版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[Tough remedies required to quell savagery]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523583.htm In five months, Hong Kong, which was regarded as one of the safest cities in the world, has descended into chaos. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government needs to step up its efforts to take control of the situation. Otherwise, the city will go even further down the road of self-destruction.

While the tweet from one media outlet stating the SAR government would introduce a curfew to quell the violence has since been deleted, it is clear that new measures are needed. The violence has escalated rapidly this week, with the rioters targeting universities, public facilities and even innocent people. While it remains to be seen whether a curfew will be introduced, tougher action is undoubtedly called for - the cruelty and insanity being displayed by the rioters show they have become deranged by bloodlust.

On Thursday, dangerous disruptions hit the city's major transport arteries and rail networks for the fourth straight day, affecting tens of thousands of commuters.

The rioters even swarmed the university campuses in the city where they randomly trashed the facilities, threatened students' safety and staged confrontations with police.

Since Monday, university students from the mainland, fearing they would become the targets of the rioters, fled their campuses, with many returning to the mainland. With the situation continuing to worsen, international students have also begun to leave.

The exodus of thousands of mainland and international students, which is unprecedented in Hong Kong's history, will inevitably tarnish the reputation of Hong Kong's prestigious higher learning institutions, whose leaders rather than condemning the violence have sought to make the campuses safe havens for the rioters.

As pandemonium reigns, the local education authorities have had no choice but to declare a suspension of classes for all schools throughout the week.

The chaos cannot be allowed to go on any longer. Hong Kong residents must throw their weight behind the SAR government.

This week, more and more local residents have stood up against the rioters and said "no" to violence and vandalism. Many patriotic Hong Kong residents have also extended a helping hand to mainland students seeking to escape the campus violence.

Justice is bound to prevail over evil. Hong Kong people should know that only by supporting the SAR government and police force in decisively putting an end to the rioting can peace and order be restored in their beloved hometown.

Whatever plot the rioters may have had in mind with their "five demands", it has been well and truly lost.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Local govts must not try to shift pollution problems onto others]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523582.htm THE XINGTAI GOVERNMENT'S PLAN TO relocate Xingtai Iron & Steel Corp to the city's outer suburb Xinhe county has provoked discontent among people in nearby Hengshui in Hebei province. To solve the problem of "not in my backyard" in terms of pollution sources and better protect the environment, pollution control must be strengthened. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

Xingtai Iron& Steel Corp is one of the major sources of the local air pollution, but also an important taxpayer to the city. As a resource-dominated old industrial base, Xingtai has suffered a lot from air pollution in recent years. Relocating the plant to Xingtai's remote Xinhe county seems to be a win-win choice for the local government: it could effectively reduce the air pollution of the downtown areas, while the city won't lose fiscal revenue.

But it is not good news for the neighboring city, Hengshui. Xinhe county is about 100 kilometers away from Xingtai's downtown, but is very close to Hengshui. More important, the new position of the plant is only 30 kilometers away from the Hengshui Lake National Wetland Reserve Area. The Hengshui government said that some scholars and local residents are worried that the plant's relocation may damage the fragile ecological environment of Hengshui Lake. Moreover, as a wetland reserve area Hengshui Lake is also an important habitat of many migratory birds. If the lake is polluted, numerous animals may also be endangered.

The dispute over Xingtai Iron& Steel Corp's relocation is a typical example of "not in my backyard" difficulty in pollution management. Everyone enjoys the benefit of public facilities and industrial development, but nobody is willing to have some projects constructed nearby because of pollution or health hazard concerns. As well as Hengshui residents, local residents in Xinhe county have also expressed their displeasure at the news.

Simply moving the pollution source from downtown Xingtai to the suburb near Hengshui does not address the pollution problem at all. And from the perspective of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei's integration, such a relocation will do nothing to improve the entire region's ecological environment.

Environmental protection and pollution management require collaboration and cooperation, which should not become a zero-sum game that only cares about local interests. Instead of relocation, stricter pollution control and management measures are required to curb the pollution wherever the source is.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Tariffs will not get Washington what it wants]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523581.htm Were it not for the ups and downs already experienced over the past 17 months of trade frictions, it would no doubt have caused jitters when the US president warned on Tuesday that he would jack up tariffs substantially should the phase one deal with China fail to materialize.

Since the wolf did not come down on the fold at once, the world's expectations for a deal, large or small, are realistic. Anyone aware of the US administration's habits will appreciate that even if the deal is signed, it could be scrapped at any time on the whim of Washington.

Considering the US leader said on the weekend that reports suggesting some tariffs are to be removed were "incorrect", and the Chinese side's insistence that no deal is acceptable under additional tariffs, there is reason to believe that the US administration's superstitious faith in tariffs is once again close to killing a deal in the cradle.

That the two sides agreed to a phased negotiation is in itself a progress, as it is an effective means to focus their attention on the easiest issues first, which would establish a stable platform for negotiations on the more contentious issues between them.

Considering the optimism the two sides displayed last month, when they announced the breakthrough of their phase one deal, it seemed that it only required an opportunity for the two leaders to sit down together for it to be signed into effect. But a few weeks is a long time in this trade war, and it seems that the situation has now changed once more.

The big gap in their stance on tariffs seems to have put a spanner in the works, and the tariffs themselves have now become part of the to and fro over who does what for what. The Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that the two sides are holding "in-depth discussions" on canceling tariffs to push the first phase trade agreement over the finish line.

China has already exempted additional tariffs on many key US exports, including agricultural products, which set the stage for the mini deal they agreed on. But the US tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports have shown no sign of loosening, and Washington's threat of higher tariffs on the remaining $250 billion of Chinese goods still hangs over the negotiations.

In other words, although the two sides have found some things they can agree on, their wrangling over tariffs has just began, which will be a true test of their nascent rapprochement and their ability to untangle the knots of the complex issues that have them at loggerheads.

An end to the trade war would be good for all, but if the US refuses to budge on tariffs, the trade talks will undoubtedly rewind to where they were before the phase one deal was struck.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Reform of small banks will defuse financial risks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523580.htm Editor's Note: The Financial Stability and Development Committee under the State Council, China's Cabinet, recently held its ninth meeting, focusing on how to deepen the reform of small and medium-sized banks and prevent and defuse financial risks among other issues. 21st Century Business Herald comment:

Deepening the reform of small and medium-sized banks is a key part of China's efforts to enhance its financial sector's governance capability, and also constitutes part of its efforts to promote the modernization of the national governance system and enhance its governance capabilities. In fact, since the fifth national financial work conference in 2017, the top authorities have further strengthened the policy expectation of these banks to serve the real economy, rural revitalization and small and micro businesses.

At a meeting in February, President Xi Jinping reiterated the need to focus on improving financial services and prevent financial risks, while pursuing high-quality development, and particularly stressed that small and medium-sized banks should build a multi-level, wide-covering and differentiated banking system, and actively develop differentiated and customized financial products to serve small businesses and agriculture. At its eighth meeting on Sept 27, the Financial Stability and Development Committee emphasized the need to support small and medium-sized banks to replenish capital, combining their capital replenishment with improving their corporate governance and internal management to guide them to serve local areas in support of private medium, small, medium-and micro-sized enterprises. This meeting further clarified the deepening of the reform of small and medium-sized banks and the strengthening of their governance capability.

In deepening the top-level design for small and medium-sized banks in the past two years, the capital replenishment system and mechanism has remained a key task. To promote the establishment of a multi-channel capital replenishment mechanism, the country should roll out key measures, such as how to make use of foreign financial resources, how to set up a marketized replenishment channel for the financial market, how to optimize the resource allocation for the strategic reorganization of small - and medium-sized banks, and how to make local governments appropriately play their role.

To this end, top-level policy design should be combined with grassroots exploration, in which local governments should help combine the reform of small and medium-sized banks with local financial resources to offer these banks a ballast to boost their capability of defusing financial risks.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[BRICS members rally to counter shocks of bullying, protectionism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523579.htm From Athens to Brasilia, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been calling for multilateral approaches to counter an impending global economic downturn.

China, as he has reiterated to his different audiences, stands firm against the "protectionist and bullying counter-currents" that bring shocks to international trade and increase the downward pressure on the world economy.

Last year at the 10th BRICS summit in South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, China and the host country jointly initiated their Partnership on New Industrial Revolution. Now at the 11th summit in Brazil, they are giving substance to that Partnership with pledges to boost intra-BRICS trade and investment. Given the conspicuous uncertainties facing the individual BRICS members, invigorating intra-group trade is not only a pragmatic move to boost their economies, it also lends credence to their calls for concerted efforts to safeguard the multilateral global trading regime.

Different histories, systems and national conditions determine countries' diverse needs and wants. For all the differences, even divergences, between and among BRICS members, they come together believing they have more to gain from cooperation than to lose.

Beijing and New Delhi have multiple unsettled border disputes, but that has hardly dampened their shared interest in cooperating under both bilateral and multilateral frameworks. The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was once a famous critic of his country's trade with China. Now leading the largest Latin American country, he finds "China is becoming more and more part of Brazil's future", and vows, "We want to more than expand, we want to diversify our trade relationship".

That surely is an impressive change of perspective. But in no way surprising. As Xi keeps saying, China's development offers boundless opportunities for the rest of the world.

President Bolsonaro has made reviving growth a top priority of his administration, so it is no surprise that China and Brazil are reportedly talking about a free trade zone.

China is not only his country's largest trading partner, but also one that is a member of the ambitious BRICS family of which Brazil too is a part. The BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution is vital to BRICS' economic cooperation in the next stage, as it promotes high-quality development of the BRICS economies in areas such as innovation, the digital economy and the green economy.

The global economic landscape is gloomy under the threat of a protectionist upsurge. As economic globalization faces headwinds, the BRICS economies should identify the difficulties and pain points that hinder trade and investment among them and come up with practical solutions.

If the five once robust emerging economies, which together constitute one of the world's largest trading blocks, can commit fully to collaboration, there are boundless possibilities at their disposal.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[All 12 stolen zodiac statues must be brought home]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523578.htm ON WEDNESDAY, THE HORSE HEAD STATUE, one of the 12 zodiac statues that was looted by the Anglo-French army during their incursion into China in 1860, was returned to China. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

When the Anglo-French army rampaged through Yuanmingyuan, the then royal gardens in Beijing, they pillaged almost everything that was there.

The 12 zodiac animal statues were among the pillaged antiques. Of all the things that were seized and taken overseas, the 12 statues have attracted perhaps the most attention because they symbolize unique traditional Chinese culture.

That's also why, since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the country has tried to secure the return of the 12 statues.

Whenever one of the 12 statues has appeared at an auction, the Chinese government has protested, while the Chinese people have expressed their anger and discontent via multiple channels. Overseas Chinese have also rendered their efforts toward saving these precious antiques from being traded.

Thanks to these efforts, seven of the 12 statues, namely the ox, the monkey, the tiger, the pig, the mouse, the rabbit and the horse have all been brought back home. But there are still five left overseas, the dragon, the snake, the goat, the rooster, and the dog.

The five are in the hands of private collectors and museums. They might be reluctant to return them, but they need to know that each of the antiques is a stolen item and evidence of the crimes committed by the Anglo-French army in China.

That was a humiliation to China, but it is more shameful to those still holding the statues because they are complicit to a crime by hanging on to items that they know to be stolen.

Until the last of the statues comes home, the honor that was lost in the marauding will never be recovered.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[China-Brazil ties set to reach new heights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523577.htm Despite suffering some setbacks during the Brazilian presidential election earlier this year, China-Brazil ties have improved thanks to the frequent high-level visits, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's visit to China at the end of October and President Xi Jinping's just-concluded visit to Brazil, during which he also attended the 11th BRICS Summit. In fact, bilateral relations are entering a new era.

It is mutual interest that has kept Sino-Brazilian relationship on the track of dialogue and cooperation. As a result, even amid increasing trade frictions and the United States resorting to trade protectionism, the China-Brazil trade volume reached $111 billion in 2018 and China has remained Brazil's largest trade partner over the past decade. Also, Brazil had a trade surplus of more than $29 billion, up 46.2 percent year-on-year, against China last year.

According to the Foreign Investment Newsletter that Brazil's Economic Ministry released in April, from 2003 to the first quarter of 2019, China accounted for 37 percent of the total foreign direct investment in Brazil with $71 billion and became the largest source of foreign direct investment in that country, exceeding the US' $58 billion.

China and Brazil have mutual interest in strengthening cooperation in regional affairs, especially trade, and global governance, as both are important emerging economies and member states of multilateral organizations such as BRICS and G20.

During his visit to China, Bolsonaro said China and Brazil were "born to walk together". And China is committed to developing Sino-Brazilian relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. Thanks to their comprehensive strategic partnership, the two countries have embarked on the path of progressive co-development, and their cooperation will lead to a brighter future for both sides.

Increasing global trade frictions have prompted China and Brazil to not only strengthen their trade in farm products but also diversify their pragmatic cooperation. The agriculture sector has played an important role in the complementary China-Brazil trade and in boosting co-development. Brazil is a major exporter of farm products and China the largest importer of such products, including those from Brazil. Take last year's bilateral soy trade for example - hore than 66 million tons of soy from Brazil made up 75 percent of China's total soy imports. Also, Brazil has become an overseas destination for China's strategic agricultural investment.

The trade frictions between China and the US that intensified last year helped boost China's agricultural imports from Brazil. This, along with China's ongoing economic transformation and consumption structure upgrading, demonstrates the significance of strengthening cooperation for China and Brazil, as well as establishing a long-term, stable, and win-win strategic partnership in agriculture.

Cooperation in the agricultural field should lead to not only widening market access but also establishing a new pattern of complete industrial chains, comprising agricultural product processing, storage facilities, logistics, germplasm improvement, biotechnology, and research and development.

China and Brazil are taking measures to diversify and expand cooperation in fields such as agriculture, mineral resources, energy, telecommunications and technological innovation. And they have made achievements in the fields of aerospace, nanotechnology and renewable energy, especially the China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A, scheduled to be launched at the end of this year, which will be a shining example of South-South cooperation.

Moreover, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative provides a new platform for China-Brazil cooperation. Although Brazil has not signed a Belt and Road cooperation agreement, Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourao said in June that Brazil is willing to facilitate synergy between its investment partnership projects and the initiative.

China and Brazil share the need for economic transformation and industrial upgrading, so they should promote industrial coordination and synergy. Since Brazil is a big market with a strong influence in Latin America, a good industrial system and advantages in human resources, China-Brazil cooperation can become a driving force for deepening cooperation between China and Latin America.

But the US seems intent on resorting to the "Monroe Doctrine" to prevent "external interference" in Latin America, except from the US itself, and regards China's increasing trade with and investment in the region as a threat, and therefore is trying to drive a wedge between China and Latin America by, for example, pressuring Latin American countries to not use China's 5G technology.

But Latin American countries including Brazil, thanks to their pluralistic diplomacy, can balance their relations with China and the US. Besides, compared with the US' unilateralism, China is further opening up its economy and strengthening multilateral and win-win cooperation. And the development of China-Brazil cooperation as well as Sino-Latin American cooperation does not target a third party and cannot be affected by a third party.

He Shuangrong is a researcher and Sun Hongbo is an associate researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[HK needs to restore public order, now]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523576.htm There is a dreary dismal familiarity to me in watching the progression of the continuing Hong Kong riots. They could be following exactly the same script as the protests that rocked the West in the late 1960s.

At first, the protests begin as apparently peaceful, orderly and dignified, but they never stay that way for too long.

For the protesters are never satisfied by reasonable concessions and dignified compromises on the part of the authorities. Instead, slowly but inexorably, the protests descend into the primeval language of bestial hate and emotional hysteria.

The "requests" for "concessions" first grow into "demands". Then those "demands" invariably and inevitably widen. They become impossible to concede. And even if the government does concede them, the response is only to demand even more wide ranging ones. Eventually, the protesters' "demands" become so incoherent, sweeping and inarticulate, filled with hatred and rage that it is impossible to even define them, let alone continue to grant them.

The authorities in Hong Kong have been remarkably restrained in their use of force so far. At the time of writing, there have been no fatalities as a direct result of police using of force. One protester fell or was pushed off the roof of a building. It is not even known by whom. Another man who had an argument with protesters was set on fire by the extreme ones and is in critical condition. A third who was shot this week by police may or may not die.

Yet James Palmer writing in the "Foreign Policy" web platform on Nov 11 had no hesitation in predicting that more deaths would follow and that they would all be the fault of the Chinese authorities. "Police brutality is brutalizing its victims," he wrote.

It is certain that Palmer would never dare to allege that police brutality in the United States was brutalizing the families and communities of its victims. Yet more than 1,000 people - many of them harmless and unarmed - are killed in US police shootings every year, according to data bases published by The Washington Post and The Guardian in Britain.

In 2015, The Guardian counted 1,146 deaths at police hands in the US and in 2016, they counted 1,093 deaths. The Washington Post database reported 995 deaths for 2015, 963 for 2016 and 976 for 2017. At the time of writing, the Post reported 783 such deaths for this year.

From 1965 through the end of the decade outbursts of similar student violence threatened the stability and (so it seemed) survival of societies throughout the West.

But wherever those protests got out of hand - especially in the United States and in my native Northern Ireland - the authorities responded unhesitatingly with direct security crackdowns. Inevitably, the repressions that followed in countries around the world were far harsher than the regimes that the outraged protesters were raging against.

There should be no surprise as this process relentlessly unfolds. For it is the very credibility of the government itself and its capability to provide security for its people that is being challenged. Ultimately, it is the very survival of the government and its moral duty to protect its people that is being targeted.

This is true even if the population at risk is the tiny 1.5 million of Northern Ireland under the indirect rule of Britain in 1969.

The Chinese people have enjoyed a security and prosperity unprecedented in their entire history over the past four decades. The very creation of Hong Kong after the first Opium War grew directly out of the smashing of the credibility and military power of China's ruling Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Britain and France in the notorious Opium War of 1840-42. Its return to China on July 1, 1997, has therefore always been emblematic of China's terrible "Century of Powerlessness" - and of the new and better age that at last succeeded it.

The national consensus among the Chinese people to keep their nation unified and peaceful, safe and strong is therefore a deeply rooted and profound one.

It is vital that peace is restored in Hong Kong and law and order are maintained for the greater good. The rioters therefore need to be warned clearly in advance what the consequences of their continued lawless, violent actions will be.

The cowardly hypocrites who urge them on from thousands of miles away are only going to have blood on their own hands: Far too much of it.

The author is a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[China and Greece present an ideal example of cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523575.htm In my primary school days, I had a contest with fellow classmates over how many digits we can remember of the mathematical constant pi ( ), the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is a creation of Greek mathematician Archimedes around 250 BC.

So it was no surprise that I quickly bought a T-shirt with a huge ( ) sign, along with 100 decimal digits, when I saw it in a shop in the picturesque Plaka neighborhood in Athens during my first trip to Greece.

Archimedes is one of the many mathematicians, physicists and philosophers of the ancient Greek civilization who has fascinated not only Chinese, but the whole world.

"Ancient civilization" is something that Greeks and Chinese are proud of - which was evident in the signed article by President Xi Jinping in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini (The Daily) on Sunday, which I read, or in the speeches of Panos Laskaridis, president of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, or Petros Doukas, mayor of Sparta, which I listened to at a conference in Piraeus recently.

As Laskaridis said, other countries may have cultures, but not civilizations like Greece and China. The wisdom of ancient civilizations may well explain the good relationship between the two countries. The success story of the Piraeus Port, the growing Chinese investment in Greece, the promising future of Greek agricultural products in China, and the cultural exchanges that I heard so much about during the trip, signal another new beginning for a bright future of cooperation between the two countries.

Yes. Harvard scholar Graham Allison's term "Thucydides Trap" also comes from Greek stories. But both Greeks and Chinese know that tragic lessons of history are meant to be heeded, not repeated. That is why they are very pragmatic in pursuing win-win cooperation for their peoples and not distracted by the zero-sum mindset that dominates many Western politicians.

The success story of turning Piraeus into the biggest port in the Mediterranean and soon one of the largest in the world after further upgrading is not only good for China and Greece, but also Europe, the Middle East and the world beyond which need efficient shipping to boost their trade and economy.

Instead of criticizing Chinese investment, all countries should show the same confidence China has displayed by investing more in Greece, something the Southern European country badly needs. China's "vote of confidence" was mentioned repeatedly by Greek leaders and a recent editorial in Kathimerini.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's visit to China last week, the state visit to Greece by Xi, and the joint statement issued and cooperation agreements signed during Xi's trip will surely take the bilateral relationship to a higher level.

Greeks are friendly to China. Even according to a survey by Washington-based Pew, Greeks have a much more favorable view of China than they have of the United States.

I was amazed walking in an Athens street on Tuesday when someone called me from behind, "Weihua". My name in Greek was printed on the back of my T-shirt. A moment later, a shop-owner, after learning that I am from China, came up and gave me a hug and said "Chinese are our brothers..."

Many of my friends have talked about their exciting trips to Greece over the past years. It is a pity that I wasn't able to visit other places in Greece during this business trip. But Greece is a place that I will definitely keep coming back to. I'm glad to learn that a direct flight from my home city Shanghai to Athens will take off next July.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[People major actors in China-Mali ties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523574.htm Greater cultural exchanges and the Belt and Road Initiative lay solid foundation for deepening cooperation

On Jan 26, 2019, in the run-up to the Chinese New Year, the Centre International De Conferences De Bamako (CICB) in Mali, which China helped build and renovate, was decorated with lanterns and streamers.

