MUCH of the anger among the revolting peasants in China revolves around what is known as ''the strips'', we hear from Shanghai businessman Ko Xinga. These are IOUs which the Central Government uses to pay peasants. There are green strips, red strips, white strips and so on, with each colour signifying a different payment. Peasants normally cash them in at the village post offices - but recently, these institutions have refused to cash them. No wonder they are mad. But it isn't just peasants who are complaining of not getting their rightful earnings. A Hongkong fund manager we know was paid for a deal with a cheque worth the equivalent of HK$200,000, drawn on a mainland bank. He tried to get it cashed at the main branch in Beijing, but they refused. They said the cheque was valid, but they did not wish to part with so much money. The fund manager then tried to get it cashed in Shenzhen - but he was prevented by the same excuse. He talked to his contacts, pulled some strings and eventually managed to get the cash. The credit squeeze is worrying. ''If this happened in Hongkong, there would be a massive bank run,'' he said. But in China, they are used to awkward bureaucratic delays. Coming soon in a province near you: the first ever joint protest by yuppies and peasants. Devilish PHOTOGRAPHER David Chappell of Lamma was listening to the radio the other day, when he heard an interview with a senior police officer in Tai Po who rejoiced in the name of Satan Wu. Not exactly good for the force's image, is it? Close shave A BOFFIN from China Light and Power tried to educate Legco members on Thursday. Yes, it was a challenge. Under discussion was the safety or otherwise of a new electricity power line the company is laying. Wazir Arculli of China Light and Power explained that a tiny electric shaver has a bigger effect on your health than a 400 kV power transmission line. This information obviously unsettled Jimmy McGregor, who asked whether it was safe to use a shaver. Mr Arculli answered: ''Obviously we don't use a shaver 24 hours a day.'' Vincent Cheng pointed to Mr McGregor's baby-soft cheeks and said: ''Jimmy does.'' Coming soon: Legco bans shaving. Difficult chor WE do hope Ek Chor, the Chinese motorcycle maker which has suddenly popped up on the New York Stock Exchange, is not planning to sell its motorbikes in India. The name means ''One Thief'' in Hindi. On the other hand, to be cynical, perhaps that's why it did so well on Wall Street. Moneybags PAUL Rivers of Pam & Frank Industrial, the sports bag company, appeared in this column yesterday, slagging off Marc Faber, and extolling the virtues of piling goods high and selling them cheap. But on the front page of the newspaper on the same day was a story and photograph about Guangzhou buyers besieging a Hongkong stall at a trade fair. This forcefully emphasised the importance of paying for quality and ignoring the cheap goods. By remarkable coincidence, the stall in the picture just happened to be the stand of . . . yes, Pam & Frank Industrial. The sports bags being wrenched off the shelves were made by the firm for which Paul works. How ironic. You seem to have been proved wrong, Paul - so give your wrist a good slap (when you next take a break from counting the money). Chickening out SWISS businessman Jean-Claude Froidevaux recently stayed in the ANA Hotel in Kyoto. He ordered a poached egg. A few minutes later, he was approached by an apologetic waiter who handed him a letter. It said that this was the season for moist hens. This made egg yolks difficult to poach. ''If you don't mind, please request another Eggs any style,'' it said. We certainly wouldn't want any Japanese chef to fall on his kitchen knife in sorrow at failure to poach eggs. But is there really a season of moist hens? Surely this must be some sort of Yakuza password. We reckon that had Jean-Claude slipped him back a note saying: ''My hen is also excessively slippery,'' he would have entered the Japanese underworld. Holier than TRISH Williamson of the Delia School of Canada received a letter from Knowledge Craft of Kowloon last weekend elevating her status to Messiah, as ''Mrs Christ Williamson''. She told us that she was disappointed that the typhoon disrupted their planned end of term poolside barbecue. ''I was hoping to impress some of my colleagues by walking on water,'' she said. One of our colleagues, Chris Chapel, is regularly elevated to messianic status. He got a fax on Thursday from South China Brokerage addressed to ''Christ Chapel'' which sounds more like the name of a UK university college than a name. ''I think Christ should be made an accepted abbreviation of Christopher in Hongkong,'' said our work-mate. Must remember to ask the Governor on his return what he thinks of that suggestion. Talking of holy names, America now had 16 Bethlehems, 61 Edens and 95 Salems.