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Chinese Government Offers Free Re-administrations of Vaccines, but Chinese People Are Skeptical

In July, Chinese vaccine maker Changsheng Biotechnology was found to have fabricated records and arbitrarily changed the process parameters and equipment during its production of freeze-dried human rabies vaccines. Substandard diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) vaccines that Changsheng produced were administered to 215,184 Chinese children. Another company, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, produced substandard DPT vaccines and sold 400,520 of them to the public. China’s drug regulator launched an investigation and arrested 15 people from Changsheng Biotechnology, including the chairman.

About a month after the outbreak of the scandal, the Chinese government offered to re-administer the vaccine without charge to people who had been previously vaccinated with Changsheng’s rabies vaccine. However, according to Radio Free Asia, few people have gone to get vaccinated and some no longer trust domestic vaccine manufacturers.

On August 10, a nurse at a hospital in Shenzhen that provides free re-administration of vaccines told the reporter that the hospital uses the vaccine of the Liaoning Chengda Company, a vaccine manufacturer not struck by the scandal. Individuals did go there to get vaccinated, but not many.

A gentleman, Mr. Zhang from Guangdong, had his child vaccinated with Changsheng’s vaccine. He said in an interview that he no longer has confidence in domestically made vaccines. If a company has not been exposed, that does not mean that it has no problem. He would rather choose to use imported vaccine.

“In my situation, I will not dare to get vaccinated again. It is useless. I really worry about domestic vaccinations. I will try as much as possible to get imported vaccines; otherwise there is no guarantee. Companies that have not been exposed may still have a problem. In the case of Changsheng, one employee exposed the problem, right? If he hadn’t done it, we would never have known it. As a matter of fact, they had detected the problem before, but they chose not to publicize it. We don’t have the right to information. So if domestic things are not exposed, it does not mean that they have no problem.”

Some netizens expressed ridicule: Is the vaccine used this time not fake? Will we still have to get vaccinated once again?

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 10, 2018

China to Become the World’s Largest Natural Gas Importer by 2019

Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued the “Natural Gas Market Report 2018,” which predicts that, by 2019, China will become the world’s largest natural gas importer due to the lack of domestic supply. By 2023, China’s natural gas imports will reach 171 billion cubic meters, most of which will be LNG (liquefied natural gas).

According to the Chinese Ministry of Energy, China and India have become the fastest growing countries in demand for natural gas, especially LNG. Last year, China surpassed South Korea and became the second largest importer of LNG after Japan.

The Report shows that China and emerging Asian markets are promoting global natural gas consumption. Between 2017 and 2023, China will account for 37 percent of the increase in global natural gas consumption, surpassing every other country in the world. Regarding the forecast period, the Report expects the global natural gas market to exceed 4 trillion cubic meters by 2022, while China’s demand will grow at an average annual rate of 8 percent, accounting for more than one-third of the growth in global demand.

At present, the United States is the main producer of natural gas and exporter of LNG, accounting for nearly 45 percent of global production growth and nearly three-quarters of LNG export growth.

Source: Shanghai Security News, July 20, 2018,2018-07-20,1029054.htm

The Liao River Is an Environmental Nightmare

The Liao River is the principal river in southern Northeast China, and one of the seven main river systems in mainland China. Coursing 1,345 kilometers (836 mi) long, it passes through Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, and Liaoning Provinces.

According to Economic Information Daily, a subsidiary of the official Xinhua News Agency, in recent years, the amount of river water has decreased year by year. In many places, there is no water at all. A major section of the Liao River flows through Chifeng City and Tongliao City in Inner Mongolia, with a total length of 829 kilometers. In Chifeng City, since 2007, most parts of the river have run out of water for most of the year. In Tongliao City, the Liaohe River has experienced 20-years of being cut off.

In addition to the climate drought, the main reason is that there are too many water conservation projects along the river. In Chifeng alone, there are 82 large, medium, and small reservoirs in the upstream portion of the Liao River.

