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2019-09-18 10:39:16

All of China’s 500,000-plus villages now have direct access to the country’s postal services, allowing courier companies to effectively deliver a growing number of parcels to remote regions, according to a top government official.

Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, said during a press conference Tuesday that every township is now served by a designated post office, making it easier for the country’s villages to access postal services. Previously, residents without a post office in their area had to travel to a neighboring township — which administers a village — for their postal needs.

Online sales in rural areas have grown rapidly in recent years, with 2019’s midyear revenues totaling 777.1 billion yuan ($109 billion), an annual increase of 21%, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Ma said that domestic couriers are expected to handle over 60 billion parcels this year, with one-fourth of these originating or being delivered in rural areas.

However, courier companies have repeatedly complained about logistical challenges when it comes to making far-flung deliveries, with some even charging rural customers extra fees. According to a Xinhua report in May, about 74.9% of villages nationwide didn’t have local delivery stations. (Image: VCG)

24 hours

A man in eastern China’s Shandong province has enlisted a horsewoman to pull his damaged Mercedes-Benz vehicle through the city of Binzhou in protest over what he claims are exorbitantly expensive repairs recommended by a local dealership.

In a video report Sunday by online news outlet Pear Video, the man, surnamed Liu, claims his white SUV’s engine “exploded” on Oct. 10 after logging just 6,000 kilometers since being purchased in January. Liu said a local Mercedes-Benz dealership quoted him a price of 130,000 yuan ($18,400) for the repairs, which weren’t covered under warranty since the problem was “man-made.” Liu said dealership staff would not let him photograph the damage assessment document.

To protest what he interpreted as shady behavior, Liu covered his vehicle in signage explaining his situation, hitched a horse to it, and began parading it through the streets. Liu told Pear Video that he and the dealership are now “negotiating.”

In April, a Mercedes owner in the northwestern city of Xi’an climbed atop a showroom vehicle to protest an alleged oil leak from her recently purchased vehicle, as well as an unanticipated “financial services fee” of 15,000 yuan. After a video of the woman’s histrionics went viral on Chinese social media, the dealership agreed to refund the fee, replace the vehicle, and provide her with VIP services for 10 years. (Image: @一手Video on Weibo)

4 days

Authorities in central China’s Hunan province have chastised a teacher after she complained about bureaucratic hurdles in resolving problems at her school, domestic media reported Wednesday.

Li Tiantian, a teacher at Taozixi School in rural Yongshun County, wrote in a post on messaging app WeChat that officials from the local education bureau called her late Tuesday night and requested a meeting after she had complained about the school’s “unnecessary” weekly sanitation checks. According to a screenshot of her now-deleted WeChat article, Li had written that the inspections disrupted classes, as students were required to participate in cleaning activities such as sweeping.

In her post, Li said local education officials claimed her article had caused them unspecified “damage.” According to media reports, leaders from the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, which administers the county, visited Li’s school Wednesday to say they would try to address the issue and promise that such “formalism” would be minimized in the future. (Image: 山花诗田 on WeChat)

5 days

A middle school teacher has been detained after four of her students were hospitalized with food poisoning because they consumed trash at her command, authorities in central China’s Henan province confirmed to domestic media Tuesday.

During a routine dorm check in September, the teacher, surnamed Jiang, told the four children to eat trash after they had failed to clean their room. Though Jiang left after making the comment, the obedient students started eating scraps of paper, plastic packaging, and fruit husks from the floor. Soon afterward, they had diarrhea and were admitted to a local hospital. Three have been discharged, while the fourth is seeking further treatment in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital.

Police apprehended Jiang three days after the incident. The case has been handed over to local prosecutors, and two administrators at the school in Zhoukou have been dismissed, according to Lu Qinghe, director of the city’s education and sports bureau.

Dangerous and outlandish school punishments occasionally make headlines in China. In July, a teacher at a secondary school in the eastern Shandong province was blacklisted after punishing two tardy students by making them kneel on the floor and hitting them with a textbook. (Image: VCG)

6 days

China’s leading e-commerce company, Alibaba, is adding a new item to its annual shopping bonanza this year: real estate.

The company said that over 10,000 properties will be listed on its auction site for the upcoming “Double Eleven” shopping festival on Nov. 11, The Beijing News reported Tuesday. Some of the houses being auctioned are near subway stops, scenic spots, and top public schools — any one of which makes for a prime location.

Now in its 11th year, Double Eleven is China’s biggest online shopping day. Last year, Alibaba-owned shopping platform Tmall raked in a record 213.5 billion yuan ($30.8 billion) in purchases in 24 hours. While Tmall mostly sells everyday goods such as clothing, the auction platform offers houses, cars, and even swaths of ocean. Many of the auctioned items are confiscated from criminals and sold on behalf of the government. (Image: VCG)

6 days

A step-tracking app that claimed to reward its users for going that extra mile has been removed from Chinese app stores and is under investigation for alleged fraud, state broadcaster China National Radio reported Monday.

