Jurg Ott 23 February 2009
Beijing, China 100022
Here I randomly pick newspaper articles and other published material
and add my 2 cents' worth of comments.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/02/23 20:46:07 GMT
"Binyam case reveals dark moral path"
-- the story of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident. Here are some
excerpts: "British intelligence was never involved in directly
torturing Mr Mohamed ... was allegedly soon transferred by the CIA to a
secret prison in Morocco, as part of its extraordinary rendition
programme, where he claims he was tortured for months ... revealed
nothing worth charging Mr Mohamed with or sufficiently serious to
prevent him being released now. Instead it has served only to draw
attention to the darker side of US tactics post 9/11 and the degree to
which British intelligence was involved."
My view: This is just the latest of many similar reports.
Speaking of "human rights"...
KONG, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Higher soy intake and having a
balanced diet can help reduce risk of death, said a study result made
Thursday by the University of Hong Kong.
"...people with high intakes of less healthy food
like meat and dairy
products and less
intake of healthy
food including vegetables, fruits,
soy and tea, had about 113 percent higher risk of death than
those who had a balanced diet."
My view: Western favorites
like meat and (whole) milk are known not to be good for adult people
but the dairy lobby keeps trying to promote the idea that "milk is good
September 3, 2006 · Last updated 1:25 p.m. PT
experts: Obesity pandemic looms
"Experts at the conference said governments should impose bans on junk
food advertising aimed directly at children, although they acknowledged
such restrictions were unlikely to come about soon because the food
industry would lobby hard against them."
"LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Hackers have broken into an AT&T
computer system and accessed personal data on thousands of customers
who used its online store, the telecommunications giant said on
Tuesday. The information that was illegally accessed included the
credit card numbers of about 19,000 customers who had purchased
equipment for high-speed Internet connection through AT&T's Web
site, the company said in a statement. "
"The incident was the latest in a long string of data security
breaches. Since early last year, more than 90 million personal records
have been exposed in dozens of incidents, according to the latest
information by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse."
26 August 2006
"More than 12 million adults and one million children will be obese [in
England] by 2010, the Government has predicted."
"As a result thousands more people will suffer related diseases like
cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, swelling the cost of obesity
to the NHS above its current £1 billion [15 billion =
15,000,000,000 yuan RMB]."
"We are demanding the Government place restrictions on advertising junk
food to children..."
My view: Not only to children,
but overall there should be restrictions on advertizing junk food,
similar to restrictions on advertizing tobacco products. The Chinese
government has a golden opportunity here to intervene in the
free-wheeling business practices of junk food sellers and advertizers
so as to not let an obesity epidemic happen in China as it currently
happens in the West, with all its related cost to public health. A free
market economy has many good sides but its focus on financial gain
irrespective of consequences for the common good also has severe
defects. Presumably, this economy has contributed to a large degree to
the current obesity epidemic, if not directly caused it -- selling
cheap junk food including soda pop (≈ sugar water) seems particularly
lucrative, and considerations of public health do not currently
contribute to the bottom line. The Chinese version of a socialist
economy could provide the necessary directions for business practices
so that economic growth is not harmful to public health. In the West,
some progress is already being made. NBC's Martin Savidge reported on
the Today show (18 August 2005) that "According to a study, ice cold
soda pop contributes the most calories to the American diet", and that
"Soft drink makers ... will stop selling sugery soda in elementary and
middle schools ... instead offering water, 100 percent fruit juices and
on : Mon, 03 Apr 2006 11:18:00 GMT
of thousands of young U.S.
children … are obese”
My view: I hope this will not
happen in China.
Forbes.com, 9 March 2006
China saw its presence in the
rankings grow from just two billionaires last year to eight”, meaning
2004, two Chinese were on Forbes’ list of (USD) billionaires (having a
net worth exceeding 8,000,000,000 yuan RMB) while in 2005 that number
Banking (China Daily, 9
March 2006, page 12)
"According to its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments,
China is scheduled to scrap restrictions on foreign banks in December
[of 2006]. At that time, foreign banks will be allowed to provide a
retail renminbi business to local residents and set up branches in any
Comment: Currently, a foreign
bank cannot issue debit or credit cards for local use. Residents with
an account in a foreign bank generally also have an account at a local
bank just to be able to use a debit card for daily purchases. The local
bank, however, likely does not do overseas business and many bank
not speak English.