China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Thursday summoned the mayors of six northern Chinese cities for talks related to the “obvious worsening” of air quality within their jurisdictions last fall and winter, reported The Beijing News.
According to the report, the mayors of cities in Henan, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces expressed their “sorrow, guilt, self-reproach,” and even “heart-piercing grief” after inspectors said they had failed to achieve targets outlined in the central government’s “battle for blue skies” action plan, a three-year drive to improve air quality.
“People have not done their utmost, they’ve relaxed,” the ministry’s head of air pollution control, Liu Bingjiang, said at the meeting, adding that the worsening air quality was due to lax administration.
In one of numerous examples given in The Beijing News’ report, the city of Baoding in Hebei province failed to supervise coal burning last fall and winter and neglected to provide funding for gas- and electricity-powered heating in a timely manner. Over the same period, P.M 2.5 levels in the city of Langfang, Hebei province, rose by 15.5% year-on-year. (Image: VCG)
The chemical factory explosion in eastern China’s Jiangsu province that killed 78 people earlier this year was due to the self-ignition of hazardous chemical waste illegally stocked in its waste warehouse, Xinhua News Agency reported Friday, citing the result of an official investigation.
The investigative team from the State Council, China’s Cabinet, found that the plant owned by Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. Ltd. had “ignored” the national environment protection and safety laws and that its management of safety-related issues was “in chaos.”
The safety and environmental assessment agencies have also severely violated regulations, giving false assessment reports for the factory, the investigative team added. The inspectors also blamed several local government departments in Jiangsu for failing to supervise effectively and ignoring Jiangsu Tianjiayi’s high risks.
A total of 61 public servants were held accountable for the incident, while 44 others, including staff from companies and intermediary agencies, were placed under “criminal coercive measures,” Xinhua reported. (Image: IC)
China will debut its first nationwide vaccine-tracking app next March, Beijing Daily reported Thursday.
The app, part of a broader vaccine-tracking platform developed by the National Medical Products Administration, will allow consumers to scan a vaccine’s associated QR code to access information, including batch numbers and expiration dates. It will also contain information on China’s 46 licensed vaccine manufacturers and allow regulators to monitor product inventories and shipping details.
The platform’s launch comes as China seeks to restore confidence in its scandal-plagued pharmaceutical industry. Last July, parents panicked after regulators reprimanded Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd. for distributing up to 500,000 vaccines that failed to meet national standards. The faulty doses have since been linked to disabilities and deaths. And earlier this year, a clinic on the southern island of Hainan was closed after police accused it of issuing unapproved HPV vaccines.
In addition to verification and transparency schemes, authorities are also deliberating upping penalties for the manufacture and sale of faulty vaccines. (Image: VCG)
People who deliberately throw objects from high-rises that cause injury or death will now face harsh punishments and may be charged with murder, according to a guideline published Thursday by the Supreme People’s Court.
Individuals who intentionally throw objects from buildings that result in deaths or severe injuries may be sentenced to over 10 years in prison, according to the guideline. Meanwhile, those accidentally causing deaths involving such objects will be subject to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment. People who conceal or destroy evidence in such cases will also be punished.
The new guideline comes after several cases of injuries and deaths resulting from falling objects this year. On Wednesday, a man in eastern Jiangxi province was detained after he accidentally dropped a metallic valve from the 22nd floor, injuring a 3-year-old boy. And in June, a 5-year-old in southern Guangdong province died when a new window being installed at a building landed on the child, prompting concerns over lax maintenance standards in high-rise buildings. (Image: IC)
A Chinese producer of lithium batteries for electric vehicles apologized Tuesday for late payments to its chemical suppliers because of the mounting debts of its business partners at various stages of the supply chain.
BAK Battery, a private company based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said it is “sincerely sorry” for the delayed payments after debt risks revealed in its suppliers’ financial disclosures rattled investors. BAK alleged that two domestic automakers — Zotye and Hawtai — owed a total sum of nearly 1 billion yuan ($142 million).
BAK Battery, which claims to be one of China’s largest producers of electric vehicle batteries, has sued the two automakers to recover the funds. A court in the eastern Zhejiang province has frozen trading for Zotye’s controlling shareholder until the debt is repaid, and Hawtai’s case is currently in its second trial at the Supreme People’s Court, according to BAK’s apology statement.
China’s electric vehicle battery sales have been hit hard since the government reduced subsidies for many green vehicles, straining an already-saturated market. Earlier this year, over 300 listed firms in China said they are expecting to report full-year losses of over 100 million yuan each, largely due to trade frictions and a slowing domestic economy. (Image: VCG)
A local government in central China’s Henan province has vowed to investigate a school bullying case involving three boys who allegedly forcibly inserted dozens of pieces of paper into their 7-year-old classmate’s eyes, according to an announcement Wednesday.
