Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

Plague came from China: scientists

Posted by Author on November 1, 2010


AFP, Nov. 1, 2010 –

PARIS — The first outbreak of plague occurred in China more than 2,600 years ago before reaching Europe via Central Asia’s “Silk Road” trade route, according to a study of the disease’s DNA signature.

The findings flesh out long-held suspicions about the Chinese origins of the plague, which killed an estimated third of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, disaster, Health, News, Plague | Comments Off on Plague came from China: scientists

Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads early in China, killing 260 children so far this year

Posted by Author on May 7, 2010


Canadian Press, May. 7, 2010 –

BEIJING, China — Hand, foot and mouth disease, a virus that usually peaks during the hot months, has already killed 260 children in China this year and sickened hundreds of thousands more, the government said Friday.

Every spring and summer China sees deadly outbreaks of the disease, which typically infects infants and children, particularly in rural areas where hygiene is poor. Most cases are mild, with children recovering quickly after suffering little more than a fever and rash.

But the disease has struck earlier than normal this year, and by May 4 the number of deaths reported were 143 per cent higher than the same period last year, said Xiao Donglou, the Health Ministry’s deputy director of disease control and prevention, according to the Beijing News. An official with the ministry’s press section confirmed the accuracy of the figures reported.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is characterized by fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected people. It is unrelated to the foot and mouth disease that affects livestock.

Nearly 430,000 children have been sickened by the disease so far this year while severe cases have jumped by two-thirds to 5,454, the report cited Xiao as saying. Last year, there were 353 deaths from the disease, according to Health Ministry figures……. (Canidian Press)

Posted in Children, China, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, World | Comments Off on Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads early in China, killing 260 children so far this year

One baby with syphilis born every hour in China: study

Posted by Author on May 6, 2010


AFP, May 6, 2010-

HONG KONG
— One child was born with syphilis every hour in China in 2008, researchers said Thursday, as new money from the country’s growing economy fuels the world’s fastest-growing epidemic of the disease.

Syphilis was almost wiped out in China 50 years ago, but it is now the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in Shanghai, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Female sex workers and homosexual men are driving the infection rate, the researchers said, and there is evidence that social pressures are discouraging people from seeking treatment at official clinics.

“After China’s economy became increasingly market-based in the 1980s, the growing numbers of Chinese businessmen with money and young women without money translated into expanded demand and supply for the country’s commercial sex industry,” the article said.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection which can easily be tackled with antibiotics if diagnosed early, but if left untreated can lead to paralysis, blindness and death.

No other country has seen such a rapid rise in syphilis cases since the discovery of penicillin, the researchers said.

Social stigma discourages the groups worst affected by the Chinese epidemic — prostitutes and gay and bisexual men — from seeking proper care, the article said.

In China, at least a third of men who have sex with other men are also married and the transmission of syphilis to their wives and children is an important issue, the article said…….(AFP)

Posted in Baby, China, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, World | Comments Off on One baby with syphilis born every hour in China: study

Doctor in Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day

Posted by Author on January 1, 2010


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff,Dec 29, 2009 –

A doctor in Yulin City (玉林市), (Guang Xi Province) Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day.  “Every hospital has deaths,” he said. “We have deaths in the morning, the afternoon, and at night.”

When a reporter asked the Yulin City doctor about the victims’ details, such as names, ages, and occupations, the doctor was extremely cautious. “I dare not tell you any specific information. Victims are both young and old,” he said…….. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, disaster, Guangxi, Health, News, Plague, Politics, South China, World | Tagged: | Comments Off on Doctor in Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day

China swine flu death toll triples in two weeks

Posted by Author on December 2, 2009


AFP, Dec. 2, 2009-

BEIJING — China’s official swine flu death toll has tripled in the past two weeks after the government ordered more accurate reporting of fatalities amid suspicions of a cover-up.

A statement posted on the health ministry’s website late Tuesday said the number of people reported killed by the influenza A(H1N1) virus had jumped to 178 at the weekend, up from a previously reported nationwide tally of 53.

The statement gave no reason for the sharp increase but it comes after the ministry on November 19 ordered more transparent reporting following comments by a renowned medical whistleblower who questioned official tallies.

The statement noted that “the number of severe cases and deaths continues to rise.”

“The epidemic situation in our nation remains grim,” it said.

Despite reporting tens of thousands of confirmed A(H1N1) cases in China since the virus first emerged this spring in North America, the reported death rate here has remained far below that of other countries.

