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Rural Chinese school 'demolished for $1.6 bn resort'
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 04, 2013

A rural Chinese primary school built using charity money has been torn down to make way for a sprawling, $1.6 billion "international resort", Chinese media reported Monday, provoking outrage online.

The school, which mainly served children from farming families in Yanling county in central China's Hunan province, was torn down less than two years after it was built, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The 900,000 yuan ($150,000) cost of construction had been funded by Project Hope, a charity group that promotes educational projects in poverty-stricken parts of China.

It had 28 students and they were now studying in prefabricated buildings within sight of the rubble of their former classrooms, the newspaper said.

The newspaper quoted Yanling county officials as saying the site will soon be home to the "Shennong Valley International Cultural Tourism Resort" a project with an estimated price tag of 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion).

According to earlier state media reports, the "high-end cultural tourism" project includes health and fitness facilities, a museum and an "original ecological hotel".

Internet users condemned the project.

"Hope gives way to demolition, education gives way to corruption," wrote one user.

"Why was it necessary to demolish a school that was beloved by ordinary people?" wrote another. "Development of tourism and stimulation of the economy is fine, but by all means, don't get rid of 'Hope'!"

China Olympic swim champion sorry for driving offence
Beijing (AFP) Nov 04, 2013 - China's Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang apologised Monday for driving without a licence after a Porsche Cayenne he was steering was in collision with a bus.

Sun, a huge star in China after winning the 400m and 1500m freestyle golds at London 2012, admitted the offence in a post on his verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Reports said the white luxury vehicle he was driving -- which he said was borrowed from a relative -- was rear-ended by a bus in the eastern city of Hangzhou, but Internet users reacted angrily.

"The incident has caused enormous impact on society and the public," said Sun's post. "I'm deeply sorry and will reflect profoundly on it."

The 21-year-old added that the "mistake" was due to his "meagre knowledge of the law" because he had been "busy with training".

But his apology provoked a furious response, with Chinese Internet users blasting his behaviour as endangering others' lives, and him for trying to underplay its seriousness.

"As a public figure, how dare he to beg for forgiveness after making such a wilful mistake by treating other people's lives as a joke?" wrote one Sina Weibo user.

Other users pointed out that it was "common sense" that driving without a licence was illegal.

"Did you only get a diploma from a kindergarten? Even primary school students know that you need to have a licence to drive a car," said a poster with the username Expired Yogurt.

Sun faces a fine of between 200 and 2,000 yuan ($33 to $330) and could be sentenced to up to 15 days detention, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Driving rules and traffic laws are widely flouted in China, where violations of the rules of the road by the rich or powerful are particularly sensitive.


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