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Shanghai Daily Nation
Updated: 8 hours 45 min ago

China pushes for better diplomatic efforts

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
CHINESE Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged better diplomatic work to serve the development of China and the world. As the largest developing country, the diplomatic work of China should serve the creation of a better external environment for the country’s modernization, Wang told the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China. “On the other hand, we also need to take our international responsibilities and make new contributions to the development and progress of humanity,” he said. The interview was published in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper. Wang said China will make every possible effort to host the Boao Forum for Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation and the China International Import Expo next year to “open a new chapter” for win-win cooperation between China and other countries. He also said China will promote the healthy development of China-US relations, maintain high-level strategic coordination with Russia, consolidate the sound momentum for relations with European countries, and work to build a framework for major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. He said China will deepen its friendship with neighbors and seek political settlement regarding issues such as the Korean Peninsula and Afghanistan. Wang said that in 2018, China will implement the results reached at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and put in place mechanisms to boost cooperation. The foreign minister said China will also participate in global governance, make economic globalization more open, inclusive and beneficial to more people, and advance international cooperation in responding to climate change and fighting terrorism. Moreover, he said China will participate in making rules regarding emerging sectors, such as cyberspace and outer space, and will oppose all forms of protectionism. Wang said China will expedite communication and exchanges among Chinese and foreign personnel, improve consular services and explore building a safety network for overseas Chinese.

Call to ease Korean tensions

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
CHINA yesterday called on all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tension after North Korea said the latest UN sanctions against it are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade. The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea last Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test. North Korea called it an act of war. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the resolution was not designed to affect ordinary people, normal economic exchanges and cooperation, or humanitarian aid. “In the present situation, we call on all countries to exercise restraint and make proactive and constructive efforts to ease the tensions on the peninsula and appropriately resolve the issue,” she said.

People urged to play part in heritage work

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
CHINESE lawmakers have called for more people-oriented approaches to improve work on cultural heritage. During panel discussions yesterday, legislators discussed a report on cultural heritage work submitted to the ongoing bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The session ends tomorrow. While acknowledging progress in the work, especially in protection, some were concerned about the distance between the protection and the people, and expected the work to be more people-oriented. “In a lot of places, antiques are stored but not exhibited,” said Yang Bangjie, member of the NPC Standing Committee. “It makes it hard for us to appreciate the antiques and do research, as many of them cannot be approached and inventories are obscure.” Wang Gang, another member of the Standing Committee, compared China with Europe, where the interpretation of cultural heritage is often combined with that of things such as philosophy, technological evolution and history, but in China people, especially youngsters, are seemingly more interested in the value of the antiques. He believed that while the protection of cultural heritage is the top priority, its ultimate goal is to place cultural heritage deep inside people’s hearts. “Efforts are required to convert the achievements of the protection into social human value in people’s spiritual lives,” he said. For He Yehui, China should use various forces in society, as merely counting on the spending of the government is far from enough. “The central government, local authorities, society, communities and every single person should play their parts,” she said. She was echoed by lawmaker Iong Weng Ian from Macau, who seconded the idea of making better use of social resources. “Hopefully, we’ll take them into further consideration, whether they’re from the Chinese mainland or overseas Chinese,” she said. “Many overseas Chinese are actually keen on making their own contributions to the protection of Chinese antiques.” Her calls were in line with the report, which suggested further cooperation with other countries and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau to enhance the country’s “soft power” and the influence of Chinese culture. According to the report, China’s international exchanges in cultural heritage are gaining momentum, with nearly 300 exhibitions of Chinese antiques held abroad, and more than 100 foreign exhibitions held in China over the past five years. Furthermore, China has signed bilateral treaties or memorandums of understanding on cooperation on cultural heritage with 50 countries. The report also included numbers on cultural heritage work in China. Over 12,000 smuggled antiques have been seized by Chinese customs since 2013.

