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Guangzhou Mayor Says City Home to Few Africans, Ebola Fears Overblown

Posted: 12/1/2014 6:44 pm

guangzhou african communityGuangzhou is the home of the largest concentration of African expats outside of Africa in Asia, which means the city is rife with rumors of Ebola eventually spreading to the city. To ease the paranoia, the Guangzhou government today gave official statistics on the number of Africans in the city, and it’s much lower than some estimates that put it as high as several hundred thousand.

According to local officials, there were just 16,000 African expats living in Guangzhou as of October 22. In comparison, there are 57,000 expats from Asian countries and 22,000 from European ones for a total expat population of 118,000. Guangzhou deputy mayor Xie Xiaodan who said during an October press conference that it’s a common misperception that Guangzhou has many Africans. “[Many of China’s African residents] come to Guangzhou for business during the day and return [to cities around Guangzhou] during the night,” Xie was quoted as saying.

Previous estimates of the African community in Guangzhou numbered around 200,000, with many resident said to be staying illegally. Naturally these people wouldn’t show up in government statistics.

Guangzhou has been working hard to prevent an Ebola outbreak. Travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia were given cell phones and instructed to contact health authorities in the event that they come down with any symptoms related to the illness.


Photo: nanjiang


Guangzhou, Serious About Soccer, to Create 5,000 New Teams

Posted: 11/28/2014 9:11 am

children student soccer trainingChina’s new school curriculum emphasizing soccer skills reveals a massively ambitious plan to turn China into a international soccer powerhouse.

Guangzhou has now revealed how it plans to contribute to the national goal with a new three-year plan designed to cultivate soccer skills in youngsters.

READ: China Makes Football Mandatory In Schools As It Dreams of Championships

As with school systems throughout the rest of the country, Guangzhou will make soccer classes compulsory for all students in elementary and middle schools as introduce a four to six day soccer seminar as part of the school’s curriculum every semester.

children student soccer trainingBy the end of this year, soccer programs are to be set up in 300 Guangzhou schools. By 2015, 25 specially-dedicated soccer schools are to be established throughout the city. By 2016, 500 Guangzhou schools should be involved in the program, creating a total of 5,000 intra-mural soccer teams from 500 schools and involving 50,000 students. Also by 2016, 75 specially-dedicated soccer schools are to be established.

READ: China Faces a Rocky Path to Football Superiority

The new focus on soccer and physical education is a radical departure from the standard practice of rote-learning in preparation for the gaokao, the university entrance qualifying exam.

Soccer development at a grassroots level is also a move away from the recent popularity of exclusive soccer schools with high tuition fees, such as the RMB 1.2 billion ($195 million) academy operated by Guangzhou Evergrande.

children student soccer trainingWhile President Xi has expressed his national dream for China’s youth to be healthy, a renewed emphasis on soccer may also reflect Xi’s desire for China to qualify, host, and win the World Cup, as seen here in cartoon form.

READ: Guangzhou to Build 100 New Football Pitches by 2016

Institutionalized soccer instruction is not new to China. In the 90s, around 4,000 traditional soccer schools were closed when Chinese football’s image tanked due to a failure to win Asian titles or qualify for the World Cup.

Aside from soccer, other international spots have seen great potential in China for sports development. Professional sports associations representing football, basketball and ice hockey have all expressed interest in developing their respective sports in China.

children student soccer trainingRelated:

 Photos: Sina Blog

Slowing Economy and Discrimination Puts Brakes on African Immigration to Guangzhou

Posted: 11/24/2014 4:18 pm

africans guangzhouGuangzhou, labelled by one local publication as China’s “Chocolate City” (pdf), appears to be much less attractive to African immigrants these days. The fewest number of Africans arrived in Guangzhou last year than at any time in the past 10 years, just as government policies make it harder for Africans to stay.

There’s been a 30 to 40 percent annual increase in the number of African immigrants to the city from 2003 to 2012 or so, a pattern that slowed drastically last year. While no official number was released, it is said to be a sizable difference from the peak between 2006 and 2010.

The drop is directly attributed to a cooling of the economic “gold rush” and a slowing economy. Between 2002 and 2007, trade between China and Africa expanded seven-fold, a time in which China became Africa’s second largest trading partner.

READ: African Expats Fight to Stay in Guangzhou as Policies Tighten

However, African migrants say discriminatory government policies and prejudicial attitudes from locals have made it difficult for Africans to stay and live in Guangzhou. Last year, the Chinese central government passed the Exit-Entry Administration Law that now requires expats to return to their home nations to renew their visas instead of doing so at intermediary destinations like Hong Kong. While US and Australian citizens may be enjoying a recent lifting of visa restrictions, citizens of African countries are stuck with an unsympathetic bureaucracy.

