First up, we have a couple of high-profile political imprisonings. There’s the New York Times researcher, Zhao Yan, who has been sentenced to three years in jail for correctly predicting former president Jiang Zemin’s retirement, aka “fraud.”
Then there is blind activist, Chen Guangcheng, who has been jailed for 4 years for pissing off local officials in Yinan, Shandong, after exposing their use of forced abortion as birth control. Officially, he was jailed for “damaging property” and “disrupting traffic.” The night before his trial, Chen’s lawyer was detained for allegedly stealing. The South China Morning Post reported that two local lawyers were hastily assigned to “defend” Chen, with useful responses like “we have no objections.”
Shanghaiist keeps following these stories on rabies that keep popping up around the country. Slaughters are happening in places like Nanjing, and now stories about dog bites and rabies cases in Shanghai and Beijing. Our paranoid mind can’t help but wonder if the state media is planting seeds of warning.
A story has been unfolding involving the director of Shanghai’s Labor and Social Security Bureau, a dodgy, rich businessman, one of the city’s largest private investment firms and $400 million in misallocated pension funds used to invest in toll roads. The scandal, believed to be one of the biggest in recent city history, continues to grow as the latest victim to be caught up is the Baoshan District governer.
A State Environmental Protection Administration official stated earlier today that two major indicators point towards a steadily worsening ecological environment in China. Chemical oxygen demand, which measures the amount of organic matter in waste water, was up 4.2 percent while sulfer dioxide discharges had increased 5.8 percent. China has recently been recognized with the dubious honor of world’s most plentiful producer of sulfur dioxide. China will be placing greater emphasis on sustainable development and environmental impact when it comes to evaluating officials’ performance, in light of recent statements linking corruption with the country’s worsening environmental health.
Lastly, a toxic spill in Mengniu River, a Songhua River tributary, has caused a “bubbly red slick,” believed to be xylidine, a chemical that can cause liver, lung and kidney damage. Panicked Harbin residents have been buying up and storing water, and Russia blamed Chinese authorities for dragging its feet in warning them. Again. Initial reports indicate nothing in the way of major, long-term damage. But then again, initial reports of last November’s spill did not indicate anything in the way of a complete water supply cutoff to China’s largest northeastern city of 4 million.
Have a great weekend!
Image from mnoo.