China To Top U.S. in Greenhouse Gases This Year

China To Top U.S. in Greenhouse Gases This Year


The day we hear that China will postpone its "action plan" on climate change indefinitely -- and a few days after news that it has little intention of imposing limits a la Kyoto -- the chief economist of the International Energy Agency says that China could easily become the world's leading emitter of CO2 this year -- two years ahead of schedule. That title currently belongs to the U.S., but given China's soaring growth (it recently posted a near-record 11% rise in GDP) and all the little things that drive that growth, the IEA's Fatih Birol has updated the CO2 forecast: "If Chinese economic growth, and therefore coal consumption, continues to surprise us, this may well be this year or next year," he told the Guardian...

In 2006, the Chinese are thought to have emitted about 5,600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the Americans' 5,900; this year they could likely emit about 6,020 million tonnes of CO2 to about 5,910 from the US, says the IEA.

So far, China, like India, has given two reasons for resisting caps on CO2 and other gases. First, such caps would place unfair limitations on the developing economy, and major policies should focus on development before cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Two, any cuts in emissions by China would mean nothing without similar caps by the United States. The former reason appears to ignore the principles of China's current Five Year Plan, with President Hu Jintao's focus on sustainable development -- not to mention the concerns of an earlier Chinese climate change report and the worries just raised by scientists in Beijing: without measured, green growth, China's ambitions are bankrupt, its footing unsteady, and its thirst for development will remain unquenched.

The second reason is right in part about Washington's own reluctance on CO2 cuts, which, to complete the tiring blame game cycle, is partly driven by China's reluctance. (It is important to remember too that the U.S. has and continues to export much of its emissions to China). Still, this reasoning fails to recognize the emissions push by California and other states. More significantly, it ignores that fact that no matter when China begins to lead in CO2 production, the country will soon be the sine qua non of any significant attempts to cut greenhouse gases; in the next decades, China's emissions will effectively negate attempts by other countries to reduce their own--unless it starts working hard now to clean up its act. Said Birol:

Within the next 25 years, CO2 emissions which come from China alone will be double the CO2 emissions which will come from all the OECD countries put together - the whole US, plus Canada, plus all the European countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand etc.

Even if we cast aside all our traditional concerns and embrace China's "peaceful rise" -- and even if we, like China, didn't see climate change as a security issue -- right now it's hard not to see China as a threat to everyone, itself included. : : Guardian

CHINA Human Rights......

Falun Gong meet to meditate and do exercises, following
the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance." src="http://www.sofiaecho.com/showimage.php?img=falun_gong.jpg" align="left" border="0">
SATURDAY AT 8: Borissovata Gradina in Sofia is where
Falun Gong meet to meditate and do exercises, following
the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

Followers of the Chinese system for self-refinement recently met in Sofia’s Borissova Gradina wearing yellow t-shirts.

“Falun Gong makes us better, more tolerant, more truthful with high morale, and completely healthy. It is a way of living,” they say, having just finished meditating for an hour. It is nine o’clock in the morning and some of them have come to do exercises that the practice espouses. They also teach them to anyone who wishes to learn, or they use the opportunity to tell people about the persecution of Falun Gong members in China by the Communist regime, which has been going on for more than eight years.

Kremena has been practicing for several years. She came about the system after setting out on a search for the meaning of life, and found it through Falun Dafa. Zahari, or Zaro, as his friends call him, introduced her to it.

He was practicing martial arts, but wanted to find something more interesting, and went to the internet. What he found was something that explained the essence of Eastern qigong practices. Qigong is a general term for all the Eastern practices that deal with cultivation of “qi”, or the vital energy of the human body. Zahari came upon the Bulgarian version of the Falun Dafa website, which is maintained by a Bulgarian follower who lives with his family in Australia. The man in Australia had also translated some of Falun Dafa's books and audio-video materials. Zahari passed on his enthusiasm about the practice not only to Kremena, but also to a number of his friends.

His wife Tsveta came along out of curiosity. Even though she was interested in questions about religions and various philosophical teachings, she was afraid to explore deeper because of the many phoney practices that exist. With the passing of time, however, Tsveta, an architect, saw how Falun Gong changed Zahari. So she began to read the books and later started practicing.

Over the years Bulgarian followers have been making steady efforts to reveal the truth about the persecution of the Falun Gong in China. Although the number of practitioners in Bulgaria is far smaller than in neighbouring countries like Turkey, Greece, Romania and Ukraine, practitioners are confident that they are up to date with Falun Dafa activities around the world, where more than 100 million people practice.

