Erenlai - Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會
Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會

Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會

Here are materials that examine and assess the current issues that are influencing the Pacific-Asian culture and society.

經濟發展所產生的變動已經全面衝擊了人們的生活型態與觀念。

 

 

 

Monday, 26 May 2008

Health situation and ecological tensions in China

Problems of health and anxieties related to the environment are part of the same equation. The WHO considers that 17% of deaths in the western region of the Pacific – a region where the Chinese population is huge - are linked to one or even more ecological health risks.

The link between social tensions and environmental problems was strikingly illustrated by the demonstrations which occurred in Xiamen in May-June 2007. The people came onto the streets to oppose the construction of a giant petrochemical complex intended to produce parayxlene, a substance used in the manufacture of polyesters and dangerous for the health of those exposed to it without protection. At the end of a mass campaign which saw about a million telephone messages exchanged (and after the closure of the internet sites which denounced this construction), the deputy mayor had declared that the project was suspended temporarily. But the inhabitants continued their pressure to try to ensure that the project would be abandoned for good.

In May-June, 2007, Wuxi, an industrial centre in the Yangtze delta, the urban area of which contains 6 million people, had a water shortage for several days because of the proliferation of algae in Lake Taihu. The heat, combined with continuous discharge of a large part of the town’s sewage into the lake and the pollution from the factories, had contributed to the development of this green slick, which was finally controlled after sixty thousand tonnes of algae had been cleared.(1) There had already been a spectacular illustration of this in the serious incidents of pollution of water courses which occurred in
November and December 2005 at Harbin and close to Canton.(2) And the history of these repeated catastrophes points to structural failure:(3) China’s ecological crisis could not be overestimated.

One can see how the health, environmental and social problems must be grasped as a whole. The “Report on the implementation of the project for national economic and social development” from 2006 and the “Sketch of the 2007 Plan for national economic and social development” describe quite well the overall situation, as perceived by the Party-State:
“The need to save energy and to reduce pollution is extremely urgent because pressures on resources and the environment are continuing to grow. (…) Public opinion is expressing serious concerns as to the lack of accessibility and the excessive cost of medical care and education. There are also serious problems on the subject of the safety of food and drugs, housing, distribution of incomes, public safety and production. Other problems which have a negative impact on people’s interests include restructuring of enterprises, demolition of homes and rehousing in urban sectors, acquisition of lands and expropriations and
protection of the environment”.(4) Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize-winner for Economics, often uses a comparison to indicate the nature of the Chinese problem: “Although Chinese economic growth has been much faster than in India since the economic reforms of 1979, life expectancy in India has increased about three times faster than in China. In 1979, life expectancy for a Chinese was 14 years longer than for an Indian. It is now only seven years longer. Some regions of the country,
like the province of Kerala, now have an advance of four years over China in terms of life expectancy. In 1979, China and Kerala had exactly the same rates of infant mortality – 37 per 1,000. In Kerala today the infant mortality rate has fallen from 37 to 10, while the figure in China has fallen from 37 to 30”.(5)

(1) Xinhua press agency, 15 June 2007.
(2) Note at the same time that the catastrophe which occurred at Harbin was to accelerate the completion of major improvement works carried out along the Songhua river, one of the most polluted rivers in the country.
(3) The case of the River Huai, which provides the entry on the subject in the book by Elizabeth Economy, is particularly striking. Cf. E. Economy, "The River Runs Black", Cornell U.P., 2004.
(4) http:www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-03/19/content_830762.htm
(5) http://www/asiasource.org/news/special_reports/sen.cfm. The comparison between Kerala and China has often been repeated by A. Sen on the basis of his work, "Development as Freedom, and other essays on the concept of human development".

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/Sabrina_ChinahealthEnvironment.swf{/rokbox}

