Three tigers attacked and killed
a driver who got out of his bus while taking a load
of schoolchildren through the tiger enclosure of Shanghai
World Animals Park, the official Wenhui Daily reports.
Xu Weixing's bus broke down as the convoy was moving
through the fenced-off tiger area. The 41-year-old was
savaged after leaving his vehicle to reattach a tow-rope
to the bus, a manager from the park who witnessed the
Three tigers attacked Xu, inflicting serious wounds
with bites to the neck and head. Screams and yelling
by children on board the buses alerted a nearby trainer,
who drove the giant carnivores off the victim. Xu was
immediately taken to hospital, but died within an hour
of the attack. "Bites to his neck severed the main arteries,
so he died from loss of blood," the manager says.
It was against the suburban park's rules for a non-staff
member to exita vehicle in the tiger enclosure, he adds,
emphasizing the incident is still under investigation.
The official newspaper says no one visiting the park
has been seriously harmed before, although there have
been "many" incidents of visitors being frightened in
close calls since it opened in November 1995.
Just 24 hours before Xu was attacked, a young tiger
at the same park took the head of a six-year-old girl
in its teeth after the two posed together for a photograph,
the Xinmin Evening News reports.
Her father dropped his camera and used his hands to
open the 50 kilogram (110 pound) animal's jaws, and
the girl suffered no serious injury. Visitors are allowed
to stand close to the one year-old cat, which is relatively
accustomed to human contact, the report says, adding
that the girl got "too close."
The "Guangdong Province Comprehensive
Tourism Testing Zone" consists of several island resorts
which every year receive some 450,000 tourists (both
Chinese and foreign) accounting for more than rmb300
million in annual revenue. The "testing" area has been
in operation for seven years.
The main tourist attraction on these islands is the
plentiful number of prostitutes from the impoverished
inland provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan,
and Guangxi to name a few. Most of the prostitutes (ji
or 'chickens') are led there by pimps (jitou or 'chicken
heads'). Every year the 'chicken heads' are responsible
for leading some 4-5000 'chickens' to these island resorts.
The stories being revealed about these tourism testing
zones are quite distressing. In one case a man brought
his wife to the islands offering her to serve as a prostitute.
Other cases involve fathers bringing their daughters.
In one case a mother brought her two daughters. Together
the mother and two daughters all engaged in prostitution
as a family business.
On one island of there is a zone which spans 80,000
square meters containing 50 "high-class hotels" which
at night have girls crawling all over the entrances.
In front of one hotel journalists observed "More than
50 girls with big-bellied men making selections in a
casual and unrushed manner."
One journalist talked to a girl on the island who throughout
the interview kept referring to herself as a ji. The
shocked journalist asked the girl why she used such
a derogatory term in reference to herself. She responded,
"Here nobody cares. Everything is direct and in the
open. When we discuss the price with the customer on
the street you can hear the dirtiest things said and
even the most difficult things to perform discussed
openly." The girl went on to express her philosophy,
"Everybody here is equal, whether officials or ordinary
people, whether you have money or don't. There are no
morals, nobody is higher than anyone else."
Up in Smoke
In Siping City, Jilin province there
was a factory producing cheap brand cigarettes. Several
of these cheap cigarettes were being sold as local "famous
brands." Because this cigarette factory was christened
the "Number one project of Siping" the local leaders
all jumped on the promotional bandwagon and began marketing
and selling cigarettes in their own personal capacity.
The result was that government bureaucracies were put
to work selling cigarettes which became the "chief task"
of government departments starting from the city government,
to the county government, to the township government,
to the village level grass-roots organizations. The
party secretary of Siping City in explaining the government
task while selling his batch of cigarettes noted that
"this is a political responsibility." In the end it
was the local people who were being forced by the government
officials at virtually every level to purchase cigarettes
regardless of whether they smoked or not.
There was a Mengjialing Town Central School in Lisu
County under the Siping City government administration.
Teachers salaries were paid up until July this year
following which the government stopped paying the teachers
their salaries at all. Nevertheless, the teachers were
all given the "important task" of selling cigarettes,
and instead of paying the teachers their salaries, the
government issued cigarettes as payment in kind. After
one year even the welfare funds and bonuses given to
these teachers were paid in the form of cigarettes.
