Guangdong sperm bank faces severe donor shortage

Posted: 05/31/2012 2:15 pm

Attention young virile men: stop what you’re doing and get to a sperm bank. According to a report in the Southern Metropolis Daily, sperm banks in Guangdong province, Shan’Xi, and Zhe Jiang are facing severe donor shortages.

There are currently eleven sperm banks throughout China, only one of which is located in Guangdong Province. And while the Guangdong bank has approximately 20 thousand samples, it has to accommodate the needs of ten reproduction clinics scattered throughout the area. Needless to say, in a province with a population of over 100 million, 20 thousand samples doesn’t exactly cut it. In fact, according to the Reproduction & Birth Control Center of Guangdong, infertile couples can expect waitlists of up to a year.

According to Tang Lixin, a family planning specialist at the Guangdong sperm bank, the main issue isn’t so much quantity, but rather the quality of sperm. Over a ten month period, samples are screened for environmental pollution, chemical additives and pesticide residue, all of which compromise the sperm’s reproductive capacity. While the Guangdong sperm bank receives a few hundred samples per month, only 30% pass the screening.

If that weren’t enough bad news for couples struggling to conceive, the Ministry of Health isn’t exactly helping matters. Currently a single donor can only provide samples for a maximum of five women, while in European countries such as Denmark, the ratio is as high as twenty women to every donor.

Tang argues that if China is to seriously address the sperm shortage, the ratio of donors to women needs to change.  He also recommends raising the sample fee. In Guangdong, women and couples pay a fee of 3000RMB per sample, while in provinces such as Jiangsu it’s as high as 5000RMB.



A mysterious insect has killed four seniors in Guangzhou

Posted: 05/31/2012 11:00 am

There are concerns in Guangzhou over a particular insect that doctors believe contributed to the deaths of four senior citizens, according to Yangcheng Evening News.

Scrub typhus, also known as Japanese river fever or flood fever, is an acute febrile typhus disease. There are cases every year, particularly in summer as the muggy weather is conducive to insects breeding. According to the report, the four people who died have something in common: they had all been to Xiaogang Park(晓港公园)and apparently ignored the warning signs. The first symptom of having been bitten by the bug is a fever, which patients usually mistake for a cold and delay seeking medical help. In addition, people don’t always pay attention to bites on the waist, armpit, abdomen or thigh.

However, doctors say that patients should not be too worried as the illness is curable if identified. The signs can be very subtle so if you have any symptoms such as high fever, dry and flaking skin or scabs, you may need to see a doctor immediately. Doctors warn that following precautions should be taken when in parks or other grassy areas:

  • apply insect-repellent to your skin;
  • Wear long sleeves;
  • Do not sit or lie on the grass;
  • Do not touch the crops;

As always, maintain a high level of personal hygiene.  But maybe the best advice?  Avoid going to Xiaogang Park, at least for now.


14-year-old’s parents both diagnosed with cancer in Huizhou, teen desperate for cash

Posted: 05/30/2012 10:00 am

14-year old Zheng Tao’s world has just been turned upside down.  The teenager’s parents have both been diagnosed with cancer within the past six months, leaving Zheng to feed them and fund their medical treatment, according to Nanfang Daily.  For a 14-year old in Huizhou, that task is nearly impossible.

Zheng’s father, Zheng Xigui, 69, originally hails from Heyuan City and has lived in the rural areas of Huicheng longer than any other resident. In April, he discovered that an abdominal pain that he had had for several years had left him too weak to ride a bicycle. He had never been to hospital in Huizhou before because he was unable to afford it, but after receiving a check-up and some further examinations, he was diagnosed with liver cancer at Central Huizhou People’s Daily on April 27.

Five months earlier, Zheng Tao’s mother, Zhong Xiulian, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as squamos cell carcinoma, and since then her medical fees have been more than 700 yuan a month.  The couple also have a daughter, Zheng Qiao Hong, 16. She had to leave school two years ago because her family was unable to afford the tuition fees and now she works in a restaurant.

