Your China News Roundup of the Day

1) On the Jiang Zemin situation, NMA of Taiwan weighs in with a somewhat coarse but amusingly illustrated account. (Again, no joke, good wishes to members of his family.) I am always a sucker for NMA's ominous-panda figures, for instance around times 0:15, 0:30, and 0:50.


2) If you are getting a pop-up ad with every single click on our site -- I am too, and sorry, it's a temporary bug. We want to invite you to subscribe, but we don't want to drive you away.

3) Back to pandas: the very worthy Pandas International, whose work I described in the magazine, reports on new floods in the (already earthquake-devastated) Sichuan panda refuge areas, including this photo of a bridge I saw in drier times.


The Pandas International report adds:
>>According to local forestry authorities, following heavy rains on July 6th, a wild giant panda drowned. The body was found in the Zipingpu Reservoir by a local villager on Tuesday morning.

The male, aged about 10, drowned after it was swept into a section of the Minjiang River by rain-triggered floods and mudslides....

In addition to the panda's death, 6 people have died.<<
4) Somehow this seems connected: a report that air pollution leads to "brain damage and depression." No wonder I have felt so stupid and unhappy in recent years.

5) Back to Jiang Zemin, a very interesting Reuters report by Benjamin Lim and Sui-Lee Wee helps explain why there could be so much sensitivity about the health of a leader who handed over power long ago to people who themselves are about to leave power. I'll let you read it for yourselves.

6) Chinese chart of the day: airfares on the highly lucrative Beijing-Shanghai route, before and after the arrival of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train. This via the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, in Sydney.


See if you can guess when the high-speed rail service began. I hope to try it next month and see how it compares with the planes
UPDATE: the truncated vertical scale of the chart -- it shows only the span from $250 to $425, not from zero to $425 -- of course makes it somewhat misleading. The fare fell suddenly by about one third, not by the 90% or so that the chart would suggest. Still, the suddenness of the change is the interesting part. Thanks to Parker Donham  for the reminder.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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