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2019-12-12 07:27:30

China has executed a man who 19 years ago killed three officials as they prepared to force his wife to be sterilized in accordance with the now-scrapped family-planning initiative commonly known as the “one-child policy.”

Wang Changsheng of Suixi County in the eastern province of Anhui was put to death on Dec. 4, the Intermediate People’s Court of Huaibei City announced last week.

In 2000, four rural officials prepared to forcibly sterilize Wang’s wife, surnamed Li, after the birth of their second daughter. At the time, family planning laws allowed rural couples to have a second child if their first was a daughter.

Wang and Li were residing at Li’s father’s home village of Miatotai, and the officials planned to bring Wang and Li back to Suixi and arrange for Li to be sterilized. But during the journey, Wang attacked them with a metal hammer, killing three of them. He then absconded from justice for 17 years, changing his name to avoid detection for the murders.

The case is a reminder that the effects of China’s decadeslong one-child policy continue to haunt the country long after its abolition. In 2016, amid concerns of a looming demographic crisis, the policy was changed to allow all Chinese couples to have two children. (Image: VCG)

This story has been updated to correct the time of the murders and the fact that they occurred over a possible forced sterilization, not a possible forced abortion as earlier reported.

(Republished with permission from Caixin Global.)

3 hours

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)

6 hours

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)

2 days

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.

2 days

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)

3 days

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)

3 days

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.)

3 days

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)

4 days

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)

4 days

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)

4 days

A hospital in northwestern China’s Shaanxi has equipped its employees with wristbands that can alert local police in the event of danger, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Monday.

The Shaanxi Provincial People’s Hospital said the devices are intended to ensure the safety of staff at a time when violence against medical workers is prevalent in the country. The hospital also said it will install alarm buttons in patient wards as a precautionary measure against any future incidents.

The move comes after doctors in Lanzhou — also in Northwest China — and Beijing were killed by a patient and a patient’s relative, respectively. Following these recent attacks, China’s medical professionals have called for upgraded security measures at hospitals and longer sentences for violent patients.

Earlier this month, a hospital in the eastern Jiangxi province implemented security screenings for patients and staff upon entering. The facility’s chief security officer told The Paper last week that the hospital confiscated more than 10 knives on the first day the new procedure was enforced. (Image: @头条新闻 on Weibo)

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