Top China stories of the week 01/01-01/08
- China’s tomb raiders laying waste to thousands of years of history, by Tania Branigan. Soaring prices offered by collectors and lax monitoring of China’s thousands of historical sites have led to grave robbing on a massive scale. One researcher estimates that 95% of Chinese tombs have been plundered, and that without sufficient protection it could all be lost in the next 10 years.
- Chinese authorities and villagers clash over mosque – From around mid-December there have been a number of crackdowns on religious groups in China, with Buddhist, Muslisms and Christians all being effected. This time the clash happened in a Hui region, which is unusual, since Hui have traditionally been tolerated.
- The writing on the wall, by Evan Osnos, is a great take on China’s growing demographic problem, a huge number of soon to be retirees who will only have one child to take their place.
- Beijing’s ‘culture war’ isn’t about the US, by Damien Ma. Counters the coverage of Hu’s speech earlier this week (my take on it). While I agree with his point that Hu’s speech is targeted at Party members instead of foreigners, the wider trend has been to try to limit western culture in China.
- Garbage recyclers make way for real estate – Beijing’s largest recycling dump which employs nearly 30,000 workers will be shuttered in favor of urban development. While the move isn’t surprising, it’s sure to be a sore spot for the migrant workers who have made a living making Beijing a little greener.
- Anger over online railway ticket sales – It looks as if the online system that was supposed to relieve the yearly travel headache has made things worse for China’s migrant workers who rely on the trains. The new system seems to favor urban travelers who are able to navigate the web and have a bank card (which many foreigners have been unable to manage).
- Digging up China’s bones, from People’s Daily, is a fascinating account of one archaeologist’s life in the Middle Kingdom. It includes brief mentions of the state of historical protection during the Cultural Revolution that I found shocking.
- Dissident says China will review fine for tax evasion – Ai Weiwei’s case is now under review. I am not very hopeful, but it seems like Beijing would be better off on the international stage if they let him go. He is currently detained AND vocal, which makes him more of a headache for Beijing than when he was free.