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GLOBAL PANIC OF 2014 REACHES CHINA: Freakishly Large, Bizzare Flying Insect Found in Sichuan Province, Experts Say

giant-bug-china-gallery

World’s largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China’s Sichuan province

Large enough to cover the face of a human adult, this scary-looking insect is also known among entomologists as an indicator of good water quality.

(CNN) – According to the Insect Museum of West China, local villagers in the outskirts of Chengdu handed over “weird insects that resemble giant dragonflies with long teeth” earlier this month.

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“Let me be clear. This species was not found in our hemisphere. It was found over there, in China.”

Several of these odd critters were examined by the museum and found to be unusually large specimens of the giant dobsonfly, which is native to China and Vietnam.

 "I think the media is overreacting. I can kick that bug's ass"

“I think the media is overreacting. I can kick that bug’s ass”

The largest one measured 21 centimeters (8.27 inches) when its wings were open, according to the museum, busting the original record for largest aquatic insect held by a South American helicopter damselfly, which had a wingspan of 19.1 centimeters (7.5 inches). Read the rest of this entry »

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Central Asia’s Energy Rush

energy-rush

Image Credit: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

For The Diplomat, Michał Romanowski writes: Central Asia is rapidly emerging as the key playing field in the contest to access energy resources and the leverage they offer. The new Great Game is played out once again in the region, only this time it is not over political or territorial influence, but over the vast raw material deposits that are in the possession of the former Soviet Union republics, especially those situated by the Caspian Sea. The Caspian’s share of oil and gas global exports is set to rise to 9 and 11 percent, respectively, in the coming 20 years. Much is at stake.

The region’s major powers compete to control energy sources

Russia, although not a direct producer, was and still is – given the developed pipeline network – supervising much of an energy transit from Central Asia. The Central Asia-Center gas pipeline system, the first line of which was completed in 1960, makes for a good case study. It allows both Uzbek and Turkmen gas to be delivered to Russia, which then resells it at a profit to energy-hungry Europe or uses it for domestic purposes. Moscow exercises its influence over the region and as a consequence gains both politically and economically.

“China in fact controls around 20 percent of Kazakhstan’s oil production and is its key trade partner. Bilateral trade should reach $40 billion next year.”

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central Asian states sought to loosen Russia’s firm grip. An independent complex pipeline system was a priority for transporting the resources outward. Given that the Caspian Sea is landlocked, gas and oil need to cross several borders before reaching an end customer. This requires a very substantial investment, yet energy diversification in Central Asia is moving steadily ahead. Read the rest of this entry »


Purity From the Far Left: Chinese Children’s Guide for Politically Correct Behavior

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I can’t verify the authenticity of this, the translation is either a spoof, mischievous liberties were taken, or it really is based on the original text, but it looks like characteristic Mao-era cultural training. One thinks of North Korea, San Francisco, Think Progress, MSNBC, DNC Headquarters, even classrooms in New Jersey as recently as 2009…


Oh Yes They Did: Four Chinese Women Strip Down to Protest Government Corruption

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RocketNews24 reports: Recently, streaking and naked demonstrations have increased in popularity in China. The benefits are clear, as having pictures of naked women (and to a much, much lesser extent men) is a pretty solid way to get attention for your cause. It’s also a more peaceful form of expression that can gain sympathy from the public.

I’d gladly take my political messages from a few people who are standing naked in a park rather than say… driving around shouting through a megaphone while blasting patriotic music at full volume. On the flipside, naked protests also carry the risk of the message getting lost in a sea of people shouting, “Hey! Boobs!”

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These particular boobs belong to four women aged 65, 66, 68, and 73. Sorry to dupe you like this but since you’ve already come this far, might as well listen to their story. Like other naked protest photos this one has made the rounds through China’s social networks like Sina Weibo and websites.

It shows the small band of ladies stripping down to their birthday suits with writing all over their bodies. According to various websites such as Siyibao.org they also set up placards at their protest site outside the US Embassy in Beijing, one of which featured a Chinese character referring to “injustice.”

