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December 2005

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 Beijing 2008
The Summer Olympics are scheduled for August, 2008Olympic display on Tiananmen Square in the capital city. The Games in Beijing will be more than just a gathering of the world's finest athletes. This event is widely seen as the coming out party for the New China. From the counterfeit "Beijing 2008" baseball caps sold in every store to the electronic countdown timer in Tiananmen Square, it is tough not to get caught up in all the excitement. So how are the plans progressing?

 Blogging in China
The media in China is tightly controlled by the government. Edicts are issued to the radio and television stations, newspapers, and magazines. Failure to follow them can carry serious penalties. Witness the example of a reporter who received an eight-year prison sentence this year just for revealing the contents of one such set of "guidelines" to the foreign media. And if the government had its way, the internet would be just as tightly controlled. That's where the bloggers come into the picture. They operate outside the mainstream media and give visitors an "inside" glance.

 Bird Flu Update
In response to a reader's question, we thought it was time to address the issue of bird flu. We do have a little experience with (possible) epidemics in China, having lived through SARS in 2003. So here is our ground-level assessment on bird flu in the Middle Kingdom.

 What, More recipes?
Here is a recipe that contains two simple ingredients that are found in markets everywhere. We had just never seen them combined in quite this fashion until arriving in China. It is a northern China favorite and also of many foreign visitors.

 So that's it for this edition. We wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and hope to see you in China in 2006!

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