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2019-08-20 09:29:33

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or UIUC, on Monday announced a financial aid program to honor Zhang Yingying, a visiting scholar at the school who was abducted and murdered in June 2017.

The university will use Yingying’s Fund — founded with the support of Zhang’s family — to help international students and their families “during times of hardship,” according to the campaign’s official crowdfunding page. The more than $58,000 donated so far can be allocated toward international students at UIUC who find themselves “in urgent need of access to funds.”

Zhang was 26 when security footage showed her get into a car at a bus stop in June 2017, just two months into her studies at the university. It was the last time she was seen alive. On July 18, an Illinois court convicted Brendt Christensen of murdering Zhang and sentenced him to life in prison(Image: From the Yingying’s Fund crowdfunding page)

1 day

The skies above the Chinese capital are likely to be both blue and empty in the coming weeks, as the municipal government has prohibited residents from using certain airborne objects — which supposedly present safety risks — ahead of next month’s National Day celebrations.

In a notice published Sunday, the Beijing government said that flying pigeons, kites, drones, balloons, and lanterns would be banned in seven districts within the capital to “ensure the safety of the parade activities.” China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1 with a “mass parade” expected to be attended by some 100,000 people, according to state media.

Authorities have already tightened security in and around Tiananmen Square, where part of the parade will take place, and restricted access to some tourist sites in the area: Major attractions such as the Forbidden City will be closed from Sept. 21 to Oct. 1. The city’s subway also said that several stations have been affected due to ongoing rehearsals for the parade. (Image: IC)

4 days

After undergoing medical treatment using the pioneering gene-editing technique CRISPR, a 27-year-old man is in remission from leukemia but remains infected with HIV, health news outlet STAT reported Wednesday.

The team behind the treatment, led by Deng Hongkui of Peking University, had been inspired by the 2007 case of Timothy Ray Brown, the first adult to be cured of AIDS after receiving a bone marrow transplant also meant to treat his leukemia. Brown’s bone marrow donor had a rare genetic mutation, CCR5, that blocks HIV from recognizing and hijacking the body’s immune cells.

Deng had hoped to replicate the success of Brown’s case by using CRISPR — a sort of copy-and-paste function for genes — to induce the CCR5 mutation in the bone marrow of a health donor. However, 19 months after the procedure, the percentage of bone marrow cells with the mutation remained too low to eliminate the patient’s HIV, though his leukemia went into remission as a result of the treatment. (Image: From STAT)

4 days

Short-video platform Kuaishou has become one of the most popular apps in Brazil, where it boasts over 3 million daily active users, financial news outlet Jiemian reported Thursday.

Marketed as Kwai in the South American country, the platform was the most-downloaded free app on Brazil’s Google Play store “for several consecutive days,” according to the report. With deep-pocketed tech giants like Tencent among its investors, Kuaishou had over 200 million active daily users in China as of May, and became immensely popular last year in countries like the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, and Turkey.

Chinese video apps are aggressively expanding their international footprints. Kuaishou’s top rival, Tiktok, has been downloaded by over 1.1 billion people worldwide and has millions of active users in countries like India and the United States, according to app monitoring firm Sensor Tower. (Image: IC)

6 days

Police in eastern China’s Jiangsu province have sniffed out a wanted fugitive thanks to his affinity for hot pot — a particularly pungent soup dish.

The man, surnamed Guo, is suspected of fraud and extortion and had been on the lam in the city of Nantong since police there cracked down on gang-related activity in late May, local media reported Tuesday. After months of searching, authorities located Guo’s apartment building but had not determined which unit he was living in. They noted that he went to a local market on Saturday afternoon and bought ingredients for hot pot — how they learned this was not disclosed in the report — and then went door to door that evening, following their noses to the distinctively savory aroma.

In the past few years, several fugitives in China have been caught in unconventional ways. In August 2017, over two dozen criminal suspects were identified by facial-recognition cameras at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in the eastern Shandong province. Beginning in April of last year, at least three fugitives were caught in similar fashion at separate concerts for Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung. And most recently, a murder suspect was nabbed by police in the eastern Fujian province in August after attempting to use his dead girlfriend’s face to apply for a loan. (Images: 江苏新闻 on WeChat & VCG)

2019-09-09 12:02:41

A Japanese toymaker gave the Shanghai police what it described as a rare, gold-plated figurine from the Gundam universe of robot heroes in gratitude for their recent success in busting counterfeit toys, the city’s police authority said Friday on its official Weibo microblog.

