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2019-12-05 06:58:17

At least seven people were killed and 13 others have received treatment for injuries after an explosion at a fireworks factory in central China’s Hunan province, local authorities said in a statement.

The explosion occurred at around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday at Bixi Fireworks Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in Liuyang, a city widely regarded as the birthplace of firecrackers in China. An unspecified number of the company’s representatives and investors are being held in police custody for the “illegal production” of fireworks, the statement added.

Local authorities have formed a team to investigate the incident and vowed to monitor all fireworks-producing companies in the province.

In recent years, China has strengthened supervision over explosives nationwide, citing safety concerns. Hundreds of Chinese cities have also restricted the sale and use of fireworks during Lunar New Year celebrations in a bid to curb air pollution. In February, five people in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were killed in an explosion at a shop suspected of illegally storing and selling fireworks and firecrackers. (Image: @新浪新闻 from Weibo)

14 hours

People traveling from Wuhan will need to take two coronavirus tests before they can move freely in Beijing, the government of the Chinese capital announced Wednesday.

According to an official press conference, only people who have tested negative for the coronavirus within the past seven days are permitted to enter Beijing. On arrival, they must be quarantined at either an approved residence or a designated quarantine site for 14 days. At the end of the quarantine period, they must pass a second nucleic acid test before they are released.

Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s COVID-19 crisis, lifted its citywide lockdown on Wednesday, allowing people to leave for the first time in 76 days.

To prevent further coronavirus infections, officials in Shanghai have encouraged companies to test their employees returning from “certain regions,” while nearby Hangzhou requires arrivals from Wuhan to take a coronavirus test seven days prior to traveling. The southern city of Shenzhen, meanwhile, also requires arrivals from Wuhan to take two nucleic acid tests but does not impose quarantines. (Image: Shi Yangkun/Sixth Tone)

18 hours

Police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have arrested a man for secretly filming his former female classmates and sharing sexually explicit images and videos of them on Twitter, the city’s public security bureau said Wednesday.

The arrest came after a woman wrote on microblogging platform Weibo that the man, surnamed Gao, had shared photos and videos of his former classmates in various states of undress via a now-deleted Twitter account. One video posted on the account purportedly showed the man mixing his semen into one woman’s drinking water.

The Weibo post has now been shared over 165,000 times, with many angry users tagging the Guangzhou police and Gao’s employer. Social media users also uncovered several Chinese-language Twitter accounts encouraging people to secretly photograph or film their female friends and relatives and share explicit content online.

In March, police in the eastern city of Yangzhou said they were investigating a high school student on suspicion of posting his female classmates’ selfies, paired with random nude photos, on porn websites. The case prompted China’s anti-porn office to crack down on several domestic websites that were found to be selling or distributing sexually explicit photos and videos, especially those involving minors. (Image: VCG)

18 hours

A city along China’s northeastern border has temporarily implemented a compulsory isolation policy and sealed off transport to and from neighboring Russia due to fears of returning Chinese nationals bringing home the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, state broadcaster CCTV reported that residents of Suifenhe in Heilongjiang must remain indoors except to buy essential provisions once every three days. A day earlier, the provincial government announced that Suifenhe’s border crossing would be closed for one week, as the county-level city had exceeded its capacity to quarantine and isolate new arrivals.

All of Heilongjiang’s 20 and 25 new COVID-19 cases reported for Monday and Tuesday, respectively, were among Chinese nationals returning from Russia, according to the provincial health commission.

On Tuesday, China reported 59 new imported COVID-19 cases, compared with just three local transmissions. So far, the country has tallied more than 1,000 imported cases, according to the National Health Commission. (Image: Xinhua)

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the day Suifenhe closed its border with Russia.

1 day

Plasma therapy has shown promising results in a trial involving 20 severely ill COVID-19 patients at hospitals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, according to a study published Monday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Doctors injected 10 COVID-19 patients with plasma collected from recovered patients. They later reported that all previously ill patients showed improved symptoms — including reduced fever, cough, and shortness of breath — within three days. According to the paper, three recipients of the therapy had been discharged, while the remaining seven were recovering. The authors wrote that the clinical outcomes were significantly better compared with 10 other patients who were similarly sick but did not receive plasma therapy.

Plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients contains antibodies that could help sick patients fight off the coronavirus. Plasma therapy has been tested for treating SARS and H1N1 and shown promising results. (Image: Xinhua)

5 days

The stock price of Chinese Starbucks rival Luckin Coffee plummeted by over 70% Thursday, shaving $5 million off its market value, after the Nasdaq-listed company disclosed that its former chief operating officer had fabricated sales figures in 2019.

