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WORLD NEWS AS REPORTED III

Man nabbed for abandoning bodies of 2 Chinese nationals in Japan

CHINA DAILY - 2 hours 28 min ago
TOKYO - A Japanese man in his 30s was arrested Friday on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of two Chinese nationals close to Tokyo, local police said. Two bodies were found stuffed inside suitcases abandoned in a mountainous forest near Tokyo on July 13. The bodies were later confirmed to be those of a pair of Chinese sisters living in Yokohama who went missing earlier in the month. Police has suspected the involvement of a man in his 30s based on footage obtained from surveillance cameras near the condominium where the two women lived. The Chinese embassy here has launched an emergency mechanism and met with Japanese police, requesting a full scale search since the women were reported missing. The embassy said it will continue to closely follow the development of the case and provide assistance for the relatives.

Six Chinese nurses awarded with Florence Nightingale Medal

CHINA DAILY - 2 hours 35 min ago

Six nurses from China received the Florence Nightingale Medal awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday. A total of 39 nurses from 22 countries won the award this year.

(From left to right) You Jianping, Yin Yanling, Yang Huiyun, Yang Hui, Li Xiuhua and Yang Li pose for group photos after being awarded with Florence Nightingale Medal. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn] 

The Chinese winners are Li Xiuhua from Beijing, Yang Hui from Shanxi, Yang Huiyun from Shaanxi, Yin Yanling from Jilin, Yang Li from the PLA General Hospital and You Jianping from the First Affiliated Hospital of Third Military Medical University.

The six have made contributions in different fields during their nursing careers including nursing education, infectious diseases and legislative progress for nurses' right.

Vice-President Li Yuanchao presented the medals to the six nurses.

President of the Red Cross Society of China Chen Zhu spoke at the ceremony, calling on healthcare workers and Red Cross staff to follow the example of the winners and continue promoting progress in healthcare.

 

US bans travel to North Korea by all Americans after case of student jailed and who later dies

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 3 hours 43 min ago
The US government will ban Americans from travelling to North Korea due to “the serious risk of arrest” after a US student was jailed while on a tour and later died, the State Department said on Friday. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson authorized a “Geographical Travel Restriction” on all Americans’ use of a passport to the country, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and...

Taobao wins landmark ruling

CHINA DAILY - 4 hours 49 min ago

The Shanghai People's Court of Fengxian District on July 20 ordered an online pet food shop to pay 120,000 yuan ($17,700) in compensation to Taobao after it was found guilty of selling fake Royal Canin cat food on the e-commerce platform. 

The Shanghai People's Court of Fengxian District orders an online pet food shop to pay 120,000 yuan ($17,700) in compensation to Taobao after it was found guilty of selling fake Royal Canin cat food on the e-commerce platform on July 20. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn] 

The ruling is the first of its kind in China.  

The court ruled that the shop damaged the reputation of Taobao and demanded that the defendant, a man surnamed Yao, to pay the compensation within 10 days. 

Zheng Junfang, chief administrative officer of Alibaba, the parent company of Taobao, said that the company would continue assisting law enforcement agencies in weeding out counterfeit products on the e-commerce platform.

Established in 2003, Taobao has more than 500 million registered users and over 60 million visitors each day.

According to the court, Yao started to sell pet food on Taobao in 2015. The online platform and Mars, the multinational company which owns Royal Canin and a number of other pet food brands, later suspected that the cat food sold by Yao might be fake. Their suspicions were later confirmed by lab tests. 

On Oct 12, 2016, Yao was arrested by the police and the lawsuit was filed.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, said before that his company loses five customers for each fake product that is sold on its online shopping platforms. Alibaba spends 1 billion yuan each year to run a special team of 2,000 people who work to eliminate fake goods from Taobao and Tmall. A total of 880 suspects were caught in 2016. 

In addition to the current lawsuit, Taobao has taken another two online shops to court for selling fake Wuliangye, a well-known Chinese white liquor, and counterfeit Swarovski wrist watches. 

The two cases were being heard in Shanghai and Shenzhen, Guangdong province, respectively. 

He Qi in Shanghai contributed to this story.

Sustainable infrastructure a problem in urbanization program

CHINA DAILY - 4 hours 49 min ago

New towns need to be created with infrastructural plans in place for the future, a senior official with the nation's top economic regulator said on Friday.

"Local governments need to have long-term sustainable plans improving infrastructure in step with an expanding population," Xu Lin, director of the development planning division of the National Development and Reform Commission, said during the international forum on sustainable urban development.

"The problem is many local governments' plans to build new towns with sole aim to get special construction funds," he said.

Xu was referring to China's urbanization program for building new towns with distinctive features, which are usually themed around a single industry such as high-end manufacturing or tourism.

Local governments are able to get financial and policy support once their plans are approved by the top authorities.

China plans to build 1,000 new towns by the end of 2020, but the central government has received twice the number of proposals from local governments than expected, according to Qiu Baoxing, former vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Xu suggests the local governments figure out how to feed the development needs of major city clusters where a large number of urban residents are expected to live.

The National Development and Reform Commission will finish compiling plans on the development of five interregional city clusters by the end of 2017.

China is expected to form 20 major city clusters by the end of 2020, according to the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20).

Echoing his remarks, Li Tie, head of the NDRC's China Center for Urban Development, said the market should play a key role when building new towns.

He said the public and private partnership model should be promoted, because the profit-driven private sector will help improve efficiency and make sure that the new towns will not be damaged by heavy handed government intervention.

United Nations calls for risk attention

CHINA DAILY - 4 hours 49 min ago

China needs to pay high attention to fend off financial risks while promoting urbanization, according to a senior official with the United Nations.

Joan Clos, undersecretary-general of the United Nations, made the remark on Friday while at a panel discussion alongside the international forum on sustainable urban development, and said "China needs to find out sustainable financing plans to support long-term development while promoting urbanization."

"Mass urban sprawl inevitably involves real estate construction and land sales," he said.

"That may accumulate financial risks at the time when China has an overheated housing market."

Clos added the good news was that the central government also elevated the importance of fending off financial risks.

He said he suggested risk management should be added when evaluating the achievement of promoting urbanization of local governments.

The percentage of the population living in urban areas was at 57 percent by the end of 2016, and had a target rate of 60 percent by 2020, according to the 13th five-year plan(2016-20).

Beach goers impressed by sand sculptures

CHINA DAILY - 5 hours 39 min ago

Visitors take photos with the sand sculptures. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

Twenty sculptures made of sand have become a tourist magnet at the Dalian Golden Pebble Beach National Resort in Northeast China's Liaoning province.

It took a team of sand sculptors about one month to mould the sand into characters and scenes from myths, legends, literature, movies and cartoons .

As a beautiful coastal city, Dalian is a favorite vacation spot for tourists from home and abroad.

A sand sculpture featuring Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

Some sculptors drew inspiration from myths. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

A sand sculpture featuring dinosaurs. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

A sand sculpture of Toy Story characters. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

A Pirates of the Caribbean-themed sand sculpture. [Photo by Mu Xuezhi/chinadaily.com.cn]

Panda mother takes care of twin babies

CHINA DAILY - 5 hours 47 min ago

Ni Ni, a nine-year-old panda in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province, holds the two newborn cubs. [Photo by Huang Xiangming/fo chinadaily.com.cn]

Ni Ni, a nine-year-old panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province, gave birth to pigeon pair cubs at 5:48am and 6:33am on Thursday.

Unlike most panda mothers, where abandonment of one of two newborns occurs quite frequently and the mother ends up only taking care of one, Ni Ni has proven to hold both babies and feed them at the same time.

The first cub was born male and weighed 203 grams, and the second cub arrived female and weighed 91 grams. While there was a difference in weight, both cubs were considered healthy, according to base information officer Chen Cheng.

The mother panda, Ni Ni, and her brother, Ying Ying, were born on August 22, 2008, and were delivered weighing 202 grams and 206 grams respectively.

"It is rare for both panda from a pigeon pair to weigh more than 200 grams at birth," Chen said.

 

Ni Ni and her two newborn cubs. [Photo by Huang Xiangming/fo chinadaily.com.cn]

Asia in 3 minutes: ‘Despacito’ loses to prudes in Malaysia, ‘Lipstick Under My Burka’ wins in India

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 7 hours 38 min ago
Malaysia bans world’s most popular song as it’s ‘not suitable’ for Islam Malaysia has stopped playing the sexually charged song Despacito on public radio, a senior minister said after critics labelled it un-Islamic. Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said his ministry received numerous complaints about the steamy lyrics of the song that has won international popularity. Ruling party official Atriza Umar told The Star newspaper: “I regret that...

Golden path to success: Inner Mongolia 70th anniversary

CHINA DAILY - 8 hours 2 min ago

Due to the exclusive landscape, and geographic environment, horses have been playing an irreplaceable role in Mongols’ daily lives. [Photo/VCG]

Inner Mongolia, the first autonomous region established in China in 1947, is stepping into its 70th birthday this year.

These 70 years might seem harmonious; however, myriad innovations have been made.

Now, let us rewind the time and magnify the great leap manufactured in this unique region.

Inner Mongolia autonomous region is an inland plateau located in the northern part of China.

Due to the exclusive landscape, and geographic environment, horses have been playing an irreplaceable role in Mongols’ daily lives.

As the sayings: “A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings.” Horses serve as the riding tools for nomads, as well as racing horses on this piece of grassland paradise.

However, after the establishment in 1947, the nomadic way of living in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region crumbles gradually.

With the abundant supply of natural resources and enormous back up from the country, Inner Mongolia autonomous region has started to reform from a retrogress rural region into a developed autonomous region.

First of all, herders can now be able to raise animals in a more sustainable way, so as to protect grasslands. As a result, many herders settled down and live a stable life.

Inner Mongolia autonomous region is then developed into an extensive production base of coal with the second highest coal reserve of China. [Photo/VCG]

Inner Mongolia autonomous region has a rich supply of resources like urban minerals, cashmere and natural gas.

With the rapid economic growth of China, the exploitation and utilization of natural resources are enhanced.

Correspondingly, Inner Mongolia autonomous region is then developed into an extensive production base of coal with the second highest coal reserve of China.

Thus, the economic gross of the region boosted up from 537 million yuan ($79.40 million) to 1.86 trillion yuan over the past few decades, and the GDP per capita has even reached $10,000. This economic expansion well leaded the region to the peak of the country.

Aside from the economic development made, the region also implies effort on cultural aspects. As a major cradle of the Chinese civilization, Inner Mongolia autonomous region consists of a variety of different ethic groups.

Appealing Mongolian-style dance [Photo/VCG]

There was often discrimination among them in the past.

Therefore, China established policies, systems and laws featuring on the equality, regional ethic autonomy, unity and prosperity, in the aim in protecting all ethic groups.

Standing at the peak of China’s development, the 70 years of Inner Mongolia’s reformation can definitely prove the effectiveness under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

With the continuous respect to the culture and adherence to the law, bright and prosperous future of Inner Mongolia can already be foreseen.

 

Lily Lei contributed to this story.

Big data reveal hottest cities in China

CHINA DAILY - 8 hours 2 min ago

A huge thermometer shows ground surface temperature amounting to 88 degrees Celsius in a scenic area in Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, July 9, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Turpan, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Haikou and Chongqing were China's hottest cities, according to data collected across the country in the past five and a half years.

Turpan in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is known as China's "heat pole". Six hundred and sixteen days in Turpan, hit 35 degrees Celsius or above during the past 2,006 days from Jan 1, 2012, to June 30 this year.

Fuzhou in Southeast China's Fujian province recorded 213 days' temperature of 35 degrees Celsius or above during the counting period. East China's Hangzhou and South China's Haikou both saw 206 days of 35-plus, or yellow alert of high temperature, followed by Southwest's Chongqing, at 182 days.

The data was added up by Sohu.com based on more than 70,000 pieces of figures from Weather.com.cn, the country's weather forecast portal. The calculation covered a total of 35 Chinese cities including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Turpan also reported 513 days of 37 degrees Celsius or above, followed by Chongqing at 98 days. As for 40 degrees Celsius or above, the highest red alert of temperature, Turpan had 267 days, with the second Hangzhou at 11 days.

On the contrary, Northeast China's Changchun and Hohhot, Southwest's Kunming and Lhasa, and Northwest's Xining posted none days of 35 degrees Celsius or more during the calculated five and a half years.

People use various possible ways to screen the sun in Haikou, Hainan province, June 5, 2017. Some areas in the province got a temperature of up to 37 degrees Celsius on the day. [Photo/VCG]

A staff member puts ice cubes by the side of a giant panda for it to cool off in a zoo in Chongqing, July 18, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

An alpaca cools off with a shower under the scorching sun at a zoo in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on July 13. A heat wave is sweeping across China with temperatures in many areas exceeding 35 degrees Celsius on Thursday. [Photo by Xu Kangping/ chinadaily.com.cn]

A rider goes on the road with all body parts covered to screen the sun in Fuzhou, Fujian province, July 20, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Shop blast leaves 2 dead, 55 injured in East China

CHINA DAILY - 8 hours 3 min ago

HANGZHOU -- Two people have been confirmed dead and 55 others were injured after a blast occurred in a shop near West Lake in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, on Friday morning, according to sources with local authorities.

The shop owner has been taken into police custody.

Among the injured, 12 people sustained severe injuries.

The blast happened at around 8:40 a.m. Billowing flames and strong heat shattered the glass of passing vehicles, including a bus, causing most of the injuries.

The fire has been put out, and all the injured have been sent for treatment in hospitals, according to the city's fire department. The provincial blood center has called on residents to donate blood.

Che Jun, the provincial Communist Party chief, demanded all-out efforts to treat the injured. He said a thorough investigation should be conducted into the cause of the blast, and that extensive checking is needed to rule out potential hazards that undermine public safety.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

The shop is located in the West Lake District, a well-known scenic area. The lake was used as the backdrop of a performance directed by Zhang Yimou as part of the G20 summit last year.

 

Camp bridges cultural divide

CHINA DAILY - 8 hours 10 min ago

Hungarian boy Fekete Marcell Zoltan is visiting China for the fifth time thanks to a youth summer camp which focuses on giving young people an authentic taste of Chinese culture.

Held by the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), the annual summer camp, named You and Me, in Beijing, provides an interactive platform combining courses and entertainment.

The summer camp started almost a decade ago since launched in 2008 and is sponsored by Hanban, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education, with the cooperation of local universities, organizations and institutes around the world.

Until now, it has attracted thousands of young people from across 22 cities in 17 countries during the past ten years.

"It happens to me every time I come to China, and brings me a totally different experience," Fekete Marcell Zoltan, a 15-year-old boy who studied Chinese for more than eight years before the 10-day trip, said.

He said he'd like to know more about China, how it is changing, and how China is changing the world.

"I don't want to skip any chance to get a deeper inside look at Chinese culture,"he added.

Seeing as Fekete has passed the Level 5 of the HSK Chinese Language Test for foreign learners, he can hold a conversation in Chinese without any language obstacles.

"I'll prepare to complete the highest level now, and if I had the chance, I want to stay in Beijing or Shanghai for further study," Fekete said hopefully.

Polish teacher Ogarek Marta Barbara learns traditional Chinese folk arts with a Chinese master in the cultural corner activity held by BFSU on July 20. [Photo/Song Jingyi]

As a part of the trip, Fekete will stay with a Chinese family in Beijing on this Saturday.

"Compared with studying Chinese in foreign countries, international students can learn a great deal when they spend time with Chinese people immersing in surrounding Chinese culture,"Ogarek Marta Barbara, a teacher accompanying the Polish students on the program, said.

Ogarek now works for the Confucius Institute in Krakow, the second largest city in Poland.

"The institute organizes Polish students to visit China every summer," she said in fluent Chinese.

A total of 17 Polish students participate in the program, with most visiting China for the first time.

"Something happened which makes students excited and surprised during the trip, they ask me a heap of questions every day," Ogarek noted.

"They didn't know much about China except Chinese food and kungfu. Through the well-scheduled trip, they will obtain a more vivid view of life in China than the internet gives them,"she said.

The summer camp program includes visiting places of interest, art appreciation and viewing folk customs, as well as attending the cultural corner and specially-prepared group activities without borders.

About 120 students from seven countries, who are either registered students at Confucius Institutes or students of primary and secondary school courses of Confucius Institutes attend the BFSU summer camp this year.

Hungarian boy Fekete Marcell Zoltan paints a panda in a Chinese painting lesson in BFSU on July 20. [Photo/Song Jingyi]

In a painting class on Monday, Adam Chimielecki drew a picture of a Chinese Panda.

Before coming to Beijing for summer camp, 18-year-old Adam has studied Chinese for two years, and said he had never tried to craft a Chinese painting.

Li He, an art teacher at the summer camp, said he designed lessons in accordance with an easy-to-difficult schedule.

"It's not easy to international students to grasp the essentials of wash painting in the limited period of time, from careful control of ink tone, unrestrained brushwork, and no unessential brush strokes," he said.

However, Li add students learnt the techniques well and their panda works are always beyond his expectations.

"By practicing more, the students learn faster," he said.

Adam said he has been crazy at reading Chinese masterpiece Art of War since he was a little boy.

He added he was also fascinated with Chinese traditional medicine under the influence of his father and fond of Chinese point of view of the world.

"Chinese people like to play tai chi or martial arts. They are pleasant, positive and polite," he said.

