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2018-03-12 08:52:00

Several members of China’s top political advisory body have proposed marking Dec. 18 as National Reform and Opening-Up Day, The Paper reported Sunday. The day would commemorate sweeping reforms that changed the course of the country’s development after it emerged from the Cultural Revolution.

On Dec. 18, 1978, the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China commenced, setting in motion a series of policies termed “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Spearheaded by leader Deng Xiaoping, the reform program decollectivized agriculture and opened the country to foreign investment, putting the country on the path to a market economy. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the reforms.

7 hours

The Walt Disney Company on Monday denied partnering with a Chinese online English-teaching startup after domestic media had previously reported about an upcoming alliance between the two companies.

Earlier this month, several Chinese media outlets reported that VIPKID users would have access to the Disney Youth Education Series after the partnership. However, Disney clarified in its statement that its program — part of the American company’s youth-centric projects — is already open to all young people worldwide. The online tutoring platform responded to Disney, posting on Weibo that it had gained “support” from the company, though it later deleted this post.

Established in 2013, VIPKID has grown into a community of over 500,000 members. Last year, it announced plans to expand its services to 100 countries in three years and said that it had partnered with Scholastic — publisher of the “Harry Potter” series — to introduce the popular fantasy novels to its members. (Image: From VIPKID’s Weibo account)

9 hours

A court in southwestern China has ruled in favor of an American cosmetics company in a trademark infringement case against e-commerce platform, Sina Technology reported Monday.

The Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court ordered the online retailer to immediately stop selling counterfeit MAC cosmetics — a brand under Estée Lauder Companies Inc. — and pay 1.2 million yuan ($179,000) in damages, according to a verdict dated Jan. 15 but only published Friday. The court also ordered to disclose its supply chain information and destroy all imitation MAC products in its possession.

A subsidiary of tech giant NetEase, has faced — and denied — multiple allegations of peddling counterfeit goods since last year. In January, a consumer claimed that the online retailer was selling fake Canada Goose parkas, while the China Consumers Association accused of selling counterfeit Estée Lauder eye cream in February 2018. (Image: VCG)

9 hours

China’s multipurpose messaging app WeChat has shut down over 1,000 chat groups using the platform to unlawfully disseminate financial lending information, according to a statement released by the company Monday.

WeChat’s security department said it had closed groups in which users distributed financial lending information without the license to do so. The statement added that the crackdown is aimed at protecting users from financial fraud, as unlicensed peer-to-peer lenders were found to be operating on the platform despite an ongoing ban.

Peer-to-peer — or P2P — lending companies have become popular in China for providing hassle-free loans, albeit at high rates of interest. But many smaller P2P lenders, facing issues such as diminishing funds and rising numbers of defaulters, have been forced to shut down since 2018. China is likely to have as few as 300 P2P lenders by the end of 2019, according to market research firm Yingcan Group. (Image: VCG)

14 hours

Goth netizens are posting photos of themselves online in support of a woman who was barred from boarding the subway in southern China last week because of her “horrifying” makeup.

On microblogging platform Weibo, users are sharing their selfies alongside a hashtag translating to “Send Guangzhou Metro a Photo,” which had been viewed over 5 million times by noon Tuesday. The campaign was launched to show solidarity with a woman named Lin Lin, whose social media post on March 10 about mistreatment by subway security staff because of her Goth-style makeup went viral last week.

Guangzhou Metro has attempted to atone for the original incident multiple times since Lin Lin posted on Weibo. On Friday, the metro apologized and announced that it had temporarily suspended the female security guard involved. Then on Saturday — after Lin Lin had vocally dismissed Guangzhou Metro’s initial apologies as “insincere” — the company issued a public apology on Weibo. (Images: From Weibo)

15 hours

As Chinese people prepare to honor their ancestors over next month’s Tomb-Sweeping Festival holiday, the country’s central bank on Monday banned the use of imitation banknotes as traditional offerings.

The People’s Bank of China says the restriction is aimed at “preserving the integrity and dignity” of the country’s currency and preventing the “improper use of currency images,” according to a Monday report by China News Service. The report did not elaborate on how violators would be punished.

