Headlines from China
Shanghai Daily Nation
Updated: 8 hours 54 min ago
The inside of the No. 5 unit of Fuqing Nuclear Plant, China’s first demonstration nuclear power project using Hualong One technology, is pictured in southeast China’s Fujian Province yesterday. Workers have begun to install the reactor pressure vessel, a key equipment for the unit, after being shipped from Dalian in northeast China. The installation is expected to be finished this month.
CHINA has introduced its toughest regulation on land reclamation along the country’s coastline, vowing to demolish illegally reclaimed land and stop approving general reclamation projects. The State Oceanic Administration said yesterday that it would demolish or shut down all illegally reclaimed land and illegally established waste discharge outlets that damage the marine environment. Lin Shanqing, deputy director of the SOA, said at a press conference that reclamation projects that did not concern the national economy and people’s livelihoods would not be approved in future. “Reclamation projects that have been approved but have not started and do not comply with the current policy will all be stopped,” Lin said, adding that the administration would also stop giving annual land reclamation quotas to provinces. “Using reclaimed land for commercial real estate development is prohibited and all reclamation activities in the Bohai Sea area will be banned,” Lin said. “Reclaimed land that has remain deserted for a long time will be confiscated.” Furthermore, the power of granting administrative approval for land reclamation projects must not be delegated to lower authorities and administrators, who have behaved improperly in project approval, and supervision will be held accountable. Since the law on administration of maritime space use was put into use in 2002, China legally approved a total of 158,000 hectares of land reclamation by the end of 2017, accounting for about 12 percent of the newly added construction land area in coastal areas over the same period. Gross ocean production accounts for 9.5 percent of China’s GDP, statistics show. The State Oceanic Administration yesterday disclosed the findings of a nationwide survey on land-based sources of marine pollution. A total of some 9,600 such sources, including about 740 rivers, 7,500 sewage outlets and 1,350 emergency flood outlets, were identified in the survey. Among the sewage outlets, only 8 percent were licensed, and about a quarter were established in ecologically sensitive areas such as protection zones, offshore wetlands and fisheries, according to the SOA. It found, on the basis of the data in the past five years, the marine environment near more than 80 percent of sewage outlets failed to meet standards. In addition, about 80 percent of the marine ecosystem under watch was rated unhealthy or sub-healthy. To address the issue, the SOA will strictly supervise sources of pollution to seawater and introduce real-time monitoring. More will be done to close the illegal sewage outlets and control the number of those used by aquaculture.
CHINA’S Ministry of Transportation said yesterday that the sunken oil tanker Sanchi has been located, and underwater robots will carry out further investigation. A marine surveillance ship detected the sunken tanker on Tuesday morning at a depth of 115 meters under the sea. Waste clearance is under way, the ministry said. The Shanghai marine search and rescue center dispatched 13 vessels on Tuesday to maintain order at the site, evacuate nearby merchant and fishing ships, and issue navigational warnings in both Chinese and English. Oil slicks have been found in waters around the ship that sank. Several ships are performing clean-up operations, according to the ministry. The Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, about 300 kilometers east of the Yangtze estuary on January 6. All 32 crew members of the tanker, 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, were lost. Only three bodies have been found. The Sanchi sank on Sunday after a new and massive fire erupted, sending a cloud of black smoke a kilometer high. Satellite imaging showed a slick of 69 square kilometers and a second 40 sq km slick, which is less thick and not as concentrated, the State Oceanic Administration said.