Over the years, with the interruption of water in the middle and upstream areas of the River and with the people living nearby increasing their demand for water consumption, the demand for groundwater has increased. This has resulted in over-exploitation and a decline in the water level. In Chifeng City and Tongliao City, groundwater depletion caused areas of land subsidence as large as 3000 square kilometers, and the water level dropped by about 10 meters.

The water interruptions have caused a large reduction in the area of lakes, wetlands and grasslands. Trees along the banks of the river have declined and died, posing a threat to the ecological environment and ecological security of this area. The grassland area in Tongliao City has been decreasing year by year since 2014. In 2004, the area of lake wetlands in Chifeng City was 60,738.05 hectares. By 2010, it shrank to half that size. Of the 82 reservoirs in Chifeng City, 40 percent have dried up.

Source: Economic Information Daily, August 6, 2018

China Expands International Express Service Overseas

Xinhua reported that, in recent years, China’s international express service has rapidly expanded overseas. For the first six months of 2018, the International express service’s volume, including service to Hong Kong and Macau, reached 520 million pieces, which was a 43.1 percent increase from the same period in 2017. China’s JD Logistics has a delivery service that covers seven islands and 483 cities in Indonesia. YTO Express Group, ZTO Express, and Rookie Network can provide supply chain service in receiving, warehousing, and freight forwarding with the ability to deliver anywhere around the world in less than 10 days. These freight companies have also invested in building international air transportation channels and setting up warehouses in other countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Japan. The Xinhua article stated, “China is using its logistics technology and supply chain management capabilities to let the world enjoy “China’s speed.”

Source: Xinhua, August 5, 2018

Beijing to Launch Patriotic Campaign to Target Intellectuals

According to Xinhua, recently, the Central Organization and the Publicity Department jointly published a notice to launch a “patriotic campaign” targeting intellectuals. The notice stated that the campaign is to “carry out the directions of Xi Jinping to unite the intellectuals with the party and the people and build a consensus among intellectuals to share the goals and the values for which the Party and the Country are fighting.” An RFA article calls the patriotic campaign another round of brainwashing campaigns because the authorities are most concerned about the criticisms that the intellectuals are making. For example, in recent months, the mainland intellectual community has continuously discussed China’s economic strength. Since the beginning of the year, it has been widely believed that China’s comprehensive strength can surpass the U.S. In recent months, however, more and more scholars have publicly stated that China’s economic strength appears impressive but lacks real value. Some people have even questioned Xi Jinping’s policy of governing the country.

1. Xinhua, July 31, 2018
2. Radio Free Asia, August 2, 2018

As Supplier of 40 percent of Pharmaceutical Raw Materials to Other Drug Companies, China’s Drug Quality Causes Concern

The vaccine safety problem that has occurred in China recently highlights the ineffectiveness of China’s drug regulatory system. At present, since China supplies 40 percent of world’s pharmaceutical raw materials, the international community has begun to question its drug quality. The Central News Agency reported that, in 2017, the value of pharmaceutical raw materials that China exported was US$29 billion. Their customers included Teva Pharmaceutical, Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis. It is estimated that 80 percent of the pharmaceutical raw materials used by U.S. drug companies are sourced from China and India. In 2017, Chinese drug manufactures received 22 warnings from the FDA compared to 5 warnings in 2014. European Medicines Agency data reported that 10 percent of the pharmaceutical raw materials made in China failed its inspection. In July, European Medicines Agency and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings that antihypertensive drugs made in Zhejiang Province could cause cancer. In Beijing, the officials announced that hundreds and thousands of vaccines with quality issues were sold on the market and vaccine manufacturers were accused of forged production data. According to the FDA news website, in 2017, China joined the ICH (International Council for Harmonization) as its eighth regulatory member, pledging to transform its pharmaceutical regulatory authorities, industry, and research institutions gradually in order to implement the international coalition’s technical standards and guidelines.

Source: Central News Agency, August 7, 2018

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