If you are familiar with drinking heavily or going to Chinese banquets (basically the same thing), you’ve probably been forced to
chug try some Maotai. Deemed “China’s national liquor” by Reuters, Maotai or máotáijiǔ (茅台酒) is one of the most famous brands of Chinese rice wine (or báijiǔ).
Although dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher and Richard Nixon have put this put-hair-on-your-chest drink to their conservative lips, the popular liquor is now threatened. You see, Maotai is made from mountain water from the Chishui river in northwest Guizhou province. By order of former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, all industry was banned 100km upstream from the Maotai factory in order to maintain Maotai’s renowned purity. However, like the Songhua River of Heilongjiang province and the Yangtze River, the health of Chishui River is threatened by illegal factories that have set up shop along its banks.
Coincidentally, these factories all manufacture báijiǔ using the river as its source. Operating outside of China’s environmental laws, some 39 illegal alcoholic drink plants sprung up in recent years. Although all of those plants have been closed now, authorities are investigating why they were able to open in the first place.
In other environmental news
95% of Xiamen’s mangrove wetlands are gone
Xiamen once had 320 hectares of mangrove in the 1950s. Now there are only 13 hectares.
Japan blames its pollution on China
Vast clouds of photochemical smog smothered more than 20 prefectures in Japan on May 9 as a result of ozone carried by westerly winds from China.
U.S. blames its pollution on China
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that on certain days nearly 25 percent of the particulate matter in the skies above Los Angeles can be traced to China.
Jing’An residents breathe easier
The district’s air is the cleanest in downtown Shanghai, supposedly.
Photo of two poor chaps who wet themselves in front of BonBon from Swiss James.