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This Week in China

Earthquake 

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Tangjiashan Lake, created by the May 12 earthquake, is dangerously close to spilling over as 250,000 people have been evacuated downstream and 1.3 million remain at risk. An engineering base of operations next to the dam houses personnel racing to avert a catastrophic failure (video). 

Police surrounded a protest against school-construction quality on Tuesday and dragged away parents and journalists.

Politics 

The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee posted rules for foreigners during their visits to the games (translated). Big no-nos include trafficking of state secrets, sleeping in public, displaying insulting slogans or banners at events, carrying guns, or burning the Chinese flag. (original Chinese

Starting tomorrow, tourists will be able to see the eight giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo recently flown in from Chengdu. Meanwhile, China and Taiwan may enter emergency talks on their panda deal as political deadlock has the island’s promised pair approaching an age above which they'll be able to successfully adapt to a new environment.

Economy

The earthquake should have a minimal effect on the economy as only 1 percent of the population was affected and the area was mostly farmland. The quake did damage hydro plants, however, so power supplies may be tight this summer.

Fuel shortages are growing but raising China's artificially low prices could worsen inflation.

The manager of China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund tried to quell the West's fears about politically motivated acquisitions, saying, "Our government has never been transparent for 5,000 years… Now we are told we need to be transparent and we are trying."

China is opening a pilot coal-to-liquid plant in Inner Mongolia that will turn coal into oil. If it takes off, Inner Mongolia will try and convert half of its coal output to liquid fuel by 2010.

In a possible sign of improved pharmaceutical-industry scrutiny, the government responded swiftly to the deaths of six hospital patients from possibly contaminated immunoglobulin in a Jiangxi province hospital by ordering all drugs from the same batch impounded for testing.

Taiwan

A group of representatives from over 30 Chinese travel companies will visit Taiwan later this month in preparation for opening up the Taiwan-mainland tourism market. The first group of tourists on weekend charter flights are slated to arrive July 4.

Upon returning from the mainland, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung told Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou that China was unlikely to fire any missiles at Taiwan, but Ma's defense minister remains wary.

Faced with an organ shortfall, Taipei is offering free memorial services and public citations of praise to city residents who donate their heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas and may extend the measure to include skin, bones, and corneas.

Analysis

Reuters columnist Wei Gu, in "China's fuel subsidy costs the world," argues that China's fuel prices, about 61 percent of those in the United States, need to get in touch with reality.

In "The Family Way," Josh Kurlantzick calls for a phasing out of the one-child policy.