Chinese Stories in English
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1. Burning Charcoal at Home with Doors and Windows Shut Tight
Another Man Poisoned to Death
Report from the Daily News (Zhang Wei, Reporter)
At approximately 11:10 a.m. on March 23rd, [2012,] in the Dragon's Pool Community on Dragon's Pool Road in the Fish Peak District, a man was discovered by his family members collapsed on the floor in his room. Personnel from 120 [Medical Emergency Center] who arrived at the scene to render emergency treatment were unable to bring him around. Afterwards police officers opened an investigation at the scene. Neighbors around the dead man's residence were all shaking their heads and sighing.
One of the neighbors, Ms. Liu, said that the man was a Mr. Wen and was 20-some years old. He was home alone on the afternoon of the 22nd. He may have been poisoned because he burned charcoal to keep warm after closing the door and windows tightly.
One of the dead man's relatives told your reporter that the dead man had gone into his room on the previous evening and afterwards had not come out. This morning members of the family smelled the odor of coal indoors. They looked around and found that it was coming from the dead man's room. They opened the door and were shocked to find the dead man collapsed on the floor of the room with the door and windows shut tight.
That same day, your reporter consulted Mai Yongjun, Director of the Hyperbaric Oxygenation Department at the Liuzhou Worker's Hospital. He said that charcoal will release large quantities of carbon monoxide during the process of being burned. It is extremely easy to be poisoned by carbon monoxide because it is colorless and odorless. Thus, when burning charcoal to keep warm, one must ensure that the room is ventilated. Closing the doors and windows should be avoided at any cost. Otherwise the result could easily be carbon monoxide poisoning, causing a tragedy.
Liuzhou News Net, Reprinted from the Liuzhou Evening News, 2012-03-24
2. Chinese Students Rescue U.S. Private High Schools
With the U.S. economy not doing well, income at some private schools has dipped and their finances are in straits. By happy chance, more and more Chinese students are seeking to study abroad in the U.S. this year. Many people see American senior high school as a springboard. Since there are restrictions on public high schools accepting foreign students, most flock to study at private schools. Private high schools have become "best sellers."
Many high-income Asian families hope their children will be able to get into
an American college, and they regard American high school as a springboard.
The result is that private American high schools – especially religious schools –
receive some much-needed income.
According to a report in the American media on the 22nd, U.S. Department
of Education statistics show that enrollment in American private high schools
peaked at approximately 6,100,000 students in 2005. By 2009 enrollment had
fallen to about 5,500,000, with about 80 percent of the decline in religious
Asian students studying in American religious schools have increased from A teacher in a Chinese language class at Saint Mary's 10,611 in 2008 to 18,591 currently. Most of these added students come Catholic High School in Medford, Oregon. There are
from China. In 2008, about two-thirds of Asian students studying at private 78 foreign students at Saint Mary's High, 70 of whom
high schools were attending secular schools. But about half of this year's come from China.
increase in Asian students studying at private schools in the United States
came from enrollment in religious schools.
Chang Shu (phonetic), from Wuhan, China, is one of 70 Chinese foreign students at Saint Mary's Catholic High School in Medford, Oregon. He says frankly that getting into a top-flight Chinese college is extremely difficult. The college entrance exam is intensively competitive. Saint Mary's Principal Phillips says that Chang Shu is representative of a rather important source of income for the school. Also, the Marvelwood School in Kent, Connecticut, which has a total of 150 students, accepted 30 students from China this year.
Saint Mary's High has several times faced the awkward situation of being unable to pay its debts. To attract foreign students, it took part in the China Education Expo and hired a student selection agency. New student enrollment increased substantially thereafter, helping Saint Mary's out if its financial predicament. Chang Shu is one of those who learned about Saint Mary's at the Education Expo.
Liuzhou Daily News, 2013-01-26, p.4
3. Guangxi Distillery Closes for Reorganization
Pollution Incident had been Exposed Earlier
Local villagers recently reported to the media that the Siyuan Distillery Company, part of [government owned] Guangxi State Farms, was discharging polluted water into the Qian River. Leaders of the Qian River Candy Factory (also part of State Farms), the Siyuan Distillery and the county government took these reports very seriously. Sources say the company has closed for reorganization.
