Trekking Sky High in China

May 4, 2016

The Daily Mail says, “Don’t look down!” In the first two videos, you will see tourists walking on glass attached to the side of a cliff 4,700 feet above sea level.

Another perilous site may be found on the slopes of China’s Shifou Mountain. Thousands of feet above sea level, and the Chinese workers building another cliff-walkway are using little or no safety gear.

When finished, the wooden ‘road’ – that’s the width of a dinner table – will stretch for 1.8 miles making it China’s longest sightseeing path.

Then there is walking on air at Huang Shan in the Yellow Mountains.

Next to last but not least, the Hua Han plank walk.  At my age, I’d rather walk on glass. Huckberry.com says, “This is no pirate’s plank walk. Located 7,000 feet above sea level on China’s Hua Shan Mountain, the Huashan Plank Walk embodies peril of a different kind.

The ascent begins with a short set of steps carved into the side of a mountain. Soon after, the steps turn into a “ladder” of iron rods. Both require extremely careful steps to compensate for precarious footing. Then comes the notorious plank walk.

Hua Shan has also been named the “Most Dangerous Hiking Trail in the World” by tourists.

Last, we join trekkers on their way to the top of Huangshan. Is that a hiker wearing high heels—the one that’s sitting down? You may notice that these hikers are not letting go of the rope. Would you?

China Mike offers wise advice for domestic and foreign tourists: “Since Huangshan is a top tourist attraction and popular travel destination for the Chinese, book ahead, especially on summer weekends.” The photographs on Mike’s site are worth seeing.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Does water reveal how a country takes care of its citizens – China versus India

February 3, 2016

This post explores which country is doing a better job of supplying water to its people—China or India.  When you finish reading and watching the two videos, you decide which country you would rather live in if you had to make a choice between them.

Is freedom of expression and of religion more important than water—what would be your answer if you had to make a choice?

The choices of world religions are many. According to Religious Tolerance.org, “There are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world.”

One of the most common complains outside China is that its citizens do not have the abstract freedom of expression and all of those religions to choose from, because China only offers seven approved religions to choose from and freedom of public political expression is severely limited.

The National Geographic special issue, “Water, Our Thirsty World” (April 2007) compared the world’s largest democracy, India, with China. In “The Big Melt” by Brook Larmer, we see a convincing reason why China’s mix of socialism and capitalism may be the world’s answer to avoid future calamities. Where Western style democracies fail to act due to partisanship, special interests, religious beliefs and political agendas, China’s government, ruled by engineers and scientists, appears to be planning decades ahead.

The claims of Tibetan separatists—the 1% that lives in voluntary exile in India—and their supporters that China rules over Tibet with an iron fist also appears to be wrong when Larmer visits a family of Tibetan nomads. He writes, “There is no sign of human life on the 14,000 foot high prairie that seems to extend to the end of the world.” Larmer sees “the NOMADS’ tent as a pinprick of white against a canvas of brown.”

We meet Ba O, a Tibetan nomad. In Ba O’s tent, “there is a small Buddhist Shrine: a red prayer wheel and a couple of smudged Tibetan texts…” A few years earlier, Ba O had several hundred sheep and the grass was plentiful. Now the Tibetan nomad has about a hundred left and fears this way of life is ending.

Ba O says, “This is the way we’ve always done things. And we don’t want that to change.”

But no matter what Ba O wants, change is coming, and there is nothing he can do to stop it. The change is not from China’s government. It is coming from global warming. Because of drought, the Tibetan grasslands are dying and a way of life that has existed for thousands of years may be dying too.

To insure that the Tibetan nomads will have a place to live, China’s government has been building resettlement villages. The “solid built” houses are subsidized. When the Tibetan nomads can no longer survive on the open Tibetan prairie, it is the nomad’s choice to move into the new villages. The government does not force them to give up their old way of life. Nature does that.

Along with the house comes a small annual stipend for each family so they can eat as they find another way to earn a living. The home Larmer visited in one of these resettlement villages had a Buddhist shrine and a free satellite dish for a TV and maybe an Internet connection. In addition, the one child policy does not apply to the Tibetan people since they are a minority in China.

To make sure there will continue to be water to drink, China is planning to build 59 reservoirs in Tibet to capture and save glacial runoff.

In India, by comparison, the young wife of a fortuneteller spends hours each day searching for water. She lives with her husband and five children in Delhi, India‘s capital. There are fights over water. In a nearby slum, a teenage boy was beaten to death for cutting into a water line. The demand for water in Delhi exceeds the supply by more than 300 million gallons a day.

Here are a few other factors that reveal how a country treats its citizens.

China – Population 1.357 billion (2013) with one political party

  • 27.24% or 369.6 million live on less than $3.10 a day
  • illiteracy = 3.6% or 48.8 million
  • life expectancy = 75 today. It was 35 in 1949.
  • According to worldhunger.org, “Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China.”
  • Transparency.org ranks China #27 on the bribe payers index.

