China

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
China's bizarre new world opens up

July 2, 2004


Perusal of a Chinese newspaper shows that the old saying "only in America" needs revision, writes Steve Packer.

Page four of the English-language China Daily is the kind of page a visitor might expect to turn to for insight into a bewildering, large and rapidly changing country.

Headed "China Scene", with the banner "From the most influential and widely read Chinese media", it presents a daily cross-section of reports that the newspaper culls from publications in regions north, south, east, west and central.

There are few reasons to buy the government-owned China Daily with any enthusiasm, but page four never fails to justify the one-yuan (about 20c) outlay. It is arguably the most extraordinary page of journalism found in any national newspaper in the world.

It is difficult to indicate the range of oddities on a page that, day after day, makes the "It only happens in America" concept seem well out of date. Forged in remarkable cultural and political circumstances, it's the real deal, as unencumbered by cynicism as it is constipated with earnestness.

As one representative example is impossible to choose, we'll begin with this recent story from the eastern region, "Bird shuts up when taking bath". I was on a plane when I read it, returning to Sydney after four weeks of travel in China.

According to the Jianghuai Morning Post, "a smart myna bird in Fuyang, Anhui Province, which can sing and recite poetry, refuses to speak a word during bath time. It will only start talking again after its feathers have dried."

Admittedly, this is one of China Scene's less important animal stories, although recent headings such as "Dog fasts after loss of feathered friends", "Officers tend to lost cow in owner's absence" and "Old pine outraces time but not moths" require little amplification. The police officers did have to contend with the birth of a calf.

The animal stories can get strange. "Talented horse capable of shelling eggs" told of a beast that can also peel lychees and mangoes with its mouth. "It enjoys eggs and beer. Sometimes it will go to temples."

Then there was the news that an elephant at Fuzhou Zoo had kidney failure and the zoo was "calling for help from the public", its nature unspecified. "The elephant broke one of its tusks 11 years ago, causing a serious infection. Although the infection was later cured, its kidney was damaged. Unless the elephant is cured in the near future, it risks being unable to have babies."

"Boa becomes another family member", about a family that found an injured boa in 1996 and cared for it, seemed to be telling too much, then left readers wanting more. "The boa became a member of the family, and even stayed in the family bed during the honeymoon night," the Hainan Special Zone Daily reported. "The boa, who had caught thieves for [its owner] Huang in the past, would play with him, and it even once saved a boy's life in a river."

Unusual human misfortune and freakish death are other China Scene favourites. The myna bird story was followed by "Teahouse partner steps into the air", about a businessman in Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, who didn't realise the lift had stalled during a power cut and died falling four floors down the shaft. Across the page was "Toll collectors bothered by bees" and "Compensation for poor false teeth" (they were so bad, the woman couldn't close her mouth). In a nation of 1.3 billion people, the "almost" was the most surprising thing about "Plastic bag almost suffocates baby".

Sexual matters are handled with voyeuristic delicacy. Consider "Father to sue store for selling breast products to son" and "Lingerie obsession proves costly for Taiwan woman".

In the first story, a 15-year-old boy in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region stole money from his family to buy breast-enlargement ointment: "Guo, who used to dress like a woman, used the ointment."

The Taiwanese woman, Lin, was spending up to $US5000 (00) - almost all her income - on lingerie every month. "She said she does not wear the expensive underwear, but just takes it out to look at."

The family sagas can be quite poignant, even if they do read like John Updike parodies. One item reports: "A septuagenarian couple who had different living habits recently got divorced in Beijing. The old man, surnamed Yang, is from North China, where people are generally more happy-go-lucky than those in South China, where the woman comes from.

"The man likes to wake up early but his former wife likes to get up at about 9am. It was their daughter who first suggested the divorce. They promise to visit each other often."

Shortly after I stepped off the plane in Sydney, the new Chinese ambassador to Canberra, Fu Ying, told the Herald: "Australia can help China to understand the world better, and help the world understand China." Diplomatic flattery aside, it means Australia needs to understand China. It's hard to know if China Scene is revealing more or revealing less than intended.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/01/1088488096354.html?oneclick=true
 

Kondoru

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#2
Aww!

I always have had great sympathy with the chinese....I was an only child in a world where most people had siblings, and I heard about this place where other only children lived...
 
