Monday, October 31, 2011

Most Polluted Cities in China

The 20 most polluted cities (PM10) in China in the first half of year 2011 are:

  1. Lanzhou, Gansu
  2. Urmqi, Xinjiang
  3. Xi'an, Shannxi
  4. Chifeng, Inner Mongolia
  5. Hefi, Anhui
  6. Yan'an, Shannxi
  7. Xining, Qinghai
  8. Beijing
  9. Yangzhou, Jiangsu
  10. Lianyungang, Jiangsu
  11. Nanjing, Jiangsu
  12. Jinan, Shandong
  13. Chengdu, Sichuan
  14. Harbin, Heilongjiang
  15. Wenzhou, Zhejiang
  16. Huzhou, Zhejiang
  17. Jining, Shandong
  18. Zhengzhou, Henan
  19. Ningbo, Zhejiang
  20. Yinchuan, Ningxia

As any numbers coming out of mainland China, the number should be swallowed with a grain of salt. Economically developed eastern provinces such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang probably are more confident in releasing more realistic data; and cities within a same province are likely peer-pressured to fix its data to the positive direction.

PM10 is considered an old, obsoleted method of measuring air quality because it ignores small particles in the air, which are the major health concerns. However, the Chinese government did not provide and pragmatically forbid study of smaller pollutants.

The US Embassy in Beijing set up an instrument in its back yard, and release data automatically through Twitter. The reading often went off roof, with 'crazy' (quoted literally from Embassy brief) numbers such as 570. At this time of writing, the figure is 257 and 307 'Hazardous', read from two sensors MetOne BAM 1020 and Echotech EC9810, according to the Twitter account. One interesting observation after studying the Embassy Twitter data is that the worst readings usually came around 1:00 am after midnight, where there were fewest cars on the road. Residents believe it was caused by factories who secretly release chemical waste in the middle of night.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Students Need a Bridge

While many bridges-to-nowhere are being built within and beyond mainland China boundary, a bridge has been urgently called for years. Students in Maji Village of Fugong County, Nujiang Prefecture of Yunnan Province have been commuting across the Nujian River like this every day for years. More than a dozen children fell in the river and many lost their lives in each and every year.

While pictures like these had shocked the nation in multiple occasions, whenever some tourists posted them online, the government of the Fugong Country had insisted that it had no money to build a bridge, being a national level poverty county. It is estimated by the government that CNY 400,000 (USD $60,000) would be needed to build the bridge.

The excuse was recently challenged by a reporter Gao Tianjun of Xinhua News, who revealed that the county Party chief bought himself an Audi with over CNY 700,000 government money. Gao questioned, why couldn't the Party chief use a less luxury car, and save some government money for the bridge.

People say, China is ruled by nine blinded men.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Last Class for Migrant Workers' Children in Beijing

Students were comforting each other with hugs after they learned their school would be shut down by the Beijing Municipal authority to drive them out of the capital city.

The principle of East-Dam Experimental School in Chaoyang District was the only person who knew the school was shutting down on Oct 21, 2001. The school has resisted the pressure from government to close for months. Students, teachers and volunteering parents blocked the entrance with human shield to stop the government bulldozer and police.

The Beijing municipal government had long seen millions migrant workers a burden to the capital city. Their cheap labor is welcomed and well received, but they are not allowed to stay or bring their children. Migrant workers were told to leave their children and elders at their original residence place, not an option for many that both parents were in Beijing. Migrant workers' children were not allowed to attend public schools in Beijing. Migrant workers and individual charities set up dozens of affordable schools to provide education for these kids. Now the government wants to shut down these school to drive the kids out of the city.

After a public outcry, even from local residents for this obvious social injustice, the Beijing government promised to absorb all migrant kids into local public schools. However, it set up a bar with paperwork so high that few could qualify. For the few who actually qualify, they were plainly denied with no reason given.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We Took Linyi

Linyi had been conquered, claimed at least by two individuals on the weibo, Chinese knock-off of Twitter. Details not known yet, but the two successfully get into the village of East Shigu, where blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng had been jailed in his own house. They were not able to enter Chen's house, which was guarded by more than 900 police and thugs hired by the government 24 hours. They were the first visitors who were able to sneak in and out without being beaten by police.

