A five-year-old peasant girl was
brutally abused by her foster parents, resulting in
both her feet requiring amputation. The girl is now
under state care while her foster parents await trial,
the Beijing Youth Daily reports.
The child, Tian Yinlan, was abandoned
in 1995 by her natural parents because of her sex. She
was subsequently placed in a foster home in Jintang
county, Sichuan province. The adoptive parents, Deng
Xiangzhi and her second husband, Tian Gui'en, took Yinlan
into their care because Deng was unable to have any
more children of her own.
However, when Deng's 18-year-old
son from her first marriage returned to live with the
family, the couple began to abuse the girl. She was
locked in a small room for weeks at a time with no light,
bed, or toilet, and often deprived of food.
Neighbors report seeing her in the
middle of winter washing her clothes in a river, dressed
only in scraps. Both her feet were swollen, covered
in running sores, and in areas bones were exposed.
Early this year local government
authorities intervened, and placed the girl in the care
of doctors at a Chengdu hospital. At the time of her
rescue, she weighed less than 10 kg (22 pounds). Doctors
attempted to save her feet, but both appendages required
amputation. If found guilty, the foster parents face
a minimum sentence of two years in prison.
A recent survey of primary and secondary
school teachers in northeast China reveals that more
than half of all educators suffer from psychological
problems, the Liberation Daily reports. The survey,
carried out earlier this year, examined 2,292 teachers
from 168 schools across Liaoning province.
The findings paint a worrisome picture
of the state of mental health of China's overworked
and underpaid state school instructors. More than half
of the participants have psychological problems, compared
to a national average of only 20 percent. The survey
reveals that primary school teachers are more susceptible
to these problems than their counterparts in junior
and senior high school. The poll also shows that the
situation is more serious in cities than in rural areas,
and that a greater proportion of women than men suffer
Symptoms of illness include self-contempt,
irrational jealousy, and unusually high levels of anxiety,
the report says. Compared to similarly-aged government
officials and business executives, teachers consider
themselves underpaid, overworked and socially inferior.
Over half cite an excessive workload as a major reason
for their mental deterioration, with 40 percent working
over eight hours per day. Delayed pay is also a contributing
factor: one individual was owed more than RMB10,000
(US$1,180) in back pay. Headmasters also blame government
education authorities, claiming that school inspections
are indiscriminate and excessive.
The survey concludes that poor mental
health among teachers adversely affects their students,
and is linked to an increase in classroom violence over
the past year.
New research reveals that the number
of strains of the HIV virus found in China ranks among
the highest in the world. According to the semi-official
China News Service, all eight of the recognized viral
forms have been found in the PRC, as well as a new hybrid
of two original strains.
The Ministry of Health report describes
the rapid spread of this hybrid through the comparatively
underdeveloped provinces of Yunnan, Gansu, Ningxia,
and Xinjiang, with prostitutes and drug users registering
the highest rates of infection. The majority of those
infected are aged 20-30, although some are as young
as four months.
The hybrid is considerably more infectious
than its parent, so the rate of transmission is far
greater. It took under three years for the infection
rate among Xinjiang's drug-users to reach a saturation
level of 70 percent, compared to over five years in
Yunnan, where an older strain was prevalent.
Although Mandarin is the official
tongue of the PRC, it is still considered a second language
by up to 30 percent of the population. To address this
problem, the National Committee for Language has announced
plans to administer a nationwide Mandarin test, the
Life Times Daily reports. University students will not
be allowed to graduate without passing this exam.
The move is prompted by a concern
that, although nearly three quarters of the population
consider Mandarin to be their first language, dialects
vary dramatically throughout China's 29 provinces and
56 minority nationalities.
Presently many regional schools utilize
local dialect in classrooms, but as of April 1 Mandarin
use will be mandatory. Professors and teachers born
after January 1, 1954 will also be required to take
the exam. Others affected include civil servants and
* Thirty percent of examinees failed
China's first national physician's test. Minister of
Health Zhang Wenkang says that from now on all medical
school graduates must pass this standard examination
to be formally registered. Without this, they will not
be permitted to issue prescriptions.
* Recent food inspections show that
only 63 percent of meat products pass muster. Reasons
for failure include excessive bacterial counts, inferior
nitrate additives, and high acidity.
* Black lung disease in China has
already claimed 130,000 lives with an additional 15,000-20,000
new cases each year. According to the Chinese Ministry
of Health, occupational accidents and illnesses are
the major cause in the shortening of the working lives
of China's 700 million laborers.
* Unemployment is the biggest challenge
faced by China as it enters the twentieth-century, according
to Chinese economist Hu An'gang. He estimates China's
urban and township unemployment rate at eight percent.
This is more than twice the rate stated in official
* China has relaxed its foreign adoption
policy because an increasing number of baby girls are
being abandoned. According to official data, it costs
a foreign couple between US$13,000-US$24,000 to adopt
a Chinese infant.
* Half of Beijing's municipal administrative
staff will have to find new jobs. The government recently
downsized, reducing the number of departments from 67
* The rate of cancer in Chinese children
has climbed by 25 percent since the 1960s. The major
causes appear to be X-rays during pregnancy, smoking,
substandard medication and malnutrition.
* Almost half of the 30 most polluted
cities in China are located in Shanxi province the Central
Chinese Environmental Monitoring Station reports. The
most polluted city in the country is the Shanxi provincial
capital of Taiyuan. Beijing ranks third. Suspended particles
and sulfur dioxide are the main causes of pollution