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Pesticide-Contaminated Frozen Dumplings from China Cause 11 in Japan to Suffer from Food Poisoning

The BBC reported on January 30 that 11 people from three families in Japan suffered from food poisoning after eating frozen dumplings made in China. The dumplings were found to be contaminated with the pesticide Methamidophos. A five-year-old girl had the most serious symptoms, losing consciousness at one point. The problem food was from the China Tianyang Food Factory.

Source: BBC, January 30, 2008

Transport System Crisis in Southern China Strands Migrant Workers

The Beijing-Guanzhou railroad, the backbone of China’s railroad system, died during the worst snow fall in half a century. Millions of migrate workers were stranded in train stations at Guangzhou and other cities were left in chaos. The government warned that the system would not be in order for the next few days and asked travelers to spend the Chinese New Year where they were. According to the Railroad Ministry, the number of stranded passengers exceeded .5 million in Guangdong Province alone. The statistics reported by the Hong Kong media indicated the number approached one million in Guangzhou and Shenzhen alone. The authorities in Guangdong announced that all of the stations in this province would stop selling tickets – the business windows would only handle ticket refunds, as they expect the crisis won’t end until Chinese New Years Eve (Feb 6). This triggered a lot of dissatisfaction among the travelers.

Source: Voice of America, January, 29, 2008

Young Migrant Workers Need More Education

Members of the Shanghai municipal committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference urged the government to provide more education to respond to an escalating crime rate involving laborers born since 1980. They account for 60% of the total migrant population and have become the main labor force in urban areas.

In Shanghai, 1.8 million out of 3 million migrant workers are under 28 years of age. The rate of crime involving young workers is steadily rising. They also called on the authorities to address the problem of defaulted salary payments, a longtime headache for migrant workers and the authorities.

Source: People’s Daily, January 24, 2008-01-24

Thousand Workers Strike in Dongguan, Guangdong

Ever since the new Labor Contract Law went into effect on January 1, 2008, there have been continuous conflicts between workers and owners of private companies in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and other cities in Guangdong Province. On January 20, two large-scale strikes took place simultaneously in foreign owned enterprises in Tangxia Town of Dongguan City, involving more than 1000 workers. The strikers accused the employers of cutting their pay by adopting new ways of calculation. The furious workers blocked the road, confronting hundreds of police. Dozens of people were injured.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 22, 2008

Thousands Sign Letter Calling for Hu Jia and Gao Zhisheng’s Unconditional Release

Thousands of Chinese citizens signed a joint letter and published it on Boxun (an overseas Chinese news website) today calling for the unconditional release of Chinese human rights activists Hu Jia and Gao Zhisheng. The letter says that Hu Jia and Gao Zhisheng are regarded as China’s spine. Chinese citizens view them as China’s hope and honor them for their work. They choose to uphold human conscience and justice. As an example of his kindness, Hu Jia sent several dozen winter coats to petitioners in Beijing on Christmas Eve. But the Chinese police arrested Hu using the charge “instigating the overthrow of state power.” His wife and one-month-old daughter were placed under house arrest.

Boxun, January 22, 2008
Chinascope, January 21, 2008

Man Beaten to Death; Causing Massive Calls to Abolish City Inspectors

On January 7, 2008, in Tianmen City, Hubei Province, dozens of Municipal Law Enforcement officers known as chengguan beat Wei Wenhua to death. He was the manager of a water resources construction company in Tianmen, Hubei and had used his mobile phone camera to film the officers in a violent clash with protestors.

The public in Tianmen, Hubei Province has been in an uproar following the death, earlier this month, of a local resident (Wei Wenhua) due to a violent beating by city inspectors (quasi-police like government officers responsible for city regulation enforcement). The media and Internet forums have been inundated with discussions about the legitimacy of city inspectors. One article in the latest issue of Southern Weekend called for the total abolishon of city inspectors. The article is titled “It’s High Time to Abolish City Inspectors.” It has been widely circulated on China’s Internet and has been the subject of many heated debates.

Source: Southern Weekend, January 17, 2008
Chinascope, January 17, 2008

Open Letter Calls for Prosecution of the Shanghai Gang

On January 19, in his third open letter to the top leaders of China, Kong Qiang, a government employee from Shandong Province and the owner of “China Shenzheng Net,” a rights advocate website, called for the immediate legal prosecution of Jiang Zemin and his gang, also known as the “Shanghai Gang.” Kong said, “Otherwise, we will never be able to face either the people in China, or the people around the world.”

In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, a news media based in New York, Kong disclosed that through his activities as a human rights advocate, he has come across substantial evidence against the Shanghai Gang and feels that he can no longer be silent.

Kong is 39 years old and works for the Administration of Industry and Commerce in the Qubu Municipality in Shangdong Province. He founded Shenzheng net in July 2005. The website has been shut down repeatedly due to his disclosing sensitive inside information about the Shanghai Gang. Kong has received numerous threats that he will be fired from his work and sent to a mental hospital. He previously published two other open letters, on December 6 and 24 in 2007.

Source: The Epoch Times, January 19, 2008

Existing System Criticized for its Effect on the Art Community

In an interview with Nanfang Weekend, Wu Guanzhong, a prominent 89-year-old contemporary painter spoke out against various issues in the art community. He said that the commercialized education system erodes the quality of education. Teachers’ evaluation process is a waste of time and money; it is full of personal connections and not effective. He is calling for closing the state-owned art associations and institutions, saying they have become corrupt and unproductive. “Events organized by these places are just like the prostitution industry, which is purely money driven.” Wu said, “The art community has been politicized. The artworks are way overpriced and the Art centers only collect junk artwork.” He concluded that there are all sorts of issues in the art community, including education, facility, contest, and market. “The existing system is the cause of it all.” Wu said he is speaking the truth and wants to speak up more when he is able.

Source: Nanfang Weekend, January 9, 2008