No foreigners allowed in Pingyao

China Daily promotes tourism?

See this recent article, all nice but no foreigners allowed in Pingyao…
“Tourism gets back on track” 16 October 2020
Discover Shanxi by China Daily

“Pingyao, in central Shanxi and one of the top tourist destinations in the province, is known for its ancient city, old streets and time-honored firms established by the famed Shanxi merchants centuries ago. The county of Pingyao welcomed more than 300,000 visits during the eight-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays on Oct 1-8. The figure ranks it first among all tourist attractions in Shanxi province. Shanxi province received more than 52 million visits during the period and netted a tourism revenue of 31.64 billion yuan ($4.69 billion), according to the Shanxi Culture and Tourism Department. The department’s officials said the figures-almost the same as last year-show that local tourism has recovered from the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak that started earlier this year.”

Pingyao is a key tourist destination in Shanxi

I had the pleasure to visit it in June 2018 before the virus. A very interesting place.

I still need to go through the many pictures I took and post some.

Pingyao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Pingyao county was recently listed among the country’s top 100 counties in terms of tourism strength in 2020.


The reality

My wife arrived in Pingyao this month to visit, together with Chinese friends.
They went to several hotels and all said, sorry. no foreigners allowed in Pingyao. Call to police did not solve anything.
They finally managed to enter with their car the old city. Found a small basic hotel where my wife said, sorry I lost my Chinese ID (she is Chinese with a Belgian passport). So she managed to stay the night (it was a very poor “hotel”).

I tried to contact the Shanxi and Pingyao government to complain. As always, either the contact details are wrong or no answer:

Shanxi Pingyao – Contact Us – Updated:2013-07-05 10:12 – Pingyao Tourism Bureau
Email: (does not work!)
Shanxi government contact:
Email sent, no answer.

Welcome to China! OK, foreigners not always welcome.

Surviving virusland

The new Coronavirus

As reported earlier, Houston we have a problem. The reaction of the authorities is debatable. For sure, Wuhan government made a horrible mess. Millions of people left Wuhan to other parts of China and other countries before the government started acting instead of shutting down the news about it. The consequences could be rather disastrous for months to come. Surviving virusland will be a challenge.

The most shocking for me was the (in)famous New Year’s Eve Gala on 24 January, on all Chinese channels.

OK, my Chinese is too poor to appreciate any of this stuff but kitsch à la chinoise it is for sure. You get dizzy from all the overloaded effects and colors and whatever.
But for me it was like having a great party on a sinking ship, as nothing was wrong. Little or no mention at all about poor Wuhan. Nobody in the audience had a mask. Oh great. Al while they were placing in quarantine 20 to 30 million people, for a start. Separating families, making it impossible for people to get back home. A total disregard for the suffering of the people.

Of course the tone was, China is GREAT, everybody is HAPPY.
During the CCTV Gala the show switched to one of Wuhan’s main hospitals now to get an update from the nurses there who are spending their Chinese New Year night taking care of the many people infected with the coronavirus. According to the presenter, the switch was “very last minute.”. For the rest of the Gala, no word no indication.

Beijing restaurants and shops

Gradually Beijing restaurants and shops were closing for the Spring Festival exodus. Then it became worse with the new restrictions. Beijing is not yet isolated as Wuhan, trains and flight still operate while many people have difficulties to return to Beijing, where they live and work. One goes away for a few days, you take the minimum with you. Then you can’t go back. Where to stay, how to pay, missing your medicines, clothes, and all. Wonderful start of the New Year.

On 23 January I still had a nice lunch at LAD (Lily’s American Diner). they were to stay open.

Then I started to go to my favorite restaurants to order a lot and take home doggy bag to eat at home. Groovy Schiller’s Bar & Restaurant was one (pretty full), Legend Beer another (was very empty already, later closed). Morel’s Restaurant was closed and not sure when it will open.
Most of my usual shops were closed (but might reopen soon), such as Jenny Lou and April Gourmet. Got a lot from Jinkelong that was operating normally and was well stocked. Using my bicycle as a pick-up truck.
The pictures talk for themselves…

Home sweet home! As recommended I try to stay home as much as possible, cooking (I actually love it) and watch my old VHS and VCD movies.

Controls and masks

Some people managed to come back to Beijing by train. See the checking on arrival in Beijing West station.
Masks and alcohol (disinfectant) are all sold out. I have enough as I keep them … against pollution.
Some people invented new “masks”, see the pics. I thought it was a joke till people were spotted in Guangzhou using them. How they managed to breathe beats me.


How long will this mess last? No idea. I personally worry, reading recent reports, that we might continue to feel the impact till early May (actually another long holiday…).
The reason for the somber outlook is the history of the facts.
See this in-depth analysis of the new virus:

It mentions: “In December, 2019, a series of pneumonia cases of unknown cause emerged in Wuhan, Hubei, China, with clinical presentations greatly resembling viral pneumonia.” So while it started so early (first case was on 8 December 2019), authorities failed to act and the epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any decisive action taken. As a result, thousands of people from Wuhan flew to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Japan before the city was locked down. Wuhan Mayor reported 5 million have left the city, many to Henan and other Chinese provinces. So, specialists think many new cases could emerge in the next weeks and months.

