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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: August 10, 2009 NO. 32 AUGUST 13, 2009

Ailing Worker Defends Rights

Zhang Haichao, one of China's more than 600,000 sufferers of pneumoconiosis (an occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust), has resorted to extreme measures to make his condition known to the public.

Zhang, a 28-year-old migrant worker from central China's Henan Province, underwent a biopsy in June to prove he was suffering from the disease after having worked at a local brick factory for three years until 2007.

According to Chinese laws, sufferers of occupational diseases are entitled to compensation and those who are exposed to the risk of occupational diseases are also entitled to subsidies.

However, Zhang failed to receive compensation from his former employer because the Henan Occupational Disease Prevention Institute had never confirmed his disease. In order to justify his claim, Zhang finally decided to go under the knife.

Media exposure of the surgery immediately drew public concern and prompted a government-led probe. After medical experts confirmed Zhang's disease as an occupational injury on July 27, the Henan local government sacked two officials involved, and also suspended a third official and three doctors for dereliction of duty.

First Female Division Commander

Cheng Xiaojian, a veteran pilot, has recently been appointed a division commander of the Chinese armed forces.

According to national TV broadcaster CCTV, Senior Colonel Cheng now commands an airlift division based at Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Cheng, 46, joined the Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in 1981 as a trainee pilot. She is one of the country's fifth-generation female pilots. In the past 28 years, Cheng has flown six types of warplanes logging up more than 3,240 hours.

After an 8.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan last May, Cheng was assigned to direct the airlift of emergency relief supplies for affected areas. She successfully performed the mission.

Swimming Into History

Zhang Lin now ranks among China's greatest athletes after he won the country's first ever men's gold medal at a major international swimming competition.

Zhang beat Australian swim sensation Grant Hackett to take first prize in the men's 800-meter freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in Rome, on July 29. His world-record-breaking speed, which was 6.5 seconds faster than the previous mark of 7:38.65, added to his achievement. Before that, he clinched a bronze meal in the men's 400-meter freestyle on July 27.

The 22-year-old Zhang began his swimming career at 6. After being recruited in the national swimming team in 2002, he rose to be one of China's fastest freestyle swimmers.

Last August, Zhang became the first male Chinese Olympic swimming medalist at the Beijing Games. He took a silver medal in the men's 400-meter freestyle with 3:52.44.

Since late 2007, Zhang has been coached by Denis Cotterell, who is the former coach of Hackett.

"There will be no major breakthrough with his trip alone but I believe it will provide a fresh momentum for nuclear disarmament talks."

Kim Yong Hyun, a North Korean professor at Dongguk University of South Korea, saying that former U.S. Bill President Clinton's visit to Pyongyang to free two U.S. journalists may signal warmer relations between the longtime foes

"Democracy might be regarded as desirable during takeoff but in practice it has not proved to be a realistic option for most countries. If we choose to ignore this historical context, we stand guilty of being hypocrites: requiring of others what we did not practice ourselves."

Martin Jacques, a columnist with British newspaper Guardian, in his commentary "Don't Judge China by Our Standards"

"Waiting for the [global financial] crisis to disappear to conclude the Doha Round would mean depriving the world economy of a powerful engine for recovery."

Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization, calling for a swift conclusion to a new world trade pact in an interview with the Indian newspaper Business Standard

"Just as we affirm our endorsement of the option of peace, we maintain our right to resort to legitimate resistance as guaranteed by international law."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in his policy speech at the first General Assembly of the Fatah party in 20 years in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on August 4

"We were under fire from the start. The ayatollahs of the Lisbon Treaty in Brussels and Paris wanted us to fail in order to prove their argument that the rotating EU presidency didn't work and that the EU couldn't function without a new treaty."

Alexandr Vondra, former Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs. The Czech Republic held the EU rotating presidency in the first half of 2009

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