China Digest, October 4, 2012
Museum to honour spy
Chaohu, the birthplace of famous Chinese intelligence agent Li Kenong, is planning to invest about 200 million yuan (HK$245 million) to build a spy museum in his memory, Xinhuanet.com reports. Li, who was born in 1899 and died in 1962, was a major figure in the early history of communist intelligence operations, and was best known for his work during the Chinese civil war and the second Sino-Japanese war. He was an early agent of Zhou Enlai and a Communist Party mole inside the Kuomintang in Shanghai from 1929-1931. The museum, which is still being planned, may cover about 80,000 square metres.
Cheaper cancer drugs
Effective on Monday, the provincial pricing bureau will cut the price of immune-enhancing and cancer-fighting drugs by an average of 17 per cent, as part of a nationwide plan to reduce health-care costs, Anhui TV reports. The province will slash prices on a further 59 drugs in addition to 95 types of drugs that will be cheaper under central government orders.
Air quality phone app
Environmental authorities say a mobile phone application will be made available next year for people to check the levels of PM2.5 pollutants in the air, the Beijing Times reports. The app will obtain the reading from the closest monitoring station. Twenty such stations in the city currently are undergoing trials before data is released online starting on January 1.
Wearing red armbands, four foreigners, including one from Ireland, voluntarily worked with community police yesterday along Dashila Street - one of Beijing's most popular shopping areas - by offering help to foreign visitors during the National Day holiday, The Mirror reports. The historic street draws many non-Chinese speaking foreigners. Local police hope to recruit more volunteers in such areas in the future.
Two men from a canoeing club in Guangzhou spent more than 15 hours canoeing from Zengcheng to Guangzhou from Sunday to Monday, so they could enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival full moon away from traffic jams and bustling travellers, the New Express reports. The more than 100km journey took place along the Zeng, Dong and Pearl rivers.
Views sought on museum
The Guangzhou Urban Planning Bureau started collecting public opinion on its website on Tuesday for the planned construction of a Cantonese Opera Museum, the Guangzhou Daily reports. The museum, if approved, would be built on the historic Enning Road in Liwan district. The preliminary investment would be about 263 million yuan (HK$322 million), and construction could be completed before 2015. The public may comment on the project by October 29.
Named and shamed
The industry and commerce watchdog in Beihai is naming businesses, in particular seafood restaurants, found to be overcharging patrons, on an official microblog account. The information has been very popular this week as tens of thousands of tourists visit the seaport destination for the National Day holiday.
Playgrounds to car parks
Schools in four urban districts in Guilin turned their playgrounds into car parks for the holiday week, to help the city cope with the huge demand for parking spaces, the Nanguo Metropolis Daily reports. About 540 extra spaces were created for drivers to the city. The schools are located near popular scenic spots such as the Seven-Star Cave and Diecai Hill.
Farmer blame seeds
Some farmers in Shuangyashan say they have seen an unusual decline in their corn yield this year, by as much as 20 per cent from last year, and suspect substandard seeds sold to them by local authorities. Some farmers who didn't use those seeds had normal harvests, China National Radio reports. But authorities denied that the seeds were the problem, and blamed a drought in the eastern part of the province.
Skater Wang back on team
Former Winter Olympics speed-skating gold medallist Wang Meng has returned to the national team and will compete at the International Skating Union World Cup in Calgary this month, Xinhuanet.com reports. Wang, a Heilongjiang native, was expelled from the national team after fighting with the team manager in July last year.
Tang-era coffin on show
A sarcophagus dating to the Tang dynasty (618-907) is on display at the Fengxiang County Museum after being confiscated in March during a crackdown on smuggling, Xinhuanet.com reports. The 133cm-long stone coffin, now empty, is believed to have belonged to a trader of Persian origin, as the painting style on it is distinctly Persian.
Salary won't be disclosed
The provincial government has formally rejected a request by a lawyer from Hubei to disclose the salary of Yang Dacai , the former head of the provincial Bureau of Work Safety who was fired last month after being photographed smiling at the scene of a bus accident that left 36 people dead, The Beijing News reports. After seeing the photo, the internet community discovered photographs of Yang wearing luxury brand watches that a civil servant should not be able to afford. The government previously rejected a similar salary-disclosure request made by a university student, leading the lawyer to try, but he received a rejection letter on Tuesday.
Rare birth for park
A rare baby Taiwan serow, a goat-like mammal endemic to the island, has appeared in public at the Liugongdao National Forest Park in Weihai Xinhuanet.com reports. The calf, named Meimei, was born on September 11. Its parents were presented to the park by Taiwan in April 2011.
Rich pickings at hotel
A man was arrested in Jinan on Monday for stealing 40 bottles of expensive liquor, a luxury watch and 4,000 yuan in cash on Friday from a hotel where he used to work, the Jinan Times reports. The combined value of the stolen goods was estimated at 130,000 yuan, and police said the man admitting to stealing from staff members and the hotel itself.
Holiday weddings decline
More than 1,000 couples tied the knot in Shanghai on Monday - National Day - according to the marriage registration office, Xinmin.cn reports. The number, which included 10 marriages involving at least one foreigner, was about 200 fewer than the same day last year. Some commentators said the reason could be that people were becoming more rational about marriage and didn't need to wed on a special date, such as holidays. Meanwhile, 11 couples filed for divorce that day.
Used oil for biodiesel
The municipal government listed on its official microblog yesterday the names of 18 companies that have been granted permission to transport and process used kitchen oil, the Jiefang Daily reports. The processed oil will be converted into biodiesel by two other companies. The recycling network was established to crack down on the prevalence of illegal "gutter oil", or used oil that has been reprocessed and served again by restaurants.