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2018-12-03 08:55:02

Chinese authorities are calling for a comprehensive nuptial reform to combat customary bridal hazing and sky-high betrothal gifts, China Central Television reported Sunday.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs urged local governments nationwide to promote traditional weddings and organize them in elegant, yet frugal, forms. “Grassroots rural governments [should] set up folk conventions to regulate the wedding process and price,” said Yang Zongtao, an official from the ministry’s Department of Social Affairs.

China’s wedding rituals have often raised eyebrows, either because of opulent spending or the bridal hazing customs that have sometimes turned fatal. In 2016, a bridesmaid in Hainan province choked to death on her own vomit after being forced to drink too much alcohol during a wedding. (Image: VCG)

14 hours

Beijing’s Tsinghua University is now ranked No. 16 on an influential list of the world’s top universities — the highest spot taken by a Chinese school in over a decade.

Published Wednesday by British education company QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the latest QS World University Rankings lifted Tsinghua one position from its standing on last year’s list. Chinese schools have been regaining traction on the annual rankings since Peking University, which currently holds spot No. 22, dropped from No. 14 on the 2006 list to No. 36 on 2007's.

Four other mainland schools also made it into this year’s Top 100: Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the University of Science and Technology of China. Academic reputation, citations per faculty member, and student-to-teacher ratio were among the metrics used for assessment. (Image: VCG)

14 hours

For Buddhists in central China, the desire for faster internet is no longer a source of suffering.

On Saturday, seven base stations for the fifth generation of cellular-phone network technology, also known as 5G, went into operation at the Shaolin Scenic Area and its Shaolin Temple, according to local media outlet Dengfeng News. Located in Henan province, the UNESCO World Heritage site sees 3 million visitors annually.

“Now I can connect with the Buddha without experiencing any lagging,” one netizen commented below a social media post about the news.

Earlier this month, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 5G commercial licenses to China Mobile — the company behind Shaolin’s new base stations — and three other state-owned telecom operators. (Image: VCG)

1 day

Twelve people are dead and another 125 injured after a series of earthquakes shook southwestern China’s Sichuan province, according to updated figures from the country’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

The new death toll, announced at around 9 a.m. Tuesday, follows a magnitude 6 quake that hit Changning County late Monday night. By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sichuan’s provincial earthquake administration had recorded 70 aftershocks with magnitudes greater than 2 in the region, including one that measured 5.3. More than 2,000 rescue workers have already arrived in the affected region and over 1,200 others are on the way, state media reported.

Sichuan has a long history of seismic activity. In 2008, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the province, leaving 80,000 dead or missing and 375,000 injured. Earlier this year, Rong County — located about 100 kilometers away from Changning — suspended shale gas extraction after three earthquakes killed two people and caused 14 million yuan ($2.1 million) in damages.(Image: VCG)

2 days

China has blocked the sale of over 25 million plane tickets and almost 5.9 million high-speed rail tickets to individuals on an official “loss of trust” list, the country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission announced Monday.

First introduced last March, the list generally targets passengers with a history of misbehavior or those who have failed to pay court-ordered settlements. According to the NDRC announcement, China’s courts have already added a total of 14 million people to the list, which bars them from buying certain classes of tickets for a period of up to one year.

Blacklists have proliferated in China since 2014, when the country introduced a social credit system meant to improve the overall “trustworthiness” of society. Earlier this month, the National Health Commission pledged to set up a blacklist of its own for individuals with a history of yinao, or violence against medical workers. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Authorities in Guangzhou have issued 20 provisional license plates to autonomous-car startup WeRide, allowing it to commence open-road tests in the southern Chinese city, the company said in an announcement Friday.

WeRide was co-founded in April 2017 by Tony Han, formerly a scientist with tech giant Baidu’s autonomous-driving division. In September 2018, the company partnered with telecom operator China Unicom to set up an autonomous-car test zone on an island in Guangzhou.