Cover-up suspicions were fuelled last month when medical expert Zhong Nanshan was quoted by a Chinese newspaper saying he suspected authorities in some areas were under-reporting fatalities to convince superiors they were containing the virus.

Zhong’s opinion carries weight after he earned wide respect in 2003 for defying the official line on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak to help reveal the true extent of the illness.

The government had initially tried to hide the SARS outbreak and only owned up after it began to spill over into other countries.

The health ministry order for better reporting came shortly after Zhong’s comments were published.

Chinese officials including Health Minister Chen Zhu have warned repeatedly in recent months that China was likely to see a sharp increase in overall cases of swine flu and deaths during the winter, when flu is most virulent.

Tuesday’s health ministry statistical statement said more than 91,000 people had been confirmed to have contracted the virus in China, the vast majority of whom had already recovered.

AFP

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, News, Plague, World | 3 Comments »

University Town Quarantined after H1N1 Outbreak in China

Posted by Author on September 16, 2009


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff, Sep 15, 2009 –

A H1N1 flu outbreak has lead to the closure of a university town in Langfang, a city in China’s Hebei Province. Students now carry thermometers with them as they walk

There were over 300 suspected H1N1 cases on the campus of the People’s Armed Police Force Academy, according to an instructor there who spoke to The Epoch Times under condition of anonymity.

The instructor said those infected were all transferred to Beijing for treatment, and a series of preventative measures taken on campus.

“They have found two more H1N1 cases in the cafeteria, so [the cafeteria] was closed… School authorities have disinfected and cleaned the campus. Every student carries a thermometer with them,” the instructor said.

Although death rates are low among the infected, the instructor said that in the future victims might suffer complications, such as partial paralysis or damage to the neurological, respiratory, or circulatory systems.

One clerk who works in Langfang told The Epoch Times that there are 14 universities with about 40,000 to 50,000 students in the university town, and over 10,000 people have been quarantined since last Wednesday.

The Public Security Bureau was issuing passes in and out of town.

The library had been closed since the outbreak, according to someone who works there contacted by telephone.

Rumors circulated on the internet that authorities in Xiong County, Baoding City, Hebei Province, had issued an order to towns and villages in the area to not report any fever cases, to not confirm any H1N1 cases, and to treat H1N1 flu like the regular flu. The Epoch Times was unable to verify these claims.

The state’s Xinhua News Agency recently reported a new confirmed H1N1 flu case in the Hebei Technical College of Petroleum Profession and those who were infected with H1N1 in Langfang City had all been hospitalized for quarantine and medical treatments.

Xinhua News Agency also reported on Sept. 12 that the Hebei Province Education Department had ordered schools in the province to report any H1N1 cases to their local Education Bureaus, which will then report to the Provincial Education Department.

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, disaster, Health, Hebei, Life, News, North China, Plague, World | Comments Off on University Town Quarantined after H1N1 Outbreak in China

Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

Posted by Author on May 7, 2009


By Lin Yi, Epoch Times Staff,  May 6, 2009 –

The Chinese regime’s media control machine has imposed a restriction on reports about swine flu (H1N1) cases, drawing criticism from media watchdog, International Federation of Journalists (China and Hong Kong).

Ms. Serenade Woo, project coordinator of the federation, said the regime is requesting all media follow its official reports—using the excuse of avoiding a mass panic. Woo said it is a repeat of the SARS coverup in 2003.

“The SARS outbreak in 2003 was a painful lesson, because the government delayed releasing the news by suppressing the information. [As a result,] more people were infected and the delay of the information caused many deaths and unnecessary panic,” Woo said.

The public will miss out on timely alerts if information is blocked, said Woo, questioning the regime’s excuse of avoiding a public panic.

“The question is, when you release the information, is the information released with all possible means, in an honest way? If the situation is not clear, let people understand, because the public is not stupid.”

Recently, media in Guangzhou were warned by officials for reporting a suspected swine flu case.

Woo criticized the regime’s use of media as a propaganda tool and said she feared some Hong Kong media were now being influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, disaster, Hong kong, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Plague, Politics, Press freedom, World | Comments Off on Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

Between China and a flu pandemic: EDITORIAL by Taipei Times

Posted by Author on April 28, 2009


Tuesday, Taipei Times, Taiwan, Apr 28, 2009 –

Amid reports that more than 100 people have died in Mexico from what is believed to be H1N1 swine influenza, 20 confirmed cases in the US and daily reports of possible cases in every corner of the world, Taiwanese health authorities have reacted with propriety: They have called for calm, reassured the public that the disease cannot be transmitted via food and heightened monitoring at ports of entry.

