From the Chinese press

Updated: 2013-03-14 07:04

(China Daily)

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Refuse disposable chopsticks

Each year in China the equivalent of 20 million 20-year-old trees are cut down to make 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks, according to Bai Guangxin, a deputy to the National People's Congress and CEO of China Jilin Forest Industry Group. We need to rethink our use of disposable chopsticks, says an article in Excerpts:

The sandstorms in Beijing during the two sessions should be a wake up call about the alarming effects of deforestation. It's time we reduced the massive cutting down of trees for chopsticks.

Behind the consumption of disposable chopsticks are the false perceptions of consumers and the malpractices of the manufacturers.

People wrongly assume that disposable chopsticks are more hygienic. As a matter of fact, disposable chopsticks are excessively bleached and may be a risk to people's health.

The manufacturers, in the absence of a ban on disposable wooden chopsticks, take advantage of loopholes in the laws to minimize their costs. As a result some manufacturers sacrifice their social responsibility on the altar of profit.

People need to be made aware that using disposable chopsticks is actually detrimental to a healthy lifestyle, as trees are necessary for us to live. At the same time, restaurants need to be encouraged to use reusable chopsticks or other substitutes.

Don't judge people by their clothes

The proposal to make Zhongshan suits the formal wear for Chinese people is well-intentioned but it is impossible to turn back the clock, says an article on Excerpts:

By promoting the Zhongshan suit, the two members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference who made the proposal want the younger generation to inherit traditional Chinese values and a historical identity. However, such a mission is too much for a suit to bear. Fashions come and go, and styles evolve.

Zhongshan suits are just clothes to be worn, rather than carriers of our cultural and historical heritage. It's improper to judge people's patriotism now on whether they are wearing Chinese- or Western-style clothes. Values might remain the same but fashions change.

Moreover, there are 56 ethnic groups in China and each group has its own traditional clothing. Getting everyone to wear a Zhongshan suit would be contrary to the vitality of diversity. The fact is, the Zhongshan suit is no longer popular, so let fashion be fashion.

(China Daily 03/14/2013 page10)