Posted by Alice Xin Liu on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 3:20 PM
On Saturday night from 8:30pm to 9:30pm the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) urged Beijing to blackout for an hour, to raise awareness and save electricity. On March 27, the day before many businesses and households heeded their call and the advertisement campaign and turned off their lights, this piece appeared in the Southern Metropolis Daily (南方都市报):
Beautification of scenery; solar power forbidden in neighborhoodby Tan Renwei / SD
Because of the renovation from flat to sloping roofs as part of the 'three year big change' beautification program ('三年大变样工程') in a neighborhood in Shijiazhang, Hebei, solar hot water heating panels on the residents' roof, installed by the residents themselves, have been forcibly removed. The government has already offered compensation, but the issue is still hotly debated over.
This year there has not been many forced removal of solar panels, but a netizen posted a local government notice dated March 20 on a local bbs forum, which read, “After the renovations are completed, solar panels will be strictly forbidden”.
The notice continues:
On March 21st, an Internet user in Shijiazhuang put up this notice from Shijiazhuang's Beiyuan neighbourhood.
When the Southern Metropolis Daily journalist interviewed the work team and its deputy group leader, he said that this year there will be no forced removal of solar panels, and the ones that are already there now can remain there.
But after the 'sloping roofs' renovation process ('平改坡') is finished, the installation of new solar panels will be forbidden.
The journalist also translated a comment from the Shijiazhuang forum on Baidu. The commenter, who lives in the area, touched on property rights protection law and on the 900 yuan compensation given for a solar installation that had cost him 5,000 yuan.
The article also went on to quote a Hebei Daily (河北日报) editorial from November last year, which said that the promotion of solar power is endorsed by the government for its energy efficiency, yet on the other hand the beautification of the cities means that these solar power energy panels are forcibly taken down. It’s a contradiction in terms.
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.