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2019-03-14 06:05:19

A representative for 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, 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 wrote Wednesday. “How can you shamelessly call this ‘happiness’?” (Image: VCG)

11 hours

Luckin Coffee, the Chinese chain challenging Starbucks, has filed an initial public offering application to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

A placeholder figure of $100 million was used to indicate the size of the IPO, according to the application submitted Monday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On Thursday, the Beijing-based company said it had raised $150 million in funding, including $125 million from investment management firm BlackRock — Starbucks’ second-largest outside shareholder — despite continuing losses. In its IPO filing, Luckin reported net losses of 1.6 billion yuan ($238 million) in 2018 and 550 million yuan in the first quarter of 2019.

The company opened its first shop in Beijing in October 2017 and had established 2,370 other locations across 28 Chinese cities by March of this year, according to the filing. In January, the company said it plans to have over 4,500 shops in China by the end of 2019 — which would give it a more ubiquitous presence in the country than even Starbucks.

Last year, Luckin sued the American coffee giant for monopolistic behavior and creating an unfair domestic trade market, accusing Starbucks of signing exclusive contracts with commercial property owners and forcing suppliers to choose between the two chains. (Image: IC)

11 hours

Chinese video-streaming platform Bilibili says user safety will not be affected following reports that source code and user data from the site had been leaked online.

In a statement Monday night, Bilibili confirmed this week’s leak but said that, because it was of a previous version of its code and since further “preventive measures” had been taken, user safety would not be negatively impacted. Earlier that same day, Chinese netizens found that a user on code-hosting platform GitHub had posted the Bilibili code, which contained usernames and passwords, according to domestic media. Bilibili did not comment directly on such user data in its statement about the leak.

The now-deleted GitHub repository had garnered about 6,000 stars and nearly the same number of forks — or likes and copies of the code, respectively — on the platform prior to its removal, domestic media said. By Tuesday afternoon, posts about the leak using a hashtag translating to “Bilibili back-end code revealed” had been removed from microblogging site Weibo. (Image: IC)

11 hours

A popular Chinese actress has apologized to fans after facing criticism online for lip-syncing during a live musical performance in the eastern city of Ningbo.

In a statement Tuesday, Han Xue said she had agreed to the production company’s decision to use prerecorded audio for Saturday’s show after a sore throat caused her to lose her voice. The 36-year-old is the lead actress in “Into the White Night,” a musical currently on a multicity tour.

The show’s production company also apologized Tuesday for its decision to use the prerecorded audio and for failing to have an understudy lined up. Han had informed audience members that she would be lip-syncing before the start of Saturday’s show, and the company had offered to refund the tickets of dissatisfied guests.

Adapted from the Japanese novel “Journey Under the Midnight Sun” by Keigo Higashino, the musical kicked off its current tour in Shanghai in November of last year. The show has enjoyed immense popularity since then, with audiences praising Han’s acting and singing. (Image: @韩雪 on Weibo)

13 hours

China’s official media watchdog, the State Administration of Press and Publication, is calling on the country’s game developers to set up dedicated offices for handling reports and complaints involving minors, state broadcaster China Central Television, or CCTV, reported Monday.

The move follows a previous CCTV report earlier this month revealing that the in-game chat function in Minecraft — a popular so-called sandbox game — was rife with sexual content. According to the report, a parent surnamed Li had tried to report the problem to the game’s developers but could not easily find out how or where to do so.

Last Wednesday, Shanghai’s anti-porn office met privately with tech giant NetEase, Minecraft’s distributor in China since 2017. Though NetEase had previously apologized to its customers and vowed to strengthen scrutiny of its content, the Minecraft case has been placed under investigation by local market regulators. (Image: @我的世界Minecraft on Weibo)

19 hours

A number of Chinese apps for erotic voice chatting are still in operation — and even accessible to minors — despite a recent government crackdown on similar platforms, according to an investigative report Sunday by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The outlet identified four such voice-chatting apps — Xunhuan, Zhiya, Soul, and Chu CP — accessible to users on the mainland via Apple’s and Google’s app stores. According to the report, female hosts broadcast erotic audio livestreams and sell private conversations to users in exchange for virtual currency. Age ratings on the two app stores were sometimes nonexistent or indicated that the apps were appropriate for users younger than 18, and none of the apps required users to provide proof of age upon registration.

