If You Think China’s Air Is Bad...

Damien Ma and William Adams
New York Times
China’s more than 4,700 underground water-quality testing stations show that nearly three-fifths of all water supplies are “relatively bad” or worse. Roughly half of rural residents lack access to drinking water that meets international standards...

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

Caixin Media

10.15.13

Sip of Death Plagues River Villages

Cancer is claiming fewer lives these days, and Dr. Wang Shiren says he’s been caring for a steadily declining number of patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.Yet a decades-long health calamity continues to grip Huangmengying, a Henan...

Xi Jinping Gets Mocked Going After New Zealand on Food Safety

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
While China’s new leader has won praise at home for his aggressiveness in pushing China’s interests abroad, this is one situation in which his boldness was bound to backfire. As bad as the Fonterra scandal appeared, China’s own dairy companies have...

Bringing Home the Bacon: Chinese Savor Smithfield Deal

Calum MacLeod
USA Today
China's swallowing up of Smithfield, a well-known U.S. povider of processed meats, illustrates two things about the country: its swelling economic power and growing hunger for meat-based diets. And the deal may foretell of many...

Infographics

10.01.13

Markups, Kickbacks, and Sellouts: What’s Wrong with China’s Medical System

from Sohu
As the United States haltingly moves to implement the Affordable Care Act, China claims it has already achieved universal rural health care, with more than 800 million rural residents enrolled in a medical plan. Yet according to recent reports the...

China to Crack Down on Family Planning Fines After Abuses Found

Reuters
The National Audit Office’s investigation of 45 counties in nine provinces and municipalities from 2009-12 found 1.6 billion yuan ($260 million) in fines had been given out in contravention of the rules, Chinese newspapers said...

China’s State TV Says Danone Bribed Hospitals to Push Baby Milk

Reuters
China Central Television cited an unidentified former Dumex sales manager as saying the company had paid medical staff at a city hospital in Tianjin to promote its products, allegations that the French food group said it would...

Half of China’s Antibiotics Now Go to Livestock

Tom Philpott
Mother Jones
To make animals grow quickly under cramped, feces-ridden conditions, animals in China’s factory farms get fed small, doses of antibiotics—creating ideal breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens that threaten people. 

Workers’ Rights ‘Flouted’ at Apple iPhone Factory in China

Juliette Garside and Charles Arthur
Guardian
Staff are allegedly working without adequate protective equipment, at risk from chemicals, noise and lasers, for an average of 69 hours a week. Apple has a self-imposed limit of 60 working hours a week. 

Media

09.11.13

Amid Scandals, Can China’s New Organ Transplant System Work?

The now oft-derided Chinese Red Cross once again found itself in hot water in July, when it was reported that some branches have asked organ transplant hospitals to pay 100,000 RMB ($16,300) for each successful organ donation organized by them. In...

Viewpoint

09.11.13

Beijing’s Air in 2013 or Ground Zero’s After 9/11: Which Was Worse?

Emily Brill
When I moved to Beijing from New York in February to study Chinese, a question began to haunt me: Could Beijing’s air in 2013 be more dangerous than the toxic brew produced by the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center, which hung over...

Don’t Trust a Chicken Nugget That’s Visited China

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
China’s poultry processors have no intention of meeting U.S. food-safety standards. That may explain why the U.S. Department of Agriculture waited until just before the long weekend to announce that it had ended a ban on...

90% of China’s New H.I.V. Infections Through Sex

Xinhua
With an estimated 48,000 to 50,000 new H.I.V./A.I.D.S. infections every year, Wu said the government aims to reduce new infections by 25 percent and H.I.V./A.I.D.S. mortality by 30 percent by the end of 2015. 

Teach About Sex? Attitudes Start to Shift Slowly in China

Anna Richardson
Christian Science Monitor
 Professor of sociology Li Yinhe never thought she would see the day she’d be allowed to host a safe-sex education exhibition at a public institution in conservative China. That it was permitted at all...

China to Phase Out Use of Prisoners’ Organs for Transplants

Li Hui and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China will phase out its decades-long practice of using the organs of executed prisoners for transplants from November as it pushes to mandate the use of organs from ethical sources.

The Abuse of China’s 'left-behind' Children

Yuwen Wu
BBC
A series of disturbing revelations in China’s state media about the sexual abuse of school children has exposed the dark side of life in rural areas where parents leave their homes to earn money as migrant workers.

Caixin Media

08.12.13

China’s Urban Sludge Dilemma: Sinking in Stink

Promptly at noon on March 17, a heavy truck hauling a dark substance and on a dark mission pulled out of the Gaobeidian Wastewater Treatment Plant in eastern Beijing.A wastewater treatment engineer helped a Caixin reporter identify the unusual load...

Pollution Economics

Dirk Forrister and Paul Bledsoe
New York Times
With more than a million people dying prematurely each year from breathing its dirty air, the Communist country is experimenting with a capitalist approach: create incentives so that the market will force reductions in emissions.

