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2018-09-13 08:50:40

Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial announced that the company has started an independent business unit to specifically develop and expand its “mini apps” business, Caixin reported Thursday.

Mini apps are small and single-purpose programs that allow users to order food, transportation, and other services without having to leave the mobile payment platform. Alipay currently has over 20,000 mini apps targeted toward 700 million people who use the platform. The Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial also said it will invest 1 billion yuan ($146 million) to support startups in the next three years.

Last year, Alipay apologized to WeChat — owned by Alibaba rival Tencent — after a tech blogger implied that China’s most widely used mobile payment platform copied the latter’s mini apps code. (Image: VCG)

22 hours

Beijing’s Palace Museum issued a statement Tuesday warning about third-party ticket sellers amid reports of scalpers hawking pricey passes to this week’s first-ever nighttime events.

The notice said that the authentic, free tickets to the highly anticipated activities had only been available via real-name registration on the museum’s official website and cautioned against “being cheated” by “any other channel.” Prior to the announcement, media had reported that online buyers were paying up to 9,999 yuan ($1,480) to purported ticketholders for their passes.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights’ activities — celebrating the country’s traditional Lantern Festival — are the first evening events in the museum’s 94-year history. When put on offer by the museum's website, the first batch of tickets was gone within one minute, while the second batch caused such heavy traffic that the website crashed. (Image: VCG)

1 day

On Friday, the overseas edition of People’s Daily published an article outlining new recommendations concerning danmu, or “bullet screens” — viewer-generated comments that scroll across videos as they’re played.

Originating in Japan, bullet screens have become a ubiquitous feature of Chinese video-streaming sites, giving netizens the chance to express their reactions, often humorous or sarcastic, to the videos they’re watching in real time. In January, however, the China Netcasting Services Association — a watchdog for the country’s online broadcasting industry — asserted that video-sharing platforms should review the scrolling comments before they’re displayed to other users. In the wake of this and other restrictive regulations aimed at online media, several platforms have hired legions of content moderators. In April 2018, ByteDance — the company behind short-video app TikTok and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao — vowed to hire 10,000 such staff.

The People’s Daily article claims that lax supervision has resulted in bullet screens being overrun with pornographic, vulgar, and violent language. “Sang culture and nontraditional marriage and relationship values also appear often [online] and have a negative influence,” the author added, using a term for the apathetic, deadbeat mentality that’s increasingly prevalent among world-weary Chinese millennials. (Image: IC)

1 day

A district official in Shanghai said Thursday that a public school teacher is under investigation for sexual harassment allegations, according to a social media post Friday by news outlet Daily Portrait.

In late January, several parents complained to Weiyu Middle School that Chen Minghua, a male physics teacher at the school, had repeatedly hugged and groped female students in his class and office over the past year. After the school declined to fire Chen — citing a “shortage of physics teachers” — parents reported the case to supervision bureaus and the police. Chen has not responded to interview requests from media.

Chinese authorities have sought to crack down on child abuse amid an uptick in such cases in recent years. Last week, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced that it would build the country’s first database of child sex offenders. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Sanquan Food Co. Ltd., a Henan-based seller of frozen dumplings, announced Sunday that it had suspended the sale of products suspected of being contaminated with African swine fever — a virus that doesn’t infect humans but is highly fatal to pigs. The company did not say whether any of the potentially infected products were already on the market.

In the past six months, over 900,000 pigs have been culled in China to control the spread of African swine fever. On Jan. 9, a local government in Hunan province learned that three samples of Sanquan products had tested positive for the virus. And last Friday, an official in Gansu province told The Beijing News that products from Sanquan and 10 other domestic food manufacturers were found to be contaminated, prompting media outlets to express concerns about production line oversight.

This is not the first time Chinese food companies have caught the flu. In November of last year, sausages sold by WH Group — another Henan-based producer of pork products — were found to be carrying the swine fever virus. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Police in China’s northeastern Liaoning province seized 100 spotted seal pups from alleged smugglers earlier this week, local outlet Peninsula Morning Post reported Friday.

