From Dec. 1, mobile users hoping to purchase SIM cards in China will have to undergo a mandatory “facial registration” procedure, according to a recent policy from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
The new requirement, announced in September, aims to “utilize innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence” to improve the existing real-name registration system, as well as prevent identity theft and the resale of SIM cards, the ministry said. Previously, mobile users had to present their national ID cards or passports when buying a SIM card.
Face-scanning kiosks have actually been in use in Beijing since October, according to local media. Customers purchasing SIM cards now have their faces scanned along with their identity cards — a streamlined process that takes around 5 minutes, the report said. Users can also complete the registration steps on a telecom provider’s mobile app by taking a photo of their ID and uploading a six-second video of their face.
The expansion of facial recognition to virtually every industry in China has sparked broad discussions about security and ethics. In November, a professor in the eastern Zhejiang province filed the country’s first lawsuit against the compulsory collection of facial data by a local zoo. And on Wednesday, artificial intelligence firm SenseTime announced that it is heading a coalition of 27 Chinese companies to draft the country’s first national standard for applications of facial recognition. (Image: IC)
A biotech company in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen is under fire for allegedly producing and selling inaccurate COVID-19 test kits.
The city’s market regulator said Friday that the company, Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology Co. Ltd., is under investigation after multiple media outlets reported that its test kits were far less accurate than anticipated.
A report Friday by the Spanish newspaper El País said test kits the Spanish government had purchased from Bioeasy were only 30% sensitive — far lower than the 80% sensitivity the company had promised. Bioeasy responded Friday, saying that if the accuracy was that low, it was because the tests were not being used correctly.
“The sampling, extraction, and operation of nasopharyngeal swab samples may not be strictly followed in accordance with our operating instructions, resulting in a decline in the accuracy of sample detection,” the notice said.
Bioeasy added that it would replace the allegedly unreliable batch of test kits and further evaluate its product’s accuracy in the coming days. (Image: Xinhua)
A total of 205 movie theaters in Shanghai will resume business from Saturday and start screening old movies as the local film industry attempts to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, local authorities announced Thursday.
The cinemas will screen nearly 20 old titles, including Oscar-winning American drama “Green Book,” Chinese animated blockbuster “Ne Zha,” and teen drama “Better Days,” which have been rereleased by China Film Co. Ltd. for screenings nationwide. For one month starting from Saturday, Shanghai moviegoers who purchase box office tickets online will receive one 10-yuan ($1.40) voucher per ticket. A total of 600,000 tickets are slated to be subsidized, according to the statement.
Compared with other industries, China’s movie theaters are recovering at a slower pace as audiences remain cautious of confined, crowded spaces. Over the weekend, more than 500 of the country’s cinemas reopened; however, the total box office revenue for the two days was just 72,400 yuan. (Image: From @瞭望智库 on Weibo)
A woman in Beijing is under investigation for contacting police after an argument with her boyfriend and telling them he was infected with the COVID-19 virus, The Beijing News reported Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the woman, surnamed Shao, falsely reported to local police that her boyfriend, surnamed Wang, was infected with the coronavirus and traveling by train from the capital to the city of Jincheng in the northern Shanxi province. Authorities later found Wang on the train but deduced that he was unlikely to be infected after checking his temperature and documents proving he had recently observed quarantine.
Shao later admitted that she was only trying to locate Wang, as he had not been answering her phone calls after their argument. She is now under investigation for “lying to the police and creating panic,” the report said.
As of Thursday, China has investigated over 22,000 coronavirus-related crimes and arrested over 4,200 suspects, according to the country’s Ministry of Public Security. (Image: Beijing police)
Beijing border authorities have barred four foreigners from entering China due to unspecified violations of COVID-19 prevention and control policies.
Ji Lixia, deputy chief of the city’s border inspection, said Tuesday that incoming passengers may be refused entry to China if they violate quarantine protocol, though she did not say whether this was the case for the four foreigners.
A member of a COVID-19 control team has died in the eastern Shandong province after being beaten by a boy who refused to follow checkpoint protocol, police in the city of Tai’an announced Monday.
According to local media, the 73-year-old victim, surnamed Li, manned a disease control checkpoint at a local market. On Monday morning, the suspect, a 15-year-old surnamed Song, punched Li multiple times after Li stopped a truck arriving to deliver goods to a stall owned by the boy’s family.
Li, who fell and lost his consciousness during the assault, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the report. The police said Song has been taken into custody.
