China Digest, December 8, 2012
Inspectors put to the test
The winner of a food-inspection competition discovered five illegal additives in half an hour, the Beijing Morning News reports. Thirty food-safety inspectors took part in the competition, organised by Beijing municipal authorities. Banned additives found by the winner included sulphur dioxide in dried sweet potatoes, bleacher in tofu and melamine in milk.
Subway congestion index
Traffic authorities have devised a "congestion index" to help passengers on the city's subways plan their journeys, the Beijing Morning News reports. The index will be displayed on large screens outside stations from this month. Authorities said the lower the number, the more comfortable ride passengers could expect. Those who see an index of 1.2 should consider another form of transport.
Cab-sharing sparks debate
More than 90 per cent of taxis in Lanzhou are demanding that passengers with different destinations share rides, the Lanzhou Evening News reports. While some passengers welcomed the flexibility, as it was sometimes difficult to get a cab in the provincial capital, others complained that sharing had triggered disputes.
Car ban to cut pollution
Lanzhou will ban about half its vehicles from downtown roads on days with high air pollution from next year, the Lanzhou Evening News reports. City traffic authorities said they would closely monitor the air pollution index. If it reaches a certain limit, they will ban cars with either odd or even plate numbers.
Drink-driver's kin win case
A Xuzhou court has ordered eight men to each pay 3,000 yuan (HK$3,700) to the family of a friend who died in a crash while drink-driving in May, Xinhua reports. The man took the wheel after drinking during dinner with his friends. The family said they should have prevented him from driving.
Truckers ignore cargo law
More than half the truck drivers in Nanjing have refused to comply with a government requirement that they cover cargo with a specific type of tarpaulin to reduce dust pollution, the Modern Express reports. The two firms authorised to carry out the upgrade were allegedly charging exorbitant rates.
Move to expand farmland
Six cities including Shenyang and Anshan will begin converting 1,333 hectares of industrial brownfield sites into farmland next year, the Liaoning Daily reports. The government said rapid housing and industrial development had depleted the region's farmland. There had been no study of whether it was safe to grow crops on the selected areas, which were mostly former dumps for mines and polluted.
Jobs for retired soldiers
The Liaoning provincial government has compelled large state-owned enterprises to hire more than 56,000 People's Liberation Army veterans over the past decade, the Liaoning Daily reports. Some of the companies have terminated contracts with private firms and set up new subsidiaries to create enough jobs for the retirees.
Dog butcher closed down
The Xining government has temporarily shut down a dog butcher for mistreating animals, causing a disturbance and operating without a licence, the Xihai City News reports. The dogs were being slaughtered in front of other dogs, and their cries rang out day and night, drawing repeated complaints. The butcher was instructed to apply for a proper licence.
Daily exercise for pupils
Qinghai education authorities are requiring primary and secondary schools to give pupils at least an hour of physical exercise a day, Xinhua reports. Authorities say pupils have spent too much time preparing for exams in recent years and their decline in physical stamina has increased their risk of disease.
No alcohol sales to minors
The Taiyuan city government will require wine and liquor stores to display signs from next year explaining that alcohol sales to minors are prohibited, the Shanxi Evening News reports. Most local shopkeepers said they were not aware such sales were illegal and some complained that the law was difficult to enforce because parents send their children to buy alcohol for them.
Basketball players robbed
Two players with the PLA basketball team had most of their valuables stolen from a hotel room during a visit to Taiyuan on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. Employees said a man who presented a military ID ordered them to let him into the room. The PLA team were losing to Shanxi at the time.
14 years' jail for embezzler
A former accountant from Dingbian county's public finance bureau has been jailed for 14 years after gambling away 1.5 million yuan in government funds, the Xian Evening News reports. The court said the official took the money from the bureau's bank account and lost it all. He turned himself in last year after a decade on the run.
Tang women 'provocative'
Newly discovered paintings on Tang dynasty (618-907) tombs in Xian suggest that some women of the day showed much more cleavage than would have been socially acceptable in subsequent eras, Xinhua reports. Archaeologists said the appearance of women wearing low-cut dresses in the paintings could mean a more relaxed attitude towards sex.
Fishmonger gutted by loss
Two people were injured and two tonnes of fish died when a dozen cars and trucks collided on a foggy highway in Guangan on Thursday, the West China City Daily reports. The owner of the fish, mostly carp destined for restaurants in Chongqing, said he was afraid he would go bankrupt after losing his entire load.
Project heats well water
A government geologist says a construction project near Linyan village, Dujiangyan city, might have caused a dramatic increase in temperature in water from a local well, the Chengdu Business News reports. The jump sparked panic among some locals, who worried it might portend a disaster.
Snowstorms create havoc
A series of large snowstorms has battered Xinjiang in recent months, killing at least one and damaging more than 1,000 homes, the Xinjiang Daily said. The storms have also damaged more than 27 hectares of farmland. Roads, telecommunications and electric power have been cut to many of the 30,000 residents in the affected areas. The regional government said it was sending hundreds of tonnes of food and fuel to the worst-hit areas.
Wolves slaughter sheep
Panic gripped herdsmen in Baiyanggou village, Urumqi , on Monday after a pack of wolves killed 28 sheep and injured 19, the Xinjiang Daily reports. Most were pregnant and had their throats torn open, with the blood spilling over a small hill, according to their Uygur owner. Residents said they had not seen such a large wolf attack in decades.