My suggestion to hold the first China-Mali Spring Festival Evening Gala at the newly renovated center had received strong support from Mali's Ministry of Culture, and that evening nearly 1,000 Chinese and foreign guests joined Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his wife, president of the National Assembly, at the event.

The CICB is a project China helped build beside the Niger River over 20 years ago. Two years of China-aided renovation has given the center a completely new look with facilities that conform to the latest standards. It is easily the most advanced international conference center of its kind in Africa. In my speech at the gala evening, I said the CICB building resembles a piano from one angle and a sail from another.

It thus plays the wonderful tune of China-Mali cooperation while the sails carry bilateral ties to a brighter future. It made sense to hold the festival at the newly renovated center, in light of the deepening bilateral cooperation and closer people-to-people exchanges.

In his speech, President Keita addressed the young among the audience, telling them to learn from the earlier generation's farsightedness and carry forward bilateral ties with their intelligence and wisdom.

For the gala, the Chinese embassy had arranged a grand opening dance with Chinese characteristics, presented by nearly 50 Chinese people living in the country. The Chinese actors made a stunning appearance on stage, dressed in ethnic costumes.

All the Chinese actors came from China-funded enterprises, medical teams at Mali Hospital, the Confucius Institute and military personnel dispatched from China. Professional performers from Mali and amateur performers from China, too, shared the stage, taking China-Mali friendship to another level.

Mali's Culture Minister N'Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo was amazed to learn that the Chinese people among the performers lived and worked in Bamako. She paid them a warm tribute. Representatives of the Chinese peacekeeping force in Mali, who are fighting terrorism on the frontline thousands of miles away from home, presented a dance performance named The Sword of Peace. After they finished, President Keita, who greatly liked their performance, expressed his gratitude to the peacekeepers by posing with them. The Malian people among the audience, too, were deeply impressed.

Located in western Africa, Mali boasts abundant natural resources. And its people are very favorably disposed toward China and its people. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in October 1960, the Chinese government has attached great significance to its ties with Mali, sparing no effort to assist the Mali government improve infrastructure and people's well-being.

The China-Mali Friendship Bridge on the Niger River and the CICB on the riverside are Bamako's landmarks besides being symbols of China's quality, speed and the craftsmanship spirit of Chinese businesses.

The Mali Hospital, built with Chinese aid and complete with medical workers that China has been dispatching for over 50 years, showcases China's long-term responsibility to assist in the country's development.

China-Mali friendship has stood the tests of time and is a fine example of South-South cooperation. Against the backdrop of the turbulent international situation and rising unstable factors, Mali has, like a good brother, unswervingly supported China on its core interests.

In July, Mali signed a memorandum of understanding with China on cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, once again showcasing the initiative's great global influence.

On the streets of Bamako, children and passersby have often amiably called out "Hello China!" to me in Chinese. Such amity holds the key to sound relations. Only when peoples' hearts are close to each other can people-to-people exchanges be enhanced and bilateral cooperation bolstered for more fruitful results in all areas.

Today, China-Mali cooperation has extended to the Belt and Road Initiative. The ancient Silk Road, which spanned thousands of miles and lasted thousands of years, has cultivated the Silk Road spirit, marked by peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.

I believe China and Mali will jointly embrace the Silk Road spirit, uphold the principle of "extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits", and make unremitting efforts to create a community with a shared future for the two countries.

I'd like to extend my best wishes to China-Mali friendship with the following poem:

A single thread brings closer the African and Asian continents,

Closer cooperation brings both friendship and shared benefits,

People-to-people exchanges are like water that connects us,

The Belt and Road that flows at great speed moistens our hearts.

The author is China's ambassador to Mali. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 08:22:35
<![CDATA[Relations worth a gold medal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523573.htm Even without athletes, China was a key participant in the Indian Ocean Island Games in Mauritius

In July, athletes from seven countries and regions gathered in Mauritius for the 10th Indian Ocean Island Games. At the 10-day event, Mauritian athletes bagged 92 gold medals, topping the gold medal tally. When it was celebration time, many Mauritians said that one more country had participated in the games. And although it did not send athletes to compete in the games, it could be seen everywhere. That country was China.

The games' main venue, the muti-sports complex center located in Mauritius' Cote d'Or, was built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) with support from the Chinese government. This is the largest sports center in the country and the first stadium that meets Olympic standards.

The Chinese construction team overcame many challenges to complete the landmark building in just nine months, in time for the Games. Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth hailed it as a real gem.

Besides, before the games, the Chinese embassy helped repair the Moka Region Football Stadium and sponsored sports training equipment for the Mauritian Ministry of Youth and Sports. Also, with the Chinese embassy's support, Mauritian weightlifters traveled to Tianjin in China to undergo more than 50 days of training. The Mauritian weightlifting team won 22 gold medals at the games, more than that in any other discipline.

Mauritian Minister of Youth and Sports Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint specially invited the Chinese ambassador to the weightlifting finals. Toussaint said the Chinese ambassador was the best person to award the prizes as China had provided the athletes with the best training conditions and contributed to every medal they won.

But China's contribution to the games is only a microcosm of China-Mauritius friendly cooperation.

China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Mauritius; that was 47 years ago. Since then friendly and cooperative ties have developed in various fields.

China has helped Mauritius build airports, dams, TV stations and hospitals. Dozens of Chinese companies run businesses in Mauritius, contributing to the country's economic and social development, and China is one of Mauritius's major trading partners. In October, the two countries officially signed a free trade agreement, the first between China and an African country. The deal provides an institutional guarantee for deepening economic and trade ties, benefiting enterprises in both countries.

Culturally, the two countries share a natural bond. More than 300 years ago, Chinese people had come to work on the island. And today, Chinese people play an important role in Mauritius's economic and social development. Chinese culture has thus become an important part of Mauritius.

Mauritius is the only African country that has designated Spring Festival as a statutory holiday. The Mauritius China Cultural Center is China's first overseas cultural center. Every year, local people look forward to and participate in the Spring Festival Parade, the Dragon Boat Race during the Dragon Boat Festival and the Food Festival during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Such is the enthusiasm among Mauritians to attend these festivals that in the past two years it was not easy to get a ticket. These events are jointly hosted by the Chinese embassy, the Chinese Cultural Center and the Chinese community in Mauritius.

This year, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese embassy and the China Cultural Center hosted a Chinese song competition, a painting competition themed "China-Mauritius Friendship", and an essay contest themed "China in My Eyes". The event was a big hit.

There is a great demand to learn Chinese in Mauritius, with people flocking to Chinese language teaching centers run by the Chinese Cultural Center. Also, more and more students from Mauritius go for higher studies in China while Mauritius is a favorite destination for Chinese tourists.

In July 2018, President Xi Jinping paid a visit to Mauritius. Two months later, Mauritian Prime Minister Jugnauth attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. And officials of the two countries have been exchanging visits and meeting more often to promote China-Mauritius friendship.

The reason China-Mauritius ties have been developing for almost half a century is that China believes in equality and mutual respect and has never interfered in Mauritius's internal affairs. The relationship between China and Mauritius is a microcosm of China-Africa ties. For a long time, thanks partly to their common historical experience, China and Africa have embarked on a unique road of win-win cooperation.

China adheres to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and upholds the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. It has formed an increasingly close community based on common interests and a shared future with African countries. President Xi announced the 10 cooperation plans at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg in 2015. And at the Beijing FOCAC Summit last year, China proposed to focus on implementing the eight major initiatives with African countries, providing $60 billion in funds support. This will not only promote practical cooperation and exchanges between China and African countries in various fields, but also benefit the African people, including Mauritians.

The Indian Ocean Island Games in Mauritius has come to a successful end, but friendly ties between China and Mauritius will continue to develop. Mauritian friends often say that China is one of Mauritius's most important partners. Mauritius will catch up with the train of China's development. Based on the principle of equality and mutual respect, the relationship between China and Mauritius is a good example of South-South cooperation and worthy of a gold medal.

The author is China's ambassador to Mauritius. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 08:22:35
<![CDATA[US must fulfill its duty toward UN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/16/content_37523498.htm UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, among other things, also has the unenviable job of resolving the funding crisis for the United Nations. So serious is the UN's funds crunch that it may not be able to pay the salaries of its staff in November.

The budgets for the UN and its agencies mainly come from two types of funding. Assessment contributions from member states fund the UN's major organs including the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice, and the Trustee Council; and voluntary contributions from members fund relatively independent UN agencies such as the UN Development Programme, UN Food Programme and UNICEF. Assessment contributions, in turn, are of two types: regular budget and peacekeeping budget. The UN faces fund shortages in both categories.

Increasing missions, diminishing funds

Thanks to the legacies of former secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, the UN has become more ambitious about ending conflicts, maintaining peace, promoting development and protecting human rights, with its Sustainable Development Goals ushering in a new era of coordinated global efforts to reduce poverty, protect the natural environment, and secure the social environment. The Paris climate accord, for example, has brought the developed and developing countries together to fight climate change despite the United States pulling out of the agreement.

But since the SDGs have increased the investment and funding requirements for global development, from "billions of dollars" to "trillions of dollars", the funds needed to achieve the UN's goals and missions have multiplied. And getting the funds has become increasingly difficult due to the shifting political foundations of UN member states when it comes to supporting multilateralism and international organizations.

Although economic globalization is a major victim of rising nationalism, populism and unilateralism in the US and some European countries, a bigger problem for the UN is the changing positions of the US toward it and other multilateral bodies. As former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in October last year, during her tenure (about two years) she made the UN reduce its budget by $1.3 billion. The US has also reduced its financial support to different UN agencies; as a result, the UN's regular budget of about $5.4 billion for two years (2018-19) decreased by 5 percent from 2016-17. The UN might not be facing such a dire situation had the US paid its full contribution in time.

Lack of US' political will behind UN funds crunch

The top 20 contributors account for more than 80 percent of the UN's regular budget. Therefore, despite the data showing more than 60 member states are still to pay their dues, the UN's funds shortage is mainly related to the US not paying its contribution.

The US owes $1.05 billion to the UN regular budget, including $674 million as this year's assessment contribution, while all other major contributors, except for Brazil, have paid their dues. The US also owes $750 million to the UN peacekeeping budget. The US' accumulated arrears have made it almost impossible for the UN to continue its normal work, despite other UN members, especially China, increasing their contributions to the UN's regular budget and peacekeeping budget.

As the top financial contributor to the UN budget, the US has always complained of being "overburdened" with extra responsibilities, and has used this excuse to pressure the UN to accede to its demands and persuade other UN member states to increase their contributions. The 22 percent cap on the US' share in the UN's regular budget is the result of Washington's repeated complaints.

In fact, the US also wanted a 25 percent cap on its contribution to the UN peacekeeping budget, but its proposal was rejected because of the strong opposition from the other member states. It now accounts for a 27.88 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget.

Ironically, despite its complaints about its "high share" of the UN budget, the US has been the largest economic beneficiary of UN activities. According to American NGO Better World Campaign, a study released in August 2018 showed US companies were awarded UN contracts worth $1.74 billion in 2017 - much higher than those from any other country.

Since 2010, US companies have received more than $9.5 billion worth of UN procurement contracts. And since the UN headquarters in New York has become a hub of global diplomacy and public advocacy, the various related activities have become a big source of revenue for the city. Perhaps the US should do a cost-benefit analysis to see how the UN has boosted its global status and domestic economy.

UN vital to a secure, prosperous world

Although some have criticized the UN for being plagued with bureaucracy and inefficiency, its work has been cost-efficient compared with the amount some member states' "unilateral actions" have cost. Besides, many UN-affiliated agencies have acquired a lot of special knowledge after working for years in specific fields, for instance, food aid, disaster relief, developmental aid and post-conflict rebuilding. These agencies and their staff are precious resources UN member states can use to better implement their own policies.

The fund shortage has undermined the UN's capability and tarnished its reputation as a reliable global solution provider. An immediate victim of the funding crisis is the UN's peacekeeping mission. The UN's peacekeeping budget is used, among other things, to pay compensation to the peacekeeping personnel from different countries. But due to the funds crunch, the UN has not been able to do so, which may deter these countries from taking active part in UN peacekeeping operations.

The damage the funds crisis will cause to international peacekeeping, poverty relief, disaster relief, healthcare and other humanitarian missions may not be visible in the short term, but could create bigger problems in the long run.

It's time, therefore, for major UN member states to shoulder their due responsibilities and prevent the UN from becoming irrelevant to global affairs. And as the most important founding member of the UN and the postwar world order, the US needs to take its responsibilities seriously.

History tells us that unilateralism and isolationism have served no country's purpose, including the one practicing them. As such, the US should abandon them and honor its obligation under the UN Headquarters Agreement, by providing convenient access for UN members' delegations to the US and thus the UN headquarters in New York. Of course, all UN member states should help the UN to work as an enabling platform for international cooperation and a critical vehicle to safeguard security and promote prosperity for humankind, rather than a platform for strategic competition between major powers.

The author is a researcher at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-16 06:52:05
<![CDATA[Bruce Lee's broad appeal still holds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/16/content_37523497.htm

It's a reflection of Bruce Lee's transcendent appeal that he continues to inspire people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean even 46 years after his untimely death. The United States, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong were central to his powerful hybrid identity. In many ways, Bruce Lee is a man of the moment, a man for the paradoxical times we live in. As a fighter on and off the screen, he knew a thing or two about conflict: when to stand up, when to stand down, when to walk away.

In the 1960s he was a first-generation jetsetter, bridging the Pacific Ocean at a time when jets had just begun to edge out the older, slow propeller planes for long-haul travel. As a Chinese living in the US, and as an American living in Hong Kong, he epitomized the integrated "Chimerica" complex we live in today. A bicultural exemplar, he beat a path from Hollywood to Hong Kong and back, bringing American technique to Chinese films, and the practice and philosophy of Chinese martial arts to US screens, fight clubs and gyms.

He inspired Chinese, still uncertain of their place in an inequitable world, to be proud of themselves, but at the same time, he also inspired people of all races with his inclusive teaching and accessible presentation of traditional Chinese wisdom.

The quibbling, quarreling world today is in dire need of the kind of rounded, yin-yang wisdom epitomized by Lee in his prime, whether in regard to racial harmony, the US-China trade war, or the violent protests in Hong Kong.

Lee is best remembered as a rugged individual, a man of uncanny self-confidence whose passion for the martial arts and spiritual self-mastery was evident to all who knew him.

When American film director Quentin Tarantino took to the screen to poke fun at Bruce Lee by mocking his personality and martial arts prowess in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the reaction of fans, family, friends, former sparring partners and film boards was swift and furious.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, a former student of Lee and a legend in his own right, wrote a nuanced commentary in which he defended the right of Tarantino to invent, exaggerate and distort the truth in the name of art, but also said, emphatically, that propagating deliberate lies and deceptive depictions of real people is not just in bad taste, but puts a blur on the historical record.

Bruce Lee as played by Mike Moh is creditable as far as these things go; there's an uncanny resemblance and he got the accent down. True, the fists flew much too slowly to be vintage Lee, and Brad Pitt's counterattack was even more implausible, but that's pretty much par for the course in Hollywood.

What critics of the film took offense to was the plot. The director used Lee as a chump and disposable sidekick to a charming Caucasian lead. As Lee's daughter Shannon explained in Variety magazine, her father was forever being "marginalized and treated like a kind of a nuisance of a human being by white Hollywood, which is how he's treated in the film".

Now, Lee's name is being invoked by the violent protesters in Hong Kong. Consider these dueling headlines from the South China Morning Post: "Hong Kong protests embrace Bruce Lee but reject Jackie Chan in tale of two martial arts heroes", and "Hong Kong protesters have lost the plot: Bruce Lee said 'be water, my friend', not 'be stupid'".

Protesters claim Bruce Lee lineage for their "be like water" street-fighting tactics. The likeness of Lee continues to pop up on T-shirts and on the so-called Lennon Walls where the Hong Kong protesters post messages. No one can say for sure which side he would have come down on, but based on his sturdy East-West bridge building, it is likely he would refuse the binary choice of taking sides and look for ways out of the conflict. As Walt Whitman said, the individual contains multitudes.

Bruce Lee retains broad appeal. A bridge between East and West in his life, driven to combat the demons of chauvinism on both sides, his spirit continues to transcend boundaries. It's a testament to the lasting power of his ideas, and life example, that nearly half a century after his untimely death, he is still a part of the conversation.

The author is a media researcher covering Asian politics. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-16 06:52:05
<![CDATA[Online game limit to protect minors from harm]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/16/content_37523496.htm Editor's note: The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television recently issued new regulations aimed at preventing minors from getting addicted to online games, with specific caps on playtime and purchase. Will the new regulations prove effective and better protect minors? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Joint efforts needed to ward off online evil

The administration has laid out details of the anti-addiction measures. For example, people have to use their real ID to create an account, and based on the information, minors would be barred from playing games between 8 pm and 8 am. During weekdays, minors can play online games for a maximum of 1.5 hours a day, and on weekends and holidays the maximum time will be three hours.

In particular, online game platforms have been prohibited from providing payment services for children below 8. And children aged between 8 and 16 years old can spend up to 200 yuan ($28.48) per month to buy online games, with the limit for those above 16 being 400 yuan a month.

Apart from determining the respective liabilities for regulators and enterprises in case of minors becoming addicted to online games, the regulations strictly limit the access window and total length of playing time while setting a standard for parents to follow while supervising their kids' activities on internet.

China has a large population of minors and a booming digital game industry, and the regulations show it is focusing on modernizing the governance system for the digital cultural industry, by working out some unique and advanced ways to protect juveniles from the harms of cyberspace.

For instance, given the social maturity gap between children in rural and urban areas, the regulations mandate that online games should not contain pornography, violence or gambling. The rating system used in many Western countries has not been introduced because it relies on parents deciding which games are suitable for their child, and parents are absent from many rural households as they work in cities.

Yet identifying all underage players could be difficult, as many minors can use their parents' ID to log in to play online games; quite a few can even make payments to buy a game using their parents' bank cards.

Therefore, parental supervision, self-discipline of online game makers and retailers, and the cooperation and coordination of other departments are needed to ensure the regulations are strictly implemented to protect minors from online harm.

Companies must act responsibly

Way back in 2007, eight departments including the then State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued a notification asking video game companies to set up a user-authentication and anti-addiction system. But it seems the system didn't work well in practice - mainly because many teenagers have easy access to accounts registered by grown-up players in the family or can buy the accounts in the online market.

Besides, despite being aware of the loopholes in the system, online game platforms are reluctant to plug them because their main aim is to make profit. So to build a more effective anti-addiction system and prevent minors from logging in using the ID of a grown-up, it's necessary to introduce facial recognition technology. Yet few video game platforms are ready to do that because of profit concerns. Statistics show that more than 93.7 percent of minors in China had logged on to the internet, and 69.7 percent of them had their own mobile phones. Also, the proportion of minors playing online games had reached 64.2 percent, according to a research report on the internet use of minors in 2018 jointly published by the juvenile rights department of the Chinese Communist Youth League and China Internet Network Information Center in March.

Indeed, there was a need to raise the threshold of access to online gaming for minors in view of a new chapter on "internet protection" being added to the draft law on the protection of minors, which is under review. And it is time the online game companies acted responsibly and put social benefit over financial gain.

In addition, parents should spend more time with their kids rather than let them play with mobile phones and tablets to keep them engaged and hence not make "unnecessary" trouble, because the use of the internet without supervision could be harmful to minors.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-11-16 06:52:05
<![CDATA[Tough remedies required to quell savagery]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523337.htm

In five months, Hong Kong, which was regarded as one of the safest cities in the world, has descended into chaos. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government needs to step up its efforts to take control of the situation. Otherwise, the city will go even further down the road of self-destruction.

While the tweet from one media outlet stating the SAR government would introduce a curfew to quell the violence has since been deleted, it is clear that new measures are needed. The violence has escalated rapidly this week, with the rioters targeting universities, public facilities and even innocent people. While it remains to be seen whether a curfew will be introduced, tougher action is undoubtedly called for - the cruelty and insanity being displayed by the rioters show they have become deranged by bloodlust.

On Thursday, dangerous disruptions hit the city's major transport arteries and rail networks for the fourth straight day, affecting tens of thousands of commuters.

The rioters even swarmed the university campuses in the city where they randomly trashed the facilities, threatened students' safety and staged confrontations with police.

Since Monday, university students from the mainland, fearing they would become the targets of the rioters, fled their campuses, with many returning to the mainland. With the situation continuing to worsen, international students have also begun to leave.

The exodus of thousands of mainland and international students, which is unprecedented in Hong Kong's history, will inevitably tarnish the reputation of Hong Kong's prestigious higher learning institutions, whose leaders rather than condemning the violence have sought to make the campuses safe havens for the rioters.

As pandemonium reigns, the local education authorities have had no choice but to declare a suspension of classes for all schools throughout the week.

The chaos cannot be allowed to go on any longer. Hong Kong residents must throw their weight behind the SAR government.

This week, more and more local residents have stood up against the rioters and said "no" to violence and vandalism. Many patriotic Hong Kong residents have also extended a helping hand to mainland students seeking to escape the campus violence.

Justice is bound to prevail over evil. Hong Kong people should know that only by supporting the SAR government and police force in decisively putting an end to the rioting can peace and order be restored in their beloved hometown.

