Posts tagged ‘earthquake’

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Li Keqiang’s Consolation Tour: addressing Unpaid-Wage issues

The State Council’s (or Chinese government) website carried an article about a visit by Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang to Yunnan Province, some five days ahead of Spring Festival. The article contains a photo, apparently showing Li comforting a migrant worker’s family in their home.

Homestory

Homestory

As usual during the season of hope and goodwill, Li has to take care of the darker sides of China’s economic development.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

On January 23, Li Keqiang came to the newly constructed home of Gan Yonrong’s family, in Ganjiazhai, Ludian County, Yunnan Province. On learning that the young man, who secured a six-person family’s livelihood by working out of town, had seen his wage payments being delayed by more than a year, the chief state councillor became “angry” right away [and said]: He is the family’s main support, and to hurt him means hurting his entire family. This violates market rules, and it violates virtue and conscience even more. There is no way that migrant workers who have to leave their hometown to do hard work should have to add tears to their sweat.

1月23日,李克强来到震后重建的云南鲁甸甘家寨村民甘永荣家。得知小伙子在外打工养活一家6口,却被拖欠一年多工资,总理当即“怒”了:他是家中顶梁柱,伤害他就是伤害他全家。这既违背市场规则,更违背道德良心。决不能让农民工背井离乡流汗再流泪。

On February 3, the first working day after Spring Festival, the State Council’s standing committee was convened, and one of the topics was exactly how to solve migrant workers’ delayed payment with the establishment of an effective system. The meeting decided to launch dedicated regulation and supervision, to focus on exposing typical cases, to seriously investigate illegal behavior of wages arrears, including already recorded cases, and to resolutely strike at the illegal and criminal behavior of evil-intentioned wages arrears. In particular, cases where government project funding delays led to delays in wage payments.

2月3日,春节后的首个工作日,国务院召开常务会议,其中议题之一便是部署建立解决农民工工资拖欠的长效机制。会议决定开展专项整治和督查,集中曝光一批典型案件,严肃查处欠薪违法行为包括欠薪陈案,坚决打击恶意欠薪违法犯罪。尤其要坚决解决涉及政府项目拖欠工程款导致欠薪问题。

[…]

The standing committee’s meeting had been determined by the Chief State Councillor prior to the Spring Festival. On January 23, as Li Keqiang was inspecting post-earthquake reconstruction work in Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, several locals from the disaster area working masses had made their problems with delayed wages known to the Chief State Councillor. On the spot, Li Keqiang instructed the accompanying local and departmental officials in charge that they should help [the workers] with their legal wage demands as quickly as possible, and to investigate the problem. After the Chief State Councillor had spoken, the departments and local officials in charge helped the migrant workers within 48 hours to “discuss” an answer to the delayed wage payments.

事实上,此次常务会议的这一议题安排,本身就是总理春节前确定的。1月23日,李克强在云南昭通考察鲁甸地震灾后重建工作时,当地几位外出打工的灾区群众向总理反映他们遭遇欠薪的问题。李克强当场责令随行的地方和部门负责人,要尽快帮他们依法讨薪,并就此问题进行排查。总理发话后,有关部门和地方48小时后帮助农民工“讨”回欠薪。

“We can’t solve only a small number of cases, but we must build a long-term effective system to solve this chronic evil from the roots.” On the three-day meeting, Li Keqiang said, “governments on all levels must catch up with this over and over again, and grasp it completely!”

“我们不能光是解决几个个案就了事了,而要借此建立起一个长效机制,从根本上解决农民工欠薪这个顽症。”李克强在3日的常务会议上说,“这个问题各级政府一定要反复抓、抓到底!”

The second chapter of the article quotes Li as using the words “anger” (愤怒), “pain” (痛心), and “embarrassment (尴尬)” to describe his feelings in his encounter with the petitioners.

In Ludian, I ran into that migrant worker whose wife had been killed in the earthquake, and his family’s farmland had been lost, too. Now, there’s still the old mother, three sons, and one younger brother who attends upper-mediate school. The entire family depends on the money he earns with his work away from home. He is his family’s backbone!” Li Keqiang said: “Where is the conscience of companies who have the nerves to delay the wages of working masses from disaster areas who have to work away from their hometown?”

