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Entries in China (247)

Wednesday
Jul312013

Chinese Government Issues Heat Warning After Record Temperatures

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- Temperatures in China have reached record levels this month with at least 10 people suffering from fatal cases of heatstroke.

According to the BBC News, the city of Shanghai has experienced its hottest July in 140 years. The China Meteorological Administration issued a level-two emergency heat alert for nine provinces on Tuesday. The warning is expected to be in effect for four days, though some areas -- south of the Yangtze River in particular -- could see high temperatures lasting for the next five to eight days.

Temperatures have reached as high as 40.6 degrees Celsius -- or 105.8 degerees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature recorded in Shanghai. In addition, the city has seen 24 days of temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or higher, says the BBC News.

Television reporters have even successfully fried meat on an outdoor slab of marble.

The Chinese government continues to urge the public to avoid outdoor activities during the period of high temperatures.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul202013

Man Detonates Small Explosive Device in Beijing Airport

Getty/George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A man detonated a small explosive device in the arrival area of Beijing International Airport Saturday at 6:24 p.m. local time.

State media have identified the man as 34-year-old Ji Zhongxing.

Zhongxing uses a wheelchair, and is believed to have a grievance against the police. BBC News reports that an online microblog claims the man was paralyzed after being beaten by security agents in 2005.

He allegedly detonated the device, made out of gunpowder taken from fireworks, after police stopped him from distributed leaflets.

Zhongxing was the only person injured in the blast. The terminal was back open less than two hours afterwards.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Officials: Baby Rescued from Toilet Sewer Was an 'Accident'

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- Chinese police have found the mother of the newborn who was rescued from a sewage pipe and, according to reports, will not press charges against her, calling the toilet birth an accident.

The unmarried mother, 22,  had kept her pregnancy a secret and said she gave birth unexpectedly while over a toilet Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Authorities did not reveal the mother’s identity.

The state-run, Hangzhou-based tabloid DuShiKuaiBao reported that the mother was on the scene for the entire rescue that was all captured on video. She confessed to have given birth to the child -- now known as Baby 59, after the hospital incubator in which he is recovering -- only when police confronted her.

Authorities discovered baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in her rented room in the building where Baby 59 was rescued.

A separate state-run news source, Jinhua-based Zhezong News, reported that the mother is a high school graduate and restaurant worker who said she became pregnant after a one-night stand. She apparently could not afford an abortion, which is widely available in China, so she tried to hide the pregnancy from her parents.

While delivering the baby in the building’s communal toilet, the woman said, she tried to catch the baby but he slipped through the hole of the squat commode. Baby 59 was discovered with his umbilical cord and placenta still attached, according to Zhezong News.

The woman said she alerted her landlord of the trapped baby after she could not pull the child out, Zhezhong News said.

“Our investigations showed it was an accident,” a local police officer who declined to be named told the AFP.

Baby 59′s mother remains in serious condition as a result of complications from delivering the baby herself. The baby, despite his ordeal, is reportedly healthy and recovering in incubator No. 59, AFP reported.

It’s unclear whether the mother will be able to keep the child.

While sex remains taboo as a topic of discussion between generations, there is an increasing lax attitude toward it among the so-called post-90s generation (those born after 1990). In a survey conducted by China’s prestigious Tsinghua University last year, results showed that more than 70 percent of China’s young adults have had pre-marital sex.

Unwanted pregnancies among young adults are increasingly prevalent in China because there is no sex education offered in Chinese schools, let alone any talk of contraception.

A 2010 government report issued by a working committee under the Chinese State Council reported that only 4.4 percent of unmarried young people have proper knowledge of sex.  On top of that, only 14.4 percent of that sample knew anything about AIDS prevention.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May282013

Newborn Rescued from Toilet Pipe in China

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- Dramatic and graphic video emerged over the weekend from China showing a newborn baby boy being rescued from a sewage pipe.

The 5-pound infant was discovered by residents in Jinhua, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, when they heard cries coming out of a fourth floor squat toilet in a local apartment building.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene they discovered a two-day-old baby lodged in the piping below the toilet.  After attempts to pull the baby out of the toilet failed, the rescuers resorted to sawing off a whole section of piping containing the baby and brought it to the neighboring hospital.

The video shows firefighters and doctors taking apart the sewer pipe piece by piece under the newborn was finally revealed from inside. State media reports said that the boy’s umbilical cord and placenta was still attached at the time.

“Fortunately the baby survived. But the person [who abandoned him] is still suspected of attempted murder,” an unidentified police officer told the state media on Hangzhou.com.cn. Police were looking for the parents of the baby boy.

The incident has conjured up intense emotions on Chinese social media especially after the news this weekend of separate newborn discovered in a dumpster in Hebei province. That newborn did not survive.

