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Three babies dead after taking hepatitis vaccine made by Shenzhen company

Posted: 12/17/2013 10:00 am

A Shenzhen-based company has come under scrutiny since it emerged that babies have been dying shortly after receiving a hepatitis vaccine made by the company. It emerged Sunday that a one-month old baby in Zhongshan died November 20, just 12 hours after receiving the vaccine, in addition to two babies in Hunan who died last week, Nandu Daily reports.

The entire product chain of Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. (BioKangtai) is being investigated after the deaths of the three babies. Another is in intensive care in Hunan’s Hanshou County. Preliminary tests showed there was no direct link between the deaths and the vaccines, according to Shenzhen Daily.

The paper has more:

Shenzhen’s drug administration said the manufacturing of BioKangtai vaccines with batch numbers C201207088 and C201207090 met production and quality standards.

The vaccines have been sold in Hunan, Guizhou and Guangdong provinces, but not in Shenzhen.

The three provinces suspended use of the two batches of vaccines after receiving a notice from China’s drug administration.

Guangdong has used 190 of the 3,600 vaccines it purchased from the batches. The provincial CDC didn’t receive any negative report

On the same day the baby in Zhongshan received the vaccination, nine others received it without any adverse reaction.

BioKangtai was founded in July 1988 in Nanshan District and is the largest manufacturer of hepatitis B vaccines in China, taking around 60 percent of the domestic market.


Jackie Chan endorsed Guangdong-made Super Nintendo ripoff

Posted: 11/5/2013 10:04 am

Many people living in China are aware that the government has enforced a video games console ban for many years now, which was recently “lifted” — well, kind of, but that’s another story.

I am almost certain, however, that nobody reading this knows that Jackie Chan was once the face of a Guangdong-based Super Nintendo clone sold under the guise of “study aide”.

According to a report by popular gaming website Kotaku today, “Chinese netizens have been going over some of Chan’s earlier product endorsements, including ones that should’ve been banned.”

Kotaku explained:

It was basically a console built into a keyboard that took in game cartridges. The keyboard also supported NES/SNES styled controllers. The system was effectively a Nintendo or Super Nintendo Clone depending on the model number. The games that the Subor played were often variations of Japanese games translated to Chinese, or sometimes even really weird homegrown Chinese versions.

If I was a Chinese kid growing up in Guangdong in the early 90s, I would have probably given anything for one of these Nintendo “rip-offs” endorsed by Jackie Chan. Wouldn’t you?

The company that built the “study aide” console, trading under the name “Subor” in English, is still in existence today and operates out of Zhongshan.

It’s also quite an interesting case study on how Chinese companies have been getting around government restrictions in the marketplace for decades.

Be sure to check out the photos below, and see Kotaku’s article for the original video advertisement of the console, featuring Jackie Chan himself.

Photo credit: Kotaku


Girls at Zhongshan school forbidden from wearing coloured underwear

Posted: 10/21/2013 6:30 am

A secondary school in Zhongshan that checks and punishes female students who wear underwear that isn’t white or flesh coloured has been the talk of Sina Weibo in recent days, Epoch Times reports.

On October 15, a netizen on a local forum claiming to be from the art department of Zhongshan Technical Secondary School said teachers were checking whether female students were wearing non-white underwear (often in front of boys) and deducting grade points from those who were caught violating the rule, forcing some to write self-criticisms.

The story subsequently found its way onto WeChat and Sina Weibo. A host of major news organisations such as Guangdong Satellite Television then did their own investigation, confirming the claims.

Girls caught wearing black underwear are deducted one point from their final grade, those with rhinestones or lace on their underwear lose two points, and those with polka dots, stripes or leopard skin lose three points.

A teacher from the school told Guangdong Satellite Television that the school was simply trying to discourage its girls from wearing provocative clothing.

Apparently, inspecting the girls’ underwear in front of their male classmates is not provocative.


Man arrested after 13-hour suicide stand-off on Liede Bridge

Posted: 09/19/2013 4:38 pm

Mr. Su sits poised on the bridge, image courtesy of Xinkuaibao

A Zhongshan man was arrested yesterday after spending 13 hours poised on Guangzhou’s Liede Bridge in a suicide stand-off, Xinkuaibao reports. He set the record for the longest stand-off of this kind even though the bridge’s suspension cables were wrapped in barb wire earlier this year to prevent suicidal people from climbing it.

Mr. Su, 40, admitted his behaviour was wrong after police, firefighters, paramedics, and even a representative of the Zhongshan government were called in to talk him down from the bridge while he was up there between 6:48 a.m. and 7:48 p.m.

Su claimed to have lost a lot of money in 2007 after investing in a tree planting project in Shunde and was no longer able to feed his family or serve the people.

When police finally guided him down he was in good physical condition despite not having eaten all day.

He is under arrest for disturbing public order.


