About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
From steroid-spiked pork to glow-in-the-dark meat to recycled cooking oil collected from sewers: China wrestles with food safety problems. 'China's food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre': 'In May, a Shanghai woman who had left uncooked pork on her kitchen table woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that the meat was emitting a blue light, like something out of a science fiction movie.' 'Farmers in eastern Jiangsu province complained to state media last month that their watermelons had exploded "like landmines" after they mistakenly applied too much growth hormone in hopes of increasing their size.' 'Until recently, directions were circulating on the Internet about how to make fake eggs out of a gelatinous compound comprised mostly of sodium alginate, which is then poured into a shell made out of calcium carbonate. Companies marketing the kits promised that you could make a fake egg for one-quarter the price of a real one.' [more inside]
In the wake of a highly sexified Ang Lee film, Chinese medical authorities have warned the public against "abnormal body positions". Links SFW.
China isn't known for being open about most things, including the spread of deadly diseases. (Many will remember China's original attempt to cover up SARS. As the International Society for Infectious Diseases reports, a prominent WHO virologist has made a claim that China has now experienced at least 300 human avian flu deaths and is actively attempting to cover this information up. "We are systematically deceived," he is reported to have said. "At least 5 medical co-workers who should be reporting on the situation in the provinces were arrested, and [other] publication-willing researchers were threatened with punishments."
Ling Chan gave up everything to come to America. "Chan arrived in the United States with no knowledge of English, no support network, and a dependent child...she was happy to land a janitorial job with AXT Inc., a Fremont, California semiconductor manufacturing firm...on a four-person cleaning crew, scrubbing the boxes used to ship semiconductor wafers around the factory...after a few weeks, her colleagues -- mostly Chinese immigrants, like herself -- whispered that this was no ordinary dust: It could give you cancer." [via Fark, of all places]
Why a ban on spitting is catching in the throats of Chinese. Apparently, spitting in public is very common in China. "They consider phlegm excrement," explained a coworker of mine who recently visited Shanghai. With SARS spreading in airborne saliva and mucous particles (aka respiratory secretions, China has had to tackle the challenge of outlawing a practice as "common as breathing."
"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this: Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
Pssst -- buddy, wanta buy a kidney? There is a regular trade from China of transplant organs taken from executed prisoners. People from the US have been travelling there and buying organs, then coming back to the US. Should we do anything about this, and if so what?