Fears of a pandemic and its impact on the global economy’s recovery sent most stock markets down yesterday, with the TAIEX dropping 2.99 percent. Economists in Australia, meanwhile, were saying that even a mild outbreak of swine flu could result in 1.4 million deaths worldwide and US$330 billion in lost production. (To put things in perspective, the Asian Development Bank said the cost of the SARS outbreak in 2003 for East and Southeast Asia was about US$18 billion.)

While it would be premature to call this “the big one” scientists have long been predicting, swine flu was responsible for three major pandemics in the past century — in 1918, 1957 and 1968.

Modern travel and the sheer number of people traveling daily have made it far easier for communicable diseases to spread. Given this, and in light of reports of possible outbreaks in countries such as New Zealand, which has ordered 50 people there to be quarantined, it is only a matter of time before cases start appearing close to home. In fact, it would not be a surprise if China already had some, which raises the specter, once again, of Chinese authorities’ tendency to muzzle reports of disease outbreaks — as it did in 2003.

The likelihood that an outbreak in China would go unreported is perhaps even greater today given the economic situation and fears of social instability. Confirmation of an outbreak and its consequences for the tottering economy would risk exacerbating social problems and undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s image as a totem of stability. Even if China had learned its lessons from 2003, institutional friction and the fact that information on disease outbreaks in China is a “state secret” means that by the time the information is made public, it may be too late to prevent the disease from spreading, especially in densely populated areas.

Aside from highlighting the urgent need for Taiwan to gain WHO representation, as well as the importance of direct connection to the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, which Taiwan obtained earlier this year, the present scare raises questions about additional risks created by the recent rise in tourist arrivals from China and increases in the number of direct cross-strait flights.

While there is no question that checking body temperature at points of arrival is a necessary first line of defense, the short distance that needs to be covered for Chinese to travel to Taiwan means that by the time they arrive, people infected with swine flu may not have begun displaying telltale symptoms of the disease — sudden fever, coughing, muscle aches and extreme fatigue — and can remain contagious for as long as a week, the US Centers for Disease Control says.

Faced with so many uncertainties concerning China’s ability or willingness to be a responsible stakeholder when an epidemic occurs, and given Beijing’s poor track record, how would the Taiwanese government react? If the situation takes a turn for the worse and cases start appearing in China, would Taipei, given the position of dependence it has burdened itself with vis-a-vis China, be able to unilaterally suspend cross-strait flights?

Taipei Times

Posted in Asia, China, disaster, Health, Life, News, Plague, Politics, Taiwan, travel, World | Comments Off on Between China and a flu pandemic: EDITORIAL by Taipei Times

Bird flu outbreak in North-west China

Posted by Author on February 11, 2009


AFP, Feb. 11, 2009-

BEIJING (AFP) — China has reported its first bird flu outbreak among poultry this year, with thousands of fowl destroyed in the nation’s far northwest to prevent an epidemic.

The alert was raised after 519 fowl died in the Xinjiang region that borders Central Asia, the agriculture ministry said in a statement posted on its website late on Tuesday.

They were confirmed on Tuesday to have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu that is responsible for killing about 250 people around the world since 2003.

Emergency measures were introduced in Xinjiang, which included killing 13,000 more fowl, the ministry said, without specifying if the animals were chickens or other types of poultry.

The ministry said the situation was under control. Officials at the ministry’s media department were unavailable on Wednesday to comment further.

China previously reported that eight people were infected with bird flu across the country this year, five of whom died.

However until Tuesday, authorities said no outbreaks of bird flu had been detected in poultry, raising questions as to how people contracted the disease.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, rather than from poultry to humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.

But there has been no evidence yet of this happening.

The fourth person to die of bird flu in China this year, a 31-year-old woman, was living in a city neighbouring Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi and contracted the disease on January 10, officials said previously.

However the outbreak among poultry reported on Tuesday was in Moyu county, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away, indicating no obvious connection.

Twenty-five people have died from bird flu in China since the disease re-emerged in 2003, according to World Health Organisation figures.

AFP

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, News, NW China, Plague, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Bird flu outbreak in North-west China

Cholera Outbreak in South China Spreads to University, Seven Students Infected

Posted by Author on November 7, 2008


Epoch Times Staff,  Nov 4, 2008-

A cholera outbreak recently spread to Haikou, the capital of China’s Hainan Province, forcing the quarantine of Hainan University.

