The Nanfang / Blog

Harvard, Stanford and Others “Congratulate” Rural Chinese School… Sort Of.

Posted: 10/21/2014 10:01 am

The fake congratulatory messages from universities like Harvard were hung in front of the school’s gate.

When Guizhou City Vocational School wasn’t getting the respect it thought it deserved, it brought out the big names in academic circles to beef up its credibility. But it didn’t work as well as hoped — none of the universities that apparently offered their support actually endorsed the school.

The government-run school in Guizhou Province put up big red congratulatory banners it said were from top international universities to greet students and staff as they began school on a new campus, Nandu reported.

According to images uploaded online, nine of the world’s top universities – the University of Toronto, Harvard, France’s Tours University, Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Stanford, Germany’s Technische Universität München and Humboldt University of Berlin – were among the schools that “congratulated” the school on its new campus.

A teacher at the school confirmed the existence of the banners and admitted that none of the universities mentioned actually sent any congratulations to the school.

Online users rushed to mock the school as a result. Weibo user Apostate_SLK wrote, “This is nothing without (congratulations) from Lanxiang vocational school,” referring to a vocational school from Shandong best known for training cooks and hairdressers that sees itself on par with Tsinghua and Peking Universities.

Another Weibo user joked, “Why not put up banners from Hogwarts (School of Witchcraft and Wizardry)?”

Even students from the school were shocked when they saw the messages. One student wrote on the school’s online forum, “It shocked me to tears.” Another user said, “Is it really necessary to bluff? It’s not as if we don’t know what kind of school it really is!”

It’s unknown if the banners were put up by the school or the local government.

Photo: Nandu


Beware This Hairy Crab Season: 99% of Yangcheng Crabs Are Fake

Posted: 10/13/2014 9:45 am

hairy crabFoodies in China can now add the famous Lake Yangcheng hairy crab to the long list of faked food items on sale in the country. For every 300 Lake Yangcheng hairy crabs that are sold, only one is authentic.

The distinguishing characteristics of a hairy crab include a green shell, pale belly, golden hairs and claws. However, counterfeiters now use chemicals to give makeovers to normal crabs to resemble the prized Yangcheng ones. When plastic authentication rings were added to distinguish fakes from the real deal, wily counterfeiters simply copied the rings.

plastic authenticating ring hairy crabThe report coincides with the arrival of hairy crab season in Shanghai, where it is a local delicacy. While it’s a shame that some consumers may never come to savor a true Lake Yangcheng hairy crab, retailers selling the authentic product find themselves being squeezed out by counterfeiters.

Fu Zecheng, chairman of the Jiangsu Lake Yangcheng Hairy Crab Marketing Co, complains that counterfeiters have successfully copied every method marketers have used to authenticate their crabs. Fu is considering adding a second authentication ring but he questions how well it will work, “How can you prove to consumers that what you are selling is the real deal?” said Fu.

plastic authenticating ring hairy crab

Crab isn’t the only fake menu item being sold to consumers. A recent report revealed that many restaurants in China are passing off beef skewers as lamb to consumers who can’t tell the difference. While the report initially came to light last summer, a university student gave the story new traction last month after determining through DNA tests that only 20 percent of lamb skewers are actually lamb.

Whether crab or otherwise, it would appear that as long as there is a dollar to be made counterfeiting goods, there will be counterfeiters willing to do it.


Photos: iFeng, CCTV, KS News


US Angry Over Proliferation of Chinese-Made Fake ID Cards

Posted: 09/26/2014 9:02 am

us counterfeit id chinese madeUS officials are incensed over expertly-crafted, Chinese-made counterfeit identification cards they say are threatening the country’s security.

China has produced fake US ID cards for some time, but the country’s counterfeiters are getting better and better at their craft. A shipment of fake ID cards was recently seized by US customs agents, reported China Daily. The expertly-made forgeries were hidden in tea containers or jewelry boxes, and spread throughout several hundred cases.

The driver’s licenses are made in China and described as “authentic-looking”. Each counterfeit ID is worth $150 (RMB 920).