Skyscraper to go under hammer on Taobao

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
Following the sale of three Boeing 747 freighters on Taobao, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, a Chinese court is offering up another unusual item for judicial auction — a 156-meter tall skyscraper. Originally designed to be a hotel, the 39-floor unfinished building, along with the land it sits on, will be publicly auctioned between January 2-3, according to the announcement by the Shanxi Provincial Higher People’s Court.Located in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, the unfinished building has a floor space of more than 76,000 square meters. The auction’s starting price will be 550 million yuan (US$84 million), it said.Shanxi Jinhao International Hotel Ltd Co invested in and built the hotel, and construction started in 2006. In 2010, major construction work was completed and the hotel was expected to open to the public in 2011.But due to funding shortfalls on the part of the developer, the project was suspended, the court said.In order to more effectively and transparently handle assets seized in lawsuits, almost all courts have registered on Taobao’s judicial sales platform since the service was launched in 2012. Two Boeing 747 freighters were successfully auctioned in November for a total of 320 million yuan, while the third plane sold for 146 million yuan in December.

Hulun Lake protection efforts bear fruit

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
The surface area of Hulun Lake, the largest freshwater lake in north China, has expanded over the past five years due to strengthened protection efforts, authorities said yesterday.The surface area of the lake in Hulun Buir City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has reached 2,038 square kilometers, an increase of 288 square kilometers from 2012, data from the regional department of forestry showed.The lake’s water level has also increased by three meters and its wetland area has increased by around 300 square kilometers, the data showed.Hulun Lake plays a key role in the ecological security of the grasslands in north China. But years of drought and excessive human activity since 2002 have led to shrinking of the lake and surrounding wetlands and a fall in the wildlife population.To better protect the lake, Inner Mongolia has intensified a series of measures, such as diverting water to it from nearby rivers, introducing a five-year fishing moratorium to help rehabilitate dwindling aquatic resources, and banning grazing on surrounding grasslands.Six new types of birds have been seen flying over the lake since 2013, including the state-protected white stork and eagle owl.The lake, located on the Hulun Buir Grassland, is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the country and was included on the list of internationally important wetlands in 2001.

China faces dilemma as villages disappear

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
Every time Feng Jicai, an acclaimed Chinese writer in his 70s, walks through a Chinese village, he becomes deeply concerned.Skilled at portraying characters in rural China, Feng knows that hundred-year, or even thousand-year-old villages, are slowly disappearing.In sharp contrast to the thriving megacities packed with high-rises, China, once an agricultural country with a civilization going back 5,000 years, is losing its villages.These old villages, which witnessed the heyday of ancient Chinese culture, feeling the sorrows and falls of many dynasties, are part and parcel of Chinese history.But modern lifestyles are squeezing their existence. Young villagers are leaving for the bigger world, where they can achieve bigger dreams than in their village homeland.Feeling the pinch, Chinese authorities initiated an archive-building and survey program in 2012 to catalogue ancient Chinese villages, led by Feng, who is also a counselor to the State Council, China’s Cabinet.Over 4,150 villages have been listed as national traditional villages, and 223 of them have been catalogued for preservation. The progress is encouraging, but Feng dares not slow down.“About 80 to 100 villages are disappearing in China every day. From 2000 to 2010, a total of 900,000 villages disappeared,” Feng said. “Preserving villages preserves our country. It shows our respect for culture.”But even for those under protection, the situation is not satisfactory.“Over-development has become a cliche in the stories of reviving traditional villages,” Feng said. “Some villages move away local residents and hand land to tourism companies to build home-stays. They even make up fake folktales to attract tourists.”The same faces“These villages often end up with the same faces, and if the situation continues, we might lose them again,” Feng said. The makeup of village populations also causes difficulties.Earlier this year, a group of researchers went to Dapin Village in north China’s Shanxi Province. The 1,500-year-old village only had 16 residents, mostly women and the elderly.“A village is a community. If the residents cannot make their living, it is natural for the youth to leave and the villages to become empty,” Feng said.“As urbanization accelerates, conflicts between traditional villages and modern life grow, causing the collapse of traditional culture. This is a dilemma,” said Pu Jiao, deputy director of the center for traditional village protection and research.It will be almost impossible to revive the villages without local people, as Feng knows only too well.“We must work out a way to find locals a stable source of income, upgrade facilities, and offer educational and medical support to arouse their cultural consciousness,” Feng said. “The recent ‘toilet revolution’ is a good step.”In the meantime, efforts to promote village culture continue. In November, a virtual museum was established to use video, three-dimensional images and other multi-media to record villages with distinct regional or ethnic features. Visitors can access the museum online to check traditions, buildings and even lifestyles of the villages, and hopefully play a role in keeping them alive.“There is no fixed pattern in the conservation of villages. We should accumulate all manners of resources and broaden the mindset of local officials,” Feng said.