“我在鲁甸遇到的那位农民工,妻子在地震中遇难,家里的耕地也。现在家里还有老母亲、三个儿子,和一个正在上高中的弟弟。全家生活就靠他一个人外出打工的收入,他是一家人的顶梁柱啊!”李克强说,“这样的地震灾区的群众外出打工,企业也忍心欠薪,良心何在?”

As he was leaving the home of this migrant worker, Li Keqiang asked people at the public square of the village who had encountered problems with “delayed wages” in reconstruction work. On repeated questions from the Chief State Councillor, several migrant workers hesitantly raised their hands. One of them couldn’t hold back his tears after having spoken two sentences.

他询问大家有多少人外出打工,有多少人遇到了欠薪问题。总理反复询问下,有几位农民工犹犹豫豫地举起了手。一位农民工没说两句,忍不住抹起了眼泪。

Their work’s pay is extremely important for migrant workers. If they don’t get their money, that’s a devastating blow to them!”, Li Keqiang said passionately. “Migrant workers are an important supporting force in the several decades of our country’s rapid development. They have made an enormous contribution to the economic and social development. If their efforts don’t get their appropriate remuneration, it will not only do great damage to their families, but will also bring a vile influence on society.”

“打工的钱对于农民工来讲太重要了。拿不到钱,对他们可以说是毁灭性的打击!”李克强动情地说,“农民工是我们国家几十年快速发展的重要支撑力量,为经济社会发展做出了巨大的贡献。如果他们的辛勤付出得不到应有的回报,不仅会给他们的家庭造成巨大的伤害,也会给社会带来恶劣的影响。”

With added emphasis, he said that this issue was about fairness and justice in society. This is a bottomline which must not be crossed!

他加重语气说,这一问题事关社会公平正义。这是社会底线,决不能突破!

The article’s third and fourth chapters are basically more of the same message, but contain an interesting (to me) bit of vocabulary. Li Keqiang’s inspection tour in Yunnan is referred to as a grassroots-level consolation and inspection tour (基层慰问考察), and the issue of “delayed payment” is linked to emloyment and development policies in general (更加积极的就业政策).

Finally, the article quotes Li as advocating (or prescribing) “not only an implementation of the responsibility of governments of all levels, but to build a coordinating network without barriers between local governments”, given that many cases of wage delays among migrant workers occur “at construction projects” outside the workers’ home provinces.

“People’s Daily” republished the government website’s article, although they left out the photo.

While the government website article, designed for a domestic audience, comes across as somewhat wage (as for the actual effects migrant workers may expect from Li Keqiang’s endeavors), foreign broadcaster China Radio International (CRI) presents the State Council standing committee’s decisions in a much more positive way, at least at first glance.

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Related

You name the Problem, Febr 15, 2011
So together with the People, Dec 31, 2010

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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.

2012年,东京大学研究小组在南鸟岛周边海底发现了大量稀土。以此为契机,日本政府决定加强在保护专属经济海域内能源资源方面的措施。

[…]

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.

据了解,冲之鸟礁是日本南部太平洋海域的一处环礁。近年来,日本政府斥巨资用来在此礁人工养殖珊瑚,并认为该环礁为“岛”,企图以此来宣布主权,借机扩大其“领海”和“专属经济区”范围,为开发附近丰富的海洋资源提供方便。

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.

“我期待在下个月访问中国之前,双方能够通过外交渠道结束僵局。”库尔希德说,我们不能因为某个地方发生的小问题而毁掉双方多年来为双边关系付出的投入和心血,正如不能因为脸上有一个小的痤疮就说这张脸不美,所需做的只是敷一点药膏而已。

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.