Kuala, a Congonese national that has lived in China for 15 years, explains his frustration:

In applying for the visa, I was told that because my wife is from Yunnan, we would need to go back to where her hukou is registered; in registering in Yunnan, I was told to go back to where my residence is located…

Ali (a pseudonym), a foreign exchange student from the Congo, describes the high cost of living in China:

I am a foreign exchange student, and each year it costs RMB 9,000 to get my visa, a total cost of RMB 36,000 over four years that I depend upon my parents to pay for. Foreigners in China are forbidden to work (without the proper accreditation). I can’t say that I’ve ever worked in China.

But even as the African community has built itself into a vibrant community in Guangzhou, trust and acceptance between Africans and locals has not kept pace.

READ: Guangzhou Home to Largest African Expat Population in Asia, Many Illegal

Li Zhigang, a professor at Zhongshan University, published a 2008 report saying 83 percent of local residents prefer not to live in the same neighborhood as “black people”. At the same time, 70 percent of Africans are not willing to live in the same neighborhoods as Chinese.

Members of the African community say they are discriminated against, noting many taxi drivers refuse to pick them up. Whatever the reason for falling immigration, it looks like fewer Africans and Chinese will have to live near each other in the future.


Photo: Yangcheng Evening Report


China’s Walter White Is Breaking Bad in Guangzhou

Posted: 11/20/2014 11:00 am

Liao’s meth lab in Guangzhou

Did anyone know that China had a real-life Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned criminal mastermind from the hit-TV show Breaking Bad? Apparently, he wasn’t quite as successful as his Albuquerque-Doppleganger: he was arrested in Guangzhou on October 30, where he had been cooking meth and teaching young proteges in his shed, reports Nanfang Legal Daily.

Unlike Walter White, this 58 year-old man named Liao (his street name: “Professor Xu”) knew nothing about chemistry; still, he managed to learn how to make crystal meth, the report said.

Through unknown intermediaries, Liao was introduced to people interested in entering the drug trade. He then taught “students” how to cook meth in a one-week crash course, value-priced at RMB 400,000.

Liao’s romantic partner, surnamed Ma, sold the finished meth through their online store, which was disguised as a wholesale clothing shop, the report said.

The police raided about 50 kg of meth and meth-products, as well as 12 kg of raw materials from Liao’s workshop in Haizhu District, Guangzhou, the report said.

Reports of the drug bust came to light after Guangdong police announced on November 16 that it had destroyed more than 400 tons of crystal meth ingredients from Lufeng, an infamous drug hub in the province. It took 15 trucks several days to transport the seized drugs and drug products to the incineration site, Nandu reported.

Photos: Nanfang Legal Daily; SEQUART



Woozy Weekender Indie Music Fest to Hit Guangzhou, Win Free Tix from The Nanfang

Posted: 11/20/2014 9:01 am

If you love indie music, you won’t want to miss this: Woozy Weekender is bringing some of China’s best indie acts to SD Livehouse in Guangzhou from November 28 – 30.

Guangzhou has seen a burst of activity in its underground music scene over the past few years, as DIY music labels like Full Label and livehouses like 191 and SD have proven to be shining stars on the horizon of China’s thriving indie scene.

Now’s your chance to catch some of these artists here in Guangzhou. The folks at Woozy Weekender in Shanghai, which bill themselves as China’s answer to Pitchfork, are bringing a host of cutting edge artists from across China to perform in Guangzhou… and you can win free tickets from The Nanfang!

Simply fill out the form below and follow the steps to sign up. Next Thursday (November 27) we will draw two names, with each person being rewarded with two free tickets.

In addition to a music-packed line up every night, each level will host other fun activities like a music market, Wooozy film screenings, a DIY production workshop by Pete Chen, and a panel talk hosted by P.K. 14’s lead singer and Maybe Mars COO Yang Haisong.

Woozy Weekender will be held from November 28 – 30, Friday to Sunday, three nights and three days: fun, indie, exciting, unique. You can check it out in The Nanfang’s Event section, with all the details here. All that’s missing is you!

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Yes, get me two free tickets to Woozy Weekender

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National Divorce Rate Continues to Skyrocket in China

Posted: 11/17/2014 12:00 pm

chinese divorces rupert murdoch wendy dengAs the Chinese economy improves, and the standard of living rises, so too does the national divorce rate.

As reported on Yangcheng Online, divorces in China have steadily risen since 2004. In 2013, there were 3.5 million divorces in China, a 12.8 percent increase from the year before.

