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
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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 ‘pollution’ Category

Official Sentenced To Death, China Food Safe Now?

Posted by Author on June 3, 2007


A hot news on Internet is China’s former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, was sentenced to death, because of “taking bribes and of dereliction of duty”.

Then, will there be less corruption officials and China’s food will be safer than before? definately NOT.

1. One death sentence won’t stop corruption.

China’s anti-corruption campaign has happend for many years. With the campaign ongoing, there’s more and more corrupt officials came out with higher amount value of bribery every day.

2. Punish official won’t make food safer.

China attract the world by it’s low price strategy. To make the price lower, many products are made in sweatshops ( stories in here , here, and here ) and labore camps ( story 1, story 2), that’s where the un-safe products are usually make in.

If the sweatshops and labore camps are exist, the products won’t be safe any way.

Posted in China, corruption, Economy, Food, Health, Labor camp, Law, Life, News, Official, pollution, Social, sweatshop, Worker | Comments Off on Official Sentenced To Death, China Food Safe Now?

Warning: Don’t Use Any Toothpaste Made in China

Posted by Author on June 2, 2007


Reuters, Sat Jun 2, 2007-

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Consumers have been warned to avoid any toothpaste made in China after inspectors found a poisonous chemical in toothpaste seized at the border and sold at two stores, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began scrutinizing toothpaste imported from China last week after similar products in Latin America were found to contain diethylene glycol, or DEG, often found in solvents and antifreeze.

The FDA identified products by Goldcredit International Enterprises Ltd., Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Co. Ltd as containing DEG.

Brands include Cooldent, Clean Rite and Oralmax and are usually found at discount retailers such as so-called dollar stores, the agency said. No major brands are affected.

“Although FDA is not aware of any U.S. reports of poisonings from toothpaste containing DEG, the agency is concerned about chronic exposure to DEG” especially in children and those with kidney or liver disease, said Deborah Autor, director of the FDA’s Office of Compliance in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

DEG-contaminated toothpaste has been seized in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Nicaragua. It was also found in cough syrup in Panama that led to the deaths of at least 100 people last year.

The chemical is inappropriately used as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent, and does not belong in toothpaste, Autor said.

The FDA issued its alert after seizing a batch of Cooldent toothpaste found to contain 3 percent DEG. Inspectors also found DEG-containing toothpaste at a Dollar Plus store in Miami and at a store called Todo a Peso in Puerto Rico, Autor said.

Goldcredit International Enterprises is a unit of Jiangsu Xingda Stationery Group, a manufacturer of glue and office supplies. Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals also makes soap and pet products.

(Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine and Julie Vorman)

– original report from Reuters: U.S. seizes tainted toothpaste from China

Related:
Toothpaste Scare : Products From China, May 24th, 2007

Posted in China, Food, Health, Law, Life, Made in China, medical, News, pollution, products, Social, Toothpaste, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Photo: Polluted China Taihu Lake Water Turns Green

Posted by Author on June 1, 2007


Polluted Tahu Lake water cause water panic in nearby city Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, eastern China. Story: Smelly Tap Water Cause Panic Water Buying in East China City

Polluted Taihu Lake, 1 Polluted Taihu Lake, 2

Polluted Taihu Lake, 3Polluted Taihu Lake, 4

Polluted Taihu Lake, 5Polluted Taihu Lake, 6

Polluted Taihu Lake, 8

Polluted Taihu Lake, 7

Related:
Smelly Tap Water Cause Panic Water Buying in East China City

Posted in China, East China, Environment, Health, Lake, Life, News, Photo, pollution, Taihu Lake, water | Comments Off on Photo: Polluted China Taihu Lake Water Turns Green

Smelly Tap Water Cause Panic Water Buying in East China City

Posted by Author on May 31, 2007


Independent Online, South Africa, May 31 2007-

Beijing – Panic water buying in a major eastern Chinese city has broken out with millions hoarding drinking supplies after public taps became tainted with polluted lake water, state press reported on Thursday.

Stores in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, began rationing sales of bottled water after the outbreak of blue-green algae contaminated the drinking supplies of the city of five million people, Xinhua news agency reported.

The industrial city on the lower reaches of the Yangtze river relies on the once scenic Taihu lake for its drinking supplies, it said.

“Citizens complained that tap water was so tainted and smelly that they could not wash with it,” the report said.

State television on Thursday showed lines of residents buying and carting off bottled water, with many shop shelves already empty.

Xinhua said the price of an 18-litre bottle of water in Wuxi sold for 50 yuan (about R50) on Wednesday, more than six times higher than the normal price of eight yuan.

Water levels on Taihu lake are at their lowest in 50 years due to a lack of rain and high temperatures, while the inflow from the Yangtze river has not been strong enough to wash out the pollution, the agency said.

The lake has been under stress for years as untreated sewage from local towns and villages as well as the region’s booming chemical and light manufacturing industry has left the water choked with pollutants, local press reports have said for years.

Officials did not say how long the crisis would last, but one biologist said that the algae bloom in Taihu lake could last four or five months.

“Concerning the present situation, if we don’t take effective measures, the algae bloom on Taihu could last up to five months,” Hu Weiping, a biologist with Nanjing Academy of Sciences, told the China News Service.

Hu said that due to a lack of incoming water, the temperatures in the lake reached the highest in 25 years in April, providing ripe conditions for the algae bloom.

Algae blooms threaten most Chinese freshwater lakes and are chiefly caused by untreated sewage and high concentrations of nitrogen, which is a main ingredient in soap powders and fertilisers. – Sapa-AFP

original report from Independent Online

Posted in China, City resident, East China, Environment, Health, Life, News, People, pollution, Social, Taihu Lake, water | Comments Off on Smelly Tap Water Cause Panic Water Buying in East China City

1 Million Text Messages Protest Blocks China Chemical Plant

Posted by Author on May 31, 2007


BBC News, Wednesday, 30 May 2007-

Residents of the eastern Chinese city of Xiamen have blocked construction of a chemical plant with a text message campaign, media reports say.

Opponents of the plant said they circulated nearly one million mobile phone messages to organise opposition, Xinhua news agency said.

Authorities in Xiamen have halted the construction of the plant to make paraxylene, a chemical in polyester.

Protesters said the plant posed health and environmental risks.

Potential carcinogen

The $1.4bn (£700,000) plant was already under construction 7km (4.3 miles) from Xiamen’s city centre, a distance that protesters said put the city’s 1.5 million residents and the environment at risk from pollution.

Paraxylene is a petrochemical that goes into the making of polyesters and fabrics.

It is potentially carcinogenic.

The text messages urged people to join a protest rally planned for Friday, Chinese media said.

“When this massive toxic chemical product goes into production, that will mean an atomic bomb has been released all over Xiamen island,” said one version of the text cited by the Southern Metropolitan Daily.

The project’s reversal highlights public fears in China over industrial pollution after years of breakneck economic growth.

China’s cities, countryside, waterways and coastlines are among the most polluted in the world.