HK village celebrates rare local festival

Mon, 12/25/2017 - 08:01
IN a rural community far from Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle and towering skyscrapers, villagers hold one of the speicial administration region’s rare and colorful local festivals. Residents gather in the village of Lam Tsuen for the days-long Tai Ping Ching Jiu festival. Participants give thanks to Taoist deities like Tin Hau for good harvests and pray for peace. Organizers spend lavishly on the celebration, erecting a massive temporary bamboo theater for traditional Cantonese Opera performances. Other highlights include lion dances, vegetarian feasts and the burning of life-size paper effigies of animals like horses for luck. On the final day, meat is once again allowed to mark the ritual’s close, so revelers enjoy delicacies like roast suckling pig. The event is so popular that even villagers who have emigrated overseas return home to join in the festivities. The festival, also known as Da Jiao, is held in other agrarian villages across Hong Kong’s outlying New Territories at varying intervals.

A chilly catch of the day

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
Visitors show a newly-caught fish on the frozen Jingpo Lake yesterday at the start of winter fishing in Mudan River, in northeastern Heilongjiang Province. The lake is famous for is turquoise waters and 40 types of fish and freshwater coral. Winter fishing is now not only a business but also tourism project that attracts tourists from around the country.

Top doctors share skills late at night

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
Doctors who take day shifts at work may find use for their medical expertise in the “night clinic,” which opened on Saturday by a doctors-sharing platform in Guangzhou.“Top Doctor Center” was established in Guangzhou by a Hongkang Doctors Group, a private company. It has signed contracts with 500 doctors, who hold assistant professor level or higher credentials.The center is located at a building which was used for the Canton Fair. Total floor space is around 20,000 square meters. It has 146 rooms and five surgery centers. Total investment for the first phase is 200 million yuan (US$30 million) and it can accommodate 4,000 patients a day, said Zhan Zhiyong, founder of the platform. The night clinic runs from 6pm to 9pm and is also open in the afternoon.

Ancient wooden slips reveal first emperor’s search for immortality

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
The pursuit of immortality was common among the most powerful people in ancient China — the emperors. According to new archeological findings, China’s first emperor even went so far as to make it a government function, more than 2,000 years ago.A set of wooden slips found in central China’s Hunan Province contain the emperor’s executive order for a nationwide search for the elixir of life and official replies from local governments.Zhang Chunlong, a researcher at the provincial institute of archeology, said the emperor’s decree reached as far as frontier regions and remote villages.According to the script on the narrow wooden slips, a village called “Duxiang” reported that no miraculous potion had been found and implied the search would continue. Another place, “Langya,” in today’s Shandong Province, presented a herb collected from an auspicious local mountain.The discovery of the order demonstrated the emperor’s centralization of authority.“It required a highly efficient administration and strong executive force to pass down a government decree in ancient times when transportation and communication facilities were undeveloped,” Zhang said.Ying Zheng was the first person to unify China and declared himself Qin Shihuang, or the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). To consolidate his power, he standardized the system of weights and measures, and issued currency.A previous study of the slips suggested the Qin Dynasty already had a mail service.However, most historians see Ying Zheng, who lived from 259 BC to 210 BC, as one of the most brutal tyrants of China’s feudal society, who threw millions of peasants into slavery and forced them to build the Great Wall and his mammoth imperial palace and mausoleum. The wooden slips, over 36,000 of them with more than 200,000 Chinese characters, were discovered in June 2002 in an abandoned well in Liye village, Longshan county in western Hunan.The slips dated from 222 BC to 208 BC and covered politics, the military, the economy, law, culture and medicine.After studying the 48 medicine-related slips, Zhang said the Qin Dynasty, although it lasted just 15 years, had a sophisticated medical system and documentation, as well as multiple treatments that continued to be used by for a long time.Zhou Qi, an assistant research fellow at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, said people at the time knew various treatments of traditional Chinese medicine such as moxibustion, acupuncture, oral administration and topical therapy.The slips also revealed that doctors were only allowed to treat patients under the direction of the government, and treatment details had to be recorded in official documents. The patients mostly came from the upper class.The Qin Dynasty left few records. Most major events are only known through traces in the historical writings of the ensuing Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220).The new discoveries shed light upon China’s ancient medical history and fill in some gaps regarding the emperor’s governance, Zhang said.

