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2019-09-27 09:11:33

Two years after a major earthquake destroyed parts of Jiuzhaigou National Park in the southwestern Sichuan province, the scenic area officially reopened to the public Friday.

By 9 a.m., nearly 3,000 tickets had been sold to tourists eager to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site on its reopening day, according to Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper. However, park authorities said they’re currently capping the number of daily visitors to 5,000 and tickets for the peak tourism season (Oct. 2-5) have already sold out, as millions of Chinese are expected to travel both domestically and abroad during next week’s National Day holiday.

Known for its lush forests and scenic blue lakes, Jiuzhaigou was closed after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake destroyed parts of the park on Aug. 8, 2017, affecting the area’s tourism as well as the livelihoods it supported. The park was partially opened last March, allowing just 2,000 daily visitors. Prior to the quake, the popular tourist spot saw 7.2 million visits in 2016. (Image: VCG)

13 hours

On a red-eye flight Tuesday from Guangzhou to New York, a doctor came to the aid of an elderly Chinese man who was unable to relieve himself and at risk of a ruptured bladder, reported Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper.

Six hours before the plane was due to land, Zhang Hong and Xiao Zhanxiang, both vascular surgeons at hospitals in China, had to think on their feet when a fellow passenger found himself unable to empty his very full bladder. Zhang and Xiao determined that the man was holding in about 1 liter of urine — more than twice the normal daytime capacity — that needed to be drained immediately.

Though the doctors only had access to a first-aid kit, they were able to fashion a makeshift catheter using straws and a tube from an oxygen mask. However, the difference in air pressure prevented the urine from flowing out freely. So Zhang took matters into his own mouth, sucking on the open end of the tube until over half a liter of urine was extracted.

“Actually, I felt like vomiting when I took the second mouthful, because it indeed smelled bad. At the same time, I was afraid of contracting diseases,” Zhang told The Paper in a separate interview, adding: “I don’t regret it one bit.” (Image: China Southern Airlines)

16 hours

Police in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have busted a drug ring operating across three cities that was allegedly run by a partially paralyzed woman, The Beijing News reported Wednesday.

The suspect, surnamed Wen, was apprehended Nov. 4 at her seven-story home — which also served as a shipment hub — after police from Xixiangtang District in Nanning, the region’s capital, tracked her down through a series of arrests made since March. According to The Beijing News, Wen has a 20-year history of drug use and is paralyzed from the waist down — so she would enlist fellow users to work for her and in exchange continue to feed their habits. Police have detained 11 suspects in connection with the case and seized over 2 kilograms of crystal meth, the report said.

Under Chinese law, drug trafficking is punishable by life in prison or even death. In June of last year, a livestreamer in the eastern Shandong province was accused of running a drug-trafficking operation from his channel on an unnamed video-hosting platform. (Image: @广西政法 on Weibo)

1 day

Blood donors in China may soon be eligible for rewards under the country’s social credit system, the state-owned China News Service reported Tuesday.

In a joint notice Thursday from 11 central government departments, including the National Health Commission, authorities said they hoped to encourage blood donation and were considering including it in the national social credit system. Though the notice was not explicit about how blood donations would affect social credit, it suggested that donors could be rewarded with public honors as well as free or discounted access to public facilities, including tourist attractions.

The notice also vowed to raise awareness of blood donation through television programs and advertisements, among other means. The departments called on facilities to make blood donation safer by implementing quality-control mechanisms under the guidance of relevant health authorities.

According to the National Health Commission, blood donations in China have grown each year for the past two decades, with nearly 15 million individual donations in 2018. However, safety remains a pressing concern, as some communities — such as those in the rural hinterlands ravaged by HIV in the 1980s — struggle to dispel fears of contamination. (Image: VCG)

2 days

Police in China and the United Arab Emirates have detained dozens of suspects for their alleged involvement in an international criminal gang that made and sold an enormous volume of counterfeit luxury goods in the Middle East, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Sunday.

In a joint operation, police in Dubai, Shanghai, and Guangdong province detained 57 suspects in July, seizing more than 28,000 counterfeit handbags and items of clothing, according to the report, which cited a notice from China’s Ministry of Public Security. The seized goods were worth an estimated 1.8 billion yuan ($256 million) and included fake products resembling luxury brands such as Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton.

The main suspects were based in Dubai and operated two companies that contracted Chinese factories to make the products and then sold them to distributors in several Middle Eastern countries, according to the report.

Chinese authorities last year vowed to strengthen protections on intellectual property in a bid to rectify the country’s reputation for counterfeit goods. The Ministry of Public Security launched a special operation against such products in July, leading to the arrest of 6,197 suspects in just three months. Also last year, police in the eastern Anhui province destroyed 500,000 pairs of fake Converse and Vans sneakers worth 600 million yuan that were slated to be sold in the Middle East. (Image: Shanghai police)

2 days

A gas explosion in northern China has claimed the lives of 15 coal miners and injured nine more, state broadcaster CCTV reported Tuesday.

Thirty-four people were working in the coal mine in Pingyao, Shanxi province on Monday afternoon when the gas explosion occurred. Though 18 workers managed to escape, 16 were still trapped in the mine on Monday evening, according to CCTV.

