Archive for category Asia

The Lion that Barked

China ‘dog-lion’: Henan zoo mastiff poses as Africa cat

The sign reads “feizhou shi” (African lion) but a Tibetan mastiff is in the cage

An animal described as an African lion at a Chinese zoo was exposed as a fraud – when the creature started barking in front of visitors.

Chinese media reports said the zoo had replaced its genuine lion with a Tibetan mastiff dog.

A zoo official in Henan province said the dog – owned by one of the workers – was put in the cage when the real lion was sent away to a breeding centre.

Outraged visitors to the zoo in Louhe city said they had been cheated.

A Tibetan mastiff is a particularly hairy breed

According to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily, the fraud came to light when a mother visited the zoo, in a park in the city of Louhe, to show her son the sounds different animals made.

But when they got to the cage marked “African lion” – which had a sign describing the range and characteristics of the animal – they were shocked to hear the creature bark.

It was then that zoo keepers revealed the so-called lion was actually a Tibetan mastiff, an animal that can have a furry brown coat, making it look a little like a lion.

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What a load of crap!

Gen Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army lying through his teeth!

“China has never taken foreign expansion and military conquering as a state policy,” the news agency AFP reported him  as saying.

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tibetOpinion:

So Tibet and Xinjiang were Sunday picnics!!!!

Not to mention the absurd claims China is making in the maritime arena encroaching on the maritime demarcations of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

All backed up by the military.

Take a look at the map of Chinese links in the region, then think how long it will be before China starts making similar claims to parts of Africa that they have invested in; they’re not doing this investing to be nice.

asiamapw

Watch this space…

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Pyongyang throws a Tantrum

Like a typical spoiled little brat Pyongyang throws a tantrum when it can’t have its own way, blaming everybody else for their predicament.

And like a spoiled brat they are making all sorts of threats, even threatening a preemptive strike against the USA who have the power to annihilate North Korea at the push of a button.

Stupid and irrational, but then that’s what spoiled little brats are.

North Korea: new UN sanctions prompt rage in Pyongyang

Non-aggression pact with South Korea cancelled, adding to threat of nuclear attack on US and ‘crushing strikes’ on foes

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The Burmese Tiger is Learning to Roar

Burma learns how to protest – against Chinese investors

Burma’s steps towards democracy have made it possible for people to protest publicly, for the first time in decades, against things they don’t like – and Chinese businesses have turned out to be top of their list.

Standing at the bottom of the vast open mine, I am a tiny matchstick figure.

My colleagues are standing hundreds of feet above but they can’t hear my shouts or even see my face.

From their perspective, the giant dumper trucks snaking their way to the bottom of the pit look like children’s toys.

This is one of the world’s top 10 copper deposits, expected to generate tens of billions of dollars over the next 30 years.

According to its Chinese co-owners, the metal extracted here, in the north-west Sagaing Region, is of the purest quality and much sought-after globally.

Most is destined for Japan, Malaysia and the Middle East, but Geng Yi, the young managing director from Beijing, believes Burma itself will soon be an important customer.

Mine Director, Geng Yi is frustrated by delays to the expansion of the mine

Although five decades of military rule have turned Burma – or Myanmar as the generals named it – into the poorest nation in the region, it has ambitions to become a “golden bridge” between the mega-economies of India and China.

To achieve this goal, cash from abroad is urgently needed.

“To be frank, we don’t have much capital to implement our economic reforms,” says Koko Hlaing, the government’s chief political adviser.

“Capitalism cannot be implemented without capital.”

The copper mine, is a joint venture between China’s Wanbao company – a subsidiary of the arms manufacturer, Norinco – and the deeply unpopular business arm of the Burmese military, which has lucrative stakes in everything from banking to beer, as well as a monopoly on the gems sector.

Its close connection to the men in khaki has also given it preferential contracts with foreign firms, such as this one clinched in 2011, before the nominally civilian government came to power.

But in the new Burma such deals are under public scrutiny.

The country recently held democratic elections, ended censorship and released hundreds of political prisoners. Now many are questioning authority for the first time in their lives.

Two cousins, whose faces are now famous across Burma, have become figureheads for opposition to a $1bn scheme to expand the mine, which will affect 8,000 acres (3,000 hectares) of farmland and 26 villages near the town of Monywa.

The farmers’ daughters, dubbed the Iron Ladies by a local poet, have led thousands of villagers, monks, environmental campaigners and other activists in protest, against what they say is the unlawful seizure of their land.

