China Digest. January 3, 2012.
New visa policy takes off
An Australian was among the first foreigners to take advantage of a new policy allowing travellers to stay in the capital for three days without a visa, Beijing Daily reported. Visitors from 45 countries, including Australia, Britain, France and the United States, can take advantage of the policy as long as they have a visa from a third-party country and a valid air ticket.
Police bust wallet thieves
Beijing police said they have arrested two thieves who stole a wallet and more than 400 yuan (HK$491) from a tourist who was watching the New Year's flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square, Beijing Times reported. The two suspects, one from Inner Mongolia and another from Heilongjiang , were spotted by plain-clothes police officers while acting suspiciously in the crowd.
Scenic spot jammed
A record 12,000 tourists visited the Jinfo mountain scenic spot south of Chongqing to catch a view of its snow-capped peak on the holiday, Chongqing Evening News reported. The roads leading to the mountain were overwhelmed by 11am and some visitors said it took more than three hours to reach the viewing area.
Asia on the cheap
A 28-year-old Chongqing man has stunned frequent travellers with claims that he spent only 12,000 yuan (HK$14,700) to take his mother on a tour of eight Asian countries last month, Chongqing Times reported. The man, a local power company employee, said he saved money on his 32-day trek by taking trains and buses rather than flights.
Electric blanket alarm
Consumers asked new questions about the risk of electric blankets after a Guangzhou woman reportedly suffered burns to her foot while sleeping last week, Xin Kuai Bao reported. The Tianhe district resident said she forgot to turn off her blanket and later discovered a burnt patch on the blanket and blisters on her foot.
Bomb hoax arrest
Police at Baiyuan Airport detained a man who they say falsely reported that a bomb was aboard a flight just before it took off for Urumqi on Monday, Southern Metropolis Daily reported. The man told police that he made the call because he was angry about getting stuck in traffic and missing the flight.
Hunan authorities have returned two Changsha businessmen to Wuhan to face charges that they forged documents to swindle a heavy-machinery company out of more than 200,000 yuan (HK$249,000), Chutian Jinbao reported. The pair have been on the run since duping the Yichang company into signing a forged contract for bucket loaders in August 2011.
Gamblers in shootout
Wuhan police said they have detained seven suspects linked to a shooting at an abandoned house in Jianghan district on Monday in which one person was killed and 10 others wounded, Xinhua reported. Police said the shooting involved a gambling dispute.
Students in the cold
Conditions were so bad at a rural school in Fenghuang county's impoverished Chazhai village that some pupils brought their own charcoal stoves to class to keep warm, Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported. Most of the school's 49 pupils are "left behind" children - those whose parents have gone elsewhere to work. Some children stopped going to school because they lacked warm clothing.
Wedded to cycling
One hundred cyclists from the Changsha Bicycle Tour Association staged a spectacular New Year's Day wedding celebration for a fellow member, Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported. The groom and bride rode a tandem bike at the front of a pack of other bicyclists in a 27-kilometre tour of downtown Changsha before arriving at their wedding banquet.
Methane blast burns boy
A 10-year-old boy suffered burns to his face and scalp after a fireball burst out of a manhole in Nanjing's Jianye district on Tuesday, Modern Express reported. An investigation attributed the blast to a methane-gas explosion, which lifted the covers off three other nearby manholes. The boy was recovering at a local hospital.
Winners never lose
A Lianyungang man had no regrets about discarding a winning a lottery ticket because he bought a second one that won 8 million yuan (HK$10 million), Yangcheng Evening News reported. The man said he would not have bought the second ticket if the first had not failed to win him a bottle of cooking oil in an on-the-spot draw. The first ticket, picked up by another man, was worth 5 million yuan.
Officials stash alcohol
The Qingdao municipal government confirmed internet reports that several municipal agencies have stockpiled alcohol in a local restaurant's cooler, China National Radio reported. The government promised disciplinary action pending further investigation of the agencies, which include the industry and commerce bureau and tax office.
New look at invasion
A Jinan man bought a Japanese pictorial at a local relic market that he said sheds light on Japan's invasion of China, Jinan Times reported. Wang Wei said the rare magazine, China Incident Illustrated, was printed in Japan in the late 1930s and contained details about battlefields, casualty counts and occupied cities.
Money waste to be probed
The Chengdu branch of the Red Cross Society of China has apologised for mismanaging donations for victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Beijing News reported. The branch was forced to respond after online reports said money in donation boxes was left to go mouldy and disintegrate.
Plea for kidney-op help
A Nanchong family said they amassed more than 1 million yuan in medical bills in the seven years since their daughter was diagnosed with kidney disease, Newssc.org reported. The girl's father, Ma Bin, who gave his daughter a kidney in February, said the family needed at least 70,000 yuan annually to cover her treatment.
Fake booze seized
Officials from Xinjiang's Alcohol Administration confiscated fake liquor worth 30,000 yuan during a inspection of liquor distributors and retailers in Urumqi , according to tianshannet.com.cn The hauls included bottles labelled as China Kweichow Moutai Distillery and four others made to look like Les Champs d'Or, a wine from the Xinjiang Xiangdu Winery.
New sun-drying rules
Starting March 1, Xinjiang farmers could be fined as much as 5,000 yuan for sun-drying their harvest on rural roads, People's Daily reported. The new regulation unveiled this week also sets limits for the length, width and height of bulk goods that a vehicle can carry. Violators could be levied fines of up to 30,000 yuan.