Giant pandas Jin Baobao (left) and Hua Bao have left their panda base in southwest China’s Sichuan Province for Finland for a 15-year research project. The pandas were due to leave Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6am today and arrive in Helsinki at 10am local time. A send-off for the pandas was held at the Dujiangyan base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda yesterday morning. Brought up in the base, the male Hua Bao is 4 and a half and the female Jin Baobao is 3 years, 4 months.During their flight, they will be accompanied by a keeper and a veterinarian from Dujiangyan. “The two pandas have big appetites and eat 40 kilograms of bamboo every day,” said keeper Huang Shan. The in-flight meal service includes 120kg of bamboo, and 30kg of bamboo shoots and carrots. The new home for the two pandas will be Ahtari zoo, Finland’s largest wild zoo. China and Finland signed a research agreement on giant pandas last April. According to the document, a pair of pandas will live at Ahtari for 15 years.
Zhou Shuaibo loves sniffing his orange Tabby cat and spends hours playing with his pet every day.Burying his face in the fluffy cat body and inhaling deeply while stroking its tummy, Zhou is one of China’s many “cat sniffers,” who obsessively smell and cuddle their cats multiple times a day.“As a veteran cat sniffer, if I don’t get my fix I feel absolutely terrible. I have a serious cat addiction,” says one cat-lover on Zhihu, China’s version of Quora.From clothes to cellphone covers designed with cat pictures, Zhou’s life is all about cats. If it is related to cats, Zhou will buy it.“My wife and I are not ready to have a child, so we give all our love to our cat,” says Zhou, 30, who works for a film company in east China’s Zhejiang Province.“My cat has supreme status at home,” Zhou says. Zhou even refers to himself a “shovel feces officer,” an unusual title taken on by many cat lovers in China.In addition to raising a real cat at home, Zhou also watches cat photographs and videos shared by cat owners on the Internet.The online phenomenon is known as “cloud cats,” and cat fans will check social media constantly throughout the day. Sometimes their passion is so strong that they even come to see other people’s cats as their own.On Zhihu, there are 180,000 followers of posts on cats, double the number of people who follow posts about dogs.Raising cats is big news in China, a lifestyle heavily focused on China’s “empty nest youth,” the unmarried who live alone in major cities.According to a report released by Alibaba, its e-commerce platform Taobao sold nearly 10 billion yuan (US$1.54 billion) of cat-related products in 2017, including cat food, clothes and accessories. More than 250,000 cat hair removal gloves were sold on Taobao last year. There were 17,000 cat-related products on the website.Du Fang, who works in a financial firm in Shanghai, spends about 10,000 yuan on his American shorthair cat every month, about one-fifth of his monthly salary. “My cat eats salmon and vitamins every day,” Du says. “A bag of cat food imported from Canada is 760 yuan, and the cat litter is made of Tofu.”The report said China’s youth were more willing to spend on novel products for their cats, such as automatic cat toilets and intelligent water dispensers.“I do not care how much I spend. I want my cat to be happy,” Du says.The popularity of cats has even spilled over into cat-themed coffee shops.“The coffee may taste bad in these shops where many cats are raised, but they are popular among Chinese youth and have become good places to make friends,” says Zhang Xuechen, who recently spent 15,000 yuan buying a cat.China’s empty nest youth make up a large portion of cat obsessives. Working in China’s big cities far from families, many find companionship in pets — and many youth have gone cat crazy.
China’s first nano-satellite with primary and middle school students involved in the development and building process will be launched into space on Friday.The satellite, named after late Premier Zhou Enlai, was sent from its production base in Huai’an Youth Comprehensive Development Base in Jiangsu Province to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gansu Province on Monday, where a CZ-11 solid fuel rocket is scheduled to put it into orbit Friday.Twenty teenagers who participated in the project accompanied the transport group to the launch center and will witness the liftoff. Zhang Xiang, chief designer of the satellite, said that the nano-satellite, weighing 2 kilograms, is set to run in sun-synchronous orbit. Equipped with an HD optical camera, it can capture space photos with the highest resolution among those shot by other Chinese satellites for scientific education purpose.Zhang said that the students had used their spare time to join the development and groundbased simulation performance of the satellite.
