Tag Archives | China

Capitalism-Loving Disease: Xinjiang’s hidden HIV epidemic

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Casey Halter via Hopes&Fears:

Last January, one of Western China’s foremost HIV/AIDS advocates was arrested by the People’s Republic of China on charges of “endangering state security.” Human rights activists say no one has heard from—or about—him ever since.

The man who disappeared was Akbar Imin, one of the country’s 11-15 million Muslim Uyghur minorities, a Turkic-speaking ethnic population located on the fringes of secular Chinese society. Born in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China’s far Northwest, Imin had been working since 2009 for the PRC government’s Development Research Center in Beijing, tasked with gearing up drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention strategies among Uyghur migrants in the nation’s capital up until he was thrown in jail.

Official reports about Akbar Imin’s detainment didn’t even come out until two full months after his arrest, Greg Fay, project manager at the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, told Hopes&Fears.

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The time zone rebels of the world

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Gabriella Garcia via Hopes&Fears:

In 1934, representatives from 26 countries gathered in Washington DC for the International Meridian Conference. The goal was to establish an official longitude—the Greenwich Meridian—off of which to base the international standard of time (the GMT, now called the UTC for Coordinated Universal Time). But as fate would have it, the industrial world stumbled clumsily towards uniformity over the next few decades, with a production flow determined by those leading the charge toward global manufacturing and production. But as with any decision made by an imperialistic minority, just because it was said didn’t mean the entire world agreed.

Thus, creating a Standard Time set the stage for the birth of time deviants; populations that vary from a handful of counties in Indiana to the entire Republic of China, that determine their own standards of time based on the constantly shifting nature of geopolitical relationships.

China

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China, on the other hand, has kept it relatively simple by abolishing all time zones and uniformly running on “Beijing Time,” or UTC+08.… Read the rest

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Is It OK To Eat Dogs?

“Is it OK to eat dogs?,” asks Julian Baggini at the Guardian, telling us to “consider that eating man’s best friend is a matter of cultural tastes, not moral worth”:

Whenever western meat-eaters get up in arms over barbarous foreigners eating cute animals, it’s easy to throw around accusations of gross hypocrisy. Easy, because such accusations are often true. But responses to the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, which draws to a close today, merit more careful consideration. The double standards at play here are numerous, complicated, and not always obvious.

Photo: Stougard (CC)

Photo: Stougard (CC)

One so-called hypocrisy is nothing of the sort. If you find yourself disgusted by the thought of dogs being killed, cooked and eaten, but you eat other animals, that does not make you a hypocrite. If you’ve grown up seeing dogs as companion animals and haven’t even seen the reality of livestock slaughter, of course you’re going to find the idea somewhat distressing.

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Faces Of Crying Babies Projected Onto Factory Smoke To Highlight Pollution

In an effort to highlight China’s air pollution problem, Xiao Zhu projected faces of crying babies onto factory smoke pollution.

Via the YouTube description:

Xiao Zhu wanted to stand out in a market that was almost as congested as the air. A market where half a million people, mostly children, have died due to air pollution related illnesses. So we decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits – the factories – by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium. People took notice, and the word spread.

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‘Our purity is above 99%': the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

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Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

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In China, ‘Cooperative Marriage’ Means a Gay Man and a Lesbian Woman Wed Each Other

A bridal store in Zhejiang province, China. Photo by Flickr user Bill L. CC BY 2.0

A bridal store in Zhejiang province, China. Photo by Flickr user Bill L. CC BY 2.0

via Global Voices:

This article and radio report by Ruth Morris for The World originally appeared on PRI.org on April 2, 2015, and is republished here as part of a content-sharing agreement.

Gays and lesbians are getting married in China — but not in the way they might hope.

Same-sex unions are still illegal in China, and members of the Chinese LGBT community face the same intense parental pressure as their straight friends to get hitched and produce grandchildren.

“In our culture, a person who doesn’t get married will be considered to be disobedient towards their parents,” says a gay man identified as John, a lawyer in his 30s.

So John turned to a solution known as a ”cooperative marriage:” He married “Xiaodan,” who is lesbian, a year ago. In a nation where being gay is not acceptable, John and Xiaodan asked not to be identified by their real names.

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China adopts new real-name policy because pseudonymity has “polluted the Internet ecology”

openDemocracy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

openDemocracy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Nathaniel Mott Via Pando Daily:

China will soon enforce a rule which requires its citizens to share their real name and identification number whenever they create a new account with a website.

Internet users will still be allowed to set their own usernames — albeit with restrictions against using content the government deems inappropriate — but they must also register their real names and identifying information with the services.

The government-run China News Service claims pseudonymous accounts have “polluted the Internet ecology, harmed the interests of the masses and seriously violated core socialist values,” according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

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China is Turning Fecal Sludge Into ‘Black Gold’

Who knew that human waste (a/k/a fecal sludge) was so valuable? From Bloomberg News:

Heinz-Peter Mang is obsessed with turning human waste into gold. As millions of Chinese move to cities, the German engineer is convinced the country is on the way to hitting the jackpot.

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Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works. Photo: Chong Fat (CC)

 

A growing portion of China’s toilet waste is converted into fertilizer and biogas. In Beijing, 6,800 tons of human excrement are treated each day by some estimates: enough to fill almost three Olympic-size swimming pools.

Over the past decade, China’s economic ascent has driven millions of rural workers into its cities in the largest migration in human history. In 2013, the number of urban dwellers crossed 731 million, overtaking the rural population by more than 100 million. Some fallouts: water shortages in the North and toilet waste routed into rivers in the south.

That’s forcing city planners to get creative in dealing with toilet refuse, and drawing engineers like Mang to help refine models.

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China Stops Censoring the Web—for Three Days, in One City

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

World Internet Conference in China. Now there’s an oxymoron.

via Bloomberg:

This week in China, there is a place where you can tweet to your heart’s content, Facebook your friends, or Google a YouTube video.

Beijing normally blocks nationwide access to Western social media and news websites, but it’s opening a crack in the Great Firewall just big enough for participants at a technology conference in Wuzhen, China, to squeeze through. The country is hosting the World Internet Conference from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, where leaders from local Internet giants, including Alibaba and Tencent, will mingle with executives from LinkedIn, SoftBank and other global tech companies.

This temporary opening of the gates doesn’t mean China is having second thoughts about Web censorship. Not in the least. China often lifts its controls on the Web for attendees of high-profile international forums, as it did for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing earlier this month.

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