Last week, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced a crackdown on apps promoting sex work or the sale of erotic videos. (Image: IC)

1 day

China has held 1,035 officials from eight provinces and regions accountable for lax environmental oversight after inspectors from the central government visited Jilin, Zhejiang, Shandong, Hainan, Sichuan, Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang in late 2017 and ordered local governments to determine responsibility in 89 problematic cases, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment reported Monday.

According to the ministry’s announcement, the officials were disciplined for illicit policymaking and approvals, shirking responsibility, and negligence. Among the punishments meted out were warnings, demerits, removal from official posts, and criminal investigations.

The ministry also noted seven representative cases of environmental violations, including deteriorating water quality in the Liao River Basin in Jilin, illegal land reclamation off the coast of Zhejiang, and flouting of environmental laws in Hainan to push through construction projects. (Image: IC)

1 day

China’s Ministry of Public Security warned celebrity-stalking fans to behave in a “rational and civilized” manner or face consequences after a large crowd waiting to greet several Chinese stars damaged public property at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport.

In a statement Sunday, the ministry reminded would-be rabble-rousers that disturbing public order is punishable by administrative detention, fines, or even criminal prosecution.

The previous day, hundreds of fans had gathered hoping to catch glimpses of big-name celebrities at the airport, resulting in chaos and property damage, according to photos shared on social media. A list circulating online had leaked the names of 16 celebrities who were supposedly arriving at and departing from Shanghai that day, without specifying which transport hub they would be using.

Tracking and broadcasting celebrities’ every move on social media has become a controversial trend in China, where some people go as far as selling celebrities’ flight details. In other cases, die-hard fans have purchased plane tickets and checked in for flights just sidle up to their idols, snap a photo, and then cancel the fare at the last minute. To combat this phenomenon, Korean Air announced in December that it would raise its refund fee for late cancellations. (Image: @新闻晨报 on Weibo)

1 day

A university in central China said Saturday that it “followed due process” in inviting a guest lecturer after students complained that he had made sexist remarks.

Students at Central China Normal University in Hubei province told Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper, on Friday that they were offended by comments about women made in a lecture delivered at the school. On Thursday, An Deyi, a self-proclaimed “Confucianist master,” had reportedly told the students that “docility is the best virtue in a woman.”

In its statement Saturday, the university defended An’s invitation, saying he had been asked to speak because of his “experience in the education of traditional Chinese culture.” However, the school added that it would “improve” future lectures.

An, the deputy director of the Hubei Confucius Academic Research Association, is a frequent guest lecturer at universities, according to media reports. Earlier this year, the provincial government had listed the association as a “suspected illegal social organization.” (Image: Screenshot from Sohu)

1 day

Tangdou, an app aimed at China’s so-called square dancers, has raised over $100 million from investors, with its latest funding round led by tech giant Tencent, according to a report Monday by industry outlet 36Kr.

The news comes amid a declining market for such apps — catering to the mostly middle-aged and elderly practitioners of synchronized dancing in public squares and other areas, known as guangchang wu — due to the glut of competitors that have entered the fray since 2015, according to the report.

With over 5 million dance routines on offer, Tangdou promotes itself as “helping the elderly solve their loneliness and lack of validation and companionship.” 36Kr reports that since previous funding rounds, the app has tightened its grip on the square-dancing market by producing lifestyle content and organizing group activities in different neighborhoods. (Image: IC)

Correction: A previous version of this story said Tangdou had raised $100 million in its third funding round. This is the app’s total investment value to date.

3 days

Another group of alleged drone-flying smugglers has been taken into custody in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, local media outlet Yangcheng Evening News reported Friday.

Provincial police apprehended three people in the city of Shenzhen early Thursday morning on suspicion of using drones and a pulley system atop a residential building to surreptitiously move goods into the mainland from Hong Kong. Electronic devices, cosmetic products, and dietary supplements with an estimated total value of over 500,000 yuan ($74,600) were reportedly seized in the bust.

In February of last year, police in Shenzhen and Hong Kong cracked down on six alleged smuggling gangs and apprehended 29 people suspected of using similar tactics to move 15,000 phones across the border per night. In that case, authorities seized nearly 5,000 phones and estimated the illegal operation to be worth 500 million yuan. (Image: Yangcheng Evening News)