Over 100 people reportedly died in 67 coal mining accidents nationwide in the first half of 2019. Around one-fifth of those deaths occurred in a single incident in the northwestern Shaanxi province in January. (Image: IC)

3 days

A court in Shanghai has given a man a suspended prison sentence of three years and a 30,000 yuan ($4,300) fine for selling unapproved cancer drugs to patients in China, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Monday.

Zhai Yiping was charged with operating an illegal business that sold unauthorized drugs worth over 4.7 million yuan between February and July of last year, according to the verdict from the Shanghai Railway Transport Court dated Oct. 17. The 47-year-old was detained in July 2018 on suspicion of selling the cancer medications, including one called Opdivo, which was not approved until June of that year — meaning Zhai had sold it illicitly for several months. He had teamed up with another man, surnamed Guo, who bought the drugs from Germany, with Zhai then reselling them to patients in China at a 5% markup.

Following Zhai’s detention, more than 100 cancer patients begged authorities to release the man who had helped provide them with medicine. He was formally arrested in August of last year and released on bail three months later.

Shortages of critical drugs have led many patients in China to seek middlemen who help secure cheaper alternatives from abroad, though such medications typically aren’t approved by the country’s health authorities and are often considered “fake.” In August, Chinese policymakers enacted a revised version of the country’s Pharmaceutical Administration Law, which stopped defining drugs widely available in overseas markets as “fake” and stipulated lighter or even no punishments for the import and sale of such drugs. (Image: @检查日报 on Weibo)

3 days

China’s space program plans to complete construction of a new space station and send it into orbit by 2022, Zhou Jianping, the program’s chief designer, said at an engineering forum Sunday in the southern Guangdong province.

The station will weigh 100 tons and be able to accommodate three astronauts, with the possibility to be expanded if needed, Zhou said according to Xinhua. The space station’s core cabin module, Tianhe, will be launched in the next two or three years, after which add-ons like the Wentian and Mengtian laboratory cabin modules can be separately launched and connected.

Since its inception in 1992, the Tiangong space station program, has aimed to create a permanent space base capable of operating independently, without relying on support from other countries. Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 — temporary precursors to the expected 2022 space station — served as test beds for key technologies but deorbited in April 2018 and July 2019, respectively.

China is going all-in on becoming a space superpower. In January, the country sent a domestically made spacecraft, the Chang’E-4, to land on the far side of the moon. And on Friday, the country’s space program successfully completed a Mars lander test as part of its plans to put a rover on the Red Planet next year.

The upcoming space station will serve as China’s main platform for space science research, according to Zhou. (Image: Xinhua)

6 days

The chemical factory explosion in eastern China’s Jiangsu province that killed 78 people earlier this year was due to the self-ignition of hazardous chemical waste illegally stocked in its waste warehouse, Xinhua News Agency reported Friday, citing the result of an official investigation.

The investigative team from the State Council, China’s Cabinet, found that the plant owned by Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. Ltd. had “ignored” the national environment protection and safety laws and that its management of safety-related issues was “in chaos.”

The safety and environmental assessment agencies have also severely violated regulations, giving false assessment reports for the factory, the investigative team added. The inspectors also blamed several local government departments in Jiangsu for failing to supervise effectively and ignoring Jiangsu Tianjiayi’s high risks.

A total of 61 public servants were held accountable for the incident, while 44 others, including staff from companies and intermediary agencies, were placed under “criminal coercive measures,” Xinhua reported. (Image: IC)

6 days

China will debut its first nationwide vaccine-tracking app next March, Beijing Daily reported Thursday.

The app, part of a broader vaccine-tracking platform developed by the National Medical Products Administration, will allow consumers to scan a vaccine’s associated QR code to access information, including batch numbers and expiration dates. It will also contain information on China’s 46 licensed vaccine manufacturers and allow regulators to monitor product inventories and shipping details.

The platform’s launch comes as China seeks to restore confidence in its scandal-plagued pharmaceutical industry. Last July, parents panicked after regulators reprimanded Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd. for distributing up to 500,000 vaccines that failed to meet national standards. The faulty doses have since been linked to disabilities and deaths. And earlier this year, a clinic on the southern island of Hainan was closed after police accused it of issuing unapproved HPV vaccines.

In addition to verification and transparency schemes, authorities are also deliberating upping penalties for the manufacture and sale of faulty vaccines. (Image: VCG)

6 days

People who deliberately throw objects from high-rises that cause injury or death will now face harsh punishments and may be charged with murder, according to a guideline published Thursday by the Supreme People’s Court.

Individuals who intentionally throw objects from buildings that result in deaths or severe injuries may be sentenced to over 10 years in prison, according to the guideline. Meanwhile, those accidentally causing deaths involving such objects will be subject to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment. People who conceal or destroy evidence in such cases will also be punished.

The new guideline comes after several cases of injuries and deaths resulting from falling objects this year. On Wednesday, a man in eastern Jiangxi province was detained after he accidentally dropped a metallic valve from the 22nd floor, injuring a 3-year-old boy. And in June, a 5-year-old in southern Guangdong province died when a new window being installed at a building landed on the child, prompting concerns over lax maintenance standards in high-rise buildings. (Image: IC)


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