Genetically modified (GM) dairy products that are similar to human milk will appear on the Chinese market in two years, an expert in biotechnology has predicted.

Li Ning, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at China Agricultural University, said progress in the field is well under way. Li said Chinese scientists have successfully created a herd of more than 200 cows that is capable of producing milk containing the characteristics of human milk.

“In ancient China, only the emperor and the empress could drink human milk throughout their lives, which was believed to be the height of opulence,” Li said. “Why not make that kind of milk more available for ordinary people?”

Human milk contains two kinds of nutrition that can help improve the immune systems and the central nervous systems of children. The components are not available in milk produced by goats or cows. Li said the scientific world had not previously found a way to mass-produce those ingredients.

Li states that the GM milk will be as safe to drink as that of the ordinary cows, and within 10 years, people will be able to pick up these human-milk-like products at the supermarket.

The Ministry of Agriculture issued bio-safety examination certificates for the GM herd in March 2010, giving the scientific team a 22-month period during which the technology can be tested in laboratories. The ministry will then evaluate the results of the tests before deciding whether to allow the milk to be sold. Xue Dayuan, chief expert with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said the government will carry out a series of tests on the transferred gene and the method of transplanting it before the genetically modified cows and their milk are declared safe.

Mr. Li also said, “the milk tastes stronger than normal milk.” Sounds like someone is already enjoying their ‘human milk’…

via People’s Daily Online.

China has been hit by a fresh food scandal after the country’s largest meat processor, Shuanghui, was forced to apologize when an illegal additive was found in some of its pork products.

Jiyuan Shuanghui, an affiliate of the Henan-based Shuanghui Group, was said to have bought pigs that had been fed with clenbuterol. The additive can speed up muscle building and fat burning to produce leaner pork – lean meat sells for a premium in China.

Clenbuterol is banned in China because if eaten by humans it can lead to dizziness, heart palpitations, profuse sweating, nausea, headaches, limb tremors and even cancer.

The Henan province conducted urine tests on 1,512 pigs in nine pig farms, with 52 pigs testing positive. Immediately, chiefs of animal husbandry bureaus in Mengzhou City, Qinyang City and Wenxian County received duty suspension notices. Another 27 officials in the province were in police custody, sacked or suspended from duty. Also, the province intends to random test more than 1.63 million pigs in five counties and cities.

Meat products that are suspected of having been tarnished by the banned feed additive have already been taken off the shelves and meat confirmed to contain the additive have been destroyed, according to government officials.

While the China Meat Association tried to down play the possibility that tainted pork was widespread, many consumers will be avoiding pork for the moment. This pork scandal is definitely nothing new to the Chinese. There have been 18 outbreaks of food-related clenbuterol poisoning between 1998 and 2007, according to a report on the Shanghai Food Safety website. One person died and more than 1,700 others fell ill, the website said.

Well at least the salt scare is now over.

via Xinhua, Yahoo News and Chinadaily

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China is the current powerhouse in Olympic gymnastics; winning a lot of gold medals over the years. However, its training programme has been harshly criticised for being too strict.

Children in China start to train to become gymnasts from the age of four. Before they are chosen to start training, children are tested to see if their bodies are limber enough to withstand the demands of the sport. Those that are selected, start a lifelong process of becoming the best. The Chinese government has set up a very large training facility where the children live and train. These little children have to balance a gruelling training schedule, tough school routine and also give time to their families. It can sometimes become too much for them to handle.

Spurred by dreams of national glory, many parent are very willing to subject their children to such intense lifestyle.

Some may say that putting young children under such intense training is child abuse. That is debatable, but no one can argue that such training methods haven’t paid off.

Check out the photo gallery after the break!

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This week shoppers in China cleared salt from supermarkets shelves amid fears of a potential radiation crisis from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Although Government officials tried to calm fears by emphasizing that radiation levels in 41 cities across China remain normal, many Chinese have gone into full panic mode. Staff from multiple branches of the French supermarket chain Carrefour reported that their supplies of salt have been sold out since Thursday morning in Beijing.

Triggered by the belief that salt could prevent radiation-related illnesses and to secure uncontaminated salt sources, shoppers are hoarding as much salt as they can. One customer in the eastern city of Ningbo told the nation’s CCTV that she had purchased a five-year supply to placate her family’s fears of radiation. Another idiot named Michael Zeng, a 21-year-old college student in Beijing, said “it’s always safe to do what the majority are doing.”

Fears of a salt shortage also spread to Hong Kong, where many supermarkets ran out of salt as nervous shoppers stocked up on supplies. In fact, as I checked yesterday afternoon, even soy sauce, other basic cooking condiments and rice have been entirely cleared out from supermarket shelves.

Anyone who has bothered to check Wikipedia would know iodine in iodized salt is ineffective for preventing radiation effects, according to the World Health Organization. It would take 80 tablespoons of salt to make up one prophylactic, or preventative, iodide tablet. Further, only a fraction of China’s salt for consumption comes from the sea, said Song Zhangjing, a spokesman for industry organization the China Salt Association. “In China, most salt are from salt mines.”

In brief, there is no reason to hoard salt at all and those who do are complete fools.
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This is pretty insane. I don’t know if fake iPhones in China are really that cheap or if some people have way too much money.

Whatever it is, this is one of the most wasteful and cockiest ways to play card games.

I would really like to know how this person charges all those phones once he finishes playing…

via M.I.C. Gadget.

This comes as no surprise. Straight after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, China has suspended approval for new nuclear power stations. It will also carry out checks at existing reactors and those under construction. China is currently building 27 new reactors – about 40% of the total number being built around the world.

