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News from China
Post-90s lead WeChat digital red envelope frenzy
7th February 2019

 People born in the 1990s led the red envelope frenzy on popular instant messaging platform WeChat on Chinese New Year's Eve, the platform revealed in a report.

The post-90s generation both sent and received the most digital lucky money on that night, a time-honored tradition increasingly seen online thanks to the growing popularity of mobile payment.

Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu were the top three cities where exchanges of digital red envelopes were busiest, a WeChat report showed.

WeChat has led the digital luck money tradition since initiating it in 2014. It introduced new features such as allowing users to add well wishes and stickers to a customized red envelope this year.

Tencent, which owns WeChat, ratcheted up support for its short-video platform Wesee this year with a digital red envelope games in a bid to win more users and traffic in the emerging social media market.

Source: Shanghai Daily, February 7, 2019
China's box office breaks single-day record
6th February 2019

 China's box office has broken its single-day record as Chinese flocked to cinemas to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

 
According to Maoyan, a professional box office tracker, Chinese cinemas raked in more than 1.43 billion yuan (US$210 million) in sales on Tuesday -- the first day of the Year of the Pig.
 
The holiday around the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, is a peak season for Chinese cinema screens. The previous single-day record, 1.27 billion yuan, was on last year's New Year's Day.
 
Source: SHanghai Daily, February 6, 2019
Hong Kong Debates Wild Boar Problem as Chinese New Year of the Pig Dawns
5th February 2019

 HONG KONG—One of the world’s most densely populated cities, Hong Kong, is facing a proliferation of wild boars as the large mammals stray increasingly into built-up areas.

And while some residents welcome sightings of the boars as a symbol of good fortune, especially with the arrival of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Pig on Feb. 5, others say reports of attacks show that the wild pigs are becoming a danger.
 
The global financial hub isn’t well-known for its biodiversity, but with 40 percent of its land area comprised of protected country parks and reserves, it still harbors creatures such as boar, barking deer, porcupine, otters, threatened pangolins, giant Burmese pythons and more than 530 species of bird, some of which are highly endangered.
 
Continued urbanization of the city of 7.4 million people is now increasingly drawing droves of wild boar to the fringes of the teeming metropolis. Boars have charged hikers, raided garbage dumps and campsites, and even scampered through a shopping mall and a runway at the airport.
Most Hong Kong wild boars, at this point, have already lost their fear of humans,” said Roni Wong, a member of a community group campaigning for the protection of wild boars.
 
“The cause of it is feeding, which causes them to lose their natural instincts,” added Wong, who has identified numerous spots where residents feed wild animals in violation of local wildlife
 protection laws.
The habituation of boars to humans has brought some safety concerns. Complaints against wild pigs have more than doubled since 2013; more than 700 incidents were reported in 2017, including some attacks on people.
 
“A lot of residents who used to take part in outdoor leisure activities, especially at night, are no longer doing that,” said Jeremy Young, a district councilor for the Peak, an affluent area with a conspicuous boar population in its woods.
 
“They are scared. You don’t want to run into a 250-pound male pig with tusks.”
 
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a statement to Reuters that some pigs “pose imminent risks to public safety, particularly those which have attacked people, or are accustomed to searching for food around built-up areas and also getting easily irritated.”
 
Young believes the government should again allow the selective culling of boars by “civilian hunting teams” to mitigate the threat, a practice that was suspended in 2017 after an outcry by animal-rights groups. The AFCD, however, rejected this proposal.
 
Instead, AFCD said it would take measures to put down, or relocate troublesome pigs to wilder areas, and to fit some with GPS trackers.
 
Authorities say they don’t know the size of Hong Kong’s wild pig population, or if numbers have actually increased, or whether they’re just venturing more frequently into urban areas.
 
“Most Hongkongers won’t mind the wild boars,” said 40-year-old taxi driver Water Siu, shortly after a boar interrupted his Sunday barbecue in the Aberdeen country park.
 
“In fact, we see them as our neighbors.”
Source: The Epoch Times, February 5, 2019
City forges ahead with stable development
1st February 2019

 Shanghai remains confident it can achieve an annual GDP growth of between 6 and 6.5 percent but is prepared to tackle challenges ahead, the city’s Mayor Ying Yong told a press conference at the conclusion of the annual plenary session of the Shanghai People’s Congress.

 
“Shanghai’s economic basics remain positive,” Ying said. “We shall forge ahead with supply-side reform to ensure healthy and stable development.”
 
Shanghai will concentrate on the three major tasks designated by the central government: Seeing through the expansion of the local free trade zone, the launch of the technology innovation board, and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region.
 
The National Development and Reform Commission is drawing up a policy plan for the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region, which also includes a pilot zone to demonstrate development synergies in the area.
 
“The pilot demonstration zone is expected to implement new reform measures as well as new development ideas,” he said. “It would also be a space to promote coordinated environmental protection efforts.”
 
Shanghai will continue to raise pensions, as well as the minimum wage and subsistence allowance to ensure all people share in the city’s growing prosperity. The government will focus on the key links in long-term care insurance, which covered more than 5.6 million senior citizens last year. These include beneficiary selection and the delivery of nursery care.
 
Shanghai will also host the second China International Import Expo, which is expected to occupy a larger exhibition space. Some 500 companies from more than 40 countries and regions have confirmed they will attend 2019 CIIE.
 
Shanghai will focus future cooperation with Hong Kong on finance, technology, culture and youth development and learn from Hong Kong’s experiences in developing financial services and human resources. Ying said Hong Kong Culture Week will be held in Shanghai in November, and HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam will be invited to visit.
 
Ying also said the government will devote more resources to the development of suburban districts and rural areas.
 
“There’s no modernization of the entire city without modernization of agriculture, no well-off society without well-off farmers and no eco-city without a good eco-environment of rural areas,” he said.
 
Building Shanghai’s business environment is also among the city’s priorities.
 
Plans are being drafted to resolve leftover issues, and learn from international best practices how to make business license registration more efficient.
 
Shanghai will also stick to the bottom line of ruling out financial risks and ensuring financial safety as the city strives to become an international financial center by 2020.
 
Based on the successes of the government’s “one-stop portal” for public services, the government will focus on the consolidation of public data for the purpose of better sharing. It will gradually move all government IT systems “onto the cloud.”
 
The government will formulate a regulation on the publication and management of public data, and reinvent the processes and procedures both within and across government departments. Some of those will be quite “revolutionary,” Ying said.
 
“We hope both the amount of time and material required for online administrative approval can be reduced by 50 percent,” he said.
 
“When companies and residents are dealing with the government, we hope it could be as pleasant and as easy as online shopping.”
 
Regarding the domestic garbage management regulations that were adopted by the city’s legislators, Ying said it gave a great boost to waste sorting and management.
 
“We will accelerate our efforts to further combine waste recycling with the collection and transportation of waste, increase the effort to separate rain water and sewage pipelines in residential complexes and build more end-of-pipe facilities to handle waste,” he added.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 1, 2019

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