China Digest, February 5, 2013
91 jailed for phone scam
Ninety-one people involved in an international telecom scam were sentenced to between 18 months and eight years in prison for fraud by the Chaoyang District People's Court, the Beijing Morning Post reports. The ring, led by two Taiwanese men, targeted mostly retired people from both the mainland and Taiwan and stole 220 million yuan (HK$271 million) from March to June 2011.
Tobacco experts blocked
The Chinese Academy of Engineering will no longer admit scientists specialising in tobacco research following a public outcry after it was revealed that one was admitted to the elite academic body in December 2011, the Beijing Times reports. Xie Jianping said he had conducted significant tests on "safe" cigarettes when he applied for the seat.
Crash toll rises by two
The death toll from Friday's bus accident in Qingyang city rose to 18 after rescuers found more bodies on Sunday, www.cnr.cn reports. The bus, carrying mostly migrant farmers and their families, veered off a road in Ning county, tumbled into a ravine and caught fire. The vehicle, which had a capacity of 47 people, had left Langfang city in Hebei province carrying 54.
'Half portion' scheme flops
Few restaurants in Lanzhou took part in a "half portion, half price" promotion launched by local governments on Thursday, the Western Economic Daily reports. The campaign aims to reduce food wastage, but restaurants face no penalties if they do not take part.
Shenzhen official moved
The director of the judicial bureau in the Baoan district of Shenzhen was removed from his post and transferred following a high-profile scandal involving the purchase of expensive smartphones, the Shenzhen Evening News reports. The bureau allegedly used public funds to purchase 25 phones priced at about 5,700 yuan each for officials. Disciplinary investigators concluded that the bureau violated purchasing regulations. The bureau denied misappropriating public money.
A 12-year-old Shenzhen girl who died last week has donated a record number of organs for a mainland child, the Xijiang Metropolitan Daily reports. Ye Mengyuan's parents signed a consent form for organ donation after she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on January 26. She died three days later and her liver, kidneys, pancreas, small intestine, spleen and corneas were harvested. The rest of her body was donated to Shenzhen University's medical faculty.
Blitz on delayed wages
Authorities in Qiqihar announced that they helped more than 7,500 migrant workers receive a total of 60 million yuan in back pay last year, the Heilongjiang Daily reports. It said delays in the payment of wages had increased in the city in recent years.
Company for the elderly
More than 5,000 volunteers are to keep 2,000 elderly people company at Lunar New Year in the Daoli district of Harbin , www.hljnews.cn reports. The move aims to bring happiness to those left alone after their children grew up.
Builders' bodies found
The death toll from an incident in which a wall collapsed at a construction site in Zhoukou city has risen to three, Xinhua reports, after the bodies of two missing people were retrieved from the debris. The wall collapsed at around 7pm on Friday while concreting work was being carried out at a passenger coach station. Nine of the 15 workers on the site at the time were injured and taken to hospital, one of whom later died.
90pc of buses 'unlicensed'
More than 90 per cent of coaches and buses operating in Zhengyang county, Zhumadian city, are operating without a licence, the Dahe Daily reports. There was a similar situation in other counties in the province, it said.
Worker loses 17,000 yuan
A migrant worker begged passers-by on a Shanghai street to help him collect about 17,000 yuan that was blown about by the wind after it dropped out of his pocket on Sunday, the Yangzhou Times reports. The worker had fallen off his scooter and was recovering on the ground when people grabbed the money - a year's worth of his savings. Only 700 yuan was returned to him by two people. Police were examining camera footage to identify those who took the rest of the cash.
Cancer plagues Shanghai
Shanghai's cancer rate remains higher than the national average, with nearly 50,000 new cases and 30,000 deaths every year, the Wenhui Daily reports. According to the Shanghai Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the city's rate is more than 350 out of every 100,000 people, while the national rate is 285.91.
An 81-year-old farmer from Hanyang township in Guangyuan city has graduated with an associate diploma in law about two decades after he started studying, www.scol.com.cn reports. He began taking the exams in 1993.
Investment profit forecast
Authorities in Chengdu estimate that the GDP from the 100 billion yuan it invested in the 1,578 sq km Tianhu New Zone will reach 250 billion yuan by 2015 and 650 billion yuan by 2020, the Chengdu Economic Daily reports. The figure will be more than 1.2 trillion yuan by 2030, the local government said.
War on mutton prices
Authorities in the autonomous region are to put 3,000 tonnes of mutton onto the market in 14 cities this week in an effort to keep food prices stable over the Lunar New Year holiday, www.ts.cn reports. Each resident would be allowed to purchase a maximum of half a sheep.
Murder trial for mother
A 57-year-old woman went on trial on Friday accused of hiring two of her friends for 100,000 yuan to murder her son, www.ts.cn reports. The report said the woman had been abused for years by her drug-addicted son. The three were caught on May 11, soon after he was strangled to death.
'Japanese' extra typecast
A television extra at the Hengdian film studio appeared as a member of the Japanese forces more than 200 times last year, the Qianjiang Evening News reported, sometimes dying on set eight times in a single day. It said 48 out of a total of 150 productions filmed there last year were about the war against Japan. An industry insider said strict censorship limits the choice of subjects that can be covered.
Bridge is world's longest
The Jiaxing-Shaoxing Sea-Crossing Bridge, the second bridge in Zhejiang to span the sea, will be the world's longest and widest multipylon, cable-stayed bridge when it is put into use in June, Xinhua reports. The 2,680-metre-long bridge is expected to halve the driving time from Shaoxing to Shanghai.