Whatever plot the rioters may have had in mind with their "five demands", it has been well and truly lost.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Local govts must not try to shift pollution problems onto others]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523336.htm THE XINGTAI GOVERNMENT'S PLAN TO relocate Xingtai Iron & Steel Corp to the city's outer suburb Xinhe county has provoked discontent among people in nearby Hengshui in Hebei province. To solve the problem of "not in my backyard" in terms of pollution sources and better protect the environment, pollution control must be strengthened. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

Xingtai Iron& Steel Corp is one of the major sources of the local air pollution, but also an important taxpayer to the city. As a resource-dominated old industrial base, Xingtai has suffered a lot from air pollution in recent years. Relocating the plant to Xingtai's remote Xinhe county seems to be a win-win choice for the local government: it could effectively reduce the air pollution of the downtown areas, while the city won't lose fiscal revenue.

But it is not good news for the neighboring city, Hengshui. Xinhe county is about 100 kilometers away from Xingtai's downtown, but is very close to Hengshui. More important, the new position of the plant is only 30 kilometers away from the Hengshui Lake National Wetland Reserve Area. The Hengshui government said that some scholars and local residents are worried that the plant's relocation may damage the fragile ecological environment of Hengshui Lake. Moreover, as a wetland reserve area Hengshui Lake is also an important habitat of many migratory birds. If the lake is polluted, numerous animals may also be endangered.

The dispute over Xingtai Iron& Steel Corp's relocation is a typical example of "not in my backyard" difficulty in pollution management. Everyone enjoys the benefit of public facilities and industrial development, but nobody is willing to have some projects constructed nearby because of pollution or health hazard concerns. As well as Hengshui residents, local residents in Xinhe county have also expressed their displeasure at the news.

Simply moving the pollution source from downtown Xingtai to the suburb near Hengshui does not address the pollution problem at all. And from the perspective of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei's integration, such a relocation will do nothing to improve the entire region's ecological environment.

Environmental protection and pollution management require collaboration and cooperation, which should not become a zero-sum game that only cares about local interests. Instead of relocation, stricter pollution control and management measures are required to curb the pollution wherever the source is.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Tariffs will not get Washington what it wants]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523335.htm

Were it not for the ups and downs already experienced over the past 17 months of trade frictions, it would no doubt have caused jitters when the US president warned on Tuesday that he would jack up tariffs substantially should the phase one deal with China fail to materialize.

Since the wolf did not come down on the fold at once, the world's expectations for a deal, large or small, are realistic. Anyone aware of the US administration's habits will appreciate that even if the deal is signed, it could be scrapped at any time on the whim of Washington.

Considering the US leader said on the weekend that reports suggesting some tariffs are to be removed were "incorrect", and the Chinese side's insistence that no deal is acceptable under additional tariffs, there is reason to believe that the US administration's superstitious faith in tariffs is once again close to killing a deal in the cradle.

That the two sides agreed to a phased negotiation is in itself a progress, as it is an effective means to focus their attention on the easiest issues first, which would establish a stable platform for negotiations on the more contentious issues between them.

Considering the optimism the two sides displayed last month, when they announced the breakthrough of their phase one deal, it seemed that it only required an opportunity for the two leaders to sit down together for it to be signed into effect. But a few weeks is a long time in this trade war, and it seems that the situation has now changed once more.

The big gap in their stance on tariffs seems to have put a spanner in the works, and the tariffs themselves have now become part of the to and fro over who does what for what. The Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that the two sides are holding "in-depth discussions" on canceling tariffs to push the first phase trade agreement over the finish line.

China has already exempted additional tariffs on many key US exports, including agricultural products, which set the stage for the mini deal they agreed on. But the US tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports have shown no sign of loosening, and Washington's threat of higher tariffs on the remaining $250 billion of Chinese goods still hangs over the negotiations.

In other words, although the two sides have found some things they can agree on, their wrangling over tariffs has just began, which will be a true test of their nascent rapprochement and their ability to untangle the knots of the complex issues that have them at loggerheads.

An end to the trade war would be good for all, but if the US refuses to budge on tariffs, the trade talks will undoubtedly rewind to where they were before the phase one deal was struck.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Reform of small banks will defuse financial risks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523334.htm

Editor's Note: The Financial Stability and Development Committee under the State Council, China's Cabinet, recently held its ninth meeting, focusing on how to deepen the reform of small and medium-sized banks and prevent and defuse financial risks among other issues. 21st Century Business Herald comment:

Deepening the reform of small and medium-sized banks is a key part of China's efforts to enhance its financial sector's governance capability, and also constitutes part of its efforts to promote the modernization of the national governance system and enhance its governance capabilities. In fact, since the fifth national financial work conference in 2017, the top authorities have further strengthened the policy expectation of these banks to serve the real economy, rural revitalization and small and micro businesses.

At a meeting in February, President Xi Jinping reiterated the need to focus on improving financial services and prevent financial risks, while pursuing high-quality development, and particularly stressed that small and medium-sized banks should build a multi-level, wide-covering and differentiated banking system, and actively develop differentiated and customized financial products to serve small businesses and agriculture. At its eighth meeting on Sept 27, the Financial Stability and Development Committee emphasized the need to support small and medium-sized banks to replenish capital, combining their capital replenishment with improving their corporate governance and internal management to guide them to serve local areas in support of private medium, small, medium-and micro-sized enterprises. This meeting further clarified the deepening of the reform of small and medium-sized banks and the strengthening of their governance capability.

In deepening the top-level design for small and medium-sized banks in the past two years, the capital replenishment system and mechanism has remained a key task. To promote the establishment of a multi-channel capital replenishment mechanism, the country should roll out key measures, such as how to make use of foreign financial resources, how to set up a marketized replenishment channel for the financial market, how to optimize the resource allocation for the strategic reorganization of small - and medium-sized banks, and how to make local governments appropriately play their role.

To this end, top-level policy design should be combined with grassroots exploration, in which local governments should help combine the reform of small and medium-sized banks with local financial resources to offer these banks a ballast to boost their capability of defusing financial risks.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[BRICS members rally to counter shocks of bullying, protectionism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523333.htm

From Athens to Brasilia, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been calling for multilateral approaches to counter an impending global economic downturn.

China, as he has reiterated to his different audiences, stands firm against the "protectionist and bullying counter-currents" that bring shocks to international trade and increase the downward pressure on the world economy.

Last year at the 10th BRICS summit in South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, China and the host country jointly initiated their Partnership on New Industrial Revolution. Now at the 11th summit in Brazil, they are giving substance to that Partnership with pledges to boost intra-BRICS trade and investment. Given the conspicuous uncertainties facing the individual BRICS members, invigorating intra-group trade is not only a pragmatic move to boost their economies, it also lends credence to their calls for concerted efforts to safeguard the multilateral global trading regime.

Different histories, systems and national conditions determine countries' diverse needs and wants. For all the differences, even divergences, between and among BRICS members, they come together believing they have more to gain from cooperation than to lose.

Beijing and New Delhi have multiple unsettled border disputes, but that has hardly dampened their shared interest in cooperating under both bilateral and multilateral frameworks. The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was once a famous critic of his country's trade with China. Now leading the largest Latin American country, he finds "China is becoming more and more part of Brazil's future", and vows, "We want to more than expand, we want to diversify our trade relationship".

That surely is an impressive change of perspective. But in no way surprising. As Xi keeps saying, China's development offers boundless opportunities for the rest of the world.

President Bolsonaro has made reviving growth a top priority of his administration, so it is no surprise that China and Brazil are reportedly talking about a free trade zone.

China is not only his country's largest trading partner, but also one that is a member of the ambitious BRICS family of which Brazil too is a part. The BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution is vital to BRICS' economic cooperation in the next stage, as it promotes high-quality development of the BRICS economies in areas such as innovation, the digital economy and the green economy.

The global economic landscape is gloomy under the threat of a protectionist upsurge. As economic globalization faces headwinds, the BRICS economies should identify the difficulties and pain points that hinder trade and investment among them and come up with practical solutions.

If the five once robust emerging economies, which together constitute one of the world's largest trading blocks, can commit fully to collaboration, there are boundless possibilities at their disposal.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[All 12 stolen zodiac statues must be brought home]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523332.htm ON WEDNESDAY, THE HORSE HEAD STATUE, one of the 12 zodiac statues that was looted by the Anglo-French army during their incursion into China in 1860, was returned to China. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

When the Anglo-French army rampaged through Yuanmingyuan, the then royal gardens in Beijing, they pillaged almost everything that was there.

The 12 zodiac animal statues were among the pillaged antiques. Of all the things that were seized and taken overseas, the 12 statues have attracted perhaps the most attention because they symbolize unique traditional Chinese culture.

That's also why, since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the country has tried to secure the return of the 12 statues.

Whenever one of the 12 statues has appeared at an auction, the Chinese government has protested, while the Chinese people have expressed their anger and discontent via multiple channels. Overseas Chinese have also rendered their efforts toward saving these precious antiques from being traded.

Thanks to these efforts, seven of the 12 statues, namely the ox, the monkey, the tiger, the pig, the mouse, the rabbit and the horse have all been brought back home. But there are still five left overseas, the dragon, the snake, the goat, the rooster, and the dog.

The five are in the hands of private collectors and museums. They might be reluctant to return them, but they need to know that each of the antiques is a stolen item and evidence of the crimes committed by the Anglo-French army in China.

That was a humiliation to China, but it is more shameful to those still holding the statues because they are complicit to a crime by hanging on to items that they know to be stolen.

Until the last of the statues comes home, the honor that was lost in the marauding will never be recovered.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[China-Brazil ties set to reach new heights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523331.htm Despite suffering some setbacks during the Brazilian presidential election earlier this year, China-Brazil ties have improved thanks to the frequent high-level visits, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's visit to China at the end of October and President Xi Jinping's just-concluded visit to Brazil, during which he also attended the 11th BRICS Summit. In fact, bilateral relations are entering a new era.

It is mutual interest that has kept Sino-Brazilian relationship on the track of dialogue and cooperation. As a result, even amid increasing trade frictions and the United States resorting to trade protectionism, the China-Brazil trade volume reached $111 billion in 2018 and China has remained Brazil's largest trade partner over the past decade. Also, Brazil had a trade surplus of more than $29 billion, up 46.2 percent year-on-year, against China last year.

According to the Foreign Investment Newsletter that Brazil's Economic Ministry released in April, from 2003 to the first quarter of 2019, China accounted for 37 percent of the total foreign direct investment in Brazil with $71 billion and became the largest source of foreign direct investment in that country, exceeding the US' $58 billion.

China and Brazil have mutual interest in strengthening cooperation in regional affairs, especially trade, and global governance, as both are important emerging economies and member states of multilateral organizations such as BRICS and G20.

During his visit to China, Bolsonaro said China and Brazil were "born to walk together". And China is committed to developing Sino-Brazilian relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. Thanks to their comprehensive strategic partnership, the two countries have embarked on the path of progressive co-development, and their cooperation will lead to a brighter future for both sides.

Increasing global trade frictions have prompted China and Brazil to not only strengthen their trade in farm products but also diversify their pragmatic cooperation. The agriculture sector has played an important role in the complementary China-Brazil trade and in boosting co-development. Brazil is a major exporter of farm products and China the largest importer of such products, including those from Brazil. Take last year's bilateral soy trade for example - hore than 66 million tons of soy from Brazil made up 75 percent of China's total soy imports. Also, Brazil has become an overseas destination for China's strategic agricultural investment.

The trade frictions between China and the US that intensified last year helped boost China's agricultural imports from Brazil. This, along with China's ongoing economic transformation and consumption structure upgrading, demonstrates the significance of strengthening cooperation for China and Brazil, as well as establishing a long-term, stable, and win-win strategic partnership in agriculture.

Cooperation in the agricultural field should lead to not only widening market access but also establishing a new pattern of complete industrial chains, comprising agricultural product processing, storage facilities, logistics, germplasm improvement, biotechnology, and research and development.

China and Brazil are taking measures to diversify and expand cooperation in fields such as agriculture, mineral resources, energy, telecommunications and technological innovation. And they have made achievements in the fields of aerospace, nanotechnology and renewable energy, especially the China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A, scheduled to be launched at the end of this year, which will be a shining example of South-South cooperation.

Moreover, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative provides a new platform for China-Brazil cooperation. Although Brazil has not signed a Belt and Road cooperation agreement, Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourao said in June that Brazil is willing to facilitate synergy between its investment partnership projects and the initiative.

China and Brazil share the need for economic transformation and industrial upgrading, so they should promote industrial coordination and synergy. Since Brazil is a big market with a strong influence in Latin America, a good industrial system and advantages in human resources, China-Brazil cooperation can become a driving force for deepening cooperation between China and Latin America.

But the US seems intent on resorting to the "Monroe Doctrine" to prevent "external interference" in Latin America, except from the US itself, and regards China's increasing trade with and investment in the region as a threat, and therefore is trying to drive a wedge between China and Latin America by, for example, pressuring Latin American countries to not use China's 5G technology.

But Latin American countries including Brazil, thanks to their pluralistic diplomacy, can balance their relations with China and the US. Besides, compared with the US' unilateralism, China is further opening up its economy and strengthening multilateral and win-win cooperation. And the development of China-Brazil cooperation as well as Sino-Latin American cooperation does not target a third party and cannot be affected by a third party.

He Shuangrong is a researcher and Sun Hongbo is an associate researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[HK needs to restore public order, now]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523330.htm

There is a dreary dismal familiarity to me in watching the progression of the continuing Hong Kong riots. They could be following exactly the same script as the protests that rocked the West in the late 1960s.

At first, the protests begin as apparently peaceful, orderly and dignified, but they never stay that way for too long.

For the protesters are never satisfied by reasonable concessions and dignified compromises on the part of the authorities. Instead, slowly but inexorably, the protests descend into the primeval language of bestial hate and emotional hysteria.

The "requests" for "concessions" first grow into "demands". Then those "demands" invariably and inevitably widen. They become impossible to concede. And even if the government does concede them, the response is only to demand even more wide ranging ones. Eventually, the protesters' "demands" become so incoherent, sweeping and inarticulate, filled with hatred and rage that it is impossible to even define them, let alone continue to grant them.

The authorities in Hong Kong have been remarkably restrained in their use of force so far. At the time of writing, there have been no fatalities as a direct result of police using of force. One protester fell or was pushed off the roof of a building. It is not even known by whom. Another man who had an argument with protesters was set on fire by the extreme ones and is in critical condition. A third who was shot this week by police may or may not die.

Yet James Palmer writing in the "Foreign Policy" web platform on Nov 11 had no hesitation in predicting that more deaths would follow and that they would all be the fault of the Chinese authorities. "Police brutality is brutalizing its victims," he wrote.

It is certain that Palmer would never dare to allege that police brutality in the United States was brutalizing the families and communities of its victims. Yet more than 1,000 people - many of them harmless and unarmed - are killed in US police shootings every year, according to data bases published by The Washington Post and The Guardian in Britain.

In 2015, The Guardian counted 1,146 deaths at police hands in the US and in 2016, they counted 1,093 deaths. The Washington Post database reported 995 deaths for 2015, 963 for 2016 and 976 for 2017. At the time of writing, the Post reported 783 such deaths for this year.

From 1965 through the end of the decade outbursts of similar student violence threatened the stability and (so it seemed) survival of societies throughout the West.

But wherever those protests got out of hand - especially in the United States and in my native Northern Ireland - the authorities responded unhesitatingly with direct security crackdowns. Inevitably, the repressions that followed in countries around the world were far harsher than the regimes that the outraged protesters were raging against.

There should be no surprise as this process relentlessly unfolds. For it is the very credibility of the government itself and its capability to provide security for its people that is being challenged. Ultimately, it is the very survival of the government and its moral duty to protect its people that is being targeted.

This is true even if the population at risk is the tiny 1.5 million of Northern Ireland under the indirect rule of Britain in 1969.

The Chinese people have enjoyed a security and prosperity unprecedented in their entire history over the past four decades. The very creation of Hong Kong after the first Opium War grew directly out of the smashing of the credibility and military power of China's ruling Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Britain and France in the notorious Opium War of 1840-42. Its return to China on July 1, 1997, has therefore always been emblematic of China's terrible "Century of Powerlessness" - and of the new and better age that at last succeeded it.

The national consensus among the Chinese people to keep their nation unified and peaceful, safe and strong is therefore a deeply rooted and profound one.

It is vital that peace is restored in Hong Kong and law and order are maintained for the greater good. The rioters therefore need to be warned clearly in advance what the consequences of their continued lawless, violent actions will be.

The cowardly hypocrites who urge them on from thousands of miles away are only going to have blood on their own hands: Far too much of it.

The author is a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[China and Greece present an ideal example of cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/15/content_37523329.htm In my primary school days, I had a contest with fellow classmates over how many digits we can remember of the mathematical constant pi ( ), the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is a creation of Greek mathematician Archimedes around 250 BC.

So it was no surprise that I quickly bought a T-shirt with a huge ( ) sign, along with 100 decimal digits, when I saw it in a shop in the picturesque Plaka neighborhood in Athens during my first trip to Greece.

Archimedes is one of the many mathematicians, physicists and philosophers of the ancient Greek civilization who has fascinated not only Chinese, but the whole world.

"Ancient civilization" is something that Greeks and Chinese are proud of - which was evident in the signed article by President Xi Jinping in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini (The Daily) on Sunday, which I read, or in the speeches of Panos Laskaridis, president of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, or Petros Doukas, mayor of Sparta, which I listened to at a conference in Piraeus recently.

As Laskaridis said, other countries may have cultures, but not civilizations like Greece and China. The wisdom of ancient civilizations may well explain the good relationship between the two countries. The success story of the Piraeus Port, the growing Chinese investment in Greece, the promising future of Greek agricultural products in China, and the cultural exchanges that I heard so much about during the trip, signal another new beginning for a bright future of cooperation between the two countries.

Yes. Harvard scholar Graham Allison's term "Thucydides Trap" also comes from Greek stories. But both Greeks and Chinese know that tragic lessons of history are meant to be heeded, not repeated. That is why they are very pragmatic in pursuing win-win cooperation for their peoples and not distracted by the zero-sum mindset that dominates many Western politicians.

The success story of turning Piraeus into the biggest port in the Mediterranean and soon one of the largest in the world after further upgrading is not only good for China and Greece, but also Europe, the Middle East and the world beyond which need efficient shipping to boost their trade and economy.

Instead of criticizing Chinese investment, all countries should show the same confidence China has displayed by investing more in Greece, something the Southern European country badly needs. China's "vote of confidence" was mentioned repeatedly by Greek leaders and a recent editorial in Kathimerini.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's visit to China last week, the state visit to Greece by Xi, and the joint statement issued and cooperation agreements signed during Xi's trip will surely take the bilateral relationship to a higher level.

Greeks are friendly to China. Even according to a survey by Washington-based Pew, Greeks have a much more favorable view of China than they have of the United States.

I was amazed walking in an Athens street on Tuesday when someone called me from behind, "Weihua". My name in Greek was printed on the back of my T-shirt. A moment later, a shop-owner, after learning that I am from China, came up and gave me a hug and said "Chinese are our brothers..."

Many of my friends have talked about their exciting trips to Greece over the past years. It is a pity that I wasn't able to visit other places in Greece during this business trip. But Greece is a place that I will definitely keep coming back to. I'm glad to learn that a direct flight from my home city Shanghai to Athens will take off next July.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

]]>
2019-11-15 07:40:15
<![CDATA[Livestreamers should stick to what they know]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522866.htm

LI JIAQI, A LIVESTREAMING ANCHOR, has been in the spotlight after he recommended a particular seller of crabs to his followers in a livestreaming activity in September. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

According to a report by Beijing News, the majority of the comments the recommended crab provider received were negative, with many who bought the crabs on Li's recommendation complaining the crabs were of very bad quality.

Li said that the crabs he recommended are from Yangcheng Lake, which is known throughout the country for its crabs. Yet when the reporter of Beijing News asked the retailer about the crabs it was selling, the reply was they are "of fine quality" but there was no mention of "Yangcheng Lake". Obviously, Li misrepresented the facts.

This is not the first time that Li has faced such a backlash. Earlier this month, Li recommended a nonstick pan in his livestreams, but when his assistant tried to cook eggs in it, the eggs stuck to the pan.

Nor is Li the only livestreamer who has embarrassed himself promoting poor quality products. An online search of "livestreamer" "exaggerating products" will return as many as 100 pages of reports.

The key problem is the business model adopted by livestreamers. The most popular model involves a livestreamer accumulating a large number of followers via his/her performance, getting commercial sponsors, then recommending the products of these companies.

In this way, the livestreamer provides an advertising platform for companies. However, a livestreamer should not be viewed as a media outlet. The livestreamers are individuals, and it is unreasonable to expect them to be like media outlets which have staff that can check the quality of products and decide how to make the best advertisements without making exaggerated claims.

That's why many livestreamers are good at recommending one kind of products but really bad when stepping outside their professional field. For example, Li was good at recommending lipsticks, but when he turned to nonstick pans and crabs, he had problems.

Maybe livestreamers can learn a lesson from Li. It is time they concentrated on the fields they know, rather than recommending products that they are not familiar with.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[Census will give better understanding of housing situation nationwide]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522865.htm

AN INVESTIGATION OF THE DOMESTIC HOUSING SITUATION as part of the seventh national census to be conducted next year is expected to provide comprehensive and accurate data for decision-makers. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

The State Council, China's Cabinet, recently announced that the country's seventh national population census will be carried out next year. The content of the census will include not only the personal information of citizens, such as their gender, age, education level, occupation and marriage, but also their housing situation, which has drawn much public attention.

The national population census is a significant national investigation of the basic conditions in the nation, and it provides data that are an important basis for policies aimed at improving people's livelihoods.

Facing people's concerns about their housing situation, the leading group of the State Council Seventh National Population Census responded by stating that the purpose of the investigation into the housing situation of residents is to investigate and verify the size of the population. The housing situation is a simple demographic investigation method that is widely adopted by various countries.

In fact, the fifth national census in 2000 investigated basic housing situations such as household average living area, and the sixth national census further investigated detailed housing information.

But the public's concerns about the investigation into the housing situation shows the significance of the housing issue to people's livelihoods. And the government needs comprehensive information about the actual housing situation nationwide because during the past years since the sixth national census, the housing situation has changed dramatically, and house prices have soared.

That's why the authority points out the seventh national census will help further improve the indicators of the national housing situation and better reflect people's current living situation. Various kinds of housing in urban and rural areas, such as commercial housing, rural homestead housing, shantytown housing and rental housing will be all incorporated into the national census this time.

The emphasis on investigating the housing situation shows the country's determination to solve people's housing problems and meet people's living needs. Through the census this time the government will gain a better understanding of the national housing situation, which is conducive to implementing real estate macro control policies, and better regulating the commercial housing market, the rural housing market and the rental housing market.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[Leaked documents like confession from Facebook]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522864.htm Editor's Note: Nearly 7,000 pages of confidential Facebook documents were recently leaked, covering how Facebook used user data as a bargaining chip to cement its dominance, how it plans to monitor the location of Android users, and how it controls competitors and even kills them before incubation. Beijing News comments:

Some of the leaked documents, marked as highly classified, date from Facebook's rapid rise from 2011 to 2015. Facebook is reportedly doing whatever it can do to prevent the files from spreading on the internet, but in the age of social media, such efforts are to no avail. These documents, which were partially released a year ago, have now become a Facebook version of WikiLeaks and are being dissected by Facebook critics around the world.

The documents show Facebook treats user data as an "asset" that it can use to blackmail and pressure its partners, and once such kind of partnership breaks, it will prevent these companies from continuing to access its data information.

"Privacy clauses" have become Facebook's main tool for shutting down data sources and crushing competitors. In addition, Facebook has listed some startups as "potential competitors" and prevents them from delivering ads via Facebook. Third, Facebook intends to create a horizontal and vertical monopoly of user data as an important way to lure other commercial giants. For example, Facebook allows Amazon to access some of its user data because of the huge advertising amount it spends on Facebook. Fourth, the "user data protection" and "privacy clauses" are actually not applied within Facebook, given that Facebook's internal overuse of user data as its "private means of production" is probably widespread.

Relational data between users, which Facebook says that it tries to promote, is one of the most valuable aspects of the data it has, precisely because this data can be sold to businesses. This explains why Western governments have started to fear Facebook and launch antitrust investigations against it. Over the past decade, Facebook's exclusivity strategy has wiped out nearly all of its competitors in the field, making it a giant with billions of highly connected users.

At present, some European countries and the United States have successively announced antitrust investigations against Facebook, and the disclosure of nearly 7,000 classified documents provides sound evidence for them to do this.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[Plague cases no cause for panic]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522863.htm

News that two people from Inner Mongolia have been diagnosed with pneumonic plague, which was confirmed by Beijing's local health authorities on Tuesday, has drawn a lot of public attention and even sparked panic. Which is not surprising, given the high mortality rate of the highly contagious disease, whose symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chest pain and cough.

Pneumonic plague can spread quickly from person to person via infectious cough droplets. And without early treatment patients will die, some within 36 hours. Thus it is considered one of the most dangerous infectious diseases by health authorities. An outbreak in Qinghai province a decade ago caused several deaths and over a dozen infections, leading to thousands of people being quarantined.

But while the news seems scary, the outbreak is manageable.

The Beijing health authorities have released a statement about the two patients, saying they are receiving "proper treatment" at a medical institution in Chaoyang district, and that relevant disease prevention and control measures have been taken.

But more information is needed to help allay people's fears - such as when and how the two patients were infected, what measures were taken during their transfer to Beijing from their hometown in XilinGol League about a week ago, and how many people might have been exposed to the risk of infection before the patients were finally diagnosed and isolated. Such information would help prevent rumors spreading.

That said, there is no need for people to panic. According to the World Health Organization, only 3,248 pneumonic cases were reported worldwide from 2010 to 2015, of which 584 were fatal. To put that in perspective, 250,000 to 500,000 people are killed by seasonal flu each year. And recovery rates for pneumonic plague are high if the infection is detected and treated in time.

Nonetheless there is no such thing as over-precaution when it comes to how to deal with the disease and its implications. The plague is still associated with the Black Death that swept across Europe in the 14th century killing an estimated more than 50 million people. Nowadays, plague is easily treated with antibiotics and the use of standard precautions to prevent infection. But to prevent scaremongering and the spread of rumors, the government must make it a priority to ensure transparency and timely release all related information during the whole prevention and control process. Any delay or lapse on the part of relevant departments in dealing with the emergency will likely allow rumormongers to spread panic among the public. This is a lesson that should have been well learned during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in China in 2003.

People should also play their part in managing the outbreak by remaining calm and exercising common sense rather than heeding hearsay.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[There can be no lawless land in HK - that includes university campuses]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522862.htm

The subversives in Hong Kong have stepped up their crusade to paralyze the city with a "blossom everywhere" campaign of violence and vandalism across the city.

That flowery phrase hides the malice driving their actions.

Acts such as firebombing the inside of subway trains with passengers on board; throwing objects onto rail tracks to stop running trains; dropping sharp or heavy objects on moving vehicles from overhead walkways; setting fires inside road tunnels; throwing Molotov cocktails at buses loaded with passengers, including school pupils and elderly people; beating up drivers and passengers who try to remove roadblocks; and even dousing a man with a flammable liquid and setting him ablaze demonstrate the rioters have lost both their humanity and reason.

The violent hysteria of the troublemakers has brought the city to "the brink of total collapse", the police have warned, with their "insanity" forcing schools and shopping malls to close, as well as forcing the shutdown of large parts of the transport network.

Hong Kong's Education Bureau suspended classes at primary and secondary schools on Thursday because of the risks posed to children's safety, describing the situation in the city as "chilling". It called for schoolchildren to stay at home, "and not to participate in illegal activities".

Many of the masked people taking part in the protests are thought to be high school and university students. And these self-styled urban guerrillas have sought to turn Hong Kong's three university campuses into "revolutionary bases" from where they can launch their attacks on nearby traffic and transport arteries.

A social media post widely circulated among protester groups called for reinforcements to rally to the university campuses, saying the campuses are the "most important battlegrounds, which must not be lost".

It is not that these self-anointed rebels have any love for these seats of learning. They merely consider the campuses safe havens from police enforcement actions because of an established practice that requires police officers to notify the school management before they enter a campus to execute their duty.

This is a courtesy that should no longer be practiced given that under the Public Order Ordinance, police can enter any premises, with reasonable force if necessary, to stop or disperse a public gathering, other than a religious one, if they reasonably believe it could cause or lead to a breach of the peace.

"Nowhere in Hong Kong is lawless land," a police spokesman said, explaining the police had raided Chinese University of Hong Kong, because it was being used as a factory to make gasoline bombs.

The black-clad rioters need to be reminded: Campuses can never be safe havens for criminals.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[Tsai's travel trick will not avail her]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522861.htm

It seems the Tsai Ing-wen administration has forgotten the inconvenience it caused Taiwan compatriots during the Spring Festival holiday last year, when it prevented some airlines from providing additional flights.

It opposed a new route they were using near the middle line of the Taiwan Straits, declaring it to be a threat to the island's security. In all, nearly 200 flights, about one-third of the additional holiday flights were canceled during the annual rush season, which meant many Taiwan residents who work on the mainland had to pay nearly three times the normal fare, or spend a whole day traveling because they had to make a detour to a third place to go back home.

In fact, the air route launched in January last year connecting Shanghai and Guangzhou is exclusively for civil aircraft and in line with all international and civil aviation conventions and it proved indispensable in relieving the air traffic pressure between the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta during the Spring Festival travel rush last year.

This time, the festival spirit is being dampened by the island's aviation administrative department declining the request of its mainland counterpart to extend the period for added flights during the Lunar New Year from last year's 28 days to about 42 days, according to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

It remains to be seen what excuse the Tsai administration will offer this time to obstruct the practice of providing more flights than usual during the most important traditional Chinese holiday, which has become a normal practice since 2008 following the calls of Taiwan people living on the mainland wishing to return to the island for family reunions.

But whatever justification it gives, it is clear that the secessionist Tsai administration does not want to see the hundreds of thousands Taiwan compatriots living on the mainland returning to the island during the election, lest they cast their votes against her.

Tsai does not have the confidence that she can win the support of those flying back across the Straits. Which is why the island's civil aviation department has not explained its refusal, as it is nothing but a politically motivated decision exposing the extent to which the island's public services have been hijacked by the partisan interests of Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party.

More than 9 million cross-Straits trips are made every year, with the figure increasing year by year, making the increasingly frequent people-to-people exchanges across the Straits a historical trend. No matter what tricks Tsai plays, she cannot reverse this trend.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[BRICS to continue promoting global peace]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522860.htm The 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, which concludes on Thursday, ushers in the second "golden decade" for the grouping of five emerging market economies. At the summit in the Brazilian capital, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will discuss how to deepen cooperation and strengthen BRICS' role in global governance, which of late has been facing major challenges.

BRICS countries have been exploring new approaches to boost economic development, in order to make more contributions to the international community.

The BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution was an important agreement the five countries reached at the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last year, as it will help maximize the opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution. The importance of the partnership - and the digitalization of industries - was underscored by the BRICS informal leaders' meeting in June this year.

The economic transformation of BRICS countries, especially China, has added vitality to the global economy while giving the grouping a bigger say in international economic governance.

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, BRICS countries maintained their momentum of development. For instance, according to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, China ranks 28th in the competitiveness report, topping the BRICS grouping. Russia occupies the 43rd place. And South Africa has jumped seven places to rank 60th. Thanks to their rising competitiveness, BRICS countries can inject new vigor into the global economy.

BRICS has also been making efforts to reform the global economic governance system in order to make it more inclusive and representative, and deepen cooperation among emerging market and developing economies.

The BRICS Plus mechanism is an innovative and open platform that would strengthen South-South cooperation. The New Development Bank, which was established by BRICS in 2014 and started operations in 2015, has been widely praised for providing long-term financing for infrastructure development projects in fields such as transportation, renewable energy and water resources. In August this year, Japan Credit Rating Agency gave the NDB an AAA rating, which will promote the NDB's operation.

China is facilitating global economic cooperation by further opening up its economy, improving its business environment, and promoting the Belt and Road Initiative based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

Also, the two editions of the China International Import Expo have promoted trade and economic cooperation between countries and regions, with the Chinese market playing an important role in global digital trade and cross-border e-commerce.

Despite the deepening intra-BRICS cooperation, however, the grouping faces challenges due to the geopolitical games being played by some countries and the changing nature of international relations. For example, the United States' unilateral and trade protectionist measures are hurting the global economy. By contrast, cooperation and development are the shared goal of BRICS countries.

So BRICS countries should expand cooperation in various fields, and safeguard multilateralism by strengthening coordination under the framework of organizations such as the United Nations and G20.

By working under the UN framework, BRICS countries can enjoy a bigger say in key international issues, promote a new type of international relations, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Since promoting global trade is an important part of BRICS' agenda, the member countries should make sincere efforts to conclude the ongoing global trade negotiations as soon as possible, so as to develop a more sustainable and fair, and non-discriminatory trade pattern.

They should also continue their pragmatic cooperation in digital technology to accelerate innovation while deepening cooperation in the energy, finance and environmental protection sectors with the aim of protecting themselves from external risks. Plus, the five countries should seek more support from the international community, especially the developed countries, to adapt to and combat climate change.

Besides, BRICS countries should protect the interests of developing countries by increasing their say in global governance. And since security risks have increased from not only traditional sources such as terrorism and transnational crimes, but also the outer-space arms race, BRICS countries should work together to minimize such risks and safeguard global peace.

As long as the five countries remain determined to promote cooperation, BRICS will continue to make valuable contributions to world peace and development.

The author is dean of the School of International Relations, Beijing International Studies University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[A golden opportunity for China and Brazil]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522859.htm

Brazil is hosting, for the third time, a BRICS Summit. The summit is expected to result in pragmatic decisions, fostering cooperation among the five countries.

The meeting is taking place at a moment when the growth of the global economy is negatively affected by rising protectionism. In fact, several economies are suffering the negative consequences of the global economic uncertainty stemming from the present situation. Complementarity among BRICS countries might provide some much-needed dynamism.

The BRICS group was created as a tool to influence global governance. A precondition for being able to have such influence is to achieve a minimum degree of convergence of objectives and identify common issues, so that the five countries can act together in the same direction. This need to deepen mutual knowledge to identify common objectives has led, over time, to a great deal of dispersion of the objectives, as indicated in the various declarations following each summit. Several measures have been adopted to promote the group, but additional mechanisms should be established to intensify intra-BRICS cooperation in a number of areas.

Each summit is expected to provide further initiatives toward intensifying the links among the five economies, and a good deal has already been achieved. But apart from the joint decisions, these are also opportunities for bilateral talks between heads of state, so a number of bilateral commitments are also expected at the end of the meeting.

As far as the relationship between China and Brazil is concerned, the bilateral talks will take place less than one month after the visit of the Brazilian president to China. It is expected that several bilateral documents will be signed on this occasion.

Furthermore, these talks take place a few months after the revitalization of the Sino-Brazilian High-Level Commission, an indication of a renewed interest in strengthening bilateral relations.

The Brazilian government has on several occasions emphasized it is committed to opening up the economy and building a friendly environment for business. It has already initiated a number of initiatives in this direction, which oppose trade protectionism. It would, therefore, be no surprise if the Summit Declaration brings a denunciation of the growing protectionist trend, apart from providing explicit support to the World Trade Organization. This is likely also to be present in the China-Brazil Declaration.

Brazil, like other economies in Latin America, has been experiencing low growth for quite some time. Furthermore, in all these cases there is an excess demand for investment in infrastructure, a basic condition to foster growth. China, at the same time, has become one of the most important sources of resources, eagerly looking for opportunities to invest.

As an outcome of this matching of demand and supply, China has become one of the most important investors in the region. But there is still a lot to be done.

China has signaled its commitment to foster imports, and this is a valuable opportunity both for dealing with this issue at the BRICS level as well as on bilateral terms.

China has also become the technological frontier in several sectors. It is expected that joint initiatives - at the bilateral or group level - might foster technology transfer to partner countries, as has been signaled by the Chinese government.

Another increasingly important set of issues has to do with combating climate change. China is a leader when it comes to reducing pollution and generating clean energy - solar and wind energy in particular. Brazil, on its part, has one of the cleanest energy matrices, even though it has been accused of, among other things, not doing enough to control the fires in the Amazon region. Also, Brazil has a good deal to offer in terms of technological advancement in agriculture.

Areas of potential complementarity are rather diversified, ranging from satellite construction to health issues, cultural initiatives and many others.

It seems clear that China and Brazil have a lot to gain from project financing and sharing experiences and by taking joint initiatives, as well as making joint commitments to BRICS. The BRICS New Development Bank can play a major role in this regard. The most important aspect is to foster and deepen the bilateral dialogue already started at the highest level, so as to build a convergent vision of the global scenario and maximize the opportunities of the potential complementarity.

The author is undersecretary for foreign investment, Ministry of Economy, Brazil. Opinions herein are personal and might not correspond to the official position of the Ministry or China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[Migrants' death yet again reveals Western bias against China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/14/content_37522858.htm Three weeks ago 39 illegal Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a container truck in Essex, Britain, in a shocking case of human smuggling. Equally shocking was the way some Western media outlets initially covered the tragic news. Thanks to their inherent bias against China, they presumed the unfortunate victims were Chinese nationals, and didn't even bother apologizing for violating journalism ethics. And they kept asking why these "Chinese" (later they changed "Chinese" to "Vietnamese") risked their lives despite their country's fast economic development.

Obviously, the victims wanted to pursue a "better" life. Perhaps they knew many Britons had gone to America hundreds of years ago to realize the "American Dream". Who cared whether those European migrants were carrying with them a small book called passport? And who bothered to check if those migrants had secured a visa in advance to enter the United States of America?

When the British and other colonial forces attacked China twice during the two Opium Wars in mid-18th century killing many Chinese and causing huge economic losses, some Chinese tried to flee to another country where they could live in peace.

When the brutal Japanese aggressors massacred hundreds of thousands of Chinese and destroyed their homes, some Chinese tried to relocate to other countries.

When the US forces were bombing and burning Vietnamese people's homes and land in the 1960s and 1970s, some of them fled the country in search of safer places including those thousands of kilometers away.

But without bothering to highlight the cause of mass migration, some Western media outlets are bombarding China and Vietnam with questions such as why their countries are not developed and why they cannot prevent their nationals from seeking shelter in other countries.

True, the international community should work together to resolve the refugee crisis. But didn't the US use chemical weapons in Vietnam and almost bombed the country out of shape? Didn't the US' so-called preemptive war in Iraq kill and maim tens of thousands of people and turn hundreds of thousands into refugees? How can the US then ask the victims to stay in their own country?

The Chinese and Vietnamese governments are working hard to boost their economies. In fact, China is already the second-largest economy in the world and making efforts to catch up with the developed world.

Therefore, it is highly politically incorrect for the Western media to blame the Chinese and Vietnamese governments for illegal immigration issues, especially because the United Kingdom, France and other European colonial powers, as well as the US have committed heinous crimes in China and Vietnam and many other countries, and left a huge burden on those countries without even as much as apologizing, let alone paying compensation, for their devastating deeds.

It is even more ridiculous that before conducting any investigation, Western media outlets such as BBC and The New York Times presumed that all the 39 victims in the container truck in Essex were from China. Such base journalistic practice can never be accepted. In fact, BBC and NYT owe a big apology to China for propagating "fake news" to malign China.

No one can guarantee that illegal immigrants will not come out of their countries in the future. And if they do, there will be many, complex reasons for that. To handle such trans-border cases in a civilized manner in this age of globalization, it is important that all stakeholders work together to help prevent the recurrence of such issues, rather than pointing the finger at others without reason.

The author is a professor at and former executive dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University.

]]>
2019-11-14 07:11:19
<![CDATA[China-Greece ties testify to wisdom of pursuing dynamic cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522634.htm

The visit by President Xi Jinping and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday to Piraeus Port, during the Chinese leader's three-day state visit to Greece, highlighted how the two countries have worked together to pursue mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve fruitful outcomes in trade, investment and infrastructure cooperation.

Prior to a subsidiary of China Ocean Shipping Company taking over the management of the port's container terminal in 2009, the port was on the brink of bankruptcy and considered "uninvestable in" by other companies. Today, COSCO manages all the port's operations having acquired a majority stake in 2106, and Piraeus has become not only the largest container port in the Mediterranean, but also a symbol of the burgeoning cooperation between the two countries.

Greece was among the first members of the European Union to sign an intergovernmental cooperation document with China to jointly advance cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in April, Greece joined the cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European Countries as a full member.

And bilateral trade has surged forward. In the first half of 2019, it reached $4.14 billion, up 21.4 percent year-on-year.

China's investments in Greece have not only helped the European country recover faster from its debt crisis but also helped it understand the true meaning of friends, Mitsotakis told Xi during their port visit.

In a signed article published on Sunday in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini (The Daily) ahead of his visit, Xi hailed the two countries as two great civilizations that have much in common and much to offer each other. The series of bilateral agreements signed during Xi's visit in fields such as investment, education, ports, finance and energy are testament to this.

By maintaining the strong momentum of engagement, continually enhancing mutual understanding and trust, and rendering further support for each other's core interests and major concerns, the two sides can enhance their cooperation and make their relationship a role model for a new type of international relations.

The growth of China-Greece relations is testimony that ancient civilizations are capable of dynamic, mutually beneficial cooperation in modern times, Xi wrote in his article.

The ancient civilizations of China and Greece asked what the world looked like and what was man's place in it. Today, in a world that is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, China and Greece can help answer the question being asked today: What should the future of our world look like?

By drawing on their ancient civilizations' answers to the questions they asked and forging relations based on mutual respect, equity, justice and mutually beneficial cooperation, China and Greece can demonstrate the answer to today's existential query is building a community with a shared future for mankind.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[Rioters' sense of mission delusional]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522633.htm

When the radical protesters in Hong Kong viciously attack those who oppose their views and law enforcers trying to maintain public order, as well as anyone they believe to be from the Chinese mainland, they seem willing to justify their descent into the depths of inhumanity by convincing themselves they are fighting the good fight for what is right.

History shows how such thinking leads to mob rule. The rioters in Hong Kong are not immune from the evil born of hubris. Wishfully believing that their behavior carries the torch of "revolution", they are prepared to let the city and its law-abiding residents pay any price for their unshakable conviction that only they hold the key to the city's future.

Unfortunately, their faith in the purity of their cause stems purely from their misjudgment of both the situation and their misguided ambition.

An important reason that the government of the special administrative region has exercised such great restraint in dealing with their public disorder is not because it is reflecting on to what extent it can meet their demands, but because it still believes that most of the rioters, who are young people, are still corrigible, as they are not terrorists or extremists.

Although terrorizing law-abiding residents seems to be a key part of the campaign, the SAR government hopes that the majority of rioters will come to their senses and realize that violence and destruction are not freedom of expression but a prison of oppression for ordinary residents who fear to walk the streets or use public transport.

It should not take deaths and injury to remind the angry youth of Hong Kong that by violently taking to the streets in the mistaken belief they are fighting for a "better future of the city", they are in danger of ruining its future.

For as Hong Kong's development since its return to the motherland in 1997 indicates, especially its quick recovery from the 1998 Asian financial crisis and 2008 global financial crisis, it is the central government's support to the city and determination to keep it stable and prosperous that have granted it a privileged position within the country.

The real key to Hong Kong's future is how well it can integrate with the mainland's development. The plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which the central government has customized for the region, offers a blueprint for the future that the rioters should recognize is an inevitable choice for Hong Kong if it wants to maintain its standing as a world city.

The young protesters reveling in their hormone-fuelled "rebellion" should be aware that the anarchical state they are intent on creating will not come to fruition. For it is foolish and naive to believe that Hong Kong would be better off by eliminating all mainland factors. Particularly, since the mainland is the main source of fresh water, electricity and the largest supplier of food to the city.

To divorce the city from the country is a line they will not be able to cross, no matter what encouragement they receive for their mission.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[NATO should beware US love of walls]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522632.htm

The White House did not specify what topics United States President Donald Trump and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will discuss at their working meeting scheduled for Thursday.

But the latter will almost certainly get an earful of US worries about its European allies embracing telecommunications equipment from China. Even if not from the US president himself. He has maintained a distance between himself and the all-out assault by some members of his administration on Chinese tech companies such as Huawei, in order to leave himself some wriggle room.

So although Chinese 5G, especially Huawei, will feature heavily as a priority US concern at the working level, the ministerial meetings in particular, the US president apparently intends to devote his efforts to once again pressing his country's NATO allies to pay more for their own protection, as leverage for greater obedience to its cause.

Although the White House has called NATO "obsolete", Washington is counting on NATO to play its hatchet man in confronting what it sees as threats from Russia and particularly China.

Two weeks ago at a meeting of NATO defense chiefs, US Defense Secretary Mike Esper again underlined Washington's anxiety over Chinese telecom products being integrated into European infrastructure. And last Friday, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, while vilifying Chinese engagement with Europe, again warned Germany against using Huawei technologies in its 5G network.

However, getting the other members of NATO to rally to that cause may prove difficult.

French President Emmanuel Macron just declared the alliance "brain dead", and whether the other European nations view that to be the case or not, NATO is certainly experiencing an efficacy problem. And one cannot look past the US' withering moral authority inside the alliance as being the reason for this.

The organization looked on while Turkey, with a green light from the US, went it alone and invaded Syria in open disregard of the concerns of some NATO members. It was caught unawares by the US president's abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from the country. That was widely perceived to be a sign that the once potent trans-Atlantic alliance is losing its relevance.

It is to be hoped that it will not try to reassert itself by assuming the role of proxy for the US in that country's ambitious yet morally problematic and technically unlikely offensive to deter Chinese technological progress, as that will simply build a new wall to divide the world 30 years after the Berlin Wall was torn down.

That would in no way serve European interests. Indeed, it would serve no one's interests.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[India's hesitation will not delay RCEP]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522631.htm

Editor's Note: The third Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership leaders' meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov 4 issued a joint statement announcing that the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and ASEAN's six FTA partners - australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea - had concluded negotiations on substantial issues and planned to sign an agreement by 2020. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Shortly after the announcement, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to delay signing the agreement until "important issues" were resolved. India's "wobbling" not only casts a shadow over the RCEP's future, but has also caused an "ambiguous" attitude in Japan.

According to the 2018 data, the 15 member states of the RCEP, excluding India, have a population of 2.2 billion, a combined GDP of about $29 trillion, exports of $5.6 trillion, and a foreign investment flow of about $370 billion. With both the population and the economic size accounting for about one-third of the world's total, the RCEP, when completed, will be the world's largest regional trade agreement.

Now 15 countries have completed negotiations on the RCEP and will sign the agreement in 2020 as planned. For now, the uncertainty about the future of the RCEP mainly comes from India which is concerned that its inadequate emergency import restrictions to prevent a sharp increase in imports and a widening trade deficit would have a negative impact on its domestic industries.

If India does not join the RCEP, it may create uncertainty about Japan's participation. Following India's decision to suspend the signing of the RCEP agreement, Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry has repeatedly stressed the need to sign a 16-nation pact that includes India, saying a RCEP including India is crucial for Japan. At the same time, Japan and the United States have reached a preliminary agreement on a free trade area and jointly put forward the concept of a "free and open Indo-Pacific", hoping India can join and jointly lead economic cooperation and rules-making in the region.

If India does not sign the RCEP agreement for the time being, the population and trade volume covered by RCEP will decrease by 37 percent and about 7 percent respectively. However, considering its previously positive attitude and its belief that the RCEP will enhance its economic and strategic strength, India's latest stance is likely a negotiating ploy to secure preferential treatment for it.

Even if India does not participate temporarily, the other economies should sign the agreement on time. China is a firm promoter of the RCEP, which will set an example and model for promoting regional trade liberalization and global economic integration, and benefit China's economic and trade development and help China build a "circle of friends" in the Asia-Pacific region.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[Shenzhen still on the frontline of reform and opening-up]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522630.htm

ACCORDING TO SHENZHEN STATISTICS BUREAU, Shenzhen's GDP growth rate in the first three quarters of 2019 declined to 6.6 percent, lower than expected. However, we should not worry too much about the decline in Shenzhen's GDP growth rate in the short term considering the city's economic resilience and the support offered by the plan to establish the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

As the most successful domestic city, thanks to its pioneering role in reform and opening-up, Shenzhen's economic slowdown has drawn wide public concern. Over the past four decades, Shenzhen's average economic growth rate has been more than 20 percent, and as a result its per capita GDP ranks first among all the major cities in China.

But given the global economic situation, it is unreasonable to expect Shenzhen to maintain the same high growth rate as before, especially considering that as an important import-export trade city it has been seriously affected by the Sino-US trade conflict.

Yet even though Shenzhen's economic growth is slower than it was, the city's growth rate is still higher than the national average level and higher than that of Beijing and Shanghai.

The decline in Shenzhen's GDP growth has much to do with its industrial adjustment as it is transitioning to high-tech industries and modern services. In this sense, the pain of economic slowdown will promote economic structural adjustment that will ensure economic development in the future.

In February, the State Council, China's cabinet, released the outline of the plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. And in August, the State Council issued a document on supporting Shenzhen to build the pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics. These documents not only set out preferential policies for Shenzhen's further reform and opening-up, but also creating a better surrounding environment for Shenzhen.

The support of the central authorities and the integrative development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area promises to further promote Shenzhen's development, so there is no need to worry too much about Shenzhen's economic prospects in the long run considering its advantages and potential.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[Huawei going strong despite attempts to nobble it]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522629.htm HUAWEI, A MAJOR HIGH-TECH ELECTRONICS COMPANY of China that has suffered from US sanctions for more than half a year due to the trade frictions, has paid bonuses to its staff totaling 2 billion yuan ($285.73 million). China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

The news was first spread on social media networks with the photo of an internal document of Huawei about the issue, and later confirmed by the staff of Huawei via caijing.com.cn.

Besides their bonus, every member of staff will also receive an additional month's salary in November, which means the month will be a very happy one for those working in Huawei.

The news sends the positive signal that even after more than half a year of US sanctions, Huawei is still prospering and making money.

The survival and prosperity of Huawei amid all the pressure it has had to bear has much to do with the efforts of its own staff, especially its R&D teams. In May, after the US administration banned US companies from supplying Huawei, it was predicted that Huawei would not survive because it was reliant on US semiconductor chips. But the company's R&D capabilities, based on the scientists, engineers and technological experts of the enterprise, have been the strongest support for its growth amid difficulties and they responded by developing the company's own chipset.

Moreover, even after the US launched its attack on it, Huawei has not demonstrated any ill will toward the US or US companies. On the contrary, Ren Zhengfei, its founder, openly expressed his admiration for Apple.

More important, Huawei is good at pioneering in new sectors instead of remaining stuck in its old ones. On November 1, Mate30, Huawei's first 5G smartphone, was put on sale, while Apple and the majority of smartphone companies are still far from developing theirs.

It is this innovative spirit that has helped Huawei survive and prosper despite the difficulties it has encountered. Other Chinese enterprises can learn from its example to prosper too.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[BRICS for global growth and stability]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522628.htm On Nov 13-14, 2019, Brasilia will host the 11th BRICS Summit. In the run-up to this key event of the year for our group I would like to share Russia's vision of the BRICS strategic partnership.

The current Brazilian BRICS Chairmanship managed to achieve serious progress in all main pillars of cooperation - political, economic and humanitarian. Russia supports its Brazilian friends in their efforts to improve the practical impact of our multifaceted interaction on the prosperity of our States and peoples.

We welcome the statement made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Osaka about the importance of strengthening the dialogue within BRICS, which will enable the BRICS countries to make the best use of ongoing global changes.

Today, alignment of efforts of our countries is particularly important. The global politics continues to reel. Various regions of the planet still retain significant conflict potential. The arms control architecture is deliberately undermined - the US unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was a rather dangerous step. Structural imbalances in the world economy are yet to be overcome. A serious threat to global economic growth is posed by such unfair competition practices as unilateral economic sanctions, trade wars and flagrant abuse of the US dollar status as the world reserve currency. The international community is yet to find effective responses to a whole number of critical challenges of our time - from terrorism to climate change.

It got to the situation when there are attempts to replace the international legal system, established after the Second World War with the UN Charter remaining as its main source, with the so-called "rules-based order", where "rules" being invented in secret, in "small groups", and then, depending upon a political situation, imposed on the whole world.

Multipolarity is not a recipe for competition and chaos in international relations, as some of our critics say. On the contrary, this is the only order attuned to present-day realities, which should promote the comprehensive development of all States - both big and small - and enhanced mutually beneficial cooperation among us on the basis of shared interests.

Russia, as other BRICS countries, rejects diktat and pressure, blackmail and threats, let alone the use of force without the UNSC decision. In contrast, it proposes to follow the path of a mutually respectful dialogue aimed to reach the consensus that takes into account interests of all actors in the inter-State relations. We are convinced that any agreements on most important issues on the global agenda should be reached with the widest and equal participation of all stakeholders and be based on universally recognized legal norms. The BRICS countries are firmly committed to democratization of international life and its development under the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and principles of respect for cultural and civilizational diversity of the world and the right of peoples to forge their destiny themselves.

It is of fundamental importance that our approaches to key global and regional issues are the same or rather similar. We have consistently called for a peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crises and conflicts in various regions of the world. We continue to be engaged in a comprehensive dialogue in such fields as counter-terrorism, international information security and fight against organized crime and corruption.

We can state with confidence that having entered the second decade of its activity, BRICS, being one of the pillars of the emerging more fair polycentric world order, plays an important stabilizing role in global affairs, for which it has all the necessary capacity. The group accounts for almost a third of the global GDP at purchasing power parity. Last year BRICS even outperformed G7 on this indicator.

BRICS is becoming a magnet for many emerging economies. They are looking at us because the group protects values of multilateralism, supports a transparent, non-discriminatory, open, free and inclusive international trade, and rejects unilateral economic restrictions and protectionist measures in developing international economic ties. In their statement following the meeting on the margins of the G20 Summit in Osaka last June, the BRICS Leaders explicitly indicated their willingness to protect the pillars of the equitable multilateral trading system and the role of the WTO as its center, and to advocate the IMF reform.

The New Development Bank (NDB) created by the BRICS countries - one of the promising multilateral development institutions - works successfully. Only this year, the NDB Board of Directors has approved 12 new investment projects in the BRICS countries. And since the start of its operation in 2015, 42 investment projects worth over USD 11 billion have been approved.

The work to strengthen the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is ongoing. Its total capital of USD 100 billion is to be a guarantor of the BRICS financial stability in case of crisis.

We appreciate the efforts of the Brazilian Chairmanship to implement five-party initiatives in economy, science, innovations and health. We take a positive note of the systematically increased density of humanitarian exchanges - cooperation in the areas of culture, education, sport and youth policy is gaining momentum and people-to-people contacts are developing.

In 2020, Russia will take the helm of BRICS. We intend to ensure continuity and harmonious transition from the Brazil Chairmanship to the Russian one. We will continue the policy of progressive and comprehensive enhancement of the strategic partnership of the BRICS countries. Certainly, we are interested in increasing financial and economic cooperation among the participating countries, effective industrial interaction and practical cooperation in developing and implementing new joint energy, telecommunications and high-tech projects. Our priorities include enhanced foreign policy coordination within leading multilateral fora, primarily in the UN, which will turn 75 next year.

I am confident that in the storming ocean of the world politics the BRICS "ship" will steer a steady course and further contribute significantly to maintaining international stability and ensuring global economic growth. The Brasilia Summit is aimed to be another important milestone in pentalateral cooperation and on its way to new prospects.

In conclusion, I would like to wish peace, health, wellbeing and all the best to the readers and to all nationals of the BRICS countries.

The author is the foreign minister of Russia. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[People with mental illness need better, all-round care]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522627.htm Editor's Note: A 9-year-old boy was beaten to death by a 30-year-old man with a history of schizophrenia near his home in Changsha, Hunan province, on Nov 5. That the suspect may not be held responsible for the criminal act as he is mentally ill has triggered a heated debate online, especially because the incident is the latest in a series of violent attacks involving people with mental health problems in recent years. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Take measures to prevent attacks

With netizens getting increasingly incensed at the thought of the 30-year-old suspect not receiving due legal punishment as he is mentally ill, it should be made clear that not all people with mental health problems can be exempted from criminal accountability. Only those offenders who, due to their mental condition, lose complete control of their mind when committing a crime can be exempted from criminal responsibility. So we should wait for the experts' report on the suspect's mental condition before jumping to any conclusion.

Besides, even if the suspect is exempted from criminal accountability, he would be under compulsory medical treatment and his relatives would have to pay compensation to the victim's family.

People with developmental disability and their families are a vulnerable lot. Although laws have been enacted to protect their rights, they have not been effectively implemented. For example, there have been reports about families of people with mental health problems not receiving due public services and subsidies despite having a relatively low income. As such, some families let people with mental health problems roam free in the neighborhood.

Therefore, the local governments and communities have to share part of responsibility of monitoring people with mental health problems. Also, instead of always taking remedial measures after a serious incident takes place, the local authorities and communities should take preventive and precautionary measures against such attacks.

The lack of medical and trained staff to handle people with mental illness has also undermined the effects of their treatment. So medical institutions should maintain the complete medical records of such patients and make arrangements for their regular check-ups to observe whether they are strictly following the doctor's advice after leaving the hospital or showing signs of relapse.

The government should also build more medical facilities, set up a special fund for people with mental illness and train professionals so they can get proper medical treatment.

Yue Shenshan, a lawyer at Beijing Yuecheng law firm

Mentally ill people don't pose extra risk to society

Indeed, incidents like the one in Changsha will spread panic among the people. But is there any evidence to show that people with mental health problems cause more harm to others than normal people? If we take into consideration incidents such as violation of traffic rules and road accidents, and breaking of food and drug safety norms, people with developmental disability cause less damage to society than normal people.

Although proper research may not be able to erase the impact of such incidents from people's minds, it could help them treat such cases rationally.

There are many reasons why people with mental health problems attack others - tith the lack of proper social service being an important one. Despite's the government's help, many people with mental health problems and their families live isolated lives without any social support because of the stigma attached to mental illness. This puts mentally ill people under a lot of stress and could result in their getting violent.

Indefinite detention of all people with mental illness is not the right way to reduce violent incidents. Instead, aside from timely treatment, more social services should be provided for mentally ill patients in order to improve their mental condition.

In addition, according to the existing law, the parents of a mentally ill person have to pay the financial compensation for any serious offense their child commits. But since the parents or guardians of many people with developmental disability cannot pay the compensation amount because of their poor financial condition, the government and society should set up a compensation fund for victims and their families.

Qu Xiangfei, a researcher at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[Singles Day shows strength of consumption]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/13/content_37522626.htm Singles Day has broken all records. Chinese consumers and e-commerce signal not just continued resilience but evident strength. By Monday midnight, the new record soared to 268.4 billion yuan ($38.3 billion) - 25 percent higher than last year.

Despite the continuing - and misleading - international headlines about China's "slowing economy" and "consumption collapse", Alibaba's 11th Singles Day sales gala generated more revenue than the US' Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

The Singles Day shopping festival is not just the world's largest of its kind. It is also a vital barometer of Chinese consumption amid the United States-triggered tariff wars.

Sales gala is regionalizing and internationalizing

According to Alibaba, more than 200,000 brands participated in the Singles Day promotion - or "Double 11" as it is popularly known - with 1 million new products being offered and over 500 million buyers forecast to participate; that's 100 million more than last year.

This year Alibaba used its highly popular online shopping platforms, Tmall and Taobao, but also business-to-business e-commerce platforms such as AliExpress and Lazada, the shopping site favored in Southeast Asia. As business began, the top regions of the Chinese mainland in terms of transactions were Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, and Shanghai. However, Alibaba is also tapping regional, even international, consumers.

In the early hours, the most active overseas buyers included Americans, Australians and Japanese. Even before the festival on Monday, some 64 brands, such as Apple, Lancome, Dyson and L'Oreal, garnered millions of dollars in pre-orders, with Estae Lauder garnering a record $143 million.

Double 11 is now a big win-win opportunity not just for China but for international exporters from advanced and developing countries alike.

In China, the e-commerce explosion began in the mid-2010s. And as business has mobilized in the past half a decade, transactions occur smoothly with smartphones and volumes are soaring.

Today Chinese consumers use smartphones to browse top online shopping sites, such as Alibaba's Taobao.com, and submit orders. It is the net effect of 15-20 years of innovation by Chinese smartphones, mobile operators and e-commerce giants.

In the early 2000s, NTT DoCoMo probably had the best mobile services, but since the Japanese operator failed to internationalize, it lost its edge. Finnish brand Nokia developed popular 2G and even 3G services, but moved too slowly into smartphones, and fell behind in the race.

That's how Apple's iPhone captured the early lead in the smartphone market. Yet it could not respond to a new generation of Chinese smartphones by Huawei and its peers - Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo - which now dominate 75 percent of the global smartphone market and are more cost-efficient and more innovative. Nor could the US companies, despite their early lead in the fixed-line internet, match the co-innovation of Chinese operators and e-commerce giants, such as Alibaba.

That's why Chinese pioneers are already launching 5G services while pioneering 6G platforms. And that's also why the White House keeps resorting to anti-competitive means seeking to undermine Huawei's legitimate success.

Explosion of online consumption

Through the 16 months of higher US tariffs on Chinese goods, international headlines have predicted doom and gloom in China. And yet Chinese industrial production picked up in September, despite reduced export growth. Data for this year's third quarter reflect resilience of consumption. And while US trade wars have made consumers cost-conscious, retail sales climbed to 7.8 percent thanks to a slate of policy supports.

Alibaba's success and the new Double 11 record mimic the broader consumption trends in China. The same goes for urbanization. As the growth momentum has been shifting from the coastal first-tier cities to lower-tiered cities, gains in purchasing power in small-and medium-sized cities drove Double 11 sales.

When Alibaba's e-commerce gala began on Monday, the China International Import Expo had just ended in Shanghai. In that bonanza, the value of intended deals exceeded $71 billion, up 23 percent from the first expo in 2018.

The Double 11 and import expo records and the consumption data for the past few quarters offer abundant evidence that Chinese consumption is far more resilient and stronger than the ideological headlines in the West presume.

The author is the founder of Difference Group. He has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore).

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-13 07:25:00
<![CDATA[Rioters' imperious inhumanity makes them HK people's enemy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522355.htm

Parts of Hong Kong ground to a halt on Monday morning as black-clad rioters launched their so-called Dawn Action to paralyze the morning commute in an attempt to effect a "general strike".

The rioters were not only depriving law-abiding residents of their right to go about their normal life by interrupting the mass transit rail services and blocking major thoroughfares across several districts during the traffic peak hours on Monday morning. They were also threatening residents' personal safety and even lives by starting fires on trains and throwing objects onto the rail tracks - aside from attacking motorists, passengers and even police officers who tried to remove barricades on the roads.

In one particularly heinous act, a group of rioters surrounded a passer-by, who disagreed with them, poured a flammable liquid on him and set him alight. The immolation happened in broad daylight and in front of media cameras.

In another incident, one rioter was shot when he and others tried to seize the gun of an isolated police officer. This confrontation could well have been avoided had they held up their hands after the officer drew his pistol in a warning action.

The forbearance and restraint Hong Kong police officers have consistently demonstrated over the past five months - emphasizing dispersal operations - seems to have emboldened some with a more violent disposition to unleash their aggression.

A few lunatics have even openly threatened on online platforms to kill the wife and daughters of the police officer who fired his gun on Monday morning.

The leniency Hong Kong judges have so far demonstrated toward the offenders involved in the months-long unrest - by allowing them to apply for bail on easy terms and handing down extraordinarily light sentences - has also served to encourage inhuman terrorist acts.

So far, more than 3,000 people have been arrested for various offenses including assault occasioning bodily harm and arson during the five months of turbulence. But none of the arrestees has been jailed. Thanks to the judicial leniency, many rioters have made themselves repeat offenders.

Yet the intensifying violence is not simply because the rioters have been emboldened in their lawlessness by the lack of deterrent punishments. It is a politically motivated attempt by the rioters to deter the law-abiding public from speaking out against them and to disrupt the District Council elections.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor denounced the violence on Monday saying the protesters are relentlessly destroying society. She said the violence has far exceeded protesters' call for "democracy" and they had made themselves "the people's enemy".

Indeed the rioters' recklessness, their defiance of the law and their contempt for others who do not share their views shows it is they that manifest the oppression they claim to be fighting against.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Welcome sign of goodwill from US]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522354.htm

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad extended a warm invitation to Chinese students to study in the United States in a signed article published by China Youth Daily on Monday.

