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SOCIETY & CULTURE

By Fang Zuwang and Tang Ziyi / Jul 22, 2019 05:49 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Hong Kong actor Simon Yam Tat-wah is recovering from surgery after being stabbed Saturday at a promotional event in Guangdong province.

A viral video online showed a man suddenly rush toward Yam on stage. The man then wielded a knife and repeatedly stabbed Yam.

Yam suffered non-life-threatening injuries to the abdomen, internal organs and four fingers on his right hand, according to his management company, Emperor Entertainment Group. He is now in a stable condition, the company said.

Local police detained a suspect at the scene of the event, which took place in the city of Zhongshan. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, local police announced at a press conference Saturday evening.

Yam, 64, has starred in more than 150 movies and 40 television series. In 2013, the veteran made his Hollywood debut in the film “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)

Related: For China's Studios, Movies Have Lost Their Magic

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SOCIETY & CULTURE

By Liang Zhen and Teng Jing Xuan / Jul 16, 2019 12:32 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: IC Photo

Photo: IC Photo

More than 100 rural doctors have resigned in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province over unpaid public health subsidies and unfair treatment, Caixin has learned.

Doctors in Yilan county said in their joint resignation letter that rural doctors had to personally foot the bill for tens of thousands of yuan’s worth of medical insurance subsidies on behalf of the local authorities for villagers in 2018, and that the full sum had never been paid back. Additionally, they shouldered heavy workloads despite having lower status and fewer rights than public hospital doctors, the rural doctors said.

The resignations come after a similar wave of departures in the central Chinese province of Henan, where rural doctors said the local government had failed to provide promised healthcare subsidies.

Yilan’s county health committee told Caixin it was “unaware of the situation,” while other sources said provincial authorities have dispatched personnel to investigate the matter.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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By Huang Shulun, Liu Zishuang, and Ren Qiuyu / Jul 12, 2019 12:56 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Almost half of migrant women interviewed in four major Chinese cities have experienced some kind of domestic violence, and many are unfamiliar with China’s three-year-old Domestic Violence Law, a new report has found. 

“Only half of the respondents who experienced some kind of domestic violence in the last 12 months attempted to break up with or divorce her partner,” said the report by Beijing Normal University and Orange Umbrella Charity, an organization focused on helping women escape domestic violence. Only a quarter sought help, and only 17.9% of those women turned to the police, with the majority turning to their families, relatives, and friends for support.

The report found many migrant women were unaware of the protections that should be offered to them through the Domestic Violence Law — which more than half of the interviewees had never heard of.

It calls for increased awareness in China of gender violence and its many manifestations, greater societal support for migrant women, and a support system for victims that links medical treatment, identification, police, legal aid, therapy, and social services.

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (qiuyuren@caixin.com)

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By Ye Zhanqi and Tianyu M. Fang / Jul 04, 2019 04:24 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Applying to college is hard work — and doing a seemingly convenient online search for admissions websites might make things even harder, if you’re a recent Chinese high-school graduate.

Major search engines Baidu and Qihoo 360, along with a number of competitors, were summoned to a meeting with China’s Ministry of Education Wednesday for allegedly leading students to fraudulent web pages and ads instead of the college admissions sites they were searching for, the ministry said. The ministry demanded that the search engines start identifying the official websites of education and exam authorities, and prioritize them in search results.

Results from China’s national college entrance examination, the gaokao, were released in late June. This means high-school graduates are now in the process of submitting their scores to universities. Several provinces, including Shanxi, have suggested that candidates avoid using search engines and directly type out official URLs instead.

This isn’t the first time misleading search results and advertising practices have put Chinese search engines in the spotlight. In 2016, a promoted search result on Baidu led the 21-year-old cancer patient Wei Zexi to an experimental treatment program, which caused his eventual death. The incident, which provoked public outcry, put the internet company’s ethics under scrutiny and pushed the Chinese government to further regulate online advertising.

Related: Baidu Accused of Giving Self-Serving Search Results in Viral Post 


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By Zhao Runhua / Jul 03, 2019 12:02 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: Youtube

Photo: Youtube

It was meant to be a day of carefully scripted moments showcasing cutting-edge technology. But that’s not the way things began at the annual developer conference put on by search giant Baidu on Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing.

CEO and co-founder Robin Li was giving a keynote speech on smart transportation early at the event when he got doused by bottle of water poured over his head by a man who rushed onto the stage.

