Over 1,000 prisoners from the Meishan and Xingwen prisons were relocated to a new facility about 40 kilometers away late last month. Conditions at the new Meizhou prison are reported to be much better than those at the previous two. Facilities include a medical center and psychological counseling rooms. More photos of the movement can be seen here.
During the mass movement before and after Spring Festival, buying a train ticket to travel anywhere outside of Sichuan can be extremely difficult. Amid the rush, a number of previously decommissioned "ultra long-distance" bus lines reopened to reduce the pressure on railways.
Two bus passengers were killed and 20 wounded in an accident on the Guang'an-Chongqing High Speed road on February 15.
A pair of graduates from Sichuan Agricultural University recently made RMB 60,000 in five days by feeding and selling pheasants.
Over 791,800 tourists visited the 57 official tourist attractions in Chengdu during "Golden Week," the seven-day holiday for Spring Festival.
Culture and Society
Demand for car-wash services exploded during the Spring Festival holiday this year. On the last day of the holiday, waiting lists grew so long that some drivers waited as long as two days to have their cars washed.
Last Friday, a police convoy escorted an extremely rare orchid from Xichang to Chengdu for the West Shu Orchid Expo. The flower's owner, Chen Jiwu, claimed the orchid to be worth more than RMB10 million.
Speaking of distinguished escorts, a live tiger was seen walking down the street in Jinsha on the second day of the Lunar New Year (February 15). The tiger was part of the annual Sun Festival parade and was led by a troupe of Russian actors and actresses. According to Chinese tradition, it is considered good luck to see a healthy and energetic tiger this year.
The Jinjiang District Tourist Agency has shut down the picnic tables at Tazishan Park on the grounds that pollution from the fire pits affects air quality. The area had already been closed twice before Spring Festival, but this time it may be permanent. The park manager, however, has argued that the charcoal and solid alcohol fuels used by most picnickers have a negligible impact on the air.
The 2010 Lantern Festival Commodities Trade Fair of Chengdu opened on February 19 in the Shawan Exhibition Center. Apparently, the most exciting part of the fair was free tasting of tangyuan—the glutinous rice flour balls traditionally eaten during the Lantern Festival—of which 100,000 were given out. The following day, the organizer held a "Family Tangyuan-making Contest."
An exhibition of precious stones known as "Wonder Stones" was held on February 16 in Yibin. The "Wonder Stones" are reported to have come from the area where the Minjiang River drains into the Jinsha River. Of all the stones on display, the most prominent was the "Peach of Longevity."
Speaking of peaches, the Chengdu International Peach Blossom Festival will open on March 18 in Longquan.
Construction and Development
In honor of this year's Lantern Festival, the Chengdu government has instituted a new code regulating the release of the traditional Kongming lanterns. Anyone releasing the lanterns within an airport clearance area will be fined RMB 100,000.
Stairways to Heaven: A second batch of pedestrian overpasses is set to be finished on March 10, with a third batch over the Second Ring Road to be completed sometime afterward. Free tip: invest in good walking shoes and a lightweight bicycle.
The city is planning to build a new park, Chenghua Park, next to the Chengdu University of Technology Dinosaur Museum. The park is scheduled to open in September, raptors notwithstanding.
To ease Chengdu's ongoing drought—said to be the worst of the past five decades—the government employed rain-inducing techniques last Monday.
Compiled by Chih Tseng and Isaac Myers
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