The summer camp is also an incredible experience to make more friends similar in age.

During the cultural corner activity, students from different countries share the most characteristic clothes, food and games with their global peers.

"They gather, talk with each other and listen to music," Margot Bremner, a teacher accompanying students from London for the third time, said.

"They get the freedom to meet more new friends without nationalities."

Just four days after this summer camp begins, another summer camp targeted on Confucius institutes from central and eastern European countries will have an opening ceremony at the BFSU campus.

"BFSU is one of the few major universities in the country that have the resources to teach less commonly taught languages, so it can help set up Confucius Institute in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Bulagria, Italy and so on," Zhu Qi, who works at BFSU Confucius Institute and in charge of the summer camp programs, said.

Bulgarian students exhibit some local food and items to audiences in the cultural corner activity held by BFSU on July 20. [Photo/Song Jingyi]

 

Students from London Confuious Lnititute learn how to make dumplings in the experiencing activity held by BFSU on July 20. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Philippines’ Duterte says will never visit ‘lousy’ United States despite Trump invite

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 8 hours 45 min ago
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit back on Friday at US lawmakers opposed to the prospect of his visiting the White House, saying he would never go to the United States, which he called a “lousy” country. Duterte was responding to remarks by Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, who told a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that he would protest against such a visit if US President Donald Trump followed through on an invitation to the firebrand Philippine...

Lin Fengmian's works on display in Inner Mongolia

CHINA DAILY - 8 hours 54 min ago

A painting featuring young Lin Fengmian (right) and his teacher was showcased at the exhibition, Baotou, Inner Mongolia, July 8, 2017. [Photo/namoc.org]

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, an exhibition featuring veteran artist Lin Fengmian’s art life was recently held in Baotou, Inner Mongolia.

Nineteen photos and portraits of Lin are being showcased along with 34 pieces of art by other painters.

Born into a poor farmer's family in Guangdong in 1900, Lin was the first president of the Chinese Academy of Art. He dedicated his whole life to art education and painting, and developed artwork with an unique style. The artist insisted on promoting new forms of art in China based on traditional Chinese culture, rather than simply replicating Western art.

Lin died in Hong Kong in 1991, at the age of 92.

Running until July 30, the exhibition aims to promote cultural exchanges between Inner Mongolia and Southern China.

A statue of Lin Fengmian and Qi Baishi(right). [Photo/namoc.org]

A painting featuring Lin Fengmian in France was showcased at the exhibition, Baotou, Inner Mongolia, July 8, 2017. [Photo/namoc.org]

Is China turning up heat on India through Pakistan flank amid Doklam standoff?

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 9 hours 38 min ago
While Chinese and Indian troops face off near Bhutan, skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani forces along the disputed border in Kashmir have spiralled dangerously since May, threatening India with hostilities on two flanks. But even though the Pakistani army would like to leverage the Doklam standoff to settle its old scores with India, China has so far been reluctant to pile pressure on the Kashmir front through Pakistan. Despite the Chinese state media’s calls for the government to...

Food shortage fears as North Korea endures worst drought in 15 years: UN

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 11 hours 7 min ago
North Korea is facing severe food shortages after being hit by its worst drought in more than 15 years, the UN said, calling for urgent food imports to stop children going hungry. A severe lack of rainfall over the first half of this year has badly damaged vital harvests in a country where malnutrition is already widespread, a report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. Seasonal rainfall has dropped below 2001 levels and could cause “a sharp deterioration in...

Shanghai stocks drop after a three-day rebound

SHANGHAI DAILY - 11 hours 17 min ago
SHANGHAI stocks dropped today as investors took profit in blue chips such as banks and securities. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.21 percent to 3,237.98 points after a three-day rebound. Investors remain wary as several high-tech giants reported losses for their mid-year performance while the central government reiterated tightening regulations to dampen speculation, reported Sinolink Securities Co. The share drops were led by banks and securities. The banking sector shrank 1.31 percent in the mainland market following an eight-day growth. Securities fell 0.98 percent after it jumped 6.08 percent on Wednesday, its biggest daily increase since the year beginning. Wuxi Rural Commercial Bank Co lost 2.92 percent to 11.29 yuan (US$1.67), while Zheshang Securities Co declined 2.75 percent to 16.24 yuan. Over the whole week however the benchmark index gained 0.48 percent, notching a five-week increase. Industrial sectors such as coal and steel bolstered the stock market following news that China has cut steel overcapacity ahead of schedule and most coal plants made profits after the supply cut. China’s continuous industrial upgrading and supply control would help attract funds in these sectors to boost economy in the following days, Industrial Securities Co said in a note.

Chery Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant to make engines locally

SHANGHAI DAILY - 11 hours 19 min ago
CHERY Jaguar Land Rover opened its new engine plant in Changshu, Jiangsu Province today, as the company aims to localize production of its vehicle engines and better adapt to the Chinese market.  “This is Jaguar Land Rover’s first new engine plant outside the UK,” said Murray Dietsch, president of Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Co Ltd. “The new engine plant will apply cutting edge technologies and produce the vehicle engines, which are in par with the technologies in UK.” China is now the largest market for Jaguar Land Rover and the new engines produced here will be used in its locally-produced models to better serve China's market. Chery Jaguar Land Rover engine plant covers an area of 51,000 square meters with an initial production capability of 130,000 engines per year. The engine plant consists of core function areas including an automated and flexible production line, machining hall, assembly hall, quality area, logistics area and office space for 149 staff members. The company expect the new plant can help it upgrade from making whole vehicles only to producing key components of the vehicle. The new plant is to apply intelligent manufacturing which contributes to China’s “Made in China 2025” Plan. Established in 2012, Chery Land Rover Automobile Co Ltd is a joint venture formed between Chinese auto maker Chery Automobile Co Ltd and UK car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover. 

Alxa League: A shining pearl in Northwest China

CHINA DAILY - 11 hours 22 min ago

The Badain Jaran Desert [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Alxa League, or Alashan in Chinese, is located at the western part of Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The league is the least populated region of Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Featuring an immense area and a sparse population, Alxa League boasts fantastic natural scenery without too much development.

You can experience totally different views here depending on the season.

Reputed as the “hometown of the camel”, the league has an abundant amount of two-humped camels and Cashmere goats.

The mysterious land is also a tourist paradise, attracting visitors with its brilliant ethnic culture, unique desert landscape and plentiful historical relics.

For tourists who are willing to go more out of their way, the Badain Jaran Desert is definitely a popular tourist attraction. Based on weather patterns, temperature and sight-seeing possibilities, the best time to visit is between June and October. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Measuring over 49,000 square kilometers, the Badain Jaran Desert covers a significant portion of the south-central part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region as well as the northern part of Gansu province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A line of swans swim across the river with the endless desert in the distance. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

One of the three largest poplar forests in the world with mesmerizing autumn scenes sought after by numerous tourists and photographers. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Located in Ejina Banner of Alxa League, the natural poplar forest, covering an area of 450,000 mu, or 30, 000 hectares, is one of the only three of its kind existing in the world today and is designated as a state-level natural protection district and forest park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

An aerial view of the Diversiform-Leaved Poplar Sightseeing District. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A herd of horses graze on the grasslands in the Alxa League. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Flocks of sheep graze on the red grasslands, with clouds hanging over the mountain in the distance. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Thousands of camels run in the Tengger Desert. The district is an exemplary spot for agriculture tourism and has four square kilometers of wetlands, featuring green grass, clean air and natural scenery, with main tourist attractions including carting, watching migratory birds, fishing, camel-riding in the desert, sand skating. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Several camels wander along the desert in the heavy snow. Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Heicheng Ruins Tourism District. Located in Ejina Banner of Alxa League, as an important part of Juyan culture covering a total area of 180,000 square meters, the district has the most complete and remaining ancient city ruins left over from Xixia country (1038-1227). It’s a famous scenic tourism spot with many unearthed cultural relics. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Guangzong Monastery, also called South Temple, is one of the most important lama shrines in Inner Mongolia, a place where the legendary Sixth Dalai Lama died. The monastery is 23 kilometers southwest of Bayanhaote Town (Bayanhot), and 70 kilometers from Yinchuan. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

An ancient tower stands along a mountain with heavy snow covering the massive desert. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Two killed, 55 hurt in gas explosion at Hangzhou restaurant

CHINA DAILY - 11 hours 33 min ago

The explosion occured at a restaurant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on July 21, 2017.[Official Sina Weibo account of CCTV News]

At least two people were killed and 55 others injured in a gas explosion at a restaurant in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Friday morning, according to the local government.

A witness said the explosion shook the nearby buildings, sounded like a bomb.

The injured had been rushed to the hospital. The fire has been under control.

The explosion occured at a restaurant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on July 21, 2017.[Official Sina Weibo account of CCTV News]

Tour operators say US plans to ban citizens from travelling to North Korea

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 12 hours 3 min ago
Two tourist agencies that operate tours to North Korea said on Friday that the US government would soon ban its citizens from travelling to the country. Koryo Tours said the ban would be announced on July 27 and would go into effect 30 days later. It did not say how long the ban would last. North Korea denies torturing Otto Warmbier and accuses US of ‘smear campaign’ Another tour operator, Young Pioneer Tours, said in a Twitter message that it had also been informed of the ban,...

Female councillors demand Miyagi governor scrap ‘suggestive’ tourism video

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 12 hours 32 min ago
Seven female members of the Miyagi prefectural assembly on Friday asked the governor of the northeastern Japan prefecture to remove a tourism promotion video it is using on the internet, claiming it portrays women as sex objects. The video, featuring a well-known model and actress in a kimono, showcases attractions and tourist spots in the prefecture but also contains some sexually suggestive scenes, including one in which the camera zooms in on her parting lips. The video uploaded on YouTube...

Tibet strives to make culture its pillar industry by 2020

CHINA DAILY - 12 hours 33 min ago

Tibet autonomous region has decided to make culture one of the region's pillar industries by the end of 2020, according to a press release of the region's cultural department on Thursday.

Tibet is enriched with various cultures, including traditional crafts such as thangka painting, Tibetan incense, Tibetan paper production, weaving, sculpture, carving and metal forging.

As one of the region's recent actions on culture preservation and development, the regional government issued a culture development plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) two months ago.

The preparations for the plan began in 2014 with support of the Ministry of Culture.

Zhou Hongyang, the deputy head of the Tibet Culture Department, said, "In the future, we will push the work of traditional cultural crafts with more opened mind and more pragmatic measures."

Zhou said the region will work on three key measures. First of which is respecting the dominant status of the tradition and culture inheritors, and carrying out activities of traditional crafts in daily life.

"The second is to formulate an implementation plan about the traditional cultural revitalization. The measures need to be detailed so as to make all levels of units to perform the work," said Zhou Hongyang.

Norbu Tsering, the director of the Culture Industry Office of Tibet Culture Department, said the region has added culture in the region's planning outline of social development and national economy throughout the next five years.

"Boosting cultural industry and striving to turn culture industry as one the region's national economic pillar industry by 2020," Norbu Tsering said.

"The region will improve the systems of Tibetan unique culture industry, modern cultural market."

More than one in two single women want property with marriage

CHINA DAILY - 12 hours 38 min ago

An independent apartment has become one of the preconditions for marriage, with about 57 percent of single women saying it's a requirement, according to a survey jointly conducted by dating website Jiayuan.com and China's biggest real estate broker Lianjia.

That's 16 percentage points higher than the number of single men who hold the same view, according to the survey.

For women who are the only child of their family, the figure jumped to 68 percent.

Some 69 percent of single women said their ideal husband-to-be would own an apartment prior to marriage, while only about 10 percent said they would be willing to live in a rental flat after getting married, an option unacceptable to more than half the female participants in the survey due to a perceived lack of security.

Single women tended to marry men who had property, and 14 percent of them said they would also require their future husbands to write their names on the property ownership certificate.

Some 48 percent of single women agreed it was acceptable for a newly married couple to live in a flat provided by the wife, compared with a figure of 18 percent among male respondents, many of whom said they did not want to feel dependent on their partner.

According to the survey, some 67 percent of couples broke up because they could not afford an apartment in Zhenzhou, the capital of Henan province, followed by Shanghai, with 64 percent, and Tianjin, with 63 percent.

More than half of the singles surveyed hoped they could have a three-bedroom apartment of 90-120 square meters as a wedding flat, but smaller flats with areas between 60-90 square meters were their actual selection because of housing prices, according to Lianjia.

Zhang Jiarui, an expert with Jiayuan.com, said similar values, emotional attraction and harmonious personalities should be more important factors for a marriage.

Underwater robot probe continues inside Fukushima plant's reactor

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 12 hours 40 min ago
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Friday conducted its second probe in the space of a week on one of three damaged reactors using an underwater robot. The probe to examine the condition of melted fuel inside unit three follows the first on Wednesday inside the reactor’s containment vessel, which houses a damaged pressure vessel and partially filled with contaminated water. The condition of fuel debris inside the damaged reactors remains unknown, even...

Kicking and sailing: Children learn new skills

CHINA DAILY - 13 hours 15 min ago

Kids learn traditional Chinese medicine under a teacher's guidance in Hengshui city, North China's Hebei province, July 19, 2017. The Sunjing School of Hengshui holds "Summer Camp of Traditional National Culture" during summer vacation. Kids learn traditional Chinese culture and enrich their vacation time with activities like wearing Han Chinese clothing and learning traditional etiquette. [Photo/Xinhua]

Two children practice swimming skills in Wuzhi county, Central China's Henan province, July 19, 2017. During summer vacation, children in China often take part in a range of fun and life-improving activities, such as sports, or arts classes, such as these dance classes in Wuzhi county in central China's Henan Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Children play soccer in Wuzhi county, Central China's Henan province, July 19, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Kids learn traditional calligraphy under a teacher's guidance in Hengshui city, North China's Hebei province, July 19, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

A girl practices acrobatics in a park in Suining city, Southwest China's Sichuan province, July 17, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

The teacher helps a child learn about the knowledge of abacus in Hengshui city, North China's Hebei province, July 19, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

Primary school students do soccer drills during the opening ceremony of a soccer summer camp in the branch of Beijing No 4 High School in Hohhot, capital of North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, July 20, 2017. A five-day international teenage summer soccer camp began in Hohhot on Thursday.[Photo/Xinhua]

Children learn how to sail under the guidance of professional trainers in Sanya, South China's Hainan province, July 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Girls learn to dance in in Wuzhi county, Central China's Henan province, July 19, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Children receive military training as special troops in Xinyu city of East China's Jiangxi province, July 20, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Privately owned museums to get aid, supervision

CHINA DAILY - 13 hours 28 min ago

The State will strengthen supervision of privately owned museums while also providing them with more support through favorable policies in taxation and subsidies.

The museums, opened by individuals or social organizations, are urged to adopt management councils and complete auditing systems, said Guan Qiang, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. Guan spoke on Thursday at a news conference in Beijing regarding a new State directive, released on Monday, encouraging the development of privately owned museums.

An investigation covering about 600 privately owned museums nationwide showed that three-quarters of them had not properly registered their collections as corporate properties, according to Guan. He emphasized that artifacts in such museums are not the personal property of the operators, but of the museum. Half of the museums also lacked proper financial management, he said.

"The rules and criteria of State-owned museums also apply to them," Guan said.

National guidance demands more rigid supervision from management boards in daily operations and decision-making. It also forbids board members or sponsors from removing collections if a museum closes.

"In that case, the artifacts will be transferred to other museums with similar goals," he said.

All museums serve the public interest, whether State-owned or not, Guan said.

Privately owned museums soon will be recognized as charity organizations so they can benefit from supportive policies such as preferential tax measures, subsidies for cultural industry development and reductions in operating costs, he said. The State will also help such museums obtain more support from their State-owned counterparts through joint exhibitions and training.

By the end of 2016, there were 1,297 privately owned museums on the Chinese mainland registered with cultural relics administrations, comprising about 26 percent of the country's museums.

"My individual ability is limited," said Fan Jianchuan, an entrepreneur who runs a museum complex in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. "We need the country to guide our long-term development in a right way. It cannot always rely on hobbies."

Of the total of 4,873 museums, more than 700 are rated as first-, second-, and third-tier museums nationally. But only 10 of those with the higher ratings, including Fan's, are privately owned, since the quality of such institutions as a whole is considered problematic.

Guan said 70 percent of the private institutions still focus on antiques, much like their bigger, State-owned counterparts. He said it would be better if they developed a unique focus in their collections, such as items related to folklore or modern art pieces, to complement State-owned institutions.

Severe pollution leads to discipline

CHINA DAILY - 13 hours 28 min ago

Some leading officials in Gansu province, from the provincial to the county level, have been held accountable for severe pollution and damage in the Qilian Mountain National Natural Reserve, the central government said on Thursday.

A statement issued by the general offices of the State Council and CPC Central Committee said other governments should consider the action a lesson to make environmental protection a priority and fully implement related measures.

A special inspection headed by the central government from Feb 12 to March 3 found long-existing pollution problems and damage in the Qilian Mountain National Natural Reserve had not been solved. The reserve dates from 1988.

Mining and exploitation activities inside the reserve destroyed the vegetation cover and eroded the soil. Fourteen mines were allowed to keep working after the central government banned the practice in 2014, the statement said.

Forty-two hydropower stations were operating in the reserve without necessary documents, and the excessive exploitation dried up some rivers.

