China Briefs—Dec 6 – Dec 8
Dec 6 — China delays finishing mammoth water project-report
BEIJING (Reuters, Chris Buckley)—China has postponed completing a huge water transfer project to quench its national capital's thirst, citing stubborn pollution worries for pushing the target date back four years to 2014, official media said on Saturday.
The South-North Water Diversion scheme will channel water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries to ease shortages across northern China, where population growth and frantic industralisation have drained dams and underground reserves.
The main "central route" stretching 1,267 kms (787 miles) from the Danjiangkou Dam in central Hubei province to Beijing was due to be finished in 2010. But not now.
The hold-up could bring planning headaches for China's national capital, which supports a population of 17 million on dwindling local water sources.
In the absence of the Yangtze tributary supplies, Beijing has been pumping additional water from neighbouring Hebei province, which itself suffers severe shortfalls.
Dec 6 — China's 1st private airline suspends flights early
BEIJING (AP)—China's first private airline, suffering from financial and management woes, began a planned one-month suspension of passenger service 10 days early Saturday after skittish airports insisted on cash to refuel its planes, state media reported.
Okay Airways has been locked in a messy dispute with its controlling shareholder. News reports this week said the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered the flight suspension at the request of the shareholder, Shanghai-based Junyao Group Co.
Dec 6 — China prepares for moon launch with patriotic blast
XICHANG, China (Reuters, Royston Chan)—China readied to launch its first moon orbiter on Wednesday accompanied by a blaze of patriotic propaganda celebrating the country’s space ambitions and technological prowess.
The Chang’e One orbiter will blast off from the southwest province of Sichuan and then spend more than a year surveying the moon’s surface in preparation for an unmanned moon vehicle around 2010.
Even before the blast, state media celebrated Chang’e One, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, as a display of the country’s growing strength.
Dec 7 — Taiwanese protest police 'abuse' during anti-China demos
TAIPEI (AFP)—Hundreds of college students protested in Taipei on Sunday against what they called police abuse in handling anti-China demonstrations last month and demanded an apology from President Ma Ying-jeou.
The students from across the island, joined by sympathisers, marched through Taipei chanting slogans, bringing to a close a month-long sit-in launched after the clashes and scuffles surrounding the visit of a top Chinese envoy.
Dec 7 — China completing high-speed rail line
BEIJING (UPI)—China's says Beijing and Shanghai soon will be connected by the world's longest high-speed rail.
Dec 7 — China city checks complainers into mental hospital
BEIJING (Reuters, Ian Ransom)—Authorities in eastern China have found a creative way to deal with residents with complaints — checking them into a mental hospital and force-feeding them drugs, local media reported on Monday, citing victims.
Dec 7 — Cold front bringing snow, high wind to western, northern China
BEIJING (China Daily)—Another cold front will hit west, north and northeast China over the next two or three days, bringing snow and high wind, the China Meteorological Administration said on Sunday.
Dec 8 — "Made in China" label battered by product scandals "
BEIJING (Reuters, Ben Blanchard)—Milk, toothpaste, cough syrup, pet food, eels, blood thinner, car parts, pork, eggs, honey, chicken, dumplings, cooking oil and rice — if you can fake it or taint it, you can almost guarantee it's happened in China.
A string of product safety scandals, including contaminated infant formula that is believed to have killed six babies and sickened thousands of others, have rocked the faith of shoppers, making them wary of buying products made in China despite the often cheaper price tag.
After each scandal, Beijing seemed to have the same response: launching a crackdown, destroying tainted goods on television, jailing a few officials and saying they "pay great attention" to the problem.
Trouble is, for all the government's efforts and exhortations, the scandals keep happening, and will likely keep on happening, due to lax rule enforcement, fragmented industries, widespread poverty and the sheer size of China, analysts say.
Dec 8 — Lawsuit over China tainted milk rejected
BEIJING (AP)—A court in China has refused to accept a lawsuit against a Chinese dairy filed by dozens of families whose children were sickened by tainted milk.
Lawyers involved in the case said Monday the lawsuit on behalf of 63 defendants — including the parents of two children who died — sought compensation from state-owned Sanlu Group Co.
Dec 8 — China blacklists 23 websites selling fake drugs
People's Daily ( English-language state media)—China's drug safety watchdog has blacklisted 23 websites, which were found to have been selling fake drugs or to have published illegal adverts that exaggerated the benefits of their products. Some claimed to be sponsored by research institutions of renowned universities.
Dec 8 — Crackdown on drugs hurts China AIDS fight: report
BEIJING (Reuters, Lucy Hornby)—China's efforts to combat the spread of AIDS among drug users is being undermined by its harsh treatment of drug addicts, Human Rights Watch warned in a report Tuesday.
"Drug users in rehabilitation centers are treated as prisoners, not patients, and subject to abusive and inhumane conditions of confinement," said the report.
Dec 8 — 36 China players found to be older than thought
BEIJING (AP)—A crackdown on "age shaving" has found 36 players in China's professional basketball league were older than they originally stated.
Dec 8 — Winter and economy chilling China quake zone
DUJIANGYAN, China (Reuters)—Seven months after the Sichuan earthquake leveled wide swathes of southwest China, millions of victims are battling biting cold and a fast-cooling economy to rebuild their shattered lives.
A rapid slowdown in Chinese tourism amid the global financial crisis only compounds the pain in Dujiangyan, a city surrounded by ancient waterworks but reduced to rubble by the May 12 quake which killed more than 80,000 people.
Dec 8 — China to take lead in checking North Korea claims
BEIJING (Reuters, Chris Buckley)—China has been put in charge of drafting a document to spell out how to check North Korea's declaration of its nuclear activities as part of a multilateral disarmament-for-aid deal, Washington's envoy said on Monday.