Usually satisfied with the occasional odd bit of news from Japan, on Sunday my thoughts went tripping off to China, led by a snatch of quirky tabloid reporting from the backroads of beyond. One link led to another and for a while I bounced from restaurants to babies to creepy crawlies and back again to food and restaurants. Really, some of the tidbits below are not offbeat by any means, merely facts about China not always right out front in the news.
There are more CELL PHONES in China than there are PEOPLE in the US—twice as many, to be exact. In late August, Reuters reported that there were 794.7 million cell phone subscribers in China, a number almost 2.5 times the size of the entire US population. Yet, cell phone subscribers make up only 61 percent of the country’s total population. China Mobile is the world’s largest cellular service provider, with a total of 558.9 million subscribers.
China is packed with Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. In 2009 Yum! Brands, an American company that owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, A&W and WingStreet opened more than 500 new restaurants in China. KFC is the big winner with over 3,000 restaurants currently on the mainland. Yum! claims that it opens nearly one new KFC in mainland China every day. In China, McDonald’s lags far behind Colonel Sanders and his crispy chicken.
Restaurants in Guangdong Province are well known for serving dishes of exotic creatures like snakes, insects and cats. Earlier this week three gentlemen sat and discussed their business over a Chinese delicacy, a dish of boiled cat meat stew and herbs. One of the businessmen was 49 year-old billionaire Long Liyuan. He unfortunately didn’t survive to rehash what transpired at the meeting as he was murdered in cold blood by his business partners. Police described it as a well planned and executed murder, the other two businessmen having laced the pot of stew with dangerous herbs. All three of the men ‘enjoyed’ the stew, but the billionaire consumed more than his two business partners. All three became ill, but with double portions, Long Liyuan didn’t make it.
Over 75 percent of the Chinese population supports the government’s “one-child” policy. Even though its workforce has been able to produce stunning results over the past two decades, the Chinese government seeks to restrict population growth through the one-child policy. This prohibits many Chinese families from having more than one child. Though it sounds oppressive, according to a study by the Pew Research Center the policy is supported by a large majority of the Chinese population…
…With the aid of fertility drugs a young ‘Octomom’ in China has become the proud mother of eight beautiful newborns. The case is raising quite a few eyebrows with authorities not only because of the fertility drugs used, but the use as well of two surrogate mothers. In a country where one child is the norm and the law, many Chinese are shocked that the couple spent approximately $160,000 to have the eight children. Much of the outrage is directed at the split between the wealthy, who can afford such a procedure and seemingly do as they please, and the middle and lower classes. However, the case has also drawn attention to strict laws concerning family planning and birth. Despite legal problems, the ELEVEN nannies hired by the parents are having a good time with the eight babies.
Residents of an apartment complex in Shenzen, China, an area bordering Hong Kong, woke to find hundreds of scorpions invading their homes and covering their floors. In the case of one hysterical tenant, a scorpion crawling over his body awakened him. When he turned on the light, he found many, many more, creeping and crawling all over his bedroom and bedclothes. Tenants of the building believe that a real estate developer pushing for forced evictions is behind the invasion of over 100 POUNDS of living, stinging scorpions. Residents reported that a man carrying a large bucket was seen walking from the building’s development office and dumping the contents into open apartment windows. The company is trying to evict residents in favor of a more profitable construction project. Denying the allegations, the company says their deal was sealed with the construction company and there is no need to force evictions. The apartments in question are slated for demolition, but homeowners have not yet signed any papers as they are awaiting compensation settlements. Police and residents spent twenty-four hours hunting down the scorpions and removing them from homes.