Inspectors found some nearby companies discharged toxins excessively, severely polluting the reserve.

The central government said the severe pollution and damage were mainly caused by the poor performance of the province and city and county governments.

"The leadership did not give environmental protection sufficient attention. Then they did not make every effort to implement instructions from the central government," the statement said.

Yang Zixing, deputy governor, was given a severe warning within the Party. As a leading official in charge of environmental protection in the reserve, Yang failed to control illegal mining and other harmful activities.

Li Rongcan, Party chief of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu, and Luo Xiaohu, who was executive deputy governor during the inspection, received serious criticism and were summoned to have talks with disciplinary authorities. They were also ordered to make self-criticisms at meetings of the province's leading officials. Another eight senior officials also received punishments including dismissal and stern warnings.

To prevent similar problems elsewhere, seven ministries including the environmental protection and water resources ministries have jointly launched an inspection of all 446 national-level natural reserves since mid-July to last until year's end.

Inspectors will check human activities, especially mining, and encourage the public to take part in the supervision, according to a document from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Inspection results will be handed to the central government by the end of December and released to the public.

Monks chase Buddhism's highest degree

CHINA DAILY - 13 hours 48 min ago

A lama claps while debating during the seven-day preliminary examination for the Geshe Lharampa in Drepung Monastery in the Tibet autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lamas seeking the religion's most-advanced academic title are judged by 20 examiners and 400 peers in preliminary tests

Ngawang Sogdoi, a 34-year-old monk in the Tibet autonomous region, is the most anxious he has ever been. On Monday, Ngawang, along with eight other candidates, began a seven-day preliminary examination needed to earn the Geshe Lharampa, the equivalent of a doctorate in his school of Buddhism.

Geshe Lharampa, which means "intellectual" in the Tibetan language, is the highest academic title in the Gelug school of Buddhism. Since 2005, more than 100 monks have received the degree in Tibet. Most of the degree holders are older than 40, making Ngawang one of the youngest candidates.

Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, where the preliminary test of the examination takes place, is crowded as usual. At Tsogchen (the Great Chanting Hall), candidates are tested by more than 20 examiners and 400 peers who can also raise questions.

The history of Lharampa goes back 400 years.

"It is the dream of almost all monks to reach such a level," said Ngawang, who became a monk at age 8, and started learning scriptures at age 15.

"I finished the Five Classics of Buddhism at age 28," he said. Ngawang's brother is also a Lharampa degree holder.

The Lharampa examination takes the form of debate, questions and answers. Ngawang is from Rato Monastery in Lhasa. He takes two examinations a year, but none are more demanding than the Lharampa exam. "It is a test of brains, physical strength, stamina and devotion to Buddhism," he said.

From July 11 to 15, the examination starts at 9 am and goes on until the afternoon each day. "The Geshe exam brings together high monks from many monasteries. I'm the only one from my monastery to take the exam. I have many things to worry about," Ngawang said.

Emphatic clapping during the examination conveys the intensity of the debate for outsiders, and it serves as a quick reminder for Ngawang to stay focused in his interpretation of Buddhism.

"If I give an answer that does not quite address the question, the examiner will clap his hands and sometimes speak up loudly to correct me," he said.

"Through the study of Buddhism, I have learned several ways to stay calm, and I am grateful for that."

Ngawang gets up at 6 am and spends nearly 11 hours each day learning scriptures and other lessons at the Rato Monastery.

"To prepare for such a high-level examination, I have had to put in extra work, and it is usually 1 am by the time I go to sleep," he said.

Drepung Monastery is not closed to visitors during the exam season, so tourists may observe the examination.

"Standing here, I can appreciate the long history of this monastery, and I am very lucky to see such a part of the Tibetan culture," said Franz, a tourist from Germany.

When Ngawang finishes the preliminary test, he will have to wait until April next year to take the final test at Jokhang Temple.

Last year, Ngawang also attended the High-Level Tibetan Buddhism College of China in Beijing to further his study.

His studies at the college will also earn him a doctorate in the academic field.

Ngawang traveled to Chengde in Hebei province as well as Tianjin and Shanghai during his studies in Beijing and speaks fluent Mandarin.

"My aim is to continue to study every single day. After the examination, I will return to my monastery. I'm a quiet person, and it's best for me to spend the rest of my life learning in the monastery," he said.

Xinhua

Ngawang Chodrak, a monk from Pashod Monastery in Tibet's Qamdo prefecture, undergoes the examination.[Photo/Xinhua]

British foreign secretary supports Japan efforts to stop North Korea’s nuclear ambitions

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 14 hours 8 min ago
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday his country stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Japan in efforts to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests. “We all need to increase the pressure on Pyongyang through diplomacy and sanctions, and that must include China using its influence to bring North Korea back to the negotiation table,” he said after meeting his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida. Johnson called North Korea’s recent...

Graft fight escalates in first half of year

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 20 min ago

About 210,000 people have been disciplined by anti-graft agencies across the country in the first half of this year, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the same period last year, according to China's top graft-buster.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-corruption body, published the results of disciplinary efforts in the first half of 2017 on Thursday.

Of those punished, 38 officials were at the provincial level-slightly fewer than the 41 punished in the same period last year.

The anti-graft efforts have achieved remarkable results since late 2012, when a nationwide fight against corruption began, said Zhuang Deshui, deputy head of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University.

The results show that the anti-graft system has worked and that no corrupt behavior escapes the notice of the authorities, Zhuang said, adding that the relentless effort and a zero-tolerance stance on punishing corrupt behavior have been validated.

According to announcements from courts at all levels, more than 30 officials at or above provincial level were convicted in the first half of this year, exceeding the total number convicted in 2016.

Among them, Zhao Liping, a former senior political adviser in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, was executed in May for homicide, firearms possession and taking bribes. He became the first government official at the provincial level to be executed since the big anti-graft push began.

Zhuang said the work of going after powerful "tigers" (senior officials) as well as lowly "flies" (grassroots government functionaries) has sped up. Putting the tigers into "cages" is a priority for law enforcement bodies, he said; therefore the sentences were comparatively intense in the first half of the year.

As "tigers" are sentenced to jail, lowly functionaries are also forced to face the music.

According to the CCDI's statement on Thursday, 129,000 people punished in the first half of this year were at the village level or worked in companies and other nongovernmental organizations.

Anti-graft agencies nationwide have also reported more than 320 cases in which lower government functionaries were held accountable for misconduct or dereliction of duty.

All of this is the result of a Communist Party of China ordinance on the accountability of Party members that took effect a year ago, said Du Zhizhou, deputy head of the Research and Education Center of Government Integrity at Beihang University in Beijing. Responsibility comes with public power, Du said.

Company developing a solar-powered drone

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 22 min ago

Craft would be capable of staying airborne for a week, developer says

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation's largest missile-maker, is developing a solar-powered unmanned aircraft capable of staying in the sky for a week.

The drone, which has yet to be named, will look much like a conventional fixed-wing plane and will be propelled by an electric motor and solar batteries. It will be able to operate for a week at an altitude of more than 20,000 meters, Ma Hongzhong, director of CASIC's Unmanned Aircraft Institute, said in an interview on Thursday.

The drone's wingspan will be about 25 meters and its maximum takeoff weight will be around 200 kilograms, he said, adding that the drone's first flight will be made soon.

Development started two years ago-a joint effort of Ma's institute and a research team from Europe, he said. He declined to provide details about the European partner.

"We are working with the European team to develop technologies and equipment for the plane. After the development is finished, my institute will be responsible for its marketing and sales," Ma said, adding that the State Oceanic Administration and the China Meteorological Administration have agreed to employ the aircraft for maritime emergency response and typhoon forecasting.

In the future, the drone will also be tasked with relaying communication signals and locating mineral resources because of its extended flight endurance at high altitude, he said.

Experts said there are no clouds at 20,000 meters or higher and the air at that altitude is stable, so the drone can take full advantage of its solar cells. As long as the solar power system works well, the aircraft can stay in the air as long as the controllers wish.

Ma said the institute plans to develop a series of solar-powered drones based on the first design. Future models will be larger and be capable staying airborne for a month, he said.

The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics in Beijing has also developed a large solar-powered drone and is flight-testing it.

The United States and United Kingdom have already developed solar-powered drones capable of flying as high as 20,000 meters. The altitude record for such aircraft-29,524 meters-was set by the Helios Prototype developed by AeroVironment Inc in California, in August 2001.

Supporters turn out for former Thai PM Yingluck as her trial nears end

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 14 hours 24 min ago
Hundreds of supporters cheered as Thailand’s former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday arrived for the final hearing in her trial on charges she was negligent in overseeing a rice subsidy scheme which wasted billions of dollars. Yingluck, overthrown in a 2014 military coup, faces up to 10 years jail if found guilty. The hearing in the Supreme Court in Bangkok is expected to set a date for a verdict. Yingluck and her Phue Thai Party say the trial is politically motivated and...

Guangdong native to serve as acting mayor of Shenzhen

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 27 min ago

Chen Rugui, former Party chief of Zhongshan, was appointed as deputy mayor and acting mayor of Shenzhen during a conference of the city's standing committee of the people's congress on Thursday.

Chen, born in Lianjiang in the western part of Guangdong province in 1962, will be the 13th mayor of Shenzhen and the 12th since the city was designated as China's first special economic zone, which officially kicked off the country's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.

Chen, an engineer, will also be the first Shenzhen mayor in 27 years who was born in Guangdong. Previously, most of the mayors came from outside the province, including three from East China's Jiangsu province.

Shenzhen's mayoral office has been vacant for four months, following the transfer of Xu Qin, the former Party chief and mayor, to Hebei province. Xu is now deputy Party chief and governor of Hebei.

Wang Weizhong, former Party chief of Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, was appointed Shenzhen's Party chief in April.

Under Chen, Shenzhen is expected to further expand its cooperation with Hong Kong and speed up its economic integration with the special administrative region, according to insiders.

Chen is expert in economic, social and urban development and pays great attention to the construction of high-speed railways, intercity light rail, ports, highways, airports and related infrastructure projects to enhance the economic cooperation of cities in the Pearl River Delta, the insiders said.

"Chen will be able to develop his talent fully and help integrate Shenzhen with Hong Kong, Macao and other cities in the Pearl River Delta in infrastructure construction after he takes office," said Peng Peng, vice-chairman of the experts committee of South Nongovernmental Think-tank.

When Chen became the top official of Zhongshan, a prosperous city in the Pearl River Delta, in September, he urged greater cooperation between Shenzhen and Zhongshan and integration of his city into the economic development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Chen led a Zhongshan delegation to Shenzhen in February to study the experience of the city's innovation development and seek investment and cooperation with the special economic zone.

Zhongshan, hometown of Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of China's democratic revolution, is also one of the major production bases and tourist destinations in Guangdong province.

Chen was executive vice-mayor and later deputy Party chief of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, before he took office as Party chief in Zhongshan.

When he worked in Guangzhou, Chen promoted economic ties between the southern metropolis and Hong Kong, along with infrastructure construction in the city.

WTO told of ban on imported waste

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 29 min ago

China will block range of polluting materials, get tough on smuggling

China's environmental watchdog confirmed on Thursday that it has notified the World Trade Organization about a ban on the importation of 24 types of solid waste, which will take effect at the end of this year. It also said it will get tough on waste smuggling.

By the end of 2017, China will forbid the importation of certain waste plastics, vanadium slag, unsorted wastepaper and certain textile materials, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in its WTO filing, which was submitted on Tuesday.

"To protect China's environmental interests and people's health, we urgently need to adjust the imported solid wastes list, and forbid the import of solid wastes that are highly polluting," it said.

Guo Jing, director of international cooperation at the ministry, said at a news conference on Thursday that the ban is part of a campaign to tackle pollution.

"Some solid waste that could be used as raw material was imported to relieve the resource shortage in the country," Guo said. "Many problems from the imported waste, however, have been exposed with China's socioeconomic development. It not only contaminates the environment but also endangers people's health."

He said China will also get tough on the illegal movement of waste into the country.

Some countries transfer solid waste to other countries by various means, and "some even export illegally", he said-though it is against international conventions to export solid waste without the destination country's approval.

"Motivated by profits, some lawbreakers at home and abroad illegally export or smuggle solid waste into China, and some conceal waste among other goods imported into the country. This waste has resulted in many problems. We must crack down on this," Guo said.

He added that China will speed up the recycling of domestic waste because the Chinese public objects to imported waste.

The central government is stepping up the fight against pollution and environmental degradation, as decades of fast growth have saddled the country with air and soil pollution.

In April, a reform plan to improve the management of solid waste imports to protect the environment and public health was adopted by the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, a group led by President Xi Jinping.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection launched a monthlong campaign on July 1 targeting pollution caused by the processing of imported waste.

The ministry announced on Thursday that it had inspected 1,162 companies as of Monday, and 751 of them-or 65 percent-were guilty of environmental violations.

It also noted that inspectors had suggested placing all the violations on file for investigation and prosecution.

Tokyo planners unfazed by quake threat to Olympics 2020

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 14 hours 32 min ago
For modern Olympic host cities, the twin threats of terrorism and financial ruin constantly loom. But spare a thought for Tokyo 2020 organisers, who face the added risk of a devastating earthquake or tsunami. Japan is already stepping up efforts to reassure top athletes and hundreds of thousands of visitors when they flock to Tokyo for the Games, which begin on July 24, 2020, that safety will be paramount. Tokyo and its surrounding areas sit precariously at the junction of shifting tectonic...

DHL announces zero emission delivery plan

SHANGHAI DAILY - 14 hours 40 min ago
LOGISTIC giant DHL yesterday announced to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050. To achieve the goal, the logistic company will operate 70 percent of its first and last mile services by bike and electric vehicle or other clean pick-up and delivery solutions, Christof Ehrhart, executive vice president, head of corporate communications & responsibility of DHL, told a press conference in Shanghai. Globally, DHL will increase the carbon efficiency of its own activities and those of its transport subcontractors by half compared to the 2007 baseline, he added. Though DHL currently has no domestic courier services in China, Ehrhart said the ambition will be applied to the inbound and outbound delivery services in the Chinese market. The company will train and certify 80 percent of its employees as green specialists by 2025, and actively involve them in its environmental and climate protection activities. For instance, it plans to join with partners to plant 1 million trees every year. Meanwhile, the logistic giant and Germany's FC Bayern Munich have announced to expand cooperation to the video gaming market in Shanghai. The cooperation expansion between the world's leading logistics company and the world's biggest football club will mainly focus on the FIFA 18 game which is set to launch in September 2017. The announcement marks DHL's bid to tap into the massive potential of the computer games market, whose revenue is expected to grow from US$493m in 2016 to US$1.1b in 2019. DHL helped the club to launch its online flagship store on Tmall.com, China’s largest online shopping platform in 2015. As the team's official logistics partner and e-commerce full service provider, DHL delivers official merchandise to FC Bayern fans in China.  

Bitten woman dies despite rabies vaccine

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 45 min ago

Ma Hongzhou holds the death certificate of his wife, Long Xiuling, in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Tuesday. The certificate says Long died of respiratory failure and rabies.[Huang Lijian for China Daily]

The rabies vaccines administered to a 32-year-old woman in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, who died after being infected through a dog bite, were up to standard, according to local health authorities on Thursday.

Long Xiuling, who was bitten by a stray dog on her left ankle on June 20, received medical treatment the same day, including the vaccine and antibiotics, at Xi'an Central Hospital, a major hospital in the city, the Xi'an Health and Family Planning Commission said.

The doctor in the hospital's emergency department who treated Long also advised her to get four more doses of vaccine at intervals until July 18. Long received three vaccinations at the hospital, the commission said.

She suffered symptoms including numbness in her left leg, a sore back and frequent urination and went to the hospital on July 13 for treatment. She did not tell the doctors about the dog bite during that visit, and doctors did not diagnose rabies, the commission said.

Long went to Xijing Hospital, also in Xi'an, on July 17, where she was diagnosed with rabies. She was then transferred to Xi'an Eighth Hospital for treatment, where she died after attempts to save her life failed, the commission said.

The vaccines Long received at Xi'an Central were produced by a certified company and were properly stored and transported, which ensures their quality, the commission said, noting that they were purchased by the provincial disease prevention and control center.

Long went to Xi'an Central at 6:10 pm on June 20 for treatment, about an hour after she was bitten. Her left ankle had multiple bite marks, according to a statement released by the hospital. The doctor gave her treatment for rabies following procedures listed by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, including immediately giving a vaccination, the hospital said.

Cao Hualing, an emergency doctor at the hospital, said there might be several reasons for the ineffectiveness of the vaccine in Long's case.

"The level of virus in the stray dog may have been very high and may have infected Long's neurological system before she received the first dose of vaccine," he said. "Patients with low immune capacity may not be able to resist rabies." In such a case, the vaccine may not work, he said.

The chance of a patient developing rabies symptoms after proper vaccination is only 1 percent, but once a patient gets sick the disease can always lead to death, he added.

Standard treatment in China for dog bites is five doses of vaccine within 28 days. Rabies is incurable and can only be prevented by the vaccine, according to health authorities.

