Headlines from China
Shanghai Daily Nation
Updated: 8 hours 45 min ago
MORE than 14,000 computers in China were infected with ransomware every day on average, making it the most dangerous and serious virus attack with losses of “billions of dollars,” 360, China’s biggest cyber security firm, said yesterday in a report. In the first 11 months last year, over 4.72 million computers in China were infected by ransomware, including outbreaks of WannaCry in May and Arena in October and November. Ransomware are computer virus that locks victims out of their computers and they have to pay hackers to reinstate access. Only about 11 percent of victims were able to fully recover their files after their computers were infected by ransomware - 5.8 percent recovered data after paying a “ransom” and another 5.4 percent have backup files or data, 360 said. Globally, ransomwares have created huge losses. WannaCry caused more than US$1 billion loss within the first four days since it broke out in May. The total loss from ransomware is expected to hit US$11.5 billion in 2019, said research firms without providing 2018 forecasts. Ransomwares attack computers in government, education, hospital, energy, and telecommunications sectors, according to experts.
Travelers are able to buy train tickets from today for the upcoming Spring Festival exodus, said China Railway Corporation yesterday.This annual travel rush, or Chunyun in Chinese, which is called “world’s largest migration” will last from February 1 to March 12. In 2017, 357 million rail trips were made during the period.Ticket sales on official website www.12306.cn and 12306 app have started today while ticket windows at railway stations and ticket agencies in the city will begin selling on Friday.Passengers are able to buy train tickets 30 days in advance of their travel.“It is better to use the online method than lining up at the windows as the online sales start 2 days earlier,” said Hu Yihua, an officer with the railway station.Tickets of trains departing from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station will be available from 1:30pm today. Tickets for trains departing from Shanghai Railway Station will be available from 2:30pm and those from Shanghai South Railway Station from 3:30pm.Passengers can now use WeChat to pay for the tickets. They can also check the train status after linking 12306.cn account to their WeChat.
When Xu Xiaobo decided to spend all his savings raising cows five years ago, his EMBA classmates thought the real estate tycoon had gone crazy.Xu, 47, meant what he said. He spent 460 million yuan (US$70 million) in Gucheng County in Hebei Province, creating a massive pasture for more than 10,000 Australia-imported Holstein cows.Getting into the dairy industry needs courage in China. The market is dominated by several giants such as Yili and Mengniu, and Chinese consumers are turning to overseas milk products, especially after melamine-tainted baby formula produced by China’s Sanlu Group killed six children and made 300,000 sick in 2008. Sanlu, once a major dairy producer based in Hebei, went bankrupt after the scandal.“It does not matter if China has one fewer real estate developer, but I do hope I can make a difference in China’s dairy industry,” Xu said.Xu’s decision was partly fueled by an unpleasant incident, when he was kept under investigation for four hours by Hong Kong customs authority in August 2012 as he was returning to the Chinese mainland carrying eight cans of milk powder for his new-born son. Each person was only allowed to carry two cans.“How come such a big country as China could not produce safe and affordable milk?” Xu said. He decided to act.He spent more than 3 million yuan touring a dozen countries to find the best solution before he chose Gucheng to start his dairy business. Xu started building the pasture in September 2014 and completed the project 15 months later. The number of milking cows grew to 4,800 at present from just one in February 2016.To ensure quality, all the cows and milking equipment, including some forage grass, were imported. Consumers can watch real-time videos of the cows through a mobile phone app.“Everything the cows eat is traceable. Cow dung is used to produce methane for power generation, and the solid waste produced in the process is turned into organic fertilizer,” Xu said.Xu’s two major products, packaged pure milk and yogurt, sell well due to the growing demand for quality dairy products from China’s growing middle class.Xu walks a different way from his predecessors. He has no processing plant but outsources production to Bright Dairy, a major Chinese dairy producer, to cut costs.Unlike traditional dairy giants that spend billions of yuan on TV and outdoor advertising, Xu spends little on traditional marketing channels.Xu prioritizes social media platforms instead. His inspirational video and story went viral on several famous platforms, bringing him hundreds of thousands of followers who later became clients.He initiated an “adopt a cow” program on social media in December 2016. Under the program, subscribers pay 2,999 yuan a year to get the milk from a cow, or a box of packaged yogurt, delivered once a week directly to their homes. They can also monitor the living condition of the cow, on their phones.“We have no dealers and we do presale online,” Xu said. Since the launch of the program a year ago, sales revenue has reached 70 million yuan, though December is the first month to record a profit, said Xu, adding that the monthly profit is 3 to 5 million yuan.
