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2019-09-25 09:22:15

A woman in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing is blind in one eye after undergoing a cosmetic procedure on her nose, local media reported Tuesday.

The woman, a 19-year-old university student surnamed Chen, told a local news network that the procedure had taken place earlier this month at Emay Family, a beauty parlor in Chongqing’s Yubei District. After purchasing a “beauty card” for 980 yuan ($140), Chen elected to receive a nasal filling with hyaluronic acid, a popular noninvasive procedure used to adjust the shape of one’s nose. Chen said she had hoped the procedure — sometimes called a “liquid nose job” — would make her “more beautiful.” Instead, it left her blind in her right eye.

When Chen went to a local hospital, medical staff diagnosed arterial thrombosis, or a blockage of the blood vessel, and said her vision may never return. It is unclear from the report whether Emay Family had been licensed to perform the procedure Chen received.

Botched cosmetic procedures occasionally make headlines in China. Buoyed by increasingly beauty-conscious consumers — both women and men — the country’s cosmetology industry reached an estimated 192.5 billion yuan in 2017, according to Deloitte. The thriving sector even saw its first homegrown company debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market in May of this year, raising $179 million in its initial public offering. (Image: VCG)

5 hours

A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) singles out China for the country’s high rates of vision impairment, financial news outlet Caixin reported Wednesday.

Eye conditions such as pterygium, dry eye syndrome, and nearsightedness affect a greater proportion of China’s population compared with other countries, according to the WHO’s first world report on vision, published Tuesday. Pterygium prevalence rates are at 33% in rural China — 22.8% higher than global figures — while myopia affects 67% of urban Chinese adolescents, higher than overall myopia rates in the Asia-Pacific and East Asia regions, which stand at 53.4% and 51.6% respectively.

The report noted a reluctance among Chinese children to use free or low-cost prescription glasses due to their parents’ doubts about quality. The study also cited urban-rural lifestyle differences as a significant factor for higher childhood myopia rates in China’s cities; those living in rural areas, meanwhile, were found to be at a higher risk of distance vision impairment and blindness.

In April, China’s top health authority reported that 81% of the country’s high school students were affected by nearsightedness. In a bid to reduce childhood myopia rates, eight government departments jointly released a guideline in August of last year aiming to keep myopia rates among 6-year-olds and high schoolers at around 3% and 70% respectively through 2030. (Image: IC)

7 hours

 A staff member at a road race event company in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou issued a public apology Tuesday after he had posted a Pokémon-themed joke on social media about the Houston Rockets — the NBA franchise at the center of an escalating backlash in the country.

The Rockets fell into hot water last week after their general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted his support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong last Friday — and before long the rest of the league had been dragged in as well, to the extent that virtually all NBA game broadcasts, celebrity endorsement deals, and commercial partnerships in China have been canceled.

On Tuesday afternoon, Qiu Guanrong of Zhongti Marathon posted on his WeChat Moments social feed to profess his admiration for “Team Rocket” — which could be interpreted as referring to either the gang of bumbling baddies from the Pokémon series or the Texas basketball team. The message, addressed to “Jessie, James, and Meowth,” thanked the scheming trio — who always manage to fall just short of making good on their nefarious plots — for their dogged persistence in the face of adversity.

Later that evening, Zhongti Marathon’s public WeChat account posted a letter in which Qiu purportedly apologized for his “inappropriate” message that had “hurt everyone’s feelings.” The post — which has been viewed over 100,000 times, the maximum number displayed by WeChat — also included an apology from the company’s president in the comments section below the post, though this was later deleted.

Elsewhere on Chinese social media, bloggers have questioned whether the patriotic fervor surrounding the China-NBA clash might be going too far, with even state-run newspaper Global Times suggesting that companies completely severing ties with the NBA “doesn’t need to become some kind of trend.” (Image: 中体马拉松 on WeChat)

10 hours

China’s top health authority published the country’s first list of high-priority generic drugs Wednesday, urging “relevant departments” to support clinical trials, technical research, and fast-tracked approval for the 33 drugs.