Qubu — or “interesting step” in Chinese — purports to allow users to trade in their steps for products or monetary rewards, similar to redeeming airline miles. However, to join Qubu users must provide a number of personal details, including government ID numbers and bank account information, as well as a special invitation code. The app’s developers host talks across the country, encouraging users to invite new members into the community so they can become “future shareholders” in the company, according to domestic media reports.

The app’s Hunan-based developer is currently being investigated by authorities in Changsha, the capital of the central province. In June of last year, a clever gadget that helped couch potatoes artificially inflate their step counts and brag about it on WeChat became briefly popular, despite a spokesperson for the messaging app expressing distaste for the dishonest device. (Image: @三明中院 on Weibo)

6 days

Individuals who have been blacklisted under China’s social credit system or expelled from the Communist Party are ineligible to register for next year’s administration of the national civil service examination, the State Bureau of Civil Servants announced Monday.

According to Beijing Youth Daily, some 550 government departments are aiming to recruit over 24,000 civil servants in the next highly competitive exam, which candidates could sign up to take beginning Tuesday. This marks the first time a state-level office has barred blacklisted citizens and expelled party cadres from the exam.

Li Manqing, the director of Huatu Education, a company that offers training courses for the civil service exam, told Beijing Youth Daily that, as representatives of the government, civil servants must be held to a high standard of integrity and “purity.”

National blacklists have been expanded in China since the country introduced an early version of its social credit system in 2014. Citizens who engage in tax fraud, drunk driving, loan defaulting, or violence against medical workers run the risk of being restricted from taking out loans or traveling by plane or high-speed rail. (Image: VCG)

6 days

China’s internet regulator has ordered over two dozen online platforms to introduce a “teenage anti-addiction mode” to prevent addiction among young users, according to a statement Monday.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said 24 livestreaming platforms and nine video platforms have started offering the feature, which imposes age restrictions and limits screen time for children and teens, while also prohibiting them from tipping livestreamers.

In March, the administration started a pilot program under which popular short-video platforms such as Douyin, Kuaishou, and Huoshan were ordered to add the teenager anti-addiction mode, and streaming sites including Bilibili, Tencent Video, and iQiyi followed suit in May.

As China’s online video industry has continued to grow, it has also sparked concerns over increasing addiction and money-management issues among children. In 2017, a 14-year-old boy from the southwestern Sichuan province reportedly spent his parents’ life savings to shower a livestreamer with virtual gifts. And last year, a 10-year-old boy in central China’s Henan province spent 50,000 yuan ($7,900) — money that was intended for his father’s funeral — to reward a gamer on Kuaishou. (Image: IC)

6 days

Beijing is considering imposing fines on businesses that provide disposable cutlery and toiletries to consumers by default, according to a draft regulation released Monday.

The regulation, which will likely be incorporated into the capital’s existing rules on waste management, proposes a fine from 1,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan ($140 to $700) for restaurants, food delivery companies, and hotels that continue to provide disposable cutlery or single-use toiletries when consumers have not explicitly requested them.

Beijing will finish rolling out a citywide trash-sorting policy by 2020, following in the footsteps of Shanghai, where a similar plan went into effect July 1. The capital classifies its trash into four categories — food waste, general waste, recyclables, and hazardous materials — and individual violators would be subject to fines of 200 yuan. (Image: VCG)

2019-10-14 07:25:33

Millions of pieces of “harmful information” are being scrubbed from the Chinese internet thanks to a growing number of netizens who are flagging such content for hosting platforms, the latest data from the country’s cyberspace watchdog suggests.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said Friday that in the first half of 2019, the country’s netizens reported 68.58 million bits of online content they believed were inappropriate or harmful, up 8.9% from the same period last year.

In January, the administration announced a six-month campaign targeting 12 types of “harmful information,” including that which regulators consider pornographic, vulgar, violent, superstitious, rumorous, or sensational. Authorities further said they had established 21 offices across the country and over 2,600 websites at which individuals could report suspected violations.

China’s internet regulators have been ramping up efforts to sanitize various web platforms in recent months, including popular WeMedia accounts on WeChat and Weibo. Last year, Chinese netizens reported over 165 million bits of inappropriate content, according to Friday’s statement — far more than the 74 million and 40 million they reported in 2017 and 2016, respectively. (Image: VCG)

2019-10-14 07:12:02

Shares of Jinzi Ham rose sharply on Monday after the food company announced over the weekend that it will begin offering plant-based meat products in China.

On Oct. 11, Jinzi announced a partnership with American chemical giant DuPont to make synthetic meat with non-GMO soy protein. The Chinese company also said it had begun preselling its first faux-beef patties on e-commerce site Tmall: A special two-box deal with four patties is priced at 118 yuan and slated to begin shipping in late October.

Over the weekend, the share price of the Shenzhen-listed company rose by 10% — the daily maximum for exchanges on the Chinese mainland — from 5.62 to 6.18 yuan ($0.80 to $0.88).

Jinzi is among the latest players to join China’s still-nascent plant-based meat movement. Founded in 1994, the Zhejiang-based company has become a household brand, largely thanks to a dry-cured ham product named after the city of Jinhua. By time of publication, Jinzi’s Tmall shop had received 590 preorders for the plant-based burgers. (Image: VCG)

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