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PM Wen JiaBao News Conference – 3.14

Posted by tiffany613 on March 16, 2007

xin_4920302141335497200285.jpgWen: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. As you know, there are more than 2,000 journalists from China and abroad covering the NPC and CPPCC sessions. However, due to the limited seating capacity of this hall, only about 700 of them are present here. I”d like to use this opportunity to express my thanks to the journalists for their interest in China”s reform and development as well as their objective and fair coverage of China.

Let me also say, as a matter of fact, every person in China has great interest in the affairs of their own country. Yesterday I logged onto xinhuanet.com and saw hundreds of questions raised by ordinary people, since they knew I was going to give a press conference. I was deeply touched by their interest in national affairs. Many of their proposals and suggestions narrowed the serious consideration of the government. Now the session of the NPC is over, yet the road ahead could be rather bumpy. We must be mindful of potential problems and get fully prepared for the worst. We must be sober-mined, cautious, prudent especially when the situation is getting a little better. Our nation has gone through so many disasters and hardships in history that we are now blessed with the essence of urgency, determination for survival and aspirations for peace and development. Our country is so big, problems so numerous and complicated. And we, as a nation, must have courage to overcome difficulty, confidence to win and dauntless spirit to work hard and prevail. Today I”m here at this press conference ready to answer your questions. I”ll speak from my heart. I”m neither nervousXinhua: Last year, you said macro-regulation was a new and severe task for the government. It was no easier a task than fighting against SARS. Now that a year has passed could you comment on last year”s work with regard to macro regulation? Could you speak to new features and characteristics of macro regulation for this year? Will you intensify the policy measures?

Wen: In the past couple of years, we have been facing a battle of contact in terms of economic development. To fight this battle, we have combined a series of policies. We can say now these policy measurers have achieved remarkable results. We have been successful in avoiding major ups and downs in the economy, preventing excessive price hikes, keeping prices at a stable level and maintaining steady and fairly rapid economic growth. Now we must not slacken in our efforts in the slightest way. The situation we are facing now is like going upstream. If we don”t forge ahead, we will be left lagging behind. Let me put the problems we face in proper prospective. First, the foundation for macro regulation needs to be consolidated further. We face considerable difficulty in further raising grain output and increasing farmers” income. In particular, because of price rises in capital goods, it is more difficult for us to achieve these goals in terms of increasing grain output and farmers” incomes. Moreover, investment growth in fixed assets may pick up again. Coal, electricity, oil and transportation are in short supply. In the first two months of this year, power generation has increased by 12 per cent. Yet 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities experienced blackouts. In the economy, the supply chain is overstretched. Second, we are facing a series of dilemmas in our economy. For example, a slow economic growth rate won”t do, because it would make it more difficult for us to create jobs, increase revenue, and engage in necessary undertakings for society. Yet too fast economic growth rate won”t do either, because it may make the economy to stretched out for a long time in an unsustainable situation. Third, the problems we face in China”s economy can all boil down to structural problems, growth patterns and institutional problems. All these deep-rooted and underlying problems will take time to be addressed. In a word, the top priority for the government is to further strengthen and improve macro regulative policy measures in order to sustain a steady and fairly rapid economic growth rate. If a journey is 100 miles, travelling 90 is half of it. We must not stop and we must not waste our previous efforts. In the meantime, we must also take special attention to differentiated treatment for different situations. We must take both administrative and economic means to achieve macro regulative objectives.

Bloomberg: A lot of social problems have cropped up in the course of rapid economic development in China, and one of them is the wealth gap. To address problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers is top on your agenda. But some people are saying unless farmers are granted the right to use land or they are transferred the ownership of the land, it is impossible to solve the problems. Do you think it is possible to grant farmers land use rights or give them the ownership of the land? Wen: China”s reform started in the countryside. China”s rural reform started with the right to manage land by farmers. In the countryside, land is under collective ownership. In the early days of the reform and opening up, the first step we adopted in the countryside was to set up the family contract responsibility system. Farmers were given the right to manage their land, and such rights of the farmer have been extended time and again. Now I can say directly that farmers” autonomy to manage their land won”t change for a long time. Actually it will never change.

ERA News from Taiwan: The just-concluded session of National People”s Congress adopted the Anti-Secession Law by an overwhelming majority. The passage of the new law has been a subject of great interest to many people. People are especially interested in a section of the law which provides for continued exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

My questions are: Under the framework of the new law, what specific measures will the State Council adopt to promote the continued exchanges? Moreover, there are many business people from Taiwan living in cities on the mainland, either doing business or they have already settled down. Will this law affect their interests? If not, will the law actually turn out to be promoting and protecting their interests? Wen: Let me first ask you a question: “Have you read the law?” ERA News: I have some knowledge of the law and I”ve read the explanatory notes related to the law. Wen: I must thank this journalist from Taiwan for raising this question. First of all, let me send my greeting to the 23 million compatriots in Taiwan. Your question actually gets to the essence of this law. This law is meant to strengthen and promote cross-Straits relations. This is the law for the peaceful reunification, and it is not targeted against the people in Taiwan, nor is it a war bill. The law has clearly provided for promoting personnel exchanges, encouraging and facilitating economic co-operation, including “three direct links” between the two sides, encouraging and facilitating exchanges between the two sides in educational, scientific, technological and cultural fields. The law has also provided for protection of the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan business people. The law is matched to check and oppose Taiwan Independence forces. Only by checking and opposing Taiwan independence forces, will peace emerge in the Taiwan Straits. Peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits will create favourable conditions for Taiwan business people to invest in the mainland and also for foreign investors to come to the mainland. You ask for specific measures, that is, according to the recent important remarks made by Party Secretary-General Hu Jintao on the question of Taiwan, we will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan business people in the mainland; for anything that is conducive to the people of Taiwan, we will do it. First, we should promptly make cross-Straits charter passenger flights available not only on traditional festivals, but also on a more permanent basis. Second, we should adopt measures to address the issues related to sales of agricultural products from Taiwan, especially, southern Taiwan to the mainland. Third, we should promptly solve problems so that fishermen from the mainland can continue their contract labour services in Taiwan. There are other favourable policies and convenient measures we will adopt for this purpose. (来源:英语交友http://friends.englishcn.com)

