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China - what's going on? - May 4


Is China really going green?

Peter Foster, Telegraph
Camels still plod the arid plains outside the ancient Silk Road city of Urumqi, their heads bowed into the gritty winds that funnel down the through the valleys of China's Tian Shan, or 'celestial' mountains.

But today the same winds that struck fear into the traders of the Silk Road, swallowing whole caravans in blinding storms of dust, are being used to power plans for a new, green revolution for China's energy-hungry economy.

At Dabancheng, a few miles outside the city, great forests of windmills stretch to the horizon, their blades beating out a lazy rhythm that belies the sudden urgency with which China's rulers are now investing in renewable energy.

The speed with which China is now ramping up its commitment to alternative energies has caught even the most optimistic analysts by surprise, with new green edicts being issued from Beijing on an almost weekly basis.

Last week officials pledged to generate 100 gigawatts of electricity from wind power by 2020, more than tripling the original target of 30GW laid down in a national energy strategy published just 18 months ago.

"The pace of change is unimaginable from just three or four years ago," shouts Yan Weijiang, a director of the Xinjiang Wind Energy Company over the roar of the wind. "If you had talked to me in 2003 or 2004 I would not have believed this was possible."
(3 May 2009)



China urged to flex muscles on world struck by recession

Carolynne Wheeler, New Scotsman
China must impose its demands on the West, using the global financial crisis to leverage its power play, according to a bestselling new book which has caused a firestorm among the giant country's elite.

Sociologist Huang Jisu and his four colleagues have created such a fierce debate with Unhappy China, a collection of essays that booksellers were last week warned by the government not to give prominent display or leave on their bestseller lists.

"They don't like any big phenomenon that draws reaction in this society. No matter if it's a west wind or an east wind, if the wind is strong it must be an evil wind," chuckled Mr Huang in a recent interview in a sunny café on the edge of Beijing's downtown Wangfujing district. He arrived carrying a wrapped copy of a suspiciously similarly named tome, Why is China Unhappy, which appears to have been released for the sole reason of criticising him and his co-authors.
(4 May 2009)



China Set to Lead in “New Energy” Car Production

CSC staff, China Stakes
50 various new energy cars were launched at the Shanghai Auto Show, which has just ended. The Chinese government is pushing forward with what it claims to be is the most ambitious development plan for a new energy vehicle. If you google “new energy vehicle” on the Internet, about 2/3 of the results would come from items describing China’s new energy vehicle plan.

In Chinas’ auto industry stimulation plan, which was released in January of this year, the government decided to allocate 10 billion yuan in the coming three years to support technology innovation in the auto industry and the development of new energy cars, hoping to increase China’s annual production capacity for new energy cars to 0.5 million, very close to China’s monthly car production volume.

...The Chinese government is looking at the development of new energy from a strategic perspective, and regarding it an opportunity for China. “According to past experience, every important financial crisis was followed by a technological revolution, which became an important engine in the new round of economic growth. In the next round of technological revolution, breakthrough in new energy technology will play a main role,” said Wan Gang, who always has faith in new energy vehicle.

Shi Dinghuan, counselor of the State Council and chairman of Chinese Renewable Energy Society, also said that while IT (information technology) played a major role in the technological revolution triggered by the last round of economic crisis, now it was time for ET (energy technology).
(4 May 2009)

Editorial Notes: Whatever you may think of China's policies on human rights, foreign policy, manufacturing standards, or a myriad of other sustainability and political issues, you can't argue the fact that China is an industrial and technological powerhouse, and intends to be beholden to no one whichever way the economic winds may blow. KS.

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