BEIJING - The top anti-graft body of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said Monday that 3,934 officials had been punished for violating Party austerity rules in March.
The officials were involved in 2,733 cases, according the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) website.
China punished 11,037 officials in 7,588 cases in the first three months of 2017, the CCDI article said.
Awarding unauthorized bonuses was the most common misdemeanor, followed by misuse of public vehicles and giving or accepting gifts.
The CPC released its eight-point rules on austerity in late 2012 to reduce undesirable work practices.
The CCDI has a monthly reporting system on implementation of the rules within provincial-level governments, central Party and governmental agencies, centrally-administered state-owned enterprises and central financial institutions.
HARBIN - More than 50 tiger cubs have been born at the world's largest breeding center for Siberian tigers in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province so far this year.
"The cubs are in good health and are living in the two Siberian tiger parks under the Heilongjiang Hengdao Hezi Cat Family Breeding Center," said Liu Dan, chief engineer of one of the parks.
According to Liu, breeders have prepared fresh goat's milk and egg yolks for the cubs. When they grow older, breeders will feed them chopped meat.
The mating season for Siberian tigers usually falls between April and June.
"More than 100 Siberian tiger cubs are expected to be born in 2017," Liu said.
Siberian tigers are one of the world's most endangered species. They predominantly live in northeast China and eastern Russia.
China has been trying to save the species through captive breeding programs. The Heilongjiang breeding center is currently home to more than 1,000 Siberian tigers.
HONG KONG - Former Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's bail application was granted by the region's High Court on Monday.
Tsang was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Feb 22, 2017 for misconduct while in office and was sent to prison immediately.
Tsang was granted bail pending an appeal against his conviction and was released on a cash bail of 100,000 HK dollars (about $12,870).
Tsang was found guilty of a charge of misconduct for failing to declare a conflict of interest when he approved applications for radio broadcasting license by a broadcasting company Wave Media.
The former chief executive had faced two charges of misconduct and one charge of bribery. The nine jurors entered a majority verdict of one charge of misconduct. Tsang was cleared of another charge of misconduct.
The jury could not reach a decision on whether Tsang was guilty of accepting advantage. The judge has tentatively scheduled the proceeding to September.
MACAO - Macao marked the second anniversary of China's Space Day Monday afternoon to popularize space science to young students in the special administrative region (SAR).
The event, held in the Macao Science Center, was organized by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau of the SAR government. About 400 middle school students attended the event.
Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping, a crew member of China's Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft, shared her experience of ground training and orbit operation with the students after showcasing several video clips about the space mission.
She once had have lectures to middle and elementary school students through a nation wide live TV broadcast during her stay in space.
When asked about the most interesting experience in space, Wang said the loss of gravity was the most interesting one, but it also created some inconveniences such as sleep difficulty.
The astronaut also said if she could land on the moon in future, she wanted to dress like Chang'e, the moon goddess in Chinese fairy tales, with a pet rabbit in her arms, which made the students break into laughters.
Jin Sheng, a specialist on popularization of space science to the youth, briefed the students about China's space development plan.
The education bureau's chief Leong Lai said in her opening speech of the event that Macao's youth will learn about the achievements of China's space industry and the endeavoring spirit of Chinese astronauts.
The China Space Day was designated last year to mark the launch of China's first satellite on April 24, 1970.
A popular bar street in Beijing's Sanlitun area has undergone a face-lift after the demolition of illegal constructions in the neighborhood.
Tonglihou Street, located in the well-known Taikoo Li shopping mall, is home to a variety of nail salons, foot massage parlors, bars and restaurants.
A staff member with the Sunlitun Street management office, which oversees construction in the area, said the demolition began on Monday morning. He did not want to be identified because he is not authoritized to talk to the media.
An urban patrol officer, better known as chengguan, at the scene said the demolition was expected to finish on Monday.
The move comes amid a string of similar operations across Beijing, which the city government said is aimed at removing safety risks, as many homeowners have knocked down walls to rent space to shopkeepers.
On April 17, the same management office demolished illegal constructions on the ground floor of Taipingzhuang Nanli residential building.
The ground floors of apartment blocks in Sanlitun are often rented out to stores, bars and restaurants, as the area is a popular destination for tourists, expats and locals.
Illegal structural work, such as removing interior walls, creating rooftop areas or extending buildings, is common in the area, according to the authorities.
Shenzhen Customs seized 18 million yuan ($2.6 million) in goods that infringed on intellectual property rights of Chinese enterprises last year, up 90 percent on 2015.
More than 260,000 items were confiscated, up by 33 percent year-on-year. Most were clothes, shoes and bags, although patent infringements on electronic products has been rising, the authority said.
Among the most common items found last year were smart balance wheels, also known as hoverboards.
According to customs officials in Dapeng, a district of Shenzhen, 9,300 units worth 9.85 million yuan were seized between mid-November and the end of December alone. The products were bound for the United States, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada.
"We have made greater efforts to protect IPR and promote the development of innovative enterprises in science and technology," said Shen Hongyu, deputy director of regulation for Shenzhen Customs. "We have also participated in operations (with counterparts in Hong Kong and the US) to actively maintain the international image of 'made in China'."
An official with Dapeng's customs office who declined to be named said: "Awareness of IPR protection among businesspeople has been growing, and more enterprises are coming to us to ask for protection for inventions."
Shenzhen is home to many innovative enterprises, including Huawei and ZTE. The city's customs authority said a liaison mechanism has been set up for companies with a large number of patents to offer training and legal services.
The eighth China Satellite Navigation Conference will be held at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Center from May 23 to 25.
Senior officials in charge of satellite navigation development from China, the United States, Russia and the European Union will introduce the latest developments at the conference, Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said on Monday.
Leading experts from home and abroad will also give presentations on key technologies, system building and social applications, he added.
More than 100 domestic enterprises will participate in an exhibition during the annual conference, which this year is themed "Positioning, Connecting All".
The event, which is intended to inspire scientific and technological innovation and promote international collaborations, has been held across the Chinese mainland since 2010.
China is expected to establish a national emergency and coordination committee to deal with nuclear accidents.
The draft law on nuclear safety, submitted to the National People's Congress on Monday, states the committee would be responsible for organizing a response to a nuclear accident.
Provincial-level governments would also set up such committees, according to the draft, which will be discussed at the bimonthly session of the NPC Standing Committee, which runs until Thursday. The draft was first read among legislators in November.
The latest draft highlights the need for transparency of nuclear information, requiring government departments in charge of nuclear safety supervision to publish information about nuclear accidents as well as other nuclear-related data.
In addition, the draft clarifies the importance of disposing radioactive waste, adding that data on the source, amount, character and location of such waste should be recorded and persevered indefinitely.
Legislators are discussing a law change that would make tech companies that make online maps, such as Baidu, responsible for protecting any personal data they collect or use.
A draft amendment to the Surveying and Mapping Law was submitted to the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee for a second reading on Monday.
The changes, if approved, would also cover other companies and institutions that collect, use or share geological information.
Governments and the media are also required in the draft to enhance public awareness of China's territory, while related educational elements will be introduced in primary and middle schools.
Zhang Delin, the vice-minister of land and resources, said after the draft's first reading in November that the regulations on surveying and mapping are out of date, "as technological advances have changed the way people interact with and access data".
He said some geological information is not utilized effectively, and that some even present security risks.
CHANGSHA -- Archaeologists in Central China's Hunan province are excavating a site of a porcelain kiln to make way for a new railway.
The Yanquan kiln, on a hill in Shantian village, Liuyang city, was used between the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279) and the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368), said Xun Chunlin, curator of the Liuyang city museum on Monday.
Archaeologists have found a kiln workshop, a pit for storage of the clay used in porcelain making, two channels and three walls. They have unearthed porcelain utensils, mostly greenish white, and tools used in the kiln.
"Although it was an unofficial kiln, the excavation helps us learn more about life of people in the Song and Yuan dynasties," Xun told Xinhua.
"It also demonstrates the spread of porcelain making from East China to Hunan," he said.
The kiln, discovered in 1984, is on the route of a railway linking Inner Mongolia and Jiangxi Province, intended to be a major coal transportation line, stretching more than 1,800 kilometers and scheduled to begin operations in 2020.
The relics unearthed will be kept in the museum.
BEIJING -- Chinese lawmakers Monday started to review a draft amendment to the Standardization Law, as the country strives to achieve quality-based development.
The draft revision, the first since the law came into force in 1989, was given a first reading at a four-day bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which opened Monday.
"As the country's economy and social conditions have evolved, some of the law's existing clauses are out of date," Tian Shihong, head of the Standardization Administration of China, told lawmakers.
The draft expands the scope of standards to cover various sectors, including agriculture, industry, service and social programs, as they currently only cover industrial products, construction and environmental protection areas.
