China Digest, October 30, 2012
Gangnam Style collapse
An outdoor stage collapsed at Peking University on Sunday when a group of students were performing the popular Gangnan Style song and dance, The Beijing News reports. The performance was part of the ninth-annual Peking University International Cultural Festival, and the stage collapsed under the weight of onlookers who climbed onto the stage to sing and dance along. It was not clear whether anyone was hurt or how many students were on the stage. The song, by South Korean pop singer Psy, has become a worldwide hit.
Record crowds at forest
The Fragrant Hills forest park in suburban Beijing saw a weekend record of 240,000 visitors on Saturday and Sunday, the Beijing Times reports. On Saturday, 138,000 people, 70 per cent of them from outside Beijing, visited the scenic spot that is famous for its maple trees.
Officials brew their own
A township government in Nanxiong city has been brewing its own fermented rice wine this year to save money on liquor when hosting visitors from higher government departments, the Nanfang Rural News reports. A township leader told the paper the government used to consume an average of 50kg of liquor each month at banquets, and this had become a heavy financial burden.
Free meals for the elderly
A Guangzhou restaurateur has been offering free noodles for the past eight years to elderly people with no families, the Guangzhou Daily reports. The owner, 61, said he opened the shop in 2004 to enrich his retirement, and had been giving the elderly free meals ever since. He has five elderly customers who visit daily.
Noodles fail quality test
Nearly 32 per cent of the autonomous region's wet rice noodles failed a quality spot check from August to this month, the Modern Life Daily reports. Inspectors tested 265 products from as many makers and 84 of them were substandard. Some contained excessive levels of sulfur dioxide and coliform bacteria.
Man 'robbed three hotels'
Guilin police have caught a man suspected of robbing three hotels of nearly 28,000 yuan, using two fake guns, China News Service reports. The 23-year-old man previously served jail time for theft. He was detained on Friday and is accused of robbing cashiers at one hotel on July 29 and two hotels October 21.
Fake notes used on buses
Harbin police detained a 50-year-old man for using photocopies of banknotes on public buses, Xinhua reports. He was caught on Friday when he allegedly tried to buy a ticket using a fake 10-yuan note. The bus firm said it received three 10-yuan and two 5-yuan notes since October 22, and since each of the man's five bus rides cost just 1 yuan, he pocketed the 35 yuan in change. The man came up with the idea of copying money after colleagues tested the new Xerox machine on cash, and the copies looked real, police said.
Patent applications up
The number of patent applications filed in Heilongjiang rose by a third in the first nine months of this year, to 17,740, compared with the same period last year, the Heilongjiang Daily reports. The increase was attributed to the provincial government's efforts to encourage innovation by businesses and public institutions, and allowing small and medium-sized enterprises to mortgage their patent rights.
Funds to buy school buses
The provincial government has for the first time allocated funds to buy school buses, after a series of accidents in the past year resulted in a public outcry for safer transport for school pupils, Xinhua reports. Authorities did not say how many buses would be purchased or how much they would cost, but 10 firms had been named as potential candidates to supply the buses for kindergartens, primary and middle schools.
Managers are well paid
The average yearly salary for senior managers in Jiangsu was 552,400 yuan (HK$680,400) last year, the 11th-highest average among all provinces, the Jiangnan Times reports. It cited a Shanghai-based consultant's report that surveyed chief executives, presidents and general managers of 192 listed firms in the province, finding the highest-paid senior executive made 65 times more money than the lowest-paid one.
Grand plans for hospitals
Several counties in the province have run up large debts trying to expand hospital facilities in an effort to attract more patients, even though there is not enough demand to warrant some of the extensions, the Shandong Business News reports. The People's Hospital in Heze's Caoxian county, where the government's fiscal revenue barely topped 1 billion yuan last year, is planning to invest 1 billion yuan in its expansion. And the People's Hospital in Jining's Yangzhou county, with just 540,000 people, plans to spend 650 million yuan on expansions, with a lofty goal of attracting 500,000 visits a year.
Lack of qualified teachers
Six out of every 10 kindergarten teachers in Qingdao do not hold certificates, the Qilu Evening News reports. Many private kindergartens can't find qualified teachers, it said. Some experts said this was partly because private kindergartens, which had flourished as a result of a public shortage, offer poor salaries and fail to attract certified professionals.
16 on 'Pambassador' list
Chengdu has narrowed to 16 the field of 1.1 million Panda-lovers worldwide who applied to be "Pambassadors", China News Service reports. They would raise awareness for the protection of pandas and other endangered animals. The 16 candidates, from eight countries and regions, will compete for three Pambassador positions. Each will be taken on a global promotional tour and given US$20,000.
China Volvo debuts soon
The first China-made Volvo is expected to debut in Chengdu by the end of the year, the Chengdu Economic Daily reports. A total of 30 projects, including the first Volvo factory that China's Geely has set up since purchasing the company in 2010, are either planned for this year or under way in the city's Tianfu New Area, with a total investment of more than 16 billion yuan.
Five killed in collapse
Five workers were killed and seven others were injured when a half-built workshop at a Midu county cement factory in Dali , collapsed on Saturday, Yunnan.cn reports. The collapse occurred during construction of the top floor of the three-storey workshop. Two workers were killed instantly, and rescuers pulled three more bodies from the debris yesterday morning. Seven others were slightly injured. An investigation into the cause is under way.
Students don't exercise
A Yunnan Agricultural University survey of 800 students found that 16 per cent never exercise, even though more than 80 per cent said they had enough spare time, Yunnan.cn reports. The top two priorities for students during their spare time are using the internet and sleeping, and just 18 per cent use spare time to work out. Other students said they got exercise during physical education classes.