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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: September 22, 2008 No.39 SEP.25, 2008

‘Mr. Safety' Takes Over Shanxi

Wang Jun, China's top work safety regulator, was appointed acting governor of Shanxi Province, on September 14. He replaced Meng Xuenong, who resigned the same day to take accountability for the deadliest mine disaster in the country this year.

Until September 17, some 260 people had been confirmed dead in a mudslide in Xiangfen County, which was caused by the collapse of a retaining wall enclosing tons of liquid iron-ore waste from unlicensed Tashan Mine. Initial investigations blamed it on an ignorance of safety procedures.

Along with Meng's resignation, Vice Governor Zhang Jianmin was removed from his post and two county heads of Linfen were suspended from duty.

Wang, a 56-year-old Shanxi native, served as minister of the State Administration of Work Safety from March 2008. He worked in the coal industry in 1974-99 and was promoted from a coalminer to deputy director of the National Bureau of Coal Industry in that time. He then held senior leading posts in central China's Jiangxi Province and the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives.

Shanxi, abundant in coal, is one of China's regions that are worst hit by ongoing mining disasters due to rampant illegal operations. Wang is expected to solve the longstanding problems with an iron fist.

Anything Is Possible

The 30-year-old Li Duan has a clearly divided two-phase sports career. Before 18, he was a promising basketball player and winner of a national youth slam-dunk competition. But, after the explosion of a fire extinguisher unexpectedly deprived him of his eyesight in 1996, he turned to athletics to continue his love of sports.

In the Beijing Paralympic Games, the triple-Paralympian defended his titles in the triple jump and long jump F11 classification events. He also repeated his record-smashing performance in Athens four years ago by setting a new world record in triple jump without any visual sensibility with 13.71 meters.

Li said it's a pity that he failed to beat the long jump world record (6.67 meters) by only 7 cm. He hopes to fulfill his quest in London in 2012, though at that time he is surely to face greater physical challenges.

Li also has an ambitious dream to establish a rehabilitation center for the thousands of disabled survivors of the May 12 earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the worst in the country in more than 50 years. For this purpose, he plans to auction two of his four Paralympic gold medals in the near future.

Swimming Legend Retires

Armless swimmer He Junquan had hoped that his last Paralympics before retirement would bring a haul of gold medals. But the quadruple Paralympic champion in Athens four years ago had to be content with only one gold medal in the men's 4x50 meters freestyle 20 pts relay, failing to win in any of the four individual events he competed in.

He didn't feel disappointed. "It's more significant that I swam faster in all Beijing's competitions than I did four years ago," he told reporters.

The 30-year-old can of course take pride in his achievements.

He's two arms were amputated after he received an electric shock at 3. Despite this, he rose to become one of China's most successful disabled swimmers through painstaking training. His signature movement is to touch the side of the pool with his head when finishing a competition.

At his Paralympic debut in Sydney, He won one gold medal. In Athens, three of his four gold medals were secured in world record time. The Beijing Games saw He set a new world record in the 50 meters backstroke in the preliminary competition.

"I sincerely hope that member states will learn and China will be able to share their experience."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, lauding China for "good examples" in economic development at a press conference at the UN Headquarters on September 12

"China attaches great importance to the Doha Round because its success will contribute to even fairer and more rational rules for international trade over the next decade or two. It will also create a more stable international environment essential to all members, which will help especially the large number of developing members to develop their economies."

Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, in his article "Don't Abandon the Doha Round" that was published in Business Week magazine on September 15

"Divisions belong to the past."

Newly appointed Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, after the former opposition leader signed a power-sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe in Harare on September 15

"Today there are no ideological contradictions. There is no basis for a Cold War. There is no basis for mutual animosity...Russia has no imperialist ambitions."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, talking to the media at a three-hour lunch briefing at his retreat in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on September 12

"No, I think it's less than 50 percent."

Former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, answering a question about whether the United States had a greater-than-50-percent chance of escaping a recession caused by the spreading financial crisis on ABC's "This Week" on September 14

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