A

Anonymous

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#3
Original article includes swell photo:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-08/18/content_366554.htm

China's 'hairboy' aspires to be a rock star
2004-08-18 11:08

He is an aspiring rock star, but Yu Zhenhuan's claim to fame for now is that he is the hairiest man in all of China.


Yu Zhenhuan waits for an interview beside his hospital bed in Shanghai August 13, 2004. Yu, who is China's hairiest man, has 96 percent of his body covered with hair. [Reuters]
Hair covers 96 percent of Yu's body. He may be surpassed only by a pair of Mexican brothers: Victor "Larry" and Gabriel "Danny" Ramos Gomez, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having 98 percent hair cover.

The 26-year-old Yu is candid and unembarrassed about a condition that has made him a phenomenon in China since he was born.

A stringy black fuzz matts every inch of his lanky frame, save for the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet.

And Yu has chosen to make use of his unique physical appearance, placing photos of himself on his Web site http://www.maohai.com + or Hairboy.com + as part of a drive to land a recording contract and become China's newest rock star.

But he recalls a time when he preferred not to face the music. Born in Shenyang in the frozen northeastern province of Liaoning, Yu spent a tough childhood amid much finger-pointing.

"People laughed at me and called me 'caveman'. I used to throw stones back and fight them as a kid, but now I've grown up and learnt how to endure it," he said as he recuperated in a hospital ward from ear surgery.

He had the operation in Shanghai recently to remove hair that was impeding his hearing, doctors said.

"I hope to prove myself and others wrong in singing some day. Of course, in the beginning, people will say, that's just "hairboy" singing.

"But I want to rely on my skills to make it big," said Yu, his head wrapped in bandages.

Yu made his entertainment debut at the age of six in a movie called "A Hairy Child's Adventure".

Life has been far from easy. Yu has had five other operations to remove hair from his nose and repair his gums, which were engulfing his teeth.

Yu, who uses the name "woolboy" in English for his email, is covered with an average of 41 hairs per sq cm (0.16 sq in) of his skin + a condition doctors call atavism.

"I've had a lot of trouble having so much hair all over my body since I was young, physically and mentally. It's a price that I have to pay," said Yu, whose eyelashes are so long they hide his eyes.

"I used to take it to heart, how people looked at me and said things about me," said Yu, who loves music and has stashed under his hospital bed a huge collection that ranges from Sting to Nat King Cole.

"I didn't want to go outside, I didn't want others to see me, to talk to me, but I realised I needed to [email protected]," he said, adding that he hoped that others with difficult physical conditions would be inspired by his readiness to seek publicity.

CLOSE SHAVE

Before the ear operation, he had problems hearing anything under 40 decibels. Now he can hear over 20 decibels, doctors said. A normal conversation is conducted at around 30 decibels.

Yu's latest operation, which took four hours, was the first such procedure carried out in China.

Doctors said Yu had a close shave.

"There was so much discharge stuck in the inner part of his ears that they were infected. The infection could have spread to his brain if he hadn't done something about it," said Chen Jin'an, director of Shanghai's Ninth People's Hospital's plastic surgery department.

"When people tease or despise me, my best defence is to use my own abilities to prove my worth in society," Yu said.

He plays the guitar, is learning the saxophone and says he must move beyond singing cover versions to writing his own songs.

He makes a living singing in pubs and bars and at concerts, which is how he met his girlfriend.


Taiwan pop singer Harlem Yu [baidu]
Yu, who draws inspiration not only from Western artists but also from Taiwan pop stars such as Harlem Yu, has not yet cut an album, but hopes to do so in the second half of this year.

"If I had a choice now, I would want to keep all my hair," said Yu. "It's become my pride and not a burden."

But he also says he wishes he had been born a long time ago.

"Because in the olden days, having a lot of hair was a show of masculinity."
 

punychicken

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#4
Yahoo

Thirty-eight Chinese rhesus monkeys that died in SARS research have had a monument erected in their honor, state media said.

The monument, which is in granite and weighs 16 tonnes, has been set up at the lab animals center of Wuhan University in central Hubei province, Xinhua news agency reported.

"For lab animals that have died for the health of humans," the monument reads, while on the back the inscription goes, "In special memory of the 38 rhesus monkeys that devoted their lives to SARS research."