Chemical plant suspected of contaminating local water supply in Zhongshan

Posted: 04/12/2013 10:00 am

Stories of polluted Chinese rivers have been appearing in media all over the world. The most famous case this year has been that of pig carcasses in the Huangpu River, but as always, Guangdong Province has no reason to be smug about environmental issues.

Fish poisoned to death in Maoming

In March it was reported that fish in a river in Maoming had been poisoned to death. Now, Zhongshan has become the latest area to be affected by river pollution.

Local villagers have taken to their microblogs to complain about a chemical plant that they accuse of dumping chemicals into the local river and contaminating the water supply, The Nanfang Daily reports.

Residents in Shaxi Village have reported the Pegasus Synthetic Material Co., Ltd. for allegedly dumping illegally into the Shijiao River after a 10 year-old boy who lived nearby suffered nausea and many villagers in Shaxi complained about the vile odor.

A reporter from the paper went there and confirmed that the stench could be felt from 2 kilometers away. A subsequent investigation showed that dozens of residents of neighboring villages have complained about headaches, dizziness and nausea.

The plant responded that it had not been dumping waste systematically, but a worker had accidentally spilled a 200-liter styrene container and did not report it through the correct channels.

The clean-up operation

Local authorities have started a clean-up operation.

There have been calls for the plant to be moved, but local authorities question the practicality of such a procedure.

As we told you in January, NIMBYism is starting to rear its head in China.


Maybe this is why people are reluctant to donate to charity? Shenzhen family scammed

Posted: 03/11/2013 10:30 am

A Shenzhen family which had been sponsoring a boy in an impoverished village since 1993 has discovered that the boy received no more than 10% of what they had been sending to him, Shenzhen Satellite Television reports. The family was kept so in the dark that they thought the child they sponsored, in Jiangxi Province’s Jinggangshan, was female.

At least four people were taking a cut of what the family was donating, in what could be the biggest scandal related to a Chinese charity since Guo Meimei took to the internet in 2011 to talk about how rich she had got while being associated with the Chinese Red Cross.

For two decades, the family had been donating at least 400 yuan a year to Chen Qiaoxi (a female sounding name), who was a primary school student when they started. In 2011, Chen came to Guangdong to find a job, which was when they discovered that he was a male.

Chen Chubi, the mother of the sponsoring family, told reporters of her surprise when she discovered that Chen had received no more than 40 yuan a year from the family.

Chen Xiaoqi, who now works in Zhongshan, said he had received donations from several families in Shenzhen while growing up, but no individual donation amounted to more than 40 yuan a year.

Yuan Yanting tells reporters of her disappointment.

A reporter from Information Daily in Jiangxi Province told media that his paper was leading an investigation into where the donated money was going.

Yuan Yanting, daughter of Chen Chubi, said she was disappointed but would continue to donate to charities after verifying their credibility.


Oops! Western porn showcased on large LED screen in a public square in Zhongshan

Posted: 02/18/2013 2:46 pm

Those who were at Zhongshan’s Fuye Square got a nasty surprise Saturday afternoon when, for at least 20 minutes, a giant LED screen above the KFC in the square played footage from a Western pornographic film, Phoenix News reports.

Located in the west of the city, Fuye is one of the city’s busiest squares and is close to both a kindergarten and a primary school. Several passers by told Sohu News of their shock and disgust at seeing the footage shown so publicly in broad daylight.

Several pedestrians called the police. The following morning, the local public security bureau explained on its microblog that the unfortunate incident was caused by a worker’s computer error at the place where the screen is controlled.

One netizen said this was caused by Zhongshan’s dark history coming back to haunt it (Zhongshan is the hometown of former head of state Sun Yat Sen). Another said this was a great day in history. Another fancies that he’s seen this film before.


97-year-old Cantonese woman discusses her extraordinary life

Posted: 07/26/2012 7:00 am

The life journey of Zhang Yunqin, 97, has taken her from Zhongshan, to Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, according to a report in the Southern Metropolis Daily. In 2008, Zhang returned to her beloved hometown of Zhongshan, to once again be with her family. The SMD caught up with Zhang to recount some of her extraordinary life story.

Referred to as a “Spinster”, “Australian”, “English speaker and coffee lover”, Zhang remains a passionate, cheerful, vibrant, and humorous woman. Her only qualm is the occasional pain in her knees: “Perhaps Yan Wang Ye, a figure in Chinese mythology who takes away the dead, has forgotten about me!” she says. “I think it is my disciplined lifestyle and hard work that keep me healthy.”

Zhang decided at a very early age that she would be single her whole life, a decision she remains at peace with. And yet despite being separated from her family, and no shortage of adversity, when Zhang reflects upon her nearly 100 years on the planet, a child-like grin comes across her face: “I come from a big family that was very poor,” says Zhang. As a result, Zhang was forced to become financially independent at a very early age. The second of 14 children, and eldest girl, she was sent to live with her aunt in Hong Kong when she was only 4-years-old. There she worked as a live-in maid for a rich family, where life was anything but easy: “I missed home every single day”, she says. But for the sake of her brothers and sisters, she worked ever harder.

