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2018-02-12 13:40:26

Netizens are flooding social platforms with personalized cartoon portraits to celebrate the coming Year of the Dog, thanks to an online collage game produced by Beijing-based children’s brand Pupupula. The game offers a choice of customizable characters, as well as furniture and pets — including a now-familiar frog.

As many millennial Chinese prepare for an onslaught of holiday nagging about marriage and children, millions have embraced the collage for allowing them to represent all sorts of families — solo households, same-sex couples, or even a forest of pot plants. Pupupula’s co-founder told local media that the company wanted to provide “diverse choices.” The savvy marketing tactic has seen 100 million web visitors since it launched Friday.

3 days

Two years after its launch, Reunion — a platform similar to the Amber Alert system in the U.S. — has found 2,980 children out of 3,053 reported missing. China’s Ministry of Public Security revealed the figure on Thursday while announcing collaborations with four new partners, including Xinhua and Ele.me.

Since opening a Weibo account in May 2016, Reunion has received thousands of reports of missing children, verified these reports with local authorities, and worked to publicize cases. Previously, Reunion had partnered with Alipay, Taobao, and Didi Chuxing in an effort to expand its network.

While China does not keep statistics, the U.S. State Department estimates that 20,000 children in the country go missing every year, in part due to child trafficking and an enduring preference for boys. (Image: IC)

3 days

A city in Shanxi is dismantling gates outside government offices after discipline inspectors determined there were too many hurdles between citizens and officials.

Barriers at some 65 government units in Shuozhou have now been removed, local media reported Wednesday. The new rule was implemented after the city’s discipline inspection committee responded to public complaints of bureaucratic red tape by making unannounced visits in April.

Limited access to officials is an ongoing and well-documented problem in China. Citizens who feel their complaints are inadequately handled by local cadres can file petitions with higher levels of government — though this often puts them at risk of public shaming or even violence. (Image: Weibo)

3 days

The State Drug Administration and the National Health Commission published a notice on Wednesday promising faster approvals for foreign and local drugs that treat rare diseases.

Earlier this month, authorities published a catalogue of 121 rare diseases — which together affect millions of Chinese people — that are considered a priorities for drug development and approval. The national catalogue, which has twice as many items as an earlier list from Shanghai, includes conditions such as albinism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and myasthenia gravis (MG).

Rare disease patients in China often encounter medication supply issues — in 2016, for example, a recall of MG drugs from the sole domestic manufacturer left patients facing a life-threatening shortage. (Image: VCG)

3 days

“Party Cadres Should See Eating at Home as an Honor,” proclaimed the title of a commentary that Party mouthpiece People’s Daily published on WeChat on Wednesday.

The article shamed officials who frequent dinner parties with businesspeople in violation of the “eight-point regulation” adopted in 2012 that ordered leaders to practice thrift. In 2017, more than 71,000 political bureau members were disciplined for violating the regulations.

The commentary acknowledges that sometimes officials are compelled to dine out not through extravagance or corruption but simply because they are working overtime. However, the writer blames overtime on inefficiency: Working more effectively, the article posits, would help cadres get home for dinner. (Image: IC)

3 days

Chinese video streaming site iQIYI has sued the company that operates rival platform Bilibili for unlicensed broadcasting and is asking for 1 million yuan ($15,661) in compensation, a Beijing court announced Wednesday.

iQIYI claims that its wildly popular hip-hop show, ‘The Rap of China,’ was made available on Bilibili without permission, causing huge losses. iQIYI had invested more than 200 million yuan in the show’s production — a record-breaking amount.

As well as monetary damages, iQiyi asked the court to order the company, Shanghai Kuanyu Digital Technology Co. Ltd, to cease and desist and publish an apology. (Image: VCG)

4 days

The Shanghai Administration for Industry & Commerce fined the local arm of Japanese retailer Muji 200,000 yuan ($31,000) for labeling Taiwan as a country on some products, a state newspaper confirmed Wednesday on Weibo.

In August 2017, the company had been found to sell hangers that said “Country of origin: Taiwan” in Chinese characters. Such conduct contravened China’s advertising law, the notice said, as it is “detrimental to the country’s dignity or interests.”

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping, and Geoinformation had also called out Muji in January for maps that left out disputed territories like the South China Sea islands. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Authorities in Sichuan have detained a man for 15 days over chat messages they say insulted victims of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, The Paper reported Wednesday.

The man, surnamed Zhang, sent the messages on May 12 — the 10th anniversary of the tragedy — in a chat group of more than 300 members. In a country of over a billion people, “killing f—ing tens of thousands is just a slender thread,” he wrote. “China isn’t good at anything but making people.” Police apprehended Zhang on Monday after a screenshot was posted on Weibo.

China enacted a law in May that makes it illegal to speak ill of “heroes and martyrs” and historically sensitive events. While the first court case invoking the new law was filed Monday, police had previously detained people for maligning history. (Image: WeChat public account of the Guang’an police)

4 days

A Chengdu doctor has been detained on suspicion of raping his patient after giving her an injection of sedatives, district police announced on Wednesday.

The suspect, a 35-year-old surnamed Luo, was arrested on Saturday in Nanchong, another city in Sichuan province, two days after the victim reported the rape. Police say he has confessed.

Last week, reports that a college gynecologist in California targeted Chinese women for sexual harassment prompted the international student community to raise awareness of patients’ rights. In April, a campus doctor at a college in Henan was sacked after being reported for inappropriate touching and comments in consultations. (Image: VCG)

4 days

A county in Anhui has suspended a rule that required teachers to taste-test milk for their students in case it was unsafe, The Paper reported Tuesday, after teachers protested.

The education bureau in Xiao County said the rule was proposed after substandard milk — some with damaged packaging — was delivered to schools in December. The county has been providing milk to some 70,000 school children since September under China’s rural nutrition program. Teachers had been told that from May 28, they would have to drink the milk an hour before giving it to students.

Chinese consumers and authorities have become increasingly conscious about food safety following the 2008 tainted milk crisis that resulted in the death of at least six infants and thousands of hospitalizations. (Image: IC)

4 days

Changsha published a list of banned behaviors on Tuesday that will be used to evaluate the “virtue” of the city’s teachers.

Breaching the Party’s leadership is the first of the 12 don’ts, which also forbid taking bribes, faking qualifications, or charging for afterschool classes. Students’ scores and rankings must not be publicized — a common practice that authorities want to stop. Corporal punishment, discrimination, and spreading “religion or superstitious beliefs” are also prohibited. Teachers who fail the evaluation cannot be promoted or nominated for awards.

The list comes in response to a call from central government to establish such a system in January. Several other cities have published similar lists, and some, like Anhui’s capital Hefei, also address the issue of sexual harassment. (Image: VCG)

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