Yesterday an informed administrator at the Siyuan Distillery told reporters that after the report was published, Liang Shenglin, Chairman of the Qian River Candy Factory, immediately called a meeting to decide on measures to correct the situation. He demanded that production continue only after completing a reorganization, and that the person or persons involved in and responsible for leakage in the alcohol fermentation vats, which had been caused by unintentional accident, be dealt with severely. [Fannyi thinks Mr. Liang can look forward to a great future in the bureaucracy.]
Yesterday your reporter went to Siyuan Distillery's No. 5 Biochemical Pond and saw that the water which had been foaming with dense yellow pollution had changed to a blackish color, with the stench greatly lessened. A knowledgeable administrator explained that the distillery has set up an Environmental Incidents Emergency Response Task Force to work at eliminating both the odor and the bacteria in the biochemical ponds. During the process, workers discovered a rather thick stench in Pond Nos. 4, 5 and 6, and thereupon focused their efforts on eliminating the odor in Pond No. 5. The odor in that pond quickly vanished after undergoing the odor elimination procedure.
The waste liquids are being used to irrigate sugar cane. Currently 68 large trucks go back and forth between the biochemical ponds and the sugar cane fields every day, transporting over 1,600 tons of waste water for irrigation, with the transportation costs borne by the distillery. In addition, an environmentally friendly irrigation channel is being dug in the area around the biochemical ponds in order to prevent waste water from leaking out during rainstorms.
On the fifth of this month, Wei Dewu, the County Commisioner of Wuxuan County, brought the leaders of several involved departments to the scene. He requested that the reorganization be completed as quickly as possible and that production then be restored.
Liuzhou Online, 2013-02-07
4. Liuzhou: Kids Looking for Kicks Blow Up Fish Tank
Shop Owner's Loss Severe
This scene played out in the West River Consolidated Distributors Market on West River Road in Liuzhou yesterday morning. Two mischievous kids ignited firecrackers and put them under a vendor's fish tank. The firecrackers blew up the tank and several hundred fish were either killed in the explosion or washed away. It has been learned that the kids' families are temporary residents who have come to Liuzhou for work. The vendor and the kids' parents have entered into an agreement in which the parents accept responsibility for repairing the aquarium and the vendor will not seek compensation for the loss of the ornamental fish.
About 11 a.m. that day, officers from the West River Detachment of the Fish Peak Police Patrol Brigade hurried to the scene after receiving a report. They saw two very frightened boys being held by the Distributors Market security guards. They learned that the two kids, greedy for excitement, had blown up an aquarium in an ornamental fish dealer's shop.
Inside the [open-front shop], it could be seen that a hole had been blown in the bottom of a large fish tank. Ornamental fish were scattered around on the ground. Some had died in the explosion, while others had been washed into a drainage ditch in front of the shop. Only a small number had been saved.
"The Spring Festival [Chinese New Year] is the best time in the ornamental fish business. Consumer demand is high. Getting blown up right now, I'll lose 1,300 Yuan [$210] just in aquarium sales, let alone the fish that were blown up or washed away." The owner, Ms. Wu, seemed very despondent. "The supply of ornamental fish is very tight during Spring Festival," she continued. "It won't be easy to get new stock."
Afterwards the officers summoned the parents of the two kids. In discussions with them the officers learned that Lun and Sheng (not their real names) are living in Little South Village. Both families are temporary residents who have come here for work. Usually the parents are busy working and the kids go all over the place to play with their friends.
At first, under questioning by the officers, the two kids adamantly denied that they were the ones who had blown up the aquarium. However, several members of the public came forward to affirm that it really was they who had done it. An eyewitness stated that the two kids had shoved the firecrackers under the fish tank and then run off. The firecrackers went off right away, so they didn't have a chance to stop it. Finally Lun and Sheng admitted that they had done it because they were looking for kicks.
After mediation by the police, Ms. Wu requested that the children's parents repair the damaged aquarium. She would not seek to hold them responsible for the deaths or losses of ornamental fish caused by the two.
