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2018-03-20 09:20:41

Alibaba’s “last-mile” strategy has expanded into the bedroom with emergency sex supplies delivered to your door.

The company’s grocery delivery app, Hema Xiansheng, launched an adult product section for Shanghai customers on Monday evening called “Hormone” that offers a selection of 700 condoms, lubricants, and sex toys — of which more than 50 are available for 30-minute delivery.

Hema told Sixth Tone that its pre-launch trial had found that people aged 40 to 49 were the major consumer group for adult products, while customers born after 1990 were more willing to buy expensive condom brands.

The service will become available to users in other cities starting in late April — though several other apps already offer delivery of convenience store products, including condoms, lube, and sex toys. (Image: Weibo)

3 hours

Twelve people are dead and another 125 injured after a series of earthquakes shook southwestern China’s Sichuan province, according to updated figures from the country’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

The new death toll, announced at around 9 a.m. Tuesday, follows a magnitude 6 quake that hit Changning County late Monday night. By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sichuan’s provincial earthquake administration had recorded 70 aftershocks with magnitudes greater than 2 in the region, including one that measured 5.3. More than 2,000 rescue workers have already arrived in the affected region and over 1,200 others are on the way, state media reported.

Sichuan has a long history of seismic activity. In 2008, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the province, leaving 80,000 dead or missing and 375,000 injured. Earlier this year, Rong County — located about 100 kilometers away from Changning — suspended shale gas extraction after three earthquakes killed two people and caused 14 million yuan ($2.1 million) in damages.(Image: VCG)

21 hours

China has blocked the sale of over 25 million plane tickets and almost 5.9 million high-speed rail tickets to individuals on an official “loss of trust” list, the country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission announced Monday.

First introduced last March, the list generally targets passengers with a history of misbehavior or those who have failed to pay court-ordered settlements. According to the NDRC announcement, China’s courts have already added a total of 14 million people to the list, which bars them from buying certain classes of tickets for a period of up to one year.

Blacklists have proliferated in China since 2014, when the country introduced a social credit system meant to improve the overall “trustworthiness” of society. Earlier this month, the National Health Commission pledged to set up a blacklist of its own for individuals with a history of yinao, or violence against medical workers. (Image: VCG)

21 hours

Authorities in Guangzhou have issued 20 provisional license plates to autonomous-car startup WeRide, allowing it to commence open-road tests in the southern Chinese city, the company said in an announcement Friday.

WeRide was co-founded in April 2017 by Tony Han, formerly a scientist with tech giant Baidu’s autonomous-driving division. In September 2018, the company partnered with telecom operator China Unicom to set up an autonomous-car test zone on an island in Guangzhou.

But the southern city is not the first in China to allow open-road testing for autonomous cars. In March of last year, Shanghai issued the country’s first batch of autonomous-car license plates to companies such as Nio and SAIC Motor. Other major cities, including Beijing, Chongqing, and Changsha, have since followed suit. (Image: From WeRide’s website)

3 days

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Thursday summoned the mayors of six northern Chinese cities for talks related to the “obvious worsening” of air quality within their jurisdictions last fall and winter, reported The Beijing News.

According to the report, the mayors of cities in Henan, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces expressed their “sorrow, guilt, self-reproach,” and even “heart-piercing grief” after inspectors said they had failed to achieve targets outlined in the central government’s “battle for blue skies” action plan, a three-year drive to improve air quality.

“People have not done their utmost, they’ve relaxed,” the ministry’s head of air pollution control, Liu Bingjiang, said at the meeting, adding that the worsening air quality was due to lax administration.

In one of numerous examples given in The Beijing News’ report, the city of Baoding in Hebei province failed to supervise coal burning last fall and winter and neglected to provide funding for gas- and electricity-powered heating in a timely manner. Over the same period, P.M 2.5 levels in the city of Langfang, Hebei province, rose by 15.5% year-on-year. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Mobile payment giant Alipay is recruiting 1,000 volunteers to participate in a campaign aimed at educating the Chinese public about online scams.

Focusing on performing arts native to 10 cities and provinces, Alipay on Thursday appealed to kunqu opera singers, crosstalk comedians, rhythmic kuaiban performers and errenzhuan dancers to join the company in giving special fraud-fighting performances in several cities.

