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    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 ‘Drought’ Category

China to spur rice output as drought shrivels wheat

Posted by Author on February 9, 2011

By Dan Martin (AFP) , Feb 9, 2011-

BEIJING — China called Wednesday for higher rice output to offset damage to its wheat crop in the drought-stricken north and pledged $1 billion in spending to battle a problem the UN warned could be “very serious”.

The drought affecting large swathes of northern China is the worst in six decades in many areas and has left key grain-growing regions with no real rainfall in more than three months.

At a meeting on Wednesday chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, the government decided to allocate funds to pay rice-growers higher prices for their grain in a bid to spur production, said a statement by the State Council, or Cabinet. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Drought, Economy, Environment, Life, News, Social | Comments Off on China to spur rice output as drought shrivels wheat

Shocking Photos: Fish Left in the Cracked Dry Mud During the Drought in China

Posted by Author on April 18, 2010

The drought in south China’s Yunnan Province has lasted for more than 4 months. According to the weather forecast, there will not be any measurable rain in the coming days.

Following photos show a shocking sight at the Degehaizi Reservoir in Damogu Town of Luliang County, Yunnan Province, south China– fishes stuck in the dried land, with their mouths open wide, dead in their struggling position.

The Degehaizi Reservoir in Damogu Town of Luliang County, once with a capacity of 1.6 million cubic meters of water, is now arid dry. The palm-wide cracks were a stunning sight. Some of the cracks are as much as half a meter deep. Fish can be found stuck in the dried land, with their mouths open wide, dead in their struggling position.

Arid dry Degehaizi Reservoir in Yunnan Province, palm-wide cracks, with mouth-open fish stuck in.

Posted in China, disaster, Drought, Environment, Life, News, Photo, SW China, Yunnan | Comments Off on Shocking Photos: Fish Left in the Cracked Dry Mud During the Drought in China

China struggles with drought

Posted by Author on February 6, 2009

AFP, China, Feb. 06, 2009 –

BEIJING (AFP) — China was struggling Friday to get water to millions of people and save swathes of its wheat harvest, after raising its drought emergency to the highest level for the first time.

The decision to go to emergency level one was taken Thursday at a meeting of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, Xinhua news agency reported.

The increased alert level was made official at the same time as the central government sent out specialists to all eight major drought-hit regions to help residents with relief supplies and technical aid, the China Daily said.

About 4.3 million people and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water, the relief headquarters said in a statement, as parts of the nation experience their worst drought since the early 1950s.

Eight provinces and municipalities are affected, stretching in a broad belt from Gansu province on the Mongolian border in the northwest to Shandong province on the Yellow Sea in the east.

About 43 percent of the country’s winter wheat supplies are at risk, as some areas have seen no rain for 100 days or more, according to state media…… (more from AFP)

Posted in China, Drought, Environment, News, North China, World | Comments Off on China struggles with drought

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 »

China’s Longest River at Lowest in 142 Years

Posted by Author on January 19, 2008

Reuters, Jan 17, 2008-

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) – China’s longest river, the Yangtze, is suffering from a severe drought this year with water levels in some areas falling to the lowest in 142 years, state media said on Thursday.

China is suffering its worst drought in a decade, which has left millions of people short of drinking water and has shrunk reservoirs and rivers.

Hardest hit are large swathes of the usually humid south, where water levels on several major rivers have plunged to historic lows in recent months.

On Jan. 8, the Yangtze water level at Hankou plunged to 13.98 metres (46 ft), the lowest since records began in 1866, the China Daily said on Thursday, quoting the Wuhan-based Changjiang Times.

“This year’s drought is rare,” Li Changmin, a farmer from central Hubei province, was quoted as saying. “Just days ago, I saw ship after ship running aground. I have never seen that before.”

Since October, more than 40 ships have run aground in the main course of the Yangtze, the world’s third longest river which stretches 6,300 km (3,900 miles) from west to east, the traditional dividing line between north and south China.

This year’s dry season came a month earlier than usual and water levels fell sooner than expected, an official was quoted as saying.