In the first eight months of last year, two people in Beijing developed rabies and both died. About 100,000 people received rabies vaccinations after being injured by animals, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

Instrument makers dance to a traditional tune

CHINA DAILY - 14 hours 50 min ago

Asman Abula, Rehman's granddaughter, holds a model dutar.[Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Craftsmen in villages across West China are eager to maintain age-old skills and keep their culture alive, as Cui Jia and Mao Weihua report from Shufu county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

CUI JIA/MAO WEIHUA

Rehman Abdula is a quiet man, so when he speaks people know his words are important.

"It sounds good," he said, after listening to Memet Ali play a satar, a traditional Uygur instrument that resembles an Indian sitar. When Memet visited, Rehman was in the process of making the instrument at his house in Tuowankewukusake village, Shufu county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Memet, 30, is a Uygur musician who plays in a local band that specializes in muqam, a popular and famous genre in the music of the mainly Muslim ethnic group. A few weeks before his visit, he had commissioned Rehman to make him a new satar.

The 65-year-old craftsman had asked Memet to visit to see if he was happy with the half-finished satar before he started to paint and decorate the instrument. It usually takes about a month to make a satar from start to finish.

'Best of the best'

"He is the best of the best," Memet said, gently tapping the body of the 5,000 yuan ($740) instrument with a finger to check the sound. The hollow body was carved from a mulberry log by Rehman, using a small, homemade machete.

Like the other makers of traditional Uygur instruments in his village in southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture, Rehman makes every piece by hand. He has no need for plans or drawings because all the measurements are in his head.

People in Tuowankewukusake are renowned across Xinjiang for their skill at making traditional Uygur musical instruments, an art they have practiced for more than 150 years. At present, 290 of the 570 families in the village support themselves by making and selling more than 50 different types of instruments.

The signature melodies of Uygur music, played on instruments such as the rawap, dutar, tembur and ghijek, can often be heard floating from behind the doors of village houses as craftsmen and their clients test the products.

Unsurprisingly, Tuowankewukusake is known far and wide as "the village of music".

Of the nearly 600 craftsmen in Tuowankewukusake, Rehman is hailed as the best because the instruments he makes always produce the purest, most beautiful tones.

"We can tell immediately if an instrument has been made by him. It feels as if the melodies penetrate deeper into your brain," Memet said.

As he hollowed out a piece of mulberry wood that would be transformed into a dutar, a type of long-necked, two-stringed lute, Rehman said: "I don't think my instruments are all that magical. I just want to make sure their sound doesn't pierce people's ears."

As the seventh generation of a family of instrument makers, Rehman was age 7 when he started following his grandfather around to find the best wood for their craft.

"My grandfather told me that a craftsman can only make a good instrument if he puts his heart into making it, instead of thinking about how much money it will fetch," he added.

"You have to inject life into the wood little by little," he said, repeatedly turning the log from left to right to search for the correct spot to land his machete.

After mastering the skills he was taught by his grandfather and father, Rehman first made a rawap on his own when he was 25. He sold the long-necked traditional instrument for 250 yuan.

Last year, he made what he believes to be one of the best rawap of his career so far. The instrument, decorated with tiny pieces of black yak horn and white cow bone, has a market value of about 8,000 yuan.

The instrument's stunning appearance prompted a man to visit Rehman's house and ask to buy the instrument, even though he couldn't play it. Rehman refused to sell.

Rehman Abdula carves a dutar in Tuowankewuk sake village, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, as his son Mamutjon carries a finished instrument.[Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]]

True power

"He only appreciated the external beauty of my rawap but he cannot play it to release its true power, which is to charm people with the sounds it makes," said the craftsman, who is still waiting for the special person, someone who is just right for the rawap.

Rehman is determined to pass on the family tradition. In fact, he regards it as his duty. His eldest son lives in Urumqi, the regional capital, where he runs a shop that sells the family's work, but Rehman three other sons are instrument makers in Tuowankewukusake.

Rehman has high hopes for his youngest son Mamutjon, because the 27-year-old craftsman exhibits all the passion he had when he was young. "He is a quiet man, too," Rehman said.

Memutjon made his first instrument on his own when he was just 22. He uses social media to advertise his work, and now earns about 10,000 yuan a month from his labors.

"Unlike me, my father is very confident and never hesitates to use force when carving the instrument from the wood," he said, as he watched Rehman making a dutar. "The instruments even sound louder when he makes them."

Adaptation

To further improve the quality of traditional Uygur instruments, Memutjon has studied the structures of guitars and violins. "The ghijek plays like a violin and also sounds like one, so I think understanding the violin will help me make it sound better," he said.

In fact, the current version of the ghijek is actually an adaptation based on the study of violins. The new version was introduced in the 1950s.

The changes were made by Duan Qiang, a composer, and Samat Abdula, a violinist in a People's Liberation Army art troupe based in southern Xinjiang.

According to Duan, 83, he and Samat realized that the old-style ghijek had a narrow range of tones, which meant its use was limited, even within Uygur musical settings.

In response, the then-19 year old and his partner upgraded the instrument using a number of features of the violin as their model, and introduced the new version to Xinjiang.

It is capable of carrying the melodic line in harmony with other Uygur instruments across a wide range of music.

Last year, Duan invited four instrument makers from Jiayi village in southern Xinjiang's Aksu prefecture to his workshop in Urumqi. He taught them how to draw plans for different instruments using detailed measurements.

Jiayi is also famous for instruments. About 105 of the 208 families in the village make a living from their craftsmanship. Now, Duan hopes they will try to standardize production of traditional instruments by following the drawings he has made.

The new approach may work for younger craftsmen, but Rehman has no plans to adjust his style of working. His eyes, hands and heart are all he needs to make the perfect instrument.

Tursunkhari Zunun makes a piece of traditional Uygur pottery.[Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]]

Old customs need injection of new blood

Aniwar Ali's house sits on the edge of a 40-meter-high loess platform overlooking the Tuman River in Kashgar city, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The traditional Uygur residential area, known as the High Platform Neighborhood, has a history of more than 1,000 years, and is a landmark in Kashgar's old town.

The loess-loosely compacted yellowish-gray sediment-that produced the platform is also the raw material Aniwar, 50, and his brother Wumar, 45, use to make traditional Uygur bowls and jugs. The brothers are the sixth generation of a family of renowned potters.

At one time, traditional Uygur pottery items were daily essentials, but in recent decades cheaper porcelain has begun to dominate the market. "Nowadays, only old men use pottery tableware," Aniwar said.

Gradually, the traditional craft lost its appeal, and most of the potters in High Platform relinquished their careers. Now, only two families, including Aniwar's, still make a living by producing pottery.

"Our main customers are tourists, so we have begun making smaller products that are easier to pack in their luggage," said Aniwar, sitting in the courtyard of his house surrounded by a display of his wares. "Some tourists said they will use our oil lamps as ashtrays and the small spice jars to store coffee beans."

During the peak tourist season in the summer, the brothers make about 4,000 yuan ($590) a month.

Uygur pottery is known for its unique hand-painted patterns and the signature color combination of brown, black, green and cream. The loess material helps keep the contents warm while the exterior remains cool to the touch.

The brothers still use wood to fire their kiln because they believe coal-firing will affect the glaze of the pottery.

"I don't know how long my family can keep the tradition going-neither my sons nor my brother's boys want to learn the craft because it is hard, dirty work. They want to go to university and become doctors. We are very worried," Aniwar said.

As a result, he decided to take apprentices from outside the family, including four Han Chinese students. "I will teach anyone who wants to learn to keep Uygur traditions alive," he said.

Tursunkhari Zunun is Aniwar's neighbor. As a pottery maker, he has the same concerns. "My three daughters are all married now and my son is a policeman, so it is impossible for them to carry on the family tradition," he said.

The 62-year-old craftsman has advertised for apprentices in local newspapers, and although he provides a modest salary, none of his trainees have stayed for long.

He also teaches students at vocational schools, but they prefer to learn how to make nan bread, a popular local delicacy.

"My pottery is primitive. It is made without the use of any modern technology," he said, stepping on a pedal that powers a belt-driven wooden wheel in his centuries-old workshop.

While he fears modern technology will make traditional pottery lose its earthy beauty, he understands that the craft desperately needs new blood and fresh ideas. "I can use the old methods to produce pottery with modern designs and make this ancient craft popular again," he said.

Although Tursunkhari's children will not inherit his skills, he has two young apprentices from South Korea. They have had studied in his workshop for two years. "I have given them Uygur names and they are my disciples," he said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Islamic State galvanised in Asia by Philippine city siege, report claims

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 14 hours 59 min ago
The attack by Islamic State-linked militants on a Philippine city has galvanised its Southeast Asian supporters and spells trouble for the region, a top terrorism researcher said on Friday as the occupation of Marawi nears two months despite a sustained military offensive. In a new report, Sidney Jones, an expert on militant networks in Southeast Asia at the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said there now may be a higher risk of attacks in other Philippine cities and...

Australian woman shot by junior cop ‘didn't have to die’: Minneapolis police chief

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 15 hours 9 min ago
The Minneapolis police chief said on Thursday the fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman by a junior police officer violated department training and procedures, and that the victim “didn’t have to die.” The death of Justine Damond, 40, from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen fired through an open window of a police patrol car, has outraged her relatives and the public in Australia. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it “shocking” and...

Shanghai Airlines brings back local dialect

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 12 min ago

Shanghai Airlines has reintroduced cabin announcements in the Shanghai dialect on selected flights, following suggestions from passengers.

The prerecorded messages will initially be played only on flights from Taipei and Kunming, Yunnan province, to Shanghai's Pudong and Hongqiao international airports.

"We'll test the Shanghai dialect on these two services until the end of August," said Xu Mei, a manager in the carrier's passenger cabin services department. "If the feedback is positive, we may expand it to other flights."

The 60-second messages will be broadcast before takeoff and landing, she added.

Shanghai Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, operates about 350 flights a day to domestic and international destinations. It first introduced local dialect announcements in January 2012 but halted the practice without explanation a few years later. The return of the local language service appears to be an attempt by the airline to build its Shanghai brand, as well as to promote the city's image and its culture.

To make sure the dialect is spoken with genuine flavor and fluency, the airline invited Huju Opera performer Mao Shanyu to record the messages along with Lin Jiaqing from the airline's passenger cabin services department, both of whom are Shanghai natives.

"I have played quite a few characters, but this is the first time for me to be a chief flight attendant," Mao said.

"I always think the promotion of the Shanghai dialect is the responsibility of people from all walks of life. The decision to use it on Shanghai Airlines flights is helpful in displaying the city's enthusiasm and charm, and I am willing to be part of it," she added.

Questionnaires will be gathered from passengers after the flights, and their feedback will be reviewed before fine-tuning the service.

Broadcasts in the local dialect have been part of Shanghai's public transportation system for years. According to a staff member at Shanghai Ba-shi Public Transportation (Group) Co, passenger feedback has been positive.

Plan to put China in AI industry vanguard

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 14 min ago

A school girl gazes at a robot on display at an expo in Zhengzhou, Henan province, May 27, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

China aims to build a 1 trillion yuan ($147.9 billion) artificial intelligence industry by 2030, as the country scrambles to lead the world in research and application of the cutting-edge technology, a new plan said on Thursday.

The national AI development plan, published on the State Council's website, detailed a three-step strategy to achieve the ambitious goal. It highlights China's determination to achieve breakthroughs in core AI technologies and accelerate its application in the manufacturing, service, agriculture and other sectors.

To achieve the goal, the AI industry in China is expected to exceed 150 billion yuan in 2020, putting the country on par with leading powers in the technology and its application. The current market size for China's AI industry was not disclosed.

The plan said more effort will be made to achieve breakthroughs in fundamental research and technologies. By 2025, China aims to more than double the 2020 target of its AI industry to 400 billion yuan. AI will be a major driver of industrial upgrading, widely used in manufacturing, smart city plans, agriculture, defense and other sectors.

Xiang Yang, an AI expert at the China Center for Information Industry Development, said the ambitious plan will motivate companies and universities to step up their research and development in AI.

"It will have roughly the same impact on industry as the government's Made in China 2025 initiative has had on the manufacturing sector," Xiang said.

Consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that AI-related industries will boost China's GDP by as much as 26 percent in 2030.

Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu, said China is highly likely to outpace the United States in the application of AI, as local companies scramble to experiment with new ideas and benefit from the country's huge user base.

The company plans to mass-produce its driverless vehicles within four years.

Gao Qiqi, a professor at East China University of Political Science and Law, said China is making rapid progress in AI and produces more science and technology papers and applies for more patents than other countries.

Anand Rao, an AI consultant at PwC, said initially North America would have faster productivity gains from AI than China because of its mature infrastructure. "But China will begin to pull ahead of the US in AI in 10 years after it catches up on both relevant technologies and expertise," Rao said.

 

Deepest subway station in works

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 18 min ago

Passengers take long escalators to descend to Hongtudi station of Line 6 of the Chongqing Metro, which is about 60 meters beneath the ground.[Provided to China Daily]

Chongqing is about to break its own record for the deepest subway station in China.

The southwestern city, located in an area crisscrossed by rivers and mountains, is building train platforms 94.46 meters underground as part of the ongoing extension of the Chongqing Metro network.

Hongtudi station, which opened on Line 6 in December 2014, was already the country's deepest station at 60 meters below ground. Now, it is being pushed even deeper to connect with Line 10, which is under construction.

The extension, which is scheduled to open by the end of the year, will have high-speed elevators that drop 78.8 meters-about 26 stories-another national record, according to the city's transportation authorities.

Ninety-one escalators, China's largest escalator network, will be installed to move passengers between lines 6 and 10 and the surface.

To enter or leave Hongtudi station now, people need to take escalators with a 30-degree incline on a journey lasting three minutes and 15 seconds. The alternative is a stairwell with 354 steps.

Chen Limei, 30, a tourist from Hunan province, said she finds the station "magical".

"It's the first time I've taken such a long escalator, and it seems never-ending, one after another," she said. "It would be very interesting if we could take a slide from the top."

Some passengers complained that it wastes time to take such a long journey.

"These escalators are too long and slow, and the trip takes too much time," said a man surnamed Liu, 24.

The expansion of Hongtudi station will make it one of the deepest in the world. The world's deepest subway system is said to be the Pyongyang Metro in Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which has tracks more than 110 meters underground.

Arsenalna station on the Kiev Metro's Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line in Ukraine is 105.5 meters below the surface. Commuters have to take two escalators to the bottom, which takes up to five minutes.

The Admiralteyskaya station in Russia's St. Petersburg Metro system is 86 meters below ground.

Chongqing also boasts the highest overpass in the country, at 72 meters. From windows on the 22nd floor of a nearby building, people can look across at the overpass and see the traffic.

Li: Opening-up to grow, including service sector

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 22 min ago

He Hongzhi, owner of a luxury car-washing shop, washes a car in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, on June 10, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Premier Li Keqiang vowed on Thursday to take measures to further open up China's market, including the service industry, while welcoming foreign investment to the country.

That will give Chinese consumers more alternatives, Li said when meeting with former New Zealand prime minister John Key in Beijing.

"You and I have been old friends since your term as the prime minister. You have made contributions to advance New Zealand's relations with China, and I hope you will continue your important role in advancing China-New Zealand relations," the premier said.

China will further efforts in building a fair business environment in which domestic and foreign companies are treated equally, continuing to make China the most attractive destination for investments, Li said.

Li said China's economic growth exceeded expectations during the first half of this year, with the economic structure having been prioritized and with greater contributions by the service industry and consumption. "Opening up to the outside world has been our fundamental policy, and China's door will be opened even wider," he said.

The premier added that China would like to work with New Zealand in developing their ties and cooperation, and contribute to the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region.

Key said Li's visit to his country in March saw new progress in developing those areas. New Zealand and China are good friends and partners, and New Zealand positively regards the prospect of China's development while being committed to strengthening the partnership and cooperation, he said.

Key made a six-day visit to Beijing as prime minister in April 2016. Li, during his visit to New Zealand in March, met for talks with new Prime Minister Bill English.

The two countries opened negotiations in April on upgrading their free trade agreement. The second round of negotiations was held in Beijing this month, focusing on customs procedures, trade facilitation, e-commerce and agricultural cooperation.

In New Zealand, former officials have a strong influence, and Thursday's meeting can be seen as a step forward in bilateral ties, especially with additional negotiations, said Chen Fengying, a senior researcher on the world economy at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

In 2008, New Zealand became the first developed economy to sign a free-trade agreement with China, focusing on commodity trading and not including trade in services, Chen said.

"High-level interactions between the two countries have set an example for China's exchanges with developed economies," she said.

Quality exported food turns to home market

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 26 min ago

More than 1,500 companies that once produced food to high standards chiefly for export are now selling products made to the same standards on the Chinese market, according to authorities that oversee quality.

More than 10 billion yuan ($1.48 billion) of such products were ordered last year in China, according to the Certification and Accreditation Administration.

A campaign launched early last year encouraged the nation's food exporters to make products for domestic consumption using the same production processes as for overseas markets, to ensure the same level of quality.

The campaign covered 5,778 products, largely agricultural and other food products, with most producers based in Shandong, Guangdong, Fujian, Hebei and Liaoning provinces, the administration said.

For example, in Guangdong, 189 food export companies now sell more than 500 foods, including frozen snacks, seasonings, biscuits, nuts, meat and egg products at 4,130 stores across China.

The administration said other goods will be covered in the future to better meet consumer demand.

With the initiative, Chinese people may not have to go overseas to buy high-quality products that are actually made in China and exported-such as electrical pots and toilet covers-as has been the case in the past.

