Archive for the Qingdao Category

Top 10 best places to retire in China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Dalian, Guangzhou, Liaoning Province, Qingdao, Shanghai on May 15, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 8, 2014

For many, retirement is a new phase of life, when you can banish all thoughts that have been bothering you at a younger age and just enjoy the rest of your life.

But if you have a chance to consider new surroundings, you might as well factor into your options doctor availability, housing, living costs, weather and air quality, and so on.

With these considered, we have come up with a list of 10 best Chinese cities for retirement.

* No 10 Chengdu, Sichuan province

The city boasts best medical care services in China, particularly compared to other inland cities, with about 20 first-class hospitals. Besides, medical care costs are much lower than mega cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai…

To see full “Top 10 list” and photos, see: http://english.people.com.cn/205040/8620825.html

Holiday fireworks lose their sparkle amid smog [China Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Environmental protection, Law enforcement, Qingdao on January 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2014-01-27
By Zheng Xin

Public enthusiasm for fireworks seems to be fizzling out in the face of concerns over air pollution, with many people posting online messages calling for restraint in celebrations during Spring Festival.

Posts are circulating on Chinese social media platforms, including Sina Weibo and WeChat, calling for people to scale back on the use of fireworks during the holiday, which runs from Jan 31 to Feb 6. Many have greeted the posts favorably.

“Fighting against sooty air is the responsibility of every resident,” said Peng Xiao, a 32-year-old resident in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. “You can’t blame the government for the air quality while making things worse yourself.”

Nor is it just air pollution, she said. Noise pollution is also a factor, as fireworks also set off car alarms.

However, others have pointed out that fireworks are an essential part of celebrating big events, like weddings and holidays…

…Setting off fireworks is an integral part of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, with the noise traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. However, with China suffering from heavy smog in recent years, the contribution of fireworks to air pollution has drawn widespread attention from the public and authorities.

A recent online survey on Sina Weibo showed that more than 60 percent of participants would be happy not to use fireworks during the holiday, while the remaining 40 percent were adamant that they will stick to the traditional methods of celebration.

Alternative ways to celebrate are being suggested.

The Beijing Consumer Association on Thursday urged residents to replace fireworks with flowers and electronic substitutes.

A statement issued by the association advised consumers to refrain from celebrations with fireworks and firecrackers or only use environmentally friendly products to avoid “rubbing salt into the wound” of the city’s already severe air pollution.

The city governments of Hefei, Qingdao, Shenzhen and many other cities have tried to persuade residents to give up fireworks during the holiday.

According to Beijing’s administration office for fireworks and firecrackers, the city has 515,000 boxes of fireworks in stock for this year’s festival, down from 710,000 boxes in 2013 and 810,000 in 2012. The number of retail outlets for firecrackers across the city has also been reduced by 13 percent.

Fireworks went on sale on Saturday (until Feb 14) but early indicators suggest that sales have been slow to take off.

“The public is not as enthusiastic as in the past because they are more aware of the importance of environmental protection and health,” said Song Yang, an official with the fireworks administration office.

A female seller in Chaoyang district surnamed Wang said that she was not sure she could sell all her merchandise…

…Fireworks are forbidden after Feb 14 this year within the fifth ring road, and violators will face a hefty fine, the city’s fireworks office said.

The office and the local public security bureau will also collect fireworks-related litter after the holiday to reduce hazards to the public.

Companies producing fireworks in the city have little reason to celebrate.

“We have reduced our inventories by 40 percent this year, and still we are not confident about the market,” said Wu Liyu, head of the Beijing Fireworks Co, a State-run company. “The market has shrunk significantly over the past few years.”

Pan Di, head of Panda Fireworks, one of the three major fireworks manufactures in the capital, said the company has some 250,000 boxes of fireworks in stock this year, a 20 percent reduction on last year.

The fireworks have even undergone modifications to make them more environmentally friendly.

“All the fireworks this year will have fewer paper scraps and emit less smoke, and 25 percent of them are free of sulfur and contain less heavy metal materials,” she said.

