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2018-09-14 07:56:23

A clothing retailer has applied to trademark WeChat’s most popular emoji: the versatile facepalm.

According to Shangyou News, the Zhejiang-based company filed the application with the central trademark office in November 2017 — but only last month did the window for third parties to dispute the claim open. The company hopes to legally use the iconic image on 25 categories of clothing items, including T-shirts, shoes, ties, and baby clothes. A spokesperson for Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, told the paper that they plan to dispute the application on the grounds of copyright infringement.

Though once lax in China, enforcement of trademarks and copyrights has grown stricter in recent years, with cases involving fonts, songs, TV drama plots, and even plagiarism databases all making headlines. (Image: WeChat)

20 hours

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)

1 day

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)

1 day

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)

2 days

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)

3 days

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)

2019-01-31 08:24:47

A woman who achieved viral notoriety in 2016 for discarding food waste on the floor of a subway car was detained by Beijing authorities on Tuesday for the same offense.

According to a Thursday report from Beijing Daily, the city’s public transport security bureau gave the woman, surnamed Wang, administrative detention for an unspecified period of time for disturbing public order. Police say that Wang had been eating sachima — a rice crispy treat-like bar of sweetened dough strips woven together — and dropping scraps on the floor of the Line 13 subway on the evening of Jan. 20. When the other passengers implored her to clean up after herself, she refused. Police were alerted to the incident by photos posted to social media by other passengers.

Eating and drinking have been prohibited on the Beijing subway since 2014, with violators being fined up to 500 yuan ($75). Netizens soon revealed that Wang had been reviled for similar behavior on at least three occasions in the past, beginning in 2013. Though she’s been spotted feasting on malatang — a tongue-numbing, hot pot-style soup — she is more often associated with a bonier Chinese delicacy that inspired media and netizens to give Wang the nickname “chicken feet lady.” (Image: From Weibo)

2019-01-30 07:04:56

A third-party public relations firm was responsible for mistakenly posting a message about labor-related grievances to a Sony China social media account this week, the subsidiary company said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the writer of a now-deleted post on Sony China’s official Weibo microblog bemoaned their long working hours and lack of annual leave, attracting significant attention online. But in a follow-up post, Sony China said that an employee at the PR firm overseeing the microblog had “forgotten to switch accounts” before sharing the message, adding that “the firm’s annual leave system is faulty.”

“Sorry about that,” Sony China wrote. “The [Lunar] New Year is around the corner. Let’s be a little more understanding of the young person, what do you say?” (Image: VCG)

2019-01-28 08:57:01

A Chengdu doctor who was arrested last May on suspicion of raping his patient while she was sedated has been sentenced to six years and four months in prison, Red Star News reported Monday.

The defendant, Luo Ping, had worked at a local hospital for two years beginning in 2016 using a fraudulent national ID card and medical licenses. A district court in Chengdu convicted him of rape, forcible seizure, and using forged identity documents. The date of the trial has not been publicly disclosed.

In May of last year, Luo raped a sedated female patient during a surgical procedure. When the patient regained consciousness and attempted to call the police, Luo seized her phone and fled from the operating room. He was arrested two days after the patient reported the case. (Image: VCG)

2019-01-27 09:53:21

Shanghai will tighten its enforcement of rules requiring household waste be sorted and take steps to promote recycling, the city’s mayor, Ying Yong, announced on Sunday.

The announcement came during Shanghai's annual “Two Sessions” series of legislative meetings, which saw the municipal government  submit draft regulations aimed at improving the city’s waste management system, in part by clarifying standards for the classification, supervision, and reduction of household waste. The city also announced it would complete construction on 10 new recycling centers by year’s end, local media reported.

On Sunday, city official Xiao Guiyu noted that in 2018 Shanghai households produced nearly 26,000 tons of garbage a day, straining the capacity of the city’s waste management facilities and posing a threat to the environment.

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