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2018-03-05 10:41:43

One of China’s most popular Math Olympiads, Hua Luogeng Cup, has been postponed indefinitely, media reported Saturday. The event, its 23rd iteration, was scheduled for March 10. Another math competition, Thinking and Learning Cup, has been suspended, the report said.

Math Olympiads are popular in China because good scores can help students secure spots at the country’s best middle schools. But the competitions have often been criticized for putting immense pressure on young children, which the government wants to avoid. Last week, the Ministry of Education warned teachers not to encourage or force students to attend extracurricular classes. In 2017, Shanghai authorities canceled several Olympiads over concerns they would interfere with compulsory education.

9 hours

China’s education ministry has ordered a nationwide inspection to catch schools using textbooks not prescribed in the national curriculum, China News Service reported Wednesday.

The ministry began its inspection on Friday, and said it had already found several primary and middle schools which had substituted government-mandated textbooks with either foreign or tailor-made course materials.

Under China’s 2001 curriculum reform, primary and middle schools are required to use textbooks authorized by the Ministry of Education for subjects taught under the national syllabus and are only encouraged to develop their own study materials for extracurricular purposes. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Police in Zhejiang province have arrested more than 200 people in what they believe to be the largest ever crackdown in China’s war against pornography, The Paper reported Wednesday.

The suspects were involved in a cross-border gang and offered over 100 online erotic livestreaming channels to more than 3.5 million paid subscribers. Police said the group operated through overseas servers and generated 250 million yuan ($36 million) in revenues since it began streaming in August 2017.

Chinese authorities have been on a mission to “clean the web,” eradicating any content deemed offensive. Last year, the anti-pornography office shut over 6,000 websites and WeChat accounts hosting pornographic content and deleted 4.5 million erotic posts online, according to Xinhua. (Image: VCG)

1 day

A passenger getting sick after eating a moldy meal has prompted the Chinese government to re-evaluate train food safety.

The passenger purchased the 40-yuan ($6) lunchbox while traveling from Beijing to Wuhan earlier this month and experienced vomiting and diarrhea after eating it. Amid the ensuing public outcry, the State Council dispatched inspectors, and China Railway — a state-owned enterprise — said it will stop providing meals that have been stored or transported at room temperature by Sept. 29.

China’s rail network is extensive, but passengers still complain about the high price and poor quality of onboard meals. In July 2017, China Railway implemented a system under which passengers could order takeout from restaurants like KFC delivered to their seats at select stations. (Image: @新华网 on Weibo)

2 days

Netizens can now watch Discovery Channel shows on Bilibili, one of the most popular video-streaming platforms among Chinese millennials.

On Monday, Bilibili reached an agreement with the U.S. network to both introduce existing content and co-produce new content, according to Qdaily. Previously, Bilibili users could find Discovery shows on the platform, but these were typically uploaded by individual users in violation of copyright. On Discovery’s Bilibili channel, Chinese netizens can now binge shows like “Man Vs. Wild” and “Pit Bulls & Parolees.”

This is not the first time Discovery has partnered with a Chinese streaming service. In August, the network authorized iQiyi to broadcast programming from “Shark Week” — a cult phenomenon in North America. (Image: VCG)

2 days

An education bureau in eastern China's Jiangxi province is investigating a kindergarten after several parents claimed that toxic classrooms were making their children sick, local media reported Tuesday.

Some 50 of the 120 students enrolled at a private school in Nanchang have suffered from coughing and nosebleeds, which parents said were linked to excessive formaldehyde levels in classrooms. As a protest, many parents have unenrolled their children from the kindergarten. However, school employees have accused parents of rumormongering and refused to conduct any tests.

There have been several reports in Chinese media of school children falling victim to hazardous indoor air. This month, parents in Shenzhen and Wuhan claimed that poisonous classrooms and playgrounds had made their children ill. (Image: VCG)

2 days

One of the top tourist attractions in northern China apologized on Monday for requesting exorbitant donations from visitors hoping to burn incense, according to The Paper.

“If you donate more than 10,000 yuan [$1,500], you can be our VIP and receive generous treatment,” Wahuang Palace in Hebei wrote in a now-deleted post on WeChat. The palace is named after Nüwa, the goddess who, according to Chinese mythology, created humankind, and as such it draws crowds of pilgrims hoping to curry favor and fortune.

In November 2017, the Chinese government banned for-profit religion, and on Monday, a commentary in Party newspaper Guangming Daily called out the palace and other similarly materialistic sites: “Stop trying to make money by underhanded means,” it wrote. (Image: VCG)

2 days

A lawyer with over 2 million followers on Weibo has been lambasted by netizens after he complained that two young men refused to trade their lower berths on a long-distance train for his children’s cheaper upper berths, China News Service reported Monday.

“I totally understand how you feel, and I think you’re right,” wrote one netizen. “I bought a standing ticket, and I feel uncomfortable standing — can we swap?” The lawyer, Yi Shenghua, disabled the comments section under his post after it had attracted over 44,000 comments, most of them similarly sarcastic.

Though Yi posted about his experience on Sept. 1, the case is still being widely debated, with Chinese millennials rebelling against the notion that they are obliged to make special concessions for the young and old in every situation. (Image: VCG)

3 days

Millions of pet penguins died in China on Saturday — and the oldest ones were just over 13 years old.

The penguins were the hallmark of Tencent’s QQ Pets — a popular online game launched in 2005 — that the tech giant shut over the weekend following a sharp decline in active players. Over the years, millions of users have fed and raised the penguins on their digital screens, even helping the birds to get married and reproduce. But now, even a “resurrection medicine” — an in-game potion that allowed users to revive their ailing animals — can’t save the penguins from extinction. Tencent said that it will clear all user data by the end of September, wiping out some of Chinese millennials’ most cherished memories.

Rest in peace, QQ Pets. (Image: IC)

3 days

China’s media regulator said Sunday that it will investigate viewership data for television shows after a director claimed to be a victim of “fake ratings.”

In a lengthy Weibo post, Guo Jingyu wrote about his encounter with an unnamed person who demanded a 900,000 yuan ($131,000) fee per episode to boost his show’s ratings. The director, whose latest drama “Mother’s Life” is aired on two major networks, said he is being targeted for disagreeing to pay the amount, resulting in a flurry of negative reviews online.

Inflated ratings and viewership have plagued China’s media industry for a long time. Earlier this month, iQiyi, dubbed as China’s Netflix, said it would stop displaying the number of views on its user interface. (Image: IC)

3 days

The publishing arm of Alibaba Group fired an editor and a writer Thursday for insulting the deceased wife of online fantasy novelist Zhang Wei in a private messaging group.

In a Weibo post, Zhang, one of China’s most prolific writers, condemned the pair from Alibaba Literature for their boorish behavior. Screenshots of the chat logs show the pair saying that the death of Zhang's wife, Li Mo, “isn’t a big deal” and that he could “easily get another wife.” Li died on Sept. 11 after battling breast cancer for three years. Alibaba apologized to Zhang on Saturday for the duo's behavior.

Zhang is China's wealthiest writer — he earned 130 million yuan ($19 million) last year — and has more than 150 titles to his name. The 37-year-old publishes his works under the pen name Tang Jia San Shao. (Image: IC)