservoir some 5.5 kilometers away from the epicenter of the Wenchuan Earthquake of 2008, was also discussed by Chinese geologists, with the BBC‘s Chinese service in 2009, and, in March this year, on the China Society for Hydropower Engineering (中国水力发电工程学会) website. Chen Houqun (陈厚群), an elder at the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, pointed out that while coal accounted for some seventy to eighty per cent of China’s energy mix, China’s leaders had pledged to raise the share of non-fossil sources of energy to 15 per cent before 2020.

China’s potential for hydropower was irreplacable (我认为我们国家的国情,大力发展水电起到了无可替代的作用), Chen suggested, while he acknowledged that given that the rivers ran from China’s west to its east, and given that western China was exactly the region where earthquakes were most likely to strike,  “seismic safety” was an unavoidable issue in the development of hydropower (水电的抗震安全是不可避免的问题).

Nuclear energy, too, is an energy sector where the bureaucracy behind it and the media are trying to alleviate concerns (which may be great or small in China, as the thread of this Sinologistical blogpost demonstrates). China News informed its readers, also in March this year, that in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, full consideration of earthquakes and other natural disasters’ influence had been given to the Fangchenggang nuclear plant’s choice of location.

As far as smaller solutions than the Three Gorges megaproject of the 1980s and 1990s are concerned, China might at least be interested in foreign technology, provided that financial support from respective government is provided. That’s what the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research website suggested on March 24.


» Zipingpu Dam, Wikipedia
» Copenhagen: Stop Bitching, December 18, 2009

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Politics of Nature: “Oriental Despotism”

The Chinese press continuously carries news about droughts – rarely right in the headlines, but further down the pages on an almost daily basis. Some of the news finds its ways into China-Daily-related English-language publications, too, but given that it doesn’t seem to have close connections to China’s political system, or obvious political implicatons (which would probably secure it more prominent coverage in international media, too), it is rarely discussed on the English-language blogosphere.

King Tubby‘s post of Thursday offers some thoughts to fill the gap -

Oriental Despotism, the Sino Engineering Mentality and Environmental Lunacy.

If you find commenting elsewhere dull at the moment as it seems you do – even the blogs with the traditionally longest threads seem to be hibernating -, why not trying there? It’s an “underlying”, but relevant topic, and should be a comparatively fresh one, too.

Advice: if you comment there, make sure that you keep a copy of what you wrote, before you post it – it may get lost as you push the submit-button, and you may have to try again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Taiwan: Trüpel Chops a Chicken

This post is a follow-up to president Ma’s reaction on a confidential WHO document which instructs the organization’s officials to refer to Taiwan as Taiwan, Province of China, and the European Parliament’s Taiwan resolution, scheduled to be passed on Wednesday.

"In Tibet, it's very interesting"

"In Tibet, it's very interesting" (click on the picture for video)

Several European Parliament and German Federal Parliament members visited Taiwan recently.

InTaiwan quotes former Estonian foreign minister Kristiina Ojuland as follows:

“In long term perspective the One-China policy is not and cannot be in the interest of the EU.”

While Ojuland shamelessly messed with China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, EU Parliament member Helga Trüpel (Moers/Bremen, Germany) showed what we will be capable of, if the Chinese should go too far:

she providently chopped a chicken (the English language), in order to scare the monkeys (the Chinese).

I guess the Americans can decommission most of their Pacific Fleet now.


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