Filed by Herman Wang
BEIJING —; I love reading local newspapers whenever I travel. Here in Beijing, the English-language China Daily is readily available at most newstands for about 12 cents a copy. It’s state-run, as are all the news media in China, so the only infomation you get is what the government deems worthy.
For instance, in case you were wondering how the Chinese media covered President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States last week, the Shanghai Daily (China's other English-language paper) led off its April 21 edition with this banner headline: “Bush meets with Hu, hails affluent China.”
At any rate, my favorite part of the China Daily is the news briefs section, which contains items culled from newspapers around the country. About half of the briefs are mundane, but the rest are sublimely absurd. They read like a “News of the Weird” digest. Here are a few gems from the April 13 issue —;
—; A 17-year-old girl was fined 500 yuan (U.S. $62) for dialing the fire emergency hotline more than 50 times during a 12-hour period, the Heilongjian Morning Post reported. Her reason for calling? She was upset about being dumped by her boyfriend the day before.
—; A young man in Wuhan quit his job because he believed he was not good looking enough, according to the state news service Xinhua. The man's inferiority complex may have been triggered after a classmate joked that he was “ugly” years ago. A doctor advised the man to seek psychiatric treatment rather than cosmetic surgery, as his mother suggested.
—; A young “woman” (sic) claiming to have had a gender change operation was prevented from boarding a plane at Guangzhou Baiyin International Airport because her identity card still showed her as a man. The Yangcheng Evening News said the long-haired “woman” was blocked by security guards and ultimately missed her flight after being held for questioning. Airport security officials are urging those who have undergone gender change operations to update their ID cards or “they will be unable to board flights.”
—; And finally, the Chongqing Morning Post tells a heartwarming tale of a tiny 19-year-old woman who is only 62 centimeters tall —; the height of a 2-year-old —; hoping to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The woman, who suffers from a condition in which her bones fracture easily, recently finished her middle school study with the help of her parnets, who “carried her to school in a basket every day.”
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