Wanton tree destruction in Ningbo and other stories from China’s front pages today

When a user snapped and posted on Weibo a picture of trees mysteriously uprooted on a road in Ningbo and then left there to die, a journalist picked it up and decided to investigate. What he found was no massive corruption scandal, flagrant malfeasance or incompetence; just bad management and professional neglect that left all the many trees over a ten kilometer stretch of road uprooted, and slowly dying in the open, one by one.

Also, we mention a few other stories from China’s newspaper front pages today:

  • From Beijing Morning Post (北京晨报): The first job fair in Beijing in two years at which 43,000 graduates turned up with only 18,000 jobs on offer
  • From the Henan Business Daily (河南商报): China’s first female astronaut returns to her home in Henan saying she feels “warm inside”
  • From Modern Evening Times (新晚报): A girl with a master’s degree takes a job as a street cleaner in Harbin and says she “likes it just fine”, and
  • From Yangzi Evening News (扬子晚报): Do we eat 60 tons of food in an individual lifetime, or just nine?

A few days ago a Weibo user (@唯唯丹丹) posted a picture on Weibo of a road in Cixi county (慈溪市) in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, showing some trees on the median strip that had been uprooted and piled up unceremoniously and then left there, for four days and counting. So yesterday a journalist from Contemporary Gold (现代金报), a paper from Zhejiang province, decided to investigate and was greatly surprised to find that all the trees of a full ten kilometers of the road in question had been uprooted. Some of the trees, he noted, had already died.

When the journalist walked along the 10 kilometer stretch of road, some of the workers there asked him if he wanted to buy any of the trees. They were selling for 200 kuai per tree. The journalist was not impressed with this scene of wanton tree destruction, and turned his back to leave. Just as he did so, however, he saw someone approach on an electric bike and grab some of the saplings before speeding off. Seeing this, the journalist used a Chinese traditional saying (成语) to express his disgust: 顺手牵羊 (to lead away a goat in passing, i.e. to take advantage of a crisis for personal gain).

The journalist then made contact with the Cixi transport office, and ascertained that a new overpass was to be built on the road, and hence the trees were uprooted to be planted elsewhere. Yet why, the journalist wondered, had the trees been uprooted in the middle of winter and then left to die on their own? (自生自灭). No-one at the office could give him a satisfactory answer, so he persevered and eventually got to speak to a certain Mr Sun (孙), a director, who assured him that they were aware of the issue with the uprooted trees. Yet the problem, Mr Sun explained, was that the area where the trees were to be transplanted to had seen a lot of snow and conditions were not suitable for the transplanting at present. At the end, Mr Sun acknowledged that his department was not fully in control of the situation, and would hurriedly get a grip.

Perhaps a few of the trees were still alive, in any case.


Here’s a few other delightful stories that’s making front page headlines from around China today:

  • As the Beijing Morning Post (北京晨报) reports today, the first job fair in two years took place in Beijing yesterday, and the turnout was just as overcrowded as had become the norm in previous years. Around 43,000 graduates turned up to vie for the around 18,000 available jobs
  • On the front page of the Henan Business Daily (河南商报) today, China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang (刘洋) returned to her home town of Zhengzhou in Henan province, saying she felt “warm inside
  • The Modern Evening Times (新晚报) from Heilongjiang province reports today that a girl with a master’s degree has taken up a job of street cleaner in Harbin and “likes it just fine”, and wants to keep doing it
  • The Yangzi Evening News (扬子晚报) from Jiangsu province today has a front page feature discussing whether humans eat 60 tons of food in an individual lifetime, as certain “experts” have stated, or only nine tons, as the talk on Weibo has it, with the caveat that whoever finishes his/her nine tons first will also pass away first


Links and sources
Contemporary Gold (现代金报): 近十公里绿化树被连根挖起, 工人向记者兜售:200元一棵要不要

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