San Cheng bought toy guns online as props for video game design. Then the police arrived, and he was jailed under China’s strict but messy gun laws.
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When the police swarmed into San Cheng’s apartment in Beijing late at night and accused him of illegally buying guns, he was sure it was a mix-up.
True, he had bought dozens of toy guns on Taobao, the Alibaba shopping site, as props for his business designing shoot-em-up games for smartphones. But the seemingly harmless replicas were so cheap and easily purchased, Mr. Cheng said, that he thought owning them could not be a crime.
He was wrong. Mr. Cheng, 47, a Taiwanese American game designer, ended up spending three years in detention and prison. In detention, he said, he met 20 or so other men who had also been arrested in a police sweep against buying replica guns online.
China has some of the world’s toughest weapons laws, including broad definitions of what counts as an illegal gun. But Mr. Cheng’s experience shows how wildly expansive the rules can be, potentially punishing people for buying toy or replica guns that are widely available online.
“They’re China’s biggest digital retailing platform,” Mr. Cheng said, referring to Taobao, in an interview from New Jersey, where he has been recovering after his release from a Chinese prison last year. “People just don’t understand that they’re illegal, because if you go on to Taobao and search for toy guns, you’ll get so many recommendations.”
The Chinese authorities have mostly prosecuted the buyers of such items, and to a lesser extent, the sellers, according to a search of an online nationwide database of court judgments. But the online shopping platforms where these sales take place have rarely been targeted, and it is unclear how much legal responsibility companies like Alibaba have in such situations.
In Taobao’s terms of service, Alibaba warns shoppers that they are buying from third-party merchants, which means the company cannot possibly guarantee that each and every product is safe, high-quality and legal. Alibaba declined to comment.
Mr. Cheng and other campaigners have urged the authorities to turn up the pressure on China’s online shopping sites rather than jail ill-informed buyers.
China’s strong gun controls mean that fatal shootings are rare, and many citizens support the laws to keep it that way. But there has been a growing debate over the legal definition of a firearm. Experts say that China’s regulations — which ban buying, selling or owning weapons above a very low threshold of force — are vague and hard for laypeople, even judges, to understand. The result, critics say, is that unsuspecting buyers of compressed-air and spring-powered toys are turned into criminals.
China’s gun control law of 1996 states that to be legally classified as a gun, a weapon has to be capable of killing someone or knocking them unconscious. But in 2010, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security imposed far stricter rules that in effect defined many toys as illegal guns. Under the rules, a toy gun that fires a projectile with enough force to tear a sheet of newspaper — far short of lethal or dangerous force — can be considered a gun, according to lawyers.
In a study published in 2019, investigators from China’s Public Security University found that nearly all of a random sample of 229 replica guns bought online would be classified as illegal under the 2010 rules.
“These toy guns are openly sold in Hong Kong, but in the mainland they’re treated as weapons and ammunition,” said Wang Jinzhong, whose son was sentenced to life imprisonment in Hebei Province, northern China, in 2016, for owning 16 replicas that the police deemed illegal.
“Frankly, there are many things more dangerous than these toys,” said Mr. Wang, who has petitioned judges and officials for his son, Wang Yinpeng, 37, to be released. “This really is a human rights disaster for China.”
Chinese regulators have demanded over the years that Alibaba be more proactive about stopping various kinds of illegal goods from being sold on its digital bazaars. In 2015, the country’s market watchdog accused the company of turning a blind eye to sales of fake alcohol and cigarettes, knockoff designer bags and “items that endanger public safety,” such as certain knives. Alibaba called the regulator’s findings “flawed” and filed a complaint.
When it comes to objects that might count as illegal firearms, Taobao warns customers about the risks, though somewhat inconsistently. Searching for “replica gun” on the platform yields no results — only a warning message about China’s gun laws. But tweak the search term — to, say, “gun toy replica” — and Taobao displays plenty of replica handguns and rifles.