A LOCAL youth foundation in Yunnan Province has launched a fund-raising campaign after a boy covered in frost became an Internet sensation in China.Third-grader Wang Fuman received his frosted look and chapped cheeks after a 4.5km walk from his home to school on a freezing day in Ludian County.His teacher snapped a photo of him and posted it on WeChat. Wang’s story soon moved millions of Chinese netizens, who called him “ice flower boy,” with many making donations.The Youth Development Foundation of Zhaotong City had received more than 500,000 yuan (US$77,000) by Monday afternoon. The first batch of 100,000 yuan was delivered to rural schools, including Zhuanshanbao primary school where Wang studies.“The donations will be used to help poor left-behind children who live in regions with low temperatures overcome winter coldness,” said Chen Yu, office director with the foundation.Chen Furong, the county’s educational bureau head, said authorities plan to offer gloves, coats, hats and winter shoes to more than 1,300 students who study at schools at an altitude of more than 2,600 meters.
CHINESE tourist sites in the mountains are using glass bridges to attract visitors looking for excitement. Last month, a glass bridge called “Flying Dragon in the Sky” opened in Marenqifeng tourist area in Wuhu City, east China’s Anhui Province. The management of the tourist area touts it as a “skyhigh” high-tech glass bridge that “combines cultural elements and a unique experience.” “There is a dragon made of fiber reinforced plastics at both ends of the bridge, and smoke can billow from their mouths,” said an employee at the site. “The bridge also has light emitting diode displays on the surface, and when visitors step on the bridge, the equipment will show images and give out the sound of glass being shattered,” the employee said. “It is very exciting.” The 388-meter-long bridge hangs 180 meters above the ground. Similar bridges have popped up in other tourist spots in recent years. Last month, a 488-meter-long glass suspension bridge opened in Pingshan County in north China’s Hebei Province. The glass-bottom bridge stands four meters wide and hangs between two cliffs around 218m above the ground, about as high as a 66-story building, at Hongyagu scenic spot in the county. In Zhangjiajie, a tourist destination in central China, a 430-meter-long, six-meter-wide bridge hangs between two steep cliffs 300m above the ground. According to The Earth magazine, by the end of November 2016, more than 60 such glass bridges were being built or had been completed across the country. In 2017, more glass bridges appeared, particularly in provinces with mountains such as Jiangxi, Hunan and Yunnan. These provinces boast at least five glass bridges on average. “Walking on a transparent bridge is both exciting and nerve-racking,” said Li Jinxiang, a resident of Hefei, capital of Anhui Province. “You get nervous at every step you take,” he added. “Hearing the sounds of glass breaking and seeing the cracks on the display is a bit scary.” It has also led to viral videos recording tourists walking on the bridges, with many of them crying, laughing and lying on the bridges, refusing to walk on. But it has also raised a few eyebrows. In Anhui’s Anqing City, a glass-bottomed platform was built on a giant rock, the main attraction of the Jushi Mountains. Yimu, a seasoned tourism expert, said that the fervor behind the glass bridges needs to cool off. “It is understandable to add some new elements to attractions, but it is also important not to damage them,” Yimu said. “Instead of blindly following the trend, authorities should consider spending more money to improve tourism infrastructure at the tourist attractions.”