In the long run, the administration said, encouraging the same standards for exported and domestic goods can help improve overall food safety in China and boost consumption.

Qiao Yajun, operations manager at Longnan Changcheng Fruit Juice Co in Gansu province, which began selling its concentrated apple juice, its chief product, in China around 2015, said domestic sales now account for about 20 percent of its total sales.

Previously, the company, which is certified as a food exporter, only sold its apple juice outside China in 24 countries and regions, including North America and Europe, he said.

"The overseas market has not been performing well in recent years because of the economic downturn," Qiao said. "We hope our business can develop faster in the domestic market."

The company is promoting its products in the domestic market but faces challenges such as production costs that are higher than its Chinese competitors-because of its higher quality standards-and a lack of brand recognition in China, he said.

The apple juice, which has no additives under export standards, is packaged in 250-milliliter containers and sells for about 4 yuan per package-about 50 percent higher than many other similar products sold in domestic stores, he said.

"We have been participating in big trade exhibitions to promote our products," he said. "We are also planning to open an online store on major e-commerce platforms such as Tmall."

The Certification and Accreditation Administration said it will continue to provide guidance to export companies to promote sales in the domestic market.

China has nearly 20,000 certified companies that export food and agricultural products valued at more than $50 billion to more than 180 countries and regions every year, according to the administration.

The country strictly supervises the companies to ensure that the food meets both national standards and the standards of the destination countries and regions. For many years, virtually all food produced in China for export is up to standards, the administration said.

85 on trial for cross-border telecom fraud

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 38 min ago

BEIJING - A total of 85 suspects stood trial in Beijing from Tuesday to Thursday, in a cross-border telecom fraud case.

More than 70 suspects, including 44 Taiwan residents, were arrested in Kenya and extradited to China in April 2016, according to Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.

The suspects pleaded guilty to cheating 185 victims on the Chinese mainland out of more than 29 million yuan (4.3 million U.S. dollars), the court said.

Thirty-five suspects were accused of carrying out fraud in Indonesia from June to November 2014 and the other 50 in Kenya from June 2015 to April 2016.

The suspects claimed to work for police, procuratorates or express delivery firms and called Chinese citizens, telling them their personal information had been stolen and they should pay money to protect their assets and prove they had not committed any crimes.

The court will announce the verdicts at a later date.

China's ice breaker sets sail for Arctic rim expedition

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 53 min ago

A member of the Chinese scientific researcher team waves before boarding the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", in Shanghai, July 20, 2017. China's ice breaker, the Xuelong, set sail on Thursday for the country's first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim. [Photo/Xinhua]

SHANGHAI — China's ice breaker, the Xuelong, which means "Snow Dragon," set sail on Thursday for the country's first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim, scientists said.

The ice-breaker departed from an exploration base in Shanghai early on Thursday. The journey is China's eighth Arctic expedition.

Lin Shanqing, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration, said the expedition is another milestone in the country's polar exploration efforts.

"Usually, Arctic expeditions are carried out once every two years. Starting this year, we plan to increase the frequency of expeditions," said Lin.

The ship will travel 20,000 nautical miles in 83 days, with 96 members on board.

Captain of the vessel, Shen Quan, said that the Snow Dragon will travel the northwest shipping lane along the Arctic rim for the first time. The route has more ice than the northeast shipping lane.

Researchers will study navigation, marine bio-diversity, hydrology, biology, geology, chemistry and pollution around the Arctic. The Ukraine-built vessel, which was put into use in 1994, is mainly designed to transport supplies to China's research stations. It can break ice up to 1.2 meters thick. China has focused on cooperation and sharing information in polar research.

The Chinese National Arctic and Antarctic Data Center has provided data for more than 100 international projects and more than 10 countries.

Chinese scientific researchers bid farewell on the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", in Shanghai, July 20, 2017. China's ice breaker, the Xuelong, set sail on Thursday for the country's first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese scientific researchers board the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", in Shanghai, July 20, 2017. China's ice breaker, the Xuelong, set sail on Thursday for the country's first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim. [Photo/Xinhua]

People wave to the scientific researchers on the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", in Shanghai, July 20, 2017. China's ice breaker, the Xuelong, set sail on Thursday for the country's first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim. [Photo/Xinhua]

Photo shows the Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", in Shanghai, July 20, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

Ten photos from across China: July 14-20

CHINA DAILY - 15 hours 57 min ago

Stuntmen put on a water ski show at a lake in Changsha, Hunan province, July 14, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A "forest" of about 30,000 beer bottles in Qingdao, Shandong province, July 18, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

People smear rice ash onto each other during the Hualian Festival in Qiubei county, Yunnan province, July 18, 2017. The Hualian Festival is an annual festival of the Yi ethnic group where people express best wishes by dabbing black rice ash on each other's faces for good luck. [Photo/VCG]

Two women sit in massage chairs in a shopping mall to avoid the summer heat in Shenyang, Liaoning province, July 18, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A woman holds her child while trying to shield herself from the scorching sun in Beijing, July 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

People lie on a cobblestone street to warm their bodies - a technique thought to treat illness - in Huaibei, Anhui province, July 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Jiangsu Grand Theatre lights up the Nanjing sky, July 16, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Harvesting of early-season rice has begun in Luofang township, Xinyu city, Jiangxi province, July 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A smashed-up truck became stuck in the guard rail of an overpass in Zhengzhou, Henan province, July 17, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A cyclist wades through a flooded street in Kunming, Yunnan province, July 20, 2017.[Photo/VCG]

China announces import ban on 24 types of solid waste

CHINA DAILY - 16 hours 12 min ago

BEIJING -- China will ban imports of 24 types of solid waste by the end of 2017 in a fresh move to reduce environmental pollution, an official said Thursday.

China has notified the World Trade Organization of the ban, which covers waste plastics, unsorted scrap paper, discarded textiles, vanadium slag and other kinds of waste, Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) official Guo Jing told a press conference.

Imported solid waste, some of which had been useful as raw materials in the past, has caused damage to the country's environment and public health, said Guo, who is in charge of international cooperation at the MEP.

According to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which China has signed, exports of hazardous wastes and other wastes should not be permitted if the state of import does not specifically consent in writing, Guo said.

However, some traders both in and outside of China have illegally smuggled "foreign garbage" into the country for their own interests, giving rise to environmental woes, according to Guo.

"The problem of foreign garbage is loathed by everyone in China," he told reporters.

The Chinese government is stepping up the fight against pollution and environmental degradation as decades of fast growth have left the country saddled with smog and contaminated soil.

In April this year, a reform plan to improve management of solid waste imports was adopted, demanding a substantial reduction in the amount and types of solid waste imports.

The MEP launched a month-long campaign on July 1 to crack down on pollution in imported waste processing, with 420 inspectors selected from 27 provincial regions forming 60 teams to conduct full-scale examinations.

China's medium-sized and large cities imported 46.98 million tonnes of solid waste in 2015, down 5.3 percent year on year, according to MEP figures.

In 2014, the whole country imported 49.6 million tonnes of solid waste, with scrap paper, plastics and metal taking up large shares, according to the MEP.

Tokyo Olympic stadium builder committed suicide because he was overworked, says family

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - 16 hours 57 min ago
The family of a builder who worked at the main Tokyo Olympic stadium has asked labour authorities to recognise his death in spring as job-related, claiming he killed himself because of overwork. The 23-year-old Tokyo building firm employee died because of his heavy workload, which exceeded 200 extra hours per month, the family’s lawyer told a press conference on Thursday. Tokyo selects new design for Olympic stadium after cost row Tokyo is rushing to build the stadium before the 2020...

115 Chinese firms on Fortune Global 500 list 2017

SHANGHAI DAILY - 17 hours 4 min ago
CHINESE firms filled an unprecedented 115 places on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2017, a 14th-straight-year that the country's firms have increased their presence on the list. The U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart topped the list. China's State Grid and oil giant Sinopec Corp. were second and third, with revenue reaching 315 billion U.S. dollars and 268 billion dollars, respectively, in 2016. Ten Chinese firms hit the list for the first time including Anbang Insurance Group, and Internet service giants Alibaba and Tencent. Country Garden was the only real-state developer. Listed Chinese companies were mainly involved in Internet, retail, finance, energy, and property.

Award-winning musical to hit Shanghai

CHINA DAILY - 22 hours 28 min ago

The Producer, a Broadway musical that has won 12 Tony Awards, will celebrate its China premiere at Shanghai Culture Square on Nov 1, followed by a three-month tour comprising 90 shows in 10 Chinese cities.

Produced by Sino-US joint venture SIIC Nederlander Culture Development, the show is based on a film of the same title by Mel Brooks in 1968 that tells of how a theater producer and an accountant who hatch a plot to get rich by overselling interests in a bad show which eventually turns out to be a huge success.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2001 and won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards that year. It has since toured the world and spawned a musical film version that was released in 2005.

Bob Nederlander, producer of the show and president of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment (NWE), one of the world's largest theater owners and musical producers, said that Shanghai has "very sophisticated audiences for musical" and that there has been overwhelming market enthusiasm for Broadway productions across China.

SIIC Nederlander Culture Development is a joint venture between Shanghai Industrial Investment Co (SIIC) and NWE, a family business of three generations spanning more than 100 years. NWE manages theaters and presents Broadway productions in emerging markets.

Nederlander added that the company will introduce one or more Broadway shows to China every year and bring an "authentic Broadway experience to Chinese audiences". The company will also be creating original Chinese productions for global audiences.

There are already a number of projects being worked on, though he declined to elaborate on the content.

The joint venture is also building a new theater in the northern Bund area in Shanghai. The SIIC Center Theater will be part of a new development by the SIIC that includes office buildings and malls. The 2,000-seat theater is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Award-winning musical to hit Shanghai

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 23:30

The Producer, a Broadway musical that has won 12 Tony Awards, will celebrate its China premiere at Shanghai Culture Square on Nov 1, followed by a three-month tour comprising 90 shows in 10 Chinese cities.

Produced by Sino-US joint venture SIIC Nederlander Culture Development, the show is based on a film of the same title by Mel Brooks in 1968 that tells of how a theater producer and an accountant who hatch a plot to get rich by overselling interests in a bad show which eventually turns out to be a huge success.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2001 and won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards that year. It has since toured the world and spawned a musical film version that was released in 2005.

Bob Nederlander, producer of the show and president of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment (NWE), one of the world’s largest theater owners and musical producers, said that Shanghai has "very sophisticated audiences for musical" and that there has been overwhelming market enthusiasm for Broadway productions across China.

SIIC Nederlander Culture Development is a joint venture between Shanghai Industrial Investment Co (SIIC) and NWE, a family business of three generations spanning more than 100 years. NWE manages theaters and presents Broadway productions in emerging markets.

Nederlander added that the company will introduce one or more Broadway shows to China every year and bring an "authentic Broadway experience to Chinese audiences". The company will also be creating original Chinese productions for global audiences.

There are already a number of projects being worked on, though he declined to elaborate on the content.

The joint venture is also building a new theater in the northern Bund area in Shanghai. The SIIC Center Theater will be part of a new development by the SIIC that includes office buildings and malls. The 2,000-seat theater is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Criminal’s online market network targeted by US after founder dies in Thai jail cell

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 21:05
The US government sued to seize luxury cars, international real estate and bitcoins owned by the alleged mastermind of AlphaBay, the biggest criminal marketplace on the dark web, just days after he reportedly hanged himself in his jail cell in Thailand. AlphaBay was allegedly created in 2014 by Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian living in the Southeast Asian country. It had 200,000 users and 40,000 sellers with about 369,000 listings for drugs, guns, fake IDs, malware and other illegal...

China's electric freight train gets EEU standard certification

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 21:03
BEIJING - China-Belarus No. 2 electric freight train has obtained the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) vehicle safety standard certification, CRRC Corporation said Thursday. It is the first time for a Chinese high-power AC drive electric locomotive to be allowed to enter the Eurasian railway market, the company said. The train was made by CRRC Datong, a branch of CRRC Corporation. "The EEU certification will enable the China-Belarus No. 2 electric freight train to run in member countries of the EEU, including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan," said Zhao Mingyuan, chief engineer of CRRC Datong. The certification tested a total of 52 machine parts, 348 functions, the train's radiation and ecological safety as well as electromagnetic compatibility, according to Zhao. The China-Belarus No. 2 electric freight train is characterized by its reliable technology, energy conservation, environmental protection and intelligent features.

Youth camp attracts international teens with Chinese culture

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:56

Teenagers from 23 countries participate in kung fu sessions on July 20 at the ongoing 13th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp. [Photos by Lin Chunyue/For chinadaily.com.cn]

The 13th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp is being held until July 27 in Shanghai. [Photos by Lin Chunyue/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Sponsored by the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Shanghai Youth Federation, the event hosts more than 150 teenagers from 23 countries this year. [Photos by Lin Chunyue/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Participants will take part in a series of activities, such as dragon boat racing, viewing Peking Opera performances and visiting the Shanghai Zoo, that are aimed at strengthening friendships between nations and enhancing cultural communication.[Photos by Lin Chunyue/For chinadaily.com.cn]

 

 

Premier Li says China to open wider to world

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:54
BEIJING - China will take measures to expand its opening up and offer a fair and convenient environment for both Chinese and foreign businesses, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday. Li made the remarks while meeting with New Zealand's former Prime Minister John Key. China on Monday reported a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent growth in the first half of the year. Li said China's economic structure had been optimized, and the service industry and consumption made prominent contributions to the country's economic growth. "China will open its door even wider to the world, and welcomes more foreign companies to invest in the country," Li said. He vowed to provide a fair, equal and convenient business environment for Chinese and foreign enterprises. Regarding China-New Zealand relations, Li said China hoped to work with New Zealand to maintain sound momentum for bilateral ties and cooperation, and to inject new vitality to the stability and development of both countries and the Asia-Pacific region. John Key recalled Li's visit to New Zealand in March this year, which facilitated new progress in bilateral relations and cooperation. Calling the two countries good friends and partners, he said New Zealand was committed to boosting friendship and cooperation with China, and confident for greater achievements of ties.

Leadership of Islamic State-linked fighters in Marawi remains largely intact: Duterte

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 19:31
The Philippine president said the leadership of Islamic State-linked militants who have laid siege to a southern city remains largely intact despite nearly two months of military action and has funded diversionary attacks on other cities in the region. President Rodrigo Duterte said in a letter to Congress that even though troops had regained control of much of Marawi city and killed hundreds of militants, “the rebellion persists and a lot more remains to be done to completely quell the...

China issues guideline for developing artificial intelligence

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 19:04

The State Council issued an guideline on Thursday in developing artificial intelligence (AI), vowing to catch up world advancing levels in artificial intelligence technology and application by the year 2020.

The guideline vows to make artificial intelligence a key economic driving force for China by 2o2o, while its appliance can help greatly with improving people's livelihood as well as China's innovation capacity. It was also made clear in the guideline that China vows to become an innovation center of artificial intelligence by the year 2030.

Advancing the AI will bring China with new development opportunities, the guideline says, especially when China now faces a set of challenges of an aging population and development restricted by environmental resources. The AI industries are expected to improve public services in education, caring for the elderly as well as urban infrastructure, contributing in improving people's lives and social governance.

China aims for theoretical breakthrough in AI by the year 2025 in both technology and its application, so that AI can play a significant role in driving China's economic transition and industrial upgrading.

Industries that are expected to play leading role in the AI will be fully bolstered by strengthening technology transformation, especially in areas such as the internet of things, intelligent hardware and software, as well as smart robots. Industrial upgrading in areas such as smart manufacturing, connected farming as well as home automation (smart home) will be encouraged. It was singled out in the guideline China aim for an AI industry worth of over 150 billion yuan by 2020.

Contact the writer at zhangyue@chinadaily.com.cn

 

North Korea hit by worst drought in 16 years, threatening food supplies in the country

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:51
North Korea is facing severe food shortages due to the worst drought since 2001 with food imports needed to ensure children and the elderly do not go hungry, the United Nations’ food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said rainfall in key producing areas fell well below the long-term average between April and June and badly affected staple crops including rice, maize, potatoes and soybean. This disrupted planting activities damaged the 2017 main season...

Ministry confirms launch date for key financial body

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:14

The launch ceremony of the Asian Financial Cooperation Association will be held in Beijing on July 24, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, eying its positive role in maintaining regional and global financial stability.

Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang released the information at a daily news briefing and congratulated the association on the scheduled ceremony.

Lu said China has been long committed to pushing forward communication and cooperation among regional financial institutions.

President Xi Jinping discussed establishing a platform to facilitate communication and cooperation among Asian financial institutions at the Boao Forum for Asia in March 2015. On a number of occasions since then, Premier Li Keqiang proposed setting up the Asian Financial Cooperation Association.

"We are pleased to see that the proposals made by Chinese leaders won active responses and strong support from financial institutions in Asia and other regions," Lu said.

The association, based in Beijing, was officially set up on May 11. A total of 107 institutions from five continents are founding members.

China expects the association to play an active role in "maintaining the stability of regional, and even global financial markets and promoting common development and prosperity in the region", Lu said.