Kunming sees record number of seagulls

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
An increasing number of seagulls are wintering in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, according to the local forestry bureau.On Saturday, the Kunming Municipal Forestry Bureau and the society for the protection of birds dispatched more than 200 workers to count the gulls, counting more than 40,500.In 2015, the number of seagulls wintering in Kunming exceeded 40,000 for the first time, setting a 31-year record. “The rising number of migrating birds shows the micro-climate and environment at Dianchi Lake is improving,” said Yang Ming, deputy secretary general of the society. Public awareness has also been increasing to protect the birds and provide them with food, he said.The gulls mainly migrate from Lake Baikal in Russia, Uvs Nuur Basin in Mongolia, and Bosten Lake in far west China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, he said. Local forestry workers have carried out health checks on bird samples and found no danger, he added. Kunming is known as the City of Spring for its mild climate. Close to 10,000 seagulls flew in the city in 1985 and have been coming every November since. The birds usually stay until late February.

Plea-bargaining pilot unblocking courts

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
China’s pilot program of plea bargaining in criminal cases over the past year has greatly improved litigation efficiency and enabled more reasonable allocation of judicial resources, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang says. It took 26 days on average for prosecuting process to deal with such cases, and 83.5 percent were adjudicated by courts within 15 days, said Zhou, president of the Supreme People’s Court, briefing lawmakers about the reform.In September 2016, the top legislature approved a two-year pilot program to allow suspects to plead guilty in return for a lesser charge in 18 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.Under the program, suspects and defendants who are willing to confess, agree with prosecutors’ charging and sentencing proposals, and sign affidavits, will be given lesser punishments.Defendants who face jail terms of three years or below fall under the pilot.As of November, 281 courts and 281 procuratorates have been chosen to pilot the reform, and 91,121 cases involving 103,496 suspects have been dealt with under the pilot, accounting for 45 percent of cases handled by the designated courts, the report says.In an effort to ensure rights of suspects and defendants, 630 judicial assistance stations were set up in detention centers, courts and procuratorates in the 18 cities. Zhou said the SPC and Supreme People’s Procuratorate would step up oversight on judges and prosecutors to prevent judicial corruption and power abuse.The report was submitted to the bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.Although China has seen a fall in serious criminal cases threatening social order, the number of minor cases is still large and they are not always efficiently dealt with by understaffed judicial departments.

China closes over 13,000 illegal websites

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
CHINA has shut down or revoked the licenses of more than 13,000 illegal websites since 2015. Wang Shengjun, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, disclosed the information when briefing lawmakers on cyberspace protection yesterday. Authorities including the Cyberspace Administration of China had called over 2,200 websites operators for talks during the same period, he said. In addition, operators have closed nearly 10 million Internet accounts for violating service protocol, while information on terrorism and pornography has been removed, according to Wang. “These moves have a powerful deterrent effect,” Wang said. A report to the NPC session said the authorities had targeted pornography and violence in their sweeps of websites, blogs and social media accounts. The report was submitted to the top legislature’s bi-monthly session for deliberation. The session will end on Wednesday. Wang said that police have detained more than 11,000 suspects in over 3,700 cases during the past two years for alleged misuse of citizens’ personal information. He called the task of protecting Internet users’ personal information “grim.” “Illegal industrial chains have taken shape in some places, which involve illegal collection, theft, sale and use of Internet users’ personal information,” he said. Some Internet companies and public service agencies have stored large amounts of personal information, but security protection lags seriously behind, making them easy targets, according to the report. “Serious leaks of personal information have led to an increase in fraud targeting victims with high precision,” Wang noted. The report was based on investigations between August and October to assess the Cybersecurity Law that took effect on June 1, and a decision on protection of online information introduced five years ago. The decision includes an identity management policy requiring users to use their real names to identify themselves to service providers, including Internet or telecommunications operators. Over the past five years, telecommunications operators have suspended services to more than 10 million users who refused to register their real names. Wang proposed speeding up work on a new law, standardizing the scope and means of verifying identity, better supervision and harsher penalties.

