China's first case of an AIDS-carrying
animal was reported recently when Guangxi province police
seized an infected monkey from poachers, according to
China Central Television's news show Thirty Minutes.
The HIV-positive primate was the only one out of 45
seized diagnosed with AIDS. Three of the other monkeys
recovered were found carrying tuberculosis. All four
were destroyed. The monkeys, which were seized during
a month-long government campaign against poaching, were
about to be sold as wild fodder to a restaurant. Monkey
brain is considered a delicacy in the southwestern province.
According to the director of Guangxi's
agency in charge of the protection of wild animals,
seized animals are customarily released back into the
wild. But due to the potential for an epidemic, the
AIDS and tuberculosis-infected animals were immediately
destroyed. In addition, out of those seized, 40 percent
had dysentery and the other 60 percent tested positive
for the Hepatitis B virus. The Hepatitis B virus can
be transmitted from animals to humans through blood.
If it is not treated immediately, the virus can be fatal.
Police in the Sichuan province municipality
of Chongqing recently arrested four men attempting to
sell the fur of a giant panda for RMB300,000 (US$37,500),
the Beijing Evening News reports. The panda, native
only to China, is an endangered species on the verge
of extinction in the wild. The police acted on tips
from informants that someone was trying to sell a panda
fur. Among those arrested was Lei Denggui, 38, of Kai
county, Sichuan. During interrogation Lei told police
he was first asked by an acquaintance in Sichuan to
help sell the fur. Lei took it to Guangzhou where he
tried unsuccessfully to find a bidder. He returned to
the acquaintance's home, stole the fur, and then tried
to sell it locally. Earlier this month Lei found himself
a serious buyer, but by then police were already on
to him. Lei and three others were arrested within weeks.
According to animal experts, the fur belonged to a young
giant panda. The fur, which included the head and tail,
measured 1.1 meters long and .88 meters wide. The panda's
origins, its killer and when it was killed are still
Lottery Incites Riots
A local lottery caused a massive
riot involving more than 10,000 people in the southeastern
province of Guangdong, the Beijing Youth Daily reports.
The melee left several security guards dead and numerous
participants injured. The scratch-card lottery had been
organized as a one-time event to generate local funds
in Hepo township. Tickets, offered at the low price
of RMB2 each, went on sale February 12 and tens of thousands
sold out in just four days. But suspicions arose when
all the tickets were sold but none of the top prizes
claimed. Townspeople broke into the offices of lottery
sponsors and began stealing prizes, which included new
cars, color televisions, bicycles, clothes and cash.
In addition, several automobiles were set on fire, and
non-prize items, including a refrigerator, were looted.
A 27-year-old Tianjin man was sentenced
to 15 years in prison after he swindled more than 30
people out of RMB850,000 (US$106,000) with a doctored
photograph of himself with U.S. President Bill Clinton,
the Beijing Morning News reports. Using the picture
of the foremost leader of the free world and a forged
proposal of the Sino-U.S. Cultural Exchange Society,
the swindler, surnamed Zhang, promised unsuspecting
Chinese he could produce the proper documentation needed
to travel abroad. In 1997, Zhang met the chairman for
the Sino-U.S. Cultural Exchange Society, a Chinese-American
named Chen. At the meeting Chen showed Zhang a picture
of President Clinton along with the Sino-U.S. proposal.
Zhang borrowed the document, and then copied and altered
it. Zhang then placed an advertisement in a local newspaper
announcing his service, charging RMB20,000 per person.
Zhang registered 32 would-be travelers before his arrest.
Leaving the duped without their money and travel papers,
Zhang took most of the swindled money (a partner took
the rest) and fled to South China where he was eventually
Death by Corruption
A former vice-governor of Jiangxi
province was sentenced to death on charges of fraud
earlier this month, the Beijing Youth Daily reports.
More than 1,000 onlookers and journalists
crammed a small courtroom in the capital Nanchang to
attend the hearing of Hu Zhangqing. Hu, who also served
vice-director of the State Council (China's Cabinet)
of Religious Affairs from 1995-1998 before becoming
vice-governor of the southwestern province, received
and offered a total of 90 bribes in cash and gifts valued
at RMB5.4 million (US$675,000). During the three-year
period, he also extorted money from private companies,
state enterprises, and joint ventures, according to
Hu is one of the highest ranking
Communist Party officials ever put to death in China
Web Rules Tighten
Beijing signaled a further tightening
of controls on the Internet with a ban on website operators
from carrying reports from overseas media or from registering
overseas to avoid domestic regulations.
The Mainland-controlled Wen Hui Bao
newspaper quotes an official from "the concerned department
of the central Government" as saying Beijing will set
up an agency to govern websites and draw up rules. He
says news organizations must seek approval before launching
websites and publishing foreign news.
Internet content providers and Internet
service providers operated by non-news organizations
will be banned from gathering and disseminating news
stories, the official adds. Websites will not be allowed
to carry news from foreign media, including those in
Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The aim is to prevent "illegal
and harmful" news reports, the official says.
Since late last year, officials have
spoken of the need to draft regulations to control the
online industry. Rules in the pipeline range from those
on content to limits on foreign investment. Regulations
published on January 26 by the State Secrets Bureau
made website owners liable if state secrets are posted
on or transmitted by them. The restrictions extend to
email account users who are also forbidden to transfer
or copy state secrets.
But the new comments carried on the
front page of the Wen Hui Bao appear to be the most
stringent to date. The measures will hit some of the
Mainland's most popular Web portals including Sohu,
Netease and Sina which carry news reports from overseas
media including those in Hong Kong.
Analysts say state-owned media organizations
have been pressuring Beijing to ban Web portals from
carrying news stories from overseas. One example is
while local media have remained largely silent over
the Mainland's biggest smuggling case, now being probed
in Xiamen , many Web portals have set up special columns
on the issue, with news taken from media in Hong Kong