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Blocking economic progress, Chairman Mao’s private plane may be headed for the trash

Posted: 03/21/2014 9:59 am

It looks like Chairman Mao is finally bowing to the pressure of capitalism. At least, that’s the case for his private plane. The aircraft, which has been displayed in front of a shopping mall in Zhuhai, may be dismantled because it is apparently getting in the way of the mall’s economic development.

The plane, bought by Wang Zhilei in the 1990s, attracted a lot of tourists when it was first displayed in front of his shopping mall. It has since helped turn Wang’s mall into a local tourist site. But as Wang’s business expanded, the plane became more of a nuisance, taking up valuable parking space from his customers.

The plane was first offered for sale in 2008, but was shelved after locals called on Wang to keep it. Six years later, Wang seems determined to finally get rid of it. He said a company’s economic interest comes first and if no one offers to buy it before May, the plane will be moved away, Yangcheng Evening News.

The jet is one of the three Tridents imported from Pakistan in 1969. One was designated to Mao, another for state and military leaders, and the last one to Lin Biao, the former successor of Mao until his plane mysteriously crashed in Mongolia. To add to the plane’s tragic lore, it was never used by Mao, but by Madame Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife and the radical leader during China’s chaotic Cultural Revolution.

Wang is hoping private collectors, especially ones from Zhuhai, can come forward and buy the plane.

Here are some photos of the aircraft:

The red poster on the plane’sbody reads: plane for sale. Photo credit:Reuters








Inside of the plane. Photo credit: China News











Home page photo from Shajiabang 沙家浜




Mainland China “leases” land to Macau in historical first

Posted: 08/27/2013 10:30 am

In an interesting recent development that was actually finalized back in July — but one that perhaps only the keenest China-watchers will have read about — Macau is now one square kilometre larger thanks to the University of Macau’s new campus on Hengqin Island, a small area of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in south Guangdong.

“[This] is a historical moment and a monumental milestone for the development of both Macau and the Chinese mainland… [and] also bears testimony to the flexibility, innovation and potential of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. Many people would regard such changes as inconceivable,” China Daily said in an article last week.

As if to signal just the extent to which the Central Government is serious about the area on Hengqin Island becoming a legitimate part of Macau under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework (as with Hong Kong), people there will be able to “practice academic freedom, have unrestricted Internet access, and enjoy social and political rights as they do in Macau [or Hong Kong].”

What is perhaps even more fascinating is the possibilities that this latest cooperation between the mainland and a Special Administrative Region could signal for the future.

“The Hengqin model can also serve as an important reference for the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR), where development has come to a bottleneck. With the support of the central government, Shenzhen can consider leasing portions of its land to the HKSAR allowing the HKSAR government to exercise jurisdiction over it.”

What we are therefore seeing here may be the beginning of an entirely new and fundamentally different chapter in the story of China’s administration until now. We may begin to see more and more cooperation and “leasing” of highly innovative or developed areas in the mainland to various SAR regions. That is something that could potentially benefit both sides, and could be a step in the right direction in the longer-term goal of uniting the people’s of the “Two Systems.”

“Macau and Hong Kong will be asserting greater influence on the area. In the 1980s, Shenzhen was an economic experiment, and now this is a governance experiment,” Fu Hualing, a constitutional scholar at the University of Hong Kong, told The New York Times in July. For more details and insights into the whole project, I suggest you the a look at the NYT article, which includes research and interviews with experts in the field.

In any case, expect Hong Kong and Macau to have more influence in the Guangdong region as integration between the three areas is further realised — perhaps in unexpected ways. For now, the lease acquired by the Macau government on Hengqin only lasts 40 years, but it’s an interesting experiment and could perhaps be extended indefinitely after that. Tellingly, Macau’s status as a semi-autonomous region also expires in 2049.

Photo credit: University of Macau


Caught on tape: Zhuhai girl surrounded, beaten and stripped by female classmates

Posted: 07/1/2013 9:00 am

Footage was put on Sina Weibo at the weekend of a female student being surrounded, beaten and stripped by a group of girls in what looks like a campus building. The poster said the incident took place in Zhuhai.

Conspicuous by its absence is a knight in shining armour to come to the girl’s rescue. In fact, a male voice can be heard from behind the camera, and the poster claims there were more boys watching the incident unfold.