The central government in Beijing has promised to clean up pollution, but local authorities are often keen to authorise projects that will bring in local revenue.

original from BBC News

Posted in China, City resident, Economy, Environment, Fujian, Health, Incident, medical, News, People, pollution, Protest, SE China, Social, Technology, Xiamen | 1 Comment »

Warn on Mislabled Monkfish From China As 2 Sickened

Posted by Author on May 28, 2007


Chicago Tribune, May 25, 2007-

A California company on Thursday recalled thousands of pounds of frozen fish from China after two people in Chicago became ill from eating what may have been toxic pufferfish, officials said.

The fish was labeled monkfish, but federal officials found life-threatening levels of tetrodotoxin in the fish. The toxin is typically associated with pufferfish.

One of the two Chicago cases caused a person to be hospitalized, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Both people ate the fish in homemade soup, officials said.

The FDA warned consumers Thursday not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish in case it was mislabeled. Eating the fish could result in serious illness or death, officials said. ( …… more details from Chicago Tribune)

Posted in China, Food, Health, Life, medical, News, pollution, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on Warn on Mislabled Monkfish From China As 2 Sickened

China Bananas, Instant Noodles and Health Scare

Posted by Author on May 25, 2007


By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, the Independent, UK, 25 May 2007-

The word on the streets of China’s cities is that bananas from the southern island of Hainan can cause Sars. And that Magician brand instant noodles poisons you because they use oil extracted from human corpses provided by funeral homes.

China is in the grip of a food safety scare, and although it has generated a number of bizarre rumours circulating in frantic text messages, the issue poses a serious potential threat to international trade.

Late last year, Hong Kong government chemists detected in salted duck eggs the Sudan II industrial dye, which was fed to the birds to make the yolk in their eggs extraordinarily red, a colour Chinese consumers see as a sign of high quality.

The Chinese government has pledged to get to the bottom of the scandal – and introducing standardised practices when it comes to food safety has become a major issue.

In Beijing, the city authorities have also announced plans to better monitor food products entering the capital after several food safety scandals emerged. Such is the mood there that some people are now saying that bad food, rather than lobbying about controversial issues such as Tibet, could be the main risk to the Olympic Games in the city next year.

Billions of pounds worth of counterfeit and substandard goods, from snack bars to fake liquor and medicines, to face creams, are produced every year in China.

Counterfeiting often extends to branded foods and you have to read the labels carefully in shops to make sure that you are getting the right food. Alcoholic drinks are particularly prone to copying and it is important to check to see if your beer or your breakfast cereal is the real thing.

China revealed in 2004, in one of its most highly publicised health scandals, that 13 babies had died from malnutrition in the eastern province of Anhui after being fed fake baby milk powder. But the problem is going global, spreading way beyond China’s borders.

Chinese-made food products which are exported are being examined for toxins after safety breaches involving poisons in dog food and toothpaste, following reports of tainted products arriving in the Dominican Republic and Panama.

The Dominican Republic authorities said they had removed 10,000 tubes of the Chinese toothpaste brands Excel and Mr Cool from shelves after learning they contained diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid. ( …… more details from the Independent)

Related:
Toothpaste Scare : Products From China, BBC News, 24 May 2007

Posted in animal, Asia, China, Economy, Food, Hainan, Health, Life, medical, News, pollution, USA, World | Comments Off on China Bananas, Instant Noodles and Health Scare

Toothpaste Scare : Products From China

Posted by Author on May 24, 2007


BBC News, 24 May 2007-

Health officials in the United States say they are checking all shipments of toothpaste imported from China for contamination with toxic chemicals.

Panama and the Dominican Republic have reported finding diethylene glycol, a chemical used in engine coolants, in toothpaste from China.

The toothpaste scare is the latest involving products from China.

Earlier this year, contaminated pet food ingredients killed a number of cats and dogs in North America.

The toxic chemical, melamine, was found in wheat gluten exports from China for use in pet food, prompting a recall of at least 100 pet food brands.

The tainted wheat gluten was even thought to have made its way into livestock feed.

Low-cost substitute

Cough syrup containing diethylene glycol originating from China killed more than 50 people in Panama last year.

The New York Times said a Chinese chemical maker had sold the industrial-grade chemical as glycerine, which is often used as a moistener in products from toothpaste to soap and cosmetics.

Diethylene glycol is sometimes used as a low-cost substitute for glycerine and Chinese toothpaste makers have said small amounts of the chemical are harmless in toothpaste.

“We are going to be sampling and testing all shipments of toothpaste that come from China,” said Doug Arbesfeld, a spokesman for the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA says China is the second-largest exporter of toothpaste to the US after Canada.

Food safety investigators in Panama said two brands of toothpaste were imported illegally from China through a free-trade zone.

Chinese officials say they are investigating the claims.

The Dominican Republic and Panama have pulled thousands of tubes of Chinese toothpaste brands Excel and Mr Cool from store shelves.

Beijing recently pledged to clean up its tainted food and drug industry after the series of safety scares. The subject was raised by the US in bilateral trade talks this week.

The former head of China’s State Food and Drug Administration is facing trial, accused of taking large bribes to approve untested medicines.

– original from BBC News: US checks toothpaste for toxins

Related:
Why U.S. Doesn’t Stop Tainted Food From China, The Mercury News, 05/20/2007

Posted in China, Economy, Food, Health, Law, Life, Made in China, medical, News, pollution, products, Social, Tainted Products, Toothpaste, Trade, USA, World | 4 Comments »

Why U.S. Doesn’t Stop Tainted Food From China

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


By Rick Weiss, Washington Post, on The San Jose Mercury News, 05/20/2007-

WASHINGTON – Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught – many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

Now the confluence of two events – the highly publicized contamination of U.S. chicken, pork and fish with tainted Chinese pet food ingredients and this week’s resumption of high-level economic and trade talks with China – has activists and members of Congress demanding the United States tell China it is fed up.

Dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too.

“So many U.S. companies are directly or indirectly involved in China now, the commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” said Robert B. Cassidy, a former assistant U.S. trade representative for China and now director of international trade and services for Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, a Washington law firm.

`Kowtowing to China’

As a result, the United States finds itself “kowtowing to China,” Cassidy said, even as that country keeps sending American consumers adulterated and mislabeled foods.

It’s not just about cheap imports, added Carol Tucker Foreman, a former assistant secretary of agriculture now at the Consumer Federation of America.

“Our farmers and food processors have drooled for years to be able to sell their food to that massive market,” Foreman said. “The Chinese counterfeit. They have a serious piracy problem. But we put up with it because we want to sell to them.”

U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown to more than $5 billion a year – a fraction of last year’s $232 billion U.S. trade deficit with China but a number that has enormous growth potential, given the Chinese economy’s 10 percent growth rate and its billion-plus consumers.

