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2019-05-15 10:16:32

Private Chinese rocket company iSpace is planning to launch its first carrier rocket around June 10, the company told Sixth Tone on Wednesday. If successful, iSpace will become the first commercial company in the country to deliver a satellite into low Earth orbit.

The iSpace rocket — known as the Hyperbola 1 Y1, or SQX-1 Y1 — is 21 meters long and weighs 31 tons, making it longer and heavier than the carrier rockets from two private companies that previously attempted the historic flight: Both LandSpace and OneSpace were unsuccessful in those launches, which took place in October 2018 and March of this year, respectively.

China’s private space industry is a new yet already booming sector. Of the country’s 123 private companies specializing in various space fields — such as rocket building and satellite manufacturing — roughly half were established within the past three years. In 2018, over 3.5 billion yuan ($510 million) was funneled into China’s private space industry, a 62% increase compared with the previous year. (Image: Courtesy of iSpace)

4 hours

The Communist Party of China’s top disciplinary body has opened a probe into the alleged violation of “party discipline and laws” by a former university official who previously faced sexual harassment accusations.

In an announcement dated Wednesday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Cai Xiang had been placed under investigation but did not specify any further details about the 55-year-old’s alleged crime. Cai had been affiliated with Beijing’s Communication University of China for nearly two decades, starting as an employee of its publishing house in 2001 and eventually serving as the university’s vice president from 2014 until his removal from the position early last year.

It is unknown if the probe is related to an accusation lodged in mid-2018 by a woman who said Cai sexually harassed her in 2008, when she was a student at the university and he was president of the publishing house. Neither Cai nor the university has publicly addressed the woman’s claims. (Image: From the website of Shaanxi Normal University)

4 hours

Bilibili is producing an animated adaptation of the Hugo Award-winning novel “The Three-Body Problem,” according to an announcement Wednesday by the Chinese video-streaming platform.

The news comes a week after China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television approved a separate TV adaptation of the same Liu Cixin novel, which left many fans questioning whether a television series with a limited budget could do the sci-fi book justice. Bilibili did not specify whether its animated adaptation will be a movie or a web series.

Netizens reacted positively to Wednesday’s announcement on microblogging platform Weibo, with many saying they are optimistic that the animated version will fare better than the TV series in pleasing the audiences. Bilibili’s adaptation is set to be released on Nov. 17. (Image: @哔哩哔哩弹幕网 on Weibo) 

12 hours

China has requested the Canadian government suspend the issuance of veterinary health certificates for meat exported to China, the Chinese Embassy in Canada announced Wednesday. If implemented, the suspension would effectively bar Canadian producers from the Chinese market.

According to the embassy’s statement, a Chinese customs investigation recently discovered 188 forged veterinary certificates affixed to a batch of pork products imported from Canada. This, said an embassy spokesperson, constitutes a criminal offence in Canada and points to “obvious safety loopholes” in Canada’s meat export supervision system. The investigation comes after Chinese customs authorities found traces of ractopamine, a growth-promoting feed additive banned in over 100 countries, in the pork imports of two Canadian exporters.

China, the world’s top pork producer, is currently working to contain an African swine fever outbreak that could result in the death or culling of an estimated 200 million pigs. China’s pork imports rose 63% in May over the same period last year. (Image: VCG)


23 hours

Students in northern China’s Shanxi province shouldn’t use search engines to look up official college application portals, lest they accidentally enter their school preferences and personal information into a fraudulent site, local officials warned Monday.

The notice, which was issued by the province’s center for student recruitment and examination, came as students around the country received their college entrance exam scores and prepared to apply to schools. On Wednesday, Wuhan’s Changjiang Daily highlighted fake college application sites as one way scammers collect personal information.

In recent years, netizens have repeatedly criticized Baidu, China’s largest search engine, for its substandard search rankings and for promoting misinformation. According to a Tuesday investigative report by Caixin, Beijing’s official college application portal did not appear on the first page of search results for the phrase “Beijing (college) preference” on any of four major search engines, including Baidu. (Image: IC)

23 hours

China’s Ministry of Education has warned high-ranking Zhejiang University not to engage in the “malignant seizure” of prospective students, according to an official notice issued Monday. The notice came a day after an official with the school announced the school’s top applicants would be eligible for scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of yuan.