In the notice, Alipay stated that the volunteers would be required to plan their own “lively and understandable performances” incorporating tips for uncovering scams targeting the elderly, laborers, and college students. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Researchers have discovered evidence of ritual cannabis smoking in western China from 2,500 years ago, suggesting the earliest use of the drug for its psychoactive effects.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances analyzed archaeological artifacts from burial grounds on the Pamir Plateau, with a chemical analysis of burn marks on the objects indicating cannabis with “high levels of psychoactive compounds.” Meanwhile, human bones and a harp also discovered at the site, among other artifacts, suggest that ritual and religious practices took place at the grounds.

Researchers say these clues show that cannabis smoking played an important role in burial rituals. “We can start to piece together an image of funerary rites that included flames, rhythmic music, and hallucinogen smoke,” they wrote, “all intended to guide people into an altered state of mind.” (Image: Science Advances)

5 days

A new securities market for registration-based initial public offerings was launched at a financial forum in Shanghai on Thursday, according to domestic media reports.

First announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China International Import Expo last November, the SSE STAR market is intended to support the development of domestic firms in high-tech and emerging sectors. The new exchange will depart from the country’s current IPO system — which requires official approval for new shares — to a market-based registration system like the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The first batch of companies will be listed on the market and start trading within the next two months, said Huang Hongyuan, chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Huang said that six companies had been shortlisted from 122 applicants in fields such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, and biomedicine. (Image: VCG)

5 days

Two men have been detained in southern China for claiming that domestic authorities discovered and arrested CIA spies working undercover at tech giant Huawei, according to an official announcement Wednesday.

The detentions — 10 days for a 48-year-old surnamed Wu and three days for a 51-year-old surnamed Ni — were handed down by police in the city of Shenzhen for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to the announcement from the ruling Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission. The commission said the two men had made the claim in chat groups on popular social app WeChat.

A third man, surnamed Han, was not detained but was issued a warning by Beijing police for the same offense, Wednesday’s announcement said.

Espionage between the U.S. and China has been an ongoing concern amid the American government’s spat with Huawei. Earlier this week, Huawei told the U.K. Parliament that it is not obliged to spy on behalf of the Chinese government, pushing back against earlier warnings from the CIA that the Chinese state had provided funding to the company. (Image: VCG)

5 days

To ensure a stable talent pool for western and central China, the country’s most developed cities should not use cash incentives and special benefits to lure bright minds from these areas, according to a central government document released Tuesday.

The General Office of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, addressed the talent issue along with various other opinions aimed at boosting the integrity and reputation of Chinese scientists. With ongoing concerns over a so-called brain drain in China’s western and northeastern regions, the document said such areas should not have to worry about having their best and brightest plucked away by urban centers with greater resources at their disposal.

In the past two years, China’s second-tier cities have been engaged in a fierce battle for workplace talent, offering incentives ranging from preferential homebuying policies to low-rent “talent apartments.” With the bright lights of megacities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen holding the attention of many promising young scholars, universities and research institutes in western and northeastern China have faced worsening staff and student shortages. (Image: IC)

5 days

A public security bureau’s show of support for a delivery worker who was mistreated by an irate customer has been widely shared online since being reported Tuesday by China News Service.

County-level police in the eastern Shandong province were alerted to an incident Monday night in which a YTO Express employee had knelt and begged forgiveness from a customer, the statement said. The worker — identified only by her surname, Nie — had already compensated the customer for damaging his shipment of mangoes. But after receiving “multiple malicious complaints” from the customer, YTO Express fined Nie 2,000 yuan ($290) and threatened to fire her if the complaints continued.

The police testament recommended that YTO Express cancel the fine and blacklist the customer, stating that she needn’t “abandon her dignity in begging for forgiveness.”

Copies of the statement accompanied by a hashtag translating to “female delivery worker kneels after malicious complaints” went viral on Weibo Tuesday afternoon, receiving over 250 million views by time of publication. “The police officer is right,” read one comment with over 26,000 likes. “(The customer) was already compensated for the box of mangoes. It’s hard to understand why he’s so unwilling to forgive.”

Shortly after the police weighed in, YTO Express posted its own statement saying Nie’s fine had been canceled and the company opposed “malicious complaints.” On Wednesday, the China Express Association, an industry trade group, reacted to the case by announcing that it would look into establishing a blacklist for “bad customers” and calling on companies to back their workers in such disputes. (Image: VCG)