China Digest, November 2, 2012
Fish die in the thousands
Tens of thousands of fish have died in the Qiupu River in Chizhou since last Friday, the Xinan Evening News reports. Fishermen said they pulled about 20,000kg of dead fish from the river. The local environmental bureau has collected water samples from the river for tests, but the results are still pending.
Deterrent for exam cheats
The provincial education department is planning to use fingerprint identification to prevent cheating in university entrance examinations, the Jianghuai Morning Post reports. Under the plan, students will have to provide their fingerprints for comparison with those on record before entering the exam room. But no date has yet been set for its implementation.
Trade-ins to spur spending
Beijing is trying out a rebate programme this month, encouraging people to trade in their old furniture for a discount on new ones in a bid to stimulate consumption, Xinhua reports. Officials said people could bring their old furniture to 16 designated malls and receive a 10 per cent discount on new home furnishings. The discount cannot exceed 1,000 yuan.
Beijing residents spend more time commuting to work than residents of 49 other major mainland cities, the Beijing Times reports. A Chinese Academy of Sciences study released on Wednesday showed that it takes people in the capital 52 minutes on average to get to work. Guangzhou and Shanghai have the second- and third-longest commutes at 48 and 47 minutes respectively.
'Love ladder' heroine dies
The 87-year-old heroine of a widely reported love story in Chongqing died on Wednesday, five years after the death of her true love, who was 10 years younger than she, Cqnews.net reports. The two met when she married another man at age 16 and the six-year-old boy fell in love with her. A decade later, the pair eloped to live in the mountains, where the man spent 50 years carving her a "love ladder" - more than 6,000 stairs - in the cliffs. The woman's family said she started suffering from depression and a loss of appetite a month ago.
Budgets hotel woes
Budget hotel chains in Chongqing say business is down this year as a result of the economic downturn, rising labour costs and competition from lower-rated hotels, the Chongqing Morning Post reports. An industry insider said it used to take just 1½ years to recoup investment expenses in such hotels five years ago, but now it takes at least four years.
More duty-free shopping
The island province launched an expanded version of its duty-free purchase programme yesterday in a bid to get people to buy more imported luxury goods, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reports. Duty-free goods can be bought from two stores in Haikou and one in Sanya , and then collected at the two cities' airports. The duty-free purchase limit has been raised from 5,000 to 8,000 yuan, and minimum purchasing age lowered from 18 to 16.
170,000 yuan up in flames
The money handler for a village committee in Haikou accidentally left more than 170,000 yuan of public funds in his wife's grocery store, and she mistook it for garbage and burned it all, hinews.cn reports. The money - which was intended as the villagers' compensation for relocating their relatives' graves -
was burned along the side of the road outside the wife's grocery store. Police retrieved about 110,000 yuan in half-burnt notes. A bank agreed to exchange the burnt money for just 60,000 yuan.
Competing buses crash
A public bus crashed into a residential home in Zhuzhou on Wednesday after hitting another bus, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post reports. The driver of the first bus had been trying to overtake the other bus, but swerved back into his lane because of oncoming traffic. The driver lost control, hit the back of the second bus and veered off the road, hitting the home. No one was injured. Residents said the two buses, which compete for business, often race each other, as 60 per cent of their stops overlap.
Official in 'truth or dare'
An official in Hanshou county, Changde , on Tuesday disclosed his income and that of his wife and grandmother after an unidentified blogger said no official dared to disclose his personal assets, The Beijing News reports. The official responded by posting the information - including how much he spent on his daughter's wedding - on his microblog.
Collision kills two
Two people were killed and three injured in a head-on collision between a truck and a car on Nanlu Highway in Pudong district yesterday, Shanghai Television reports. The two people died in the car, which caught fire from the accident. The three injured people were taken to hospital. It was unclear how many people were in the car and truck, or whether anyone in the truck was injured.
Fewer antibiotics used
Community-level hospitals in the city purchased 21.2 per cent fewer antibiotics between April and July compared with the same period last year, while district- and city-level hospitals purchased 4 per cent fewer antibiotics, the New Times reports. But the local use of antibiotics remains two to three times as high as in developed countries, according to Deputy Mayor Shen Xiaoming, who spoke on Wednesday while kicking off a three-year education programme on food, drug and transportation safety.
Trampled by elephants
A female villager in Jinghong is believed to have been trampled to death by wild Asian elephants on Tuesday, Yunnan.cn reports. The 55-year-old woman's body was found in a watermelon field where she was collecting pig feed. Police said she suffered multiple fractures, adding that there were elephant footprints and dung in the field.
Another Photoshop 'error'
The Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of Zhaotong has posted an apology on its website, ztzfw.gov.cn after internet users pointed out that an image on the site last week was Photoshopped. The statement blamed careless staff for the posting of the image, which accompanied a story about police helping a couple retrieve their stolen motorcycle. The image had the heads of the couple replaced with those of other people, while adding three more people in the background. Online stories about the incident have also been removed in an apparent effort to stop the story from being further disseminated.
Van crash kills girl, 5
A van crashed into a white fence separating a driving lane from a bicycle lane in central Hangzhou on Wednesday, killing a five-year-old girl and injuring two others, the Today Morning Express reports. The driver first crashed into an electric bicycle carrying the girl and her elder sister, and then hit a man on a bicycle. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Officials' guests limited
Starting next year, all officials in Wenzhou will be prohibited from inviting more than 200 people to banquets for occasions such as weddings, birthdays and funerals, the Qianjiang Evening News reports. The order, which was issued by the city government on Tuesday to curb extravagance and corruption among its officials, also specified that the officials had an obligation to inform the city's party disciplinary authorities before holding any such events.