Briefs, February 12, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 6:09am


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Subdued start to Tibetan New Year

Tibetans in the region around Xiahe, Gansu province, which has been a focus of self-immolation protests against Beijing's rule, marked a low-key Tibetan New Year yesterday, with many saying celebrations were inappropriate while the burnings continued. The Tibetan New Year is supposed to be a time for celebration, but many Tibetans in Xiahe said there would be no entertainment this year. "It really isn't appropriate because of the self-immolations. So we're not marking the new year," said a Tibetan man who gave his name as Dorje. Reuters


Cancelling fireworks ignites mixed reaction

The Guangzhou city government's decision to save money and cut air pollution by not holding a Lunar New Year's Day fireworks show for the first time in 19 years drew a mixed response from residents, the Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Some said the change was a step towards a more environmentally friendly holiday, but others said they were disappointed it was cancelled. Stephen Chen


Japan's gift to help patrol troubled waters

Japan plans to donate patrol boats costing US$11 million each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China's maritime activity in disputed waters, the Nikkei business daily said. Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China. AFP


China's ping-pong diplomat dies

Three-time world table tennis champion Zhuang Zedong, a key figure in the groundbreaking "ping pong diplomacy" between China and the United States in the early 1970s, died on Sunday. He was 72 and had struggled with cancer since 2008. Zhuang, born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, married pianist Bao Huiqiao in 1967. They divorced in 1985 and in 1987 he married Chinese-born Japanese Sasaki Atsuko. AP, Xinhua