Another pollution-busting trend appears to be a preference for public firework displays rather than the use of fireworks by individuals and small groups.

“In the future, people might give up setting off fireworks themselves and resort to collective fireworks displays,” said Pan.

Feng Yongfeng, founder of the Green Beagles, a Beijing-based environmental protection NGO, said that despite the reduction of harmful materials, fireworks are still a polluting factor and a public nuisance.

“Fireworks, especially large ones, contain too much gunpowder and are too loud,” he said.

According to the city’s fireworks office, a ban on fireworks will be put into effect if the city issues “red” or “orange” air pollution alerts during the festival, signifying severe levels of air pollution.

The government will inform the public of the alerts through text messages and television and radio alerts.

Excerpted, full article link: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2014-01/27/content_17259970.htm

China and Russia hold joint naval exercises in North East Asia [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Australia, China, DPR Korea, Encirclement of China, India, Japan, Obama, Philippines, Qingdao, Russia, S. Korea government cover-up of Cheonan incident, SCO Shanghai Cooperation Organization, South China Sea, south Korea, Tokyo, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Chan
27 April 2012

China and Russia are conducting a major joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea from April 22 to 27. The drills are a response by the two countries to their growing concerns about the Obama administration’s aggressive “pivot” to Asia that includes a military build-up and the strengthening of US alliances throughout the region.

Seven Russian vessels led by its Pacific Fleet flagship, the Varyag, a guided missile cruiser, arrived at Qingdao—a Chinese naval base on the Shandong Peninsula. They were joined by 16 Chinese surface ships and two submarines. Thirteen warplanes, nine helicopters and special force units also took part in the live fire drills.

Russia and China have held joint military exercises in recent years, within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and in the name of combatting terrorism. The main object of the latest war games, however, is the joint defence of sea lanes, involving maritime air defence, as well as anti-submarine tactics and electronic countermeasures.

Although Russian and Chinese officials claimed the exercises were planned last year and did not target at any third party, the “imaginary enemies” could only be the US and its allies. A key focus of the American military build-up is to ensure US domination of key shipping routes through South East Asia.

The location and timing of the naval drills was highly sensitive. As Russian warships crossed through the Tsushima Strait between Japan and Korea last weekend, the Japanese media speculated that this was a message to Tokyo. The strait was the site of the key naval battle in 1905 Russo-Japanese war for dominance in Korea and Manchuria.

This week’s drills were held close to where several US-South Korean naval exercises were staged following the alleged sinking of a South Korean frigate by North Korea in 2010. The US-South Korean naval exercise last November was only 170 kilometres away from the Shandong Peninsula.

The Russo-Chinese exercises coincided with US-Philippine joint war games near the South China Sea, which also involved Australia, Japan and South Korea. That exercise took place amid a continuing standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships near the disputed Scarborough Shoal. The US has encouraged the Philippines and other countries to take a more aggressive stance in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

As well as raising concerns in [China], the strengthening of the US military presence and ties in Asia has also caused unease in Moscow, which in recent years has expanded its military exercises in Russia’s far eastern regions.

The Obama administration exploited North Korea’s failed rocket launch this month to renew calls for a joint missile shield with Japan, South Korea and Australia. The plan poses a threat not only to China’s nuclear missile arsenal but also to Russia’s road- and rail-launch missiles in the Far East, as well as its Pacific-based nuclear submarines.

By stationing radar and interceptor missiles in South Korea and Japan, the US can significantly shorten the detection time of any Chinese and Russian missile launch and enhance its ability to shoot down the missiles. While promoted as a defensive measure, the missile shield would enable the US to launch a devastating first strike on China or Russia, then neutralise any surviving missiles.

China’s and Russia’s shared anxieties about the threat of US militarism have led to a strengthening of their strategic partnership over the past decade. The SCO was formed in 2001, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to counter growing American influence in Central Asia, especially after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

In 2005, Russia and China held their first major joint military exercise, “Peace Mission 2005,” in the Yellow Sea. Then, under the [rubric] of the “war on terror,” the SCO countries staged four joint military exercises. Far from being anti-insurgency exercises to suppress “terrorists” in the region, these drills were more in line with practicing for a large-scale land conflict in energy-rich Central Asia.