As the virus spreads, anger floods Chinese social media. The sheer volume of criticism of the government, and the sometimes clever ways that critics dodge censors, are testing Beijing’s ability to control the narrative.
The Chinese government will never learn its lessons from killing so-called rumors and systematic cover-ups of “problems”.
As SCMP wrote on 26 January: “What is clear is that China’s initial mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak means that thousands have been infected, over a hundred have died, and the economy, already weakened by debt and the trade war, will take another hit. But perhaps the most tragic part of this story is that there is little reason to hope that next time will be different. The survival of the one-party state depends on secrecy, media suppression and constraints on civil liberties.”

Virusland is back

The new coronavirus

There we go again, virusland is back, a repeat of SARS that brought chaos and headaches right in the middle of the preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Orders from our then big boss Wang Qishan (then Beijing mayor): “I don’t want to know about it. Do respect the deadlines for building the stadia at any cost!”. And so we did, the rest is history.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was first “discovered” in Asia in February 2003. The outbreak lasted approximately six months as the disease spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before it was stopped in July 2003.More details, see

According to Wikipedia SARS started in November 2002 and in late 2017, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan province.

Wild animals as food

Because some Chinese ignore warnings not to eat exotic wild animals (often illegal), a continent is being shut down with immense economic losses and canceling family reunions. Great. The coronavirus is paralyzing China and no one knows for how long and at what economic cost, considering the losses in tourism, hotels, F&B, Spring Festival markets, manufacturing, trade, education…

It is now pretty certain the new virus comes from a market in Wuhan where also wild animals were being traded. The Huanan Seafood Market has a thriving wildlife trade, selling animals from foxes to wolf puppies, giant salamanders to peacocks and porcupines.

Xenophobic chatter about mainland Chinese and their eating habits has spread across the world since the first cases of the novel coronavirus. From SCMP article. Pic was all over the Chinese media.

Some say “Old habits are difficult to break. Not that long ago millions starved to death in China. At that time people were grateful to have anything  to eat.”. I don’t see it this way at all. It is the belief that “special meat” can bring exceptional effects for health (often sexual power). The more exotic. the better. E.g. dog meat supposed to be good in winter, bringing “warm” to the body. Bats (fruit bats in particular) are special for blood circulation and in case of strokes; also strong aphrodisiac; snake (especially the bile) for the lungs. I do not see the connection as such with the history of famines: I would then rather look at vegetables of all kinds where everything can be used. Vietnam has similar attitudes. It is also often to show off to say “I can afford this”. Or “I dare to eat”.

This needs to change

People seem to overlook that there is a need to stop the dangerous animal trade, not even to mention the issue of eating cats and dogs.

Remember? SARS-CoV is thought to be an animal virus from an animal reservoir, as mentioned above, that spread to other animals and first infected humans in the Guangdong province in 2002. China then banned in principle the sale of civet cats and other. The government should fire the Wuhan hygiene inspection team and others who turned a blind eye to the wildlife trade and let it happen again. The customs is so rigid for the import of food (e.g. French cheese and many other) while not dealing with local illegal animal trade.

Let’s hope that the draconian measures from the authorities will avoid worse. The government has ordered now to shut down all wild animal markets and closely monitor farms where those are also bred.


But will those measures last? Temporary restrictions will not solve the underlying problem, animal rights activist says.


Chinese creative mask (not recommended)(click to open the video clip)

Another article calling for action on the matter:

China coronavirus: Beijing should close down live-animal food markets to stop similar diseases emerging in future. As long as markets exist that sell exotic animals for food, the likelihood of other new diseases emerging will remain.

Verzonnen politiebericht vanuit België

Fake news op zijn Belgisch

Inderdaad, ik kreeg onlangs op mijn WeChat een verzonnen politiebericht vanuit België.
De eerste reactie was verontwaardiging, ja bij ons kan alles, terug een allochtoon die ons landeke onveilig maakt, niemand doet iets, een schande.

Ziehier het “bericht”

Als “politieman” zou ik me waarschijnlijk steeds meer als een “idioot” gaan beschouwen !!
Waarover gaat het?

In de nacht van vorige donderdag op vrijdag voerde de politie van Borgloon wegcontroles uit. Plots wilde een voertuig blijkbaar ontsnappen aan een controle en stoof de voerder weg door plankgas te geven. De politie zette onmiddellijk de achtervolging in met een voertuig en enkele “motards”.
Tegen zeer hoge snelheden van rond de 180 kilometer per uur werden regelmatig andere weggebruikers in gevaar gebracht. De vluchter bleek geen gemakkelijke jongen te zijn en hield het lang vol. Via Tienen en Diest naderde men Leuven. Daar bleken, inmiddels andere, opgeroepen politievoertuigen de strijd te kunnen beëindigen en de vluchter klem te rijden en tot stoppen te dwingen.
Er bleken twee inzittenden in het voertuig te zitten en deze zetten het op een lopen. Eén kon geklist worden en de andere is tot op heden onvindbaar en zal het waarschijnlijk ook blijven. Tijdens de dolle rit werden er steeds allerlei voorwerpen door het raam gezwierd waardoor soms uiterst gevaarlijke toestanden ontstonden voor de achtervolgende “motards”. Het ging hier waarschijnlijk over voorwerpen die iets vroeger tijdens een inbraak werden gestolen.

