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Commentary Wrap: Smog, Scalpers & Comedian in Politics

                                                                         Steven Chow

January 18, 2013
By Zhang Dian

Editors from the EO's Chinese website publish a daily collection of extracts from commentary pieces that have appeared in the mainland press over recent days. The EO's English team then translates a selection of these opinion pieces.

Smoggy Beijing
Background: Over the past week, much of Northeast China was covered by heavy smog. Air pollution readings showed that half of China’s 74 major cities had terrible air quality. Beijing, for example, reached nearly 900 on the PM2.5 index. The smog caused many flight delays.  

The solution to air pollution is to balance development among different regions. Whatever action, be it a short-term measure or a long-term strategy, should be done together by all regions including Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province. Only by cutting the regional differences can we breathe easier.
The Beijing News(新京报)
Original article:

It’s plausible that the serious pollution is caused by seasonal factors. However, we should never neglect the human causes behind the environmental problem. What really results in such a breathing disaster is the lack of effective environmental protection and emissions. If the environment had been taken care of as well as officials claimed, there would have been no possibility for the smog to come.
Southern Metropolis (南方都市报)
Original article
: [Chinese]

When the government asks its citizens to fulfill their duty to protect the environment, they should build up an appropriate environmental protection system for people to follow. No one can deny the responsibility of the government in this pollution disaster.
China Youth Daily (中国青年报)
Original article:

Train Ticket Agents Arrested
Background: A couple in Foshan of Guangdong Province (广东佛山市) helped migrant workers to book train tickets online, charging 10 yuan for each ticket. This benefited migrant workers who’ve had little or no exposure to the internet, and thus, saved them the trouble of standing in long lines or using ticketing agencies. However, the couple was arrested for scalping and faces up to three years in prison.

Ten yuan extra has been considered scalping in this case, but it’s a big favor in the eyes of the migrant workers who have so much trouble buying train tickets back home during the annual Spring Festival period. The conflict can be solved by interpretation of justice. The execution of justice doesn’t mean sticking to the law literally, but taking people’s motives into consideration. It’s ok to crack down on ticket scalpers, but the government had better think twice before cracking down on agents serving the needs of the public.
Huaxi Metropolis(华西都市报)
Original article:

Train tickets cannot be monopolized by the Ministry of Railways, but should be open to more private businesses. When more private businesses enter this field, normal competition will create better service for ticket buyers.  
Southern Metropolis (南方都市报)
Original article:

Punishment is imposed on ticket scalpers because they disrupt the market order. It’s regarded as misbehavior and a crime. However, this couple helping migrant workers doesn’t disrupt the market order, but releases pressure on franchised ticket agents. Their behavior is worthy of encouragement.
The Beijing Newspaper (新京报)
Original article:

Comic Stars in Politics
Background: Recently representatives for the 93-member Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were announced. Representatives are regarded as political advisors who submit proposals to the government. They come from all kinds of different backgrounds and professions. Among the representatives this year were famous Hong Kong actor and comedian Stephen Chow (周星驰), as well as other stars like Kent Tang (汤镇业), Ma Dingsheng (马鼎盛), and Wu Xiaoli (吴小莉).

Stars and CPPCC members aren’t in conflict. There’s no problem when a TV star gets involved in politics or when a politician becomes a superstar. The key is whether the two roles will be associated together. In an optimal system, people will forget the previous identity of a famous CPPCC member when it comes to political issues.
China Youth Daily(中国青年报)
Original article:

Putting aside Stephen Chow’s  job as a comedian, he deserves the position as long as he cares about the welfare of society. If he’s prepared to speak up or take action for the good of the people, then he should be deemed qualified.
Yanzhao Metropolis(燕赵都市报)
Original article: [Chinese]



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