China?s best in bid to stand out

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 29.01.05
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Beijing, Jan. 28 (Reuters): It?s hard to stand out in a country of 1.3 billion, but hopes of a world record today brought out some of China?s most extraordinary citizens.

Standing at more than 2.4 metres, Zhan Junchai said he thinks he may be the world?s tallest man, as he readied himself for a performance alongside the longest-haired woman, the man who made the world?s smallest scissors and a group of Mongolian wrestlers.

Though he has made a career of performing for advertisements, Zhan says his height is more burden than point of pride, surrounded by a people not known for their large size.

?Being taller than others isn?t convenient,? the 39-year-old said, holding his head in his giant hands. ?My family is all like you. It?s only me who is this tall,? he said.

The Guinness World Records website (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com) lists Tunisia?s Radhouane Charbib, measured at just under 2.4 metres, as the world?s tallest living man.

Xie Qiuping, from the southern city of Shenzhen, is proud of her five metres of hair, a small tiara perched on her head to distinguish her from a row of women with hair so long they drape it over their arms to keep it dragging on the floor.

Xie travels with an assistant to hold her hair for her.

?It?s no trouble at all. I?m used to it,? she said. ?But you need patience and you need to hold yourself straight when you have hair like this,? said Xie, who began growing her hair when she was a little girl.

For others, striving for records takes a certain kind of personality. A profile of Chen Yupei, who has created what are thought to be the world?s smallest scissors, as well as a miniature ivory abacus and carvings on grains of rice, says he is obstinate by nature, ?always trying to do what others cannot do?.

Even when the attributes are God-given, they seem to breed a competitive spirit.

Tall Zhan scoffs when asked if he knows Chinese basketball star Yao Ming. ?I?m certainly taller than him!? he said.