Catching Up

…aaaand we’re back. Having been strangely disconnected but also overly wired during the recent Global Voices Summit in Santiago de Chile, the jetlag from my 33-hour journey has passed and the waves of information I received have settled. So, while I still may be catching up with what’s shaking, …in Shanghai is no longer dormant. Below are a just a few fruits of my ‘labour’.
  • The Taixing kindergarten attacker, Xu Yuyuan, was found guilty of intentional homicide and sentenced to death after a half-day open trial on Sunday. Xu’s attack injured 29 children and three teachers, but killed no-one. He admitted to the court his motive was to vent his rage against Chinese society.
  • Reuters has also reported that six Chinese women were injured in a cleaver attack at a market in Foshan, Guangdong on Sunday. Their attacker then killed himself by jumping from a building. None of the victims died.
  • This post by Andrew Browne at the WSJ’s China Real Time Report draws parallels between Thailand and China’s social polarisation. The current turmoil in Bangkok resonates also in Beijing, Browne says, with China’s leaders fearing similar actions that could threaten social and government stability and entrench China’s societal divides.
  • The Guardian and The Telegraph have both looked into the pressures of working life and vulnerability of the young employees at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant, where seven suicides among workers aged between 18 and 24 have recently occurred. Reasons offered to understand the spate range from the extreme pressures factory workers are under to a lack the resilience amongst younger generations to cope with them.
  • Gome Electronic tycoon Huang Guangyu was today sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for insider trading and other offences. Having been detained in November 2008, he had reportedly been accused of manipulating share prices.
  • China Daily has reported that loopholes in the country’s tax system is widening the already grave income gap. Following an investigation carried out in Anhui, Liaoning and Hunan, small- and medium-sized enterprises were found to be struggling with heavy tax burdens, which larger companies have become more adept at evading.
  • Finally, the BBC World Service has begun a documentary series on soft power with an episode on China. To listen, click here.