China eyes AI leadership globally

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
CHINA unveiled a national artificial intelligence development plan yesterday, laying out its ambitions to build world-leading technology amid heightened international friction over applications of AI in military technology. The value of the country's core AI industries will exceed 150 billion yuan (US$22.15 billion) by 2020 and 400 billion yuan by 2025, the State Council said in a notice yesterday. “The situation with China on national security and international competition is complex... we must take initiative to firmly grasp this new stage of development for artificial intelligence and create a new competitive edge,” it said. The plan comes as the United States is poised to bolster its scrutiny of investments, including AI, over fears that countries including China could access technology of strategic military importance. It follows a similar national AI development plan released by the US in October last year. The report says China aims to catch up to global leaders by rectifying existing issues including a lack of high-end computer chips and equipment, software and trained personnel. It outlines strategic plans to strengthen links between private firms, research bodies and military bodies to promote mutual development in AI. It also says it will increase the role of government in guiding development of AI with policy support and market regulation as well as developing AI safety assessments and control capabilities. China has already begun investing heavily in AI technology, including a mix of private and state-backed initiatives. Several top Chinese firms have established research centers in the United States, including Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd. This year AI was named as a strategic technology by Premier Li Keqiang in an annual report that lays out the most important leadership priorities.

Dialog agrees steel glut a global issue

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
BOTH China and the United States recognized that steel overcapacity is a global issue that requires a global solution, a senior Chinese official said in Washington on Wednesday. At a press briefing after the conclusion of the first China-US Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington DC on Wednesday, Chinese Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said the two sides discussed the issue of steel overcapacity during the one-day high-level economic dialog. China shared the same view with the United States that steel overcapacity is a global issue, which requires a global collective response, Zhu said, adding China also emphasized that the excess steel capacity was a result of sluggish global economic recovery. Meanwhile, the Chinese delegation told the US side that China had actively taken measures to cut steel overcapacity, Zhu said, citing China's plans to reduce steel capacity by 100 million to 150 million tons from 2016 to 2020. As the world's two largest economies and co-chairs of the global forum on steel excess capacity, China and the US have kept policy dialog and communication regarding the steel glut, Zhu said, noting G20 leaders agreed to set up the forum at last year's Hangzhou summit. At the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month, G20 leaders called on the forum to fulfill their commitments on enhancing information sharing and cooperation by August, Zhu said.

ECB holds steady easy monetary stance

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
THE European Central Bank left its ultra easy monetary policy stance unchanged as expected yesterday, keeping rates at record lows and even leaving the door open to more asset buys if the outlook worsens. After ECB chief Mario Draghi raised the prospect of policy tightening last month, he signaled that any policy tweaks would come only gradually, setting the scene for a possible discussion in September about a long-awaited tapering of its asset buys. “We need to be persistent and patient because we aren’t there yet, and prudent,” Draghi told his regular news conference after a meeting of ECB policy-makers in Frankfurt. He stressed the bank’s governing council was unanimous both on the decision to keep its guidance unchanged and to avoid setting a precise date for a discussion of future policy, noting only that it would occur in the autumn. With the eurozone economy now growing for the 17th straight quarter, its best run since before the 2007-08 global financial crisis, that at least suggested the ECB is starting to contemplate easing off the accelerator, preserving some firepower after printing nearly 2 trillion euros (US$2.3 trillion) to jump start growth. The prospect of reduced monetary stimulus has kept financial markets edgy, with investors sifting through clues to gauge how big central banks around the globe will unwind unconventional policy that have kept borrowing costs at rock bottom. The euro and government bond yields across the bloc initially slipped after the statement. But as Draghi spoke, the euro edged back above US$1.15 and eurozone bond yields gained, ostensibly on his confirmation of hopes that the taper would be discussed in autumn. The ECB earlier kept its deposit rate deep in negative territory and kept monthly bond purchases at 60 billion euros, in line with the expectation of most analysts in a Reuters poll. “If the outlook becomes less favorable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress toward a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the program by size and/or duration,” it said.

‘New car’ smell puts off Chinese

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
WHILE Western drivers like the ‘new car’ smell fresh off the production line, Chinese would rather their cars didn’t smell of anything — a cultural divide that’s testing carmakers seeking an edge to revive sales in the world’s biggest auto market. At Ford Motor Co, for example, 18 smell assessors — dubbed “golden noses” — at its research plant outside of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province test the smell of each material that goes inside a Ford car to be sold in China and around Asia. The China smell test isn’t unique, but illustrates the lengths automakers go to to lure buyers in markets where consumer attitudes vary widely. “In North America, people want a new car smell and will even buy a ‘new car’ spray to make older cars feel new and fresh. In China it’s the opposite,” says Andy Pan, supervisor for material engineering at the Ford facility, which employs around 2,300 people. The smell of a new car in China can have an outsized effect. A J.D. Power report last year showed that unpleasant car smells were the top concern for Chinese drivers, ahead of engine issues, road noise or fuel consumption. The smell assessors at Ford, whose China sales are down 7 percent this year, carry out 300 tests a year, a third more than their counterparts in Europe. They rate the odor of all materials used in a car from “not perceptible” to “extremely disturbing.” Pungent materials — from carpets to seat covers and steering wheels — are noted as smelling of anything from “burnt tire” and “bad meat” to “moth balls” or “dirty socks,” Some are sent back to the supplier. Seats for Ford cars in China are stored in perforated cloth bags to keep them ventilated before being installed, as opposed to plastic wrapping in the US market where consumers are less concerned about chemical smells. “The smell inside the car can often be pretty pungent,” said Tom Lin, a 24-year-old high-school teacher in Zhejiang Province, who bought a local Roewe brand car last October. He said there was still a bit of an odor six months later. “With the next car I buy, I’m going to take more care to check out any odd smells,” he said. To be sure, smell is just one factor for automakers to get right in China, where picky buyers are always looking for fresh car models and Beijing is making a big drive toward new energy vehicles. In a slower market — consultancy IHS forecasts vehicle sales will slip slightly this year — firms are looking for an extra edge to appeal to consumers, beyond price discounts, says IHS analyst James Chao. Local rivals Geely Automobile and BYD Co Ltd tout their in-car air filters to protect drivers from harmful air pollution, and BMW says it is adding larger touch screens and tweaking colors to appeal to Chinese buyers. Smell is key, reflecting a wider concern in China about chemicals and pollution.

Ministry seeks to satisfy desire for homes to rent

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
CHINA is pushing development of the home rental market in large and medium cities to address a rising demand from urban newcomers. Measures will be taken in cities with net population inflows, including increasing rental housing supplies and setting up a government-backed home rental service platform, according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other government departments. With a migrant population of 245 million, and some 7 million college graduates starting work each year, newcomers to Chinese cities often find it hard to find a home to rent due to insufficient supply, market irregularities and lack of government support. The ministry is asking local governments to increase the supply of land for rental housing and enhance financial support for companies to build houses and apartments for rent. Some state-owned enterprises could turn into home-rental companies to lead development of the sector, it said. The government is also encouraging real estate developers, housing brokers and property service providers to set up rental subsidiaries. Authorities in large and medium cities with net population inflows should establish service platforms for home renting, where details of available housing can be exchanged and rental deals regulated, so as to protect the rights of both sides and enhance market supervision. “This would help solve the long-standing issues of fake advertisements and intransparency in the market, so that people would feel assured about leasing a home,” said Chai Qiang, deputy head of the China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents. Pilot projects will be established in 12 cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing and Hangzhou, according to the ministry. In its latest effort to increase the number of renters and curb property prices, local authorities in Guangzhou decided to give tenants and homeowners equal rights to education. In many cities, the right to attend school is limited to the offspring of homeowners rather than tenants. Guangzhou is the first top-tier city to grant such rights to renters. China also released a draft of housing rentals and sales regulation in May, which listed detailed rules that supervise market participants, including requiring that written rental contracts are signed with specified rules regarding lease terms, rents and the rights of tenants.

Shanghai buyers’ lottery system

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI has published a guideline outlining plans for a lottery-like registration system for buyers of new homes. According to the guideline, purchasing orders must be generated by lottery software provided by authorized notaries in the city, with results published immediately after the draw. Real estate developers are prohibited from setting up preferential lottery conditions for their staff or contacts, and sales agents of developers are not eligible for the lottery. Real estate developers must examine the eligibility of home buyers and submit applications to notary organs for inclusion in the lottery at least 10 days ahead of the new program. The list of all eligible buyers and houses as well as the lottery results must be published and notarized. Fraudulent activity and cheating will be prohibited. Any developer implicated in unauthorized activity will be blacklisted and may face criminal charges. “With the involvement of notary offices, the lottery system can help protect the rights and interests of home buyers who meet the requirements,” said Yan Yuejin of real estate service provider E-House China. “It can also help crack down on illegal sales in the real estate market to further regulate market transactions.” Prior to the guideline, some buyers used their connections to guarantee eligibility when purchasing houses, Yan said. He said the guideline is part of Shanghai’s efforts to implement property market rules and regulations, adding that stricter regulations are expected to follow to maintain stability and sound development of the market.

China’s forex capital flows most balanced in 3 years

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
CHINA’S forex regulator said yesterday the country was seeing its most balanced forex market supply and demand in three years due to improving economies at home and abroad as well as an intensified crackdown on irregularities. The improvement in the domestic economy and business expectations helped stabilize China’s cross-border capital flows in the first half of 2017, Wang Chunying, a spokesperson for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, told a press conference. Commercial banks bought 999.5 billion yuan (US$148.1 billion) worth of foreign currency in June, and sold 1.14 trillion yuan, resulting in a net forex settlement deficit of 142.5 billion yuan, according to SAFE. The deficit for the first half of the year fell 46 percent year on year to US$93.8 billion. Wang expects the cross-border capital flows to stay stable in the future. She said the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes on China’s cross-border capital flows had diminished, expecting the risks of large-scale capital outflows from China to notably ease. The government will continue to support authentic and rational outbound investment by Chinese businesses but will keep a close eye on overseas investment in sectors such as real estate, entertainment and athletic clubs, Wang said. China will further improve its management system to facilitate cross-border investment and fund-raising, while guarding against risks, she said. With China’s outstanding external debt-to-GDP ratio of 13 percent at the end of 2016, well below the international warning line of 20 percent, the risks of China’s external debts remained controllable, Wang said. China has seen steady increases in the volume of its external debts for four consecutive quarters, with the total reaching US$1.44 trillion at the end of March, up 1.2 percent from the end of 2016. Wang said that China’s foreign exchange reserves were expected to remain stable as cross-border capital flows as well as the forex market supply and demand would become more balanced, following the country’s improving economic development and financial market opening-up. China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in the first half year. “There is no doubt that the economy will reach the full-year growth target and continue to run within a reasonable range,” Wang said.

BOJ cuts annual inflation outlook

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
A woman walks past the logo of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo yesterday. The Bank of Japan yesterday slashed its annual inflation forecast and once again delayed its timetable for hitting a 2 percent target as the economy struggles to gain traction despite years of stimulus. The BOJ said in a statement that it forecasts inflation at 1.1 percent in 2017, below its 2 percent target and also its earlier outlook for a 1.4 percent rise in the consumer price index. The central bank opted yesterday to keep its lavish monetary stimulus intact.

Lenovo aims to be a ‘computing’ firm

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
LENOVO Group Ltd yesterday tied up with JD.com and smart carmaker Nio to tap intelligent devices on fitness and lifestyle as it aims to make artificial intelligence as a major growth engine. “Lenovo is no longer a computer firm but a computing firm,” Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s chairman, said during the Lenovo Tech World 2017 conference held in Shanghai yesterday. Lenovo, China’s biggest personal computer vendor, is set to transform itself into a business covering devices and cloud, fueled by new technologies including AI. Lenovo and JD.com, China’s top online retailer, said they are partnering on AI, covering data analysis and smart manufacturing. JD.com has used AI technologies on smart logistics covering driverless trucks and warehouse robots, said its chairman Liu Qiangdong, who expects the fourth retail revolution to be driven by AI. Lenovo will also establish a joint smart car computing platform with Nio, a Shanghai-based smart car startup. Lenovo’s consumer business includes Echo-like smart speaker, clothes with sensors that track a wearer’s fitness performance and headset with AR (argument reality) technology. Lenovo’s Thinkpad products will also feature a smart robot assistant system, according to Yang. Lenovo will adopt its AI strategy for business in all industries, especially smart manufacturing industry, Yang added.

Shanghai’s H2 foreign trade set to be strong

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI’S foreign trade is set to remain strong in the second half of the year but the pace of growth may slow amid global economic uncertainty and slower gains of commodity prices, local customs said yesterday. The recovery of global demand as well as demand by Shanghai consumers and higher commodity prices have boosted the city’s foreign trade to double digit in the first six months, the first since 2012, said Zheng Jugang, vice director and spokesman of Shanghai customs. Shanghai’s foreign trade in the first six months jumped 18.7 percent from a year earlier to 1.55 trillion yuan (US$228 billion), reversing a 0.4 percent drop in the same period last year, according to official data. The growth accounted for 11.7 percent of China’s total foreign trade in the first half year. Imports surged 23.7 percent to 926.71 billion yuan while exports rose 12 percent to 626.59 billion yuan. Imports and exports through the city’s free trade zone took up over 40 percent of Shanghai’s total foreign trade. Exports of machinery and electronics accounted for 70.6 percent of Shanghai’s total exports in the first half, up 1.2 percentage points from the same period last year. Integrated circuits, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals are the three largest categories of imported products. Zheng said the strong trend in the first half is set to continue in the second half, but Brexit, US interest hikes, and elections in European countries add to economic uncertainties globally.

Sales boom LED to big profit gain

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
SAN’AN Optoelectronics Co, China’s biggest LED chip vendor, posted a 57 percent jump in net profit in the first six months year on year as its sales boomed, the Shanghai-listed firm said yesterday. In the first half, San’an earned a net profit of 1.5 billion yuan (US$221 million). Its revenue surged 46 percent to 4.07 billion yuan from a year ago amid increasing sales and a full swing in production capacity. The LED (light emitting diode) is a key component in several devices covering street lamps, automotive lights and advertising boards. LED also embraces environment friendly energy efficient features. LED component is also set to be used in smart devices like handsets and connected cars with the coming 5G and the Internet of Things era. New energy lighting is expected to have strong market demand over the long term in China, said China Merchants Securities in a report, which rated San’an a “Buy.” San’an has also invested in upstream semiconductor materials manufacturing, which will start production and generate income by the end of this year.

Shares rise on repo injection

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI shares rose for the third straight day yesterday boosted by graphene and battery producers and also by the Chinese central bank’s injection of funds into the banking system. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.43 percent to end at 3,244.86 points. The People’s Bank of China injected 60 billion yuan via repurchase agreements, or repos, yesterday. High-tech startups, especially new materials producers, remained a highlight as they attracted funds from mainland investors, said Chen Jian, consultant at Datong Securities. Graphene firm Baotailong New Materials Co jumped 9.96 percent to 8.28 yuan (US$1.22), while Longi Green Energy Technology Co gained 4.6 percent to 19.78 yuan.

Children dance to promote civilized travel

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 16:23

Traffic authorities in Handan, Hebei province, are promoting a special dance to help the public obey traffic rules, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Dozens of uniformed 10-year-old children dance to music with two policewomen on the zebra crossing in front of parked cars when the light turns red in Lianfang Street.

Publicity section chief, surnamed Cai, of the Zhuhe Brigade of Handan Public Security Bureau said that the brigade created the "wait for traffic lights dance" in cooperation with a local dance school.

"Children dance for 50 seconds on each zebra crossing and will move to another one when the green light is on," Cai said.

The police stand beside the children while they dance to protect their safety.

Cai said that Handan has launched an initiative to create a national civilized city. The Zhuhe Brigade promotes the dance to cultivate courtesy.

Some internet users criticized that it affects traffic and is unsafe for children to dance on the zebra crossings.

Cai assures that the traffic police make gestures to cars to get the drivers to pay attention to the children, and the dance does not impact traffic.

However, currently the dance is suspended due to the hot weather. The authority will decide whether to continue such activities in the future.

Xi'an rainstorm puts Terracotta Warriors under threat

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 16:00

The museum housing China's world-famous Terracotta Army was hit by flooding on Tuesday after heavy rains hit the ancient city of Xi'an.

Footage widely circulated online showed water flowing down stairs inside the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and visitors huddled together with their feet submerged.

A witness quoted by Huashang Daily said he feared the 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors, which are stored mainly in the No 1 exhibition hall, would be damaged.

The door to the hall was continually opened as a constant stream of visitors exited, which led to more rain flowing in, he said.

Staff members rushed to drain water from the hall using buckets and closed the doors to visitors. Their efforts ensured no damage was done to the cultural relics, the paper reported.

The museum, in the northern city's Lintong district, houses nearly 6,000 terracotta figures as well as the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China and founder of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

Border standoff with India be damned, Chinese love for Dangal just keeps growing

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:17
The Doklam standoff between Chinese and Indian troops may have begun to permeate the country’s social media, where anti-India sentiment is rising steadily, but none of that hatred seems to have touched Dangal. The Bollywood movie, a true story of a wrestler’s quest to train his daughters as world-class fighters, continues to be wildly popular in China despite the end of its theatre run in early July. Viewers can still watch it on iQiyi, China’s Netflix, and numerous other...

Peking University makes exceptional offer to top student

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:50

Peking University has lowered its admission threshold for a talented teenager, the Beijing-based thepaper.cn reported.

