Newspaper’s HQ causes stir
Unamused censors have been at work to stop people sniggering over the new Beijing headquarters of the People’s Daily newspaper, which bear an unfortunate resemblance to a giant penis. Photos of the imposing tower, which is still under construction, had Internet users tittering away, especially given one of Beijing’s other landmarks, the China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters, is nicknamed “The Big Underpants.” Some comments about the new home for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) paper managed to sneak through. “Of course the national mouthpiece should be imposing,” said one user of microblogging site Sina Weibo. “It seems the People’s Daily is going to rise up, there’s hope for the Chinese dream,” said another, referring to a political slogan that has been used in recent months to encourage national pride and rejuvenation. However, a search on Sina Weibo for “People’s Daily” and “building” resulted in the message usually shown when keywords have been blocked: “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results cannot be displayed.”
Children returned to Vietnam
Authorities have returned 10 Vietnamese children who were kidnapped and trafficked into China, state media said yesterday. The children were returned on Friday after being discovered by Chinese authorities in 2011, Xinhua news agency said on its Web site. Local authorities have arrested 43 suspects for trafficking the children, who were all boys, China Radio National reported. Ten of the suspects are Vietnamese, it said. Pictures posted by Xinhua showed the children wearing orange pajamas, playing with plastic toys and being cradled by blue-uniformed policewomen. Trafficking of women and children remains a serious problem, with many sociologists blaming preference for male children and the one-child policy for fueling the crime.
Sex video official charged
Prosecutors have filed corruption charges against a former city official at the center of a sex tape scandal in which developers allegedly hired women to sleep with officials, then extorted money or favors from them. Xinhua news agency reported on Friday that prosecutors have indicted Lei Zhengfu (雷政富), formerly Communist Party chief of a district in Chongqing, for accepting bribes. The report did not provide details of the charges. Lei’s was the first, high-profile case to break in November last year when online video clips of him, in the throes of passion, went viral. Coming as China’s new leadership has vowed to crack down on official corruption, the images became targets of derision and disgust over government malfeasance.
‘Distracted’ pilot suspended
Air India said yesterday it had suspended a pilot and two female flight attendants after a passenger jet’s autopilot system was accidentally switched off “due to distraction.” The event occurred on an Air India flight from Bangkok and follows a series of other safety-related incidents involving the airline. Air India denied media reports the pilot and co-pilot had taken a 40-minute break to snooze in business class seats and left two attendants to operate the plane in their absence. However, it did say the pilot and two air hostesses had been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation and that the two airline attendants had overstayed the allowed length of time in the cockpit.