Most dining halls are closed in Hainan University.

Seven students have been confirmed with having the disease, bringing the total confirmed cases in the province to 51, according to a local medical official on Sunday.

More than 70 other students were in the hospital with stomach ailments. The university had barred outside personnel from entering the campus and prevented students from leaving, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The outbreak has left Chinese internet users and students at the university questioning the response time of school authorities who did little to react after cases first sprung up in the school on Oct. 30. Students are now also complaining of being restricted to campus grounds, “We don’t even know the situation until our parents called after watching the news!”

Three of the five campus dining halls are closed, making life increasingly difficult for students. Some students believe that the outbreak of the disease was due to bad hygienic conditions in the dining hall. “We see rats and flies all over the place,” reported one student.

Frustration is developing rapidly among Hainan students, and some suggest that the university president should resign from his post.

– The Epochtimes: Cholera Outbreak Spreads to Hainan University

Posted in China, cholera, disaster, Haikou, Hainan, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, South China, Student, World | Comments Off on Cholera Outbreak in South China Spreads to University, Seven Students Infected

Cholera Outbreak in South China Resort Island

Posted by Author on November 1, 2008


Reuters, Oct 31, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s southern resort island of Hainan has confirmed 30 cholera cases and nearly 300 suspected cases in the last few days, the provincial government said on Friday.

No deaths had been reported, the government website said, but Xinhua news agency said on Thursday an eight-year-old girl died of congenital heart disease triggered by suspected cholera.

Continuous torrential rains on the island this month may be one reason for the epidemic, the website said.

Cholera is transmitted by contaminated water or food. At its most acute, it causes diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.

Reuters

Posted in China, disaster, Hainan, Life, News, Plague, Social, South China, World | 1 Comment »

First Beijing death linked to China EV71 virus outbreak

Posted by Author on May 14, 2008


Reuters, Wed May 14, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s capital has recorded its first death from a recent outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease as authorities try to contain the spread of a potent virus just three months before the city hosts the Olympic Games.

Beijing Health Bureau spokeswoman Deng Xiaohong said a 13-month-old boy from the city’s northern Changping District died on the way to a hospital on Sunday, taking the nationwide toll to 41.

She told Reuters on Wednesday that the child had tested positive for enterovirus 71 (EV71), a virus that has caused the majority of the deaths in the latest outbreak, which started weeks ago in the eastern province of Anhui’s Fuyang city.

Deng also said another child had died of the disease in a Beijing hospital, but that case would be recorded in neighbouring Hebei province, where the child contracted the disease. No further details of that case were disclosed.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness, with a number of causes, but the current outbreak has been linked to the EV71 virus, which can cause a severe form of the disease, characterised by high fever, paralysis and meningitis.

There is no vaccine or antiviral agent available to treat or prevent EV71. Enteroviruses spread mostly through contact with infected blisters or faeces.

More than 27,500 cases have been reported in China as of last Friday, Xinhua said earlier, with the number of new cases in Anhui province starting to decline. Other deaths have been reported in the Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi regions.

Following the Anhui outbreak, China issued a nationwide alert, closing some kindergartens and sending officials to visit nurseries and primary schools to educate staff on hygiene and prevention.

At least two Beijing kindergartens were suspended last week after children showed symptoms of the disease, but a Health Ministry spokesman said then that the number of cases was not abnormal……. (more details from Reuters)

Posted in Beijing, Children, China, disaster, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, World | 1 Comment »

More Children Forecast to Die From China Disease

Posted by Author on May 8, 2008


Jane Macartney in Beijing, Times Online, UK, May 7, 2008-

More cases of the hand, foot and mouth disease that has killed 28 children in China are expected in June and July as the Government has ordered better public education and mandated punishments for officials who fall short.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there was no special cause for alarm. The current outbreak of the disease, a common childhood intestinal illness, is no more virulent than usual but cases have been more concentrated in a single place resulting in an unusually high fatality rate.

Hans Troedsson, the WHO representative in China, said: “This is not a new virus, it is a virus we know, and there is no indication that it has changed so there is no need to worry.”

The number of cases across China has climbed to 15,799, up from 12,000 reported on Tuesday. Officials said that the rise was due to tighter rules on reporting and not because of the spread of the infection.