This has been seized on as a ray of hope by those fearing the delay in signing of the "phase one" trade deal between China and the United States may lead to relations relapsing into acrimony.

It is certainly encouraging to see that, nearly one month after the US president said he gave Chinese students his word that "I want them coming here", the US administration, which is known for being somewhat capricious, is still holding true to those words.

Although the US State Department claims that the Chinese students are not being denied visas, the allegations that Chinese students and scholars are spies stealing US intelligence and technology had taken on McCarthyist overtones in the targeting of the Chinese community on US campuses, institutes and companies. Even the US president admitted his own security people had been making such claims to him.

Thus the article by Branstad not only seems to indicate the goodwill expressed in the US president's promise that the US "is going to be very good to Chinese students" is still alive and well, but also that the "phase one" agreement that elicited the pledge remains on the cards.

It is estimated that about half a million Chinese students are studying in the US at present, contributing about $20 billion to $30 billion to the US economy each year.

But aside from being a pick-me-up for the US economy, more importantly, Chinese students and scholars foster interpersonal relations that are crucial for the deepening of mutual understanding and mutual trust between the two peoples and the two countries, both of which are badly needed for Sino-US ties to weather the current harsh tests.

Even if the US has redefined China as being a rival, rather than a partner, as evident in recent speeches delivered by US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that should not be a reason to sever normal people-to-people exchanges, particularly among young people, who hold the future of the world's most important bilateral relations in their hands.

Returnees from the US have not only played important roles in boosting China's fast development over the past four decades, they have also promoted the two countries' ever greater engagement over that period.

As Branstad said, building a bridge between the two cultures is not easy, but it is worth the effort.

It is to be hoped that the US administration will bear that in mind when dealing with other issues concerning China.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Singles Day couples China with the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522353.htm

With a total transaction volume that is more than the volumes of Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day combined, it is not surprising that the Singles Day shopping festival, which falls on Nov 11 each year, has become a barometer for consumer confidence in China.

While the total sales volume this year is yet to be released, the numbers available indicate it will be another record-breaking year for the shopping gala, whose transaction volume has surged from $7 million in 2009, when Alibaba launched the event, to $30.8 billion last year.

With the total gross merchandise volume settled through Alibaba's payments platform Alipay hitting 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) within 63 minutes and 59 seconds - 43 minutes ahead of last year's pace - and an estimated half a billion people believed to have swarmed Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, scooping up everything from refrigerators to running shoes, the purchasing power and enthusiasm of Chinese consumers shows no signs of having been diminished by the trade war the United States is waging against China.

This demonstration of the robustness of Chinese consumption is good news for the country's policymakers who have continued to promote the transition from investment and exports to consumption and innovation as the country's economic drivers despite the pressure from the US.

Actually, consumption has already been the main driver of China's economic growth for five consecutive years and the country is set to overtake the US to become the world's largest retail market, mainly thanks to policies to expand domestic demand, such as cutting taxes, increasing imports and opening up the service industry wider to foreign investors, all of which injected impetus into consumption growth.

And apart from wealthy urbanites in the big metropolises, the rising spending power in the country's less-developed regions, especially the rural market that has seen rapidly growing incomes among farmers, means the consumption potential to be unleashed in the years to come will continue to sustain this new growth model.

Innovative digitalization has facilitated this trend as it has made consumption more convenient with e-commerce platforms offering a greater diversity of products to shoppers, and electronic payments making purchasing simply click-and-buy wherever the shoppers may be.

All of this means the potential of the Chinese market is huge, with the country's middle-income group continuing to expand rapidly. And with President Xi Jinping pledging in his speech at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai that China will foster a more robust domestic market and give greater importance to imports, Chinese consumers will not only continue to boost growth at home, they will also be a force driving global growth.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Engineering a change of fortunes in Northeast China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522352.htm CHANGCHUN, the capital of Northeast China's Jilin province, registered zero GDP growth in the first three quarters of this year. While the GDP of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, increased by 4.5 percent and Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, by 4.2 percent over the first three quarters, also remarkably lower than the national average GDP growth rate. However, Northeast China's economic decline is an unavoidable pain of economic transformation and upgrading. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

Many factors have contributed to the sharp decline of Northeast China's GDP growth. In recent years there were some bubbles in local GDP statistics due to non-uniform GDP calculation methods and local officials' blind pursuit of GDP growth for political performance. Many regions, including the three northeast provinces, voluntarily "squeezed the water out" of their GDP statistics because of the requirement for high quality development and national unified GDP calculations, which has produced a sharp decline in their GDP growth figures.

Meanwhile, population outflow, a serious aging problem and an unsatisfactory business environment in Northeast China have also worsened the local economic situation.

But the most important reason for Northeast China's economic decline is the transformation and upgrading of the China's economy. As China's old industrial base, Northeast China played a key role in the national economy after the founding of the People's Republic of China. But with a new industrial revolution underway, the traditional manufacturing industries and the extensive economic growth model of the past face great challenges.

The problems Northeast China faces are not unique, they are shared by a majority of the old resources-based industrial cities around the world, such as Detroit in the United States. To a large extent, the serious economic growth decline Northeast China experiences is an unavoidable pain from the country's upgrading to high quality development, with the pain aggravated by the global economic downturn and the trade frictions between China and the United States.

The first step to improving the situation is facing up to the problem. Northeast China should be given more time for this painful economic transformation and upgrading. The old industrial base is capable of actively improving the local economic situation and pursuing high quality development in the future, but it requires the central government to provide funds, support large-scale projects and build an investment friendly environment for all parties so new growth drivers can tap the advantages of the region.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Playing video games could well pay off]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522351.htm AT THE JUST-CONCLUDED League of Legends World Championship finals, held in Paris on Sunday, Chinese e-sports club FunPlus Pheonix beat its European opponent G2 Sports. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

This is not the first time a Chinese team has won an e-sports world championship, and Chinese gamers can now proudly say they are among the best in this world.

Just 10 years ago, those participating in e-sports were considered to be wasting their time, and video games such as League of Legends were regarded as spawn of the devil.

Prejudice against e-sports was so deep that Li Xiaofeng, the most famous first-generation e-athlete of China, had to sleep in the hall of the airport during his competition trips due to a lack of funds.

Now Chinese e-sports competitors have gained as much honor and influence as their counterparts in traditional sports, and e-sports have entered the mainstream.

It was the emergence of League of Legends that proved the turning point for e-sports because it is very easy to learn and almost everyone with an interest can play. By lowering the threshold for competing in e-sports, it encouraged more participants. Now the large audiences and huge number of amateur players have attracted a lot of investment, and being an e-sports competitor has become a respectable occupation. With e-sports majors launched in vocational colleges nationwide, parents have finally given up their prejudice against e-sports, which makes it possible to attract more talents.

Now China is doubtlessly one of the most influential countries in terms of e-sports, whose advantage can not only bring it honor, but also hundreds of millions of yuan annually because of the huge global audiences e-sports attracts.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Washington must shake off its Cold War mentality]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522350.htm Editor's Note: November 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had not only divided the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, but also divided the East and West during the Cold War. Its fall symbolized the end of the Cold War. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

While looking back at this historic moment, people should focus more attention on the new phenomenon that some invisible or tangible walls are being built.

In Germany itself, the development gap between the east and the west is still evident, and the development in the east has seemingly come to a standstill, with only 7 percent of Germany's 500 most valuable companies based in the east. In other words, there is still an invisible wall of social and economic development within Germany.

From a global perspective, the Cold War, of which the Berlin Wall was a tangible symbol, was a misfortune for all mankind, given that the ideological divide between countries led to mutual estrangement, tension, and even hot wars. After the end of the Cold War, the world ushered in a new period of cooperation and opportunity as highlighted by the trend of globalization.

Yet 30 years after the end of the Cold War, some forces and individuals still have a Cold War mentality and wear colored glasses, criticizing different social systems and development models and promoting "color revolutions" in an attempt to curb the rise and development of countries with different ideologies. For example, in a recent speech in Berlin, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at China, displaying his outdated Cold War thinking and zero-sum game mentality.

Multilateralism, globalization and regional integration that were booming after the end of the Cold War are now encountering headwinds with the United States withdrawing from multilateral treaties and mechanisms like the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The lessons of history tell us that the more difficult our time is, the more we need to work together. No country alone can address the emerging difficulties facing globalization, or climate change, terrorism, migration and other challenges.

For countries to join hands instead of letting go, it is necessary for them to reject any bid to build only walls between them.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Higher-level opening-up to prosperity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522349.htm The world is undergoing profound changes. As a large country in economic transition, how China sees the world, how its development integrates with the world's development, how the world sees China and how China and other countries jointly build an open world economy are major issues of concern. A recent forum with the theme "China and the World in the Context of Profound Changes" held in-depth discussions on these issues.

Given the profound changes in the global landscape, China's efforts to further deepen reform and promote higher-level opening-up will have a decisive impact on its medium-and long-term development, as well as on global economic growth and economic globalization.

Structural arrangements

To promote higher-level opening-up, China has to make strengthening institutional and structural arrangements a priority, which in turn will enable it to play an even more important role in building an open world economy and boosting free trade. The aim of strengthening institutional arrangement is to build an open market and fair competition, and establish an open economic system linked to global trade and economic rules, and that of structural arrangement is to expand the scope of opening-up from general manufacturing to the service sector with the focus being on the financial industry.

After more than 40 years of reform and opening-up, China's economy has deeply integrated with the world economy. Today, China's opening-up is having a huge impact on the overall global economic situation.

China should also promote higher-level opening-up and build a high-quality market economy to give full play to the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, as only when State-owned enterprises, private enterprises and foreign enterprises are treated equally can the market's vitality be fully stimulated, and only when marketization of the service sector is accelerated can the modern service sector develop rapidly.

China has to implement market-oriented reform in accordance with its actual situation in order to achieve major breakthroughs in key and fundamental areas. For example, China should comprehensively reform the property rights system, protect the property rights of private enterprises, and introduce an intellectual property infringement compensation system, by amending the Anti-Monopoly Law, with the aim of breaking market and administrative monopolies.

Higher-level cooperation

The world economy has entered a new period of higher-level cooperation and competition. And China's business environment has been continuously improving in recent years, with its global ranking rising by 32 places in 2018 and 15 places in 2019. Still, China's market-oriented reforms should be guided by a need to take part in higher-level global cooperation and competition in order to help build an international, rule-based business environment. For instance, China should introduce the "pre-establishment national treatment and negative list" as soon as possible, guarantee equal treatment to all types of market entities in fields such as factor acquisition, access to market and operating license, and deepen SOEs' reform with the focus on mixed ownership of SOEs.

There is also a need to readjust some economic policies giving priority to competition and with an eye to promoting higher-level opening-up. As such, China should shift the focus of market supervision from goods to services and fair competition.

In this age of economic globalization no country can develop independently. The idea of "one's own country first" deviates from the basic concept of globalization and will have unintended consequences and increase the risks to global economic growth.

The fourth industrial revolution, marked by innovation - especially with the help of rapid application of artificial intelligence, 5G technology and internet of things in traditional industries - is driving the restructuring of the industrial, value and supply chains.

Innovation-driven development

China's economic transformation is progressing along with a new round of scientific and technological revolution, and its high-quality development has created a historic opportunity for not only China but also other countries to capitalize on its benefits. No wonder China is committed to pushing forward innovation-driven development by forging a world-class research and development system and an integrated market, and helping enterprises to enhance their innovation capability.

Given that scientific and technological advancement is rapidly changing the structures of traditional industries and corporations, no country or enterprise can achieve major breakthroughs in innovation in isolation. Instead, they need cross-border and cross-regional efforts to achieve such breakthroughs. Since innovation leads to high-quality development and since the US-triggered trade war has exposed certain technological weaknesses of China, the country needs to make important breakthroughs in innovation, by sticking to open cooperation and advancing the integration of the digital sector into traditional industries, and clearing the technological bottlenecks to realize industrial transformation, as well as upgrading and pushing domestic industries up the global value chain.

China also has to release the huge potential of domestic demand to achieve economic transformation and upgrading. For example, the share of services in Chinese citizens' consumption structure could increase from 44.2 percent in 2018 to more than 52 percent by 2025, and 55-60 percent by 2030, while China's imports of goods and services could jump to $30 trillion and $10 trillion, respectively, in the next 15 years.

Institutional system

Besides, China should make the opening-up of its service market - both to domestic and foreign players - a major part of its structural reforms. It should also speed up the establishment of an institutional system conducive to expanding imports while introducing more service standards and further lowering its overall tariff. These measures will help ease the downward economic pressure and bolster open innovation.

China's development and prosperity cannot be separated from that of the rest of the world. China already accounts for 16 percent of the world's total GDP and 12 percent of global trade, and it can have more positive interactions and share more development benefits with the rest of the world by accelerating its higher-level opening-up.

The author is president of China Institute for Reform and Development based in Haikou, Hainan province. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Holistic approach needed to prevent bullying]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522348.htm Chinese film Better Days has sparked a public debate on school bullying, especially since the draft amendment to the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency submitted to the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Oct 21 for review pays special attention to school bullying.

The draft amendment divides the behavior of minors into bad behavior, seriously bad behavior and criminal behavior, recommending different disciplinary measures against different types of behavior.

Some scholars say that if we focus on the kind of measures - educating students about the consequences of bullying, taking measures to prevent bullying, and punishing students for bullying - we will only end up having discussions without finding any solutions to the problem.

Since minors don't fully understand the consequences of their behavior, they may develop a rebellious nature if subjected to excessive punishment. Creating a good environment in order to change minors' psychology may be a more effective way of preventing juvenile delinquency. So educational institutions and communities should set up counseling centers to reduce bullying.

Psychological counseling is an effective way of dealing with minors' problems and the most effective way of preventing school bullying. Both in developed and developing countries, counseling is the trusted way of dealing with minor's psychological problems and preventing them from developing criminal traits despite facing difficulties and suffering setbacks.

Since China is undergoing an economic and social transformation, it is natural for some scholars to doubt the role of counseling and argue that only by "killing the chicken to scare the monkey" can we end school bullying.

To be frank, counseling may reform a vast majority of minors, but it may not be effective in reforming hardened bullies. Still, counseling can help us detect the early signs of criminal bent of mind and take necessary measures to instill sense into the minors with such a trait and prevent them from indulging in bad and/or criminal behavior in the future.

Another controversial issue is whether the age of criminal responsibility for minors should be lowered. The Criminal Law says if a person aged 16 or above commits a crime he or she shall bear criminal responsibility for the act. But if such a person is aged below 16, his or her parents or guardian would be ordered to discipline him/her. Many scholars have argued that the age for criminal responsibility should be lowered from 16 to 12 for serious crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, drug trafficking, arson, poisoning or causing grievous or fatal injury to others. The reason: because of the socio-economic improvement and China's educational and scientific development, minors today grow up rather fast with some of them knowing full well the consequences of their actions.

Indeed, if no punitive action is taken against minors who commit a serious crime, other minors might be encouraged to commit such crimes and seek "immunity" from punishment for being aged below 16. Therefore, lowering the age of criminal responsibility is important to maintaining social order and protecting the interests of minors on campus.

The existing laws emphasize the responsibility of parents and society in preventing bullying. But since bullying happens on campus or on way to school or home, school authorities should shoulder some of the responsibility of preventing bullying.

Simply put, since parents alone cannot stop school bullying, schools should set up counseling centers and hire trained security guards to prevent bullying. The schools should also maintain close contact with the local public security bureau and once they find a minor crossing the threshold of seriously bad behavior, they should report the incident to the bureau so it is handled in accordance with law.

China attaches great importance to the protection of minors' rights and interests. And the amendment to the Criminal Law by the top legislature is aimed at further strengthening the protection of minors' rights and interests, and preventing injuries to them.

Still, punishment alone cannot solve the bullying problem. Only by taking multiple measures - rather different measures to deal with different types of behavior - can we solve the bullying problem.

The author is a professor of law at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[China-Greece cooperation can strengthen Sino-EU ties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/12/content_37522347.htm President Xi Jinping's three-day visit to Greece, which concludes on Tuesday, will promote win-win cooperation between not only China and Greece but also China and the European Union.

Trade has been a highlight of Sino-Greek cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit. Besides, China's investment in Greece played a key role in helping Greece overcome the effects of the EU sovereign debt crisis. In particular, Chinese investment in the Piraeus port, the largest in Greece, helped expand and modernize its infrastructure and improve its efficiency, while increasing employment. Which further strengthened Sino-Greek mutual trust, and China's assistance was appreciated by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos as well as former prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

China and Greece established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2006, under which they have further deepened cooperation. In 2018, Greece officially joined the Belt and Road Initiative, becoming an important bridge between China and the EU. And in April this year, Greece joined the cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European countries, turning it into"17+1" (17 CCE countries plus China) cooperation mechanism.

The complementary bilateral trade structure-China as an exporter of labor-and capital-intensive products and Greece as an exporter of resource-intensive, low-tech and intermediate products - serves the best interests of the two sides. According to China's General Administration of Customs data, China-Greek trade volume was $7.06 billion in 2018, up 36.3 percent year-on-year, with Greece's export to China increasing by 31.2 percent. Which shows bilateral trade has huge potential for development.

Also, an increasing number of Chinese companies, including Huawei, Xiaomi, ZTE, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank, have been increasing their investment in Greece. And more and more Chinese tourists are visiting Greece, which is further boosting the Greek economy.

Besides, learning Chinese is becoming popular in Greece with the establishment of the Confucius Institute in the country and some Greek private schools adding Chinese lessons to their syllabus. On the other hand, many students in China are studying the Greek language and culture, and exchanges between the countries' universities have increased. For instance, Peking University and some other universities in China now offer courses in the Greek language.

But the strengthening Sino-Greek ties have prompted some in Europe to say that China is taking advantage of Greece's economic condition to divide the EU, which is baseless because China's multi-level cooperation with Europe - with the EU, member states of the EU, with Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Europe - is based on equality and mutual benefit.

China has been reiterating its commitment to supporting European unity and the EU's role in international relations. China's cooperation with EU countries and the EU as a whole has been open and transparent. Greece became a part of "17+1" mechanism as the sub-regional cooperation is open to all EU states and institutions.

True, there are differences between China and the EU states in terms of culture, institutions, and the stages and patterns of social development. Along with this, growing challenges such as recession, refugee problem, rising populism and Brexit have raised the EU's concerns over China's expanding cooperation with EU states. As a result, despite welcoming Chinese investment and cooperation to overcome the sovereign debt crisis, the EU has recently set up a screening mechanism for investment, which to some extent is targeted at Chinese enterprises.

But cooperation and consensus exceed competition and disagreements between China and the EU. So the two sides should jointly promote multilateralism, an open global economy and free trade to offset the impact of unilateralism and trade protectionism being practiced by some developed economies.

China will further open up its economy and resolve its economic differences with the EU through dialogue, including by pushing forward negotiations on China-EU Investment Agreement. And by properly handling their trade and economic relations, China and the EU can further strengthen their win-win cooperation.

The author is the director of the Center for European Studies and Center for China-Europe People-to-People Exchange at Fudan University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-12 07:18:35
<![CDATA[Successful import expo manifests China's commitment to the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522116.htm

The second China International Import Expo, which concluded on Sunday, was warmly embraced by international businesses, showcasing the attraction of the growing Chinese market and the important role China is playing in boosting global trade and economic growth.

More than 3,800 enterprises, many of them global leaders in their respective industries, participated in this year's expo, compared with about 3,600 participants last year. And according to the organizers, preliminary deals worth $71.13 billion were inked, up 23 percent compared with the first expo held last year.

Also, giving the expo a big vote of confidence, more than 230 companies from all over the world, including 80 Fortune Global 500 companies or industry leaders, have already signed up for the third China International Import Expo, the expo organizer announced on Sunday.

But even more important than these tangible signs of its popularity, the expo also reaffirmed China's commitment to continued opening-up.

At the first expo last year, President Xi Jinping announced five initiatives for China's further opening-up and three specific steps for Shanghai to open wider to the world. One year on, those initiatives and steps have by and large been put in place and carried out, demonstrating that China seeks to match its words with deeds.

On Tuesday, in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony for the second expo, Xi again promised China will open its door wider to the world, pledging that the country will continue to adhere to opening-up as a fundamental State policy.

Further opening-up allied to the strategy of innovation-driven development, will not only realize China's high-quality development, it will also create new growth opportunities for the global economy.

China does not want to sit idle when many parts of the world are still taking pains searching for suitable ways to achieve similar economic progress. While continuing to open up its economy so that other parts of the world will benefit, China has attached importance to sharing with other countries its lessons and experiences in economic development.

The world has come to a crucial crossroad, with unilateralism and populism on the rise and threatening global economic integration. In the face of these headwinds and the backlash against economic globalization, it is essential that countries work together to realize inclusive and mutually beneficial development so that the benefits reach more countries and peoples.

The international community should join hands to find a proper way to promote strong and balanced economic development. China's development model, which is centered on reform and opening-up based on the country's unique local conditions, can act as a reference for other countries to make their contributions to shared development and prosperity.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Attack on HK legislator part of terror tactics]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522115.htm

Hong Kong society is still in shock after last week's attempted murder of a legislator in a busy street in broad daylight. The attack and recent spate of violence indicate how far and how low the coalition of local and foreign anti-China forces is willing to go in pursuit of their aims.

The injured lawmaker, Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, now discharged from hospital, was stabbed in the chest by a man posing as his supporter when he was campaigning for the upcoming District Council Elections in his Tuen Mun constituency. The man, who held a bunch of flowers to disguise his real intent when approaching Ho, was charged with attempted murder on Friday.

