Photographer Chen Haiwen and a group of colleagues spent a year journey to virtually every region of China. They hoped to paint, or rather “sketch” a picture of minority life. Their product, “Harmonious China: A Sketch of China’s 56 Ethnicities,” contains just a few of the 5.7 million images they captured on camera. It covers all 56 government-recognized Chinese ethnic minorities.

Click here to see an example for each minority group:

English Website




This advertisement represents the Chinese Government’s new campaign to reshape the image of their exports. Among other merchandise, it featuring clothing with tags that read, “Made in China with French designers.” The initiative’s headline slogan is “Made in China, Made with the world.”

Chinese products have received a great deal of criticism, although as Louisiana family found out, living without “Made in China” remains quite difficult.

DDB Gouan, a Beijing media company, created the ad last year. China’s recent milk scandle, which resulted in two executions, delayed its debut until two weeks ago. Thus far, Chinese audiences have expressed positive support for the campaign, and foreign markets are currently screening the advertisement.


China’s Government took a step to simultaneously fight AIDS and liberalize their culture’s attitude towards homosexuality. On World AIDS day, they opened a gay bar.

This serves a few purposes. First and foremost, it is a means to conduct HIV/AIDS tests. Across the country, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation HIV program offers financial returns to those conducting the blood tests as well as participants. This first government-funded gay bar in Dali, Yunnan may receive similar support, and it will certainly distribute HIV prevention literature. Homosexual relations stand among the government’s alleged primary causes for the expansion of HIV

Blood collection is another necessary goal of this HIV prevention agenda. Critics deem the Gates program fundamentally flawed with narrow-minded structure. Testers are sometimes poorly trained to help an infected patient, and individuals can get paid for blood work multiple times. It remains difficult to spread HIV knowledge and promote testing. China increasingly aggressive approach to fighting HIV/AIDS remains hindered by a vast landscape. Qi Xiaoqiu, director of China’s Department of Disease Control, commented,

“Exact figures are difficult to arrive at because government at local levels are very reticent to report on actual cases, a situation compounded by individuals who are reluctant to come forward because of discrimination.”

Although China’s minister of health reports their HIV/AIDS population to be approximately 740,000, this number is commonly disputed. In 2007, China saw a 45% increase in HIV/AIDS and a 24% rise in syphilis cases. One day prior to World AIDS day, Chinese President Hu Jintao passionately stated, “China still faces a severe AIDS problem and we should mobilize the forces of all social sectors to tackle the problem persistently.”

Opening this gay bar also seems like an initial attempt to make right by a group who, until 2001, the Chinese Government deemed mentally ill. The obscene cost of dealing with a rapidly growing AIDS population likely drives the government’s desire for change, but this gay bar is an especially creative endeavor. Unfortunately, China’s culture need time to evolve. Gay men remain nervous to openly admit their sexual preferences. Intense media coverage of the bar only contributed the anxiety of Dali’s large homosexual population. Consequently, this Dali Government-financed bar has failed to attract customers.


An emissions target based on 1990 levels is an emissions target based on 2005 levels is a reduction of carbon intensity. This alternative title better represents present reduction commitments from the EU, the US, and China.

All three have accepted carbon reductions. In particular, the US and China’s promises signify further symbolic progress. During Kyoto Protocol discussions, these pledges would have been astounding. Over a decade later, they inspire sentiments of “it’s about time” as well as some optimism.

It is important to understand how these targets differ. Bashing the EU’s reduction pledges of 95% by 2050 and 30% by 2020 appears inappropriate, especially since these cuts are based on 1990 emissions levels. Nevertheless, 1990 is a convenient choice. Post-1990 Europe was influenced by declining Soviet economies. This collapse decreased European emissions, a decline that counts towards their reduction target. Their 30% target thus becomes a 20% cut.

The US appeared inaccurately dedicated by pledging a 17% reduction target by 2020 on a 2005 emissions baseline. Politics shaped this decision. It satisfies environmentalists’ demands for a firm commitment as well as industrial powers in how they will not deal with major changes. A 17% commitment on a 2005 emissions baseline equals a 4-6% decrease on a 1990 baseline. Although it might be too little too late, President Obama’s pledge contains more constructive reductions in the decades to come: 30% in 2025, 42% in 2030 and 83% in 2050.

China’s target of a 40-45% reduction of “the carbon intensity of the economy” by 2020 sounds impressive. Unfortunately, this aligns with their current path. This will only become difficult if their GDP does not proceed as predicted. Michael A Levi, Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, explains,

“Emissions and GDP projections in the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2009 International Energy Outlook (IEO), published in May 2009, translate to a 46 percent Chinese emissions-intensity cut from 2005 to 2020. Similar projections in the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2009 World Energy Outlook (WEO), published in November 2009, are equivalent to a 40 percent Chinese emissions- intensity cut over the same period.”

Carbon intensity means the carbon emitted per yuan. By 2020, China’s commitment translates to a 0-12% reduction of their current emissions path or a 40% increase of present CO2 emission. It signifies more environmentally conscious technology developments, which is already high on China’s agenda. Refusing binding emission decreases because their pollution is comparatively new seems fair, but not in the face of future climate change’s grave effects. China must make actual cuts.
(Click here for more information of China’s emission reduction proposal)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report warns that developing countries need 10-40% reductions below 1990 levels by 2020 and 40-95% reductions by 2050 “for low to medium stabilization.” Seeing as the EU claims to lead the way, their short-term target falls short of adequate. US and China’s targets consequently denote a failure. US emissions levels stand among the world’s highest. A 4-6% reduction on a 1990 baseline spoils global efforts. It also deviates from the G8 leaders’ recent goals. Since China’s economy and emissions arguably necessitate their reassignment as a developed country, their 0-12% reduction of 2009 emissions levels amplifies this hindrance. Continuing this emissions level will lead to at least a 2°C increase in surface temperature, as well as increasingly grave changes in our climate.