The Bribe Payers Index ranks the world’s wealthiest and most economically influential countries according to the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad, and the United States is ranked #10.

India – Population 1.252 billion (2013) with six national political parties and 49 state parties

  • 58.1% or 727.4 million live on less than $3.10 a day
  • illiteracy = 27.9% or 338 million
  • life expectancy = 66 today. It was 36 in 1949.
  • According to bhookh.com, “Over 7000 Indians die of hunger every day.”
  • Transparency.org list ranks India #19 on its bribe payers index.

Patrick Henry (1736 – 1799), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is credited with saying “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

What happens to the pursuit of life, liberty, freedom of expression—the right to publicly complain about the government but nothing changes anyway—and the exploration of spiritual beliefs when there isn’t enough food to eat or safe water to drink?

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Skiing Downhill or Cross-country in China

January 5, 2016

Wei Gu writing for The Wall Street Journal reports that skiing is the latest obsession of China’s wealthy. “Skiing is taking off in a big way in China. Beijing sees the sport as part of its China dream.”

Skiing isn’t new to China.  In fact, China View.cn says cliff paintings of hunters in rugged remote northwestern China appear to prove that Chinese (in that area) were adept skiers as early as the Stone Age some 100 to 200 centuries ago. Of course back then skiing wasn’t a sport. It was used to get around and go hunting. But that’s changed. Today “skiing has become a popular pastime for China’s burgeoning new middle class, with several slopes around the capital, Beijing, packed every winter weekend.”

Skiing also isn’t new to me, but I haven’t gone skiing for about 20 years, and if I ever ski again, I will have to buy new boots and maybe new skis, since my old pair of parabolic skis have been gathering dust in the garage for far too long.

Back in my powder days, I often skied two of Southern California’s more popular ski resorts, along with Mammoth Mountain in central California, in addition to Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood (both active volcanoes) in Oregon, and I had my share of days and nights skiing in blizzards at temperatures far below freezing.

I have never snowboarded but a former student told me it is easier than skiing. Maybe one day I will find out, and I might give it a try in China.

Sexy Beijing’s reporter Rachel Dupuy went to Nanshan to see what was up in China’s newly forming snowboarding scene. What we discover from Beijing Beat: Riding China (the embedded video above) is Beijing’s Nanshan ski area the winter of 2008 with a snowboarding competition that included $25,000 in prizes.

It appears that along with fast food, for instance, McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut, China is adopting western sports. In Tiger Woods smiles big while golfing in China, I wrote about China’s growing number of golf courses and mentioned Chinese golfers numbering more than 100,000 and taking to the sport with enthusiasm.

If you are a dedicated powder monkey, for more information about skiing in China, click on the link for Ski Resort.info for a list of all 57 ski resorts in China, and for the to 5, click China Highlights.com.

And if you are into cross country skiing, well, Boston Globe.com reports that every Jan. 2 near Changchun, a provincial city about 600 miles northeast of Beijing with 7.5 million people, is open to both competitive skiers and the general public for a 17.5 kilometer (10.9 miles) race that is an easier version of the 52.5 kilometer (32.6 miles) main event.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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The Global E-Bike Revolution

December 29, 2015

China is swarming with E-bikes that are basically pedal powered machines with an electric boost. These E-bikes are common in Beijing and Shanghai.

There are also E-scooters with heavier motors that are capable of doing speeds of 30 mph or faster.

According to Time Magazine, “The relative simplicity of the machines and their components has encouraged a huge number of e-bike companies to open in China.”

“In 2006,” Time Magazine reported, “there were 2,700 licensed manufacturers, and countless additional smaller shops. Rising to the top of the heap is not easy.

“Leading manufacturer Xinri (the name means “new day”) was founded in 1999 by Zhang Chongshun, an auto parts factory executive who recognized the potential of the field. In its first year, Xinri built less than 1,000 bikes; last year it churned out 1.6 million.”

According to Next Big Future, 140 million e-bikes were in use in China in 2010, and for 2011, that number was projected to reach 167 million with increasing sales each year. In fact, by October 2013, The number of electric-powered bicycles in China just passed the 200 million mark (link in Chinese), manufactures are reporting 200% annual sales growth in Brazil, sales are strong in Europe and the Philippines is ordering 100,000 electricity-powered three wheelers, just one of several Asian nations investing in e-bikes.” – Quartz.com

In addition, The Economist reports, “the (Chinese) government also wants to encourage electric bicycles to curb the pollution and congestion created by other vehicles…The authorities are also trying to make e-bikes themselves greener: manufacturers are being compelled to invest in lighter materials and to replace lead-acid batteries with lithium ones.”

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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What did it take to turn the lights on in China: Part 2 of 2

December 16, 2015

To understand what China has accomplished since 1979 when it was ranked seventh among the world’s electricity producers instead of first, it helps to discover the time it took for America’s electrical grid to be built.