At this time of writing, 63 teams of 5 or more are on their way to Linyi to rescue Chen. This is a moment that will go into history books. In previous 2 years, many rounds of rescues had been folded by local police with brutal force. Rescuers had been robbed, beaten and some jailed too.

Chen, a free man, was locked inside his own house unlawfully by the government, because he spoke out for victims of forced abortions (130,000 in Linyi Prefecture alone).

In a recent incident, on 10/12/2011 in the Central Medical Center of Lijin County, Dongying Prefecture, Shandong Province, a six-month pregnant woman was visiting her O.B. when police rush in to performed a forced abortion, with NO MEDICAL PERSONNEL present. The woman was found dead six hours later by her family, lying on a table alone around 10:00 that night.

Simply Incomprehensible

The absurdity of the CCP's ruling can only be surpassed by itself.

A Chinese fighter-bomber JH-7 'Flying Leopard' crashed when performing in the 2011 China Xi'an International Air & Space Exhibition. One pilot was believed dead, another one was seriously injured. The PLAAF issued a statement that no military airplane took part in the performance. It would be a surprised, since not every one is allowed to own/operate an actively advanced fighter in today's China. However, the real shocking news came 24 hours after the accident, and 12 hours after one of the key mothpieces of the Central Propaganda Department, the CCTV played the video footage of the crash, the other mouthpiece the People's Daily denied the crash, citing reports from overseas media. The newspaper reported although there had been an in air issue with mechanical problem, the JH-7 landed normally and both pilots were safe.

A Shanghai resident was beaten to death at his home in Shanghai by local election officials two days ago on Oct 12, 2011. Hang Hongqi of 650-1, Jingyuan Rd, Hongqiao, Jiading District, Shanghai was beaten to death when he refused to sign the election ballots delivered by officials.

Oversea High School a Hoax

The Seagull reported a China sponsored charter school in California turned out a hoax, possibility fraud.

Although extensively carried by Chinese media, notable the official Xinhua News, and cheered as an iconic step in extending China's soft influence to the US, no reference in English other than from the allegedly founding organization Chemax Education Foundation can be found. The 'Opening Ceremony' was held in a country club, and the brochure was about another school in construction, Hillcrest High School, a regular school. Mike Simonson, executive director of business services of the Alvord Unified School Board in the Riverside County clarified there was no agreement nor talk in progress regarding the purported Chinese school, 'it is not true, it is fraud'. Simonson stressed in an email that there had been no partnership in written or in verbal.

A more in-depth report

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Searching for Legitimacy

It appears the Communists Party of China is lost in its searching for ruling legitimacy.

Evidently, the 'Communists' roots was deemed inappropriate. The 45 anniversary of Mao's death was passed without a single word of mentioning in any state controlled media. Actually, any attempt that may reference to the Mao's past has been cracked down as brutally, as in the case of any democratic movement.

Last year, a statue of Confucius was quietly erected in the Tian'anmen Square. While the nation, mostly those in alignment with the Party cheering for the gesture to recognize the saint 2500 years old, the statue was removed quietly in one ordinary night.

The CCP stunted the nation again, when in an unprecedented memorial gathering of the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, attended by every top level officials in Beijing, President Hu Jintao personally announced the CCP was 'the most loyal beneficiary' of Dr. Sun Yet-sen. Five days later, Sun's humongous portrait was removed from the Tian'aanmen Square on the day of the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution.

The issue, probably, is that every possible candidates who potentially qualify as a spiritual legacy that the Party can hang on must also have emphasized moral and value that run into conflicts with the Party's practice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chen Guancheng

Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer, is a blind man, born 1971. The Chen family, Chen, his wife Yuan and his daughter kesi, lives in East-Shigu Village, Yinan County, Linyi Prefecture, Shangdong Province, about 300 miles from Beijing.

