Beijing air pollution

China Digest, February 25, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 5:43am


Smog spurs fireworks plea

Environmental protection officials urged Beijing residents to refrain from setting off fireworks yesterday - the last day they were allowed to do so for the Lunar New Year celebrations - because of heavy air pollution that again shrouded the capital in smog, The Beijing News reports.

Taxi companies shamed

Municipal traffic authorities have named the 10 taxi firms that drew the most complaints last month, reports. A total of 1,757 taxi-related complaints were made that month, mostly because of overcharging and refusing to take passengers.


Knife man blames drink

A man was detained in Guangzhou on Saturday night for hurting 10 people with a knife on Thursday in Baiyun district, reports. The man told police he was drunk and injured two cellphone salesmen after quarrelling with them. He later attacked a motorcycle rider and seven pedestrians. None of the injuries were life-threatening, and the incident was under investigation.

Two nabbed over attack

Two men were arrested in Jiexi county, Jieyang , on Friday in connection with a violent incident in which several outsiders allegedly rushed into a village in the county and began attacking residents, the Nanfang Daily reports. A village official was wounded, several cars were destroyed and a nearby highway was temporarily blocked. The cause of the conflict was not given.


New school becomes dump

An abandoned primary school became a waste-disposal site just a year and a half after being built at a cost of 350,000 yuan (HK$431,230) in a village of Kaili city, Xinhua reports. The school, which has two buildings and eight classrooms, opened in March 2009, but there were never more than 40 pupils enrolled at any one time. Attendance fell to just 11 in September 2010 before it closed and the children were transferred elsewhere. Township-level education authorities said they had no idea the school closed, as it had been run by village officials.

Boy kills woman for yogurt

Police have arrested a 12-year-old boy in Zunyi for killing a 66-year-old woman for a container of yogurt, the Guiyang Evening News reports. The boy confessed to throwing stones at the woman and then trying to burn the body, which was discovered on February 10. The boy's mother died in a car accident in 2010 and he has been living with his grandfather since being abandoned by his father.


Farming out of favour

Roughly 54 per cent of rural youngsters do not want to take up farming, but about 55 per cent of young migrants from the province plan to eventually return to their hometowns, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reports, citing a study by the provincial Youth League Committee. About 100,000 rural youngsters in Hubei were interviewed, and nearly 30 per cent said they were saving money so they could return and start their own businesses.

Mayors work together

Mayors from four provincial capitals along the middle reaches of the Yangtse River signed an agreement in Wuhan on Friday to co-operate in the areas of education, technology, environmental protection, transport and tourism, reports. The four city governments - Changsha , Hefei , Nanchang and Wuhan - will hold joint meetings in the future to facilitate the collaboration efforts. The region saw a 7.8 per cent rise in gross domestic product last year.


Beidou system for vehicles

All coach, tourism and school buses in Yangzhou must be equipped with China's homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System this year, reports. The mandate also applies to vehicles carrying dangerous cargo in the city. Most installations will be finished by the end of next month.

Young killer gets 13 years

A high school student in Xuzhou has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for stabbing a classmate to death in May, China News Service reports online. The judge said the boy, who is about 15 years old, was a troubled youth whose parents were living elsewhere as migrant workers. He lashed out after the classmate provoked him.


Plan for car plate prices

Municipal transport authorities said they were working on a new policy to help curb the rapidly rising price of vehicle licence plates sold at auction each month, but no details of the plan were given, the Oriental Morning Post reports. The price of a car plate hit a record high of 83,300 yuan during this month's auction, on Saturday. It was an 8,300-yuan rise from the price last month and was the eighth straight month that prices had increased. The plate auction is meant to limit the number of cars on the roads and ease congestion. A total of 9,000 plates were auctioned off this month.

24-hour campus test

Applicants to New York University's Shanghai campus underwent an unorthodox interview process on Saturday, the Qianjiang Evening News reports. Applicants spent 24 hours on campus, participated in group activities, sat in simulated classes and interacted with students. All of the activities were conducted in English, and interviewees had to sign a confidentiality agreement about the process. The university is trying to recruit 151 mainland students.


Number of poor declines

The number of people living in poverty in Tibet last year fell by 130,000, compared with 2011, to 583,000, amid efforts to improve the quality of life for people living in the region, reports. Tibet has the highest poverty rate among all mainland regions. People making less than 2,300 yuan a year fall below the poverty line. The provincial government plans to further reduce the number of poverty-stricken residents by 128,000 this year.

Storm raises disaster risk

Meteorologists warned that a big snow storm passing through southwest Tibet since Saturday had raised the risk of natural disasters such as landslides in the mountainous areas of Shigatse and Nyingchi prefecture, as well as temporarily stopping traffic on highways in those areas, reports. The snow storm was expected to pass through the region by today.


9 die in fire; arsonist held

Police have arrested a man for starting a fire in a residential complex that killed nine people, including two children, in Wenling early on Saturday morning, reports. Police said the suspect set fire to three flats because he had a dispute with one of the tenants. An undisclosed number of people were injured, and one remained in hospital with serious injuries. Seventeen people were rescued from the blaze.

Polluting police apologise

A police station in Taizhou apologised on its microblog account on Friday afternoon after posting a picture that morning showing officers dumping confiscated fireworks into a local river, Xinhua reports.