Reuters: The renminbi question has been the focus of world attention, with many foreign trading partners urging China to adopt a more flexible exchange rate. China has said it could be a long term process, but what reform plans do you favour now? And, when will the first change occur? Wen: China”s exchange rate reform actually started in 1994 and it has not stopped even today. Our objective for the reform is to create a market-based, managed and floating exchange rate. When we consider reform plans, our purpose is to make the exchange rate more responsive to supply and demand in the market. What we have been doing is to lay a solid foundation for such reform. A number of necessary conditions would include first, macroeconomic stability and growth, and second, a healthy financial situation. In the meantime, we have already eased many of the controls on foreign exchange. When we talk about change in the exchange rate regime, or revaluation of the renminbi, we have to ask questions like what impacts these measures will have on China”s economy and Chinese enterprises, and what impacts they will have on our neighbouring countries and other countries in the world. On these issues, no agreement has been reached. Frankly speaking, many of the people who have been strongly urging the revaluation of the renminbi haven”t given much thought to the problems that would arrive from doing so. China is a responsible country. When we decide upon the revaluation of our currency, or reforming our exchange rate regime, we must take into consideration not only our domestic interests, but also possible impacts on neighbouring countries and the world. Finally, let me say that work related to exchange rate reform is in progress. Regarding the timing of the reforms and measures to be adopted, maybe they will come around unexpectedly. (来源:英语交友http://friends.englishcn.com)

China Central Television: You have spoken on many occasions that the economic priority for 2005 is to further promote reform and you have called this year “a year of reform.” In your report on the government”s work, you emphasize that the task for this year is to deepen reform unswervingly, and to remove the structural integument to economic growth. Then in your view, what are the most urgent issues to be addressed this year? Wen: Right, I have said on many occasions that this year is “a year of reform.” I said so for three reasons: First, to eliminate the destabilizing and unhealthy factors in the economy and to solidify the achievements of macro regulations will have to rely on reform. Second, to address the deeply rooted problems in the economy and achieve a restructured transformation of the economic growth pattern will rely on reform. Third, to realize social fairness and justice and build a harmonious society will also have to rely on reform. Reform is not a task for any single year. It is going to be a long-term task. And, in many cases with regard to reform, “sooner is better than later.” Otherwise the problems will become too entrenched to unravel. For this year, there are five priorities in our reform. First, to restructure government bodies and to transform the functions of the government. Second, to promote State-owned enterprise reform, focusing on corporate governance and share-holding systems. Third, to promote financial reform, which is a critical and often problematic aspect of our economy and requires great efforts from us. Fourth, rural reform. Centring on reform of the rural taxes and administrative fees, the purpose is to change those elements in the superstructure in the rural area that are no longer consistent with the economic phase. And fifth, social security reform. We must step up the development of a social security system that is suitable for China”s reality. This is a year of reform, but it is not only so. It is a year we are going to fight the toughest battle in the reform process.

Ming Pao: The central government has all along hoped for stability and prosperity in Hong Kong. Now that the economy has picked up, society has been stabilized in Hong Kong. Why, at this moment, has the central government accepted the resignation of Mr Tung Chee-hwa? What are your expectations of the Acting Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang? Wen: I would like to thank you for your question. The resignation of Mr Tung Chee-hwa has been the focus of attention among compatriots in Hong Kong. As you said, in the past more than seven years since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the principle of “one country, two systems” has been implemented in real earnest. The capitalist system in Hong Kong has not changed, the law in Hong Kong has basically been intact, and the way of life there has been the same. In particular, I wish to point out that Hong Kong has overcome the difficulties brought about by the financial crisis and achieved economic recovery and a higher living standard for its people.

Mr Tung has resigned for health reasons. I believe he has been sincere and he will win the understanding of people in Hong Kong and respect of the central government. In the past seven years, Mr Tung has done tremendous and creative work for the implementation of the principle of “one country, two systems,” the Basic Law and for continuing the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. He is hard-working, he has few complaints and he has the courage to take responsibility. He has demonstrated in his work a strong sense of responsibility to compatriots in Hong Kong and to the country. I believe history will treat him fairly for his efforts and contributions. I believe compatriots in Hong Kong shall never forget what he has done. After his resignation, the election of the new chief executive will proceed in strict accordance with the Basic Law and other laws in Hong Kong. I believe people in Hong Kong are fully capable of running Hong Kong well. The central government is steadfast on the principle of “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong people administrating Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy. We will strictly follow the Basic Law. At this moment I hope our compatriots in Hong Kong will work together with one accord for better development and I hope they will do an even better job for continuing the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.
ITAR-TASS: In the latter half of this year you are going to meet the Russian prime minister. Could you brief us on the latest development in economic co-operation and trade between China and Russia, especially in the energy sector? Any programmes? Wen: China and Russia are friendly countries toward each other, sharing a border of 4,000 kilometres long. Over the years, the relationship between the two countries has grown better than ever before. Last year, the two countries identified principles for developing a strategic partnership of co-ordination. We worked out programmes on the implementation of the Sino-Russian Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Co-operation, and set a goal for US$20 billion in trade by the end of this year. And this volume is to be further increased to between US$60-80 billion by 2010. China and Russia have solved a historical legacy on the boundary issue, laying a solid foundation for greater development of bilateral ties in the future. In the latter half of this year, I am going to meet the Russian prime minister for a 10th regular meeting. We are going to discuss further issues related to economic development and trade between the two countries, in particular energy co-operation. With regard to energy co-operation, I wish to make three points. First, energy co-operation between China and Russia is an important component to the overall friendly relationship between the two countries. Second, energy co-operation between our two countries is based on equality and mutual benefit. Third, there are already important agreements concerning energy co-operation. We have agreed to increase Russian oil exports to China through use of railways. The targets are 9 million tons for 2004, 10 million tons for 2005 and 15 million tons for next year. The Russian Government and President Putin have made it very clear that preference will be given to China when they build the Siberian oil gas pipeline. We have also targeted the possibility of co-operation in oil and gas development. In addition, efforts have been made in other areas of economic co-operation and trade.