Reality in China
In 1999, a great danger presented itself the Chinese followers of this ancient practice. At that point in time, they numbered about 10 percent of China's population, or almost twice the amount of members of the Chinese Communist Party. Driven by spite and jealousy as well as by party ideology, which completely opposes Falun Gong's main principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, the former communist leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign of persecution that continues to this day. He ordered the specially established 6-10 office to “physically and mentally destroy” the Falun Gong. The inhumane torture to which practitioners have been subjected has caused the death of more than 3000 people.

Truth revealed
In 2006, the former secretary of state of Canada David Kilgour, along with international human rights lawyer David Matas, published a report confirming the allegations that Falun Gong practitioners jailed in labour camps and prisons across China without due process of law were forced to be organ donors. The authors of the report called this phenomenon “a new form of evil unseen on this planet before” and visited many countries to raise awareness about evidence of cruelty by Communist China.
Kilgour came to Bulgaria, invited by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, in April 2007 and introduced his report at a forum in Grand Hotel Bulgaria. The report, since translated into Bulgarian language, has had thousands of copies circulated and has attracted public attention despite a lack of media publicity.

The Bulgarian side
“We organise many activities, but the Chinese embassy often makes attempts to spread slanderous propaganda against us, distorting the practice, as it does around the world,” Ekaterina Popova, a journalist and practitioner, said. She first encountered Falun Dafa in 2002 when the Chinese regime fabricated the self-immolation incident at Tienanmen Square, claiming that the five individuals who set themselves on fire were Falun Gong practitioners.

By doing so, the regime hoped to justify the persecution. However, more and more people learned about this persecution and it became even more difficult for the regime to cover it up. In fact, the topic of human rights is well discussed among politicians and non-governmental organisations. Three years passed before Ekaterina heard again about the practice. That time she received an e-mail talking about a new initiative by the Bulgarian followers. She made an appointment to receive the book Falun Gong (the introductory text of the practice), gathered information and published a full-page article in the newspaper at which she worked at the time.

On the first coming Saturday – the day when practitioners do the exercises together in the park – Ekaterina went to the practice site in Borissovata Gradina. She learned the exercises after reading the book cover to cover and hasn’t stopped since. She says she finally found what she had been looking for – the way of life and the way to perfection that gives meaning to her life.

Bulgarian practitioners have sent petitions against the persecution with thousands of signatures of Bulgarian citizens to the United Nations and the Council of Europe, as well as to various Bulgarian politicians – the president, the prime minister, different ministers, MPs and others. The petitions embody the efforts of Bulgarian followers to become part of worldwide efforts to stop this bloody persecution in China.

The most recent Falun Gong activity in Bulgaria was the display of an international exhibit called Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance, which was exhibited for more than 20 days at the Cabinet underpass in the centre of Sofia. The oil paintings created by Chinese artists who practice Falun Gong revealed their personal experiences in prisons and labour camps while being illegally detained by the regime. Shown in more than 40 countries, as well as in the European Parliament this exhibit has given hope to many visitors.

Several years ago, the Bulgarian practitioners displayed works of the Chinese artist Zhang Cuiyin, whose paintings had also been shown in Brussels. Her paintings were suppose to be shown in a club in the building of Parliament; however, a few days before the official opening, the Chinese embassy in Sofia interfered and the speaker of Parliament cancelled the exhibit. Instead, the paintings were shown at the Hungarian Cultural Institute. They also attracted much media attention.

Bulgarian practitioners maintain a website, hand out material in Chinese, and translate and publish information about the persecution occurring in China as well as information about the support they receive from around the world. They also help practitioners in Romania, Serbia and Greece to organise various activities.

Until the regime in China collapses, followers will strive to help clarify the truth and reveal the essence of Falun Gong by spreading the practice that has brought good health and peace to more than 100 million worldwide.

Three Gorges: China's Own Dam Problem

Three Gorges: China's Own Dam Problem


Compared to coal, hydropower is clean. But China's grandest, half-century-old approach to meeting its energy demands "cleanly" is arguably as much a solution as it is a problem. And there is no better symbol of the necessity and danger of dams than China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest. (It is also, as the New York Times reminds us this week, the world's biggest power plant, biggest consumer of dirt, stone, concrete and steel and has led to the biggest displacement of people in history -- 1.13 million. When the company behind it went public in 2003, it raised $1.2 billion in a single day.)

At a forum in late Sept. in the city of Wuhan, a representative on the project for China's State Council, the highest executive body in the government, sounded the biggest official alarm yet. Increased pressures on the shoreline of the Yangtze River "may become causes for water pollution, landslides and other geological disasters," he said. A shockwave spread. The English language website for the state-run Xinhua news agency, a long tacit supporter of the project, ran the headline “China Warns of Environmental ‘Catastrophe’ From Three Gorges Dam.” Opponents felt vindicated.

On Tuesday, the central government finally announced plans to stem the problems. Details are still unclear.

