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2018-02-15 04:59:18

Beijing has not seen any rain or snow since Oct. 23, breaking the previous record of 114 consecutive days without precipitation set in the early 1970s, The Beijing News reported Wednesday.

A climate center official told the outlet that Beijing has mostly received dry air from Siberia this winter due to La Niña conditions above the Pacific Ocean. Forecasts say Beijing will see dry weather for at least another week.

Northern China suffers severe water shortages. The government has taken several, far-reaching measures to mitigate the lack of water, including digging giant canals to transport water from southern China, and recently expanding a taxation scheme that should limit water use.

18 hours

Competition is fierce in the food and beverage industry: In Fujian province, a 34-year-old man surnamed Zhang has been detained as a criminal after contaminating pastries with barium, police announced Thursday, attributing the case to “competition.”

On March 13, 48 customers were hospitalized with food poisoning after eating the tainted cakes — a local delicacy known as kompyang or guangbing — with some showing severe symptoms including vomiting and paralysis. The police notice did not clarify whether Zhang represented a rival business.

1 day

Chinese netizens are questioning the choice to hold pairs figure skating selection trials for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in tropical Sanya, The Paper reported Thursday.

Located at the southernmost point of Hainan Island, Sanya experiences summer all year round. The China Figure Skating Association announced Tuesday that the trials will take place in the city’s first large-scale ice rink, constructed last October.

The decision is part of the government’s efforts to boost China’s “ice and snow economy” from north to south — yet some online commenters consider Sanya an odd choice due both to the warm climate and the inconvenience to athletes, as most competitive ice skaters come from northern China. (Image: From the Qidi Group website)

1 day

More than 90 percent of seniors stress in their wills that their children’s spouses should not be party to an inheritance, according to a white paper from nonprofit China Will Registration Center seen by Sixth Tone.

The report was based on more than 82,000 wills that the nonprofit center handled, mainly for clients aged over 60. Nearly half of the clients had just one child. As family structures change and divorce rates rise, parents may become more concerned that their sons- and daughters-in-law will file for divorce and empty their precious offspring’s pockets.

According to lawyer Shi Fulong, China’s marriage law says that if a will or gift contract specifies that assets are given to just one partner in a couple, then that property shall not be considered marital property. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Yunnan province has published standards for village weddings and funerals, setting a cap on guests, costs, and even how many meat dishes can be served, Beijing Youth Daily reported Thursday.

The guidelines limit spending in a bid to “relieve the psychological and economic burden” on villagers. They restrict banquets to 200 guests or 20 tables and 12 dishes per table, of which only half can be meat or seafood. The cost per table must be under 200 yuan ($31) while gifts from guests must be under 100 yuan. It is up to each village to decide penalties for violations.

Many provinces around China have issued similar rules to curb lavish spending, combat corruption, and challenge superstitious practices — though some scholars worry that the reforms could destroy cultural heritage. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Starting this year, China’s college entrance exam — the gaokao — will no longer award bonus points to students who have won sports competitions, math and science contests, and the like, nor to students put forward by their schools for moral or academic excellence.

Education expert Xiong Bingqi told Sixth Tone that the bonus system was controversial as awards could be faked, or acquired through bribery. In addition, the bonus policy could exacerbate pressure on students since it incentivized students to take extracurricular activities just to boost their gaokao scores, rather than to develop their interests.

The new policy was announced in 2014 but the class of 2018 will be the first cohort affected. (Image: VCG)

1 day

At Qiqihar Institute of Engineering in Heilongjiang province, a campus hookup can be enough to get you expelled.

The school has published a list of activities banned on campus, including sex, sharing a room with a student of a different gender, and public displays of affection, The Paper reported Tuesday. Student representatives are asked to record anyone caught in the act and report them to the administration. The offenders can have their grades lowered, face community service, or be expelled.

Chinese universities have often made headlines for puritanical policies. Last year, a university in Shandong reprimanded a couple for cuddling in public, while this week, a college in Yunnan province vowed to discipline students caught drinking by sending tipsy pictures to their parents. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Just as #DeleteFacebook gathers steam online, Tencent has announced that users of its popular messaging app, QQ, can now delete their accounts.

All user data, including chat logs and financial transaction records, will be purged once an account is deleted, Tencent said. In the past, user profiles could only be deleted if QQ administration took over the account — for example, if a user did not log in within three days of registration.

In January, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology urged internet service providers to allow account deletion, following new data privacy regulations.

QQ was once widely used in China but usage has declined with the ascendance of WeChat, Tencent’s other messaging app — which has allowed account deletion since last year. (Image: IC)

2 days

Another Chinese citizen has been punished for their private messages. A man surnamed Ding was detained for making fun of law enforcement in a group chat, Shaanxi provincial media reported Monday.

Last Monday, the 39-year-old man posted his cover of a famous Chinese song. According to the newspaper, Ding changed the sweet lyrics praising family to a diss track slandering local traffic police, and shared his version in a WeChat group. On Thursday, he was brought into custody for an unspecified length of time.

China’s administration has laid down strict rules for WeChat timelines and chat groups, holding group owners responsible as well as members who post offending messages. People have been detained for cursing cops, organizing gambling, and dishonoring Nanjing massacre victims. (Image: Shaanxi province legislative affairs website)

2 days

Nanjing Agricultural University is now offering a course on the centuries-old art of animal acupuncture, China News Service reported Tuesday.

Veterinary acupuncture — one of five forms of Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine (TVCM) — helps diagnose diseases in animals as they cannot communicate their pain verbally, professor Hu Yuanliang explained. The course combines traditional practices with modern research methods and clinical studies.

As Chinese people increasingly see their pets as part of their families, more are turning to TVCM treatments — along with all manner of other pet services and products. (Image: VCG)

3 days

The recent case of a stray dog injuring over 10 students at Anqing Normal University has prompted online debate over the school’s management of strays, The Paper reported Monday.

None of the victims were seriously hurt, and campus security euthanized the animal. Students took to Weibo to debate the university’s role in management, while the school expressed its concern over students being too eager to approach strays.

The university’s director of campus security stressed the difficulty of maintaining student safety while still allowing stray dogs to roam free, as harm might come to them off campus.

China has no institutionalized animal shelter system. To cope with the problem, cities have imposed one-dog-per-household rules or expensive ownership fees. (Image: Weibo)