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This apparently wasn’t the first time either, as Sina Weibo users and other bloggers reported seeing them at other times and places such as the Tiananmen Square anniversary. In these instances they have also been seen getting taken away by police. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Women Graduates Spurn Cap & Gown, Wear Wedding Dresses Instead


Hong Kong’s Occupy Central ‘Referendum’ Explained

<> on June 1, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: For CNN, Wilfred Chan and Euan McKirdy report: Nearly 800,000 Hong Kongers have done something China’s 1.3 billion people can only dream of: cast a ballot to demand a democratic government.

In an unofficial referendum organized by pro-democracy activists and denounced by Chinese authorities, 787,767 people in the city of more than seven million have called for the right to directly elect their next leader.

But Beijing has insisted Hong Kong politics stays in line with Chinese rule, paving the way for a showdown in thehk-protest city.

Who are the activists?

Occupy Central is a pro-democracy group founded in 2013. Their goal is to allow the Hong Kong public to elect its next leader without strings attached.

If the Hong Kong government doesn’t eventually give the public more voting rights, Occupy Central has threatened to “occupy” Central district, the city’s financial hub, with a sit-in that would disrupt businesses and block traffic.

How is Hong Kong governed now?

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, with its own executive, legislature, and judiciary.

A former British colony, the city was returned to Chinese control in 1997. But before the handover, China and the United Kingdom signed an agreement giving Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years after its return to China. This enshrined a principle known as “one country, two systems” in a constitutional document called the Basic Law. Read the rest of this entry »


China stakes its Claims on Mars with Rover Bound for Red Planet in 2020

China-Rover-CORB

For The IndependentJames Vincent writes: Sovereignty in outer space is always a tricky subject, but out of all the lifeless rocks in the solar system it’s safe to say that Mars is more American than most. It may not have a US flag crumpled in mid-wave on the surface, but every robot that’s ever crawled successfully on the planet’s surface has been made in the US. Not for much longer.

Last week China announced that it was planning send a rover to Mars by 2020 and bring back samples from the Red Planet just 10 years later. Ouyang Ziyuan, the Chinese scientist who oversaw the country’s successful Moon rover mission in December last year, said that this would be just the first step in the country’s plans to explore the solar system – with further plans involving sending probes to the Sun.

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The US aerospace industry may be having something of a minor boom at the moment as private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX celebrate engineering successes, but America still can’t match China’s budget nor its concentration of political will.

Scott Pace, a former Nasa administrator and director of the Space Policy Insitute at George Washington University, told The Independent that China’s plans were “ambitious but not impossible,” adding that despite their success on the Moon, Mars is “much, much more difficult to reach and operate on than the Moon”.

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Of the seven rovers that have been sent to Mars only the four US missions have been successful. A pair of Soviet rovers sent in 1971 failed to stay in touch with Earth for longer than 20 seconds and in 2003 the Beagle 2’s ‘Planetary Undersurface Tool’ (only a ‘rover’ in the most generous of terms) failed to even make it to the surface. Read the rest of this entry »


Want to Be a Millionaire? Move to Hong Kong

A luxury car parks at an old district area in Hong Kong Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014. Associated Press

A luxury car parks at an old district area in Hong Kong Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014. Associated Press

For China Real Time ReportJason Chow writes: Hong Kong mints millionaires faster than any of the world’s other top 25 economic powerhouses, according to a new survey on the rich by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.

“Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires.”

Tis the season of wealth reports – the new 2014 World Wealth Report is the second global survey of the world’s rich in as many weeks (Boston Consulting Group released its wealth tome last week). And again, the latest survey confirmed an obvious outcome of Asia’s economic boom: The region is home to more millionaires than ever.

“The city’s booming real-estate market, along with its ties to China, were cited as reasons for the huge surge in the wealthy ranks.”

But the Capgemini/RBC report says Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires. In the past five years, the total number of high-net-worth individuals—those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, not including primary residence, collectibles or consumer goods—grew at an annual rate of 27%.