Iron Lady Aye Net says the mine waste contains acid, which damages the land

The women come from the village of Wet Hmay (which means Sleepy Pig in Burmese). Along with dozens of other households, they are refusing to move from their homes into a brand new village of identical, neatly spaced houses with corrugated metal roofs.

The younger cousin, Thwe Thwe Win has a round face, a husky voice and a manner as pungent as the garlic she sells in the market.

“We want the mine closed down immediately,” she says. “No-one should colonise our land.”

In their fields, which lie in the shadow of a towering waste dump, I meet her cousin Aye Net, who complains that her sesame and beans are much sparser since the mine expansion started.

“When it rains, water drains through the dump and on to our land. There’s something acid in it,” she says.

“We don’t want compensation. We just want to grow our crops and live here as we have for generations.”

U Wi Tatatema: The mountains are precious

Environmental campaigners and activists from the pro-democracy youth group Generation Wave joined the villagers’ protest.

Some locals have complained that the sulphuric acid used to leach copper from ore has contaminated drinking water although the Wanbao Company denies this.

U Wi Tatatema, a 21-year-old monk from the central city of Mandalay, says he read about the mining project in the newspapers and came to give his support.

“When I saw the village women sitting on the ground and singing the national anthem in protest, I cried,” he says.

“The mountains are as precious as our parents – so I felt as if they were slaughtering my own mother.”

Plans to relocate a sacred pagoda which was once home to a famous Buddhist teacher, helped to mobilise hundreds more of his fellow monks.

The pagoda is inside the construction site of the new expanded mine on Letpadaung Mountain

Along with other protesters, they occupied the hillside temple, in the heart of the mining complex, for several days.

Since they were forcibly evicted, it has been guarded night and day by police.

Geng Yi, the mine’s director, admits the protests made him feel “uncomfortable and unsafe” and he is still clearly frustrated by all the delays holding up the expansion plan.

“Without the rule of law and stability how can this country attract or protect foreign investments?” he asks.

“From our point of view, we would like the government and important people to pay attention.”

When the government finally reacted, the confrontation turned ugly.

On 28 November, riot police cleared the protest camps which had brought the mine to a standstill.

Nearly 100 villagers and monks were injured. Many suffered horrific burns caused by incendiary devices – possibly phosphorous shells.

The brutal crackdown was a stark reminder that the country’s transition to democracy is still in its infancy.

Many suspect the government acted to avoid angering China – the country’s powerful northern neighbour and biggest investor.

President Thein Sein’s popularity shot up last year after he suspended the $3.6bn Myitsone hydro-electric dam on the Irrawaddy river – another controversial Chinese mega-project – but perhaps he was warned not to make the same mistake twice.

Whatever the case, latent Sinophobia has recently exploded.

At a demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon one banner said “This is our Country – Dracula China Get out!”

Kyaw Min Swe, editor of The Voice newspaper, said many Burmese bitterly resent Beijing for its cosy relationship with the former military junta and are now determined China’s unchallenged dominance should end.

“The old regime got everything it needed from China – legitimacy, weapons and political support, like a veto in the UN Security Council and people had to put up with this for so many years.

“Now they are channelling all their anger with China into opposing this copper mine,” he says.

Six activists from the demo outside the embassy have been charged with holding a protest without permission. If found guilty they could face fines and two years in prison.

A parliamentary investigation into whether the mine expansion should be allowed to go ahead – chaired by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi – is likely to condemn the police for their heavy handed response, when it reports in the next few days.

But the investigation is a poisoned chalice for the Nobel laureate.

It is unclear how far she will risk antagonising either China or the Burmese top brass – outside the halls of the new parliament the military still wields formidable power.

Immediately after the crackdown, at a rally in the nearby town of Monywa, Aung San Suu Kyi got cheers for denouncing police brutality, but she also stressed the importance of friendly ties with neighbouring countries.

As the icon of Burmese democracy her role was clearly defined – she struggled for freedom against one of the world’s most oppressive regimes.

But now that she is an elected politician, she has to deal with Iron Ladies as well as army generals.

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Netizens bite back over China’s shark fin soup ban

A worker dries shark fins in a fishing port in Banyuwangi in Indonesia’s East Java province in this June 27, 2008 file photo.

 

(Reuters) – Chinese netizens on Wednesday bit back at a government decision to ban serving shark fin soup at state banquets within three years, mocking it as a timid step by leaders who spend lavishly on other delicacies and are aloof from common concerns.

