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August 22nd, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Clearing the air in China

I have a simple, though unscientific, method of checking the air quality here in Hong Kong. If I can't see across the harbor to Kowloon from my window, I opt against running outside.

In mainland China, air pollution is a particularly contentious issue. The government is resistant to independent monitoring of its environment.

But kites could help residents of Beijing breathe easier.

Photo courtesy FLOAT Beijing

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Filed under: Art & Science • China
August 9th, 2012
11:16 PM ET

Gu Kailai's trial kept under wraps

When Chongqing's top cop went missing back in February, News Stream was on it. That drama grew into a saga about a disgraced Chinese politician, his wife, and a dead British businessman.

Now another chapter has ended. Gu Kailai, a woman described as the Jackie Kennedy of China, waits for the court to hand down its verdict. Her trial lasted just a few hours on Thursday.

An official says Gu did not dispute charges that she murdered Neil Heywood. Prosecutors alleged she fought with her former friend "over economic interests" and killed the Briton out of fears for her son's safety.


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Filed under: China
July 16th, 2012
12:59 AM ET

Weibo can't handle 'Truth'

Update: Since we posted this, the "truth" was unblocked on Sina Weibo.

On the Internet in China, the "truth" has vanished.

The Chinese word for "truth" (真相) has been blocked from Sina Weibo, China's leading social media site.

It might seem like a bad Orwellian joke, or a satirical headline from "The Onion," but it's true.

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China's new age of discovery ... and self-discovery
June 29th, 2012
09:27 AM ET

China's new age of discovery ... and self-discovery

(CNN) - With the Shenzhou-9 touching down in China Friday, expect the inevitable wave of propaganda touting its "model" citizens and scientific might.

And what a mighty week it has been. China has witnessed the return of a manned spacecraft that successfully docked with the Tiangong 1 space lab - a first for the nation.

China is also still on a high after the deep-sea diving record set on Sunday by a Chinese manned submersible in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

And while China's achievements in sea and space are impressive, do they stir more than just national pride? The Shenzhou-9 may be a stellar status symbol for Beijing but is it awakening a real hunger for adventure among the Chinese people?

FULL STORY

June 26th, 2012
06:07 PM ET

Fears for "forced abortion" father

Seven months pregnant with her second child, Feng Jianmei and her husband could not pay the fine for violating China's one-child policy. So local officials forced to her to have an abortion.

The poor woman's story gained attention on Sina Weibo. And eventually, authorities apologized. Some were suspended.

Deng Jiyuan spoke to CNN less than two weeks ago about his wife's traumatic ordeal. Now his family says he is missing.

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Filed under: China • Social media trends
April 20th, 2012
09:14 AM ET

Politics behind Bo's woes

By now, people around the world are familiar with the name Bo Xilai. Some, like me, are completely captivated by the daily developments of this sensational story. But there are still more questions than answers.

Many recent revelations are little more than rumors. Chinese state-media have published few official details. Instead, there has been an endless wave of commentaries with headlines including:

"CPC shows no tolerance for corruption"
"Bo investigation warns officials of power abuse"
"Criminal case shall not be interpreted as political struggle"

Beijing is clearly trying hard to contain the scandal. But rifts in the ruling Communist party are already exposed.

China analyst Willy Lam puts the politics into historical perspective and speculates on the fate of Bo, his wife and the deputy-turned-whistle-blower.

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Filed under: China
April 19th, 2012
06:25 AM ET

Shedding Light on Scandal

China is renewing its commitment to "thoroughly investigate" the death of a British businessman.

The Neil Heywood case has unfolded like something out of a movie... with allegations of illegal money transfers, betrayal and foul play. But it is very real and has cost a powerful Chinese politician his career.

Bo Xilai was once a rising star of the Communist Party. Now his wife. Gu Kailai, is being held as a suspect in Heywood's death. Bo himself is under investigation for "serious discipline violations."

Our Beijing Bureau Chief sheds light on the deepening scandal.

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Filed under: China • General
April 16th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Inside a Foxconn factory

Given the controversy swirling around working conditions at Foxconn, you almost expect a glimpse inside the factory to reveal so many safety violations that it'd resemble a real-life version of The Simpsons' Nuclear Power Plant.

Instead you see a clean, organised, safe-looking workplace; arguably one of the better examples of a factory in China. But still one where an independent audit has found that many labor rights abuses do occur, from excessive working hours to safety violations.

It's rare for reporters to get inside the gates of the Foxconn complex, but Marketplace's Rob Schmitz was invited to take a look inside and shared his reports with us.

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Filed under: China • Technology
April 5th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Watchful eyes on Ai Weiwei

It was an ironic nod to the unblinking eye of security officials monitoring his house arrest. Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei placed surveillance cameras inside his home to mark the first anniversary of his detention.

Then he made the feed available online.

He spoke with CNN right before getting the order to shut down the site.

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Filed under: China • General • Technology
Chongqing's hero cop drama
February 9th, 2012
02:35 AM ET

Chongqing's hero cop drama

The drama many people in China are talking about is not a TV show. It is the real-life mystery surrounding Chongqing's famous police chief and deputy mayor. Wang Lijun was suddenly stripped of his security post late last week. On Wednesday, the government announced on its official microblog that he is on leave for "stress."

A bit of background is needed to understand why this is getting so much attention. Chongqing is the world's largest megacity. It is well known for its crackdown on corruption. Police arrested thousands of suspected gangsters and crooked local officials on 2009.

Wang led efforts to clean up Chongqing. Many city residents hail him as a hero. So his abrupt departure has netizens buzzing. Some say he sought asylum at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, more than 300 kilometers from Chongqing.

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Filed under: China • General • Social networking
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