It will also integrate mandatory standard systems, focusing on the technical requirements of health and safety, national and ecological security, as well as on the basic needs on the management of society and the economy.
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China's supply-side structural reform, which has reduced excessive production capacity, helps push the country's environmental protection and resource saving, experts said on Saturday.
China cut 65 million tons of excessive steel-making capacity and 290 million tons of coal mining capacity in 2016. It has vowed to continue the reform process over the next two years.
"The excessive production capacity constitutes a serious waste of resources," Zheng Yuxin, a researcher from the Environmental and Development Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said.
"Over-capacity is a global problem facing many countries, but our problem is especially serious," he said. "China should make more efforts to reduce excessive capacity, which is very important for saving resources and building a resource-saving-oriented society."
Zheng said many steel-makers and coal mining companies were main contributors to local coffers, thus prompting local governments to protect them. "It is a problem that China must solve."
Zheng made the comments at a forum marking World Earth Day, which falls on April 22. Experts from CASS and other institutes shared their solutions to the problems of environment degradation and pollution at the forum.
Yue Guoqiang, an economist at the National Development and Reform Commission, said China's energy mix, which heavily relies on consumption of coal, is a main factor behind the country's air pollution.
"Our energy supply is mainly built on thermal power generation, which consumes large amounts of coal, contributing to air pollution," he said, citing the example of air pollution of Beijing.
Apart from coal consumption, dust from construction sites is also a major source of air pollution, said Qin Dadi, an engineer of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. "Many studies, from both Chinese and international researchers, have pointed to dust from construction sites as a major source of air pollution."
Zhao Zhangyuan, a researcher with the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, called for more public supervision.
"We must rely on the public to protect our environment; government efforts alone are not enough."
Almost 94 percent of Guangzhou residents believe the city government should support the bike-sharing industry to help reduce vehicle emissions, according to a poll.
An online survey of 2,238 locals between January and March found that 70 percent are satisfied with bike-sharing services in the city.
However, 64 percent expressed dissatisfaction over the management of such bikes, with poor parking and damaged bikes among the main concerns.
Fifty-one percent said they use shared bikes less than three times a week, 30 percent said three to six times, and 18 percent said more than seven times.
Chen Zhenxi with the Guangdong Consumer Council, which conducted the survey in partnership with the city's consumer council, said shared bikes provide a convenient, affordable and quick way for residents to travel over short distances.
However, he added, "Bike-sharing companies should improve the management of their bikes, and residents should be educated on how to use the bikes in a civil manner." Chen Lianshu, a lawyer with the Guangdong council, urged the government to tighten its regulations to standardize the operation of shared bikes and protect the legal interests of companies and users.
Huang Fengchao, a white-collar worker in Guangzhou's Tianhe district, said shared bikes help him avoid traffic jams in busy downtown areas during rush hour.
He said he usually rides a shared bike from his home in Panyu district to his office after getting off the subway. " It is convenient and economical," he said.
Yu Xiaoying, a housewife, said many of her friends and neighbors ride shared bikes, but the management of the bikes should be improved.
"I often find shared bikes parked inconsiderately, blocking the entrances of the meat and vegetable markets," she said.
Chinese courts handled a record 152,072 cases related to intellectual property disputes last year.
The number — which includes civil, criminal and administrative cases — represented a 16 percent year-on-year increase, according to data from the Supreme People's Court.
Civil disputes saw the biggest increase, up by 24 percent year-on-year overall, with some 86,989 disputes related to copyright infringement, up by 30 percent.
Beijing, Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong accounted for 70 percent of all IP cases handled by courts last year, while the number filed in Fujian and Shandong provinces increased.
"IP cases occur more in places with rapid economic growth," Song Xiaoming, chief judge of the SPC's intellectual property tribunal, said in Beijing today. "Judges are facing more challenges in hearing IP cases due to rapid technological advancements."
Courts have acted to protect IP rights holders and reduce the losses caused by infringements, he said.
In addition, Song said, the SPC has told courts at all levels to be transparent in hearing IP cases and to help people better understand the law.
Could astronauts realize the dream of accessing the internet like us on the Earth? The humankind is closer to realizing this dream, with China's first cargo spacecraft testing the Ethernet technology in space, Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.
"Unlike previous spacecraft, Tianzhou 1 for the first time uses the Ethernet technology, which will help verify technology for internet communications aboard the future space station," said Feng Shuyi, chief for tracking communications technology for Tianzhou 1 under the Eighth Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Ethernet is the most widely used local area network technology and facilitates information transmission regardless of the location, according to Feng. It also enables efficient and fast transmission of huge information.
The current communications system for spacecraft lags in the speed, quality and extension capability of transmission, and does not meet the growing demand for information transmission, especially from the future space station.
"The application of Ethernet aboard Tianzhou 1 is aiming to test such technology for the future space station," said Feng.
Feng said the high-speed communications processor, developed by the institute, is an important part of the Ethernet system aboard Tianzhou 1.
Feng compared the processor as a big airport, which guides the takeoff and landing of big and small airplanes, receives and sends passengers from and to different areas. It is like a core transport hub.
"The processor plays a big role in ground-space tracking communications for the cargo spacecraft, and lays a solid ground for building a 1Gb/s Internet connection aboard for the space station." Feng said.
US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, US, April 7, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula on phone, pledging close contact through various means to promptly exchange views on major issues of common concern.
China strongly opposes actions that violate resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, Xi said, adding China hopes that the parties concerned will exercise restraint and avoid actions that aggravate tensions on the Peninsula.
Xi noted that if the parties shoulder their due responsibilities and meet each other halfway, they can solve the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsular over phone, pledging close contact through various means to promptly exchange views on major issues of common concern.
Suicide has become the leading cause of death of young Chinese people, aged between 15 and 35, according to a survey carried out by the Chinese Ministry of Health.
Young people taking their own lives is becoming a serious issue in Chinese society, reports Legal Daily.
Causes and solutions of suicide vary between different people. Some of the most common causes of suicide are a history of mental illness in the family, social isolation, relationship and financial problems, says Wu Mingxia, a psychological expert from China's Southwest University.
In many cases, liability has become a controversial issue, with some families insisting that universities should be held liable when students commit suicide at college. Some even seek compensation for the loss of their loved one.
In interviews carried out by journalists on the subject of suicide, the majority of people seem to agree that educational establishments should bear a large part of the responsibility for campus suicides saying that they have a duty to counsel students, and help maintain their mental and physical health.
However, many feel that parents also need to shoulder partial responsibility, as they ought to be aware of the potential suicide risks of their children.
Beyond the issue of responsibility, suicide prevention and psychological counseling are seen as significant ways to reduce the level of campus suicide, and both schools and parents agree that there is much work to be done on means of preventing suicide among young people.
Qi Laolao, 64, comes to a fair market to get his mother home using a handcart in Hanyang township, Yongji city in North China's Shanxi province, April 22, 2017. The mother, 84, sells home-produced goose eggs in the market. Qi, who is single, has been living with her since his father died about a decade years ago. [Photo/VCG]
Qi's mother shows a hen's egg and a goose's the family's homebred poultry have produced. [Photo/VCG]
Qi Laolao gets his mother home using a handcart. [Photo/VCG]
Qi says hi to acquaintances on his way home, who praise him as a good son. [Photo/VCG]
Qi Laolao gets his mother home using a handcart. [Photo/VCG]
Qi's mother feeds gooses discarded vegetable leaves from the market. She picked those leaves and brought them home. [Photo/VCG]
Qi's mother puts the eggs in a bucket carefully. She will sell them when the market opens next time. [Photo/VCG]
Qi's mother washes clothes. [Photo/VCG]
BEIJING - A set of bamboo slips dating back more than 2,300 years were officially recognized Sunday by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's earliest decimal calculation tool.
"The significance is that it's decimal, not duodecimal as seen in other countries. Decimal did not appear in Europe until the 15th century," said Li Xueqin, head of the Research and Conservation Center for Excavated Texts of Beijing-based Tsinghua University.
The 21 slips, crafted around 305 BC during the Warring States Period, are 43.5 centimeters long and 1.2 centimeters wide each.
When arranged together as a multiplication table, the slips can perform multiplication and division of any two whole numbers under 100 and numbers containing the fraction 0.5.
The slips have inscribed numbers and holes, where threads used to go. A user would pull the threads corresponding to numbers needed to be calculated in order to see the result.
The owner of the slips remains unknown, according to Li. "Our guess is that the tool might be used in trade, or measurement of land in the kingdom of Chu."
In July 2008, Tsinghua acquired a rare collection of 2,500 slip bamboo items from the late Warring States period, which had been smuggled out of China, including the multiplication table.