“You have to wait three years to do this?” demanded Wu Yaxue, a psychologist in Beijing, on his microblog account.

“Given the way Chinese civil servants eat, in three years you won’t need to enforce this ban; the shark fin will be all gone.”

Shark fin can sell for up to $600 per pound, increasing the practice of fishermen sawing fins and leaving the ocean predator to bleed to death. Environmental groups have called for an end to the eating of shark fin soup which is often served at special occasions by Chinese communities worldwide.

“Ordinary people eat starch noodles, officials use the people’s money to eat shark fin,” growled “Nova Zhou” on his microblog.

China’s has legions of microbloggers on sites like Sina Corp.s (SINA.O) Weibo, which offers a rare opportunity for open discussion, especially on the lifestyle of the communist party elite, though breaching restrictions can lead to arrest.

Others ridiculed the government remarks on shark fin made on Tuesday, saying the decision was aimed at saving costs for official functions, a sore point in China where a growing wealth gap has caused social tension.

“This just proves that solving the problems of housing, the elderly, the environment, corruption, employment, education, health care, food safety, migrant workers, stock markets, buying train tickets, and banning shark’s fin and maotai (expensive rice wine) are all more difficult than launching a rocket into outer space,” posted “Heng in South Korea“.

Heng was referring to China’s recent manned space shot from which three astronauts returned to Earth last week.

“So, are they going to eat panda now?” scoffed another Weibo blogger.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Ed Lane)

Source: Reuters

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Japan Must Find Alternatives to Nuclear Power

Japan PM Noda says two nuclear reactors ‘must restart’

Mr Noda is trying to convince the public that nuclear power is vital

Japan must restart two nuclear reactors to protect the country’s economy and livelihoods, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said in a televised broadcast.

Measures to ensure the safety of two reactors at western Japan’s Ohi nuclear plant have been undertaken, he said.

Since last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s 50 reactors have been shut down for routine maintenance.

The crisis fuelled immense public opposition to nuclear power, but Japan is facing a summer of power shortages.

Japan’s last nuclear shut down for routine maintenance was in May. When the third reactor at the Tomari plant in Hokkaido prefecture was switched off, Japan was left without energy from atomic power for the first time in more than 40 years.

Public confidence in nuclear safety was shaken by the meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, triggered by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

“Cheap and stable electricity is vital. If all the reactors that previously provided 30% of Japan’s electricity supply are halted, or kept idle, Japanese society cannot survive,” Mr Noda said.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

The rest of the world is in danger so the Japanese can advertise

The issue is not Japanese survival, the issue is planetary survival!

Japan needs to look at other forms of energy, regardless of the cost.

The non-essential use of electricity in Japan needs to be rationalised. The rest of the world is in danger while Japanese neons lights glow prettily in every street in every city.

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

It is the wrong place to have nuclear power!

Fukushima has shown clearly that any failure of nuclear reactors has the potential to destroy the northern hemisphere, if not the whole planet, and they are worried about not having the power for their precious electrically dominated society.

The crisis isn’t over yet.

Fukishima has released radiation in various forms into the atmosphere, into the sea. The radiation has already spread to the EAST coast of the USA and beyond and still they want to have nuclear power.

If the damaged cooling towers so much as cracks or collapses, the radiation levels will reach 85x that that has already been released.

Remember Chernobyl?

Fukushima has already dwarfed Chernobyl.

Remember this equation:

Fukushima = Chernobyl on Steroids

If such a collapse happens, will the last person alive in the northern hemisphere please turn out the lights.

Japan, forget nuclear power as an option,

you have to for the survival of the planet.

You say that you need it for the county’s economy and livelihoods, if there is a highly probable collapse, the economy and livelihoods are the last thing you will worry about.

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Explained

China bans Tiananmen Square-related web search terms

Many Chinese born after the crackdown may not know that it ever happened

Chinese authorities have blocked internet access to search terms related to the 23rd anniversary of the 1989 crackdown against protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Terms such as “six four”, “23”, “candle” and “never forget”, typed in Chinese search engines, do not return any information about the event.

Discussions of the unrest of 4 June 1989 remain taboo in the country.

But some users managed to upload a few pictures on to Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

In 1989, troops shot dead hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered in central Beijing.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

I guess that’s why there are only 3 hits against the Chinese flag on my counter… I was surprised there was 3.

I guess my blog is as good as banned.

Paranoia is a terrible affliction.

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