Feelings high in Yunnan


In Australia, our new government sedulously dissuades us from any environmental effort, particularly when it comes to global warming, by the contrary example of the Chinese.

I first went to China in 1998. Since then, I have noticed some “environmental” developments.

Public rubbish bins now routinely have a “recyclable” and “non-recyclable” receptacle. True, this distinction is almost universally ignored, but to the extent that it is observed it may make things just a little easier for the free-lancers who go from bin to bin retrieving the recyclable objects (especially plastic water bottles) and putting them into enormous sacks on their bicycles.

Styrofoam takeaway food containers and chopsticks used to gather in practically every windbreak of any sort in any public place. I can’t work out how but you don’t seem to see them or at least so many.

In urban areas, at least, the motor bike has been supplanted by the electric bicycle (though electric bicycles have probable replaced quite a lot of ordinary bicycles as well).

And you now have to pay for a plastic bag at the Supermarket (a measure also adopted in Australia in the ACT though not yet in NSW). You can buy a slightly more robust one than they used to give away. It doesn’t cost much, but the Chinese are a frugal people.

Unarmed with my own bag I went shopping this year on the main street of Dali old town(Sifangjie, a common name for a main street in these parts). I have kept the bag I bought as a souvenir.

The bag identifies the shop and its slogan, reproduced at the head of this post, which places an appropriate (especially for China) emphasis on its goods being well-priced.


It’s only today that I really paid any attention to the other side of the bag:


And again, looking a little more closely:


That’s right: 钓鱼岛 – that’s the Diaoyu Islands (to the Chinese, Senkaku to the Japanese) – are Chinese!

Those are the islands which are currently the focus of heightened feelings between Japan and China.

I’d be surprised if Japanese supermarket bags are festooned with equivalent slogans.

See also here.

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