Hand, foot and mouth is a common childhood illness and is endemic in much of Asia, but the outbreak has been linked with enterovirus 71 (EV71), which can cause a severe form of the disease characterised by high fever, paralysis and meningitis. Mr Troedsson said: “There is no indication of a change or a more virulent virus.”

However, there were still questions about why there were so many cases in Fuyang, in the eastern province of Anhui where 22 children have died, and why they presented unusual symptoms that made it difficult to identify the virus. That delay may have cost lives. Mr Troedsson added: “We usually don’t see a cluster like this . . . so we have to investigate that further together with the Government.”

The outbreak has not been confined to China. Around Asia, cases of the disease, which mostly affects children under five, were at higher than usual levels. Singapore reported a 75 per cent surge to 10,490 so far this year compared with last year. Vietnam’s health ministry said it had about 3,000 cases in the first four months of the year, more than the total number for 2007. Ten children had died in Vietnam.

China reported 80,000 cases last year, and 17 fatalities. In the hardest hit province of Anhui, problems with improper treatment and unscrupulous doctors have occurred, state media said. A total of ten doctors there have been punished for malpractice relating to the outbreak.

Original report from Times Online

Posted in Anhui, Children, China, disaster, East China, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, World | Comments Off on More Children Forecast to Die From China Disease

18-month-old boy died, hand, foot and mouth virus spreading in China

Posted by Author on May 3, 2008


AFP, May. 3, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — The death of a child in south China has raised fears that a virus that has already killed 22 is spreading, as authorities called Saturday for better controls of infectious diseases before the Olympics.

The 18-month-old boy died Friday in Foshan city bordering Hong Kong, from what was probably hand, foot and mouth disease, triggered by the intestinal virus enterovirus 71, or EV71, the health department there said……. (more: Boy dies in China as govt tries curb diseases before Olympics)

Related:
China: At least 20 children killed, 1,520 people infected by virus which was covered up by officials

Posted in Children, China, disaster, Guangdong, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, SE China, Social, World | Comments Off on 18-month-old boy died, hand, foot and mouth virus spreading in China

China: At least 20 children killed, 1,520 people infected by virus which was covered up by officials

Posted by Author on April 29, 2008


Reuters, Mon Apr 28, 2008 –

BEIJING, April 29 (Reuters) – A virus that has killed at least 20 children in eastern China is infecting hundreds more people each day and has spread to a neighbouring province, newspapers said on Tuesday.

The enterovirus 71, or EV71, which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, began spreading in Anhui province’s Fuyang city in early March, Xinhua news agency said, but was only publicly reported on Sunday.

By Tuesday, the virus had killed 20 children, most under the age of two. There had been 1,520 cases reported so far, Xinhua said, a jump of about 600 from the figure released on Monday.

“The current outbreak may be just a beginning,” the Ministry of Health’s Health News newspaper said. “We cannot exlude the possibility that the virus will spread further.”

The Beijing News said that the virus had spread to neighbouring Henan province.

Enteroviruses spread mostly through contact with infected blisters or faeces and can cause high fever, paralysis and swelling of the brain or its lining.

“Most parents, doctors and government officials treat this virus as a normal illness and lose time in discovering and curing it,” the Beijing news said.

The delay of reporting the virus to the public by over 40 days has triggered heated discussion and criticism in Chinese media, which said local government officials should be sacked.

China’s reported cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in the first four months this year has increased by about 300 percent the same time last year, the Health News newspaper said.

There is no vaccine or antiviral agent available to treat or prevent the virus. Instead, treatment focuses on managing its complications, which can include meningitis and heart failure, the World Health Organisation’s acting China Representative, Cris Tunon, said in a statement. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie and Sanjeev Miglani)

– Reuters: Virus outbreak spreads in east China -newspapers

Posted in censorship, Children, China, East China, Freedom of Information, Health, Human Rights, News, People, Plague, Politics, Shandong, Social, World | Comments Off on China: At least 20 children killed, 1,520 people infected by virus which was covered up by officials

Dry, Polluted, Plagued by Rats: The Crisis in China’s Greatest Yangtze River

Posted by Author on January 19, 2008


Jonathan Watts in Beijing, The Guardian, UK, Thursday January 17 2008-

The waters of the Yangtze have fallen to their lowest levels since 1866, disrupting drinking supplies, stranding ships and posing a threat to some of the world’s most endangered species.

Asia’s longest river is losing volume as a result of a prolonged dry spell, the state media warned yesterday, predicting hefty economic losses and a possible plague of rats on nearby farmland.

