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2018-08-30 09:12:48

Chinese authorities have used facial recognition to spot jaywalkers and catch suspects. But one city in Henan is now using the technology to save lives.

Pingdingshan started its facial recognition pilot project last week near the Ruhe River to prevent people, especially children, from drowning, local media reported Thursday. The cameras will detect people too close to the water and warn them against swimming through a speaker. If the system matches anyone it spots with a database of over 110,000 students, it will send an emergency message to parents and teachers. Pingdingshan plans to roll out the technology citywide next year.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death in children between 1 and 14 years in China, according to the World Health Organization. (Image: Weibo user @平顶山焦点)

 

1 day

Another group of alleged drone-flying smugglers has been taken into custody in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, local media outlet Yangcheng Evening News reported Friday.

Provincial police apprehended three people in the city of Shenzhen early Thursday morning on suspicion of using drones and a pulley system atop a residential building to surreptitiously move goods into the mainland from Hong Kong. Electronic devices, cosmetic products, and dietary supplements with an estimated total value of over 500,000 yuan ($74,600) were reportedly seized in the bust.

In February of last year, police in Shenzhen and Hong Kong cracked down on six alleged smuggling gangs and apprehended 29 people suspected of using similar tactics to move 15,000 phones across the border per night. In that case, authorities seized nearly 5,000 phones and estimated the illegal operation to be worth 500 million yuan. (Image: Yangcheng Evening News)

1 day

An art and history exhibition commemorating the lives of Jewish people who fled the Nazi atrocities during World War II and settled in Shanghai has opened in New York. The exhibit includes photographs and mementos of these European Jews displaced during the war, as well as films and lectures about their time in China and eventual emigration to the United States.

Jointly organized by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, the exhibition documents the nearly 30,000 refugees’ arrival in Shanghai and their lives in the city from 1933 to 1941. It will run through the end of May.

Visitors are given a sense of how the Europeans adapted to living in an unfamiliar environment. The exhibit is also a story of resilience, cross-cultural acceptance, and renewed hope in the face of adversity. “They escaped the Nazi atrocities and forged deep friendships with the Chinese people,” Chen Jian, curator of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, told state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Most of the refugees to Shanghai settled in the area north of Suzhou Creek. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, some emigrated to Brooklyn in New York.

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, located at the site of the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue, is currently undergoing a major expansion from 900 square meters to over 4,000, with the planned larger exhibition space aiming to tell the refugees’ stories more fully.

3 days

A forest fire that consumed parts of a tourist site in northeastern China was caused by crop stubble burned in a nearby village, local media reports cited a preliminary government investigation as saying Thursday.

More than 16,000 residents living near Qipan Mountain Scenic Area in Liaoning province were evacuated after the wildfire started at around 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, according to the reports. Over 7,000 emergency workers, including firefighters and police officers, were sent to the scene of the blaze, which was fully extinguished by around 6 p.m. the same day.

No deaths or injuries have been reported so far, and the extent of the destruction is unknown.

Stubble — the short stumps left standing in fields after crops are harvested — is commonly burned on Chinese farms. The practice is often blamed for causing air pollution and wildfires, which destroyed an estimated 16,309 hectares of forest nationwide last year, according to official figures. (Image: Xinhua)

3 days

Footage of another dissatisfied Mercedes-Benz customer denouncing a dealership while sitting on the hood of a car has gained attention in China, just days after a similar video of a different critic went viral and sparked a public outcry.

Posted to microblogging platform Weibo on Wednesday, the new video shows the woman berating a dealership representative in the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou. Speaking to The Beijing News, the woman said that she enacted the protest after a salesperson refused to provide a third-party assessment of her new car’s air bags, which she claimed are defective. A salesperson told the media outlet that the dealership had offered to perform its own inspection of the vehicle and that the woman had not agreed.

The same day, an authorized reseller of Mercedes-Benz cars in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an reached a compensation agreement with a dissatisfied customer whose own video of grievances relayed from atop a showroom vehicle had gone viral days before. That woman had complained that Xi’an Lizhixing Automobile Co. Ltd. sold her a faulty car and charged her a “financial services fee” of 15,000 yuan ($2,200). (Image: @红星新闻 on Weibo)

3 days

New “auspicious” collectible coins bearing traditional Chinese motifs are set to be released Thursday by the country’s central bank, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Numbering 105,000 in total, the limited-edition coins come in seven designs — including two that are heart-shaped — which feature depictions of cats, magpies, and plum blossoms, among other images, to represent themes like longevity and prosperity. Authorized dealers will be selling the coins individually and in complete sets of seven: China Gold Coin Inc., for example, has the seven-coin sets priced at 9,090 yuan ($1,360) each.