Netizens’ responses ranged from “Why doesn’t the girl retaliate?” To “What kind of idiot would put footage of themselves bullying another person on the internet?”

One netizen claims that this footage is several years old. If not, it would be an easy mistake to make.

Footage of similar incidents taking place in China has gone big on the internet before.


A plane crashes into the sea near Zhuhai, all three on board survive

Posted: 03/29/2013 7:00 am

A light aircraft crashed into the sea near Zhuhai Airport on Wednesday, and miraculously all three people on board survived, People’s Daily reports.

The cause is thought to have been an engine failure during the landing procedure, but the investigation is continuing.

The plane after being salvaged, courtesy of People’s Daily online

The accident disrupted activity at Zhuhai Airport with no planes taking off for an hour.

All three people on board were members of the Han Star General Aviation Company and none suffered any more serious harm than getting their clothes wet. They were found in a lifeboat by local Coast Guard captain Zeng Zhangrong around an hour after the crash.

The plane was salvaged that night at around 10:15 and the nose and tail are both severely damaged.


Zhuhai primary school under fire for charging students 1 yuan for a nap

Posted: 03/26/2013 10:00 am

A primary school in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District has been charging students a 1 yuan fee to enter classrooms for an afternoon nap, a parent recently revealed online. The school has admitted that it has been doing this since September 2010, Southern Metropolis Daily reports.

Courtesy of Baidu Images.

Students above grade 2 are not given dormitories and some live too far away to walk home during their lunch break. For this reason, many have no choice but to pay the fee to have an afternoon rest in the classroom.

Although ethically dubious, parents told the newspaper there wasn’t much they could do about the move.

The original report has been forwarded over 10,000 times on Sina Weibo.

Most netizens have attacked the school with some calling its actions “disgraceful.” One Sina Weibo user opined that the whole thing was so ridiculous it probably isn’t even true.


Two Zhuhai students launch Life of Pi remake, already viewed 200,000 times

Posted: 03/13/2013 4:26 pm

Two students at the Beijing Institute of Technology in Zhuhai have hit it big with their own mock version of the hit movie “Life of Pi”.

Their 4-and-a-half minute video, called “Life of Chun”, has already been viewed more than 200,000 times, according to QQ news.

Its creators, Chen Dachun and Du Lelian, told reporters the short film is meant as a commentary on the state of art in China — which is cryptic.

Unlike the movie, which recently won an Oscar for Taiwanese director Ang Lee, the “knock-off” version, which has appeared on Ku6, Tudou and Youku, involves a teenager, played by Chen, stuck in a life boat with a crab instead of a tiger.

The crab may be a symbol for “river crabs”, which is a synonym for harmony, the bane of many artists who seek to express themselves in mainland China.

The film has been popular with netizens. One said he just hopes Ang Lee can see it.


A first: man who killed father in Zhuhai given psychiatric treatment rather than jail time

Posted: 02/18/2013 9:30 am

A man in Zhuhai who killed his father in a fit of rage on November 18 last year will be given psychiatric treament instead of being thrown in jail after new mental health laws were passed last October, Sina News reports.

Mr. Xing, 37, a blue collar worker in Zhuhai’s Doumen District, beat his father to death with a metal pipe at around 6 a.m. after the father had made some casual remarks that angered Xing. He later died in hospital. Although the beating was severe enough to leave the father’s head disfigured, Doumen Public Security Bureau did not succeed in their initial attempts to have him convicted of murder.

In January this year, Foshan No. 3 People’s Hospital diagnosed Xing with schizophrenia. Under the new laws, which were approved by The Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress after World Mental Health Day in October, Xing will receive a lighter sentence as well as psychiatric treatment.

China only has about 20,000 registered psychiatrists, or 15 psychiatrists for every one million sufferers. The number of mental health institutions and doctors lags far behind the need, according to Xinhua.


Zhuhai boss says 12 bottles of expensive luxury wine were for ‘learning’, not drinking…

Posted: 02/6/2013 11:16 am

Zhou Shaoqiang

The boss of a state-owned company in Zhuhai who was accused of ordering wine worth a total of 70,000 yuan at a meal last month claims he just ordered the wine so he could learn about it, Chinese language media report. He has since been forced to step down.