The text was written by Professor Sun Lihua, a researcher who last year tried to work out a vaccine to fight Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a disease that killed nearly 800 people worldwide last year.
 

Mal_Adjusted

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#6
greets

Chinese village protest turns into riot of thousands

Jonathan Watts in Jiangsu province, China
Tuesday April 12, 2005
The Guardian

Reports that two elderly women were killed during a protest against factory pollution have sparked a bloody riot by thousands of villagers in eastern China.

Several dozen police officers were injured, five seriously, during the clashes in Huankantou village, Zhejiang province, on Sunday. It was the latest of several recent violent demonstrations, of a kind that poses an increasingly serious threat to China's stability.

The two protesters were said to have been killed when officials tried to disperse 200 elderly women who had kept a two-week vigil outside a chemical factory that they blamed for ruined crops and deformities in new-born babies.

Witnesses claimed that police and construction officials from the Dongyang city government were reckless in their attempt to pull down the demonstrators' bamboo shelters and arrest the women.

"They were run over by police cars," one villager told Reuters.

The Dongyang government denies that anyone was killed, saying that was a rumour spread by people with "ulterior motives".

But it acknowledged a rampage by a huge mob of villagers who smashed their way into a school where the police and officials were holed up.

"They were attacked with rocks, cudgels and choppers by thousands of people and more than 30 were hurt and taken to hospital, five in serious condition," a city statement said.

In an attempt to restore order, 3,000 riot police officers were dispatched to the area later in the day. Villagers smashed the windows of 50 of their buses before the police regained control with teargas, clubs and shields.

"People were throwing rocks ... it was chaotic and many people got injured," a witness told Agence France Press.

The authorities imposed a news blackout and journalists trying to enter the area were detained by the police.

The elderly women at the centre of the disturbance were opposed to a plan to build a second chemical factory at the Huashi industrial estate. Their banner read: "Give me back my land. Save my children and grandchildren."

Violent demonstrations are becoming increasingly hard to suppress in a country where economic growth has exacerbated frustration at corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Government statistics say the number of protests grew by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week. Over the weekend, anti-Japanese demonstrators held rallies in three cities, including Beijing where the windows of the Japanese embassy were smashed.

Last November, at least one person died when tens of thousands of farmers in Sichuan marched against a dam project that will make 100,000 people homeless; and the month before, rioters in Chongqing burned police cars after rumours of corruption.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1457243,00.html

mal
 

Mal_Adjusted

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#7
A bloody revolt in a tiny village challenges Chinese rulers

greets

more..

A bloody revolt in a tiny village challenges the rulers of China

Protesters angry at corruption and poverty repelled 1,000 riot police. But now fear is replacing euphoria in Huankantou

Jonathan Watts in Huankantou
Friday April 15, 2005
The Guardian

There is a strange new sightseeing attraction in this normally sleepy corner of the Chinese countryside: smashed police cars, rows of trashed buses and dented riot helmets.

They are the trophies of a battle in which peasants scored a rare and bloody victory against the communist authorities, who face one of the most serious popular challenges to their rule in recent years.

In driving off more than 1,000 riot police at the start of the week, Huankantou village in Zhejiang province is at the crest of a wave of anarchy that has seen millions of impoverished farmers block roads and launch protests against official corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between urban wealth and rural poverty.

China's media have been forbidden to report on the government's loss of control, but word is spreading quickly to nearby towns and cities. Tens of thousands of sightseers and wellwishers are flocking every day to see the village that beat the police.

But the consequences for Huankantou are far from clear.

Having put more than 30 police in hospital, five critically, the 10,000 residents should be bracing for a backlash. Instead, the mood is euphoric. Children have not been to school since Sunday's clash. There are roadblocks outside the chemical factory that was the origin of the dispute. Late at night the streets are full of gawping tourists, marshalled around the battleground by proud locals who bellow chaotic instructions through loudspeakers.

"Aren't these villagers brave? They are so tough it's unbelievable," said a taxi driver from Yiwu, the nearest city. "Everybody wants to come and see this place. We really admire them."

"We came to take a look because many people have heard of the riot," said a fashionably dressed young woman who had come from Yiwu with friends. "This is really big news."

Although the aftermath is evident in a school car park full of smashed police buses, burned out cars and streets full of broken bricks and discarded sticks, the origin of the riot is hazy.

