China and the global beehive
We have noted elsewhere in our paper that Communism is on the
way out in China, and that World Government is being forced upon them through
the World Trade Organisation rules.
It was of interest therefore to read in the NZ Herald,
22 August 2001, the headline" China tastes honey of global beehive -– XINING
-– On a remote stretch of country highway 1000km west of Beijing, an itinerant
honey farmer -– a man from a far-off peasant village who lives in a tent and
follows the summer blossoming of yellow flowers with his boxes of bees -– is
talking about his livelihood.
The discussion is not of subsistence or bee stings, but of the
When China joins the World Trade Organisation this year, Liu
Yun predicted, it would mean more markets and better prices for his honey.
With a businesslike lack of wonder, he noted that some of his
honey was sold in the United States, exported through a distributor in Sichuan
province that is co-owned by a Chinese-American investor from New Orleans.
'I've heard about WTO,' said the 32-year-old beekeeper
from the middle of nowhere, 'and I think it will be good for me.'
It is getting harder to find the old, isolated China....
The fact that China produces and exports so many items to the
US - $US100 billion ($233.31 billion) worth of goods ranging from clothes, toys
and machinery to 16 per cent of the honey used in the US -– is a source of
concern in Washington....
The United States cannot force China to change, but it can
influence China's political development through economic engagement because
US trade and investment means jobs, education and closer contact with the West.
This in turn should create a more sophisticated world view that will lead to a
more free Chinese society....
Beekeepers are a burgeoning middle class, with incomes as
high as $US2000, depending on how weather conditions affect honey production.
It is not an easy life.
The beekeepers leave their villages in spring to follow the
seasonal blossoming of rapeseed flowers, and they do not get home until
September. They live in tents and travel by train or truck, lugging 80 to 300
plywood boxes of bees and setting up temporary roadside camps....
There are thousands of bees and one queen bee per box. Each
morning, when the sun begins to warm, the farmers release their bees. The scouts
go out first, followed by the rest, and they will fly off as far as 3km in
search of flower nectar to collect before returning each afternoon or evening to
their queen. The nectar brought back to the hive is mixed with an enzyme by the
bees to make honey.
Private and state-owned honey companies have relationships
with the beekeepers and know which roads to follow to find them and negotiate a
Wearing a hat and mask for protection, Liu Hong Yun gingerly
opens his boxes and pulls out a filter, gently shaking and brushing off the bees
clinging to it.
He gets stung almost every day, sometimes once and
occasionally 30 or 40 times. The bees are particularly irritable after travel
days, when they are dehydrated, and will attack the beekeepers for the
perspiration on their arms.
But in general, said Liu of his employees, 'they are pretty
mild-mannered'." (emphases added).
I found that article extremely interesting as it gave a
little insight as to some of the problems encountered by those getting involved
with the World Trade Organisation in a large country like China.