Looking up, Li controlled his anger and surprise and asked, “What’s your problem?” as the audience of over 1,000, looked on. The crowd, including Baidu partners, developers, investors and global media, didn’t realize until later that the act was not a stunt.

The man, whose motive was unknown, was quickly taken away by security.

Li later said there will be different things happening on Baidu’s journey to transition from its roots as a search engine to an expert in artificial intelligence (AI) development. He added that Baidu’s determination in that journey won’t change.

Related: Baidu Wins Licenses to Run China’s Most Difficult Autonomous Vehicle Road Tests


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By Tang Ziyi / Jul 01, 2019 05:29 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Superhero film "Spider-Man: Far from Home" collected 670 million yuan ($97.9 million) at the box office in its first three days in Chinese cinemas, accounting for nearly two thirds of the country’s total box office revenue last week, according to data released by box office tracker Maoyan on Monday.

The blockbuster opened on Friday with an impressive 206.6 million yuan, contributing 84.7% of domestic ticket sales that day.The strong performance is not a surprise as a huge Marvel fan base has grown up in China in recent years. In April, “Avengers: Endgame” hit 400 million yuan in ticket sales even before its screening.

China has implemented a screen quota system for foreign films to shore up the country’s own film industry. However, signs have pointed to China quietly loosening the restriction to boost box office figures, in a bid to drive the slowing market by bringing in more popular titles, analysts say.

Related: Producer of China’s Second Biggest-Ever Movie Says Don’t Believe the Hype

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)


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By Ren Qiuyu / Jun 18, 2019 04:51 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

How do you predict an earthquake?

Wang Tun knows, and he’s spent a decade spearheading Chinese efforts to give residents an early warning for the devastating tremors.

Thanks to his and others’ work, residents of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces were given between 10 to 60 seconds lead-time before a 6.0-magnitude quake hit their areas Monday night.

At least thirteen people died in that disaster, and 200 were injured. It’s not known how many were saved by the alert system, but a minute is a lifetime when seconds matter.

Wang heads the Chengdu Hi-Tech Disaster Reduction Institute, which he founded after returning from studying in the U.S. and seeing an earthquake devastate Sichuan province in 2008.

Here’s how the warning system works, which Wang says covers 60% of people in earthquake-prone zones:

Instruments in areas with high seismic activity detect energy radiating from an earthquake. The energy travels faster that the actual seismic activity, so it gives monitors time to send out warning messages — which are sent to people’s phones and TVs.

As a scientist, Wang likes to boil down how many seconds may save how many lives. And there is room for improvement in detecting the incoming quakes.

But the bigger point, he says, is getting the warnings transmitted to everyone within quake-prone zones.

Related: Sichuan Earthquake Death Toll Rises To 12

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (qiuyuren@caixin.com)


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By Cui Xiankang and Tang Ziyi / Jun 18, 2019 03:22 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

There’s one area the trade war doesn’t seem to be hurting — illegal drug imports.

Despite reporting reduced production of homegrown illegal drugs, China is warning of a rapid rise in such imports from overseas.

Anti-narcotics police seized 37% fewer illegal domestically produced drugs year-on-year in 2018, said a report by the China National Narcotics Control Commission. Police handled a total of 412 domestic drug production cases last year, down by 30.8%.

But increased wealth has made China an attractive market for overseas drug sellers. China seized 17.6% more illicit drugs from the Golden Triangle last year compared to the year before. The report also cited a 3.4% rise in cocaine seizures originating from South America compared to the year before.

Related: In Depth: Does China Have a Prescription Opioid Problem?

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)


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By Zhao Runhua / Jun 18, 2019 11:34 AM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The death toll from a strong earthquake in Sichuan province Monday night has risen to 12, with 125 injured, officials said.

The 6.0-magnitude quake’s epicenter hit counties in Yibin city at 10:55 p.m and damaged buildings, roads and communication facilities. Local residents have been transferred to shelters, local authorities said, and rescues remain underway. 

The official earthquake monitoring department said there had been over 60 aftershocks with magnitude greater than 2, and warned they could also be destructive.

Sichuan was the location of one of modern China’s most devastating earthquakes. In 2008, an 8.0-magnitude quake struck the county of Wenchuan and killed nearly 70,000 people in the surrounding areas. Tremors were felt more than 1,000 miles away in Beijing and Shanghai.

