It appears that Chinese tourists are now walking down the path already trodden by the Japanese, who were already a familiar sight around the palaces, gardens, and boutiques of Europe – while China was still too poverty-ridden for many of its citizens to go on foreign jaunts. Now, however, Chinese travelers are increasingly to be found in such glamorous and glitzy locales as Dubai, Tuscany, and, of course, Paris.
The City of Love is often represented in China (as it often is all over the world) as a place dripping with beauty, culture and romance. It seems that you can’t heave a brick without hitting a grand old monument, an impossibly chic Parisian or a Vespa-riding Gregory Peck (wrong city, but you get the idea). That, at least, is what we are told in books, movies and advertising hoardings, and that is therefore what many of us (in China, at least) have come to believe.
Hong Kong government arrests hundreds of democracy protesters, warns “violence is imminent”.
Today, on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, why is it not a trending topic on Facebook while Justin Bieber, Ghostbusers, and Interpol are?
This article has powerful pictures of the events leading up to and surrounding the massacre:
25 years ago today, “the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) violently cleared Beijing’s Tiananmen Square of protesters, ending a six-week demonstration that had called for democracy and widespread political reform. The protests began in April of 1989, gaining support as initial government reactions included concessions. Martial law was declared on May 20, troops were mobilized, and from the night of June 3 through the early morning of June 4, the PLA pushed into Tiananmen Square, crushing some protesters and firing on many others. The exact number killed may never be known, but estimates range from several hundred to several thousand.” - via The Atlantic
Footage of one of the most iconic moments of the 20th Century, of a man, sometimes identified as Wang Weilinn, who stands in front of and halts a column of tanks the day after Chinese military forces had brutally suppressed protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Little is known about the man’s identity or his fate.
The regime which these protests opposed remains in power, and discussion of the events is forbidden in China to this day.
I wrote this post a while ago based entirely on a paper in a pretty good journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and after it was posted this article basically demolishing the scientific contributions was shared with me. Here’s my original piece, but if you read this I recommend you also read that link.
Asian Air Pollution strengthening Pacific Storms
Images like this one, showing a sunset over the city of Shanghai barely visible through the densely polluted air, have become sadly common over the last decade. New research just published by scientists from Texas A&M University and the Jet Propulsion lab suggests this pollution isn’t just a health hazard; it is also impacting our daily weather.
Particles floating in the air play an important role in the climate by serving as nucleation points. The atmosphere usually has plenty of water in it to create droplets and clouds, but water molecules don’t like to change phases from gas to liquid on their own, it takes energy to make that happen. But, if a solid particle is suspended in the air, surfaces on that particle serve as points where water molecules can gather, nucleating a raindrop and forming clouds.
This specific process as it occurs over the Pacific Ocean was modeled in this research. They compared two scenarios, one with modern day levels of pollution from Asia, and one with pre-industrial air quality levels.
The differences between the two cases were striking. The Pacific Ocean regularly produces a strong storm track that hits the U.S. Pacific Northwest; but, the more pollution there was in the air, the stronger those systems were. In addition, more energy was transferred northward, supplying rain and snow to areas in the North Pacific and Arctic as well.
Their predictions are consistent with actual observed increases in rainfall and intensity over the Pacific Northwest in recent decades. This study therefore is probably the first that shows a direct impact on Pacific Storms and on global weather patterns as a result of the pollution pouring out of industrial facilities in Asia today.
Image credit: Wikimedia
See the Pacific Storm Track here:
Never thought things where this interconnected.
In the dark red places of this ther are only 100 girls for every 150 boys.
I fear that most of these boys have to find less traditional way of partnership. Stay single, become gay, share a girl with other boys or import brides from elswhere.
The one-child policy of past decades has a terrible effect for a traditional lifestyle.
Meetings are bloody boring. Invariably, people just sit there pointlessly droning on and on, all while desperately trying to sound intelligent, productive, and like they vaguely know what they are doing. There are lots of ideas, things get jotted down, and the whole thing goes on for far too long. Nothing ever, ever gets done. Smart people make doodles while looking like they are taking notes. Others surreptitiously play Angry Birds on their phones. I tend to doze off and think about more important things, like lunch. Well, imagine what a Communist Party meeting is like. Yeah, pretty damn similar, and there are lots of them. Not a month goes by without talk of some really, really, high-level meeting, where incredibly important things get discussed, debated, and discussed some more.
There are so many of them it that it is all a bit mind-boggling. Here are a few of the big Party meetings explained:
1) National Congress of the Communist Party (中国共产党全国代表大会)
This one is big, so big in fact, that it only happens every five years. The last one (the 18th, 十八大) happened back in November 2012. It venue is always the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and comprises about 2,000 or so delegates who represent the Party.
Here they decide things like who gets to be the secretary general of Communist Party of China (CPC), on the Standing Committee of China’ s Politburo (中央政治局常委, the seven most powerful men in the Party), China’s Politburo (中央政治局委员, the top 25 men in the Party), and CPC’s Central Committee (中央委员, the top 350 or so cadres). If necessary, changes and review of the parties rules might also happen here, though it’s widely acknowledged that most important key decisions are actually made way in advance of the actual congress it itself.
2) CPC Central Committee Plenary Sessions (中国共产党中央委员会全体会议)
Now, over each five year term of the National Congress, the Party’s Central Committee has various meets up. These are called plenums and are, of course, very important—a lot of power is held here. There are usually seven of them, but there may be may be more. Each plenum has a specific function.
First Plenum (一中全会): usually happens as part of the National Congress of the Communist Party, and decides on who is in the Politburo, Standing Committee (top 25 guys in the party), and sets the future agenda.
Second Plenum (二中全会): This proposes candidates for the leadership personnel of the state government and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (中国人民政治协商会议全国委员会), which are then ratified by the National People’s Congress (more of which later).
Third Plenum (三中全会): this is the Plenum superstar and more important than all the rest. It was the third plenum in 1978 (十一届三中全会) that decided on the Reform and Opening Up, and ever since this plenum has been about “deepening reform” and broad economic changes.
Fourth Plenum (四中全会): this one decides how to improve CPC governance. One can only imagine that there is a lot to talk about.
Fifth Plenum (五中全会): This introduces the CPC’s next five-year-plan. You really can’t beat a good five-year plan.
Sixth Plenum (六中全会): Discuss how to improve the general morality of society and CPC in addition to cultural reforms. Presumably another biggie.
Seventh Plenum (七中全会): Discuss the Politburo work report and decide the time for the next National Congress of the Communist Party.
3) Lianghui (两会, Two sessions）
This is an annual meeting held in the spring, and is so-called because it is the meetings of two different assemblies: The National People’s Congress (NPC, 全国人民代表大会) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative conference (CPPCC, 中国人民政治协商会议). The NPC is the nation’s 3,000 member legislature, and in theory holds the bulk of state-power…