China OKs Entry of First Big Cargo of Argentine Corn

Hugh Bronstein
Bloomberg
Argentine Agriculture Minister Norberto Yauhar said Chinese health authorities cleared 60,000-tonnes of genetically modified (GMO) Argentine corn. The cargo is already headed inland to be used as hog and chicken feed. 

Environment

08.07.13

China’s Abandoned Steel Mills Are a Threat to Public Health

from chinadialogue
China’s steel industry has been in trouble since 2011, with numerous bankruptcies nationwide. The city of Tangshan in Hebei province has been no exception. Though the city is Hebei’s biggest steel maker, with its 70 million tons of annual production...

China Bans Milk Powder of Two South Pacific Nations

Reuters
Nearly 90 percent of China’s $1.9 billion in milk powder imports last year originated in New Zealand. Economists said a prolonged ban could produce a shortage of dairy products in China, including foreign-branded infant formula.

China May Let More Families Have Second Child, Xinhua Says

Alexandra Ho
Bloomberg
China is studying whether to relax its one-child policy to allow more couples to have two children, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Chinese Court Rules Against J&J in Monopoly Suit

Joe McDonald
Associated Press
Health care giant Johnson & Johnson has become the latest global company accused of misconduct in China after a court ordered it to pay damages to a distributor in a lawsuit brought under an anti-monopoly law.

Corporate Sleuths On Edge After China Detains Foreign Consultants

Alexandra Harney
Reuters
The detention by Chinese authorities of a British corporate investigator and his American wife in the wake of a corruption probe into pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has had a chilling effect on other risk consultants working...

Worker Group Alleges Abuses at Apple Supplier in China

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
The report, set to be released on Monday by New York-based nonprofit China Labor Watch, alleges safety and environmental violations; the withholding of worker pay or the identification cards they need to work elsewhere; and poor living conditions.

Glaxo Chief Executive Addresses China Inquiry

Katie Thomas
New York Times
Andrew Witty, chief executive of the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, said on Wednesday that the accusations of bribery and corruption against his company in China were “deeply disappointing.” But he said that Glaxo’s headquarters in London had not been...

More Foreign Pharmaceutical Firms Could Be Probed In China

Michael Martina
Reuters
China's official news agency hinted that more foreign pharmaceutical firms could soon be implicated in a corruption scandal sweeping the industry, in the wake of bribery accusations against British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. ...

Drug Research in China Falls Under a Cloud

Katie Thomas
New York Times
A leaked document related to the recent G.S.K. scandal underscores the problems that can arise when major drug companies export their scientific development to emerging markets like China. 

China’s Reliance on Coal Reduces Life Expectancy by 5.5 Years

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
The study concluded that long-term exposure to air containing 100 micrograms of total suspended particles (T.S.P.) per cubic meter “is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 years.” 

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang & Steven Jiang
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the core provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is not only “a stride toward greater equality in the United States, but also a shift that will reverberate far beyond our shores,” wrote...

Sinica Podcast

06.29.13

The Fate of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Bill Bishop swears by part of it. Jeremy Goldkorn swears regularly at it. Chances are you’ve got strong opinions on Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) yourself, which is why we’re delighted to be joined by James Palmer this week, author of The...

Study Asks if Tainted Chinese Herbs Are Harming, Not Healing

Sue-Lin Wong
New York Times
Chinese herbal medicine, an ancient tradition that is supposed to heal, may be doing the opposite: is it also harming people’s health and polluting the environment with pesticides, as a Greenpeace study released Monday suggests. The study...

Environment

06.20.13

China’s GM Soybean Imports Stir Up Controversy

from chinadialogue
Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has been awash with criticisms of the Ministry of Agriculture’s decision to green light imports of three more strains of genetically modified (GM) soybeans. A picture&nbsp...

Fake Fake Drugs From China: What's Stopping a Cure for Malaria in Africa?

Kathleen Mclaughlin
Atlantic
Coupled with China's already bad rap as a producer of inferior goods such as cheap shoes, knock-off phones, and faulty condoms, the reputation of China's malaria cure is perched on a precipice. The Wellcome Trust and others...

China’s Alzheimer’s Time Bomb Revealed

Debora McKenzie
New Scientist
Cases of all kinds of age-related dementia in the country rose from 3.7 million in 1990 to 9.2 million in 2010. The figures are bad news for a country where 90 per cent of the elderly must be cared for by their families.   

New Idea for Sino-U.S. Relations: First-Lady Diplomacy

Julian Gewirtz
Atlantic
A potential partnership between the first ladies could go beyond forming a popular new image for the U.S.-China relationship. Obama and Peng have shown a mutual interest in areas of policy central to our shared future. 

Features

06.06.13

Bad Medicine

Kathleen McLaughlin
In 1967, as the United States sank into war in the jungles of Vietnam and China descended into the cataclysm of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese soldiers secretly fighting alongside the North Vietnamese also battled swarms of malarial mosquitoes...

Changing China Food Safety Key to Shuanghui on Smithfield

Bloomberg
“If we go and purchase businesses from America and Europe, develop China’s meat industry, we will raise the level and standard of our food safety,” said Wang Long, Shuanghui’s chairman. 