Auditor: 8,123 are punished for fiscal violations

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 08:01
CHINA has punished 8,123 people involved in fiscal violations after an audit of the execution of the 2016 central budget and other fiscal matters, according to the top auditor. Hu Zejun, head of the National Audit Office, made the statement while briefing lawmakers on rectification following the audit. Among those on the list, 970 were punished for inappropriate use of poverty relief funds, Hu said. Poverty relief funds involved were close to 3.3 billion yuan (US$500 million), she said. Around 100,000 people have been removed from the government list of registered poor, while another 95,000 have been added to the list. In addition, 1,363 were punished for irregularities in the use of affordable housing funds, Hu said. About 48 billion yuan of the funds, originally earmarked for affordable housing projects but left unused for more than a year, have been put into use, while another 1.37 billion yuan of misused funds were recovered. Hu noted violations led to the punishment of 800 people in state-owned enterprises and 73 people in eight major banks. Another 505 people were punished for malpractice involving medical insurance funds.

Jailed HK woman to pay maid damages

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
A Hong Kong woman jailed for six years for starving and beating her Indonesian domestic helper was ordered by a court yesterday to pay more than US$100,000 in damages for the “inhumane” abuse.Law Wan-tung was convicted of grievous bodily harm, assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages in 2015 and is still serving a jail term after losing an appeal.The plight of her former helper, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, and pictures of the injuries she suffered made her the face of a movement determined to force change for Hong Kong’s army of helpers.More than 340,000 domestic helpers, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work in Hong Kong, often performing menial tasks for low wages while being forced to live in poor conditions.Calling the abuse inflicted on Sulistyaningsih “inhumane, degrading and abhorrent,” Judge Winnie Tsui ordered Law to pay around US$103,400 as she delivered her judgment, reports said.The court awarded Sulistyaningsih the full amount of damages she claimed for injuries, medical expenses and other losses, local media reported.Sulistyaningsih previously described how for months she lived on nothing but bread and rice, slept only four hours a day and was beaten so badly that she was knocked unconscious.The then-23-year-old was admitted to hospital in Indonesia in 2014, emaciated and in critical condition, sparking international outrage as pictures of her spread on social media.Following a series of high-profile abuse cases, concerns over the welfare of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers have grown. Rights groups say unscrupulous employment agencies plunge helpers into debt and withhold their passports while the legal requirement for helpers to live with their employers makes it difficult for them to escape abuse.Rights advocates have long sought ending a rule where domestic workers must leave the city 14 days after they quit a job unless they can find other employment within that time.

Live online broadcasts stir issues of privacy

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
Pedestrians walking on the street; customers eating at restaurants; women working out at the gym. If you want to watch these scenes live, they are freely available on certain websites.Live online broadcasts of public surveillance cameras are popular in China, easily attracting thousands of views and comments from web users.But recent media coverage has put this practice under the spotlight and drawn widespread public criticism for invasion of privacy.“I think it’s horrible,” said a man surnamed Wu, who lives in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. “If my image and circle of life can be seen online, then it’s so easy to know my whereabouts.”Business insiders say the broadcasts satisfy public desire to watch people’s private lives, offering a different experience to regular Internet streams.“Online platforms can also cash in on the flow of views from other commercial products,” said a person familiar with the business model, who asked to remain anonymous.Wang Sixin, a researcher at the Communication University of China, said surveillance camera makers could use live broadcast platforms to attract customers as they had a higher number of views.In response, some surveillance camera makers say they have asked users to put notices in places covered by live broadcasts. Some platforms claim they check strictly the content of live broadcasts.Legal experts are divided on whether businesses are infringing upon privacy after notices have been put up.According to China’s Civil Law, if a citizen’s image is used to make profit, businesses must seek consent of the people involved. Consent is also compulsory if the broadcasts risk damaging a person’s image, reputation or privacy.“Those whose privacy is invaded can lodge complaints to authorities or file lawsuits for compensation,” said Wu Ge, a lawyer in Beijing.There were 751 million Internet users in China as of June 2017, and it is estimated the number of users for online live broadcasting will reach 400 million by the end of the year.Experts believe online platforms and businesses should lift their awareness of personal data protection.