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

成都府南河上游安龍永續發展示範村

梁准 撰文

座落在四川省郫縣安德鎮的安龍村,位於錦江上游,是成都的「可持續發展生態示範村」。上游農村大量化肥及農藥的使用使錦江水質日益惡化,已經威脅到1000萬成都人的日常生活,並危及岷江中下游、長江中下游水環境質量。
成都城市河流研究會在2005年11月提出「成都府南河上游安龍可持續發展示範村專案」。該專案實施內容爲,在錦江上游安龍村建立「具有生態效益」可持續發展的生態農業。將農村生産和養殖業排放的種種污染彙集成面,减少化肥農藥的使用,有效控制污染,從上游開始治理淨化河水。
發展生態農業實施迴圈經濟,幫助河流戒毒,讓錦江水質得以改善。改變農戶的傳統觀念,培養村民的環保意識,從而改變農村的生産生活方式。
河流研究會組織農民到外地參觀考察,舉辦生態農業與環保培訓班,將生態農業與環保的種子播撒在農民心中。沼氣池在消納農村生産生活廢弃物的同時,産出清潔高效的農家肥及可持續能源。
發起支援生態農業保護城市河流活動。組織城市居民積極購買生態農業産品,開展訂單農業,激發了農民參與生態農業的積極性。生態農業使農民得到更多的實惠,也從根本上
保證了城市河流的水質。
城市河流研究會陸續提出並實施:河流保護帶、林盤保護、濕地修復、河流維護及道路整治等改善鄉村環境,淨化水質的舉措。通過媒體,舉辦各種活動號召市民重視及參與到保護母親河的行動中,越來越多環保志願者的加入使這個專案更具活力。
安龍村的經驗將被推廣到錦江沿綫農村,在河道兩岸構建縱深各500米的生態帶,從而將錦江保護起來。

附加的多媒體:
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_tw.jpg|}media/articles/AnlongVillageCH.swf{/rokbox}

Monday, 28 January 2008

西部客家第一鎮

梁准 撰文

洛帶古鎮距成都17公里,三國蜀漢時建鎮,傳說因蜀漢後主劉禪的玉帶落入鎮旁的八角井中而得名。這是一座歷史悠久,文化底蘊深厚,民風純樸的小鎮。
洛帶鎮2.3萬多居民中,有90%以上的居民爲客家人,至今仍完整地保留了客家方言、民俗和生活方式。洛帶古鎮在傳承客家文化,發展可持續性旅遊中的獨到見解和經驗,值得借鑒和分享。
旅遊資源的根本價值在於對旅遊者的吸引力,洛帶古鎮的客家文化及保留下來的會館等建築遺迹是其核心吸引力所在。精心呵護祖輩留下的物質和非物質文化遺産,是洛帶人的明智之舉。規模宏大,建築精美而又獨具特色的廣東會館、湖廣會館、江西會館,川北會館保存完好。落帶古街保留著明清時代一街七巷的格局,古街兩邊是清一色的青磚灰瓦,木板鑲門。鏤花雕窗,雕梁刻檐,呈現了完美的明清建築風格。
一年一度的「水龍節」、「火龍節」更是幾百年來客家人傳承下來的特色民俗活動。九鬥碗,釀豆腐,鹽焗鶏、油燙鵝及傷心凉粉,天鵝蛋等名菜小吃滿街飄香,遠近聞名。古鎮是當地居民的休養生息之地,古鎮文化不是遊離於居民生活之外,而是與居民的生活息息相關,密不可分的。長期生活在古鎮中的居民,本身就是很重要的人文景觀,居民的日常生活和親和度對于旅遊者的旅遊體驗具有重要的影響。以古鎮居民的日常生活爲根本立足點,在此基礎上發展旅遊業。使當地居民既能保持自己獨特的生活習俗,又能參與幷推動當地旅遊業的發展。
通過龍泉國際桃花節,「水龍節」、「火龍節」等節慶活動將客家文化與農家休閑旅遊甚至農業觀光旅遊相結合。這種可持續性發展的旅遊模式,將歷史與現在,未來自然緊密地結合在一起,在保持、發揚和光大洛帶古鎮客家文化的同時,也爲子孫後代留下一個生存發展的空間。
洛帶古鎮以可持續性發展的旅遊模式將自己打造成「西部客家第一鎮」。

附加的多媒體:
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_tw.jpg|}media/articles/LuodaiCH.swf{/rokbox}

