China: How my friend’s police run-in could help you if you’re ever falsely accused

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

How my friend’s police run-in could help you if you’re ever falsely accused

This week a friend had a terrifying experience: He found himself handcuffed on Nanjing Road E. after he more or less admitted to shoplifting. Problem is, he never stole anything.

It was a very valuable lesson for him in the importance of keeping a cool and level head under moments of extreme stress.

The drama began as my friend, a local who wishes not to be named, was approached by two men claiming to be plain-clothes police officers. They asked to look in his bag and said staff at H&M suspected he stole a white T-shirt from there.

He had just left H&M, so wondered if the men had been watching him and were trying to scam him.

At this point he did the right thing and refused to open his bag until the officers could prove who they really were. They did so by approaching a uniformed officer on the street to verify their identity.

That’s when things started getting heated.

My friend, who was wearing a white H&M T-shirt, had another white H&M T-shirt in his bag. The officers asked him if he just stole it, and in the heat of the moment he began to believe that maybe he did.

He had just been trying on T-shirts in the changing room at the clothing outlet and left without buying anything. That’s when he started to question himself: “Could I have accidentally put it in my bag?!”

“I didn’t take it on purpose,” he said. A huge mistake.

That’s when he was placed in handcuffs and taken to the nearest police station as he cried and tried to convince the officers that he is a good person and would never do such a thing.

They told him that, since the T-shirt was only worth 39 yuan (US$5.75), he could write an apology letter, which he did at the station, and then they’d take him back to the store to pay for the T-shirt. The important thing is that you learn a lesson from this and don’t steal again, the officers said.

It was on their way back to H&M in a police car that he had time to finally calm down and think clearly. That’s when he realized where the whole situation had gone off the rails.

The T-shirt in his bag wasn’t new at all — it was a T-shirt he had bought weeks before which he planned to wear for dance class after work. He had somehow, in the heat of the moment, forgotten and then been led down a path which ended up with him being arrested.

“Why did you admit you stole it then?” the officers asked.

And that’s the scary thing: He never really admitted to stealing anything, but under immense pressure he allowed himself to be led astray, and it could have cost him dearly.

In the end the situation was left there and, thankfully, no records were taken of the incident. But it was a good lesson for my friend, and now hopefully for others, too.

Probably a better idea would have been to first request that the store in question provide video evidence of a crime taking place, especially since nothing was actually stolen. Unfortunately, though, H&M refused to look through the video footage to vindicate my friend, claiming that they were too busy — they said that thefts occur dozens of times a day and that if they had to provide evidence each time it would be too much.

To be honest, that’s a bit slack, especially when it comes to accusing someone of stealing something.

Most importantly, though, never admit — or even allude — to having done anything you didn’t do. It sounds easy in retrospect, but it really needs to become second nature in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

This incident involved a series of people confused about an alleged crime that never actually took place. Things would have been put to bed much quicker if my friend remained calm, had confidence in himself, stuck his ground and demanded video evidence.

So that’s my advice here, however simple: Stay calm, take a deep breath, sit down if you need to, and try your best not to end up in a sticky situation.

Spying Airbnb Host Detained And Fined

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Spying Airbnb host detained and fined

An Airbnb host from Qingdao in Shandong Province was given a 20-day detention and fined 500 yuan (US$74) after a guest found a hidden webcam in his bedroom, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday.

The guest told the newspaper he booked the house at the end of March. “When I booked, it cost about 1,700 yuan (US$250) for three nights, and the host was labeled as ‘excellent’ by the site and has many positive comments by customers.” He said he hadn’t met the host, only communicating via WeChat.

Because he is engaged in information security, the guest added, he made it a habit of checking rooms for security flaws. For example, if it was possible to open a locked door from the outside.

When he and his party arrived at the house around 10pm on May 1 his suspicions were aroused.

“There were three motion sensors in the porch and two bedrooms, but the whole house was not equipped with a smart home system.”

Motion sensors are used in smart home networks in order to know if someone is in the house when it should be empty or to start smart devices.

