‘Watched the whole time’: China’s surveillance state grows under Xi
Jing Xuan TENG
When Chen picked up his phone to vent his anger at getting a parking ticket, his message on WeChat was a drop in the ocean of daily posts on China’s biggest social network.
But soon after his tirade against “simple-minded” traffic cops in June, he found himself in the tentacles of the communist country’s omniscient surveillance apparatus.
Chen quickly deleted the post, but officers tracked him down and detained him within hours, accusing him of “insulting the police”.
He was locked up for five days for “inappropriate speech”.
His case — one of the thousands logged by a dissident and reported by local media — laid bare the pervasive monitoring that characterises life in China today.
Its leaders have long taken an authoritarian approach to social control.
But since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he has reined in the relatively freewheeling social currents of the turn of the century, using a combination of technology, law and ideology to squeeze dissent and preempt threats to his rule.
Ostensibly targeting criminals and aimed at protecting order, social controls have been turned against dissidents, activists and religious minorities, as well as ordinary people — such as Chen — judged to have crossed the line.
– Eyes in the sky –
The average Chinese citizen today spends nearly every waking moment under the watchful eye of the state.
Research firm Comparitech estimates the average Chinese city has more than 370 security cameras per 1,000 people — making them the most surveilled places in the world — compared with London’s 13 or Singapore’s 18 per 1,000.
The nationwide “Skynet” urban surveillance project has ballooned, with cameras capable of recognising faces, clothing and age.
“We are being watched the whole time,” an environmental activist who declined to be named told AFP.
The Communist Party’s grip is most stark in the far-western region of Xinjiang, where facial recognition and DNA collection have been deployed on mainly Muslim minorities in the name of counter-terrorism.
The Covid-19 pandemic has turbo-charged China’s monitoring framework, with citizens now tracked on their smartphones via an app that determines where they can go based on green, yellow or red codes.
Regulations rolled out since 2012 closed loopholes that allowed people to purchase SIM cards without giving their names, and mandated government identification for tickets on virtually all forms of transport.
– Online offences –
There is no respite online, where even shopping apps require registration with a phone number tied to an identification document.
Wang, a Chinese dissident speaking to AFP under a pseudonym due to safety concerns, recalled a time before Xi when censors were not all-knowing and “telling jokes about (former Chinese president) Jiang Zemin on the internet was actually very popular”.
But the Chinese internet — behind the “Great Firewall” since the early 2000s — has become an increasingly policed space.
Wang runs a Twitter account tracking thousands of cases of people detained, fined or punished for speech acts since 2013.
Thanks to the real-name verification system as well as cooperation between police and social media platforms, people have been punished for a vast array of online offences.
Platforms such as Weibo employ thousands of content moderators and automatically block politically sensitive keywords, such as tennis star Peng Shuai’s name after she accused a senior politician of sexual assault last year.
Cyberspace authorities are proposing new rules that would force platforms to monitor comments sections on posts — one of the last avenues for people to voice their grievances online.
– Ideological policing –
Many of the surveillance technologies in use have been embraced in other countries.
“The real difference in China is the lack of independent media and civil society able to provide meaningful criticism of innovations or to point out their many flaws,” Jeremy Daum, from the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, told AFP.
Xi has reshaped Chinese society, with the Communist Party stipulating what citizens “ought to know, to feel, to think, and say, and do”, Vivienne Shue, professor emeritus of contemporary China studies at Oxford University, told AFP.
Youngsters are kept away from foreign influences, with authorities banning international books and forbidding tutoring companies from hiring overseas teachers.
Ideological policing has even extended to fashion, with television stations censoring tattoos and earrings on men.
“What disturbs me more is not the censorship itself, but how it shaped the ideology of people,” said Wang, the Twitter account owner.
“With dissenting information being eliminated, every website becomes a cult, where the government and leaders have to be worshipped.”
Authorities in China’s Hubei province say the Three Gorges Dam is facing the most severe floods since it was built.
By August 20, the Three Gorges Dam in central China’s Hubei Province is expected to see the most severe round of floods since it was completed in 2003, Chinese authorities said.
According to a forecast by the Changjiang Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, the inbound flow of water is expected to reach more than 74 000 cubic meters per second after continuous heavy rain battered the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
The Three Gorges dam on August 13, 2020. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Antonio Vecoli
The Yangtze River, China’s longest waterway, recorded the fifth flood of the year in its upper reaches on Monday, August 17, Xinhua reports.
In addition, Chongqing municipality, which is located along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, upgraded its flood-control response to Level I on Tuesday, the highest rung in the four-tier emergency response system for floods.
The upcoming flood is expected to hit the city proper of Chongqing through Thursday, according to the municipal water resources authorities.
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China.
It’s the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22 500 MW) since 2012.
