Stamp collecting and similarly sedate hobbies aren’t for Tao Xiangli. In his spare time this Anhui resident prefers to build submarines. Following a news item on Shanghai Media Group’s TV channel, Tao has become something of a sensation. Footage of his six metre homemade vessel shows him plunging into the depths of a (somewhat shallow) lake. He then gets stuck in mud and is rescued by villagers. As he emerges from his submarine – made from metal barrels – he informs the TV crew that the danger was minimal. If needs be, he can open his escape hatch with a stick, he nonchalantly observes.
As China booms it seems to be tracking the example of America, whose own amateur inventors enjoyed a late 19th century heyday. For further evidence of Chinese citizens taste for invention see WiC4 (page 16) for a photo of farmer Wu Yulu’s lifesize DIY robot.
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