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2019-04-18 10:28:47

New “auspicious” collectible coins bearing traditional Chinese motifs are set to be released Thursday by the country’s central bank, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Numbering 105,000 in total, the limited-edition coins come in seven designs — including two that are heart-shaped — which feature depictions of cats, magpies, and plum blossoms, among other images, to represent themes like longevity and prosperity. Authorized dealers will be selling the coins individually and in complete sets of seven: China Gold Coin Inc., for example, has the seven-coin sets priced at 9,090 yuan ($1,360) each.

On Chinese social media, users have expressed particular excitement for the two coin designs portraying cats — the first of their kind from the People's Bank of China. “Looks like the central bank is a cat lover,” one netizen commented below a media post about the coins on microblogging platform Weibo. “I’m just here for the cat coins, I can’t resist anything with cats,” wrote another. (Image: China Gold Coin Inc.)

2 days

Ten people have been confirmed dead and eight remain missing after a private boat capsized Thursday on a river in southwestern China’s Guizhou province, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

The accident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. on the Beipan River in Zhenfeng County. Local emergency responders — including a dozen divers — were dispatched to the scene, and 11 of the 29 people who had been aboard the vessel were rescued by 8 a.m. Friday, according to the central Ministry of Emergency Management.

Passengers who suffered injuries are being treated at hospital, and the owner of the boat has been taken into police custody. (Image: China News Service)

2 days

Increasing emissions of a chemical that damages the ozone layer have been found to originate in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong and the northern province of Hebei, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is the world’s second most abundant ozone-depleting gas. According to the Montreal Protocol climate guideline of 1987, all United Nations member states agreed to phase out production of chlorofluorocarbons by 2010. However, in a 2018 Nature study, researchers from the U.S., the Netherlands, and the U.K. were surprised to find that emissions of CFC-11 had climbed by 25% since 2012 despite the guideline.

The more recent report states that the increased emissions from Shandong and Hebei — detected by comparing weather patterns with air-monitoring data from Japan and South Korea — account for 40-60% of the global rise. The study further suggests that the increase is likely the result of new production, although more information is required to confirm which industrial processes should be held responsible for releasing the banned chemical. (Image: VCG)

3 days

The case of a civil servant assaulting a doctor in eastern China’s Zhejiang province sparked online backlash after his family claimed he was schizophrenic and should therefore receive a lighter punishment.

On Wednesday afternoon, police in Wencheng County said that the man, surnamed Zhu, had attacked a doctor and disrupted public order at a local hospital on Monday after his daughter’s fever failed to abate following treatment. Zhu’s family claimed that he had a history of schizophrenia — even providing a purported diagnosis — and requested a psychiatric evaluation prior to the police investigation.

On microblogging platform Weibo, Chinese netizens are accusing Zhu of using his mental illness as a “shield” against legal punishment. After media reported that Zhu is employed by the Wencheng County housing and urban-rural development bureau, netizens reacted with incredulity at how a violent schizophrenic could have been hired as a public servant in the first place.

On Wednesday evening, the Wencheng police issued another statement on Weibo saying that Zhu had been evaluated for psychological issues and deemed mentally fit to be punished: He will be criminally detained for 15 days and fined 300 yuan ($43). (Image: China News Service)

3 days

Schools in the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan province suspended classes on Tuesday and Wednesday due to high temperatures and severe drought, reported local media.

Kindergartners in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture were given two days off, while primary and secondary schools suspended afternoon classes, following a warning Monday by the local education bureau forecasting temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. An estimated 200,000 students have been affected, according to official statistics.

Xishuangbanna is one of the areas of Yunnan most severely impacted by this year’s drought, which started in April. Since then, abnormally high temperatures and low precipitation have desiccated the province, resulting in water shortages affecting some 309,000 people and 93,000 livestock, as well as over 7,300 square kilometers of farmland. (Image: Xinhua)

4 days

Facing media scrutiny after the high-profile kidnapping of his wealthy son, a man in southern China has denied sole responsibility for handing over massive sums of a Taoist group’s money to a swindler in 2016, The Beijing News reported Tuesday.

Lu Wenrong, president of the Hainan Taoist Association, told the outlet that the decision to transfer 2.5 million yuan ($376,000 in 2016) to a scammer from bank accounts affiliated with the association was not made by him alone but by the association at large. However, Lu admitted to handing over 100,000 yuan of his own money to the now-convicted grifter, who had reportedly promised to make financial donations to the association in the future if she were given funds to help her through hard times.

The con was widely reported Monday despite occurring years ago, as domestic news outlets have been investigating Lu — and his finances — since his son was abducted for a ransom in Toronto in March. The younger Lu, who was found alive shortly after his capture, has since faced media attention of his own for his affluent lifestyle. (Image: @头条新闻 on Weibo)

4 days

A Beijing court has ordered a popular livestreaming platform to pay 30,000 yuan ($4,300) in compensation to the mother of a daredevil who died during a broadcast, Beijing Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

Beijing Internet Court on Tuesday handed down the decision to Chinese app Huajiao for breaching their “legal duty of care” for Wu Yongning, an amateur stuntman who had been using the platform to livestream himself scaling a skyscraper in the central Hunan province when he fell to his death in 2017. Following the incident, Wu’s mother sued Huajiao for negligence, saying the company had not informed her son of the risks of livestreaming his various climbs performed without safety gear, but Huajiao denied any responsibility.

Nearly 400 million people in China have livestreaming accounts, according to figures released this year by the China Internet Network Information Center. Facing stiff competition in the booming industry, some have sought to stand out by pulling risky stunts, occasionally with tragic outcomes. In February, a man in eastern China drowned after jumping into a frigid river for a livestream. (Image: IC)

4 days

Sweet-toothed Chinese will soon be twisting, licking, and dunking six new flavors of Oreo cookies, including Chaozhou-style barbecued-pork pastry and honey red-bean cake, reminiscent of traditional snacks once consumed by the country’s dynastic royalty.

At midnight Wednesday, the company is set to release the treats on e-commerce platform Tmall as part of a collaboration with Beijing’s Palace Museum, which is housed inside the historic Forbidden City complex. The four other cookie varieties are spicy and fragrant peppercorn puff, lychee-scented rose cake, fragrant green-tea cake, and traditional hawthorn.

Hype for the sweets ramped up on social media Wednesday following the debut of an animated promo video showing the Forbidden City reconstructed with Oreos, with a hashtag translating to “Oreo enters the Forbidden City” garnering over 340 million views on microblogging platform Weibo by that afternoon.

The Palace Museum has undertaken various promotional initiatives in recent years, helping to make the Forbidden City into a social media star. In December, the museum began offering lipsticks inspired by ancient Chinese porcelain and jewelry, among other makeup products. (Image: 奥利奥 on WeChat)

5 days

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)

5 days

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)

6 days

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)

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