Zheng has been left in the difficult position of concocting Traditional Chinese Medicine for his parents before and after school, as well as cook for them and wash their clothes.  The couple are barely able to leave the house because Zheng Xigui is too weak and Zhong Xiulian must not inhale exhaust fumes, therefore Zheng Tao must run errands as well as make the 30-minute journey to and from school.

Zheng is so desperate that he wrote a letter to his classmates at Huizhou Number Three Middle School on May 2 asking for financial support; several days later, his teacher, Lin, donated more than 20,000 yuan that had been collected.  Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

According to the family’s neighbour, Mr. He, an additional 70,000 RMB is needed for Zhong Xiulian’s medical treatment and her husband wants to go to Guangzhou for additional tests.

The paper published the account number of the family if you’d like to donate.  It is at the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the account number is:  6222022008014744198


800 bottles of soy sauce blended with carcinogenic industrial saline solution

Posted: 05/30/2012 7:00 am

If there is one culinary staple Laowi and native Chinese can agree upon, it would probably be soy sauce. The salty substance is ubiquitous in Chinese cooking and has successfully infiltrated cultures far beyond the Middle Kingdom. However, following a report over the weekend in the Nanfang Daily, you may want to consider switching brands, if not avoiding the sauce entirely.


According to the report, Foshan based Gaoming Weiji Seasoning Food, has been using some very dodgy methods in the production of its soy sauce. Rather than seasoning their soy with table salt as is normal practice, Weji seasoned close to 800 bottles of mushroom flavoured dark-soy, and light soy with a carcinogenic industrial saline solution. The 800 bottles have already been sold to local retailers.

Following an investigation by the Industrial and Commerce Bureau, it was discovered that the company had in excess of 26 tonnes of the saline solution stock-piled in its factory. According to investigators, as the industrial solution is substantially cheaper than table salt, Weiji were hoping to cut production costs, and in turn, increase profits.

The controversy however doesn’t end there. While Weiji is a relatively small enterprise, the company was initially registered by Hai Tian Flavouring & Food Co. Ltd., the largest flavour and seasoning producer in Foshan. Despite the relationship, Hai Tian has thus far denied any corporate association with Weiji or involvement in the scandal.

This of course is not the first time local businesses have been caught replacing common cooking products with cheaper, unsafe alternatives.  Last September we told you about the Guangdong Public Security Bureau’s crackdown on gutter oil. Apparently we can now add carcinogenic industrial saline solution to the list.


Shenzhen police smash BMW’s window to make driver take breathalyzer test

Posted: 05/29/2012 1:05 pm

Drunk driving is a hot issue in Shenzhen after Sunday’s accident which killed three. However, that fiery crash in Shenzhen’s Baoan District has not deterred other Shenzheners from getting behind the wheel after one too many.

Shenzhen traffic police had set up 38 alcohol road blocks early Monday morning to catch drunk drivers.  Around 3am, a dark BMW X5 was stopped on East Shennan Road, near many KTV and other leisure spots.

The male driver of the vehicle, Huang, refused to open the window when police asked him to submit to a breathalyzer test. After a 30-minute stand off, the officer broke the window of the BMW to force the test upon the driver.  The results indeed showed the driver was under the influence of alcohol, although he wasn’t “highly intoxicated”, according to a press report.

“The man in the car just looked at us, wouldn’t open the window and wouldn’t talk,” said Liu, one of the police officers. “After half an hour, he started to make calls with his cell phone.”

According to Liu, as the road was blocked and cars were lining up behind the BMW, the police finally decided to smash the window after asking for consent from the operation command center.

Huang, the driver, finally agreed to the test and had his driver’s license temporarily seized after he paid a fine.  Despite his intoxication, Huang drove his vehicle home with police trailing him.

The tough measure was largely praised by many netizens, while some questioned who would pay for a window replacement.

The Shenzhen Traffic Police Bureau explained that it will compensate the driver for any loss caused by the smashing of the window.



