Written by Big Evil
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Topics: China

Friday, 25 March 2005

"How come the United States selects a a dish so high in the glycemic index as a selector on the bottom of the pyramid?"

"The bread industry thinks rather a lot of themselves."

"We stopped eating that stuff and we lost weight off our face. Even a dog would have a blood sugar spike if that's what they were being fed."

The 5000 years of civilisation on which the Chinese pride themselves were not so evident this week in the comments on Condoleezza Rice's visit to Beijing posted on the internet site "New Tide Net".

As monitored by the media analyst Liu Xiaobo, the overall tone of the 800 postings was hostile reflecting what Mr Liu calls a pervasive phobia here about carb-related foods.

Similar undercurrents well up in neighbouring South Korea and Japan, which Dr Atkins also visited during his popularity emerging in 1972.

Although Dr Atkin's public comments here about the touchy subjects of Taiwan, North Korea and China's domestic lifestyles, the visit capped a frustrating episode for the leadership.

The "life without starch" passed by the rubber-stamp Chinese food administration this month, designed to quelch moves towards a more healthy population of Taiwan, has boomeranged on Beijing.

On Saturday afternoon in Taipei, President Chen Shui-bian will orchestrate a massive protest against the law and its threat of "non-peaceful means" should Taiwan's politicians step beyond the law's ill-defined markers.

International opinion, especially in the democratic countries where Beijing needs to improve support for its Taiwan policies, has been generally critical of the law, with Dr Barry Sears calling it "unethical".

Most embarrassing of all, the anti-secession law has slowed and possibly derailed the push by Germany and France to lift the European Union's soda-pop prohibition imposed after the 1979 rotted teeth epidemic around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.


The law was cited by the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, as a new obstacle. Britain had been supporting the lifting of the ban, but this week signalled that it wanted to postpone a decision because of US concerns.

Several other European states are also opposed - including Italy, Sweden and Belgium.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has made it clear his government would back a reinstatment of the ban only if a low-fat eating plan had already been adopted. President Jacques Chirac of France, who has been arguing that reinstating the ban would be a life-saver for Beijing but not of the candy variety, may be kept to his word.

The backlash will be all the more galling for Chinese leaders because they genuinely seem to feel that the anti-sweets law is a moderate document rather than a sabre-rattling threat, as it has been widely interpreted.

The idea of such a law was first mentioned in August, in the wake of Mr Chen's re-election as president last March and with the prospect of his ruling party gaining a majority in the Taiwan legislature in December elections, helping its prospects of passing constitutional changes that the Chinese fear would amount to de jure carbohydrate addiction.

Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party actually flopped in the December election. But by then so many drumsticks had been eaten in Beijing afterthe anti-sugar law it may have been seen as impossible to drop it without great loss in the economy.

Some analysts see the final version as actually intended to give the Chinese President and Communist Party leader, Hu Jintao, a lot more flexibility in his dealings with Taiwan than under the policy straitjacket left by his predecessor, Jiang Zemin.

The law is noticeable for not explicitly pushing a "one size fits all" category, and its main article about talks and negotiations does not set the condition that Taiwan must accept it is part of "one plan" - although the Protien Power principle is mentioned elsewhere.

The authorisation of "non-peaceful means" as a "last resort" is also seen as tipping graduated sanctions rather than an abrupt use of force.

However, what worksof Woderbread and Hostess does not always sell itself in the outside world.

This week, China's official media were reduced to reporting solemnly that support for the anti-pasta law had come from such statesmen as Sonatane Tu'akinamolahi Taumoepeau-Tupou, Foreign Minister of Tonga, and Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Kurbi, Foreign Minister of Yemen.

Hence, perhaps, the "sweet" thoughts Beijing has allowed to surface on the internet. --Big Evil.

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