In 2018, the dam generated 101.6 terawatt-hours (TWh), breaking its previous record, but was still slightly lower than the Itaipú Dam, which had set the world record in 2016 after producing 103.1 TWh.
Featured image: The Three Gorges dam on August 13, 2020, as seen by Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2 Satellite. Credit: Antonio Vecoli
A suspected case of bubonic plague has been registered in China’s north, according to local health authorities. The news comes after two similar cases were detected in neighboring Mongolia.
The case was registered at a hospital in China’s Inner Mongolia region, its health commission said in a statement on Sunday.
This prompted a third-level warning of a potential epidemic in the region. The alert comes into force immediately and will be in place until the end of this year. It’s believed the patient in question is suffering from the bubonic form, which causes swollen lymph nodes, and is considered to be the most easily treated variant of the disease.
The plague also has a pneumonic and an extra-deadly septicemic form that can kill a victim within a day.
Earlier this week, two people also tested positive for the bubonic plague in neighboring Mongolia.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, the potential return of the dreaded plague is definitely the last thing the world needs. So far, Covid-19 has infected nearly 11.5 million people, killing more than 530,000 of them.
Yet the toll from coronavirus is dwarfed by that of the plague, which has caused pandemics at least three times in the course of history. It has an extremely high mortality rate, at around 95 percent, and caused the deaths of tens of millions before healthcare evolved enough to treat it. The last such pandemic was in the 19th century, and it hit China and India particularly hard.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 cases of the plague are still registered worldwide each year, with many of them originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A 1,000-year-old tomb with a ceiling decorated with stars and constellations has been discovered in northern China.
Found not far from a modern day railway station, the circular tomb has no human remains but instead has murals which show vivid scenes of life. “The tomb murals mainly depict the daily domestic life of the tomb occupant,” and his travels with horses and camels, a team of researchers wrote in their report on the tomb recently published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.
On the east wall, people who may have served as attendants to the tomb’s occupant are shown holding fruit and drinks. There is also a reclining deer, a crane, bamboo trees, a crawling yellow turtle and a poem. The poem reads in part, “Time tells that bamboo can endure cold weather. Live as long as the spirits of the crane and turtle.”
he tomb also contains images of what appear to be the occupant’s pets. On the north wall, there is “a black and white cat with a red ribbon on its neck and a silk-strip ball in its mouth,” the researchers wrote, with the same scene also showing “a black and white dog with a red ribbon on its neck and a curved tail.” Male and female attendants are shown beside the cat and dog, with an empty bed lying between the animals. [Photos: 1,000 Year Old Tomb Found in China]
The tomb’s ceiling contains stars painted in a bright red color. The “completed constellations are formed by straight lines connecting the stars in relevant shapes and forms,” the researchers wrote.
Archaeologists also found a small statue of the occupant. The statue is 3.1 feet (0.94 meters) tall, and shows a smiling man who is wearing a long black robe while sitting cross-legged on a platform. It could be that the statue was used as a substitute for the body in the burial, the researchers said, noting this practice wasn’t unusual among Buddhists at the time.
The tomb was found in Datong City and was excavated in 2011 by a team from the Datong Municipal Institute of Archaeology. The researchers reported their finds, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu, and their article was recently translated into English and published in Chinese Cultural Relics. The excavation team was led by Junxi Liu.
Who was he?
The tomb was robbed in the past and the name of the tomb owner has not survived. Judging by his statue, and the decoration of his tomb, researchers said it’s likely that the occupant was a Han Chinese man of some rank and wealth.
At the time he lived, about 1,000 years ago, the area where his tomb is located was controlled by the Liao Dynasty (sometimes called the Liao Empire). This dynasty was controlled by people called the Khitan, who held territory in modern- day Mongolia, northern China and parts of Russia.
Historical records indicate that the Khitan ruled a multicultural empire that incorporated Han Chinese into the government.
“The Khitan system of rule worked on a principle of dual administration, with its nomadic, pastoral, and mostly Khitan subjects in the north under the northern government and its agricultural, sedentary, and largely Chinese and Bohai subjects in the south under the southern government,” writes Nicola Di Cosmo, a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, in a chapter of the book “Gilded Splendor: Treasures of China’s Liao Empire” (Asia Society, 2007).
Although we may never know the identity of the tomb occupant, or the position he held, this unknown man has left behind a colorful tomb full of life.
Chinese Cultural Relics is a new journal that translates Chinese-language articles, which were originally published in the journal Wenwu, into English. The mural tomb was included in its inaugural issue.
Oil companies begin ‘fracking’ in China’s most dangerous earthquake zone
Published time: August 01, 2013 10:29
Edited time: August 01, 2013 12:05
Reuters / Stringer
The Chinese want to join the shale gas revolution, even if it means drilling for oil in China’s earthquake hot bed in the Sichuan region, where nearly 70,000 died in an earthquake in 2008.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and China National Petroleum have started ‘fracking’ operations in the province.
China hopes to boost annual shale gas production to 6.5 billion cubic meters by 2015, and reserves are estimated at about 1,115 trillion cubic feet, according to the US Energy Information Administration, higher than the estimated 665 trillion gas reserves on American soil.
Europe’s largest oil company plans to invest $1 billion per year in China’s shale gas industry, as part of its goal to increase global output to four million barrels of oil and gas by 2017-2018, up from current levels of 3.3 million.
Drilling for oil in the Longmenshan mountain range, where India and Asia meet, could increase tremors in the already highly-sensitive area.
The hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ process of extracting oil from the earth is invasive and is believed by many to be a direct earthquake instigator.
Extraction by ‘fracking’ involves pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground, which creates excess hydro waste, which over time, causes tectonic stress.
“We do detailed structural analysis as a routine part of our pre-drill evaluation,” Shi Jiangtao, a Shell spokesman in Beijing, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “This means that we evaluate the geology by using seismic, surface geology, nearby well data, etc.”
There is strong correlative evidence between deep underground wells and nearby earthquakes, both in the US and China.
An investigation by the US Geological Survey found that ‘fracking’ and quakes aren’t directly related, but noted, “at some locations the increase in seismicity coincides with the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells.”
Human-induced earthquakes would be controversial in a region which experienced one of the deadliest earthquakes in China’s history, which killed nearly 70,000, including 5,335 school children in a 2008 quake in Wenchuan, Sichuan region.
Thousands of people flock to look at the devastated town of Beichuan on May 12, 2009 which was destroyed in the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake (AFP Photo / Peter Parks)
The boom in oil and gas ‘fracking’ has led to jobs, billions in royalties and profits, and even some environmental gains.
The shale industry boom in the US may add as much as $690 billion to GDP and create 1.7 million jobs by 2020, according to a study by McKinsey and Co. The oil boom has boosted domestic employment, company profits, and GDP in the US, and China is eager to follow suit, even it means drilling in earthquake territory.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, China National Petroleum, and China Petrochemical Corp all currently have drilling operations in the region.
Geologists also raise concerns over the amount of water used in ‘fracking’, and whether China’s shale ambitions could run the water supply dry.
China, home to roughly 20 percent of the world’s population, only controls 6 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, and often experiences serious water shortages. Adding ‘fracking’ to this equation could only further exacerbate the problem. Toxic chemicals used in fracking alter the drinking water.
Shale gas is often found ‘in the middle of nowhere’, places that are already prone to water shortages.
Environmentalists in China have also voiced concern over contamination and pollution brought on by ‘fracking’ waste disposal.
Shell’s earnings hit hard by shale gas
Royal Dutch Shell’s earnings fell $1.1 billion in Q2, year on year, blaming poor performance on higher operating costs, disruptions in Nigeria, and a weakening Aussie currency. Total revenue fell by 5.6 percent.
Net income fell by 57 percent in the second quarter, which was partly due to $2.2 billion the company had to write off on shale exploration and development in the United States.
China’s eagerness to exploit shale gas opens an opportunity for foreign investors looking for a start-up opportunity.
“In the next 18 months we expect to see five major project start-ups, which should add over $4bn to our 2015 cash flow,” said Peter Voser, CEO of Shell, said in relation to quarterly results.
Shell is planning to sell four more oil blocks in Nigeria, and is eyeing selling other assets in the Niger Delta, where oil theft and violence has stunted revenue.
It has already sold eight Niger Delta licenses for a total $1.8bn since 2010, but has publicly announced it remains committed to operations in Nigeria.
Could the global tide in support of GMO’s be turning? A new report reveals that the formerly pro-GMO Chinese government, one of the largest consumers of GMO food crops in the world, is beginning to crack down on GM corn shipments from the US that have not followed appropriate biosafety regulations.
According to a news brief released by GMWatch.org, China destroyed three shipments of GM corn imported from the US. GMWatch.org reported:
“The law says that the [Chinese] Ministry of Agriculture must require environmental and food safety tests to be carried out by Chinese institutions, in order to verify data provided by the seed developer. All these documents must be reviewed by the National Biosafety Committee before the MOA can issue a safety certificate. Yet these shipments of US corn did not have the relevant safety certificates and approval documents, according to the news reports below.”
“Recently, during inspection and quarantine of imported food from USA by a certain company, the Wanzai Office of Zhuhai Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (in Guangdong Province in the south of China) detected two shipments containing GM corn products, which are not in compliance with China’s “Entry and Exit of Genetically Modified Products Inspection and Quarantine Management Approach“. The Office destroyed the two shipments of corn according to the provisions.*”
Recently, the Harbin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau intercepted inbound mail of 21 cartons of corn seeds from USA, totaling 115 kgs, which were detected as GM seeds. This is the first time that the Heilongjiang Provincial Inspection and Quarantine System has intercepted inbound corn seeds containing GM ingredients. These corn seeds will be destroyed. *
Surprisingly, despite these seemingly drastic steps by Chinese authorities to destroy GM seeds, an article in China Daily from last year explains that the consumption of GM soybeans is already universal in China, even despite widespread public concerns that they have not been adequately safety tested:
Summary: Imported RR soybeans (Roundup herbicide resistant GM soybeans) has already accounted to over 80% of total consumption of soybeans in China, but the assessment and approval procedures for the initial imported GM soybeans, has been oppugned that it’s examination procedures exists with defects. According to news reports, on Feb. 20, 2012, Gu Xiu-lin and other three citizens upon application were approved to check the “certification documents for the GM soybeans obtaining safety certificates”.
The China Daily article goes on to quote Shi Yan-quan, Deputy Director, Agricultural Finance and Education Dept., who stated on April 20, 2012, that over 50 million tons of GMO soybeans were imported to China in 2011 alone. The article also refers to the fact that for eight years, 1.3 billion Chinese consumers have been consuming Monsanto‘s GM food crops, relying entirely on biotech-funded safety evaluations, without any independent safety testing carried out by the Chinese government. Additionally, a revealing study published in 2012 found that the Chinese print media is completely co-opted by biotech industry influence. They revealed that “48.1% of articles were largely supportive of the GM technology research and development programs and the adoption of GM cottons, while 51.9% of articles were neutral on the subject of GMOs. Risks associated with GMOs were mentioned in the newspaper articles, but none of the articles expressed negative tones in regards to GMOs.” The authors concluded: “Chinese print media is largely supportive of GMOs. It also indicates that the print media describes the Chinese government as actively pursuing national GMO research and development programs and the promotion of GM cotton usage.”
Are these latest incidents a sign that the Chinese government is beginning to take more seriously the health threats associated with the consumption of genetically modified food? According to the GMWatch.org report’s primary informant, who for purposes of anonymity goes by the pseudonym “Mr. Li”:
[T]he new government’s decisive move to destroy the illegal GMOs “progressive, encouraging, and satisfying”. He regards it as a sign that it is keeping its promise to work for the people and the nation.
Mr Li said: “The deeply pro-GMO old government would not have made such a thing public. It would have secretly returned the shipments, or in most cases it would not even have inspected shipments that could contain GM ingredients.
In China, the Book of Changes (I Ching) is one of the most important books used for divination and self-realization. Its principle may have been developed from the perception of eye floaters during altered states of consciousness.
“Eye floaters” (mouches volantes or muscae volitantes in French and German ophthalmology) is a collective term used in ophthalmology for all possible opacities in the vitreous. Many of them can be traced to physiological disorders like retinal detachment or diabetic vitreoretinopathy. The floaters at issue, though – which are also the most experienced floater type – are considered as ‘idiopathic’, i.e. without pathological cause. I call them “shining structure floaters” (Tausin 2012a). They are seen as mobile and scattered semi-transparent dots and strands in the visual field, best perceived in bright light conditions (fig 1). These dots and strands float according to the eye movements which makes them hard to focus on.
Fig. 1: ‘Idiopathic’ eye floaters in the visual field (FT).
In Western culture, the phenomenon of eye floaters is primarily understood in line with modern ophthalmology as “vitreous opacities” (Trick, 2007; Sendrowski/Bronstein, 2010). However, there are alternative explanations: In the mid-1990s, I met a man named Nestor living in the solitude of the hilly Emmental region of Switzerland. Nestor, as well as his friends, have a unique and provocative claim: that they focus on a constellation of huge shining spheres and strings which have been formed in their field of vision. They interpret this phenomenon as a subtle structure formed by our consciousness which in turn creates our material world. Nestor and his friends call themselves ‘seers’. They ascribe this subjective visual perception to their long lasting efforts to develop their consciousness (Tausin 2010a, 2009). I did some research and found that in history of religion and art, a multitude of cases are known in which spiritually committed individuals report or depict abstract or figurative subjective visual phenomena they experienced in altered states of consciousness (cf. Tausin 2010b; Müller-Ebeling 1993). This may even trace back to Paleolithic times where early “shamanic” ritual practices and techniques of ecstasy gave rise to evolving homo sapiens’ awareness of so-called entoptic phenomena, including shining structure floaters (cp. Dowson/Lewis-Williams 1988; Eliade 1957; Tausin 2012b, 2010b). If so, these subjective visual phenomena were seen and interpreted by shamans and mystics over and over, passed down e.g. as religious symbols and artistic conventions, and eventually incorporated into the art and philosophy of the first civilizations (Tausin 2012c, 2012d). It is reasonable then to examine the I Ching for floater structures.
The I Ching (Yijing)
Bronze Age China was ruled by expanding dynasties and warring states. In 1027 BC, the Zhou established a dynasty that would last until the formation of the first Chinese Empire by the Qin in 221 BC. To legitimize and ensure their rule, the Zhou subordinated the king and the officials to a universal moral law, the “Heaven’s Mandate” (tianming). This law was thought to endow the king with heavenly, and therefore absolute power (Kohn 2009; Von Glahn 2004; Gernet 1989; Chen 1963). Ancient Chinese texts served to harmonize one’s conduct with the heavenly law. In the 5th century BC, these texts were compiled by K’ung Fu-tse (Confucius) into a canon of several classic works that also served as a basis of studies. The five most important (Five classics) are the Shujing (Book of Documents); Shijing (Book of Poetry); Lijing (Book of Rites), Chunqiu (the Spring and Autumn Annals, which are the official chronicles of the State of Lu), and the Yijing (I Ching) (Book of Changes) (Gernet 1989; cp. Raphals 1998).
Let’s have a closer look at the I Ching. Historically, there were several versions of the I Ching. It is likely that each Chinese dynasty had its own official version. According to scholars, these texts have developed from the oracle rituals of the Longshan period: animal bones and tortoise shells were heated to produce cracks which were the sources of divinatory interpretation (cp. Kohn 2009; Cheng 2009; Liu 2004; Lynn 1998). The I Ching, as it is known today, is based on the dualism of two principles yang and yin, depicted as an unbroken line and a broken line respectively. They represent the dynamic and creative forces of the Ultimate (qi/chi, later dao). Yang and yin lines are combined to eight trigrams (set of three) and 64 hexagrams (set of six). Each trigram and hexagram is attributed with a specific meaning, resulting in a complex and rich symbolism that is used for divination, undertakings and self-realization up to this day (cp. Roberts 2010; Kohn 2009; Ames 1998; Rawson/Legeza 1974).
Fig. 2: The development of the eight trigrams (pa-kua) from the Supreme Ultimate. From top to bottom and from right to left: The Supreme Ultimate (t’ai-chi); the male principle yang and the female principle yin; the four double line images: big or old yang, young yang, young yin and old yin; the eight trigrams: Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Water, Mountain, Earth (Prunner 1986).
Visually, the floaters spheres and the floater strings with their core-surround structure have nothing to do with the yang and yin principle, depicted as unbroken and broken lines in the I Ching. However, there are indications for arguing that the trigrams and hexagrams are stylized representations of circles or spheres. I will discuss three points: First, in the Chinese art, circles and curves were frequently reshaped to rectangles and straight lines. This is exemplified by the sun symbol in the ancient Chinese scripture and ornamentation (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Ancient Chinese pictograms for “sun”, “day”, “eye” etc. (Hentze 1951).
This also seems to be the case with the I Ching, at least if we consider the mythical origin of the trigram system: According to the legend, the eight trigrams are attributed to the culture hero and mythical ruler Fu Hsi (or Fu Xi) (Roberts 2010). One day, he was walking along the Yellow River when a white horse with the head of a dragon emerged from the water. On its side, there was a map (Ho Tu) consisting of bright and dark dots (Legge 1882; cp. Kohn 2009).
Fig. 4: Ho Tu (“map of the river”). The Ho Tu and its twin, the Lo Shu map, both were used for divinatory and numerological ends and as basis for Feng shui practice. (http://www.tao-chi-duisburg.de/I-Ching/Das_Ho_Tu/das_ho_tu.html (15.12.12); cp. Legge 1882; Prunner 1986).
It is said that the Yellow River Map inspired Fu Hsi to develop the eight trigrams, arranged in the four cardinal and four ordinal (diagonal) directions.
Fig 5: The eight trigrams arranged around the Ho Tu (http://www.kheper.net/topics/I_Ching/history.html (16.12.12)).
This is known today as the “Early Heaven” arrangement of the eight symbols or trigrams (pa-kua, bagua).
Fig 6: The “Early / Earlier Heaven” pa-kua by Fu Hsi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagua_%28concept%29 (16.12.12)).
How exactly, according to the myth, the transition from the dots to the trigrams was done is not known to me. My point here is that the trigrams have been developed from dark and bright dots. And that – with regard to the shamanic influence on ancient Chinese culture and the shining floater forms found on craftwork (Tausin forthcoming) – these dots might represent concentrated male (bright core) and female (dark core) floater spheres (Tausin 2011, 2010a).
This view is supported by my second point, the cosmogony or development of the material world that features the same characteristics in the seers’ seeing as in the I Ching (see fig. 2). Central to both the I Ching and the Emmental seers is an Ultimate called chi (qi) or t’ai-chi by the Chinese and “source” by the seers. Whereas seers claim that they see this source as a sphere (Tausin 2010a, 2009), the Chinese depict chi as a circle. This sphere or circle contains the two original opposites. Chinese philosophy understands these opposites as separate creative forces, yin and yang. Seers see them as dark and bright parts of the core-surround structure of floater spheres, or as the two kinds of spheres (dark core, white surround; white core, dark surround) respectively. The interplay of these forces gives rise to the diversity of the material world – and mundane consciousness – which increasingly substantiates and removes from the original abstractness of chi or the “source”. This process of diversification is depicted in the I Ching as the multiplication of yang-yin-combinations in the digrams, trigrams and hexagrams. Similarly, the Emmental seer see that the “path in the shining structure” is a way from many floaters to a constellation of few floaters to the “source” – based on that, they suggest that the “path in the shining structure” is an inversed creation process.
My third point is that the digrams, trigrams and hexagrams are a system to express the visual changes of shining structure floaters. In different states of concentration and intensity, floaters differ in size and the area ratio of core and surround, resulting in different luminosity as well (cp. Tausin 2011). Taking yin as the dark parts and yang as the bright parts of floater spheres, the digrams, trigrams and hexagrams are able to express these states in different degrees of acuteness. The figure below shows the transition of a male (yang) and a female (yin) sphere from the big relaxed (center) to the small concentrated (left and right) states, expressed by the trigrams.
Fig. 7: A possible correlation of trigrams and shining floater states of concentration. Source: author.
To address one last obvious question: If shining structure spheres have been transformed into straight broken and unbroken lines – why is that? I have mentioned above that the reshaping of circles to rectangles – or dots to lines – are an artistic convention of some of the Bronze Age Chinese art. But there could also be practical reasons: Lines are fast and easy to discern and write; they are space saving; and as trigrams and hexagrams, they express well defined states or phenomena. For example, the trigrams „lake” and „fire” are clearly distinguishable and therefore can be used for divinatory ends, while the concentrative states of shining structure spheres permanently alter and thus are less clearly assignable to particular concepts. In other words: the lines are better suited for writing and divinatory and philosophical reasoning.
The article is based on the assumption that ancient Chinese shamans or ecstatics have seen shining structure floaters and other entoptic phenomena during altered states of consciousness. They have understood these phenomena as meaningful and powerful signs and passed them down as spiritual and philosophical symbols and artistic conventions. I’ve made three points in order to suggest that floaters have become stylized and systematized in early divinatory texts which later were compiled as the I Ching. If so, two mutually exclusive conclusions follow from that, the ophthalmological and the seers’ interpretation: Either the I Ching is based on a “degenerative vitreous syndrome” which would prove its ridiculousness. Or floaters have a perceptual (and spiritual) dimension that goes far beyond the ophthalmological knowledge. Based on my personal experience and my research, I tend to the second.
Update 00:49 UTC : WAPMERR, the theoretical damage engine has calculated that based on M6.9 and 16 km depth there will be 400 to 3500 fatalities and thousands of injured. Let’s hope that they are wrong !
Update 00:47 UTC : The Chinese data are even more dangerous. CEIC reports a Magnitude of 7.0 at a depth of only 14 km. ER fears for a lot of fatalities.
Update 00:41 UTC : We do stress that this is a MAJOR DANGEROUS earthquake. The combination Magnitude / depth can be very damaging.
Update 00:40 UTC : Based on the USGS data, Muping Town is at high risk for severe damage. Population : 11000 people
Update 00:37 UTC : We will have to wait a little to get the precise population data in the direct vicinity of the earthquake.
Update 00:36 UTC : Unfortunately all the local Chinese seismology servers are down because of too many requests
Update 00:26 UTC : USGS is expecting a MASSIVE MMI IX shaking near the epicenter. Even if the shaking should be down to VII or VIII, this earthquake will still be very damaging.
Update 00:26 UTC : USGS is reporting a Magnitude of 6.9 at a depth of only 16 km. EMSC is initially reporting a depth of 60 km. If the final depth is less than 20 km, this earthquake will normally be very damaging.
Update 00:22 UTC : We are currently trying to get the data of the Chinese Seismological services, but so far we could not get to it, probably server are too busy.
Update 00:18 UTC : The earthquake was VERY powerful and felt in a very wide area. We did get already reports as far as Chonqing and Kunming. We stress that this is a VERY DANGEROUS earthquake
Extremely dangerous earthquake in Sichuan, China
The earthquake was also relatively close to Chengdu (111 km)
111 km SW of Chengdu, China / pop: 3,950,437 / local time: 08:02:53.0 2013-04-20
97 km NW of Leshan, China / pop: 154,477 / local time: 08:02:53.0 2013-04-20
Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.6
Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-04-20 08:02:48
GMT/UTC Time : 2013-04-20 00:02:48
Depth (Hypocenter) : 19 km
for more information and updates, go to: http://earthquake-report.com/2013/04/20/very-strong-earthquake-sichuan-china-on-april-20-2013/
Eli MacKinnon, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Date: 07 September 2012
Chinese officials are investigating industrial dye and upstream silt as two possible sources for the Yangtze River’s red coloring near the city of Chongqing.
