- Starting next year, the travel time by train between Shanghai and Beijing will reportedly almost be cut in half, from 13.5 hours to seven. Shanghaiist wonders if this means more Beijing bands will start playing Shanghai.
- China jailed more journalists than any other country in 2005. No surprises there. Interesting, though, who crept into the top 10 — the United States, which now ranks alongside Burma. Here is the scorecard (this is like golf … high numbers are bad): 1. China, 32 journalists in custody, 2. Cuba, 24, 3. Eritrea, 15, 4. Ethiopia, 13, 5. Uzbekistan (story didn’t give a number), 6t. Burma, 5, 6t. United States, 5.
- Has the Shanghai property boom finally gone bust? According to this story, it would seem so. “Property prices in Shanghai have risen out of reach of ordinary citizens,” said Qiu Zhicheng, an analyst at Xiangcai Securities, who expects prices to drop 10 percent over the coming year. “It was only a matter of time until prices fell.” Shanghaiist is an ordinary citizen.
- There was a “big fire” yesterday atop Boduoxinji Hotel on Nanchang Lu near Xiangyang Market. The story cites Shanghai Daily photographer Dong Jun as an eyewitness .. but provides no photos! This wasn’t the only fire in Shanghai yesterday.
- Shanghai’s “first major trial involving maritime smuggling on the high seas” got underway yesterday. Twenty-three defendants are charges with smuggling 60 million yuan worth of cigarettes into China, evading lots and lots of taxes. “We usually stopped on the sea outside the wharf in Busan, and a small boat would carry the cigarettes to our boat,” said Luo Xingkang, one of the fishermen. “We would enter the mouth of the Yangtze River at night, and three barges would come out to receive the goods.” One thing Shanghaiist doesn’t understand: Why would anyone need to smuggle Double Happiness cigarettes in to China?
Photo of Glen Frey, whose song “Smuggler’s Blues” was a hit in the mid-80s, from eaglesfans.com.