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Sichuan China

Szechwan China

Szechuan China

Four Rivers China

Four Gorges China

Four Circuits China

On Monday May 12, 2008 a 7.9 earthquake hit and killed thousands of people in Sichuan, Szechwan, Szechuan China or however you spell it. Since I like the food from that part of the world I decided to put it on my web page. The name means Four Rivers, Four Gorges,Four Circuits. Oddly I discovered the name by accident after I went to Japan and learned the picture words for 4 and river. The next time I went to a szechuan restaurant I saw the name in Chinese, which is the same as in Japanese and and say cool it means 4 rivers.

Szechwan and Szechuan is a province in western China with its capital at Chengdu. The current name of the province, Śchuan, is an abbreviation of Si Chuanlu), or "Four circuits (political subdivisions) of rivers", or "Four circuits of rivers and gorges", named after the division of the existing circuit into four during the Northern Song Dynasty.

Szechuan cuisine, Szechwan cuisine, or Sichuan cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine originating in Sichuan Province of southwestern China which has an international reputation for being hot and numbing, because of the common ingredient Sichuan peppercorn or fagara. Although the region Sichuan is now romanized as Sichuan, the cuisine is still sometimes spelled 'Szechuan' or 'Szechwan' in the West. Translated, Sichuan means "Four Rivers". The four styles are separated by location: Chengdu, Chongqing, the Greater River (Yangtze), and the Lesser River (Jialing).

Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, drying and smoking, and is generally spicy. Nearly universal is The Sichuan peppercorn; an indigenous plant whose peppercorns produce a fragrant, numbing, almost citrusy spice. Also common are chili, ginger and spicy herbs. Broad bean chili paste is also a staple seasoning in Sichuan cuisine.

Common preparation techniques in Szechuan cuisine include stir frying, steaming and braising, but a complete list would include more than 20 distinct techniques. Beef is somewhat more common in Szechuan cuisine than it is in other Chinese cuisines, perhaps due to the widespread use of oxen in the region. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until chewy, while steamed beef is sometimes coated with rice flour to produce a very rich gravy.

Some well-known Szechuan dishes include Kung Pao chicken and Twice Cooked Pork. Although many dishes live up to their spicy reputation, often ignored are the large percentage of recipes that use little or no hot spices at all, including dishes such as Tea Smoked Duck.

Sichuan Province, located in southwest China, is one of the largest and most inaccessible provinces in the nation. This province covers an area of 485,000 kilometers (187,000 miles) and boasts the largest population in China, with 87 million people.

Sichuan is bordered by the Tibetan Plateau in the west and by the Three Gorges and the Yangtze River in the east. The eastern part of the Sichuan basin is ringed by lofty mountains and experiences a subtropical and humid climate. The western part is considered the highland area and experiences frequent fog with intense sunlight, but low temperatures. The annual rainfall in this province is 1000 millimeters and the average annual temperature is 16.5C.

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan and is the cultural and industrial center for the agricultural Chengdu Plain. Chengdu was one of the first centers of printing in China and has been famous for its luxurious satins, brocades, and lacquer ware since the 13th century.

Chengdu is also home to the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base, one of the most important centers in the world for the captive conservation of the Giant Panda. The Research Centre has evolved into China Panda City. Panda City encompasses a museum, as well as the Chengdu Zoo.

Sichuan is known as the 'Land of Abundance' and has three places on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List: Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) and Mount Emeishan including Leshan Giant Buddha. Visitors to this province can experience a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. In addition, tourists can visit important historic relics and taste the delicious spicy Sichuan Cuisine.

Sichuan, in China's western hinterland, covers most of the Sichuan Basin. Surrounded by mountains, it is situated at 26'03"-34'20" north latitude and 97'22"-110'10" east longitude with an area of 567,000 square kilometers, accounting for 5.1% of China's total area. Sichuan is high in the west and low in the east in terms of topography. Generally speaking, the western part is plateaus and mountainous regions some 4,000 meters above sea level, while the eastern part features basin and hilly land with an elevation between 1,000 and 3,000 meters.