THE Chinese mainland is fully confident and capable of dealing with challenges and pushing forward the development of relations across the Taiwan Strait in 2018. Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said yesterday that cross-Strait relations were facing increasingly complex factors, risks and challenges this year. “The Chinese mainland will continue to adhere to the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, resolutely oppose and contain all forms of ‘Taiwan independence,’ actively expand cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and boost social and economic integrated development across the Taiwan Strait,” Ma said. The mainland is willing to use its “greatest efforts and utmost good will” in pursuing peaceful reunification of the Chinese nation. “However, it will never tolerate ‘Taiwan independence’ or allow such forces to split China,” he told a news conference. Ma added that rising speculation of “non-peaceful reunification” should be blamed on the increasing “Taiwan independence” separatist activities on the island. Ma made the remarks with regard to increased speculation that “non-peaceful measures” may be used in pursuit of China’s reunification, though he said the Taiwan authorities believed such a prospect would not occur. “Our policies toward Taiwan have been clear and consistent,” the spokesman said. “Taiwan independence” is the greatest threat to cross-Strait peace and stability, while the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations is the fundamental guarantee for peace and stability, he said. Ma said the refusal of Taiwan authorities to accept the 1992 Consensus undermined the political basis for cross-Strait ties, and its actions to unscrupulously develop arms would exacerbate tension across the Taiwan Strait. “Whether the Taiwan authorities will follow the good trend and return to the 1992 Consensus or do the opposite depends on its own decisions,” Ma said, adding that the cross-Strait situation was more “complex and severe” in 2017. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party administration refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus and impeded cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, he said. “Forces advocating ‘Taiwan independence’ undermine the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, threaten peace and stability across the Strait and severely harm the interests of Taiwan compatriots,” he said. The mainland would share its development opportunities with Taiwan compatriots, ensuring Taiwan compatriots on the mainland would enjoy equal treatment as mainland compatriots in study, entrepreneurship, employment and life, Ma said. “We will closely unite compatriots across the Taiwan Strait, work together to push forward the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and promote peaceful reunification of the motherland,” Ma said. “In 2017, the Chinese mainland rolled out more than 20 policies to provide Taiwanese people who live, work or travel on the mainland with better services. The mainland also promoted cross-Strait cooperation in various fields by providing cross-Strait compatriots more exchange opportunities in 2017,” he said. Trade volume across the Taiwan Strait reached a record high of nearly US$199.4 billion in 2017, up 11.3 percent from 2016, Ma said. In response to a question on the island’s activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of former Taiwan leader Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Chiang Kai-shek, Ma acknowledged Chiang’s efforts in upholding the one-China principle, opposing “Taiwan independence” and pursuing national unification. “Based on the common political basis of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing ‘Taiwan independence,’ we are willing to enhance dialog and cooperation with all parties, organizations and personages in Taiwan to jointly maintain and promote the interests of people on both sides of the Strait and safeguard the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties,” Ma said.
AN Apple supplier in eastern China has denied allegations by a New York rights group that its workers toil for 10-hour shifts in loud, polluted conditions, without proper overtime pay or adequate safety protections to make MacBook and iPhone parts, before returning to filthy dormitories with cold showers. The charges highlight the difficulty of managing complex global supply chains — even for firms, like Apple, that have embraced ethical sourcing as a business priority. Apple Catcher Technology Co, which runs the factory in Suqian, said yesterday that it had investigated and “verified that none of the claims are accurate.” It also said it was about to acquire land near the factory to build new dormitories because it was “driven to enhance the living standard for our employees.” China Labor Watch said its findings resulted from an undercover investigation that ran from last October to this month. It said workers without proper gloves had irritated, peeling skin on their hands. Others had machine oil splashed in their eyes. The main door of the workshop opened only 30 centimeters and dormitories lacked emergency exits — clear fire hazards, it said. The group investigated the same factory in 2014 and flagged similar “violations.” Apple said it maintains a monitoring team onsite at the Catcher factory, which has made “significant progress” in raising standards since 2012. In response to China Labor Watch’s allegations, Apple said it sent an investigative team to Suqian to interview over 150 workers but “found no evidence that Catcher was violating our standards.” “We investigate each and every allegation that’s made,” an Apple spokesperson said yesterday. “We remain dedicated to doing all we can to protect the workers in our supply chain and make a positive impact on the environment.”
