Friday, May 2, 2008

More Reports from China: food prices, tibet


The Washington Post today (May 2) has another paid insert “Reports from China,” (the website seems to be this: http://www.reportsfromchina.com/ ) and the most important story is probably by Xin Zhiming, “Price surge becomes real food for thought.” While basic food and grain supplies seem adequate, prices are rising quickly, affecting particularly the urban poor.

More rural villagers have moved to non-agricultural jobs. “All farming-related costs are rising and people don’t like to farm.” That sounds like a distant echo from Chairman Mao’s “cultural revolution” in the 1960s when intellectuals were forced to become peasants, sometimes to glee of the extreme Left even in the United States.

Chinese agricultural has been problematic for world health reasons. In some southern areas, people live very close to farm animals and poultry, and this is thought to increase the likelihood of viral mutations that could cause human pandemics, such as avian influenza.

The biggest problem may be simply the sudden increase in demand, for a higher standard of living for everyone -- particularly demand for fossil fuels.

The paper has an article criticizing the behavior or protesters against the Olympic torch runs in London, Paris and San Francisco, “No case for even devil’s advocates.” There is an article by Lisa Carducci, “Combating ignorance on Tibet,” and claims “The Tibetains outside Tibet are the victims not only of ignorance but of a well-organized campaign of misinformation.” She also writes, “The Dalai Lama, who left the country when he was still very young an under the influence of a group, and never saw Tibet with his own eyes later in life to be able to judge things for himself, is also a poor victim – much like the woman in the village market.”

Also, Reuters has a news story about a deadly enterovirus outbreak in eastern China, "Deadly virus spreads in China, 21 children die," link here.

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