News of the drought – which is likely to worsen pollution in the river – comes amid dire reports about the impact of rapid economic growth on China’s environment.

The government also revealed yesterday that the country’s most prosperous province, Guangdong, has just had its worst year of smog since the Communist party took power in 1949, while 56,000 square miles of coastline waters failed to meet environmental standards.

But the immediate concern is the Yangtze, which supplies water to hundreds of millions of people and thousands of factories in a delta that accounts for more than 40% of China’s economic output. According to the Chinese media, precipitation and water levels are at or near record lows in its middle and upper stretches.

The scale of the problem was revealed by the Yangtze water resources commission in a report on the Xinhua news agency’s website yesterday. It said that the Hankou hydrological centre near Wuhan city found the river’s depth had fallen to its lowest level in 142 years.

The measurement confirmed fears raised in recent weeks by the appearance of islands and mud flats not normally seen at this time of year. Local farmers reported far more ships than usual being trapped in unnavigable shallow waters.

Jianli county is among the areas suffering water shortages. Officials say the problem has grown worse in the past decade, raising concerns of a link to climate change.

“Before 1996, we were short of water for three months of the year, but now there are only three months when we can use water as normal,” Wu Chunping, the vice-manager of Jianli county’s water utility, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “I heard that the water level will drop further in February.”

Li Lifeng, director of the freshwater programme of WWF China, said: “The major worry is for aquatic species and birds. If the water level goes too low they will lose a huge level of habitat.”

Among the endangered animals likely to be affected are the finless porpoise and the Chinese sturgeon, which returns to the sea at this time of year.

With the Yangtze three times as crowded with traffic as the Mississippi, conservationists fear the animals will be torn up by boat propellers or contaminated by more concentrated pollution from the 9,000 chemical plants along the Yangtze. Birds such as the Siberian crane may also suffer from the impact on their wintering area.

Local media have expressed concern that the drought could lead to a plague of rats similar to the one near Dongting lake last year after a drought was followed by fast-rising waters that drove the vermin to seek food in farm fields. “When the waters fall, the reeds die and the rats are driven inland in search of food,” said an official in the Yueyang farming and aquatic bureau who declined to give his name.

Original report from the Guardian

Posted in Central China, China, disaster, Drought, Environment, Health, Hubei, Life, News, Plague, pollution, River, Social, transport, water, World, Wuhan, Yangtze river | 1 Comment »

Cartoon: China’s Olym-Pigs

Posted by Author on October 9, 2007


by Qingxin Cartoon Workshop, published by the Epochtimes –

China's Olym-pigs

On the picture:

Olym-pigs is accepting physical examination, the nurse is preparing none-additive food for it. The ordinary pig, has to eat infected feedstuff. People eat infected pork (from the ordinary pig) everyday.

Pork of the Olym-pigs is just a privilege of foreign athletes.

Story:

While Chinese citizens suffering the spreading pig disease, jumping pork price and market-flooded infected pork, Chinese government is raising expensive, high quality, special guaranteed none-infected Olym-pigs, the “Olympic Pigs” , to accommodate foreigners and athletes for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

According to the report [1] from China’s state controlled largest news website Sina (www. sina.com.cn), Liu Yanyun, the board chairman of Beijing Qian Xi He Group, said the company “has built up about 10 secret hoggery bases across the country, to guaranteed the supply of pork to the upcoming Olympic games 5 times more than demand.”

Liu said the secret location of the 10 hoggery bases can not be disclosed, but all the locations are far away from urban areas that have no air, water and soil pollution.
The secret bases are video monitored 24 hours a day, the other ordinary pigs are not allowed to get in. Most important, food for Olym-pigs does not have additive inside.

Pigs are required to do 2 to 3 hours exercise everyday.

It’s now a hot topic among Chinese bloggers.

Some of them say, “I’d rather like to be a Olym-pigs than a Chinese citizen”.

Note:

[1]: Sino’s report (in Chinese):
http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2007-08-22/020612425146s.shtml

Related:
China: Infected Pork Floods the Market, ‘Olym-pigs’ Raised for 2008 Games

Posted in all Hot Topic, Beijing Olympics, China, disaster, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, News, Photo, Pig epidemic, Politics, Pork, products, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Cartoon: China’s Olym-Pigs

Spreading Pig Disease in China Worries the World

Posted by Author on September 17, 2007


By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Foreign Service, Sunday, September 16, 2007-

FOSHAN, China — At first, it was just some of the piglets. The mother gave birth to 13, all of them stillborn. Within a few weeks, however, she and other adult pigs in neighboring stalls became feverish and died. By the end of the summer, all but a handful of the village’s 300 pigs had succumbed to the mysterious disease.