What is clear is that China currently only uses one quarter of its hydropower potential. While the country is scaling up its renewable energy, up to 15 percent of its energy needs by 2020, or 20 gigawatts (coal currently provides 67 percent of the country's energy), by 2020, the country wants to nearly triple its hydropower capacity, to 300 gigawatts.

No doubt, the dam is good in intention: besides a massive amount of energy, it provides water to farmers and prevents the serious, fatal droughts upstream while stemming extreme flooding downstream. But the unintended effects are serious, and in some cases are canceling the benefits; the lake effect is reducing rainfall upstream, and in the event of a catastrophe, the flooding downstream would be unimaginably devastating.

In an elegant essay published in the New York Review of Books, Dai Qing, the most vocal opponent of the Three Gorges, remembers the unheard lesson of one of China's many doomed post-Great Leap Forward water projects:

But as was the case with so many grandiose dam-building projects, the local cadres behind the Yuqiao Reservoir had failed to ascertain the geological makeup of the area. The two-kilometer-long dam was built on sandy soil. Within a few years water was seeping out to create a vast marshland downstream. The result was the destruction of 50,000 acres of land that had provided food for the population of nearly one million people in the six major counties downstream. What was left, so Dejia told me, was a bumpy moonscape that could no longer support agriculture of any consequence. The farmers had long since been forced to leave their homes, but they snuck back to their ruined towns and eked out a living, harvesting only a fraction of the food they used to produce. To this day those villagers are still on state welfare.

As Jim Yardley writes in one of the Times' recent "Choking on Growth" installments, many of those displaced by the Three Gorges have returned, putting more stress on already scarce land. Meanwhile, water pollution, soil erosion and landslides are becoming daily concerns as rising water inundates more land in the reservoir behind the dam. The dam also sits near two fault lines. This week, thirty people were killed in a landslide.

The alarm call in September was not the first time China has sounded worried about its dams. In 2004, Premier Wen Jiabao suspended plans for 13 dams along the undammed Nu River. In Sichuan Province, a large dam was canceled after opponents framed the project as an attack on China’s cultural heritage. Fearing unrest and seeking to stem pollution, the national government has expressed interest in promoting public participation when it comes to environmental damage.

But legal obstructions to dams have easily been bypassed by strong local governments, who often share profits on dam building with state-run businesses. Energy needs and market pressures have driven the energy industry to pursue massive projects since China began dismantling its inefficient electric power monopoly in 2002. The postponed Nu River dams are still on the table; it's still unclear what measures would be taken to involve public and ecological concerns.

In the United States, dam-building stopped a half-century ago due to the ecological costs involved. That option doesn't exist yet in China. While renewable energy growth will help take some of the pressure off China's hydropower projects, dams will continue to go forward in China. How much governments, national and local, are willing to allow for and ensure public input and ecological safety for these projects remains to be seen.

The national government has pledged to address the potential "catastrophe" of the Three Gorges, and to build "public participation," but watchdog websites like Three Gorges Probe are still blocked

IOC says Beijing air no danger to athletes

IOC says Beijing air no danger to athletes

IOC says Beijing air no danger to athletes IOC says Beijing air no danger to athletes

The head of the International Olympic Committee said on Saturday that Beijing's poor air quality will not endanger the health of athletes competing in the games in August, but it may affect their performance.

"The health of the athletes is absolutely not in danger," Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee said in Singapore.

"There is no danger to their health, (although) it might be that some of them may have a slightly reduced performance," Rogge told students at a dialogue session.

Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world despite a 120 billion yuan (8.6 billion pounds) clean-up program over the last decade.

Pollution remains a concern for many athletes coming to the Olympic games with marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie, an asthma sufferer, saying last month that he would not compete in the event in August because of the poor air quality.

Beijing plans to take about half of its 3.5 million cars off the roads and partially shut down industry in the capital and five surrounding provinces for two months for the Olympics and following Paralympics.

Rogge is visiting Singapore to sign the host city contract for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

China Being Poisoned by Its Food Industry, Says Author

China Being Poisoned by Its Food Industry, Says Author

By Jochen Schönmann

Antibiotics in the meat, pesticide used as preservatives, mercury in the drinking water -- Chinese author Zhou Qing says China's food industry is poisoning the country in its greed for profit. If ordinary people knew, there would be a revolution, he adds.

Chinese journalist Zhou Qing, a critic of the regime, unearthed political dynamite in his two-year investigation of China's food industry. He interviewed grocers, restaurant owners, farmers and food factory managers for an exposé for which he won a prize as part of the German "Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage" in 2006.

His book is a dark account of a ruthless food mafia that stops at nothing to maximize its profits, for example by using contraceptives to accelerate the growth of fish stocks, lengthening the shelf-life of cucumbers with highly toxic pesticide DDT, using hormones and poisoned salt in food production and putting absurd amounts of antibiotics in meat.


Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (12 Photos)

The investigation was risky. "It was more dangerous than chasing drug dealers," Zhou, who lives in Beijing, recalled in a speech in Heidelberg, southwestern Germany, this month.

Anything goes when it comes to cutting production costs, said Zhou. By comparison, the culprits in recent German scandals about rotten meat (more...) seem like model butchers.

Zhou said uncontrolled greed had caused a food disaster of unimaginable proportions. "I can only warn you never to go in a restaurant." The danger of food producers being taken to task for their actions is slight. Everything disappears in China's endless bureaucracy, he said.

Zhou's claims may sound exaggerated, but they're borne out by recent developments. In early December the Shanghai city council slapped an export ban on products made by the Shanghai Mellin Food Company after cancer-causing substances were found in its pork products.

In July the former director of the state food and drug supervisory authority, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed after being convicted of taking bribes to award licences for forged drugs, some of which had lethal side effects.

Increase in Cancer Cases

The children are the biggest sufferers, said Zhou. Poisoned baby food has led to severe diseases and physical deformities. Zhou writes that 200,000 to 400,000 people fall victim to poisoned food each year. A third of cancer cases, which are increasing at double-digit rates, can be attributed to food, he writes.

Zhou spent two years in jail for taking part in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. After his release he founded a newspaper but had to shut it down after pressure from the authorities. Since then he has worked as an author, covering human rights abuses and the origins of the SARS epidemic.

The title of his book on the food industry -- "What Kind of God?" -- refers to the importance of food in Chinese culture.

"The traditional Chinese saying that ‘Food is the people’s Heaven’ shows the importance of food in people’s daily lives … In today’s world, in which people have become more and more closely tied to the computer, you only have to type in the words ‘food’ or ‘eat’ in a Chinese search engine, you will find that the words that crop up the most in the list of results are ‘safety’ and ‘poisoning’. This is an ironic state of affairs in a country that has prided itself on its fine cuisine," said Zhou.

"Ordinary people don't know about it. If the people knew about it there would be a revolution. The wrath of the people would be unstoppable."

For thousands of years the power of China's rulers hinged on their ability to feed the people. "Revolutions aren't caused by political differences, they're caused by a lack of bread."

Zhou can only hope that his findings will spread around China by word of mouth. His book has been banned there.

China and Africa: Aid, trade and guns

China and Africa: Aid, trade and guns

By Andy Scott

Part two: Aid and trade

The TAZARA Railway in Tanzania - George Andreou/www.georgeandreou.netThe train station in Mbeya, Tanzania stands out among the other buildings in the city. It is the nicest structure in the city, and it, along with the railway that runs through it, was completely financed and built by the People’s Republic of China.

Built between 1970 and 1975 at a cost of US$500 million, the TAZARA (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority) Railway – running between the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia – was constructed as an alternative to rail lines via what was then Rhodesia (current Zimbabwe) and South Africa to landlocked Zambia.

“It’s quite a reputable railway, providing the only alternative mode of transportation between Mbeya and Dar. I’ve been to the station and it reeks of an outside corporation,” says Nicki Nelson, an independent economic development project manager in the region. “The only negative thing I heard about it, other than being constantly late, is that due to its slow travel, robbery is a regular occurrence as locals jump on and off and rob the rail riders.”

When China sponsored construction of the railway, it wasn’t to provide robbers with an attractive target, but to eliminate Zambia’s economic dependence on Rhodesia and South Africa, turning the railway into a major economic channel for the region. Over the years its importance has been reduced as road transportation has become more competitive and Zambian ties to South Africa were reestablished following the end of apartheid. At the time however, it was the largest foreign aid project China had ever undertaken.

Today, Chinese construction projects can be found throughout the continent, building roads, railways, basic infrastructure that nations use to grow large. Critics argue that these are the mere side effects of China’s thirst for oil and mineral resources, and fail to raise the local population’s standard of living so much as the help the governments in charge stay in charge. It is this fact which critics point to when looking at China’s influence in Sudan and Zimbabwe to name but two. In this second part of our series on China and Africa, we look at what China is doing on the ground in Africa.

“Send lawyers, guns and money”

The demand for resources has become a driving component of China’s foreign policy said David Zweig and Bi Jianhai in a 2005 article in Foreign Affairs - China’s Global Hunt for Energy.” The manufacturing sector in China is creating huge demands for aluminum, copper, nickel, iron ore, and oil. Zweig and Bi write that Beijing is actively pushing state-owned enterprises to look for and secure contracts with countries that produce these needed resources, while at the same time courting governments of those resource-rich countries with diplomacy, trade deals, debt forgiveness, and aid packages.