A man in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 20,000 yuan ($2,900) for using his pregnant wife to deliver drugs. The couple was arrested in May last year after police found more than 300 grams of ketamine - street names, special K or super acid - in their home. A local court sentenced the woman to two years in prison with a three-year reprieve because she needed to breast-feed her baby.
A 33-year-old single mother in Tianjin was imprisoned after she was repeatedly caught selling drugs while on bail between July and October 2015. The First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin arranged for the woman's 3-year-old daughter to be sent to the civil affairs department in Tsitsihar, Heilongjiang province, where the family home is registered.
When she was prosecuted in January 2015, the woman, who had previous convictions for drug dealing, was allowed bail because the father of her baby is unknown, and there would be no one to care for the child if the mother was sent to prison.
A man in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, who had been sentenced to 15 years for selling drugs, arranged for his wife and their housekeeper to deal narcotics when he was given home leave on medical parole last year. He was given a life sentence in August.
In October, the parents of a 3-year-old child were caught transporting drugs as they pushed a stroller with the child in it through customs at Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Customs officers found the Hong Kong couple suspicious because their only luggage was a school bag. When the stroller was searched, officers found two bottles of "orange juice", which turned out to be liquid methadone.
Community correction must be employed when convicted people are allowed to serve sentences outside prison. The process should be overseen by members of the community in which the convicted person resides.
If they fall into the categories listed below, people sentenced to a set term of imprisonment are allowed to serve their sentences outside prison.
a) People with an illness within the scope of the List of Major Diseases of Medical Parole, and need to seek medical treatment outside prison.
b) Women who are pregnant or lactating.
c) Those without the capacity to look after themselves.
Assessment of illness should be carried out by a hospital designated by the relevant provincial government.
The medical document provided by the hospital should be signed by two senior physicians and the hospital's head or deputy head. The document should be included with copies of the results of medical examinations.
About half of the 400 Anhui University freshmen questioned about their teachers' names on their midterm exams were unable to answer.
The exam had a maximum score of 100 points, with 40 points attributed to questions that were unrelated to the students' course subjects.
Yang Liangpan, a tutor at the university's School of Electronics and Information Engineering, designed the questions.
"When communicating with students, I found that many don't even know their teachers' names, let alone interact with them," Yang said.
Yang, who is an electronics and information-engineering graduate, said he wanted to use the questions to encourage students to build relationships with their teachers.
Freshmen from five majors at the school took the exam. Yang found that nearly half of the students failed to name all five teachers.
"When I looked at the examination paper, I was surprised by the first section, which asked us to write down the names of four teachers and our tutor, as well as in which classrooms we attend the courses and where the tutor's office is," said Han Kai, who took the exam on April 15.
"Some of my classmates were unable to provide the answers."
Li Lulu, a sophomore at Wuhan Media and Communications College, said that students at her college in the capital of Hubei province would also struggle to provide answers to similar questions.
"Students are not entirely to blame for this situation. Some teachers just enter the classroom, teach the class and leave without staying to chat with students or offer any personal advice," Li said.
On the last three questions of the exam at Anhui University, students were questioned about how best to console friends who have broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend; their opinions on student loans; and what their favorite video games are.
Han said most of his male classmates play video games, but he is not a fan, because they remind him of his older brother, who became addicted to video games and dropped out of high school.
"College students should be given more freedom, but they should still prioritize their studies," Yang said, adding that most of the questions of the exam were about mathematics and physics.
Readers deliver an excerpt from Dishes on Plate, a winner of a 2017 Wenjin Award, on Sunday.Zhang Yuwei / Xinhua
High-quality books on traditional Chinese culture are being revitalized, judging from the results of the 12th annual Wenjin Awards, China's national-level comprehensive book award to encourage public reading.
The results were released on Sunday, which was World Book and Copyright Day.
Awards from the National Library of China were given to 10 winning books from about 80 finalists chosen by 14 top librarians and scholars. Several preliminary rounds involving media and libraries nationwide whittled down a field of 1,800 books that were published in China last year.
The award, usually excluding novels, has three categories: humanities, popular sciences and children books. Half the winners this year deal with different aspects of traditional Chinese culture - ancient music, architecture, philosophy, astronomy and food.
"Only three winners were translated," said Wang Yusheng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has been a judge for the award since 2006. "That shows that the quality of Chinese books is improving."
He said the mixing of social and physical sciences is a trend this year, and the winning children's books were suitable for adult readers.
"Many good children's books have been introduced into China from other countries in recent years. They helped broaden people's horizons and inspired our writing," said Yu Hongcheng, author of the award-winning Dishes on Plate.
"However, it worries me that Chinese children may not have enough self-confidence from a cultural perspective when exposed to a market dominated by translations."
That concern encouraged her to create the picture book, which traces Chinese agrarian culture - starting with rice, a foundation of Chinese cuisine.
Another winner, Xu Gang, author of the popular science book Empire of the Stars, said: "Western signs of the zodiac are popular in China. People sometimes forget that we have our own ancient astronomy."
He added that the old system remains a crucial element in understanding traditional Chinese culture.
"Traditional Chinese culture is often explained in misleading ways," said Lou Yulie, author of winner The Basic Spirit of Chinese Culture. "What matters is not the accumulation of knowledge, but how to use it in modern life. Reading helps this."
"The award strives to stay away from market performance," said Zhou Guoping, a philosophy professor and a judge for the Wenjin Awards. "Reading good books should be pure process."
"Master Ren" - as he is known online - has become an international sensation for his masterful translations of Chinese fantasy novels into English.
The 31-year-old Chinese-American, whose pen name is Ren Woxing - real name Lai Jingping - aspired to "do something for Sino-US relations" after graduating from University of California, Berkeley.
First, he joined the US Foreign Service. Then, he translated fiction.
He is said to be the first to translate a Chinese web novel as long as 3.4 million words. It was arranged into 804 chapters.
He updated his chapter-by-chapter translations free on the online forum SPCNET, where fans discuss and share translations of particular works.
That was a year and a half of diligent translation, a "life-changing ... heck of a ride", Lai said.
The popularity of the work inspired him to launch website wuxiaworld.com in December 2014. It had received over 1 billion visits as of August.
He quit his diplomatic position in Vietnam at the end of 2015, with overwork's strain on his health requiring him to choose one path or the other.
"My parents happened to be visiting, and they saw the state I was in. They knew I wouldn't give up wuxiaworld. Their only concerns were about my previous career," he said.
He views his work facilitating Chinese online-novel translation as a continuation of his mission to connect China with the outside world. His website offers English translations of 40 novels, most of which are web literature, including Coiling Dragon, which was successful overseas.
Each month, about 2 million visitors from 115 countries read the novels translated by Lai's team of 24, he said.
Lai's family moved to the United States to pursue chemistry doctorates in 1986, three years after he was born.
"They hoped I'd also study hard science," he said. "I chose political science instead."
He spoke Mandarin as a child, but could not write Chinese. Still, he wanted to read more kung fu novels because he loved the films and TV series. He took three years of Chinese language classes at Berkeley, while translating and discussing Louis Cha's novels on SPCNET.
"The most common expressions are hardest to translate," he said.
Years of experience sharpened his language skills and enriched his understanding of China and kung fu, and he dramatically sped up the translation of Coiling Dragon.
"The characters' Western names attract more English-language readers," he said.
He was providing his service free of charge, but some readers began offering donations for quicker translations. Lai recognized an opportunity.
"I did what I promised," he said. "This resulted in a virtuous - albeit exhausting - cycle of continuing to translate new chapters. More readers, more donations, more translations."
Coiling Dragon has brought Chinese fantasy web novels "to the forefront" internationally, he added.
Lai obtained the rights to do the translations of novels last year. His website is advertising-supported and provides a living, he said.
Peking University online-literature researcher Ji Yunfei said Lai's team members can earn $10,000 a month, and expects that will increase.
"Lai has established his operating model," Ji said.
Lai said: "My dreams are big, but my methods are risky." The difficulty is getting published in the US, especially in print. "Also, web novels aren't simply entering the US market. They're forging a new market," he said.
Fake peer reviews cited; uproar reignites questions of credibility
An international medical journal's retraction of 107 research papers from China, many of them by clinical doctors, has reignited concerns over academic credibility in the country.
Tumor Biology, a journal published by Springer Nature, announced last week that it had retracted the papers after an investigation showed the peer review process had been compromised.
"The articles were submitted with reviewer suggestions, which had real researcher names but fabricated email addresses," Peter Butler, editorial director for cell biology and biochemistry at Springer Nature, told Shanghai-based news website The Paper.
"The editors thought the articles were being sent out to genuine reviewers in the discipline," he said. "Following our investigation and communication with the real reviewers, they confirmed they did not conduct the peer review."
Peer review is an evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to those who produce the work, which helps validate research.
