China Digest, December 13, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 4:28am


Fix for stuck ambulances

Following the incident last week in which a man run over by a truck died in an ambulance that became stuck in traffic, the Beijing Emergency Medical Centre said it would work more closely with the city's traffic authorities to avoid similar problems, Beijing Daily reports. Medical personnel said that about 10 per cent of complaints about emergency services in the city were related to ambulance delays.

Livelihood spending up

The Beijing municipal government invested 157.5 billion yuan in projects related to energy, transport, modern industries, the environment and social security in the first 10 months of the year, reports. Of that money, about 57.76 billion yuan was spent on projects intended to improve people's livelihoods, or 46.2 per cent more than the original plans called for.


Poisoned soup killing

A county-level official in Yangjiang city has been sentenced to death for defrauding and killing a delegate of the local People's Congress, Nanfang Daily reports. The court found that Huang Guang cheated 1.36 million yuan from Long Liyuan between September 2009 and December last year, then killed him with poisoned soup on December 23. Huang has lodged an appeal.

Hospital official burned

The mother of a seven-month-old boy allegedly set fire to the director of paediatrics at a hospital in Taishan on Saturday because she said the hospital failed to diagnosis and treat a rare condition that resulted in part of her son's brain being absent or partially formed, Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Police detained the mother after she allegedly doused the director's back with a flammable liquid and set her alight, burning half of her body.


Pollution bribe trial

Two environmental officials in Hechi who allegedly received bribes from polluting companies in exchange for turning a blind eye to the dumping of cadmium in the Long River went on trial this week, reports. Prosecutors said each official took about 20,000 yuan and two local smelters dumped about 20 tonnes of the toxic element into the waterway, which is a tributary of the Pearl River. Seven others from the companies also are on trial.

Cap on industry growth

A new land-use plan for the autonomous region says that just over 70 per cent of land will not be used for industrial projects, as the provincial government is no longer using GDP growth as the primary gauge in evaluating the performance of local officials, China News Service reports. Nearly 29 per cent of land has been designated as key development zones for various industrial and urban projects.


Death for fishing dispute

Two fishermen have been sentenced to death, and 19 others received life imprisonment or lighter jail sentences, for attacking a boat in Bohai Bay near the province and killing fishermen who had encroached on their fishing area in March of last year, Legal Daily reports. The attackers rammed and capsized a boat containing nine people. Three fishermen died and a fourth was never found. Another attacker remains at large.

Police bulldoze slots

Baoding's police force destroyed more than 200 slot machines with a bulldozer yesterday in a crackdown on the rapid growth of underground casinos in the city, Xinhua reports. The city government launched the anti-gambling campaign in August and has confiscated more than 900 machines and detained more than 200 gamblers. Police did not say why they did not destroy all the machines.


Pricey toilet outrage

Urban management authorities in Wuhan admitted that five luxurious public toilets in the city cost from about 500,000 to 800,000 yuan, sparking public criticism about wasteful spending, Wuhan Evening News reports. The authorities denied that the toilets were "vanity projects", calling them "creative urban scenes".

Beaten wife hires hitmen

A millionaire's wife in Yichang is accused of paying two hitmen a total of 1 million yuan to kill her husband, reports. The 44-year-old victim was found dead on November 26 in a gallery he owned, killed by a stab wound to the throat. Police said the 43-year-old wife tried to divorce her husband last year, but he refused and beat her, so she allegedly hired the hitmen.


Jail for illegal snooping

Three private detectives were sentenced for up to a year in jail for illegally obtaining private information after being hired by four clients to investigate whether their spouses were having affairs, reports. The detectives installed tracking devices and cameras in cars, and purchased phone and travel records through illegal channels. All three were also fined between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan.

Officials dodge cutbacks

Following media reports that no government employees in the province will receive free medical care starting next year, it was discovered out that senior Jiangsu officials will still receive fully subsidised health care, Dongfang Daily reports. Most provinces across the mainland have been forcing civil servants to sign up and pay for for basic medical insurance.


Ambulance metres

The emergency medical centre in Dezhou said all of the city's ambulances will begin charging patients on a mileage basis starting next year, Xinhua reports. Similar to taxis, a starting fare of 20 yuan will be charged for the first 10 kilometres, and each additional kilometre will cost two yuan.

Here comes the ice

Floating sea ice has appeared in Laizhou Bay off of Shandong a few weeks earlier than expected this year due to lower temperatures, and fishermen are scrambling to catch as many scallops as possible before it becomes impossible to navigate around the ice, which is currently located about a kilometre off the coast and moving closer to shore, Qilu Evening News reports.


Students die exercising

A second student in two weeks has died during a physical education class at a university in the city, raising concerns about the health of young students who spend too much time studying without exercising, Xinhua reports. A student at Shanda College collapsed playing basketball on Monday and later died at hospital. Two weeks ago, a student at Donghua University died after finishing a one-kilometre running test.

Second child for some

More than 7,000 families in Shanghai have lost their only child at some point, according to the city's population planning committee, the Dongfang Daily reports. The city government plans to encourage parents, who themselves are only children, to have two children, which is allowed under the country's one-child policy. Only 8 per cent of families in the city have a second child, and Shanghai is struggling to cope with an ageing population, while fewer people are having children.