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)
An institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences has suspended a researcher who made “false statements” about his supposedly self-designed programming language.
In a statement Sunday, the Institute of Computing Technology said it had suspended the researcher, Liu Lei, and launched an investigation after Liu was accused of ripping off an open-source version of the widely used Python programming language and calling his version Module Unit Language, or “Mulan.”
According to media reports, the institute had announced the release of the purportedly self-designed programming language on Jan. 15. However, the Sunday statement claimed that Mulan — a product that was allegedly “completely autonomous,” even though its development kit includes the Python open source compiler — was not developed by the institute, but rather by a company Liu founded.
“This behavior constitutes scientific misconduct (in the form of) deception and false statements,” the institute said.
A day earlier, Liu had apologized in a public letter for making “exaggerated statements” about his work. He initially said that the programming language had been independently created, and that it could help further the development of the Internet of Things — the increasingly diverse array of internet-connected devices, from phones and fridges to cars and home assistants.
The scandal reminds some people of a previous high-profile case of technological fraud. In 2003, a scientist at a Chinese university claimed to have designed a microchip he had dubbed “Hanxin,” or “the Chinese chip” — but three years later, the chip was found to have come from the United States.
And in April 2018, Chinese netizens discovered that the source files of what was supposedly the country’s first and only fully homegrown web browser appeared to have been copied from Google Chrome. (Image: CNS)
The Palace Museum has apologized after photos surfaced online of two women posing with a Mercedes vehicle parked on the grounds of the Forbidden City, Beijing’s iconic, centuries-old tourist site.
In a statement Friday, the Palace Museum — which is located within the Forbidden City — said it was “deeply distressed,” “sincerely apologizes to the public,” and “will strengthen management to prevent such cases in the future.”
In a now-deleted post on microblogging platform Weibo that included the photos, one of the women, Gao Lu, said the incident had taken place Monday, when the Forbidden City was closed for maintenance. The post quickly went viral: A related hashtag had been viewed over 1 billion times by Sunday afternoon, with many criticizing rich elites who believe they are entitled to special treatment.
In an interview with The Beijing News, a man claiming to be the owner of the vehicle said Gao had been invited to attend an event at the tourist site.
The Forbidden City has banned vehicles from entering its grounds since 2013. However, amid the online furor over Gao’s photos, numerous reports emerged of other people driving their vehicles into the city in recent years. (Image: From @露小宝LL on Weibo)
Local authorities in several Chinese cities will work overtime to accommodate couples hoping to get married on Feb. 2, a date some believe to be auspicious because it forms a palindrome when written out sequentially: 20200202.
Beijing’s civil affairs bureau said Friday that local marriage registration offices will be open for business on the upcoming Sunday. More than a dozen such offices in Shanghai will also remain open the same day, according to media reports.
When repeated together, the Mandarin words for “two” and “zero” sound similar to the phrase “love you.” The Sunday is also the ninth day of the lunar calendar, with “nine” being phonetically similar to “long” — leading some to believe that the date may guarantee a long-lasting marriage.
But some authorities are apparently disinclined to indulge such superstition. “A happy marriage has nothing to do with the auspicious day,” a senior official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Sunday. “As long as the relationship between two people is harmonious, each day is good and unique. I hope applicants will treat their wedding dates rationally.”
In 2018, China’s marriage rate fell to its lowest point in five years. On Friday, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that last year’s birth rate of just 10.5 newborns per 1,000 people was the lowest in the country’s 70-year history. (Image: Tuchong)
The People’s Republic of China has recorded its lowest birth rate since its founding over 70 years ago, according to data published Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Last year saw 10.5 births per 1,000 people. Some 14.6 million babies were born in China in 2019, down from 15.2 million in 2018. At the same time, the country’s total population eclipsed 1.4 billion for the first time at the end of last year — though the national population growth rate of 0.33% was also a record low.
Low fertility rates and an aging population have worried demographers and officials alike because of the risk these factors pose to the country’s future. Hoping to boost birth rates, China abolished the one-child policy in 2016 and proposed longer maternity leave for couples considering a second child — but so far these and other measures have achieved limited success due to changing social mentalities and the rising cost of childrearing. Meanwhile, birth restrictions continue to hang over some families’ heads, as couples who have more than two children can face harsh punishments.
Six months after becoming the first Chinese city to implement strict trash-sorting rules, Shanghai is planning to perfect the system and increase recycling efforts in the coming years, domestic media outlet Jiemian reported Thursday.
At a political gathering, Deng Jianping, director of the Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau, said the city had completed the renovation of over 21,000 trash-sorting stations and built over 15,000 recycling stations as of January. Shanghai also recycled 4,049 tons of trash per day in 2019, a 431.8% increase compared with the previous year.
