China Digest, December 6, 2012
Volunteers stay put
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, more than 1.7 million volunteers have been registered to help maintain social stability in the capital, Xinhua reports. The volunteers, wearing red arm bands, are called upon mainly to report any suspicious activity during sensitive times, such as during the national party congress last month. They take positions on streets throughout the capital and may also help people with directions.
Peak hour for scrap yard
Municipal authorities sent more than 330,000 cars to the scrap yard by the end of last month - more than twice the original target of 150,000 vehicles for the whole year, Beijing Morning Post reports. Traffic authorities said they were under pressure to improve the city's air quality by getting rid of old vehicles whose emission levels exceeded those of newer models. It was unclear how many official government vehicles were among those scrapped. About 5.15 million cars are registered in the capital.
Sex abuser held
Police arrested a man in Pengshui county for imprisoning and sexually abusing a woman and her 15-year-old daughter for nearly two years, Chongqing Morning Post reports. Police said the man kept the victims in his apartment since January 2011, and they were afraid to escape because the man told them he had powerful political connections.
Ex-official held for graft
A former government official in charge of landscaping and forestry in Shuangqiao district was sentenced on Tuesday to 13 years in jail for accepting more than 1 million yuan (HK$1.23 million) in bribes from construction companies and architectural design firms between 2009 and early this year, Legal Daily reports.
Blizzards hit farmers
Hazardous snow storms have blanketed 560,000 square kilometers, or about half of the autonomous region, since last month, threatening hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle and the livelihoods of their herdsmen, Xinhua reports. The grazing animals have been struggling to find grass under the deep snow, and many have become lost, as visibility dropped to as little as 10 metres.
Man kills stepson
Police have arrested a man in Hohhot for killing his two-year-old stepson, Hohhot Evening News reports. The suspect, who married the boy's mother in August, became angry because the toddler urinated on a bed, and police said he threw the boy to the floor. The boy died of head trauma, and authorities planned to charge the stepfather with manslaughter.
Vacancies down one third
The global economic recession has taken a hefty toll on the Nanjing job market, as the number of vacancies last month was just a third of what it was the same time last year, Xinhua reports. The number of available jobs is the lowest since 2008. Hardest-hit firms were solar panel and textile manufacturers, largely because of anti-dumping measures implemented in Europe and the US.
Rag stretched too far
A housekeeper in Nanjing has been fired by her employer for using a single piece of cloth to clean her entire apartment, Yangtse Evening Post reports. The 50-year-old cleaning woman used the same rag to clean the toilet, furniture, piano, kitchen and then chopsticks. The woman said that she had been cleaning homes in the city for nearly 30 years, and that she had never been told to use a different rag for different cleaning tasks.
Too bright for the law
More than half of all drivers in downtown Xining turn on their high beams when driving after sunset, causing complaints by many pedestrians and other drivers, Xining Evening News reports. The city's traffic authorities said drivers could be fined 50 yuan for using their bright lights, but police said the law was difficult to enforce because so many people were breaking it.
The provincial government has spent about 150 million yuan on building more than 10 modern cremation facilities in its ethnic Tibetan regions since 2010, in an attempt to persuade locals to abandon traditional burial rites. But out of fear of a violent response, the government has not made cremation mandatory in those areas, like it is in other parts of the country, Xinhua reports.
Dissent over jaywalker
A female pedestrian has been fined 10 yuan for jaywalking in downtown Xian on Tuesday, and the punishment triggered heated debate online, China News Service reports. About half of internet users voiced support for the fine, but others argued that it would encourage drivers to have even less regard for pedestrians on urban streets.
Bus driver's heart attack
A 30-year-old public bus driver in Xian had a heart attack while behind the wheel of a fully loaded bus, but he managed to stop the vehicle before losing consciousness, preventing any injuries, Xian Evening News reports. The bus company said the young man was being treated at hospital. Some people are urging the company to conduct mandatory health checks on drivers to prevent similar incidents.
Luxury resorts planned
The provincial government says it wants to secure 721 billion yuan from investors to build 20 luxurious hot spring resorts along a 100-kilometre highway linking Kunming to Yuxi, by 2025, Chuncheng Evening News reports. The authorities expect the effort to pay off, as most of the province's wealth is concentrated in the two cities. Critics of the plan point out that there are poor remote towns in the province that still don't have access to roads or adequate educational facilities.
A former party official in charge of anti-corruption efforts in Hongta district, Yuxi, has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for being corrupt, the Yunnan Daily reports. The court found that, from 2004 to last year, Cui Zhenzhong stole more than 300,000 yuan from public coffers and received 400,000 yuan in bribes from companies seeking bids for infrastructure projects in the district.
Shipbuilder on the edge
One of the province's biggest private companies is on the verge of bankruptcy due to the global economic recession, and the company's management is asking the government for a financial bailout, warning that the firm's decline could cause a domino effect of many private businesses failing, China Business News reports. Judger Group, which expanded in 2006 from its textiles business to making cargo ships, is struggling as orders have fallen amid a global decline in shipping. The group has already borrowed more than 5 billion yuan from banks and more than 30 billion yuan from other companies.
Foreclosure sale online
A court in Ningbo sold a piece of foreclosed property on Tuesday on Taobao.com, China's biggest e-commerce platform, but only two people placed bids, and the 80-square-metre office space sold for 7 per cent above its 644,000-yuan starting value, Qianjiang Evening News reports. The winner was a local Ningbo resident who paid 690,000 yuan.