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55 The Devil's in the Details

Read a magazine article today by Jimmy Lai, the publisher of a popular but highly controversial HK-based publication called Next Magazine. Mr. Lai is a highly successful businessman and a self-made man. He got his start in textile and was one of the brain child behind the HK retailer Giordano in its early days.

Anyway, Lai writes a piece in the magazine each week that talk about his past and the secret to his success. Today, there was a quote about how his real job as a top manager is to solve problems. He thrives on changes. While at Giordano, he strived for constant change to make things better -- be it the use of a different type of fiber, changing the production processes, importing new technology, expanding the distribution network, etc etc. The key to success is constant innovation. If there is nothing more to change, then he'd have nothing to do.

In some of the old articles, I remember he said he like to give retail customers only a small selection of colors each season/sales cycle. If he makes the clothes in all different colors all the time, then customers don't get the thrill of seeing new things.

I don't know if you have Giordano in Shanghai, but it is definitely worth visiting to see some of the system that Lai has put in place -- much of it is still at work!
Posted by luo at 2004-02-26 23:19:04. More

54 My Painting

Posted by luo at 2003-10-31 16:52:50. More

53 Taihu - From Shanghai, By Bike

Freeway appears to be a more modern term than highway.

I would like to think that highway is the more generic term, and freeways make up a subset of highways.

It may be that freeways are referred as such in the U.S. since they were built by the government (in the period after WWII, Eisenhower era) and did not charge any tolls. Actually in the Eastern part of the U.S. and in Canada, there have always been a lot of tollroads.
Posted by luo at 2003-06-19 23:09:53. More

52 Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Never got around to memorizing pi, but I did memorize the powers of 2 up to 32.

It started out as a little game to kill time (in the first grade), and it went like this: 1+1=2, 2+2=4, 4+4=8, 8+8=16, but I went a bit overboard...

This useless bit of knowledge helped me score a point at an interscholastic math contest ten years later.

1 Power (2,0)
2 1
4 2
8 3
16 4
32 5
64 6
128 7
256 8
512 9
1 024 10
2 048 11
4 096 12
8 192 13
16 384 14
32 768 15
65536 16
131072 17
262144 18
524288 19

1 048 576 20
2 097 152 21
4 194 304 22
8 388 608 23
16 777 216 24
33554432 25
67108864 26
134217728 27
268435456 28
536870912 29
1 073 741 824 30
2 147 483 648 31
4 294 967 296 32
Posted by luo at 2003-06-16 04:33:18. More

51 Starbucks in Shanghai

Missing film title:

Starbucks was featured prominently in "You've Got Mail (1997)" A movie featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, its advertising sponsors included AOL (obviously) and Starbucks, among others.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-20 22:36:59. More

50 Starbucks in Shanghai

Starbucks -- my favorite store. In Silicon Valley, where some towns have two Starbuck stores, people give directions by it, as in go straight and turn left at the SECOND Starbucks.

There are 67 Starbucks in China. There is even a Starbucks inside The Forbidden City in Beijing! The last time I was in Shanghai, I tried to visit a DIFFERENT Starbuck each time I had a chance. :-) There are 26 in Shanghai, so I still have a long, long way to go.

Since the invention of product placement (i.e. BMW in Jame Bond films), you see a lot of Starbucks in major Hollywood movies. It was featured prominently in > at the beginning. There was a line spoken by Tom Hanks,
"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!"

If you have seen >, Ashley Judd was driving by a small town in Colorado and she made a U-turn right in front of a Starbucks... I am sure it was all filmed in California, probably at the studio... Anyway, try and see if you can spot all the product placements the next time you see a blockbuster film -- Matrix 2 anyone?
Posted by luo at 2003-05-20 22:32:16. More

49 SARS Almost Goes to an End


Let's start by saying that no one can predict what will happen six months from now! People will tell you that everything is fine in Shanghai at the moment, and it probably is. But diseases respect no city boundaries, as the SAR outbreak has illustrated so well.

The problem areas right now are in Beijing and Taiwan, but that is not to say the disease will not take every opportunity to spread to other areas.

It is believed that SARS, like the flu, usually take a break during the summer. So the fact that the disease appears to be abating over the last four weeks is not a good indicator of how well the public health system has been coping with it.

If you are worried about SARS affecting your kids, rest assured SARS is not as contagious as the flu, and very few people catch it -- though a large number of people who catch it do die (esp people who are 60 or over, or medical professionals who were exposed to a large amount of the virus.)

That said, SARS is expected to make a come back in the fall. Who knows how much it will have mutated, and how well the public health system will be able to deal with it? No vaccine will be available by then.

Does that mean that your kids will be better off staying at home? May be. But war and pestilence can happen everywhere. If you are going to be in China this winter, and assuming that many cities in both China and abroad will once again resume various types of control on the movement of people (home quarantine, temperature checks), it might be better to keep your family close to you. Of course, you should make contingency plans as well.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-26 13:00:47. More

48 Caroline is Back to Shanghai


Yoga started to become quite popular in HK last summer. Is it catching on in Shanghai yet? Has anyone tried hot room yoga yet?

About executing quarantine really take places like China to make these kinds of laws -- laws that are never meant to be enforeced (hopefully...) but work more as a deterrent against people breaking quarantine. :-)

Here is a news clipping on the law, and the story that might have triggered it.

China Threatens to Execute SARS Spreaders (16 May 2003)

Summary -- China has threatened to execute or jail for life anyone who deliberately spreads the killer SARS virus. People who violate quarantines and spread the virus can be imprisoned for up to seven years, and those who cause death or serious injury by "deliberately spreading" the virus can be sentenced to prison terms of 10 years to life or could face execution.

Meanwhile, a doctor carrying SARS was detained for allegedly breaking quarantine and starting an outbreak that infected more than 100 people. Authorities in the northern Chinese city of Linha are preparing to charge Dr. Li Song with violating infectious disease law. Li was infected with SARS while attending a training program in Beijing, but returned to Linhe after receiving only basic treatment in the capital. Li infected family members and the virus eventually spread to 102 people, including 23 medical staff. Li escaped with his wife from their isolation ward quarantine quarters. The two were caught hours later wandering city streets and returned to hospital. After his father died of SARS, Li forbade workers to remove the body, attacked doctors and nurses and smashed hospital equipment.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-17 19:07:40. More

47 My Temperature Is Monitored


Yoga started to become quite popular in HK last summer. Is it catching on in Shanghai yet? Has anyone tried hot room yoga yet?

About executing quarantine really take places like China to make these kinds of laws -- laws that are never meant to be enforeced (hopefully...) but work more as a deterrent against people breaking quarantine. :-)

Here is a news clipping on the law, and the story that might have triggered it.

China Threatens to Execute SARS Spreaders (16 May 2003)

Summary -- China has threatened to execute or jail for life anyone who deliberately spreads the killer SARS virus. People who violate quarantines and spread the virus can be imprisoned for up to seven years, and those who cause death or serious injury by "deliberately spreading" the virus can be sentenced to prison terms of 10 years to life or could face execution.