According to The Jamestown Foundation, the Chinese government has invested heavily in Africa over the past four years to encourage trade relations, sponsoring the China-Africa Cooperation Forum to provide opportunities for governments and businesses to strengthen economic cooperation. It seems to be working, in 2000 two-way trade between China and Africa surpassed US$10 billion for the first time, by 2006 it had reached US$55.5 billion.

China has a long history of providing aid to African countries as a means of building goodwill and support. Engineers provide technical support for infrastructure projects, doctors help with the treatment of AIDS patients – since 1963, over 15,000 Chinese doctors have worked in 47 African states treating nearly 180 million cases of HIV/AIDS.

In Sudan, 436 engineers, medics, police observers, and transport specialists are part of China’s contribution to a 10,000-strong U.N. force charged with monitoring the peace agreement until 2011. They are just part of the 1,809 Chinese troops, police military observers and others that deployed worldwide as part of U.N. peacekeeping missions.

In addition to people, China is using its new found wealth in foreign exchange reserves to cancel African debt. The Christian Science Monitor recently stated that since 2000, China has canceled more than US$10 billion in debt for 31 African countries and has given US$5.5 billion in development aid, with a promise of a further US$2.6 billion in 2007-08, according to estimates by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Beijing has overtaken the World Bank in lending to Africa: In 2005, China committed US$8 billion in lending to Nigeria, Angola and Mozambique alone - the same year the World Bank spent US$2.3 billion in all of Africa.

The gun merchants

If it was only aid and infrastructure that China was providing Africa, critics would probably not voice their concerns so loudly, but along with all the investment initiatives and construction projects, China exports guns.

The Congressional Research Service reports China’s arm sales to Africa made up 10 percent of all conventional arms transfers to the continent between 1996 and 2003. The countries receiving arms, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, include:

China has sold the Islamic government in Khartoum weapons and US$100 million worth of Shenyang fighter planes, including twelve supersonic F-7 jets, according to the aerospace industry journal Aviation Week and Space Technology. Experts say any military air presence exercised by the government—including the helicopter gunships reportedly used to terrorize civilians in Darfur—comes from China.

Equatorial Guinea
China has provided military training and Chinese specialists in heavy military equipment to the leaders of the tiny West African nation, whose oil reserves per capita approach and may exceed those of Saudi Arabia.

Ethiopia and Eritrea
China sold Ethiopia and its neighbor, Eritrea, an estimated US$1 billion worth of weapons before and during their border war from 1998 and 2000.

In 1995, a Chinese ship carrying 152 tons of ammunition and light weapons meant for the army of Burundi was refused permission to dock in Tanzania.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, China has delivered at least thirteen covert shipments of weapons labeled as agricultural equipment to Dar es Salaam.

The autocratic government of Robert Mugabe ordered twelve FC-1 fighter jets and 100 military vehicles from China in late 2004 in a deal worth US$200 million, experts say. In May 2000, China reportedly swapped a shipment of small arms for eight tons of Zimbabwean elephant ivory, Taylor writes in his report. In addition, the U.S.-backed International Broadcast Bureau says China provided a radio jamming device to Zimbabwe that allows Mugabe’s regime to block broadcasts of independent news sources like Radio Africa from a military base outside Harare. China also donated the blue tiles that decorate the roof of Mugabe’s house.

Officially termed “non-interference in domestic affairs,” China’s foreign policy has lead many critics to contend that China props up regimes that trample human rights and exploit local populations. China doesn’t tend to mix business and politics, and while many are critical of their actions in Africa, some say that China is not all that different from other countries in its pursuit of interests. “China is not unique in cutting deals with bad governments and providing them with arms,” David Kang, a visiting professor of East Asia Studies at Stanford University, told the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Neo-colonialists?

It is not only China’s weapon sales that have raised concern. Many argue that China “dumps” cheap products in Africa, while exporting only raw materials. It is a scenario that analysts say undermines local industries and potential benefits such as industrialization and job creation.

“These effects are compounded by the fact that the vast scale of China’s exports has depressed prices in several global markets to which African countries are seeking to export their products,” Joseph Karugia, the director of the African Economic Research Consortium, recently told the East African newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya.

Danna Harman wrote in a recent article in The Christian Science Monitor that China has gone to great lengths to been seen as a benevolent partner with Africa.

“China is the most self-conscious rising power in history and is desperate to be seen as a benign force as well as to learn from the mistakes of the existing major powers and previous rising powers,” says Andrew Small, a Brussels-based China expert at the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank. “It sees its modern national story as anticolonial – about surpassing the “century of humiliation” at the hands of the colonial powers – and still thinks of itself, in many ways, as a part of the developing world.”