The decision to temporarily halt approval for nuclear plants came at a meeting of China’s State Council, or Cabinet, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. “We will temporarily suspend approval for nuclear power projects, including those that have already begun preliminary work, before nuclear safety regulations are approved,” read a statement from the State Council.

China currently gets only about 2% of its electricity from nuclear power from 13 reactors, but it has launched an ambitious project to drastically increase those figures. It is currently building more reactors than any other country in the world. According to the World Nuclear Association, China wants to build a total of 110 nuclear reactors over the next few years.

Although China’s nuclear power plans seem very ambitious, they are not entirely unreasonable as the country is still heavily dependent on coal for power. There are many forms of greener energy but to meet the demands of such a large population, nuclear power seems to be unavoidable.

The problem is that many of the new nuclear plants are near highly populated areas and China doesn’t have the best safety record in respect to nuclear power. International experts complained in 2009 that China was short on nuclear inspectors, a problem the government pledged to remedy by quintupling the number of staff at its safety agency by the end of that year. Also in 2009, the government-appointed head of China National Nuclear Corp., which overseas China’s nuclear program, was detained because of allegations of bid-rigging in nuclear power construction contracts. That scandal raised fears that contractors were being allowed to cut corners and evade safety standards.

I would add that this suspension will most likely only be temporary.

via BBC News and NY Times

China’s been breaking all sorts of records these past few years. From the “World’s Longest Bridge” to the “World’s Largest LED Screen”, China holds quite an impressive list of World records.

Recently, the title for the “World’s Most Expensive Dog” was snatched by China – again. A red Tibetan Mastiff, named “Hong Dong”, was sold for 10 million yuan (around $1.5 million) to a coal baron from North of China. Before the sale, the World’s most expensive dog was another Tibetan Mastiff who was sold in 2009 for 4 million yuan ($608,680).

“Hong Dong”, is 11-months-old but already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs, according to his breeder, Lu Liang. “He is a perfect specimen,” said Mr Lu, who runs the Tibetan Mastiff Garden in Laoshan, near the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. “He has excellent genes and will be a good breeding dog.” “The price is justified,” he said. “We have spent a lot of money raising this dog, and we have the salaries of plenty of staff to pay.”

According to Mr Lu, the Tibetan Mastiff was fed a diet of chicken and beef, spiced up with exotic Chinese delicacies such as sea cucumber and abalone. That sounds like a luxurious life even for a human. Considering that abalone is something most living in China will never taste in their entire life, I would say that most would wish to rather be reincarnated as this dog.

But is a rare breed and an opulent style of nurturing worth such a high price? The new owner definitely thinks so. The male dog can be hired out to other breeders for as much as 100,000 yuan a shot, so it can be considered more as an investment than pet.

Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and fierce guard dogs that have stood watch over nomad camps and monasteries on the Tibetan plateau for centuries. They are thought to be one of the world’s oldest breeds, and legend has it that both Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha kept them.

More recently, however, they have become highly-prized status symbols for China’s new rich. The dogs are thought to be a pure “Chinese” breed and they are rarely found outside Tibet, giving them an exclusivity that other breeds cannot match.

via Telegraph.

Given the lack of sex education in China, I am not surprised that many teenagers have unprotected sex. I am surprised, however, by the high number of college students who do not use contraceptives.

Check out the video below for details:

The statistics are more shocking if you consider the college students surveyed were all from the major cities in China.

I am still skeptical of these statistics as there are only around 400 samples – not a lot compared to the huge student population in China. Nevertheless, sex-ed is definitely lacking in China.

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At least 25 people were killed and 250 injured in an 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Yunnan province on Thursday, according to the state media.

The quake struck Yingjiang – a remote area of southwest China near the border with Myanmar. The tremor reduced hundreds of houses to rubble, left some desperate residents trapped under buildings and triggered power cuts in the surrounding area of China, though no casualties were reported in Myanmar.

The earthquake has toppled the homes of 1,039 families and left 4,994 others seriously damaged. In response, the National Committee of Disaster Reduction, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Yunnan’s provincial government have dispatched 9,700 tents, 15,000 quilts, 15,000 clothes and other materials to the region.

Like all other natural disasters, such as this one, the death toll is expected to rise further. Although at this point in time, the massive earthquake that has just struck Japan (Friday) seems to have totally eclipsed this one in terms of destructiveness. I send my condolences to all those affected by these cruel natural disasters.



via xinhua.

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After 2 years of living in her six-story, 38,000-square-foot Shanghai mansion, Mattel’s iconic American doll Barbie is moving out.

The Shanghai flagship store, which featured a spa, a cosmetics counter, and a cocktail bar, was launched in March 2009 (Barbie’s 50th birthday) in an attempt to expand the market into China. However sales failed to meet expectations and the firm was forced to cut its targets within the first eight months of the store’s existence.

Mattel is taking a positive spin on the situation, claiming that the store “served its purpose and was meant only to establish Barbie’s brand in China”. Barbie will soon be jumping in her “Barbie Pink Bus” to head on tour in the near future, a spokeswoman said, declining to disclose further details.

In the meantime, Barbie is still being sold in other shopping outlets across China.

A notice announcing Barbie’s new “mobile” lifestyle in China after her Shanghai mansion went into foreclosure can be found here.

I personally think a lot of these Western companies enter China’s market with an overly optimistic outlook and ambitious goals. To see what I’m talking about, Just take a look at the photo gallery after the jump.
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