But the southern city is not the first in China to allow open-road testing for autonomous cars. In March of last year, Shanghai issued the country’s first batch of autonomous-car license plates to companies such as Nio and SAIC Motor. Other major cities, including Beijing, Chongqing, and Changsha, have since followed suit. (Image: From WeRide’s website)

5 days

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Thursday summoned the mayors of six northern Chinese cities for talks related to the “obvious worsening” of air quality within their jurisdictions last fall and winter, reported The Beijing News.

According to the report, the mayors of cities in Henan, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces expressed their “sorrow, guilt, self-reproach,” and even “heart-piercing grief” after inspectors said they had failed to achieve targets outlined in the central government’s “battle for blue skies” action plan, a three-year drive to improve air quality.

“People have not done their utmost, they’ve relaxed,” the ministry’s head of air pollution control, Liu Bingjiang, said at the meeting, adding that the worsening air quality was due to lax administration.

In one of numerous examples given in The Beijing News’ report, the city of Baoding in Hebei province failed to supervise coal burning last fall and winter and neglected to provide funding for gas- and electricity-powered heating in a timely manner. Over the same period, P.M 2.5 levels in the city of Langfang, Hebei province, rose by 15.5% year-on-year. (Image: VCG)

5 days

Mobile payment giant Alipay is recruiting 1,000 volunteers to participate in a campaign aimed at educating the Chinese public about online scams.

Focusing on performing arts native to 10 cities and provinces, Alipay on Thursday appealed to kunqu opera singers, crosstalk comedians, rhythmic kuaiban performers and errenzhuan dancers to join the company in giving special fraud-fighting performances in several cities.

In the notice, Alipay stated that the volunteers would be required to plan their own “lively and understandable performances” incorporating tips for uncovering scams targeting the elderly, laborers, and college students. (Image: VCG)

6 days

Researchers have discovered evidence of ritual cannabis smoking in western China from 2,500 years ago, suggesting the earliest use of the drug for its psychoactive effects.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances analyzed archaeological artifacts from burial grounds on the Pamir Plateau, with a chemical analysis of burn marks on the objects indicating cannabis with “high levels of psychoactive compounds.” Meanwhile, human bones and a harp also discovered at the site, among other artifacts, suggest that ritual and religious practices took place at the grounds.

Researchers say these clues show that cannabis smoking played an important role in burial rituals. “We can start to piece together an image of funerary rites that included flames, rhythmic music, and hallucinogen smoke,” they wrote, “all intended to guide people into an altered state of mind.” (Image: Science Advances)

6 days

A new securities market for registration-based initial public offerings was launched at a financial forum in Shanghai on Thursday, according to domestic media reports.

First announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China International Import Expo last November, the SSE STAR market is intended to support the development of domestic firms in high-tech and emerging sectors. The new exchange will depart from the country’s current IPO system — which requires official approval for new shares — to a market-based registration system like the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The first batch of companies will be listed on the market and start trading within the next two months, said Huang Hongyuan, chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Huang said that six companies had been shortlisted from 122 applicants in fields such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, and biomedicine. (Image: VCG)

6 days

Two men have been detained in southern China for claiming that domestic authorities discovered and arrested CIA spies working undercover at tech giant Huawei, according to an official announcement Wednesday.

The detentions — 10 days for a 48-year-old surnamed Wu and three days for a 51-year-old surnamed Ni — were handed down by police in the city of Shenzhen for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to the announcement from the ruling Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission. The commission said the two men had made the claim in chat groups on popular social app WeChat.

A third man, surnamed Han, was not detained but was issued a warning by Beijing police for the same offense, Wednesday’s announcement said.

Espionage between the U.S. and China has been an ongoing concern amid the American government’s spat with Huawei. Earlier this week, Huawei told the U.K. Parliament that it is not obliged to spy on behalf of the Chinese government, pushing back against earlier warnings from the CIA that the Chinese state had provided funding to the company. (Image: VCG)

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