Hidden Camera in Chaoyang Office Restroom Explained Away as “Fengshui”

Female employees at a Chaoyang internet company were recently shocked to discover a hidden high-definition camera in their office restroom. What's more, BTV News reports the firm's manager tried to justify the set-up as being "good fengshui" 

The manager of the unidentified company, named Zhang, had previously explained to employees that proper fengshui practices required lights to be always switched on in the dim, windowless bathroom.

But whereas the ancient practice usually advocates for reasonable solutions to orgainizing a living environment, Zhang's fengshui set-up made his employees very suspicious. 

Instead of being mounted on the ceiling or high up on the wall, the illumination in the women's bathroom came from two bright LED lights plugged into a wall socket (shown below).  

Placed adjacent to the LED lights was a wooden box, of which one side was made out of an opaque glass. (shown below)

Both the constantly-shining LED lights and the glass-walled box were placed immediately opposite from the elevated squat toilet stall, in front of which is a door with a 25 centimeter-high gap at its bottom (shown below). As well, the women's restroom has been discovered to be home to another hidden camera, this time a desk lamp that was mysteriously never turned on.

Some reports say the LED lights and the wooden box have been inside the women's restroom for nearly two years.

Female employees at the company are dismayed at Zhang, who they describe as a "well-mannered man" who doesn't act with the arrogance typically associated with his position. However, other details suggest Zhang may have harbored his sinister intentions for a long time.

Beijing police investigating the matter said the video camera can be remotely-controlled through a mobile phone app, allowing it to conveniently upload to social media platforms. 

Additionally, although technology and internet web companies are often male-dominated fields in China, BTV reports that Zhang's is an exception to the trend, comprised of 80 percent female workers. Although this may suggest that Zhang is an equal-opportunity employer, the high number of women employees may be part of Zhang's perverted conspiracy.

A sign on the door leading to the company's female restroom reads, "This way please, beautiful women." (shown below)

Zhang is currently being detained by police for questioning. An investigation is said to be underway.

A video of the news report can be seen here.

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Cosmetic Changes: A Layman’s Introduction to BB Cream for the Modern Beijing Man

In the past, being a good Chinese man has meant providing well for his family through hard work. And although they haven't enjoyed the same social reforms as their female counterparts, Chinese men do have one new thing going for them: as hard as they work, they can look good while doing it. Damn good.

A recent poll suggests a growing number of Chinese men are starting to spend money to make themselves look better. Nearly one out of every five Chinese men in their early twenties are purchasers and users of BB cream in a country where the strongest market is right here in Beijing.

And although Chinese men have also taken up the habit of using facial masques (or, at least, the ready-to-wear variety), the prevalence of BB cream use among Chinese men shows their willingness to use cosmetics.

As strange as this new development may be for a country with entrenched gender roles, readers may be even more perplexed by "BB cream," 

Although there are undoubtedly more qualified experts in this field, this short primer will try to explain the concept of BB cream to men who have never used it, and the reasons why you may want to start. Firstly... 

Is BB Cream a cosmetic product? 

Let's get this out of the way: BB cream is not just some kind of skin lotion you use for your chapped elbows. Instead, BB cream is a specialized product that changes the way you look, and requires you to manually apply it in the same way as any other cosmetic problem.

If you're a guy who does not have five to ten minutes every day to spend looking at yourself in front of a mirror, BB cream is not for you. 

What does "BB" stand for? Is it a Western or Eastern product?

Unlike other popular Chinese acronyms like "PPT" and "APP," the "BB" in "BB cream" has an actual meaning: "blemish balm."  It was invented in the 60s by a German dermatologist, but has since exploded in massive popularity in Asia. Popularized by South Korea, consumer demand for BB cream has become huge in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Why is BB cream so popular in Asia?

Speaking as an unenlightened male who has never used BB cream himself, there seems to be two major reasons behind the Asian popularity in BB cream. Speaking broadly, they are:

  • As a cream, it effectively removes the need for women to use powder-based foundations; and
  • It is a multi-purpose product that does several different things at the same time

I'll bite. What can BB cream do?

