Chinese Animal "Mystery Boxes"
Photo Credit: VCG

China's Live Animal "Mystery Boxes" and Other News

The recent discovery of live animal "mystery boxes" has caused loud uproars

A courier truck discovered in Sichuan province carrying 160 crates of cats and dogs, many already sick or dead, has created heated backlash over the deadly trend of live animal “mystery boxes.”

Mystery or “blind” boxes are a growing industry where gifts (usually toys) are sold in unmarked boxes, with the buyer not knowing which item they’ve bought until they open the container. Online animal mystery box vendors list prices as low as 9.9 RMB and use photos of expensive breeds of pets, luring potential buyers with the thrill of the gamble—and the potential of getting a coveted breed at a below-market price.

Mailing live animals violates the China Transport Act of 2005. Beijing lawyer Li Jun told tech and business website TMT Post that China should strengthen regulations and penalties for courier companies, since the government cannot check every private parcel. Netizens are also calling for e-commerce platforms to crack down on live animal vendors and for China to draft an animal protection law. – Yang Tingting (杨婷婷)

Bright Project

China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) is calling for schools to add more outdoor activities to their curriculum in an effort to stem the rising tide of myopia rates among minors.

According to the Ministry, over half of children and adolescents in China suffer from nearsightedness as of 2019—one of the highest myopia rates worldwide. Following the MOE’s recommendation, a Xi’an primary school has introduced a “park lesson” period to its spring semester curriculum where teachers give lessons orally at a nearby park, to minimize students’ screen and reading time.

However, urban families living in areas with limited park space worry about how their schools can implement the project. “The outdoor space of the school is rather confined,” Wang Lin, a mother of a fourth grader in Shanghai, told news website Sixth Tone, “so students from different grades have to take turns to do activities here.”

Demographic Change

China’s mainland population has reached 1.412 billion, an annual growth rate of 5.38 percent since the previous census in 2010, according to the results of the seventh national census released on May 11.

The once-a-decade census has spurred widespread debate on China’s demographic direction. The average number of persons per household fell below 3.0, which indicates the rising prevalence of single-person households across the country. The data also show the number of newborns fell to an all-time low of 12 million in 2020, a drop of 18 percent from the previous year and 33 percent from 2016, when the family planning policy was relaxed to allow urban couples to have a second child.

The results also show that men outnumber women by 34.9 million. “Does that mean 34.9 million men can’t get married?” wondered one commenter on Weibo.

All images from VCG

This is a story from our issue, “Something Old, Something New.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the iTunes Store.

China's Live Animal "Mystery Boxes" and Other News is a story from our issue, “Something Old Something New.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine.


author Yang Tingting (杨婷婷)

Yang Tingting is a Chinese editor at The World of Chinese. Interested in telling Chinese stories, she writes mainly about culture, language, and society.

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