This discovery prompted him to further examine the entire house. He then noticed something unusual about the Wi-Fi router — one of the indicator lights looked different and he suspected it was a camera.

The camera lens hidden in a Wi-Fi router spotted by the Airbnb guest.

Excess wiring and a memory card were found in the router.

Opening it up, he found there was wiring inside than in normal routers. After consulting a WeChat group for advice he confirmed that the device had been converted when it was compared to similar models. “I took the router apart and when I turned the screw, I found it was very loose, which made me more sure about my suspicion because if it was original and unchanged, the screw would be tight.”

Inside, he found a memory card, which a normal router doesn’t need. “I called the police immediately after I saw the card.” The police took the card and other electronic devices away and the guest moved to another hotel. The next day he gave police a statement.

He told the newspaper that his work involved Internet security and part of a course on privacy protection was on how to find spy cameras.

He showed the newspaper’s reporter the administrative punishment issued by Laoshan police. The ruling said the host had illegally installed a pin-hole camera in a bedroom facing the bed. The host also didn’t have a legal permit to offer accommodation for rent.

Executed concurrently, the homeowner got 20-day detention with a 500 yuan fine and the homestay was shut down.

The guest said Airbnb had refunded his stay. Airbnb told the newspaper it had given a full refund after the guest reported the incident to them on the night of May 2 and had guaranteed to pay for his hotel room.

Airbnb said it had apologized and promised to follow up the incident. The company had a zero-tolerance approach to invasions of privacy and had permanently removed the property from its platform.

Airbnb requires hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and prohibits any surveillance devices that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.

Shanghai lawyer Spring Liu, a partner in the Duan & Duan Law Firm, told Shanghai Daily that under Chinese law e-commerce operators are supposed to verify the business qualifications of merchants to protect consumers’ rights and interests. In this case, Liu said, the platform should be held accountable if it had failed to verify the host or if it knew or should have known that the host had breached the privacy of customers but hadn’t taken any necessary measures to stop it. The local market authorities could launch an investigation and issues penalties if there were violations of the law.

The platform is registered in Beijing, according to the online National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.

In March, The Atlantic magazine reported that Max Vest, who stayed with the host of a Miami Airbnb in January, had found two small, black, rectangular boxes facing the bed. They looked like phone chargers but when he got closer, he realized they were cameras and were recording. Airbnb refunded his money and removed the host from its site.

China’s energy consumption structure continues to optimize: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S SHINE NEWS NETWORK)

 

China’s energy consumption structure continues to optimize: report

Xinhua

China saw an optimized energy consumption structure last year with an increase of clean energy, an industry report showed.

Consumption of clean energy, including natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power and wind power, accounted for 22.1 percent of energy consumed last year, up 1.3 percentage points from 2017, China Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute said in a report.

Coal consumption accounted for 59 percent of the total energy consumption in 2018, down 1.4 percentage points year on year, according to the report.

Total energy consumption reached 4.64 billion tonnes of standard coal, a year-on-year growth of 3.3 percent, the fastest growth since 2014, the report said.

The report also predicted that China’s energy consumption will continue the clean and efficient trend in 2019.

Industrial AI alliance debuts in Shanghai China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Industrial AI alliance debuts in Shanghai

Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

AI industrial alliance gets founded in Shanghai on Thursday, with 22 members in the first batch.

An AI industrial alliance was founded in Shanghai on Thursday, another step toward a complete AI ecosystem in the city.

Shanghai AI Development Alliance (SAA) consists of 22 firms, including Baidu, DeepBlue and UCloud, along with the Microsoft Asia Research Center (Shanghai) and ABB, a Swiss-Swedish multinational operating in robotics and automation technology.

Unlike other tech alliances, SAA players from a variety of industries, including automakers, banks, industrial zones and telecommunications carriers.

Shanghai is home to more than 1,000 AI firms. The city generates a huge volume of data each providing huge potential for AI firms, said Zhang Ying, chief engineer of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.