That growth rate of wealthy individuals is by far the fastest, above the global 10% average and far higher than the growth rates for Singapore and China, which sat around 12% and 16%, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »


Street Fight: Congress Renames Road by Chinese Embassy After Jailed Dissident

Workers prepare the Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition 'I Have No Enemies' for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo

Beijing is not amused by the “provocative action,” as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo “has been convicted in accordance with the law”

For TIMEHannah Beech reports: Alert the post office. The official address for the Chinese embassy in Washington is to be changed to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza. On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee voted to rename 3505 International Place, a strip of asphalt that runs in front of the Chinese mission in northwest D.C., after the jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The bid for the new Chinese embassy mailing address was tacked on as an amendment to the 2015 State Department spending bill. The road in front of the Chinese embassy is federally owned, giving Congress some latitude in deciding its fate. (The D.C. Council will also consider the resolution.) Fourteen bipartisan Congressmen, led by Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, shepherded the provision, which calls for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to institute the name change. A street sign adorned with Liu’s name is planned.In 2009, the veteran activist and writer was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion against the Chinese state. Liu, 58, helped draft Charter 08, a pro-democracy petition that called on Beijing to abandon one-party rule and uphold basic human rights. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing labeled the road-renaming movement a “provocative action,” noting that Liu “has been convicted in accordance with the law.” Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Investors Buying Up U.S. Golf Courses

obama-golf-sidebarFor the Los Angeles TimesE. Scott Reckard reports: Eight years ago, Du Sha cashed out his chain of home-improvement centers — the first superstores of their kind in China — with a sale to Home Depot for $100 million.

Today, with a net worth of more than $600 million, the former economics professor has taken up the conventional pastime for those with money and time: golf.

Du has bigger plans than reducing his handicap. Teaming with a Canadian golf executive, he has bankrolled Pacific Links International, which now owns 10 high-end U.S. courses, including the $20-million Dove Canyon Golf Club, in a private community abutting the Cleveland National Forest in south Orange County.

Du and other wealthy Chinese investors are quickly adding golf courses to their growing portfolios of U.S. holdings. In the last year, Chinese investors have bought prime properties including the 2,000-acre Sea Trail Golf Resort, built around three Sunset Beach, N.C., courses, along with smaller ones, such as Rancho Duarte Golf Club, a nine-hole, par-31 course built on a former dump in the San Gabriel Valley.

“We’re seeing a lot of tires getting kicked by the Chinese,” said broker Jeffrey Woolson in Carlsbad, managing director for golf and resorts at real estate services giant CBRE Group Inc. “They only recently came forward and started buying. They do love golf, so it makes sense.”

The influx is restoring the fortunes of some unprofitable clubs such as Dove Canyon, where Pacific Links has committed $6.2 million to refurbishments after buying the property last year.

The investments also mark the third wave of golf course purchases by Asian investors. Unlike the Japanese and the South Koreans before them, the Chinese are buying at the bottom of the market. But they are entering an overbuilt industry that has suffered from declining American interest in golf since well before the Great Recession drove many courses into bankruptcy.

The purchases of U.S. golf courses follow a long series of investments by wealthy Chinese in other areas — such as Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet housing project in Oakland and the AMC Theatres chain. Chinese investors also have purchased Sheraton hotels in Universal City and at Los Angeles International Airport and helped ignite such red-hot California housing markets as Arcadia and Irvine.

Major Chinese investments in U.S. businesses doubled to $14 billion last year — and added $8 billion more in the first three months this year, according to Rhodium Group, a New York economic consulting firm. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Meet Yuan Meixia, She Has 100,000 Cockroaches, Says They Are Her Family

Yuan Meixia says she was inspired to breed the Palmetto bugs after seeing a show about the insect last year. Photo: Nandu.com

Yuan Meixia says she was inspired to breed the Palmetto bugs after seeing a show about the insect last year. Photo: Nandu.com

”These are all my children, my babies.”

Most people hate cockroaches and would do just about anything to keep them out of their homes. But that is not the case for one woman.

Keira Lu Huang at the South China Morning Post is reporting that Yuan Meixia in China shares her home with 100,000 cockroaches, which she considers her children.