[Some Chinese] have become convinced in recent years that China should form a military alliance with Russia. During a recent National Security Policy Committee forum on the impact of the “US pivot to the East,” several of China’s top analysts argued for a shift in strategic policy.

Qian Wenrong of the Institute of World Issues declared: “We must change the no-alliance policy, without openly announcing it. We must consider the issue of forming alliances. Otherwise, in the future wars, in both political and military confrontations, we by ourselves will not have the slightest chance of overcoming the global network of alliances that the US has constructed.”

At the same time, the state-run press in China has generally played down any prospect of a formal alliance with Russia. Both countries fear that an alliance would antagonise the US and its allies, on which they depend economically. Russia is a major exporter of energy to Europe, while China remains a cheap labour platform for major Western corporations.

Moreover, China and Russia remain suspicious of each other. Moscow is worried about Beijing’s growing presence in former Soviet Central Asia, where it is tapping the region’s vast energy reserves. By assimilating Russian technology, China has boosted its military strength, provoking concerns in Moscow over a potential conflict with an “overcrowded” China seeking to dominate the resource-rich and underpopulated Russian Far East.

The Chinese regime is concerned that Russia has been supplying sophisticated military hardware, including nuclear submarines, tanks and an aircraft carrier, to its regional rival, India, in an attempt to counter-balance Chinese influence in Asia. Russia is also selling submarine and strike aircraft to Vietnam, which in turn has invited India and Russia to jointly explore energy reserves in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

The very fact that China and Russia are considering closer military ties, despite these antagonisms, underscores the dangerous tensions being produced by the Obama administration’s confrontational “pivot” to Asia.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/apr2012/ruch-a27.shtml

ConocoPhillips China blasted for taking too long to stop Bohai Bay oil leaks [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Liaoning Province, Pollution, Qingdao on August 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

QINGDAO, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Chinese maritime authorities have criticized ConocoPhillips China for acting slowly to entirely block oil leaks in northeast China’s Bohai Bay.

A notice issued Saturday by the North China Sea branch of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), located in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, said a panel of eight experts from the SOA inspected two leaking platforms of the bay’s Penglai 19-3 oilfield Thursday.

The panel found that the company did suspend its drilling operations on the two platforms, but acted slowly in meeting the SOA’s requirements of “screening out all potential sources for the oil spills and blocking the leaks once and for all.”

Further, the panel said that the company did not fulfill its promise of “making sure oil spills would not reach shore, nor affect environmental fragile areas,” which was proposed by the SOA.

ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of U.S. energy giant Conocophillips, first reported the spills to authorities in June. The oil spills have spread to beaches in Hebei and Liaoning provinces. The spills have been blamed for losses in the provinces’ tourism and aquatic farming industries.

On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips China said it had found pollutants near the Penglai 19-3 platform C during its clean-up work, and while the specific figure has not yet been calculated, this would drive up the total oil and mud leakage to more than earlier predictions of 1,500 barrels.

Also earlier this week, the SOA branch criticized ConocoPhillips China for missing a deadline for cleaning up the two spills.

Oil-drilling operations in the field are jointly conducted by ConocoPhillips China and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the country’s largest offshore oil producer.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-08/06/c_131033293.htm

Bumpy road ahead for car sales – as Beijing restricts new cars [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, Beijing, China, Economy, Environmental protection, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, USA, WTO on January 29, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 14, 2011

Automakers shift gear to focus efforts on smaller cities after capital applies the brakes.  Li Fangfang in Beijing reports.

Car salesman Liu Jun enjoyed the best time of his career in December.  After shifting 19 cars in the first 23 days, he was already looking ahead to lavishing his family with expensive gifts at Spring Festival.

Less than one month later, the 25-year-old is fighting to keep his job.

Since Christmas Eve, the day after Beijing announced strict measures to limit the number of new cars in the capital, Liu has not received even one prospective buyer, let alone signed any contracts.