BB cream originally started out as a cream-based concealer that moisterizes skin as it blocks UV rays, but has since expanded to provide the following:

  • Moisturizing
  • UV ray protection
  • Priming the skin
  • Tinting the skin
  • Refracting light to make skin look more radiant
  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Enriching the skin with vitamins
  • Skin whitening

"Skin whitening"? This is a thing?

Yes. As far as the Asian market is concerned, BB cream is used to make users' skin more fair.

Fair skin is highly prized by Chinese women, who try to keep out of the sun as much as possible. So while this means using an umbrella during the summer months for some, others will be able to sport a nice, pale glow through the use of BB cream.

However, being that we're talking about BB cream use for men, it seems that we'll soon have to contend with the social awkwardness of a BB cream-using man who appears more fair than his BB cream-using female girlfriend.

If I were so inclined, how do I apply BB cream to myself?

Sorry to say, but the proper methods of BB cream applications are way out of the scope of this article. However, it remains that BB cream application is, like any other cosmetic use, a commitment to which the user must uphold. If you use BB cream and someone notices, they'll also notice if you don't use it. 

That said, BB cream application is a complicated procedure. After applying small dabs to your face, the cream must be naturally blended in with the rest of your complexion. To further complicate this, this method can be done with fingers, brush or a sponge, depending on whether your skin is normal, oily or dry.

That does sound like a commitment, but as a modern man interested in modern trends, I want to give this a try. What's my first step in getting started?

When trying out BB cream for the first time (whether at a cosmetics counter or from another BB cream user), begin by applying a little bit onto the back of your hand and smoothing it out. Besides testing out any allergies you may have, you'll also have a first-hand look at how the BB cream appears on your skin. If that goes well, then move on to trying it on your face.

I'll keep that in mind. Anything else I should know about BB cream use?

BB cream isn't just something you put on in the morning; you'll have to keep touching it up throughout the day, and then at night you'll have to make sure to remove it, of which one such way is washing your face twice. Another thing of which you'll need to be aware when using BB cream is making sure your face color doesn't stray too far away from your neck color (maybe time to invest in a suit and tie?).

One last thing: be careful when applying BB cream around your eyes -- both to not get any in them, as well as to make sure the BB cream stays consistent.

1/5 of all young Chinese men using cosmetics doesn't sound like a lot of people. Are you sure this is popular? How did this become a trend?

Simply put: male Chinese celebrity endorsers that include Luhan and Kris Wu were among the "fresh meat" enlisted by cosmetic companies like Maybelline to help attract new customers. And, male use of BB cream is gaining acceptance in the West as well. 

Hold on a tick... "Fresh meat"?

Yes. This is the general term used to describe young male celebrities in China. Although it isn't any more de-humanizing than the female celebrity term "flower vase," it nevertheless emphasizes an age preference in male celebrities. And while this term exuded a "mother-child" type of relationship when applied to the TFBoys and their millions of dama middle-aged women fans, the celebrity market has evolved to include a new term that emphasizes naivety: "little milk dog" (小白狗).

Is BB cream for me?

If you've never used cosmetics before, you should decide if what you want is worth what you're willing to put into it. And if you decide that smooth skin and BB cream isn't for you, you can always start growing that beard for when it becomes trendy again.

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Tsinghua University Landmark Featured an English Mistake for Years Without Correction

Since its founding in 1911, Tsinghua University has built up a storied legacy that has seen it become nothing less than the top engineering and computer science school in the world. But for all of the school's bright minds, English fluency doesn't appear to be a primary concern after one of its famous landmarks has been revealed to include a spelling mistake that went uncorrected for years.

Tsinghua officials admitted yesterday that a spelling mistake made on its nearly century-old sundial has been rectified, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

The correction was made after a worker was seen writing out the words "CEASS 1920" in the inlaid inscription of the sundial base last week instead of "CLASS 1920", a reference to the Tsinghua graduated students who commissioned the sundial for their alma mater. 

A student named Hu noticed the mistake and posted photos of the mislabeled sundial online (shown above). When he confronted the worker about it, the worker simply said he doesn't read English and was only following the inscription that was already set into the sundial.

