Fresh safety fears for China’s beleaguered dairy industry

Posted: February 20th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Media reports this week of a new food safety scare has dealt a fresh blow to China’s food industry. Worries over the quality and safety of food grown in the People’s Republic are nothing new. Last year alone, Chinese shoppers dealt with painted oranges and toxic cowpeas. But the new fears concern the dairy industry, which is still recovering from a scandal in 2008 that killed six children and hospitalised thousands of others. Read the rest of this entry »

Foreign milk powder producers gain after China’s melamine scandal

Posted: January 13th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A “quintessentially American” menu provided the culinary anchor for last week’s state dinner between China and the U.S., the first since 1998. Maine lobster, rib eye steak, apple pie – this was classic American fare at its heartiest with ingredients undoubtedly sourced from the finest local providers.

The assured provenance and quality of the meal was probably the furthest thing from President Hu Jintao’s mind during the dinner. His compatriots back home do not have that same luxury. A series of safety scandals in the past several years have rocked consumer confidence in China’s food industry – none more so than in baby milk formula. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese social networking site plans U.S. IPO next year

Posted: December 20th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment » (开心网), one of China’s leading social networking sites, plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. next year, according to Chinese media.

The Chinese-language Caijing magazine reported last Friday that Kaixin001 (“Happy Net”) would float on an undisclosed U.S. stock exchange in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Cooking oil: The powerful political lubricant in China

Posted: December 19th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A public spat in China this week between a top government body and an important industry has shed some light on the Communist Party’s inner workings. The reason? Cooking oil. Bear with me on this one.

In early December, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s state economic planner, convened cooking oil producers in Beijing. The commission requested that producers increase cooking oil supplies in the run-up to next year’s Chinese New Year holiday – without lifting prices. Read the rest of this entry »

The challenges facing the Chinese WikiLeaks

Posted: December 11th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30,” tweeted media commentator Clay Shirky recently. The Afghan war logs, Iraq war logs and now #cablegate – WikiLeaks has enjoyed huge publicity this year for its muckraking leaks. Journalists like to quip that they’re not doing their job properly if somebody, somewhere isn’t angry. Judging by the U.S.’s reaction to #cablegate, WikiLeaks is doing plenty right then. Read the rest of this entry »

Politburo member? No better than your typical Chinese bureaucrat

Posted: December 5th, 2010 | Tags: , | No Comments »

News that China would be amenable to a reunification of the Korean peninsula was one of the surprise revelations this week from WikiLeak’s so-called #cablegate – the release of 250,000 confidential dispatches from American embassies worldwide. Likewise, the absurd story that a Politburo member ordered the Google China hacking after finding personal criticism of him available from the company. I suspect the average person would get on with their life. This man – one of nine responsible for governing 1.3 billion people – instead orders state apparatus to break into Google. Read the rest of this entry »

How to bring 3D into your living room

Posted: November 18th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The following guide was written while on a work placement in Guardian Money. It was spiked but some of the information might come in handy in the run-up to Christmas so I have reposted it here. All information and prices were correct at the time of this blog post.

Thanks to 3dstereopics of Flickr

The UK faces another telly revolution as the 3D bandwagon begins to pick up speed. Content in the new format is already available by satellite, cable or disc and the BBC has plans to film parts of the 2012 London Olympics in 3D for future airing. And for budding James Camerons, digital camcorders capable of capturing 3D film are now on the market. Getting your living room ready for 3D is not cheap though and there are myriad options so here is our guide to what you need and the costs involved. Read the rest of this entry »

Social media helps chart China’s land violence

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In the absence of an independent media, citizen journalism and social media have thrived in China largely out of necessity. Chinese people have used the internet to report on civil and human rights abuses ignored by mainstream media. Now an anonymous Chinese blogger called Bloody Map has collated incidents of illegal land grabs and property demolitions and plotted them on Google Maps.

The project, called 血房地图 (xuefang ditu or “Bloody Map”), charts often-violent evictions and demolitions throughout China. Read the rest of this entry »

People’s protest a sad reminder of what China lacks

Posted: October 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Ties between China and Japan wax and wane like the course of the sun during the day. Brief spats end as quickly as they begin and promises of better cooperation espoused by both parties leave everyone wondering what the fuss was about anyway. But the current bitterness over the Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands puts the relationship perilously close to a sunset.

Hysteria – almost all from the Chinese side – shows little sign of abating. The official rancour though masks an ugly side to the dispute. Anti-Japanese protests are sweeping Chinese cities, fuelled by ordinary citizens proud of their country’s achievements and still resentful of Japan’s wartime past. Read the rest of this entry »

What does Liu Xiaobo’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize mean for China?

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The Nobel Committee in Oslo today awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). Previous winners from Asia have included Burma political activist Aung San Suu Kyi and South Korea president Kim Dae-jung.

Liu was favourite to receive the award ever since an Irish bookmaker began paying out on him days before the announcement. The human rights activist has served two out of an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring Charter 08, a petition that called for sweeping political reform. When Liu’s odds-on status emerged, the Chinese government began applying pressure on the Nobel organisation by accusing it of hypocrisy. Awarding the prize to Liu would contravene Alfred Nobel’s founding principles, it argued. But as time ticked down towards the announcement, the government’s tone became aggressive. It warned Norway that their thriving relationship would be threatened if Liu won the prize. Read the rest of this entry »