Posting on China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, user @bhdrswxjs wrote: “This should be sentenced to death, they are killing their own baby. This is not the only abandoned baby case I saw in the past ten days, one threw in dumpster and died; the other one was fleshed into toilet, those are not actions human beings should do.”

Another user, @Anandeshouxin added: “This little boy survived, he will do great in the future. The parents will never have a good life. I don’t even know how to curse them when seeing this shocking news.”

In March China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released data indicating there are 9,394 orphans and abandoned babies across China being cared for by non-government affiliated agencies. This figure obviously does not include the babies who did not make it.

The Chinese-language newsweekly MinSheng reported last year that 100,000 babies are estimated to have been abandoned each year in China. That’s over 250 babies abandoned every day.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr202013

Major Earthquake Hits China's Sichuan Province

iStockphoto(SICHUAN, China) -- A major earthquake hit China’s Sichuan province early Saturday morning, killing over 150 people and injuring thousands more.

The earthquake struck just after 8 a.m. in the hills of Sichuan province, in China’s southwest. The epicenter was near the city of Lushan, home to some 124,000 people.  

The quake toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power service, causing mass confusion in a city that had only recently woken up. Many were still in their bathrobes, according to ABC's Gloria Riviera.

The earthquake, was powerful, and measured at magnitude 6.6 according to the US Geological Survey. China’s seismological bureau measured it slightly higher, a 7. Aftershocks were felt throughout the morning, measuring between magnitude 4.5 up to magnitude 5, according to USGS spokesperson Jana  Pursley.

The death toll rose throughout the morning, and is expected to rise further.

"The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours since the quake's occurrence, the golden time for saving lives," said Premier Li Keqiang, according to BBC News.

This isn’t the first time the province has been hit by a terrible earthquake. In 2008 Sichuan was hit with a massive earthquake that left 90,000 people dead or missing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr182013

Death of Lu Lingzi in Boston Marathon Bombing Shattered Parents Dreams

Courtesy Darson Li(BOSTON) -- Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, the third victim to die in the Boston Marathon bombings, was the embodiment of her parents' highest hopes, a daughter born under China's one-child policy.

The ambitious 23-year-old was studying mathematics and statistics, and was at the marathon with friends to cheer on runners near the finish line when she was killed, according to Boston University. On her Weibo account, the Chinese version of Twitter, she extolled the virtues of American life -- blueberry waffles, Godiva dark chocolate, and ice cream.

In a telephone interview with ABC News, Lu's father described the death of their only child as a "dagger in our hearts." Initially, the family did not want to publicly disclose the name of their daughter, but later authorized Boston University to do so.

"If you only have one kid to fall back on, the idea of losing that child would make you bereft," said Toni Falbo, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, who specializes in Chinese families. "If you have two or three kids, and one dies, you have a reason to carry on and continue with your life.

"The parents must be utterly devastated and feel helpless, even more so, because they are so far away," she said.

Lu's father said he is in the process of obtaining a visa so he can travel to the United States to claim his daughter's body. He spoke of the pride he has felt in his daughter's accomplishments.

The family is from Shenyang in northeast, one of the largest cities in China. Lu attended the prestigious Northeast Yucai School then studied at Beijing Institute of Technology, both on scholarship. The family had saved their income so their daughter could study at Boston University, where the tuition for a graduate degree in mathematical finance is a staggering $60,888.

American universities, especially the most competitive institutions -- many of them in Boston -- have been a growing magnet for Chinese students. Last year, 194,000 obtained visas for higher education in the United States, according to the Institute of International Education.

For Chinese parents who invest so much of their emotion and earnings in the academic success of their children, Lu's death was not just the end of a lifelong dream, but also the family's legacy.

"With a daughter, they would have expected [Lu] to be their caretaker," said Falbo, who has studied the one-child policy. "That's their Social Security."

"Everyone is devastated by the loss of a child, but this is like pulling the rug out from under them, without any obvious sense of recovery," Falbo said.

China's one-child policy started in 1979, applying only to urban families, who represent the highest portion of the population.

The policy was first implemented to address overpopulation and to promote economic development, part of a "whole package of changes to amass clout and capability" in the world, according to Falbo.

"No one thinks it will be permanent -- that's a stupid idea," she said. "Having 2.1 children is a replacement level. Two to replace the parents, and .1 if a child gets sick and dies."

The strict law has applied only to urban areas, not in rural towns were parents typically had larger families.

"Rural people were more interested in helpers to work the farm and had more traditional values," said Falbo. "They would more likely want a son. Urban people were persuaded to have daughters. They are more worthwhile because they stay home."

But by the end of the 20th century, Chinese analysts began to be worried about the shrinking number of young workers and not enough children to take care of the elderly.

Some say that a phase-out of the one-child policy may be imminent.

