Chinese woman attacked by mob in street after rumours she drove daughter-in-law to suicide

An elderly woman was attacked by a crowd of angry people in eastern China after rumours went viral online about how she had allegedly abused her daughter-in-law and drove the younger woman to suicide, Chinese media reported.

The elderly woman’s daughter-in-law, 30, took her own life by jumping into a river from a bridge in Gaoyou in Jiangsu province on November 15, Thepaper.cn reported.

Her death triggered rumours that she was maltreated by her mother-in-law, the report said.

Police said the allegations were untrue and the younger woman was suffering with schizophrenia.

The rumours suggested the daughter-in-law had to stand long-term abuse from the old woman, who only gave her 200 yuan (HK$225) a month in pocket money from the 3,000 yuan monthly salary she handed over to her mother-in-law.

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On the day of the woman’s suicide, the mother-in-law was also accused of slapping her face twice and forcing her to go to work, even though she was ill and attempted to take two days leave.

The rumours sparked anger among locals, hundreds of whom gathered in front of the older woman’s home to confront her, the report said.

She was beaten up by four people and sustained minor injuries, according to the article.

Police were called to disperse the crowds.

Some people commenting online queried the police’s account, querying how a mentally ill woman could have kept down her job in a factory.

Chinese man leaves suicide note after row vowing ‘to marry girlfriend in next life’ before dying in car crash

A young man in eastern China believed to have committed suicide by deliberately crashing his car after a row with his girlfriend left her a message saying he hoped to marry the woman in his next life.

He had even researched online to find out that a person was certain to be killed in a car crash at a speed in excess of 120km/h, Qilu Evening News reported.

An initial investigation by police showed the man, 26, surnamed Pan, drove his car into crash barriers at high speed next to a highway bridge in Jinan, Shandong province, on November 15, the report said.

‘I don’t want to add any more burden on you, Mum and Dad’, says Chinese boy, 15, in suicide note

Medics had found the man dead at the scene at about 6am.

Police ruled out a hit-and-run accident after finding no sign of any other damaged vehicles.

Surveillance footage also showed the car crashing into the barriers at about around 4.15am.

The man had earlier sent his girlfriend several messages, saying that he did not want to live any more after quarrelling with her, the report said.

Three dead and 15 injured as Chinese ‘would-be suicide driver’ crashes vehicle into students outside school

His messages said he would marry her in his next life and that he felt guilty about taking his life only with regard to his grandmother, because she had brought him up while still a child.

Police found that Pan had researched information online to find out at what speed a car needed to be moving in a crash to ensure its driver would be killed, the report.

He also sent messages saying that a person was certain to be killed in a car crash at a speed in excess of 120km/h.

Chinese doctor critical after patient’s father stabs her repeatedly over treatment row

A woman doctor in northern China is in a critical condition after a patient’s father attacked her with a knife after an argument about how to treat his young daughter, according to a newspaper report.

The father of a four-year-old girl with the viral infection hand-foot-and-mouth disease stabbed the doctor on Tuesday at the Heping Hospital in Changzhi in Shanxi province, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

The attack left the doctor, Shen Wen, with nine major wounds, including one to her heart, the hospital was quoted as saying.

Outraged Chinese father stabs doctor to death after newborn baby dies

The father, Peng Xiaoya, turned himself in to the police later that day, the report said.

Shen underwent emergency surgery, but her wounds are still life-threatening, the hospital said.

Peng had asked the doctor to treat his daughter using methods he found online, but she refused.

The father then rejected her suggested treatment.

The doctor was alone when she was stabbed in the hospital on Tuesday morning.

Police are investigating.

Violent disputes between doctors and patients, or their families, are not uncommon in China.

Many doctors complain of overwork and poor pay as the nation’s health services struggle to cope with the huge demands placed on them. Patients often feel dissatisfied with the standard of treatment and their high costs due to insufficient government subsidies.

Knife-wielding man attacks Chinese woman doctor making her rounds in hospital

Data from the Ministry of Health showed that 35 people were killed or injured in 11 violent incidents involving medical staff at hospitals in 2012. About 115,000 disputes between doctors and patients were officially recorded in 2014, according to state media reports.

Chinese villagers criticise officials for building new 1 million yuan office before paying debts on old office

A village committee in central China spent 1 million yuan (HK$1.1 million) building a new office even though they have yet to pay off the outstanding debts for constructing their former office six years ago, mainland media reports.

Residents in Xipo, in Baoji, Shaanxi province, complained there was no need for local cadres to move out of the existing office – a well-built, nicely decorated single-storey house that was conveniently located in the village, the Huashang Daily reported.