CHINESE President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump yesterday discussed bilateral trade and the Korean Peninsula issue by phone. The phone call came amid strengthening of efforts to keep China-United States trade relations right on track and at a time when tensions on the Korean Peninsula have shown signs of easing. China-US relations had maintained overall stability and achieved significant progress in 2017, said Xi in the phone call. Keeping bilateral ties on a track of healthy and stable development is in the interests of both countries and both peoples, and conforms to the common aspiration of the international community, he added. The two sides need to maintain high-level and various levels of interactions, bring the four high-level dialogue mechanisms between them into full play, and hold the second round of dialogues at a proper time. As economic and trade cooperation brings tangible benefits to both peoples, Xi added, the two countries should adopt constructive measures to properly settle economic and trade issues of mutual concern by opening up the market to each other and “making the cake of cooperation bigger.” The Chinese president also called for advancing cooperation between the two militaries, and in law-enforcement, drug control, cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation at local levels, as well as close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues. China and the US need to meet each other halfway, respect each other, focus on cooperation, deal with sensitive issues in a constructive way, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and maintain the momentum of sound and steady development of bilateral relations, President Xi said. Trump said that the US attaches great importance to its relations with China and that it is willing to work with the Chinese to enhance bilateral exchanges at all levels, expand pragmatic cooperation, and properly handle problems in bilateral trade so as to achieve even greater results in relations. In response to Trump’s request for comments on the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Xi said China is “ready to join the US for proper settlement of the nuclear issue.” The Chinese leader said that there are some positive changes, and related parties should work jointly to keep up the hard-won momentum for the easing of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and create conditions for the resumption of talks. Denuclearization of the peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability in the region accord with the common interests of all sides, said Xi, adding that it is vital for the international community to stay united over the issue. China is ready to continue its joint efforts with the US and other members of the international community to achieve progress that would finally lead to a proper resolution of the issue, said Xi. Trump said the US values China’s significant role in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China over the issue. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have shown signs of easing with the two Koreas meeting for the first time in two years and Pyongyang agreeing to send athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.
PEOPLE all over China are racking their brains to recall high school knowledge, as online live streaming apps woo users with stunning cash prizes in quiz shows. Mobile apps offer prizes from 100,000 yuan (US$15,500) to 5 million yuan for a live streaming quiz of 12 questions. Participants who give all the correct answers split the jackpot. In a show, a host, often a household celebrity, presents questions, waiting until participants give their answers. Each online contestant has 10 seconds to answer a question, with each show taking around 30 minutes. The questions derive from a wide range of topics such as traditional Chinese poems, basic mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Live-streamed quiz shows came under spotlight in China after Wang Sicong, online celebrity and son of Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, announced on January 3 a prize on a quiz app called Chongdingdahui, translated as “race to the top.” Other apps Huajiao and Xigua quickly followed suit. To attract new users, the apps offer “reborn cards” to newcomers and those who invited newcomers to join. A reborn card enables a contestant who gives a wrong answer to have an extra chance to continue the quiz. Xiao Yi from Shanghai was invited by one of his former classmates to attend the quiz on the Huajiao app. “We have formed a WeChat group composed of straight-A students from our former class to pool our wisdom for the answers during the show,” he said. The app has attracted 300 million participants since January 5, and the number of users surged by 20 percent, according to the company, which organized multiple quizzes each day. Fighting for users’ time Li Jining, a 35-year-old media worker based in Beijing, said that it “was not only the prize that was attractive, but also the thrill that I still could remember what I learned back at high school 20 years ago,” adding she was awarded 22 yuan in total for being among winners twice. The shows have attracted sponsors, bringing in tens of millions of advertising fees to the apps. “On the Internet, it is all about fighting for the user’s time. Hardly any product can keep users attention for 30 minutes like the quiz did. It has expanded possibility for profit,” said Yu Dan, a founder of Huajiao. Huang Bin, a technical director for quiz competition with China’s Internet giant Tencent, said since the instant popularity of quiz shows this year, more than 10 companies in online education, news, games and other sectors, had added live-quiz buttons to their apps. It hasn’t all been onward and upwards for the quiz apps. On Sunday, Beijing Internet watchdog ordered Huajiao to conduct a thorough inspection on its content as Taiwan and Hong Kong were listed as “countries” in one of its quiz questions. The app has issued a statement of apology. Other apps also apologized for their own errors, such as mistaking the obvious origin of the Chinese hamburger (roujiamo) for Jiangsu Province — it is actually Shaanxi Province. It later compensated users with extra reborn cards. Chen Liteng, an assistant analyst with an e-commerce research center, said online streaming apps had won many users with the quizzes, but the way of luring users with big cash prizes and celebrities as hosts was not sustainable. “The mode is perhaps only a short-term thing,” he said.