The local AI industry generated 70 billion yuan (US$10.4 billion) in 2017. Core sectors are expected to produce more than 100 billion yuan by 2020.

Binjiang in Xuhui District and Zhangjiang of the Pudong New Area are leading AI innovation bases, with other developments in Yangpu, Changning, Minhang and Jing’an districts.

AIWIN or Artificial Intelligence World Innovations, a global-oriented AI competition also debuted on Thursday, part of the coming World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai this autumn. AIWIN has invited startups from Israel, France and UK to attend the WAIC event.

Philippine Powerful Earthquake, Death Toll Rises To 16

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Death toll from Philippine earthquake rises to 16

Xinhua

AFP

A church worker walks past rubble of the 18th century St. Catherine of Alexandria after its bell tower was destroyed following an earthquake that struck the town of Porac, pampanga province on April 23, 2019.

The death toll from Monday’s 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Zambales province in the Philippine main Luzon Island has risen to 16, the government said on Tuesday.

Ricardo Jalad, the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said 81 people were also injured and 14 others remain missing in central Luzon provinces of Pampanga and Zambales.

Of the 16, the national disaster agency said five were pulled from the collapsed four-storey supermarket building in Porac town, seven from different villages also in Porac town, two in Lubao town, one in Angeles City, in Pampanga province and one in San Marcelino town in Zambales province.

A total of 29 structures and buildings were damaged, the NDRRMC said.

Monday’s earthquake also caused landslide in San Marcelino town, prompting the government to evacuate about 120 families living around the mountain.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Monday’s quake was detected at a depth of 12 km, about 18 km northeast of Castillejos, a town in Zambales province in the western part of Luzon.

The quake knocked down buildings and walls, and cracked road surfaces in Pampanga province and other parts of central Luzon. A number of churches, including a century-old Roman Catholic church, were also damaged.

It also shook high-rise buildings in Metro Manila, the Philippine capital, prompting office workers to dash out of the building offices.

Schools and offices in Metro Manila and outlying provinces were closed on Tuesday to make way for inspection of the buildings.

Less than 24 hours after the 6.1-magnitude rocked the Philippines on Monday, another 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the San Julian town in Eastern Samar province in the central Philippines at 1:37pm local time on Tuesday.

No casualty has been reported except one minor injury in Tuesday’s earthquake so far.

The Philippines, which lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, have numerous active faults and trenches on both sides of the archipelago. Phivolcs said several quakes rattle this archipelagic country every day, though most are not felt.

The geographic and geologic settings of the Philippines make this archipelagic country prone to earthquakes. Phivolcs records an average of 20 earthquakes a day and 100 to 150 earthquakes are felt per year.

China Mulls Regulating Human Gene, Embryo Related Studies In Personality Legislation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

China mulls regulating human gene, embryo-related studies in personality legislation

Xinhua

China is considering regulating studies related to human genes or embryos in the draft section of personality rights of the civil code, which was submitted to the top legislature for review Saturday.

Those who conduct medical or scientific studies related to human genes or embryos shall abide by laws, administrative rules and relevant regulations, the draft says, adding that people’s health should not be harmed, nor ethical and moral standards violated.

This marks the first time China has made a fundamental regulation concerning such issues in civil legislation.

The clause was added to the draft section of personality rights of the civil code for its second reading at the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which is in its bimonthly session.

Latest NEV offerings at Shanghai auto show

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Auto firms show off latest NEV offerings at Shanghai auto show

 Cao Qian
 Ding Yining

Dong Jun / SHINE

A model poses in the booth of a NEV brand during the auto show.

Car vendors and parts suppliers, expanding into the booming new energy vehicle (NEV) segment in China, are unveiling a slew of new offerings at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.

NEVs are bucking the slump in China’s auto market and international firms are increasingly focusing on the country, which aims to be the global leader in NEVs.

During the ongoing auto show, firms have released new models and announced expansion plans for China.

China’s SAIC MAXUS Automotive Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corp, launched its new MPV G20 flagship model and showcased its latest vehicle fuel cell technology as it expands its passenger vehicle business and embraces the global shift to clean technology.