Liuzhou Online, 2013-2-16,
5. Italian Girl Enjoys "Chinese Year" in Liuzhou
Daily Reporter Zhao Bengao
Before getting on a plane to return home on February 16th (lunar calendar January seventh), Miss Mi [Michale Montibelli] phoned her friend in Liuzhou from Beijing. During the call she again thanked her friend for his hospitality over the Spring Festival [Chinese New Year], and said that her experiences during this year's festival will become her fondest memory.
Miss Mi is Italian. She had come to Beijing in June 2012 to take a refresher course in Chinese. Originally she was to finish her studies and return home in February this year, but before returning to Italy, she couldn't put aside one of her greatest hopes, which was to personally experience the Chinese peoples' Spring Festival one time. With help from her friend in Liuzhou, she finally came to our city to celebrate the "Chinese Year".
Feeling the Frustration of Holiday Travel
Miss Mi started her association with the Chinese language while she was still in high school in Italy, and she gradually acquired a deep understanding of Chinese culture. She knew that the Spring Festival is China's grandest holiday, and all along she wanted to see how the Chinese people celebrate it.
So, about a week before the Spring Festival for the Year of the Snake, Miss Mi got in touch with Chen Yaodong, a teacher at Guangxi Institute of Technology [sic: Guangxi University of Science and Technology], expressing her hope to come to Liuzhou to celebrate the holiday with them [sic]. Chen had taught Miss Mi while he was an exchange scholar in Italy, and they had been in touch after she came to study in Beijing.
Chen was excited about having his former student come to town. He warned her to get a train ticket as soon as possible, however, because it's extremely difficult to buy one during the holiday season.
Forewarned, Miss Mi hurried to the train station to buy a ticket, but the dense crowd scared her almost to death. She waited in line a half a day but wasn't able to get a ticket. Some friends suggested that she try to "snatch a ticket" over the phone and online, but, as before, she got no results.
Not yet having experienced the merriment and excitement of the Spring Festival, the first thing she felt was the frustration of trying to buy a train ticket at that time of year. She ended up having to spend a lot of money for an airplane ticket. She got to Liuzhou on the afternoon of the lunar New Year's Eve.
Her First Red Envelope
That evening, Chen Yaodong made a point of taking Miss Mi to the home of a relative here in Liuzhou to partake in a large family's "New Year's Eve dinner", so that she could more vividly experience the "Chinese Year". There were 18 people sitting at a round table for dinner, and the table was covered with all kinds of meat and vegetable dishes. When she saw it, Miss Mi told Chen that she had never seen such a sumptuous banquet, with so many people dining together.
Her favorites at the dinner were the salt-cured pork, sausages and other traditional New Year's dishes. She told everyone that, in the agricultural areas of Italy, there are also many families who will "kill the fatted pig" for a big holiday. They salt and dry whatever pork is left over to enjoy at a later date. But in comparison, Liuzhou's cured pork and sausages taste much better.
As is customary for first-time guests, after the New Year's Eve dinner the older people in the family stuffed [money into] a red envelope to give to Miss Mi. Their actions flabbergasted her. Since she's already an adult [and red envelopes are often given to children], she hadn't expected the oldsters to present her with one.
Miss Mi said that family members in the West will exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, but they don't have the custom of giving money in red envelopes. When she understood the meaning implicit in the gift of "New Year's Money", however, she happily accepted the red envelope.
She also indicated that this was the first red envelope that she had ever received in her life. She would keep it as a memento, and would take it back to Italy so that her friends would be able to have a look at it.
"Chinese Year", Most Exciting!
Regarding the Spring Festival, the bustling activity made the biggest impression on Miss Mi. During her time in Liuzhou, she kept saying to her friend, "Chinese Year, Most Exciting."
As to why she thought the "Chinese Year" was so exciting, it was not only because of the family dinner and meeting so many people while having a good time, but also because the firecrackers going off all over the place added an air of excitement to the holiday in Miss Mi's mind.
Walking around town with her friend, Miss Mi was especially thrilled whenever she saw local
residents lighting fireworks or firecrackers. She even wanted a souvenir picture taken of her with
the remnants of firecrackers that had been set off. But when somebody brought out firecrackers
to let her give it a try, she wouldn't go near them.
