China Digest, December 17, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 5:25am


Food safety expert 'sorry'

A Peking University professor apologised over the weekend for remarks he made in public that plasticiser and melamine, two chemicals at the centre of food safety scandals on the mainland, were harmless to humans, Xinhua reports. Li Keji said he was only trying to ensure people did not overreact to food safety issues, and his claim chemicals were not toxic was based on his own scientific knowledge.

Disaster aid team set up

The capital has set up a mental health service team to provide free consultation to the public in the wake of disasters, the Beijing Times reports. University students are a key demographic target of the service, which has so far attracted more than 500 volunteers from two major mental health hospitals in Beijing and is still recruiting.


Billionaires in decline

The number of billionaires in Guangdong has continued to fall over the past two years, the Guangzhou Daily reports. In this year's list of 1,000 billionaires by China Business News, 188 were from Guangdong, down from the 211 last year, and 215 in 2010. Despite the declining total number, Guangdong remains the biggest source of billionaires on the mainland.

Private cash creates boom

Guangdong's private investment totalled nearly 890 billion yuan (HK$1.1 trillion) in the first 11 months of the year, up by more than 22 per cent over the same period last year, The Southern Daily reports. The boom was a result of government efforts to encourage private capital in major projects covering transport, energy, education and health, according to a provincial government conference over the weekend.


New subway line to open

The first phase of a new subway line in Wuhan is scheduled to open within a few weeks, China News Service reports. The 27-kilometre line, starting in Hankou district and ending in Wuchang, will have 21 stations and take 48 minutes for a single run. It is Wuhan's second subway line and the first on the mainland to traverse the Yangtze River.

Residents' sinking feeling

A ground-floor apartment in Wuhan sank by more than a metre on Friday, the Wuhan Evening News reports. Residents suspected the construction of a nearby subway could be responsible for damage to the foundation of the building, but government engineers said the sinking might be due to underground water levels. Built 20 years ago, the seven-storey building contains 63 households. No one was injured in the incident.


2 held over cooked woman

Police in Zhuzhou have detained two people on suspicion of robbing a woman, killing her and then cooking parts of the body, reports. An acquaintance of the victim reportedly asked her to play mahjong on November 19 and tricked her into another home, where the two robbed her of her cash and jewellery, worth less than 20,000 yuan, and then killed her. The pair chopped up the body and cooked the pieces for three days, then scattered them in the wild.

Gold mine deal for N Korea

A Hunan company has invested US$20 million in an open-pit gold mining project in North Korea, the Hunan Daily reports. The Hunan Weijin Investment Group announced on Friday that it had joined in building the country's first five-star hotel in order to get Pyongyang's approval to develop the project in Unsan county. It is the first Hunan company to invest in the country. Investing in North Korea is becoming a hot topic among mainland businessmen following recent promotions.


Arrest over jewellery theft

Police in Funing county have detained a man over the robbery of five gold necklaces from a jewellery shop on Saturday, the China Central Television reports. The man, 31, fled into a nearby mobile phone department store after the robbery and took a sales clerk hostage when police arrived. The clerk was rescued and the man apprehended inside the store about an hour later.

Blue skies failing to show

Nanjing is unlikely to achieve its goal of 314 "blue sky" days this year, the Yangtse Evening Post cited an official as saying. The head of the municipal environment protection bureau said at the weekend that poor regulation of dust from construction sites would make it difficult to realise the target. The city aims to have blue sky days 95 per cent of the year by the end of 2015.


Car plate prices zoom off

Shanghai's car plate prices hit a record high on Saturday, for the sixth month in a row, reports. The lowest price at the final auction of the year was 68,900 yuan, up by 2,400 yuan over last month's figure. But the number of bidders fell by nearly 900 to 18,244, the fewest all year, Shanghai Commodity International Auction said.

1 dead after bike hits bus

A man died and a woman was injured after their powered bicycle hit a bus in Pudong New Area on Saturday, reports. Witnesses said the two vehicles crashed head-on and the couple, both in their 60s, was thrown several metres. The man died at hospital and the woman was in critical condition.


Girl hit on crossing dies

A nine-year-old girl died on Saturday after she was struck by a car while crossing a street in Leshan , the West China City Daily reports. Witnesses said the girl was using the zebra crossing when she was hit. The driver took 10 metres to bring the car to a halt.

Trade fair yields windfall

The Chengdu government attracted more than 18 billion yuan in investment at a fair in Beijing on Saturday, China News Service reports. Altogether 17 companies signed agreements with the government on projects covering logistics, real estate, and computing, Chengdu's mayor said.


Medical sector coughs up

Medical manufacturers and traders are being squeezed for cash gifts of up to 1,000 yuan by the food and medical administration of Yiliang county for the establishment of a new department, reports.One retailer said the administration had summoned retailers to request "sponsorship" for a new "inspection team". About 100 companies complied.

Airports take 30m people

Passenger throughput at Yunnan's 12 airports is on track to exceed 30 million this year, reports. The airports are expected to receive 32 million passengers, up by more than 11 per cent over 2011, said the Yunnan Airport Group.


River-fall crane driver dies

A crane driver died on Saturday after the brakes on his vehicle failed and it drove into the Qiantang River in Haining , the Zhejiang Daily reports. The crane was at work reinforcing a dike when the accident occurred. Witnesses said a brake failure was to blame.

Investment cash flows in

The Ruian government reportedly attracted nearly 9 billion yuan of investment after a fair in Hangzhou .