Based on the G20, the MPV G20FC is the first domestic passenger vehicle to use hydrogen fuel cells, which offers extra-long range, fast fuel filling and emits only clean water.

The G20FC’s high-pressure hydrogen storage tank delivers hydrogen into the fuel cell where the hydrogen and oxygen react with the cathode and anode in the stack to supply power to the battery and the electric drive system.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are seen as being one of the key directions for developing NEVs.

NEV sales in China are soaring as the overall market falls, surging 85.4 percent year on year in March, compared with a 6.9 percent decrease in total sales.

UK-based Bentley expects to offer an electric version of all its product lines by 2025, including new fully electric models, said Chris Cole, director of Bentley Product Line.

US auto parts maker Dana Inc, whose clients include Tesla and SAIC Roewe, announced it had already opened five new facilities in China this year, largely targeting electric vehicle companies: one each in Shanghai, Changsha and Baoding and two in Suzhou.

Dana’s footprint in China now encompasses more than 6,750 employees at 23 operations.

Dana has been operating in China for more than 25 years. Antonio Valencia, President of Dana China and Oceania, said the company will continue to invest in expanding its capabilities in China for “commitment to electrification and hybridization.”

Matthias Zink, CEO of Automotive OEM at Schaeffler, expects pure electric cars will make up 30 percent of annual auto production by 2030, while 40 percent will be hybrids and the rest combustion engines.

Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

US auto parts maker Dana Inc, whose clients include Tesla and SAIC Roewe, announced it had already opened five new facilities in China this year, largely targeting electric vehicle companies: one each in Shanghai, Changsha and Baoding and two in Suzhou.

Shanghai refugee’s New York surprise

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Shanghai refugee’s New York surprise

Ti Gong

Guests are pictured at a reception at Brooklyn Public Library for an exhibition recalling the life of Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

A former refugee given shelter in Shanghai during World War II got a surprise when she spotted herself in photographs at an exhibition which has just opened in New York.

The exhibition, “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai,” documents the period when about 23,000 Jewish people arrived in Shanghai between 1933 and 1941 to escape the Nazis. It tells of how they adapted to the city life and of the friendships they made with local residents.

“That young lady is me,” Betty Grebenschikoff, 90, said as she stood in front of a photograph showing her family on Lintong Road, formerly known as Macgregor Road, in Hongkou District in 1941.

A photo of Grebenschikoff and her husband, a Russian sports teacher, at the former racecourse near People’s Square in 1949 was also on display at Brooklyn Public Library, along with photos of their marriage certificate in Chinese and her residence certificate.

It was in Shanghai that Grebenschikoff met her husband, who died in 2002. The couple held their wedding in the Park Hotel in Shanghai in 1948.

Grebenschikoff, who is originally from Berlin, lived in Shanghai from 1939 to 1950. She was just 10 years old when war broke out. Her father bribed the captain of a Japanese ship to take her, along with her parents, sister and uncle, to Shanghai.

She has since been back to the city several times to visit her former home at 51 Zhoushan Road in Hongkou with her daughters. She donated her wedding dress, a classic local-style garment handmade by her husband’s mother to the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. Her third and fourth daughters wore the wedding dress when they got married.

She has also written a memoir, “Once My Name Was Sara,” which was published in English and Chinese, about her life in Shanghai.

Ti Gong

Betty Grebenschikoff (second from left), a 90-year-old former Jewish refugee in Shanghai, looks at some of the photos on display at the Brooklyn Public Library.

At the reception of the exhibition, Grebenschikoff met another former Jewish refugee who had lived in Shanghai, and both shared their memories of the city.

The exhibition, under the guidance of the Information Office of Shanghai and the Hongkou District government, was organized by the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and Brooklyn Public Library.

“The exhibition showcases the dust-laden history to US audiences, which has shocked and touched them,” a museum official said. “Some visitors appreciated the generous assistance offered by Shanghai and its citizens even if Chinese people were also suffering during that period.”

