For the ethnic Uighurs in far western China, perhaps nothing is more essential than a knife.
Farmers use them to slice open melons that they sell on the roadside. In open-air markets, butchers slaughter sheep and cattle in accordance with Muslim practice.
A knife by the bedside is thought to keep away bad dreams. On a baby’s seventh day of life, it’s tradition for parents to briefly slip a blade under the sleeping infant’s head to guarantee a long and healthy life.
But in the wake of a string of deadly clashes and terrorist attacks, including a mass slashing, knives have taken on a deadly cast in the region.
Photos: Julie Makinen / Los Angeles Times
Stung by a string of attacks by Uighurs – members of a Muslim minority – China’s Communist Party has stepped up a campaign against expressions of religious identity in the group. How ethnic Uighurs dress and what songs they listen to could get them in trouble. Under a local initiative known as Project Beauty, guards detain women whose clothing looks too Islamic. Billboards near checkpoints declare, “Let our hair flow and reveal our beautiful faces. Abandon old and outdated customs.”
Photo: Los Angeles Times
This is a 36-million-dollar cup.
Photo: Vincent Yu / Associated Press
Greetings from the new Space Race
So long, Russia vs. U.S. galactic rivalry: With NASA hobbled by budget cuts, the pool of nations vying for the top spot beyond the Earth has grown to dozens of countries, punctuated by China’s recent success on the moon.
It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the redand gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time.
"Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China’s remarkable space capabilities."
Find out who’s looking to challenge Russia and China in the new race to space here.
Photos: Xinhua / AFP
Think L.A. has smog problems? Check out China’s ‘Airpocalypse’
Fueled by coal plants and burning fields, the thick haze has closed schools, clogged traffic and is prompted doctors to warn of widespread respiratory problems.
In Harbin, a city of 12 million world-famous for its wintertime ice festival, the smog was so thick that visibility was reduced to 20 yards. Municipal bus drivers lost their way in the haze. In one case, a morning rush hour bus that left at 5:30 wandered around for three hours before the driver found the route.
Photos: STR / AFP, NASA
The growing swarm of cockroach farms in China
You may think of them as a nasty pest, but in China, raising cockroaches has become an increasingly popular industry. Our own Barbara Demick talked to some of the nation’s most successful roach ranchers to find out what’s behind the bug industry boom.
So where’s the demand for roaches?
At least five pharmaceutical companies are using cockroaches for traditional Chinese medicine. Research is underway in China (and South Korea) on the use of pulverized cockroaches for treating baldness, AIDS and cancer and as a vitamin supplement.
South Korea’s Jeonnam Province Agricultural Research Institute and China’s Dali University College of Pharmacy have published papers on the anti-carcinogenic properties of the cockroach.
Plus, there’s the fact that cockroaches are technically edible:
Many farmers are hoping to boost demand by promoting cockroaches in fish and animal feed and as a delicacy for humans.
Chinese aren’t quite as squeamish as most Westerners about insects — after all, people here still keep crickets as pets.
Photos: Wang Xuhua / For the Times
Big duck in the big city
The gigantic duck seen above is the work of Dutch conceptual artist, Florentijin Hofman. Titled “Spreading Joy Around the World,” the 16.5 meter-tall rubber duck has been traveling the world since 2007, appearing in 10 countries and 12 cities.
But after suffering structural damage, the duck has been unfortunately been deflated for repairs.
Photos: Jessica Hromas / Getty Images, Vincent Yu / Associated Press
Some of the best eye candy you’ll see today.
test reblogged from utnereader
The Red (computer) Scare: Is the Chinese military behind hundreds of hacking instances since 2006? One U.S. computer security firm believes so, fanning concerns that U.S. digital infrastructure, both private and governmental, isn’t up to snuff. From reporter Michael Muskall’s look at Mandiant’s findings:
The hacking activity was likely part of the mandate of the Unit 61398 of China’s People’s Liberation Army, identified in the report as “one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors.” The unit is based in the Pudong New Area, outside of Shanghai from where the computer attacks originate.
Read the report for yourself here, and see if you agree that the recent hacking spree, which has targeted companies from Facebook and Apple to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, is being dictated by the Chinese government.
Photo: Keith Bedford / Bloomberg
Seismic activity in North Korea: Detected yesterday, the activity has been confirmed by North and South Korean media to be indicative of a nuclear test, the rogue nation’s third since obtaining nuclear capability.
North Korea claims that the device was more powerful than its previous two, though that has yet to be independently confirmed. The test has been soundly condemned by neighboring countries, from Japan, Russia and even China.
Said the White House in a statement following the test:
Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
For more info on the test, and its implications, click here.
(Photo via Yonhap)
Outcry baffles Chinese maker of U.S. uniforms: Li Guilian built Dayang Trands into a $300-million company. “We have cheaper costs here so you can have cheaper prices in America,” she says.
Descended from a long line of farmers, the country girl spotted opportunity 33 years ago as Communist China was beginning to test free-market reforms. She opened an apron and tablecloth factory in her home village of Yangshufang, gradually shifting to more complex garments.
Fascinating, fascinating piece on culture and economy. What do you guys think?
Photo: U.S. athletes, from left, swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts model the U.S. Olympic uniforms made by Chinese firm Dayang Trands. Credit: Associated Press