Facing a shortage of donkey skin to produce the traditional medicine ejiao, China lowered the tariff of imported donkey hides on Monday.A tariff adjustment plan for 2018, published on December 27 by the General Administration of Customs, shows that the import duty rate for a whole piece of donkey hide of a certain weight was cut from 5 to 2 percent.With a history of around 2,500 years, ejiao (donkey-skin gelatin) is made by soaking and stewing donkey skin and refining the results into a tonic to treat health problems such as anaemia and menopause-linked ailments. Meng Xianqing, vice general manager of Dong’e Ejiao Co Ltd, China’s largest donkey-hide gelatin producer, estimated the tariff cut would help the company save import costs of over 6 million yuan (US$918,250).According to the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, the production of China’s ejiao manufacturers has grown from 3,200 tons in 2013 to 5,600 tons in 2016, an annual growth of above 20 percent. However, China’s donkey population has nearly halved from 9.4 million in 1996 to 5.4 million in 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.Experts believe the animal’s low fertility rate and long gestation period is the major cause for the decrease. Besides, fewer farmers are raising donkeys as pack animals as agriculture becomes more industrialized. Industrial insiders said the price of a single hide had grown from 20 yuan in 2000 to about 3,000 yuan currently.There are about 44 million donkeys worldwide, mainly in Asia, North Africa and South America.About 90 percent of Chna’s ejiao products are made in Shandong Province, which imports donkey skin from Peru, Mexico and Egypt. Meng said the lower tariff would ease donkey scarcity in the short run, and the solution was to improve breeding in China.
CHINA urges North Korea and South Korea to use the 2018 Winter Olympics to make efforts to improve ties, the Chinese foreign ministry said yesterday. South Korea will host the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February. “We have noticed the positive information from the leaders of the two countries, and it is a good thing,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “China welcomes and supports both countries to take the 2018 Winter Olympics as an opportunity to make effective efforts to improve their relations, relax the situation on the Korean Peninsula and promote the denuclearization of the peninsula.” China will continue to fully, accurately and strictly implement United Nations’ sanctions on North Korea in accordance with Chinese laws, the commerce ministry said yesterday. The latest UN sanctions limit a country’s refined oil products exports to North Korea at no more than 500,000 barrels per year. China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, customs data showed, apparently going above and beyond sanctions imposed earlier last year by the United Nations in a bid to limit petroleum shipments to North Korea.
CHINESE tech entrepreneur Jia Yueting has defied regulators’ orders to return home, saying yesterday his wife and brother would deal with the debt woes plaguing his LeEco conglomerate. Jia, the 44-year-old head of a tech empire that has spanned electric cars and smartphones, posted a letter on social media to the Beijing branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which last week ordered him to return to the country before the end of 2017. The one-time billionaire is believed to be in the United States, attempting to build up his Los Angeles-based electric car company Faraday Future. He was added to a national blacklist of debt defaulters by Chinese courts last month over hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid loans. “I have entrusted Ms Gan Wei and Mr Jia Yuemin (his wife and brother) with full power to exercise my rights as the public company shareholder and fulfil my shareholder responsibilities,” Jia wrote in the letter published on the Twitter-like Weibo platform. He said Gan and Jia Yuemin would deal with the debt issues of Leshi Internet, LeEco’s main publicly traded arm. Separately on her own Weibo account, Gan said she would be meeting creditors to “resolve the debt problems.” Gan, 33, an actress and producer, said her husband owed 6.9 billion yuan (US$1 billion) on loans connected to pledged shares. He has paid 1.7 billion yuan in interest on related loans since 2014, she wrote yesterday. Leshi’s filings show that nearly all of Jia’s shares were pledged to back loans, though a Beijing court said last month that it had seized more than 1 billion shares — Jia’s entire holding — of Leshi to repay creditors. The court also seized Jia’s two homes in Beijing and US$200,000 from a bank account. “Jia Yueting has no other bank deposits available, no other home registration records, and no vehicle registration records,” the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said at the time. Gan said in a New Year’s Eve Weibo post that she had “returned to complete a mission.” Her location was tagged as Beijing airport. Leshi had a market capitalization of roughly US$9.4 billion last April, but it has suspended trading in its shares since then. Investment firms have already marked down their holdings. If the company were to delist completely, it could be one of the largest failures of a Chinese publicly traded company — possibly wiping out the investments of its 185,000 shareholders. Jia in his letter blamed LeEco’s debt woes on one bank that sued him after he was “only a mere two weeks overdue on a 30 million interest payment.” Afterward, in July, as creditors began to swarm, “the production and operation of non-public companies came to an abrupt halt,” he wrote. “Over 10,000 employees were forced to be dismissed, and the only thing left for the company was to sell its assets to repay the debt.” Jia founded the troubled conglomerate in 2004 as an online video streaming platform, but pushed the tech company into a variety of new business lines — from gaming to sports and more recently, cars.
FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron will visit China for three days starting next Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry said yesterday, after the young leader declared the need for a stronger Europe to “face China.” This will be Macron’s first state visit to China, and the first by a European Union nation leader since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October. News of the trip comes after Macron, 40, who campaigned on a pro-globalization platform, called on France and all of Europe to return to its former glory during a televised New Year’s address on Sunday. Europe needed to be more sovereign, more united, more democratic, he said. “I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environmentally friendly, scientific power that will be able to face China and the United States.” Chinese President Xi Jinping is pursuing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. As leaders of two permanent UN Security Council member states, Macron and Xi are expected to discuss the Syrian crisis and North Korea’s nuclear program. The two have met just once before, at the G20 summit last July. “We hope (Macron’s) visit will help enhance political mutual trust and strategic communication,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.
China’s national flag unfurls on the first morning of 2018 as the Guard of Honor of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army perform the national flag-raising ceremony at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing for the first time. The responsibility for guarding the national flag and firing salute cannons in the square was transferred to the PLA from yesterday, as authorized by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Before yesterday, the ceremony was conducted by the armed police. As eight soldiers on the Tian’anmen Rostrum blew bugles, 96 soldiers began marching toward the square to the south, guarding a giant five-star red flag. The procession was led by three officers representing the Army, Navy and Air Force. Each of the three drew a sword upon walking past the Golden Water Bridge connecting the Forbidden City and Chang’an Avenue. More than 90,000 people waited for hours in the cold wintry morning just to be part of the ceremony, watching the national flag being raised in the heart of the capital on the first day of the new year. The new ceremony features more officers carrying out the duty, with bugle music specially composed for the event.
THE doors to the ivory trade in China closed yesterday, and the world starts 2018 a step closer to a land free of the slaughter of endangered animals. China honors its commitment to ending commercial processing and sales of ivory by the end of 2017, the State Forestry Administration has said, adding it is China’s “new year gift to the elephant.” The move affects 34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues, with all of them to close in the world’s once largest ivory market. “The Chinese authorities will continue to clamp down on ivory collection as well as processing, sales, transportation and smuggling of elephant tusks,” the administration said. Rising wealth, a growing appreciation of ivory as part of Chinese cultural heritage, its value as a status symbol and popular gift, and a sense that it was an inflation-proof investment created a boom in the industry. It also created a huge opportunity for global crime syndicates to exploit. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the population of African elephants fell by 111,000 over the past 10 years. The overall trends in the poaching of African elephants show a decline from the 2011 peak, but are still at levels too high when viewed continent-wide. The World Wildlife Fund has found that between 2008 and 2016, the number of African elephants shrank by 66 percent in parts of Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic and Gabon. In 2015, China joined global efforts to announce it would phase out the ivory trade and ban imports of ivory and ivory products. The Chinese clampdown on the ivory trade has pushed the prices of ivory down, and the number of elephants killed in the past three years down by 65 percent, according to a report by Save the Elephants. Save the Elephants researchers said the price of ivory dropped drastically from its peak of US$2,100 per kilogram in 2014 to US$730 per kilogram last February. “China’s ban is crucial for elephants,” said Wild Aid chief executive Peter Knights. Poaching for the trade in ivory is estimated to claim about 30,000 elephants around the world every year. However, Knights said things were improving. Poaching in Kenya dropped from 390 elephants killed in 2013 to only 46 last year, and by 55 percent in Tanzania in 2016 compared to 2015. The trading ban will put ivory carving craftsman out of business. The Chinese government shut down 67 ivory-carving workshops and retail outlets in March, and the remaining 105 were expected to be closed by the end of 2017. Ivory carving in China traces its origins to the Ming and Qing dynasties, from the 14th to the early 20th centuries, when the craft’s main consumers came from the imperial court and elite scholar-officials.