Miss Mi said firecrackers and fireworks are rare in Italy. That's why seeing them felt so novel
for her. Also, the sound of fireworks and firecrackers going off is beautiful and fills the holiday
with a festive complexion.
But once she understood that setting off fireworks and firecrackers pollutes the atmosphere, Souvenir picture of Miss Mi with
Miss Mi stated that the foggy weather in north China is unbearable. It would be preferable for the a floor-full of firecracker
people of Liuzhou to give up the glitter of fireworks and firecrackers and preserve a favorable remnants. Photo furnished by
The few short days of her "China Year" experience went by fast, but will long remain in her
heart. Before she left she told her friend that, if she has the chance, she will certainly return to China to celebrate another New Year.
South China Daily, 2013-02-18
See follow-up story below
[Correspondence received in English by Chinese-Stories-English.com]
I am writing with reference to a News Story entitled "Italian Girl" published in February 2013. I was really pleased to read the article because as Coordinator of International Projects at an Italian high school I organized Mr Yaodong Chen's visit to Italy and his course in Chinese Language and Culture in March 2006. I am attaching an article published in a local newspaper at the time and you will find its translation at the end of my email. In the article picture I am on the left hand side next to Mr Chen, in the centre there is a group of students and on the right hand side you can see Michela Montibelli and a clerk of a local textile company (the course was open to anyone in the area interested in the Chinese Language and Culture).
Michela Montibelli (known as Xiao Mi in China) was in her last year at high school and got so fascinated by Mr Chen's course and the charm of Chinese Language and Culture that she decided to major in Chinese at university. She did very well and graduated with first-class honours. After a short internship at a leather tanning company she left for Beijing to take an advanced course at Renmin University of China before getting employed as a full-time interpreter by the same company in order to forge stronger business links with China. I informed Mr Chen of Xiao Mi's course in Beijing and he immediately contacted her and invited her over to Liuzhou for the New Year celebrations.
This is the prequel to your news story.
As for the sequel, Xiao Mi really enjoyed her stay in Liuzhou and, back in Italy, immediately told me about all her unforgettable, enriching experiences in the months spent in China and her exciting trip to Liuzhou. She also gave me a present from Mr Chen: a beautiful box with a selection of Yunnan Pu-erh, Green and Black teas. I thanked Mr Chen for the lovely present and asked him what to send from Italy. I was about to pack some typical Italian products (like espresso coffee and pasta) when he wrote me that his most heartfelt wish was a Venetian cat mask. I live far away from Venice and cat masks cannot be found in this area, but I really wanted to fulfill his wish and did my best to get a nice, authentic cat mask for him. Despite some hitches and glitches I managed to contact Roberta Carraro, a Venetian artist. Mrs Carraro made a customized cat mask according to Mr Chen's tastes and I was so impressed by her talent and honesty that, after receiving the mask, I told her to write an article about her passion and the special relationship between Venice and China…[See Venetian Masks.]
P.C. International Student Advisor, Italy
Last week the Chinese course organized by Liceo Scientifico "G.Ferrari" came to an end.
The course was taught by Prof. Yaodong Chen, who teaches English at Guangxi University of Technology in Liuzhou. The numerous course takers really enjoyed Prof. Chen's lessons, his amazing in-depth knowledge of the Chinese language and his captivating way to involve learners in using innovative ICT techniques and developing online communication.
After taking his degree in English, Prof. Chen spent a year as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. During his teaching career he has published many interesting studies on Multimedia & English teaching methods besides becoming a leading expert in online collaborative projects and setting up effective partnerships with schools in countries all over the world, including Italy. The course was taught in English and was open to students as well as to everybody
interested in the Chinese language and people working for
companies with business contacts in China.
It was a unique opportunity to learn one of the most
fascinating languages in the world, approach its rich history
and culture and get an outlook of modern Chinese society.
In fact, the course did not have only linguistic purposes, but
it also aimed to give an insight into alluring Chinese traditions
and customs and what Italy shares with China. All in all, a
golden chance to go beyond our national borders and
explore new horizons.
