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2019-03-27 08:19:07

A man in central China has asked for millions of yuan in state compensation after being wrongfully detained for nine years, Beijing Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

Zhang Yuxi submitted an application to a court in Henan province Monday requesting 3.77 million yuan ($561,000) in damages for unnecessarily spending nearly a decade in custody, the report said. Zhang had been detained in 1992 for the death of his neighbor but was released in 2001 after a court determined that two of Zhang’s cousins were in fact responsible. Despite this, Zhang was not officially exonerated until Jan. 29 this year.

In April 2018, a man in the northeastern Jilin province was acquitted after being imprisoned for 25 years — the longest wrongfully served term in the country’s history. And in February of this year, a white paper issued by the Supreme People’s Court highlighted 46 wrongful convictions that had been overturned in China since 2013. (Image: VCG)

4 hours

A video of teen superstar Wang Yuan smoking in a Beijing restaurant went massively viral on the Chinese internet Tuesday, with hashtags related to the incident viewed billions of times by netizens.

The footage and accompanying screenshots shared to microblogging platform Weibo on Tuesday morning, which show the singer also known as Roy Wang inhaling from a cigarette, quickly inspired a hashtag translating to “Wang Yuan smoking,” which had over 1 billion views by that evening.

The revelation triggered outrage and cognitive dissonance among many fans, who had seen Wang as a wholesome and fresh-faced role model since his debut as a member of boy band TFBoys at the tender age of 12. Despite 18-year-old Wang legally being an adult in a country of over 300 million smokers, many of his followers have condemned him, while others have argued that the star shouldn’t be held to the idealized image that fans had of him.

Following the controversy online — and a post from Beijing’s health authorities saying that they are now investigating the singer on suspicion of illegally smoking in a restaurant — Wang issued an apology on his Weibo account Tuesday afternoon, saying he had set a “bad example” and would accept any punishment handed down to him for the incident. As of Tuesday evening, a hashtag about the apology had also accrued over 1 billion views on Weibo. (Image: VCG)

9 hours

ByteDance, the company that introduced the world to the massively popular short-video app TikTok, has launched a new messaging app that it hopes will challenge China’s dominant all-purpose social platform, WeChat.

Released Monday, Flipchat allows users to send text and voice messages, as well as discover new friends through open chat groups and create public accounts for sharing user-generated content, according to the company. Some of Flipchat’s features share similarities with WeChat, whose parent company, Tencent, has long been engaged in a litigious war of attrition with ByteDance.

The feud between the two companies began in May of last year, when ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming accused Tencent’s short-video app of plagiarizing TikTok — a claim the latter’s CEO called defamatory. Since then, ByteDance and Tencent have sued each other for various reasons, including unfair competition and rumormongering. (Image: EC品牌观察 on Weibo)

1 day

Nearly three years after a hit Pokémon game was found to be inaccessible in China, mainland fans of the franchise may finally have something to be excited about.

According to a report Monday by Reuters, tech giant NetEase has announced plans to release Pokémon Quest in China, which would make it the first Pokémon mobile game to be officially released in the country. Preregistration for the action-adventure offering — which had already been launched for players outside China last year — is now available on its Chinese website.

Despite rumors that global sensation Pokémon Go would be the first to break into the domestic market, the 2016 mobile title has remained virtually inaccessible in the country since its release, with authorities citing security risks to explain its absence.

Given China’s history of unpredictable licensing, foreign games often have difficulty finding their way into the country. However, local audiences are no strangers to Pokémon, with 2019 live-action movie “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” garnering over 491 million yuan ($71 million) at the Chinese box office since its debut on May 10. (Image: VCG)

1 day

China’s former top securities regulator, Liu Shiyu, has turned himself in to authorities as they investigate him for alleged corruption, the country’s discipline watchdog announced Sunday.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that Liu, who stepped down as the chairperson of the China Securities Regulatory Commission in January, allegedly “violated laws and regulations,” without providing details. Liu was subsequently appointed the deputy party secretary of the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives — the organization in charge of China’s communes and collective farms.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a sweeping anti-corruption drive in 2012, pledging to punish officials at both the higher and lower rungs of government — known as “tigers” and “flies,” respectively. The discipline watchdog said it had “punished” 621,000 officials for corruption-related offenses in 2018, about 18% more than in the previous year. (Image: VCG)

4 days

Shanghai Normal University has become the city’s first higher education institution to introduce a barrier-free study center for its visually impaired students, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Thursday.