An official from Illinois expressed his outrage, saying something has to be done:

Reporter: When you look at the fakes that are coming in now, what’s your reaction?
Official: I’m amazed by it.
Reporter: This isn’t just forgery and fraud, there’s also a homeland security issue here too.
Official: That’s why I’m not going to stand idly by and allow this activity to continue without doing something about it.

When authentic-looking Chinese-made fake IDs were found in the USA in 2012, David Huff with Virginia’s Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control called them ”an affront to the very sovereignty and dignity of the states that issue them.”

A year before that In 2011, an officer from the Arizona Department of Public Safety called the Chinese-made ID cards “a national security threat”.

Still, it appears there is little the US government can do to stem the black market for counterfeit identification, said to be worth $100 million. Andrew Meehan, a policy analyst for the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, said:

Short of filing a complaint to the World Trade Organization, the request has to be made to the Chinese government.

obama fake id cardChinese netizens are proud of the country’s shanzhai culture that has produced countless counterfeit products:


The great home of counterfeits

The certification industry has finally gone international…

From out of the country, and into the world.

Even Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth that recently listed in New York, is able to openly sell fake IDs on its e-commerce website — in English, no less.

alibaba fake id identificationPhotos: China Daily, mident solutions, Alibaba screenshot, What’s on Xiamen


China’s Generation of Lonely Men Leads to Boom In Virtual Girlfriends

Posted: 09/24/2014 2:09 pm

Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix

When Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her hit the big screen, no one could have guessed how the fictional relationship between a human and an operating system could become a reality in the future. But now China’s popular e-commerce website Taobao is selling just that to lonely, young men looking for virtual companionship.

For just RMB 20 (US $3.26), you, too, can have the “girlfriend experience” through WeChat. As part of the service, you will be pampered with sweet morning wake-up calls, good night calls and be given a patient listener willing to hear all of your problems 24 hours a day, the report said. The new service is apparently all the rage in China at the moment.

A search of the term “virtual lover” into one e-commerce website generated more than 1,300 results of shops offering the service. One such shop has had 1,695 transactions since August 21, the newspaper said.

Men can choose different types of girlfriends, from a girl next door-type, diva, intellectual and even a “Lolita”. The service charges can range from RMB 20 a day to RMB 500 a month. The development of the “relationship” is categorized into three stages, namely the “knowing each other” stage, the “crazy in love” stage and the final stage in which a user can have “relationships” with, not just one, but three girls at the same time, one of the shop owners told the newspaper.

A screen grab of one of the shops on Taobao that sells the virtual girlfriend service.

The RMB 20 package means the client can chat with a girlfriend for at least 100 messages or speak with her over the phone. In the second stage, the girlfriend will send the client a photo of herself and express feelings to help give the man the illusion “he is crazily in love with the girl”, said the shop owner. However, the newspaper said the final stage service is relatively new, and nobody has purchased it yet. That’s okay though, because the third stage is the most boring in real life, too.

Once the service is completed, the girlfriend is requested to cut off contacts with clients, deleting him from her WeChat account and not to not have revealed her real name or address in order to protect privacy, the shop owner said.

To serve China’s large pool of singles, Taobao has already launched girlfriend rental services for Valentine’s Day and Spring Festival. The new virtual girlfriend service is expected to gain a huge following with a generation of people who have no time and energy for real relationships.

Photos: Warners Bros, Taobao, MIT Technology Review


The RMB 1 Billion Mecca of Fake LV Bags Busted in Guangzhou

Posted: 09/22/2014 6:34 pm
Knockoff bag handbag guangzhou counterfeit shanzhai fake luxury

Scenes from an undercover report on counterfeit handbag factories in May.

China is the undisputed king when it comes to making fake items, be they fake photos, salt, Viagra, drugs, or even policemen. But there’s one fake item China really excels at producing: fake handbags.

Police in Guangzhou have announced that they have busted the mother of all fake Louis Vuitton handbag rings worth RMB 1 billion, reported QQ News. The criminal ring utilized an official-looking website to sell counterfeit versions of LV bags to foreign consumers.

Fourteen suspects have been arrested and six factories that featured up to 27 production lines have been shut down.

The gang had 494 half-completed products, around 11,000 finished products complete with stamped LV logos in storage, and another 18,000 processed leather items.