TV program on ‘National Treasure’ of cultural relics turns into huge hit

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
A TV program showcasing the history of many of China’s cultural relics has become a huge hit.The weekly program, “National Treasure” was first aired by China Central Television on December 3, with the opening episode showing three of China’s finest cultural treasures: the painting “A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains,” the Large Vase with Variegated Glazes and a stone drum.Famed actors Li Chen, Wang Kai and Tony Leung played the “national treasure guardians” of each item, reenacting the history of each artifact through historical drama.Wang played Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). During the emperor’s reign, China’s porcelain techniques were the finest in the world, with the era producing the Large Vase with Variegated Glazes.One scene showed Emperor Qianlong explaining the history of the vase, and the unfathomable difficulties of its production, to a series of historical figures.The vase has 17 kinds of glaze and 12 paintings, and had to be re-fired several times due to the many different glazes used in its production. Success in such a complicated process would be no more than 0.23 percent, making the vase a truly remarkable and rare object, according to Zhang Shen, a guide at the Palace Museum, during the show.The show quickly went viral, scoring 9.3 out of 10 points on Douban, a popular movie rating platform in China, making it one of the most popular programs of its genre in the country.The show also made a splash on social media and online platforms. On Bilibili.com, one of China’s most popular video-sharing platforms, the first three episodes were viewed over 5 million times in total.Museums are a key way for Chinese to learn about the country’s cultural relics.China had nearly 5,000 registered museums nationwide as of the end of last year, receiving about 900 million visitors annually.“China’s museums have entered a golden period of development and the numbers of collections and visitors keep growing,” said Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum, at the inauguration of the program. “But that is not enough. We need to bring the relics in our museums to life and display their unique beauty in more forms.”The program production team spent two years researching and preparing for the show to ensure it gave a full picture of the relics involved.“We want our audience to feel that the cultural relics are like people who weathered vicissitudes, and that they have their own personalities and lives,” said Yu Lei, producer and chief director of the program.The 10 episodes will present 27 masterpieces from nine major Chinese museums.A total of 27 celebrities and another 27 regular people in the program tell the history of the relics and their own stories about them. Curators from the nine museums also offer their expertise throughout the program.“It takes cultural relics as a carrier to represent history,” said Yin Hong, a communications professor at Tsinghua University. “In doing so, the abstract conception of traditional culture was transformed into figurative expressions.”“National Treasure” is not the first cultural TV program that has had significant success in China.In 2013, the “Chinese Character Dictation Competition,” a Chinese literacy contest, was so popular it was extended for three seasons until 2015.