Trading with the largely unregulated Chinese marketplace has its risks, of course, as evidenced by the many lawsuits that U.S. pet food companies now face from angry consumers who say their pets were poisoned by tainted Chinese ingredients. Until recently, however, many companies and even the federal government reckoned that, on average, those risks were worth taking.

But after the pet food scandal, some are recalculating.

China’s less-than-stellar behavior as a food exporter is revealed in stomach-turning detail in FDA “refusal reports” filed by U.S. inspectors: Juices and fruits rejected as “filthy.” Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption. Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer. Swordfish rejected as “poisonous.”

In the first four months of 2007, FDA inspectors – who are able to check out less than 1 percent of regulated imports – refused 298 food shipments from China. By contrast, 56 shipments from Canada were rejected, even though Canada exports about $10 billion in FDA-regulated food and agricultural products to the United States – compared with about $2 billion from China.

Smuggled meat

Deception by Chinese exporters is not limited to plant products. Some of their most egregiously unfit exports are smuggled in.

Under Agriculture Department rules, countries cannot export meat and poultry products to the United States unless the USDA certifies that the slaughterhouses and processing plants have food-safety systems equivalent to those here. Much to its frustration, China is not certified to sell any meat to the United States because it has not met that requirement.

But that has not stopped Chinese meat exporters. In the past year, USDA teams have seized hundreds of thousands of pounds of prohibited poultry products from China and other Asian countries, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced in March. Some were shipped in crates labeled “dried lily flower,” “prune slices” and “vegetables,” according to news reports. It is unclear how much of the illegal meat slipped in undetected.

Despite those violations, the Chinese government is on track to get permission to legally export its chickens to the United States – a prospect that has raised concern not only because of fears of bacteria such as salmonella but also because Chinese chickens, if not properly processed, could be a source of avian flu, which public-health authorities fear may be poised to trigger a human pandemic.

Last year, under high-level pressure from China, the USDA passed a rule allowing China to export to the United States chickens that were grown and slaughtered in North America and then processed in China – a rule that quickly passed through multiple levels of review and was approved the day before Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Washington last April.

Now the rule that China really wants, allowing it to export its own birds to the United States, is in the works, said Richard Raymond, USDA’s undersecretary for food safety. Reports in China have repeatedly hinted that only if China gets its way on chicken exports to the United States will Beijing lift its four-year-old ban on importing U.S. beef. Raymond denies any link.

Raymond said permission for China to sell poultry to the United States is moving ahead because recent USDA audits found China’s poultry slaughterhouses to be equivalent to those here.

Tony Corbo, a lobbyist for Food and Water Watch, a Washington advocacy group, said that finding – which is not subject to outside review – is unbelievable, given repeated findings of unsanitary conditions at China’s chicken slaughterhouses. Corbo said he has seen some of those audits. “Everyone who has seen them was grossed out,” he said.

Major change needed

John C. Bailar III, a University of Chicago professor emeritus who chaired a 2003 National Academies committee that recommended major changes in the U.S. food safety system – which have gone largely unheeded – said he has become increasingly concerned that corporations and the federal government seem willing to put the interests of business “above the public welfare.”

“This nation has – and has had for decades – a pressing need for a wholly dedicated food safety agency, one that is independent and not concerned with other matters to bring together and extend the bits of food safety activities now scattered over more than a dozen agencies,” he said in an e-mail.

original article on The Mercury News

Posted in animal, China, Company, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, medical, News, Pet food, Politics, pollution, products, Social, Tainted Products, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China A Top Violator of US Food Standards: reports

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


france24.com, 20/05/2007-

China is a top violator of US food safety standards, with US authorities last month rejecting 257 Chinese food shipments — far more than from any other country, US media reported Sunday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that at least 137 food shipments were rejected as “filthy” after testing positive for salmonella, or for containing banned ingredients.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the US Food and Drug Administration last month seized more than 1,000 shipments of tainted dietary supplements, toxic cosmetics and counterfeit medicines from China.

The Tribune meanwhile, wrote that a good portion of the rejected Chinese shipments each month includes fish and seafood like catfish, shrimp, mahi-mahi, tilapia, eel and yellow fin tuna.

Other Chinese imports that failed inspection include herbal teas, bean curd, candy, dried apples, dried peaches and peanut milk, while non-food rejects included catheters and lip gloss.

The burgeoning food import scandal has been spotlighted because of the recent highly publicized contamination of dog and cat food from China suspected of leaving thousands of pets dead.

The pet food was found to have been tainted with the chemical melamine, a substance used in fertilizers and plastics, which found its way into wheat gluten exported from China for the US pet food and animal feed markets.

China, which exports about two billion dollars each year in food products, not only is a cheap supplier of a growing number of important food products, but for some key foodstuffs it is virtually the sole purveyor.

For instance, the Post reported that China now controls 80 percent of the world’s production of ascorbic acid, for example, a valuable preservative that is ubiquitous in processed foods.

Meanwhile, the daily wrote, US companies have become so dependent on the Chinese exports that they may be reluctant to reduce the flow of goods.

“The commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Robert Cassidy, a former assistant US trade representative for China told the Post.

The daily also reported that US agriculture officials also have seized hundreds of thousands of pounds of prohibited poultry products from China and other Asian countries over the past year, including some shipped in crates labeled “dried lily flower,” and “prune slices.”

original report

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, medical, News, Pet food, Politics, pollution, products, Social, Tainted Products, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on China A Top Violator of US Food Standards: reports

Banned Antibiotics Found In Catfish Imported From China

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


By Stephen J. Hedges, Washington Bureau, on The Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2007-

WASHINGTON — As federal regulators scrambled last month to contain a pet food contamination outbreak, officials in some Southern states had a different concern: Noticing that catfish imports from China had skyrocketed, they began testing the imported fish.

What they found surprised them — two banned antibiotics.

The discovery pointed to a deep flaw in the nation’s food safety system, as the Chinese catfish had already entered the U.S. legally and were on their way to grocery stores and restaurants. “We continue to find it in the food shipments coming into Alabama,” said Ron Sparks, Alabama’s agriculture commissioner.

“And if it’s coming into Alabama, it’s coming in everywhere else.”

The discovery enabled Alabama and Mississippi to put “stop sale” orders on the catfish, tying up more than 700,000 pounds of fish in Alabama alone. But without these last-minute tests, the fish would have been eaten by any number of consumers, despite the presence of the banned antibiotics.

No country highlights the gaps in America’s food import system — with just 0.9 percent of shipments inspected upon arrival in the U.S. in fiscal year 2006 — as much as China, a rapidly industrializing, mass-exporting country whose food safety controls lag those of Western nations.

In April alone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration turned back 257 Chinese import shipments, far more than from any other country, FDA records show. At least 137 of them involved food rejected for reasons like “filthy,” “salmonella,” or because it contained banned ingredients. A good portion of the rejected Chinese shipments each month includes fish and seafood, such as catfish, shrimp, mahi-mahi, tilapia, eel and yellowfin tuna.