Related: In Depth: Earthquakes Are the Latest Setback to China’s Fracking Ambitions

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Huang Shulun and Zhao Runhua / Jun 17, 2019 03:12 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

All undergraduates enrolling at southern China’s Shantou University in the next four years will receive full scholarships, in an unprecedented move by Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation, backed by Li, will provide up to 100 million yuan ($14.44 million) a year in scholarships from 2019 to 2022, enough to cover annual tuition for every undergraduate student enrolling each year. The university told Caixin it plans to take in 3,100 undergraduates in 2019, and that annual tuition ranges from around 5,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan.

Li, who recently retired as chairman of Hong Kong-based conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings, was born in the 1920s in Chaoshan, the area of Guangdong province where Shantou University is located. Li has been offering the university financial support since the 1980s, when the higher education institution was established, and his foundation accounted for 40% of the university’s revenue in 2017, the university said

Related: Opinion: Chinese Universities’ System for Attracting Talent Has Warped Scholastic Incentives

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By David Kirton / Jun 14, 2019 07:09 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s credit reporting system now has data on close to 1 billion citizens as well as 26 million businesses and other types of entities, a representative of China’s central bank said today.

Each day on average, there are around 5.5 million inquiries to the individual credit reporting system and 300,000 inquiries to the corporation system, Zhu Hexin, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said at a briefing this afternoon. The system has been “irreplaceable in forestalling financial risks and ensuring financial stability,” he added.

Zhu said the credit reporting system has become the world’s largest.

Today’s vast network is often traced back to a 2006 policy document that called for detailed data on individuals’ and companies’ history of loan repayments, tax payments and other aspects of a person’s financial dealings that would help to give a fuller picture of their ability to repay loans.

Related: Utility Bills Challenge Central Bank Efforts to Revamp Credit Reporting System

A previous version of this post mistook the central bank’s credit reporting system for the National Development and Reform Commission-backed local social credit systems. It is the credit reporting systems that now have data on close to 1 billion citizens.

Contact reporter David Kirton (davidkirton@caixin.com)

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By Sun Liangzi and Tang Ziyi / Jun 13, 2019 03:54 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Will China’s baby formula makers ever overcome the melamine contamination scandal that killed six infants in 2008?

Not without continuing to regain confidence and stabilizing supply, experts told Caixin, in response to a recent government plan to boost the percentage of formula on the Chinese market that comes from domestic suppliers.

China’s top planners said last week that they hope to see the share of domestically produced formula used by consumers in China rise to 60%. The current share is around 40%, analysts estimate. The government also hopes to promote consolidation in the industry through mergers and acquisitions, to increase efficiency.

This will be a challenge as there remains a large gap in brand recognition of imported and China-made baby formula among Chinese people 11 years after melamine-tainted formula from well-known domestic dairy brands killed six infants and sickened more than 300,000, one industry insider told Caixin. 

The source said that many domestic brands had improved significantly in terms of safety and quality, but the biggest challenge for producers was still to “restore market confidence.”

At the same time, China’s dairy farmers are usually small players vulnerable to price fluctuations, and ambiguous regulations have caused a deterioration in the business environment, forcing farmers out of the industry, dairy analyst Wang Dingmian said.

Additionally, many larger domestic formula producers are reluctant to acquire and use the products of smaller companies because they don’t trust the safety standards of smaller producers, said Song Liang, another dairy industry analyst.

Related: Chinese Dairy Leader Purchases New Zealand’s Major Milk Supply Co-Operative

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)


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By Zhao Runhua / Jun 13, 2019 02:06 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: Beijing Municipal High People's Court

Photo: Beijing Municipal High People's Court

A man who killed one person and wounded 14 more with a knife at a Beijing mall in 2018 has been sentenced to death for “intentional murder,” a local intermediate court ruled Thursday.

In February 2018, 35-year-old Zhu Jiye attacked shoppers and staff during the busy period before the Lunar New Year at Joy City, one of Beijing’s most popular shopping malls. His motive was to “vent personal discontent,” according to an article published on the official WeChat account of the Beijing Municipal High People's Court.

Knife attacks are not uncommon in China, and are often attributed to men seeking redress for perceived grievances.

“Zhu’s crime attacking innocent people in a busy and populous public venue before the Chinese Lunar New Year…is extremely serious and shall be punished by law heavily,” the article quoted the intermediate court.

Related: Quick Take: 700,000 People to Patrol Beijing’s Streets After Knife Attack

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Zhao Runhua / Jun 12, 2019 05:24 PM / Society & Culture

Workers sort packages at a YTO facility in Anhui province on Nov. 9, 2018. Photo: VCG

Workers sort packages at a YTO facility in Anhui province on Nov. 9, 2018. Photo: VCG

China’s delivery industry could soon set up a blacklist of misbehaving customers, after a deliverywoman was pushed to kowtow to a customer who accused her of stealing a mango.