CHINA’S State Council has detailed rules for the enforcement of an environment protection tax law, which takes effect today. The regulation specifies taxation targets, the tax-setting basis, conditions for tax reduction and exemptions as well as tax collection management, according to a State Council decree signed by Premier Li Keqiang. The rules also make clear the taxation scope of solid waste and centralized sewage treatment areas. China has a regulation on collecting the “pollutant discharge fee.” However, some local governments exploit loopholes and exempt enterprises that are otherwise big contributors to fiscal revenue. For years, regulators have suggested replacing the fee system with a law. After the new regulation becomes effective, the regulation on “pollutant discharge fee” will be abolished. The new regulation also offers a cooperation mechanism between tax and environmental protection authorities for sharing information. The discharge data filed by companies will be deemed “abnormal” if the figure is much lower than its figure the previous year or the amount of its peers without appropriate explanation, according to the regulation. In this case the new law requires a review on abnormal data by environment protection authorities. Under the new law, which targets enterprises and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment, companies will pay taxes for producing noise, air and water pollutants as well as solid waste. Tackling pollution has been listed as one of “the three tough battles” that China aims to win in the next three years, according to the Central Economic Work Conference held last month.
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping yesterday delivered a New Year speech, vowing China would resolutely carry out reform in 2018. “We will take the opportunity of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up in 2018 to further carry out reform, as reform and opening-up is the path we must take to make progress in contemporary China and to realize the Chinese dream,” Xi said. The president cited a Chinese adage in his speech, saying that the Chinese people would “cut paths through mountains, and build bridges across rivers” to move forward on reform. Xi said the year 2018 marked the first year of fully implementing “the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” which outlines China’s desired development blueprint over the next three decades. “Building a high-rise begins with mounds of soil,” Xi said, borrowing an ancient Chinese phrase to urge his fellow Chinese to take a step-by-step approach and work hard to turn the blueprint into a reality. Xi said that by 2020 all rural residents living below the current poverty line should have been lifted out of poverty. It will be the first time in China’s thousands of years of history that extreme poverty is eliminated. “It is our solemn promise,” Xi said. “Only three years are left to 2020. Every one of us must be called to action, do our best, take targeted measures to secure victories one after another.” “This is a great cause, important to both the Chinese nation and humanity. Let’s do it together and make it happen.” Xi said China’s great achievement of development was made by the people and for the people, and that among the people’s most pressing concerns were education, employment, income, social security, health care, elderly care, housing and environmental protection. He admitted that there were areas where the government’s work fell short of expectations. “We should strengthen our sense of responsibility, and do a good job of ensuring the people’s well-being.” “The well-being of our people is the Party and the government’s greatest political achievement. Officials should put the people’s state of living at the heart.” Xi said the world expected to hear China’s stance and attitude on issues concerning peace and development. “China will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, actively fulfill China’s international obligations and duties, remain firmly committed to China’s pledges to tackle climate change, actively push for the Belt and Road Initiative, and always be a builder of world peace, contributor of global development and keeper of international order.”
CHINA’S Supreme People’s Court yesterday announced a retrial in the criminal cases of Gu Chujun, former chairman of an electrical appliance maker, and Zhang Wenzhong, a retailer. The top court announced the retrial in three “major property right-related cases,” among which the cases of Gu, former chairman of Guangdong Kelon Electrical Holdings, and Zhang, former chairman of Wumei Holdings, parent of Chinese retail chain Wumart Stores, will be heard by the top court or its circuit court. Gu was arrested in 2005. A final court ruling by Guangdong Higher People’s Court in 2009 sentenced Gu to 10 years in prison for falsifying and withholding information and embezzlement. He was also fined 6.8 million yuan (US$1 million). In September 2012, after serving his term in prison, Gu filed a petition to the SPC. The SPC sent his case to the Guangdong Higher People’s Court for investigation in 2013. During the investigation, Gu continued to petition the top court. The SPC said in a statement yesterday that it reviewed Gu’s case and believed that the case was eligible for a retrial according to China’s criminal procedure law. In a separate case, Zhang was fined and sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and a bribery-related crime in a final ruling by Hebei Higher People’s Court in 2009. Another defendant in the case, Zhang Weichun, was fined and sentenced to five years in prison for fraud. Wumei Holdings was also fined for bribery. Zhang Wenzhong first petitioned Hebei Higher People’s Court but was rejected. He petitioned the SPC in 2016, which after reviewing the case decided to grant a retrial, the SPC statement said. According to the statement, Zhang’s case will be heard by the SPC, and Gu’s will be handled by the SPC first circuit court. Zhang and Gu’s cases were granted a retrial under article 242 of China’s Criminal Procedure Law, which states that retrial may be granted if the original ruling was based on insufficient, illegal or contradictory evidence.