The designated drugs treat a range of illnesses and diseases, many of them rare — and as such, the medicines are often either unavailable on the domestic market or in short supply, as in the case of mercaptopurine, a drug for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Domestic media have reported that 21 of the 33 drugs are available abroad but not in China. “One main reason domestic drugmakers haven’t started producing these generic drugs is that they’re considered ‘orphan drugs’ with an extremely small market — so companies aren’t motivated to make them,” said Li Tianquan, the CEO of a platform that applies big data within China’s health care sector. “Technical barriers are another reason,” he added.

The new list — a step beyond a policy last year that merely promoted generic drugs more broadly — includes seven medications used to treat rare diseases. (Image: VCG)

1 day

One of China’s most popular online platforms for English-language education can finally count deep-pocketed tech giant Tencent among its investors.

VIPKid announced the news Tuesday via its public account on social app WeChat. Though the post did not state the value of Tencent’s investment, The Wall Street Journal reported in September that a deal expected to raise $150 million and bring VIPKid’s valuation to $4.5 billion was in the works, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Founded in Beijing in 2013, VIPKid connects English tutors, most of whom are in North America, with paying students, most of whom are in China. As of August, VIPKid had more than 700,000 students and over 90,000 teachers registered with its platform, according to the announcement.

VIPKid made headlines earlier this year when The Walt Disney Co. denied a series of Chinese media reports claiming that VIPKid customers would receive access to Disney’s own English-education series amid rumors of a future partnership between the two companies. Last year, VIPKid announced that it planned to expand its services to 100 countries and revealed that it had partnered with Scholastic — the publisher of the “Harry Potter” series — to introduce the popular fantasy novels to its members.

Foreigners working as English teachers in China — sometimes legally, sometimes not — fell under scrutiny this summer. In July, the Ministry of Education mandated that all online language-teaching platforms operating in China must disclose their teachers’ real names, relevant qualifications, and employment histories. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Police in eastern China’s Zhejiang province have detained a man who “insulted” the Chinese national flag while he was intoxicated over the weeklong National Day holiday, according to an official announcement Sunday.

A public security bureau in Hangzhou, the provincial capital, said the 28-year-old man, surnamed Li, was detained for “desecrating the national flag.” Locals called the police early Sunday morning after the observed Li “drunkenly stomping and urinating” on a flag he had taken from the gate of a local residential complex, the statement said.

Chinese law prohibits anyone from desecrating the national flag, and offenders are subject to up to 15 days in police custody for minor infractions or a three-year maximum prison sentence in more serious cases. Last year, a man in the southern Guangdong province was sentenced to six months in prison after he laid the flag down on the floor as a mat and stepped on it several times during the opening ceremony for his new martial arts hall. (Image: IC)

2019-10-02 13:19:48

This year’s Oct. 1 National Day holiday marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and thirsty shoppers celebrated by gulping down an e-commerce platform’s entire stock of “national liquor” brand Moutai’s 1,499 yuan ($210) flagship baijiu.

Yesterday was the first time Moutai offered bottles of its popular 106-proof Feitian baijiu to consumers through two major e-commerce platforms: Tmall and Tmall sold out of its entire 52,000-bottle stock almost immediately, according to reports. Suning, which required customers to first reserve a bottle, processed 10,000 reservations in just 30 seconds. By 8 p.m. on Oct. 2, the waiting list had grown to 160,000.

Kweichow Moutai, headquartered in the remote southwestern province of Guizhou, is one of China’s most celebrated distilleries, and the brand of baijiu it is known for was named one of China’s official national liquors in 1951. But over the past few years, a combination of high demand, scarce supply, and the company’s reliance on small-scale secondary sellers have turned its 106-proof Feitian brand into a hot commodity for scalpers and speculators, with bottles routinely fetching more than 2,000 yuan on the secondary market. (Image: VCG)

2019-10-01 12:30:48

New regulations requiring China’s internet companies to protect the privacy of their underage users went into force Tuesday.