“Also, large amounts of water were stored at the Three Gorges Dam last month, which caused the flow volume in the river to fall 50 percent. But the Yangtze River Water Resource Commission said the drought has nothing to do with the dam,” the China Daily said.

The Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, is an engineering feat that seeks to tame the Yangtze.

Backers say the dam will end devastating floods downstream and generate clean electricity. Critics call it a reckless folly that has brought wrenching dislocation for many people.

Drought and floods are perennial problems in China but meteorologists have complained about the increased extreme weather, pointing to global climate change as a culprit.

Original report from Reuters

Posted in Central China, China, dam, disaster, Drought, Environment, Hubei, Life, News, River, Three Gorges, transport, water, World, Wuhan, Yangtze river | Comments Off on China’s Longest River at Lowest in 142 Years

Traditional Chinese Philosophy: Disaster Follows Wrongful Killing

Posted by Author on August 20, 2007

The Epoch Times –

According to the Book of Han, a classic Chinese history book from 2200 years ago, a judge named Senior Yu became well known for his fairness and wisdom.

During the reign of the Xuan Emperor in the Han Dynasty people built a memorial for Senior Yu while he was still alive.

Senior Yu was an Administrator at the County Prison as well as the Township Judge. He was very just and fair when he held court sessions. Of all the judgments handed down by the court, those written by the Senior Yu were considered the most appropriate and well balanced. Many times even those convicted would agree that Senior Yu’s punishments were fair.

During that time, in the Township of East Sea, there was a very kind and dutiful woman named Zhou Qing. She was extremely thoughtful and caring towards her mother-in-law in accordance with the Chinese custom.

Her mother-in-law said, “My daughter-in-law works so hard to take care of me! I am already very old. Why should I cherish my limited life in this world and burden the younger generations?” The old woman then committed suicide by hanging herself.

The old woman’s married daughter came home from her husband’s place and accused Zhou Qing of murdering her mother. She filed her accusation at the Township Governor’s Office. The government then arrested the kind hearted daughter-in-law Zhou Qing. They tortured her and forced her to admit guilt to the crime.

After hearing about the case, Senior Yu advised the Governor, “This woman had taken care of her mother-in-law for more than 10 years and her loyalty was well known in this area. I do not believe that she murdered her mother-in-law.” Yet, the Governor refused to heed Senior Yu’s advice, and insisted on carrying out the death penalty against Zhou Qing. After many futile attempts to change the Governor’s mind, Senior Yu left broken hearted.

According to the Chinese belief, when an innocent person is killed disasters will strike the hometown of the victim. After Zhou Qing was put to death, the Township of East Sea suffered three years of continued drought. The Governor was blamed and dismissed from his position.

When the new Governor reported to duty, he asked Senior Yu, “How come we did not have any rainfall for the last three years?” Senior Yu answered, “The loyal daughter-in-law should not have died. She was wrongfully executed by the former Governor. The calamity was caused by killing this innocent person.”

The new Governor immediately went to the grave site of Zhou Qing to pay tribute to her in person. He built a Memorial Archway of Integrity at the grave site as a commendation to her posthumously.

The rain returned immediately and the township had a bumper crop that year.

– Article from the Epochtimes: Good Stories from China: Disaster Follows Wrongful Killing

Posted in China, Chinese Culture, Culture, disaster, Drought, Killing, Law, Life, Official, People, Philosophy, Report, Social, Spiritual, Story | 1 Comment »

Drought in North China: 3% Water in a Reservoir Serving Beijing

Posted by Author on June 18, 2007

by Robert J. Saiget, AFP, published on, 18/06/2007 –

A rare forest fire on the outskirts of Beijing has renewed concerns about the capital’s crippling water shortages as an enduring drought deepens and temperatures hit record highs.

The fire swept through a stand of pine trees in western Beijing early last month during the hottest May in northern China in decades, torching a forest that was planted to restore green to the city’s dry barren mountains.

“We had no water here to fight the fire, we haven’t had any rain all year so the whole forest was dry,” said a worker surnamed Lin at the Malan forest plantation in Beijing’s Mentougou district.

“The authorities called in more than 1,000 soldiers who used fire extinguishers and fire retardant bombs to control the blaze.