THE United States should look within to cut down demand for opioids, which are fueling its deadly drug crisis, rather than stressing unsubstantiated claims that China is the “major source” of these chemicals, a top Chinese drug enforcement official said yesterday. China and the US have worked to build a close working relationship to fight global flows of illicit synthetic drugs. Yu Haibin of the China National Narcotics Control Commission told reporters in Beijing there was little evidence showing China was the source of much of the chemicals used in the production of the powerful opioid fentanyl. US President Donald Trump in November blamed a “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl made in China for the deadliest drug epidemic in US history. “China doesn’t deny that shipments to the US happen, but there isn’t the proof to show how much — whether it’s 20 percent or 80 percent,” said Yu, adding that US authorities have only sent him information about six shipments from China in the past year. He urged the US to share more data and police intelligence with Chinese authorities and said rampant over-prescription of pain medication and lax cultural attitudes toward drugs had fueled massive demand for opioids in the United States. Insufficient drug education and the trend in some US states of legalizing marijuana have hurt drug enforcement efforts, he said. “As many states decriminalize marijuana, the public’s attitudes and trends of thinking toward drugs will also have a bad effect” on the fight against hard drugs, Yu said. China wanted to work more closely with US law enforcement, as well as authorities in Mexico, a transshipment point, he said. China has backed a US proposal this year to add several fentanyl precursors to a UN list of controlled substances. China has listed two chemicals, NPP and 44-ANPP, under domestic drug laws, officials said. More than 66,000 people in the United States died of drug overdoses in the year ending May 2017, a jump of 17.4 percent from the year before, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports most cases of fentanyl overdose are linked to illicitly produced batches of the substance.
CHINESE police cracked a fentanyl manufacturing and trafficking case, detaining 19 suspects based on tips from the US, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday. Following leads from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and police in south China’s Guangdong Province, police detained 19 suspects in Shanghai and in Hebei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang provinces in November and December, the ministry said. One underground fentanyl factory and two trading locations for psychoactive substances were uncovered. About 4.7kg of fentanyl along with over 20kg of other psychoactive substances and 150kg of raw materials were confiscated, the ministry said.
MORE than 18,000 Chinese officials failed to take any action or performed badly in protecting the environment since 2016, according to a national crackdown that saw inspectors visit some of the world’s most polluted cities. In one case, sewage from 150,000 residents in Jingdezhen in eastern Jiangxi Province was directly discharged into rivers due to a lack of treatment facilities. The vast majority of officials caught were local-ranking officials, said Liu Changgen, deputy director at the National Environmental Inspection Office. “In the next step, we will go through cases found during previous inspections and identify any higher-ranking officials for ill management,” Liu told reporters yesterday. Concerned about the level of local pollution following three decades of breakneck economic growth, the central government dispatched four rounds of environment inspectors across the country from February 2016 to uncover violations of anti-pollution measures. In Shandong, one of China’s most industrialized provinces, more than 10,000 companies were fined a total of 100 million yuan (US$15 million) by inspectors in August-September. Local government officials who turn a blind eye to offences in the hope of meeting economic growth goals were also targeted in the anti-pollution campaign. Some cities have been blamed for causing spikes in air pollution, with the environment ministry attributing the problems to administrative failures. “The names of the officials, their jobs and their violations will be reported up the chain of command, who will decide how the officials will be punished,” Liu said, adding the inspections would continue. “We will not let the inspection become a passing gust of wind,” Liu said. “It needs to keep blowing all the time.” In a 143-page winter smog battle-plan unveiled in August, the ministry said it aims to cut average concentrations of airborne particles known as PM2.5 by over 15 percent in the winter months in 28 cities in the northern, smog-prone provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan. It also vowed to cut average PM2.5 to below 60 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing by the end of this year, which remain a lot higher than China’s official air quality standard of 35 micrograms. Northern China has also embarked on an ambitious program under which millions of households will switch from burning coal, a major contributor to air pollution in winter months, to natural gas for heating.