“It was quick, very quick. Before we knew something was wrong, they were all dead,” said Lo Jinyuan, a 55-year-old pig farmer in the village of Shandi.

Moving rapidly from one farm to the next, the virus has been devastating pig communities throughout China for more than a year, wiping out entire herds, driving pork prices up nearly 87 percent in a year and helping push the country’s inflation rate to its highest levels since 1996.

The Chinese government has admitted that the swine deaths amount to an epidemic but contends that the situation is under control.

China says it is moving swiftly to stop the infections by quarantining and slaughtering the affected pigs. It says its researchers have developed an effective vaccine in record time for the likely cause — blue ear pig disease, a reproductive and respiratory illness that is highly fatal in pigs but that so far does not seem to pose danger to humans. And it maintains that it has been “open and transparent” all along.

Some experts, both inside and outside China, are skeptical, citing the government’s handling of the avian flu outbreak in 2004 and SARS in 2002 and 2003. While China’s central government has made numerous improvements since then in how it deals with infectious disease control and informs the public, it has once again been slow to share scientific data and tissue samples with other countries.

As a result, there is worry that while China is lagging, the virus is quickly turning into a global problem. China does not export pork to the United States, but the virus has already been found in pigs in China’s southern neighbors, Vietnam and Burma.

“We are concerned that with international traffic this particular virus could enter other continents — Europe or Africa or the Americas,” said Juan Lubroth, head of infectious diseases for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, based in Rome. “We have no firsthand or independent evaluation of the virus or vaccine. It’s all been conducted by the Chinese in China.”

While China’s previous reluctance to share information may have been the legacy of years of secrecy, its reasons for withholding information this time may be about something else: business interests.

For China, one the largest exporters of pork and pork products in the world and the target of recent criticism for the safety of its food and other exports, “there are economic-commercial incentives to cover up,” said Yanzhong Huang, editor of the Journal of Global Health Governance and an assistant professor at Seton Hall University.

Vincent Martin, an animal health officer for the FAO in Beijing, said Chinese officials he met with last week said they were not opposed to sending samples to overseas laboratories but would only do so when “intellectual property issues” were resolved……. ( more details from Washington Post: Pig Disease in China Worries the World)

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Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Outbreak In China Kills 9,830 Ducks In 9 Days

Posted by Author on September 16, 2007


Highly pathogenic H5N1 virus break out in southeast China city Guangzhou- 9,830 ducks killed by the virus in the district of Panyu between September 5 and 13, 33,000 ducks culled by authorities to contain the outbreak. Reported by Reuters and AFP.

The virus can be transmitted to humans. Scientists fear the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily from person to person, sparking a global pandemic.

Posted in Bird flu, China, disaster, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Health, Life, News, Plague, SE China, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Highly Infectious Pig Virus Spread to 75% Areas of China Causing International Concern

Posted by Author on August 16, 2007


By DAVID BARBOZA, New York Times, August 16, 2007-

CHENGDU, China, Aug. 9 — A highly infectious swine virus is sweeping China’s pig population, driving up pork prices and creating fears of a global pandemic among domesticated pigs.

Animal virus experts say Chinese authorities are playing down the gravity and spread of the disease.

So far, the mysterious virus — believed to cause an unusually deadly form of an infection known as blue-ear pig disease — has spread to 25 of this country’s 33 provinces and regions, prompting a pork shortage and the strongest inflation in China in a decade.

More than that, China’s past lack of transparency — particularly over what became the SARS epidemic — has created global concern.

“They haven’t really explained what this virus is,” says Federico A. Zuckermann, a professor of immunology at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. “This is like SARS. They haven’t sent samples to any international body. This is really irresponsible of China. This thing could get out and affect everyone.”

There are no clear indications that blue-ear disease — if that is what this disease is — poses a threat to human health.

Though the Chinese government acknowledges that the current virus has devastated pig stocks in coastal and southern areas, it has not admitted what experts say is clear: the virus is rapidly moving inland and westward, to areas such as this one in Sichuan Province, China’s largest pork-producing region.

“This disease is like a wind that swept in and passed from village to village,” said Ding Shurong, a 45-year-old farmer in a village near here who lost two-thirds of his pigs . “I’ve never seen anything like it. No family was left untouched.”

