CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

“Here begins our tale: The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” This opening adage of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, China’s classic novel of war and strategy, best captures the essential dynamism of Chinese geopolitics. At its heart is the millennia-long struggle by China’s would-be rulers to unite and govern the all-but-ungovernable geographic mass of China. It is a story of centrifugal forces and of insurmountable divisions rooted in geography and history — but also, and perhaps more fundamentally, of centripetal forces toward eventual unity.

Tibetan Settlement in India

This dynamism is not limited to China. The Scottish referendum and waves of secession movements — from Spain’s Catalonia to Turkey and Iraq’s ethnic Kurds — are working in different directions. More than half a century after World War II triggered a wave of post-colonial nationalism that changed the map of the world, buried nationalism and…

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CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

From China’s side of the Himalayas, the view of India isn’t always that great.

“This place is like China from 20 years ago. It’s much, much worse than I’d imagined,” said Tony Jiang, 29, an employee at an electronics-parts maker in Hangzhou visiting New Delhi this week.

Reshma Patil, an Indian journalist who spent more than three years based in Beijing reporting on China for the Hindustan Times newspaper, writes in a recently published book that Chinese she met tended to view India as poor and unsanitary.

In “Strangers Across the Border: Indian Encounters in Boomtown China,” Ms. Patil argues that ties between the two countries are hampered by their citizens’ mutual ignorance of each other.

A survey by the Pew Research Center published this year found that 30% of Chinese have a “favorable” view of India and 55% an “unfavorable” one. By contrast, 50% of Chinese have a…

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CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

Despite years of rapid economic growth and rising incomes, Chinese aren’t feeling so great about themselves. And Chinese from the countryside are feeling even worse. That’s revealed by a new survey focusing on global well-being, released yesterday for the first time by polling agency Gallup and Healthways (HWAY) in Franklin, Tenn.

The Global Well-Being Index is designed as an alternative to traditional objective measures, such as GDP, life expectancy, and population size, the report explains. Instead, the index, which canvassed 133,000 people in 135 countries and regions, serves as “a global barometer of individuals’ perceptions of their well-being.” It’s important because people with higher well-being are “healthier, more productive, and more resilient in the face of challenges such as unemployment,” the report notes.

To find out just how people feel, the survey looked at five categories of perceived well-being, including financial and physical well-being, but also social well-being (“having supportive…

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CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

Chinese PresidentXi Jinping landed in the Indian prime minister‘s home state of Gujarat on Wednesday for a three-day visit expected to focus on India’s need to improve worn out infrastructure and reduce its trade deficit.

Xi was greeted on the tarmac by state officials carrying fringed umbrellas to guard him from the sun in Gujarat’s main financial city of Ahmedabad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to court Chinese business and seek investment to upgrade creaky infrastructure, banking on China’s track record at building highways, railways, and industrial zones. India is also eager to address the imbalance in their annual trade, which now totals around $65 billion but is skewed toward imports of Chinese electrical equipment and parts.

Modi and the Gujarat government are staging a lavish welcome for Xi, with billboards across Ahmedabad showing a smiling Modi and Xi. A banquet dinner was being held Wednesday…

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Disaster relief

CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

Twenty-nine years have passed since a poison gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal killed thousands of people. For the estimated 100,000  survivors and their children who cope with birth defects, illness and a variety of other health problems, it might as well still be the 1980s.

It was 12 a.m. on Dec. 3, 1984 when 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate leaked from the plant. In the J.P. Nagar neighbourhood that was worst affected, many people died instantly. The death toll is more than 5,295, according to the Indian government though projections based on an Indian Council of Medical Research study put the figure as high as 25,000. An estimated 574,372 people have been affected in some way by the gas; health activists say more than 150,000 have been seriously affected.

Lung and eye complications are common among people in this area. Many also suffer from

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