Monday, October 06, 2008

China unconcerned by financial crisis

China has not escaped the effects of the financial crisis that is sweeping around the globe. After the 'Golden Week' national holiday there was the sobering news that stock markets in China were also beginning to see significant losses. The Shanghai composite saw a drop of more than 5% in its first day of trading following the week long holiday. But many Chinese financial commentators believe that in the long term the Chinese markets will be able to ride the storm [Xinhua].

While the situation is undoubtedly serious, this financial news came several items down the news agenda on CCTV-9. It was the fallout following the scandal of melamine tainted milk that dominated the news headlines in China. Today it was announced that the government would tighten the rules concerned with milk supply. Hundreds of tonnes of milk products seized by authorities have been destroyed to prevent any items returning to the market place. But there has been scant mention of how those affected by the tainted milk might be compensated [Xinhua].

Confidence in tourism grew throughout the last week with millions travelling to popular tourist hotspots. During ‘Golden Week’ more than 218 million people packed rail and roads, an increase of over 20% on last years figures according to Xinhua News. The huge numbers of tourists wanting to visit Olympic venues forced authorities to limit access to the popular attractions.

In other news, authorities have said rescue teams have been dispatched to areas within the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region following two large earthquakes. At least 30 died after a 6.6 magnitude quake struck at 16:30 on Monday local time [08:30 GMT] 80 km to the west of Lhasa [Xinhua]. Dozens have been reported dead following a 6.6 magnitude quake and a series of aftershocks on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan. The tremor struck at 21:52 local time on Sunday [15:52 GMT] and has been followed by at least 10 aftershocks the strongest of which was measured at 5.7 on the Richter scale. Casualties have mainly been concentrated to the Kyrgyzstan side of the border, with no reports coming from the Chinese region [CNN].

And in another environmental disaster, this one man-made, authorities say it may take several years to clean up Yangzonghai lake in Yunnan province which is heavily saturated with arsenic []. Yang Zhiqiang, deputy director of the Yunnan Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau, said, "A two-month investigation has indicated that Yunnan Chengjiang Jinye Industry & Trade Co. is largely responsible for arsenic pollution in Yangzonghai Lake." Between 2002 and 2008 the company has been fined six times for environmental pollution infringements. Although the maximum fine of 100,000 yuan [$15,000] has been imposed several times, the sum is trivial in comparison to the company's profits.

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