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Hot Ethnic Singer Jailed on Arson Charges
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A young man with a beautiful singing voice who styles himself the "King of Songs" has been sentenced to eight years in prison on arson charges in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local authorities said Saturday.

Ethnic groups in the south of China traditionally set great store by singing prowess and 32-year-old Wei, from the Dong ethnic village in the county of Sanjiang in Guangxi, was no exception. Proud of his abilities, when he heard of another "King of Songs" in a Miao ethnic village 100 km away, he immediately set out, determined to set up a singing contest.

An official told the court that Wei paid four visits to a Miao village in Rongshui County between September and October last year, but to his disappointment the rival "king" was never there. Frustrated, the departing Wei surreptitiously set fire to trees, grass and a hay shed on his way out of the village, the official said.

The local villagers reported their suspicions to police who arrested Wei. On being interrogated, the impatient vocalist confessed his crimes, the official said.

The fires caused approximately 120,000 yuan (US$15,000) of economic losses to the local villagers, the official said.

Singing, especially antiphonal singing, is very popular in Chinese rural areas populated by minority ethnic groups.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2007)

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