Other Chinese imports that did not get past inspectors included herbal teas, bean curd, candy, dried apples, dried peaches and peanut milk. Non-food items included everything from catheters to lip gloss.

While U.S. inspectors pay more attention to high-risk countries like China, critics say the added scrutiny falls far short of what is needed. (…… more details from The Chicago Tribune)

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Food, Health, Law, Life, medical, News, Politics, pollution, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on Banned Antibiotics Found In Catfish Imported From China

Food Poisoning Kills Boy in China

Posted by Author on April 29, 2007


France24/AFP, 29/04/07-

A seven-year-old boy died and 55 others fell violently ill after eating poisonous beef in an ethnic minority area in southwest China’s Yunnan province, state media reported Sunday.

The victims, all residents of Zhadian township, had eaten beef stew Thursday spiked with the chemical nitrite, which is toxic in excessive amounts, the Xinhua news agency said.

The street vendor who sold the stew had run out of salt when cooking the dish and grabbed “something that looked like salt” instead, according to the agency.

Sample tests of the stew showed more than 12 grams of nitrite per kilo of beef, four times the fatal amount, Xinhua said.

Nitrite is used in very small quantities as a food additive. High amounts can lead to headaches, vomiting, unconsciousness and death.

Reports of food poisoning outbreaks emerge frequently in China, where hygiene and safety standards remain low for many of the nation’s 1.3 billion people.

Earlier this month, 203 hospital patients in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province were poisoned in what authorities determined was an intentional act. One of the patients later died.

original report from france24.com

Posted in Children, China, Environment, Food, Health, Life, medical, News, People, pollution, Social, South China, Yunnan | Comments Off on Food Poisoning Kills Boy in China

China About To Become Top Carbon Emitter

Posted by Author on April 21, 2007


The Financial Times, April 19 2007-

China will overtake the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) either this year or next, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The estimate is much firmer than the IEA’s previous forecast, last November, that on current trends China would overtake the United States before 2010.

”Either this year or next year,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters, in answer to the question of when China would overtake the United States.

The IEA is energy adviser to 26 rich nations and Birol is a key author of the Paris-based agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report.

China is set to become the world’s top carbon emitter just as serious talks start to extend the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol on global warming beyond 2012, potentially heaping pressure on Beijing to take more action on climate change.

A copy of a so-far unpublished Chinese government global warming report, seen by Reuters, rejects binding caps on carbon emissions until the country’s modernisation, by the middle of this century, opting instead to brake emissions growth.

The United States, which pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, would not join a new climate change regime unless it also applied to China and India, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union said on Wednesday.

”There will be no comprehensive global warming legislation coming out of the United States… that does not include limits or a programme for China, India and the rest of the developing world,” Ambassador C. Boyden Gray told Reuters in an interview ahead of an April 30 U.S.-EU summit.

Few Western climate negotiators expect China to accept caps from 2013 but do want to see a timeline for that. …… ( more from Financial Times’s report )

Posted in air, China, Climate, Environment, News, pollution, World | Comments Off on China About To Become Top Carbon Emitter

China’s Longest River Extensively Polluted Beyond Repair

Posted by Author on April 16, 2007


Reuters, Apr 15, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Three Gorges Dam reservoir has been fouled by pesticides, fertilizers and sewage, and more than 600 kilometers of the Yangtze river are critically polluted, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing a report.

The joint report by an institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the international WWF organization and the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission also said nearly 30 percent of the river’s major tributaries, including the Minjiang, Tuojiang, Xiangjiang and Huangpu rivers, were seriously polluted.

“The impact of human activities on the Yangtze water ecology is largely irreversible,” Yang Guishan, a researcher of the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of the chief editors of the report, told Xinhua.

“It’s a pressing job to regulate such activities in all the Yangtze drainage areas and promote harmonious development of man and nature.”

China’s environment has suffered for years as the country has chased rapid economic growth, with little official attention given until recently to the threats of unfettered growth to the nation’s air, water and soil.

Last month at the opening session of the National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao called for economic growth goals to be balanced with protection of the environment.

Cities along the Yangtze annually dump at least 14.2 billion tons of waste into China’s longest waterway — which Xinhua said accounts for 35 percent of the country’s fresh water resources.

The river’s annual harvest of aquatic products dropped from 427,000 tons in the 1950s to about 100,000 tons in the 1990s, according to the joint study.

It also said the Three Gorges Dam reservoir, the world’s largest water storage facility, was seriously polluted by pesticides, fertilizers and sewage from passenger boats.

– Original report from Reuters: China’s Yangtze river extensively polluted: study

Posted in China, Economy, Environment, News, pollution, River, Social, Three Gorges, waste, water, Yangtze river | Comments Off on China’s Longest River Extensively Polluted Beyond Repair

China Wheat Gluten Banned by U.S. for Chemical Contaminate

Posted by Author on April 2, 2007


The hottest news in these 2 days is contaminated wheat gluten has been found in U.S. which is imported from China that has been blamed for caused at least 16 deaths of pets.

Now it’s still unsure whether the contaminated wheat gluten had entered the human food supply or not, but the Food and Drug Administration were testing all wheat gluten imported from China.

Almost all the medias are covering this incident, and you can find out more details from this New York Times’s report: Pet Food Contained Chemical Found in Plastic, F.D.A. Says

Food safety is a long time concern of people in China. Read the following post in Jan. this year to find out the situation in China: China: People Concerned About Food Safety, Environmental Quality

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Environment, Food, Health, Incident, Law, Life, medical, News, pollution, Social, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on China Wheat Gluten Banned by U.S. for Chemical Contaminate

Chinese Radioactive Contamination Activist Harassed, Faces Financial Hardship

Posted by Author on March 27, 2007


Press rlease, Human Rights in China (HRIC), March 27, 2007-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that rights activist Sun Xiaodi has gone to Beijing for treatment of a life-threatening tumor, while he and his family continue to be seriously harassed and face financial hardship.

Sun Xiaodi has spent more than a decade petitioning the central authorities over radioactive contamination from the No. 792 Uranium Mine in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, and illegal mining allegedly carried out by local officials. For those efforts, Sun Xiaodi was presented with the prestigious Nuclear-Free Future Award in Window Rock, Arizona, where HRIC presented his acceptance message.

Residents of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture where Sun Xiaodi lives suffer an unusually high rate of cancer and other health conditions associated with radioactive contamination. In November 2006, a medical examination revealed a tumor in Sun’s abdominal cavity. Because local medical facilities could not provide adequate care, Sun put in a request with local public security officials for permission to go to Beijing for further diagnosis and treatment, but for months received no reply.

At the end of February 2007, with his condition worsening, Sun and his daughter, Sun Haiyan, traveled to Beijing, where Sun consulted a specialist who recommended surgery costing 120,000 yuan (approximately $15,000). Sun barely has enough money to support himself and his daughter in Beijing, much less meet the costs of the surgery. Friends are currently attempting to raise the funds necessary to meet Sun’s medical expenses.

