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2019-01-03 14:31:15

For the first time ever, a major Chinese city has banned the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces.

A spokesperson from the Center for Disease Control in Hangzhou told The Beijing News on Wednesday that from Jan. 1, the city’s public smoking ban had been expanded to include e-cigarettes because they “cause harm to people’s health” — a claim that’s still being debated by experts.

Though Hangzhou is the first city in China to institute a vaping ban, Zhang Jianshu, chairman of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, says other cities should consider following suit. In June 2015, Beijing became the first city in China to implement a smoking ban in indoor public spaces, and Shanghai passed a similar regulation the following year — though residents were skeptical about how strictly such bans would be enforced.

According to Caixin, China produces over 90 percent of the world’s e-cigarettes. While most of the products are exported overseas, the report said that domestic use is rising. (Image: VCG)

1 hour

Goth netizens are posting photos of themselves online in support of a woman who was barred from boarding the subway in southern China last week because of her “horrifying” makeup.

On microblogging platform Weibo, users are sharing their selfies alongside a hashtag translating to “Send Guangzhou Metro a Photo,” which had been viewed over 5 million times by noon Tuesday. The campaign was launched to show solidarity with a woman named Lin Lin, whose social media post on March 10 about mistreatment by subway security staff because of her Goth-style makeup went viral last week.

Guangzhou Metro has attempted to atone for the original incident multiple times since Lin Lin posted on Weibo. On Friday, the metro apologized and announced that it had temporarily suspended the female security guard involved. Then on Saturday — after Lin Lin had vocally dismissed Guangzhou Metro’s initial apologies as “insincere” — the company issued a public apology on Weibo. (Image: @紧急呼叫 on Weibo)

2 hours

As Chinese people prepare to honor their ancestors over next month’s Tomb-Sweeping Festival holiday, the country’s central bank on Monday banned the use of imitation banknotes as traditional offerings.

The People’s Bank of China says the restriction is aimed at “preserving the integrity and dignity” of the country’s currency and preventing the “improper use of currency images,” according to a Monday report by China News Service. The report did not elaborate on how violators would be punished.

On April 5, people across China will celebrate Tomb-Sweeping Day — or Qingming Festival — by offering money, foodstuffs, and other items to their ancestors to aid them in the afterlife.

In recent years, local governments have prohibited the burning of so-called ghost money in order to curb air pollution. This year, however, marks the first time a nationwide ban will be implemented, according to China News Service. (Image: VCG)

18 hours

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and tech giant Tencent have begun issuing the country’s first blockchain-enabled electronic invoices for transportation costs, Tencent’s news portal reported Monday.

Beginning Monday, the digital invoices are available for riders using either social app WeChat or Shenzhen Metro’s smartphone app to pay for trips on the city’s subway system and one of its airport shuttles, as well as with participating taxis. Both apps utilize blockchain technology — the decentralized system of electronic “blocks” of information — developed by Tencent.

In August 2018, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to issue electronic invoices using blockchain technology for WeChat payments with participating businesses. (Image: @刺猬公社 on Weibo)

22 hours

A Chinese artist accused earlier this year of copying the work of his Belgian contemporary vehemently denied the allegations in a social media post on Monday.

In February, artist Christian Silvain told Belgian media that Ye Yongqing had copied and profited from ideas found in his collage series. Upon reaching China, word of the allegations sparked heated discussion on social media — though Ye remained reticent, saying only that Silvain had “deeply influenced” him.

Ye was more vocal in a statement posted Monday to his WeChat Moments social feed, later republished on an arts website. “You think I’m a ‘liar,’ someone who ‘profited through copying’ ... but all of this is untrue,” Ye wrote, adding that after unsuccessfully trying to meet with Silvain in Brussels, he had decided to entrust the matter to his lawyer.

In a press release sent to Sixth Tone on Saturday, the Christian Silvain Foundation said that it would issue an official response “after all elements have been examined in greater depth.” (Image: IC)

22 hours

An official in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province has been placed under investigation for corruption. His position? Head of a city’s anti-corruption department.