Following an internal investigation, the coffee chain found that its former COO Jian Liu and several employees who reported to him had engaged in misconduct, including fabricating sales in 2019 to the tune of around 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million). Luckin also announced that investors should not rely on financial statements and earnings reports from the first three quarters of last year.

Since it was founded two and a half years ago, Luckin Coffee has opened over 4,500 locations in China and expanded into tea and juice shops. The company grew quickly by offering steep discounts and building an extensive network of small order-to-go locations. In May, Luckin raised $561 million with its U.S. initial public offering. (Image: From @CGTN on Weibo)

5 days

On Saturday, China will observe a national day of mourning for the country’s victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the “martyrs who were sacrificed in the struggle to resist it.”

According to an announcement Friday from the State Council, China’s Cabinet, national flags will be flown at half-mast outside embassies and consulates across the country, as well as at Chinese missions abroad, and all public entertainment activities will be canceled. At 10 a.m., the country will observe three minutes of spoken silence during which air-raid sirens and the horns of ships, trains, and cars will sound.

Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected over 1 million people and killed over 53,000 since it was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. On Thursday, 14 individuals — medical staff, police officers, and social workers — who lost their lives to COVID-19 were officially honored as martyrs by the government of Hubei province. (Image: Xinhua)

6 days

Authorities in Shanghai have arrested a kindergarten teacher on suspicion of child molestation, according to the city’s Qingpu District education bureau.

The head of the kindergarten has also been dismissed, according to the notice published Wednesday. Prior to the arrest, netizens had posted on social media about a male teacher at Qingpu Experimental Kindergarten who was allegedly molesting his young students.

In August 2017, another district of Shanghai announced that sex offenders would be subject to five-year bans from education or any other sector involving contact with minors — a policy touted as the first of its kind in China. In January, a teacher working at an after-school training center in the northeastern Jilin province was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and served with a five-year teaching ban after sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

In February 2019, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced a five-year plan to “establish and improve a database of sexual crimes against minors.” According to a June report by the Procuratorate’s official newspaper, many cities including Shanghai and Guangzhou have established their own local databases. (Image: VCG)

2020-04-01 08:08:14

The Chinese Embassy in the U.K. has scheduled a chartered flight Thursday for less than 200 underage Chinese students who have yet to leave the country, according to financial outlet Caixin.

The flight was arranged parents from over 160 families — none of whom are permitted on board — petitioned the embassy in mid-March to help send their children home. Earlier the same month, the Chinese ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming said there were around 15,000 Chinese minors studying in the country.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Tuesday that another group of 200-plus overseas students who were stranded in Ethiopia during transit had returned to China after a special flight was arranged. Also this week, a top official from China’s Ministry of Education said that just 180,000 out of 1.6 million Chinese students abroad have returned home. (Image: Xinhua)

2020-04-01 06:45:21

As of Tuesday, there were 1,367 asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus under medical observation in China, marking the first time data for this group has been publicly disclosed.

According to a notice from the National Health Commission, two previously asymptomatic carriers were designated “confirmed cases” on Tuesday, while another 302 finished their 14-day quarantine periods and were discharged from medical observation. The notice said Tuesday’s figure of 1,367 asymptomatic carriers was lower than the previous day’s total by 174 cases.

The Chinese public has become increasingly concerned about the risk of so-called silent carriers spreading the virus after several recently documented infections pointed to this group as a possible source of infection.

On March 29, the central Henan province reported a diagnosed case of COVID-19 after 30 days of no new infections. By tracking the movements of that patient, authorities were able to identify an asymptomatic carrier. A recent study from the eastern city of Ningbo suggested that asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus may be just as infectious as sick patients.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that it will release daily updates on the number of new asymptomatic carriers from April 1. According to the commission, these carriers are mostly being identified through screenings of confirmed patients’ close contacts or investigations of COVID-19 clusters. (Image: Xinhua)

2020-04-01 04:46:09

The highest court in central China’s Henan province on Wednesday declared a man innocent after he was handed a suspended death sentence in 2006 for poisoning two children.

In November 2004, two children in a Henan village were found poisoned with tetramine, a common rodenticide. One child recovered; the other died. Wu Chunhong, a villager who had been involved in trivial disputes with the children’s family, was arrested and charged with homicide.

Wu’s family pleaded his innocence for over a decade, filing appeal after appeal. In September 2018, the Supreme People’s Court ruled there had been insufficient evidence to convict Wu of homicide and ordered a retrial in the Henan High People’s Court.

In an earlier interview with Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper, Wu’s daughter said her father never confessed to his alleged crime, and even refused to accept a commuted sentence.

In 2018, China’s courts corrected the verdicts of 1,821 criminal cases, reversing guilty decisions in the cases of 819 convicted criminals. (Image: The Paper)

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