Since he was presented with the Nuclear-Free Future Award, official harassment of Sun has intensified, including constant surveillance, water supply shut-offs and vandalism to his home. Since Sun and his daughter departed for Beijing, his wife has continued to receive threats and harassment from unknown individuals. Sun’s family believes those individuals were hired by local officials, who fear that Sun has actually gone to Beijing to report further on abuses at the No. 792 Uranium Mine. Sources say that on March 26 Sun Haiyan telephoned a local official to report the harassment and request protection for her mother.

HRIC condemns the harassment of environmental activist Sun Xiaodi and his family, and the failure of local authorities to protect them. HRIC urges the central government to protect Sun’s right to petition and access to necessary medical treatment. HRIC also calls on the international community to send a strong message of concern to the Chinese authorities in support of rights defenders such as Sun who are working in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions.

original report 

Posted in Activist, China, Economy, Environment, Health, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, NW China, People, pollution, Rural, Social, Speech | Comments Off on Chinese Radioactive Contamination Activist Harassed, Faces Financial Hardship

Pollution Leaving China Mountains High and Dry, Study Finds

Posted by Author on March 8, 2007


Anne Minard, for National Geographic News, DC, USA, March 8, 2007-

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in China is depriving nearby hills and mountains of rain and snow.

That’s the finding of a new study led by Daniel Rosenfeld, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Jerusalem’s Institute of Earth Sciences, in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

To research the effects of pollution on high-altitude areas, Rosenfeld and his colleagues combined records of visibility, precipitation, and tiny pollution particles in the air—known as aerosols—on Mount Hua, near Xi’an in central China.

The results showed that the aerosols are causing clouds to withhold their moisture in hilly regions.

The findings explain the 10 to 25 percent drop in rainfall that has occurred at higher altitudes downwind of cities compared to lowland areas, the team said.

Aerosols are competing to attract the limited moisture in clouds, which reduces the size of water droplets, Rosenfeld explained. Smaller droplets in turn take more time to combine to form raindrops.

“It creates short-lived clouds,” he said. “You don’t have enough time for rain to fall before they get to the downwind side of the hills.”

Worldwide Phenomenon

Scientists have long suspected a connection between pollution and decreased rainfall in many parts of the world.

But there no solid proof until Rosenfeld hit upon a scientific gold mine in China: records of visibility going back 50 years.

Using that data, his team has made a direct connection between aerosols and rainfall on a local scale that’s been missing from observations in other parts of the world.

“It’s an important story,” said William Woodley, who has been documenting the same effect in the Sierra Nevada mountain range downwind of San Francisco, California, for the California Energy Commission.

“[The new study is] corroborating and buttressing what we’ve been doing in California.”

While some governments have taken steps to limit so-called large-particle emissions, research by Rosenfeld, Woodley, and others is showing that even small particles like aerosols can affect weather both on local and global scales.

Earlier this week, a separate study linked Asian pollution with an increase in storm severity in the Pacific and—perhaps more importantly—changes in global air and heat circulation that may be linked to warming in the polar regions.

(Read the story: “Asia Pollution Changing World’s Weather, Scientists Say” [March 6, 2007].)

Rosenfeld says all of the new studies represent a growing awareness of the effects of human activity on the global climate.

“Here we see there is much more than temperature change and rising sea levels,” he said.

“By polluting the air and clouds we are likely changing our weather patterns and water resources.”

Related:
North America Weather Affected by China and India Air Pollution, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2007

Posted in China, Climate, Environment, News, NW China, pollution, Shaanxi, USA, World, Xi’an | Comments Off on Pollution Leaving China Mountains High and Dry, Study Finds

North America Weather Affected by China and India Air Pollution

Posted by Author on March 8, 2007


By Robert Lee Hotz, Los Angeles Times, CA, USA, March 6, 2007-

Asia’s growing air pollution — billowing plumes of soot, smog and wood smoke — is making the Pacific region cloudier and stormier, disrupting winter weather patterns along the West Coast and into the Arctic, researchers reported Monday.

Carried on prevailing winds, the industrial outpouring of dust, sulfur, carbon grit and trace metals from booming Asian economies is having an intercontinental cloud-seeding effect, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study is the first large-scale analysis to draw a link between Asian air pollution and the changing Pacific weather patterns.

“The pollution transported from Asia makes storms stronger and deeper and more energetic,” said lead author Renyi Zhang at Texas A&M University. “It is a direct link from large-scale storm systems to [human-produced] pollution.”

Satellite measurements reveal that high-altitude storm clouds over the northern Pacific have increased up to 50% over the last 20 years as new factories, vehicles and power plants in China and India spew growing amounts of microscopic pollutant particles into the air.

The resulting changes have altered how rain droplets form and helped foster the creation of imposing formations over the northern Pacific known as deep convective clouds.

The clouds create powerful updrafts that spawn fiercer thunderstorms and more intense rainfall, particularly during the winter, the researchers said.

Only a decade ago did scientists in the University of California’s Pacific Rim Aerosol Network help discover that the pollution crossing the Pacific from Asia was worse than suspected, with millions of tons of previously undetected contaminants carried on the wind.

In fact, on any spring or summer day, almost a third of the air high over Los Angeles, San Francisco and other California cities can be traced directly to Asia, researchers said.

“More stuff starting up over there means more stuff ending up over here,” said UC Davis atmospheric scientist Steven Cliff.

Usually, dust and industrial pollutants take from five days to two weeks to cross the Pacific to California.

Zhang and his colleagues conducted their three-year study by comparing satellite imagery of the Pacific region taken from 1984 to 1994 with imagery of the same area from 1994 to 2005. The study, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, found that deep convective clouds had increased between 20% and 50%.

Convective clouds include cumulonimbus clouds, which can be many miles thick with a base near Earth’s surface and a top frequently at an altitude of 33,000 feet or more.

The research team, which included atmospheric scientists from Caltech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UC San Diego, linked the changing cloud patterns to the increasing pollution through a series of computer studies.

The scientists also examined satellite data from the Atlantic region during the same periods, since pollution from North America follows the prevailing winds to Europe. But they did not find any similar pattern of cloud changes or increase in storm intensity.

The Pacific pollution also may affect other pervasive patterns of air circulation that shape world climate.

“If the trend to intensified storms in this region persists, it will likely have profound implications on climate change,” said Robert McGraw, a senior atmospheric chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, who was not involved in the study.

Among other consequences, the more energetic Pacific storm track could be carrying warmer air and more black soot farther north into the Canadian Arctic, where it may accelerate the melting of polar ice packs, the researchers said.

The researchers emphasized that it would take much more sustained study to understand the international climate ramifications.

Until recently, most scientists believed that, with its adverse effects on health and plant life, such aerosol pollution was mostly a local problem. If anything, it helped rather than hindered the climate — at least in terms of global warming — by offsetting the heat-trapping effects of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

At low altitudes, the haze of aerosol particles reflects the sun’s energy back into space, cooling Earth’s surface slightly. At the same time, the particles help form brighter low-altitude clouds that also shield the surface from solar heat.