POLICE in Iceland say one tourist was killed and 12 more were critically injured on Wednesday when a bus carrying 46 Chinese tourists skidded off the road after a rear-end collision with a compact car. The Icelandic blood bank sent out an alert for donations of type O blood following the accident on Route 1, a national road that runs around the island. The car and bus crashed near the Eldhraun lava field, about 250 kilometers east of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Police say the bus flipped on its side when it went off the road, trapping two Chinese tourists underneath. One died at the scene. Bus company owner Fjalar Ulfarsson said the Chinese group was on the fourth day of a weeklong visit to Iceland when the accident happened. “The road there is narrow and had some icing from what I gather,” Ulfarssons said. Three helicopters were used to transport the most severely injured to a hospital emergency room in the capital. A relief station was set up for the other 33 passengers in nearby Kirkjubaejarklaustur Village. The car’s driver and a passenger also were tourists, visiting Iceland from Lithuania. They were not injured. South Iceland Police said an initial investigation suggested the car slowed down in front of the bus while attempting to turn toward a lookout point. The number of tourists coming from China have tripled between 2014 and 2016 when 67,00O visited the small volcanic island nation of 335,000.
A snowplow clears roads in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, yesterday morning. A snowstorm has caused temporary closure of an airport in Urumqi, resulting in cancelation and delay of flights. Due to heavy snow that started at 4pm Wednesday, the airport was to close until 7:20am yesterday, according to the airport authorities. The local observatory issued a yellow alert for the weather. So far, 31 flights have been canceled, 26 outbound flights delayed while nine inbound flights diverted to other airports and another two returned.
Shenzhen has put more than 16,000 purely electric buses on its roads so far, making all of the city’s buses go “green.”To ensure their smooth operation, Shenzhen has built 510 bus charging stations and installed 5,000 charging facilities from 2009, according to the Shenzhen Transport Commission.Besides “green” buses, Shenzhen is also promoting electric cabs with more than 12,500 running on its roads. The city is expected to replace its entire fleet of cabs with environmental-friendly ones by 2020.“Electric buses and taxis play an important role in the city’s fight against air pollution,” said the commission’s spokesperson.The commission said the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by electric buses has fallen by 1.35 million tonnes annually compared with that discharged by traditional buses.Moreover, the electric transport system can alleviate the city’s noise and heat effect, the commission said.Currently, many Chinese cities are encouraging clean energy-powered transport as part of China’s efforts to protect the environment.Taiyuan, the city at the center of the coal industry in Shanxi Province, has made all its cabs electric, and the city plans to add 1,000 electric buses in 2018.
Seven people were sentenced to prison yesterday for involvement in a telecom fraud case linked to the death of a high school student last year.Prime suspect Chen Minghui was handed a life sentence for fraud by the Intermediate People’s Court of Jieyang City, Guangdong Province. The court also seized all his personal assets and deprived him of his political rights for life. The sentences for his accomplices range from 1 year and 4 months to 15 years, the court said.Cai Shuyan, a high school graduate from Jieyang, committed suicide by jumping into the sea after being defrauded of 9,800 yuan (US$1,500), which she intended to use to pay university tuition fees. The suspects were also found to have made over 1.04 million yuan from victims from June to August 2016, the court said.
A CHINESE businessman who made a living off the ocean now spends his time and money on scooping trash from the waters.With a rumble of engine noise, the garbage collection ship Canghai No. 9 returned from its 438th mission and moored in the port of Shengsi Island in Zhoushan City in Zhejiang Province.Measuring 16.5 meters long by 3.6 meters wide, the ship has a loading capacity of 21 tonnes. Its deck held a big basket of trash, including plastic bags, bottles and disposable meal boxes. Its owner, Yang Shichai, was busy moving trash collected from the ocean off the ship. Its final destination would be a garbage treatment plant on the island.Designed by Yang himself, the trash-collecting ship cost him around 530,000 yuan (US$80,800) to build.The ship has retrieved over 2,000 cubic meters of garbage from the ocean since it was put into use in May 2016.“I’ve earned some money because of the ocean. I just want to give back to it what I’ve gained,” said Yang, who has tanned skin and scars on his hands from working long hours outdoors every day.Growing up along the shore, he started a refueling service for ships at sea at the age of 18. Later, he set up a company to recycle the oil residue.But his focus shifted from profits to the ocean itself because of a video.“A dead whale was found in the Pacific. Its belly was full of trash after being opened,” Yang recalled. “The horrible scene from that video sticks in my mind.”Yang said that he is not well educated, but he understands one principle: if you live near the ocean, you must protect it because you rely on it to raise your family.A study published in Science in 2015 said that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste are dumped in the ocean each year.