Cyber Warfare


Views on President Obama’s approach to relations with China continue to clash. Arguments over his aggressiveness aside, the Obama administration actually discussed every relevant issue except for one: cyber warfare.

This was purposeful. China repeatedly denies their growing capacity for cyber attacks. A complicated system of changing devoted followers allows the Chinese Government to dispute any responsibility. Dialogues on cyber war consequently go nowhere. New Zealand and Belgium openly broadcasting accusations of China’s “cyberinfiltration“ produced no results. A Chinese military expert commented, “They now have a major advantage, a weapon like no other that allows them to reach out and touch right into the continental United States.”

According to the 2008 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) report, 43,880 Chinese cyber attacks in 2007 reached roughly five million U.S. computers. These incidents involve “malicious activity” or the extraction of information. This USCC report also read, “China is intent on expanding its sphere of control even at the expense of its Asian neighbors and the United States.” U.S. retaliation allegedly seems ineffective. Kylin, the U.S. Government’s latest operating system, failed to breach China’s less secure construction. While the U.S. Government may condemn this behavior, jealousy appears to drive this anger.

China’s command over the cyber world additionally compels major Internet and computer companies to fall in line with their demands. For some time, Yahoo! has supplied the Chinese Government with e-mail content. Most recently, Microsoft’s latest search engine, Bing, decided to censor certain subjects. For searches in English on controversial topics related to China, Bing provides diverse results with conflicting opinions. Traditional, complicated Chinese characters yield a similar range of attitudes. An identical search in simplified Chinese characters generates a list of websites that paint a different picture. These results do not challenge Chinese authorities; some even deny the occurrence of divisive movements. Searches on 法轮功 (Fulun Gong), for example, depict a rebellious organization with goals of terrorism. Links to neutral descriptions and the group’s official website are not available. Bing additionally offers translations of every webpage, yet atop each interpretation it reads “Microsoft® is not responsible for the content below.”

China’s control over cyberspace intimidates the world’s most dominant governmental and industrial authorities. During their rise to power, other countries have raised issues with monetary policy, trade, human rights, and climate change. These assertions stem from a hope that China acts fairly as it attains a world leader stature. Incremental progress is necessary for these matters. China’s Government does not hastily commit to drastic policy changes. Contrary to less charitable analyses, they take the time to listen, discuss, and consider every ramification. Cyber warfare, however, remains an arena where China refuses to budge. Maintaining authority and secrecy over their capabilities surpasses all other elements of international relations. It is China’s trump card.

Chairman Obama


Barack Obama’s celebrity expanded into several new markets since his election. “ObaMao” or “Maobama” t-shirts hit stands in China last year, but disappeared prior to President Obama’s visit to Asia. With an interest in Chairman Mao combines and an appreciation for President Obama’s intentions, I felt compelled to buy one of these shirts. Initially, the designs seemed comical. They are satirical. Outside of national popularity, these two leaders share no similarities.

Perceptions of the “ObaMao” clothing line differ across countries. A variety of shirts (Shirt #1, Shirt #2, Shirt #3) are advertised on the Internet as “Buy Anti Obama Funny Obamao” shirts. In China, Chairman Mao survives as a positive icon. Comparing him with Obama thus appears complimentary.

The image to the right reads, “为人民服务,” meaning “Serving the people.” This famous Mao Zedong quote does not reference Communism, and actually aligns with the U.S. ideal of a President for the people.

Right before President Obama’s visit to China, Liu Mingjie, who designed and marketed these ObaMao images, was abruptly out of stock. Mr. Liu declined to comment. Nearby stores with president Obama action figures in a superman uniform continued business as usual.

Evaluations of Mao in the U.S. remain a bit more mixed. While President Obama visited China, these shirts were allegedly taken off the market only to not offend his administration. The U.S. market for this clothing is likely comprised of the uninformed population that likens President Obama’s initiatives to Communism. This association is not flattering. Unfortunately, to ensure that I do not appear supportive of this stance, my wish list for this holiday season will not include these shirts.


News of a U.S.–China plan for cooperation on environmental policy was exciting. It sets a constructive stage for actual progress down the road. Along side a mutual assertion for collective binding emissions targets, this may raise participation as well as reduction commitments for a new international climate protocol. While meaningfully symbolic, this alliance remains ideological for now. A thorough read clarifies the plan as a pact to work on making an agreement. More concrete progress grew out of a related U.S.-China collaboration to establish a greenhouse gas inventory system for China.

Objections to the U.S. accepting a binding emissions target commonly reference the uncertainty accompanying measurements of other country’s reductions. How can we tell data is not fabricated? Verifying the accuracy of these reports remains difficult.

A vast landscape and an expanding collection of coal mines complicate China’s ability to document emissions. Regardless, attempting to collect these figures is crucial. The Memorandum of Cooperation between the EPA and China’s National Development and Reform Commissions calls for, among other things, the development of a Chinese registry. Many countries already have these systems. Since 1990, the EPA has maintained a U.S. greenhouse gas inventory. The International Transaction Log, established by the UNFCCC to support the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon trading mechanisms, validates international projects and transactions. China’s inclusion in this group of registries suggests future participation these global dealings—activities that require acceptance of a binding emissions target.

The U.S. and China combine to contribute roughly 40% of global emissions. Legitimate reductions require this starting point, a uniform gauge of greenhouse gasses. To effectively modify their approach to the environment, these two world powers need to be on the same page.