Initial reports suggested that it started after the death of two elderly women, who were run over when police attempted to clear their protest against a chemical factory in a nearby industrial park.

Witnesses confirmed that the local old people's association had kept a 24-hour vigil for two weeks outside the plant. Many said they had heard of the deaths, but no one could name the victims. The local government of Dongyang insists there were no fatalities.

Like many of the other disputes that have racked China in the past year, frustration had been simmering for some time. Locals accused officials of seizing the land for the industrial park - built in 2002 - without their consent. Some blamed toxins from the chemical plant for ruined crops, malformed babies and contamination of the local Huashui river.

The village chief reportedly refused to hold a public meeting to hear these grievances. Attempts to petition the central government also proved fruitless. Locals said they had lost faith in the authorities.

"The communists are even worse than the Japanese," said one man.

Memories are still fresh of the fighting on Sunday. "It was about 4am and I was woken up by an unusual noise," said a Ms Wang, a shopkeeper who lives next to the school where the fiercest fighting took place. "When I looked out of the window, I saw lots of riot police running into the village. Many men rushed out of their houses to defend our village."

Accounts of the conflict differ. Residents say 3,000 police stormed the village, several people - including police - were killed, dozens wounded and 30 police buses destroyed. But the Dongyang government says about 1,000 police and local officials were attacked by a mob, which led to 36 injuries and no deaths.

The outcome is also unclear. Locals say the village chief has fled. In his place, they have established an organising committee, though its members are a secret. This suggests a fear of recriminations, but the public mood is one of bravado.

"We don't feel regret about what we have done," said a middle-aged man. "The police have not come back since they withdrew on Monday. They dare not return."

Some, however, admitted to anxiety. Among them was an old woman - also a Mrs Wang - who reluctantly opened her doors to visitors who had come to see her collection of trophies from the battle.

"I am scared," she said, as she showed two dented riot police helmets, several empty gas canisters, a policeman's jacket and several truncheons and machetes. "This is getting bigger and bigger."

But there have been no arrests and no communication from the authorities. The current leadership will be keen to avoid a Tiananmen Square-style confrontation, including prime minister Wen Jiabao, who pleaded with the Tianan men protesters to leave before the tanks came. At the same time, the authorities are committed to social stability.

According to government statistics, protests increased by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week. Last weekend, anti-Japanese demonstrators rallied in three cities, including Beijing.

But in Huankantou, villagers do not seem to realise that although they have won the battle, they may be far from winning the war.

Amid a crowd of locals beside a wrecked bus, one middle-aged woman won a cheer of approval by calling for the government to make the first move towards reconciliation.

"It's up to them to start talking," she said. "I don't know what we would do if the police came back again, but our demand is to make the factory move out of the village. We will not compromise on that."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,7369,1460263,00.html

mal
 
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#8
US company plans to sell land on the moon to Chinese

A US company has set up operations in China to sell land on the moon for 289 yuan (37 dollars) an acre, cashing in on renewed interest in space travel after the successful five-day voyage of Shenzhou VI.

The so-called Lunar Embassy, touted as the first extraterrestrial estate agency, started operations Wednesday in Beijing, the China Daily reported.

It will issue customers a "certificate" that ensures property ownership, including rights to use the land and minerals up to three kilometresmiles) underground, said Li Jie, agent for the company in China.

"We define it as a kind of novelty gift with the potential of unlimited increase in value," said Li.

Lunar Embassy was set up by US entrepreneur Dennis Hope in 1980, 11 years after the Apollo II mission first landed people on the moon.

Hope believes a loophole in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty makes his property sales legitimate. The agreement forbids governments from owning extraterrestrial property but fails to mention corporations or individuals.

Hope said he has 3.5 million customers, including politicians and movie stars, who had purchased land on the moon.

The report said China is the eighth country to have a Lunar Embassy after the United States, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Li said he had received more than 400 telephone orders from Chinese in the past few days.

The company could run into problems in China, though, with the Chaoyang District branch of Beijing's Administration for Industry and Commerce launching an investigation.

The Beijing News cited Chaoyang bureau staff as saying sale of land on the moon was not listed as the company's business when it was registered.