During the course Prof. Chen gave his students a list of
useful websites to improve their knowledge of Chinese at
individual level and warmly invited them to keep in close
touch and continue their study of his language.
The course organizers express their thanks to Comunità Montana Valsesia for sponsoring the highly educational event....
6. Drunk Doesn't Get Discount, Blows Top, Grabs Knife
Others Flee in Fear, "Mr. Cool" Pays the Price
Reporter Li Lan, Correspondent Yan Keming
Dispatch to the Evening News – One needs to keep a cool head, but it's not necessarily a good thing to stay too cool.
On the evening of the 23rd, While Mr. Bi was eating at a restaurant on North Sparrow Road, he encountered a drunk who was thundering about a discount on his check. He had even drawn a knife. The other customers and the wait staff had all run off in fright, but Mr. Bi sat there cool and collected because he believed that the dispute didn't concern him. And then the drunk focused on him….
On the evening of the 23rd, Mr. Chen invited a group of friends out for dinner and drinks. A server brought the bill after the meal: "800 Yuan [≈$129] total."
Mr. Chen was already tipsy. After he heard the server announce the total, he asked for a discount. When the server didn't agree, Mr. Chen suddenly exploded and started breaking things.
Seeing that the man was drunk, the server ignored him and quietly left the room. But Mr. Chen wouldn't give up. He broke away from his wife and rushed into the kitchen. He came out holding a knife he'd found in the kitchen, causing people in the dining area to run in freight.
Servers and guests alike fled in fear of being accidently injured. Only one customer, Mr. Bi, stayed where he was.
Why was he so calm? It turns out that he felt the incident had nothing to do with him. He thought Mr. Chen wouldn't bother him. He thought wrong.
In the state he was in at the time, with the alcohol gone to his head, Mr. Chen was looking for someone to take it out on. When he saw everyone else had run away, he went straight for "Mr. Cool" who was just sitting there.
When he saw the guy rushing at him without regard to the rights and wrongs of the situation, Mr. Bi couldn't stay seated any longer. Mr. Chen chased after him, and Mr. Bi ran all around the place trying to get away.
Officers of the Yellow Village Police Affairs Station who received the report rushed to the scene. When they arrived, Mr. Chen was being held from behind by his wife. The knife had already been taken from his hand. Mrs. Chen heaved a sigh of relief when she saw the officers, and let loose of her husband.
What nobody expected was that Mr. Chen, who was only half-conscious, didn't calm down with the arrival of the police. As soon as his wife let him go, he exploded without warning, rushed over to Mr. Bi and began raining blows on him.
The officers got control of Mr. Chen right away. They questioned both sides to get an understanding of the situation. Fortunately, although Mr. Chen was very drunk, Mrs. Chen was quite reasonable. She agreed to compensate Mr. Bi on behalf of her husband, who had caused the trouble.
Liuzhou Evening News, 2013-01-28, p. 8
7. Steel Pipe Drops, Injures Worker
Worksite in Community on Dragon Village Road
Man Seriously Injured
Reporter Zheng Kai, Dispatch to the Evening News
An accident occurred yesterday afternoon below Building 7 under construction in a certain community on Dragon Village Road. A section of 5-cm steel scaffolding pipe over one meter long came loose and is believed to have dropped 20 meters to the ground. It struck a workman, knocking him flat.
Your reporter rushed to the scene shortly after 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon and saw personnel from the 120 Medical Emergency Center lift a man into an ambulance and take him to the hospital for treatment. Ms. Li, a co-worker of the injured man, said that his name is Wei. He is 45 and is responsible for materials transportation at the site. When the incident occurred, Mr. Wei was delivering bricks. As he was pushing his wheelbarrow below the building, he was suddenly struck by a steel pipe falling from above. When they heard the noise and turned to look, Mr. Wei had already fallen to the ground.
Where had the pipe fallen from? Nobody at the scene saw it. A responsible party indicated that there would be further investigation.
Your reporter later went to the West Campus of the Workers Hospital in the city and learned that the steel pipe had struck Mr. Wei's right shoulder blade, breaking the scapula and tearing the lung. He has been transferred to the main hospital on Liushi Road for treatment.
