An RMB 60 million facility for training captive giant pandas to survive in the wild will begin construction in Dujiangyan before the month is out. When construction finishes in three to five years, the facility will cover more than 2,000 mu of land, most of which will be woodland. The training program lasts between 15 and 30 years, and involves three primary stages of ever-increasing wildness. Another program with the same intent but a much shorter timeline was begun in 2003, but stopped when one ill-prepared panda, Xiang Xiang, died after being released.
Superhumans! Next time you are tempted to use your powers for evil, think again! Police in Chengdu arrested a man for stealing nearly RMB200,000 over the past two years by using his savant-like memory to build up a mental list of credit card numbers. Yin Zhao, 27, was sentenced to five years in prison. "It was so easy I just couldn't stop," he said.
What better (worse) way to end one of the worst droughts in recent history than with sudden, catastrophic flooding? Floods all over southern China have killed at least 115 people, caused 685,000 people to evacuate their homes, and destroyed 78,000 houses. Sichuan is among 13 provinces affected by the flooding. The government has allocated emergency funds in some areas.
In case you haven't heard, the party chief of Sichuan Province, Liu Qibao, is visiting Taiwan this week to discuss economic and cultural cooperation. Another purpose of the trip is to express thanks to Taiwan for its assistance after the 2008 earthquake.
And if that didn't convince you that the fun times never cease, Hong Kong Disneyland is setting up its fourth mainland liaison office in Chengdu, according to a recent announcement. The office will "facilitate tourists" from Sichuan and surrounding provinces, and conduct marketing research. Since its establishment in 2005, 40 percent of Hong Kong Disneyland's visitors have come from Mainland China.