Politics, handbags, heating & bottoms.....

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Flag of China  ,
Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hi all,

A little extra mid week blog for you...... thank you for the comments on the last one, nice to know people are still reading!

So, after Obama's victory yesterday, China begins it's week long Communist Party National Congress, and the city is on lockdown for this once in a decade change in power, with a new set of leaders being unveiled security is very tight, with reports of many dissidents detained or under house arrest (around 130). Clamping down on corruption is high on the agenda, as well as a more sustainable China, the wealth gap between the very rich & the very poor. The process of the changeover takes place behind closed doors, although has already been decided in advance.

More than 1.4 million volunteers have been brought in to help with the security, people everywhere on street corners, many retired people with arm band on, placed to monitor people & to spot any signs of trouble, protests etc. Even taxi's are banned from having the rear windows open in fear of people throwing stuff out the windows, apparantley in the past this has happened, where people have thrown balls full of leaflets protesting out of windows! Kite flying has been banned, and the flying of remote controlled aircraft - luckily Andy's helicopter has flat batteries!!

Many websites have been locked down too, high internet censorship - for example the main China social network site Weibo run a special discussion page yesterday for the US election, but not for China's. Also, if you search for info about it here, you'll only get posts from the State media, and not from individuals, bloggers, social sites etc. suggesting the heavy censorship. Google is also heavily censored at the moment. We are thankful for our VPN....!!

The other thing that's happened in the last week, is that the public heating system has been turned on. It's usually on the 15th November but because of the forecasted snow at the weekend, they turned it on early. The heating during the winter uses one fourth of the energy consumption for the whole country, and it's just Northern China that has the system. It's a free, 24 hour service and as you can imagine, much is wasted. People are out at work all day & don't need it on at home, offices are empty during the night & at weekends, so it's not required. It's the biggest loss of energy for the country. Many buildings don't have control over the heat, luckily we can adjust our radiators, and have turned the heating off. It's still so warm in the apartment from the general heat of the building, we still have the windows open day & night, and it's around freezing at night now. Ridiculous. Luckily we don't pay for it. The summer is the expensive time, having the air con on all the time!! A lot is being done to address this, but it's a slow process and expensive business replacing existing systems.

There are a few photo's which I haven't yet shared & will, and stories to go with them.....

Firstly, guys carrying their partners handbags..... see the photo of the guy with the bright pink bag around his neck? You see it quite a lot, apparantly a sign of trust, and that when a couple have been going out together a while, it shows trust to let your boyfriend carry your bag. This couple seemed quite happy having their photo taken!!

The other strange thing we noticed when we got here, was lots of babies & toddlers wandering around without nappies on, but with trousers on with a slit along the backside so that they could go to the toilet!! Various reasons, partly cost - disposable nappies are expensive, and in the past cotton, soap & water have been in scarce supply. Some think it's un-hygenic for a baby to be sat in it's own mess for lengths of time, and think it's better for them to go & be clean straight away. Chinese parents potty train as early as 1 month old. Babies are always in the arms of someone, and invariably the mother or carer recognises the signs & knows when to hold the baby away from them!! I've seen them on the subway & wondered what happens when the inevitable happens?!! Luckily I've yet to find out....... couldn't resist this photo of a little boy when we were walking around the Summer Palace, imagine that photo coming out to haunt you when you bring your first girlfriend home?!!!!!

A few more piccies, although it's a month ago now - of the October holiday, after Mum & Dad showed us the article in a UK newspaper, I found it online with some more photo's, sooooo busy!!! But hey, that's Beijing!!!!

Anyway, there you go - a few little things to report, other than us eating & drinking..... normal service will be resumed at the weekend!! Andy is out on an appointment, had one at 4, and one at 7.30pm, me? I'm just chilling.....!!

PS.... Andy has just text on his way home, just signed another deal.... YAY!!!!!!!!

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Nita on

Like those interesting facts Tracy, is Andy carrying your bag yet? Well done Andy on the deal :)

Mum and Dad on

Hiya the pink handbag's very fetching..... could Andy carry a leopard print one ?? !!!! Interesting about the babies without nappies, yuk, what happens when they do a number two, I guess you would really have to know your baby well enough to know when to hold it away from you !!
Catch up at the weekend, probably Sunday and will give Lou that big hug from you tomorrow xxxx

Angela and Dad on

Great idea about the handbag thing - Less likely to get robbed! Not so sure about the baby gear! Another reason to never 'put your foot in it' !

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