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Note

*) the same plenary session adopted the party’s cultural decision, in October 2011.
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Press Review: Lushan Earthquake Coverage


Links within blockquotes added during translation

1. China News Service (中新网)

April 22, 2013

According to Sichuan Provincial Home Affairs Secretary’s website, the 7.0 earthquake of Ya’an City, Lushan County has so far affected 1.99 million people, killed 189, injured 12,211, and led to the evacuation of more than 608,000 people in the area of Ya’an City’s nineteen cities and administrative areas / 115 counties.
[…]

中新网4月22日电 据四川省民政厅网站消息,四川省雅安市芦山县7.0级地震目前已造成包括雅安在内的19个市州115个县199余万人受灾,189人遇难,12211人受伤,紧急转移60.8万余人。
[…]

2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

April 22, 2013

On the evening of April 22, State Chairman Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Russian president Putin.

2013年4月22日晚,国家主席习近平应约同俄罗斯总统普京通电话。

Putin once again offered his condolences on behalf of the Russian government and the Russian people, concerning the strong earthquake in Lushan, Sichuan Province. He said that at this difficult time, the Russian people stood firmly with the Chinese people and Russia wanted to provide all the help required. He believed that the Chinese government and the Chinese people would certainly overcome the difficulties and triumph over disaster. Whatever the difficulties, all the Russian people were the reliable friends of the Chinese people.

普京代表俄罗斯政府和人民,再次对中国四川芦山发生强烈地震致以深切慰问。他表示,值此困难时刻,俄罗斯人民坚定同中国人民站在一起,俄方愿为中方提供一切必要帮助。相信中国政府和人民一定能够克服困难,战胜灾害。无论遇到什么困难,俄罗斯人民都是中国人民的可靠朋友。

Xi Jinping said that the message of condolence Putin had sent on the day of the Lushan earthquake and his telephone call now to express deep condolences was something he valued highly. On behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, he expressed sincere thanks to Putin.

习近平表示,普京总统在四川芦山发生地震当天就发来慰问电,现在又打来电话,表达深切慰问,我对此高度评价。我代表中国政府和人民,向你表示诚挚谢意。

Xi Jinping said that at times of trials and tribulation, truth could be found [another translation: a friend in need is a friend indeed].  Whenever major natural disasters occured in the two countries of China and Russia, both sides supported each other right away. This amply reflected the high standard of Sino-Russian relations and the fraternal relations between the two countries and peoples. China wanted to work with Russia at the earthquake relief and at the reconstruction afterwards.

习近平指出,患难见真情。每当中俄两国发生重大自然灾害时,双方都第一时间给予相互支持。这充分体现了中俄高水平的关系和两国人民的友好情谊。中方愿同俄方就抗震救灾及灾后重建保持密切沟通。

Explaining the post-disaster situation, Xi Jinping emphasized that the disaster relief work was carried out comphrehensively and orderly. The Chinese people were of one mind, fighting in a joint effort, and would certainly triumph over disaster,  rebuild their homes, and make the lives of the people in the disaster area better lives.

在介绍了地震灾情后,习近平强调,我们正在全面有序展开抗震救灾工作。中国人民同心同德、协力奋战,一定能够战胜灾害、重建家园,让灾区人民过上美好生活。

The two heads of state also exchanged views about bilateral relations. Xi Jinping said that the state visit he had recently made to Russia had achieved major results. China wanted to conscientiously implement the consensus and agreements reached by the two sides on the same path with Russia, and further deepen the comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship.

两国元首还就双边关系交换了意见。习近平表示,我不久前对俄罗斯进行的国事访问取得重大成果。中方愿同俄方一道,认真落实双方达成的各项共识和协议,进一步深化中俄全面战略协作伙伴关系。

Putin said that Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia had been a complete success, that Russia would make all efforts to implement the results of the visit, and promote the rise of Russian-Chinese relations to a new level.

普京表示,习近平主席对俄罗斯的国事访问取得圆满成功,俄方将尽全力落实好访问成果,推动俄中关系迈上新台阶。

3. Xinhua (via Shijiazhuang News Net)

April 20, 2013

Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang directed the earthquake relief work  from the scene of the epicenter at Lushan County, Longmen Township government square. He demanded that the road leading to Baoxing should be opened up again as quickly as possible, and close attention be paid to the rescue work.

