New rules and services take effect this month, group tours via WeChat banned

A series of new rules and services that are closely related to people's livelihood officially go into effect this month. Here are some of them.

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WeChat Pay available for booking bullet train tickets

China Railway Corp. will begin offering WeChat Pay service for people who buy train tickets at ticket offices, ATM self-service ticket machines or online, which will diversify the payment options for train travelers. The company also has eliminated the off-site ticket service fee and now offers such services as bullet train seat selection and seamless transfer to people who book tickets online.

Previously, an off-site ticket fee was charged if a ticket was purchased at a station other than the departing station. For example, if a train ticket from Beijing to Shanghai was bought at the Guangzhou Railway Station, a service fee of five yuan was charged. But beginning this month, that service fee will be canceled.

Group tours via WeChat banned

Individuals and groups without business licenses for travel are not allowed to engage in travel business through social platforms, including WeChat, Weibo, blogs, forums and various kind of associations and clubs, according to the new rules of Travel Regulations of Guangdong Province, released on July 27 and adopted from this month, so as to upgrade the tourism industry and protect tourists and tour operators.

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Cancelation of trains from GZ to Guiyang

Beginning on November 2, some bullet trains from Guangzhou to Guiyang will be out of service. The time of their resumption has yet to be decided.

The trains are G2926/7, G2932/3, D2806, D2852, D2858, D2814, D2816, D2848, D2850, D2854, D2856, G2922/3, D2828, D2832, D2842, and G6238.

Individuals allowed to deposit and use housing provident funds

Beginning this month, individuals between 16 years old and the statutory retirement age are allowed to deposit and withdraw housing provident funds of their own accord, according to the Guangzhou Housing Provident Fund Management Committee. The new rule pertains to those who are freelance workers; self-employed; Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents who are employed in Guangzhou; and foreigners who have Chinese green cards. People who are between jobs also can deposit the funds themselves.

The housing provident fund is a housing savings program for low-interest loans, rents and renovations. Under previous regulations, residents, together with their employers, paid a portion of their incomes into the fund.

Free medical check-ups for the elderly

Permanent residents over 65 can enjoy an annual free medical check-up and also have electronic medical records, according to a regulation that went into effect on November 1.

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Unused bank cards to be frozen

Chinese financial institutions — including Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Merchants Bank — are going to freeze bank cards that have been out of use for over nine months and have a balance of zero.

The number of bank cards issued by China's financial institutions reached 5.66 billion at the end of last year, putting the average bank card ownership at 4.16. Over 2.1 billion of these bank cards are unused. Freezing them is intended to upgrade the security of the bank system and keep customers' accounts safe.

Source: Life of Guangzhou

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