On Sunday, Zhu Zuoxiang, the head of Zhejiang University’s undergraduate admissions office, told local media that the school would offer 500,000 yuan ($73,000) in scholarships to applicants who ranked in the top 100 for the Zhejiang provincial college exam. Students who scored in the top 300 would be given 200,000 yuan, he added.

In 2012, the MoE issued a list of 10 prohibited university admissions practices, including large scholarships and guaranteed admissions. In a recent article commenting on the use of scholarships to lure in students, education researcher Xiong Bingqi claimed the practice can inadvertently hurt students by unexpectedly increasing the score threshold for admittance. (Image: IC)

2 days

Over 70% of online shopping-related contract disputes and product liability cases brought before the Beijing Internet Court involve food, court officials announced at a press conference Monday.

China established the Beijing Internet Court in September 2018 in a bid to improve internet governance. According to the court’s statistics, as of June 21, out of a total of more than 3,000 of the abovementioned cases, 73% have involved food products. Officials cited fraudulent or missing product tags, overused additives, uncertified producers, and import violations as especially prevalent issues with potential food safety implications.

Court officials also used the conference to highlight the continued problem of daigou: small-time importers who often operate without the required licenses. According to a new e-commerce law that went into effect earlier this year, unlicensed online retailers may be fined up to 500,000 yuan ($72,700) and could face criminal charges. (Image: VCG)

2 days

China’s top lawmakers are now considering a revised draft of a vaccine management bill that would permit heightened fines and criminal detention for violators, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The third draft of the bill, submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Tuesday, would significantly increase monetary penalties for the manufacture or sale of inadequate vaccines compared with the previous draft. The proposed fines for fake vaccines have been raised from 30 times to 50 times the price of the faulty goods, while fines for “poor-quality” vaccines have swelled from 20 times to 30 times the price.

Wrongdoers would also be held to more “severe standards,” with criminal detention noted as a possible punishment.

After a major scandal rocked the industry last summer, Chinese lawmakers released the first draft of a vaccine management bill in November. National-level bills in China must go through three rounds of revision by the Standing Committee before becoming law. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Beijing’s Intellectual Property Court has upheld a ruling against the operators of the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), a government-supported digital library similar to JSTOR, for distributing a literary work without authorization, Caixin reported Sunday. According to the terms of the initial judgment, the two entities behind CNKI’s website and app must pay a total of 10,000 yuan ($1,450) in damages and another 10,000 yuan in legal expenses to the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS).

In July 2017, CWWCS, a nonprofit copyright watchdog, filed suit in a Beijing court, alleging that CNKI was illegally selling access to Wang Zengqi’s novel “Initiated Into Monkhood.” CWWCS originally sought 60,000 yuan in damages and legal expenses, but last December, a lower court ruled that CNKI’s operators only had to pay 20,000 yuan. Although both parties appealed, the Intellectual Property Court ultimately chose to uphold the initial verdict.

“I can only say, we respect the court’s judgment,” said the attorney for CWWCS, Chen Mingtao. (Image: VCG)

2 days

French supermarket chain Carrefour has announced plans to sell 80% of its China business to domestic retailer Suning.com.

The deal, which values Carrefour China at 1.4 billion euros ($1.59 billion), is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to Sunday’s announcement. Entering the country’s market in 1995, Carrefour China currently runs 210 hypermarkets and 24 convenience stores nationwide.

In October, Carrefour had partnered with a delivery service partly owned by e-commerce giant JD.com in a bid to stay afloat in China. But despite the difficulties that Carrefour and other foreign brands have faced, German supermarket chain Aldi has signaled its intent to expand in the country, opening its first two physical locations in China just weeks ago. (Image: VCG)

3 days

Local police confirmed Sunday evening that the body of a man found on school grounds in central China’s Xinhuang Dong Autonomous County is that of Deng Shiping, a former school staffer who disappeared 16 years ago.

Investigators uncovered Deng’s remains Thursday morning, about two months after the suspected killer, Du Shaoping, was swept up in a crackdown on organized crime. According to police, while in custody, Du confessed to murdering Deng and having him buried under the track and field complex at Xinhuang No. 1 Middle School.

Police also announced Sunday that Du’s uncle, former school principal Huang Bingsong, is under investigation in connection with the case. In an open letter published earlier this year, Deng’s son Deng Lanbing said his father had accused Huang of corruption before he disappeared. According to the letter, Huang was slow to report Deng’s disappearance, which happened during work hours, and spread rumors that Deng had run off after embezzling funds from the school. The police have not yet confirmed the details of the case. (Image: IC)

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