But once these tiny particles reach the upper atmosphere, they generate fierce downpours from super-cooled droplets and ice particles instead of gentle warm showers.

At monitoring sites along the U.S. West Coast, scientists have been detecting pollutants that originated from smokestacks and tailpipes thousands of miles to the west.

Recently, researchers at the University of Washington have captured traces of ozone, carbon monoxide, mercury and particulate matter from Asia at monitoring sites on Mt. Bachelor in Oregon and Cheeka Peak in Washington state.

Cliff and his colleagues have been picking up the telltale chemical signatures of Asian particulates and other pollutants at several monitoring sites north of San Francisco and, during the last year, around Southern California.

The pollutants, however, are suspended at high altitude. It is unclear how much of them reach ground level or what their direct effect on local weather might be.

“The air above Los Angeles is primarily from Asia,” Cliff said. “Presumably that air has Asian pollution incorporated into it.”

original report from  Los Angeles Times

Posted in air, Asia, China, Economy, Environment, News, pollution, Social, World | 2 Comments »

Shenzhen: Vivid Display of China Economy, Pollution and Social ills

Posted by Author on February 11, 2007


By Craig Simons, INTERNATIONAL STAFF of Statesman.com, Texas,  Sunday, February 11, 2007-

SHENZHEN, China — Nowhere else is China’s breathtaking economic growth on display as vividly as in this southern metropolis. It even has a name: “Shenzhen speed,” a remarkable rural-to-urban transformation.

Three decades ago, this area was mostly dirt roads and rice paddies. Farmers eked a living from the fertile crescent of land at the end of the Pearl River and gazed longingly across a barbed wire border at Hong Kong, then a British colony.

Today, Shenzhen is one of China’s largest cities, with a population pushing 18 million — almost twice the population of Los Angeles County — and a landscape of skyscrapers, luxury apartments and shopping malls.

Hundreds of square miles of fields have been drained and covered with factories that churn out a significant portion of the world’s products, from computers to clothing and toys. The city has averaged an annual economic growth of 28 percent since 1980, the fastest in China.

But Shenzhen speed also represents China’s dilemma. The fast profits have come with problems. On many days, the air is thick with smog. The number of cars has nearly doubled since 2003, and streets lock into snarls of exasperated motorists. Violent crime and the incidence of HIV/AIDS has surged.

Experts see the city as a test case for whether China will be able to solve problems ranging from massive pollution to growing labor disputes.

At a park in the city center, 55-year-old Peng Li remembered that when she moved to the city in 1987, “it was always clear.”

“But now . . . well, now you can see what’s happened,” she said, sweeping a hand across the polluted gray skyline.

Other residents complain that lack of social welfare has created a society where poorer citizens are left out.

Some 13 million migrant laborers work in Shenzhen’s factories and produce almost all of the city’s wealth, but they have almost no access to public services, including reduced-cost health care and schooling, said Liu Kaiming, director of Shenzhen’s Institute of Contemporary Observation.

“The system has created a huge group of people who are treated as second-class citizens,” he said.

In 1980, China’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, declared Shenzhen a special economic zone, one of four cities allowed to carry out communist China’s first capitalist changes.

Changes followed rapidly as companies began to pay for work done rather than for time worked and, for the first time, to link salaries with performance, both of which “vastly increased productivity,” said Yang Yaolin, director of the city’s history museum.

An indication of Shenzhen speed is on display at a museum. An exhibition preserves a typical home from the early 1980s that today is considered a relic. A poster of Mao Zedong hangs on a wall, a sewing machine sits beside a manual typewriter, and a hot plate rests on a counter next to a flimsy bed.

Looking at the room, 73-year-old Wu Yanda, a retired factory manager who now lives in a “European-style villa,” recalled that when he moved to Shenzhen in 1987, such lodgings were “quite luxurious.”

“Today, it’s ancient history,” he said. “Most people have a lot more.”

But not everyone is basking in the new prosperity.

The combination of low pay, grueling work and discrimination has led to increasing labor unrest.

Shenzhen accounted for 15 percent of China’s court-adjudicated labor disputes last year, and the number of migrant workers seeking jobs in the city has fallen in recent years as they chose to look elsewhere, Liu said.

The change has forced companies to raise salaries by as much as 20 percent, a shift that could lead factories to relocate, he said, adding that “if the situation doesn’t improve, companies will not be able to find enough workers and the economy will have to slow down.”

With urban ills growing across China, cities are looking at Shenzhen for lessons on how to deal with the problems and avert an economic slowdown.

“Because development has been the most rapid in Shenzhen, the problems are the most extreme here,” said Huang Donghe, editor of the Shenzhen Youth Magazine. “But every Chinese city faces the same problems.”

City government plans to tackle the problems include attracting better-paying high-tech manufacturers while forcing heavily polluting firms to clean up or move further inland and improving access to health care and education for migrant workers, said Yang Lixun, a Shenzhen-based government sociologist.

Last year, the government set up a fund to compensate workers left unpaid when companies close. The city also has announced plans to greatly expand the city’s subway system by 2010, build more parks and increase recycling programs.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Shenzhen developed by attracting low-value manufacturing that stressed high consumption and allowed high levels of pollution,” Yang said. “But now we realize there are problems with that development strategy.”

There is little evidence that the initiatives are working so far, Liu said. He noted that workers continue to have very little access to public services, and pollution and traffic seems to have gotten worse in recent months.

“In China, the most important thing is not to listen to what government officials say but to see if they actually do anything,” he said. “So far, they haven’t done much.”

Zong Qi, a 22-year-old college graduate who moved to Shenzhen from China’s inland Hunan province last year, attests to the difficulties migrants face. Over six months in the city he has changed jobs “more than seven times,” twice because an employer refused to pay him.

“It’s very easy to be tricked and it’s hard to find a boss who cares for workers,” he said between trying to sell postcards to passers-by at the park, a job he had started a week before and that, at most, could earn him the equivalent of $100 a month.

Loneliness is also acute. Since Liu Gang, 32, arrived in Shenzhen nine years ago from China’s central Sichuan province, he has been home to see his wife and daughter “only a few times,” because he wants to save what little money he makes.

“It’s the price migrant workers pay,” he said. “We need the work but we can’t afford to bring our families.”

Experts blame disillusionment and a lack of family ties for a local crime wave.

While Shenzhen does not publish crime data, the Southern Metropolitan News newspaper reported that in just one of the city’s six districts, there were 18,000 robberies in 2004, more than eight times the number reported that year in all of Shanghai.

Partly because of the transient community, the virus that causes AIDS is also spreading quickly, and hotels routinely distribute pamphlets about how to protect against sexual diseases, Huang said.