READ: Fake Designer Bag Workshops Thrive in Guangzhou,
Protected by Officials

Earlier in May, a report detailed how one counterfeit luxury handbag factory was able to produce more than 100 fake Prada bags per day and sell over 3,000 fake bags every month to earn revenue worth several hundred million yuan a year.

The counterfeit handbag factory is comprised of a sophisticated apprentice program where workers master the ability to create one part of the fake handbag, and then teach the skill to another worker.


Photo: Guangzhou Daily 


Newspaper Blows Lid Off Fake Lamb Skewer Industry In China

Posted: 08/6/2014 4:08 pm

lamb skewers kebabs barbecue

A newspaper in China has done an extensive undercover investigation into the ubiquitous lamb skewers (or chuanr) sold on street corners in nearly every city in China.  The goal was to determine if the tender meat-on-a-stick was actually lamb, as we’re led to believe. Unsurprisingly, the paper got a clear answer: they’re nearly all fake.

The Changzhutan Report sent a reporter behind the scenes at several popular barbecue places in Lusong District in the City of Zhuzhou, Hunan Province and found a conspiracy that was as widespread as it was readily admitted.

Many Zhuzhou diners frequent the barbecue vendors that congregate in Xiajiaqiao where some 20 to 30 vendors are squeezed together, similar to what they do over in Hejiatu, another part of the city. And yet, while there’s no shortage of customers, nobody seems concerned the price for beef and lamb skewers are exactly the same, despite having very different prices when purchased as raw ingredients.

Anyone who might be concerned would just have to ask to get an answer. The undercover reporter is told straight-up what the deal is:

No one sells lamb; here we just sell beef.

The taste of beef is masked by marinating and seasoning it with lamb flavoring agents. She said it should be obvious to customers they aren’t eating lamb, as both lamb and beef skewers are on sale for the same price: 1.5 yuan each.

lamb skewers kebabs barbecue

To emphasize her point, a man barbecuing nearby said:

Any place that sells lamb skewers have altered the meat by sprinkling it with lamb seasoning and all sorts of stuff.

“All sorts of stuff” probably doesn’t leave diners with much confidence. A vendor at another barbecue stall admits:

Everything has been altered; if it hasn’t been altered and doesn’t have the taste, who will want to eat it?

A third vendor tries to be objective by saying:

(The wholesaler) told me this is lamb meat. If you were to ask me if this is really lamb meat, I couldn’t tell you.

However, she then justifies the business decision of falsifying her products to her customers by saying:

Calculate how much beef costs versus how much lamb costs.

In other words, it’s not the vendor’s fault, right? Over in Hejiatu, the proprietor of another popular barbecue place simplifies it for us even more:

Lamb skewers, beef skewers, it’s all the same: beef.

lamb skewers kebabs barbecue

The investigation also went beyond the vendors to look more closely at the wholesalers. At the Jianning Farmers’ Market in Zhuzhou, there are two cold storehouses selling meat. A representative at the Jianning Cold Warehouse said:

All lamb skewers right now are not real. There aren’t any real lamb skewers anymore.

Normally wholesalers apparently put beef into two identical bags, but one is marked lamb and the other beef. The bags marked lamb are only meant to be used as skewers and sold to the public.

lamb skewers kebabs barbecue

Over at Baoqing Cold Warehouse, the city’s other meat wholesaler, the reporter discovers bags marked either lamb skewers or beef skewers, but both have the same price at 16 yuan. However, a different 2.5 kg bag of lamb costs 160 yuan because it contains “real lamb”. That, unfortunately, won’t be used for skewers.

So should you care that your lamb is actually beef? A Baoqing Cold Warehouse staffer said it makes no difference:

At any rate, it’s all fake, but it will have (lamb flavor) just the same.

Judging by the continued crowds at barbecue stalls in China, people seem to agree with him.

lamb skewers kebabs barbecue


Photo: China News, Openrice, tupian99, 520bbq, duitang, the Nanfang


Guangdong Police Find RMB 127 Million In Counterfeit Bills

Posted: 08/1/2014 4:39 pm

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit billsEverything seems to be faked these days in China, and there might be nothing more lucrative than faking money itself.