新华网快讯:李克强总理在震中芦山县龙门乡政府广场现场指挥抗震救灾。他要求尽快打通通往宝兴的道路,抓紧救援。

[picture 1 showing Li on board of an aircraft, on the phone]

On April 20, on his way to Sichuan Li Keqiang held an emergency meeting to map out the earthquake relief work. After their arrival at the airport, Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang and his party boarded four helicopters to fly to the epicenter.  The picture shows Li Keqiang as he talks to Sichuan provincial party secretary Wang Dongming on the phone. (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

4月20日,在飞往四川途中,李克强总理召开紧急会议,部署抗震救灾工作。到达机场后,李克强总理一行分乘四架直升飞机,飞往震中。图为李克强与四川省委书记王东明通电话。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

[picture 2 showing Li on board of an aircraft, talking to what appears to be either a captain or a colonel]

On April 20, on his way to Sichuan Li Keqiang held an emergency meeting to […..]. The picture shows Li Keqiang as he flies to the epicenter by helicopter. (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

4月20日,在飞往四川途中,李克强总理召开紧急会议,部署抗震救灾工作。到达机场后,李克强总理一行分乘四架直升飞机,飞往震中。图为李克强乘直升飞机前往震中。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

[picture 3 showing Li on board an aircraft, being shown a map]

After their arrival at the airport, Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang and his party boarded four helicopters to fly to the epicenter.  (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

4月20日,在飞往四川途中,李克强总理召开紧急会议,部署抗震救灾工作。到达机场后,李克强总理一行分乘四架直升飞机,飞往震中。图为李克强乘直升飞机前往震中。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

[picture 4 showing Li on board an aircraft, pointing at the map]

On April 20, on his way to Sichuan Li Keqiang held an emergency meeting to map out the earthquake relief work. After their arrival at the airport, Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang and his party boarded four helicopters to fly to the epicenter.  (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

4月20日,在飞往四川途中,李克强总理召开紧急会议,部署抗震救灾工作。到达机场后,李克强总理一行分乘四架直升飞机,飞往震中。图为李克强乘直升飞机前往震中。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

[picture 5, showing Li and staff meditating on a map]

Member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo and Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang left Beijing by plane on April 20 at 13:15 to fly to the Ya’An earthquake disaster area in Sichuan to direct the earthquake relief work. (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理李克强4月20日13时15分从北京乘飞机前往四川雅安地震灾区,指导抗震救灾工作。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

[picture 6, showing Li and at least three staff putting their fingers on a map]

Member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo and Chief State Councillor Li Keqiang left Beijing by plane on April 20 at 13:15 to fly to the Ya’An earthquake disaster area in Sichuan to direct the earthquake relief work. (photo origin: Xinhua Viewpoint Weibo)

中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理李克强4月20日13时15分从北京乘飞机前往四川雅安地震灾区,指导抗震救灾工作。(图片来源:新华视点微博)

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Related

» 温家宝抵达成都, Enorth, May 12, 2008

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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.

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

2008 Earthquake, almost Remembered

[Update: the original on the Southern Metropolis Daily is apparently available again.]

Rising from dust and to dust returning, there is one responsibility we cannot forsake. This is to commemorate them. It is about the schools commemorating their students, about the hills commemorating the farmers, about clay sculptures [commemorating] the witnesses [[CMP] NOTE: This is a reference, apparently, to a set of sculptures erected at Buwa Village in Weizhou, the seat of Wenchuan County at the epicenter], about families commemorating those who were lost, about fresh flowers commemorating the graves, about life commemorating life. We will never forget. We will ever gaze off to the distance in their direction. They are a part of our lives. We do not live for ourselves alone. The river of time brings us together here, so let us reunite, just as though we never suffered this loss.

