A province infamous for scandals

The Straits Times, 27 December 2000

THE Henanese have a poor image among other Chinese in the country who see them as schemers and tricksters.

Several scams have their origins in Henan province. The poisoned rice scare broke this month when a farmer in Xinxiang sold rice mixed with paraffin to whiten the grain.

Tonnes of the rice were distributed in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shaanxi and other places.

Henan's cotton producers also came under fire when they mixed foreign matter with cotton to increase the weight of the cotton they sold.

Another recent scam is paraffin mixed in mustard oil, which is popular on meal tables in northern Chinese cities.

Even some Henan residents condemn their own kind.

Mr Richard Yi, a native of Anyang in Henan who runs his own business in Beijing, told The Straits Times: Most of the pickpockets or snatch thiefs in Beijing hail from Henan.

He said that Henan, located in central China, was slow in implementing the country's economic reforms.

The calibre of the population and officials, particularly grassroots cadres, was low in general, he said. --Mary Kwang