New 24-hour border crossing between Zhuhai and Macau proposed

Posted: 05/29/2012 10:08 am

Gongbei Port may soon have some competition

Anybody who has crossed at Gongbei Port has surely noticed the insane crowds of people moving back and forth.  Macau is a gambling haven for Mainland Chinese who are fortunate enough to get a travel permit, but the city is a whole lot more than just gaming; many Zhuhai residents cross into Macau to do their grocery shopping, and vice versa.  It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of elderly people walking across with grocery bags full of cooking items.  The result is sometimes a 30-40 minute wait – or longer – to get across.

To tackle the problem, Macau is proposing to build a second crossing with Zhuhai that would remain open 24-hours a day.

MacauBusiness.com says it would be equipped to handle 250,000 crossings per day.

The new checkpoint will be located where the Nam Yuet wholesale market now is, and will be for pedestrians only, however all details – including its operating hours – still need to receive approval from Beijing.

As construction hasn’t even started, it will be a while yet before you can make use of the new crossing.  Building an alternative to Gongbei is a good idea though, considering Macau’s casino business is booming.  Its gaming revenues are now five times what Las Vegas pulls in, making it easily the biggest gambling mecca on the planet.

Despite Macau’s staggering growth, many believe this is just the beginning.  Large casino operators are looking to cash in on the growing numbers of affluent people in China and Southeast Asia.




Another laowai Good Samaritan injured while trying to break up dispute in Shenzhen

Posted: 05/29/2012 7:00 am

The assault happened outside King Glory Plaza

The latest laowai Good Samaritan, sometimes known as Yang Lei Feng (foreign Lei Feng), has appeared and once again paid for his virtue.

The foreigner, who hails from the Netherlands and currently studies in Hong Kong, was up in Shenzhen doing some sightseeing when he saw a Chinese male, surnamed Wu, pulling the hair of a female near King Glory Plaza in Luohu District.  The foreigner asked the man to stop hurting the woman, and when he refused, tried to intervene.  That’s when the man slashed the foreigner across the chest and the arm with a knife.

Shenzhen Daily says Wu has been arrested for assault:

Investigations showed that Wu and his girlfriend, identified as Hu, were quarreling at Kingglory Plaza about a breakup and money issues. Hu, who was very agitated, had swallowed a handful of stomach medicine, causing Wu to grab Hu’s mouth and try to make her cough up the pills. When Hu didn’t cooperate, Wu slapped her, which made Hu angry. Hu pulled a small knife — used for artistic work — from her pocket and attempted to kill herself, according to police. Wu snatched the knife from Hu and pulled her hair, trying to take her to a hospital, police said.

The incident happened on May 2 and there’s been no update on the condition or name of the foreigner who got involved.

The man from the Netherlands is the second laowai this month who’s paid for breaking up a dispute in the PRD.  Previously, a Brazilian man was beaten after trying to prevent a thief from stealing a woman’s handbag in Dongguan.



Man who ran over 2-year old Yueyue in Foshan could get 7 years in jail

Posted: 05/28/2012 3:34 pm

Yueyue, just before being hit by the oncoming van

It was a story that shocked much of the world: 2-year old Yueyue, on a street in Foshan, hit by vehicle while security cameras watched.  Then, over the next several minutes, 18 people walked by the badly injured toddler, but none offered help until a street scavenger happened to notice the girl.  Sadly, Yueyue succumbed to her injuries a few days later.

The story hit both Chinese and international news pages and prompted many Chinese people to reflect on the values of their own society. Today, China Daily is reporting that the man who was behind the wheel of the van that hit Yueyue may end up in jail for the next 7 years:

On Oct 13, Hu Jun ran over Wang Yue, and failed to stop to help her on a market street in Foshan, according to a statement from the Nanhai district people’s procuratorate.

Hu faces charges of negligence resulting in the death of another person, according to the procuratorate. No verdict was delivered on Friday.

Wu Xiaoda, a lawyer in Guangzhou who specializes in criminal cases, said the maximum penalty for such a charge is seven years in prison according to Criminal Law.