In 2020, Shanghai should improve its current sorting system to collect over 6,000 tons of recyclable waste and sort over 9,000 tons of wet waste daily, Deng said.
Shanghai also ranked No. 1 for three consecutive quarters among 46 major cities selected for trash-sorting inspections conducted by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the country’s housing regulatory department, according to the media report. (Image: Tuchong)
Less than a week after CEO Elon Musk showed off his company’s first made-in-China vehicles, along with his own memorable dance moves, electric carmaker Tesla announced that it is planning to open a new design center in China with the aim of creating “designed in China” cars, according to an official post Wednesday on social app WeChat.
Tesla’s post described the plan to open a design studio in China as “a very cool thing” that Musk had proposed in order to shift gears from “made in China” to “designed in China.” The company hopes to incorporate “the most beautiful Chinese art into the future-facing Tesla,” and is already soliciting designs for original, “Chinese-style” vehicles, to be sent to an email address included in the post by Feb. 1.
Musk has high hopes for Tesla in the China market, thanks in part to his cozy relationship with top officials. Tesla was the first foreign carmaker allowed to set up an independent operation in China, and its Shanghai Gigafactory — the company’s first such facility outside the U.S. — took just 10 months to build, and has been cranking out Model 3 sedans since October. The company unveiled its first China-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Shanghai last week. (Image: From Tesla’s WeChat account)
Beijing Enlight Media, the studio behind last year’s animated smash hit “Ne Zha,” said it will invest about 1 billion yuan ($145 million) over the next five years to adapt comic content into animated productions.
Company president Wang Changtian said the investment will aim to create 10 productions.
The announcement was made Tuesday at a media event to launch a comic art platform mobile app, Yi Ben Man Hua. The app was launched by Beijing Enlight’s subsidiary, Caitiaowu, which was established in 2015 to focus on creating comic content and producing animated films.
Yi Ben Man Hua’s target will be to make comics suitable for adapting into animations, focusing on themes such as mythology and fantasy, according to Jiang Zibin, the app’s chief editor. The app currently has 21 comic creators with a total of 47 comic titles available, most of which are free, according to Jiang.
The market leader in this area is Tencent-backed tech giant Kuaikan Manhua, which boasts about 3,000 creators and more than 3,000 available titles. (Image: Weibo)
(Republished with permission from Caixin Global.)
The trailblazing woman featured on the third edition of China’s 1 yuan bill died Tuesday, domestic media reported. She was 90 years old.
Liang Jun, who is seated atop a tractor on the back of the banknote, was also the country’s first female tractor driver. She was widely viewed as a symbol of Mao Zedong’s popular proclamation, “Women hold up half the sky,” often invoked to urge women to work outside the domestic sphere.
Born in a small town in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Liang was given away to a wealthy family who adopted her at the age of 12 as a future bride under an archaic tradition. However, she managed to break free from the arrangement and married a man she met at school.
At the age of 18, Liang joined a tractor-driving course in which she was the only woman in a class of 70-plus men, plowing the way for others to follow in her tracks. In 1950, China’s first female tractor-driving corps was established and named after her.
Liang’s legacy will live on in the third-generation 1 yuan notes, printed and circulated between 1962 and 2000. (Image: Taobao)
Authorities in southern China’s Guangdong province are investigating the cause of an explosion at a petrochemical factory Tuesday.
The explosion occurred at Changlian Petrochemical Company in the city of Zhuhai at around 1:40 p.m., according to a statement released by the work safety administration of the Zhuhai Economic and Technological Development Zone, where the company is located.
No causalities have been reported, and employees of the company, as well as others working in the area, have been evacuated. According to the administration’s follow-up statements, the fire had been brought under control by 4 p.m.
According to The Beijing News, an inspection conducted six months ago discovered 15 potential safety hazards at the Zhuhai petrochemical company.
Several work safety-related incidents have made headlines in China in the past year. In March, a chemical plant explosion in the eastern Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured over 600 more. The next month, an industrial accident at a pharmaceutical plant in the neighboring Shandong province killed 10 people. (Image: @央视网 on Weibo)
Shanghai has terminated its sister city relationship with Prague after the Czech capital signed a similar agreement with Taipei.
The Shanghai government said Tuesday that the city is suspending all official contact with Prague for “repeated erroneous actions on major issues involving China’s core interests, such as Taiwan.” The Shanghai government also accused Prague of “openly challenging the one-China policy,” which it strongly condemns.
Prague’s mayor, Zdenek Hrib, signed a sister city partnership Monday with his counterpart in Taipei, Ko Wen-je, after announcing the move last month. Prague’s city council had voted in October to dissolve relations with Beijing over ideological differences.
Since assuming office in November 2018, the 38-year-old Czech mayor has repeatedly irked Beijing by voicing support for Taiwan and Tibet. (Image: Tuchong)