Past elections in Hong Kong were known for being clean, fair and devoid of violence. That fine tradition is being destroyed by forces that are apparently willing to cross the bottom line of the law and humanity in pursuit of considerations other than a fair election.

Last week's attack on Ho was not the first election-related crime in recent days. It is estimated that more than 70 offices of pro-establishment lawmakers have been repeatedly trashed in the past few months, and many volunteer workers and supporters of certain candidates have been harassed in the street, making the targeted political parties unable to conduct normal election campaigns.

The violence before polling day is intended to strike fear into opposing candidates' minds, warning them that they are risking their personal safety if they continue to run for the elections.

Junius Ho became the target of political assassination because he was one of the most outspoken legislators who have condemned without reservation the recent lawlessness and the forces behind it. Removing him is intended to stifle such voices.

The opposition camp, who have always acted as if they stand on moral high ground, have mostly chosen to remain silent or sought to divert attention to the death of 22-year-old Chow Tsz-Lok who died after succumbing to injuries four days after a falling from the third to second floor of a parking garage when police fired tear gas during clashes with protesters.

In fact, opposition lawmakers themselves have demonstrated how to instil violence into politics. Also on Friday, seven opposition lawmakers were arrested for obstructing a Legislative Council bills committee meeting vetting the extradition law amendment bill on May 11 by physically harassing an elderly colleague.

Many Hong Kong residents have decided enough is enough. More than 1 million people have signed a month-long online petition against violence in Hong Kong as of Saturday night. In that spirit, all sectors of Hong Kong society should stand together to ensure the Nov 24 District Council Elections are held in a peaceful and fair manner.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Pompeo still busy trying to build his wall]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522114.htm

That Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will not single out individual telecom suppliers, while ensuring the safety of new 5G standards, can be seen as testimony to the latest failure of the United States' top diplomat to discredit the Chinese company.

Merkel's comment came after the visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday urged Germany to reject Huawei in its 5G network construction due to what he claimed were security concerns.

In the logic of Pompeo, Huawei is a Chinese company, China is ruled by the Communist Party of China, the CPC is a threat to the West, ergo the company is a threat.

Pompeo's law of trepidation was delivered in Berlin on Friday at an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Intended as opportunity for people to reflect on the lessons of the Cold War, Pompeo instead chose to use it as an occasion to continue building the wall that the US hopes will protect it from all the things that the US considers to be a threat.

While lacking the catchy sagacity of the "known unknowns" that one of his predecessors used to rally the US' allies behind a false proposition, Pompeo's remarks were essentially of the same purpose, as he was calling on the US' allies to back it in another misadventure by supporting it in its efforts to create a new Cold War.

It seems that only by imagining enemies can the US effectively keep its allies in echelon and so feel confident in its hegemony.

By directly establishing China as a new threat to the West, technologically and ideologically, and hinting that what Washington seeks to work together with its allies to bring China in line, Pompeo made no secret of Washington's dislike for the CPC, which he claimed is "shaping a new vision of authoritarianism, one that the world has not seen for an awfully long time."

But essentially, his remarks boiled down to an aggrieved petulance that Beijing is not doing what Washington wants. The engagement he hints the US wants with China and that China should have with the world is engagement whose extent and nature are prescribed by Washington.

For all the talk of liberty and freedom, his speech merely served to show that Washington pursues a world in which all countries are vassals of the US.

Perhaps he believes what he says, but Pompeo's prejudiced remarks should have reminded decision-makers in China that the US has irrevocably identified Beijing as a rival, and it is ready to discard some previously crucial diplomatic consensuses and principled promises, which it thinks have fulfilled their historical missions, to pave the way for a protracted contest with China.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Detailed guidelines required on how to behave in the climate emergency]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522113.htm

MORE THAN 11,000 SCIENTISTS from 153 countries have sounded the alarm on climate change. In a paper published last week in the journal BioScience, they've signed a declaration stating "clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency, saying that if no profound and lasting changes are made, the world will face untold suffering. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Science speaks with evidence. And the evidence the scientists laid out is testimony to the undeniable truth that human activities are causing global warming from the fast rise of fossil fuel consumption to dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 40 years.

The scientists also gave a prescription to try to reverse the seemingly irreversible trend, proposing six actions to prevent the most catastrophic scenarios: stabilizing population growth by investing in family-planning services and girls' education; replacing fossil fuels, cutting the emissions of climate pollutants such as methane and soot, eating less meat, restoring and protecting ecosystems, and building a carbon-free economy.

The scientists say the climate crisis is closely related to excessive consumption, so they call on the people to change their life styles to tackle the climate change.

But these measures are comparatively abstract and ambiguous to both governments and individuals, allegedly two sources of the possible changes. It is hard to define, for example, the "luxurious life style", as the definition apparently varies in countries that are in different development stages. And, even if there is a clear definition or standard of the healthy life style, whether the people can take the initiative to follow it is another question, particularly those who just bid farewell to poverty.

In terms of transportation, statistics show that the global aviation industry, which is actually a scapegoat for global warming, only accounts for 2.8 percent to 3 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, which is not high given the industry's importance to the world economic development.

The topic of climate change was raised decades ago. But the solutions proposed by the science community have remained in the realm of unworkable "principles".

Given the urgency of resolving the climate issue, now is the time for policymakers to work more closely with the science community so their prescription can be translated into workable and down-to-earth measures that can bring down carbon emissions.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Cool the craze for glass bridges]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522112.htm SINCE THE "GLASS BRIDGE" across a valley in Zhangjiajie, a sight-seeing spot in Hunan province, became a tourist attraction three years ago, dozens of such "bridges for the brave", which are built with plate glass and steal beams, have been constructed across the country. Guangzhou Daily comments:

To attract tourists and boost tourism revenue is the only impetus prompting the managers of the sightseeing zones to construct such bridges.

The public have enough reasons to question whether such purely interest-oriented engineering projects in such dangerous places are results of basic planning laws being compromised, as several such bridges have reportedly showed worrisome signs indicating they cannot bear the heavy load of the crowds of tourists, which should ring alarms.

The rocks on the cliffs are sometimes not fit to serve as the foundation for such bridges. Let alone the toll the wind and weather will take on the structures.

Also the environmental influence is another factor that has obviously been ignored. Unlike the stone and wooden bridges that local people have built in mountains, where the construction materials are invariably natural and come from the mountains, the construction of such adventurous bridges means large amounts of modern construction materials are transported and imbedded in the mountains, many of which will be very difficult to remove once they are built there, rendering them permanent industrial waste in natural beauty spots.

Only the tourism authorities in Beijing and Anhui province have made their approval process for such projects more strict after realizing their potential risks and environmental implications. It is time that the other local tourism and construction administrative departments had second thoughts before approving such projects.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Inaction makes bystanders complicit in boy's death]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522111.htm

Editor's Note: A 9-year-old boy was beaten to death by a 30-year-old mentally ill neighbor near the boy's home in Changsha, Hunan province, on Tuesday. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

What has transformed the tragedy, the latest in a series of violent attacks involving people with mental health problems in recent years, from a local news story to a hot topic nationwide is that people living in the same neighborhood, including employees of the property management company of the community witnessed the violent attack, which lasted for 29 minutes, without anyone trying to stop it.

After calling the police, who arrived with an ambulance 30 minutes after the brutal act started, and conveniently one minute after the attacker's father rushed to the site and put his son under control, the bystanders had done nothing except record the incident on their mobile phones from a safe distance.

Afterwards some of the witnesses justified their inaction by citing the intimidating size of the attacker, who was about six-feet tall and weighed more than 100 kilograms and pointing out that he was armed with a screwdriver.

But was it fear or indifference that prompted their inaction? None of the onlookers tried to take any measures to distract or disturb the attacker. Instead, reportedly, they were talking with each other with folded arms while the boy's cries for help gradually trailed off.

Some property management security guards, who are legally bound to stop the violence, were among the spectators. They said they did not have time to go back to their booth to get a net, and no security staff appeared with a net until after the police arrived. Yet the place where the violence happened is only dozens of meters away from the nearest security guard booth.

By not assisting the boy, the bystanders were complicit in his death. While it is not an unshirkable civic duty, acting to help someone in need, especially a child, is a civic responsibility that people bear as members of society. More needs to be done to raise people's awareness of what is expected of them as good citizens.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[PLA Air Force indispensable to security]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522110.htm The People's Liberation Army Air Force celebrates its 70th anniversary on Monday. Steeled by the Korean War (1950-53) and later air defense operations, and supported by the growing national strength and, most importantly, generations of personnel's efforts, the PLA Air Force has become a powerful force safeguarding national and international security.

Symbolic of the country's military strength, the air force has taken part in wars, when needed, to ensure victory. And during peacetime, it mainly safeguards China's territorial airspace while also dealing with non-traditional security threats.

After planes were used in a war, countries quickly recognized the importance of having an air force. In the initial days, though, the air force operated relatively independently, although countries with more modern planes, thanks to their use of advanced technology, have always enjoyed an advantage in air battles.

Today, an air force no longer fights a war independently. Instead, its maneuverings and attacks are synchronized with other forces' actions through highly sophisticated command centers, which use artificial intelligence and GPS technology. Which means an air force has to collaborate with other services and shoulder more responsibilities including supporting ground operations and delivering troops and supplies.

During World War II, the Allies started getting the upper hand over Nazi Germany only when their superior planes, and strong air combat and ground-support capabilities laid the foundation for decisive ground-based offensives. The same goes for the Gulf War and the Kosovo War.

That all capable countries today accord priority to the development of the air force has made air armament a major field of independent research and development, and high in demand equipment in the global arms market.

Established one and half months after the founding of New China, the PLA Air Force has developed along with the country. It had only 17 planes - nine fighters, two bombers, three carriers, one communication plane and two primary trainers - when it was established, and air force personnel had to be recruited from the ground force because of a lack of professionals. Yet the PLA Air Force fought wars and, with the help of the Soviet Union, shot down 330 enemy planes. Unfortunately, its development suffered a setback in the 1960s.

However, with the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978, the air force took off again. Today, the air force is a modern strategic force, complete with airmen, surface-to-air missile troops, antiaircraft gun crew and all kinds of planes including fighters, bombers and airborne early warning and control system. It also boasts strong R&D capability with advanced air armament represented by the J-20 stealth fighter.

And the fact that some specialist agencies and defense experts list China as an air power second only to the United States means China's airspace now has a strong guardian.

Besides, the PLA Air Force has played an essential role in dispatching disaster relief personnel to rescue people and save State property during major natural disasters.

The air force has to continue to safeguard national security and promote world peace, because China as well the rest of the world face unprecedented challenges. For that, it has to more closely collaborate and integrate with the ground forces and improve both its defense and attack capabilities because despite being committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind, China also has to proactively defend its territory.

Indeed, the PLA Air Force will contribute more to global stability and security apart from safeguarding national security, which will make the West-hyped "China threat" theory invalid.

The author is executive director of the Institute of Strategy and Security, National University of Defense Technology. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Will climate emergency jolt us out of stupor?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522109.htm "Profoundly troubling signs from human activities", including but not limited to growing livestock populations, global tree cover loss and higher carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. These are the main causes of global warming and, possibly, the resulting weird weather patterns such as increasingly hot summers, widespread wildfires, rising numbers of cyclones, incessant rains and floods, extremely cold winters, and high incidences of droughts and desertification.

Climate change is a reality, despite some skeptics' claim to the contrary. And living in denial is not going to help any living creature.

In fact, this denial and the resultant business as usual have intensified climate change. The celebration, albeit muted, over the unprecedented pace of melting ice in the Arctic (and the Antarctic) in the hope of cashing in on the opening up of new sea and therefore trade routes and exploiting the natural resources, especially oil and gas, in the region points to a disturbing trend.

And it is this indifference toward the deteriorating climate and natural landscape that is pushing humanity toward the brink of disaster.

Now, more than 11,000 scientists have warned that humanity faces "untold suffering" if it refuses to combat the "climate emergency". On Nov 5, the scientists from across the world, in a declaration in the journal BioScience, warned that an "immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering".

They also said that 40 years ago, scientists from 50 countries at the first World Climate Change Conference had "agreed that alarming trends... made it urgently necessary to act". And yet "with few exceptions we have generally conducted business as usual", pushing the Earth toward disaster.

Increasing human appetites and activities, originally in the developed world but now on a wider global scale, rising population, burning fossil fuels for energy, forest loss, intensive agriculture and growing livestock populations have been identified as the main drivers of climate change. And instead of checking these trends, we have turned a blind eye to by far the most serious problem humankind faces thanks to our pursuit of more money and power.

The paper authored by scientists from the University of Sydney, Oregon State University, the University of Cape Town, and Tufts University, Massachusetts, and signed by over 11,000 of their peers under the headline, "World Scientists Warning of a Climate Emergency", cautions that the natural environment must be preserved, with forests playing a key role as carbon sinks.

On the economy, the paper notes, the human race faces a radical choice between continued high-consumption growth, which the world has been obsessed with for long, and "improving human well-being by prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality".

Discussing the problem of population increase, currently at 80 million people a year, the paper says the population increase should be stabilized as soon as possible and then reduced. For that, of course, it is necessary to spread education, alleviate poverty and reduce inequality. China's experience can play a pivotal role in this endeavor.

But such warnings are not new. Climate scientists and environmental activists have been warning about the imminent catastrophe if we do not heed the call of the Earth and mend our ways. But to little or no effect.

The severity of the challenge facing humanity can be gauged from what 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and former Colombian president said at the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai in late October: "The threat from a nuclear war remains... but we have something worse, which is a certainty. That is climate change... If we don't act, we will perish. We must act for survival."

The scientists said that to combat climate change, we need "major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems". They have focused on six key objectives: energy sector reform, reduction of short-lived pollutants, ecosystem restoration, optimizing of food system, building carbon-free economies, and stabilizing human population.

The paper says the scientists are hopeful of a change, as they are "encouraged by a recent surge of concern" because governmental bodies "are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding."

They hope these "vital signs" would be used by policymakers, the private sector, and public to "understand the magnitude of this crisis, track progress, and realign priorities for alleviating climate change."

They may be right on some indicators, but by hoping that the private sector would help alleviate the climate crisis, they are at best being na?ve, and at worst reflecting their helplessness. Perhaps the world could learn a thing or two from China when it comes to the importance of government contribution in the fight against climate change. After all, China has made combating climate change a top priority.

It is time we understood that the private sector is part of the problem, not the solution, simply because it cannot cease to be driven by the greed of profit. And wherever there is profit to make, the Earth could go to...

The author is a senior editor with China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Expo to drive global economic development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/11/content_37522108.htm Stabilizing growth is a common challenge confronting all countries at a time when global growth forecasts are being lowered almost every month. Given this fact, promoting higher-level opening-up is the best way to spur sustainable development. And that is exactly what President Xi Jinping pledged to do in his keynote speech at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov 5.

As the biggest exporter and second-largest importer, China is now in a better position to help promote globalization, stabilize the world market and contribute more to global economic growth. Although China started contributing to global growth in the 1980s, the world appreciated its role in earnest only after the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

For example, China's coefficient of variation in the annual GDP growth rate was 0.35, the lowest among East Asian economies, from 1980 to 2001 according to the International Monetary Fund and the People's Bank of China. Without China and Japan, East Asia's overall coefficient of variation in GDP growth was 0.49; with China added, it was 0.29 and with Japan added it was 0.38.

China's contribution to the world economy increased from an average of 14.2 percent in 2000-10 to 30.5 percent in 2011-15, the highest in the world. By contrast, the United States and eurozone contributed 17.8 percent and 4.4 percent.

China's growth is the main factor that has drastically changed the contribution map of global economic growth. According to the IMF, the contribution of emerging and developing countries increased from about 30 percent in 1980-89 to 70 percent in 2010-15. Without China, these changes would not have been possible.

Besides, the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will help China sustain and strengthen its role as stabilizer and engine of the global economy, as China's goods trade with 16 neighboring economies in the past decade shows.

China's export and import growth far exceeded that of the world average from 2002 to 2013, and accounted for an increasingly large portion of global trade, among which the growth of Chinese exports to 16 neighboring economies and imports from 11 neighboring economies surpassed its overall export and import growth. And the neighboring economies' trade growth with China far outpaced that of the global average, as well as China's overall trade growth. Which means China is one of the main forces driving global economic growth.

From 2002 to 2013, global exports grew by 1.92 times while China's exports to the 16 neighboring economies grew by 8.2 times. Global imports increased by 1.84 times, while China's imports grew by 5.61 times, with those from seven neighboring economies including Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia growing by more than 10 times.

From 2013 when the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed to 2017, global trade suffered repeated setbacks, and both exports and imports growth declined. China's trade largely stabilized and only its exports to five neighboring economies recorded a larger fall in growth than the global average, and the same applied to imports. That is to say, China's trade remains comparatively steady, and its exports and imports with neighboring economies are less volatile than global trade.

Moreover, unlike the United States that has resorted to trade protectionism and is gradually withdrawing from globalization, China is upholding the banner of free trade and multilateralism by pledging to facilitate higher-level opening-up.

China's economic development has thus entered the third stage of "leading globalized market" from the stages of "entering the international market on an equal footing" and "seeking development in virtue of the international market". This transition will not only provide the world with higher-quality Chinese goods and services but also help open up the Chinese market wider and expand China's imports.

The author is a researcher at the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute of the Ministry of Commerce. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-11 07:43:17
<![CDATA[A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521914.htm Belt and Road Initiative offers brighter prospects for Sino-Greek cooperation

Over the past seven decades, China has not only witnessed leapfrog development, but also greatly changed the world. The difference China has made to the world can particularly be seen in Greece, which is on the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. Neither diplomats from China nor ordinary Greeks can miss the bond of friendship and cooperation that is increasingly bringing China and the rest of the world closer there.

As two of the world's most ancient civilizations, China and Greece have a long-standing relationship that goes back to more than 2,000 years, to the time the two sides started trading in goods through the ancient Silk Road.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972, bilateral ties have braved odds and seen rapid improvement. Now, with increased mutual trust, upgraded cooperation and expanded cultural exchanges, China-Greece relations are a fine example of peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation.

That they are age old civilizations and share similar experiences over the past two centuries has made the Chinese and Greeks natural friends in good times and bad. When Chinese workers were trapped in Libya during the Libyan civil war in 2011, Greece assisted in the safe evacuation of 13,185 Chinese workers. Greece has also helped evacuate Chinese nationals from other warridden areas in 1997, 2006 and 2014. And China extended a helping hand to the debt-ridden Greece during the European sovereign debt crisis. It is such help during difficult times that has injected everlasting impetus into their friendship.

China and Greece established the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2006. Today, the Belt and Road Initiative, which carries the ancient Silk Road spirit, is bringing the two countries even closer. Greece has actively supported and participated in the initiative. It is also the first developed European country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on advancing the initiative. And in April, Greece became a new member of the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Cooperation, a platform established in 2012 by China and the CEECs.

"So much I've tried

I've never found a port

To captivate my heart

As Piraeus does ... "

Such soulful expression comes from Children of Piraeus, a popular folk song in Greece. The ancient port, which has a special place in every Greek's heart, has witnessed winds of change over the past thousands of years and become a strong symbol of win-win cooperation between China and Greece under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Today, the port, run jointly by Chinese and Greek businesses, has become one of the fastest developing ports in the world. It handled more than 4.91 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo in 2018; as a result, its global ranking surged from 93rd in 2010 to 32nd last year. It was ranked the sixth-largest port in Europe and the second-largest in the Mediterranean region last year, and is expected to become the largest in the region this year. By directly creating more than 3,000 jobs and indirectly over 10,000 jobs, it has considerably contributed to Greece's emerging from the debt crisis and making an economic recovery.

The China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line, which starts from the port of Piraeus and reaches inland Eastern Europe, has become a new channel for transporting goods between the East and the West, significantly shortening the transportation time of goods between China and Europe. A total of 50,000 TEUs of goods were transported through the route in 2018, up 27 percent year-on-year.

Now that Greece has exited the European Union bailout program and its economy is showing promising signs of growth, there will surely be greater opportunities for the bilateral cooperation. In 2018, the two sides' bilateral trade volume increased by 36.3 percent. Using platforms such as the China International Import Expo, China-CEEC Expo and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo, more and more premium wines, cheese, olive oil and fruits from Greece are entering the Chinese market. As such, mutually beneficial cooperation is bound to produce more fruitful results.

Promoting people-to-people exchanges is another highlight of the joint construction of the Belt and Road. China and Greece have made historical contributions to the development of human civilization. Over the past few years, an array of important events and cooperation mechanisms - such as the China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year, Ancient Civilizations Forum, Marathon Forum and Chinese-Hellenic Forum on Higher Education Cooperation - have brought bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation to a higher level.

The two most ancient civilizations are strengthening dialogue across time and space. In May, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos paid a state visit to China and attended the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing. The leaders of the two countries advocated exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and harmonious coexistence of different civilizations.

The Chinese and Greek peoples, with similar historical experiences, are both working hard for the historic mission of national rejuvenation, while also promoting world peace, development and progress.

Ancient Greek poet Homer once said: "Two friends, two bodies with one soul." Similarly, Wang Bo, a poet from China's Tang Dynasty (618-907), said in his eternal poem: "A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near." China and Greece, having been close friends and partners for over 2,000 years, are joining hands to build a brighter future along the Belt and Road.

The author is China's ambassador to Greece. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Where there's friendship, there's wealth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521913.htm China and Spain have a history of standing by each other, and their friendship built on mutual trust and respect continues to flourish

China and Spain share a deep friendship despite being so far apart, one in East Asia and the other in Western Europe.

