South Asia and Beyond

A Guide To Contemporary China

 A Guide To Contemporary China

Are Automated Driving Cars Safe?

A fatal car crash reportedly involving the usage of a partially automated driving system has once again thrust self-driving technology safety issues into the spotlight. The accident occurred on a highway in the eastern city of Ningbo when a XPeng P7 vehicle crashed into a pulled-over car in the same lane, killing its driver. The XPeng driver claimed he had activated the Lane Centering Control, or LCC, feature and was “distracted” while driving, screenshots of chat records circulating online showed. XPeng describes LCC as a system that helps drivers with controlling the steering wheel while positioning the vehicle in the centre of the lane. However, the driver of the XPeng P7 said that the system failed to detect the car and send an alert in advance. The accident comes in the wake of Chongqing and Wuhan licensing web giant Baidu to offer a fully driverless commercial robotaxi service, while Shenzhen has implemented dedicated guidelines for the operation of driverless vehicles on designated routes. Media reports warned that safety should be first priority given that the technology is not fully developed, along with major bottlenecks in the sensing, recognizing, and decision-making systems.

Source: Sixth Tone

Netizens Attack Chinese Retailer For Trying To Be Japanese

Low-cost retailer Miniso found itself in hot water after its Spanish team uploaded an Instagram post (which has since been deleted) depicting a series of Disney princess-inspired dolls wearing cheongsams. Inspired by the qizhuang, an ethnic item of apparel worn by the Manchu people, the cheongsam experienced a boom in popularity during China’s Republican years (1912-1949). In Miniso Spain’s caption, however, the dolls were called “geishas,” which means upper-class Japanese hostesses and entertainers, that set Weibo on fire. A related hashtag has accumulated over 460 million views at the time of writing. Chinese netizens are especially outraged that a Chinese brand has made such a gross mistake and have called for a boycott of the brand. While Miniso has apologised, many say the brand markets itself as Japanese and in addition to adopting a Japanese-sounding name, the company’s logo is suspiciously similar to Japanese retailer Uniqlo’s.

Source: Radii China

China Gives Cinemagoers Free Coupons To Watch Films

A nationwide campaign to boost the film industry involves giving away 100 million yuan ($14.84 million) worth of film coupons. The campaign will run from August to October and aims to aid recovery of the film industry after recent COVID-19 outbreaks. The administration hopes to boost support for filmmakers as well as support the construction of cinemas in rural areas. It will include a series of bailouts including tax and rent exemptions. The number of cinemagoers in China has been increasing, partly thanks to the summer holiday and the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The overall box office during the summer film season, from June to the end of August, surpassed 7 billion yuan ($1.04 billion), according to data from ticketing platform Maoyan. The current top-ranked film Moon Man has earned 2.2 billion yuan at the box office since it came out two weeks ago.

Source: Global Times

Chinese Celebrate The ‘Ghost Festival’

China is busy celebrating the Ghost Festival which began on August 12. The festival which is known as the Zhongyuan Festival and the Ullambana Festival among Buddhists has been followed since ancient times. The Chinese believe that the gates of hell open on this day and so people hold all kinds of activities to honour the ghosts and spirits who come from the lower realm to visit the living. Buddhist doctrine says that by offering articles on the festival day, deceased parents and relatives can be saved from bad situations in the afterlife. Activities during the month include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper items such as money, gold, and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Food is prepared and offered to “hungry ghosts” who may not have had safe passage to the afterlife and are suffering. At the end of the festival period, miniature paper boats and lanterns are released on the water to help travel to the afterlife.

Source: China Daily

China’s Gen Z Now Opt For Rural Weddings

Rural weddings are the new trend with young couples opting for idyllic village weddings rather than opulent city restaurants. The wedding venues range from vegetable patches and grass fields to pastoral areas near rivers, offering a fusion of contemporary trends and traditional rituals. Customs are quite different from more traditional weddings, such as the lifting up the red bridal veil, the bride and groom stepping across a brazier together, and bowing to parents to seek blessings. Such traditions seem to have excited young Chinese and Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle-oriented social media platform, has been flooded with photos and videos of rural weddings.

Source: People’s Daily

Gaming Technology Used In Cultural Preservation

Gaming technology is now being used for cultural preservation, especially in regard to the cultural relics of the Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Dunhuang, in northwest Gansu Province. Dunhuang Academy and internet giant Tencent are working together to combine Tencent’s 20 years of explorations in computer graphics techniques and gaming technology with digital renderings of the millennium-old grottoes to create cultural and innovative products. The latest achievements include a virtual duplication of the Library Cave, one of the Mogao Grottoes’ caves with 60,000 rare cultural relics unearthed. Visitors can also indulge themselves in the virtual world where they can realise the building history of the Mogao Grottoes and various aspects of life in ancient China. They can also interact with the historical figures on the wall, according to Li Hang, executive director of the project with Tencent. The two parties have been cooperating since 2017 and have created a series of popular products.

Source: Xinhua

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