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2019-08-21 10:25:35

Same-sex weddings will not be legally recognized on the Chinese mainland, in accordance with the country’s conservative views on marriage, a top Chinese official said Wednesday.

Responding to a journalist’s question about marriage equality, Zang Tiewei, a spokesman for the legal affairs committee of China’s top legislative body, said during a press conference that marriage is defined by Chinese law as a union between a man and a woman. He further called this view of marriage “consistent with our country’s national circumstances, history, and culture.”

“As far as I know, most countries in the world do not legally recognize same-sex marriage,” Zang said.

China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from an official list of mental disorders in 2001. Despite legal and social challenges, the country’s LGBT community has become more visible and vocal in recent years. Earlier this month, Beijing legally recognized its first mutual guardianship agreement between two people of the same sex, in a historic first for the city. (Image: IC)

19 hours

A Chinese producer of lithium batteries for electric vehicles apologized Tuesday for late payments to its chemical suppliers because of the mounting debts of its business partners at various stages of the supply chain.

BAK Battery, a private company based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said it is “sincerely sorry” for the delayed payments after debt risks revealed in its suppliers’ financial disclosures rattled investors. BAK alleged that two domestic automakers — Zotye and Hawtai — owed a total sum of nearly 1 billion yuan ($142 million).

BAK Battery, which claims to be one of China’s largest producers of electric vehicle batteries, has sued the two automakers to recover the funds. A court in the eastern Zhejiang province has frozen trading for Zotye’s controlling shareholder until the debt is repaid, and Hawtai’s case is currently in its second trial at the Supreme People’s Court, according to BAK’s apology statement.

China’s electric vehicle battery sales have been hit hard since the government reduced subsidies for many green vehicles, straining an already-saturated market. Earlier this year, over 300 listed firms in China said they are expecting to report full-year losses of over 100 million yuan each, largely due to trade frictions and a slowing domestic economy. (Image: VCG)

21 hours

A local government in central China’s Henan province has vowed to investigate a school bullying case involving three boys who allegedly forcibly inserted dozens of pieces of paper into their 7-year-old classmate’s eyes, according to an announcement Wednesday.

Following the incident Sept. 28 at Dajian Primary School in the city of Yuzhou, the school’s principal, surnamed Wang, told domestic media Monday that the boys were “just playing around” and “meant no harm.” He added that because no teachers had been present to witness the incident, the school was unable to provide further details.

The girl has visited multiple hospitals multiple times since the incident and had at least 47 pieces of paper removed from her eyes, her mother told The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication. Local education authorities said that the families of the children involved have signed a “compensation agreement,” without elaborating on the terms.

Incidents of school bullying frequently makes headlines in China, despite authorities ramping up efforts to prevent such cases. In December 2017, the Ministry of Education published its most comprehensive guideline to date for preventing school bullying, stipulating that serious cases should be handled by law enforcement. (Image: @广州日报 on Weibo)

21 hours

China revealed its Mars exploration plans Thursday with the successful test of a lander in the northern Hebei province, edging toward the goal of putting a rover on the neighboring planet next year.

The China National Space Administration on Thursday invited some 70 international observers, including diplomats and reporters, to its space landing test site in Huailai County to witness a simulated Mars landing, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. The test marks the first time China has demonstrated part of its plan to explore the Red Planet.

In recent years, China has ramped up its extraterrestrial projects with an aim to becoming a space superpower. In 2003, China became just the third country after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to send astronauts into orbit. In January, the domestically made Chang’E-4 became the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon. (Image: @央视新闻 on Weibo)

2 days

China’s media regulator has ordered news-aggregating platform Jinri Toutiao to rectify its search engine after it displayed information that supposedly defamed a revolutionary martyr.

In a statement Monday, the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China said the company must “clean up” its search engine for displaying “slanderous information” involving the civil war hero Fang Zhimin. A Toutiao representative quoted in the statement said the company would “overhaul” the search engine over time.

According to Chinese media reports, Fang’s grandson had condemned Jinri Toutiao last month after coming across information that allegedly defamed their renowned ancestor while using the platform’s search engine. Jinri Toutiao in August launched the in-app search function, which returns results from apps under its parent company, ByteDance, as well as from the wider Chinese internet.

Regulators have demonstrated an urgent need to protect the reputations of the country’s martyrs. A new national law protecting “heroes and martyrs” came into effect last May, which stipulates that defaming or denying the deeds of China’s revolutionary heroes could potentially be a criminal offense. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Fifty-one children and three teachers at a kindergarten in southwestern China’s Yunnan province were hospitalized Monday after a man entered school grounds and sprayed a corrosive liquid on them, according to local authorities.