Shenzhou VI, China's second manned space flight, successfully returned to earth on Monday. It carried astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng around the globe for five days, sparking patriotic celebrations across the country.

http://www.physorg.com/news7403.html
 

KeyserXSoze

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#9
Source
Chinese archaeologists find one of world's oldest observatories
Sun Oct 30, 8:45 AM ET

Chinese archaeologists claim to have found one of the world's oldest observatories, dating back 4,100 years ago.

The observatory was uncovered at the Taosi relics site in Shanxi province, He Nu, a research follow with the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

The observatory "was not only used for observing astronomical phenomena but also for sacrificial rites", said He.

The remains, in the shape of a semi-circle 40 meters (132 feet) in diameter in the main observation platform and 60 meters (198 feet) in diameter in the outer circle, were made of rammed earth, the report said.

Archaeologists said 13 stone pillars, at least four meters (13 feet) tall, stood on the foundation of the first circle originally, forming 12 gaps between them.

"The ancient people observed the direction of sunrise through the gaps and distinguished the different seasons of the year," said He.

In order to test the theory, archaeologists spent 18 months simulating observations at the site, Xinhua said.

They found that the seasons were only one or two days different from the seasonal division of the traditional Chinese calendar, which is still widely used in China.

The Taosi relics site dates back 4,300 years ago and is believed to be a settlement from the period known in Chinese history as the five legendary rulers (2,600 BC-1,600 BC).
 
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#10
China finds ancient observatory

China finds ancient observatory
Archaeologists in northern China have reportedly found one of the world's oldest observatories.
The remains, discovered near the city of Linfen in Shanxi province, are thought to be about 4,100 years old.

Wang Shouguan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told state media that the discovery would help the study of ancient astronomy.

Chinese astronomers are thought to have made some of the earliest recorded observations of the stars.

The observatory consists of a semicircular platform 40 metres (130 feet) in diameter, surrounded by 13 pillars which were are believed to have been used to mark the movement of the sun through the seasons.

It "was not only used for observing astronomical phenomena but also for sacrificial rites," He Nu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua news agency.

"The ancient people observed the direction of sunrise through the gaps, and distinguished the different seasons of the year," he said.

In order to test this theory, archaeologists reportedly spent 18 months simulating ancient uses of the site.

They found that the seasons they calculated were only one or two days different from the traditional Chinese calendar, which is still widely used today.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 396012.stm

Published: 2005/11/01 11:46:27 GMT

© BBC MMV
 
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#11
Firm sells herbal remedy to China

Ingredients such as aloe vera are used in Botanica products

A County Down firm has landed a 10-year contract to sell herbal remedies to China. Botanica International, based at Narrow Water Castle in Warrenpoint, makes healing products using plants and herbs such as aloe vera and tea tree oil.

It has secured a contract to sell a herbal cream to Chinese veterinarian products company, Kangmu.

Successful trials of the product took place following an Invest Northern Ireland export visit to China in 2005.

Botanica uses ingredients such as aloe vera, comfrey, oil of lavender and tea tree oil in a special cream with moisturising agents to fight infection and inflammation.

Herbal medicine has been practised in China for thousands of years, yet most products now on the market use ingredients derived from synthetic and chemical materials.

Botanica has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland, the British embassy and UK Trade and Investment to land the contract.

The company's managing director, Sean Cooney, said all had played a key role.

"We knew our product was as good as the trials have proven, but it would not have happened unless we met the right people," he said.

"Our products tap into a growing awareness of the advantages to natural ingredient and environmentally-friendly products among thoughtful consumers and producers in China."

Alan Hingston of Invest Northern Ireland said: "This is a good example of a small company which is achieving success from initial market research conducted during one of our trade missions."




http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/nort ... 795717.stm
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#12
China has added strippers at funerals to its burgeoning list of proscribed activities, the BBC reports.

Bare-assed ladies are apparently deployed at rural send-offs to boost mourner numbers, since 'large crowds are seen as a mark of honour'. To show they mean business, the authorities have arrested the leaders of five striptease troupes, including two involved in a farmer's funeral in Donghai county, Jiangsu province on 16 August, which was exposed by a Chinese TV station.

Local officials subsequently ordered an end to the traditional practice - which they dubbed 'obscene performances' - and declared that 'funeral plans have to be submitted in advance', according to Xinhua news agency.