Chinese villagers in court over 13-hour fracas that saw couple’s mastiff shot dead by police

The newly opened office, a two-storey building situated about 800 metres away from the old office, was believed to have cost at least 1 million yuan, according to a villager who works on construction sites.

A local man who built the old office, said that work had cost him 490,000 yuan, but the village committee still owed him 300,000 yuan.

However, a town government official said the builder of the old office had agreed to complete construction first and then be paid in several instalments.

“As a businessman he should have the awareness for risk!” the official was quoted as saying in the report.

The official said the roof of the old building sometimes leaked and was no longer considered convenient for cadres to work in.

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The new office had also been built using funds provided by a local contractor, the official said.

The village’s party chief was recently taken away for investigation by the local disciplinary watchdog and there was no timetable for repaying the debt, the official also said.

Snow hits Beijing as forecasts warn winter’s chill coldest in three decades for this time of year

Beijing saw this winter’s first snowfall on Monday as the Chinese capital was forecast to experience its coldest period from November 21 to 27 for the past 30 years.

The cold front sweeping through northern parts of China is expected to see temperatures drop by between six to 10 degrees Celsius.

Cold front to lift smog choking Beijing – for now

The temperature range on Monday was forecast to be between a high of zero degrees Celsius and a low of minus 8 degrees Celsius. The snow started to fall on Sunday night after a day of drizzle and is expected to last until about noon on Monday.

Dozens of flights leaving from and arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport have been cancelled due to the cold weather, the airport said. Beijing municipal government has also suspended the services of 19 bus routes.

Some sections of highway linking central Beijing to the suburbs have been closed due to icy roads.

The temperature will drop further between Tuesday and Thursday with a high of minus 2 degrees Celsius as a result of strong winds brought to the area by the cold front.

As this cold front moves south, central and eastern provinces, including Shaanxi, Henan, Anhui, Hubei and Hunan are also forecast to experience a sharp drop in temperatures – up to 16 degrees in some areas.

Zhou Bing, chief engineer at the National Climate Centre, said China had recorded 55 per cent more rainfall in October compared with average levels in past years. He said the rare temperature fluctuations were caused by a combination of La Niña and global climate change, and the country needed to be prepared for more extreme weather events over the winter.

Winter’s chill to spark Northern China’s coal heaters – and yet more smog

La Niña refers to the phenomenon of cooler than normal ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean – regions close to the equator, off the west coast of South America. In some parts of the world, La Niña causes increased rainfall while in other regions it can cause extreme dry conditions.

Deal with China should push up price of Malaysian bird’s nest

Bird’s nest export prices are expected to quintuple after Malaysia inked a deal with China to ship raw edible nests to the People’s Republic.

Malaysia’s deal with China, said Malaysia’s Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, could bring about RM1.5 billion (US$340,456,560) in profits to the local bird’s nest industry, but this could also mean the price for the product for local consumption may increase.

The deal, called Protocol of Inspection, Quarantine and Veterinary Hygiene Requirements for the Exportation of Raw, Uncleaned, Edible Bird’s Nest, is everything the name suggests.

The protocol sets standards for Malaysia’s 10,000 bird’s nest farmers to sell their raw product to the ministry, which will then export it untouched to China, where it will be processed and cleaned in Qinzhou and then sold to the Chinese market.

Malaysia has a RM22 million (US$4,993,363) joint quarantine, processing and testing plant with China in the Qinzhou Industrial Park.

China banned imports of bird’s nests from Malaysia in 2011 after finding nitrate in some of the nests.

“Everything will go through us and we will make sure this will be certified under standards we agreed on with China,” Ahmad Shabery said in the Parliament lobby yesterday.

He said when China imposed the ban, the price of Malaysia’s bird’s nest dropped from RM8,000 (US$1,815.80) per nest to less than RM1,000 (US$227.20) and this put constraints on local farmers.

“This deal gives a good message with the possibility of boosting our price to RM3,000 (US$680.80) or maybe even RM5,000 (US$1,134.60),” he said.

There are about 20,000 registered bird’s nest farms in the country and each requires an investment of up to RM300,000 (US$68,091.30) from the farmers.

A hike in the price for their product would ensure the survivability of the industry, Ahmad Shabery said.

During a question-and-answer session in Parliament with Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Umno-Lenggong), Ahmad Shabery also discouraged farmers from trying to process bird’s nest themselves, as the results could be disastrous in terms of quality control.

“Now we have a platform to do everything legally that fulfils quality standards, so what happened three-years ago won’t happen again,” he said.

Malaysia produces about 300 metric tonnes of bird’s nest annually.

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Will China take the lead if Trump pulls out of climate change treaty?