After receiving a tip Monday, authorities in the port city of Dalian recovered 71 living pups, as well as 29 others that had already died due to improper care and living conditions. Shortly after being rescued, seven more pups in poor health died. An unspecified number of suspected smugglers, accused of stealing the seals from their local breeding habitat in Liaodong Bay, have been detained.

Spotted seals are a protected species in China, with a total population of about 2,000 in Liaodong Bay. As Friday’s report noted, the seals are threatened by human activity like smuggling — often to be sold to aquariums — in addition to climate change and environmental deterioration. (Image: VCG)

5 days

Big-budget Chinese movies, series, and animated programs specifically produced for online audiences are required to disclose their production expenses to the country’s media regulator starting Friday.

In an updated policy announced last month, the National Radio and Television Administration said online series and animation programs with budgets over 5 million yuan ($740,000) and films spending more than 1 million yuan must be registered in an administration database. Studios also need to disclose the salary details of the stars involved in those productions — before and after the project’s completion — which was previously not required.

This latest move comes amid a crackdown following a high-profile tax evasion scandal involving actress Fan Bingbing last year. The tax authority said it collected 11.75 billion yuan in unpaid taxes from film and TV industry professionals in 2018. (Image: VCG)

6 days

Beijing police are currently investigating two university staff members connected with a laboratory explosion that killed three students late last year, local newspaper Beijing Daily reported Wednesday.

A research director and lab supervisor may face criminal charges for “conducting a risky experiment, improperly storing dangerous chemicals, and failing to maintain lab safety management” following December’s environmental engineering lab explosion at Beijing Jiaotong University, the report said. Three graduate students died in the accident, which occurred during a water treatment experiment.

According to Beijing Daily, the local education bureau and the university have also disciplined 12 other staff members over the incident, including the school’s president and Communist Party committee secretary. (Image: VCG)

2019-02-13 07:41:27

China will build a first-of-its-kind database to monitor perpetrators of child sex abuse, the Supreme People's Procuratorate announced in a reform plan Tuesday.

The database — the latest measure aimed at standardizing law enforcement for cases involving minors — will include the criminal and employment records of people who have been convicted of sexually abusing children. The procuratorate has not yet said when it will begin to compile such information.

In November, the Supreme People's Procuratorate published new guidelines calling for stricter punishments in cases involving the physical or sexual abuse of minors amid an uptick in such crimes over the previous five years. A district procuratorate in Shanghai became the first to ban sex offenders from working with minors in 2017. (Image: VCG)

2019-02-12 09:46:03

A court in eastern China’s Shandong province has frozen a couple’s bank account for violating the country’s family planning regulations, The Paper reported Tuesday.

The couple was punished for failing to pay a 64,626 yuan ($9,500) fine — levied as a social maintenance fee — for having a third child in January 2017, according to a judicial document released by a Chengwu county court on Sunday. The court has also restricted the couple from using their e-wallets, popular forms of payment in China.

Chinese authorities have long imposed fines for defying the one-child policy, which was scrapped in 2015 to allow couples a second child. Last year, the State Council removed family planning policies from the first draft of the country’s civil code, and the country’s health authority got rid of three departments tasked with family planning jobs. Experts see these moves as a sign that China may lift its birthing restrictions entirely. (Image: VCG)

2019-02-02 01:45:32

Suspected gang members have been prosecuted in the northwestern Shaanxi province after allegedly defrauding more than 380,000 people out of millions of yuan in an “anti-poverty fund” scam, The Paper reported Friday.

Starting in September 2017, gang members posing as representatives from poverty alleviation organizations promised a future payout of between 80,000 and 800,000 yuan ($12,000 and $120,000) to anyone who paid a “registration fee” of 16 yuan. The group collected more than 6 million yuan before the racket was uncovered that November, according to local police.

Amid a campaign by the central government to eliminate rural poverty by 2020, numerous cases of fraud and misappropriation have surfaced. A billion-yuan road project to reduce poverty was deemed “corrupt” in April, while two local governments were criticized for extravagant spending last week. (Image: VCG)

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