Asahi Shimbun: I have two questions. The first is about relations between China and Japan. When you answered the question asked by the Russian reporter, you described the relationship between China and Russia as better than ever in history. But talking about relations between China and Japan, despite the ever-expanding personnel exchanges and trade, people usually characterize our political relationship as cold, while the economic relationship is seen as hot. But recently the situation has changed to one where the political relationship is cold and even economic ties have cooled. What is your comment on such a situation? Moreover, what does China expect from Japan in order to solve these problems? My second question is about energy and the environment. The rapid development of China has brought about good opportunities to other countries, especially the neighbours. We are glad about it. However, there is also the question of sustainability of energy supplies and the environment. This is a particular concern for China”s neighbours. What measures are you going to adopt to solve these problems? (来源:英语交友http://friends.englishcn.com)

Wen: The relationship with Japan is one of the most important bilateral relationships for China. We are pleased to see that after normalization of ties, the relationship between China and Japan has enjoyed tremendous development. Last year, our trade approached US$170 billion. People travelling back and forth between the two countries exceeded 4 million. But as you said, there are obstacles to this relationship, especially in the political field. The fundamental problem is that Japan should correctly view history. I would like to use this opportunity to propose three principles in order to strengthen and improve relations between China and Japan. In addition to the three documents governing the normalization of relations between the two countries, I believe our relationship should also follow the three principles I am going to elaborate. First, take history as a mirror and face forward to the future. This year marks the 60th anniversary of China”s victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45). This part of history reminds us of the untold sufferings the war brought to the people in China, in Asia and also in Japan. We hope Japan will seize this opportunity in order to promote friendship between China and Japan. Second, Japan should stick to the one-China principle. The security alliance between Japan and the United States is a bilateral matter between these two countries. Yet we are concerned in China because it is related to the question of Taiwan. The question of Taiwan is China”s internal affair and it brooks no direct or indirect interference by any foreign forces. Third, we should strengthen co-operation for common development. Friendly co-operation between China and Japan has tremendous potential, especially in the fields of economic co-operation and trade. Our purpose of promoting such co-operation is for shared development. In addition, I also wish to make three suggestions. First, conditions should be created in order to promote high-level exchanges and visits. Second, the foreign ministries of the two countries should work together to launch strategic studies concerning ways and means to promote friendship between the two countries. And, third, the historical issue should be appropriately handled.

People”s Daily: My question is about agriculture, rural areas and farmers. I have noticed that in your report on the government”s work, you said these three issues remain top priorities in all your work. And you have proposed specific measures to address these issues, including abolishing agricultural taxes by the end of next year. What do you think is the fundamental solution to these problems and the long-term plan? Wen: Thank you. Your question has reminded me of remarks made by Nobel laureate economist Theodore Schultz. He said most of the people in the world are poor. So if we knew the economics of the poor, we would know much of the economics that really matter. Most of the world”s poor people earn their living from agriculture. So if we knew the economics of agriculture, we would know much of the economics of being poor. I am no economist, but I am deeply aware of the paramount importance of agriculture, rural areas and farmers in China. Without moderate prosperity in the countryside, there will be no moderate prosperity for the whole country. Without modernization in the countryside, there will be no modernization for the whole country. I do have a long-term plan for rural reform and development. It has two phases. In the first phase, we introduced the basic economic system of a family contract responsibility system, which in essence was to give greater autonomy to the farmers in production and management. As a result, it has liberalized productivity in the countryside. In the second phase, we should make industry nurture agriculture and cities support the countryside. We should give more to, take less from and liberalize the countryside. I believe we have entered the second phase now. We must accomplish four jobs for the second phase. One is to promote rural reforms with rural tax and administrative fee reforms as the central task. Second, we should improve productivity in the countryside by building water conservancy projects and promoting wider applications of agriculture-related science and technology. Third, we should develop education, science, technology, culture and other social undertakings in the countryside. Fourth, we should promote primary-level democracy by ways of self-governance among villagers, direct elections at the village level and greater transparency in government affairs at the county and township levels.

CNN: The question I would ask is about the Anti-Secession Law. In the legislation you stated what you would call China”s right to use non-peaceful means against Taiwan. Could you clarify what those means could be? And if there is a conflict, a broader conflict with the United States, could China build an army that could win any war it has to fight, as you stated in your address to the NPC? Wen: First of all, let me explain again what kind of law the Anti-Secession Law is. It is by no means promulgated against the people in Taiwan. It is to oppose and check Taiwan Independence forces. It is by no means a war bill, it is for peaceful reunification of the country. It is not aimed at changing the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, which is that both sides belong to one China. It is conducive to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. Second, let me talk about what the status quo in the Taiwan Straits is, which is a very important question. There is only one China in the world. Although the mainland and Taiwan have not been reunified, the fact that there is only one China has never changed even in the slightest way. That is the status quo in the Taiwan Straits. Third, there are three scenarios according to the law where non-peaceful means will be executed. These three scenarios are the last thing we wish to see. So long as there is a ray of hope, we will do our utmost to promote a peaceful reunification. We have enacted this law to give expression of the will of the entire Chinese people, including the 23 million compatriots in Taiwan, their will to safeguard national unity and territorial integrity and oppose secession of Taiwan from the country. If you care to read two anti-secession resolutions adopted in the United States around 1861, you will find that they are very similar to each other. In the United States, the civil war broke out soon after. But we here do not wish to see such a situation. In China, there is an ancient saying: “Even a foot of cloth can be stitched up; even a kilo of millet can be ground. How can two blood brothers not make up?” The compatriots in Taiwan are our own brothers. We hope all the compatriots in Taiwan will understand the intention of the legislation. We also hope that all countries and people in the world who uphold the one-China principle and care for peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits will understand and support this law. You also asked about the increase in China”s military strength. Let me spend a few minutes on this. China pursues a defensive national defence policy. China”s military strength, if compared to that of your country, especially in terms of military expenditure, is left far behind. I don”t think I still have to cite any figures here. In the recent hundred of years, China was subjected to bullying and humiliation. Yet till now our country has never sent a single soldier abroad to occupy an inch of foreign land. Taiwan is completely China”s internal affairs. It brooks no interference from any foreign country. We do not want foreign interference. Yet we are not afraid of any.