The online notice about the retraction lists all 107 articles and 524 authors, nearly all of whom are clinical cancer specialists from China. The hospitals named are all top public institutions.
A Beijing cancer specialist who didn't want to be named said on Sunday that although there is no excuse for compromising scientific credibility, the incident reveals a widespread dilemma facing Chinese physicians who struggle to strike a balance between overloaded daily work schedules and academic requirements, primarily publishing papers to secure professional development and promotion.
"How many patients do Chinese doctors see a day? It can be more than 50," he told China Daily. "How can we have the time and energy to do research or publish papers?"
For those outside the scientific community, the response to the retraction has been mixed.
"Hard to believe so many doctors lied in the papers. Can patients still trust them to help us treat diseases?" wrote one Sina Weibo user.
However, others argued that doctors' hands may be forced by an unfair system. "As a patient, I'm more concerned about whether they can cure my illness rather than how many papers they've published," another netizen said.
Wang Chunfa, executive secretary of the China Association for Science and Technology, has expressed deep concern over the retraction, which came just days after he met in Beijing with Arnout Jacobs, the head of Springer Nature for Greater China.
In that meeting, he told Jacobs that such problems would decrease, as China is reforming its management system in science and technology, according to a statement by the association on Friday.
Wang said the journal and authors had an unavoidable responsibility in the latest scandal, with the statement adding that Tumor Biology had retracted papers over similar concerns about the peer review process in 2015.
Verification and evaluation should be enhanced before publication, Wang said.
Jacobs vowed at the meeting to improve management and cooperation with the association to enhance the credibility of the science. He stressed the publisher was not targeting China, as it had also retracted papers by experts from other countries, the statement said.
Cui Tiankai, ambassador to the US (center), Walt Disney Studios Vice-President Paul Baribault (left) and Chinese documentary director Lu Chuan (second from the left) display a poster for Born in China, a Chinese-American coproduction that takes viewers on an epic journey into the wilds of the country. The film was released in the United States over the weekend.Zhao Huanxin / China Daily
Wildlife movie coproduction shows angle not known to many
Born in China, a Chinese-American wildlife documentary coproduction, has been offering US moviegoers a feast for the eyes and food for thought since opening in US theaters a day before Earth Day, April 22.
The film's stunning imagery was captured over three years, largely in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, and it follows the lives of pandas, golden monkeys and snow leopards, with additional footage of red-crowned cranes and chiru, or Tibetan antelopes. It was coproduced by Disneynature and Shanghai Media Group.
"The film serves to increase humans' awareness of the importance and urgency of protecting wildlife," Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said at a reception at China's embassy in Washington on Friday.
"Besides, we can learn much from animals, such as pandas, on how to coexist peacefully and harmoniously," Cui told a group of US guests before the showing of the film.
Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department, told China Daily, "It would be good for American audiences to see Chinese people caring about the planet, and conserving wildlife and natural spaces."
Roy Conli, producer of Born in China, said he had been "totally unaware" of the wilderness of China, including what was happening on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and in the mountains of Sichuan, before the making of the film.
"It just shows you how wondrous this planet is," said Conli, the Oscar-winning producer of Big Hero 6. "We need to protect animal populations ... in order to protect ourselves."
For Lu Chuan, an accomplished Chinese director, directing the film allowed him to share the beauty of China, and Chinese people's attitude toward life.
"This is a film that will tell our audience that besides Beijing and Shanghai, and besides heavy industries and pollution, China has incredibly beautiful sides that many are hardly aware of - the crystal clear skies, the stunning sceneries and wildlife habitats," Lu said.
In addition to appearing at US theaters, Born in China will be rendered into a dozen languages and later released in over 100 countries and regions, according to Cui Yuying, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office.
Cui said the China-US coproduction is emblematic of the decision at the April Mar-a-Lago meeting of President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump to ratchet up bilateral exchanges, including cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
"The State Council Information Office welcomes and will continue to support international organizations to tell China stories ... to ramp up understanding and friendship between Chinese and people in the US and the rest of the world," she said.
The film's Chinese version was released in August. A trailer is available at nature.disney.com.
Deng Leshuo in Washington contributed to this story.
The public got a rare glimpse into one of the most secret branches of China's military forces on Sunday when the People's Liberation Army Navy released a video of the training and exercises of its nuclear submarine force.
The video, called Things About the PLA Navy's Nuclear Submarines, shows crew members taking an oath while standing atop the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, officers operating equipment within submarines as well as a submarine firing a torpedo.
The force's attack and ballistic missile submarines are shown sailing on the surface or taking part in a naval parade.
The video also shows China's first submerged launch of its submarine-based ballistic missile.
On Sunday, the PLA Navy celebrated the 68th anniversary of its founding. Over decades, the Navy has evolved from an antiquated, poorly equipped force into a modern and capable power.
Pictures of the nation's nuclear submarines are rare - they are one of the PLA's most powerful weapons and incorporate many military and technological secrets.
The Navy has never released information about its nuclear submarines' construction, commissioning or deployment.
The PLA Navy also released another video of the firing of various kinds of ammunition from ships, submarines and aircraft. It is filled with images of anti-ship and air defense missiles roaring away from warships with flames and deafening sounds.
The most rarely seen parts of the video include images of a submarine launching two missiles underwater as well as an H-6 bomber and a J-15 carrier-borne fighter jet delivering anti-ship cruise missiles.
The Navy published another four videos on Sunday, including one showing live-fire exercises of the PLA Navy Marine Corps and one saluting the Navy's female sailors.
On Sunday, the Navy began public tours of its first nuclear submarine - theChangzheng 1 nuclear-powered attack submarine.
The submarine, which was in active service for more than 40 years, is now displayed at the Navy Museum in Qingdao, Shandong province.
The Japanese Cabinet deserves plaudits for uncovering hitherto undiscovered passages in Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf of such educational value that they could be used in the nation's classrooms. The cabinet, in its wisdom, confirmed on April 14 that Mein Kampf can be classified as appropriate teaching material for schools on the proviso that the book, and this requires the greatest discipline not to howl with derision, cannot in any way be used to promote racial discrimination.
The book was written during Hitler's time in prison following his failed 1923 putsch. It is part autobiography, manifesto, anti-Semitic diatribe and instructions on how to gain power. It became a bestseller from 1933, selling a total of 12.5 million copies. Finding any part of the book that could be useful for pupils would seem difficult and up until now beyond the capabilities of education authorities the world over.
That it should be advocated by the next host of the Olympic Games is beyond parody. Nor can it be considered a great, if poisonous, work of literature. It is dotted with clunky prose, generally poorly written and grammatically incorrect (it has often been called Sein Krampf or "His Cramp").
Hitler had been registered as living in Munich, which was in the US sector after World War II. The Americans passed publication rights to the state of Bavaria. They refused to republish it, though it was never technically banned.
The Bavarian copyright expired at the end of 2015, 70 years as per European copyright law after his death. Consequently publication of the book has been legal in Germany since 2016. Indeed it has been republished in heavily annotated form.
The Japanese decision came just weeks after the use of the controversial Imperial Rescript on Education in school was given the green light.
The Rescript, issued in 1890, was meant to inoculate a sense of militarism in schools and unquestioning loyalty to the emperor to groom the nation's youth in a far-right ideology.
American occupation authorities banned formal reading of the Rescript at the end of the war.
Japan's cabinet in a statement on March 31 said that its use as teaching material (the same classification as for Mein Kampf) "cannot be denied".
The Imperial Rescript came into the limelight earlier this year after a video emerged showing 3 - to 5-year-old pupils at an Osaka kindergarten reciting the document.
The kindergarten is at the center of a growing controversy surrounding land it acquired at well below the market value and a donation it allegedly received from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife.
Nor is the Mein Kampf episode the first time that Japanese politicians have raised the specter of Nazi Germany. In 2013, deputy prime minister Taro Aso refused to resign despite having to retract comments suggesting the country should follow the Nazi example in changing the country's constitution.
Japan, he said, should learn from how the Nazis changed Germany's constitution prior to the war before opposition was organized to prevent them, and suggested that Japanese politicians should avoid controversy by making quiet visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, where militarism, and Japan's wartime role, is celebrated.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 04/24/2017 page2)
A screenshot shows the Tianzhou 1 docking with the Tiangong II space laboratory on Saturday.Wang Sijiang / Xinhua
China's first cargo spacecraft, the Tianzhou 1, has docked with the country's Tiangong II space laboratory and will stay in space about five months to conduct tests and experiments.
The docking took place on Saturday afternoon about 380 kilometers above the Earth, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
Tianzhou 1, the country's largest and heaviest spacecraft, was lifted atop a Long March 7 rocket on Thursday night at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. The Tiangong II has been in space since mid-September and carried two Chinese astronauts from mid-October to mid-November. It is now unmanned.
