Scores of schoolchildren in the central China province
of Hubei were poisoned after an illiterate cook mistook
a dangerous chemical for salt.
The 53-year-old illiterate cook was
preparing breakfast at a primary school in the capital
city of Wuhan when she ran out of salt, reports the
Beijing Youth Daily. She went to her son's house and
picked up a container of what she believed was salt,
but was actually an industrial-strength chemical.
After finishing breakfast many students
fell ill. Some were afflicted with seizures and temporary
paralysis, while others began foaming at the mouth.
All 63 students were rushed to a
local clinic where they underwent emergency treatment
for poisoning. The Wuhan public security bureau and
local health officials investigated the poisoning, and
identified the cook as the culprit. Several students
are still hospitalized, but doctors report that the
poisoning is not life-threatening.
Family planning officials in the southeastern province
of Guangdong have been charged with fraud, deception,
and gross negligence for both ignoring China's strict
one-child policy themselves, and accepting bribes to
ignore the violations of others.
Communist Party family planning authorities
in the cities of Wuchuan and Zhanjiang, both hailed
as "Model Family Planning Towns" by provincial authorities,
have been involved in corruption and deceit for many
years the Beijing Youth Daily reports.
Alarming population growth figures
in the two cities tipped off provincial disciplinary
officials. A government investigation revealed 5,646
families with two children, and 2,931 with three or
more children. Two families even boast broods of more
than ten children each. Five of the eight Communist
Party members who serve on the family planning committees
in the two cities have four or more children.
The offending officials were removed
from their posts and punished. In addition, the honorary
title "Model Family Planning Town" was retracted from
In a move that has outraged local parents, a high school
in the Sichuan province capital of Chengdu is demanding
that students pay "university entrance exam insurance
Starting from the present semester,
the school requires students to put down a deposit before
registering for university entrance exam review sessions,
the Sichuan newspaper Life Times reports. The deposit
amount ranges from RMB260-RMB600, the amount determined
by preliminary exam scores. The school promises to refund
all of the deposit for the highest scores, 80 percent
for a passing score, and nothing in return for a low
score. Students who refuse to pay cannot participate
in the review session, and are left to prepare for the
rigorous examinations themselves. Parents of those students
who did not score well in preliminaries are protesting
the school's new policy. Many have refused to pay deposits.
The school's principal argues that parents are ultimately
responsible for how well their children score. The principal
argues that families not willing to pay should pull
their children out of school.
High scores on university entrance
exams are a prerequisite for admission to "name brand"
universities, and widely seen as a guarantee of a prestigious
government or private sector job after graduation.
A Beijing woman confessed to killing her five-day-old
son after finding that the child was born with a birth
Wang Guige, 29, tearfully admitted
in a capital courtroom that on August 23, 1999, she
deliberately asphyxiated her newborn infant when she
discovered that the child was born with only two fingers
on his left hand, the Beijing Evening News reports.
While still in a Beijing maternity
hospital, Wang placed the infant face down on a crib
and pushed his face into a pillow, killing him within
10 minutes. A hospital doctor found the suffocated baby
the next morning.
Wang told the courtroom the joy of
motherhood quickly dissipated upon learning that her
child's hand was deformed. "A disabled child would become
an incredible burden. People might look down on him,"
Wang argued in defense.
Before killing her baby, Wang maintains
that she asked hospital officials to help her put the
baby boy up for adoption. But they refused, saying the
hospital has no adoption program and does not provide
Wang has been convicted of the crime,
and is awaiting sentence.
An increasing number of Chinese books are appearing
online. A guide to websites that carry online books
can be found on the Sina.com web site (www.search.sina.com.cn/search_dir/ys/lb/wx/sk/)
Another list is maintained at Beijing Bookworm
Many books are also listed at Goldnets.Com
A good list of Chinese newspapers and periodicals can
be found at (www.goldnets.com/other/site/newspaper.html).
As an example of what is available, here is a short
list from (www.goldnets.com/js/qt/
* An anonymous account of how the Shenyang public security
bureau broke an organized crime syndicate in the 1999
3-8 case (www.goldnets.com/js/qt/cp/y/yiming/38/index.html)
* A 1998 survey of Chinese beggars
* An investigation of China's underground sex industry
* Emotions and Sexuality of Chinese Women by Li Yinhe,
a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Li holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University
* "A Survey of the Trial Marriage Phenomenon - a study
of 21 couples"
* Snow Dragon Goes to the North Pole: An Account of
the First Chinese Expedition to the North Pole
* China Files: Portrait of Decision Makers is a book
based on the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) program
China Files. Includes Wan Li, the Anhui governor who
encouraged the rural responsibility system and is immortalized
in the folk saying yao chi mi, zhao wan li - if you
want to eat, go look for Wan Li. (www.goldnets.com/js/qt/cp/z/zhefu/
* Power Couple: Bill and Hilary Clinton by William Morris
* A recent biography of Premier Zhu Rongji is at
* The full text of the very popular underground novelization
of the corruption in Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong's government
The Wrath of Heaven is available at (www.bb.ah.cn/tn/).
A short review of the novel is available at
* A page listing many books written over the past ten
years about Chinese leaders including Mao Zedong and
Zhou Enlai at