Author Jennifer Weiner lays into Jonathan Franzen after he accused her of "freeloading on gender bias" to promote herself
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THEGUARDIAN.COM|由 ALISON FLOOD 上傳
By DECLAN WALSH
The high court’s dismissal of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday drastically escalated a confrontation between the government and the judiciary.
The local judiciary was so unnerved by the uproar that it took the unusual step of holding a news conference this week to explain Mr. Shi’s transgressions in detail.
The explanation, however, did little to assuage public anger.
In a commentary he wrote Wednesday in the Beijing News, a lawyer, Xu Mingxuan, said that if the official numbers were to be believed, the greater crime was that Chinese drivers were subjected to exorbitant tolls. “Such figures only highlight the people’s suffering,” he wrote.
With private car ownership soaring in China, the episode seems to have stoked mounting aversion to the tolls that have grown along with the nation’s rapidly expanding highway network. The county has been adding tens of thousands of miles to its highway system, and the vast majority operate with user tolls. A World Bank report in 2007 estimated that mile for mile, Chinese toll rates rivaled those in Germany, where incomes are far more extravagant. One of the capital’s more unpopular highway tolls, for example, is the $1.50 charged for access to the 12-mile highway to Beijing’s international airport. (That roadway’s operators are expected to earn eight times their initial investment, according to government figures.)
Popular aversion to such fees has been inflamed by media reports of freeloading government motorcades and inflated tolls that end up in the pockets of local officials. In 2008, the country’s National Audit Office said that motorists had handed over $2.3 billion at illegally erected tollbooths.