A person of 'Light' and 'Sincere' (the two Chinese characters of his name Guang-Cheng), Chen was not new in Irking communists leaders in Shandong. 1996, Chen's petition ended the local policy of taxing people with disabilities, as it was ruled out in a national law enacted in 1991. Also, in 1998 Chen's petition stopped local government from double taxing farmers' land. However, the crime he had committed was exposing government brutality in the exercising of the One Child Per Family policy. Chen was jailed four years from 2006 to 2010. Chen was released from the prison in September, 2010. Chen returned to his home in Linyi, Shangdong. After that, nobody has been able to visit him, or speak to him over the phone.

The village Chen lived was remodeled into a jail. The villagers he once helped had been lured into living-in guards. 900 people, including 300 government employees and 600 villagers had been placed on the payroll of a task force to isolate Chen from the outside world. The villagers were paid CNY 160 ($20) a day for monitoring Chen. CNY 500 for each visitor they capture.

The only connection between Chen and the outside world is his mother, who is allowed to bringing in food to his house. His daughter, 7 years old Kesi Chen was not allowed to go to school. No paper or stationary was allowed to pass in the house, so Chen can not even home-school his daughter. Hundreds of surveillance cameras had been installed pointing to Chen's house from every angle possible. Flush lighting converts nights to days. Cell phone signals was jammed, too.

Chen's village, has earned a spacial statues, that you must visit to claim legitimacy in the moral high-land. Waves of activists, reporters, intelligentsia and other groups had attempted to visit Chen, who is legally a free man with no string attached whatsoever. Nobody has been able to accomplish that mission. More recently, a Xinhua News reporter traveled in personal capacity to the village, only to be robbed, beaten, and thrown out like a dog. His taxi was stopped at a check point near the village by traffic police. Then was led by the police to a yard, where local villagers robbed him, and jailed him for days before set him free in another town. The reporter has since been suspended by the Xinhua News.

Chen was not an anti-government, or anti-Communism, or even an activist on all account. He was not against existing law nor government policy, in particular, not against the One Child per Family policy. The only thing he did that was not in alignment with the Party was that he tried to expose those wrongdoings in the enforcing this police by local government officials.

It's not that nobody from upper up hasn't heard of the incident. Chen's situation had not only enraged Chinese, but had drawn attention from almost every corner of the world, and remained the hot topic on every negotiation tables the central government sat by in the world. British Foreign Secretary expressed concern over Chen's trail in 2006. In 2007, 34 US senators wrote to President Hu himself to express their willing to see Chen's release. Earlier this year on the eve of President Hu Jintao's State Visit to the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly renewed her commitment to see Chen's free. July, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved an amendment to Appropriation Bill of 2012 calling for the release of Chen.

Reflecting on Chen's experiences, it seems the Communists Party showed more toleration on policy issues, than on personal accountability, even when it was about the accountability of the lowest ranking agents. The common traits between the Communists Party and a mafia is that they valued loyalty the most. The difference between the two is that the CCP does not hold any principle. The Seagull is curious on how long can a mafia hang on street smart, without any principle.

20 more people from all over the country who do not know each other just signed up on the sina-weibo, the knocked-off edition of Tweeter that is allowed to operate in China, to visit the village today. They are in the age range from 17 to 69. They knew what would they be facing, but they felt it was nothing in comparison to what Chen has been suffering. They felt if their visit/mistreatment by police can bring one more thread of light on this unbelievable situation, and leads to its final resolution, it would be well worth it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Guangdong Experimental High School in the USA

Guangdong Experimental High School traces its root to the 1872 preparation school for US studies, where 100 Chinese learned English before embracing their journeys in colleges and universities across the US, the first batch of Chinese students in the US.

Last week, a brand new school in Riverside, California celebrated completion of campus. According to Xinhua News, the charter school is funded by the Federal Government and the Chemax Education Foundation. It is most likely not true, as the Federal Government does not usually have a direct involvement in local education.

Among expected 1,300 enrollment, 90% will be from local while 10% coming overseas. In the first class, 180-220 will come from overseas, with 10 from China. The tuition for international students will bee 20% cheaper than private schools in the area.