A Shandong province resident surnamed Zhang had complained last month that one mango was missing from a box of fruit they had ordered, according to a copy of a police report republished by multiple Chinese news outlets.

Zhang blamed Nie Guiyang, an employee of delivery company YTO Express, for the missing mango, and filed several complaints to YTO even after Nie had offered Zhang an entire box of mangoes as compensation.

As a result of the repeated customer complaints, Nie was fined 2,000 yuan ($289) by YTO. After she received notice of the fine, Nie returned on Monday to Zhang’s home and prostrated herself in front of Zhang to beg for forgiveness, the notice said. Zhang then called the police, who later determined that Zhang’s complaints were “maliciously” made without any evidence.

As competition in China’s delivery industry intensifies, workers have often had their pay docked and their jobs threatened over negative customer feedback.

YTO responded on Tuesday that it had reversed the fine and was considering putting Zhang on a blacklist, while China Express Association, a delivery industry organization, said Wednesday it was considering setting up an industry-wide blacklist of customers.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Zhao Jinzhao and Zhao Runhua / Jun 11, 2019 05:07 PM / Society & Culture

Linxia City, Gansu Province. Photo: VCG

Linxia City, Gansu Province. Photo: VCG

Six private hospitals in northwestern China have become the latest targets of a nationwide anti-gang campaign.

All six hospitals are in Gansu province’s Linxia city, and their crimes include charging patients unauthorized high fees, doctoring data, running illegal medical businesses, blackmail, and fraud, according to an official statement Saturday from the Linxia public security unit.

Twenty-five suspects have been detained, and others remain at large in the ongoing investigation, the statement said.  

But how exactly were these crimes related to illegal gang activity?

An official at the security unit declined to comment specifically on why the anti-gang law enforcement effort had targeted the hospitals, citing the ongoing investigation, but emphasized to Caixin that the six hospitals all have had “activities that violated the law.”

The same official told Caixin some of the hospitals are connected to China’s “Putian network” — a group of private hospitals and clinics set up by businesspeople from Fujian province's Putian city. The poorly regulated Putian network gained infamy in 2017 after its misleading medical-treatment claims contributed to a young man’s death.

Related: Gene-Editing Scientist Funded by Putian-Linked Investors

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Li Qing and Zhao Runhua / Jun 11, 2019 03:23 PM / Society & Culture

Wang Jun. Photo: VCG

Wang Jun. Photo: VCG

Wang Jun, former chairman of Citic Group, one of China’s largest state-owned conglomerates, and a son of one of modern China’s founding fathers, died Monday at the age of 78, Caixin has learned from sources close to Citic.

Wang served as the top leader at Citic Group from 1995 to 2006. He was a leading figure behind Citic’s reforms that shaped it into a globally operating SOE with business in a myriad of areas, from real estate to finance.

Wang was a son of Wang Zhen, one of the so-called Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China and was appointed as a vice president of the country in 1988.

Related: Celebrated Chinese-American Architect I.M. Pei Dies at 102

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Huang Shulun, Li Mi, Zhao Runhua and Teng Jing Xuan / Jun 04, 2019 04:20 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

As China’s school admissions season begins, some parents are jumping through more than the usual hoops to enroll their children in a good school.

Parents in Sichuan province complained last week that one private school affiliated with Sichuan Normal University, Shengfei Primary School, was asking parents to bring their degree certificates to a first-grade admissions event. The requirement unfairly disadvantaged children whose parents had received less education, the parents complained.

Shengfei told Caixin that it was entirely up to parents whether to bring their certificates to the event. Private schools have “some level of autonomy” when it comes to admitting students, an official at the local education bureau told Caixin Monday.

The school didn’t say explicitly that parents’ certificates would affect children’s applications, but people familiar with the issue say the certificates will likely be used to narrow the pool of applicants based on parents’ educational levels.

Competition is fierce for spots at top institutions in China, where there’s often great disparity between schools when it comes to teaching standards and resources.

Last month, the Ministry of Education ruled that schools for children undergoing China’s nine years of compulsory education must not use their own in-house exams as a basis for admitting students. But the ministry didn’t specify whether admissions interviews were banned.

Shengfei isn’t the first school to be criticized for judging potential students based on their parents’ qualifications. Multiple schools across the country have reportedly admitted only children whose parents graduated from university, while some even asked about grandparents’ occupations.