No one knows for sure how many of this country’s 500 million pigs have been infected. The government says officially that about 165,000 pigs have contracted the virus this year. But in a country that, on average, loses 25 million pigs a year to disease, few believe the figures. In part, the skepticism comes from the fact that pork prices have skyrocketed 85 percent in the last year — an increase that, absent other factors, suggests the losses from disease are more widespread than Beijing admits.

And there are other signs. Field experts are reporting widespread disease outbreaks. Fear among pig farmers that their livestock will contract the disease has led to panic selling. And the government and media here have issued alarming reports that farmers are selling diseased or infected pigs to illegal slaughterhouses, which could pose food safety problems.

International health experts are already calling this one of the worst disease outbreaks ever to hit Asia’s livestock industry, and they fear the fast-mutating pathogens could spread to neighboring countries, igniting a worldwide epidemic that could affect pork supplies everywhere.

A similar virus has already been detected in neighboring Vietnam and Myanmar, and health experts are trying to determine if it came from China.

Health experts say China has declined to send tissue samples to testing labs outside the country for independent verification by a lab affiliated with the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris.

The Chinese government says that it has reported the disease to international health bodies and insists that the disease is under control and that a vaccine has been developed and distributed.

But, some scientists say there is no truly effective vaccine against blue-ear pig disease (which is also known as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome); other experts say they are not even certain that the blue-ear virus is the one that is spreading.

Scientists who track blue-ear pig disease are puzzled because the disease is generally not so deadly.

“This virus generally makes them ill but on its own it doesn’t cause a lot of deaths,” said Steven McOrist, a professor of pig medicines at the University of Nottingham in England. “The evidence they put up so far is not conclusive.”

If it is blue-ear pig disease, which has infected most parts of the world, including the United States, it may be a new and more virulent strain.

“This is more severe than we’ve seen elsewhere,” said Derek Armstrong, a senior veterinary scientist at the Meat and Livestock Commission in Britain. “It may be a co-infection of pigs with other things.”

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is now pressing China to share its research and tissue samples……. ( more details from the New York Times)

Posted in Asia, Business, Chengdu, China, disaster, Food, Health, Life, News, Pig epidemic, Plague, Politics, Pork, Sichuan, Social, SW China, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on Highly Infectious Pig Virus Spread to 75% Areas of China Causing International Concern

Pig Disease “Blue Ear” Spreads to 22 Provinces in China

Posted by Author on June 11, 2007


Pig disease “Blue Ear” is blamed by China for most of the pig deaths last year, and it’s spreading to 22 provinces and regions in the country (there are 32 provinces/districts in China), which killed up to one million pigs last year, and has caused the rising prices of pork.

Details can be found from VOA’s report on 11 June 2007 (Monday) : Hog Disease Spreads in China

Related:
–   China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled, May 30, 2007

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China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled

Posted by Author on June 1, 2007


Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, May 30, 2007-

BEIJING: A mystery virus that is killing millions of pigs in southern China is responsible for soaring pork prices that have the senior leadership worried about inflation and social unrest.

The Premier, Wen Jiabao, took the unusual step of visiting supermarkets and pig farms in Shaanxi province at the weekend to show the central Government’s concern about the price of one of China’s staple foods and its most affordable source of protein.

At the weekend, shoppers lined up for more than a kilometre at a Guangzhou supermarket to buy pork on special for 15.8 yuan ($2.50) a kilogram.

Prices that have been as low as 9 yuan a kilogram have soared to 28 yuan. In Beijing, prices have doubled since March.

The Agriculture Ministry said the wholesale price of pork had soared by 71.3 per cent since April, pushed up by rising prices for pig feed (such as corn) and the epidemic of “blue ear” disease – officially called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome – along with existing foot-and-mouth disease.

Statistics on pig deaths are difficult to obtain but an industry official told London’s Financial Times that he had heard up to 20 million of China’s 500 million pigs had been wiped out by blue ear disease.

The government in Guangdong has announced it will offer subsidies to the poor to help them cope with the rising prices and at least one province has already asked the central government to use the Central Meat Reserve to meet the shortfall, a move that the Commerce Ministry confirmed was being considered.

Imports of relatively cheap South American pork are restricted and pork from the US and European is expensive.

Mr Wen assured shoppers during his supermarket visit that the Government was doing all it could to ensure an affordable supply of pork. Economists said pork prices could push the annual inflation rate to above 4 per cent. Mary-Anne Toy

original report from Sydney Morning Herald

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