The climate in Sichuan is vastly different between its eastern and western parts. The Sichuan Basin has a humid sub-tropical monsoonal climate, with mild winters, hot summers, long frost-free period, plentiful rainfall and mist, high humidity, and less sunshine. Its average temperature in July, the hottest month, is 25-29oC; in January, the coldest month, 3-8oC. The Western Sichuan Plateau with its plateau climate has lower temperature and less rainfall than the Sichuan Basin, both of which differ again in the southern and northern sections of the plateau.

It is divided into 5 districts, 3 autonomous prefectures, 13 prefecture-level cities, 18 county-level cities, 124 counties, and 3 autonomous counties, with a population of 83.29 million as of 2000.

Sichuan Cuisine, one of the Eight Great Cuisines in China, emphasizes the use of chili, red hot peppers and garlic. Typical menu items are: Hot Pot, Smoked Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Twice Cooked Pork, Mapo Tofu. Shuizhu Niurou (steamed beef with a variety of seasonings and spices), Yuxiang Rousi (a roast pork dish cooked with bamboo shoots, mushrooms), Zhangcha Duck (salted, smoked duck), etc.

Sichuan Province, Shu for short, is located in southwest China, with Chengdu as its capital city. Sichuan, generally classified as a rice region, abounds in agricultural products. It is listed as one of China's major producers of rice, wheat, cotton, rapeseeds, raw silk, oil-bearing crops, meat, and fruit, and also holds a significant place in production of medicinal herbs, pigs and cattle. Sichuan's major industrial products are metals, coal, petroleum, machinery, electric power, well salt, chemicals, electronics, textiles and foodstuff etc.

Sichuan is known as the "Land of Abundance" and has three places listed as the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, namely the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, the Huanglong Scenic Area, and Emei Mountain including the Leshan Giant Buddha. Visitors to this province can experience a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. Most of the rivers in Sichuan belong to the Yangtze River system.

Sichuan is gifted with lush mountains and exquisite waters, and abounds in historical and cultural resources. Its main scenic spots and historical sites include Emei Mountain, Qingcheng Mountain, and Long Valley, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Jiuzhaigou (Nine-Village Valley). The Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan is home to the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base, one of the most important centers in the world for the captive conservation of the Giant Panda.

As one of the largest provinces, Sichuan has more than 15 minority groups living with the Han people. Among these are the Yi, Hui, Tibetan and Miao peoples. Each of these minorities has its own charm, ethnic style and folk custom. Some of the ethical festivals like Leshan Great Buddha International Tourist Festival, Southland Ice and Snow Festival, Liangshan Yi Minority Torch Festival and Zigong Lantern Festival have become Sichuan's unique tourist resources.

This is an article about the earthquake two or three days after it happened. The death toll will certainly be much higher.


Death toll in China earthquake exceeds 12,000
Associated Press Writer

MIANYANG, China - The toll of the dead and missing soared as rescue workers dug through flattened schools and homes on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to find survivors of China's worst earthquake in three decades.

The official death toll climbed past 12,000 in Sichuan province, where emergency workers reached the epicenter of the massive quake as night fell. The number appeared certain to rise far higher as rescue and recovery efforts moved forward.

Soldiers who hiked past blocked roads located only 2,300 of the 9,000 people of Yinxiu, a town near the epicenter in Wenchuan county, state TV quoted local emergency official He Biao as saying. At least 500 people were confirmed dead in the country, the official Xinhua News Agency reported early Wednesday.

Xinhua News Agency said 18,645 people were still buried in debris in and around Mianyang, a city about 60 miles east of the epicenter. People there spent a second night sleeping outside in the rain, some under striped plastic sheeting strung between trees. The government ordered people not to return to their homes, citing safety concerns, and posted security guards outside apartment complexes to keep people out.

Few lights were on in the city of 700,000, and people ate and chatted by candlelight.