Ye Jianing, a high school graduate from Zhuji, Zhejiang province, has received an official admission letter from Peking University. Ye remains calm about the offer from the nation's top university as it had promised him a place in its School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science three years ago, and had said it would even lower the points required for admission by 200.

Born on June 3, 1999, Ye has shown a very high talent in Informatics Olympiad, winning numerous awards at the provincial and municipal levels. He also took gold at the Asia-Pacific Informatics Competition.

"Ye Jianing's grades are steady, he always ranks No.1 in class," Ye's mother Yu Jun says.

He has been outstanding in Mathematical Olympiad courses since primary school and focused on studying Informatics Olympiad in middle school.

He won first prize in the Informatics National League, an influential annual high-level national competition for young people, in his third year of junior high school.

Impressed with his achievements, Peking University gave him the offer when he was in his freshman year in senior high school.

Ye ranked 14th in the National Olympiad in Informatics in his second year of high school, winning exemption from the national college entrance examination.

Ye's mother attributes his excellence to family tradition and his conscientiousness. "I never watch TV. I read and study at home, his father is conscientious and responsible and has been an excellent employee for over 10 years. Nowadays kids are all smart, so only seriousness can make one stand out," Yu says.

Ye is clear about his future, hoping to do more research on advanced technology in the university and make contributions in the field of computer science in China.

But his mother hopes he will find romance amidst his studies. "I wrote him a message when he reached 18, expressing my hope that he would fall in love for the first time in the university."

Ye posted a group photo of his circle of friends when he returned from Japan after taking part in an academic exchange organized by the China Association for Science and Technology. "There's a girl in the picture; my mind is full of pink bubbles," she said.

 

China solicits opinion on procedures to formulate administrative regulations

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:39

BEIJING -- China has started to solicit public opinion on a draft regulation on procedures for formulating administrative regulations, a move to improve the quality of legislation.

The draft was listed in the State Council's legislative plan in 2017 and tagged as "an urgent project in comprehensively deepening reform," according to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.

Experts and organizations may be invited or entrusted to participate in stipulating administrative regulations, said the draft, adding that regulation formulation departments should listen to opinions from related institutions, organizations and citizens.

Regulation formulation departments should publicize regulations for opinions, it said.

The draft said that legislative affairs organs of the State Council should increase supervision over the implementation of annual legislative plans.

The public may visit the official website (chinalaw.gov.cn) to submit opinions before Aug 20.

Giant panda fails to conceive from insemination at Taipei zoo

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:27

TAIPEI - A giant panda, Yuan Yuan, has failed to conceive after undergoing artificial insemination on March 17 with sperm from male Tuan Tuan, Taipei Zoo has announced.

The zoo said that the ultrasound and urinalysis and a previous blood test on the bear indicate no sign of pregnancy.

In addition, while zoo staff have said that the panda had exhibited behaviors associated with pregnancy, such as a loss of appetite, lethargy and reduced defecation, her symptoms began to fade on July 15, 119 days after she had been inseminated.

Yuan Yuan will return to her public pen after a few day's rest, according to the zoo.

Giant pandas have a low fertility rate because they are sexually inactive. Female pandas can only become pregnant once a year and have litters of two cubs at most. The gestation period usually lasts from 120 to 150 days.

The pair, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, were given as a goodwill gift to Taiwan by the Chinese mainland in 2008, both were born in 2004.

They had their first and only cub so far, Yuan Zai, on July 6, 2013, also by artificial insemination.

Vietnam is in, France is so not, as 200 million Chinese tourists prepare to hit the road by 2020

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:03
Chinese tourists are expected to make 200 million outbound trips in 2020, a 48 per cent increase from last year’s 135 million, led by Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea and Japan as the most-visited destinations, according to a Thursday report by CLSA. Vietnam is poised to become more popular than its former colonial master France, after a series of terror attacks last year in Europe deterred Chinese travellers. The cosmetics, gaming, luxury and online sectors are likely to be the biggest...

210,000 officials punished for discipline violations in H1

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 13:42

BEIJING -- The top disciplinary watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said that 210,000 people were punished for violating the Party code of conduct in the first half of 2017.

The figure was released Thursday on the website of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

Among the punished officials, 38 were at the provincial level or ministerial level, more than 1,000 at the prefecture level, over 8,400 at the county level and 129,000 others from rural areas and enterprises.

In 2016, 415,000 people were disciplined for violating the Party's code of conduct and other irregularities.

Heavy rains submerge Kunming

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 13:30

Residents ride a motorcycle through a flooded road in Kunming, July 20, 2017. Many parts of the capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province were flooded Thursday after heavy rainstorms early that morning. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A resident wades through a flooded road with a bike in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

 

Residents move through the flooded streets on a raft in Kunming, Yunnan province, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

Workers pump water from a flooded road in Kunming, Yunnan province, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A woman rides a bike across the flooded road in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A road is flooded in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A parking lot is flooded in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A road is flooded in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A car is stranded in a flooded street in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

Residents put their shoes on after wading through a flooded street in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A tunnel is flooded in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A woman wades through a flooded road in Kunming, July 20, 2017. [Photo/chinanews.com]

National Games embraces square dancing

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 11:23

Elderly people dance at a square in Chongqing. [Photo/VCG]

You might think square dancing is no more than a leisurely exercise for elderly people. Well, think again.

The popular exercise has been listed as a competition event in China's 13th National Games, the organizing committee of the Games announced on Tuesday.

The Games, to be held in Tianjin next month, allows teams to sign up and submit their dancing videos on its website. The winning teams selected through online voting will make it to the finals in Tianjin.

This year, the quadrennial National Games will include amateur competitors in events traditionally exclusive for professional athletes for the first time. Amateurs are allowed to take part in 19 events, including badminton, marathon and Chinese chess. In addition, eight events that involve online competition, including square dancing, will be open to ordinary people.

National Games embraces square dancing

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 11:23

Elderly people dance at a square in Chongqing. [Photo/VCG]

You might think square dancing is no more than a leisurely exercise for elderly people. Well, think again.

The popular exercise has been listed as a competition event in China's 13th National Games, the organizing committee of the Games announced on Tuesday.

The Games, to be held in Tianjin next month, allows teams to sign up and submit their dancing videos on its website. The winning teams selected through online voting will make it to the finals in Tianjin.

This year, the quadrennial National Games will include amateur competitors in events traditionally exclusive for professional athletes for the first time. Amateurs are allowed to take part in 19 events, including badminton, marathon and Chinese chess. In addition, eight events that involve online competition, including square dancing, will be open to ordinary people.

UN report proclaims ‘scales have tipped’ in battle against Aids with one million deaths in 2016

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 11:06
Aids claimed one million lives in 2016, almost half the 2005 toll that marked the peak of the deadly epidemic, a UN report released Thursday said, proclaiming “the scales have tipped”. Not only are new HIV infections and deaths declining, but more people than ever are on life-saving treatment, according to data published ahead of an Aids science conference opening in Paris on Sunday. “In 2016, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV had access to treatment,...

October leave date in sight for refugees at PNG detention centre despite shaky Australia-US resettlement deal

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 09:54
Hundreds of refugees being held at a remote Papua New Guinea detention camp will be moved by October despite uncertainty over a resettlement deal with the United States, Australia’s immigration minister said on Thursday. Asylum seekers who try to enter Australia by boat are sent to camps on Nauru and on PNG’s Manus Island. Those found to be refugees are barred from resettling in Australia, and are instead relocated to third countries or resettled elsewhere in PNG. But the sudden...

Dylan Voller’s abuse in an Australian juvenile detention facility shocked the world – now he wants a career in politics

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 09:45
Dylan Voller, the former juvenile detainee at the centre of the Northern Territory youth justice crisis, intends to stand for election to the Alice Springs town council. Voller said he wanted to use his experiences to provide a voice for young people in the central desert town, and although he didn’t have any specific policies, he would consult community members and would advocate on youth justice. “I’ve got a pretty good insight into that sort of stuff so I want to be able to...

Despacito is the most-played track in the world – but Malaysians won’t be singing along

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 09:12
Malaysia has banned Despacito on state radio and television, though it might be hard to slow the song’s record-breaking popularity. The ban applies only to government-run radio and TV outlets, not to private stations or YouTube or the music streaming services fuelling the song’s success. Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak said late on Wednesday the song was reviewed and banned because of a public complaint that the lyrics are obscene. He urged private radio stations to...

Outback axes suggest humans reached Australia 18,000 years earlier than thought

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 08:48
Axeheads and grinding stones from a cave in Australia’s far north suggest humans arrived on the continent about 65,000 years ago, or 18,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to research published on Thursday. A technique called luminescence dating was used to date the ancient tools which were found in a rock shelter at the bottom of a cliff, on the edge of a sandy savannah plain some 300km east of Darwin. The discovery of a new minimum age for the arrival of humans in...

42 Chinese arrested over casino kidnappings in Philippines

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 08:37
Forty-four Chinese and Malaysian suspects have been detained in the Philippines over the kidnapping and beating of a Singaporean woman abducted at a Manila casino, the authorities said on Thursday. Police found the victim Wu Yan, 48, at a Manila flat on Tuesday, a day after her abduction by two Malaysian members of the gang, Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said in a statement. “[She] was held, deprived of her right to liberty and was beaten and threatened by her kidnappers who...

How CPC has strengthened Party in five years

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 08:17

Editor's note:

"To forge iron, one must be strong." When President and Party chief Xi Jinping first referred to this idiom in 2012, it was highlighted both within the country and around the world. Five years on, what has the Party done to make itself stronger to help the Chinese people lead a better life?

Faith as calcium supplement to mind

Ideology and faith are like calcium for communists' minds. We must strengthen ideological and political construction, and establish a correct world view, view of life and value set, which can act as a master switch.

— Xi addressing a videophone conference on plans for the second batch of the 'mass line' campaign on Jan 20, 2014

Huang Danian, a geophysicist who returned to China seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep earth exploration technology, died of bile duct cancer at the age of 58 in January. [Photo/Xinhua]

Huang Danian, a famous scientist who died at 58, is a latest role model that Party members and people look up to for inspiration. 

Huang, known for his expertise in deep earth exploration technology, studied and worked in the United Kingdom for 18 years before returning to China in 2009. In the ensuing years, he helped China soar in a number of technical fields, transforming the nation into one of the world's leaders in deep earth exploration.

Wasting no time, Huang holed up in his office working day and night, with only two to three hours of sleep a day, earning him the deserved title of "workaholic". Overtime working wrecked his health and he died of bile duct cancer on Jan 8.

Xi has asked all to learn from Huang's patriotism, professional dedication, indifference to fame and wealth, and fulfilling duties faithfully.

‘Driving in nails' spirit

We should embrace the 'driving in nails' spirit. We must diligently work and persist until the job is done. We must have the resolve and patience to follow the blueprint to the end and not start with a bang and end with a whimper or give up halfway through without finishing the job.

— Xi addressing the Second Plenary Session of the 18th CPC National Congress

Meng Rouyu, now a junior high school girl, waves in the fields on May 7, 2017 (R) and herself on July 16, 2012 in Nongyong village of Dahua county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Thanks to its perseverance, resolve and the spirit of driving in nails, the CPC has succeeded in turning China into the world's second-biggest economy, the biggest trader of goods and the third-largest direct foreign investor, lifting China's per capita GDP to close to $8,000.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has lifted on average 10 million rural people out of poverty every year from 2013 to 2016. The total number of people lifted out of poverty in both rural and urban areas during the period was more than 55.64 million.

As a percentage of China's total population, the number of poor people dropped from 10.2 percent in 2012 to 4.5 percent in 2016 as incomes in poverty-stricken areas rose more than the national average increased.

The CPC leadership

China's success hinges on the CPC...To do a good job of governing the country, we must first do a good job of governing the CPC, and that means governing it strictly.

— Xi addressing a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of CPC's founding

The first Party unit consisting of online celebrity Party members was set up on Douyu, an online live streaming platform, on Jun 30, 2017. [Photo by Peng Nian/Yangtze River Daily]

CPC has 89.45 million members and grassroots Party units have increased to 4.52 million, according to a communique published ahead of the 96th anniversary of CPC's founding on July 1.

The growth rate of CPC membership has dropped while the structure of its members has improved since 2013 when the Party implemented a recruitment rule which stressed the quality of members while limiting the quantity.

Related: Graphic: CPC membership in numbers

Thorough cleanup of undesirable work style

Party officials should "look into the mirror, straighten the attire, take a bath and seek remedies." (Metaphorically refers to a requirement on Party officials for self-purification, self-perfection, self-renewal and self-progression)

— Xi addressing a campaign against undesirable work style in June 2013

A worker shows a farmer how to use a smart machine to give documents the official red seal at Wangyanzhuang community in Jimo city of East China's Shandong province, June 22, 2017. The machine, which was put into service recently, can complete the document sealing process within five minutes. [Photo/VCG]

"Mass line" refers to a guideline under which CPC officials and members are required to prioritize the interests of the people and exercise power on their behalf.

Based on arrangements made at the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012, the campaign lasted 16 months starting from June 2013. But in terms of CPC's priority to cultivate closer ties with the people, as Xi said, it was just a start.

Through the campaign, official meetings were reduced by 586,000, almost 25 percent fewer than in the period before the campaign began.

Over 160,000 phantom staff members were removed from the government payroll and almost 115,000 vehicles taken out of illicit private use and returned to exclusive regular government affairs. Construction of 2,580 unnecessary official buildings was stopped.

Cage of regulations

Power should be restricted by the cage of regulations.

— Xi addressing a plenary meeting of the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Jan 22, 2013

A police officer salutes at a special Party class held at a CPC historical storytelling contest in Zhaotong, Southwest China's Yunnan province, Jan 8, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

To better the institution building of the CPC, various documents have been adopted since the 18th National Congress of the CPC.

A plan to deepen institutional reforms on Party building was approved by the Party's core leadership, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

At the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee last November, an updated norm of political life and a regulation on intra-Party supervision was approved. The two important documents were implemented in January 2016.

Related: Graphic: Facts about Party's new rules

Graphic: How intra-Party supervision is carried out

Hunting tigers, swatting flies

We must uphold the fighting of tigers and flies at the same time, resolutely investigating law-breaking cases of leading officials and also earnestly resolving the unhealthy tendencies and corruption problems which happen all around people.

— Xi addressing a plenary meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Jan 22, 2013

A screenshot shows actor Lu Yi in a popular TV drama depicting China's anti-corruption campaign. [Photo/VCG]

Nearly 1.2 million people have been punished for violating CPC and government rules since November 2012. In total, 240 centrally administered officials have been investigated, with 223 receiving punishments, Wu Yuliang, deputy head of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said at a news conference on Jan 9, 2017.

By May 31, 2017, 3,051 fugitives, including 41 listed in an Interpol red notice, have been extradited or returned from more than 90 countries and regions since 2014, with assets worth about 9.1 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) recovered, according to the website of the CCDI.

Related: Graphic: Anti-corruption campaign in 2016

Thai court prepares to charge disgraced former Buddhist monk with raping underage girl

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 08:12
A Thai court was scheduled on Thursday to charge a disgraced ex-monk with raping an underage girl, fraud and money laundering after he was extradited from the US. Thailand is an overwhelmingly Buddhist country with around 300,000 men in orange robes, but the clergy are beset by high-profile scandals. Wiraphon Sukphon, 37, was arrested on arrival at Bangkok’s main airport late on Wednesday from the US where he established an unofficial Buddhist teaching centre after fleeing Thailand in...

Chinese president calls for 'every possible effort' to solve grievances of petitioners

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:59

BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged officials to make "every possible effort" to solve public grievances.

He said officials must treat the handling of public petitions as important work in keeping abreast of public events, pooling people's wisdom, protecting the public interest and improving social solidarity.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks in a written instruction conveyed to the eighth national conference on petition work, which was held in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He urged Party committees, government agencies and officials to handle people's legitimate appeals lawfully, in timely fashion and in the local areas, address the root causes of issues, and build a stronger grassroots system.

The construction of the legal institutions and related systems for addressing public petitions should be improved, Xi said, calling for efforts to make petition work more forward-looking, systematic and targeted.

Speaking highly of petition work in recent years, the president said those handling petitions have helped solve large numbers of problems concerning the immediate interests of the people and played an important role in safeguarding the country's reform, development and stability.

Xi ordered Party committees to enhance leadership over the work, show support and care for those handling petitions, and build a high-quality team that are loyal to the Party, dedicated to serving the people and good at working with the general public.

At the two-day event, model individuals and units were awarded for their contribution to the work and certificates of merit were presented to those who had handled petitions for more than 25 years.

China has established a system to handle appeals and petitions from the public, including citizens seeking government redress in cases ranging from illegal land acquisition, social security, education, to healthcare and environmental protection.

China unveiled a set of reforms on the petition system in 2014, vowing to expand petition channels to facilitate public grievances, punish officials for malpractice and promote rule of law in handling petition cases.

As the reform has gone deep, remarkable progress has been made in the petition work in the past three years, with a steady drop in the number of petitions and improved public trust in the work.

Petitioners now have a variety of channels to file petitions, through hotlines, WeChat, mobile apps and other online formats. They can inquire and follow the development of their cases and give feedback on the handling by local petition departments.

According to guidelines issued by Chinese authorities in early 2014, officials are required to accept petitions in a face-to-face manner at intervals ranging from one day in six months for provincial-level officials and one day every week at township-level.