Press Trust of India: India and China will see the 55th anniversary of their establishment of a diplomatic relationship next month. How do you see the prospects of this bilateral relationship? Can we be good friends and good neighbours? Wen: I hope the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India will become a new point of departure for deeper friendship and better co-operation between the two countries. I believe that our relationship has already entered a new developmental stage. Soon I will pay a visit to India. The focus of my visit will be to achieve agreement on three important issues. One is to come to grips with the importance of friendship between China and India from a strategic and comprehensive perspective. Because our combined population is 2.5 billion, more than 40 per cent of the world total, the importance of friendship between China and India is immeasurable for Asian countries as well as for the world. Second, there is tremendous potential to be tapped into between our two countries. Therefore we should strengthen co-operation and strive for common development. Although trade between our two countries was only about US$13.6 billion last year, there is tremendous potential for further growth. Third, our two countries should set down principles for solving the historical boundary issues. A fair and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both sides should be found on the basis of equal consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation with respect for history and accommodation of reality. I wish to ask this reporter to send my message back to the Indian people that China and India are not competitors, we are friends. I wish to conclude by quoting from an ancient Indian scripture, probably written more than 3,000 years ago in Sanskrit, that is in the title of “Upanisad.” It is to the effect: “May He protect us both together. May He nourish us both together. May we work conjointly with great energy. May our study be vigorous and effective. May we not hate anyone. Let there be peace, let there be peace, let there be peace.” (来源:英语聊天室http://chat.EnglishCN.com)

Handelsblatt, Germany: There has been discussion about the death penalty during the last week. It is said that there has been heated debate within the government about the question of whether the death penalty makes any sense any longer. Is your government really planning to abolish the death penalty? And, if so, when? Possibly before the Olympics? Wen: China is reforming its judicial system, including taking the right to review death penalty to the Supreme People”s Court. However, given our national condition, we will not abolish the death penalty.In over half of the countries in the world, the death penalty still exists. However, what we are doing is to institute an effective system in China to ensure prudence and justice when the death penalty is given. (来源:英语聊天室http://chat.EnglishCN.com)

Economic Daily: The State Council has issued a nine-point guideline on reform, opening-up and stable development of the capital market. Despite this issue, the stock market has been haunted and the prices of stocks have continued plummeting. Many investors have been trapped in the stock market. Will the government take strong measures to revert such a situation? What expectations do you think investors can have of the stock market? Wen: The question you just asked probably has the highest click rate on the Internet. It is also one of the biggest concerns of the people. The stock market in China has developed in tandem with the development of the socialist market economy. The securities market has made an important contribution to the economic growth of China. However, we should admit, that regarding how to establish an all-around securities market, we are not knowledgeable or experienced enough. Moreover, the infrastructure of such a market is weak and the market mechanism is imperfect. This has resulted in the plummeting of stock prices for years running. Although I seldom speak on the stock market, I am watching it every day. Let me say here, China will continue the policy of developing the capital market and increasing direct financing. We are going to take measures to strengthen work in this respect. First, we should improve the quality of the listed companies, which, I think, is most fundamental. Second, we should establish an open, fair and transparent securities market. Third, we should tighten oversight, and fight flaws and crime. Fourth, we should enhance infrastructure for the securities market, centring on putting an appropriate system in place. Fifth, we should protect the interests of investors, especially those non-government investors. Thank you. Although we meet every year, it is not enough.

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International women’s day: concern about increasing violence against women journalists

Posted by tiffany613 on March 12, 2007

anna-31.jpgAs the world prepares to celebrate International Women’s Day for the 30th time on 8 March, Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about an increase in violence against women journalists worldwide.

“More and more women journalists are the victims of murder, arrest, threats or intimidation,” the press freedom organisation said. “This increase is due to the fact that more and more women are working as journalists, holding riskier jobs in the media and doing investigative reporting likely to upset someone.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “The most striking case is Anna Politkovskaya’s recent murder in Moscow. This mother of two paid with her life for her opposition to the Russian government’s policies in Chechnya. We pay tribute to her and all the other women who go beyond the call of their journalistic duties to defend their right and the right of their fellow citizens to free expression.” MORE

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Neither Rabble Rousing Nor Saber-rattling

Posted by tiffany613 on March 12, 2007

Taiwanese president, Chen Shuibian sure knows how to bait China. On March 4, he once again taunted the Middle Kingdom over Taiwan’s independence.

“Taiwan wants independence, Taiwan wants rectification, Taiwan wants a new constitution,” he said on a day the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) opened in Beijing.

Expectedly, the response from Beijing was swift and firm. “Whoever wants to split away will become a criminal in history,” warned Li Zhaoxing, China’s Foreign Minister.

It is a measure of the sensitive nature of the fragile China-Taiwan relations that Chen’s declaration immediately impacted on his country’s capital market.

A report in the Financial Times indicated an immediate fall in Taiwan’s stock market and a subsequent weakening of the Taiwan dollar against the US dollar. “Taipei’s stock market slid 3.7 percent today, the largest one-day points decline in nearly three years,” the paper reported.

The reasons for the scare are obvious. China insists the issue of “One China” is non-negotiable, vowing it will not brook Taiwan’s recalcitrance. The country’s economic ascendancy affords it the political muscle to pursue its strategic interests in the global arena.

But it is not relying solely on its rising economic profile; it is also flexing military muscle. It is instructive that a day after Chen made his speech; China announced it would increase its military spending by 17.8 percent this year.

It is also noteworthy that the US has not given any official response to the renewed tension in the Asia-Pacific region.
But there is need for restraint on both sides because neither Taipei’s rabble rousing nor Beijing’s saber-rattling is the solution to the sensitive issue.
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References
1 – the Financial Times, 5 March, 2007

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Learning for learning’s sake

Posted by tiffany613 on February 25, 2007

This week’s blog is about the high education system, click here to read the artile: As Harvard Goes …

My point of view:

What is the essence of education? This seemingly simple question has concentrated the minds of academics for too long.

It is also the question that is currently agitating the minds of renowned academics at the Harvard University.

An article in last week’s Time magazine put the issue in perspective. The easiest way to start an academic brawl is to ask what an educated person should know. Harvard University authorities have not only asked this question, they have also proffered an answer by developing a new curriculum, which establishes eight primary subject areas that all students have to take.

