China Digest, December 31, 2012
Rapid bus lanes debut
Lanzhou has begun operations of its first rapid transit line, a type of service that uses dedicated lanes and other features to improve the efficiency and reliability of buses, the Lanzhou Morning Post reports. Work on the nine kilometre line started in March of last year and cost 3 billion yuan (HK$3.7 billion) to complete.
Chemical plant blast kills 1
Lanzhou authorities have pledged safety inspections on all chemical plants after a blast killed a worker and injured another at a local facility on Friday, the Lanzhou Evening News reports. The explosion at the Jinjian Chemical Plant involved a tanker truck loaded with flammable ethylbenzene. The cause of the blast is under investigation.
Father beats son to death
A Shenzhen father has been taken into custody for beating his six-year-old son to death with a belt on Saturday, the Southern Metropolis Daily reports. The father, 30, said he meant only to punish the boy for extorting money from a classmate, but police said he hit the boy so hard the belt broke.
Chief accused of nepotism
A neighbourhood chief from Shenzhen's Luohu district has been suspended pending a probe into allegations of nepotism and misuse of public vehicles, the Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Chen Xuedu, who serves as head and party secretary of the Cuizhu Neighbourhood Committee, was accused of using his influence to help about 50 friends and relatives get jobs in agencies tied to the group.
Rail service to Vietnam
Service began yesterday on the newly completed Debao-Jingxi railway near Guangxi's border with Vietnam, Xinhua reports. Authorities believe the 40-kilometre cargo-and-passenger route linking Debao and Jingxi counties would help support the China-Asean Free Trade Area.
Foxconn builds factory
Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn, a major manufacturer of Apple products, has signed an agreement with Nanning authorities to build a five billion yuan tablet and smartphone plant, the China Business News reports. Foxconn has already completed the first phase of the project and a mass recruitment drive is in the works. Nanning has been seeking to expand its electronics manufacturing base.
Probe identifies official
The former director of a district real estate bureau has been identified as the Zhengzhou official whose relative owns 11 public flats in the city, the Beijing Times reports. The homes are owned by the 21-year-old daughter of Cui Zhenfeng, who left his Erqi district post last year. The media began looking into the case after a Hong Kong reporter disclosed the relationship - but neither names nor titles - on his microblog last week.
Sacking over school funds
At least four party officials from Yichuan county have been sacked after local media revealed how a 19-year-old teacher was forced to borrow more than 4,000 yuan to keep a poorly attended primary school open, the Dahe Daily reports. Local officials had refused to fund the Niujiagou Elementary School because it had only three pupils.
Tests start on subway line
Wuhan transport authorities have begun testing the first subway line to cross the Yangtze, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reports. The No2 line links Wuchang to Hankou, two major districts on opposite sides of the river. The line is expected to handle half the city's cross-river traffic, easing bridge congestion and reducing travel time to three minutes.
Ex-deputy mayor jailed
A former deputy mayor of Dangjiangkou has been sentenced to eight years in prison for taking 1.5 million yuan in bribes from property developers and local businesses between 2005 and last year, www.cnhubei.com reports. Hui Linbo came under investigation soon after quitting his post last December.
Vegetable farms plan
Jiangsu authorities have committed 1.5 billion yuan to build 100,000 hectares of vegetable farms to improve the province's supply of safe, locally grown produce, the People's Daily reports. The government hopes to build 100 farms - each located at least three kilometres from a chemical plant - by 2018.
Electricity imports upped
The provincial government has expanded its electricity imports to meet better demand as cold weather settles over the region, jschina.com.cn reports. Authorities have purchased an additional three million kilowatts from other provinces and expects to bring 19 more transformer substations online starting this week.
Migrants earn 420m yuan
About 86,000 migrant workers from Qinghai's Haidong prefecture earned a combined 420 million yuan in fields far from home this autumn, the Qinghai Daily reports. The workers mostly harvested wolfberry in the province's Haixi region and picked cotton in Xinjiang and Gansu .
5,100 pray for world peace
More than 5,100 monks capped off a six-day gathering for world peace with a mass prayer service at the 2,100-year-old Jyegu Monastery on Friday, Xinhua reports. The monks were joined by thousands of followers in the autonomous prefecture of Yushu as they chanted from Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. The monastery has hosted the annual prayer service since 1998.
Recruitment drive begins
Shanghai's newest institution of higher learning, ShanghaiTech University, will begin recruiting postgraduate students in the new year, www.Eastday.com reports. Undergraduate recruitment will begin in 2014. The university, which was established jointly by the city and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Pudong's Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, will have an annual recruitment quota of 4,000 postgraduate students and 2,000 undergraduates.
Arson suspect held
Shanghai police have detained a local man in connection with a series of arson attacks in the old neighbourhood of Yangpu district on Friday, the Oriental Morning Post reports. One of the three house fires set on Zhoujiapai Road injured four people. Two of the victims were in critical condition, the most seriously injured having burns over 90 per cent of their body. Police found pipes, water bottles and fuel outside one of the houses.
Taxis offer free umbrellas
Hanzhou municipal authorities have begun distributing 20,000 umbrellas for taxi passengers to use in the event of rain, the Qianjiang Evening News reports. The umbrellas will be available free of charge in each of the 9,000 participating taxis. Passengers can return the umbrellas to any taxi driver or one of the city's nine designated taxi service stations.
Tunnel opens to traffic
The Yunhe Zhijiang Tunnel opened to traffic on Friday after three years of construction and 770 million yuan in investment, the Hangzhou Daily reports. It is the first tunnel to cross the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and will link the downtown area to the Qianjiang New Zone.