(Miss Ji, a contributor to this report, received a 30 Yuan [≈$4.80] award)
Liuzhou Evening News, 2012-12-24, p. 3
8. Love Not Recognized By Law Should Still Be Respected
On January 30th, in the Pinggu District of Beijing, two
older male homosexual lovers held a "wedding ceremony"
witnessed by their supporters. They said in a micro blog
that their emotions were running high and they were
extremely nervous the first day. The news immediately
initiated an intense debate in Chinese society as soon as
the story broke.
By way of background, one of the two is a retired
teacher; the other delivers bottled water and often came to
the teacher's house to make deliveries. Over time, the two
grew to care for each other. They are called "Little Treasure"
and "Big Treasure." They love each other, but their The Scene at Big Treasure's and Little Treasure's Wedding
relationship faces a huge obstacle.
Very few people support them, except for a couple of friends. One of them has a son who won't even speak to him. In spite of this, the two set a wedding date for the end of January. They also circulated the content of the ceremony on a micro blog, hoping that web users from all over the world would "congratulate us." They wrote on the micro blog: "We determined that not even death would separate us. No matter how difficult or painful, we've got to make a stand."
According to [Spain's] EFE News Agency, Beijing LGBT Center Advisor Steven Lionelli (spelling uncertain) praises the "extraordinary courage" of same-sex couples. "Especially under the background of Chinese culture, it is very difficult for (homosexual) youths to openly express their sexual orientation."
Ma Xiaonian of the Sexology Department in the Yuquan Hospital at Beijing's Qinghua University believes "homosexuality is a normal phenomenon." If both parties are single and willing to be open about their private lives, their decision should be respected.
In pre-2001 China, homosexuality was always defined as a mental illness by the legal profession, but today that's a major taboo. Statistics show that homosexuals in today's China total almost 30,000,000. Due to family pressure, male homosexuals are married to over 16,000,000 women.
With the passage of time the term "homosexual" is slowly becoming more acceptable in this country, but it still cannot obtain the approval of the bulk of the population. In recent years, however, a significant number of homosexuals have stood up to huge social pressure and walked down the aisle. They set up a home for the sake of love even though they do not get legal protection.
And globally, it's not that all countries are able to recognize homosexuals. Only a small number of countries legally recognize homosexuality. The European country Denmark was the first to recognize the legal position of homosexual partners living together. Thereafter Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Holland and other countries passed relevant laws to protect the rights of homosexual partners.
Within China, homosexual partners took wedding photos and held a wedding in Guangzhou last year. They were congratulated by their friends. Although they couldn't get a legally recognized marriage license, in any event they had the courage to face their true love. Even the co-founder of Facebook held a wedding with his homosexual lover, also last year.
But the pressures put on society by homosexuality are also increasing. This is because it creates an increasing gap of "leftover women," , even though the proportion of homosexuals isn't significant compared with China's 1.3 billion population.
The Brokeback [Mountain] habit has existed since earliest times in our country. The Dragon Gentlemen are the most famous of Brokebakers in our country's ancient past. Moreover, in ancient times there were usually moneyed people who would cultivate young boys as their personal playthings, which is also a manifestation of homosexuality.
Although not everyone approves of homosexuality, everyone has their own preferences. Like they say, "radishes or cabbage, to each his own." And who decided that love can only occur between heterosexuals? Those who hope to keep company with homosexual friends, respecting people means giving them your blessing and not pointing finger of blame. Of course, this essay really isn't intended as an unbridled promotion of homosexuality. We just don't want homosexuals to have to bear excessive pressures.
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1. Man Poisoned Burning Charcoal at Home
2. Chinese Students Rescue U.S. Schools
3. Guangxi Distillery Closes for Reorganization
4. Liuzhou: Kids Blow Up Fish Tank for Kicks
5. Italian Girl Enjoys Year in Liuzhou
6. Drunk Blows Top, Grabs Knife
7. Steel Pipe Drops, Injures Worker
8. Same Sex Love Should Be Respected
News Translations Published in February 2013