And just to make sure the ban sticks, the powers that be have set up a hotline where concerned citizens can earn cash rewards for reporting 'funeral misdeeds'. For the record, the attendance at the farmer's farewell was estimated at 200. He can consider himself duly honoured. We gather that strippers are commonly seen at Taiwanese funerals, where explicit displays are accompanied by hard-core commentary on the deceased's virility. Taiwanese lottery winners also hire strippers to disrobe in temples as a mark of gratitude for their good fortune. The C of E might like to consider this practice as a way of boosting congregations.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/24 ... clampdown/
 

EnolaGaia

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#13
This story greatly confused me when I first heard it and followed up via review of wire service reports.

... Then I realized that maybe the use of the term 'stripper' was a Western projection onto something other than the sort of tantalization-for-fee we know on the decadent side of the planet ...

So I wonder ...

What exactly is this funeral 'stripping' like? Other than the basic act of disrobing, does it really resemble the performance one would see at a 'strip club'?

... And what about the reference to stripping *troupes*? Is this a band of strippers (in the Western sense), or a group of traditional performers whose performances traditionally involve disrobing?...

I'm not trying to split hairs here, but I strongly suspect there are some culturally-based distinctions that are getting lost in the translation ...
 

EnolaGaia

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#15
Thanks for that link, 'Duck!..... I hadn't surfaced that one ...

OK, so... It would appear the specific modern practice of funeral strippers only goes back to the 1980's in Taiwan, though there are numerous (if only figurative) parallels in funerary practices and themes going back farther in eastern Asia ...

So - given that Jiangsu is an eastern coastal province, might it be 'safe' to presume this is a recently-arrived Taiwanese fad that's migrated across the straits to the nearest portions of mainland China? ...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#16
It seems a logical conclusion based on the limited evidence we have. However, for reference, ribald practices at funerals are not uncommon across cultures e.g. the legendary Irish Wake, or the clowing, defamation and mimicry attendant at Roman funerals. It is always interesting to watch governments/religions getting puritantical - it usually is masking something else (oops, Freudian...wrong thread :D ).
 
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#20
Weather control in China

It never rains
Dec 13th 2006 | BEIJING
From The Economist print edition

But it pours awards on the weather-fixers


CHINESE emperors were once thought by their subjects able to make it rain with their prayers. Chinese officials today put more trust in science. They are boosting spending on what they call the world's largest programme of artificial rainmaking. Its effects, however, are not much easier to quantify.

Just as grateful subjects praised the heavens for any rain that fell, the state-controlled media in China often report on the heroic contributions made by “weather-modification offices” whenever needed rain comes. These offices, set up over the past 15 years, deploy artillery, rocket-launchers and aeroplanes to seed clouds with chemicals (usually silver iodide) that encourage droplets to form and fall where needed, or prevent the formation of destructive hailstones.

China's efforts have been encouraged by an increasingly desperate shortage of water in the north. China also frets about the Olympic games in Beijing in August 2008, in a season when rainstorms are common. Making it rain away from big events is a key area of research. Last week officials awarded merit certificates to organisations involved in “weather guarantee” work for a summit with African leaders held in Beijing in November. Those honoured included the air force, Beijing's military command and the Second Artillery, which controls missiles. All were urged to do a good job at an Olympic rehearsal next year.

Artificial rainmaking is practised in many countries but its success is hard to prove. In recent years, China has been helped by big improvements in its weather-monitoring capacity. Its latest satellite, Fengyun-2D, was launched on December 8th with Olympic forecasting as a priority mission. It plans to launch another 22 weather satellites by 2020.

Mao Jietai of Peking University says circumstantial evidence suggests cloud seeding can increase precipitation by around 10%, but admits doubts about its real efficacy. Undaunted, the government has set an annual target for artificially induced rain nationwide for the next five years: around 50 billion cubic metres, or five times parched Beijing's average. As in imperial times, few will be able to refute claims of success.

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/dis ... id=8413323
 

Dingo667

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#21
I knew a "sun song" that was apparently from the eskimos [maybe innuits but I was only 6 yrs old].
We learned that at school, you had to sit on your knees and do the hand movements and bending down as if praying properly or it wouldn't work.
STrangely enough, my mum used to ask me to perform this song when it was raining and the odds were definetly on the songs side.

I'll give the words here but bear in mind that they are from memory and I have never seen them written down, so to any innuits here on the board I say "sorry" and don't laugh too much, I know most words are probably wrong...

