Some investigative journalism by the southern newspaper Nanfang Daily confirmed what many of us suspected but tried not to think about as we dug into our cheese omelets this morning: that the use of the toxic chemical additive melamine is de rigeur on Chinese farms. After the discovery that four brands of eggs contained the chemical, the newspaper found that repackaged melamine scrap is sold to farmers as “protein powder” and is widely mixed into animal feed – a practice it described as an “open secret.” Another report, from the Wall Street Journal, tells us that two Ministry of Commerce officials have been detained over an alleged bribery scandal involving the American direct-sales company Avon, though there has been no official announcement and details remain sketchy.
It’s not strictly a secret, but Air China is hinting at a takeover of smaller carrier Shanghai Airlines after the latter posted its worst-ever quarterly loss, of US$64 million in the third quarter. Bucking the trend of disappointing-to-dismal third-quarter reports, China’s seventh-largest lender Citic Bank posted 98% net profit growth in the period. The A-share market recovered modestly yesterday, posting a 2.8% gain on the day following Wednesday’s interest rate cuts and rallies in other Asian markets. But the most anticipated number of the day was the official revised projection of GDP growth for this year. The new figure: 9.8%, which is lower still than the 9.9% growth in the first nine months of 2008.