Guangdong Public Security Bureau Deputy Director He Guangping explained that his department was responsible for seizing a grand total of 127 million yuan worth of counterfeit banknotes, reports Xinhua. The seizures were made at three different places from January to June of this year. Fifty-seven people were arrested as part of the stings.

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit bills

There is an easy way to tell if Chinese currency is counterfeit. When examining a real 100 renminbi note, the “100″ located near the banknote’s serial number will appear green when looking at it head-on. However, when looking at it at an angle, this same “100″ will change to become dark blue. If it doesn’t, somebody managed to pass you a fake bill.

fake banknotes guangdong counterfeit bills

Photos: Xinhua, People’s Daily


Fake Olive Oil Sold Around China From Unlicensed Guangzhou Factory

Posted: 07/28/2014 11:50 am

guangzhou fake olive oilThe Pearl River Delta has seen its share of “fake foods”, and now there’s another item to add to the infamous list: fake imported olive oil.

An undercover investigation by Southern Report found that the Yimaisi Trading Company of Guangzhou has been selling bottles of Finca olive oil, advertised as an ”authentic Spanish import”, by falsely substituting other kinds of oil produced in underground workshops around Guangzhou.

Informant Mr Wang gave the reporter access to the factory, where he saw labels with expiry dates that were torn off and replaced with new labels with expiry dates set far in the future. As well, other kinds of olive oil past their due dates were passed off as authentic Finca olive oil.

guangzhou fake olive oil

It turns out besides selling fake olive oil, the Yimaisi Trading Company doesn’t even have a valid operating license. Still, the company sold more than 81,500 bottles of the counterfeit product to Guangzhou, Beijing, Changsha and Chengdu.

On July 23, the Guangzhou Food and Drug Inspection Bureau and Guangzhou police raided on one of the “black workshops” that produce the fake olive oil.

guangzhou fake olive oilguangzhou fake olive oilguangzhou fake olive oilguangzhou fake olive oil


Photos: China Daily


More Poisonous Food For Sale in China: This Time It’s Bean Sprouts

Posted: 07/17/2014 10:04 am
bean sprout fake additives

Two men load a bucket of poisonous bean sprouts onto a van.

Watch out for spring rolls with bean sprout fillings! Forty workshops producing bean sprouts with banned additives were busted in Shunde, Guangdong. According to local police, the workshops were responsible for selling over 30 tons of poisonous bean sprouts to various markets in Shunde and Zhongshan.

Thirty-seven tons of fully-grown bean sprouts and 16 tons of half-grown bean sprouts were seized during a police raid on July 9, reported the Guangzhou Daily. 48 people were arrested

Poisonous bean sprouts are thicker, and have fewer roots and translucent white colour.

Some of the banned additives used include ABP or 6-benzylaminopurine. These chemicals can be used to increase the thickness of bean sprouts and help them grow, thus shortening their natural growth cycle.

Consuming additive-laced bean sprouts can cause dizziness, headaches, uraemia and even cancer, said the report said.

Most of the busted workshops are family-operated. The sprouts are grown in plastic buckets in poor conditions. The smell of ammonia is constant at the workshops, the report said.

The police said there are several methods to identify poisonous bean sprouts. Additive-laced bean sprouts exhibit a greyish-white color and are thicker than natural ones, and have relatively fewer roots. In addition, water normally leaks out when a “fake” bean spout snaps in half.


Photos: Nandu,


Chinese Guy Dresses Up As Laowai To Sneak Through Customs

Posted: 07/16/2014 5:40 pm
fake laowai foreigner

A still from the film, “Death Ray on Coral Island” (1980).

A Chinese citizen who attempted to sneak past customs by dressing up as a “laowai” was busted by police because his English was so poor, reports Sohu.

Chengdu border police officer Xiao Liu first had doubts about the suspect when he saw a discrepancy between the suspect and the suspect’s passport picture. Xiao Liu’s suspicions were confirmed when the suspect displayed an incredibly poor English ability.

When confronted, the man admitted he bought the passport. The man said he had dyed his beard and gotten a perm in order to disguise himself as a foreigner in order to sneak through customs.

Photo: Asia Obscurra

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