Meanwhile, a doctor carrying SARS was detained for allegedly breaking quarantine and starting an outbreak that infected more than 100 people. Authorities in the northern Chinese city of Linha are preparing to charge Dr. Li Song with violating infectious disease law. Li was infected with SARS while attending a training program in Beijing, but returned to Linhe after receiving only basic treatment in the capital. Li infected family members and the virus eventually spread to 102 people, including 23 medical staff. Li escaped with his wife from their isolation ward quarantine quarters. The two were caught hours later wandering city streets and returned to hospital. After his father died of SARS, Li forbade workers to remove the body, attacked doctors and nurses and smashed hospital equipment.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-17 19:13:21. More

46 Tahiti

Any pics of Guilin?
Posted by luo at 2003-05-25 13:34:47. More

45 Tahiti

Any pics of Guilin?
Posted by luo at 2003-05-25 13:33:39. More

44 Tahiti

Sorry, correct spelling is Paul GAUGUIN
Posted by luo at 2003-05-23 15:29:22. More

43 Tahiti

When people think of Tahiti, paintings by a French painter, Paul Gaugain, often come to mind. The man set sail for the French Polynesia in 1891, and decided to stay in the South seas there for the rest of his life.

His paintings -- which features primitive forms and brilliant colors -- have a certain rustic beauty to them.

Incidently, painting was his third career. He was a stockbroker in Paris before that -- and a remarkably successful one at that. When the stock market crashed, he got laid off and decided to become a painter -- and led a penniless life to his death. (Well, he left for Tahiti in part to run away from his debts, but that's another story) --> Gaugain, Tahiti

At least Gaugain got famous eventually -- after his death, of course. But many aspiring artists in history simply never made it. Adolf Hitler, for example, was a gifted artist who just couldn't accepted to art school. He ended up joining the military and got famous in another way.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-23 15:26:55. More

42 Shanghai SARS: The Next Level of Precaution

Update on SARS Situation in China
(compiled from several sources)


The number of new cases of SARS reported in Beijing has been falling for several days in a roll. On Wednesday, the city reported 39 new cases and five deaths, bringing the cumulative number of infections to more than 2,300 and total deaths to 139. Quarantine orders on three hospitals and a residential neighborhood have been lifted. So far, 16,197 have been released from quarantine and 8,813 people are still under observation. (RTHK, Foreign Affairs Office)

Last week, WHO extended its travel warnings to include Tianjin, a nearby city that has reported 171 SARS cases, 102 suspected case, and nine deaths as of May 14. Over 2,000 people are in quarantine for having close contact with SARS patients and suspects in the city. (RTHK,


Shanghai reported one more confirmed SARS cases last weekend, bringing the number of confirmed SARS cases to seven. One of the confirmed SARS patients is an American. Of the 10 suspected cases, one is Japanese. One of the SARS patients has died. So far, only one death has been reported. (Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau)

Taxicabs drivers are now required to wear gauze masks when working and nearly 50,000 taxicabs are required to be disinfected everyday. In addition, the taxi drivers are required to fill out forms recording the time and place of entry and exit of every passenger. They must then submit the forms to their companies at the conclusion of their work day. (Xinhua)

Shanghai plans to extend its current quarantine and health monitoring measures to include all travellers passing through the city from any of China's 26 SARS-affected provinces. It was not immediately clear if foreigners would be forced to abide by the same rules, but all travellers will be subject to more stringent health examinations. A mandatory 14-day quarantine for Shanghai residents arriving from the SARS-crisis areas of Guangdong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Beijing and Hong Kong was ordered a week ago. (Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau)


In the nearby province of Jiangsu, seven SARS cases and 19 suspected cases have been reported. More than 10,000 people are in quarantine in the provincial capital of Nanjing, which is just 290 km northwest of Shanghai. New anti-SARS measures include putting incoming travellers from SARS-affected areas in quarantine for 15 days. On Monday, local authorities have shut 566 hotels, saunas, hair salons and Internet cafes in a bid to prevent SARS from spreading. (Channel News Asia,


More than 1,700 people have been quarantined in Hangzhou where four SARS cases and five suspected cases have been reported. Some 1,200 were put into isolation following the confirmation of three cases of SARS over the past two weeks and another 500 joined them over the weekend. (AFP,


WHO: SARS Death Rate Is About 15 Percent (9 May 2003)
Xinhua, reported by

The latest information released by WTO shows the mortality rate of SARS patients could be as high as 14 to 15%, exceeding the previous estimation of 6 to 10 %. The organization says the chances of dying from the disease are closely linked with the patients'age. It puts the morality rate at below 1 percent for those aged 24 or younger, 6 percent for those aged 25 to 44, 15 percent for those 45 to 64 and over 50 percent for people aged 65 or over.

It adds that the risk of death could also be influenced by factors related to the SARS virus, the route of exposure, the dose of virus, individual factors such as age or other illness, and access to prompt medical attention. The final mortality rate will only be clear when the epidemic is over.

6. CA FLIGHT 112

WHO traces possible SARS super-spreader (10 May 2003)

WHO has identified a 72-year-old Beijing man as a possible SARS super spreader. The UN agency revealed this when giving details of an ill-fated Air China flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. According to the data, the man infected 17-people on the March 15 flight, including nine Hong Kong tourists, a mainland government official and two stewardesses.

He then infected a group of Beijing medical workers as he was transferred to three different hospitals before succumbing to the disease on March the 20th. The data shows the man was infected in early March by his niece who was at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. The two stewardesses later separately returned to their native Inner Mongolia, where they became the source of transmission to more than 280 SARS patients in the northern region.

The mainland official attended a meeting of health officials in Bangkok, and while returning to Beijing, infected Pekka Aro, a Finnish man who became the first foreigner to die of SARS in China.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-14 22:59:14. More

41 Shanghai Quarantine - Mandatory

On differences between a visitor and a resident. (Caroline must know this by this is for others who are just curious about this topic.)

Changing rules in Shanghai (16 May 2003)

Summary -- Shanghai officials further clarified yesterday that local residents, expatriates and people who have stayed in the city for six months or longer must undergo quarantine for two weeks at home or a designated place if they return to the city from any 'SARS hard-hit region.'

Visitors arriving from these regions must allow the hotels they are staying in or the neighborhood committees responsible for their temporary residences to take their temperature twice a day, fill in a daily health record form, and keep track of their whereabouts.

"We don't require travelers and visitors to be isolated during their stay in Shanghai if they do not develop flu-like symptoms," explained Yang Guoqiang, director of the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, yesterday.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-17 18:56:53. More

40 Shanghai Quarantine - Mandatory

Jian Shuo,

When I said "overeaction" (May 10, 2003 01:14 PM ), I was actually referring to U.S. universities not allowing parents from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the mainland at graduation. Sorry for the confusion.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-11 11:40:42. More

39 Shanghai Quarantine - Mandatory

Seven confirmed cases were reported in Shanghai as of 10 May, and Ming Pao Instant News on Saturday night said that a Chinese-American is confirmed to have SARS.

If the situation in Hong Kong is any indicator for what is to come, there are 212 deaths and 1674 confirmed cases as of 10 April. The death rate is 12%(and still growing). It is believed to average out to 14-15%. The death rate from SARS may be more than 50% in persons who are 65 or older, according to WHO.

btw, UC Berkeley is backing down (a little). It is going to let 80 of the summer students from HK, Taiwan, and the mainland to enroll in May.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-11 11:30:39. More

38 Shanghai Quarantine - Mandatory


WHO has come out as saying that it is an overeaction, and is likely to cause more panic and frustration.

