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2018-07-10 13:12:08

Zhang Peng, a Sun Yat-sen University primatology professor accused of sexual harassment, has been suspended from teaching and supervising postgraduate students, the school announced Tuesday. The university has also requested that his title of Changjiang Scholar — a prestigious academic honor — be revoked following its months-long investigation.

Sixth Tone reported on allegations against Zhang from six women — five students and a colleague — on Monday after Chinese nonfiction platform The Livings first broke the story on Sunday.

The SYSU announcement added that Zhang had been given three disciplinary warnings after the school received accusation reports in April and May before the administration decided to suspend him at a meeting on July 2. (Image: Weibo)

13 hours

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)

13 hours

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)

13 hours

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)

13 hours

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)

1 day

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)

4 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.

4 days

At least 19 people have died and 12 others have been injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in Sichuan, the province’s local work safety authority said Friday.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon at an industrial zone in Jiang’an County in the city of Yibin. Photos from local media show the company’s three-story building has been razed to its frame. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Blasts at chemical plants have killed dozens in China. In February, four people were killed in an explosion in Shandong province. In one of the deadliest disasters, 173 people died in a twin blast at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin in 2015.  

5 days

Air China flight 106 from Hong Kong to Dalian sent a distress call half an hour into its flight on Tuesday evening and then dropped nearly 7,000 meters’ altitude in 20 minutes.

Travel app Flight Butler posted on Weibo that the aircrew was suspected of smoking in the cockpit and mistakenly turning off two switches thinking they were fans. The crew announced that the plane was losing pressure, a passenger recalled, and oxygen masks were released from the ceiling. The aircraft then managed to level off, climb back to cruising altitude, and safely land in Dalian.

Air China confirmed on Weibo that the aircrew is under investigation by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, saying, “The company will have zero tolerance for the person responsible.” (Image: Weibo user @确认信号)

6 days

Consumer review platform Dianping has apologized for a function that shared users’ activity to their friends if both parties had authorized the platform on social app WeChat.

On Sunday, Dianping issued a statement addressing netizens who were outraged when they discovered that their WeChat friends could see places they had visited and reviewed as well as those that they wished to visit. The feature was enabled by default and could only be turned off through a two-step process.

Dianping users who now link WeChat will be asked to follow friends manually, and Dianping has added a single-click function to disable all third-party social connections. However, local media reported on Monday that de-authorizing the WeChat social function still requires several steps. (Image: VCG)