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2019-04-15 09:15:55

China’s Marvel fans are going crazy for “Avengers: Endgame,” the final installment in the comic universe’s most successful film franchise.

Since tickets went on sale Friday — 12 days ahead of its April 24 premiere on the Chinese mainland — the film had taken in over 240 million yuan ($34.3 million) at the country’s box office as of Monday afternoon, smashing several records in the world’s largest film market.

According to ticketing platform Maoyan, “Avengers: Endgame” has also seized the crown for the highest-ever midnight premiere box office earnings in China, raking in 80 million yuan with over a week left to go. The previous record, set by 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious,” was 62.7 million yuan. Meanwhile, the “Avengers” film sold 1 million presale tickets in just six hours, the shortest amount of time ever required to achieve such a feat in China.

Chinese audiences will be the first to witness the thrilling conclusion of the “Avengers” saga. Fears of unwanted spoilers have fueled presale box office success in China, driving ticket prices for blockbuster films’ midnight screenings in Imax format to 400 yuan and beyond. (Image: IC)

13 hours

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)

18 hours

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)

3 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)

4 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)

4 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)

4 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)

5 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)

5 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)

6 days

Police in eastern China’s Anhui province have detained a man who named his pet dogs after two categories of city officials.

According to media reports, the man, surnamed Ban, was served 10 days’ detention on Monday over naming his canine companions Chengguan and Xieguan — meaning “city management official” and “traffic warden,” respectively. Ban was accused of disturbing the peace after he posted several playful messages on social app WeChat, one of which read: “Chengguan went to steal shoes; when Xieguan showed up, they began fighting.”

While the fluffy Chengguan might not have minded the tongue-in-cheek role-playing, it may have struck a nerve with real-life chengguan. Such officials maintain law and order in the city streets and often have fraught relationships with the public, sometimes resulting in violent, even deadly clashes. (Image: Yingzhou Evening News)

6 days

China’s all-in-one app WeChat announced Monday that it will crack down on “abnormal promotion methods,” including vendors who ask users to share or advertise their goods on the platform in exchange for discounts or other incentives.

In an official statement, WeChat warned public accounts and operators of so-called mini apps to stop trying to entice users to share promotional links on their WeChat Moments timeline, a feature similar to Facebook’s social feed. WeChat further said it would block such promotional links and even suspend the vendor accounts responsible for them.

Each month, over 1 billion people use WeChat to message their friends and family, order food, and make mobile payments, among dozens of other functions. Its large user base and multifunctionality have turned the platform into a lucrative marketplace for businesses seeking to promote their products and services, which can sometimes manifest as users being bombarded with spam messages and annoying pop-ups. (Image: IC)

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