起于尘土而又归于尘土,可有一种责任无法推卸。这就是我们对他们的纪念,是校园对学生的纪念,山野对农夫的纪念,黄泥雕群对凝视者的纪念,是家庭对逝者的 纪念,是鲜花对坟墓的纪念,是生命对生命的纪念。我们始终不忘,始终向着他们的方向眺望。我们的生活里有他们,我们不只是为自己过活。时间的河流联系彼 此,让我们重聚在一起,就像是真的没有失去过。

From a – now removed – Southern Metropolis Daily editorial, which had appeared on Thursday. The China Media Project (CMP) provides a full translation, the Chinese original, and offers explanations as to why the editorial may have been removed from the paper’s website.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekender: Cherry Blossom, moving Northward

Bremen-Walle (South), April 2011

Bremen-Walle (South), April 2011

No matter what an environment looks like, and no matter what’s in the news, it’s cherry blossom time again, even Bremen-Walle, a place which doesn’t necessarily epitomize beauty otherwise.

The earthquakes currently seem to come and go in Japan. Not surprisingly, the usual cherry-blossom tourism has suffered this year, too, while Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now no longer advising against all but essential travel to Tokyo.  (If the German foreign office issued a similar statement, many citizens would probably sense a political conspiracy to get them all killed. I have met people here who even reconsider  scheduled travels to China.)

It struck me this week that I have learned much of my Chinese language skills, as far as they go, from Japanese people. To learn Chinese must be easier for them than to learn English, and some of them are easier with speaking Mandarin than with speaking English.

But to listen to non-native speakers who are still fluent in Chinese is always inspiring.

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Related
Cherry blossom in Tokyo, Deutsche Welle, April 8, 2011
Sakura Latte, This Japanese Life, Febr 22, 2011

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fangchenggang Nuclear Plant: Full Consideration

 

Fangchenggang Location, Wikimedia Commons - click picture for source

Fangchenggang Location, Wikimedia Commons - click picture for source

[Main Link: chinanews.com via Enorth, Tianjin]

The Fangchenggang nuclear power plant is a project of Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Group (广西防城港核电有限公司), a joint venture between China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co. (CGNPC, 广东核电集团有限公司) and Guangxi Investment Group (广西投资集团有限公司), and co-funded by a syndicate of Chinese banks and financial institutions, according to world nuclear news (wnn, London). CGNPC’s stake is reportedly 61 percent, and Guangxi Investment Group’s at 39 percent respectively. The National Development and Reform Commission (国家发展和改革委员会) approved construction in summer 2010, according to wnn’s report, which also reported that the project’s total investment was  expected somewhere near 70 billion yuan by August last year. The current first phase of construction appears to require much less investment:

The cost of constructing Phase I is 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion). Some 87% of the equipment to be used in the Phase I units is expected to be sourced from Chinese suppliers. The first unit is scheduled to begin operating in 2015, while the second will start up in 2016.

Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Group told a Xinhua [update, June 9, 2011: or a China News / 中新网 – JR] reporter on Wednesday that the power plant’s construction won’t be affected by the current Fukushima nuclear power plant accident (福岛核电站事故), and that there would be no delays in the project. The plant is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2015, according to the article. Addressing possible concerns, the article continues:

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s Development and Reform Commission officials revealed that after the Fukushima accident, the state council had conducted [correction: rather than conducted, it reads  “put forward” or “advanced”, (提出) – JR, 2011-03-24] a comprehensive investigation of the [Fangchenggang] nuclear facilities, strengthened safety management of the facilities, reviewed the site, strictly examined and approved the requirements on new projects. The Fangchenggang nuclear power project was fully in accordance with these requirements, and by own initiative, another inspection had been carried out after the Fukushima matter, to guarantee that there was no danger of anything going wrong (万无一失, wàn wú yī shī).

Project staff is quoted with more technical remarks, such as that the Fangchenggang plant is based on more advanced technology than Fukushima I [Fukushima I had first been commissioned in 1971, according to Wikipedia – JR].

Fangchenggang nuclear power plant had said that various factors were being taken into account to guarantee safety.

Full consideration of earthquakes and other natural disasters’ influence had been given to the choice of location, in the fold of Qinzhou, which was an area with the earth’s crust being comparatively stable; also considered had been  plane crashes, external explosions, tornados (龙卷风), etc.. Large-scale tsunamis also weren’t to be expected, but for safety reasons, tsunamis (海啸, hǎi xiào) and other waves due to storms had still been factored into the design. The last factor mentioned is the securing of electricity supplies to the plant’s safetey facilities in emergency situations.