His showroom in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, which sells China-made Chery models, could “encounter its first single-digit monthly sales before Chinese New Year”, said the salesman, who started in the industry four years ago.

“We’ve heard the store will lay off 60 to 70 percent of its sales staff after the holiday,” added Liu.

To ease the gridlock, city authorities will now issue just 20,000 new vehicle license plates a month, meaning annual sales will plunge from 891,000 units in 2010 to 240,000 units in 2011.

The unexpected curb on China’s largest vehicle market is a major bump in the road for automakers, especially as some 20 other cities with chronic congestion are watching on with keen interest.  However, industry experts predict the big players will likely adapt by focusing more on smaller cities further inland.

“The best and most efficient way for automakers to offset the declined sales in Beijing and maybe other first-tier cities in the near future is to rapidly shift their dealer network expansion inland,” said Zhong Shi, an independent analyst in Beijing.

By the end of last September, China’s total vehicle capacity was 70 million units, lower than the 75 million in Japan and 285 million in the United States, according to the Ministry of Public Security statistics.

However, most of the country’s vehicles run on roads in large cities and coastal areas, as 300 second- and third-tier cities of 2 million people or less still have low car capacity.

“There is still huge potential for car consumption in China’s small cities, as well as rural markets,” added Zhong.

Geared for change

Data provided by the State Information Center shows that when it comes to car ownership in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai, the average is about 200 vehicles for every 1,000 people.  In most second- and third-tier cities, that number drops to 100, while for 20 of the country’s 34 provinces and autonomous regions, the average is no more than 30 automobiles for every 1,000 people.

In eastern Shandong province, for example, the two largest vehicle markets – Jinan, the capital, and Qingdao – reported sales growth of 58 percent in 2009, while smaller cities like Weifang saw a sales surge by 91 percent year-on-year.

“China’s fast-growing urbanization also indicates that, in the near future, second- and third-tier cities will be the major power driving auto sales,” said Xu Changming at the State Information Center.

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Environmentally-friendly burials gaining popularity in China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Dalian, Environmental protection, Qingdao, Shenyang on November 6, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 25, 2010

Zhou Jingxian, 45, travelled about 1,500 kilometers from northeastern China to east China’s Qingdao by train and air and arrived late Saturday, not for urgent business, but for a collective funeral.

Together with Zhou’s father, 429 people’s ashes were put out to sea in Qingdao from Saturday to Sunday.

"My sisters and I have waited for three years to fulfill my father’s last wishes to scatter his ashes at sea in Qingdao, as he was born in Qingdao and loved sea," Zhou said.

The 60th collective sea burial is free of charge for local residents.

"We offer free sea burials to attract more people to choose this environment-friendly way, as graveyards take more and more land," said Guo Kehuang, an official of Qingdao’s Civil Affairs Department.

Traditionally, inhumation is the major way of burial for ethnic Han Chinese. But with the growing population, graves are taking up too much land in China where land is becoming increasingly precious.

At least 20 million graves are dug every year in China, covering 66.67 square kilometers, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs in China.

The Chinese government has been encouraging environmentally-friendly burials such as burials at sea or under trees, instead of digging graves.

Northeast China’s Dalian City has been providing free sea burials for its residents since 2009. In Beijing, families can apply for subsidies if some of their members were buried at sea…

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Pyongyang Art Troupe tours China – PHOTOS [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, DPR Korea, Qingdao on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
 
October 21, 2010
 

On Oct. 20, actors from the Pyongyang Art Troupe perform the traditional Korean ethnic dance "Rhododendron in full bloom" in Qingdao City, located in east China's Shangdong Province.Performances included the unique pitcher dance, fan dance, hand drum dance, gayagum solo and traditional Korean folk songs, which wowed audience members who attended. It was known that the "Rhododendron in full bloom" was a new version of the Korean song and dance show specifically rehearsed by the Pyongyang Art Troupe for its China tour, which has performed nearly 50 times and has been seen by more than 100,000 audience members. (Photo by Li Ziheng/ Xinhua)

Link to full photo article here