The specialized study room at the school’s Fengxian Campus computer lab is equipped with accessible materials such as Braille textbooks, a refreshable Braille display, and a Braille embosser — all of which allow visually impaired students to read text output and print documents in Braille, according to the report. The university has also added tactile sidewalk paths, Braille buttons on elevators, and Braille signs outside rooms to make its facilities more accessible to all.

Shanghai Normal is one of the few universities in China that accommodates the visually impaired, having admitted 61 such students since 2002. The school inaugurated its accessible study center ahead of China’s National Day for Helping the Disabled, which this year falls on May 19. Earlier this week, Shanghai also launched a sign language video hotline for people with impaired hearing. (Image: IC)

5 days

A plastic surgery clinic in central China’s Henan province on Wednesday demanded that staff members post couples photos on their personal social media accounts or else be forced out of their jobs, local outlet Dahe News reported.

All employees of Puyang City’s Li Wei Professional Eye Plastic Surgery — except those who are currently single — were told to share photos of themselves with their partner on social app WeChat, according to an internal memo reportedly issued by the clinic. Those failing to do so before a private company event on May 20 — a date commonly celebrated like Valentine’s Day by young people in the country — would be “persuaded to resign,” the memo said.

Chinese netizens largely responded to news of the clinic’s requirement with outrage. “How can the company forcibly interfere with my personal life?” asked one user on microblogging platform Weibo. “It is none of their business if I want to show off my relationship or not.” (Image: VCG)

5 days

“Uncivilized behavior” such as eating or drinking on the Beijing subway can now affect passengers’ scores in China’s so-called social credit system, according to guidelines released Wednesday by the capital’s municipal transport commission.

The new document says transport law enforcement will “record bad credit information” in the system — introduced by China’s Cabinet in 2014 to track citizens’ behavior — for riders who have already been given verbal warnings about such offenses. Skipping fares, taking up more than one seat, and promoting products on the subway can also negatively impact scores, according to the guidelines.

In 2014, Beijing began punishing eating and drinking on the subway with fines, following similar prohibitions in other major Chinese cities. Shanghai’s fining system, however, was infamously unable to deter a woman who went viral on the country’s social media for eating chicken feet and carelessly discarding food waste onboard. (Image: VCG)

5 days

As rescue efforts concluded early Friday morning, 10 people were confirmed dead from a building that collapsed in Shanghai the previous day, according to the city’s work safety administration.

The incident happened around 11 o’clock Thursday morning in the city’s Changning District, when the walls of the building, which had been undergoing renovation, came crashing down. By the time rescue efforts were winding down at around 2 a.m. Friday morning, 25 people had been found trapped at the site, 10 of whom were pronounced dead at local hospitals.

The identities of the dead and injured have not been disclosed, though most are believed to be construction workers. The city’s work safety administration said it is investigating the cause of the incident.

According to local media, the 3,000-square-meter commercial complex was supposed to open for business by the end of May. About two-thirds of the structure remain standing. (Image: @中国消防 on Weibo)

6 days

China’s largest ride-hailing company, Didi Chuxing, has established a support network specifically for its female drivers, The Paper reported Wednesday.

Dubbed the “Mulan-Didi Women Drivers Network” after China’s beloved historical heroine, the alliance was announced Tuesday in Shanghai, according to the report. The company said the gender-restrictive group will engage in discussions with women drivers in an online community to address problems and concerns, as well as arrange offline activities for the women and their children.

Women only account for around 7% of all drivers on Didi’s platform in China. Though the majority of women who drive for Didi are married, some single mothers also rely on the platform to make a living, even bringing their children along for the ride for want of a babysitter. (Image: The Paper)

6 days

Private Chinese rocket company iSpace is planning to launch its first carrier rocket around June 10, the company told Sixth Tone on Wednesday. If successful, iSpace will become the first commercial company in the country to deliver a satellite into low Earth orbit.

The iSpace rocket — known as the Hyperbola 1 Y1, or SQX-1 Y1 — is 21 meters long and weighs 31 tons, making it longer and heavier than the carrier rockets from two private companies that previously attempted the historic flight: Both LandSpace and OneSpace were unsuccessful in those launches, which took place in October 2018 and March of this year, respectively.

China’s private space industry is a new yet already booming sector. Of the country’s 123 private companies specializing in various space fields — such as rocket building and satellite manufacturing — roughly half were established within the past three years. In 2018, over 3.5 billion yuan ($510 million) was funneled into China’s private space industry, a 62% increase compared with the previous year. (Image: Courtesy of iSpace)