Whether it is guns or aid, China has found a willing trading partner in Africa, and unlike many western nations, Beijing doesn’t insist on a lengthy philosophical discussion on the state of African politics.

Serge Mombouli, a longtime advisor to the president of the Republic of Congo and current Congolese ambassador to the United States, recently told National Public Radio that the West pushes for intangible achievements like better government, while China supports tangible things.

“Tangible development means you can see, you can touch,” Mombouli says. “We need both. We cannot be talking just about democracy, transparency, good governance. At the end of the day the population does not have anything to eat, does not have water to drink, no electricity at night, industry to provide work, so we need both. People do not eat democracy.”

Chinese County Massacres 50,000 Dogs

Chinese County Massacres 50,000 Dogs

Officials club a dog to death on a street in Luoping coun... Officials throw a dog they clubbed to death onto a collec...

(08-01) 03:26 PDT SHANGHAI, China (AP) --

A county in southwestern China has killed as many as 50,000 dogs in a government campaign ordered after three people died from rabies, official media reported Tuesday.

The five-day massacre in Yunnan province's Mouding county spared only military guard dogs and police canine units, the Shanghai Daily reported, citing local media.

Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten on the spot, the newspaper said. Other killing teams entered villages at night, creating noise to get dogs barking, then honing in and beating them to death.

Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their dogs before the teams were sent in, the report said.

The massacre was widely discussed on the Internet, with both legal scholars and animal rights activists criticizing it as crude and cold-blooded. The World Health Organization said more emphasis needed to be placed on prevention.

"Wiping out the dogs shows these government officials didn't do their jobs right in protecting people from rabies in the first place," Legal Daily, a newspaper run by the central government's Politics and Law Committee, said in an editorial in its online edition.

Dr. Francette Dusan, a WHO expert on diseases passed from animals to people, said effective rabies control required coordinated efforts between human and animal health agencies and authorities.

"This has not been pursued adequately to date in China with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls," Dusan said.

The Shanghai Daily said 360 of Mouding county's 200,000 residents suffered dog bites this year. The three rabies victims included a 4-year-old girl, the report said.

"With the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs," Li Haibo, a spokesman for the county government was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Calls to county government offices rang unanswered on Tuesday.

China has seen a major rise in the number of rabies cases in recent years, with 2,651 reported deaths from the disease in 2004, the last year for which data was available, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts have tied the rise in part to an increase in dog ownership, particularly in rural areas where about 70 percent of households keep dogs. Only about 3 percent of Chinese dogs are vaccinated against rabies, according to the center. Access to appropriate treatment is highly limited, especially in the countryside.





Animals torn to pieces by lions in front of baying crowds: the spectator sport China DOESN'T want you to see

The smiling children giggled as they patted the young goat on its head and tickled it behind the ears.

Some of the more boisterous ones tried to clamber onto the animal's back but were soon shaken off with a quick wiggle of its bottom.

It could have been a happy scene from a family zoo anywhere in the world but for what happened next.

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Children feed goats before the 'show' starts. One that has been 'bought' by a visitor is carried off

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A man hoisted up the goat and nonchalantly threw it over a wall into a pit full of hungry lions. The poor goat tried to run for its life, but it didn't stand a chance. The lions quickly surrounded it and started tearing at its flesh.

"Oohs" and "aahs" filled the air as the children watched the goat being ripped limb from limb. Some started to clap silently with a look of wonder in their eyes.

The scenes witnessed at Badaltearing Safari Park in China are rapidly becoming a normal day out for many Chinese families.

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Once the goat is carried from its pen, it is swiftly thrown into the lion enclosure

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Baying crowds now gather in zoos across the country to watch animals being torn to pieces by lions and tigers.

Just an hour's drive from the main Olympic attractions in Beijing, Badaling is in many ways a typical Chinese zoo.

Next to the main slaughter arena is a restaurant where families can dine on braised dog while watching cows and goats being disembowelled by lions.

The zoo also encourages visitors to "fish" for lions using live chickens as bait. For just £2, giggling visitors tie terrified chickens onto bamboo rods and dangle them in front of the lions, just as a cat owner might tease their pet with a toy.

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The ravenous big cats quickly attack the goat and start to tear it limb from limb, all in the name of 'entertainment' for the Badaling zoo visitors

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During one visit, a woman managed to taunt the big cats with a petrified chicken for five minutes before a lion managed to grab the bird in its jaws.

The crowd then applauded as the bird flapped its wings pathetically in a futile bid to escape. The lion eventually grew bored and crushed the terrified creature to death.

The tourists were then herded onto buses and driven through the lions' compound to watch an equally cruel spectacle. The buses have specially designed chutes down which you can push live chickens and watch as they are torn to shreds.