Media

06.03.13

Online Outrage After Chinese City Proposes Fine on Single Mothers

Women giving birth out of wedlock in China have to contend with family pressure, social stigma, and financial hardship. Now, some of them may have to pay a hefty fine as well.Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people in Central China, posted a...

Mapping Chinese Food Scandals on New Art from Ai Weiwei

Gwynn Guilford, Ritchie King and Herman...
Quartz
The staff at Quartz magazine have mapped the locations of various prominent food scandals that have hit China in the last few years, projected on top of Ai Weiwei’s “Baby Formula 2013” art installation.

Africa’s Malaria Battle: Fake Drug Pipeline Undercuts Progress

Benoit Faucon, Colum Murphy, and Jeanne...
Wall Street Journal
A flourishing counterfeit drug trade is collateral damage from the fast-expanding ties that have turned China into Africa’s largest trading partner. The fakes’ place of origin is in Guangzhou, though the source is unknown.  &...

Wariness Over a Deal Intended to Deliver More Pork to China

Stephanie Strom
New York Times
Smithfield Foods, one of the biggest and oldest pork producers in the U.S., agreed to sell itself to Shuanghui International, one of China’s largest meat processors. The two emphasized that the deal aimed to increase the supply of...

Media

05.28.13

Trending on Weibo: #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers#

In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, carriers of the AIDS virus are now allowed to teach schoolchildren. The recently-announced change in regulations marks a step forward for AIDS activists, with the hashtag #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers# now...

Why Americans Should Worry About China’s Food Safety Problems

Stanley Lubman
Wall Street Journal
Chinese food product imports to the U.S. are continuing to rise, but inspections in both China and the U.S. aren’t keeping pace, posing a growing danger to consumers.  

Tainted Rice Scandal Hits Guangzhou Eateries

Zheng Caixiong
China Daily
The Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration launced an inspection campaign in recent weeks and found the cadmium content of six batches of rice and another two batches of rice noodles exceeded national standards.  

Media

05.17.13

Chinese Anxiety—In Debate About Overwork, a Glimpse of Shifting Expectations

Almost half of all Chinese report feeling “more anxiety” now than they did five years ago. What, exactly, is driving these concerns, or increasing reports of these concerns? Avid followers of China-related news might immediately think of censorship...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.But 7 years later as we prepared to return to the US,...

Reports

05.14.13

“Swept Away”: Abuses Against Sex Workers in China

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch believes the Chinese government should take immediate steps to protect the human rights of all people who engage in sex work. It should repeal the host of laws and regulations that are repressive and misused by the police, and end...

How Much Should We Fear H7N9

Patrick Di Justo
New Yorker
Based on the virulence, or severity of the illness that the virus causes; and the communicability, or how easily the virus is passed from person to person, we shouldn’t be losing sleep over H7N9. 

Media

05.07.13

Rat Meat Masquerading as Lamb—Yet Another Food Safety Scandal

Rat meat + gelatin + red food coloring + nitrates = lamb. Have you tried it yet?“This is what a ‘complete’ sheep looks like,” reads a caption under the photoshopped image of a sheep with Jerry, the mouse from Tom and Jerry, as its head. The image...

Media

05.01.13

The Long Battle Over “White Pollution”

In the past weeks, Chinese citizens have learned that the styrofoam boxes from which they eat their lunches will soon be legal. On February 16, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s highest economic policy-making body,...

Beijing Air Laden With Arsenic, Other Heavy Metals

Yan Shuang
Global Times
Such heavy metals can damage the nervous system and cause cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a report by a joint team of Greenpeace members and scholars from Peking University that tested the capital’s air over a 15-day period. 

Sinica Podcast

04.26.13

Healthcare in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The state of healthcare in China is in many ways better than it was in the era of the barefoot doctors, with average life expectancy in the country now trailing the United States by only three years and morbidity rates far lower too. But while even...

China Cooperating With International Organizations On H7N9

Xinhua
Premier Li Keqiang said China is cooperating closely with WHO and other international organizations on the H7N9 avian flu. The government attaches great importance to public health and has been working to effectively prevent and control...

As Cancer Rates Rise In China, Trust Remains Low

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
At the top of the list of reasons China may be facing a cancer crisis is the crucial issue of mistrust between patient and doctor. The lack of trust, reflected in regular accounts in the Chinese news media, is rooted in a perception that...

No Poultry Contact In Some Chinese Bird Flu Cases

Stephanie Nebehay and Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
W.H.O. spokesman Gregory Hartl confirmed that “there are people who have no history of contact with poultry”, after a top Chinese scientist was quoted as saying this applied to about 40 percent of those infected. 

Caixin Media

04.20.13

Bird Flu’s Latest Talons Force Fresh Defense

A surprise attack by a new strain of the bird flu virus has forced Chinese authorities into the trenches for a two-pronged defense against unseen enemies.The primary threat is the deadly virus that scientists identified as a new strain of H7N9. It...

Why Leave Job In Beijing? To Breathe

Laurie Burkitt and Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China says air pollution is a key challenge facing companies here, and is an underlying reason why many expatriate workers choose to leave.