Needless to say, the Siping Cigarette Factory had excellent
growth over this year, and due to the favorable policies
of the local government enjoyed a 50 percent growth
Beijing Youth Daily
China's successful test of a spacecraft
for manned flight has major military implications, proving
that Beijing has mastered technology that could enable
it to overcome US anti-missile defenses, a Chinese military
Song Yichang tells the state-run China Business Times
that the same low-power propulsion technology used to
adjust a spacecraft's orbit in flight could also be
used to alter the path of offensive missiles, helping
them evade proposed US anti-missile defenses known as
"Star Wars" or TMD and NMD technology.
China's development of low-momentum rocket propulsion
"Is equivalent to having a trump card to counter TMD
and NMD," the newspaper says. "We can use this technology
to change trajectories in flight, making missiles do
a little dance and evade opponents' attacks."
TMD, shorthand for Theater Missile Defense, and NMD,
or National Missile Defense, would shoot down incoming
missiles. US President Bill Clinton's administration,
with the support of Congress, is developing a limited
national missile defense that could be deployed as early
as 2005. It also is carrying out research with Japan
on a regional theater missile defense.
China is vehemently opposed to both systems, saying
they could spark a costly and dangerous arms race. It
also fears TMD technology could be passed to Taiwan,
allowing the island that Beijing regards as a renegade
province to defend itself against Chinese missiles.
The China Business Times report is rare official confirmation
that China is interested in using technology-not just
diplomatic pressure-to combat the proposed anti-missile
"With low-power space rocket technology, it will be
hard for the opposite side to control the cost and difficulty
of defending against Chinese missiles," the newspaper
says. "Even though the opposite side has TMD, it will
have to sit down and negotiate with you."
Mr. Song, the military expert, says the successful weekend
flight of the Shenzhou capsule "Indicates that our country
has grasped the trump card to restrain TMD," the newspaper
It does not clearly explain whether or how information
from last week's successful unmanned space flight could
be used to make defense-evading Chinese missiles. But
it says a manned space flight could provide "a large
amount of practical data" on low-power rocket propulsion
It adds that testing this technology on the ground is
very difficult, in part because of the force of gravity.
The successful completion of Shenzhou's unmanned test
flight, a breakthrough for China's secretive space program,
remains top news this week in many national newspapers.
China is striving to become the third country, after
the United States and the former Soviet Union, to put
people into outer space.
China is considering shutting down
its banks and cash machines on December 31, the eve
of the new millennium, to avoid any potential problems,
banking industry officials say.
The country's central bank, People's Bank of China (PBOC),
plans to shut down all banks and cash machines in China
if the central government approves its request to turn
December 31 into a public holiday, a PBOC spokesman
Chen Jing, director general of the PBOC's department
of payment, science and technology, denies the closures
are planned to avoid a bank run.
"The banking industry in China has the confidence and
competence to ensure the banking industry will have
a smooth rollover into the year 2000," Chen says.
"I think the general public's confidence in a smooth
transition into the millennium is strong?ATM (automatic
teller) machines have undergone rigorous tests but on
December 31, they will be suspended for further testing,"
Many other countries, however, are keeping automatic
cash withdrawal machines operating and are stocking
them with extra cash to ensure an adequate supply on
New Year's Eve.
Chen, however, says China has spent at least rmb10 billion
(US$1.2 billion) on Y2K preparedness and insists China's
banks, from the largest cities to cooperative banks
in rural areas, are ready to handle any computer glitches
arising from the millennium changeover.
Most of the banking industry's computer systems are
old and susceptible to the Y2K millennium bug, but they
have been made Y2K compliant as part of a nationwide
readiness program, Chen says.
The industry-from banks to related institutions-successfully
passed the last of three nationwide tests in September.
The banks also have been required to set up backup systems,
such as keeping hard copies of transaction records,
and they each also must develop a contingency plan,
the final versions of which will be approved in November,
"We're closing the banks on December 31 to facilitate
year-end accounting and we're closing the ATM machines
to conduct final testing on them that day, not because
we're scared of a bank run," Chen says.
The banking industry will shut down on January 1 and
2, official public holidays. Cash machines will operate
on those two days.
Y2K-related problems have already surfaced in China
with some computer networks malfunctioning on April
9, 1999, the 99th day of the year and on September 9,
The millennium bug may affect computers that use two
digits to identify years. Without reprogramming, computers'
ability to distinguish between 2000 and 1900 could cause
computer breakdowns and disruptions.