The Taiwanese government has come under fire after a row in which it apparently denied applications by China Eastern and Xiamen airlines to add flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan during the then coming Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese New Year celebration held this year in mid-February. Taiwan said it withheld approval for the flights because the airlines had used a disputed northbound M503 route in the Taiwan Strait opened earlier this month, which Taipei claimed contravened a 2015 deal to discuss flight paths. Beijing argued that the route had been approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and did not cross the middle line of the Taiwan Strait. Some 176 flights are thought to have been canceled and the price of regular flights between the two sides has soared.
Chinese censors have clamped down on a genre of animation films in which well-known children’s characters such as Peppa Pig, Princess Elsa from Frozen and the Teletubbies are appropriated into grotesque violent and pornographic settings. The animations have reportedly spread from abroad and found their way into Chinese video sharing websites where they are easily accessed by children. They’re often even sorted into “For Kids” sections of the websites based on their automatic algorithms. Parents have complained about their children viewing the films and being terrified or disgusted by the images. Lawyers say the video websites could face penalties for hosting the content, deemed illegal under Chinese law.
To teach children about the internal physiology of pigs, a kindergarten in Hubei Province took the unusual and rather gruesome step of broadcasting the butchering of a pig live into the classroom, with the butcher removing and naming the internal organs one by one. Although a video clip released by the school did not appear to show that the children were frightened by what they saw, the lesson split netizens. Some found the teaching method too violent and gory for children and worried it would psychologically scar them. Others defended the class, saying the teacher did not abuse the pig, and added it was good to give children some practical knowledge outside what they learn in their textbooks.
A pair of brothers from Jiangsu Province triggered a flurry of discussion online when they claimed they had concocted anti-cancer drugs for their mother who had ovarian cancer. The brothers told the press they had resorted to self-made drugs in 2016 when doctors told their mother she was resistant to chemotherapy. They claimed the drugs helped their mother survive for 13 months before she passed away in October 2017, though they had major side effects. They suggested netizens not follow their example, saying the process caused them a great deal of anxiety. Netizens were moved by the brothers’ love for their mother, with many appealing to China’s health authorities to extend social medical insurance coverage to targeted cancer drugs which are generally unaffordable for common families.