Once again, children are encouraged to take part in the slaughter.

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The lions tear the goat to pieces within seconds of landing in the enclosure

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"It's almost a form of child abuse," says Carol McKenna of the OneVoice animal welfare group. "The cruelty of Chinese zoos is disgusting, but think of the impact on the children watching it. What kind of future is there for China if its children think this kind of cruelty is normal?

"In China, if you love animals you want to kill yourself every day out of despair."

But the cruelty of Badaling doesn't stop with animals apart. For those who can still stomach it, the zoo has numerous traumatised animals to gawp at.

A pair of endangered moon bears with rusting steel nose rings are chained up in cages so small that they cannot even turn around.

One has clearly gone mad and spends most of its time shaking its head and bashing into the walls of its prison.

There are numerous other creatures, including tigers, which also appear to have been driven insane by captivity. Predictably, they are kept in cramped, filthy conditions.

!Zoos like this make me want to boycott everything Chinese," says Emma Milne, star of the BBC's Vets In Practice.

"I'd like to rip out everything in my house that's made in China. I have big problems with their culture.

"If you enjoy watching an animal die then that's a sad and disgusting reflection on you.

"Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by their behaviour towards animals, as the value of human life is so low in China."

East of Badaling lies the equally horrific Qingdao zoo. Here, visitors can take part in China's latest craze — tortoise baiting.

Simply put, Chinese families now gather in zoos to hurl coins at tortoises.

Legend has it that if you hit a tortoise on the head with a coin and make a wish, then your heart's desire will come true. It's the Chinese equivalent of a village wishing well.

To feed this craze, tortoises are kept in barbaric conditions inside small bare rooms.

When giggling tourists begin hurling coins at them, they desperately try to protect themselves by withdrawing into their shells.

But Chinese zoo keepers have discovered a way round this: they wrap elastic bands around the animals' necks to stop them retracting their heads.

"Tortoises aren't exactly fleet of foot and can't run away," says Carol McKenna.

"It's monstrous that people hurl coins at the tortoises, but strapping their heads down with elastic bands so they can't hide is even more disgusting.

"Because tortoises can't scream, people assume they don't suffer. But they do. I can't bear to think what it must be like to live in a tiny cell and have people hurl coins at you all day long."

Even worse is in store for the animals of Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village near Guilin in south-east China.

Here, live cows are fed to tigers to amuse cheering crowds. During a recent visit, I watched in horror as a young cow was stalked and caught. Its screams and cries filled the air as it struggled to escape.

A wild tiger would dispatch its prey within moments, but these beasts' natural killing skills have been blunted by years of living in tiny cages.

The tiger tried to kill — tearing and biting at the cow's body in a pathetic looking frenzy — but it simply didn't know how.

Eventually, the keepers broke up the contest and slaughtered the cow themselves, much to the disappointment of the crowd.

Although the live killing exhibition was undoubtedly depressing, an equally disturbing sight lay around the corner: the "animal parade".

Judging by the rest of the operation, the unseen training methods are unlikely to be humane, but what visitors view is bad enough.

Tigers, bears and monkeys perform in a degrading "entertainment". Bears wear dresses, balance on balls and not only ride bicycles but mount horses too.

The showpiece is a bear riding a bike on a high wire above a parade of tigers, monkeys and trumpet-playing bears.

Astonishingly, the zoo also sells tiger meat and wine produced from big cats kept in battery-style cages.

Tiger meat is eaten widely in China and the wine, made from the crushed bones of the animals, is a popular drink.

Although it is illegal, the zoo is quite open about its activities. In fact, it boasts of having 140 dead tigers in freezers ready for the plate.

In the restaurant, visitors can dine on strips of stir-fried tiger with ginger and Chinese vegetables. Also on the menu are tiger soup and a spicy red curry made with tenderised strips of big cat.

And if all that isn't enough, you can dine on lion steaks, bear's paw, crocodile and several different species of snake.

"Discerning" visitors can wash it all down with a glass or two of vintage wine made from the bones of Siberian tigers.

The wine is made from the 1,300 or so tigers reared on the premises. The restaurant is a favourite with Chinese Communist Party officials who often pop down from Beijing for the weekend.

China's zoos claim to be centres for education and conservation. Without them, they say, many species would become extinct.

This is clearly a fig leaf and some would call it a simple lie. Many are no better than "freak shows" from the middle ages and some are no different to the bloody tournaments of ancient Rome.

"It's farcical to claim that these zoos are educational," says Emma Milne.

"How can you learn anything about wild animals by watching them pace up and down inside a cage? You could learn far more from a David Attenborough documentary."

However pitiful the conditions might be in China's zoos, there are a few glimmers of hope.

It is now becoming fashionable to own pets in China. The hope is that a love for pets will translate into a desire to help animals in general. This does appear to be happening, albeit slowly.

