China Power

In Northern China, Killer Hornets on the Swarm

Plus, blind activist Chen Guangcheng joins a conservative US think tank. Thursday China links.

In Northern China, Killer Hornets on the Swarm
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Some Thursday China links:

Various state and foreign media outlets have been reporting about northern China’s hornet problem. Since July, more than 1,600 people have been victims of hornet attacks, and 41 people have died from them. Of those attacked, 206 are still hospitalized and being treated for their condition, and 37 of those hospitalized are in critical condition, as the BBC reports. Environmentalists blame the hornet problem on rapid urbanization, which is encouraging the destruction of hornet habitats in once previously undisturbed areas.

Also from the BBC, fleeing house arrest in China and escaping to the U.S. for refuge, Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s better known political dissidents, will join the Witherspoon Institute as a distinguished fellow. The conservative organization is known for its work on promoting democracy, liberal education and republican government; however it is opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion.

In addition to offering Mr. Chen a position, the Witherspoon Institute will also provide him with financial support. Luis Tellze, president of the institute, told Reuters in an interview cited in the article, “We are taking the responsibility for the financial side and a home really where he can do his work.”

In other U.S.-China news, Chinese tourists and tourism agencies have been dismayed by America’s government shutdown, as WantChinaTimes reports. Because of the shutdown, 401 national parks, the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries, and D.C.’s National Zoo have all been closed – affecting the travel plans and itineraries for many traveling around the country on vacation at this time.

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Last Wednesday, The Smithsonian reported that a team of scientists found a 419-million year old fossil fish in China’s Xiaoxiang Reservoir. The Smithsonian notes: “It’s the oldest known creature with a face, and may have given rise to virtually all the faces that have followed in the hundreds of millions of years since, including our own.” The original findings from the scientists can be found in their published article with Nature here.

Finally, Tesco, one of the U.K.’s largest supermarket chains, has agreed to pay state-owned China Resources Enterprise, Ltd. US$558 million to take over its 143 stores in China. Tesco will receive 20 percent ownership in the joint venture, but the Chinese company will be responsible for operating the chains, according to the Associated Press. By joining with a rival company, Tesco said the joint venture will be “the leading retailer in seven of China’s eight wealthiest and most populous provinces” according to the article.

Elleka Watts is an editorial assistant at The Diplomat.