CHINA yesterday dismissed an international meeting on the North Korean nuclear crisis hosted by Canada and the United States as illegitimate, as major players like Beijing were not present. The absence of China and Russia from the two days of talks in Vancouver, which began on Monday, shows the holes in Washington’s bid to form a unified global front against North Korea’s nuclear programs. “The most important relevant parties of the Korean Peninsula issue haven’t taken part in the meeting so I don’t think the meeting is legal or representative,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing. He denounced the “Cold War mentality” of “relevant parties”— without naming nations. The so-called Vancouver Group is formed by 20 countries that fought in the 1950-1953 Korean War. They include Australia, Britain, France, India, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea.
THE Chinese Academy of Social Sciences announced yesterday the six greatest archeological discoveries of the country in 2017. “The most valuable part of archeology lies in the information of human activity unravelled from the ruins,” said Chen Xingcan, director of the Institute of Archaeology. The six findings contain information on human activity over a time span of over 40,000 years. From a cave at the crossroads of China, central Asia and Europe, archeologists found remains dating back 3,500 to 45,000 years. It is the first Paleolithic cave site found in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The processing method for an oval stone scraper with a sharp edge found in the cave was similar to that for artifacts from cultures in the western part of the Eurasia Continent. This finding could help decode cultural exchange between both ends of Eurasia, and understand the migration of human ancestors, according to experts. Surface structures and half crypt buildings, defensive walls and trenches, and jade artifacts were found in a prehistoric settlement from about 5,000 to 4,600 years ago in today’s Shandong Province, eastern China. Archeologists found pottery and jade vessels in the tombs ruins, which were used in sacrifice ceremonies and banquets by the ruling class. The Neolithic relics showed the accelerating polarization of the rich and the poor, and the yawning gap among people of different social status. Archeologists found carbonized rice and millet in a middle and late Neolithic relics dating back 5,800 to 4,300 years in today’s southeast China’s Fujian Province. Abundant grain remains overturned the current idea that prehistoric humans relied on hunting instead of farming, and five graves found in the ruins could help to discover what people at the time did for work. The relics also filled in archeological gaps in the northwestern part of Fujian between the middle and late Neolithic era and early dynasties including the Shang (1300-1046 BC) and Zhou (1046-771 BC). Over half a century ago, nearly 100 pieces of bronze vessels were unearthed in Jingshan County in central China’s Hubei Province, leading to the discovery of an unrecorded ancient state — Zeng State, dating back about 2,700 years. As more relics were uncovered, the mystery of the state gradually came to light. Last year, a bronze pot was discovered, proving that metal used to be transported from the south to the capital of the Zhou Dynasty in the north. Archeologists believe that the large scale of bronze relics found in the remains indicates the Zeng State was most probably in charge of the smelting, production and transportation of bronze utensils of the Zhou Dynasty. A wagon team consisting of five chariots and 16 horses was excavated last year from a horse and chariot pit in Xingtang County, Hebei Province, revealing the story of the Rong and Di, two major ethnic groups that emerged on what is now Chinese territory. Beside the pit, the relics that dated back from the late Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) to the mid-Warring States period (475-221 BC) included caves where the heads and hooves of a large number of cattle, sheep and horses were buried in different layers. Bronze utensils and pottery originating from the central plains where the Huaxia ethnic group stemmed from were also found, indicating the integration of the Huaxia culture with the culture of the Rong and Di. The ruins of the town of Baoma, on a hill in Antu County in northeast China’s Jilin Province, were shown by a jade book discovered therein to be the site of a temple used by the royal family of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) for worship at Mount Changbai, according to archeologists.
