Around Town

Your news round-up for the month of August

Keeping You On Track

Local exit-entry authorities are fast tracking custom formalities for certain groups of people, hopefully speeding up the process for all. Foreigners who have Chinese permanent residence cards and their passports can passthrough the customs border unattended, using a machine that can identify fingerprints. Other groups of travellers who will also be able to pass through customs without the manual procedure are Chinese citizens holding a new passport with digitalised fingerprint information, Taiwanese with a pass to enter the Mainland several times for more than one year and airline crew.

Cool Summer

This summer appears to be the coolest in Shanghai since 2000. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, last month marked the end of snafu, three periods forming the hottest period of the summer, but Shanghai has seen only eight high temperature days (higher than 35°C), which is four less days than the annual average. Last year, the city saw 47 high temperature days. The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau has explained that subtropical high pressure has been too weak to control the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River this summer. Furthermore, cold air from the north, heavier rainfall and more typhoons moving northward also kept the temperature down.

Healthier City

Pollution levels in Shanghai are falling. According to the city’s green watchdog, in the first seven months of 2014, there was a ten per cent fall in the level of PM2.5 pollutant particles compared to the same period last year. However, it is still important to take into account that the level is still 60 per cent higher than the national standard for air pollutants. The average level of PM2.5 particles up until July this year was 56 micrograms per cubic meter, where as the national standard for an acceptable level is 35mg. Remember, it still important to take precautionary measures in the city such as using air purifiers in the home and wearing effective air pollutant masks when outside.

Chan’s Humiliation

Chan junior’s own personal shame has been splashed across the Chinese media recently and extra salt was added to the wound last month when advertisements featuring Jaycee Chan, the son of film star Jackie Chan, were removed from the Shanghai Metro network. The public service announcements promoting blood donation were removed as a result of complaints from commuters who believed that it was unsuitable for his image to be shown in public after being detained, along with Taiwan movie star Kai Ko, for testing positive to marijuana usage.

Yao Ming Expresses His Opinion

At a Harvard College Association for US-China Relations, Yao Ming told top Chinese High School students to express their own opinions, think independently and have the courage to challenge authority. He claimed that the biggest cultural difference between China and the US was that Chinese people do not tend to express their views as openly. He shared anecdotes from his time on the Houston Rockets when he used to be blamed for not contributing to the team because he would only give restrained opinions so as not to hurt anybody.