Zhou Yuzhong, a lawyer in southern China who specializes in defending people accused of buying illicit guns, said the key problem was that the definition of a gun is so technical in China that special equipment is needed to judge if a product is illegal.
“It’s very hard for sellers and consumers to see at a glance whether a gunlike object crosses the threshold,” Mr. Zhou said. That makes it just as difficult for Taobao and other e-commerce sites to police listings for illegal guns as it is for shoppers to avoid buying them.
Some Chinese police bureaus and consumer associations have offered simple advice for anyone considering purchasing toy guns online: just don’t.
Mr. Cheng, the Taiwanese American game developer, said that the other inmates and detainees he met — who included military hobbyists and parents — had also bought their replicas on the internet. “Most were dads who had bought them for their kids,” Mr. Cheng said.
Mr. Cheng said that he bought his guns in 2016 to use them as models for designing first-person shooting games. His account was supported by Paula Friedman, a poet and writing coach who befriended Mr. Cheng and his wife when they were living in the United States.
“I got no indication from him or from her that he had any interest in guns,” Ms. Friedman, who helped the couple after Mr. Cheng’s arrest, said in an interview from California. “That was never a part of their lives.”
Until a judge announced he was guilty and sentenced him, Mr. Cheng had felt confident he would be freed, he said. The court, though, accepted the police accusations, which Mr. Cheng said unfairly painted him as a “gun nut” and exaggerated the threat of his toy guns. He had never fired them, he said.
In China, lawyers, judges and even members of the legislature have pushed back against the country’s gun laws for years, arguing that they were leading to cases of unjustified imprisonment.
China’s highest court and prosecution office sought to ease the problem by issuing guidance in 2018 advising legal authorities to take into account how harmful suspected illegal guns really are, and buyers’ intentions in acquiring them.
Since that official guidance, judgments in gun cases “haven’t been as rigid as before,” said Mr. Zhou, the lawyer. Many defendants are now given suspended sentences, meaning they will not go to prison unless they reoffend, court records indicate.
Still, the authorities continue to crack down on guns and replicas, recently launching a campaign in May. And even if those found guilty are spared prison time, they must live with a criminal record and the stigma that comes with it.
Mo Zhicheng, a retired driving instructor in the southern city of Guangzhou, said he had been appealing unsuccessfully for the conviction of his son to be overturned. His son had bought six toy guns more than a decade ago, when he was a teenager.
“He wants to find work but can’t find any now,” Mr. Mo said. “When they see he has a gun possession conviction, nobody dares employ him.”
Liu Yi contributed research.
How to unlink Spotify from PS4 or PS5 – Android Authority
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Here are a few fast, easy ways to link and unlink Spotify from PS4 or PS5.
While it’s fun to listen to personalized playlists when gaming, a Spotify Premium account can only play on a maximum of three devices, which adds up fast. Additionally, if multiple people listen to music from the same account on different devices, they may experience audio interruptions. Therefore, you may need to shuffle around your linked devices and unlink your PlayStation console from time to time, especially if you’ve upgraded to a new gaming console.
Read more: Finally got a new PS5? Here are seven things to do first
From your PlayStation console, open the Spotify app and select the settings icon from the left side of the screen. Then, from the Account settings, select Log out. Presto! You’ve now unlinked your Spotify account from the PlayStation Network. More details below.
With or without a PlayStation console?
First, open the Spotify app on your PlayStation console.
Select the Settings icon from the left side of the screen. This will bring you to a new page.
From there, select Log out to unlink your Spotify account from the PlayStation Network.
That’s it! Easy-peasy, right?
To link your Spotify Account with a PS4 or PS5 again, log back into the Spotify app via your PlayStation console.
If you no longer have access to your PS4 or PS5 console, you can still unlink your Spotify account via a web browser.
First, go to the PlayStation website and log in with your PSN username and password. From there, click Services in the top left corner of the website and select entertainment for PS4 or PS5.