UC Berkeley started it on Monday, when it decided to turn away summer students from Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

On Thursday, three U.S. universities have asked parents from the above countries not to attend graduation. Case Western, University of Missouri, and University of Rochester in New York.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-10 13:14:35. More

37 Shanghai Quarantine - Mandatory

This is a terrible time for everyone. But until and unless the chain of transmission is completely cut, it will be hard to regain international confidence. The quarantine measures won't last for ever, so just put up with it for now. Hopefully we will see lights at the end of the tunnel in the next 4 to 6 weeks. The travel advisory on Hong Kong will be lifted soon (a question of confidence, really), and hopefully business can resume again between Hong Kong and Shanghai then.

While there has been some improvement in Beijing today, many SARS patients are bound to seek treatment in the capital, so it will probably take longer to bring the infection numbers down to an acceptable level. (The whole point of building hospitals like Xiao Tang Shan outside the city, I guess.)

For me, I have been wanting to visit North America this summer. But if I were to abide by the rules faithfully, I would have to be quarantined at home or in a hotel for 14-days before stepping out! If you haven't heard, universities in North America have asked parents of Chinese students to NOT attend graduation ceremony this summer for fear of spreading SARS.

While I understand the fears in the U.S. about SARS (it is an unknown disease and all that),this is yet another example of racial discrimination since the outbreak of SARS. :-(
Posted by luo at 2003-05-10 02:35:11. More

36 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai

On this vein, check out this piece from Asia Times Online.

It is about all the little ironies of life... like Beijing residents saying to each other, "Back when SARS was wreaking havoc..." Given the events of the past 2 months, I hope most of us have gained a bit of healthy skepticism. Anyway... :-)

(Jian Shuo, sorry for dwelling on the topic of SARS...)

Beijing 2003: Year of the virus
Beijing 2003: Year of the virus
By Asia Times Online Staff

HONG KONG - Even though its severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic has not yet passed, the mood in Beijing recently has eased.

On buses just a short while ago each of the very few passengers, without exception, would don a face mask. Upon boarding the vehicle, seats were available wherever one wanted to sit. Air flowed freely through the carriage, which in normal times would be hot and stuffy due to the crowding of passengers.

Now Beijingers are filling the buses once again, and although the windows are all wide open, the carriage is filled with a hot, stuffy aroma of sweat. Furthermore, many people are not wearing face masks. People are heard asking bare-faced passengers: "How can you not wear a face mask?" The response is typically: "There's no problem anymore, right? SARS is already under control."

Indeed, Beijing residents appear to be enjoying worry-free days. Chatter is everywhere once again - but people can't last more than a couple of sentences without mentioning SARS. A typical example of Beijing's relaxed SARS talk was witnessed by Asia Times Online in a barbershop:

Customer A: "Back when SARS was wreaking havoc here my hair was getting shaggy, but I was too frightened to dare going to a barbershop. Now that it's been controlled, I thought I'd come have a look."

Barber: "You can rest assured here at my shop. I disinfect this place several times every day. There's no need to wear a mask in here. I guarantee there's nothing to worry about here."

Customer B: "What's with people? Whether one lives or dies is in the hands of fate. Geez, what are they afraid of? I'm not wearing a mask, but I'm not dead, am I? I've had a couple of neighbors carried away on stretchers [to hospitals], but I was wearing a mask every day at that time."

At a beauty parlor, several friendly and optimistic young women were giving their all to serve and accommodate the few customers in the establishment. After a month of no work because of the spread of SARS in Beijing, they were obviously eagerly anticipating having business again. The girls telephoned old clients one by one to notify them that they were open for business again. However, because most customers were still apprehensive about SARS, those who ventured out to have a look were still quite few. One after another, the young women explained their situation:

"We were constantly asking [the parlor's owner] that we open up for business again."

"We need to eat. We have to support our families. How can we do anything without any income?"

But customers were still concerned, asking questions such as:

"Have proper authorities approved you for reopening?"

"Are you sanitized? Does your disinfection meet standards?" And so on.

Disinfecting bad information
In a traditional hutong, or winding alley of Beijing, Asia Times Online witnessed a conversation between two of the city's elderly denizens:

Old Woman 1: "Just a little while back everybody was being called on to disinfect. Everybody was disinfecting everywhere. Not one place was left untouched. But I searched over half of Beijing for disinfectant and couldn't find any. I saw stories in newspapers telling me to 'disinfect this three times daily', 'disinfect that three times daily' - I was a nervous wreck. I dialed the mayor's hotline, then I dialed the government phone line set up for city residents and I even dialed 315 [Beijing's consumer complaint hotline]. If the line wasn't busy then nobody was answering."

Old Man: "You really called the mayor?"

Old Woman 1: "I did. But the line was constantly busy. There's a lot of people wanting to talk to the mayor, you know. For over 10 days I was unable to disinfect. This really scared me. I was afraid that everyone else was disinfecting and that SARS would flee to my home. Then what would I do? Now the papers say that there are over 100 stores that had disinfectant. I found a pharmacy that was on a list in a newspaper. I went right away and just bought 10 bottles of the stuff!"

Old Woman 2: "Well done, but you need to hurry up and go disinfect! Kill the SARS!

Old Woman 1: "I plan on it, but the papers also said that you shouldn't go crazy with disinfectants - some cause allergic reactions, some can send you into shock, some even have fumes that can make you pass out! How do I know if I'm going to have an allergic reaction? Didn't the TV say that we need to be careful of passing out or getting sick from the fumes of the disinfectants we're using to avoid getting sick? I don't know how to use the stuff!"

In the interest of getting an understanding of all the disinfecting they've been doing, some people are taking their questions to journalists. Here's one exchange witnessed by Asia Times Online between a Beijing reporter and a Beijing resident.

Resident: "Comrade reporter, in your newspapers, television shows and pronouncements, you stressed the urgency for and importance of immediate disinfection with industrial strength disinfectant. In your reports and articles you said to disinfect three times, five times, or even more. Later, people started having allergic reactions, some went into shock and others were rendered unconscious from inhaling fumes. Then you said not to overdo it. What? Is it that from the beginning, you have not been reporting clearly and accurately about such disinfection and the precautions that should be taken when doing it?"

Reporter: "Indeed, it's difficult to avoid a situation in which the public is misinformed somewhat. But the media should serve the function of scientifically and responsibly leading the masses."

Resident: "There're also several situations that we in Beijing don't know anything about, such as the bloody slaughtering of pets and animals in Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi'an and other cities. Engaging in horrible slaughter like this isn't euthanasia. Beijing's abandoned pets have been bearing the negative effects of this lack of knowledge."

Reporter: "We in the media have invited several experts to provide explanations." Reader: "But all these experts do is express their individual opinions. Every expert has a different idea about what to do. Those who advocate killing animals and those who don't advocate killing animals all have their own logic. We common Chinese are accustomed to hearing one authoritative voice coming from the government or from a government-sanctioned expert. I hope you in the media will do some solid work without speculating, sugar-coating or swerving from one opinion to the next. Now you're always correcting previous mistakes - we common folk don't know what to think anymore."

The ever-shifting sands of Chinese journalism
But it can also be difficult for the media to get an authoritative answer from the government, as the aforementioned reporter discovered in a discussion with a friend serving as a party cadre in Beijing's Haidian district.

Reporter: "How is it that there is such a disproportionately high SARS infection rate in the Haidian district?"

Cadre: "You can't just look at bare facts. Our district has the most hospitals, so it is only natural for us to receive the highest number of SARS cases for treatment. Furthermore, people living outside of the city are aware of the high quality of Beijing hospitals, so they are determined to come here for treatment. Now we are already calculating patient statistics according to where the patients live."

