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The Gate of the Orient, a landmark building under construction in Suzhou, has drawn criticism over its appearance as a pair of long underwear.

Date: 2012-09-23

Architecture

Landmark comes under fire

The developer of the Gate of the Orient, a landmark building in Suzhou, East China, has come under fire for its unconventional look.

The building, designed by the British architectural firm RMJM, has drawn comparisons to a pair of long underwear.

On Sina Weibo, the country's most popular micro-blogging service, critics compared the Gate of the Orient to the Beijing headquarters of the State broadcaster China Central Television, another controversial landmark designed by a foreign firm, which locals have nicknamed dakucha, meaning "big underpants".

The micro-blogging topic on the buildings, headed "Long johns versus big boxer shorts", attracted more than half a million posts in just a few hours.

The Suzhou project, eight years in the building, is expected to be completed this year. Xu Kang, the company's deputy executive director of sales, defended the design, saying the linked twin tower structure is based on classic garden gates and ancient city gates in China.

Population

Student numbers fall sharply

The number of students in the compulsory phase of education has fallen for 14 straight years, the Ministry of Education says.

The number of those attending primary school fell 143,400 last year compared with 2010, and those attending junior high school fell about 2.12 million. The number of primary schools fell from 628,800 in 1997 to 241,200 last year, and the number of junior high schools fell from 66,200 to 54,100 in the same period.

Experts attributed the drop of student numbers mainly to the country's declining birth rate.

Safety

Drug companies told to do audits

China's food-and-drug watchdog has told the country's pharmaceutical firms to carefully check sources of their raw materials to prevent substandard ingredients being used in medicines.

The State Food and Drug Administration said in a statement that it would also investigate the truth of a media report that certain firms have been making a pharmaceutical using "gutter oil", referring to reprocessed oil made from kitchen waste dredged from gutters behind restaurants.

Health

Warning on antibiotic misuse

A lack of awareness about the use and potential side effects of antibiotics in China is putting people's health at risk, the country's drug watchdog has warned. According to a study by the State Food and Drug Administration, Chinese people continue to self-medicate using powerful drugs to treat minor ailments, a habit that could lead to the development of stronger, resistant strains of illnesses.

In a survey of 8,000 people, about 23 percent said they take antibiotics as soon as they suspect they have the common cold, and 9 percent said they do the same when they have diarrhea.

China Daily