From there, scroll down until you find PlayStation Music. Alternatively, you can search for PlayStation Music via the search icon in the top right corner.
Click on Link my accounts. This will take you to a new page.
From here, you’ll be able to link and unlink your Spotify account from your PlayStation Network account.
Click Unlink beside your listed Spotify account, and voila, the accounts are no longer linked.
Read more: Fifteen tips to get more out of your Spotify account
Can I unlink a banned PS4 account from Spotify?
Yes. You can unlink your PSN account, banned or not, from a Spotify account via a web browser. You can do so by following the steps listed above. If you experience any problems, we recommend contacting Sony Customer Support.
Can I listen to Spotify while playing games on PS4 or PS5?
Yes, you can listen to music while playing compatible PS5 and PS4 games. However, this feature is not available on PS3.
Which countries support Spotify on PlayStation?
Visit the PlayStation Spotify region page for a complete list of countries that support the Spotify service on PlayStation. Note that available artists and tracks may vary according to location.
When did Sony partner with Spotify to create PlayStation Music?
Sony teamed up with Spotify to create PlayStation Music in February 2015, which replaced their previous Music Unlimited service.
Xbox Social Media Manager Explores Zeta Halo Using PS5 Controller – Pure Xbox
Artists Show Off Slick Concept for Xbox Series X Elite Console – GameRant
The Xbox Series X will inevitably receive an updated model, and one creator shows off their design of what it may just look like.
The Xbox Series X is the current flagship console for Microsoft, and one of the most powerful consoles ever made. Like previous generations, the Xbox Series X is bound to receive a sleeker new model, perhaps even with upgraded specs, and one content creator has shared what they think it may look like.
When Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X in 2019, its design was attention grabbing, and some might say for the wrong reasons. There is nothing outwardly strange or offensive about the design, but its size, shape, and color immediately saw comparisons between the Xbox Series X and refrigerators. Micosoft saw this as a great marketing opportunity, however, releasing an offical Xbox Series X mini-fridge that has quickly sold out practically everywhere. With the last generation of consoles, Microsoft released the Xbox One S and Xbox One X towards the end of the Xbox One's lifecycle.
A YouTuber by the name of Concept Creator has designed a mock-up of what the next Xbox Series X console variant may look like. Originally covered by Ilse Jurrien of LetsGoDigital, graphic designer Jermaine Smit of Concept Creator trims away the fat of the original Xbox Series X design, making it much more slender, sleeker, and recognizable, thanks to some key implementations. Size-wise, the Xbox Series X Elite, as Jurrien is calling it, evokes the jump from the Xbox One to the Xbox One X but to a much higher degree, with the Elite nearly shrinking the original Series X in half. The most eye-catching change of the Elite is the sharp, raised cross-piece that cuts across the top and front of the console, with LEDs that glow Xbox green on both sides.
Despite the additions, many of the key Xbox Series X design features are retained in the Elite's mock-up. On the left side of the console is the disc-tray, power button, and four USB ports that appear smoothly chiseled out of the console's body. Likewise, the signature venting that appears on the top of the original Xbox Series X returns on the right portions of the Elite, providing a nice blend of textures that dissuade easy comparisons to DVR boxes. Concept Creator's Xbox Series X Elite design also has a white variant, channeling the design of the Xbox Series S, the original console's little sister.
As it stands, not much (if anything) is known about the next iteration of the Xbox Series X. Microsoft's next family of consoles have been out for over a year, and while the Xbox Series S sold very well during Black Friday this year, still not everyone who desires one of these systems has been able to get one yet. With that in mind, while it is fun to think about the future of these systems and what they may look like, Microsoft's priority should still be in making its current lineup more available. Unless the Xbox Series X Elite magically doesn't require microchips, it will likely fall into the same issues as the current console lineup.
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Recent graduate just trying to start conversations about video games. Can often be caught playing Halo when he really should be working on his backlog.
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