China Digest, November 29, 2012
Institute receives funds
The Beijing Institute of Technology has received 1.2 billion yuan (HK$1.48 billion) to build a large centre for the research and development of defence technologies, and construction began on Monday, the Beijing Evening News reports. Some students complained to the South China Morning Post that the university already has too many armed soldiers guarding other sensitive buildings on campus. The students fear their lives will become even more restricted by the development.
Circus arts land allocated
Changping district will allocate more than six hectares of land for China's first national academy of circus arts, the Beijing Daily reports. The district government hopes the academy will draw tourists. However, the project is still pending approval by the central government, and some animal rights activists have opposed the plan, fearing that circus animals will be abused. The centre would be used to train animals and people.
Late passengers angered
More than 50 disgruntled passengers aboard a Thai Airways flight stayed onboard the plane for nearly five hours after it landed in the municipality on Tuesday, demanding compensation because the flight was delayed for nine hours in Phuket, the Chongqing Morning Post reports. It was unclear how much they received.
Buffalo escapes butcher
A water buffalo that had not resigned itself to death at a slaughterhouse in Yubei district made a daring escape last week, prompting a large-scale hunt that ended in the dark of night with the animal being shot by police while hiding out inside an electronics factory five kilometres away, the Chongqing Economic Times reports. The slaughterhouse owner said the 450kg female water buffalo broke free while lining up to be killed. When a butcher tried to stop her, she impaled him in the chest with one of her horns and trampled him, causing critical injuries.
S Korean appears in court
A South Korean man appeared in court in Nanjing on Tuesday facing charges of drink-driving, which carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail, the Modern Express reports. The man was arrested after causing a minor accident downtown in September. He was the second foreigner charged with drink-driving in the city. The other was also a South Korean.
Toilet privacy upgrade
After receiving several privacy complaints from travellers that public toilets in the Nanjing train station were not divided by walls, authorities at the station vowed that barriers would be installed this week, Longhoo.net reports. One passenger said that using the grouped-together squat toilets felt like travelling back in time to the 1980s.
Drunk skiers to hit slopes
The Beidahu Ski Resort in Jilin city will kick off its ski season on December 22 with free beer, a barbecue and skiing - a promotion that is expected to draw thousands of visitors and fill the slopes with alcohol-fuelled revelry, Xinhua reports. There is no law banning drunken skiing.
More corn as earth hotter
Agricultural authorities say global warming has increased the area of corn plantations in the province by more than 140 per cent since 1970, and that there were more than 11 million hectares of corn planted last year, Xinhua reports. Some industry experts said the expansion of corn fields and increased planting of other crops could soon cause a severe water shortage in the region.
Dodgy lift scares residents
A passenger lift in a residential building in Shenyang has malfunctioned about 100 times in the past two weeks, or about seven times a day, frightening residents who fear for their safety every time the doors close, the Shenyang Evening News reports. The building's management company blamed the residents, saying some have damaged the lifts by using them to haul heavy construction equipment for apartment renovations.
Bank toilets demanded
Several customers have asked banks in Shenyang to provide public toilets to customers, but the banks have declined, citing security reasons, the Shenyang Daily reports. Some customers told the newspaper that it was difficult waiting in line for hours at the bank without being able to relieve themselves. But the banks said that criminals could rob customers in the toilets, where there are no security cameras.
Child models do overtime
Some child models in Xian work 16 hours a day, posing at auto shows and for magazine and television advertisements, as their parents believe that modelling is a path to becoming a famous actor or actress, the Sanqin Metropolis News reports. The nation's child-modelling industry came under scrutiny this month after five-year-old girls were photographed posing in bikinis at an auto show in Hubei.
Writer to sue companies
One of the country's most famous novelists, Jia Pingwa, said he was planning on taking legal action against several companies that have registered commercial trademarks with his name, the Huashang Daily reports. He said in Xian on Tuesday that companies were using his name, Pingwa, on a wide range of products, from napkins to alcohol.
Police in Jintang county, Chengdu, have arrested a man for allegedly spreading rumours online that children in the county were being kidnapped and sold for the organ trade, the Chengdu Business News reports. The rumour sparked a panic among residents. Police said that it wasn't true and that the man would be severely punished.
Kid fakes his kidnapping
A 13-year-old boy who wanted to sleep a few more hours instead of going to school set off a neighbourhood scare in Luzhou on Monday by tying himself up and pretending someone tried to kidnap him, the West China City Daily reports. His grandparents thought he had gone to school that morning, but they became worried when he didn't come home for lunch. They found him asleep in his bed, with his hands tied. Police questioned him for hours before the lie began to unravel.
Heavy snow buries cars
More than 2,000 cars have been stuck on the roads of suburban Urumqi since Thursday of last week because of heavy snow and ice, regional news website www.tianshannet.com.cn reports. Some vehicles have been abandoned after running out of fuel. Road-maintenance authorities in the city said all their snow-removal trucks were deployed.
Foster care centre built
The regional government is building the nation's largest foster care centre for troubled youths with the help of 80 million yuan provided by the central government, the Xinjiang City News reports. Construction on the 500-bed centre began in August. Central authorities are trying to cut down on the number of troubled youths turning to crime. In the past five years, more than 1,600 children from Xinjiang, mostly Muslims, have been arrested for crimes such as theft.