According to a March report in Forbes magazine, the one-child rule has "disrupted Chinese society both socially and economically. On the social front, you have two generations of Chinese adults who never had the benefits of growing up in the competitive environment of siblings. In fact, they likely grew up in a pampered environment that tends to create a society of self-centered people."

But Falbo's research did not support the stereotypes.

"By and large these only children are not the little emperors they are made out to be," she said. "We looked at careful methodologies and counted factors like socio-economic status, and they do pretty well and are surprisingly like everyone else."

Parents are fined when they have a second child, and some argue that has kept the policy alive. "The local officials don't want to lose this possible money source," said Falbo. "But I think all the demographers and people who have done population studies say it's time to let it go."

Until then, cultural experts say all of a family's focus becomes the one child.

"Life in China is very family-centered," said Yuan Gao, director of the Asian Studies and Chinese programs at Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.

"For [Lu's] parents this must be a heavy hit," said Gao, who emigrated from Shanghai in 1986 to study at the University of Wisconsin. "It's terrible in any culture, but more so under China's one-child policy. The blow to the family must be almost unbearable."

"In the West, when a child is born, they pick a name like Laura or Sarah. In a Chinese family, they take great care, choosing a name with words like 'hope' or 'healthy' or 'be prosperous'," he said. "Those kinds of words carry the hopes and expectations of parents for the incoming child."

Education is also paramount. Gao, who has spent 23 years at the school, said Peddie had seen a marked increase in applications from mainland China since taking the first student in 2005. As a result, he said, the selection rate for Chinese students is "much harder than Harvard."

He said parents like Lu's look for the freedom and creativity in education they cannot find in China.

"The living standards have changed so much, that people's expectations are higher," said Gao. "They look to the U.S."

"People find ways to afford it," he said. "They believe that if something is good for the education of children, they will sacrifice everything to do that. Parents will do almost anything to make that happen."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr142013

Kerry on NKorea: US Would Not Rule Out Talks, but only if Denuclearization Steps Taken

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tokyo Sunday for the last leg of his Asia trip, reiterating the Obama Administration's pledge to seek a "peaceful resolution" on the Korean peninsula, amid increasing unease about North Korean provocations in the region.

Meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Kerry said the U.S. would not rule out direct talks with North Korea, but would only consider it if Pyongyang took steps towards denuclearization, and agreed to negotiate in a "responsible way."

"I think it's really unfortunate that the media and others have been so focused on the possibility of war when there's a possibility of peace," Kerry said. "We can find a way to resolve these differences at the negotiating table."

Kerry's visit to Japan comes as Pyongyang ramps up its rhetoric towards Tokyo.

On Friday, the regime singled out Japan as the first target in the event of a war on the Korean peninsula, in a scathing commentary that raised concerns in a country without a combat military, but Self Defense forces.

On Sunday, Kishida said Japan was fully prepared against such contingencies, including a potential missile launch, but added that Tokyo would push forward with a "dialogue and pressure" policy.

"We must not be influenced by [these provocations]," Kishida said. "Instead we have to get North Korea to understand that such behavior will not benefit anybody whatsoever."

Fresh off meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, Kerry once again expressed confidence in Beijing's willingness to pressure North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and calm tensions on the peninsula.

In a joint statement Saturday, both Kerry and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi reaffirmed U.S. and China's commitment to work on the denuclearization of North Korea.

Yang said China was committed to restarting stalled six-party talks and holding North Korea accountable to its international agreements.

"What happened yesterday should not be underestimated and it is not a small event," Kerry said. "What you have is a China that made it very clear that we can't simply have a rhetorical policy. I agree with China. Question is, what steps do you take to make sure we don't repeat the cycles of the last year."

In North Korea, festivities continued for the upcoming 101th birthday celebration of founder Kim Il Sung Monday, with Pyongyang hosting an international marathon. But threats toward the outside world remained persistent denouncing South Korean President Park Geun-hye's offer of dialogue as a "cunning ploy" and an "empty shell."

"It is a cunning ploy to hide the South's confrontational policy towards the North and escape from its responsibility for putting Kaesong Industrial Complex into a crisis," an announcer read on North Korea's Central TV.

The statement came from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, in charge of handling relations with South Korea.

Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint economic project using South Korean capital investment and the North's cheap labor, was recently shut down after North Korea pulled out its 53,000 workers in light of a series of tension building measures in the past few weeks.

Pyongyang has strongly protested the ongoing U.S.-South Korea military exercises scheduled to wrap up at the end of this month.

Eager to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, President Park offered peace through dialogue on Thursday, a surprise move that was widely welcomed by Kerry, who has repeatedly extended his support for bilateral talks, adding any missile launch would be a "huge mistake."

"I think she's shown great courage in her willingness to take [talks] in that direction, provided she has a willing partner," Kerry said in Tokyo.

Analysts have speculated that North Korea may launch a mid-range Musudan missile sometime before the April 15 celebration.

