18 May 2007

Keywords : anti-corruption, income gap, carbon dioxide emissions, drug regulation, Hong Kong minimum wage, animal health


  • Shenzhen’s corruption-plagued intermediate court has denied having hired a Hong Kong fung shui master to help redesign the court building to shake off bad luck. The court official denied changing the number of the stairs at its eastern entrance from 11 to 9 because 11 was considered an ominous number. He also denied that a pair of stone lions placed at the western entrance were designed to instil power and prestige to an area that was dominated by too strong a yin and was subject to sneak attacks.
  • A recent survey conducted by the China National School of Administration between September and December last year found that more than half of its 900 respondents, all county-level civil servants from 17 provinces and autonomous regions held superstitious beliefs. Only 47% of the respondents said they did not believe in anything that could be considered superstitious. Among four choices of superstitious beliefs, physiogonmy (face-reading) ranked the most popular. Others are Zhou Gong’s interpretation of dreams, astrology and the use of I Ching divination.
  • Beijing took the unusual step of denying media reports that the mainland sixth-ranked leader, Vice-Premier Huang Ju, had died.


  • According to Assets Supervision and Administration, investigation was ordered to cover the average income level and salary increases of employees with SOEs at the central, provincial and municipal levels between 2004 and 2006. The notice comes at a time when the widening income gap between industries and regions has drawn strong criticism in China, where the gini coefficient now stands at 0.46 exceeding the internationally-recognized level of 0.45.
  • No pay rise for workers, no pay rise for managers. That is what the newly released wages and salary guideline of the Shanghai municipal labour and social security burea says. Companies that pay twice the average of the city’s wages to their workers should raise them by at least 3 % this year. The pay rise could be as much as 9% for those at average level. Enterprises with poor operation have been asked to abide by the 3% minimum standard.


  • An international project has helped cut 1.1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in China annually by encouraging township and village enterprises to adopt energy efficient technologies. The achievement was announced at an international forum on rural energy efficiency held in Hangzhou.
  • Environmental authorities plan to set up an automated system to monitor big polluters by next year. The automated project will closely monitor key polluters who account for 65% of the country’s industrial waste.Iw ill also monitor sewage disposal plants.


  • Soaring property prices has brought violent conflict between the farmers and the authorities in Gurao township, in Shantou, Guangdong province. Over the past 2 weeks, villagers in 13 Gurao communities have ransacked the homes and offices of village leaders in response to the news that almost all of their land had been sold to people with close connections to the officials. Expert said the central government’s decision to allow Guangdong to to become the first province to freely sell off rural land ownership rights has led to land dispute riots in coastal cities.
  • A giant portrait of later leader Mao Zedong adjacent Tiananmen Square was defaced by an unemployed man from Xinjiang by throwing a burning object at it. Witnesses say the arson attempt was just one of the many extreme activities carried out by petitioners to make their plights known. Apart from a brief report, all main national media and the most popular websites kept silent over the incident which came during the politically sensitive period preceding June 4.


  • The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said its investigation found that 2 animal feed companies had intentionally exported food ingredients laced with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer. The announcement comes as investigators from the US Food & Drug Administration are visiting China trying to determine the cause of death for as many as 4000 pets.
  • China’s drug regulation agency has confirmed that the company linked to counterfeit medicine that caused at least 100 deaths in Panam was not licensed to be engaged in the pharmaceutical business. It was related to a previous report which described how cold medicine in Panama was tainted with a poisonous industrial solvent, diethylene glycol, that was traced to a factory in eastern China.
  • Hong Kong media were full of lurid accounts of pigs staggering around with blood pouring from their bodies in Gaoyao and neighbouring Yunfu, both in Guangdong Province. Apple, a daily newspaper here, said that up to 80% of the pigs had died in the area, that peasants were engaged in panic selling of ailing animals at deep discounts and that pig carcasses were floating down the river. The international and Hong Kong authorities said they had received little information from mainland Chinese officials about the ailment

Foreign Affairs

  • At the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (16 May 2007), Mr Wen Jiabao said that Beijing was sincere in its desire to help African countries. Health Minister Gao Qiang said China would donate US$8 million to the WHO to fight disease in Africa, after the WHO’s decision-making body voted to rule out discussion of the island’s bid to join as a full-member under the name Taiwan


  • Taiwanese President Chen Sui-bian loyalist has appointed Chang Chun-hsiung, 69, the island’s top cross-strait negotiator and former premier to be the premier becoming the sixth to hold the position in Mr Chen’s 7 years in office.

Hong Kong

  • The Court of First Instance dismissed an application for the judicial review regarding the Chief executive’s refusal to implement a minimum wage for some of the city’s lowest-paid workders. The judicial review was launched by a cleaner and legislator ‘‘Long Hair’’ Leung Kwok-hung.
  • Mr Lik, the DAB chairman admitted he may have been ‘’rash and frivolous’’ in making highly controversial comments on the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy crackdown. But he stood by his claims that the crackdown was ‘’not a massacre’’, despite his party apologising for its chairman’s ‘‘inappropriate’’ remarks.
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused Charlotte Wong Leung Ka-on – a former China Mobile People’s Telephone director – and Wong Kan-king of using inside information to buy US$15 million of Dow Jones stock. The Wall Street Journal said : ‘ One possible connection the US SEC is expected to pursue involves Dow Jones director David Li Kwok-po, chairman and chief executive of Bank of East Asia.’
  • A survey of fantasies which included questions on incest and bestiality in 2 editions of a Chinese University students’ journal has been provisionally classified by the Obsene Articles Tribunal. Such a ruling could expose the editors of Student Press to prosecution.