Changing China

Giant on the move

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from Africa News blog:

Was South Africa right to deny Dalai Lama a visa?

By Isaac Esipisu

Given that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and given the close relationship between Beijing and the ruling African National Congress, it didn’t come as a huge surprise that South Africa was in no hurry to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s spiritual leader will end up missing the 80th birthday party of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a fellow Nobel peace prize winner. He said his application for a visa had not come through on time despite having been made to Pretoria several weeks earlier. (Although South Africa’s government said a visa hadn’t actually been denied, the Dalai Lama’s office said it appeared to find the prospect inconvenient).
Desmond Tutu said the government’s action was a national disgrace and warned the President and ruling party that one day he will start praying for the defeat of the ANC government.

It’s the second time the Dalai Lama has been unable to honour an invitation to South Africa by Tutu after failing to make it to a meeting in 2010.

South Africa will certainly win more plaudits in Beijing, which last week agreed to $2.5 billion in investment projects with during a visit by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

from George Chen:

China is still waiting for inflation to peak

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

How time flies. It's already the end of August and speculations naturally arise about what China's inflation reading will be for this month.

The most optimistic view these days is that the August Consumer Price Index (CPI) could decline to below 6 percent. The most pessimistic view I've heard is that growth has slowed down in August, but probably only to 6.2 percent or 6.3 percent.

Snowboarding the Bird’s Nest

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Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, the tangled steel structure that starred as the focal point of the 2008 Summer Games, has been dressed up for winter in hopes of drawing post-Olympics visitors — and their cash.

Transformed into a winter-themed sports park, the stadium — which in its glory days packed some 80,000 cheering spectators into row after row of seats — now includes snowboard and ski slopes inside the inner ring, as well as a short toboggan tube, all covered in man-made snow.

The Battle for Beijing’s Air (video)

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CHINA-TRAFFIC/On the first day of the Copenhagen climate change summit, Beijingers were experiencing what authorities called a ‘slightly polluted’ day.

Air quality in the capital has improved, thanks in part to the movement of factories elsewhere and new traffic restrictions first experimented with ahead of last year’s Olympics.

Chicks love vegetarians

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Want to be sexy? Then don’t eat meat, says Taiwanese star Barbie Hsu.

 

“Vegetarians make chicks happy” is a new People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign fronted by Hsu, better known in the Chinese speaking world as “Big S”.

PETA hope the actress, who shot to fame in the hit Taiwanese soap opera “Meteor Garden”, will appeal to younger Chinese.

Smoking out the flu

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Suffering from a bout of winter flu? Chinese traditional medicine has its own answers – you can rebalance your bodies’ meridian with moxibustion, the smoky twin to acupuncture, or bleed the bad toxins away with wet cupping.

The practice of burning moxa, the herb mugwort, above or on the skin can treat many ills, according to moxibustion therapist Fan Changwei.

Obama at the Great Wall

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Aides say U.S. President Barack Obama really enjoys sightseeing breaks during the hectic schedules of his foreign trips, since they let him clear his head.

The blustery wind on the Great Wall on Wednesday may have helped as well, as Obama broke away from tour guides and walked alone for a few minutes to Badaling’s third watchtower.

An Unlikely Couple

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Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, arguably the world’s two most powerful men, stand shoulder to shoulder for their respective national anthems in Beijing on Tuesday.

But there are few smiles ahead of a morning of bilateral meetings on everything from the value of China’s currency to global warming. With their nations’ fates so bound to the relationship, and faced with the challenge of juggling trade and Tibet, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going through their minds.

On Obama’s trail in Beijing

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Guan Yongning is a senior cameraman with Reuters Television in Beijing . In  15 years in the field,  he has covered stories ranging from natural disasters to politics and major sporting events.  Guan was one of the chosen few reporters able to follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit in China up-close.  He tells the story of what reporters have to go through to capture a few precious shots of the U.S. leader.

The reporters able to cover Obama’s visit up close might be considered the lucky ones. Following the American commander-in-chief means long hours working days,  skipping meals, lugging around heavy gear and enduring the harsh Beijing winds. But would they give up the chance?

U.S. expats discuss Obama’s visit over a beer

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Beijing’s local Americans believe Obama can maintain his popularity with the Chinese public just as long as he focuses on their main interests - trade relations and the fate of the huge Chinese holdings of U.S. government debt.

Tim’s Texas BBQ restaurant offers Beijing’s several thousand expat Americans grilled ribs, beer and live TV coverage of the President’s visit to China, from  November 15 to 18.  Chinese President Hu Jintao and American President Barack Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of issues from trade to currency imbalance and climate change to human rights.

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