Hu and his attorney admitted in court that Hu’s behavior had resulted in Wang’s death, but they insisted it was not intentional and pleaded for leniency.

One lawyer in Guangzhou was quoted as saying Yueyue’s parents should be held partially responsible, as Yueyue was out of their sight and wandering alone in the road when the accident occurred.

After the Yueyue case, Shenzhen decided to introduce a Good Samaritan law which aimed to protect good Samaritans who help a victim by freeing them from any legal liability for the condition of the person they helped. We said at the time:

Generally, in our humble opinion, the Good Samaritan Law in Shenzhen is more of a band-aid solution to a much more serious problem.  China has a tendency to solve issues it deems problematic through diktat (Four Pests Campaign, anyone?), but this is a complex (and dark) problem with deep roots.  Quite simply, we’re not sure what’s a worse offense: ignoring somebody clearly in dire need of help, or taking advantage of a kind-hearted person who took a risk to help somebody else.  There is a certain level of moral decay here which, while the Good Samaritan Law is helpful, will not be solved through legislation.

No word on when a verdict on Hu Jun will be announced.


Three dead after electric taxi in Shenzhen explodes over the weekend

Posted: 05/28/2012 9:30 am

Image from Sina Weibo

Questions are being raised today over the safety of Shenzhen’s much-vaunted electric taxis, which are manufactured by locally-based BYD.

Just after 3 o’clock on Sunday morning, a man driving a Nissan GT-R slammed into a BYD e6 electric taxi on Binhai Dadao.  The driver, who witnesses say was drunk and speeding, fled the scene before turning himself in later yesterday.

The taxi, though, caught fire within seconds, incinerating the driver and his two female passengers before they had any time to escape.  Some are now wondering if this would’ve happened had the taxi not had a huge and possibly fully-charged battery inside.  From the South China Morning Post (paywall):

Lo Kok-keung, an engineer with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said that a fully charged lithium battery could explode in a serious crash.

“The crash could result in a short circuit, which, in turn, could make the battery hot and eventually explode within a matter of seconds,” Lo said. “This is the major hidden danger of electric cars that doesn’t exist in vehicles that consume petrol.”

The Nanfang told you earlier that plans are underway to rapidly expand the number of electric vehicles in Shenzhen:

Named the E6, the vehicle offers enough space for five passengers and has a range of some 160 kilometers. Plans are currently being put into place to convert all of Shenzhen’s public vehicular transport to electric – including buses and all taxis – over the next five years.

All existing gas (petrol) fuel stations in the city and its suburbs are currently being upgraded to include rapid electric charging systems.

One wonders if safety concerns may eventually put the brakes on these plans, at least temporarily.



Shenzhen girls move audience with song about friendship

Posted: 05/28/2012 7:00 am

Many of us feel like the best friendships we ever have are ones from our youth. But few of us get the chance to appear on television to express this.

Two teenage girls from Shenzhen wowed the audience at China Dream Show on Zhejiang Television with a song about youth. The girls, Mai Jing Yan and Tu Li Ping, are best friends who claim to “do everything together.” However, they are in the second year of high school and are set to see a lot less of each other because Mai is about to move to Hong Kong to continue her education. They appeared on the show to sing the song “Those Years” as a celebration of their five-year friendship.

Despite Tu forgetting her second line, the song, originally made famous by singer Hu Xia, raised raucous applause. The lyrics express nostalgia for school days and the relationships we lose as we get older. Members of the audience wiped tears away as the girls embraced each other on stage. Before they left, the host urged them to make every effort to keep in contact and Tu’s entire face was covered in tears when it was announced that the audience had an overwhelmingly positive perception of their singing.

The video of the girls’ performance became popular online and they quickly became known as the “School Uniform Sisters” because of what they were wearing on stage. A microblogger named Lu Cha Together said the video made her remember her girlfriends in school, another exclaimed “Long live friendship. I support you.”

Many parents struggle to have their children educated outside mainland China because the education system has such a bad reputation. The Gaokao is particularly notorious, as we told you before.