(Photo by PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

“They are most active at night, mating and hunting for food. They mate with each other after eating. The mating process lasts for two hours, and then spawning happens. Every spawn hatches dozens of baby cockroaches.”

– Yuan Meixia

She breeds them and raises them so she can sell them to a pharmaceutical company, which uses them for medicine.  She lives in separate home, but visits the breeding home everyday. She was inspired to start breeding them after she saw a program on television which talked about their potential healing properties.

Although she calls them her 'babies' or 'children', the insects are killed and dried before being sold to a factory. Photo: Nandu.com

Although she calls them her ‘babies’ or ‘children’, the insects are killed and dried before being sold to a factory. Photo: Nandu.com

[Also see China: At Least 1 Million Cockroaches Escape Farm in Jiangsu]

”These are all my children, my babies,” she says to a Southern Metropolis News reporter on a tour of the facility in Linbian village. Yuan resides at another house in Siqian county, but visits the breeding house every day. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Military Tied to Prolific Hacking Group Targeting U.S. Aerospace Industry

In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 photo, a crew member of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy monitors on the deck of the China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing on the East China Sea for sea trials. The Liaoning departed for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing's drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

In operation since 2007, “Putter Panda” is latest group to be implicated by researchers 

For Ars TechnicaDan Goodin reports: Investigators said they have identified a secretive hacking group that has spent years systematically targeting US partners in the space and satellite industry, most likely on behalf of the Chinese military.

“Putter Panda is a determined adversary group, conducting intelligence-gathering operations targeting the Government, Defense, Research, and Technology sectors in the United States, with specific targeting of the US Defense and European satellite and aerospace industries.”

– Crowdstrike researchers

The group typically gains a foothold in sensitive networks by attaching booby-trapped documents to e-mails, according to a 62-page report published Monday by Crowdstrike, a firm that conducts forensic investigations on behalf of customers who have suffered security breaches. When employees click on the documents, the attackers are able to gain control over their PCs. The attackers then use the PCs to take control of servers housing blueprints, customer lists, or other sensitive data. The group, dubbed as Putter Panda, is connected to Unit 61486 of the People Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Third General Staff Department, according to the report. Read the rest of this entry »


What Should the US Do About Closer Sino-Russian Ties?

For The Diplomat, Michael Lumbers writes: The splashy announcement recently of a $400 billion deal that will send Russian natural gas to China has triggered a new wave of speculation over the implications of strengthened Sino-Russian ties for America’s strategic position. The supply agreement, which will give Beijing a much-needed source of clean energy and Moscow an alternative market as relations with Europe have soured in the wake of the thediplomat-257crisis over Ukraine, fleshes out a “strategic partnership” that has flourished over the past 20 years as a result of expanded trade, the final resolution of all border disputes, and a shared interest in impeding U.S. hegemony.

For some alarmed Western observers, seemingly forgetful that not even the bonds of communist ideology could prevent the violent rupture of the Sino-Soviet alliance at the height of the Cold War, this invigorated relationship threatens to consolidate into an anti-American alliance that is headed toward an eventual clash with the U.S. More sober voices stop short of such grim forecasts, but counsel that Washington should devise policies aimed atmichael-lumbersdriving the two powers apart. How, if at all, is the U.S. likely to respond?

[Order Michael Lumbers' book "Piercing the Bamboo Curtain: Tentative Bridge-Building to China During the Johnson Years" from Amazon.com]

Any assessment of U.S. options for responding to growing Sino-Russian convergence needs to begin with an understanding that the post-Cold War reconciliation, burdened by a long history of distrust, has often fallen short of the flowery rhetoric of summit communiques. For both sides, the relationship remains a function of more important dealings with the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


Here’s why China is Intentionally Provoking its Asian Neighbors and the U.S.


THAT’S Where They Are: Archaeologists Find World’s Oldest Pair of Pants in China

4069-516TARIM BASIN, China (UPI)  Levis and Wrangler often boast about the durability of their denim, but can their blue jeans last 3,000 years? That’s how long a pair of trousers in China — the oldest in the world — have remained intact.