Significantly, Harvard is not the only institution that is rethinking its curriculum. The article reveals that Yale, Rutgers and the universities of Pennsylvania and Texas have already made the necessary changes to their curriculum.

Some critics have accused the university of sacrificing scholarship on the alter of pragmatism. Such critics, mainly academic traditionalists seem to be arguing that the emphasis on knowledge application negates the idea of “learning for learning’s sake.”

Such criticism is misplaced because it has been proved that many students remember just an infinitesimal fraction of the content of a previous week’s lecture. But a hands-on approach to teaching and learning has proved more efficacious.

My experience at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies has proved that when students apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations in the process of learning, the tendency to forget is reduced drastically.

In a rapidly changing world that lays more emphasis on what people can do, rather than what they know theoretically, Harvard is definitely on the right academic track.

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Divorce Law should not benefit women that much

Posted by tiffany613 on February 19, 2007

To read the original article: Divorce – Do women win too much?

My opinion:

An article in last week’s New Statesman magazine [1] asked whether women in England are reaping bountifully from failed marriages. Citing recent cases, the writer answered in the affirmative, having come to the conclusion that for divorcees, England is now seen as the most generous nation in Europe.

These ‘women-friendly’ divorce rules have also given fillip to the phenomenon of ‘divorce tourism’, a practice whereby disgruntled spouses from across Europe flock England to file divorce cases.

This development is worrisome and the intervention of the European Union, which is planning to streamline divorce rules in the continent, is most welcome. The new law, which is expected to come into force early, next year, will hopefully mitigate the negative social impact of the prevailing divorce law.

There is nothing wrong in ensuring that a woman gets something out of a failed marriage, particularly if she is in custody of the children and needs money for their upkeep. But to strip a man of all his wealth, even those acquired before the marriage, smacks of injustice. Even more ridiculous is the fact that the divorce rules make it possible for estranged wives not only to lay claim to future earnings, but also life-long support by their former husbands.

This flies in the face of feminism and the much-touted principle of equal opportunities between women and men, and could promote indolence among the womenfolk.

But most importantly, such rules give fillip to divorce. Little wonder that most marriages in England break down even before they are contracted. It seems many English women now see divorce as the quickest means to wealth and therefore view marriage from a purely business perspective.

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Still Tibetan after all these years

Posted by tiffany613 on February 10, 2007

Click here to read the whole story on the Economist: still-tibetan-after-all-these-years.doc

My opinion:

The impression, which this article tried to create that China, is ruling Tibet by force and therefore unable to win the support of Tibetans, is flawed in many respects.

First, Tibet is an integral part of China and the policies and programmes of the government have greatly ameliorated the sufferings of Tibetans.

Second, the Chinese admire and promote the cultural and religious heritages of minority groups such as Tibet but are firmly opposed to the separatist tendency of people like the Dalai Lama, who want to divide their country. Is the writer saying that the government should allow Tibet to secede? If so, why didn’t Britain allow Northern Ireland to declare its independence when the latter was clamoring for self-rule?

Even more ridiculous is the assertion that the Chinese government is implementing its development policies because it hopes that economic growth would quench demands for greeter political liberty. The economic policies, which have made life easier for the people, are not targeted at only Tibetans. They are for all Chinese and Tibet, as a part of the country cannot be excluded. And why would anybody complain that Tibetans are being empowered economically? Isn’t economic empowerment part of the creed of liberal democracy?

The Chinese are not illegitimate invaders of Tibet, and there is no attempt to impose a particular culture or language on the people. While the Mandarin remains the official Chinese language, there are over 80 distinct dialects. While Tibetans study Mandarin for ease of communication, they are not under any obligation to jettison their own language.

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New labor, old media

Posted by tiffany613 on February 8, 2007

I considered some of the political, social and economic implications of the current ‘one-party’ political system that is in place in China. Whilst this was a discussion related to our module on ‘Contemporary issues in journalism’, it is a discussion that can be carried further explored on this blog and relates heavily to the area of new media. On the equivalent blog of this one at the University of Amsterdam, Roman Tol reported that the Chinese government intend to force bloggers from that country “to register with their genuine name. This way bloggers can be penalized when they don’t conform to the strict censorship laws.” Therefore, a blogger would not be able to use a pseudonym and would be extremely limited in what he or she can say. This has massive implications on internet freedom of speech, and internet governance in general, a topic which we can discuss further here.

However, and in doing so leaving the Chinese example aside, I wish to look at this from a different angle, and argue by using an example far closer to home that it is old media that can have a far more powerful influence over political and social organisation. In an essay last semester I argued that “the draw back with the internet (blog) lies largely with the fact that only a minority of people reach a large audience, with much content only reaching a niche audience.” Therefore, it seems the opinion of the blog does not have the ability to have a widespread political effect.

On Monday 05/02/07 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary entitled ‘A Very Special Relationship’, on which Steve Richards outlined the extremely cosy relationship that the Labour party, and especially Tony Blair have enjoyed with News International. With contributions from Charles Clark, Andrew Neil and David Blunkett, Richards showed how Blair made a series of concessions to Rupert Murdoch, to particularly ensure the support of The Sun at the last three elections. Perhaps more interesting however was the assertion that Gordon Brown will have to rely on News International even further, if he is to sell himself to ‘Middle-England’ and retain power, given the view he has a much less charismatic personality than that which kept Blair going for so long. This concurs with Manuel Castell’s view that “Political competition increasingly revolves around the personalization of politics.”

A lot more could be written on this, but I wish to conclude by stating that Labour have over the past ten years has relied heavily on the support of The Sun, given its multi-million readership. Since 1997 and Labour’s landslide victory, the media landscape has greatly changed, but it seems that it will be the ‘old’ popular press that Labour will continue to look to to secure political control, and be much less concerned with the blogger, and their ability to have a tangible impact on the political spectrum.

When the documentary becomes available to listen to again online, I will post the relevant link.

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Perceptions of China

Posted by tiffany613 on February 8, 2007

TO read the whole story, click here

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The news from China, the not-so-sleeping-anymore giant

Posted by tiffany613 on February 8, 2007

1. Where’s Mao? Chinese Revise History Books — by JOSEPH KAHN

BEIJING — When high school students in Shanghai crack their history textbooks this fall they may be in for a surprise. The new standard world history text drops wars, dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization.

Socialism has been reduced to a single, short chapter in the senior high school history course. Chinese Communism before the economic reform that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao only once — in a chapter on etiquette.

Nearly overnight the country’s most prosperous schools have shelved the Marxist template that had dominated standard history texts since the 1950’s. The changes passed high-level scrutiny, the authors say, and are part of a broader effort to promote a more stable, less violent view of Chinese history that serves today’s economic and political goals.

Supporters say the overhaul enlivens mandatory history courses for junior and senior high school students and better prepares them for life in the real world. The old textbooks, not unlike the ruling Communist Party, changed relatively little in the last quarter-century of market-oriented economic reforms. They were glaringly out of sync with realities students face outside the classroom. But critics say the textbooks trade one political agenda for another.

They do not so much rewrite history as diminish it. The one-party state, having largely abandoned its official ideology, prefers people to think more about the future than the past.

The new text focuses on ideas and buzzwords that dominate the state-run media and official discourse: economic growth, innovation, foreign trade, political stability, respect for diverse cultures and social harmony.

J. P. Morgan, Bill Gates , the New York Stock Exchange , the space shuttle and Japan’s bullet train are all highlighted. There is a lesson on how neckties became fashionable.

The French and Bolshevik Revolutions, once seen as turning points in world history, now get far less attention. Mao, the Long March, colonial oppression of China and the Rape of Nanjing are taught only in a compressed history curriculum in junior high.

“Our traditional version of history was focused on ideology and national identity,” said Zhu Xueqin, a historian at Shanghai University. “The new history is less ideological, and that suits the political goals of today.”

The changes are at least initially limited to Shanghai. That elite urban region has leeway to alter its curriculum and textbooks, and in the past it has introduced advances that the central government has instructed the rest of the country to follow.

But the textbooks have provoked a lively debate among historians ahead of their full-scale introduction in Shanghai in the fall term. Several Shanghai schools began using the texts experimentally in the last school year.

Many scholars said they did not regret leaving behind the Marxist perspective in history courses. It is still taught in required classes on politics. But some criticized what they saw as an effort to minimize history altogether. Chinese and world history in junior high have been compressed into two years from three, while the single year in senior high devoted to history now focuses on cultures, ideas and civilizations.

“The junior high textbook castrates history, while the senior high school textbook eliminates it entirely,” one Shanghai history teacher wrote in an online discussion. The teacher asked to remain anonymous because he was criticizing the education authorities.

Zhou Chunsheng, a professor at Shanghai Normal University and one of the lead authors of the new textbook series, said his purpose was to rescue history from its traditional emphasis on leaders and wars and to make people and societies the central theme.

“History does not belong to emperors or generals,” Mr. Zhou said in an interview. “It belongs to the people. It may take some time for others to accept this, naturally, but a similar process has long been under way in Europe and the United States.”

Mr. Zhou said the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French historian Fernand Braudel. Mr. Braudel advocated including culture, religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new “total history.” That approach has been popular in many Western countries for more than half a century.

Mr. Braudel elevated history above the ideology of any nation. China has steadily moved away from its ruling ideology of Communism, but the Shanghai textbooks are the first to try examining it as a phenomenon rather than preaching it as the truth.

Socialism is still referred to as having a “glorious future.” But the concept is reduced to one of 52 chapters in the senior high school text. Revolutionary socialism gets less emphasis than the Industrial Revolution and the information revolution.

Students now study Mao — still officially revered as the founding father of modern China but no longer regularly promoted as an influence on policy — only in junior high. In the senior high school text, he is mentioned fleetingly as part of a lesson on the custom of lowering flags to half-staff at state funerals, like Mao’s in 1976.

Deng Xiaoping , who began China’s market-oriented reforms, appears in the junior and senior high school versions, with emphasis on his economic vision.

Gerald A. Postiglione, an associate professor of education at the University of Hong Kong, said mainland Chinese education authorities had searched for ways to make the school curriculum more relevant.

“The emphasis is on producing innovative thinking and preparing students for a global discourse,” he said. “It is natural that they would ask whether a history textbook that talks so much about Chinese suffering during the colonial era is really creating the kind of sophisticated talent they want for today’s Shanghai.”

That does not mean history and politics have been disentangled. Early this year a prominent Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, wrote an essay that criticized Chinese textbooks for whitewashing the savagery of the Boxer Rebellion, the violent movement against foreigners in China at the beginning of the 20th century. He called for a more balanced analysis of what provoked foreign interventions at the time.

In response, the popular newspaper supplement Freezing Point, which carried his essay, was temporarily shut down and its editors were fired. When it reopened, Freezing Point ran an essay that rebuked Mr. Yuan, a warning that many historical topics remained too delicate to discuss in the popular media.

The Shanghai textbook revisions do not address many domestic and foreign concerns about the biased way Chinese schools teach recent history. Like the old textbooks, for example, the new ones play down historic errors or atrocities like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the army crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.

The junior high school textbook still uses boilerplate idioms to condemn Japan’s invasion of China in the 1930’s and includes little about Tokyo’s peaceful, democratic postwar development. It will do little to assuage Japanese concerns that Chinese imbibe hatred of Japan from a young age.

Yet over all, the reduction in time spent studying history and the inclusion of new topics, like culture and technology, mean that the content of the core Chinese history course has contracted sharply.

The new textbook leaves out some milestones of ancient history. Shanghai students will no longer learn that Qin Shihuang, who unified the country and became China’s first emperor, ordered a campaign to burn books and kill scholars, to wipe out intellectual resistance to his rule. The text bypasses well-known rebellions and coups that shook or toppled the Zhou, Sui, Tang and Ming dynasties.

It does not mention the resistance by Han Chinese, the country’s dominant ethnic group, to Kublai Khan’s invasion and the founding of the Mongol-controlled Yuan dynasty. Wen Tianxiang, a Han Chinese prime minister who became the country’s most transcendent symbol of loyalty and patriotism when he refused to serve the Mongol invaders, is also left out.

Some of those historic facts and personalities have been replaced with references to old customs and fashions, prompting some critics to say that history teaching has lost focus.

“Would you rather students remember the design of ancient robes, or that the Qin dynasty unified China in 221 B.C.?” one high school teacher quipped in an online forum for history experts.

Others speculated that the Shanghai textbooks reflected the political viewpoints of China’s top leaders, including Jiang Zemin , the former president and Communist Party chief, and his successor, Hu Jintao .

Mr. Jiang’s “Three Represents” slogan aimed to broaden the Communist Party’s mandate and dilute its traditional emphasis on class struggle. Mr. Hu coined the phrase “harmonious society,” which analysts say aims to persuade people to build a stable, prosperous, unified China under one-party rule.

The new textbooks de-emphasize dynastic change, peasant struggle, ethnic rivalry and war, some critics say, because the leadership does not want people thinking that such things matter a great deal. Officials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with the outside world.

Mr. Zhou, the Shanghai scholar who helped write the textbooks, says the new history does present a more harmonious image of China’s past. But he says the alterations “do not come from someone’s political slogan,” but rather reflect a sea change in thinking about what students need to know.

“The government has a big role in approving textbooks,” he said. “But the goal of our work is not politics. It is to make the study of history more mainstream and prepare our students for a new era.”

2. Fifty foreigners shaping China’s modern development

Throughout China’s time-honored history, the era that began in 1840 was characterized with the biggest, fastest, most fierce and complicated changes. There were many foreigners that could have influence upon China in this very period, but generally speaking, 50 of them could doubtlessly best demonstrate the epochal features that China collided with the world.

Arranged according to the date of birth, the 50 foreigners are:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778): Swiss-French philosopher, writer, political theorist and thinker;
George Macartney (1737 – 1806): British diplomat;
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 – 1834): British political economist and founder of population theory;
Charles Elliot (1801 – 1875): Chief Superintendent of the trade of British subjects to China during Opium War;
Hans Andersen (1805 – 1875): Well-known Danish writer of fairy tales;
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1875): Famous British Naturalist;
Karl Marx (1818 – 1883): German philosopher, thinker, social scientist and political theorist;
Friedrich Engels (1820 – 1895): German philosopher, thinker and political theorist;
John Glasgow Kerr (1824 – 1901): Follower of Presbyterian Church (USA);
William Alexander Parsons Martin (1827 – 1916): U.S.’ Protestant missionary to China;
Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906): great Norwegian playwright;
Alfred Graf Von Waldersee (1832 – 1904): German army man and Commander in chief of Eight-Power Allied Force in August 1900;
Hobert Hart (1835 – 1911): General Commissioner of Customs to China for half century;
Ito Hirobumi (1841 – 1909): Japan ese statesman;
Timothy Richard (1845 – 1919): British missionary;
Arthur Henderson Smith (1854 – 1932): American Congregational Church missionary to China;
Silas Aaron Hardoon (1849 – 1931): Richest Jewish businessman specialising in real estate through plundering China’s wealth before national liberation in 1949;
Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939): Austria n originator of psychoanalysis;
Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941): One of India ‘s greatest poet, writer, artist as well as social activist;
Mcmahon (1862 – 1949): British officer who took part in Simla Convention in early 20th century with an aim of separating Tibet from China;
Marie Curie (1876 – 1934): First woman Nobel Prize winner;
Maksim Gorky (1868 – 1936): Great proletarian writer of former Soviet Union;
Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924): Founder of former Soviet Union and Communism;
John D. Rockefeller, Jr (1874 – 1960): Son of the creator of Standard Oil and philanthropist;
Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (1879 – 1953): Great former Soviet Union leader;
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955): German-born American physicist;
Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940): One of the earliest leaders of Russia and Soviet Union;
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945): 23rd U.S. president;
Okamura Yasuji (1884 – 1966): Commander in chief of Japanese troop stationed in China;
Mikhail Markovich Borodin (1884 – 1951): Envoy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to China;
Nehru (1889 – 1964): Former chairman of India National Congress;
Norman Bethune (1890 – 1939): Great internationalist from Canada ;
Harland Sanders (1890 – 1980): Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC);
Nikita Khrushchev (1894 – 1971): Former premier of the Soviet Union;
Matsusita Kounosuke (1894 – 1989): Founder of Panasonic, world’s renown household appliance in Japan;
Armand Hammer (1898 – 1990): President of America’s Occidental Petroleum
Hirohito (1901 – 1989): Emperor of Japan;
Otto Braun (Li De in Chinese) (1901 – 1974): Military advisor Communist International of Germany to China;
Ivan V. Arkhipov (1907 – 1998): Vice minister of Metallurgy in former Soviet Union;
Kim Il Sung (1912 – 1994): Founder of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( DPRK );
Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 – 1994): One of the most influential presidents in American history;
Tanaka Kakuei (1918 ¨C 1993): Former Japanese prime minister and most powerful and aggressive faction leader in the LDP;
Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920 – ): Former IOC president and social activist from Spain ;
Henry Alfred Kissinger (1923 – ): Former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State;
Alvin Toffler (1928 – ): American sociologist;
Ken Takakura (1931 – ): Famous Japanese actor;
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (1931 – ): President of former Soviet Union;
Steven Spielberg (1947 – ): Famous Hollywood movie director;
Bill Gates (1955 – ): Founder of software giant Microsoft;
Michael Jordan (1963 – ): American basketball legend.

(By People’s Daily Online)

3. China Growth (Robert Reich’s Blog)

I’ve been watching the statistics coming out of China about its economic growth. Here are three things you should know.
(1) The people managing China’s economy (I’m not talking about the politicians but about the financial and economic wizards who are actually making decisions about money supply, capital markets, and the like) are extremely good. They match the best economic minds anywhere in the world. In other words, they know what they’re doing.
(2) The latest data show China is now growing at a rate faster than 11 percent. That’s extraordinary. It’s faster than China has been growing for the last five years — and that was faster than anyone had predicted. China’s rate of economic growth is the biggest economic news in the world.
(3) That growth is putting huge demands on world energy supplies, and raw materials. Oil prices will continue to rise, as will all other commodities. This is the most important economic fact in the world right now. It is also among the most important political facts in the world.

Comments:
RodgerRafter said…
I’ve been to China 4 times (2 adoptions and 2 dragonboat races), and viewed economic activity with great interest.

Especially interesting has been the ways surplus labor is absorbed by the economy. In service sector jobs there are typically many times more workers than you’d find in an American operation (and the service is amazingly good there). In construction its the same, with much more work being done by hand.

I think a very large part of the economic growth has been from productivity gains. As the most basic and most advanced industrial tools and technologies get incorporated into the Chinese way of doing things, the jobs get done much more efficiently. Also, as millions of people move from the countryside to the cities they get incorporated into far more productive industries.

I agree with you completely, Professor Roach, that the Chinese government is extremely good in its economic planning. This rate of growth won’t continue, but a cooling won’t be bad for the economy either. The central planners can effectively shift surplus labor toward infrastructure and middle-class-quality-of-life improvements as the country’s needs change.

China’s greatest economic triumph has been the way it has suckered developed nations into giving up their technological advantages in order to secure cheap goods. As a result, the bulk of the Chinese economy has gone from third world to 1st world in record time, while building up massive currency reserves instead of massive debts.

Lastly, China’s banking system has been criticized for being too loose, but I think the Chinese central bank is on the right track by increasing reserve requirements. If only the Fed would follow their lead we might have a chance of bringing inflation back under control:

http://rebalancing.blogspot.com/2006/07/inflation-accelerating-and-interest.html

BDG123 said…
While the future will determine how China’s leaders will be judged, I believe they will be judged a failure in their attempt to control the economic cycle. It was just a few decades ago Americans were enamored with a similar situation in Japan. Fear was rampant in America that we had lost our way and inevitably Japan would take the economic mantle from the US. Twenty five years later, Japan is still a managed economy with massive debts and a basically insolvent banking system.

China is less of an economic miracle and more of a mirage. The miracle is the staying power of the American consumer that they rely upon to fund their house of cards which is significantly more unstable than anything Japan ever experienced. Overbuilding and overheating of their economy at a time when imbalances are building internationally will surely lead to an unpleasant outcome. And one which involves deflationary pressures. Chinese companies are basically profitless government controlled enterprises more concerned about full employment than developing a market based economy due to the lack of domestic reforms. These reforms were never addressed because China foolishly believed the export engine to America would last forever so why take the tough medicine when you are living the high life. To the contrary, China has created a ruse for its citizens by allowing just enough freedom to keep the natives from wholesale revolt.

They’ve compounded their problems by leaving interest rates artificially low to continue to drive growth. The carry trade has incented Chinese banks to increase year over year lending by thirty percent into an already overbuilt and overheated industrial and real estate sector. If the American consumer slows or if the dollar resets significantly against Korean, Japanese and other Asian currencies, China will likely experience a domino effect leading to a significant recession or significantly worse for all. With reduced exports to the US, China’s fragile economy will feel the extreme effects of significant inflation caused by artificially low rates and very high global energy prices given 800 million Chinese still make less than $2 a day. And given the crudeness of their financial system, the majority of banks must continue to lend money to an ever greater mess of insolvent businesses in order to provide some basis for continued cash flow into an insolvent banking system continually propped up by government cash infusions and the deposits by Chinese citizens. If the house of cards starts to collapse, Chinese consumers may create a run on the banks given their lack of confidence of a communist leadership which is still very prevalent.

In the end, China will be lucky to experience something as benign as Japan’s deflationary cycle which was caused by similar circumstances. Yet, the Japanese people have a common consciousness which pulled them through. China, a nation of many cultures and void of political freedoms for half a century will likely not respond in kind. I believe China is a ticking time bomb and that political strife or economic strife or both will likely develop within the next few years should America experience a severe recession and the lack of Chinese domestic reform comes to light because of it. You must pay the piper. You cannot cheat the economic cycle through central planning, overbuilding and a mirage of America spending forever while refusing to address domestic reforms. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” they will pay the piper in my opinion.

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Uncertain Christmas, Uncertain Future

Posted by tiffany613 on December 3, 2006

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If Santa Claus was real, please give them a home.
If god could see, please give good-will to men who was forgotten.

As Christmas-tide comes round, the colourful lights decorated street; big or small Christmas trees with nice present boxes and lights are standing in the shop windows. And the city centre shops are warm with the glow of Christmas cheers and fellow shoppers hurried by. You experience the sweet air and warm atmosphere around you.

But always, harmonious was broken by something you are unwilling to see. Like any other beggars I saw hundred times before; with unshaven face, spaced-out demeanour, ragged clothes and shabby belongs, the old Mat was cuddling up to his dog in the corner of the busy street, under the roof of one luxury shop.

It’s early December, but the chill wind was blowing and it drizzled on and off. He was there, seems be ignored. People passed from him without any consciousness, sometimes looked down on him like a piece of garbage. There’re much more homeless people like Mat here in Cardiff, who are living on the street, sleeping under the roof. They have no money, no job, and no place to go.

Christmas is not a happy time for everyone, though the pressure from everywhere is to be having a good time – but it’s not always that easy. One group of people who find it particularly hard over Christmas is those who are homeless. People become homeless for all kinds of different and complex reasons. No one mean to be a homeless.

Actually they were not forgotten by whole society, in Cardiff, there’re many voluntary organisations work for homeless population, such as Cardiff Action for the Single Homeless (CASH), Homeless Charity Shelter Cymru, Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) and also the Big Issue Cymru. They provide the food, hostel, job opportunities and even donated for the homeless. Homeless people would be offered rooms in hostel, but as the officer in Shelter Cymru said: “the number of accommodations are limited, however, the number of homeless here was underestimated.” That is to say, lots of homeless people are on the waiting list.

While some party of the homeless like Mat, they didn’t want to move into the hostels because of their four-leg faithful friends, hostels do not accept pets. So they prefer living with their dogs on the street, depend on each other.

Unfortunately, things always worse than expected, life in hostels was not that easy. Grey, the 67 years old man, told me the reason he didn’t keep staying in the hostels was the drink and the drugs, he couldn’t bear of them.

As I asked Mat what he would do on the Christmas, he gave me a sorely perplexed look, but turned airily quickly, “We would find ourselves a warm place, buy a big sandwich with ham and bacon.” Such a simple request, for majority of us, that’s the basic rights, but for them, it’s a wish.

Please think of them as you purchasing hundreds pounds in shopping, you might not do all the things for them, but respect and care from your heart would be enough. (502 words)

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