Haidian's hospitals said they are compiling SARS cases according to where the patient is from, but the local governments of patients that come to Beijing subscribe to the idea that if someone from their area has SARS but is being treated in Beijing, then they shouldn't have the patient attributed to their constituency in statistics. This lack of a unified statistical methodology does not lend itself to accurate statistics, as it creates a situation where a SARS patient from nearby Hebei province that might go to a hospital in Haidian for treatment is not included in Beijing's statistics, nor those of his or her native province.

A Beijing resident asked the cadre: "Can news be trusted?"

Cadre: "When I listen to outside broadcasts, they are always saying that Beijing media are irresponsible in reporting. [To the reporter] You're a journalist - do you think our media reports are worth believing?"

Reporter: "In all honesty, there were some inaccurate reports in the beginning. Why? Well, SARS just came out of nowhere and caught the media off guard. Many journalists did not recognize the severity of the situation. Not enough reporters thought it important. On top of that, there's bureaucracy and much of the early writing about SARS was not done in earnest, etc, etc. It's always in society and abroad that Chinese media draw censure. But I believe that after the center of the Communist Party, the State Council [China's cabinet], took emergency measures media reports became trustable."

Cadre: "But there is still quite a bit of suspicion harbored toward our news reports in the foreign press, no?"

Reporter: "Being on the receiving end of all kinds of suspicion is not unusual. In the end the facts will speak for themselves. It's quite a joke how foreigners don't understand the situation in China whatsoever. Lying and making false reports about an outbreak can ensure a reporter's job security. It can even lead to a promotion. So outbreak reports and patient statistics are certainly unreliable. You can't say that it wasn't like this before. Now the central government's policy and measures state that dishonesty, misleading reports and embellishment are grounds for firing reporters. Reporters can even receive punishment via the legal system now. Now the believability of reports on the epidemic and patient statistics is quite high."

Cadre: "So nowadays, what is reported [by hospitals] is exactly what we see reported in the media, right?"

Reporter: "There's no need to get into that issue."

Public hygiene, the Olympics, and war with the US
SARS isn't without a silver lining, as a conversation with a Beijing couple illustrates:

Wife: "Maybe something will be done in our country regarding our attitude toward the nasty habit of spitting our mucus wherever we want. In the several decades since the [communist] revolution, China has endured every sort of natural disaster and human calamity imaginable, yet nothing can be done about our spitting problem? This is a deep-seated bad habit among the Chinese people. It seems as if this has never been an issue for our government - nothing has ever been attempted to end it. Seeing as it took China reaching the cusp of a life or death situation before the government decided to adopt measures and forbid spitting in public, at least in this regard SARS can be said to have made a big contribution."

Husband: "Could it have happened any other way? Even having the 2008 Olympics looming on the horizon didn't prompt the government to do anything about this bad habit. [Regarding the Olympics], the media painted a picture of a government of such massive strength and deep pockets which it speculated that over time could get the elderly to learn English for free. This was repeated in television and newspaper reports time and time again. How much real significance did any of it have? Why didn't the government and media work a little more with reality and facts and promote the notion of Chinese people not spitting wherever they would like to spit? I'm truly worried that if Chinese don't change this habit, we will lose face in front of the entire world in 2008."

Wife: "I really hope that these extreme hygiene measures put into place persist through 2008."

Husband: "I'm not terribly confident in it. Just look - how many people can urban administrators control? How many can it punish? Just a few train stations and some malls, but the majority of places are unable to be controlled. As soon as SARS has passed, there won't even be people enforcing public hygiene in those train stations or malls anymore, will there? When I look at Shanghai, I have hope. They have competent measures there. I have little hope for Beijing. The measures here are weak, just like the supervision. If you take a look at the attempts made here at prohibiting spitting, sealing off trash chutes in stairwells and battling those who sell sham products to profit from SARS, the measures all fall short and the punishment isn't stiff enough. During the Korean War when we fought the Americans, China executed anyone selling fake medicine, faulty bandages or low-quality cotton balls. In the 'People's War' against SARS, we can't just talk and do nothing else. We can't just make an initial rallying cry and hope for the best. We need to come back to reality."

Translated by Christopher Horton.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-22 21:02:09. More

35 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai

See my comments (above) on May 13, 2003 09:12 PM

Reported statistics:
As of yesterday (May 21), 5099 people in Beijing are under quarantine. A total of 27,909 people in Beijing have been quarantined as a result of close contact with SARS patient and such, but 22,810 have been released.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-22 20:55:30. More

34 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai


Hope you can get out of the house soon...Take care!
Posted by luo at 2003-05-15 11:07:17. More

33 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai


That website is from Pakistan! The piece
mentioned that more than 23,000 people had been quarantined in the Chinese capital, an increase of more than 4,000 from the previous day. But this must be incorrect. Apparently, quite a lot of people were released from isolation yesterday, and only 10,017 remain in quarantine.

I have also seen the report on Nanjing in from other news sources saying that 566 venues have been closed down on Monday. However, if you look at the type of venue it is -- saunas, hair salons and Internet cafes, I would suspect the hotels in question to be mostly love hotels rather than conventional lodging. You see, a similar crackdown in Beijing last month appeared to be targeted at various types of public venues (cinemas, karaoke, etc). But hair salons + sauna, when put next to each other, would suggest that it is more of a crackdown on vice.

In any case, the continuing need to keep 10,000 people under quarantine in Nanjing is still worrying.

Take care.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-13 21:12:10. More

32 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai

With an N95 mask, you are suppose to suck the air throught the filter, but you need strong lungs to do that. Most people will find that they can't breathe properly with this kind of mask. Fall asleep on the train/bus with one on and you might suffocate?!

I have used one at a conference hall, and I ended up taking it off every five minutes in order to get some fresh air. I can imagine the dilemma with health care workers -- it is very easy to contaminate the inside of the mask by adjusting it with their hands still dirty.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-10 20:16:55. More

31 6 SARS Cases in Shanghai

Shanghai tightens SARS prevention measures
8 May 2003, Channel News Asia

(edited) Shanghai has tightened SARS prevention measures after neighbouring Nanjing quarantined nearly 10,000 people to halt the spread of the illness. Shanghai authorities said they would also consider measures to support industries being hardest hit by the disease. Nanjing is only 290 kms away and is a major economic and traffic link to Shanghai. So far, Shanghai has reported six confirmed SARS cases and 34 suspected cases.

The city plans to extend its current quarantine and health monitoring measures to include all travellers passing through the city from any of China's 26 SARS-affected provinces. It was not immediately clear if foreigners would be forced to abide by the same rules, but all travellers will be subject to more stringent health examinations. A mandatory 14-day quarantine for Shanghai residents arriving from the SARS-crisis areas of Guangdong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Beijing and Hong Kong was ordered a week ago.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-09 15:03:50. More

30 Two More SARS Cases in Shanghai


See also
Posted by luo at 2003-05-11 11:31:21. More

29 With SARS, All We Have is Time


Are you still there???

I have seen several reports saying that WHO has consider Jiangsu to be a Sars-affected area. I am a bit puzzled by that, on the face of government statistics. ;-) But apparently, Jiangsu is not on the official list, it is more of an 'off-the-cuff' comment that the situation is serious.

Here is excerpt from Strait Times (Singapore). The actual article will be delinked within three days of publication.

Summary - WHO has warned against non-essential travel to Hebei in northern China.
The announcement brings to six the number of regions in mainland China on WHO's travel advisory. The others are Beijing, Guangdong, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin.

