In the Sichuan province capital of
Chengdu, a new German eatery specializing in Bavarian
cuisine is preparing to open. Journalists hungry to
do a pre-opening review visited the restaurant, only
to find that the taste of the decor was not so "tasteful."
Upon entering the journalists found
two massive swastikas - the symbol of Nazi fascism -
adorning the walls on each side of the entrance. Each
swastika was more than one meter high.
In addition, the manager wore a tiny
fake toothbrush mustache in imitation of Nazi leader
Adolf Hitler. With fascist gestures, he was busy commanding
the staff in preparation for the restaurant's opening.
The establishment will soon open with the alarming name
Standing 2.5 meters (eight feet)
tall, with long red hair and a taste for corn on the
cob, Bigfoot is back and apparently running around a
nature reserve in central China, state media says.
Chinese scientists are on the trail
of the legendary ape-like beast after a hunter reported
seeing a huge fast-moving creature covered in long,
red hair in Hubei province's Shennongjia Nature Reserve
two months ago.
The scientists found 40 cm. (16 inch)
footprints, brown hair and chewed corncobs at the spot
where the hunter said he saw the beast, and concluded
they were not left by a bear.
Scientists have unearthed hundreds
of fossilized teeth of giant apes in the area, and some
speculate that Big Foot could be a descendant of such
China has launched a nationwide crackdown
on fake cigarettes, state media says. Authorities in
southern Guizhou province seized more than 2,000 cartons
of cigarettes with forged trademarks and 53 cigarette
manufacturing machines, says the State Quality and Technical
The state administration, which is
overseeing the crackdown, also seized tons of tobacco
leaves and packing materials.
The crackdown is aimed at restoring
market order and protecting consumers' rights. The production
and sale of fake and substandard cigarettes has been
rampant in eastern and southern provinces in recent
years, including Fujian and Guangdong, despite annual
Large-scale actions will also be
launched in the provinces of Guangxi, Hainan, and Zhejiang,
as well as in Beijing and Shanghai, which are all known
as centers of fake tobacco products. Some manufacturers
and distributors have set up cross-country networks
to dodge crackdowns.
Senior state administration official
Pan Yue says the operators evade about RMB10 billion
(US$1.2 billion) in taxes annually. Domestic manufacturers
of brand-name cigarettes also suffer from the scams.
The current Minister of Public Security,
Jia Chunwang, previously served 12 years as Minister
of State Security, making him one of the most powerful
figures in China. He has maintained an extremely low
profile until his recent outspoken stance against crime.
Jia's path to power led through the
Communist Youth League, the Beijing municipal party
apparatus, to Party Central. He is an engineering graduate
of Beijing's Qinghua University, making him a member
of the elite "Qinghua group" of China's leadership.
It is interesting to note that Party Vice-Chairman Hu
Jintao graduated in hydraulics engineering from Qinghua
one year after Jia, and also rose through the Communist
Youth League, where both served on the Chinese Communist
Youth League Central Committee in 1982. Jia's star may
continue to rise as a key member of the "fourth generation"
of China's Party leadership.
Sina.com = $$$
Pursuant to a capital injection of
US$25 million in the beginning of 1999, Sina.com recently
attracted an additional US$60 million from investors
to finance rapid expansion. New investors include Japan's
Softbank, the US-based Dell Computer, Hong Kong's Asia
Pacific Group, and several Japanese and Singapore banks.
With strategic partners CBS Market Watch and the search
engine Alta Vista, Sina's homepage attracts more than
200 million page views per month, and is the most popular
Chinese website in the world.
China will soon test the Julang 2,
an intercontinental sea-to-surface ballistic missile
with an estimated range of at least 9,000 kilometers
(5580 miles). The new missile will improve China's nuclear
deterrent capability, foreign military experts say.
"The test is imminent," says a foreign
ballistics expert. "The missile is capable of hitting
any city in the United States and Europe, and can be
equipped with a small nuclear warhead."
According to the Washington Times
newspaper, the transit of Chinese Golf class submarines
from southern areas to the north of the country, carried
out last month, signals the approach of the JL-2 test.
The newspaper estimates the range
of the Jl-2 at up to 12,000 kilometers. The second generation
Julang, which translates as "great wave," is the successor
to the Julang-1, which was tested successfully in the
1980s from Golf submarines. The subs are powered by
Soviet-made engines. The missile can also be launched
from the Xia, believed to be the Chinese navy's only
nuclear-powered submarine. The Xia's first successful
missile launch of the JL-1 took place in September 1988,
according to defense specialists Jane's Information
"It was generally held that a JL-2
launch would be from the Golf, but it could also be
from an upgrade of the Xia," Robert Karniol, Jane's
Asian correspondent says.
China hopes to place the JL-2, also
known as the CSS-N-4X, aboard a new generation of type
094 nuclear submarines, whose construction will begin
during the next few weeks, says the Washington Times,
citing American sources.
The newspaper says the submarine
will carry a smaller underwater variant of the Julang-2,
and could be operational by 2005-2006. No confirmation
of the new submarine could be obtained from foreign
military experts in Beijing, though they verify China
has two nuclear submarine programs, one for attack submarines,
the other for missile-launching types.
Some experts believe the JL-2 will
be equipped with a 2.5 megaton warhead, however others
believe it will be 10 times less powerful. A megaton
is a unit of explosive power equal to one million tons
According to American experts, the
JL-2, like China's intercontinental surface-to-surface
Dongfeng-31 (DF-31), tested successfully this summer,
is equipped with technology adapted from the Trident
D-5. The Trident D-5 is America's most modern missile
and is equipped with W-88 miniature nuclear warheads.
Only China, Russia and the United
States stock a full range of nuclear weapons, comprising
surface, air and sea missiles. If the JL-2 test is successful,
Karniol says, "China will have achieved significant
progress in the modernization of its nuclear force."
"It will give China a second strike
capability in the event of a nuclear war," he adds.
Apple G4 Blacklisted
Apple Computer will not sell its
new desktop Power Mac G4 computers in China because
of U.S. export regulations, Tony Li, a senior Apple
The U.S. government this year eased
some restrictions on computer sales to countries such
as India, Pakistan, China and Russia. With the easing,
Apple could in theory sell the Power Mac G4 in China,
Li, director of Apple's product marketing in Asia Pacific,
says. But Li adds: "There is still a restriction. You
need to be able to provide each user's identification.
It would be difficult for us to account for each user.''
Apple is working on the matter, and
hopes at some point to sell the Power Mac G4 in China.
Li says the company will put a warning sticker on G4s
sold in Hong Kong, telling people that they are not
allowed to export the powerful machine to mainland China.
Apple started selling the G4 in Hong Kong last month.
Smuggling between Hong Kong and neighboring
mainland China is rampant, and Li was asked whether
people would really refrain from taking the G4 personal
computer into China.
"We can only do our best. If people
really want to buy it they can buy it anywhere, not
just in Hong Kong," Li says.
Hong Kong, a former British colony
which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, has been accused,
in a U.S. congressional report, of being a transit point
for illegal U.S. technology transfers to mainland China.
The report by U.S. Representative Christopher Cox says
Hong Kong border controls are lax, and Chinese army
vehicles move in and out of the territory unchecked.
China denies the allegations.
Li says Apple will launch its iBook,
the brightly-colored laptop computer that looks like
a condensed version of the iMac, in China after coming
up with a Chinese-language operating system. He gave
no timetable for the launch. Declining to give details
about its sales figures, Li says the response for iMac
in China has been great. "We are very happy with the
results," he comments.