China Digest, November 16, 2012
Food safety the focus
The provincial government said on Wednesday that county governors would be held responsible for major food-safety incidents in their counties, in an effort to push them to improve food safety. However, analysts feared the move may simply encourage cover-ups of incidents, the Anhui Business News reports.
Campaign to protect birds
Less than a week into a month-long campaign to protect seasonal migration routes, police have seized more than 40,000 birds that were illegally captured, About a quarter of them were dead from various injuries, Xinhua reports. Police have released all surviving birds but did not reveal the number of detained suspects.
An invention of necessity
After a heated quarrel with his wife, a Chongqing man invented a device that may help prevent arguments from escalating, and he has sold more than 60 of the units online this month, the Chongqing Morning Post reports. The inventor said the device detected the volume of conversations and sounded an alert if they became too loud.
Pet shop inbreeds die
More than 30 people who bought dogs at a pet shop in Jiangbei district said this week that the animals all died within a month or two. They accused the shop owner of inbreeding the dogs to give them odd appearances, the Chongqing Times reported. The shop owner was ordered to repay those whose pets died but authorities said they could not stop inbreeding of animals, as there was no law to prevent it.
Upgrade for firefighters
Firefighters received 160 million yuan (HK$199 million) worth of new equipment on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. The provincial government said the new equipment and vehicles were needed, as the old equipment was incapable of meeting the demands placed on firefighters by riots and protests that have become more common in recent years.
Internet drive nets 600
A five-month crackdown on illegal online activity has caught almost 600 suspects in three months, with crimes ranging from selling weapons to distributing pornography, the Guizhou Daily reports. Authorities said they would tighten internet controls by using better technology to detect illegal activity,
Thief turns removalist
A thief who broke into an apartment in Hankou on Tuesday was unable to find valuables, so he stole the refrigerator and washing machine, carrying them down eight flights of stairs, the Changjiang Daily reports. He then sold them both for just 87 yuan (HK$107). The owners returned home to find the items missing, and neighbours said they saw a man carrying the items. However, after reclaiming their property, the owners did not call police as the thief must have been desperate to go to so much effort.
Midges cause truck crash
A truck lost control and ended up in a lake after running over countless midges - small flies - that had massed on a road in Wuhan on Wednesday, the Changjiang Business News reports. The driver said the road was covered by the insects, causing his tyres to slip. Police said the midges cause several traffic accidents in the area every year.
Alzheimer bracelets flop
Changzhou health authorities took to the streets on Wednesday to hand out yellow bracelets to elderly residents with Alzheimer's disease, but only 20 people accepted them, as many feared that they would be discriminated against if they wore such an eye-catching accessory, the Modern Express reports. The bracelets contained a blank piece of paper on which the wearer's name and address could be written. Authorities hoped the bracelets would help lost or confused residents find their way home.
Toyota clocked at 224km/h
A driver set a record for speeding on a public road in Nanjing on Wednesday, when police clocked him travelling at 224km/h in his Toyota sedan, the Modern Express reports. The driver, who previously had a clean record, lost his licence and was fined 2,000 yuan. He said he was driving his friend to hospital, where the friend's mother had just died.
Accident her own fault
A woman who stopped her car in the middle of a highway ramp in Gaoping on Wednesday was surprised when she opened her door and it was torn off by a passing truck She then told police that the truck driver was to blame for the accident, the Shanxi Evening News reports. The women said she became carsick and stopped so her husband could drive. Police determined that she was fully responsible for her own actions. No one was injured.
Cut in pesticides pays off
Fruit exports in Yuncheng have increased ten-fold this year, and city officials say it is because they have stepped up inspections of orchards to reduce the use of pesticides, the Shanxi Daily reports. The subsequent decline in chemical pollution has helped the city sell US$20 million worth of apples, peaches and pears, while exports from other areas have dropped.
Schools failing disabled
More than 5,000 physically disabled children in the province can't go to school, because the schools aren't properly equipped with necessities such as ramps, the Yunnan Information Daily reports. Provincial education authorities said they had received a combined 52 million yuan from the central and provincial governments but it was unclear whether the money would be enough to upgrade all of the province's thousands of schools to bring them up to accommodating disabled students.
Nothing new in town plan
Plans by the Anning government to rebuild part of the city's old town area came under fire at a meeting on Wednesday, as more than 30 experts who were asked to attend said the plan basically mirrored ones implemented by other cities, and that the local culture wasn't taken into consideration, Yunnan.cn reports.
Housing in hot water
Cold tap water has mysteriously turned hot at a residential compound housing 300 families in Urumqi, but the water company cannot figure out the cause, the Xinjiang City Daily reports. The problem has lasted more than a week, and maintenance crews from the utility said they tried to go underground to address the issue, but were driven out by scalding steam. Some people suspected that it was simply the result of a leaking or malfunctioning heating line, but others feared it could be a sign of dangerous earthquake activity.
A drunk passenger on a train from Urumqi to Chengdu, Sichuan, handed out more than 10,000 yuan in cash only to sober up hours later and realise he needed the money. When he started asking for the money back, many people refused, the Xinjiang City Daily reports. The man sought help from a policeman on the train, who helped him get back 9,000 yuan. The nearly 3,000-kilometre train ride takes about two days.