But on Sunday, South Korean local media questioned why the North's young leader Kim Jong-Un has not been seen in public over the past two weeks.

That's prompted further speculations his absence may be a sign he "might be tempted to tone down fiery threats," though others say it may be a sign Kim is posturing for the launch.

His last public appearance was on April 1, at the annual rubber-stamp parliamentary meeting. Kim is widely expected to show up in the military parade in Pyongyang on Monday.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar132013

Officials: 6,000 Dead Pigs in River Not Affecting Shanghai's Water

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(BEIJING) -- Shanghai authorities are trying to assure people of China's largest city that their drinking water is safe despite finding nearly 6,000 dead pigs in the river that provides water to the city's taps.

Shanghai residents were further unnerved when health officials determined that the pigs were infected with a disease known as porcine circovirus, but health officials insisted that it does not affect humans.

The pig bodies were found in the Huangpu River, about 40 miles north of Shanghai's 23 million residents, raising fears that they are drinking a "pork broth," as some referred to it.

The government has been playing down the incident and reassured citizens that Shanghai tap water samples passed government tests and is safe to drink.

Shanghai authorities used tags on the pigs' ears to trace them to the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, upstream from Shanghai.  Jiaxing is the main supplier of pork to China's east coast, with 4.5 million pigs delivered every year.

Jiaxing city government officials denied responsibility for the dead pigs.

"The tags on the pigs' ears only indicate the pigs were born here," argued Jiang Hao, the vice director of Jiaxing's Animal Husbandry Bureau.  "It doesn't mean they were raised here.  No signs have been found of any epidemic among animals in Jiaxing, and local hogs' mortality rate remains normal."

The government is blaming some farmers in Jiaxing for a lack of environmental awareness, and for carelessly disposing of their dead pigs.  The government says it will make every effort to investigate the case and punish anyone who dumped pig carcasses in the river.

Last year, the Jiaxing government started a major crackdown on black market sales of pork from pigs that had died of disease.  One farmer told Shanghai's Xinmin News Net that some farmers now just toss the tainted meat into the river since they have nowhere to sell it.

"Some dead pigs weighing more than 25 kilos were still being sold and making it onto people's dinner tables," the farmer said.  "But since the government arrested some tainted meat dealers, nobody comes to buy the stuff anymore.  So it's normal that there are so many dead pigs in the river."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

China TV Kills Live Execution Plans at Last Minute

ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(BEIJING) -- China’s state-run broadcaster, CCTV, made a grisly announcement this week.  It planned to live broadcast the execution of a Burmese drug lord and three of his henchmen for massacring 13 Chinese crewmen aboard a ship on the Mekong River.

The murders had enraged China and the broadcast was initially greeted enthusiastically.  The two-hour show, which aired on Friday, had all the elements of a sweeps week production, but as the program neared its close, the station abruptly changed plans and did not show the execution.

CCTV did not say why it altered its programming, but while the show was running, China News Week started a poll on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.  It asked whether people thought the live broadcast was right or wrong.

Initially, the majority of people supported it.  But as the program began, that balance shifted until the firm majority were against CCTV’s decision.  Within two hours of the execution, the poll was no longer accessible.

Chinese media identified the executed men as Naw Kham, a notorious drug lord who operated in the Golden Triangle area, along with Hsang Kham, Yi Lai and Zha Xika.

In October 2011, the group ambushed a Chinese cargo ship and killed 13 crew members.  Kham was known to be the leader of the group. There was widespread fury in China and Chinese authorities launched a manhunt for his capture.

The South China Morning Post reported the Chinese government even considered sending an attack drone into Myanmar air space to locate Kham.

This week, CCTV announced the two-hour special that would feature live reports from the location where the men would be killed by lethal injection in Kumming, Yunnan Province.  Initial reaction in China to the announcement was mixed.

As the show began at 1:30 p.m., a CCTV anchor, the police chief from Yunnan Province and a professor from Renmin University discussed the crime at length.

Viewers saw each man brought out of prison escorted by four armed guards.  They were met with a large number of jostling photographers and cameramen from national media organizations.  Their handcuffs were removed and their hands were bound behind them with rope.  

The last viewers saw of the prisoners was them being loaded on to separate vehicles headed for the site of the execution.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb112013

Year of the Snake Begins in China

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- Goodbye dragon, hello snake.  According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Monday marks the Year of the Snake.

In China, it's believed the universe is made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, wood and metal.

A Snake Year contains a lot of fire, which can mean energy -- a good thing for wealth, progress and bounty.

It also contains water.  Feng shui masters watching the financial markets in Hong Kong say a Snake Year will boost water-related stocks.

If you are born in a Snake Year, look to make yourself a safe haven: snakes like to feel protected.  And stay away from tigers and pigs -- the combination is no good.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio