Voices from China

Weibo Watch: Issue 6

(September 23, 2011) This week, netizens take on polluting phone manufacturers, document Beijing’s traffic troubles, successfully shut down a hunting festival and investigate sales of mysterious “gray swan” meat for the Mid-Autumn Day Festival.

September 9: Sina Environmental Protection – a subsection of Sina.com, a major Chinese news/entertainment site – posted this on its Weibo account @新浪环保: “Friends of Nature @自然之友 has started an environmental law consulting hotline, providing the public with free legal advice and consultations on environmental issues and disputes. Hotline number: (86)15210761623.” 【@自然之友 开通免费公益环境法律咨询热线】为了更好地为社会公众提供环境领域法律服务,@自然之友 日前开通了公益环境法律咨询热线。公益环境法律咨询热线由@自然之友 公益律师为公众解答环境领域法律疑惑,提供解决矛盾、纠纷的法律途径。环境法律咨询电话:15210761623。详情:http://t.cn/a14wre [PDF]

Netizens send a message to phone companies.

Chinese environmental groups have learned that factories supplying Apple are causing severe pollution. This has been widely covered by the media in the past few weeks. Indeed, compared with other brands of electronic goods, Apple has not responded well to concerns expressed by the Chinese public. So, netizens initiated a campaign on Weibo to urge the public to choose green products and to pressure companies to change. One Weibo account @随手拍给绿我手机, stated: “as an ordinary consumer, I urge all brand electronic companies to manage your supply chain well on our behalf. Protecting the environment is our common responsibility. Make Change!”

Internet users can participate in this campaign by taking a photo of their mobile phone with a green ribbon or plants, as well as with a message they want to tell the mobile phone company. All photos will be collected on this page on Douban.

Make change!

September 10: With Beijing’s traffic jams getting worse and worse, Friends of Nature director Li Bo @李波fon has set up a Weibo group called “Parking Welcomes You”– an ironic twist on the tourism slogan, “Peking Welcomes You” – to document and discuss Beijing’s serious traffic issues. Li Bo is encouraging netizens to photograph traffic jams to show the public’s stress and frustration with road congestion, and to remind citizens of the need to reform road transportation. Indeed, on September 9, China’s Black Friday before the Mid-Autumn Day long weekend, a front page article in The Beijing News warned that the traffic peak would last six hours.

September 10: Since reports that foreigners have received approval to hunt wild animals in China, the public has persisted in questioning the expert review panel of the wisdom of wild animal hunting. Southern Metropolis Daily ran a long report that fueled the public debate. Assistant professor Jiang Jinsong @心齋老蔣, who works at the Institute of Science, Technology and Society at Tsinghua University posted this: “Immediately after the seven Americans canceled their hunting application, a bigger hunting activity is preparing to go forward. The first session of the China International Hunting Festival is wickedly coming soon. (Here is the China International Hunting Festival official website: http://t.cn/hgJYvD.) Internet users who care about animal protection, please circulate this information and express your opposition.” 7个美国人刚刚撤回狩猎申请,更大规模的狩猎活动又要开始了!首届中国国际狩猎节,又要邪恶登场了!http://t.cn/hgJYvD请关注动物保护的网友将此消息转发,并表达我们的抗议!

A reporter working for Yangcheng Evening News pointed out the true nature of hunting in China on Weibo @羊城晚报杨辉: “Any project aimed at serving the rich can be presented as a project that promotes public welfare. But in fact, the project is nothing more than a private backyard garden for a few people.” 任何服务于富人都可以说成是造福当地的保护项目,实际却是一部分人的私人后花园。

An undated announcement posted on China International Hunting Festival said that for many reasons, the hunting festival has been postponed or canceled. Internet users are monitoring the site to make sure that this activity will be postponed forever.

September 7 – 16: Chinese people are supposed to eat moon cakes with friends and relatives under the beautiful full moon on the evening of the Mid-Autumn Day Festival, celebrating their reunion. But instead of promoting moon cakes the Jiangsu Houmen Food Ltd Co. advertised swan meat as the best Mid-Autumn Day gift. If the company really is selling swan meat, then it is breaking the wild animal protection law; if not, it’s committing commercial fraud. Environmentalists investigated the company, trying to persuade the company to give up selling “swan meat gift packages.” The salesman’s response was posted by Feng Yongfeng @冯永锋: “Our use of swan meat does not violate the law; instead, our use is protected by law. Please do more research on swan meat consumption. We are too busy with so many orders. People in the Beijing Military Region are ordering (the swan meat gift package) again. We have really solved the challenge of sending the perfect gift. We have had good sales this year. We have been in the business of rare bird food for 13 years.” 我们用的天鹅真的不违法,相反还是受法律保护的。您要多了解一下哦。我们这里订单真忙不过来。北京军区的人又在我这里订了。呵呵,我们解决就是送礼难。今年销得非常好,我们做了十三年的珍禽食品企业。

The sale of swan meat was revealed online on September 7. Then, on September 16, the National Business Daily reported that the swan meat is made from so-called “gray swans,” a cross-breed of some, as yet unknown, species. In fact, many such “swans” are being bred in Jiangsu province. The issue received no follow up after that.

Further reading:

The Wall Street Journal: Apple gets some praise in China on environment

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