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Thursday, March 21, 2013

GOING TO CHINA?


I don't remember ever subscribing to News China (and also don't recall ordering People, which is an embarrassment, for it keeps coming), but some of the news items from the March 2013 issue are interesting:

1.  Half of the shark's fin in soup use artificial substitutes.  First, it's hard to tell, but, worse, could be poisonous.  How's this for a turnoff.  The synthetic recipe is mung bean starch, gelatin, sodium and various chemicals to provide the characteristic mucilaginous feel.

2.  Our society has gone from respecting its elders to respecting its youngsters...the One Child Policy has twisted Chinese parents' attitudes toward their children.  (Zhang Ming)  The greater downside is that the next generation will not be particularly motivated.

3.  There is a chicken scandal brewing:  excessive use of 18 different antibiotics and artificial hormones.  A chick which weighs an ounce at birth attains 6.6 pounds in 45 days.  Lights are used to keep the birds eating 24 hours/day.  The U.S. is #1 in production, China #2, using the American intensive breeding practice.  You got to wonder how much worse China is than the USA.  Kentucky Fried Chicken, the largest fast food chain in China and country's biggest consumer of processed chicken, was particularly implicated. By the way, the #1 meat in China is pork, which suffered a hit with the clenbuterol scandal of 2011.  Well, Peking Duck must be safe.  Not quite, for last year saw a diseased duck scandal.  And I'll be there in a couple of weeks.

4.  A combination of emissions from coal-fired powerplants, exhaust fumes from traffic and a low pressure front made China hell for four days in January, Beijing especially.  The pollution went up to a reported 755 mg per cubic meter, where the U.S. EPA says a level as low as 250.5 is regarded as hazardous to your health.  Actually, the American Embassy recorded a high of around 900 mg/cm, so you can bet that the true measure in certain locations went into four figures.  The April issue of News China will have an essay on this problem,  while a colleague who just returned from Osaka noted that people were wearing masks on the street because of air pollution from China.  And I'll be in Osaka, Shanghai and Beijing in a couple of weeks.

5.  Their flavor of the month praised Mission Chinese Food...but located in San Francisco.  Hmm, I'll be there a couple of times on my global adventure.  The chef is Danny Bowien (right).  The smashed cucumbers were praised, and special drinks mostly use Korean soju.  Prices are cheap and nothing is particularly authentic.  But the wait is two hours, for no reservations are taken. They do deliver.  Children are not particularly recommended here.  The location, of course, is Mission Street, but way south of Market Street.

The 25March2013 issue of TIME had the following:

1.  Tai Lake, the third largest in China, providing water to 30 million, was classified as a major natural disaster from toxic contamination.

2.  The wheat grown around Tianying carries 24 times the permissible level of lead, due to lead runoff from industry.

3.  Sulfur dioxide in Uranmqi, a hub of 3 million people in northwestern China, measure ten times higher that is considered to be safe.

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