The exhibition, which is underway at the library until May 10, incorporates photographs from the time and two Shanghai-produced documentaries. Conferences and meetings between former refugees, their children and historians are also being held.

Over 70 former refugees, diplomats and officials with Jewish organizations attended the reception at the library on Tuesday.

Brooklyn has some 580,000 Jewish residents, many of them former Shanghai refugees and their children.

Ti Gong

A former refugee who lived in Shanghai shares her experiences with visitors at the Brooklyn Public Library reception.

China: Traffic cameras focus on drivers with revoked licenses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Traffic cameras focus on drivers with revoked licenses

Shanghai’s traffic cameras can now automatically detect people who drive with revoked licenses.

The cameras can also spot cars and taxis with fake plates, as well as drivers with serious traffic offenses.

When a suspicious car is detected by the camera, the system will notify nearby police officers.

A motorist surnamed Jiang, whose license was revoked in February 2015 due to drunk driving, was one of the first to be detected by the cameras.

Shanghai traffic police

Jiang is detected driving without a license by a traffic camera.

Jiang was identified at the intersection of Xinfu Road M. and Hualong Road in Qingpu District at 10:18am on April 11.

Officers found his car nearby and interviewed him.

For the offense of driving a motor vehicle with his license revoked, Jiang will be detained for seven days with a 1,500-yuan (US$224) fine, police said.

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

An investigation has been launched after reports that Mercedes-Benz Automobile Finance Co illegally charged a customer a financial service fee, as claims surfaced in Shanghai of dealers also charging fees.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Administration has asked its Beijing authority to initiate an inquiry.

A woman who bought a Mercedes-Benz she claims was defective from a dealer in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, has now claimed she was cheated over a “financial service fee.”

The woman said she bought the Mercedes-Benz CLS300 from Xi’an Lizhixing Co for 660,000 yuan (US$98,445) but found the engine was leaking oil after she picked it up on March 27. She asked for a refund or a replacement but the dealer only agreed to change the engine.

The incident attracted wide attention after a video of the woman sitting on the bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz while weeping and arguing with salesmen at the 4S dealer store on April 9 was posted online.

The Xi’an market watchdog launched an investigation and asked the dealer to refund the buyer. The regulator also arranged a face-to-face negotiation between the two sides on Saturday, during which the buyer said she had intended to purchase the car outright.

However, the dealer persuaded her to use Mercedes-Benz finance as it is said to feature low interest.

The dealer also “forced” her to pay a “financial service fee” of 15,200 yuan to a personal account without providing a receipt, she claimed. The woman said she thought this was fraud as the dealer hadn’t provided any services.

Mercedes-Benz issued a statement on Sunday, saying it never asks for any financial service fee from dealers or customers.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Wang who visited several Mercedes-Benz 4S shops to purchase an off-road vehicle said he was asked to take out a loan at the Songzhixing shop on Changshou Road.

The salesperson said the car was popular, and many 4S shops would not sell it if buyers refused to take a loan, Wang said. A salesperson would not get a commission without arranging a loan.

The same requirement was raised by the Minxing Automobile Service Co 4S shop, Wang said.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said yesterday they had received complaints about other automobile companies charging financial service fees.

Lawyers said car sales companies often use various excuses to charge fees to raise their profits, which infringes consumers’ rights to make choices.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Huang who wanted to purchase a car at a 4S shop last year was told that he must buy a 13,800-yuan package including sticker and tachograph, and a three-year car insurance if he wanted to enjoy a discounted price of the car.

Huang asked several 4S shops the next day, and some had the same requirement.

Meanwhile, a woman Wang Wen who paid 340,000 yuan for a new Mercedes-Benz at the Zhongshengzhixing 4S shop on Jinyun Road in Jiading District found it was faulty.

She asked for a refund, but the 4S shop refused, and offered free exchange, free components and reduction of insurance fees as replacement.

Wang learnt that the car was an “auction car” sold to dealers at a discounted price, and had probably been used for display or trial runs.

A video of a woman sitting on a Mercedes-Benz and arguing with salesmen has gone viral.