The Nanfang / Blog

New Xi Jinping cartoon details President’s busy schedule

Posted: 02/20/2014 10:34 am

Say what you will about Xi Jinping, but he’s become much more of a media darling in the country since his ascension in November 2012.

His predecessors were known for their stoic public images, perhaps nobody more so than Hu Jintao. Hu’s contrived facial expression even stirred up speculation of facioplegia, the paralysis of facial muscles. Netizens even used “Hu Faciolegia” or Hu Miantan in Chinese to bypass the tightly scrutinized Internet when referring to him.

Xi, on the other hand, has earned himself a fan club on Sina Weibo called the “learning from Xi club”. (Some suspect it to be a slick propaganda move.) The latest effort to portray him as a down-to-earth state leader came when the state media Qianlong Net,  run by the Beijing Publicity Department, debuted the cartoon version of Xi in an article titled “Where has president Xi’s time gone?” on February 19. Clad in a grey jacket, with well-groomed hair, the chubby-faced Xi was seen with a sign in his left hand that says “Doing what I do basically means I don’t have any time to myself.”

The report said since Xi’s ascension to the country’s top job, he has made more than 80 inspection and overseas trips while balancing a busy meeting schedule. He had traveled across five continents and 14 countries, it said.

In his downtime, Xi enjoys reading, swimming, football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, martial arts and among others, according to the newspaper.

Xi, however, is not the first Chinese leader to have cartoon images. China’s former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping made his cartoon debut in 1986, the same year reform-minded leader Hu Yaobang was seen in a cartoon image titled “Comrade Yaobang leads us to sing new songs,” Economic Observer reported earlier.

Photo credit: Qianlong Net 


Dongguan struggling to combat severe poverty

Posted: 10/22/2013 1:00 pm

A recent op-ed in South China Morning Post called Dongguan a city “in search of a reason to exist.” The article cited the slowing growth in economic output and the struggling tourist industry.

A feature in yesterday’s Nanfang Daily covered a much more important concern than mere self-image – severe poverty.

Wealth disparity

The rural parts of Dongguan have long been the richest in the province, with per capita income in rural areas at 24,898 yuan, an increase of 9% on the previous year. The city also leads the province in per capita disposable income.

However, inequality remains a huge problem in spite of initiatives such as that to give subsidies to those living below the poverty line. There are some 500 villages and communities in Dongguan, and the 10 poorest have only 1% of the wealth of the 10 richest.

The average per capita annual income is as low as 6,120 yuan, with disposable income at just 15% of that of the average urban resident.

Dongguan party secretary Xu Jianhua said that since 2010, the city has been initiating programs to make sure that the poor are not left behind as Dongguan develops.

However, some areas have not developed significantly during the reform and opening up period and some have even regressed.

Xinwan, a once-thriving fishing village

Xinwan Community on the southern end of Humen was once a thriving fishing village. Now it is just another impoverished part of the countryside.

Xinwan’s party secretary Deng Jianxin said last year, per capita income in the community was less than 7,000 yuan, with net income at less than 1000 yuan.

Rice being cooked on a wood fire in Xinwan, image courtesy of Nanfang Daily

A Lian, 41, has lived in Xinwan all his life. He lives in one of the many 30 square metre homes that was built during the 1960s and 70s in the former fishing village. He has one daughter in primary school and another at university. The family can barely afford the 10,000 yuan a year it costs to put the older daughter through her studies.

A Lian’s monthly income from his electrical repair shop is usually around 1750 yuan. His wife earns 1000 yuan a month at a factory. They are among the lucky families who make just enough to scrape by.

The poverty that exists in rich Dongguan

This year, Dongguan’s minimum wage increased 14% from 1,100 yuan, which in theory means Dongguan should not contain the extremes of poverty found in the nation’s hinterlands.

Try telling that to A Tang who lives in Zhongtang Village with his family of four. Because of a stomach operation he had several years ago, A Tang is unable to do physically demanding work, so to make use of himself he had to act as housewife before going off to help his sister in the local poultry market.

Then he recently landed a job as a security guard which earns him about 1000 yuan a month for 15 days work, and his wife earns 1,000 yuan a month at a local factory.

Together, their income brings them up to the city’s minimum wage, so according to official statistics, they can’t be doing that badly, even though their 70 square metre home is falling apart.

Questions raised over poverty alleviation projects

As a lawsuit that was filed in Guangzhou in June shows, corruption is still a huge obstacle in combating poverty in Dongguan.

Shortly after his tour of Guangdong last December, Xi Jinping said local officials should always bear in mind poverty-stricken groups and work for them with their whole heart and soul.

However, the embezzlement of poverty alleviation funds remains a problem in spite of the president calling it an “intolerable crime.”

A reason to exist

Dongguan needs to find a reason to exist, because poverty alleviation projects cannot be funded or effectively implemented if revenue generators like tourism and manufacturing don’t do well.


Tree in Shenzhen gets its own custom house… because Hu Jintao planted it

Posted: 03/15/2013 4:26 pm

People on Sina Weibo are cracking jokes about a lonely tree in Shenzhen, all because it’s being treated more equally than the others.

Photo Credit: SCMP

The tree is underneath a giant canopy in order to protect it from the sunshine, while other trees in Lianhuashan Park are left to suffer the wrath of nature unprotected. This special treatment is all because former Chinese President Hu Jintao planted this tree back in 2010.

Quite naturally, this has drawn some derision on Sina Weibo. This, from the SCMP:

Netizens posted angry and sarcastic comments on Sina Weibo,China’s twitter-like service.

“Will President Xi Jinping shake my hand and touch my head please,” wrote one blogger, “Then, maybe local officials will build me a canopy.”

“Fortunately they are only trying to preserve a tree,” wrote another, “Imagine how hard their work would be if the leader had urinated on that spot.”

That’s right, this tree is getting better treatment than some people in China. Still, if this tree were to wither and die, it could be seen as a bad omen to the notoriously superstitious Cantonese. So better safe than sorry.


Universiade opens today, airport closes…

Posted: 08/12/2011 9:39 am

The Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre is ready

Well, hello Shenzhen.

Today is a day that has been years in the making. For a long time, we’ve seen the Universiade signs, roads closed, construction underway, been told to clean the city, register with the police, and more. And after all this wait… all this anticipation… the Universiade is set to open today. Finally.

Security is tight in Shenzhen, much like the hours before the kickoff of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. In fact, even Hu Jintao himself is down in our fair city to preside over the glitzy opening ceremonies.

This is all fine and good for fans of the Universiade, but if you have flights scheduled to depart or arrive Shenzhen today, you’ll need to know this: Shenzhen Airport will be closed from 2pm to 7pm as a security measure today. That means no flights taking off or landing during that time. The Hong Kong Standard has a bit more:

Some mainland travel agencies said they were informed of the restrictions just a few days ago.

“I don’t think it’s right to ask so many people to change their work schedules just because of the games,” a woman tourist said.

The airport will also be closed for a few hours on August 23, when the closing ceremonies are held. One wonders if authorities are concerned about a security threat at airports or in the sky, why Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Macao, and Hong Kong airports continue to function, considering they are only a few kilometres away. But alas.

More than 12,000 athletes are in Shenzhen for the big show. If you’re out and about, send us some pictures that capture Shenzhen at its finest (and cleanest).


Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV