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2018-04-08 04:37:23

A 63-year-old woman in rural Sichuan province has been found dead from a fire she is believed to have started during China’s annual Tomb-Sweeping Festival holiday, local media reported Saturday.

In China, it is common practice to burn candles, incense, and joss paper at the burial sites of one’s ancestors, or leave food and other offerings to aid them in the afterlife, especially around the early April festival.

The woman, surnamed Zhou, had been paying tribute to her ancestors in a mountainous area outside Minxing Village on Wednesday. The fire, which spread to cover 67 square kilometers, was eventually put out by locals. According to the local government, Zhou’s body was found among the ashes. (Image: Chengdu Business Daily)

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Zhou died Thursday; it was Wednesday.

1 day

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced Thursday that mobile apps for Texas Hold ’em — a poker game popular in the West — must be removed from China’s app stores immediately and cease all operations by June 1.

On April 15, CCTV reported that such apps were rife with illegal gambling — not directly within the games, but by way of third-party mobile payment services like Alipay and WeChat Wallet. The ministry, tasked with evaluating apps before they’re made available to the public, further said it will no longer approve Texas Hold ’em games.

Chinese authorities have long viewed gambling games like Texas Hold ’em as having a corrosive influence on society. In July 2017, social media entrepreneur Xu Chaojun was arrested for hosting illegal Texas Hold ’em games for Beijing’s glitterati. (Image: IC)

1 day

Following recent tax-relief measures, China’s health industry insiders estimate that the price of imported cancer drugs will fall by at least 20 percent.

The State Council announced last week that from May 1, China will no longer impose import tariffs on cancer medication from abroad. It also proposed that, in the meantime, the value-added tax on such drugs — currently 17 percent — be greatly reduced.

The combined measures are a boon to the country’s millions of cancer patients. According to People’s Daily, China’s market for anticancer drugs is valued at 100 billion yuan ($16 billion), with imports accounting for roughly half of this figure.

1 day

Reflecting on the cases of news aggregator Jinri Toutiao ramping up oversight of its content and Facebook implementing broader privacy controls to placate concerned users, Xinhua suggested Thursday that such measures could be part of a growing global trend.

With “decisive action” and “changed mindsets,” the commentary said it hoped that Toutiao could become “full of positive energy” again. The author further admonished online platforms to provide “positive and healthy content” in accordance with laws and regulations.

Since the end of 2017, Toutiao has frequently made headlines as regulators ordered it to better police vulgar and otherwise inappropriate content. Last week, the company closed its popular joke app, Neihan Duanzi, and its CEO issued an apology for administrative lapses.

2 days

Town authorities exhumed the coffin of a recently deceased 81-year-old villager to cremate it as part of a local government push for “green burials” in Yiyang county, Jiangxi, media reported Thursday.

As of Tuesday, all 40 residents who had died in the county since the launch of the initiative on April 9 had been cremated without exception. On Sunday, another town in Jiangxi province, Lefeng, confiscated and destroyed nearly 400 burial coffins that local villagers had prepared in advance. Villagers were given 1,000 yuan ($160) compensation for each coffin.

Though eco-friendly options like sea burials that conserve land and resources are becoming more popular in China’s urban centers, in the countryside, many villagers still believe that their bodies should be kept intact after death. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Cainiao, an Alibaba-owned logistics company, tested its first driverless express delivery vehicle in Hangzhou on Wednesday, according to China News Service. The drone is an improvement on modern delivery methods, the company says, and should help cope with growing demand.

“The logistics industry will soon require 30 million workers, but [China’s] aging population and shrinking workforce mean we must rethink the current methods,” said Chen Junbo, head of Cainiao’s ET lab.

Dubbed the “G-Plus,” the drone travels at around 15 kilometers per hour and can plan routes in real time using built-in GPS. It recognizes and responds to traffic lights, and can detect oncoming vehicles from a distance of up to 100 meters. Cainiao says it hopes to be mass-producing the models by year’s end. (Image: Weibo)

2 days

A suspect hanged herself Sunday after being left alone in an interrogation room, police in Hebi, Henan province, announced Monday.

The 52-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of theft. The police announcement did not say how she had managed to hang herself. An unspecified number of officers involved in the case have been suspended, pending an investigation by the city’s supervision commission.

In May 2016, environmentalist Lei Yang died mysteriously while being detained by Beijing police on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute, sparking wide debate about whether citizens are safe from the people tasked with protecting them. In October 2016, Beijing authorities announced that all interrogations in the city should be recorded to avoid police brutality and coerced confessions.

2 days

Shenzhen on Monday became the first city in China to launch a mandatory recycling program for furniture, home appliances, and other large, unwanted items: Residents need only schedule a pick-up time on WeChat. According to the local urban management bureau, companies and individuals who fail to properly recycle such items may be subject to reduced credit scores.

The southern city has long been at the forefront of recycling and waste disposal. It has offered an optional pick-up service for large waste since 2015, and it currently has 21 large-scale garbage-processing facilities operating at 70 percent capacity. In 2016, Shenzhen began construction on the world’s largest waste incinerator, amid vocal protests from local residents.

2 days

A 12-year-old kangaroo at a zoo in eastern China died last month after being stoned by visitors hoping to make it hop, local media reported Thursday.

According to an employee at the Fuzhou Zoo in Fujian province, the kangaroo died from a ruptured kidney a day after visitors had pelted it with rocks. Zookeepers treated and bandaged a visible injury on the kangaroo’s leg but did not realize the animal was bleeding internally. A second 5-year-old kangaroo was also injured in the incident.

Zoo staff have said that visitors often throw rocks and other projectiles at the animals to get them to move, despite the fact that doing so is strictly forbidden. Apart from the kangaroos, one employee said, the zoo’s hippos and ostriches are other common targets of harassment and abuse. (Image: IC)

3 days

The company behind popular short-video app Douyin was recently “invited over for talks” with commerce regulators because some use the platform to sell fake goods, Chinese media reports.

In the meeting, company representatives said that they had already deleted illegal content and instituted preventative measures: Douyin had deleted 805 videos and 677 accounts and blocked 87 keywords.

Douyin grew massively popular at the start of the year but has increasingly taken flack for content such as dangerous viral stunts involving children and advertising counterfeit or homemade makeup. Last week, Douyin’s comments function was suspended for several days while the app was updated to include an “anti-addiction system.”

3 days

A court in Hunan province has sentenced a drug-selling food deliverywoman to four years in prison and fined her 2,000 yuan ($320), Procuratorate Daily reported Wednesday.

Posing as one of China’s ubiquitous food couriers, the woman sold fried rice and heroin on at least five occasions in September 2017, earning 580 yuan. On her last delivery, she was apprehended by police while delivering nearly 1 gram of heroin.

Drug dealers using food couriers to peddle their products is not a new phenomenon in China. In March, a 23-year-old man in Hubei province was found to be delivering methamphetamine along with takeout orders. (Image: VCG)