On April 5, people across China will celebrate Tomb-Sweeping Day — or Qingming Festival — by offering money, foodstuffs, and other items to their ancestors to aid them in the afterlife.

In recent years, local governments have prohibited the burning of so-called ghost money in order to curb air pollution. This year, however, marks the first time a nationwide ban will be implemented, according to China News Service. (Image: VCG)

1 day

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and tech giant Tencent have begun issuing the country’s first blockchain-enabled electronic invoices for transportation costs, Tencent’s news portal reported Monday.

Beginning Monday, the digital invoices are available for riders using either social app WeChat or Shenzhen Metro’s smartphone app to pay for trips on the city’s subway system and one of its airport shuttles, as well as with participating taxis. Both apps utilize blockchain technology — the decentralized system of electronic “blocks” of information — developed by Tencent.

In August 2018, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to issue electronic invoices using blockchain technology for WeChat payments with participating businesses. (Image: @刺猬公社 on Weibo)

1 day

A Chinese artist accused earlier this year of copying the work of his Belgian contemporary vehemently denied the allegations in a social media post on Monday.

In February, artist Christian Silvain told Belgian media that Ye Yongqing had copied and profited from ideas found in his collage series. Upon reaching China, word of the allegations sparked heated discussion on social media — though Ye remained reticent, saying only that Silvain had “deeply influenced” him.

Ye was more vocal in a statement posted Monday to his WeChat Moments social feed, later republished on an arts website. “You think I’m a ‘liar,’ someone who ‘profited through copying’ ... but all of this is untrue,” Ye wrote, adding that after unsuccessfully trying to meet with Silvain in Brussels, he had decided to entrust the matter to his lawyer.

In a press release sent to Sixth Tone on Saturday, the Christian Silvain Foundation said that it would issue an official response “after all elements have been examined in greater depth.” (Image: IC)

1 day

An official in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province has been placed under investigation for corruption. His position? Head of a city’s anti-corruption department.

Shaanxi’s corruption watchdog announced Sunday that Quan Wangjun, the director and Communist Party secretary of the Xianyang City Discipline Inspection Commission, has been placed under investigation for “serious violations of discipline and law,” a euphemism for corruption.

A person with knowledge of the information, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of corruption investigations, said Quan had been aware of the impending investigation and had considered committing suicide, according to financial news outlet Caixin. On March 10, a suicide note he had allegedly written was circulated online.

Quan is the second high-level official in Shaanxi’s disciplinary system to be investigated recently. In August, Hu Chuanxiang — former director of the Corruption Prevention Department of the Shaanxi Discipline and Inspection Commission — was placed under investigation. He was expelled from the Communist Party in February. (Image: VCG)

Republished with permission from Caixin Global.

1 day

Thirty-one students at a vocational college in Fujian province have been infected with norovirus after eating at the school’s cafeteria, The Beijing News reported Monday.

The 31 students at Fujian Industrial School in the city of Fuzhou began showing symptoms of vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever on Friday evening. The school cafeteria’s foodstuffs have since been sealed, pending an inspection. According to the World Health Organization, norovirus can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, or through contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface.

The norovirus outbreak follows last week’s high-profile campus food safety scandal in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The Chinese public has appealed for greater attention to school cafeteria quality control after several food products at the Chengdu primary and secondary school were found covered in mold. (Image: VCG)

5 days

A professor at the University of Maryland in the United States has resigned after several of his Chinese students accused him of discrimination, Washington’s National Public Radio station WAMU reported Monday.

David P. Weber, formerly a professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, had “voluntarily resigned,” according to a statement his attorney sent to WAMU. A university spokesperson confirmed Weber’s resignation with WAMU, adding that all students should be treated with respect.

Five students at the University of Maryland had previously filed a joint complaint to the university in which they accused Weber of saying, “All Chinese students cheat their way into the U.S.” during one of his classes. Weber’s attorney, however, told WAMU that his client had not used those “exact words” and claimed Weber had referenced Chinese nationality not to discriminate, but to stress the gravity of being accused of academic dishonesty as an international student. (Image: The official website of the University of Maryland)