Sunday, January 20, 2013

In Beijing, the air is chewable

Wearing my 3-M special mask at the Bridge Cafe in northwest Beijing
For the first year and a half we have been here in Beijing, Cindy has monitored the air quality daily. It was nearly always up over 100 micrograms of small particulates (2.5 microns) per cubic meter, which is considered unhealthy. Often it is like today, over 200. And last week it was up over 300, 400, 500...up to 700. You could practically chew it.

By comparison, on Saturday in New York City, the same measure was 19,  Edward Wong reported in the New York Times.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

China is opening up, slowly, by fits and starts

Some of you may have followed the news about protests against censorship at Southern Weekend, one of the more independent-minded Chinese publications. A New Year's Day editorial that called for political reform was rewritten to praise the current system.

Angry netizens took to the Chinese Twitter, called Weibo, to support the protest and express their displeasure with the censorship.

The New Yorker's Evan Osnos noted that among them was the actress Yao Chen, who has 31 million followers on Weibo. She included this quote: “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.”

Osnos said, "When a Chinese ingénue, beloved for her comedy, doe-eyed looks, and middle-class charm, is tweeting her fans the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, we may be seeing a new relationship between technology, politics, and Chinese prosperity."