The 23-year-old man, surnamed Kong, broke into Dongcheng Kindergarten on Monday and sprayed sodium hydroxide onto some of the students and teachers, the local government in Kaiyuan, a county-level city in Yunnan, said in a statement. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

The public security bureau apprehended the man immediately after the incident, the statement said. Police determined that the man had “sought revenge against society” and purchased the sodium hydroxide online. An investigation is ongoing. (Image: From 进源印象 on Tecent Video)

3 days

First-year students at a high school in central China’s Hubei province were given a peculiar assignment prior to Monday’s online shopping bonanza: use their math skills to build models that could help their mothers save more money.

The students at Wisco No. 3 High School in Wuhan were asked to use various mathematical modules — tree diagrams, tabular methods, and abstract formulas — to finish the “Singles’ Day Shopping Advice for Mom” part of their assignment, Wuhan Evening News reported. Students quoted in the article said they helped their mothers save on a range of products including chocolates, dresses, handbags, and scarves.

Singles’ Day, which was started by tech giant Alibaba on Nov. 11, 2009, has turned into the world’s biggest shopping extravaganza, breaking sales records and spurring consumers to grapple with ways to find new discounts annually. This year, Chinese consumers spent over 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) in just the first 96 seconds after the deals went live at midnight. (Image: VCG)

3 days

A hospital in Daqing, a city in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, has been accused of contributing to a pregnant woman’s death after refusing to admit her due to lack of space. The local health commission announced the results of its preliminary investigation Sunday, suspending relevant medical staff, The Beijing News reported.

The deceased woman’s husband, surnamed Yan, wrote Wednesday in a since-deleted post on microblogging platform Weibo that the obstetrics department at Daqing Oilfield General Hospital refused to admit his wife — a pregnant 39-year-old surnamed Liu — because no beds were available. Although the hospital later admitted Liu, she died Tuesday, six days after giving birth. Yan has accused the hospital of neglect and misconduct leading to his wife’s death and demanded that local authorities investigate the case.

Daqing’s health and family planning commission announced the results of its preliminary investigation Sunday, determining that the couple were directed to another hospital some 20 minutes’ drive away but instead went home. Daqing Oilfield General Hospital later called Liu and Yan after a bed became available, the investigation said, adding that the patient was attentively cared for once she had checked in.

The medical staff involved — the commission did not say how many — have been suspended while the investigation awaits Liu’s autopsy, according to the report. The infant is alive and under close watch at the hospital. (Image: VCG)

4 days

French cosmetics giant L’Oréal plans to fast-track the launch of new products in China following the introduction of streamlined import procedures by the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Saturday.

Shanghai Free Trade Zone implemented a new filing system for imported non-special purpose cosmetics last November, which reduced the amount of time required to process product approvals from three months to just five working days. The change contributed to a spike in cosmetics imports to China during the first three quarters of 2019, with imports rising 47.1% year-over-year to 22.1 billion yuan ($3.1 billion), according to Shanghai customs data.

At the China International Import Expo in Shanghai this week, L’Oréal exhibited its Urban Decay and NYX Professional Makeup product lines, which the company hopes to launch in the Chinese market in the near future. The products are currently only available to Chinese consumers through cross-border e-commerce platforms. Over the past year, more than 1.6 million people in China have purchased NYX Professional Makeup products through these channels, according to the company.

“Young Chinese consumers not only spend a large amount, but are also very willing to buy high-end products,” Fabrice Megarbane, president of L’Oréal China, told The Paper on Saturday. “This phenomenon may not exist in other global markets.” (Image: VCG)

5 days

Shanghai has the highest incidence of Type 1 diabetes in China, according to a leading endocrinologist in the city.

“The average growth rate in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes among children aged 14 and below was 14.2 (percent) in a 15-year period,” Luo Feihong, a physician at Fudan University’s children’s hospital, told an audience at the ongoing China International Import Expo.

Compared with the more common Type 2 diabetes, which mostly affects the elderly and obese, Type 1 diabetes is more life-threatening, as the patients are essentially unable to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Due to a lack of awareness of the disease, many parents of young diabetics in China don’t know how to monitor or treat their children’s conditions, Luo said.

To help tackle Shanghai’s childhood diabetes problem, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is exhibiting a half-unit insulin pen with a dose memory function for children at the Shanghai expo. (Image: VCG)

5 days

Impossible Foods is planning to work with China to build the world’s “most flexible, most guaranteed, and most sustainable food system” as a model for other countries, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Saturday.

Though the American artificial meat giant has yet to enter the Chinese mainland market, it met with a number of potential partners from the country during the China International Import Expo this week in Shanghai. Impossible Foods’ products can be found in several international markets, including 17,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Singapore.

Earlier this year, fast-food chain Burger King partnered with Impossible Foods to promote a meat-free Impossible Whopper in the U.S. The artificial meat company currently has no plans to extend its cooperation with Burger King to the Chinese market, according to The Paper.

China is the world’s largest consumer of meat. Since the first African swine fever outbreak was detected in the country over a year ago, domestic pork prices have surged by 47%. (Image: CNS/VCG)