READ: Beijing Health Authority Quotes Same Smoking Statistic Two Years in a Row, No One Notices

At some time in its history, someone vandalized the sundial by adding two extra marks to the capital "L", turning it into a capital "E". As mysterious as the way in which the sundial was vandalized, even stranger is how that vandalization had become a normal and accepted fixture on Tsinghua University campus.

In 2015, Tsinghua's official Weibo account posted this photo that clearly shows the sundial inscription reading "CEASS" (shown below).

And in 2011, this Weibo user posted photos of the English error with a post that asked: "Won't this well-admired university finally admit this mistake?" (shown below)

It gets worse: Beijing Youth Daily reports the English error can be traced back to at least 2007. Even though it makes no sense in English, the vandalization persisted for years at the school largely considered to be home to China's brightest minds.

READ: Beijing Officials Admit Artifacts Stolen From Famous Ming Tomb... One Year Later

That is, until now. After the vandalized inscription was officially "set in stone" with the gold paint, Tsinghua finally read the writing on the wall once Hu posted photos of the English error to his Weibo account last week.

Tsinghua's English flub coincides with a current city-wide contest soliciting corrections for Beijing's numerous poorly-translated English signs.

A glaring lack of English fluency has been demonstrated before at China's top school. In 2016, Tsinghua University temporarily shut down a da Vinci exhibit at its art museum when it was revealed to contain glaring English mistakes such as "The Last Super."

Tsinghua University remains a popular tourist destination that regularly gets defaced by visitors who scrawl things like "I will return" upon school landmarks such as its iconic gates and bell. But despite being a common occurrence, "CEASS" has managed to escape detection even though a sundial deface that happened last summer sparked a public outcry.

For its part, Tsinghua University says it has no plans to erect a barricade to sequester the famous sundial away from a public intent on taking photographs with it. If they did, people might not see the irony of the sundial's inherent message.

Written in Chinese ("行胜于言") and Latin ("facta non verba"), the sundial is unfortunately inscribed with the message "Deeds, not words"... when it was an ignorance of "words" that led to this decade-long gaff.

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Beijing Renews Fight Against Flying Catkins By Sterilizing 300,000 Trees

Beijing continues its fight against the seasonal deluge of flying catkins by continuing a campaign that limits the reproductive abilities of hundreds of thousands of female poplar and willow trees responsible for creating the "spring snowfall."

300,000 female willow and poplar trees will be injected with chemical inhibitors to prevent them from forming flower buds as well as have their tree crowns pruned, said the municipal park and foresty greenification department. 

To help get rid of flying catkins that have already formed, the city will continue to use high-pressure hoses to wash down the petalless free-flying flowers.

Beginning last year with 400,000 poplar and willow trees, the campaign aims to eradicate over-proliferation of flying catkins by 2020. This year, however, the ongoing campaign doesn't make any mention of "sex change operations" that would have changed the gender of the trees by grafting male branches onto them.

READ: Curse of the Catkins: A Brief History of Beijing's Blinding White Fluff

One solution the city won't accept is to cut any of the trees down. As Beijing Forestry University Professor Zhang Zhixiang explained, a single poplar tree with a 20 centimeter-diameter trunk can absorb 172 kilograms of carbon dioxide and produce 125 kilograms of oxygen in a year. Moreover, the city values trees so highly that it will continue to increase city forest and park space by 667 hectares this year.

Earlier attempts to control Beijing's flying catkin problem included a plan to import 10 million male poplar trees back in 1994.

Despite their picturesque qualities, flying catkins pose a major problem for Beijing. Besides their impact upon city residents with allergies, flying catkins pose a tangible threat to public safety due to their flammable nature. 

In May of last year, flying catkins were blamed for a Beijing parking lot fire that destroyed 80 busses. The issue became so bad in April 2014 that the Beijing fire department received 3,800 reports of fires caused by flying catkins in a single day. But for all its trouble, Beijing has no one but itself to blame for its flying catkins problem.

During the 60s and 70s, Beijing decided to plant millions of poplar and willow plants around the city, so chosen for their suitability to the harsh northern climate. Without much diversification, poplar and willow plants have become the dominant tree species in Beijing, whose 120 million members are prone to over-produce flying catkins due to a 7:3 gender ratio that favors females.