The new rules were first published by the Cyberspace Administration of China on Aug. 23. The document defines children as minors under the age of 14, and requires the country’s internet companies to obtain consent from a child’s legal guardian before collecting, using, transferring, or disclosing their personal information. The new regulations also require firms to tailor their personal information protection policies and user agreements to the needs of underage users and to designate an individual responsible for ensuring children’s personal information is protected.

The regulations are China’s first specifically related to protecting the privacy of minors online. According to a joint report from the Communist Youth League and the state-run China Internet Network Information Center, as of July 31, 2018, China had 169 million internet users under the age of 18, and 89.5% and 99.4% of the country’s primary and middle school students were online, respectively.

The United States, U.K., and Japan have all implemented similar rules aimed at protecting minors’ personal information online. (Image: VCG)

2019-09-30 09:52:39

Tech titan Tencent’s patriotic new mobile city simulator has become the most downloaded free game on Apple’s Chinese App store as the country prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary Tuesday, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported.

Created in partnership with People’s Daily, “Homeland Dream” allows players to build and grow a virtual city in a province of their choice. The mobile game secured the top spot on the app store Thursday — two days after its launch on Sept. 24 — and currently has an average user rating of 4.6 stars out of five.

Tencent’s other hit games include the fantasy role-playing game “Honour of Kings,” which became so popular that state media criticized its creators for not doing enough to curb gaming addiction among children. The company has since set playtime limits and introduced mandatory real-name registration for players to address addiction concerns. (Image: Apple's Chinese App store)

2019-09-30 07:00:21

A hotel in Shanghai has lost its star rating as authorities crack down on facilities for violating or not meeting industry standards, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Sunday.

Shanghai Everbright International Hotel was stripped of its star rating after city officials discovered “the absence of certain necessary items, old facilities and equipment, and a lackluster hygiene situation,” according to the report. The Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism also reprimanded 60 other tourist accommodations — including boutique, budget, and star-rated hotels — over safety and sanitation issues after a three-month undercover operation that started in May.

Over the past few years, China’s hospitality industry has faced mounting criticism over poor sanitation and low-quality service. Last year, an 11-minute video exposed unhygienic housekeeping practices at 14 five-star hotels in cities including Beijing and Shanghai, prompting authorities to call for stricter supervision.

In addition to hotels, authorities in northern China’s Hebei province also revoked the star status of 23 highly-rated tourist spots — including the Wuyuan Saiwai Manor — for failing to meet official standards, according to an announcement Sunday. A total of 84 tourist spots in the province received citations and were ordered to resolve the relevant issues within the next few months. (Image: From the website of Shanghai Everbright International Hotel)

2019-09-27 09:14:39

Chinese tech giant Baidu will sell one-third of its shares in Ctrip, the country’s largest online travel platform, financial news outlet Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Based on Ctrip’s current share price, the sale will generate around $1 billion, with Baidu expected to use the capital to cope with the current economic slowdown and increased competition in its core advertising business, Bloomberg analysts said. Ctrip confirmed the sale Friday to reporters with The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication.

In 2015, Baidu acquired one-quarter of Ctrip through a share swap that required the search giant to drop its stake in Ctrip rival Qunar. As of the end of August, Baidu held 17.87% of Ctrip’s shares, according to The Paper. Even after the sale, Baidu will remain the travel site’s biggest shareholder.

Baidu has been diversifying its business in recent months amid economic uncertainty caused by increased government scrutiny of its advertising business and by the China-U.S. trade war. In August, Baidu and three other companies jointly invested $434 million in Zhihu, China’s Quora-like question-and-answer platform. (Image: VCG)


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