THE ruins of an ancient tripartite-city, known as Sanlian City, in midwest Mongolia’s Khermental City, demonstrates that the Xiongnu tribe used to perform religious ceremonies and hold alliance meetings there. The Xiongnu was a nomadic tribe that made its first appearance in northern Eurasia in the third century BC, migrating westward in the second century before vanishing a few centuries later. The new findings are a result of the joint excavation by Chinese and Mongolian archeologists since 2014. Over the years, the enigma around the Xiongnu has drawn attention from historians across the world. Being a rare Hun city model, the tripartite-city, adjacent to the Tamir River in the south and the Orhon River in the east, comprises three sub-cities all built in the same structure and rectangular shape. Archeologists believe that the city existed in a period between the third century BC to the first century, but cannot precisely confirm when they first appeared and disappeared. They started excavating the central pedestal in the central city in 2017, finding that there might once have existed grids of large columns or cloisters built for ritual ceremonies. The red-sand pedestal is 35.8 meters in length and 2.75 meters above the ground. Yet, its rooftop structure is unclear. It is connected with smaller southern pedestals via several long paths. “It substantially differs from contemporaneous Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) pedestals in forms and structures,” said Song Guodong, executive head of the Chinese side of the joint excavation team. But archeologists have not found heating facilities, ashes or any other life remains in the city, and thus can almost exclude the possibility that it was a place for day-to-day residence and work. Written historical books in ancient China recorded that the Xiongnu used to build religious sites along the basin of the Orhon River for their religious conventions. Located in the same river basin, the tripartite-city, the largest and best preserved site of the Xiongnu in Mongolia, is believed to show ritual features similar to historical records. The cooperation between the archeologists of the two countries has shed new light on the studies of nomadic cultures, said Wang Wei, director of the Archaeology Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. More archeological teams from China are scheduled to go to the ruins this year and work with their Mongolian counterparts.
Beijing has intensified measures to help the black stork to live through the cold winter, according to local authorities.About 500 kilograms of fish have been provided by the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the government of Beijing’s Fangshan District. The birds have learned to eat at the fixed feeding sites.Due to the cold weather and a food shortage, black storks (scientific name Ciconia nigra) have had difficulty foraging this winter, and only a small number of nestlings survived.More than 20 protection boards and five monitoring stations were installed in places where the birds frequently appear.“Black stork protection is still facing a severe situation,” said Ji Jianwei, deputy director of Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.There are thought to be about 2,000 such birds around the world, half of them in China.
China plans to enhance safety standards for making and using electric bikes to make them safer.A number of features, including fire-proofing and flame retardants, are required for producing safe electric bikes, according to the draft safety standards plan for e-bikes released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.The plan also lifts the speed limit of e-bikes from 20 kiometers per hour to 25kph as well as raises their weight and motor power limits. All e-bikes should be equipped with pedals to ensure they can still function in the event of motor breakdown.China is the largest e-bike producer and seller and home to about 200 million e-bikes, with an annual production of over 30 million.However, unregulated mass production by some unscrupulous e-bike makers has turned the vehicles into a risky transportation method, with more than 56,200 accidents involving e-bikes and 8,431 deaths reported in the past five years.
