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China-U.S. Rome meeting, trending searches on Wechat: Actor fined for tax evasion; COVID; Stock crash
The high-level meeting between China and the United States in Rome grabbed world attention today. Xinhua News Agency released two readouts after the meeting, which were "Senior Chinese diplomat meets U.S. national security advisor" and "Senior Chinese official elaborates on China's position on Ukraine situation." The first one is primarily related to Sino-U.S. relations and the Taiwan issue. The headline of the second piece is self-evident. The White House also released a readout.
The Global Times published an article titled “US fails to trap China over Ukraine at Yang-Sullivan meeting” after the meeting.
The review of the hot searches on Wechat on Tuesday is mainly about actor Deng Lun who was fined $16.6 million for tax evasion, the COVID-19 rebound in China and the stock market crash.
Tuesday's top hottest searches on Wechat as of 7:00 p.m. (1200 GMT)
1. Chinese actor Deng Lun fined $16.6 million for tax evasion
2. Chinese mainland reports 3,507 new local COVID-19 cases Monday
3. Rental house producing fake Starbucks receives 729 takeaway orders
4. Jilin Province reports 3,076 new local COVID-19 cases, 991 asymptomatic cases Monday
5. Shanghai Composite Index down 4.95% to close at 3,064, with over 100 stocks plunging by the 10-percent daily limit
6. Actor Pan Changjiang allegedly conducted false advertising to sell wine
7. A COVID patient in Xi'an caused more than ten infections by concealing travel trajectory
8. Former national soccer team captain responded to controversial soccer topics
9. City of Shenzhen reports 60 new local COVID-19 cases Monday
10. Foreign ministry spokesperson: If Taiwan is sanctioned, it has only itself to blame
Chinese actor Deng Lun was punished for tax evasion and fined 106 million yuan ($16.6 million), according to Shanghai tax authorities on Tuesday. Deng's case was initially uncovered through the analysis of tax big data.
The 30-year-old actor, with more than 40 million followers on [China's Twitter-like social platform] Weibo, later posted a statement apologizing for his behavior. "I have deeply reflected on myself. I am willing to undertake all the responsibilities and consequences," he said.
Deng's personal accounts on Weibo and Douyin [The Chinese equivalent to TikTok], along with his studio's accounts, were later suspended.
The tax authorities said it will continue to strengthen the tax regulation in the entertainment industry and conducted joint investigation into brokerage companies, brokers and intermediaries that assisted them in tax evasion.
In December, 2021, China's top livestreamer Huang Wei, also known as Viya, was fined 1.34 billion yuan for dodging taxes. In August, 2021, Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was ordered to pay 299 million yuan in fines, taxes and penalties for tax evasion. In October, 2018, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was ordered to pay more than 800 million yuan in tax and fines.
Besides being the hottest search on Wechat, the news became the most trending topic on Weibo within 30 minutes after the report was issued, racking up 460 million views, according to the Global Times.
Ginger River found that half of the top 10 searches on Douyin as of 7:00 p.m. were also related to Deng's case, which demonstrates how popular celebrity tax evasion news is among Chinese internet users. However, pleasantly self-deprecating, some other netizens said they didn't know Deng and wondered who he was.
#2, #4, #7,#9 COVID in China
China has reported a doubling in the number of new domestic cases of Covid-19 to more than 5,100, the highest jump in a day since the disease erupted in Wuhan in early 2020.
A respiratory expert said that the mainland has the chance to minimize virus spread using lockdowns and mass testing to avoid the massive infection seen in Hong Kong.
China’s northeastern province of Jilin is experiencing the worst COVID-19 outbreak in two years, with daily cases exceeding over a thousand for the third consecutive day.
The province reported a record 4,067 infections in total on Monday, with one-third being asymptomatic, which the country doesn’t include in its COVID-19 tally, according to the National Health Commission. Meanwhile, a total of 5,154 cases were detected nationally.
On the same day, the provincial governor of Jilin said in a meeting that Jilin would work hard to achieve 社会层面清零 zero COVID-19 cases at the social level within a week, reported by Jilin Daily.
"Zero COVID-19 cases at the social level" means that all new confirmed cases found since then have been among isolated close contacts or close contacts of close contacts. There is no longer community-level transmission in the community, according to Chen Zhijun, deputy director of the Xi'an CDC, who explained the concept in January.
Shenzhen, China's major tech hub bordering the country's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, asked its 17-million-plus residents on Monday to work from home if they can, while the city is carrying out three rounds of mass testing.
Residents are barred from leaving the city, the public transport services are suspended, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed from Monday to March 20.
"Shenzhen has been vigorously identifying imported cases while preventing domestic resurgence and adopted a dynamic zero-COVID approach, taking the most resolute, decisive, and comprehensive anti-epidemic measures," said Huang Qiang, deputy secretary-general of the Shenzhen municipal government.
Ginger River expects more anti-epidemic measures in China in the coming days as the COVID-19 rebound unfolds.
#5 Shanghai Composite Index down 4.95% to close at 3,064, with over 100 stocks plunging by the 10-percent daily limit
Chinese stocks listed on the mainland and in Hong Kong continued to get hammered Tuesday in a sell-off that persisted as investors shrugged off upbeat economic data and focused on geopolitical turmoil, regulatory risks and a resurgence of Covid-19.
The Chinese mainland’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index (000001.SH) plunged 4.95%, the biggest drop since February 2020, while the Shenzhen Component Index (399001.SZ) fell 4.36%. Northbound trading — global investors’ trading of mainland stocks through the Stock Connect program linking Hong Kong and the mainland — saw a net outflow of around 16 billion yuan ($2.5 billion), following a six-day streak of net selling.
On Monday, a reporter asked Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian what China would do if Russia took action against Taiwan:
Yomiuri Shimban: Russia recently released a list of unfriendly countries and regions, which includes Taiwan. What is China’s comment? If Russia takes actions against Taiwan, what would China do?
Zhao Lijian: As to why Taiwan is on the list, the answer is clear to all. If Taiwan is sanctioned, it has only itself to blame.
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