China set up a 155-member rare-earth industry association in a move to speed consolidation of the sprawling sector, Reuters quoted state media as saying. Su Bo, an industry vice-minister, said the government wants to phase out small smelters, giving large players a greater stake in the supply of rare-earth metals and boosting environmental protection.
Jiangxi province earned 32.9 billion yuan (US$4.89 billion) from the rare-earths industry last year, but has to spend 38 billion yuan to address the environmental pollution in the city of Ganzhou alone, China Daily quoted an Economic Information report as saying. Extraction of rare-earth minerals is environmentally devastating.
ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore Oil Corporation are to pay around 304.5 million yuan (US$48.3 million) to compensate fishermen in Qinhuangdao city, Hebei province, and to restore its maritime environment following spills in Bohai Bay’s Penglai 19-3 oilfield last June, Shanghai Daily reported.
China’s economic might has “rolled up to America’s doorstep in the Caribbean”, according to The New York Times, with loans from state banks, investments by companies and gifts from the government in the form of new stadiums, roads, buildings, ports and resorts. The development has raised eyebrows among diplomats, economists and investors.
Some Chinese medicines contain potentially poisonous plants, unlabelled ingredients and bits of endangered animals, Australian research has found, according to The Age. An DNA sequencing analysis of ingredients in 15 traditional medicines seized by customs officials found that three-quarters contained undeclared products derived from animals, including the critically endangered Asiatic black bear, said the study, published in PloS Genetics.
A Greenpeace investigation has detected pesticides banned for use in tea in products marketed by some of China’s top tea companies, Global Times said. The finding was based on tests of 18 products from nine companies, all purchased in December 2011 and January 2012 in Beijing, Chengdu and Haikou. Independent testing found that 12 of the samples contained at least one pesticide banned from use in tea, such as methomyl and endosulfan.
The run-down Canidrome racetrack near Macau’s border with China – the only greyhound track in Asia – is being targeted by animal activists who accuse its owners of brutality and of killing dogs after their racing days end, according to The Guardian. Officials at the track in Macau, China’s gambling hub, declined to comment.
Pristine natural forests in China are threatened by logging, mining, unregulated harvesting of flora for traditional Chinese medicine and excessive development linked to increases in tourism, according to the Asia Society. See Sean Gallagher’s video, “China’s Fragile Forests”, here.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE