Some Tuesday China links:
IKEA, only having operated in China for the last 15 years, is now the largest foreign land owner in China, WantChinaTimes reports.
Yesterday, Apple confirmed it will launch an investigation into the death of a Chinese woman who was electrocuted after picking up a call on her iPhone 5. The 23 year old woman, Ma Ailun, a flight attendant for China Southern Airlines, died last Thursday when she answered the charging phone as she got out of her bath. Ma’s sister blogged the incident and it was re-tweeted on Twitter over 3,000 times.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, mainland China’s top representative in the autonomous region had an official meeting with pro-democratic lawmakers. According to the BBC: “This is the first such meeting since Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997”.
In Sichuan province, heavy rains and floods continue to take their toll on the region. Xinhua reports that so far 58 people have died and 175 residents are still missing. In response, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has dispatched several helicopters and teams of relief workers to assist those in the region. Recent reports of a barrier lake forming after heavy rains and landslides in Sichuan province near the Liusha River have introduced new dangers to the area as well.
In Washington D.C., spray painted graffiti was found on the Chinese embassy’s entrance with the Chinese character 拆 or “chai” – which means to tear down or demolish. Analysts assume the vandalism was a form of protest against the many land seizures and forced demolitions that have been happening in China. The South China Morning Post explains, “When a building in China is scheduled to be demolished, the character “chai” is written in a circle on the building’s wall in red paint”. Even though the graffiti has since been removed, netizens on Weibo have been calling on the Chinese government to resolve the land seizure issue.
Finally, just outside of Shanghai, Chinese archaeologists found a pair of stone axes that display ancient Chinese writing. From preliminary studies, BBC notes that scientists have said the writing could date back to 5,000 years ago, which is significant since the earliest record of writing is currently thought to be from 3,300 BC in Mesopotamia.
Elleka Watts is an editorial assistant at The Diplomat.