The identity of a Shanghai vagrant, who has become an overnight online celebrity after videos of him explaining Chinese classics to passers-by went viral on Chin
ese social media, has been confirmed by his employer, the auditing office of Shanghai’s Xuhui district government.
The office said the vagrant called Shen Wei became one of its employees in 1986 but
has been on sick leave since 1993, during which he has been paid with a basic salary.
For the past seven years, Shen, usually in rags and tangled long hair, has lived near the metro st
ation of Yanggao South Station and collected garbage every day. He began to get online attention over the past few
days when videos taken by passers-by, and then online broadcasters, show his eloquence, resourceful knowledge of Chinese classics and “wor
ds of wisdom” as he advises onlookers to spend more time on reading rather than taking videos of him.
He spends most of his spare time reading books, mostly Chinese classics which he has bought wit
h the money he earns from garbage collecting. He refuses to receive help and told the Red Star News reporter that he has around 10
0,000 yuan ($14,991) in his bank account. The money comes from his 2,000 yuan monthly salary and his father’s savings.
Use of China’s mobile payment services has skyrocketed over the past five years, with total transactions covered reaching 277.39 trillion yua
n ($41.51 trillion) in 2018 — a more than 27-fold increase from five years ago, according to the central bank.
A total of 60.53 billion mobile payment transactions were conducted last year, as a repor
t released by the People’s Bank of China Monday shows, while the figure was only 1.67 billion back in 2013.
From around 2013, with online payments dominant and mobile payments only nas
cent, to 2018, which saw mobile payments outpacing the domestic market, it is easy to observe a mo
bilization trend in payment structures, Xue Hongyan with the Suning Institute of Finance told Securities Daily.
The number of China’s online payment deals has jumped from 23.67 billion in 2013 to 2018’s 57.01 billion, and trans
action value more than doubled to 2,126.3 trillion yuan in 2018 from 1,060.78 trillion yuan five years earlier.
innocence. But that is probably being too simplistic as we live in a complex world.
Indeed, New Zealand is about as far away as you can get from the violence we see alm
ost daily in other war-torn places. That is not to say New Zealand has been immune to violence.
The quiet seaside town of Aramoana, near Dunedin, saw 13 people gunned down in No
vember 1990 when a local resident went berserk after an argument with his next-door neighbor. Five years lat
er, in April 1995, across the Tasman Sea in Australia, there was the Port Arthur massacre on the island state of Tas
mania where 35 people were killed by a lone gunman. That was an act of pure evil rather than of hate or race.
Both acts of violence saw changes to gun laws. In Australia’s case, it w
as a radical overhaul. New Zealand will change its gun laws in 10 days, said Ardern on Monday. In N
ew Zealand, it is estimated 250,000 gun-owners own about 1.5 million firearms and the laws governing guns are weak and exploited.
is deep into its most crucial week since the last one.
On Thursday, Theresa May travels to Brussels to meet with the remaining 27 EU leaders, where she is expected to request an extension to Article 50, the legal
process by which Britain is leaving the EU. If the EU27 agree, as they probably will, Brexit will be delayed beyond the current deadline of March 29. Lea
ving aside the gravity of this epic failure of British Brexit policy, the key question is how long will the delay last?
There are two likely options. The first is a short delay, which Downing Street said on Wedne
sday it would request. This would give the UK government a little more time to get its Withdrawal Agr
eement through Parliament, perhaps sweetened with some changes to the accompanying political declaration.
Or, the EU could offer May a much longer extension, possibly lasting years, to give to the UK more breathing space in which to u
ntangle its Brexit mess. The EU says it would only grant a longer delay if there was a good reason for doing so.