In America, Thomas Edison designed and built the first direct current (DC) power plant in 1882.

Then the first alternating current (AC) power plant opened in 1885 and transmitted power 200 miles from the plant.

By 1927, forty-five years later, the first power grid was established in Pennsylvania.

However, it wasn’t until 1933 that Congress passed legislation establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Then in 1935, FDR issued an executive order to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to bring electricity to millions of rural Americans.

It took six years after the REA was launched in 1941 to help 800 rural electric cooperatives to string 350,000 miles of power lines.

What took the U.S. 130 years to build starting in 1885, China did in the last 50 years. The biggest difference between modern China and America is the size of the population to supply electricity to. America has a population of more than 321.9 million, but China has about 1.38 billion people—a daunting task.

China vs US for electricity Production

In addition, just in case you think electricity was invented in the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin, think again. The English scientist William Gilbert (1544 – 1603) is called the father of modern electric power. Then Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745 – 1827) discovered that particular chemical reactions could produce electricity. There were others who contributed, of course, and some were Americans. – Who Discovered Electricity

Return to or start with Part 1

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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Renewable energy from the development of biogas in rural China

November 18, 2015

Some time ago,  a friend sent me a link to news that warned of new U.S. government regulations on hydraulic fracturing that could stop shale exploration—but not much changed.

Back then, the White House said the natural gas industry should support “common sense” regulation to ease public worry about potential water contamination from fracturing, a drilling practice vital to the U.S. shale gas boom. At the time, I didn’t know much about fracturing, but now I know it’s pretty bad, becase we now know that fracturing contaminates drinking water water and causes earthquakes.

While development of natural gas from shale might eventually come to a stop in the U.S. due to these environmental concerns, China is looking at the production and resources of shale gas in the United States and is learning from America.

China’s technically recoverable resources of shale gas are estimated to be about 50 percent higher than those in the United States.

EIA.DOE.gov says, “The outlook for unconventional natural gas production is more positive in China than in OECD Europe first and foremost because China’s geology suggests a greater unconventional resource potential than in Europe. Further, although natural gas production from conventional resources in China, as in Europe, cannot keep up with domestic demand, China’s government strongly supports unconventional gas development, and public resistance is likely to be less of an impediment in China than in OECD Europe and the US.”

World Oil.com reports, “Over the past 25 years, China has attempted to develop its substantial CBM resources, estimated by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) at more than 1,000 trillion cubic ft (Tcf). Currently, there are more than 20,000 wells producing a total of 0.36 billion cubic ft per day (Bcf/d) of CBM (coalbed methane) in China. However, CBM well productivity in China is significantly lower than in countries such as Australia and the U.S.”

While developing natural gas resources in China, there is also Biogas development in rural China that the two embedded videos talk about. China is taking advantage of waste to produce energy, which results in higher standards of living for those involved.

For instance, China’s Hebei Rural Renewable Energy Development Project. “The Project Development Objective (PDO) for the Hebei Rural Renewable Energy Development Project in China is to demonstrate sustainable biogas production and utilization to reduce environmental pollution and supply clean energy in rural areas of Hebei Province.” – The World Bank.org

Imagine the biogas from more than 1.3 billion people and the animals raised to feed those people.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Yes, China has Wild Elephants too

November 3, 2015

I’ve written of China’s Giant Panda and Siberian Tigers in northeast China, but I had no idea that China also had elephants and not caged in zoos but living in their natural habitat.

It it hadn’t been for Go Daddy’s CEO, Bob Parsons, shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe and stirring up PETA, a Politically Correct group of animal lovers in the U.S., I might have never been curious to see if China had elephants too.

And I discovered that China offers a safer haven for elephants than most nations that still have pachyderms living in their natural environment.

Elephant Aid says, “Most people associate China and elephants with the demand for ivory but although China only has a small number of elephants it is one of the only range states where numbers are on the rise.  China’s elephants can only be found in the extreme south of the Yunnan province bordering Burma and Laos. Their range includes Xishuangbanna (XSNB) and the Nangunhe Nature Reserves.”


BBC – Wild Elephants in China

“The elephant is a protected species in China,” Elephant Aid says, “and the government has taken steps to conserve areas of elephant habitat including moving people out of the reserves in a bid to minimize human-elephant conflict.

“Chinese official have reported that the population is growing through both reproduction and immigration of herds from Laos. This is attributed to the lack of a threat from poachers in China and the abundant availability of fodder.”

According to Elephant.se, there are about 450 captive elephants in the US and less than 4,000 captive elephants globally.  China has about 30 captive elephants.

All About Wildlife.com says there are 40 to 50 thousand wild Asian elephants and between 470,000 and 690,000 wild African Elephants.

There are more than two hundred wild elephants that live in China.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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