But as much as Beijing is left to try to balance a short-sighted policy made decades ago, the exact same campaign is happening at the preset time— only on a much larger scale.

China is currently attempting to reforest parts of the Gobi desert with the "Great Green Wall", an ambitious plan that would cover a 4,500 kilometer-long span of northern China. However, even though it would increase arable land and reduce sandstorm attacks, the plan has been criticized for its impact upon local ecosystems due to a lack of biodiversity.

So even as Beijing inches closer to ridding itself of flying catkins, the city may find that the problem is much larger than first anticipated.  

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Leftovers From Beijing Restaurants Used as Swill to Feed Pigs

Even though it has become fashionable in China to over-order at restaurants in as a means to demonstrate personal wealth, not finishing your food isn't just wasteful, but could literally be bad for your health.

A number of Beijing restaurants have been caught selling off their food waste to be used as pig swill, a banned practice that may cause diseases in the animals, like pigs, that eat it (and, in turn, harm those who eat their meat).

A month-long undercover investigation by Beijing News culiminated in a multi-department raid on a Tongzhou village on Monday when investigators discovered some 14 farms were using restaurant food waste to feed some 3,000 pigs.

As seen in its online report, the Beijing News had recorded undercover surveillance video that showed how food waste was shipped from numerous Chaoyang District-area restaurants to the farms located in Beidishi Village.

The extensive footage showed all parts of the operation, following the swill truck on its nightly route from door-to-door, and even featured a number of unidentified individuals admitting their culpability in the pig swill operation.

A farmer named Wu interviewed by Beijing News claimed to be a newcomer that was ignorant of the laws regarding pig feed, but the investigation showed the Tongzhou farm complex to be a massive operation involving dozens of buildings, albeit in poor hygenic condition. Wu refused to say at which market the pigs were sent to be sold.

Since 2006, Beijing has banned farmers from using restaurant food waste that include meat products (including pork) to feed pigs. The practice is largely banned around the world for its connections to disease outbreaks that include foot-and-mouth disease.

As part of the investigation, the district Animal Quarantine center said they detected the presence of illegal
additives such as clenbuterol.

Restaurants revealed to have supplied the farmers with food waste include the Hongzhuangyuan restaurant franchise (宏状元) and the Yulin Roast Duck restaurant on Balizhuang Road.

Meanwhile, food waste has become an enormous problem in China. Last year, the Beijing Municipal Commission of City Management said the city's 40,000 restaurants and dining halls produce 2,600 tons of food waste every day.

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Beijing Cost of Living Remains Comparatively Cheap for Expats in China

It has the history, the art scene, and its own antiquated charm, but the simple reason why so many expats have chosen Beijing may be because it's relatively inexpensive.

For the third year in a row, Beijing is the fifth-most expensive city in China for expats, according to a recently-released annual survey.

This year's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey ranks Hong Kong once again as China's most expensive city, placing it fourth worldwide behind Singapore, Paris and Zurich.

READ: Survey Says: High Cost-of-Living and Lots of Tourists in Beijing

Beijing's fifth place position follows its first-tier peers Shanghai and Shenzhen as well as Dalian. Beijing has maintained its constant position within China even though its international standing has fluctuated; last year, Beijing dropped 16 places to 47th position in much the same way it fell to 46th position in 2015.

The remaining first-tier city, Guangzhou, comes in at seventh place behind Taipei and before Qingdao.

Compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit for over 30 years, the survey compares over 400 individual price points across 160 products and services in 133 different cities. The list does not include housing prices and other factors that would make it relevant to local residents.

READ: Beijing Continues to Lag Behind Shanghai for Business and Expats

So although Beijing expats can enjoy living in a first-tier city without paying Shanghai-level prices, the advantage seems to come out in the wash.

As recent as 2016, Beijing was named the international city with most expensive housing rental where such costs are worth 1.2 times the average monthly salary. Meanwhile, the cost-of-living difference between Beijing and Shanghai may not be that much, estimated between 5 and 16 percent.