Shaanxi’s corruption watchdog announced Sunday that Quan Wangjun, the director and Communist Party secretary of the Xianyang City Discipline Inspection Commission, has been placed under investigation for “serious violations of discipline and law,” a euphemism for corruption.

A person with knowledge of the information, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of corruption investigations, said Quan had been aware of the impending investigation and had considered committing suicide, according to financial news outlet Caixin. On March 10, a suicide note he had allegedly written was circulated online.

Quan is the second high-level official in Shaanxi’s disciplinary system to be investigated recently. In August, Hu Chuanxiang — former director of the Corruption Prevention Department of the Shaanxi Discipline and Inspection Commission — was placed under investigation. He was expelled from the Communist Party in February. (Image: VCG)

Republished with permission from Caixin Global.

22 hours

Thirty-one students at a vocational college in Fujian province have been infected with norovirus after eating at the school’s cafeteria, The Beijing News reported Monday.

The 31 students at Fujian Industrial School in the city of Fuzhou began showing symptoms of vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever on Friday evening. The school cafeteria’s foodstuffs have since been sealed, pending an inspection. According to the World Health Organization, norovirus can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, or through contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface.

The norovirus outbreak follows last week’s high-profile campus food safety scandal in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The Chinese public has appealed for greater attention to school cafeteria quality control after several food products at the Chengdu primary and secondary school were found covered in mold. (Image: VCG)

4 days

A professor at the University of Maryland in the United States has resigned after several of his Chinese students accused him of discrimination, Washington’s National Public Radio station WAMU reported Monday.

David P. Weber, formerly a professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, had “voluntarily resigned,” according to a statement his attorney sent to WAMU. A university spokesperson confirmed Weber’s resignation with WAMU, adding that all students should be treated with respect.

Five students at the University of Maryland had previously filed a joint complaint to the university in which they accused Weber of saying, “All Chinese students cheat their way into the U.S.” during one of his classes. Weber’s attorney, however, told WAMU that his client had not used those “exact words” and claimed Weber had referenced Chinese nationality not to discriminate, but to stress the gravity of being accused of academic dishonesty as an international student. (Image: The official website of the University of Maryland)

4 days

A Chinese university that grades students on their digital friend count has received social media attention of its own this week after news of the requirement went viral.

An assignment at Henan University of Economics and Law in central China asks students majoring in “internet and new media” to add a plethora of new friends on social app WeChat, according to a news video with over 11 million plays. A passing grade requires 1,001 new friends, while a full score needs 1,667. A hashtag about the assignment had received 270 million views on social platform Weibo by Thursday afternoon.

In the video, a teacher at the university who had issued the task to his students defended the department-mandated assignment, saying it builds skills necessary for jobs in new media. (Image: VCG)

4 days

A representative for JD.com has rebutted claims of mandatory overtime at the Chinese e-commerce company after rumors of lengthened work schedules circulated online this week.

Liu Li, a director of public relations at JD.com, wrote Tuesday that while employees are not required to work overtime, they have been encouraged to “make full contributions” because “everyone’s happiness is created through effort,” according to domestic news reports. Liu’s comments followed multiple claims from purported employees that the company had implemented a new “995” or “996” schedule — shorthand for working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., either five or six days per week.

However, some online have disputed Liu’s denial of overtime requirements. “I work 14-15 hours a day … I even have to work at home on my only day off,” a netizen claiming to work at JD.com wrote Wednesday. “How can you shamelessly call this ‘happiness’?” (Image: VCG)

5 days

Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has banned over a dozen user accounts for vilifying a victim of this week’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, the social media site announced Tuesday.

In a statement, Weibo said it deleted the accounts for “personally abusing” a 22-year-old college student from the eastern Zhejiang province, one of eight Chinese nationals killed in Sunday’s crash. The now-banned users had written insulting comments under the most recent post on the student’s Weibo account, targeting her appearance and wealth.

The aircraft — a Boeing 737 Max 8 — crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. The incident is the second fatal crash involving the airplane model in less than six months. Several countries around the world, including China, have since grounded their 737 Max 8 fleet. (Image: VCG)

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