The two spacecraft will stay in combined orbit for about two months, during which the Tianzhou 1 will resupply fuel to Tiangong II and conduct scientific experiments, the agency said.
After the two months, the cargo spacecraft will undock and re-dock with the space lab. It will then undock again and start a three-month independent flight before a third docking.
The cargo craft will inject fuel into Tiangong II during the second and third dockings. After the third docking, Tianzhou 1 will depart from Tiangong II and will be directed by ground control to fall back to Earth.
If the mission is successful, China will become the third nation to use its own technology to conduct in-orbit refueling, joining Russia and the United States. It is part of China's plan to have a manned space station in orbit by about 2022.
The reason for repeating the docking and undocking process is that scientists want to test the technology developed to enable a spacecraft to dock with a space station from different directions.
According to designers, after the first undocking from Tiangong II, the cargo vessel will fly to the opposite side of Tiangong II and dock with different section.
Xu Xiaoping, deputy chief designer of the Tianzhou 1 at the China Academy of Space Technology, said China's space station will have multiple adapters to dock with spacecraft from various directions so Tianzhou 1's dockings will help scientists collect experience and data.
Zhang Qiang, another deputy chief designer of the cargo ship, said Tianzhou 1 will make sophisticated, automated maneuvers circling Tiangong II before the second docking. He said in the third docking, Tianzhou 1 will use fast-docking technology, which will take six hours for the entire process. By comparison, a typical docking will take two days.
In the future, the Tianzhou series will be tasked with bringing supplies of fuel and other necessities to China's manned space station, for which construction will start around 2018.
The station will consist of three parts - a core module attached to two space labs, each weighing about 20 tons - and will operate for at least 10 years, according to the manned space agency.
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, Tianzhou 1 is 10.6 meters long and has a diameter of 3.35 meters. Its maximum takeoff weight is 13.5 metric tons, enabling it to carry up to 6.5 tons of supplies.
Liu Zhigang stands in front of his motor tricycle in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.[Photo provided to China Daily]
Heilongjiang Yunda Express awarded 5,000 yuan ($730) to Liu Zhigang on April 17 for his heroism.
The 47-year-old dispatch worker at a Yunda delivery-service station in Heilongjiang province's capital, Harbin, who had earlier lost an arm, helped an elderly blind man escape from a fire.
His story went viral online. Some netizens call him the "hero in the fire".
A first-floor convenience story in Harbin's Pingfang district caught flame, and the blaze swiftly spread to the balcony of a neighboring apartment while Liu was delivering packages nearby on April 12.
The heat had shattered the glass. Liu noticed the old man groping around in thick smoke.
Liu jumped up onto the balcony without hesitation and led the blind man outside.
"It was windy, and the fire could have easily spread into the room if it was not controlled," Liu said. "And I saw a fridge on the balcony. It could have been really dangerous if it exploded."
After ushering the man to safety, Liu kept taking water from the convenience store to toss on the flames.
He was able to keep the fire at bay.
But he left without a word after the fire trucks arrived.
"He didn't say anything about the fire after he returned," says Xiao Ya, a customer-service representative at the station.
"So we didn't know anything about it until local media reported it."
But colleagues were not surprised. "Of course, he'd rush in if faced with this scenario. He's very kind and willing to help others. He helps me finish my job before break time every day at noon," Xiao said.
He is also hardworking, she said.
"He delivers to three residential communities and one school. He once delivered 180 packages in one day. We've never received complaints since he joined."
Liu lost his right arm in an accident when he was working in a factory in Hebei province's Tangshan.
Heilongjiang Yunda Express manager Wang Xiangchun said: "I hope all Yunda employees can learn from Liu and help others."
Liu gave another 5,000 yuan that the Alibaba Foundation had earlier awarded him to his mother.
"She's the person I care about most. And she was really worried about me after she found out what I did."
China's deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, is seen on this photo taken on April 22, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
ONBOARD SHIP XIANGYANGHONG 09 - Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, went through a dive simulation in Sanya, Hainan Province on Saturday to prepare for a deep descent in the South China Sea. The submersible stayed underwater for 18 minutes in Saturday's drill before returning Xiangyanghong 09, the mother ship, completing tasks including underwater training for its crew. Zhang Weijia, who participated, said she was very excited entering the submersible for the first time to learn about its facilities, practical operation and emergency escape. Jiaolong's South China Sea dive is part of the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition. The expedition will last for about four months. The drill was necessary for testing equipment and personnel, said Wu Changbin, general commander of the second stage of the expedition. Currently the Jiaolong's "technological status" is stable and the cooperation among various departments is smooth, Wu said. Jiaolong completed a deep-sea operation in the northwestern Indian Ocean earlier this year in the mission's first stage. It will also conduct surveys in the Yap Trench and the Mariana Trench in the third stage. Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.
Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, went through a dive simulation in Sanya, Hainan Province on Saturday.[Photo/Xinhua]
Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, went through a dive simulation in Sanya, Hainan Province on Saturday.[Photo/Xinhua]
Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, went through a dive simulation in Sanya, Hainan Province on Saturday.[Photo/Xinhua]
A teacher has rewritten hundreds of ancient stories to make them accessible to children
Huang Qiaoyan has been considered by some as the Chinese equivalent of the German Brothers Grimm. CHINA DAILY
Some consider Huang Qiaoyan to be the Chinese equivalent of the German Brothers Grimm.
That is because the middle school teacher in Guangdong province's Dongguan has compiled more than 200 Chinese fairy tales over the past seven years.
Her love of these distinctly Chinese stories drove her to undertake this odyssey, she said.
The idea came to her when she was disappointed by a book of Chinese folk stories she borrowed from the library 13 years ago. The pregnant woman wanted to reflect on the stories her grandfather told her as a girl, she said.
"The book was simple and crude," she recalled.
"And the stories were dry. They were far from interesting."
Her husband encouraged her to compile captivating and authentic fairy tales for their child and all Chinese children.
She became determined to complete this mission after her husband passed away seven years ago.
Huang said it was initially difficult to find material.
"I pored over all kinds of texts and took notes. I jotted down the most attractive parts of different versions, felt them with my heart and tried to put the pieces together," she said.
"The stories acquired their internal completeness this way. They came to life when I rewrote them. My son was fascinated when I read them to him. I told them to other children, who also enjoyed them."
Huang wrote almost all of the story of Cang Jie Creates Chinese Characters because she was not satisfied with the materials she had.
She could only find one version of the tale of the Dragon Well and Water Fairy.
"I kept retelling the story in my mind until it became multifaceted and accessible," she said.
"Then, I wrote it down in my own words."
She loved the original words Tang Dynasty (618-907) writer Li Zhaowei used in Liu Yi Delivers A Letter. But the ancient Chinese is not easily understood by children.
"I thought about it for a long time and decided not to abandon this story. It may seem overconfident, but I translated and rewrote it," she said.
Huang has collected over 10,000 stories and selected about 300 of the best known that are suitable for children and rich in spiritual meaning.
She won the 2009 Bing Xin Children's Literature Award for an original fairy tale she created.
Chinese scholars started to modernize fairy tales in the early 20th century, when The Grimms Fairy Tales was translated into Chinese, but publication was delayed by the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), said Tu Zhigang, publisher of the book Chinese Stories.
The book that features 81 stories Huang compiled is scheduled to be published in May.
Most earlier collections focus on stories told in specific regions or among ethnic groups, he said.
Zheng Shuoren and Taiwan's Echo of Things Chinese magazine's staff have written such books.
Zheng did not heavily edit the originals and sometimes included different versions. The lack of unified style makes it difficult for children to follow, Tu believed.
The book by the Taiwan magazine was collectively compiled and lacks a distinctive style, he said.
Still other collections are more valuable for research than for children's entertainment, he added.
"I think (Huang's) book is very important. I am not saying it is perfect. It marks the first time a writer has taken the initiative to repackage Chinese fairy tales covering different regions, ethnic groups and types," Tu said.
"It sounds simple. But you discover how difficult it is only when you actually do it. Just reading over 10,000 stories is time-consuming. And she reconfigured them to connect the different versions and tell them to children in a modern way."
Time is Huang's greatest challenge today.
"It's sometimes very frustrating, especially when my teaching schedule is full. I then feel incapable and unintelligent."
But she is determined to continue to rewrite 400 folk tales. "I love those stories. The more I read and write and put my heart into them, the more deeply I feel about their value," she said. "Chinese stories are nourished by Chinese culture. And every storyteller must put his or her Chinese soul into them."
Wang Ting contributed to this story.
Authorities are cracking down on those who use the most vulnerable people in society to transport illegal substances. Zhang Yi reports.
