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131 hanging coffins found in China

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Beijing: A total of 131 hanging coffins were discovered in China’s Hubei province, a media report of the People’s Daily said on Tuesday.

The coffins were found on a cliff that was 50 metres wide and 100 metres high in Moping township of Zigui county, the daily reported.

It is one of the biggest hanging coffin tomb sites to be found so far in China. The wooden coffins were placed in man-made caves or natural rock tunnels on the cliff.

According to archaeologists, these hanging coffin tombs can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty of 1,200 years ago, and the tomb owners were Bo people, an ancient aboriginal tribe in southwest China.

Zhao Chenggang, deputy head of Moping township, said the local government has listed the hanging coffin tombs as a cultural site under special protection. The tombs are now well protected and the surrounding area will be cleaned up.

Hanging coffins are an ancient funeral custom of some southern ethnic groups. Coffins of various shapes were mostly carved from one whole piece of wood. Hanging coffins often lie on beams projected outward from vertical cliff faces, are placed in cave openings, or sit on natural rock projections on mountain faces.

However, the hanging coffin tomb is still a mystery. Experts have not figured out how ancient people managed to transport the coffin, body and funeral objects to the cliff caves. (IANS)

 

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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)

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