“We were lucky the winds were blowing in the right direction, otherwise it would have destroyed more forest.”

The blaze occurred only several kilometres (miles) from the dry bed of a major tributary to Beijing’s Yongding river, which has itself been reduced to a trickle as it descends from the nearly empty Guanting reservoir, a major supplier of water to the capital.

Northern China has been fighting a drought that has lasted nearly 10 years, sapping rivers of water and leaving reservoirs at near record lows.

Water volume in the Guanting reservoir is only about three percent of its 4.2-billion-cubic-metre (147-billion-cubic-feet) capacity, according to Zhang Junfeng, a water expert with the Green Earth Volunteers environmental group.

Zhang blames the building of reservoirs upstream, but more importantly global warming and a lack of rainfall.

Chinese authorities have also acknowledged in recent months that global warming is at least partly to blame for the unusually high temperatures to have hit northern China.

Three smaller reservoirs sit along a 100-kilometre (60-mile) stretch of the parched Yongding river below the Guanting resevoir as locals save up the precious resource for irrigation and industrial use.

The lowest reservoir sits outside the gates of the Capital Iron and Steel Corporation in western Beijing, one of China’s biggest steel makers, a major water user and one of the capital’s top polluters.

Below the factory, the Yongding river no longer exists, leaving the famed Marco Polo Bridge, visited by the renowned Italian explorer nearly 800 years ago, spanning a dry, dusty track.

“Everyone around here is saving water. We have to,” said Zhang Zhongmin, a broccoli farmer near Guanting reservoir.

“The water levels in Guanting reservoir have been falling for years and the price of water is also increasing. We now are competing with new housing projects for water,” he said pointing at a nearby block of luxury apartments overlooking the reservoir.

Due to Beijing’s demand for water, Zhang’s patch of farmland is irrigated by water from a well, which he said is being drilled deeper and deeper every year as farmers tap into underground water resources.

“Beijing farmers are digging wells between 600 and 700 metres (1,980 to 2,310 feet) deep, some go as deep as 1,000 metres,” said environmentalist Zhang.

“This is an incredible depth and it means that the water tables are falling. The wells have only been going this deep in the last 10 years or so, before they rarely surpassed 300 metres.”

According to the government, annual per capita fresh water availability in Beijing is only 300 cubic metres, or one-eighth the national average and one-30th the world rate.

Beijing authorities have been long aware of the capital’s water shortage problem and in 2001 a massive water diversion project was approved to haul water from the Yangzte river in the south to the arid north.

Despite widespread concerns over the cost and environmental impact, the project was approved largely due to the dire need to maintain supplies for the capital’s 15 million residents.

The 5.3 billion-dollar first phase of the project is expected to bring up to 13 billion cubic metres of water from China’s longest river to Beijing and the neighbouring city of Tianjin by 2010.

If the second and third phases are built, the drought hit northern provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Gansu as well as Beijing and Tianjin could expect nearly 44 billion cubic metres of water to be pumped up each year by 2050.

This amounts to nearly the entire annual flow of the Yellow river, China’s second biggest.

– original report from North China drought highlights need for water diversion scheme

Posted in Beijing, China, disaster, Drought, Environment, Life, News, water | Comments Off on Drought in North China: 3% Water in a Reservoir Serving Beijing

Drought Threatens 1.5 million in Southwest China

Posted by Author on February 27, 2007

Reuters, Feb 27, 2007-

BEIJING, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Drought in southwestern China is threatening the drinking water supplies of 1.5 million people and authorities are considering seeding clouds to make it rain, state media said on Tuesday.

The problem has been compounded by last summer’s heat wave in the densely populated municipality of Chongqing, as water supplies have still not recovered, the Beijing News said.

More than 10 ships which ply the Yangtze River have been stranded by the low water levels, it added.

Some parts of Chongqing — home to some 30 million people — have started limiting water supplies to residents and are drilling new wells to find underground sources of water, the report said.

Last summer’s drought was the worst to hit southwest China in more than a century, when temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104.00F) and about 18 million people faced drinking water shortages.

original report from Reuters

Posted in China, disaster, Drought, Environment, Life, News, River, SW China, water | 1 Comment »

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