Police have opened a new front in the war on drugs by targeting traffickers who recruit the disabled and other vulnerable people as couriers, or "mules".
Drug gangs target these groups－people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, plus pregnant or lactating women－because Chinese law contains a number of clauses that allow them to avoid prison. That, plus the offer of "easy money", is often enough for those from the poorest sections of society to run the risks associated with the trade.
Last year, more than 5,300 vulnerable people were detained while transporting narcotics, according to the latest annual report on the country's drug situation.
Of those, 782 were foreign nationals, and a large number were from Myanmar, according to the report, released last month by the Office of National Narcotics Control Commission, China's top anti-drug authority.
In August, a pregnant 18-year-old woman from Myanmar was caught with nearly 3 kilograms of methamphetamine stashed in 80 mooncakes, a traditional Chinese delicacy.
The mule, who had been hired to carry the narcotics from Myanmar to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, was caught as she was about to deliver the mooncakes to the buyer. In her confession, she said she was due to receive 5,000 yuan ($730) when the deal was closed.
In a similar case, a 16-year-old Myanmarese girl was caught at a bus station in Kunming with about 2.8 kg of meth concealed in two boxes of mooncakes.
Under China's Criminal Procedure Law, the disabled, people with chronic illnesses or acute infectious diseases, and pregnant or lactating women, can file for bail prior to conviction, and later apply for medical parole that will allow them to serve their sentences outside prison.
Even if they are convicted and sentenced, they can avoid jail if they are physically unfit for imprisonment, according to Wei Jie, a criminal law specialist with the Jieqiang Law Firm in Beijing.
"For example, the parole regulation, amended in 2014, allows people with acute or infectious illnesses to apply for medical parole," he said.
"Usually, they don't have to serve their sentences in jail if they present a doctor's note to the prison authorities saying that they have to receive inpatient treatment at a hospital."
These offenders serve their sentences in their home communities, which are obliged to supervise them, and they are not allowed to leave their city of residence until the full sentence has been served.
These people rarely have the capacity for work and are not financially well-off, he said, which means they are easily tempted by the small amounts of money offered by drug dealers.
"They believe they have a higher chance of avoiding a police search in the first place. For instance, in some cases, drugs have been discovered stashed in prosthetic limbs to thwart body searches," Wei said.
The report revealed a rising trend of foreign drug gangs using such people to transport narcotics. Many of those detained were carrying drugs from Myanamar into the southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou.
Last year, rising demand in China resulted in a greater number of foreign nationals becoming involved in cross-border trafficking, according to Liu Yuejin, deputy head of the National Narcotics Control Commission.
Moreover, drug gangs became more active in the border areas of Yunnan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region because of close ties with countries in the Golden Triangle, an area that straddles Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, and the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan), the main production areas for heroin and meth, he said.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security's national drug testing laboratory, more than 95 percent of the heroin seized in China last year came from the Golden Triangle. Meanwhile, 87 percent of meth seized came from the same area.
The commission's data revealed that 1,876 foreign nationals were caught attempting to smuggle 6.6 metric tons of various narcotics into China last year.
In addition to those from neighboring countries, a large number of people from the African continent were also found to be carrying heroin from the Golden Crescent.
In July, when a South African woman was stopped at customs in Beijing, she was found to have stashed 1 kg of cocaine in body cavities and her underwear.
In February, she was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and will be deported when she is released.
The commission said drug trafficking is highly orchestrated by drug lords, and many gangs have formed loose coalitions that allow them to operate cross-border networks. Last year, more than 5,000 drug rings were busted and around 1,100 leading members were arrested.
In the wake of the rising number of drug crimes involving disabled and vulnerable people, law enforcement authorities have decided to adopt an "iron fist" approach to those who deliberately exploit legal protections and loopholes.
On April 20 last year, Tao Guangyu, a blind woman in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, was executed for drug trafficking. It was a rare case of the death penalty being pronounced on a disabled person in a drug case.
The 50-something, a well-known drug dealer in the city, had been apprehended twice before, but had managed to avoid jail by invoking the legal protection offered by her disability.
When she was caught a third time, Tao didn't tell her lawyer, Zhu Yuedong, that she already had two convictions. Instead, she asked him to apply for bail on her behalf.
When Zhu discovered the quantities of drugs Tao had sold, he knew she would receive the death sentence.
Tao's blindness was the result of an inherited condition that worsened progressively until she became almost completely blind in 2011. At that point she began using drugs and also organized family members to traffic narcotics.
She used her father, who is also blind, and her then-pregnant daughter to deliver drugs to buyers. They, along with Tao's brother and sister-in-law, were also jailed for their involvement.
According to the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court, which handed down Tao's death sentence, the number of drug cases has risen in recent years. The use of women as mules has become a prominent theme in drug cases tried at the court, whose statistics show that it tried 13 women for drug trafficking in 2013, but the number doubled in 2015.
Ruan Qilin, a professor of criminal law at the China University of Political Science and Law, said those who use disabled or vulnerable people in drug deals should face severe punishment to prevent the practice from becoming widespread.
He urged authorities to use community correction to supervise convicted traffickers who are unfit for prison so they will not become repeat offenders, and suggested vulnerable people should be allocated more social security benefits so they won't feel the need to make extra money through illegal activities.
Some stories include hundreds of chapters, and fans are willing to pay for access to these fantastical journeys
Both study magic in school, wield it in battles and transform from vulnerable students into super sorcerers.
But Linley Baruch is not Harry Potter.
While Potter largely hails from the Western world of traditional print publishing, Baruch comes from the Chinese online novel, Coiling Dragon.
The story of "the descendant of once-glorious Dragonblood Warriors (now) rising from weak to strong" has attracted millions of English-language readers after volunteer netizens translated it. The Web user "I Eat Tomato", whose real name is Zhu Hongzhi, is the online novel's author.
Many overseas readers－mostly from the United States and Canada－have proved willing to invest more than a year poring over the novel's 853 chapters, discovering a world where "the strong live like royalty; the weak strive to survive another day".
They learn such Chinese terms as dantian (where strength and energy gather in the body), qi (an internal energy) and xianxia (fantasy and kung fu novels).
And many have subsequently become interested in reading more Chinese literature.
Over 700 Chinese web novels that have been translated－at least partially－are listed on novelupdates.com, a guide to translated Asian literature. There are over 100 websites and online forums for such volunteers in North America.
One of the largest sites is wuxiaworld.com, which hosts the English version of Coiling Dragon.
It received 3.2 million monthly visits from over 110 countries and regions as of April 21. It garnered over 1 billion hits in the 21 months after it was founded in December 2014, said its owner, Jingping Lai, a Chinese-American widely known online as RWX.
It is one of the most popular online Chinese novels and was released in English in 2016. CHINA DAILY
"Fantastic universe, excellent characters," Jeff Coleman commented on the rating website, goodreads.com.
"Story kept me on the edge of my seat ... wanting to know what came next."
Wuxiaworld user "diegodeveze" said: "I'm still feeling sad to see it end. I can't believe I spent almost a year reading this. I really got quite attached to it, and I can say without qualms that I enjoyed it thoroughly."
"Philbilly", a self-proclaimed "simple man from central Kentucky－so me learning Chinese isn't ever gonna happen", enjoys "the first web novel or whatever you call it that I've read".
He calls it "epic".
"Simba6" said Chinese web novels' "positive energy" helped him move beyond despair after he broke up with his girlfriend.
He became instantly popular in China last month when the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly newspaper identified him as US software engineer and kung fu fan Kevin Cazad. The media outlet interviewed him and reported that it confirmed the story he had posted on wuxiaworld.
The Chinese online novels Stella Transformations, I Shall Seal the Heavens and Against the Gods are popular with large readerships who can read English though it is not their native language.
Some rank the phenomenon among the "world's four new cultural wonders". The others are Hollywood films, Japanese anime and manga and South Korean TV series.
Peking University literature professor and critic Shao Yanjun, who has studied the development and internationalization of China's online literature with a team of students since 2010, said English-language readers' fascination with Chinese web novels is "reminiscent of the golden age of splendid histories and imposing chronicles".
"They're bored with Japanese light novels' 'protection of daily happiness,' " she said. "They prefer the grand narrations of heroic eras found in Chinese stories."
Chinese web novels have continued their upward momentum since the genre appeared about 20 years ago, she said.
Wuxiaworld owner Lai said some readers who have turned to translated Chinese web literature were previously fans of Japan's light-novel youth genre.
Some turn to Chinese online literature after following the country's kung fu films and TV shows.
Others are introduced by friends or randomly discover the websites while surfing the web.
And some still start with printed translations of Chinese fiction before migrating to the internet.