It said it also considered the potential for spread beyond the province. Hebei, near Beijing, was the hardest hit of the five Chinese regions, including Jilin, Hubei, Shaanxi and Jiangsu, that WHO added on Thursday to its list of Sars-affected areas.,4386,189743,00.html
Posted by luo at 2003-05-18 14:42:26. More

28 With SARS, All We Have is Time

Hot off the press from Singapore... Take it with a grain of salt for it is in part propaganda (intended for Singaporeans). But it does shed some lights on what is going on...

MAY 8, 2003
10,000 quarantined
How Nanjing official's selfish act hurt others
BEIJING - A Chinese official returning recently from Beijing to Nanjing defied quarantine orders and lied to doctors, becoming a presumed source of the Sars virus in the eastern Jiangsu province and prompting officials to quarantine 10,000 people, reports said.

The movements of Mr Jin Guohua, deputy general manager of the state-owned Xinhua Bookstores in eastern Jiangsu province, also led officials in the provincial capital of Nanjing to take other drastic measures to control the spread of Sars in the city.

Mr Jin was diagnosed as a probable Sars case last week - but only after he had had close contact with 400 people in four cities in Jiangsu, state-run newspapers said. The province has so far recorded four confirmed Sars cases and 16 suspected cases.

As a result of the official's actions, thousands were ordered into quarantine. Alarmed officials also ordered two-week quarantines for thousands of travellers coming from Beijing, Guangdong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and other Sars-affected areas, even if they showed no symptoms.

Local Chinese media reported that Mr Jin travelled to Beijing in early April. Returning to Nanjing, he declined to observe a voluntary, 10-day quarantine. Instead, he began a series of trips to other cities in Jiangsu, sources in his company said.

By April 25, he had developed a cough. He sought medical treatment at a military hospital and declined to tell doctors he had been in Beijing, a centre of the Sars epidemic, the sources said.

Five days later, his cough and fever had worsened and he was forced to seek treatment at a hospital in Nanjing. Only then, after he had close contact with 400 people in four cities, was it determined that he probably had Sars, state-run newspapers said.

Mr Jin's case prompted the Jiangsu government to order thousands of quarantine orders.

The provincial government and the Communist Party committee also deployed 1,700 police to check the temperatures of all people entering the province by air, sea or land. Thousands more police were dispatched to villages to conduct house-to-house temperature checks.

Jiangsu officials also ordered two-week quarantines for travellers from Beijing, Guangdong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and other Sars- affected areas, even if they showed no symptoms.

Among others, 4,653 travellers from Beijing, 1,000 from Guangdong, 115 from Inner Mongolia, 30 from Shanxi and 66 from Hongkong have been placed in isolation, news reports said.

Residents in Nanjing, where officials had been criticised by the central government for not acting more aggressively against Sars, said they were surprised by the sudden measures.

'First the government wasn't doing anything, then suddenly they went crazy and started slapping everybody in quarantine,' said a businessman there in a telephone interview. 'It's panic. In my neighbourhood, there's no one out on the streets. It's completely silent.'

Some residents of Nanjing called for Mr Jin to be prosecuted.

'He avoided the rules about self-quarantine for people from epidemic areas and he directly threatened the lives of people around him,' residents said in an open letter. 'He should pay a price.'

The quarantining of 10,000 people in Nanjing has raised fears that the virus could migrate and spark a crisis in neighbouring Shanghai, which has recorded six Sars cases. Nanjing is a major economic and traffic link to Shanghai, 290 km away.

Shanghai, China's most important economic hub, has so far escaped a major Sars outbreak and leaders there have waged a campaign to protect more than just the citizens.

'The Chinese leadership has implemented the sanbao or the 'three protections': to protect medical workers, to protect Shanghai and protect rural areas,' said Hongkong political analyst Joseph Cheng.

'Protecting Shanghai is a very important objective because of the way the leadership reacted initially to the breakout. That's why they think that for reasons of economic importance they must protect Shanghai as well as their credibility.'

Chinese health officials yesterday reported 159 more cases of Sars in the country and five more deaths. There are now 4,560 Sars cases in China and 219 people have died. -- AP, AFP
Posted by luo at 2003-05-08 13:42:55. More

27 With SARS, All We Have is Time


Several countries have developed such tests. Germany and the US, as well as the Chinese.
I assume the Chinese would use the one invented by the PLA.

- Hamburg-based Artus says its test can detect the virus from throat swabs, sputum or faeces, and produces results in two hours. It began distributing test kits on April 14 in collaboration with the Bernhardt Nocht tropical medicine institute

- Abbott Laboratories, another of the world's largest makers of diagnostic tests, is finalising an agreement with an undisclosed firm to distribute a test.

- The Genome Institute of Singapore says it has a three-hour test in the final stages of completion, and the National Institute of Health and Epidemiology in Hanoi, Vietnam, has developed a six-hour test.

From what I have heard, none of these tests are highly reliable at this time. It is okay albeit highly inconvenient to get a false positive, but what if it gives a false negative and the patient or his caretakers don't take precaution as a result...

I don't see any new information coming out of Nanjing in terms of number of new cases.
There are 4 probable cases and 18 suspected cases in the Jiangsu. It was reported yesterday that schools in Nanjing now require students to wear face masks on their way to school and to wear gloves when taking public transport. Passengers arriving in Nanjing at railway stations are now registered and their temperature taken. (

Take care!
Posted by luo at 2003-05-08 13:32:01. More

26 With SARS, All We Have is Time


Several news sources in Hong Kong reported that two Frenchmen have been hospitalised for suspected SARS symptoms in Paris.

In fact, the two men traveled to Nanjing for business and have lived in the city for six weeks. On 2 May, they took an Korean Air flight from Nanjing to Seoul, and then onward to Paris. Some of their other colleagues from the trip are now under quarantine.

The following excerpt comes from Instant news provided by Sing Tao Newspaper ( in HK.

法國再有兩人疑染SARS (國際)
2003年5月7日 HKT: 14:44

Posted by luo at 2003-05-07 15:34:21. More

25 With SARS, All We Have is Time

About 25,000 people are reportedly in quarantined in all of China. As of Monday, Beijing has put about 16,000 people under quarantine. That is understandable, given there are 1960 confirmed and 1523 suspected cases. Yet Nanjing is keeping 9,000+ under quarantine when there are ONLY one confirmed case. Even the whole of Jiangsu province is reporting just four confirmed cases and 16 suspected cases (5 are new from today).

I certainly hope the Nanjing will not turn out to be yet another epicenter. But I find it curious that so much manpower have been concentrated in that area. It makes me wonder what is going on. My guess is that Nanjing (and Suzhou) are like the gateways to Shanghai. Zhejiang, the other neighbouring province, has also implemented very strict policies to prevent the spread of SARS.

The authorities in Nanjing are pointing to the influx of returning residents and migrant workers -- several thousands from Beijing, Guangdong, and other SARS-affected regions are reportedly flocking to to city. But they didn't say if the thousands of people under quarantine are natives of the province or migrant workers who are just passing through.

Oh just as I was writing this, I found this piece from the SCMP from this morning...may be that is it.



Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Mainland experts have called for better co-ordination between cities to prevent the spread of Sars in the Yangtze River delta area, after an infected couple travelled to Hangzhou and Wuxi before succumbing to the virus in Shanghai.