"My heart was so uneasy last night, I couldn't sleep," said Wen Dajian, wrapped in a floral quilt lying on the rickshaw he uses to make a living hauling goods. "I'm still so scared tonight. There's no place for me to go."

The Sichuan Daily newspaper reported on its Web site that more than 26,000 people were injured in the Mianyang area.

Rescue teams brought people evacuated from the hard-hit town of Beichuan to Mianyang's sports stadium for food and shelter. Outside the railway station, police shouted in megaphones telling people where they could get free rice porridge.

Buses carrying survivors headed away from Beichuan, which was flattened by the quake. Footage on CCTV showed few buildings standing amid piles of rubble in a narrow valley. The six-story Beichuan Hotel sat listing, half its first story collapsed. Medical teams tried to treat the wounded in dirt courtyards littered with broken furniture and rubble.

Just east of the epicenter, 1,000 students and teachers were killed or missing at a collapsed high school in Beichuan county — a six-story building reduced to a pile of rubble about two yards high, according to Xinhua. Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan alone.

At another leveled school in the town of Juyuan, 900 students were feared dead. As bodies of teenagers were carried out on doors used as makeshift stretchers, relatives lit incense and candles and also set off fireworks to ward away evil spirits.

There was little prospect that many survivors would be found under the rubble. Only 58 people were extricated from demolished buildings across the quake area so far, China Seismological Bureau spokesman Zhang Hongwei told Xinhua. In one county, 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

Rain was impeding efforts and a group of paratroopers called off a rescue mission to the epicenter due to heavy storms, Xinhua reported.

But officials urged the public not to give up hope.

"Survivors can hold on for some time. Now it's not time to give up," Wang Zhenyao, disaster relief division director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told reporters in Beijing.

Thirty-one British tourists who were panda-watching in Wolong National Nature Reserve and initially reported missing were safe and in the provincial capital of Chengdu Tuesday night, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Kerry Zobor, the U.S.-based spokeswoman for the World Wildlife Fund, said they have not been able to contact the 12 WWF members visiting the reserve, or their tour operator.

"The communications are still disrupted and we're hoping to have an update by the end of the day," Zobor said Tuesday.

All the pandas were reported safe.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who rushed to the area to oversee rescue efforts, said a push was on to clear roads and restore electricity as soon as possible. His visit to the disaster scene was prominently featured on state TV, a gesture meant to reassure people that the ruling party was doing all it could.

"We will save the people," Wen said through a bullhorn to survivors as he toured the disaster scene, in footage shown on CCTV. "As long as the people are there, factories can be built into even better ones, and so can the towns and counties."

Some 20,000 soldiers and police arrived in the disaster area with 30,000 more on the way by plane, train, trucks and even on foot, the Defense Ministry told Xinhua.

Aftershocks rattled the region for a second day, sending people running into the streets in Chengdu. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the shocks between magnitude 4 and 6, some of the strongest since Monday's 7.9-magnitude quake.

Expressions of sympathy and offers of help poured in from the United States, Japan and the European Union, among others.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President Bush spoke by phone with Chinese President Hu Jintao and expressed his condolences. She said the U.S. is offering an initial $500,000 in earthquake relief in anticipation of an appeal by the International Red Cross.

The Dalai Lama, who has been vilified by Chinese authorities who blame him for recent unrest in Tibet, offered prayers for the victims. The epicenter is just south of some Tibetan mountain areas that saw anti-government protests earlier this year.

Beijing Games organizers said the Olympic torch relay will continue as planned through the quake-affected area next month.

The Chinese government said it would welcome outside aid, and Russia was sending a plane with rescuers and supplies, the country's Interfax news agency reported.

But Wang, the disaster relief official, said international aid workers would not be allowed to travel to the affected area.

"We welcome funds and supplies; we can't accommodate personnel at this point," he said.

China's Ministry of Finance said it had allocated $123 million in aid for quake-hit areas.

The quake was China's deadliest since 1976, when 240,000 people were killed in the city of Tangshan, near Beijing in 1976. Financial analysts said the quake would have only a limited impact on the country's booming economy.


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