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2018-10-30 09:41:56

Chinese netizens are raising objections after a man who shared an unconfirmed casualty figure from a recent mining accident in Shandong was detained for 10 days and fined 500 yuan ($70).

Shandong police detained the net user, surnamed Wang, on Oct. 21. According to Beijing Time, Wang had claimed that there were nine confirmed deaths and 21 miners still trapped when only three deaths had been officially announced. The final report on the rescue operation, released Monday, noted 21 confirmed deaths and 1 survivor.

The netizen’s detention has sparked concerns surrounding China’s tight control over online speech. “This case sends a signal that the government has a monopoly over the spread of information,” commented one Weibo user. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Hospitals treating dozens of students exposed for hours to ultraviolet light at a school in northern China say the children show “no obvious abnormalities,” The Beijing News reported Thursday.

According to multiple media outlets, 36 children were hospitalized Monday after returning home from Dagang English Experimental Primary School in Tianjin. The school found that a total of 48 students were present in a room with artificial UV light — used to sterilize surfaces — for over nine hours after a teacher forgot to switch it off. Long exposure to radiation from UV, according to experts, can damage the skin, eyes, and immune system.

Local authorities in Tianjin are currently investigating the case, while some of the affected children have already returned to school. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Two hospitals in northeastern China are being investigated by the National Health Commission after a CCTV report uncovered an alleged health insurance fraud.

According to the report, the two hospitals in Shenyang paid healthy seniors to come in for “surgeries” — procedures for which the hospitals could file claims for lucrative government subsidies. Doctors then assigned these elderly patients random afflictions ranging from tonsillitis to scoliosis. The report goes on to say that seniors stayed at the hospital all day without receiving any actual treatment — though they received free lunches and up to 50 yuan ($7.20) a visit. For each faux-patient, the hospital allegedly pocketed over 1,000 yuan.

The hospitals’ daily operations have been suspended, and all patients have been transferred as the investigation continues. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Police in southern China’s Guangdong province intend to fine or imprison a lawyer who accused them of assaulting her.

Guangzhou municipal public security officers sent lawyer Sun Shihua a notice Thursday morning accusing her of “disrupting order” at a police station in Liwan District in September and informing her that she’ll face “administrative punishment,” Sun told Caixin. But Sun has a very different account of that encounter. In October, she wrote in a WeChat post that police at the station had grabbed her by the neck and forced her to strip after she demanded to know an officer’s name and contact details. Sun had been accompanying a client, she said.

Sun said she met with police after receiving the notice on Thursday. Caixin was unable to contact Liwan Police Station. (Image: VCG)

Republished with permission from Caixin Global.

2 days

At least 21 people were injured after a hospital room floor collapsed in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The room on the second story of the Lishui Zhongshan Hospital in Nanjing caved in because “too many people” were inside, according to a hospital staff member. Twenty vocational school students — from a group of 200 that had traveled to the hospital for checkups that morning — were wounded, along with one local resident. The private hospital has suspended operations amid an ongoing investigation.

Construction-related accidents have become a growing concern in China. Three people died in May after a residential building collapsed in Henan, and 31 construction company employees were punished last year after a platform broke in 2016, killing 73 people. (Image: Weibo user @Tristine婷)

2 days

In a notice issued Wednesday, three central government ministries called China’s swine fever epidemic “very severe.”

The disease has now spread to 17 provinces in four months and is at risk of hitting southern pork sellers particularly hard, according to the notice. The ministries concluded that transporting pigs over long distances is the main contributor to the spread of the virus and as such must be more strictly controlled.

Swine fever — a disease that doesn’t affect humans but is nearly 100 percent fatal in pigs — was first detected in China in August. Since then, over 4,000 pigs have died after becoming infected, and tens of thousands of at-risk pigs have been culled. Recently, the virus has also been found in pork products transported outside of the Chinese mainland. (Image: VCG)

3 days

Police in central China have arrested a man for allegedly blackmailing public officials with sexually explicit doctored images in exchange for large sums of money, local media reported Tuesday.

According to police, the suspect collected personal information from over 300 officials and sent them altered photos, threatening to publicly expose them for promiscuous behavior. He managed to extort a total of 2 million yuan ($290,000) from at least 10 officials.

This isn’t the first time people have amassed fortunes through blackmail and fake photos. Between 2009 and 2016, criminals also attempted to blackmail 331 people for a combined 700 million yuan — and 62 of the 129 defendants were from Hunan’s Shuangfeng County, also known as China’s “blackmail capital.” (Image: VCG)

3 days

The parent company of Renren — the social media platform once touted as China’s Facebook — announced Wednesday that it will sell the site for an estimated $60 million.

Nasdaq-listed Renren Inc. is handing over the website and its businesses to Beijing Infinities Interactive Media Co. Ltd., saying the move will “set Renren onto its next phase of growth.” Formerly known as Xiaonei when it launched in 2005, Renren targeted university students just as Facebook initially did. However, users gradually abandoned the site as platforms like WeChat and Weibo gained popularity.

The announcement has triggered nostalgia among millennials, making Renren trend on Weibo. “An important memory from my high school is disappearing,” wrote one user. Renren’s new buyer has not disclosed what it plans to do with the site. (Image: VCG)

4 days

A man in northwestern China who had been on the run after committing what he believed to be a murder found that his victim is actually still alive — 13 years after the fact.

The oblivious fugitive, surnamed Song, knocked a man unconscious during a fight in 2005 and, thinking him dead, had been living under the radar ever since, local media reported Monday. Song confessed to Xi’an police while renewing his national identity card on Saturday, more than a decade later. But after searching their database, police found that the victim had survived the incident.

China is currently building an information-sharing network between different government departments that will allow authorities to scan citizens’ identity cards to obtain information, such as criminal records, for official purposes. (Image: @看看新闻 from Weibo) 

4 days

A government official who became an internet meme after his ex-wife name-dropped his position to bully school staff was removed from office and expelled as a Party member, China’s central disciplinary watchdog said Tuesday.

Yan Chunfeng, now-former deputy secretary of a municipal Party committee in Sichuan, was at the center of an online storm in May after the woman invoked his official title to intimidate staff at her child’s kindergarten. Yan was put under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations” after he went viral as “Secretary Yan.” The disciplinary watchdog also confirmed that he had falsified information about his marriage and personal assets.

“Yan’s wife: ‘How dare you expel Secretary Yan?’” one netizen wrote on Weibo, imitating the woman’s possible reaction to the news. (Image: From the official website of Guang’an municipal government) 

5 days

In an effort to strengthen the integrity of China’s scientific research, 41 agencies and departments of the central government issued a joint memo on Friday that implemented punishments for dishonest academics and institutions

Scientists who violate standards for academic honesty could have their national awards and honorary titles rescinded or be disqualified from eligibility for certain positions or grants, according to the memo. Ethics-infringing institutions, meanwhile, will face higher tax rates, stricter official supervision, and restrictions on acquiring land and funding.

In many countries, academic dishonesty is a cardinal sin. China, however, has hesitated to condemn or punish its bright minds when faced with evidence of plagiarism, fake peer reviews, or other academic misconduct. (Image: VCG)

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