Following the incident Sept. 28 at Dajian Primary School in the city of Yuzhou, the school’s principal, surnamed Wang, told domestic media Monday that the boys were “just playing around” and “meant no harm.” He added that because no teachers had been present to witness the incident, the school was unable to provide further details.
The girl has visited multiple hospitals multiple times since the incident and had at least 47 pieces of paper removed from her eyes, her mother told The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication. Local education authorities said that the families of the children involved have signed a “compensation agreement,” without elaborating on the terms.
Incidents of school bullying frequently makes headlines in China, despite authorities ramping up efforts to prevent such cases. In December 2017, the Ministry of Education published its most comprehensive guideline to date for preventing school bullying, stipulating that serious cases should be handled by law enforcement. (Image: @广州日报 on Weibo)
China revealed its Mars exploration plans Thursday with the successful test of a lander in the northern Hebei province, edging toward the goal of putting a rover on the neighboring planet next year.
The China National Space Administration on Thursday invited some 70 international observers, including diplomats and reporters, to its space landing test site in Huailai County to witness a simulated Mars landing, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. The test marks the first time China has demonstrated part of its plan to explore the Red Planet.
In recent years, China has ramped up its extraterrestrial projects with an aim to becoming a space superpower. In 2003, China became just the third country after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to send astronauts into orbit. In January, the domestically made Chang’E-4 became the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon. (Image: @央视新闻 on Weibo)
China’s media regulator has ordered news-aggregating platform Jinri Toutiao to rectify its search engine after it displayed information that supposedly defamed a revolutionary martyr.
In a statement Monday, the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China said the company must “clean up” its search engine for displaying “slanderous information” involving the civil war hero Fang Zhimin. A Toutiao representative quoted in the statement said the company would “overhaul” the search engine over time.
According to Chinese media reports, Fang’s grandson had condemned Jinri Toutiao last month after coming across information that allegedly defamed their renowned ancestor while using the platform’s search engine. Jinri Toutiao in August launched the in-app search function, which returns results from apps under its parent company, ByteDance, as well as from the wider Chinese internet.
Regulators have demonstrated an urgent need to protect the reputations of the country’s martyrs. A new national law protecting “heroes and martyrs” came into effect last May, which stipulates that defaming or denying the deeds of China’s revolutionary heroes could potentially be a criminal offense. (Image: VCG)
Fifty-one children and three teachers at a kindergarten in southwestern China’s Yunnan province were hospitalized Monday after a man entered school grounds and sprayed a corrosive liquid on them, according to local authorities.
The 23-year-old man, surnamed Kong, broke into Dongcheng Kindergarten on Monday and sprayed sodium hydroxide onto some of the students and teachers, the local government in Kaiyuan, a county-level city in Yunnan, said in a statement. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
The public security bureau apprehended the man immediately after the incident, the statement said. Police determined that the man had “sought revenge against society” and purchased the sodium hydroxide online. An investigation is ongoing. (Image: From 进源印象 on Tecent Video)
First-year students at a high school in central China’s Hubei province were given a peculiar assignment prior to Monday’s online shopping bonanza: use their math skills to build models that could help their mothers save more money.
The students at Wisco No. 3 High School in Wuhan were asked to use various mathematical modules — tree diagrams, tabular methods, and abstract formulas — to finish the “Singles’ Day Shopping Advice for Mom” part of their assignment, Wuhan Evening News reported. Students quoted in the article said they helped their mothers save on a range of products including chocolates, dresses, handbags, and scarves.
Singles’ Day, which was started by tech giant Alibaba on Nov. 11, 2009, has turned into the world’s biggest shopping extravaganza, breaking sales records and spurring consumers to grapple with ways to find new discounts annually. This year, Chinese consumers spent over 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) in just the first 96 seconds after the deals went live at midnight. (Image: VCG)
A hospital in Daqing, a city in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, has been accused of contributing to a pregnant woman’s death after refusing to admit her due to lack of space. The local health commission announced the results of its preliminary investigation Sunday, suspending relevant medical staff, The Beijing News reported.
The deceased woman’s husband, surnamed Yan, wrote Wednesday in a since-deleted post on microblogging platform Weibo that the obstetrics department at Daqing Oilfield General Hospital refused to admit his wife — a pregnant 39-year-old surnamed Liu — because no beds were available. Although the hospital later admitted Liu, she died Tuesday, six days after giving birth. Yan has accused the hospital of neglect and misconduct leading to his wife’s death and demanded that local authorities investigate the case.
Daqing’s health and family planning commission announced the results of its preliminary investigation Sunday, determining that the couple were directed to another hospital some 20 minutes’ drive away but instead went home. Daqing Oilfield General Hospital later called Liu and Yan after a bed became available, the investigation said, adding that the patient was attentively cared for once she had checked in.
The medical staff involved — the commission did not say how many — have been suspended while the investigation awaits Liu’s autopsy, according to the report. The infant is alive and under close watch at the hospital. (Image: VCG)