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Canine Conundrum: Unravelling Beijing’s Love-Hate Relationship With Dogs

While dogs are viewed as loyal and faithful pets elsewhere, they have an uncertain distinction in China where they continue to cause controversy.

This past week in Beijing, two wholly disparate depictions of pet dogs emerged online that revealed an unconciliaory rift between local dog owners and their neighbors. As it were, dogs are either a source of love— or frustration.

First up is this online video gaining traction after its Tuesday debut demonstrating how dogs can bring out the best in humans. Accompanied by soft background music, the video embodies two themes that resonate deeply with a Chinese audience: respect for authority, and filial piety. 

The video tells the story of an elderly Fengtai resident named Tie who is seen dutifully caring for his sickly dog, Beibei, which has lost the use of its hind legs. Despite his own advanced age, Tie is unswervingly committed to his dog, even going to the trouble of taking the incapacitated pet outside on a push cart.

As much as Tie's love for his dog isn't ordinary, neither is Beibei an ordinary dog. Beibei served for six years as a drug sniffing dog before retiring in 2011. Now at 15 years-old, Beibei is suffering from an inoperable lumbar condition that requires constant care and supervision.

As much as its a burden to him, Tie remains committed to the dog that once served in the protection of his country. Tie admitted that he isn't free to do anything but take care of Beibei these days. "If you were to invite me to travel abroad for free, I wouldn't do it," he said.

Tie's touching relationship with Beibei prompted one online comment that reads: "(Beibei) isn't simply a pet, but a friend and a family member!"

Dog ownership has indeed come a long way in China. However, the concept of dogs as "family members" is exactly what is causing another controversy -- namely, how many regulations some local residents are willing their "family members" to violate.

Earlier this week, a Daxing District resident took offense at an anonymous sign that complained about local dog owners. A Weibo user named "wan_bao" posted a photo of the notice online, calling its title "Kill Without Recrimination" (shown below as "Kill with No Pardon") as being "beyond the pale" and "excessive".

However, against the intentions of "wan_bao,“ many of the online comments that accompanied this story disagree with the controversy.

A number of top-rated comments say that the sign's recommendation for Beijing dog owners to leash their dogs to be "acceptable" and don't find any fault with the accompanying cartoon that shows a Chinese chop labelled "All culled without exception" slamming down upon a pet dog and cat. One personn wrote: "Although some words used in the sign are extreme, I don't think there's any problem with it." 

The backlash against Beijing dog owners has been happening for awhile. Even though fatal dog poisonings involving dozens of pets continues to happen every year, some residents put the blame directly upon the dog owners themselves for not being responsible. And, although China has mostly gotten control of a rabies problem, dog bites continue to rise, usually flaring up into the thousands during the holidays.

Dog ownership has profilerated among a nascent Chinese middle class that were restricted by birth rate policies but with money to spend. And yet, with so many of these new "family members" causing problems throughout Beijing and the country at large, it may be that China doesn't have a "dog" problem, but a "people" problem.

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Russian Detained for BASE Jump Off Beijng’s Tallest Building

A Russian daredevil has landed in serious trouble after a BASE jump from Beijing's tallest building resulted in a ten-day detention by local police.

Alex Pykhov was arrested the day after his daybreak jump on Apr 1 from the 108 story-tall CITIC Tower, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

As seen on their official Weibo micro-blogging account, the Chaoyang police said Pykhov was arrested for disturbing public order.

After having made previous jumps in Chinese cities like Nanning and Guangzhou, Pykhov shared photos of his Beijing jump to his Instagram account (shown throughout this article).

Although Beijing wasn't very receptive towards Pykhov's daredevil antics, other Chinese cities have warmly welcomed the highly-dangerous extreme sport.

In 2003, numerous skydivers jumped off the Jinmao Tower in "an effort to improve the image of Shanghai," reported China Daily. The following year, the same event went on to include national flag-bearing Chinese BASE jumpers.

The sport has become a popular event in other parts of China with BASE jumping festivals have been established in Hunan and Guizhou.

At the same time, a number of fatalities and injuries have resulted from BASE jumping in China. 

Canadian wingsuit flier Graham Dickinson died in a crash last December at Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park, four years after a similar incident killed Hungarian Victor Kovats at the same park.

