Already have an account?Sign in to Sixth Tone

Almost there!

Please confirm your email address by clicking the link in the email received from us.

Check Mail Now

Please wait until the countdown has finished before clicking the resend button.

Forgot your password?

Don’t worry! Just fill in your email and we will help you reset your password.

Activation email sent.

Check Mail Now

Please wait until the countdown has finished before clicking the resend button.

2018-04-11 11:48:38

From April 17, Taobao will no longer allow blockchain-based products and related services to be sold on its platform, The Paper reported Wednesday. The announcement comes amid China’s tightening regulations on the burgeoning industry.

In addition to already-prohibited cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, other items that use blockchain technology, such as collectible cryptopets, will now also be banned, as will guides and software about acquiring cryptocoins, and related marketing and business-planning services.

“Digital currencies are highly vulnerable to user speculation and illegal financing,” Taobao said in its announcement. Initial coin offerings and currency-to-cryptocurrency trading have been illegal in China since September of last year — though some have attempted to skirt the ban.

6 hours

Crowdfunding site Qingsongchou sparked a storm of criticism after a Sichuan motorist who struck and killed four people used the platform to raise the money he was ordered to pay to the victims’ families, The Beijing News reported Tuesday.

“Hit Four, Can’t Pay, Please Help,” read the heading on the motorist’s crowdfunding page, created July 10. The man raised nearly 24,000 yuan ($3,600) in just one day, with most of the 1,200-plus donations reportedly coming from friends and relatives. Qingdongchou blocked the page a day later and told The Beijing News that all of the money pledged had been refunded.

Online giving is a popular phenomenon in China, where platforms like Qingsongchou are a dime a dozen. Because of the industry’s rapid growth, oversight regulation are often a step behind. (Image: VCG)

6 hours

A whistleblower who exposed the private vices of judicial officials has been sentenced to four years in prison and fined 30,000 yuan ($4,500) by a Hunan court, China Youth Daily reported Tuesday.

From 2015 to 2016, Wu Zhengge hired private investigators to uncover judicial officials’ misdeeds, including adultery and gambling. He then submitted his findings to the local government, which led to the incriminated individuals being suspended or fired. Wu was arrested in June 2016 for violating personal privacy and providing fraudulent data to secure loans.

Last week, an environmental whistleblower who testified against polluting businesses was punished for defamation by a Henan court despite the fact that his allegations proved true. (Image: VCG)

6 hours

Li Jinlian filed a compensation application to the Jiangxi High People’s Court for 41.4 million yuan ($6.17 million) on Wednesday, after his wrongful homicide conviction was overturned in June. Li, a 68-year-old farmer, had already served 19 years in prison.

China’s State Compensation Law stipulates that the state must pay compensation for each day of wrongful imprisonment based on the previous year’s national average salary. But what Li has proposed is three to 10 times that rate, according to online news outlet Jiemian.

The national record for the largest sum of state compensation is held by Chen Man, who received 2.75 million yuan after being wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years. From 2013 to 2016, China’s courts overturned 3,718 convictions and awarded a total of 699 million yuan compensation for the cases. (Image: From Li family)

1 day

In its yearly crackdown on copyright infringement that kicks off this month, China’s National Copyright Administration is focusing on articles and videos that are reposted without authorization, the regulatory body announced Monday.

The four-month campaign, called “Sword Net,” is directed toward so-called WeMedia — outlets which publish content through social media and have frequently been accused of plagiarism. The announcement also warned net users not to mimic or use other people’s short videos, though it’s unclear whether that includes joining in on one of the many memes on popular platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou.

“Sword Net” was first launched in 2005. Authorities have deleted over 6 million items of pirated content and shut 3,908 websites during the past five years alone. (Image: IC)

1 day

A 21-year-old woman died after being bitten by a snake she purchased online, local media reported Tuesday.

The Beijing News previously reported that the woman was admitted to a hospital in Weinan, Shaanxi province, on July 9, six hours after being bitten — though she did not receive the correct antivenom until the following day because it was not immediately available. According to the woman’s chat records with online vendors, she had hoped to make snake wine, an ancient tonic believed to have curative properties.

The snake, identified as a highly venomous banded krait, is an endangered species in China and cannot legally be sold. However, such prohibited pets are still readily advertised by third-party vendors on major e-commerce platforms like and Taobao. (Image: IC)

1 day

Graphic designers have apologized for copying design elements from the Japanese manga “My Hero Academia” in a poster released to celebrate popular Chinese dark comedy “Dying to Survive” making 2.5 billion yuan ($374m) at the box office.

“We are sorry that our careless creation hurt fans of our film and anime fans,” said a statement on the film’s official Weibo account. But net users were not impressed, pointing out that earlier posters plagiarized the design of another manga, “One Piece.”

Based on the true stories of how Chinese leukemia patients smuggled cheaper drugs from India, the film has been a hit with audiences, and even caught the attention of policymakers. As its box office takings climbed, authorities announced that they would bring down the price of cancer drugs. (Image: From Weibo)

1 day

The South Korean developer of wildly popular game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has removed controversial game elements referencing the imperial Japanese army and apologized, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

The report said that on Saturday, PUBG released a pilot mask emblazoned with the Rising Sun flag, and a non-player character identified as “Unit 731” — a notorious biowarfare research unit in the Japanese army that conducted lethal experiments on Chinese and Korean civilians during World War II.

The developer issued its apology on Sunday, after the imagery caught the attention of Korean gamers. Although the elements appeared in the Korean version of PUBG, Chinese players also added their voices to the chorus of criticism. (Image: Weibo)

1 day

The Chinese version of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) had already been panned for lacking the political punch of the American comedy show that it had licensed — but that did not stop it from getting canned after just three episodes.

Neither late-night nor live, the Chinese SNL had premiered on June 23 as an exclusive program on streaming platform Youku. When audiences logged onto Youku on Saturday, they found no new show. All previously aired content was offline too.

The platform did not clarify what exactly had resulted in the show’s deletion. The official SNL account on Weibo said that the show will be back after striving to be “more excellent to meet your expectations.” (Image: Weibo)

2 days

China’s Ministry of Education has reiterated that kindergartens must not teach toddlers Pinyin, math or English, the Beijing News reported Monday, while primary schools must not hold admissions tests.
As early as 2011, the ministry called for an end to the “primary school-erization” of kindergartens, banning them from organizing hobby groups or assigning homework, but parents have protested that the policy just shifts the burden, pushing them to seek private providers.
The ministry’s latest statement also warned private education companies from targeting toddlers. Nonetheless, extra-curricular classes for preschoolers are increasingly popular, with the sector valued at 380 billion yuan ($56.8 billion) in 2017. (Image: VCG)

5 days

Zhang Peng, the primatology professor who has been suspended from teaching at Sun Yat-sen University following sexual harassment allegations, posted a statement on Thursday in which he apologized for his “inappropriate behavior” but claimed that the online exposé of his conduct included exaggerations and falsehoods. He said he was prepared to sue the reporter.

An SYSU colleague who asked to remain anonymous confirmed to Sixth Tone that Zhang had made the post. The colleague added that Zhang had told a disciplinary staff meeting on Thursday that he had hugged female students “to weigh them.”

SYSU announced Zhang’s suspension on Tuesday following a months-long investigation. The International Primatological Society is also believed to have terminated his membership.