Here it goes:

Ahaneehee coohooneehee shahaooanee - cross one arm after the other on your chest
Repeat
Ahkainah Pikanah kainah - bend down
Repeat
Eee bee nee biss see neeeeee UH! lift arms suddenly


Repeat 3 times


Nowadays I avoid this song because I love my rain! :D
 

lupinwick

Justified & Ancient
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#22
Scientists in China say they have developed a new way of predicting earthquakes - by observing erratic behaviour in snakes.

Experts at the earthquake bureau in Nanning, in southern Guangxi province, monitor local snake farms via 24-hour internet video links.

Scientists said the serpents can sense a quake from 120km (75 miles) away, up to five days before it happens.

They respond erratically, even smashing into walls to escape, scientists said.

"Of all the creatures on the Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes," Jiang Weisong, director of the earthquake bureau in Nanning, told The China Daily.

The reptiles respond by behaving extremely erratically, he said.

"When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter. If the earthquake is a big one, the snakes will even smash into walls while trying to escape," he told the newspaper.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6215991.stm

Interesting.
 
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#23
China mine probe reporter killed

Beijing has pledged to improve the mining industry
A Chinese journalist has been beaten to death while investigating the country's notoriously dangerous coal mining industry, his newspaper has said.
Lan Chengzhang was set upon by a "group of mining thugs" near a mine in Huiyuan county, Shanxi province, the Beijing-based China Trade News said.

Another newspaper quoted a journalist with Mr Lan as saying the attack had been ordered by a local coal mine boss.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world.

More than 5,000 deaths are reported every year, many of them in illegal or unregulated mines.

Lan Chengzhang had only just started at the newspaper and was still in his trial period when he was killed, the China Trade News' head of news Wang Jianfeng said.

Mr Wang said the newspaper had sent a team to investigate the killing and had made official complaints to the local police and government.

"We will do everything we can to protect the rights of journalists," he told the AFP news agency.

Search for profits

Mr Lan had been investigating the story with a fellow journalist, another newspaper, the Southern Daily, reported.

The surviving journalist accused an unnamed boss of a coal mine in Huiyuan of orchestrating the beating.

He said he had been detained in the boss's office while the attack was carried out, the newspaper said.

Beijing has pledged to take action to improve the mining industry, which is blighted by poor safety procedures and a lack of proper equipment.

Mine owners are accused of frequently ignoring government regulations in search of greater profits.

Coal provides more than two-thirds of China's electricity.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6266531.stm
 

AsamiYamazaki

Ephemeral Spectre
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#24
Not sure if this should be here or the irony thread

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/0 ... index.html

China reporter held over cardboard-in-buns
TV reporter detained for fabricating story on steamed buns stuffed with cardboard

A city-wide inspection of bun vendors found no such cases, China Daily said

Beijing TV apologized for failing to check the report's authenticity

China is reeling from a series of tainted food and drug scandals
Next Article in World »




BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- Beijing police have detained a television reporter for allegedly fabricating an investigative story about steamed buns stuffed with cardboard at a time when China's food safety is under intense international scrutiny.


A city-wide inspection of steamed bun vendors found no "cardboard buns," the China Daily said.

A report directed by Beijing TV and played on state-run national broadcaster China Central Television last Thursday said an unlicensed snack vendor in eastern Beijing was selling steamed dumplings stuffed with cardboard soaked in caustic soda and seasoned with pork flavoring.

Beijing authorities said investigations had found that an employee surnamed Zi had fabricated the report to garner "higher audience ratings", the China Daily said on Thursday.

"Zi had provided all the cardboard and asked the vendor to soak it. It's all cheating," the paper quoted a government notice as saying.

A city-wide inspection of steamed bun vendors in the wake of the report had found no such cases, the paper said.

Don't Miss
Execution underscores concern over 'Made in China'
China vows to improve food safety
Beijing TV had apologized for failing to check the report's authenticity and said it would make efforts to improve staff ethics, the paper added.

China is reeling from a series of tainted food and drug scandals that have sparked criticism at home and abroad.

The deaths of patients in Panama from mislabeled drug ingredients from China, deadly toxins in pet food exported to the United States and food laced with hazardous antibiotics and chemicals have raised fears about the safety of China's surging exports.

On Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to improve food safety in a meeting with a visiting Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono, Kyodo news agency reported. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
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#25
At least it's not just the beeb and C4 inventing stuff!

The reported news is often weird enough anyway (see my recent posts in Fortean News Stories), without reporters deliberately screwing it up!
 

llkit

Junior Acolyte
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#26
In the Christmas issue of Private Eye (2007), in the Funny old world section, there was a story about hairbands made from condoms. the possible UL bit of the story was the plastic used to make the hair bands came from used condoms, and the temperature the condoms were recycled at was too low, and sexually transmitted diseases were not being burnt away.

Allegedly the hair bands posed a big risk to teenage girls, who may hold them in their mouths whilst tying up their hair.

Seems like a Chinese UL to me, surely condoms count as medical waste and would never be recycled, and the whole subtext of innocent teenage girls at risk from 'sex' is a total UL classic.

Just thought people would like to know
 

PeniG

Justified & Ancient
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#28
It sounds to me like the kind of UL believed in and spread by people who have never used a condom. Think about their career trajectory, after all. From pristine circle in a package, to useful safety precaution, to disgusting mess to be tossed aside in the cleanup process.

Besides - does anybody anywhere recycle latex?

I put this right up there with Rod Stewart (no, no, it was Peter Frampton!) getting sick and having a gallon of live sperm pumped out of his stomach...

Maybe we should call it a virgin legend.
 
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#29
Police crack China baby sale gang
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7827800.stm

Police in southern China have broken up a gang that abducted migrant workers' children to sell in distant provinces, state media reports.

The children, mostly toddlers aged two or three years old, were snatched in Hunan's province's Yueyang city while they were playing or sleeping.

They were sold for between 860 yuan ($125, £86) and 26,000 yuan ($3,800), the Beijing News said.

Five children had been rescued and 13 suspects arrested, Xinhua said.

The children were snatched in broad daylight by gang members on motorbikes, it added.

Police said they did not know how many children had been abducted altogether. The abductions began in September 2008, Xinhua reported.

Child trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China, despite government attempts to crack down on it.

The problem is exacerbated by strict birth control policies, which limit many couples to only one child.

Some families want a boy - one of the children seized in Yueyang was abandoned when she was found to be a girl, the Beijing News said.

Families may also buy trafficked women and children to use as extra labour and household servants.

Last year, the Chinese government launched a campaign against slavery after it emerged that hundreds of children were being forced to work in brick kilns and mines in Shanxi province.
 

mrpoultice

Ephemeral Spectre
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Jan 28, 2003
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#30
Giant rat caught in China

Giant rat caught in China
A giant rat with one-inch-long teeth has been caught in the southern Chinese province of Fujian.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
Last Updated: 12:36PM GMT 18 Feb 2009

Giant rat with one-inch-long teeth has been caught in the southern Chinese province of Fujian Photo: The rat, which weighed six pounds and had a 12-inch tail, was caught at the weekend in a residential area of Fuzhou, a city of six million people on China's south coast.

The ratcatcher, who was only named as Mr Xian, said he swooped for the rodent after seeing a big crowd of people surrounding it on the street.

He told local Chinese newspapers that he thought the rat might be a valuable specimen, or a rare species, and had to muster up his courage before grabbing its tail and picking it up by the scruff of its neck.

"I did it, I caught a rat the size of a cat!" he shouted out afterwards, according to the reports. Mr Xian is believed to still be in possession of the animal, after stuffing into a bag and departing the scene.

The local forestry unit in the city identified the nightmarish creature as a bamboo rat from initial photographs, but said that it would need to examine the rat more closely before making a final identification.

Chinese bamboo rats rarely grow beyond ten inches and are found throughout southern China, northern Burma and Vietnam.

However, the Sumatra bamboo rat, usually found in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan and in the Malay Peninsula can grow up to 30 inches long, including tail, and can weigh up to eight pounds.

A "Giant Rat of Sumatra" is mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes tale: The Adventure of a Sussex Vampire.

All bamboo rats are slow-moving and usually spend their time in underground burrows, feeding on bamboo. Chinese bamboo rats are often sold for meat in Chinese markets. The largest rats in the world are thought to be African giant pouched rats, which can grow up to 36 inches in length.
Source The Telegraph websiteHere

Mr P
 
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