Like most Chinese cities, Shenzhen does not publish data on the number of residents infected with HIV/AIDS. ( csimons@coxnews.com )

———-
original report from Statesman.com, In China, ‘Shenzhen speed’ comes with bumps

Posted in AIDS, China, City resident, Economy, employment, Environment, Family, Guangdong, Health, Human Rights, income, Law, Life, News, People, pollution, Rural, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Worker | 1 Comment »

China: People Concerned About Food Safety, Environmental Quality

Posted by Author on January 30, 2007


Worldwatch Institute, DC, USA, Jan. 30, 2007-

Chinese bodies have been put at risk for decades. Twenty years ago, people were afraid to speak out against the government. But today, they are expressing growing concern about the contamination of their food, water, and air.

A recent survey shows that four out of ten Chinese have eaten unsafe food, while eight in ten are worried about food safety. Heavy pollution of soil and water, much of it damaged by extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, has led to a situation of rising food insecurity.

A week ago, a cell phone message circulated among Beijing citizens claiming that the pork sold in local markets contained a deadly virus. Residents spread the warning quickly to their friends and discouraged them from buying the meat.

As a result, business at Beijing’s pork markets nearly froze in the capital’s chilly winter, with sales plummeting as much as two-thirds. Although the government refuted the rumor, suspicions remain.

This is not the first such scare in Beijing. Several months ago, news came out that the city’s markets were selling “poisonous” rice (moldy rice that can be harmful to health), causing panic among residents.

According to Pan Yue, vice president of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), some 150 million mu (10 million hectares) of land nationwide is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins. And across China, villages have piled an estimated 150 million tons of garbage in the open air, posing risks to residents, wildlife, and the local environment.

A new survey released January 15 reflects the rising public concern about food safety and the environment. In it, 86 percent of respondents agree that environmental pollution has had a significant impact on modern life, while 39 percent think the worsening environment has had big effects on themselves and their families.

The survey, titled The Chinese Public’s Awareness of Environmental Protection and Livelihood Index 2006 , was conducted by the China Environmental Culture Exchange Association and led by SEPA’s Pan, who calls it a “weathervane” of public awareness of environmental protection.

The survey also reports that four out of five Chinese are concerned about drinking water quality, and 34 percent have encountered water contamination problems.

Four in ten Chinese have experienced air pollution problems, and 70 percent are not satisfied with the current air quality. Respondents report suffering daily from the increased health burden caused by “dirty” air and noise pollution.

Pan notes that China faces a deteriorating environmental situation, with about 400 million citizens under threat from serious air pollution, and 15 million burdened with respiratory disease as a result. According to cancer experts, 70 percent of the 2 million deaths from cancer each year in China are linked to environmental pollution.

Jianqiang Liu is a senior investigative journalist with China Southern Weekend and a visiting scholar at Peking University.

———-
original report from  Worldwatch Institute

Posted in air, China, City resident, Environment, Food, Health, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, pollution, Social, water | 1 Comment »

Toxic Fruits and Vegetables From China Found Repeatedly in Hong Kong

Posted by Author on January 25, 2007


Press Release, Green Peace China, 23rd January 2007-

Hong Kong- Fruit samples were found for the first time by Greenpeace to contain methamidophos, a banned pesticide of high toxicity, including on popularly consumed strawberry and tangerines. One sample was even found contaminated by 13 types of pesticide. Greenpeace strongly condemns the repeated omission of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), and urges the Government to announce a timetable for food safety legislation in order to stop pesticide contaminated fruit and vegetable from coming to Hong Kong.

Greenpeace releases the latest testing result of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables today and contaminated produce were dumped in front of the Center for Food Safety (CFS) to accuse their incompetence in preventing the influx of toxic fruits and vegetables to Hong Kong.

10 samples of fruit and vegetable were collected by Greenpeace over 6 spots in Hong Kong on Jan 4 2007. Among the 5 mainland China-imported fruit samples, 4 were confirmed to be contaminated by highly toxic pesticide such as methamidophos, a kind banned pesticide. One tangerine sample even contains 13 kinds of pesticide.

“We have been raising time and again the urgency of the problem since last year. Regrettably, the SAR Government simply turns a blind eye to it and refuse to implement any substantial policy to stop the influx of toxic fruits. So long as the Government does not announce any timetable for food safety legislation, Hong Kong citizens have to suffer the risk continuously!” Greenpeace Assistant Campaigner Chow Yuen-ping said.

Greenpeace exposed pesticide contaminated vegetables in Hong Kong supermarkets last April and subsequently found again in Guangzhou that fruits and vegetables contained illegal pesticide in June. Considering mainland fruit is also supplied to Hong Kong, Greenpeace has kept warning that the SAR had to legislate on food safety to prevent the possible influx of pesticide contaminated produce. The latest testing results verifies that food safety in Hong Kong has not yet improved.

Meanwhile, a set of testing results released by the CFS on December 28 last year showed that the 350 fresh fruit samples taken were satisfactory, in terms of pesticide residue level and heavy metal content. Yet compared to the failure of merely 5 samples taken in Hong Kong by Greenpeace, the discrepancy reasonably calls the effectiveness of CFS into question.

Chow Yuen-ping remarked, “It is already beyond questionable doubt that toxic fruit is  found in Hong Kong. We don’t understand why the 350 samples all passed unanimously under the CFS.”

In fact, inspection and quarantine authority in Mainland China had reported strawberry with highly toxic pesticide content in November 2006 and January 2007 respectively in Shenzhen and Dongguan. Immediate action was taken to destroy the contaminated fruit right away.

Furthermore, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the People’s Republic of China demanded their Shenzhen branch to implement a comprehensive registration system for fruit supply to Hong Kong over the territory of Shenzhen. The SAR Government, however, is insensitive to the changing situation, keeps ignoring the pressing problem, and shifts the responsibility to mainland, showing no tendency to improve the monitoring system here in Hong Kong.

There will be a motion debate on “fully safeguarding the safety of food supply to Hong Kong” in the Legislative Council meeting tomorrow (Jan 24). In fact, Chief Executive Donald Tsang and PRC Premier Wen Jia-bao both emphasized recently the need to improve food safety monitoring system. York Chow, Secretary for Health, Welfare and food Bureau and Prof. Kwan Hoi-shan, the president of the Expert Committee of Food Safety, also publicly opined that law should be made on regulating the standard for residual pesticide in fruit and vegetable.

“Legislation is undoubtedly the fundamental solution to food safety problem. The Government should step up and announce clearly a timetable for legislation process!” Chow Yuen-ping warned.

Repeated food safety scandals have continuously drawn public attention, Greenpeace also repeatedly demands the government to legislate for food safety monitoring. To ensure food safety in HK, the government should set standards for residual pesticides, make laws to monitor food import by setting up a licensing system for suppliers, reinforce mandatory inspections at the border as well as arrange a traceability system for food supply.

———
original report from  Green Peace China

Posted in Asia, China, Economy, Environment, Food, Guangdong, Health, Hong kong, Law, Life, medical, News, Politics, pollution, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Not Much Faith in China Food

Posted by Author on January 23, 2007


By Evelyn Iritani, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2007-

BEIJING — It was a less than auspicious introduction to the Year of the Golden Pig.