Many printed Chinese martial-arts novels' English translations were acclaimed, such as Louis Cha's The Deer and the Cauldron. Tomb-robber fantasy Cavern of the Blood Zombies was an international hit after it was translated in 2011.
Chinese online fiction has been popular in Southeast Asia since the early 2000s. Vietnam alone translated 841 titles from 2009-13, over 70 percent of which are web novels, Beijing Foreign Studies University professor and literature critic He Mingxing said.
What is unique about the internationalization of China's online literature is that armies of online volunteer translators and crowdfunding sponsors propel it.
In the beginning some western readers use Google.com's robot translation service to help read the Chinese novels. Then the volunteer translators appeared on online forums. Some of the translators can't read Chinese, but the passion to read and translate to share so great, they tried to translate from the novels' translated versions in other languages, say Vietnamese.
They operate in the same way Chinese online novels are written－chapter-by-chapter and for crowdfunded donations.
Chinese readers get the first few chapters for free and then decide if they want to pay for future chapters, often yet unwritten.
Half of the 20 foreign readers from 18 countries cited in a small Southern Weekly survey had sponsored translators. And 80 percent said they would be willing to pay an average of $33 per novel.
"Literature's online migration is a revolution in creation, dissemination and business operation," China Reading Limited's president, Wu Wenhui, said.
The group is one of the oldest and largest in the field. It has 600 million registered user accounts and its over 4 million online writers have created 10 million works.
It has sold the copyrights of 200 online titles in 20 countries.
The most popular English-language genres are fantasy, personal growth and martial arts.
The group has been actively working to expand its international readership.
It brought 20 writers to meet fans in Singapore this month and participated in the London Book Fair in March. It plans to launch the English-language webnovel.com next month, followed by French, Spanish, Russian, Thai and Arabic equivalents.
"The charm of Chinese culture－its thousands of years of rich legends and history－has built a solid foundation for web novels' allure," Wu said.
"There are abundant stories created by the countless minds with original ideas."
While the group is courting new readers abroad, most of its growth has come from target consumers searching for its products.
"They like the same things as domestic readers," Wu said.
"So, we don't need to create new things to appeal to them."
Some foreign readers express their enthusiasm by writing their own web novels that mimic the Chinese genre.
Tina Lynge, 26, quit her teaching job to write. The Danish author has penned over 40 Chinese web novels and created her first web novel of which even the protagonists use pinyin names.
She is posting new chapters of Blue Phoenix, a tale about how Hui Yue makes it in a world of survival of the fittest, on the website gravity-tales.com. The site hosts six comparable web novels.
Blue Phoenix has over 300 ratings on goodreads.com and is published as an Amazon e-book.
She told China Art newspaper she was amazed by the world the Chinese have created from their legends and culture. And she is "inspired" by the moral the online novels convey－success from persistence.
Peking University's Shao said the novels have flourished because they meet a demand for popular fiction in China.
Shao said she expected Chinese online literature to go further.
She predicted Amazon, and TV, film and game adaptations will accelerate their development.
The reading group's Wu estimated the overseas market may generate 1 trillion yuan ($145.3 million).
A fleet of three Chinese naval ships leave Shanghai for public relations visits to more than 20 countries, April 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
A trio of Chinese naval ships set sail in Shanghai on Sunday for a goodwill voyage to some 20 countries.
The group consists of missile destroyer Changchun, missile frigate Jingzhou and supply ship Chaohu from the People's Liberation Army Navy. It set sail from the Huangpu river port in Shanghai at 9:30 am.
The trio will visit around 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.
"This voyage is an innovative way to promote harmonious ideals, peace and friendship," said Admiral Miao Hua, political commissar of the PLA Navy. "It is also a good platform to deepen military-military dialogue and cooperation, and showcase our Navy's positive image."
He urged all sailors on the trip to be communicators of Chinese culture, facilitators for military exchange and representatives of the Navy's image.
All three ships were built in China. It is the first goodwill voyage for Jingzhou, which entered service in January of last year.
A fleet of three Chinese naval ships leave Shanghai for public relations visits to more than 20 countries, April 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
A fleet of three Chinese naval ships leave Shanghai for public relations visits to more than 20 countries, April 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
Miao Hua, Political Commissar of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, and some other military officials, see the fleet off. [Photo/VCG]
Monitoring data show that Cao Cao, a 16-year-old giant panda raised in captivity, has mated with a male in the wild－a rare occurrence for the endangered species－according to a panda research center in Sichuan province.
Cao Cao was released in the Liziping Nature Reserve in early February in time for mating season from March to May.
In March, researchers reported seeing several males fight for the right to mate with her and began checking data sent by the GPS tag on her neck－which is fitted with a recording device－every five days.
"When we checked the recording on March 27, we heard her making noises similar to those made by females while mating," said Zhang Hemin, head of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, where Cao Cao was raised. "It lasted one minute and 30 seconds."
If the panda is pregnant, she will give birth in July or August, "at which point we will bring her and her cub back to the center", Zhang said.
Cao Cao arrived at the center when she was 2 years old, after being found in poor health inside the Wolong National Nature Reserve. She has already mothered two cubs: male Tao Tao and female Zhang Xiang. Both are 2 years old and have been released into the wild in the Liziping reserve.
The research center, which was set up in the Wolong reserve in 1983, has released seven captive pandas since 2006 in an effort to boost the wild giant panda population.
There are 471 captive pandas worldwide, 234 of which are from the Wolong center－enough to prevent extinction, experts say.
In the early 1990s, the government banned the capture of wild pandas to mate with captive ones. Captive pandas have mated with few of their captive peers, which hurts biodiversity, researchers say.
The center formulated the plan last year to have captive pandas mate with wild ones. Cao Cao is the first to be chosen.
"She has a close bond with humans, and researchers have helped feed her since she was released," Zhang said.
Cao Cao is the equivalent of 48 years old in human terms, and she has only one or two years left before she is too old to participate in a breeding program.
"If she fails to get pregnant this year, she will have one last opportunity to mate with a wild panda next spring," Zhang said.
More captive pandas will be selected to mate wild ones, he said.
Nation's first passenger jet includes innovations beyond Boeing, Airbus
The C919, China's first domestically produced passenger jet, undergoes its fourth high-speed taxiing test in Shanghai on Sunday. YIN LIQIN/CHINA DAILY
The C919, the much-anticipated first commercial aircraft for passengers to be made in China, has taken another step closer to its maiden flight by completing its fourth high-speed taxiing test on Sunday in Shanghai.
It was the C919's first test with the front landing gear of the plane slightly lifted to simulate takeoff.
The single-aisle, 168-seat, twin-engine jet is now just one step away from its first flight, according to Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, the State-owned manufacturer.
Also on Saturday, the C919 received a flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. It has acquired all the necessary certificates to prepare for its first flight.
Wang Yanan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said high-speed taxiing tests are usually conducted at speeds of 230 to 260 kilometers per hour. Judging from current progress, the C919 may need only a few more ground tests, if any, he said.
"Usually, every high-speed test on the ground will be conducted at a faster speed than the previous one, becoming increasingly similar to the real conditions of takeoff. It could be approved quickly if everything went right and no big technical faults occurred," Wang said.
Fu Qianshao, a researcher at an aviation magazine affiliated with the People's Liberation Army Air Force, said the airliner boasts a series of design and technology innovations based on in-depth research into its international counterparts－specifically Boeing's B737 and the Airbus A320.
For instance, the C919's front windshield consists of only four pieces, a design that is said to be more fuel efficient and stronger than designs with more panels.
"Do not underestimate the importance of windshield design," Fu said. "Compared with the Boeing 737's traditional six panels of windshield glass, it is a huge improvement when it comes to the strength of its body structure, air resistance and fuel efficiency."
Also, to accommodate more powerful turbofan engines, the C919's designers needed to strengthen the landing gear of the aircraft and make them taller.
The domestically manufactured plane, which uses a great deal of composite materials, is expected to be relatively light and fuel-efficient compared with its competitors, including the updated A320 and the new-generation B737, which currently dominate the market.
So far, COMAC had received 570 orders for the C919 from 23 clients, including domestic airlines such as Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.
Overseas orders account for about 10 percent of the total, including airlines from Germany and Thailand, and others from the Asia Pacific region and Africa.
President orders vigilance at Southern Theater Command
NANNING — President Xi Jinping inspected the Southern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army on Friday and stressed building a strong army.
Xi, who also is general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged all military personnel to safeguard the authority of CPC Central Committee and follow the Party's leadership.
He asked all military personnel to greet the 19th CPC National Congress scheduled for later this year with outstanding performance.
Noting that 2017 is of great significance for the Party and the country, Xi urged the PLA to strengthen combat preparation, ideological training and reform implementation.
Xi told PLA officers to eliminate the impact of Guo Bo¬xiong and Xu Caihou, two corrupt former CMC vice chairmen, and strictly observe political discipline and rules.
