Planet China

Wake-up Call

This column has tested the bounds of the idiotic on many occasions, but the efforts of a father to get his son out of bed takes things to a whole new level. According to, Mao Long and his son operated an excavator in Shanghai. Mao had arranged for the pair to start work on a construction site but at 7am he couldn’t get his son out of bed. Shouting failed, as did throwing off the quilt. Brandishing a shovel menacingly didn’t work either. So what else was an irate father to do other than set the bed on fire? In a moment of hotheaded anger he poured diesel on the sheets and set them aflame with his cigarette lighter. That did succeed in getting his son out of bed in an instant, but both men soon found the fire spreading beyond their control. Luckily for them a neighbour saw the smoke and called the emergency services, who arrived and eventually contained the blaze. Last week Mao was informed by a Shanghai court that he would be prosecuted for arson, having endangered the lives of others in the building.

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