Rescue workers saved a baby elephant that fell into a ditch near a village in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, according to the publicity department of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.Forest police and nature reserve staff in Jinghong City rushed to the site after police received a call on Saturday, saying an Asian elephant fell into the ditch from a 60-meter-high hill, the department said.The 1-month-old elephant weighs around 60 kilograms and was seriously injured. A group of elephants had gathered at the scene and tried to rescue the baby animal, according to the department.Rescue workers pulled the baby elephant out of the ditch when the elephants momentarily left. The injured elephant was placed on a stretcher and was taken to the reserve’s office for emergency treatment.“The baby elephant has been taken to a wild Asian elephant rescue center for observation and treatment. It is frail and still in critical condition,” said Chang Zongbo, a publicity official with local forest police.Wild Asian elephants are under Class A protection in China, with a population of about 300, mainly scattered in Xishuangbanna and the cities of Pu’er and Lincang in Yunnan.
A South Korean was charged yesterday with murdering his wife and 6-year-old son at the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong.Kim Min-ho, 42, was arrested after police found the bodies of his wife Song Wha-jeong, 42, and son Kim Tae-yun, on Sunday in a suite at the hotel, which overlooks the financial center’s Victoria Harbour.Kim appeared in court wearing a dark blue jacket and hood. Slightly balding and wearing glasses, Kim stared blankly across the room as the two charges were read to him in Korean by an interpreter.When asked whether he understood the charges, he said, “yes, I do” quietly.A lawyer for Kim requested the case be adjourned till January 30 to allow time to obtain psychiatric reports to see whether he is fit to stand trial. He will remain in custody until then.The Ritz-Carlton takes up the top 15 floors of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre. According to the charge sheet, Kim committed the alleged murders in room 31 on the 109th floor.The South Korean consulate said that it had been informed of this “tragic incident.”
The “toilet revolution” has spread across the country, but in the ecologically fragile Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the revolution has taken on its own form.In the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, the local government has invested 4.1 million yuan (US$637,000) to promote the toilet revolution since 2015. So far, 25 public toilets have been built up in scenic areas in Yushu, each decorated in the traditional Tibetan wooden house style.Economy on the plateau is relatively weak, while the ecosystem is extremely fragile.“Ecologically and environment-friendly are two main features of our public toilets,” said Asha Yumhon, director of the tourism bureau of the prefecture. He said that to reduce the impact on the environment to the lowest level, cement, steel and tiles were not allowed during construction. All wooden materials used to build the toilets were pollution-free and antiseptic.“Yushu City will be an important tourist and commercial city in Khams Tibetan-spoken areas,” he added. “The toilets are undoubtedly vital infrastructure for the city.”The Khams Tibetan-spoken areas include Yushu in Qinghai, Sichuan’s Garze and Aba, Qamdo in Tibet, Diqing in Yunnan and Gannan in Gansu. The newly built toilets have been praised by local residents. The 1,300-year-old Princess Wencheng Temple is a popular destination in Yushu. “There was no toilet in the temple. The only sanitary facility was a prefabricated building. We have cleaner and more convenient public toilets now, besides a water and electricity supply system, a road and beautiful rooms here,” said Karma Tamdru, a monk at the temple.Basic infrastructure in the prefecture has seen great improvement since devastating earthquakes struck the region in April 2010. Most residents only had dry toilets in their houses with no flushing water.“We built a flush toilet during the post-earthquake reconstruction and started to run a family inn. The small toilet brought big changes for my family,” said Palting, a local herdsman.According to statistics, Qinghai Province has invested 104 million yuan to build, rebuild and upgrade more than 1,000 toilets at tourist attractions since 2015. The province spent 38 million yuan on building, rebuilding and upgrading 377 public toilets last year.Qinghai officials said they would further promote the toilet revolution in the coming years, lay down more scientific rules to deal with sanitary problems and improve the quality of tourism in the province.In neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region, technologies including a waterless toilet system, foam-flushing and micro-biological degradation, have been tested or applied.“The toilet revolution in Tibetan regions reflect a shift in perspective due to the urbanization of those areas,” said Losang Khedrup, a professor at Minzu University. “The revolution is a crucial part of building a moderately prosperous society, as well as the country’s rural revitalization strategy in Tibetan regions.”