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2018-04-04 09:55:33

Zhujiang Middle School in Guangzhou is under investigation for holding an unauthorized entrance exam, the Southern Daily reported, and the school principal has been suspended.

As part of national efforts to curb competition and reduce education stratification, the provincial ministry of education set guidelines in March to regulate the enrolment process. In the past, elite schools held their exams first and had their pick of the brightest students, but now exams must be approved by officials.

Exams for state schools will be held in June but around 1,000 students reportedly gathered at Zhujiang Middle School on March 31 for the secret exam. Exam details were shared in an invite-only chat group under the code name “Tree Planting.” (Image: Weibo)

10 hours

An American fast-food chain has partnered with a Chinese state broadcaster for its latest advertisement to mark the 40th anniversary of China’s economic reforms.

KFC released the ad Thursday featuring celebrities from two generations — actor Huang Bo and pop idol Lu Han — who time travel on a train, tracing China’s development since it opened to foreign investment in 1978. The two-minute video co-produced with China Central Television highlights the country’s infrastructure advancements, including high-speed railways and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, as well as the technological progress achieved in the last four decades.

KFC was the first fast-food chain to open in China in 1987 and has now over 5,000 restaurants in 1,100 cities. (Image: KFC's official Weibo account)

11 hours

China’s top health watchdogs launched a campaign Wednesday to crack down on illegal prenatal sex-determination through “fetus photography.”

The National Health Commission, along with four other government departments, ordered local health authorities to ensure better ultrasound procedures and monitor unlicensed medical activities. The move follows media reports that private businesses were offering to determine the baby’s gender through high-tech ultrasound technology.

Sex-determination during pregnancy and sex-selective abortion — except for those with legitimate medical conditions — is illegal in China. (Image: VCG)

1 day

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)

2 days

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)

2 days

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)

3 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)

3 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)

3 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)

3 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)

4 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)