All eyes are on China to see if it will make up for a “leadership deficit” in international climate talks following the victory of climate change sceptic Donald Trump in the US presidential election.

The world’s largest carbon emitter, however, appears to be cautious in responding to expectations that it might take the lead in negotiations to enforce a climate change treaty.

Chinese negotiators currently attending the annual international climate change talks in Marrakech in Morocco have offered few clues over how they will respond if the US president-elect walks away from two countries’ previous joint leadership in tackling the issue.

Chinese negotiators have only said they will stick to pledged domestic initiatives to curb emissions and expand cooperation with developing countries to combat climate change.

With election of Trump, ‘curtain has fallen’ over Sino-US cooperation over climate

The world’s two largest carbon emitters forged close ties under Xi Jinping and Barack Obama to push forward a global treaty to tackle the problem.

President-elect Trump, however, is reportedly seeking the “quickest way” to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and reboot the fossil fuel sector.

After the initial dismay and anger over the election of Trump last week, climate diplomats and activists in Marrakech are pledging to push forward with the global deal reached last year to limit temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius, even without the involvement of the US.

At the sidelines of the Marrakech climate conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said action on climate change has become “unstoppable” and he urged Trump to make wise decisions as market forces were driving the world economy towards cleaner energies and away from fossil fuels.

Jonathan Pershing, the outgoing US climate envoy, refused to speculate on climate policies under a Trump presidency, but said many countries – China, Europe, Canada, Mexico and smaller states – have pledged to push forward with the deal “with or without” the US.

Observers say under such a “leadership deficit” countries and pressure groups are likely to pin high hopes on China to step up its leadership role.

After meeting with China’s top negotiator Xie Zhenhua on Monday, EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete tweeted: “EU-China climate and clean energy leadership now more important than ever. We agreed to boost our cooperation. Announcements soon.”

But China’s response to calls to take the lead so far seems less than enthusiastic. Reports in official Chinese media covering the Marrakech climate conference refrained from making overt references to Trump’s election and its aftermath.

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Climate negotiator Xie has said China will expand its “circle of friends” in developing countries to tackle climate change, the China News Service reported.

His most vocal comment regarding China-US leadership on climate change was that the two countries, as the world’s largest developed and developing nations, “should play a leadership role”, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

China’s vice-foreign minister Liu Zhenmin, meanwhile, aimed an apparent barb at Trump’s scepticism about the need to tackle climate change.

Liu told reporters in Marrakech on Wednesday that China could not have invented global warming as a hoax to harm US competitiveness because it was Donald Trump’s Republican predecessors who started climate negotiations in the 1980s.

US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush supported the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in initiating global warming talks even before China knew that negotiations to cut pollution were starting, said Liu.

Yet soon or later China will have to respond to these calls for leadership, according to Li Shuo, a climate policy expert at the environmental pressure group Greenpeace in China.

“Among the many speculations and unknowns [about Trump’s climate change policy], if there’s one thing that’s clear to China, it’s that it needs to be prepared to give the world an answer to this leadership question,” said Li.

Some Chinese climate experts said the hole left by the US was simply too big to be filled by China or any other country, hence Beijing’s reticence in its comments.

Zou Ji, a deputy director of China’s National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation, told Caixin magazine that “the international community should not connive at any player’s inaction and pin hopes on China”.

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Zhang Haibin, a professor at Peking University who has advised the Chinese government on its climate change policy, said nobody could fill the vacuum if Trump insisted on leaving the game, in either emission cuts, climate funding or support for poor nations to tackle climate change.

“The history of climate negotiations tells us a global climate scheme without the US will simply not be able to effectively operate,” he said.

However, he also ruled out any possibility of either the EU or China putting pressure on Trump, which would only be “counterproductive” and push the US further away.

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier will apply lessons learned modifying Liaoning to provide superior vessel

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier will boast a more advanced power system and other designs that are improvements on the nation’s first carrier, Liaoning, which was brought from Ukraine and refurbished, military observers said on Tuesday.

They made their comments after state broadcaster CCTV ran video clips of Liaoning that showed the aircraft carrier is using the original Russian-designed propulsion system.

To mark the 4th anniversary of the successful maiden take-off and landing of the carrier-based J-15 on Liaoning later this month , CCTV interviewed sailors working on the platform. One segment showed Master Sergeant Zhang Hua, a electromechanical department officer in the machine room, igniting one of eight boilers that are part of the 1970s TB-12 engines.

The video that aired on Sunday showed how technical personnel work in the outdated machine room of the vessel.

It is the first time state media has been allowed to film the machine room of the carrier, and showed the four TB-12 engines, Russian-designed steam pipes, barometers and other identifiable equipment, which are all technologies of the former Soviet Union from the 1970s.