A stretch of China’s longest river has abruptly turned the color of tomato juice, and officials say they don’t know why.
Residents of the southwestern city of Chongqing first noticed that the Yangtze River, called the “golden waterway,” had a spreading stain on its reputation yesterday (Sept. 6).
Though the bright-red water was concentrated around Chongqing, Southwest China’s largest industrial center, it was also reported at several other points along the river, according to ABC News.
Investigators have yet to determine a cause, but the Telegraph reports that environmental officials are considering industrial pollution and silt churned up by recent upstream floods as possible sources for the color.
One natural explanation for red water that can likely be ruled out is color-producing microorganisms, according to Emily Stanley, a professor of limnology (the study of inland waters) at the University of Wisconsin.
“When water turns red, the thing a lot of people think of first is red tide,” Stanley told Life’s Little Mysteries. “But the algae that causes red tide is a marine group and not a freshwater group, so it’s highly, highly unlikely that this is a red-tide-related phenomenon.”
Fresh water does occasionally turn blood-red for biological reasons (a lake that turned red during a drought in Texas last summer led to talk of the end times), but Stanley said this is most often due to incursions of color-producing bacteria that arrive when a body of water has less oxygen than normal. Because rivers move constantly, struggling and mixing with the air above them as they go, they rarely ever get the oxygen deficiencies necessary for a life-based red dye job.
After reviewing a few images of Chongqing’s shockingly red river, Stanley put her money on a man-made cause.
“It looks like a pollutant phenomenon,” she said. “Water bodies that have turned red very fast in the past have happened because people have dumped dyes into them.”
An industrial dye dump was in fact the explanation when an urban stretch of another Chinese river, the Jian, turned crimson last December. Investigators traced the color back to a chemical plant that they said had been illegally producing red dye for firework wrappers.
Still, Stanley says she can’t rule out the other possibility officials are now reportedly investigating: an upstream influx of silt. Her instinct, though, is that red clay would be more likely.
“China is well known for having areas with a lot of steep hill sides and a lot of land use practices that promote soil erosion and soil going into rivers,” she said. “You can get red-colored clays that wouldn’t be a whole lot different from having a big dose of dye go in there. But if that’s the cause I’d imagine there would have had to be a huge storm or a huge amount of clay go into the system.”
Taking another look at the Campbell’s-hued Yangtze, she said, “It looks really industrial somehow.”
Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.7 (CENC), 5.6 (CENC)
UTC Time : 03:19:42 UTC, Friday, 7th September, 2012.
Local time at epicenter : 11:19:42, Friday, 7th September, 2012.
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10km, 10km
Geo-location(s) : 1km (1mi) SW of Jiaokui, China
39km (24mi) NE of Zhaotong, China
84km (52mi) NNW of Weining, China
120km (75mi) SW of Xunchang, China
Update 14:08 UTC
– It is horrifying for us to add always more and more fatalities in our updates. Now from 63 to 64, another family devastated by losing someone.
– The Yunnan earthquake is currently the 4th deadliest earthquake of 2012
Image courtesy and copyright ChinaNews – Click on this picture to watch more images from ChinaNews
Image courtesy and copyright zhgpl.com
Update 13:05 UTC
– The death toll has, as could be expected, further increased to 63
– 715 people are injured in various degrees
– China Prime Minister Hu Jintao gave personally high priority instructions to do whatever necessary to help the people in the disaster area
– 15 county towns have been damaged in various degrees
– It is currently dark in China and the power has not been restored in all affected areas yet
– 3961 rooms are destroyed
– 13876 rooms damaged
– 3455 livestock pens destroyed
– 11633 livestock pens damaged
Update 10:59 UTC
– A reporter who was inspecting the area saw huge landslides on both sides of the valley.
– Roads are being blocked by huge rocks.
– A boulder measuring 36 meter was blocking the river, creating a small lake
– The houses of 30 families living near a zinc mine have all been damaged
– aftershocks are following each other very fast. More landslides and rockfall is being triggered by the many aftershocks
– rescue workers have still problems to reach some areas as roads are blocked
Update 10:47 UTC
– Most of the fatalities (49 of the 50) have been reported from Yilang county
– The local seismological bureau has given 4 reasons why the death toll is higher in Yilang county
a) very high population density (205 people per sq/km vs 117 in the rest of Yunnan)
b) poorly constructed houses because of poor families and almost no industrial activity (no earthquake resistant building)
c) mountains and slopes which can trigger easily secondary effects like landslides
d) the double strong earthquakes impact. The second earthquake was shallower and closer to densely populated areas
– Experts from CEA (National Earthquake Authority) will arrive soon at the scene to help with the local authorities. National experts are only sent in after major earthquake events.