De dader werd aangehouden en verscheen de volgende dag vrijdag voor de onderzoeksrechter in Luik. Het gaat hier over een minderjarige allochtoon.
Bovendien weigerde deze misdadiger de naam van zijn kompaan aan de onderzoeksrechter mee te delen.
Behoudens het zich onttrekken aan een politiecontrole; het rijden met sterk overdreven snelheden; het in gevaar brengen van vele mensen; het veroorzaken van schade aan een politievoertuig; het feit waarschijnlijk juist ervoor een inb raak te hebben gepleegd; het weigeren om de naam van zijn kompaan mede te delen enz enz is de kans groot dat hier twee gevaarlijke misdadigers door het ingrijpen van de politiediensten werden gesnapt.

Resultaat. De onderzoeksrechter liet de man op staande voet vrij en hij kon beschikken !!!!

Het is juist wat we vreesden, verklaarde de politie-inspecteur Eddy Deckers van Borgloon, namelijk dat de gesnapte man onmiddellijk zou worden vrijgelaten. Begrijpt U nu beste lezers waarom ons land doodziek aan het worden is ?
Begrijpt U nu waarom er bij ons thuis reeds 11 maal werd ingebroken?
Begrijpt U nu waarom bepaalde minderjarige allochtonen zich hier in het landje van belofte menen te bevinden? Begrijpt U nu waarom ze zich onstrafbaar en boven alles verheven voelen?
Zo kan het werkelijk niet verder. De publieke opinie moet worden wakker geschud.
Onderzoeksrechters zoals deze zouden moeten beschouwd worden als gevaarlijke witteboordcriminelen die de belangen van de bevolking, die hen dan nog meestal rijkelijk betaalt, schaden. Ze zouden voor een speciale rechtbank moeten verschijnen; hun titel moeten verliezen en op staande voet zonder schadevergoeding de laan moeten worden uitgestuurd.

Indien ik Eddy Deckers was zou ik een persconferentie geven en mijn mandaat ter beschikking stellen van de regering. Ik zou de regering uitdagen en haar vragen om een beslissing te nemen en te kiezen wie er nu uit moet. Ofwel die onderzoeksrechter ofwel ik, Eddy Deckers, die als taak heeft de openbare orde te handhaven; de verantwoordelijkheid draagt voor meerdere politieagenten en hen moet kunnen blijven motiveren enz.
Wedden we dat onder druk van de “publieke opinie” de “overheid” snel zou weten wat ze moet beslissen!

Enkele dagen geleden schreven we erover en gaven een reeks voorbeelden van incidenten die meestal door een vrij onbekende persoon werden uitgelokt maar die dramatische rampen veroorzaakten en grote veranderingen teweeg brachten.
Wel ik reken er op dat er eerstdaags een soort Eddy Deckers voor een revolte van de gezagsdragers zal gaan zorgen zodat een einde kan gesteld worden aan de wispelturigheid; lafheid en totaal gebrek van interesse voor hun taak van een soort ” circusrechters” waarvan het aantal op gevaarlijke wijze blijkt toe te nemen.
Men zegge het voort,
Met vriendelijke groeten,
Dienst Systeembeheer – Politiezone Bilzen-Hoeselt-Riemst


Allemaal verzonnen

Wel, zij die het schreven maakten wel de vergissing de “bron” te vermelden.
Met het Internet werd alles duidelijk. Ik stuurde de vraag naar de vermelde dienst en kreeg het (verwachte) duidelijke antwoord:

Dergelijke mails doen inderdaad de ronde.
Echter, deze zijn niet afkomstig van onze diensten!
U doet er goed aan de mail gewoonweg te verwijderen en hier niet op te reageren.
Dank voor uw melding.
Met vriendelijke groeten
(naam, telefoon, positie, enz. verwijderd)
Dienst Beleid
Politiezone Bilzen-Hoeselt-Riemst

Inderdaad “Men zegge het voort”! Verzonnen politiebericht vanuit België!

Table and chairs generate fake news

A table and chairs generate fake news

A table and two chairs in a meadow generated lots of news. Got this picture from WeChat and at first sight it made sense: it claims the farmer had requested a license to build a shed for his horses but it was refused. So he put a huge table with two chairs instead “as nothing prohibits putting furniture in a meadow”.


The real story

See here the real explanation:

Paarden met gigantische meubels als stal

It says in Dutch that it was simply a publicity stunt by a furniture manufacturer, done in Doellstaedt, Germany.
Or in English with more details:
Yep, another hoax. You can’t believe everything you got on chat groups…
A lot of fake news on the Internet but also easy to get the truth. Just Google it!