China Digest, November 22, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 4:26am


Mother's mystery

A man from Gansu province, studying at the Beijing Institute of Technology, complained to authorities in the capital on Tuesday after his 54-year-old mother was taken away by officers at the Beijing Railway Station while trying to return home on November 12, the Beijing Youth Daily reports. The woman was previously detained in 1999 for starting a petition over a land dispute and made to stay at a "re-education centre" for six months in 2010. Her family do not know what prompted her latest detention.

Sliding doors

A 27-year-old man has been charged with stealing cellphones at subway stations in Beijing, the Legal Evening News reports. Prosecutors said the man stole at least six phones from women in August. The thief targeted women who were waiting for trains by themselves. He would grab the phones as the doors were closing and then run away.


Train fire

A metro train in Guangzhou caught fire on Monday night, causing mass panic that resulted in injuries and the full evacuation of the train, the Guangzhou Daily reports. An electrical short started the fire on a Line 8 train at about 7pm. Passengers pressed the emergency-stop button and proceeded on foot through the tunnel to the nearest station, Kecun. Three people were treated at hospital for injuries.

Big Apple push

The provincial government held a conference in New York on Tuesday to promote the Guangdong Financial Hi-tech Service Zone to American investors, Xinhua reports. The zone was established in Guangzhou in July 2007. Provincial officials noted Guangdong is a rich financial centre close to Hong Kong.


Corruption crackdown

Four county-level officials have been expelled from the party or issued severe warnings by provincial authorities for violations of party discipline, after they were found to have bribed other officials or used their influence to lobby for support in local elections, the Liaoning Daily reports. The officials were from three different areas.

Taxi chase

More than 20 taxi drivers helped police catch a drunk man who stole a cab on Monday night outside a night club after fighting with the driver, the Bandao Morning Post reports. Other nearby taxi drivers who saw the incident chased after the man, using their cars to block the one he stole until police arrived.


Missing ship

At least one fisherman is dead and four others were missing yesterday after their wooden ship disappeared about 130 kilometres off the coast of Qingdao early on Monday, Xinhua reports. Rescuers found one body in the water.

Open toilet door policy

Urban management officials in Jinan have launched a campaign to make it easier for people to find toilets, Xinhua reports. To help address public complaints about a shortage of public toilets, businesses and local organisations are being urged to make their toilets available to the public. Officials created a toilet map showing the locations of all 600 public toilets in the city. There are about 6.9 million people in Jinan.


Sinking city

The ground in Shanghai has subsided by an average of 29 centimetres during the past 45 years. The shift creates a major geological threat to the city, which has an average altitude of just four metres above sea level, the Jiefang Daily reports. The subsidence has occurred mainly because of the removal of groundwater, often due to big construction projects, such as the building of metro lines and high-rise buildings.

Too cheap to be true?

The city's metro operator has denied offering discounts for subway tickets, after a coupon website posted a deal for a multi-pass ticket that was nearly half the regular price, the Shanghai Youth Daily reports. The discounted ticket cost just 41 yuan (HK$50), compared with the regular price of 80 yuan. It allows riders to take 10 trips of any length on the city's subway system. Single tickets range in price from three to 10 yuan. The metro operator said the website covered the price difference.


'Electronic ears' to monitor noise levels

Tianjin environmental protection bureau said it is installing a network of 16 noise pollution monitoring stations in the city centre and the Binhai New Area by 2015, local newspaper Meirixinbao reported. Citing officials, the report said these 16 "electronic ears" would monitor urban noise levels and provide real-time data to the bureau's headquarters - a far cry from the current practice where noise pollution is monitored only by human ears.

No more long run

Most universities in the municipality have joined a growing trend among higher education institutes in China, by cancelling long-distance running events during annual athletic competitions for all students, reports. Universities in Beijing and the provinces of Shaanxi and Hubei have also cancelled races of 3,000 metres or longer, fearing that students may be out of shape and become injured.


Child kidnappers netted

A nationwide crackdown on the kidnapping and trafficking of children from Xinjiang has caught 2,749 suspects since April last year, Xinhua reports. Information released by the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday, shows the crackdown also led to the rescue of 2,274 abducted minors from the autonomous region. Police said many abducted children are brought to major cities, where they are often forced to steal from people and businesses.

Travel conman on trial

The trial began on Tuesday of a 32-year-old man charged with swindling 372 elderly residents in Urumqi out of 4.8 million yuan between November 2009 and October this year, reports. No verdict had been reached, but prosecutors said the man conned people into a buying a card that he said would give them discounts on trips to places such as tropical Hainan province.


School dorm peepholes

A high school in Wenzhou sparked privacy concerns among the public after it installed peepholes on the dormitory doors of students two weeks ago, the Wenzhou Metropolis Daily reports. About 470 students live in the dormitory of the Longwan Experimental Junior High School and the peepholes were installed to allow teachers to peer into rooms and prevent students from playing video games or violating school rules.

Certified counterfeiters

Police in Quzhou have busted a gang of counterfeiters who allegedly created about 200,000 forgeries involving about 500 types of documents since 2005, reports. The documents included graduation certificates, passports and military officer identifications. Thousands of forged official seals were also seized. Police said that the documents were sold to people across 16 provinces and municipalities.