China Digest, December 10, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 5:30am


Factory blast kills one

A blast at a chemical plant in Hefei killed one person and injured 10 others on Saturday, Xinhua reports. The blast occurred around noon at a plant of the Anhui Hongsifang Holding Company, a subsidiary of China National Salt Industry Corp. One worker died at hospital, and others were treated for minor injuries or kept under observation after being exposed to toxic gas. An investigation into the cause of the explosion was under way.

Mayor sacked over attack

The mayor of Digou town, Fuyang, has been sacked following an incident on December 1 in which six jobless men attacked a petitioner on a bus sent by officials to Beijing to bring 14 petitioners back home, Beijing News reports. The beaten petitioner was seeking an investigation into corruption. The incident prompted disciplinary authorities to issue serious warnings to the party chief of the town and to three other local officials.


Leniency for bill forger

A 41-year-old man who forged hospital bill receipts because he couldn't afford to pay for his wife's medical treatment was sentenced on Friday in Dongcheng district to three years in jail with a four-year reprieve, Beijing News reports. The man forged stamps indicating that he had paid 172,000 yuan worth of bills for his wife's uraemia treatment between 2007 and this year. The couple's plight resulted in an outpouring of sympathy from the public, which donated nearly 500,000 yuan to them.

Swindlers arrested

Police have arrested three men for pretending to be high-ranking party officials with an army unit, in order to swindle more than 2 billion yuan from a property developer, reports. The men allegedly used forged documents and a fake seal in the deal with the developer to build a residential community for the families of soldiers.


Work starts on metro line

Construction on a new 37.85-kilometre metro line in Shenzhen will begin in the coming weeks and should be finished by 2016. Line 6 will start from the Shenzhen North Railway Station and end in the Songgang area of Baoan district, Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Lines 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will add 171.5 kilometres to the city's subway network upon their completion in 2016, bringing the total metro length to 350 kilometres. Authorities expect the expanded network to account for 38 per cent of all people who use local public transportation.

Runaway killer held on bus

A 22-year-old man has been arrested in Longgang district, Shenzhen, for stabbing to death the 26-year-old boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend, Shenzhen Evening News reports. Police caught the murder suspect on a bus he was taking back to his home in Hunan province.


Winter work starts

Workers yesterday began gathering snow and ice for the 600,000-square-metre winter theme park in Harbin, Xinhua reports. The theme park will open on December 24, ahead of the opening of the 29th annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival on January 5. The theme park's main attraction will be a 48-metre tall ice palace. A total of 180,000 cubic metres of ice and 150,000 cubic metres of snow will be used for sculptures this year.

Mine toll rises to six

The death toll from a coal mine flooding on December 1 in Qitaihe city has risen to six, with four other miners still missing, Xinhua reports. A total of 22 workers were underground in the Furuixiang Coal Mine when the flooding occurred. Twelve escaped or were later rescued, including four who were found alive five days after the accident.


New airport for Shiyan

Construction on the province's fifth airport will begin this month in Shiyan, China News Service reports. Costing about 1.54 billion yuan (HK$1.9 billion), the Wudang Mountain Airport is scheduled to open in 2015 and handle 900,000 passengers a year by 2020. The area is home to many palaces and temples from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

Upgrade for taxis

Wuhan authorities are discussing a plan to replace about 80 per cent of taxis in the city, as the vehicles were found to have braking problems, Hubei Television reports. Around 12,000 taxis will be replaced by July 1 because they don't have features such as anti-lock braking systems. Taxi companies must pay to replace the vehicles but the local government will offer tax exemptions.


New urns offered

The city is offering families biodegradable urns to bury the remains of their loved ones, in an attempt to conserve land, Shanghai Morning Post reports. The urns break down in the soil within about six months, making burial plots available for reuse every 10 years.

Help for the vulnerable

The municipal civil affairs bureau has asked sanitation workers, taxi drivers, security guards, bus drivers and others to look out for homeless people, lost children, elderly residents, and people with a wide range of illnesses, to ensure that they receive proper help, Shanghai Morning Post reports. The bureau also released the addresses and phone numbers of 18 aid stations that are open 24 hours and provide free food, showers and beds.


Tricycle crash kills five

Five people died and two others were injured when a motorised tricycle plunged into a 50-metre-deep valley on Friday evening in Yuanmou county, Chuxiong, reports. The cause of the accident was under investigation, but it is illegal to use the cargo beds of such vehicles to transport people, even though the practice is common in rural areas throughout China.

Coal officials suspended

Eight local officials in Fuyuan county, Qujing , including the local coal industry bureau chief, have been suspended from their jobs after 17 miners died in a gas explosion on Wednesday afternoon, China News Service reports. A total of 66 workers were in the Shangchang Coal Mine at the time, and several were still receiving treatment at hospital.


Man killed in foundry blast

One man was killed and seven others were injured in an explosion at an iron-smelting plant in Quzhou on Saturday morning, Xinhua reports. The workshop belongs to the Yuanli Metal Products Co, but the cause of the blast was unclear. In response, local authorities ordered work-safety checks to be conducted at all mines and factories in the city.

Islands plan debated

A legislative hearing was recently held in Zhoushan to standardise the development and use of uninhabited islands in the region, Modern Express reports. Authorities discussed whether the right to use one of the islands could be won through public auction, for a period of up to 50 years. And environmental sustainability was also taken into consideration during the province's first hearing on the use of uninhabited islands.