The husband and wife from an unnamed "affected area" in northern China took a train from Beijing to Shanghai and visited the two other cities before returning to Shanghai to be admitted to hospital as confirmed cases.

Deputy director of the Yangtze River Delta Development Research Institute Xu Changle said: "A joint epidemic prevention system for the Yangtze River delta area is now nearly non-existent."

In an initial step, Shanghai announced yesterday that it would require all drivers and passengers on buses leaving the city to fill out health declaration forms. Previously, only visitors entering Shanghai had to go through such procedures, including having their temperatures taken.

Mr Xu told the Liberation Daily the current practice was a case of "each person sweeping the snow from his own doorstep".

Experts suggested the area take cues from its existing system for flood and other disaster prevention. Areas around Shanghai should do a better job of informing travellers that they will face medical examinations when they enter the city, Mr Xu said.

Nanjing, a major transit point for trains coming from the northern part of the country, should be the first line of defence to find passengers who might be suffering from the virus, he said.

Gu Renxu, head of the Resources and Environmental Science School at East China Normal University, said Shanghai should be the information centre for the rest of the region in the fight against Sars.

Shanghai officials told a news conference last week that the city was working to improve co-ordination with the nearby provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, but gave no details.

Up to Sunday, Shanghai had six confirmed cases of Sars. Jiangsu had four confirmed cases while Zhejiang had three, the Ministry of Health said.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-07 02:02:50. More

24 With SARS, All We Have is Time


The number of people wearing face mask is a sign of panic, not necessarily a sign of the severity of SARS in your area!

As of yesterday, Jiangsu province had 4 probable cases, and 8 suspected cases. The first confirmed case was reported 30 April. In nearby Anhui province, there are 9 probable cases and 9 suspected cases. MOH provides a daily update of SARS cases, which is available on multiple websites (in both Chinese and English, but it does not give a breakdown for most cities. It is not clear how many cases has been reported in Nanjing.

But here are two recent articles from (a Nanjing newspaper) with rough translation in English.


Rough translation: Nanjing found its first suspected SARS patient on 30 April, and began to activate its emergency measures for SARS. By 2 May, when 3 suspected and confirmed cases were reported, 595 people were put under observation, 9035 were put in quarantine at home, 9 public venues were closed down, etc. There has been a large influx of non-locals in recent days, coming from places such as Beijing and Guangdong, and this is adding to the pressure of SARS prevention efforts in Nanjing...

  本报讯 南京防?#38750;?#24418;势严峻,南京市负责人昨天接受国家?#38750;典?#38450;治督查组检查时表示,南京将加大工作力度,提高防备等级,尽最大努力确保不发生疫情蔓延。


Rough translation: Jiangsu has found 4 confirmed and 8 suspected cases of SARS. Currently, the patients are receiving treatment at designated or specialist hospitals, and most of them are in stable condition.

Since 21 April, possible cases of SARS have been found in various cities in the province, including Suzhou, Yancheng, Xuzhou, Nantong, and Nanjing. ... Of which one patient from Nanjing has been confirmed to have SARS on 1 May.

  本报讯 据省卫生厅昨天和今天公布的报告,截至今天上午,我省已发现12例传染性非典型肺炎疑似病例和临床诊断病例,其中临床诊断病例4例,疑似病例8例。目前,12名患者均在非典定点收治医院或集中收治医院接受进一步治疗,大部分患者病情稳定。


Websites on SARS in China
Posted by luo at 2003-05-04 13:13:50. More

23 With SARS, All We Have is Time

Got this from Yahoo!

Map of the Huangpu area - Zhoujiazui Lu

Here is an overall map
Posted by luo at 2003-05-03 14:52:52. More

22 With SARS, All We Have is Time


I only want to comment on the 10-day quarantine after your trip.

I can't find your previous comments, and I am not sure where you are coming from...

The US government will not quarantine you upon arrival unless you have SARS symptoms. You will be asked to pay more attention to your health conditions and see a doctor immediately if you begin to have SARS symptoms. But there is no mandatory quarantine at this time.

But if I were to visit my relatives in the U.S. now, THEY would have me quarantined in a hotel room. Otherwise, THEY will be treated as pariahs by THEIR colleagues and friends! :-)

Employers in the San Francisco Bay Area often ask their employees to work from home for up to three weeks after a trip to Asia -- even if there are no symptoms. People returning from such a trip are treated like pariahs by colleagues, friends, and neighbours.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-02 13:49:35. More

21 My Dinner Impacted by SARS

Boy, I am getting old AND cynical. ;-) I know I have been living in Asia for too long when I had to laugh when someone asked, "How dirty is 'dirty'?" Let's just say that sanitary standards in Asia is 'different' from that in North America.

Don't take me wrong, I know about road rage. I have lived in Southern California, even.

For an idyllic view of Xiamen, you can try
these websites or
Posted by luo at 2003-05-12 19:39:06. More

20 My Dinner Impacted by SARS

Just want to share with you my dining experience in Hong Kong. As with Shanghai, all the waiters and food handlers are required to wear surgical masks. They are suppose to keep the dishes covered until they are brought to your table. No more buffets and many Japanese sushi bars have closed temporarily.

It is common to see frontline restaurant staff wearing disposable gloves as well. I have seen waitresses spraying a disinfectant on the tablecloth before setting the table, but have not seen them spray on the chair or sofa.

As far as the SARS situation in Shanghai, perhaps no news is good news. Any words from the WHO will be scrutinised by the world press, even if there is no follow-up press reports as of yet. But it is a highly sensitive topic for China, and the WHO will be careful about what they say.

Indeed, the WHO team has been extremely diplomatic in this whole affair. This behaviour is not typical of the Americans or the Swiss/German, and I'd say it is quite unprecedented. On more than one occasion, the WHO team has politely held back even when they clearly disagree with a particularly line of thought.

A case in point is Chlamydia vs. Coronavirus as the purported cause of SARS. When the team visited Guangdong a few weeks back, one would expect the WHO to say flatly and firmly that they believe Coronavirus to be the most likely cause of SARS in Guangdong. But instead, they took one step and added that nothing should be ruled out at this time. They encouraged more research to be carried out.

Less than a week after the WHO team left Guangdong, Chinese scientists announced that new research results has ruled out Chlamydia as a likely cause. They consider Coronavirus to be a more likely cause of SARS.

A coincidence, may be? But the words they used that ensured no loss of 'face' for anyone.

Posted by luo at 2003-04-29 11:40:22. More

19 WHO Reports Shanghai Findings


Hmmm...and you still let your kid goes to school? I am just kidding, okay. :)

I have a friend in Hong Kong with a young daughter who goes to a local kindergarten. As the crisis escalated at the end of March, the kid continued to go to school, as usual.

On the day before the official announcement to close all HK schools for two weeks (four weeks now, and extended indefinitely for younger kids as of yet) the mother went to pick up her daughter and realised the little girl was the only child in her kindergarten class still attending school. :-0 Since then, I have chided them for being 'irresponsible' parents.

May be all the other parents were just paranoid. May be they know something that you and I don't. ;-)


My opinion is that you (and 99% of overseas visitors) will not catch SARS by coming to visit SH, or returning to SH in your case. In most affected areas around the world, the chance of catching SARS outside the hospital is very slim. (The situation in Beijing - with the RR stations being jam-packed, is another story.) That said, quite a number of foreign countries have asked their citizens to consider deferring non-essential travel to China because of SARS concerns.

WHO's findings is irrelevant to you as an overseas visitor. More importantly, the US and a number of countries have issued travel warning on the whole of China. On April 3, the US began the evacuation ('voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel', is the polite term) of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai.

If you happen to be among unfortunate few to contract SARS during your visit to China -- or indeed to have SARS-related symptoms (fever, coughing, malaise muscle aches, etc)-- you will be sent to a designated hospital until the contagious phase has passed. It is likely that you will not be allowed to receive visitors, including your family member or you own doctor.

Assuming it is not SARS, I would hate to be in an isolated ward in a hospital for the time it takes to determine that I am NOT a SARS patient. You will not be allowed to board a flight if you display SARS-related symptoms. (Have you seen the recent case with the 6-year old HK girl who developed a fever while visiting Taiwan? Her tour group of 30+ people were all quarantined in their hotel rooms until the HK government sent a plane for them.) Frankly, what is the chance that YOU will develop a cough or catch the flu when you are visiting China -- you decide.

Ten of millions of people live in Shanghai, but this is their home, and they have developed immunity to local strains of colds and flus - though not SARS, obviously. If you have been away for more than two years, you cannot compare your situation to the 'real' locals. You should carefully evaluate the risks before deciding to take the trip. Best regards.
Posted by luo at 2003-04-30 16:26:41. More

18 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

What I meant to say is that, Shanghai is the only major port of entry that is not affected by SARS at the moment. For international travellers, you will need to steer clear of Beijing and probably Hong Kong throughout your trip to China in order NOT to be quarantined.

If Beijing (or Hong Kong) is the intended destination, you will find that quite a lot of international carriers have been reduced the number of long-haul flights for the time being.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-02 00:39:30. More

17 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

For overseas visitors who are looking to go to China this summer, the latest news from Thursday is that at least a dozen cities and provinces have imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on local residents as well as visitors coming from affected areas -- for that, people have in mind Beijing, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia, but Guangdong and Hong Kong are probably on the blacklist, too. It is meant to be a deterrent, of course. Who would go to Xi'an or wherever only to be trapped in your hotel room for 14 days - and the bill goes to who?

All this may change, of course. But stay tuned.
Here is the latest news in Chinese from and my poor attempt at translation.

English Summary : As of yesterday, four districts in Shanghai (Chang Ning, Xu Hui, Zha Bei, and Pu Dong) have begun to order travellers from SARS-affected areas to undergo a 14-day quarantine. But it has been confirmed today that Shanghai will relax the restriction for Hong Kong residents, who are visiting Shanghai mainly business travellers.

Mainwhile, nearby Zhejiang province has begun to require all travellers arriving by cars, trains, ships, and airplanes to fill out health forms and to take a temperature check. Health care workers will monitor the health conditions of Zhejiang residents returning from SARS-affected areas. Those arriving from areas with particularly high incidences of SARS will be ordered to stay home for medical observation for two weeks; non-local residents must stay at a designated hotel for 14 days of medical observation.

Other cities and provinces that have implemented similar policies include: Wuhan, Hubei province; Dalian and Shenyang, Liaoning province; Shijiazuang, Hebei province; Xi'an, Shaanxi province; Changsha, Hunan province; Nanjing, Jiangsu; Hainan province; Heilongjiang province; and Tibet.

2003/05/01, www.

上海昨日有四個區實旅對來自疫區的旅客要隔離14 日,包括長寧、徐匯、閘北和浦東,但長寧區旅遊局發言人表示,今早已作出調整,由於到上海旅遊的人士已減少,而到上海主要是公幹,所以不會隔離來自香港的人士。




Posted by luo at 2003-05-02 00:25:32. More

16 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

I believe this is the latest.

Chinese Mainland Reports 3,303 SARS Cases

(summary) The Chinese mainland reported 202 new SARS cases as of 10:00 a.m. of April 29. The cumulative SARS cases rose to 3,303.

Beijing reported 152 new SARS cases and seven deaths from the disease. The number of cases in Beijing totaled 1,347. 83 SARS patients have been discharged from hospitals upon recovery and 66 have died.
Posted by luo at 2003-04-29 18:09:35. More

15 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS


Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I was trying to be subtle. Okay... most people think that when the SARS infection figures in Beijing hit the magic 1,000 mark, it would slow down, but there is no sign of stopping so far.

In other words, I am as shocked and frightened by the implication of this as everyone else. :-( It is only that I was trying to be calm and rational, and not to spread panic.

Posted by luo at 2003-04-28 12:12:11. More

14 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

Lu Jiaxi,

I felt exactly the same at first...thinking the SARS infection figures in Beijing would stop at 1,000 or so.

With that said, it appears that not all the suspected cases will be confirmed. Many may be false alarms. For better or for worse, only 25 of 100 news cases came from the suspected case list on Saturday.

The good news is that the government has been quick to institute new protective measures, the quarantine of over 7,000 people, closing down entertainment venues. Doing more drastic measures now (closing down businesses) may be quicken the time to recovery.

I know I am a bit off-topic, but want to comment on the Airbus deal... French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin visited Beijing last Friday. To reward his country's support for China during this time, contracts were signed in which six airlines agreed to buying a total of 30 planes from Airbus over the next few years. (There wer also some deals involving power plants. Not sure about the details though.)

Anyway, you know that Airbus and its American counterpart has been vying to get new contract with Chinese airlines for a long time. To reduce the cost of maintenance, most airlines like to stick with one manufacturer (preferably) and a few airplane models.

From People's Daily on Monday morning, "President Hu talked over phone with US President George W. Bush on Saturday night... at the request of the US side." Is the US trying to make amend? :-)
Posted by luo at 2003-04-28 11:41:26. More

13 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS


A few suggestions:

(1) The New York Times ( and San Francisco Chronicle ( have been providing good overall coverage of SARS. Both of these are free. I have set up an alert for SARS-related news with NYTimes, and a link to the search page with The Chronicle.

NYTimes provides more comprehensive coverage. As always a few stories are biased or inane, but the number of articles kind of make up for it.

(2) Try (beta version) and search for SARS. If you are familiar with google in general, then you understand why this may work better.


Propaganda exist in every country.
Some of the stories you have read may well be true. Some are not. Readers can always make their own judgement.

Try getting a slice of life in the the U.S. from a Singaporean newspaper and you'd think that you need to buy you kid a bullet-proof vest before sending him off to college.

Ridiculous? No necessarily. I went to a major university on the West Coast, and I had two Singaporean classmates who were car-jacked at gunpoint. I used to walk around campus clutching pepper spray in my hands. So there!

Posted by luo at 2003-04-27 21:58:19. More

12 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

Wrong forum. I wrote this last post after reading your piece from 3pm today in 'Daily Life - SARS Related II'
Posted by luo at 2003-04-27 00:17:18. More

11 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

Jian Shuo Wang,

When it comes to the SARS situation in Shanghai, I must say you are quite an optimist. But I guess one can either resign to the situation or look on the bright side. On second thought, there is no point in chasing after every bit of rumour about suspected cases at abc corporation or xyz kindergarten.

In my view, the government (and the state media) didn't respond slowly to SARS -- at least not in the national capital. Starting around 1 April, it was reported in the state media that the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention began in earnest to publicize SARS prevention methods. A week later, CCTV began to broadcast SARS prevention information in the evening during prime time. That came as a big shock because there was limited reporting until then, and the focus was always on Hong Kong or Southern China. The final straw came on 10 April when it was announced in the English version of People's Daily that 18 hospitals in Beijing have been getting ready to deal with SARS. It was about that time that rumours began to fly about...and finally the news broke last Sunday.