Those found to have showed indifference or hampered people's interests in petition handling, refusing or delaying petitions, will be seriously punished.

Local governments also improved the assessment of officials regarding the handling of petitions, by placing more stock in the effectiveness of settlements and petitioners' satisfaction with their cases.

To promote rule of law in handling petition cases, Chinese authorities issued another regulation that defines the responsibilities of the Party and state organs in handling petitions in October 2016.

Such agencies should ensure sufficient funding and personnel for dealing with petition letters and visits, and work to prevent and reduce conflicts that result in petitions, according to the regulation.

It highlighted supervision over the handling of petitions, stating that agencies should conduct at least one relevant annual inspection accordingly.

Officials will be held accountable if improper decision-making or neglect of duty cause major petition incidents or damage people's interests. Senior supervisors will undertake joint liability if their subordinates harm other people's interests.

Hong Kong plans rise of the virtual athletes

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:31

Fans cram into stadiums while millions of ardent viewers plug into the internet to cheer on avatars of geeky young stars battling it out on the screen, as Shadow Li reports from Hong Kong.

Players from across the globe participate in an e-sports competition in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.[Deng Fei/For China Daily]

Around 20,000 seats in the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles are taking a pounding from crazy fans. Four huge screens are erected on the stage like a crystal cube with one of the world's highest-paid DJs in the center. The screens light up with animated unearthly creatures and the crowd goes wild.

The stadium, home to two famous National Basketball Association teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, has been taken over by another competitive activity that inspires fanatical devotion-electronic sports, or to use its trendy moniker, e-sports.

World-class players of League of Legends, one of the world's most popular and top-grossing online battle video games, have captured the hearts of 43 million unique viewers, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14.7 million worldwide in the final of the 2016 LOL World Championship on Oct 29.

Two teams from South Korea, with members age about 20, fought for the world championship via their avatars. They didn't even have to try that hard to impress their die-hard fans; no fancy moves, at least in the real world. Standing with slightly stooped postures, the teenagers fueled the global adulation simply by flashing geeky smiles and offering slightly awkward waves to the audience.

E-sports "athletes" are the poster boys for the sector's sudden rise. What was a solitary activity in the dark corners of internet cafes and viewed suspiciously by some as an indulgence to keep an eye on, has blossomed into a sophisticated, multiplayer open sport that has the potential to suck in the entire post-1980s internet generation.

Hong Kong has been relatively slow in catching up, despite e-sports' burgeoning popularity in the Chinese mainland and South Korea, the world's leaders in the field.

It was not until February that the city's Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po used the term "e-sports" in official documents for the first time, recognizing it as "a form of international sports competition" with "economic development potential". The government tasked Cyberport, a "creative digital community" owned by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co, with exploring the promotion of e-sports in Hong Kong.

Confronted with the huge market potential, Man Kin-fung, CEO of Global E-sports, a local e-sports company that owns PandaCute, the city's first female e-sports team, decided to take a headlong dive into the burgeoning industry.

The five members of PandaCute, an all-female e-sports team, display the flag of Hong Kong during an event in the city.[Photo provided to China Daily]

According to Man, the rapid growth of e-sports reminds him of the time Facebook first emerged. Man acquired a South Korean live-broadcasting platform, and through that acquisition, he became acquainted with a teenage girl nicknamed "Deer", who brought him into the e-sports world. Deer, a League of Legends enthusiast, wanted to build a five-member female team to play in a match hosted by a local internet cafe. Man became the catalyst for Deer to realize her dream, helping her team to win its first local title.

The five teenage girls quickly got used to the life of professional e-sports athletes. All too aware of Hong Kong's strained land supply and high rents, PandaCute's members approach their new roles as full-time jobs.

Although dedicated, their routine is mild compared with some places where e-sports teams are sent to boot camps to train, live in dormitories and remain isolated from the world before they make their debuts-just like budding pop stars.

The girls go to their office at about 10 am. They play e-sports on their own in the morning and then begin group training in the afternoon, including a team battle. Following this, they will review their battle strategies and failures. They usually call it a day at around 6 pm-sometimes 8 pm if they get carried away.

"I want to build a healthy image of e-sports players to combat the traditional misunderstanding of staying up all night playing video games immoderately," Man said.

Talking about e-sports obviously excites the 30-something "big kid", whose eyes sparkled as he spoke about the success of e-sports and future prospects.

A common notion is that e-sports players' professional lives are short, with reflexes said to be dulled by the time they reach age 25. But Man noted there are prospects for players who retire. The e-sports sector has spawned a bonanza, leading to a fully fledged industry chain to support related roles.

"They could be trainers, anchors hosting online live broadcasts and explaining games, game consultants, managers of e-sports teams, and so on," he said, though he added that just as in physical sports, athletes are not guaranteed a bright future after retirement.

The tech-based nature of e-sports also promises continuing growth, and unlike traditional sports it can reach remote regions and involve an ever-growing number of people.

"I foresee that in the near future, people will watch the League of Legends world tournament with virtual reality glasses and a 4-D experience," Man said.

He conceded that e-sports have not fully taken shape in Hong Kong because the ecosystem is incomplete, despite the high-speed development globally.

E-sports have made a name worldwide. In 2003, China listed e-sports as an official sport. Since then, the sector has taken off, with a market value of 40 billion yuan ($6 billion) last year. Viewership of matches in China has grown to 170 million, accounting for more than 50 percent of e-sports viewers worldwide. In April, the Olympic Council of Asia announced that e-sports will be an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, after being added as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Games.

The world has been wowed by the rapid development. According to Newzoo, an e-sports researcher and consultancy, by the end of the year nearly 190 million people will be employed in jobs related to e-sports.

Global profits from the sector should surpass $1 billion in 2019-more than double the figure in 2015.

Man Kin-fung, CEO of Global E-Sports, which promotes competitions for players.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Key juncture

With optimism spurred by the Hong Kong government's unprecedented move to list e-sports in official documents, Man suggested the authorities should make an even bolder move and set up qualification courses and scholarships for young aspirants seeking to train in South Korea and the Chinese mainland.

"The coming three years will mark a key juncture for Hong Kong to translate e-sports into a solid, profit-making, fully fledged industry," he said.

That isn't an optimistic or exaggerated view. On Nov 4, the National Stadium in Beijing, aka the Bird's Nest, will host the 2017 League of Legends World Championship, the game's seventh tournament. Playoff games will be held separately in Wuhan, Hubei province, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, from September.

The geographical proximity will almost certainly guarantee a flood of media coverage from across the border.

Hong Kong has picked up the signal, but it lacks a developed platform to nurture the city's game lovers, who are itching to have a go as professional players.

The city doesn't have its own professional matches to provide constant battle experience for local players, which is why its top player, Kurtis Lau Wai-kin, better known as Toyz-his game name-joined the Taipei Assassins e-sports team.

In October 2012, he was the first Hong Kong player to win the League of Legends world title as his team raked in $1 million in prize money after a battle with a South Korean team in Los Angeles.

That victory inspired Ryan Chow, formerly the best amateur player in Asia, to spend HK$2 million ($256,000) of his own money to start an e-sports company Cyber Games Arena with two partners to provide a platform for local players and even players overseas.

Long before e-sports was recognized as a sport, there was an earlier incarnation in Hong Kong. That was in the early 2000s, when internet cafes popped up across areas such as Causeway Bay, according to Chow, who is also president of the E-sports Association of Hong Kong. According to the government, the number of internet cafes has fallen by about 33 percent from more than 300 in 2002 to just 100 in 2014. At age 13, when they were in Form 1, Chow and his gaming friends were frequent visitors of internet cafes, despite the charge of HK$50 an hour.

Although they won an amateur Asian tournament when they were in Form 3, they had no way of progressing and had to shelve their dreams. But the love of gaming never went away, so the trio decided to establish Cyber Games Arena in 2013.

PandaCute attend the final of an e-sports competition for women in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

In a groundbreaking move, the company forged ahead with Hong Kong's first E-sports Festival in 2015 by partnering with the Hong Kong Computer and Communications Festival, a pilgrimage event for geeks and tech enthusiasts. A HK$100,000 prize pool was offered for onsite e-sports matches.

The second E-sports Festival in August last year, which was heavily sponsored by tech companies, attracted at least 80,000 visitors during the four-day computer fair, creating a much-needed ripple of excitement for the already lackluster tech fair.

Cyber Games Arena had to start from scratch-finding sponsors, suitable kits for live-broadcasting and venues, among other things.

E-sports is picking up in Hong Kong, but the pace is still not comparable with that of other Asia-Pacific regions, which represent 47 percent of the $99.6 billion global games market, as revealed in the Newzoo report.

More sizable investments are expected in the mainland, with Tencent, the leading player in the gaming industry, building a gaming complex with a gaming university, a cultural and creative park, an animation park and a creative neighborhood in Wuhan.

Still, Hong Kong has the potential to make e-sports work, thanks to the city's easy visa application procedures, internet speed, linguistic advantages, resources and experience in hosting international events.

Cultivate talents

Chow proposed that Hong Kong should host international e-sports games and the city should improve its efforts to cultivate e-sports talents by changing the social atmosphere to make gaming more acceptable to the general public, especially parents.

Next month, the city will host the Esports and Music Festival Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom, Kowloon-the first e-sports open event held by the government-to attract visitors from across the globe.

The 2022 Asian Games will be a huge opportunity for Hong Kong to establish a foothold in the e-sports realm if it can send a local team to compete, Chow said.

Man said that as key cities in the Greater Bay Area, Guangzhou and Hong Kong can team up to consolidate the e-sports industry.

"We have the resources and talents, and the Chinese mainland has the land and venues to host e-sports matches in the Greater Bay Area. It is like 'a river is formed when water comes'," Man said, quoting an old Chinese maxim.

Sport aids development of disabled

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:10

 

Zhang Jie coaches the Special Olympics short-track speedskating team she founded in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang province.Photos By Wang Kai / Xinhua

Former skating champion helps students realize their full potential

Every time a team member calls her "Mother Coach", Zhang Jie gets a warm feeling inside.

"They are like my own children - they are my pride and joy," Zhang said.

The team consists of 26 members who have disorders including Down syndrome, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental disturbance, intellectual disability or hearing disturbance.

During the 11th Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March, three members of the team won a total of four gold medals and two silver medals.

This achievement came just two and a half years after Zhang founded a Special Olympics short-track speed-skating team in Qitaihe in October 2014, which she decided to coach on a voluntary basis.

Zhang, 46, was born in Qitaihe, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, and began learning how to skate at age 8.

She went on to win a gold medal in the women's 3,000-meter short-track speedskating relay at the 1993 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Beijing.

"I always wanted to remain involved in skating and my dream was to become a coach after retiring," Zhang said.

To become a qualified coach, she chose to study at home and abroad after her retirement in 1995.

After obtaining a bachelor's degree from Heilongjiang University, Zhang continued studying nutrition and exercise rehabilitation in Japan, where she was awarded several professional certificates.

Zhang (fifth from left) and 13 members of the Special Olympics short-track speedskating team in Qitaihe.

While studying exercise rehabilitation of the disabled, she began to explore the idea of becoming a Special Olympics coach, and in 2014 was summoned back to her hometown.

"I still remember the smile on the face of the principal when I went to select athletes at Qitaihe Special Education School," Zhang said.

"He told me that he and the students' parents would do anything to help the students have the opportunity to enjoy sports in the same way as children without disabilities. His words were inspirational."

However, when the 26 team members lined up in front of her for the first time, Zhang realized the task she was faced with was going to be far more difficult than she had imagined.

Only five of the children, who all had hearing disabilities, were able to run.

Due to the poor receptivity and physical condition of the team, Zhang had to repeat every action countless times.

"During the process, I found that dedication, patience and love are much more important than sports technologies," Zhang said.

To get closer to the children, Zhang gave each of them a nickname. Sometimes in the training, she dressed up as different animals and told stories to the children.

"I wanted to show them that I am their coach, but also their friend," Zhang said.

"However, I felt guilty about not spending enough time with my daughter, especially during her senior high school entrance examination."

But her efforts paid off.

"All of the children made great progress, which surprised many of their parents," Zhang said. "The children's coordination improved and more important, they learned the importance of teamwork."

Over the past two and a half years, Zhang has taken a keen interest in the children's overall development, often visiting their homes and recording every detail about their progress.

"Seeing them grow as people has meant the most to me," she said.

"I helped them develop physically and mentally through skating, but I hope it also enabled them to realize their potential and build self-worth," Zhang said.

"We have recruited a new group of team members now and I believe sports can help their mental and physical development," she said.

"I hope to help children in need of exercise rehabilitation all around the country."

 

Pickpocket hunter dreams of world without thieves

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:10

Feng Liming, 37, is a retired soldier, but he often dresses like a woman when he is in public. He always carries a wig, a pair of sunglasses and a blouse with him so he can disguise himself to catch pickpockets.

"Today's bad guys have learned some anti-detection techniques, so I have to be able to transform my appearance to resemble a college student or a female office worker within seconds," Feng said.

He is known and feared by many pickpockets, robbers and drug users in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province.

Feng graduated from Shanxi's police vocational college in 2009, but failed to pass the civil servant examination three times, preventing him from becoming a police officer.

He worked other jobs instead, but never gave up his part-time pursuits as an anti-pickpocket volunteer.

Over the past 19 years, Feng has caught more than 1,200 suspects.

"If someone is breaking the law, I'm obliged to hunt them down until I catch them," he said.

When Feng was a high school student, he always wanted a mountain bike. His dream eventually came true, but the bike was stolen just days after he got it. "I wished for a world without thieves and felt the urge to do something about it," he said.

In 1998, Feng joined the military to "become strong and learn combat skills". One day in 1999, just after he got off a bus, he heard a cry.

A woman was shouting that her bag had just been stolen. She gestured toward a man riding a bicycle with a woman's bag hanging from the handlebars. Feng chased after the thief and shoved him to the ground.

Feng learned that the bag contained a large sum of cash to cover the woman's medical fees as she was seriously ill.

The experience inspired Feng to organized an anti-pickpocket team with his friends and colleagues. Before each mission, he would come up with a plan, detailing everyone's assigned position and duties.

His anti-pickpocket operations can be broken down into three steps: identifying, stalking and catching. Years of experience have given Feng and his teammates the ability to identify suspected pickpockets quickly.

In addition to catching thieves, he also tries to help those in need, and he once prevented a woman from committing suicide.

Criminals have left scars all over Feng's body. A pickpocket once sliced the blood vessels, nerves and tendon between two fingers on one of his hands. He had to undergo a minor operation involving a dozen stitches.

Feng's wife dares not walk with him on the street, fearing criminals might recognize him, and his child does not get much quality time with him. To make up for this, Feng spends all his spare time at home with his family.

"I was extremely worried about his safety at first. But I learned how good he is at this, and I convinced myself to rest assured, as he always comes home on time," Feng's wife said.

Early this year, he was asked to assist local police officers in handling cases, bringing him one step closer to becoming a real policeman.

"Catching pickpockets has become a lifetime habit for me - one I can't quit and don't want to give up," Feng said. "Whether I become a policeman or not, I will continue to do it."

Xinhua

Sleeping capsules shut down over fire risk

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:10

A sleeping capsule in Shanghai is dismantled on Monday. [Photo by Li Jing/China Daily]

Authorities in Shanghai have shut down newly opened sleeping capsules in office buildings, citing fire hazards and other reasons.

Similar to capsule hotels in Japan, the sleeping capsules showed up in three office buildings in Shanghai and in buildings in several other cities. They are designed to offer white-collar workers a space to take a break, day or night.

The clampdown in Shanghai came after suspensions of the service in Beijing and Chengdu, Sichuan province.

"Sleeping capsules are usually in a narrow space, where injuries or even death can easily result if a fire breaks out," said Li Min, an engineer in the firefighting division of Pudong New Area who helped inspect capsules in the New Shanghai International Tower on Monday.

"Smoke and poison gases can gather faster in these spaces. Sitting or lying down on the bed in the capsule could result in a relatively slow response to an emergency," she said. "It contributes to the difficulty of a fire evacuation."

Shanghai police also said the service was suspended because it did not get permission from fire departments or a license to run a hotel.

The capsules, developed by Beijing tech company Xiangshui Space, are equipped with electrical accessories including a lamp, fan and power sockets. People can get disposable bedding free, including sheets, pillowcases and blankets. Earplugs are also available.

Anyone can pay for a capsule by scanning its QR code. The capsules in Shanghai offer 24-hour service at 10 yuan ($1.50) for every half-hour during peak hours (11 am to 2 pm) and 6 yuan per half-hour at other times. The upper limit is 58 yuan per day.

Xiangshui Space's website was out of service on Wednesday, citing "system upgrading".

CEO Dai Jiangong told Beijing News on Wednesday that the company was "recalling" its products for an upgrade at the request of authorities in different cities. He was also quoted as saying that the company was not penalized.

The capsules were introduced as the sharing economy has boomed in China through products such as bicycles, umbrellas, chargers, cars and even basketballs.

In the case of the sleeping capsules, many netizens expressed concerns about hygiene, not fire hazards.

"I don't think it would meet health standards if no one tidied it up after it was used," one netizen wrote.

Another wrote: "High quality management is the prerequisite for the sharing business."

Cao Chen contributed to this story.

 

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