29 Crazy Things That Only Happen In China

chinese firefighters tiananmen square

Photo: Reuters/David grey

China’s rapid economic growth rate has helped create problems that are very unique to China.Its emphasis on speed over safety, poor environmental track record, use of substandard construction materials, harsh regulations, and the propaganda aimed at protecting the image of the Communist party, are all part of the problem.

Couples are getting divorced to avoid taxes, buildings and bridges have collapsed, and dead pigs are floating around in rivers.

We identified 29 strange things that have happened in China because of economic and political governance.

'Ghost marriages' have traditionally been arranged for young men who died before they could wed. But four men decided to sell 10 corpses without the consent of any of the families and pocketed 240,000 yuan ($39,000).

Firefighters are on hand to prevent self-immolations.

Immolations are a very popular form of protest. Before and during the leadership transition in 2012, Beijing positioned firefighters in Tiananmen Square to prevent self-immolations.

Fathers hire assassins to kill their sons' World of Warcraft avatars.

A Chinese father, Mr. Feng, reportedly hired multiple assassins to kill his son's online World of Warcraft avatar. Xiao Feng, the son, had quit a software development job and spent all this time playing video games instead of looking for a new job.

People spend thousands of dollars on walnuts.

Wealthy Chinese with limited investment options have taken to investing in walnuts, jade and gold mooncakes. Recently, con artists have been selling fake walnuts filled with cement.

Government officials have spent thousands of dollars on gold and silver mooncakes.

Chinese government officials reportedly spent thousands of dollars on gold and silver mooncakes. This raised concerns of corruption according to Xinhua.

They also spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on jade.

Jade prices first started to rise in 2005 but the jade bubble is said to be popping.

People get arrested for spreading rumours about the Mayan Apocalypse.

90-three people were arrested in China for spreading rumours about the Mayan Apocalypse. One man spent all his savings to build an 'ark' to survive the Apocalypse.

'Love Hunters' look for women in shopping malls.

Yang Jing, a matchmaker at Diamond Love and Marriage looks for women and sometimes men at shopping malls. Wealthy Chinese pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to 'love hunters' like Jing to find their 'ideal spouse,' according to The New York Times.

Couples divorce to avoid property taxes.

The Chinese government announced a 20 per cent tax on profits from home sales. But couples with more than one home have been getting divorced, taking one property each, and then selling one of the homes tax free, to take advantage of loopholes.

Thousands of dead pigs float in a Chinese river.

Nearly six thousand dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu river near Shanghai. The river water tested positive for porcine circovirus, which affects pigs but not humans. For now officials say the water is still drinkable.

The government announces a ban on gift giving, and it immediately hurts the economy.

In an attempt to crack down on 'gift giving,' Beijing banned commercials for luxury products. This immediately impacted retail sales.

The smog is so bad it can be seen from space.

Rapid industrialisation has caused pollution problems across China. Recently the smog got so bad NASA said it obscured the view from space.

James Joyce's 1939-book 'Finnegan's Wake' became a surprise bestseller. Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a historian at the University of California, Irvine, attributed this to a sudden interest in books that were once banned by the Communist Party.

Buildings fall over sideways and are sometimes intact.

One construction worker was killed when this 13-floor building collapsed almost intact. There are constant fears that safety comes second to speed.

Cities with no occupants pop up all over the country.

China's infrastructure-investment-driven growth has caused ghost cities and ghost malls to pop up all across the country.

26-mile bridges get built to nowhere.

The 8-lane Qingdao bridge is the world's longest bridge and cost 14.8 billion yuan to build, but sees a fraction of the traffic that was expected, according to the Financial Times.

Cute kids get replaced by cuter kids.

Whole media organisations get banned.

China blocked Bloomberg.com after it ran an article on the wealth of the family of president-in-waiting Xi Jinping.

White collar executives get sentenced to death for their role in the shadow banking system.

Wu Ying aka 'Rich Sister' was originally sentenced to death for her role in shadow banking, but is now expected to serve life in prison.

TV programs are based on interviews with criminals on death row.

'Interviews Before Execution' was a popular television program. Henan TV only cancelled the show after Chinese officials worried about how it would impact China's image abroad following publicity surrounding a BBC documentary on the show.

Bridges collapse within a few months of being built.

One person was killed and 22 injured, when the Wuyishan Gongguan Bridge collapsed in China's Fujian province.

Wealthy people have stand-ins at their trials

In China the extremely wealthy are believed to hire body doubles to appear as them in court and serve out prison sentences.

Gigantic accidents occur on newly-built high-speed rail lines

40 people were killed and 200 injured, when high-speed trains collided near Wenzhou in 2011.

Entire Apple stores get counterfeited.

As Chinese cities develop across the country fake stores have become increasingly prevalent. Arguably the most famous fake store was the fake Apple store in Kunming, southern China.

Milk gets infused with melamine.

China's dairy industry has been hit with milk contamination scandals since 2008. Milk products have been found containing everything from mercury to melamine and detergent.

Rivers turn red.

Environmental pollution and chemical spills have caused rivers in China to turn red.

A national pork reserve exists to combat inflation.

China has replaced the U.S. to become the world's largest consumer of pork. The country has a national pork reserve that it releases when prices soar.

Businesses hang nets to prevent employees from committing suicide.

Foxconn installed nets outside its worker dormitories and hired mental health professionals to prevent suicides.

People do push ups in the middle of busy highways.

Cars came to a standstill on China's highways during its Golden Week holidays. Drivers were seen exiting their cars to stretch and even do push-ups.

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