The pants in question were found recently by archaeologists digging in the ancient Yanghai Tombs in China’s Tarim Basin. Fragments of the trousers were recovered from the tombs of two men, dating between the 13th and 10th century BCE. Both men, apparent horseback riders, died around the age of 40.

The archaeologists say the discovery is the oldest evidence of trouser-wearing, and evidence the pants were developed to enable horseback riding.

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“Together with horse gear and weapons as grave goods in both tombs our results specify former assumptions that the invention of bifurcated lower body garments is related to the new epoch of horseback riding, mounted warfare and greater mobility,” wrote lrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, whose paper on the subject was published this week in the journal Quaternary International. Read the rest of this entry »


What Would Push America towards War with China?

 Forget the “pivot” or “rebalance.”A much simpler question is in order.

For The National InterestHarry White writes: The “rebalance isn’t working. Washington wants to ensure the survival of an order in Asia where it sits at the head of the table, and China pursues her interests in a way her neighbors can live with. But that hope is slipping away. To give us the best chance of the United States maintaining a strong and sustainable position in Asia, President Obama needs to decide what he really wants, and what he can live without. In his West Point speech last week, we saw a glimmer of that realization from the president.

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“President Obama’s approach has failed to convince Beijing of the benefits of abiding by the status quo, or that seeking to alter it will incur unacceptable costs.”

So far, Obama has tried to manage Beijing by taking a middle road between reassurance and deterrence. Too soft an approach would invite revisionism, goes the line, and being too assertive would accelerate the trend towards a deeply adversarial relationship. He took a conciliatory line at the Sunnylands Summit, resisted Japanese calls to take a harder line on China in the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands through most of last year, and the administration, in the form of the vice president, was notably cordial in visits to Beijing, including right after the ADIZ declaration at the end of 2013.

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 “If Asia continues on its present strategic trajectory, China will become more adventurous in seeking to cement its claims to disputed territory, and tension between Beijing and Washington will continue to deepen.”

On the other hand, in April, he made his own statement that the United States would fight to defend the Senkakus, is building up its military presence in the Philippines and has worked to strengthen its partnerships in the region. He also added that the Pacific hosts the bulk of U.S. military assets. America’s target is to have 60 percent of Air and Naval forces in the Pacific by 2020—those services are necessary for a presence in Asia and have been partially shielded from budgetary pressure. Just last week at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in harmony with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, took a firm line on China. Read the rest of this entry »


Tiananmen Anniversary in Hong Kong

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Tens of thousands have gathered in Hong Kong for the only major commemoration in China of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

For BBC News, Juliana Liu reports: The organizers said some 180,000 attended the vigil, but the police put the crowd size at just under 100,000. The city retains civil liberties not permitted to mainland Chinese. The 1989 protesters wanted political reform, but the crackdown was ordered after hardliners won a power struggle within the ruling Communist Party.

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In Beijing, the authorities have imposed blanket security, particularly on Tiananmen Square, to prevent any attempts to mark the anniversary.

Dozens of activists were detained in the run-up to the anniversary, with foreign journalists ushered away from the square on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


History: 1989 Cover Story About the Tiananmen Square Massacre


History: A Look at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in 1989 and Now


Chinese General Says U.S. Foreign Policy Has ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Problems

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A Chinese ship, left, shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel, right, while a Chinese Coast Guard ship, center, sails alongside in the South China Sea off Vietnam’s coast on May 7, 2014. Associated Press

For WSJ‘s China Real Time ReportWilliam Kazer writes: A Chinese general used a regional security conference this weekend to tell a global audience that U.S. rhetoric about the South China Sea risks provoking Beijing.

“As U.S. power declines, Washington needs to rely on its allies in order to reach its goal of containing China’s development.”

For the Chinese language audience, the general used language saltier — and perhaps more provocative — to describe how he feels about U.S. power.

AP Photo/Alex Wong

AP Photo/Alex Wong

Maj. Gen Zhu Chenghu, a professor at the National Defense University, made the remarks in an interview with Chinese language Phoenix TV at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Saturday.

He suggested that if China came to blows with any of its neighbors, the U.S. might not be a reliable ally. Read the rest of this entry »


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