Standing at 528 meters (1,678 feet) tall, the CITIC Tower is scheduled to open later this year.

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A Resigned Effort: Beijing Holds Correction Contest for Signs with Poor English

In order to raise its international image, Beijing has begun a contest that seeks the public's help in correcting signs adorned with poor English translations.

Launched last month, the 2018 Online Correction of Erroneous Public Sign Translations is seeking submissions that will create a better international language environment and prepare for international events like the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, reported The Global Times.

Participants can submit photos of the offending sign and the proper English translation at this website (Chinese only) or at the official WeChat account "beijingqianlong." Prizes will be given away as part of the contest, although no specific details about them have been mentioned.

And that's not the only effort made to improve English abilities in China. The contest arrives ahead of China's intention to create a standardiized English proficiency level grading system on June 1.

 

 

The first of its kind, this nine-point system puts elementary students at levels 1 and 2, high school students at level 4, and college students majoring in English at level 7. The two highest levels, 8 and 9, are reserved for individuals with "superior English language skills." 

But while any effort towards second-language proficiency is commendable, China remains a country that is highly resistant towards the cultural change required for such a societal acquisition. And we know this because we've been here before.

READ: Too Prestigious for a Spellchecker: Tsinghua University Shuts Da Vinci Exhibition Due to Embarrassing Spelling Mistakes

Way back in 2007, then-vice mayor Ji Lin said the city planned to correct all erronious English on major public signs by the end the year. Ji was quoted as saying proper English on public signs are important for the Beijing Olympics, as well as the future development of the city.

Now eleven years later with yet another tenure as an Olympic Games host looming, Beijing remains stuck in the exact same spot. But as much as this may be an indication that English-language schooling efforts aren't working, we can also see this as a sign of the times that China simply doesn't want to speak English.

China Daily recently reported that a number of signs with poor English translations were spotted in a Shenzhen court. A sign for the "Administrative Court" was instead labeled as "HangZhengTing" (borrowing its pinyin pronunciation) while the sign for its Intermediate People's Court for intellectual property cases was given a sign that read "Three People Court" (a literal translation of the court's abbreviated Chinese name).

However, as correct as the state run media outlet was for pointing out the gaff, no mention was made to its readers of what the proper English translation for the signs should be.

There's no proficiency without comprehension, no learning without curiosity. The latest generation of English learners in China are equipped with better resources than their predecessors, but remain saddled with the same motives. And as much as efforts to standardize its usage are making progress, it remains that English is less for reading that it is for wearing. 

Last month, a Qingdao woman named Mao finally found out what the word on her new sweatshirt meant after attending a parent-teacher conference.

Granted, it didn't happen in Beijing. But it also wasn't fixed by a sign correction contest.

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No Butts Allowed: Three Beijing Airline Passengers Jailed for Smoking

Smoking is a bad habit, a health hazard, and, as was the case for three airline passengers who decided to light up immediately upon landing at an airport, an illegal act that will put you in jail.

The three men had just arrived at Urumqi after their 4 hour-long Sichuan Airlines flght from Beijing last Friday when they were spotted by an airport surveillance camera.

READ: "Foreigner" Jailed 15 Days for Failing Beijing Airport Security Check

As other passengers filed past them on the airport apron, the men began smoking just meters away from the staircase leading away from the parked airplane they had travelled in.

As much as it is a prohibited place to smoke, much of the contention against the trio has to do with hiding matches in a carry-on luggage with which they used to light up their cigarettes.

A 28 year-old Henan man named Jiang, a 21 year-old Henan man also named Jiang and a 50 year-old Jilin man named Xu were all given five days of administrative detention by airport police. As a punishment that can be given without involving a court or a judge, adminstrative detention has also been given to other wayward passengers for bad behavior like improperly opening emergency doors or fighting during transit. 

"Smoking in a public transportation facility" was given as one of the reasons for getting banned on a travel blacklist as part of the introductory roll-out for China's oncomiing social credit system. 

Although a proposed national smoking ban has not yet happened, several Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai have outlawed indoor smoking as the anti-smoking campaign continues to gather steam in China.

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