After a historic 135 consecutive days of dry weather, an outlying region of Beijing finally saw this winter’s first snow on Wednesday.
The city, located in water-stressed northern China, hadn’t seen any “effective precipitation” — defined as more than 0.1 millimeters of rain or snow — since Oct. 23 last year. The stretch broke the previous record of 114 days, which ended in 1971. (Image: From Weibo user ‘Haiheedan’)
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing will continue the indefinite suspension of its carpooling service until all safety issues are resolved, the company announced Tuesday.
Didi Hitch was taken offline in August following the death of a second passenger this year, allegedly at the hands of her driver. The two high-profile cases in May and August exposed the service’s safety flaws, including a “passenger review” system drivers used to leave comments about their customers’ looks and an inefficient emergency reporting function.
According to Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper, Didi CEO Cheng Wei said at a company meeting last Friday that because of poor performance, year-end bonuses would be reduced by half compared with last year. Cheng added that senior staff would not receive any bonuses at all. (Image: IC)
The Chinese scientist who claimed to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies last month has been named one of the Top 10 “people who mattered” in 2018 by leading scientific journal Nature.
On Tuesday, the weekly publication wrote that He Jiankui crossed “a new bioethical boundary” in using CRISPR technology to create twin girls resistant to HIV. After his research was made public in November, medical ethics authorities in China launched an investigation into the controversial experiment, which the scientist has continued to defend with pride. “Although the [gene-editing] technology could lead to new insights,” Nature noted, “Few would argue that He’s approach has helped.”
Another Chinese scientist, Yuan Cao, was also named to the list for experiments that turned sheets of atom-thick carbon into superconductors. (Image: VCG)
Huangshi in Hubei province on Monday became the most recent city in China to implement a one-dog policy, reported Hubei Daily. The new regulation also requires dog owners to register their pets with the authorities and bans certain breeds from certain areas.
According to a notice from the local government, dog-related problems — such as attacks on humans and prohibited pooping — are becoming more common. The notice cited municipal police records stating that “public security incidents” involving dogs had risen from 114 in 2016 to 330 already this year, as of Monday.
Other cities including Qingdao, Suzhou, and Changsha already observe one-dog policies, said the report. But government crackdowns on dog ownership have been met with opposition in some cities: In November, Hangzhou residents decried a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. walking ban as a violation of their civil rights. (Image: VCG)
Two medical laundry providers catering to more than 20 public hospitals in eastern China’s Jiangxi province have been violating standard sanitary procedures, an investigation by The Beijing News revealed Monday.
Both businesses used improper detergents and sterilization methods when washing fabrics for several top-tier hospitals in the provincial capital of Nanchang, the report said. They also allegedly failed to separate hospital linens and garments worn by doctors and patients into different wash loads.
Although China already had a national guideline in place for medical washing and disinfection standards, the first regulations on industries licensed to operate such facilities were not approved until earlier this year. The government has set a June 2019 deadline for relevant companies to meet the requirements. (Image: VCG)
The forestry bureau of Guangdong province on Wednesday announced a five-year ban on the hunting of all wild birds, effective from next year.
The ban aims to prevent wild birds from being served as exotic restaurant dishes. In some parts of China, the manufacture of so-called clap nets for hunting birds is a thriving, though illicit, industry. In December of last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature uplisted the yellow-breasted bunting — one of the wild birds that’s most often consumed as food in southern China — to “critically endangered”; prior to 2004, the species had been classified as being of “least concern.”
Beginning in January, the southern province will ban all bird-hunting tools and prohibit restaurants from promoting the consumption of wild animals. Other Chinese provinces, including Henan and Hubei, have implemented similar bans in the past. (Image: VCG)
A driver for ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing has filed a lawsuit against the company after he was restricted from picking up female passengers and working nighttime hours, The Beijing News reported Wednesday.
The driver, surnamed Yang, said the constraints were imposed after Didi received a complaint that a user’s cellphone had been broken during an incident in early November. A drunken passenger had fallen unconscious in Yang’s car, prompting the driver to contact police to have the person physically removed from the vehicle. But Yang said Didi did not carefully arbitrate the case before limiting his service, thereby causing him significant financial losses.
Didi began regulating its drivers more strictly after female passengers were killed in May and August. Since then, the app has banned misbehaving drivers and even allowed users to block them. (Image: VCG)
China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment criticized 267 companies on Tuesday for not heeding emergency measures to curb emissions. The measures were implemented after an especially smoggy November prompted many local governments to issue pollution alerts. Nearly two-thirds of the culprits — none of which have been named — are based in Hebei province, a major industrial hub that sees some of the worst air pollution in China.
The emergency emissions reduction scheme was included in China’s five-year action plan, issued in 2013, and aims to prevent and control air pollution. In February, the country’s environment ministry declared that the goals of the action plan had been fulfilled, and in July, the country issued a three-year action plan to “win the battle for blue skies.” But earlier this month, Caixin reported that China’s carbon footprint is as large as it’s ever been. (Image: VCG)
Employees at an office building in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, also known as China’s Silicon Valley, have resumed work after a massive fire was extinguished on Wednesday, The Paper reported.
Videos circulated on social media show the building — which houses the Google China headquarters, among other companies — in flames at around 11 a.m. The local fire department told The Beijing News that the blaze had started from a cooling unit for the building’s air conditioners. No injuries have been reported, and the cause of the fire is under further investigation.
Though Google has a physical presence in China, its search engine is blocked virtually. On Tuesday, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said that Google has no plans to launch in China following backlash over a censored search engine — code-named Project Dragonfly — reportedly being developed for the country, (Image: From @中国交通广播 on Weibo)
China’s Foreign Ministry responded Wednesday to questions about former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig — whom the Canadian government confirmed on Tuesday had been detained in China — by saying it was unable to provide information regarding reports of Kovrig’s disappearance.
But Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at his regular press briefing that to his understanding, Kovrig’s employer — the International Crisis Group — had not registered itself in China, and that if this was indeed the case, its staff were breaking a recent Chinese law on nongovernmental organizations by working in the country, Beijing Youth Daily reported. (Image: VCG)
Republished with permission from Caixin Global.
Chinese question-and-answer site Zhihu has denied suggestions that it is planning to lay off hundreds of workers, The Paper reported Wednesday.
According to social media posts on Tuesday from multiple Zhihu employees, the Quora-like platform is letting go of 300 employees amid a budget cut. One employee told The Paper that several teams had already been disbanded, and that members of such teams were “awaiting rearrangement.” Rebutting the claims, Zhihu said staff evaluations and restructuring are an annual procedure, without any further elaboration.
Media reports of layoffs at Zhihu come at a time of mounting concern over a slowdown in China’s information technology sector. Job openings at Chinese IT companies were down by 51 percent in the third quarter of 2018 compared with the same period last year. (Image: VCG)