On Chinese social media, users have expressed particular excitement for the two coin designs portraying cats — the first of their kind from the People's Bank of China. “Looks like the central bank is a cat lover,” one netizen commented below a media post about the coins on microblogging platform Weibo. “I’m just here for the cat coins, I can’t resist anything with cats,” wrote another. (Image: China Gold Coin Inc.)

3 days

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese city of Suining have disciplined nearly three dozen environment bureau employees for corruption, local media reported Wednesday.

The local discipline watchdog said its investigation found that 32 current and former staff members at the city’s environmental protection bureau, including high-ranking officials, had been involved in various illicit activities, according to the report. While a former administrator, Wang Jie, and a chief engineer, Fu Xiaobin, had amassed over 1 million yuan ($150,000) in bribes, other cadres had used off-book accounts to embezzle government funds.

The discipline watchdog said it had seized illicit income worth 6.32 million yuan from the individuals involved, according to the report. They now face punishments ranging from self-criticism and moral education to work suspension and Communist Party expulsion to criminal prosecution. (Image: VCG)

3 days

Amazon will shut down some of its e-commerce operations in China, according to a statement the company sent to Sixth Tone on Thursday.

Specifically, the company will bar third-party vendors from July 18, the statement said, meaning domestic merchants will no longer be able to sell their products on Amazon.cn, the American e-commerce giant’s Chinese website. The company added, however, that it has no plans to withdraw from China entirely, explaining that customers will still be able to use its cross-border shopping service as well as its Kindle e-reader and cloud storage products.

Amazon called the shift part of a “strategic transformation” and said it is working closely with all vendors on its platform to complete “the coming transition.”

Citing anonymous sources, Chinese media broke the news of Amazon’s partial China shutdown on Wednesday. According to a Reuters report that followed, analysts say stiff competition from domestic e-commerce marketplaces such as JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall — which together accounted for 82% of China’s online retail market in 2018 — may have contributed to Amazon’s decision. (Image: IC)

3 days

A university student who accused Chinese business tycoon Richard Liu of raping her last year has filed a civil lawsuit against him in a United States court, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The suit, filed in a court in Minnesota, claims that the chief executive of JD.com, one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, “used his superior size and strength to subdue and rape” Liu Jingyao, a Chinese national studying in the U.S. who is not related to the businessman, Reuters quoted the court document as saying. The amount sought in damages was not disclosed.

In August of last year, the woman accused the CEO of raping her after a dinner party. The tycoon was arrested but released the following day. Then in December, U.S. prosecutors said that, due to a lack of evidence, the billionaire would not be charged.

In September, three American law firms announced separately that they were organizing lawsuits on behalf of the Nasdaq-listed company’s shareholders, who suffered losses after the rape allegation caused JD.com’s stock price to fall. Contributing to the company’s woes, Richard Liu on Monday said that JD.com’s logistics arm had suffered its 12th consecutive year of losses. (Image: IC)

4 days

The popular short-video app TikTok has disappeared from Apple’s and Google’s app stores in India after a court earlier this month requested that the platform be banned over inappropriate content, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The Indian government had ordered Apple and Google to prevent users from downloading TikTok — the international version of Chinese app Douyin — from their app stores after the court in the southern Tamil Nadu state asked for the ban on April 3, arguing that the platform encouraged pornography and enabled pedophiles, according to the report. India is one of TikTok’s largest markets outside China, with over 120 million active monthly users.

Last week, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, asked the Supreme Court of India to suspend the lower court’s ban order but was unsuccessful. TikTok told media outlets Tuesday that it has “faith in the Indian judicial system” and is “optimistic about an outcome that would be well-received” by its users in India. The state court has scheduled the next hearing in the case for April 24. (Image: IC)

4 days

A car dealership in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an has reached a compensation agreement with a dissatisfied customer whose complaints about a Mercedes-Benz purchase sparked public outcry, according to multiple media reports.

On Tuesday night, Xi’an Lizhixing Automobile Co. Ltd. announced the deal made with Wang Qian, a pseudonym given to the customer by domestic media, after video and audio recordings circulated widely online in which Wang claimed that the dealership had sold her a faulty Mercedes-Benz and charged her a “financial services fee” of 15,000 yuan ($2,200). The dealership said it has agreed to provide Wang with VIP services for the next 10 years, a replacement car, and a full refund of the fee as compensation.

The same day, Mercedes-Benz reportedly issued a statement apologizing for the ordeal, saying that operations at the dealership — an authorized reseller of the German brand’s cars — had been suspended while the automaker conducts an investigation.

Multiple government agencies have also taken action amid the scandal: Official investigations have been launched in Beijing and Xi’an, while crackdowns in the industry have been announced by the China Consumers’ Association and the market regulators of Xi’an and Shaanxi province. (Image: IC)

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