According to the company, contingency and emergency plans had also been devised, with exclusion zones of five, ten, and more kilometers, equipment for such cases would be  ready to hand, and emergency drills would be conducted regularly to ensure that the public would be evacuated in time, in case of an accident.

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Related
Fangchenggang article by Wikipedia
Reactions to the Fukushima I Disaster, March 15, 2011
Alstom press release, March 2, 2011
Mitsubishi  press release, Nov 17, 2010
To start by 2014, China Daily, Dec 24, 2009

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scientific: Salt, Autobahn, and Free Elections

The good news, for all the friends of free markets, is that Hong Kong is still a free market. Panic-buying in Hong Kong pushed up the retail price of salt to as high as HK$30 a catty, from the usual HK$2, according to the HK Standard (via ESWN). Eating lots of salt may help to ease your fear, but it can also kill you, if you eat too much of it, a warning tweet or other microblog post with a sad story from Zhejiang Province informs us.

Meantime, a saltrush in Guangdong Province has reportedly ebbed away, after several authorities in charge had refuted rumors (辟谣, pì yáo).

Or maybe it was rather once it dawned on the innocent (but chronically wary) buyers that they had been “fooled” yet again. On Friday, after the frenzy, Guangdong Provincial Price Bureau received complaints from citizens who wanted to return their salt bonanzas, and their money back, but were turned down by the retailers, reports the Yangcheng Evening Post (via Enorth). Inevitably, during the days of (occasional, I guess) panic, the Chinese retail market had turned out to be a very free market, too. Yangcheng Evening News also provides us with some salt statistics, courtesy Guangdong Provincial Salt Bureau (广东省盐务局).

The salt-buying frenzy began on March 16, at 2 p.m., and ended on March 18. But even though it lasted only for two days, it amounted to what would regularly be a one-month sales quantity. Some 1,000 tons were sold in Guangzhou on March 17. Normally, it would be 180 to 200 tons a day.

Seems that cool heads mostly prevailed in Guangzhou itself  – but then again, maybe there just wasn’t more salt on offer. Anyway, thinking of five Grannies instead of one buying salt, and near-empty shelves ahead, such situations probably have to lead to a strong sense of competition, for the survival of the fittest. Chaotic scenes were probably rather local phenomenons anyway, from Wednesday through Friday.


Let’s simplify this… how does a traffic jam occur? An experiment in Essen, Northrhine-Westphalia, tries to explain. All participating car drivers were told to keep an unvariable distance to each other, at a constant pace. It worked for ten minutes, which is actually quite good. The supervisor’s explanation: the bigger the differences in individual drivers’ pace, the more likely a jam will occur. On the Autobahn, car speeds differ widely.

Who caused the jam? Nobody knows. The driver who is to blame doesn’t know either. The jam occurs some fifteen to twenty cars further behind him or her. Once you get too close to the rear bumpers of the car in front of you, a chain reaction will occur behind you, as you have to brake, making the car behind you slamming on the brakes (more so than needed, maybe) obliging the next cars in the row to do likewise.

It’s a bit more complicated with buying frenzies, probably, because we have two circular flows here: the chain of buyers, and the stream of supplies.

But the moral of the story is the same: the buggers who cause the problems are likely to get away. Except for that anxious buyer in Zhejiang. He expired – or so the microblog quoted by ESWN is saying –

after taking in too much salt in order to ward off radiation. By the time that his family took him to the hospital, it was too late.

When nothing goes right, blame someone. A tweet as an example (please mind that China in itself is at various  mental developmental stages, and this may be meant seriously, or it may just be a bit of Jasmine fun):

This episode also shows that the Chinese government is failing its people.  The people want salt but there is no salt to be found anywhere.  This is the failure of the government.  If there were free elections, salt would be available to anyone who wants it anytime.

We have free elections in Germany, but we don’t have the universally five-lane autobahn we‘d like to have either.

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Related
Garlic Prices: to Buy is to Believe, May 14, 2010
Zigong (“Salt City”), Wikipedia

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