– High Voltage Power supply facilities have been severely damaged
Update 10:31 UTC
– China TV now reports that 50 people have lost their life in a double moderate earthquake, making this earthquake one of the most deadly this year. Assessment is currently done by the Chinese authorities
– Darkness will set in in a couple of hours making rescue work even more dangerous. Rescuers still have to cope with aftershocks of M3 to M4.
Image courtesy yunnan.cn
Update 09:20 UTC
– This is the unfolding report of the Yunnan earthquake China, no more updates since our 08:31 UTC report
– More information can come in at any minute
– If you want to know more about this earthquake, please keep this page open and refresh it at regular times as we will continue following up this cruel earthquake the following hours
– Earthquake-Report.com is following up both official information (national and regional seismological bureaus and rescue departments, civil defense authorities as well as Chinese news media)
Update 08:31 UTC
– The death toll of the double M5.6 / M5.7 earthquake has further climbed to 43 (42 in Yiliang County, 1 in Zhaoyang District).
– 700,000 people have been affected by this cruel earthquake
– 100,000 people have been relocated
– Major fires are currently going on in the damaged areas (can be seen on the latest video below)
Update 08:10 UTC
The Yunnan Provincial Civil Affairs department has just released an update :
– 24 dead, 150 injured.
– 100000 people evacuated/relocated
– 20000+ households with damage
– ER expects that the Economic loss estimate is coming out to $220-390 million based on the current parameters. (still waiting on a damage-based estimate).
Image courtesy CCTV
Update 07:48 UTC
– Apart from the mainshocks, a lot of aftershocks are hitting the area
– The current rainy weather is making the soil very unstable, thus triggering a lot of minor and major landslides
– The Chinese CEA authority has send a 10-man supervisory team to the area. These National teams are only flying in in major disaster cases.
Update 07:40 UTC
– Reports are also talking about severely injured people which means that the death toll will probably climb further
– The news of serious landslides also means that remotely located villages may have been hit by landslides too. Priority is mostly given to the bigger cities.
– Greatly seen in the world as small tremors proof once more to become a deadly cocktail in China. Earthquakes cannot be pinned into a Magnitude / Dangerous relation. Much more has to be accounted for.
Important update 07:33 UTC
– Various Chinese media are now reporting a death toll of at least 20 people. (has to be confirmed by the Yunnan Earthquake Bureau)
UPDATE 07:24 UTC: – Power has been lost in some areas as transmission poles were knocked down by landslides
– Rail traffic has been halted in the region
– 6,000 tents, 6,000 quilts and 6,000 coats are distributed to the population
UPDATE 06:47 UTC: – Death toll has reached 7.
– In addition, 20000 households have damage of some form.
– At least 6 are dead according to new reports. The M5.7 earthquake had a 14km depth, and was 15km from Yiliang county and 30 kilometers from Zhaotong City. Damage is expected in both locations.
– The earthquake was felt as far as Chengdu, hundreds of km from the epicenter
Zhaotong Prefecture is home to 5.74 million people but has a reasonably low GDP of around CNY39 billion per year (6.2 billion USD). It is mainly agricultural in nature. The exposed capital stock according to CATDAT in terms of net capital infrastructure is around 14.2 billion USD, of which around 2.1 billion USD is in the most affected areas including Yiliang County. Hence we are looking at a damage bill in at least the 100s of millions of USD if directly impacted. The rural net capita income is about CNY2900 (around 500USD).
UPDATE:- At least 20,000 rooms (around 6,000 houses) are destroyed at first estimates, with 6000 tents being sent to the region and many other disaster supplies.
Epicenter right by the city.
UPDATE:- The dual quakes hit about 57 minutes apart, both of around M5.6, with much panic.
We are still waiting on damage reports but know that much damage has occurred. More than 150 people from disaster services have rushed to the scene.
Over 6.7 million people live within 100km of this quake. Yiliang county itself has around 500,000 inhabitants and is extremely mountainous having differences of 520m above sea level to 2800m within the county.
51 minutes after the event, 39 people were sent to the area from the Seismological Bureau.
According to Yunnan Yiliang radio and television reporter sent to CCTV’s news, a 5.6 earthquake occurred in Yunnan Yiliang, some houses have collapsed and landslides hindered transportation.
for more information and updates, go to: http://earthquake-report.com/2012/09/07/deaths-and-destruction-in-m5-6-shallow-quake-in-china/