This e-mail was sent to me from China Monday night. I did not put 'China' in the tag line above nor name the city to protect my friends who are under constant surveillance, especially on the Web:
This city of 1 million in Ningxia provence ---which is an "autonomous region" for the Hui Muslim people---heats exclusively with coal - so the air is less than pure!
Some things over here leave me scratching my head. This culture has been conditioned to question nothing. The longer I'm here the more aware I become of the divide between East and West.
Wish I could read your blog - but blogspot - along with most other blog sites - is blocked in China. For some reason Typepad.com is still accessible over here. Any day it could change. Security is really getting tight.
I remember the air quality in China when I was there for a month in the 80's as being horrendous---especially when the already bad air quality was exacerbated by sand blowing in from the Gobi Desert in the fall. As a matter of fact, everyone I was traveling with got bronchitis by the time we returned to Hong Kong. I coughed so hard for weeks in the aftermath of Chinese air pollution after getting back to America, that I got a hernia and had to have major surgery to repair it. The trip that kept on giving.
As for the Chinese blocking Blogspot, I'm certainly not surprised. This is a regime that doesn't value freedom of speech, thought or religion. My friends are brave indeed to be there for the next few years teaching and coughing. Don't think I would live that long there.
Ditto, Istanbul where I got sicker than dirt last year from both the extreme air pollution and Montezuma's revenge after eating a fish dish---or was it that raw fig that some vendor forced into my mouth in the Turkish market?--- that almost did me in. As far as I'm concerned radical Muslims can have Istanbul.