Guangzhou’s divorce rate is indicative of the general mood in China. In 2003, there were only 4,404 divorces in Guangdong; ten years later, there were 24,838; an increase of 564 percent.

If you’re thinking that the younger generation is driving the rising divorce rate, you’d be mistaken. Although people in Guangzhou between the ages of 30 and 39 are the most likely to get divorced (totalling 151,837 in 2013), the next largest segment are those aged 40 and up (totalling 136,766 divorces).

Check out the infographic to see for yourself.


Photo: Life Dayoo


Close Call at Guangzhou Airport as Two Airplanes Collide on Runway

Posted: 11/12/2014 11:15 am

guangzhou airport collisionGuangzhou Baiyun International Airport was the scene of a close call yesterday when two planes collided on the runway. While neither plane sustained significant damage, one of them lost part of its wing, reported Southern Daily Report.

It started when a China Southern Airlines jet was landing. As it was taxiing along the runway, it hit a China Eastern airliner which had come to a stop.

No one was hurt in the incident, although people on board say it was quite tense for a while. The cause of the collision remains unknown, and is being investigated by airport authorities.

guangzhou airport collisionguangzhou airport collisionPhotos: Southern Daily Report


Pollution in Guangzhou So Bad the Mayor Will Take the Bus

Posted: 11/4/2014 9:15 am

At a time when smog has become one of the top social issues in China, one prominent public figure is vowing to do something about it. Chen Jianhua, the Mayor of Guangzhou, has pledged to refrain from driving, and will take the bus instead if the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds the “unhealthy” range of 200, reports Nanfang Net.

According to Chen, about 77 percent of days this year have been relatively smog free, a 0.7 percent increase over 2013. The number of unhealthy days has also declined, he said. But the ultimate goal, says Chen, is to “make Guangzhou residents proud of Guangzhou’s air quality”.

Chen’s pledge to take the bus was met with scepticism, and even dismissed as a publicity stunt by official media outlets, considering the city has only exceeded the 200 benchmark once all year, wrote Red Net in a commentary. The piece was later republished by

“Considering Guangzhou only has a moderate air pollution problem, Mayor Chen’s much-hyped 200-air-quality target seems a little too easy. If he could lower the target to 150 as the benchmark for taking the bus, his plan would probably garner more support, and the public would not question his remark as little more than a publicity stunt.”

The AQI reading is usually between 100 and 150 in Guangzhou. In China, air quality is categorised into five grades. Below 50 is considered healthy; 51-100 is moderate; 100-200 range is unhealthy; 200-300 range is very unhealthy; and a reading above 300 is considered hazardous.



Guangzhou Tracking Africans from Ebola Region with Free Mobile Phones

Posted: 11/3/2014 9:00 am

Guangzhou has found a novel way to keep in touch with people arriving from west Africa, which has been afflicted with the Ebola virus: give them free mobile phones.

Every single traveler who arrives in the city from Guinea, Libera, or Sierra Leong will get a health care package that includes a thermometer, local map and free mobile phone with a SIM card pre-installed.

Xinhua reports:

“Passengers who get the phone should keep it turned on for the following 21 days. In this way, disease control personnel can track and contact them as quickly as possible,” said Wu Huiming, deputy head of the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau.

So far authorities have handed out 98 phones.

Guangzhou is known as Africa’s capital in China, with some estimates that 200,000 Africans are living in the city. The strong links with Africa have made concerns about the spread of Ebola particularly acute in the city. If anyone rejects the mobile phones or health package, they will be blacklisted the next time they try and enter the country.



How to Stop the Spread of Dengue Fever? Get Rid of Abandoned Cars

Posted: 10/29/2014 3:45 pm

abandoned cars dengue fever guangzhouAbandoned cars in Guangzhou have become a target for officials stepping up the fight against Dengue Fever. Even though the spread of the virus is starting to subside, authorities are making sure it doesn’t have the chance to bounce back. That means ridding the city of of abandoned cars, which can serve as breeding grounds for the multitude of mosquitoes that spread the deadly virus, has become a priority.

Approximately 580 cars and 700 motorcycles were removed from Xinan Street in Sanshui District, an area where many local residents had dumped vehicles that had little value to them.

The original owners of the cars were notified of plans to remove the vehicles through official channels and news media, of which one-third removed the cars on their own. The rest were taken away in a joint collaboration between the traffic police and chengguan.

Meanwhile, the number of Dengue Fever cases reported daily has dropped below 300 in the past two days, with 217 new cases reported yesterday. In total, 41,155 people were infected with the virus and six people have died.

Photos: Zhujiang Times

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