China finishes hull of first domestically built aircraft carrier

Xu Zengping, a middleman for the Chinese navy in buying the Liaoning from Ukraine in 1998, told the South China Morning Post in January last year that the four intact engines “had been perfectly grease-sealed” after being 70 per cent completed in 1992, and the footage appeared to confirm that.

“Shipbuilding authorities decided to keep the original propulsion system because it was intact, and matched the vessel’s design capacity of the time,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.

China is building its first domestically made aircraft carrier, which is a larger Type 001A vessel.

Displacement of the Liaoning is between 50,000 and 60,000 tonnes, while the 001A type is bigger, with maximum displacement of up to 70,000 tonnes and powered by steam turbines modified from the TB-12, Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said.

“Steam turbines are a mature technology in China, which has been commonly used on its Type-051 destroyers since the 1970s, although there is still a big gap for China to catch up to the United States in use of their catapult take-off technology,” Wong said.

China plans aircraft carrier battlegroups to protect offshore interests

Li said the design of the 001A would include technological breakthroughs in its missile and radar systems and hangar deck, as well as software improvements, because Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Offshore Company had accumulated much experience its more than a decade spent rebuilding and developing the Liaoning.

“For example, the capacity of its propulsion system is able to match China’s home-made sophisticated radar and missile systems, while the new machine room is smaller, saving space for a bigger hangar,” Li said.

“The design of the missile launch and monitoring system will be well-integrated with the hangar deck, and a smaller control tower island on the deck will give more space for aircraft.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:

Better engine to drive next aircraft CARRIER

Rare protest in Beijing appears to involve disgruntled soldiers

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in front of China’s defence ministry on Tuesday, the latest apparent demonstration by soldiers as the world’s largest standing military modernises and downsizes.

The protesters stood for several hours in front of the Bayi building in central Beijing, home of the Ministry of National Defence. Many wore green fatigues bearing the hammer-and-sickle logo of the Communist Party.

The purpose of their demonstration was unclear. Protesters declined to be interviewed and censors blocked searches on social media about retired soldiers or the defence ministry.

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Hundreds of police and plainclothes security officers surrounded the protesters, hemming them in with buses and police vehicles.

While Chinese authorities routinely suppress discussions about the military and soldiers’ issues, one human-rights activist, Huang Qi, said that veterans had staged more than 50 protests this year alone. However, demonstrations on such a large scale are extremely rare in the centre of the heavily policed capital.

Two demonstrators said they were veterans who wanted the government to address military pensions, but they did not want to discuss the issue with foreign media. The protesters declined to give their names.

Liu Feiyue, editor of the website Minsheng Guancha, which monitors civil rights issues, said he was told by retired soldiers that other ex-soldiers were present.

“They protested because they don’t have a job now after serving a long period of time in the army, some for a dozen years,” Liu said. “They are asking for employment.”

China’s armed forces are undergoing a large-scale modernisation to become a nimble organisation that can better handle conflicts at sea and in the air.

Those measures have gained pace as China builds up its presence in the South China and East China seas amid territorial disputes.

Setbacks at hands of war-tested neighbour inspired PLA reform

President Xi Jinping announced last year that the 2.3-million-strong People’s Liberation Army would cut 300,000 personnel but little has been said about the cost or where the surplus troops would go.

Veterans have staged sit-ins and protests for several years over low or absent pensions and an inability to find work outside the military.

It wasn’t clear if anyone had been arrested on Tuesday. Local police did not respond to faxed questions, and no one answered the phone at the press office of the defence ministry.

Chinese couple jailed for selling handicapped baby grandson left in their care

A farming couple in eastern China were jailed for up to 51/2 years on Saturday for selling their grandson, the Yangtze Evening News reports.

In November, 2013, when the boy was four months old, Xu Daqiang and his wife Wang Xiaoying of Xuzhou, Jiangsu, decided to sell him to a family in a neighbouring county, the Tongshan district court heard.

Earlier that year, their son brought home a young pregnant woman, whom he said was his girlfriend, and he left her in the care of Xu and Wang.

The woman died giving birth, and the boy was born with defects that required costly medical treatment. Xu and Wang were unwilling to raise the child.

With the help of middlemen, they sold the boy in Pei county for 60,000 yuan (HK$70,000).

Xu received a five-year jail term and Wang received six months more, partly because she refused to admit that she had committed a crime, while evidence including witness accounts confirmed her involvement.

The child’s foster parents received suspended sentences because they genuinely treated the child as a “treasure” and willingly assisted the police investigation, the court said.

The transaction came to light in 2014 when Xu filed to divorce Wang and, to support his petition, told the authorities that Wang had sold his grandson.