One-China rule important for ties, Gambia told

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
CHINESE President Xi Jinping yesterday underscored the one-China principle as he hosted Gambian President Adama Barrow on his first China visit since diplomatic relations were resumed last year. The two countries established formal diplomatic links in 1974, but China suspended relations in 1995 when the west African country resumed so-called “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013. “Upholding the one-China principle and the big picture of bilateral friendship, China and Gambia should understand and support each other on issues relating to core interests and major concerns, and be sincere friends and partners on an equal footing,” Xi said during the talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi said Gambia’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with China is a “correct choice,” which follows the trend of the times and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. Barrow said the resumption of diplomatic ties fully accords with the will of the Gambian people. He said the Gambian people respect the Chinese people, reaffirming that his country will firmly adhere to the one-China policy. Hailing the sound development of bilateral cooperation since the resumption of ties, Xi said such cooperation has brought tangible results to both peoples. Xi and Barrow agreed to map out future cooperation in their talks. Xi called on both sides to have closer exchanges between governments, political parties and legislative bodies and share experience in national governance. “China attaches importance to cooperation with Gambia in agriculture, electricity and infrastructure, and is willing to enhance Gambia’s capacity for self-development and sustainable development,” Xi told Barrow. Xi proposed more exchanges in culture, education, media, youth, women, health and tourism and joint efforts to build the Confucius Institute to consolidate the popular will of friendship between the two countries. “China is willing to increase cooperation with Gambia in security and to step up communication and coordination in international and regional affairs to contribute to peace and stability in west Africa,” Xi said. China aims to build a community with a shared future for mankind and will strengthen solidarity and partnership with developing countries including those from Africa, according to Xi. “China’s cooperation with foreign countries is not attached to any political string. The essence of China-Africa cooperation is to combine China’s development with that of Africa to realize win-win cooperation and mutual development,” Xi said. Barrow, who took office in February 2017, thanked Xi for extending him an invitation to visit China for the first time as a head of state. “It is a sign of support, a sign of giving confidence to our new administration,” Barrow said. Expressing his gratitude to China for supporting Gambia in the 1970s, especially since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations, Barrow said his country cherishes the friendship with China and will never forget its assistance. China’s support in the areas of agriculture and health has greatly promoted the national development of Gambia and improved people’s livelihood, said Barrow, adding that he himself had received treatment by Chinese medical teams.

US ‘hype’ over China military growth

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
THE United States has created “sensational hype” over China’s military modernization, the Chinese defense ministry has said in reaction to a White House report branding China a competitor seeking to challenge US power. On Monday, the US laid out a national security strategy based on Trump’s “America First” vision, singling out of China and Russia as “revisionist powers” seeking not only to challenge US power but to erode its security and prosperity. China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that cooperation between China and the US was the only correct choice. Defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang, in a statement posted on the ministry website late on Wednesday, said the US strategy had “without regard for the facts, created sensational hype over the modernization of China’s defenses.” Ren also said the strategy had “called into question the intentions of China’s military development plan” and that it ran counter to peace worldwide and the development of China’s relations with the US. “We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, be objective and rational about Chinese military development and work with China to promote dialogue, cooperation and positive interaction between the two countries’ militaries,” Ren said. He also called for joint efforts to make ties between the two militaries a factor for stability between the two countries and to maintain world and regional peace, stability and prosperity. He stressed that China would continue its efforts to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, uphold international order and maintain a path of peaceful development. “The Chinese military remains committed to strengthening exchanges and cooperation with other countries’ militaries and taking more responsibilities internationally within its own capability,” he said. “The important contribution of China in preserving world peace and promoting common development is manifest to all among the international community, and the attempt by any country or any document to distort fact and throw slander will be in vain.” The spokesman said China would never pursue development at the expense of others’ interests, but nor would it ever give up its own rights and interests. “On the contrary, there is certain country that tends to put its own interests above others, and above the common interests of the international community, using the outdated concept of a zero-sum game to label other countries and practice egoism,” Ren said. “The international community will certainly draw a conclusion on that.” China’s armed forces are in the midst of an ambitious modernization program, which includes investment in technology and new equipment such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, as well as cuts to troop numbers.

Maintain healthy bilateral ties

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 08:01
CHINA’S Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the United States should work with China to maintain healthy and stable bilateral ties. “Abandoning the Cold War mentality and hegemony, the world’s two largest economies would maintain win-win cooperation and mutual development, and together could push prosperity in the global economy,” the ministry’s spokesman Gao Feng said. Commenting on the newly released US national security strategy report, Gao said the report had raised global concerns about the stability of the world’s economy. “As the world’s economic recovery remained sluggish, a stable expectation would be crucial for maintaining the recovery momentum,” Gao said. He said the new type of international relationship should not be one of zero-sum competition, and that China had always viewed the US and other economic and trade partners as cooperators, but not competitors. “China has never engaged in, and will never pursue so-called economic aggression policies,” the spokesman said.