One recent MORI opinion poll discovered that 90 per cent of Chinese people thought they had "a moral duty to minimise animal suffering". Around 75 per cent felt that the law should be changed to minimise animal suffering as much as possible.

In 2004, Beijing proposed animal welfare legislation which stipulated that "no one should harass, mistreat or hurt animals". It would also have banned animal fights and live feeding shows.

The laws would have been a huge step forward. But the proposals were scrapped following stiff opposition from vested interests and those who felt China had more pressing concerns.

And this is the central problem for animal welfare in China: its ruling elite is brutally repressive and cares little for animals.

Centuries of rule by tyrannical emperors and bloody dictators have all but eradicated the Buddhist and Confucian respect for life and nature.

As a result, welfare groups are urging people not to go to Chinese zoos if they should visit the Olympics, as virtually every single one inflicts terrible suffering on its animals

"They should tell the Chinese Embassy why they are refusing to visit these zoos,' says Carol McKenna of OneVoice.

"If a nation is great enough to host the Olympic Games then it is great enough to be able to protect its animals."

Perspectives of China

Perspectives of China

As an American tourist I was quite amazed at the number of opinions, both good and bad, regarding China from various perspectives. The culture is rich and history is abundant everywhere, yet the political scene is obviously less attractive. Clear-cut poverty is much more evident as is a lower standard of living, yet still you can find towering skyscrapers and other majestic sites which only denote wealth. China is a land of great contrasts. For all the beauty of the landscape, there's horrible air and water conditions. For all the courteous customs of the Chinese people there's the annoying salesperson out to make a deal (and usually any type of deal). Hell, you can even find things for sale like this that would have potentially inhibited my ability to return back into the States. So this shirt brought up an interesting debate regarding re-entry into the U.S. If you were wearing it, would they let you through? Can they bock your re-entry simply because of a t-shirt? What if you were an Iraqi who immigrated to the States, and you actually though Saddam was a good leader? Would you be arrested for voicing that opinion (assuming you do so peacefully)? So what is really bad about that t-shirt? I'm convinced I should have gotten it. I probably could have gotten it for $1 USD.

China's political scene is pretty ugly. The Communist party has complete control over the country, and while they are not as bad as it may seem, brainwashing is evident everywhere. Pictures of Mao Zedong, statues of Communists, claims in museums of the "great accomplishments" of the Communist party members, the list goes on and on. It is no wonder that the tragedy of Tiananmen Square in 1989 occurred, yet only to be suppressed by the Communists. People are pretty hush about politics, fearing that any sort of opposing words would mean imenent doom for them. In the eyes of an American we think that that's not cool, even if it means that the competition is one George W. It's better than nothing. Perhaps it's better to simply fit in, like this, though my brother forgot to wear the black pants (This was actually hilarious - there was this entire tour group in blue as well, and my brother and I just took a series of shots of him pretending to be in the tour group. I've attached them if you want a laugh). By dumb luck though, you may very well see a friendly face like my mom did (and if you can't figure out which one is my mom.... wow). Credit must be given where credit is due, though: there's no neglecting the fact that China has the potential to become a superpower. Yes, even with it's 90% pirated crap. Then again, it is of interest to know that the wealthiest places in China are the places most influenced by the outside world: Shanghai and Hong Kong. I guess that's just yet another testament to the communism-doesn't-work campaign if you still aren't convinced.

But one must remember, most vacations to China don't concern the current political scene or the conditions of poverty (though you cannot run away from them - there's an inordinate amount of handicaps and abnormal people who are always following you begging for money). Most people come to observe the past dynasties and the history as well as the beautiful countryside. No one can deny that China's history is magnificent with world known attractions such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and the Terra-Cotta Warriors. Scenery doesn't get better than Guilin, where a river cruise is literally the scenic route. Some mountains along the way are interesting to behold too, like this one, where in theory there are nine horses on the mountain-side (in the white scratch marks - I can find like 3 clear ones only). In a separate place in Guilin, this mountain is supposed to be an elephant, but I don't see it at all, and I think it's totally a hoax to get more tourists. There are many parks with interesting scenes like this, this, and this. Hell, you can even find peacocks, fish, and chickens around. Was China worth it? I suppose so. There certainly were good times and bad times. The food (shockingly) overall was a disappointment, though it was still pretty good; I just had my expectations set too high. The people are a wide variety. Most people were alright, though more than a handful were downright annoying (see: shop vendors) or depressing. China does show promise of a wealthier nation overall in the future, and I guess that's why the U.S. wants such good relations with them.

Chinese prison is a toy factory

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China produces 75% of the world’s toys.
What’s behind the “Made in China” label attached to Chinese toys?

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