After ten years in Hong Kong, Zhang moved to Singapore, where she worked for a British serviceman’s family. Knowing no English and unable to communicate with her employer, she had to study the language in her free time. Several years later, the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japan meant Zhang once again had to move; this time to Australia. Despite the distance, Zhang thought of nothing more than her family back in Zhongshan, and continued to send nearly all of her money home to support them.

Years of living abroad have left their mark on every facet of Zhang’s life, particularly for the simple things, such as food. Even today, she enjoys bread and coffee for breakfast, serves guests salad, and criticizes the butter in China as “inauthentic”.

Early in the last century, Zhang’s home village of Xianlong, whose population was only a few hundred, had a system which saw nearly twenty single women like Zhang move abroad so they could work and provide remittance for their families. But today, there are only three women taking part in the program. Unlike the other two (one went to Singapore and the other to Malaysia), upon her return to Zhongshan, Zhang didn’t seek to regain her Chinese citizenship. She remains an Australian citizen, albeit for one very practical reason: the pension in Australia is much higher than in China.

Here’s wishing Zhang many more years of happiness, fresh bread and authentic butter.


Riots in Zhongshan, Sichuan migrants take on locals

Posted: 06/27/2012 12:23 pm

Big cities in China are known to have a festering animosity between locals and migrants. The country’s hukou system gives non-natives many disadvantages, and last year, Premier Wen Jiabao talked about putting a stop to this discrimination.

This animosity has now manifested itself in the form of a riot in Zhongshan City, according to local media.

A 13 year-old was set upon by a gang of 15 year-olds in front of the city’s Shaxi Center Primary school. Two locals intervened and tied up the three 15 year-olds. The teenagers who were tied up came from Sichuan and their friends and family gathered to fight back. At around 10 pm, 300 Sichuanese migrants gathered to confront locals and police.

A statement by Zhongshan police said everything was under control, but pictures circulating online show police being beaten and cars being burned. Witnesses said there were at least 300 people involved in the fight. Early reports suggest five people were killed including one policeman.

This footage of riot police approaching the scene has been uploaded, and the news has gone big on Sina Weibo. Sina Weibo user Lee Hong Wei expressed support for the police and the government. Jason Zhangzhengyuan urged police to get the Sichuan “dogs” out of their territory. Another urged the government to be careful about dealing with social unrest. Another called for an end to discrimination against Sichuanese migrants.

Cantonese-languaged media have covered the story, but an official death toll and other key information is yet to emerge.


Zhongshan crooks kidnap and extort local merchant while impersonating police officers

Posted: 05/18/2012 7:00 am

Being kidnapped and extorted a few million RMB would be considered an incredibly bad day by anyone’s standards. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily however, in a truly bizarre series of events, a Zhongshan man was extorted not once but twice by the same man.

In October of 2006, clothing merchant Tan Mouxiong’s business was losing money, and he found himself in the unfortunate position of having to borrow from a loan shark. When Tan was unable to repay the debt, he decided to kidnap a wealthy member of his own clan, identified as Tanmou, for the purposes of extortion. Yet rather than covertly grab the fellow clan member, Tan and his accomplice, Xiaomou, conceived of something much more elaborate: impersonate police officers.

In January 2007, after months of tracking Tanmou’s whereabouts, Tan and Xiaomou purchased police uniforms, handcuffs, batons, and even a car disguised as an official police vehicle. They then set out one evening and stopped Tanmou on the street, demanding that he get into the car. When the man resisted, Tan and Xiaomou tried to physically restrain him. It was at this time that two patrolling security guards who witnessed the event got involved; however, the guards didn’t assist Tanmou. Assuming the two men impersonating police officers were legitimate, the guards helped handcuff the victim, and put him into the back of the “police car”.

Once kidnapped, the two men drove Tanmou all the way to Tan’s girlfriend’s apartment in Huangpu District, Guangzhou. There they robbed the man of  20,000RMB, before calling his wife and demanding 3,000,000 more for his release. While Tanmou’s wife agreed to pay the sum, she also alerted police. Thankfully, the police were able to rescue the man, and capture Xiamou but Tan escaped with the money.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Only a few months later, Tan once again contacted Tanmou, demanding more money. Fearing for his safety, Tanmou sent Tan another 50,000RMB. Eventually however, guilt got the better of Tan and after almost six years, he turned himself into police this past January. He was arraigned earlier this week in the Zhongshan People’s Court, where he pled guilty to extortion and kidnapping. He has since returned much of the extorted funds and has asked the court for leniency: “I am sorry to the victims and their families” he said. No word yet on sentencing.

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