Zhou Shaoqiang, general manager of a Zhuhai SOE investment firm, told a disciplinary investigation that, although he ordered 12 bottles of luxury wine including Chateau Latour and Haut-Brion, six of them were only used as “decorative props” or to “increase his knowledge of wine.”

The disciplinary inspection team of Zhuhai’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) launched a probe in January, Shenzhen Daily reports.

Zhou has earned the online nickname of wine-learning brother.

Well actually, it is pretty decorative.

In China, jobs at State-owned companies are highly sought after due to the perks and stability. After the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, State-owned companies received much stimulus while the private sector was left to fend for itself.

This year, government departments and state-owned companies are having relatively low-key New Year celebrations because of an ongoing crackdown on corruption and widespread resentment at ostentatious displays of wealth.


Man draws criticism after whipping monkeys during street performance in Zhuhai

Posted: 02/6/2013 7:00 am

The outrage that has been expressed online over several recent instances of animal cruelty suggested that China may have turned a corner in terms of the treatment of animals.

A man and his monkeys, courtesy of Baidu images

That process is turning out to be slower than some of us had hoped.

A man screamed at, swore at and whipped three monkeys while forcing them to perform on a street in Zhuhai’s Xiawan area Monday, Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Although one child cried upon seeing the monkeys’ distress, the performance was so popular that one middle-aged man tried to charge people money to keep watching.

The monkeys’ performance included being forced to dance and ride a small bicycle. The man who “disciplined” them during the performance, a Henan man in his 30s, said he has been training them for years while performing on streets around the country for money. He admitted that he has no special knowledge of how to raise monkeys.

Because he was mistreating animals and swearing in front of children, the police were eventually called, but upon arrival, the police said they didn’t want to cause an even bigger scene in front of children, so just told the Henan man to go away instead of arresting him.

According to China’s Wild Animal Protection Laws, monkeys are a 2nd grade protected species. If you see monkeys being mistreated you are encouraged to call 110. To own a monkey, you need a trainers’ license, according to the paper.

The case is being investigated.


Another key PRD rail route opens: Macau-Zhuhai to Guangzhou launched, tickets pricey

Posted: 01/7/2013 10:00 am

There has been a lot of domestic and international coverage of the new Guangzhou-Beijing high-speed rail in recent days, with much of the coverage noting it’s the longest high-speed rail line in the world.  While it’s a boon to those in Guangzhou who want to get to the capital or points in-between without fighting crowds at Baiyun Airport and sliding into cramped airplane seats, the Guangzhou-Beijing line isn’t the only notable rail link to have opened over the Christmas holidays.

Indeed, Gongbei Station at on the Zhuhai-Macau border opened on December 31, creating easy rail access from nearly all points in the PRD to Zhuhai and Macau.  The line, which isn’t exactly a traditional high-speed rail line, starts at Guangzhou South Station and extends down the west side of the PRD.  Up until the end of 2012, its last station was Zhuhai North, which many will tell you isn’t all that close to Zhuhai.  From there, people had to take an hour long taxi ride to get to the border, sometimes at considerable cost.

The new station opening means the train will extend south from Zhuhai North down to Gongbei, which is the name of the border crossing with Macau.  The journey takes 80 minutes in total, as the line stops multiple times in towns and villages along the route.

So how much does it cost for a ticket? RMB 70 for a regular ticket, or RMB 90 if you want to travel in style, in first class. And that is a problem for many who live along the line, according to the Macau Daily Times:

But according to local media reports, many city residents complained that the tickets are set at unreasonably high prices, which are over 50 percent higher than the prices before the Intercity was extended to the current stop at Gongbei. It was pointed out that at an average of RMB0.598 per kilometer, tickets of Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway is even dearer than that of Guangzhou-Shenzhen Intercity Railway (RMB0.58/ km), and is the “most expensive Intercity Railway in the whole country”.

Coaches between Guangzhou and Zhuhai are operating at around RMB60-80 for a one-way ticket and some of the companies are cutting passenger fares to compete with the new Intercity link.

Despite the pricey tickets, the line will be a boon for Zhuhai, which should see many more weekend vacationers pop down from Guangzhou.

If you’re interested in high-speed rail in the PRD, don’t forget to check out our full review of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section.

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