People’s cellphones in China’s capital began buzzing recently with text messages warning of a deadly virus lurking in pork. Within days, sales of the Chinese staple had plummeted by two-thirds, according to the local media.

Beijing officials tried to quash the rumors. But people here remembered the government’s efforts to cover up the deadly SARS virus in 2003. And public confidence had been eroded further by a recent spate of food safety incidents that sent hundreds of people to the hospital.

Last week, nearly 300 employees of BYD Co., a Shanghai automaker, were hospitalized after eating undercooked kidney beans, according to the Chinese press.

A few months earlier, the government was forced to recall duck eggs and fish contaminated with toxic chemicals. And last summer, 87 people became seriously ill after eating undercooked snails at a Beijing restaurant.

“I do worry about food safety,” said Jiao, a 52-year-old physician, after purchasing a slab of jiang zhou zi, or preserved pork, at the bustling Chongwenmen market in Beijing. Jiao, who gave only her family name, said she avoided small markets and street peddlers because of sanitation concerns.

In an effort to reassure the public ahead of Feb. 18, the official launch of the New Year holiday, the Beijing government recently announced its own version of America’s terrorism alert system. If the government’s four-color warning goes from blue to red, the message is clear: Eat at your own risk. That level means at least 100 people have been sickened or 10 people have died from food poisoning, explained the official China Daily.

The government’s call to action also included the establishment of food safety SWAT teams and a sanitary grading system for hotels and restaurants.

Restoring confidence in China’s culinary cleanliness has taken on greater urgency with the approach of the 2008 Olympics, which will be held in Beijing.

But the statistics are daunting: The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 300 million mainlanders are affected by food poisoning annually. Food safety problems cost the Chinese economy as much as $13 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity, according to a recent study by the Asian Development Bank, the World Health Organization and China’s State Food and Drug Administration.

Chris Spohr, an economist with the development bank’s Beijing office, said the government had undertaken a very “high-level push to improve food safety,” including the establishment of the State Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

“Things are showing up in the headlines,” he said. “To some degree, that reflects a greater vigilance and a greater openness to the problem.”

But Spohr said China still lacked a national food hygiene law.

At the Chongwenmen market, Cui Chuanzhen stopped to pick up a cup of dou jiang, a soy drink, on his way home from work.

The 37-year-old former television journalist was skeptical that tougher regulations would do much good, given the pressures of the marketplace.

Food producers don’t care about consumers’ health, said Cui, who heads the Europe-China Economic and Culture Cooperation Organization. “They only care about profits.”

Xu Tiedao, a 20-year-old fishmonger, said sales of fish and duck eggs took a hit after last fall’s food poisoning incidents. But the government has become more vigilant, he said, pointing to a sheaf of documents stapled to the wall next to a vat of squirming crabs and a tray of silvery belt fish.

“I think they’re doing a much better job since the accident of doing their inspections,” he said. “I think there’s no reason to worry.”

Outside the brightly lighted market, Lei Haiyuan, a 24-year-old print shop employee, shivered in the cold as she waited to pay for a glistening stick of tang hu lu, or syrup-covered fruit, from a vendor.

Did she worry about buying street food?

“Yes, I worry,” she said, before taking a frosty lick. “But it’s not like every food has got a problem.”

———
original report from  Los Angeles Times

Posted in China, Economy, Environment, Food, Health, Law, Life, News, pollution, Social, World | Comments Off on Not Much Faith in China Food

China Secret Deal of Shipping Oil Up the Mekong River Raising Concerns

Posted by Author on January 21, 2007


By Marwaan Macan-Markar, Japan Focus, January 20, 2007-

BANGKOK – Energy-hungry China has started to use the Mekong River (map below) as a newMekong River oil-shipping route, raising new environmental concerns that accidental spills could adversely affect the livelihoods of nearly 60 million downstream river dwellers and eventually evolve into a bone of diplomatic contention between Southeast Asian countries and China.

The maiden journey on December 29 of two Chinese ships carrying oil up the Mekong underscored Beijing’s steadfast determination to find alternative routes for transporting the oil and gas it imports from the Middle East. The two vessels arrived at a port in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan carrying a total of 300 tons of refined oil, which was shipped from a port in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.

This journey along the Mekong marked ”the trial launch of China’s oil-shipping program with its Southeast Asian partners”, Xinhua said. “Experts say the waterway will serve as an alternative to the Strait of Malacca as a route for oil shipping and help to ensure oil supply to Yunnan and southwest China at large.”

About 75% of China’s fuel supplies currently flow through the narrow, pirate-infested Strait of Malacca, positioned between peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. On the strategic front, Beijing has repeatedly expressed its concerns that in a potential conflict US naval vessels could move to choke off Chinese fuel shipments through the waterway.

The fate of the Mekong, which originates in Chinese territory, has long been a point of contention between China and Southeast Asia. China’s plans to develop as many as a dozen hydroelectric dams along the upper reaches of the river have raised concerns and drawn criticism about the impact on downstream riparian communities in Southeast Asia. Beijing recently scaled back those plans, but the two dams already in operation have at times appeared to dry up the river in northern Thailand.

The Mekong River was made accessible to large cargo ships only in 2004, when a series of rocky rapids in Laos were cleared by Chinese engineers. Since, there has been a growing trade along the river in mostly agricultural and manufactured goods, flowing mainly from southern China to northern Thailand. There have been concomitant concerns that the route has opened the way for human traffickers to move Chinese people more easily into Laos and Thailand and destinations outside the region.

Environmental groups first raised the alarm in 2004 when Beijing unveiled vague plans to use the new trade route for shipping oil. Those same groups expressed concerns in mid-2006 when China moved to secure an increase in the quota of oil it intends to move up the Mekong River. The initial agreement, signed last March by Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and China, permitted a monthly shipping quota of a mere 1,200 tons of refined oil.

When the two Chinese ships made their landmark journey last month, Beijing had set its sights on transporting close to “70,000 tons of refined oil each year from Thailand alone via the Mekong River”, Qiao Xinmin, a Chinese maritime-affairs official, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Muddying the waters

The shipment of oil on the Mekong has environmental groups up in arms. “The whole deal was done in secrecy with no information released to the public or attempts to get the people’s views, especially those living along the Mekong River,” said Premrudee Daoroung, co-director of the Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), which is based in Bangkok. “This confirms who controls the Mekong.”

With blueprints to dam the Mekong on the table, Beijing managed to win over Southeast Asian governments when it changed course and offered to deepen the Mekong by blasting rapids in Myanmar and Laos and open the way for large ships to navigate the river. “China led this effort and was the first to give the money for it, because it was going to be the main beneficiary,” Premrudee said. ( More details from Japan Focus’ report )

Posted in Asia, China, Economy, Environment, Life, Mekong, News, Politics, pollution, River, Social, water, World | 3 Comments »