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

西部客家第一镇

梁准 撰文

洛带古镇距成都17公里,三国蜀汉时建镇,传说因蜀汉后主刘禅的玉带落入镇旁的八角井中而得名。是一座历史悠久,文化底蕴深厚,民风纯朴的小镇。
洛带镇2.3万多居民中,有90%以上的居民为客家人,至今仍完整地保留了客家方言、民俗和生活方式。洛带古镇在传承客家文化,发展可持续性旅游中的独到见解和经验,值得借鉴和分享。
旅游资源的根本价值在于对旅游者的吸引力,洛带古镇的客家文化及保留下来的会馆等建筑遗迹是其核心吸引力所在。精心呵护祖辈留下的物质和非物质文化遗产,是洛带人的明智之举。规模宏大,建筑精美而又独具特色的广东会馆、湖广会馆、江西会馆,川北会馆保存完好。落带古街保留着明清时代一街七巷的格局,古街两边是清一色的青砖灰瓦,木板镶门。镂花雕窗,雕梁刻檐,呈现了完美的明清建筑风格。
一年一度的“水龙节”、“火龙节”更是几百年来客家人传承下来的特色民俗活动。九斗碗,酿豆腐,盐焗鸡、油烫鹅及伤心凉粉,天鹅蛋等名菜小吃满街飘香,远近闻名。古镇是当地居民的休养生息之地,古镇文化不是游离于居民生活之外,而是与居民的生活息息相关,密不可分的。长期生活在古镇中的居民,本身就是很重要的人文景观,居民的日常生活和亲和度对于旅游者的旅游体验具有重要的影响。以古镇居民的日常生活为根本立足点,在此基础上发展旅游业。使当地居民既能保持自己独特的生活习俗,又能参与并推动当地旅游业的发展。
通过龙泉国际桃花节,“水龙节”、“火龙节”等节庆活动将客家文化与农家休闲旅游甚至农业观光旅游相结合。这种可持续性发展的旅游模式,将历史与现在,未来自然紧密地结合在一起,在保持、发扬和光大洛带古镇客家文化的同时,也为子孙后代留下一个生存发展的空间。
洛带古镇以可持续性发展的旅游模式将自己打造成“西部客家第一镇”。

附加的多媒体:
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_cn.jpg|}media/articles/LuodaiCH.swf{/rokbox}

Friday, 04 January 2008

真實世界不是電腦遊戲

魏明德 撰文

前些日子,我帶著我的小表妹到中國大陸走一走。她是法國人,第一次到中國大陸旅行。有一次,我們經過一個大型工地,她對我說:「好奇怪喔,我覺得自己好像走在電腦遊戲的世界。」
我可以體會到她真正想要表達的想法。過不了多久,這個工地就會被直上雲霄的建築物所覆蓋;湖泊旁邊本來有人家種蔬菜、養水牛,現在整個都改種桃子,變成大型的觀光景點;工廠無故關閉,也沒有給員工遣散費;上山城的行道樹全被砍光,為的是開闢寬廣的新柏油路…
中國大陸的經濟成長令人嘆為觀止。然而,中國大陸的政經決策者似乎以為自己身在電腦螢光幕前:為了所謂的益處,在很短的時間內就必須做出決策,結果就是拆掉舊建築蓋上新工廠,或是拆掉舊工廠蓋上新房舍。取決的條件憑的往往是時興的選擇。當你置身在虛擬的世界時,若說有什麼抽象的概念或是不可變動的價值並不會影響你做決定。然而,我們必須面對的是真真實實、有血有肉的男女,以及唯一的自然環境,因為承載人類的只有一個地球。
當抽象認識只剩下實用價值,而熱愛電腦遊戲的思維又成為時尚時,難道不會主導我們對真實世界的看法嗎?如果只憑仗著數據與實用的概念,而沒有與人類的性情相依存,政治決策者將會製造出沒有人性的世界。
決策者所做出的決定,有好的一面,也有不好的一面。我們說有好的一面,因為他們的決定來自總體經濟學的考量,不管怎麼說都應該是正確無誤的;而不好的一面是說,這些決定往往遠離了人類的稟性,為了數字上的成長,犧牲了人文、林木、文化或是家庭。而這些成本需要賠上未來子孫的發展潛能,以及後代的寶貴資源作為代價。
決策者應該做的,就是當一個人,能夠欣賞夕陽的美、夏日的樹葉、迴響著腳踏車鈴聲的鄉間小路、田間的古墓、公園裡與鄰人下棋的閒情逸致…我們誠心希望每個決策所蘊含的智慧,也包括了品嚐生命的味道,而不是讓過度的理性主導而走向瘋狂。我們衷心希望每個決策者能夠像性情中人一樣去感受與述說,不要當沉迷於電腦遊戲的幻魂。決策者的政治責任一旦失去了人性的向度,就沒有真正繁榮的政治或經濟可言。

附加的多媒體:
{rokbox}media/articles/Benoit_realworld.jpg{/rokbox}

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Healthcare in China today

China faces several emerging healthcare challenges, among them are:
- Diseases linked to air pollution and cigarettes: respiratory illnesses are now the first cause of mortality.
- HIV-epidemic: in January 2006, according to a joint estimation by the Chinese government, WHO and UNAIDS, there were 650 000 HIV-infected people in China.
- The pressing necessity to build a healthcare system that better caters for the needs of rural areas and the urban poor.
In 2006, 80% of medical resources were concentrated in cities.

