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2018-03-05 04:34:52

Months after allegations of abuse at a Beijing kindergarten rocked China’s middle class, the city has issued new safety standards. All kindergartens, as well as elementary and secondary schools, must employ 24-hour security guards and install surveillance cameras that can record car license plates even at night, The Beijing News reported Sunday.

Kindergartens should also install cameras so that there are no blind spots, hire guards in accordance with the size of the student body, and train teachers and pupils in how to prevent bullying and violence.

In November 2017, parents of children at an upscale kindergarten in Beijing accused teachers of abuse. Though police dismissed most allegations, they did detain one teacher on the suspicion that she had used needles to discipline children.

8 hours

Following land-saving funeral reforms meant to replace burials with cremations, a local government in eastern China received thousands of coffins from residents, it said Saturday.

It’s common in Gao’an city and surroundings for elderly people with declining health to pick out a nice coffin before they die. These can cost up to 5,000 yuan ($770), a significant amount for many. People who volunteered their coffins were compensated with 2,000 yuan.

Such reforms have not always been welcome in Jiangxi province, as people believe bodies should be kept intact after death. In one town, authorities dug up one interred body after relatives had ignored the new rules. Elsewhere, villagers lamented to media that they only agreed to hand over their coffins because they would be confiscated anyway. (Image: Wechat @ 高品高安)

10 hours

The former top environmental official in Linfen, a heavily polluted city in northern China, has been sentenced to two years in prison for tampering with six air quality monitoring stations, China News Service reported Saturday.

Zhang Wenqing ordered underlings to falsify readings whenever pollution levels were high. Investigations showed they “seriously distorted” data 53 times between April 2017 and April 2018. In early 2017, Linfen was hit with bouts of heavy smog. Zhang was criticized at the time for blaming people burning coal at home. Green activists pointed to industry as the main source.

Zhang’s 15 accomplices got sentences ranging from four months to one year. In response to the case, China’s environmental ministry vowed “zero tolerance” for those who falsify monitoring data. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Foreign visitors to the southern Chinese island province Hainan should soon be able to access Facebook, Twitter, and other websites that are otherwise blocked in China, The Paper reported Friday.

In an attempt to attract more foreign tourists to the tropical island, the Hainan provincial government announced it would allow access to popular international social media in areas with many foreign tourists. The official plan, which is no longer available online, did not specify whether Chinese nationals will be given the same access.

In addition, some 50.000 foreigners will be hired to provide services to overseas visitors, and special promotion videos will be produced to air on “mainstream foreign media.”

4 days

As World Cup fever grips China, media are highlighting the dangers of gambling via messaging apps like WeChat.

Fans bet thousands of yuan ($150 and up) on their favorite teams via online chat groups, The Beijing News reported Wednesday. But organizers of such digital gambling dens frequently take the money and run. Groups with “soccer gambling specialists” who sell betting advice have also gained popularity.

Gambling is illegal in China, though it allows certain state-run lotteries. During the 2014 World Cup, these sold 12.9 billion yuan worth of soccer lottery tickets, while police busted illegal bets amounting to 18 million yuan. In February, WeChat underlined a zero-tolerance policy for gambling on its platform. (Image: VCG) 

4 days

The 2018 World Cup may spell danger for men’s reproductive health because of the copious amount of barbecue being consumed during the late-night games, China Youth Daily reported Thursday.

Fan Hua, a urologist from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, an elite public health institution, told the newspaper that benzopyrene — a chemical found in the snack skewers sold at China’s ubiquitous street barbecue stalls — can cause malformed sperm in men. The compound, which is also found in cigarette smoke and coffee, is classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

In a 2014 research paper, a group of gynecologists from Yunnan province concluded that the broader category of polyaromatic hydrocarbons — of which benzopyrene is one example — can damage human sperm. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Two women in eastern China were electrocuted during Wednesday’s downpour, raising fresh concerns about faulty electric infrastructure during the rainy season.

The pair was electrocuted by a telegraph pole near a bus stop in the city of Fuzhou, local media reported. Both the victims were rushed to the hospital following the incident. While one of them was discharged Wednesday, the other is being treated after suffering partial paralysis from the shock. Fuzhou’s state grid said Thursday that the incidents were caused by faulty wires, not the city’s utility poles. 

In a similar incident last week, four people were electrocuted to death in Guangdong province, as torrential rain lashed parts of southern China. All the bodies were found near power poles and bus stops with electric signs. (Image:VCG)

5 days

An animal handler accused of abusing Wuhan Zoo’s sole giant panda was suspended on Tuesday, The Paper reported.

The 13-year-old panda, named Weiwei, was transferred to Wuhan following the fatal 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Last week, a Weibo user accused the zoo of mistreating the panda and posted photos which the user claimed showed Weiwei’s paws, nose, testicles, and teeth were in an unhealthy condition. The user said the zookeeper had smoked and washed themselves inside the panda's cage, and fed apples crawling with ants to Weiwei.

According to The Paper, the zoo is looking into the case and the panda will be sent back to Sichuan’s Bifengxia Giant Panda Base to recuperate. Sixth Tone's attempt to contact the Wuhan Zoo director on Wednesday was unsuccessful. (Image: Weibo)

5 days

The World Health Organization’s classification of gaming addiction as a mental health condition earlier this week shouldn’t be used as an excuse to send children to so-called rehabilitation schools, a commentary in Party newspaper People’s Daily said Wednesday.

Numerous private “clinics” have sprung up in China over the years which attempt to rid children of internet addiction by using corporal punishment and electroshock therapy. Though ordered to close, some institutions found it easy to re-open with the support of parents.

The commentary warned parents not to panic about the new classification and be mindful of being tricked by “unidentified” internet boot camps whose treatments have no scientific basis: “Our children would only suffer there.”  (Image: VCG)

6 days

Construction has been shut down at a building site in Nanjing after a worker was killed by a foundation pile, a local newspaper reported Sunday.

At noon that day, a worker who was busy shortening a concrete foundational pile was hit on the head when it suddenly fell over. He was sent to the hospital but died soon after the incident.

The core of the cylindrical pile was discovered to be full of soil, according to the construction company, which said the piles had been outsourced to another firm. The local government has suspended construction while all other piles are being checked. (Image: Modern Express)

6 days

The hottest spring in 57 years has resulted in the deaths of 12,100 animals herded on the grasslands near Bayan Nur, a city in northern China near the border with Mongolia, Xinhua reported Saturday.

Insufficient rain and temperatures of four degrees Celcius above the historical average have meant that more than two-thirds of the area’s grasslands have yet to turn green. Desertification is a major problem in much of northern China.

The local government has brought in nearly 90,000 tons of grass and has reserved 22 million yuan ($3.4 million) to alleviate the problem, which affects some 13,000 herders and 1.37 million animals. It is also planning to attempt to induce artificial precipitation. But, the report said, none of that will be enough if it doesn’t start raining this month. (Image: VCG)