With strict COVID-19 containment policies being imposed nationwide, many community workers tasked with enforcing such measures have faced resistance, even violence, from uncooperative citizens. Earlier this month, police in the central Henan province detained a man after he attacked an outbreak control worker who had insisted he put on a mask. (Image: dzwww.com)
A man has been sentenced to death in the central Hunan province for kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl whom he held captive in a hidden room under the floor of his home for over three weeks, domestic outlet Red Star News reported Monday.
In February 2019, Long Xihe, an unlicensed cab driver in Fenghuang County, kidnapped the victim after she had enlisted his services. According to a previous Red Star News report, Long held the victim captive in a concrete room accessible through a removable floor tile in his home, with an iron chain around her neck and tape over her mouth. Police arrested him 24 days later, after the girl’s family had reported her missing.
Under China’s criminal law, rape is punishable by death in certain extreme cases, such as those involving multiple victims, public settings, multiple perpetrators, or serious injury or death.
Lü Xiaoquan, a lawyer who provides legal counsel to victims of gender-based violence, told Sixth Tone that in China the death penalty is rarely invoked for rape, which is typically punished by three to 10 years in prison.
In December, the high court of Yunnan province in Southwest China upheld a lower court’s ruling that Sun Xiaoguo, a local gangster, should be put to death for the rape of two girls, among other crimes. (Image: @红星新闻 on WeChat)
The agency of a contestant on an online talent show has apologized after its client was accused of plagiarizing another artist’s dance routine.
In a statement Sunday night, the agency of Lin Xiaozhai, a contestant on the second season of video-streaming site iQIYI’s talent show “Youth With You,” said it regrets its mistake of failing to attribute the choreography to its innovator, Chengdu-based street dancer Rabbit Lan, who is known for a dance style called waacking that originated in Los Angeles’ LGBT disco clubs during the 1970s.
In an episode of the show that aired Saturday, Lin gave a short dance performance to the theme song from the Japanese animated series “Sailor Moon.” However, street dance circles were quick to point out that Lin’s performance was highly similar to the choreography of Rabbit Lan.
In a statement Sunday afternoon, Rabbit Lan’s company, Sinostage, said it had not received a request for permission to use the choreography. Sinostage demanded that the relevant companies and individuals publicly apologize.
According to China’s copyright law, any individual or company that uses an artist’s original work for commercial purposes must seek permission and pay a fee. Over the weekend, a hashtag about the dispute trended on microblogging platform Weibo, receiving more than 280 million views by Monday morning, with many commenters advocating for more copyright awareness among the public. (Image: From @NeedAYeah on Weibo)
Chinese cinemas will start screening old movies to help sustain the domestic film industry, which has been ailing from coronavirus-related quarantine measures, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Wednesday.
Five movies including sci-fi blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” and Lebanese drama “Capernaum” will soon be rereleased for screenings nationwide, China Film Co. Ltd. said in a notice circulated online this week that has been confirmed by media. All box-office revenue will go directly to the cinemas, after the films’ distributors and production companies agreed not to take their usual 43% cut of ticket sales, the company said.
Warner Bros. also announced Thursday that “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first film in the wildly popular fantasy series, will get a high-res 3D rerelease in China, without giving a date for the first screenings. (Image: VCG)
Three Chinese fencers have tested positive for COVID-19 after competing overseas.
In a statement Friday, the Chinese Fencing Association said that the three athletes with the épée fencing team, who competed in Hungary March 6-8, tested positive for COVID-19 after the team of 13 returned to China on March 16. The three infected athletes are being treated for mild symptoms, while their teammates have been quarantined for medical observation.
According to the statement, the team had been competing abroad for the past few months, and had originally planned to return to China after Olympic qualifying matches scheduled for March 22-24. The team changed their itinerary after the International Fencing Federation recommended on March 12 the cancellation of all officially sanctioned fencing competitions for at least the next month. (Image: IC)
China’s top cultural heritage authority has called for the collection and preservation of pandemic-related mementos.
In a statement Wednesday, the National Cultural Heritage Administration said that provincial-level museums nationwide and prefecture-level museums in Hubei province should start collecting mementos reflecting China’s efforts to prevent and control the COVID-19 outbreak. The mementos may include government documents; work diaries and letters from medical teams and staff; banners; pass cards; thermometers from police officers, residents, community workers, and volunteers; audio and video records; photographs; and paintings.
“Collecting, preserving, and displaying these items that bear witness to the spirit of the Chinese nation and the memory of the times is an important responsibility and mission of our museums,” the administration said. The statement added that all collected objects should be professionally disinfected, and that the collection process should not result in mass gatherings or direct contact.
Some museums in China had already begun calling for pandemic mementos over the past month, according to The Beijing News. The National Museum of China and the Capital Museum — both in Beijing — made similar announcements on March 11 and Wednesday, respectively. (Image: Xinhua)