Xiong Bingqi, a deputy director at the Chinese think-tank 21st Century Education Research Institute, said schools may be motivated by a consideration unique to the country — whether parents will be able to help children complete their homework, an accepted practice in China.

Related: Vocational Training Provider Seeks $675 Million in Biggest Education IPO

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)


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By Ren Qiuyu and Ji Siqi / Jun 04, 2019 12:39 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Swift measures must be taken to stop the dramatic increase in HIV rates in China, especially among college students, researchers said in widely respected journal Science.

Three Chinese HIV/AIDS experts published an editorial in the journal warning of the upsurge and calling for education campaigns and greater accessibility to testing and information at clinics.

“The number of newly diagnosed college students has seen an annual growth rate ranging from 30% to 50% over the past several years,” the editorial reads, which lists a lack of sex education and lax attitudes towards premarital sex as major contributors.

The authors, two of whom are affiliated with Tsinghua University and one with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, urge China’s policymakers to take aggressive, urgent action to combat the rise in infections.

Last November, officials from China’s National Health Commission announced that 1.25 million people in the country would be infected with HIV by the end of 2018, but roughly 30% would not know their status.

Chinese link

Related: Nearly One Thirds of HIV Positive People in China Don't Know Their Status


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By Teng Jing Xuan / May 28, 2019 07:10 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Some parents will do anything for their children. In the bizarre case of Sun Xiaoguo, that meant faking medical records and “inventing” a theft-proof manhole cover to get a son out of a prison sentence for rape — twice.

Police in Yunnan province’s capital Kunming discovered the case when they were investigating other crimes in mid-March, according to a recent statement by provincial authorities. Sun, a suspect in the March investigation, had in fact already been sentenced to death for another crime in 1998, police found.

But, if that was the case, how had Sun been living as a free man in Kunming, where he reportedly ran multiple nightclubs and was allegedly involved in criminal gang activity? The March discovery kicked off a major investigation that brought central gang-busting forces to Yunnan and caused the arrest of at least 43 people, including Sun’s mother and stepfather.

Sun had evaded imprisonment twice, investigators eventually found. He had been arrested and sentenced to three years’ jail in 1994 for rape, but his mother Sun Heyu and stepfather Li Qiaozhong had presented fake medical records to court authorities and persuaded them to release Sun for treatment of a fictitious illness, according to the recent statement.

Then, in 1997, Sun was arrested again for another rape — one of the crimes for which he received a death sentence the following year.

Meanwhile, Sun’s mother, then a police officer in Kunming, was caught helping her son evade punishment and sentenced to five years in prison in 1998. Sun’s stepfather Li was himself fired from his position as deputy director of a district public security bureau and placed under probation in the same year for his involvement in Sun’s case. Nevertheless, Li was able to gain a job as director of the district’s urban law enforcement bureau in 2004, where he stayed until he retired in October 2018.

Despite their previous run-ins with the law, Sun Heyu and Li were once again able to get their son out of prison after his second conviction. A recent statement, which didn’t specify when Sun’s most recent release took place, said his sentence had been cut short because he had received a patent for a type of anti-theft manhole cover while in prison. Chinese law allows prisoners’ jail terms to be shortened if they’re deemed to have made an important scientific or technical contribution to society while doing time.

But Sun was not actually the inventor of the manhole cover, investigators found this year. Rather, Sun Heyu and Li had colluded with prison and court officials to falsely attribute the invention to Sun and expedite his release. According to Chinese news site The Paper, Sun’s “invention” was filed to China’s patent office in October 2008.

Related: Man Seeks State Compensation for Wrongful Conviction

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By Huang Shulun, Su Huixian and Zhao Runhua / May 28, 2019 02:04 PM / Society & Culture

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s soon-to-be first-ever private research university is on the right track.

The nascent Westlake University received around 700 million yuan ($101.36 million) in cash donations in 2018, according to a report from Westlake Education Foundation. That’s enough to cover basic operations of both the university and the Westlake Institute for Advanced Study going forward, a fundamental research entity.

By the end of 2018, total promised donations to Westlake University reached 4.3 billion yuan, the report shows. On top of that, the foundation booked a 32.24 million yuan profit generated by investment.

Dr. Liu Minhao, executive secretary of the foundation, told Caixin that in eight to 10 years, the foundation will build a financing pool of over 20 billion yuan for the university and institute.

Related: China’s Westlake University Aims to Match Caltech

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