Representatives from toy company Bandai delivered the shiny action figure to the Huangpu branch of Shanghai’s public security bureau last week to thank the authorities there for their efforts in combating counterfeit products, reported Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper. In August, Shanghai police had raided a factory in the southern city of Dongguan and seized over 1 million fraudulent toys — including ones featuring Ash and Pikachu of Pokémon fame — as well as more than 1,200 toymaking tools worth a combined 300 million yuan ($42 million).

The 25 suspects arrested over last month’s bust are currently awaiting trial, according to the report. (Image: @警民直通车-上海 on Weibo)

2019-09-09 07:15:40

Chinese ride-hailing service Dida Chuxing — not to be confused with Didi Chuxing — has banned a driver from its platform after he molested a female passenger, the company said Sunday in a statement to Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper.

After arriving at the pick-up location in Meizhou, a city in the southern Guangdong province, the driver, surnamed Cai, proposed a mutually agreeable fare of 200 yuan ($28) to take the passenger to Guangzhou, the provincial capital, The Paper reported, citing local authorities. The driver later received a request to pick up two more passengers and take them to Shenzhen, a major city between Meizhou and Guangzhou. After dropping the two passengers off, the driver told the first passenger, surnamed Luo, that he did not want to take her to Guangzhou and touched her inappropriately.

Cai was detained for five days at a local police station for molesting Luo and fined 30,000 yuan for “illegal operations,” as the authorities also found that he did not have a permit required to provide ride-hailing services.

Passenger safety became a top priority for China’s ride-hailing industry after two women in Henan and Zhejiang provinces were killed by their Didi drivers last year. Didi — by far the most widely used ride-hailing service in China — introduced a raft of safety measures afterward, and the country’s transport ministry mandated in May of last year that ride-hailing drivers would be subject to a national review system that would hold them to the same standards as taxi drivers. (Image: IC)

2019-09-06 08:51:31

Alibaba has acquired its rival NetEase’s cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola.com for $2 billion, the companies jointly announced Thursday.

Alibaba said Kaola.com will continue to operate independently under its current brand after the acquisition. In addition, Alibaba and private equity firm Yunfeng Capital have also agreed to invest $700 million in NetEase’s music-streaming service during its current financing round.

Launched in 2015, Kaola.com is one of China’s largest cross-border e-commerce platforms, providing domestic consumers with access to overseas goods, and was the industry’s market leader last year, according the online consultancy iiMedia Research. However, since last year the NetEase subsidiary has also been mired in allegations that it peddles counterfeit goods — claims the company denies. (Image: VCG)

2019-09-06 07:54:40

Police in the eastern Anhui province have “warned” a man for impersonating the Chinese cyber-police on Twitter, according to an official statement Thursday.

Authorities said they had summoned the man, surnamed Wang, to a police station on Aug. 26 for creating a fake cybersecurity police account on Twitter — which is inaccessible to most in China — as well as for fabricating and distributing false information online. The statement added that the man was given “educational criticism” after he agreed to delete the account in question and report other fake accounts.

In 2013, China introduced rules allowing authorities to detain people for spreading false information online in the event that such posts are shared over 500 times or viewed more than 5,000 times. Last year, microblogging platform Weibo also announced features allowing authorities to flag rumors, while search engine Baidu added a “rumor” tag in 2017, supposedly to help identify fake news. (Image: VCG)

2019-09-06 07:53:29

In the run-up to next Friday’s Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese consumers will have the option of buying mooncakes — the traditional snack most closely associated with the holiday — made with imitation meat.

For the first time, a company called Yantai Shuangta Food Co. Ltd. in China’s eastern Shandong province is making the savory pastries with pea protein, according to Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper. The company — which offers a variety of vegetarian food products, including rice noodles — began selling the pea protein mooncakes Thursday. Its gift sets priced at 168 yuan ($23) sold out within two minutes, Shandong media reported.

Although China is the world’s largest consumer of meat by volume, most people in the country are open to meat alternatives, according to a recent study. Also for this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, some 3,000 soy-stuffed vegetarian mooncakes will go on sale in the southern city of Shenzhen. (Image: IC)

2019-09-05 10:45:33

After being accused of wasting large amounts of food, a supermarket chain owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba said that it can’t donate unsold items because of health concerns.

In a statement Wednesday, Hema Xiansheng explained its policy to “discard” perishable items such as vegetables in order to avoid food safety issues. The company added that, to minimize food waste, it tries not to overstock its stores and offers discounts on products as they near their expiration dates.

The response comes after a Sept. 1 post on microblogging platform Weibo about Hema employees in Shanghai discarding food items after business hours went viral this week. Many online have criticized Hema for wasting the food rather than donating it to charities or people in need.

According to a study released last year, Chinese consumers wasted between 17 and 18 million tons of food in 2015 — or enough to feed 30–50 million people for the entire year. (Image: @木木木木要远行 on Weibo)

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