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2018-12-03 07:22:27

Police in Hebei province have detained 15 people after a fire in Zhangjiakou killed 23 people and injured 22 others , the city’s publicity department announced Friday.

According to state media outlet Science and Technology Daily, a truck carrying an unspecified amount of acetylene — a highly flammable but generally nontoxic gas — exploded while making a delivery to a local chemical factory on Wednesday. The fire engulfed around 40 vehicles in the vicinity, including 38 trucks. Most of the deceased were truck drivers.

The local government has suspended operations at the chemical factory and taken 15 of its employees into custody, pending an investigation. Following the disaster, local authorities also said they would conduct a safety inspection of the city’s chemical plants and fireworks manufacturers. (Image: VCG)

12 hours

Huangshi in Hubei province on Monday became the most recent city in China to implement a one-dog policy, reported Hubei Daily. The new regulation also requires dog owners to register their pets with the authorities and bans certain breeds from certain areas.

According to a notice from the local government, dog-related problems — such as attacks on humans and prohibited pooping — are becoming more common. The notice cited municipal police records stating that “public security incidents” involving dogs had risen from 114 in 2016 to 330 already this year, as of Monday.

Other cities including Qingdao, Suzhou, and Changsha already observe one-dog policies, said the report. But government crackdowns on dog ownership have been met with opposition in some cities: In November, Hangzhou residents decried a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. walking ban as a violation of their civil rights. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Two medical laundry providers catering to more than 20 public hospitals in eastern China’s Jiangxi province have been violating standard sanitary procedures, an investigation by The Beijing News revealed Monday.

Both businesses used improper detergents and sterilization methods when washing fabrics for several top-tier hospitals in the provincial capital of Nanchang, the report said. They also allegedly failed to separate hospital linens and garments worn by doctors and patients into different wash loads.

Although China already had a national guideline in place for medical washing and disinfection standards, the first regulations on industries licensed to operate such facilities were not approved until earlier this year. The government has set a June 2019 deadline for relevant companies to meet the requirements. (Image: VCG)

5 days

The forestry bureau of Guangdong province on Wednesday announced a five-year ban on the hunting of all wild birds, effective from next year.

The ban aims to prevent wild birds from being served as exotic restaurant dishes. In some parts of China, the manufacture of so-called clap nets for hunting birds is a thriving, though illicit, industry. In December of last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature uplisted the yellow-breasted bunting — one of the wild birds that’s most often consumed as food in southern China — to “critically endangered”; prior to 2004, the species had been classified as being of “least concern.”

Beginning in January, the southern province will ban all bird-hunting tools and prohibit restaurants from promoting the consumption of wild animals. Other Chinese provinces, including Henan and Hubei, have implemented similar bans in the past. (Image: VCG)

5 days

A driver for ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing has filed a lawsuit against the company after he was restricted from picking up female passengers and working nighttime hours, The Beijing News reported Wednesday.

The driver, surnamed Yang, said the constraints were imposed after Didi received a complaint that a user’s cellphone had been broken during an incident in early November. A drunken passenger had fallen unconscious in Yang’s car, prompting the driver to contact police to have the person physically removed from the vehicle. But Yang said Didi did not carefully arbitrate the case before limiting his service, thereby causing him significant financial losses.

Didi began regulating its drivers more strictly after female passengers were killed in May and August. Since then, the app has banned misbehaving drivers and even allowed users to block them. (Image: VCG)

6 days

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment criticized 267 companies on Tuesday for not heeding emergency measures to curb emissions. The measures were implemented after an especially smoggy November prompted many local governments to issue pollution alerts. Nearly two-thirds of the culprits — none of which have been named — are based in Hebei province, a major industrial hub that sees some of the worst air pollution in China.

The emergency emissions reduction scheme was included in China’s five-year action plan, issued in 2013, and aims to prevent and control air pollution. In February, the country’s environment ministry declared that the goals of the action plan had been fulfilled, and in July, the country issued a three-year action plan to “win the battle for blue skies.” But earlier this month, Caixin reported that China’s carbon footprint is as large as it’s ever been. (Image: VCG)

6 days

Employees at an office building in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, also known as China’s Silicon Valley, have resumed work after a massive fire was extinguished on Wednesday, The Paper reported.

Videos circulated on social media show the building — which houses the Google China headquarters, among other companies — in flames at around 11 a.m. The local fire department told The Beijing News that the blaze had started from a cooling unit for the building’s air conditioners. No injuries have been reported, and the cause of the fire is under further investigation.

Though Google has a physical presence in China, its search engine is blocked virtually. On Tuesday, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said that Google has no plans to launch in China following backlash over a censored search engine — code-named Project Dragonfly — reportedly being developed for the country, (Image: From @中国交通广播 on Weibo)

6 days

China’s Foreign Ministry responded Wednesday to questions about former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig — whom the Canadian government confirmed on Tuesday had been detained in China — by saying it was unable to provide information regarding reports of Kovrig’s disappearance.

But Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at his regular press briefing that to his understanding, Kovrig’s employer — the International Crisis Group — had not registered itself in China, and that if this was indeed the case, its staff were breaking a recent Chinese law on nongovernmental organizations by working in the country, Beijing Youth Daily reported. (Image: VCG)

Republished with permission from Caixin Global.

6 days

Chinese question-and-answer site Zhihu has denied suggestions that it is planning to lay off hundreds of workers, The Paper reported Wednesday.

According to social media posts on Tuesday from multiple Zhihu employees, the Quora-like platform is letting go of 300 employees amid a budget cut. One employee told The Paper that several teams had already been disbanded, and that members of such teams were “awaiting rearrangement.” Rebutting the claims, Zhihu said staff evaluations and restructuring are an annual procedure, without any further elaboration.

Media reports of layoffs at Zhihu come at a time of mounting concern over a slowdown in China’s information technology sector. Job openings at Chinese IT companies were down by 51 percent in the third quarter of 2018 compared with the same period last year. (Image: VCG)

2018-12-11 09:08:24

Chinese people spent more time on paid work last year compared with those in other major countries, according to a new time-use survey.

From a sample of 30,591 individuals, researchers at Inner Mongolia University found that 42 percent said they worked more than the standard eight-hour shift over a 24-hour period. China topped a list of 15 countries — including Japan and the U.S. — in terms of time spent on paid work, with an average of 5.44 hours per day across the general population.

Though Chinese people worked nearly a half-hour less on average compared with a similar survey in 2008, cases of work-related exhaustion are widely reported in domestic media. In 2016, the deaths of doctors, journalists, and an engineer who frequently worked overtime sparked discussions on healthy work practices in China. (Image: VCG)

2018-12-10 07:59:21

Beijing saw a decrease in its resident population in 2017, the first such dip in 20 years, according to a report co-published Sunday by the Beijing Municipal Party Committee School and the Social Sciences Academic Press.

The report found that the capital’s resident population decreased by 22,000 between 2016 and 2017 to reach just over 21.7 million, while the city’s migrant population — a subset of the resident population — declined by 132,000 over the same period.

Beijing’s 20-year plan for 2016-2035 states that the resident population must not exceed 23 million. In 2016, the removal of “low-end” workers and labor-intensive industries by the municipal government led to a decrease of 151,000 in the city’s migrant population compared with 2015. Forced relocations sped up at the end of last year after a tenement fire in a Beijing suburb where migrant workers lived killed 19 people. (Image: VCG)

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