"It must be ensured that the PLA resolutely follows the command of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC at any time, in any circumstances," Xi said.
A new program will focus on studies of the Party Constitution and rules and speeches by Xi. He also called for members of the military to become qualified Party members.
He vowed to fight corruption and enhance the "sense of gain" among officers and soldiers.
Xi asked military personnel to strengthen their awareness in preparing for war, closely follow situational changes and make all efforts to enhance the Chinese military's combat capabilities.
Xi ordered an accelerated timeline for building the theater joint combat command system, swift development of a new type of fighting force and simultaneous improvement of national defense strength and economic development.
He asked for stronger military management, while caring for and developing officers and soldiers and ensuring the stability of troops.
The Chinese Navy has disclosed a series of exercises and missions carried out this month as part of long-term efforts to hone the operational capabilities of its combat forces.
Details of the exercises and sea patrols were provided in a news release ahead of the 68th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy's founding, which was on Sunday.
This month, a group of combat ships led by the CNS Xuzhou, a guided missile frigate, carried out combat exercise in the Western Pacific, J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets conducted tactical training above Bohai Bay, various types of naval aircraft made regular patrols over the East China and South China seas, and new-generation submarines sailed silently through deep oceans.
These were a small part of what the Navy has been doing to improve its combat readiness, the news release said, adding that each year every combat vessel and submarine will spend nearly eight months at sea, carrying out patrols, drills and training.
Every day, dozens of aircraft, more than 100 ships and submarines and thousands of Navy personnel are in operation, it added.
According to military observers, the length of time a ship or submarine can perform at sea is a key indicator of its capability, as only those with good equipment, reliable logistics and a well-trained crew can regularly make long-term voyages.
The news release also said the CNS Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, continues to move toward gaining full operational capability. The Liaoning carrier battle group completed a cross-sea, live-fire exercise at the end of last year, marking a big step in the group's development.
So far, dozens of J-15 pilots and landing signal officers have become qualified to operate aboard the carrier, the Navy said, adding that construction on the first domestically developed carrier is proceeding well.
It also said the nuclear submarine force has made "great progress" in its efforts to enhance fighting ability, without elaborating.
Rear Admiral Du Benyin, deputy political commissar of the PLA Navy's South Sea Fleet, said long-distance training, international exercises and escort missions have tested the Navy's front-line commanders and sailors and improved their capabilities.
"During the process, we also found and solved problems such as inefficient logistical support. Though we have made achievements, we are fully aware that more efforts are needed before we become a strong navy," he said.
Senior Captain Hua Ming, deputy commander of a submarine flotilla with the East Sea Fleet, said that he remembers when the Chinese Navy began escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, some officers from other units told him their ships were unable to fulfill all of their designated tasks.
"But after these years, the Navy now has a great number of advanced destroyers, frigates, submarines and planes. These new weapons enable us to better safeguard our maritime interests and sovereignty," Hua said.
Talking about his unit, he added, "In the submarine force, we treat each training mission as if it were a real combat scenario."
Since 2012, the PLA Navy has taken delivery of several new types of ships, which strongly strengthened its defense and strike capacity, the Navy said.
Last year, the Navy commissioned 18 ships, including a Type-052D guided missile destroyer, three Type-054A guided missile frigates and six Type-056 corvettes.
These ships have a total displacement of 150,000 metric tons, roughly half the overall displacement of the British navy.
Since the start of this year, the PLA Navy has commissioned at least five ships: a destroyer, an electronic reconnaissance ship, a training ship and two corvettes, according to information provided by the Navy.
The Jack Ma Foundation and English education platform VIPKID recently announced in Beijing a cooperative plan to support teacher training in impoverished areas of China.
The two sides have worked together and offered training and quality English teaching resources for teachers at five pilot schools in Yunnan, Guizhou and Gansu provinces through an online platform.
They plan to extend such support to more than 200 schools in the following two years, and meanwhile, through the same platform, enable teachers and students in these areas to communicate directly with English teachers abroad.
Mi Wenjuan, founder and CEO of VIPKID, said high-quality teaching content and good teachers are key elements in resolving the education problems facing China's impoverished areas.
"We hope that through the cooperation and the online platform, teachers and students in remote areas can have fresh English teaching materials and could conduct English conversations directly with teachers overseas," she said.
She added that the company announced an investment of 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) in January to help broaden the vision of children in remote and impoverished areas of China by offering more English teaching resources.
Hu Zhiqiang, general manager of the Education Network Platform under the Jack Ma Foundation, established in October to boost educational equity in China, said the cooperation will help reduce the short supply of English teachers in underdeveloped areas of China.
"The cooperation would benefit English education in these areas by bringing the needs of teachers and students and the English education resources at VIPKID together," he said.
The University of International Business and Economics recently organized a competition on Chinese ancient poems to improve students' understanding of Chinese traditional culture and celebrated World Reading Day, which falls on April 23.
About 1,300 students participated in the preliminary poetry contest in late March and four teams, consisting of 12 students, entered the final, which was Thursday.
The final contained a four-part quiz that tested participants' knowledge of Chinese ancient poems, and other forms of Chinese literature.
University Vice President Zhao Zhongxiu said he was glad that the competition attracted attention from so many students on campus and raised their interest and awareness in traditional Chinese culture.
Qi Xiaoming, an associate professor of Chinese literature at the university who served as one of the judges for the final, said a distinct characteristic of Chinese ancient poems is that they usually contain many profound connotations beneath the literal meaning.
"In that sense, to fully understand a Chinese ancient poem requires students to recite and understand the literal meaning in the very beginning of learning. Then, as the students grow older and combine what the poem talks about with their own lives, they will see more," he said.
The popularity of a TV program on China Central Television, Chinese Poetry Conference, which has been broadcast for two seasons, has inspired an increasing number of education institutions like UIBE to hold a similar event of their own.
The purpose of the TV program is to appreciate the beauty of Chinese ancient poetry and to learn from the wisdom of the great minds of ancient China.
Nadav Cohen, consul general of the Consulate General of Israel in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, is presented a certificate by Wang Qijun in recognition of his contribution to the friendship between China and Israel. [Photo/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Professor Wang Qijun of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing donated one of his oil paintings to the Consulate General of Israel in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Thursday.
The painting was inspired by the story of two Israeli doctors coming to the Guangzhou Hospital of Women and Children last year. Dressed as clowns, they amused sick children and made them so happy they forget their fear of medical procedures.
Reflecting on the friendship between the Chinese and Israeli people, Wang was touched so deeply that he created this painting.
"I am Canadian-Chinese. Norman Bethune was a Canadian doctor who is known to every Chinese person, even to children. He helped Chinese people fight against Japanese aggression and gave his life in China," Wang said.
“During the Second World War, Chinese people tried to help Jewish people in distress to escape from persecution. Therefore, love has no boundaries. So I gave the title, Love Across Borders', to this painting," Wang said at the donation ceremony.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel. Nadav Cohen, consul general of the Consulate General of Israel in Guangzhou, awarded a certificate to Wang in recognition of his contribution to the friendship between the countries.
"I wish that the friendship between China and Israel remains evergreen, likewise between China and Canada, and between China and people all over the world," Wang said at the ceremony.
A well-known artist, Wang was one of 60 famous painters in the 60-episode documentary “Classic and Immortality”, co-sponsored by China Film Association and National Art Museum of China.
A public-spirited person, he donated a portrait of Cai Yuanpei, the late president of Peking University, to the university at the opening ceremony of the 13th International Cultural Festival of Peking University last year.
It was also last year that he donated 200,000 yuan ($29,051) to maintain ancient buildings in Taining county, Fujian province.The oil painting Love Across Borders. [Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
This certificate was given to Nadav Cohen, consul general of the Consulate General of Israel in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, by Wang Qijun in recognition of his contribution to the friendship between China and Israel. [Photo/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
NANNING - Experts attending an international workshop on language are discussing machine translation to facilitate intercultural communication among Belt and Road countries.
The workshop which runs until Monday in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has attracted scholars and officials from countries including Italy, Japan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
The event also focuses on shared resources for language processing research, a file which can make machine translation more accurate.
Language is one main challenges for information exchange along the Belt and Road, said researcher Sun Le of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
With improved machine translation, international businesses can collect information from other countries more easily, according to Wong Kam-Fai, a professor with the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
While current research mainly focuses on ASEAN and other Asian countries, research results are expected to be applied to dozens of other languages, Wong said.
The Belt and Road Initiative has won support from more than 100 countries and international organizations, with the signing of nearly 50 inter-governmental agreements of cooperation.
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for mid-May in Beijing is expected to see cooperative documents signed by China with nearly 20 countries and more than 20 international organizations.