In Beijing, the official number of infections stood at 339 a week ago, and it increased day by day, until it reached 988 on Friday night. In fact, the government and the state media have responded in the best possible way -- and definitely not too slowly -- when it come to SARS. The delay in publicizing the facts was designed to minimize widespread panic until the health care system was better prepared to deal with it.

By contrast, the government in Hong Kong was wavering on each decision while the people (and the trashy tabloid newspapers) criticized them harshly every step of the way. Democracy (=rule by the mob) and press freedom can be overrated.

To look on the bright side, China has worked very hard to deal with SARS since it was made public -- and was probably well on its way fighting it long before we knew it. I will not comment on the current state of affairs in Shanghai. But you must forgive some of us -- living in masquerade for a month now -- who are perhaps unduly skeptical.

In any case, I am very impressed with the speed with which new procedures have set up to clear all obstacles in every step of the way. As I said, one can either resign to the situation or look for the silver lining in every circumstances.

My last thought for the day: a piece from the local paper from yesterday compared the differences between doing the right thing and doing things right. It said that good leaders do the right thing (at the right time presumably) and good managers (take the extra time and efforts and patience) to do things right.

Take care,
Posted by luo at 2003-04-27 00:11:07. More

10 Protect China - Not Only Against SARS

I agree with Jian Shuo Wang that this is a time for solidarity everywhere.

I am a little annoyed that TIME Asia is doing its third consecutive cover story on SARS. Concerns about the SARS situation in Shanghai notwithstanding, I feel that TIME should know when to move on. It is sad to see them cross the line to sensationalism.

In Hong Kong, The South China Morning Post has launched a campaign specifically to help buy protective suits for frontline hospital workers. They have raised HK$1.2m to buy 7 days worth of barrierman suits so far. That's a pretty good start. It is also a good example what the English-language media can do to channel donations from multinational firms to a worthy cause. Is any organsation on the mainland doing the same?

As for, it is just capitalizing on the traffic flow on 'SARS.' I doubt the owners even have a viewpoint on health issues. So don't don't help to publicize the website!!!
Posted by luo at 2003-04-26 13:07:35. More

9 Shanghai SARS: Situation Severe

The 2nd death in Shanghai was reported at least seven days ago!!! According to health bureau. 8 confirmed SARS cases have been reported. There are no suspect cases.

Statistics are always dubious in any country. I am of the opinion so-called suspect cases are often people with mild symptoms. Once they recover, they get off the list...

But from a public policy standpoint, there is no point in scaring the public with huge nos. The point is to raise awareness of the epidemic, so the focal point should be on the no. of newly discovered cases in a given period and the no. of patients still hospitalized for SARS.
Posted by luo at 2003-05-22 21:17:54. More

8 Shanghai SARS: Situation Severe


For more info, please refer to

The first suspected case in Nanjing was discovered on 30 April, and there was one confirmed cases as of 2 May. Jiangsu province reported 4 confirmed cases and 18 suspected cases as of yesterday. (

In addition, two Frenchmen came down with SARS symptoms upon arrival in Paris early this week, after working in the city for 6 weeks. (

I don't see any new information coming from Nanjing in terms of number of cases. However, it was reported yesterday that local schools now require students to wear face masks on their way to school and to wear gloves when taking public transport. Passengers stepping of the trains are now registered and their temperature taken. (
Posted by luo at 2003-05-08 13:10:36. More

7 China is Taking SARS Seriously

Glad to see all the recent changes, but particularly in the press.

A week ago, various newspapers in Hong Kong, at least, were trying to guess how many cases there were in varous cities or provinces. And the numbers never seem to add up (literally). Since Xinhua news are linked or otherwise syndicated to many news websites around China, Chinese Web surfers everywhere can get the latest numbers on SARS almost simultaneously. (In HK, it takes at least 15 minutes for official news on SARS to get posted. Most of the time, the official website post it later than other news websites?!)

Anyway, I am still not convinced by the very low rate of infection in Shanghai. Even if the hospitals in the city had taken precautions from mid-February... In any case, I've seen a report saying that 98% of Shanghai residents in the survey were aware of the disease, so hopefully, most of people also know how to take the necessary precautions.
Posted by luo at 2003-04-23 22:29:44. More

6 SARS Found in Henan

The latest official figures, as reported by Ming Pao in Hong Kong at 3pm on Sunday, April 20.

國務院新聞辦下午在新聞發布會上公布,截至18日,北京的肺炎個案由44 個大幅增至339個。



Posted by luo at 2003-04-20 17:21:58. More

5 Resumed from the Short Pause of Service

Cool website. Very informative -- on SARS, in particular -- and the overall presentation is very neat.

I tried sending comments yesterday, but I guess they are permanently lost. :-)
Posted by Luo at 2003-04-18 20:26:38. More

4 SARS Websites in China

I can't find my last post, but here is the news reported by Ming Pao Newspaper in Chinese and English.

國務院新聞辦下午在新聞發布會上公布,截至18日,北京的肺炎個案由44 個大幅增至339個。




At a news conference this afternoon, The State Council information office announced the the number of confirmed SARS cases in Beijing has increased from 44 to 339. Around the nation, the latest figures are as follows: 1304 in Guangdong; 339 in Beijing; 108 in Shanxi; 25 in Inner Mongolia, 12 in Guangxi; 6 in Hunan; 5 in Sichuan; 3 in Fujian; and 2 each in Shanghai and Henan; and one in Ningxia. The total for 31 provinces and cities come up to 1807, and 79 deaths have been reported.

In Beijing, there are 339 confirmed cases, and 402 suspected cases. The death toll is 18, and 33 patients have recovered to date. Among the confirmed cases, there are 24 health care workers, 8 students, and 28 non-locals, and 5 foreigners. Among the suspected cases, there are 41 health care workers, 42 students, 21 non-locals, and 4 foreigners.
Posted by luo at 2003-04-20 17:34:16. More

3 My Dream Travel Destination

Germany...would be an interesting country to visit. I have been there once in the summer of 1996, but only to the historical town of Heidelberg. I would love to go see Berlin, now that it is the national capital again.

Took a course in German at the Goethe Institute last year, and saw an award-winning German movie called "Bella Martha" (2001) at a film festival. Not an artsy independent film, like the rest, but a drama that depicted the interrelationship between a very serious mid-career German woman-chef, her young, rebellious niece, and a slightly wacky Italian sous-chef turned boyfriend.

Here is the trailer, it is in German.

And if you have a slow connection...

Paramount Pictures bought the distribution rights for North America, and renamed it "Mostly Martha" Here is THEIR website, which is in English, and has lots of photos and graphics.
Posted by Luo at 2003-05-02 22:41:46. More

2 No SARS Case Found in Shanghai

On the article above, I just have a thought about the (potential) situation in Australia.

In Hong Kong or mainland China, for that matter, the virus is expected to take a summer break as it gets warmer over the next few weeks. But Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and the seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere -- when it's summer in the north, it's winter south of the equator.

If anything, the Australians should be very, very careful just about now.
Posted by luo at 2003-04-18 20:45:32. More

1 - NET SEND Spamer and Comment Spammer

It is so funny (to see how furious some people can get). I am getting so many of these spams and other related junk mail that I automatically delete them without a second look. ;-)
Posted by luo at 2003-04-20 13:59:05. More