From the eighties on, costs of medical treatment have increased, while rural health coverage has decreased as economic reforms have yielded priority to market mechanisms.

In 2003, 80% of the rural population was not covered by any insurance. Furthermore, 120 million workers going from the countryside to the cities were excluded from the public health care insurance system. Several studies show that at least 30% of Chinese people refuse to be hospitalized because of financial costs.

The Public Health Insurance

Chinese Public Health Insurance reforms started in 1998. It mainly covers big enterprises’ employees in the cities and is financed out of "welfare funds".

The public health insurance is slowly covering more and more of the urban population. Over the past years, the government has decided to extend it to the self-employed and the migrant workers. Between 1998 and 2006, the number of urbanites covered by the public health insurance system increased sevenfold. However by the end of 2006, only 160 million of the 500 million urban residents were covered.

The public health insurance system is supposed to cover all urban residents by 2012.

The New Rural Cooperative Medical Care System (NRCMCS)

Since 2003, cooperatives has subsidised health insurance for rural households who now voluntarily pay a contribution of 10 RMB (1.28 $US) per person and per year. The enrollees can have between 20% and 60% of their healthcare costs reimbursed but they have to pay first their costs.

By the end of 2006, the government was allocating 4.23 billion RMB to the NRCMCS. In March 2007, 410 million of rural residents were covered (i.e. 50.7% of the rural population). The government expects the NRCMS to cover 100% of the rural population by 2010.

A balance between the market (private insurance) and the State has not been found yet. In a time of environmental diseases and risks of pandemics, the Chinese healthcare system remains fragile.

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/HealthcareinChina.swf{/rokbox}

Monday, 17 December 2007

The Water Festival of Dujiangyan

This set of pictures and the accompanying text are available for purchase on
Tale Image

Attached media :
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Urbanization in China - Part III : A new social map

I.Urbanization pattern


II.New Social Areas


III.Forecasts
The government projects to:
• Spend an annual 140 billion yuans to develop urban infrastructures facilities (increase water-supply, wastewater treatment, natural gas supply, increase green areas, and build in-city roads).
• Improve public transportation between downtown area and the suburbs to divert more residents to the suburbs and reduce the real estate prices downtown.

By 2015, half of the Chinese population will be living in cities, but what kind of cities will they be?

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/Urbanization Part III.swf{/rokbox}

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Urbanization in China - Part II: The consequences of fast growing urbanization

Fast growing urbanization leads to some disastrous consequences notably on environment.

I. Migrations & Inequalities

II. Degraded quality of life

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/Urbanization Part II.swf{/rokbox}

Friday, 26 October 2007

Urbanization in China - Part I: The urban development

China has long been a rural society, but the urbanization rate is growing fast.

This is the first step of this three-parts flash animation.

It introduces

I. China’s territorial division


II. The speeding urban growth


III. History of urban development policies

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/Urbanization Part I.swf{/rokbox}

Friday, 28 September 2007

我不打工

我住在白乌第一村。我没有打过工,虽然我的朋友都出去打工。差不多两年前,我买了一辆卡车,然后开始买卖羊皮、玉米和四川胡椒。我每个月到西昌两次。
我的朋友到外面,遭遇每个人不同。有的人带回来几千人民币,有的人两手空空地回来。每个人都想回家。他们说,在外头赚钱很辛苦,代价很高,甚至没有时间上洗手间!

附加的多媒体:
{rokbox}media/articles/Mawihe.jpg{/rokbox}

Friday, 28 September 2007

我不想去

2003 年8月,我离开白乌,出去找工作。2004 年9月回来以后,就待在白乌。我到田里工作。我发现,如果只是赚钱的话,待在家里或出去打工存得钱差不多。当然,在外头打工赚得多,但是还要扣掉日常开销以及路钱…
我到新疆乌鲁木齐附近收割棉花。有人到白乌找人,我们一百人跟著他走。我在棉花田做了一个月,建筑做了三个月,后来挖运河做了八个月。最后我带回来7000 元人民币 。工作很辛苦,而且没办法寄钱回家。
我没有学到什么有用的东西,开挖的技术在这里也没法用。
唯一的方法,就是在我们的土地上做。如果我有点钱?我想做四川胡椒和药草的买卖。
我听说上海有机会,但我不想去,因为我不会读和写。我有三个孩子。老大十三岁,今年上小学三年级。

附加的多媒体:
{rokbox}media/articles/Mazijun.jpg{/rokbox}

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