They established diplomatic ties on March 9, 1973, but relations gathered pace since the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978 and Spain completed its democratic transition.

In 2005, the two countries upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, making Spain one of the first European Union nations to share such a high-level relationship with China. During President Xi Jinping's visit to Spain in November 2018 relations received a further boost in the form of a joint statement that acts as a guide for their future relations.

The comprehensive strategic partnership embodies the long and friendly political ties with mutual trust that exists between China and Spain. Two examples show it best. From the 1980s to the 1990s, China faced sanctions from Western countries led by the United States and the European Community. Spain took the initiative to end this hostility. Between November 1990 and February 1991, foreign minister-level visits from both sides helped improve Sino-EU ties.

Later, after the international financial crisis and European sovereign debt crisis, it was China that provided Spain necessary support.

As a responsible long-term investor in the Spanish financial market, China is committed to buying Spanish bonds and helping it overcome difficulties. Without any doubt, it is the mutual political trust that serves as an essential guarantee for the pragmatic cooperation between China and Spain. The comprehensive strategic partnership also reflects the broad cooperation between the two countries, which includes trade, finance, telecommunications, ports, airlines, culture, sports, education, technology, tourism, environmental protection, police affairs and law enforcement.

Some examples show the significance of their cooperation.

For instance, the current organ donor system in China, is modeled on the Spanish system. The first 5G call in the world was realized between relevant Spanish companies and Huawei.

Also, the police from both countries worked together in 2016 to expose a massive telecommunications and internet fraud in Spain. Three years later, 227 suspects were extradited to China. It was the first time China and an EU country jointly carried out action against telecom and internet fraud, writing a new chapter in the history of extradition.

Spain's royal family, too, has helped cement the friendship with China. During his reign, King Juan Carlos I visited China in 1978, 1995 and 2007. Current King Felipe VI, too, has made several trips, from the time he was crown prince to the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In November 2018, he received President Xi during his state visit to Spain.

Cooperative projects involving the giant panda indicate China's significance to the Spanish royal family. Since the Chinese government presented the first pair of pandas to Spain in 1978, the two countries have cooperated closely on panda conservation.

In 2018, on the 40th anniversary of the first arrival of giant pandas in Spain, the two sides renewed a cooperation agreement on giant panda protection and research. King Juan Carlos I's wife Queen Sophia attended the signing ceremony.

All sections of Spanish society have appreciated President Xi's Belt and Road Initiative. The Spanish Prime Minister attended the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and his representatives the second.

China and Spain have since collaborated on a number of important projects. At the end of 2014, the Yiwu-Madrid freight route (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe) was launched across the Eurasian continent, connecting Yiwu in East China's Zhejiang province to Madrid in Spain. The 13,000-kilometers route touches eight countries, the longest from China to Europe.

In 2017, China's COSCO Shipping Ports Co Ltd acquired shares in related Spanish companies along with management rights of container terminals at the ports of Valencia and Bilbao and auxiliary railway stations in Madrid and Zaragoza. It took only a year for the company to expand the port operations and maritime transport in Spain.

As one of the first members of the Silk Road International Theater Alliance, the Spanish Royal Theatre is actively involved in cultural integration under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The theater signed a cooperation agreement with the National Center for the Performing Arts, which ensures that international audiences get to enjoy high quality work produced by the NCPA.

After the inking of a plan on educational exchanges and cooperation in 2011, more progress has been made in the field of language teaching between the two countries. Since the autumn semester of 2018, Spanish has been listed as a subject in Chinese public senior schools. And now Chinese is part of the curriculum in Spanish primary and secondary schools.

During President Xi's visit last year, the two governments signed a memorandum on strengthening cooperation in third-party markets. This way, they will support enterprises to jointly develop their business in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Energy and telecommunications projects have already been carried out in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

Chinese people believe in the philosophy of "many friends, many roads". And there is an old saying that being respectful, cautious and polite, all men under heaven are brothers. Similarly, people in Spain believe all�� hay riqueza donde hay amigos (there's wealth where there are friends) and amistad de hombres leales, s��lo perdura entre iguales (equal treatment nourishes long friendship).

In fact, people in both China and Spain are willing to know each other. Today, nearly 220,000 overseas Chinese live in Spain, while 15,000 Chinese students study there. Also, hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists visit Spain every year.

With such strong roots China-Spain relations will bear more fruit in the new era, and friendship between the people of the two countries will grow stronger and deeper.

The author is China's ambassador to Spain. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Xi's trip to Greece and Brazil highlights China's championing of multilateralism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521912.htm China's Belt and Road Initiative has received a lot of criticism from the United States and some of its allies, which have tried to denigrate it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for instance, has alleged it amounts to China peddling "corrupt infrastructure deals in exchange for political influence".

Yet for participating economies, such claims could not be further from the truth. For these economies the initiative is a practical development booster and an important vehicle for multilateralism in the face of the damaging unilateralism of the world's largest economy.

Greece is one of the countries that is frequently held up as an example by those trying to besmirch the Belt and Road. But President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Greece at the invitation of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos highlights the hollowness of such allegations.

Greece is a country that is enthusiastically participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and it is one of the guest countries of honor at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

President Xi's visit this time, which is the latest in a series of frequent meetings between leaders of the two countries in the last couple of years, will undoubtedly further strengthen the momentum of bilateral cooperation, which will set a good example for other countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The world is indeed a big place, but trade, cooperation and exchanges shrink the distance of different circumstances, approaches and viewpoints. As shown by Xi traveling from Greece to Brazil where he will attend the 11th summit of the BRICS countries to be held from Nov 13 to 15.

The economic output of the five members of BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - has accounted for one-third of the world total in the past more than a decade and the economic growth of these five countries is expected to account for half in the coming several decades.

Greater coordination among the five largest emerging economies would provide a strong antidote to the dictatorial tendencies of the developed countries, whose sway over the institutions of global economic governance has enabled them to bend the rules in their favor.

With balanced trade among themselves and a coordinated stance on issues of common concern, the BRICS countries can play a bigger role in promoting openness and common development and push for reform of the multilateral trading regime and economic governance system to make them more authoritative, effective and fairer.

In doing so they would set a good example for greater cooperation worldwide.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[British hypocrisy evident in HK report]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521911.htm A parliamentary report released on Monday once again exposed Britain's inclination to interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by professing concern about the rule of law being undermined in the SAR by the "dangerous erosion" of the "one country, two systems" framework and the independence of the judiciary.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern that continuing participation by British judges in Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal could lead the United Kingdom to "inadvertently appear complicit in supporting and participating in a system that is undermining the rule of law".

In response, the HKSAR government issued a statement on Wednesday vehemently rejecting the allegations, pointing out that Hong Kong has its own legal system and exercises independent judicial power, including the power of final adjudication, through its own courts.

Stressing that the principle of "one country, two systems" is being fully and successfully implemented, the statement said that the SAR's judicial independence is constitutionally protected, as are the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including freedom of speech and the right of peaceful assembly, "which are routinely exercised".

This is not the first time that Britain has made unwarranted remarks about Hong Kong affairs since the protests erupted in Hong Kong in June. It should remember that it no longer has sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of "supervision" over Hong Kong. Its remarks are at best discourteous, worse malicious.

It is such encouragement, overt and covert, from foreign countries that has to a large extent emboldened the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong to resort to the violent acts that have brought chaos and disorder to this Chinese city.

If the violence continues, Hong Kong's reputation as a good place to do business will be irrevocably damaged, which will serve no one's interests, including those of Western countries.

It is high time that those who are lending their backing to the protesters in Hong Kong under the excuse of democracy and freedom of speech listened to mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong and lent their voices to calls for an end to the violence and the restoring of law and order in the city.

Britain should accept that Hong Kong is not its "responsibility" anymore. If it wants to fulfill what it calls its "moral obligation" to the city, it should make it clear that independence is not a realistic option for Hong Kong and that the "one country, two systems" framework is the guarantee for the high degree of autonomy it enjoys.

And if, as it says, it is deeply concerned by the events in Hong Kong over the last six months, it should be backing the SAR government's efforts to end the storm of unrest. Instead, Britain continues to incite the violence that is undermining confidence in Hong Kong's rule of law, which has been the foundation for its status as a world city.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[High anxiety exposed in TikTok probe]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521910.htm The seat left empty by TikTok in a congressional hearing on "how corporations and big tech leave our data exposed to criminal, China and other bad actors" in Washington on Tuesday showed the company's attitude to US legislators' seemingly thoughtful exercising of their duties, which, however, is nothing but a politically motivated abuse of public power.

With all its US customers' data stored in the United States and backed up in Singapore, and a US auditing company watching over its data security practices, the social media video app operator, whose parent company is headquartered in Beijing, has a clean record of operation in the US and more than 150 other countries.

But it has had a meteoric rise. Within two years, TikTok has become one of the most popular apps of its kind.

Over the past 12 months, it has been downloaded nearly 800 million times around the world, among which it has been downloaded 100 million times in the US, where it has more than 23 million active users, compared with Facebook's 715 million times, Instagram's 415 million times and YouTube's 300 million times.

With such popularity it was only a matter of time before it would eat someone's cheese - even most of its US competitors have spoken highly of its technological edge and effective localization strategy.

Which is no doubt what prompted Tuesday's hearing and the investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US of its purchasing of Musical.ly, a short video app, in August last year, although both cited data security and national security concerns as an excuse.

Like Huawei, another Chinese tech leader, TikTok faces a handful of powerful US competitors which eye its success - not least in attracting talent - covetously. And in the current climate, a few suggestive words in a senator's ear is undoubtedly all it takes to set alarm bells ringing.

Now, even though it plans to set up an independent external committee to guarantee oversight over the transparency of its operations, TikTok is sure to find the going tougher than before. That is if it is not restricted or banned by the US.

The targeting of TikTok is another sign of the mounting technological anxiety of the US, which fears China's emerging prowess in technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, genomics and quantum security might make it impotent.

Invoking national security concerns is the silver bullet it is using to allay its fears of dysfunction.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Court takes short shrift with fraudulent donation seeking]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521909.htm A COURT HAS ORDERED AN online help seeker who raised money for his son's medical treatment to fully refund all the donations he received because he misrepresented his circumstances. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

In April, last year, the help seeker had asked for donations on online crowd-funding platform Shuidichou to pay for his seriously ill son's medical fees. The man claimed his family had run out of money and was more than 200,000 yuan ($28,585) in debt due to the cost of his son's medical treatment, and the boy still needed about 400,000 yuan for future treatment.

The man received 153,136 yuan in donations via the platform. But on being informed that he had falsified his economic situation, Shuidichou sent a letter from its lawyer requiring him to fully refund the donations. When he failed to do so, Shuidichou took him to court to recover the money.

Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court ruled that the help seeker had concealed property under his name and other social assistance he received, and ordered him to fully refund the donations he had received plus interest.

This case is of great significance to regulate online help seeking. As a newly emerging charity channel, online platforms such as Shuidichou can help people suffering from serious diseases get donations to help pay for medical fees that they would otherwise be unable to afford. The services are a convenient and efficient way to help those families in need.

But in recent years, there have been several scandals about help seekers misusing the platforms by falsifying their financial circumstances to defraud those wanting to help others, which has dented public trust in online donating.

This case serves as a warning to fraudulent help seekers that their false claims violate the crowd-funding donation agreements and they will face legal sanctions for their wrongdoing.

After the trial, the court also sent a legal suggestion to the Ministry of Civil Affairs suggesting it should accelerate legislation to better regulate online donation seeking. This along with an effective supervision mechanism would better ensure that online donations are used for their intended purposes.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Hitch faces tough battle to win back trust]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521908.htm CHINESE RIDE-HAILING COMPANY DIDI CHUXING HAS ANNOUNCED a trial relaunch of its Hitch carpooling service, which was suspended one and a half years ago after two young women were raped and murdered by Didi drivers. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Didi has a tough fight on its hands to win back public trust. There was a huge outcry after two young women who used the service were murdered by their drivers.

Didi was severely criticized by the authorities for the lapses in offline management of the service that had resulted in the company losing control of its drivers.

Didi is now testing the revamped Hitch service in Beijing, Harbin, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Shenyang and Nantong with what it claims are improved safety features.

According to the company, its system can identify high-risk scenarios and trip anomalies, and make effective intervention when necessary.

Additionally, during the trial, Hitch will only allow users to make trips of less than 50 kilometers in metro areas between 5 am and 8 pm.

But to convince women that its Hitch service is now safe to use, the company will have to prove that it really does have effective emergency procedures in place, so that when someone calls for assistance, they will get real help, instead of an automated voice saying: "Please wait."

That means they need to know the exact location of the vehicles and establish better coordination with the police.

It also requires the company to strengthen the vetting and registration process of its drivers so as to screen out those with criminal records. There have been reports about people convicted of criminal offenses registering as Didi drivers under false names and false identities.

Time will tell if the company has done enough to win back public trust.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Internationalization of yuan must serve real economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521907.htm Editor's Note: At a forum on Wednesday during the 2nd China International Import Expo, Chen Yulu, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said the yuan's internationalization is a natural market-driven process. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Over the past 10 years, the yuan's internationalization has made great progress, with its international use extending from trade settlement to all current accounts, and then to capital accounts.

At present, the yuan's internationalization enjoys a good foundation and broad prospects and it will play a greater role in the construction of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. The pilot free trade zone is the frontier of China's opening-up to the outside world and it should play an important role in the internationalization of the yuan. At the same time, it will also benefit from the internationalization of the yuan.

According to a report published by the central bank, China's yuan cross-border receipts and payments volume totaled 15.85 trillion yuan ($2.27 trillion) in 2018, accounting for 32.6 percent of the total amount of its domestic and foreign currency cross-border receipts and payments in the same period, making the yuan China's second-largest international payment currency for eight consecutive years. And SWIFT data show that by the end of 2018, the yuan had become the world's fifth largest payment currency, accounting for 2.07 percent of the world's total payments in all currencies, behind only the dollar, euro, pound and yen.

Why the yuan's international use has become more and more extensive with an ever-increasing scale is that China has an expanding economic and investment scale, and its development prospects have become increasingly promising. The yuan's basically stable exchange rate is also a source of confidence for people to hold it. Some financial liberalization initiatives taken by China, such as "Bond Connect" and Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong "Stock Connect" have also expanded the scope of the yuan's overseas investment and increased the yuan's attractiveness to foreign investors.

However, when we think about the internationalization of the yuan, we should not just think of the financial market, but also consider how it can serve the real economy. In the process of internationalization of the yuan, there are three principles that need to be followed: servicing the real economy, controlling risks, and orderly promotion.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[RCEP a positive signal for global trade]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521906.htm The 35th ASEAN meeting held in Bangkok declared on Monday that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations had concluded after six years of negotiations.

The RCEP is a 16-member economic grouping, comprising 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and six of ASEAN's free trade agreement partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

India has decided to stay away from the RCEP, as some of its outstanding issues could not be resolved. Yet other RCEP members are expected to work with India in an effort to resolve these issues, and if it is satisfied that its concerns have been addressed, it could join the regional partnership at a later date.

However, even without India, the RCEP is a large free trade agreement, as it will bring 15 economies under a set of common trade rules that would comprise common tariffs, rules of origin, investment provisions and other trade issues including intellectual property management, competition policy and e-commerce.

Both big and small economies in group

The RCEP is unique as an FTA as it includes some of the world's largest economies (China and Japan), high per capita income economies (Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Australia), major industrialized economies (Japan, the ROK, Singapore and China), middle-income economies with vast natural resources (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam) and less-developed, low-income economies (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar). Indeed, the RCEP is a heterogeneous grouping allowing lots of scope for economic synergies and complementary economic opportunities.

An interesting aspect of the RCEP is its ASEAN-centrality. All non-ASEAN members of the RCEP are connected to ASEAN through existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, and the RCEP is expected to supersede all these FTAs over time. In the process, it is expected to encourage and enlarge economic relations between ASEAN and the other RCEP members.

The prospects are particularly strong with respect to ASEAN and China. ASEAN is already the second-largest trading partner of China, and the implementation of the RCEP from 2022 should see much greater trade and investment between China and ASEAN with a positive influence on regional value chains that connect both of them.

Another interesting aspect of the RCEP is its much wider scope. Compared with the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, the RCEP reflects much greater access. This will be made possible by the elimination of tariffs on almost 90 percent of traded goods; updated rules of origin allowing the scope of value addition through the entire RCEP geography; stronger provisions on trade in services and cross-border foreign investment; and new rules on facilitating trade in e-commerce.

A versatile, modern and new-generation pact

By acquiring a greater scope and including many more new issues, the RCEP promises to be a more versatile, modern and new-generation trade agreement. It reflects the more modern developments in global trade and would encourage member states to take part in such trade on the basis of their respective comparative advantages. For instance, the RCEP is expected to contribute to the growth of digital trade, as well as financial, telecommunications, transport and tourism sectors.

The RCEP was conceptualized at a time when the US was leading negotiations among a group of Asia-Pacific economies on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. However, the US withdrew from the TPP after Donald Trump became president. And although the remaining TPP members came together to revive the agreement as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership, it lost a lot of its economic and strategic importance following the exit of the US.

The decline in the importance of the TPP turned the Asia-Pacific's attention to the RCEP. And compared with the CPTPP, the RCEP is much larger in that has as its members bigger economies with larger populations.

It is also a more "inclusive" FTA as it includes less-developed, low-income as well as high-income and middle-income economies.

In fact, the RCEP's importance is evident from the fact that CPTPP members such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand also worked actively to conclude the RCEP negotiations. Clearly, these countries visualize new opportunities through the RCEP, ones they didn't or don't see in the CPTPP.

Yet another notable feature of the RCEP is the ability of its members to conclude the agreement at a time when trade frictions are visible across the world. Even among RCEP members, Japan and the ROK have recently had serious problems leading to some export restrictions. And in the recent past, the South China Sea issue had raised tensions between China and some ASEAN member states, which has since defused.

But the RCEP members overcame these challenges and concluded the RCEP negotiations. Which sends a positive signal for global trade at a time when several countries are looking to use trade to fulfill their narrow geopolitical objectives.

The author is a senior research fellow and research lead (trade and economic policy) at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Session ushers in new era of governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521905.htm Editor's Note: The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which concluded last week, called for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as modernizing the national governance system and governance capability. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Party leadership biggest asset of socialist China

The Fourth Plenary Session's decision has three outstanding characteristics.

First, it made clear that upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the Party is the biggest advantage of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which covers the Party leadership, and the economic, political, cultural, ecological, military and diplomatic systems, is a scientific system established by the Party and the people after long-term explorations. It has 13 notable advantages, among which adhering to the Party's centralized and unified leadership and scientific theories, maintaining political stability and ensuring the country marches forward on the path of socialism is the primary one.

Therefore, the plenary session decided to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability in 13 aspects. It also gave priority to improving the Party leadership system and enhancing the Party's capability of promoting scientific, democratic and law-based governance.

Emphasizing the leading role of the Party's leadership in the national governance system, the session reflected on the necessity of adhering to the Party's leadership by following its guiding theories and specific measures. The plenary session's decision is also an important step toward implementing the spirit of the Constitution, which stipulates that the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental system of the People's Republic of China, and the Party leadership is the most essential characteristic of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Second, the decision shows the strategic focus and governance capability of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core. The plenary session and its decisions are designed to implement the development goals proposed in the 19th National Congress of the CPC report, which says that by the 100th anniversary of the founding of New China (that is, 2049), the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability would be complete, the socialist system consolidated and its advantages fully demonstrated.

Such strategic focus, systemic advantage and capability to implement have been rarely seen across the world. And that is exactly where the secret of China's and the Party's success lies.

And third, remaining true to its original goal and keeping its mission firmly in mind are part of the Party's self-reform. That the Party's self-reform drives the Chinese people forward is an important characteristic of the new era. A comparative study of the development path of other countries would help the Party and China see clearly the path ahead and ensure the Party always stays ahead of the curve.

Boost to modernization of national governance

The plenary session's decision summarizes China's experiences over the past 70 years in building a socialist system, and establishes the theoretical and discourse systems to promote socialism with Chinese characteristics, providing strong theoretical support for enhancing confidence in the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and opening a new chapter in national governance modernization.

Since leading the Chinese people to establish New China, the Party has been taking measures to improve the national governance system and governance capability, and has thus laid the basic political and systemic foundation for modern China's progress. Yet thanks to some left-leaning mistakes in its guiding theory, the Party, in the past, struggled to build a national governance system that conforms to China's real condition.

After the launch of reform and opening-up, however, it reflected on the national governance system from a new perspective and gradually recognized that the leadership system and organizational issues are of fundamental and overall importance and long-term relevance to the progress of the Party and the country.

The practice and achievements of four decades of reform and opening-up have proved the potential, advantage and vitality of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as exposed certain deficiencies in the construction of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the CPC Central Committee has been vigorously promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability. The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee focused on comprehensively deepening reform, the Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee drew up the blueprint for deepening Party and State organ reform, and the Fourth Plenary Session has made strategic arrangements for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing the national governance system.

This progressive approach shows the Party's understanding of national governance and capability has reached a new high. The major political question of "what is to be adhered to and consolidated and what is to be improved and developed" has been answered. Which is essential for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, and a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the middle of this century, by adhering to the Party's leadership.

The decision also shows the world that socialism with Chinese characteristics and China's national governance system enjoy not only the advantages of having Marxism as a guiding force, being rooted in China's rich culture and supported by the Chinese people, but also stronger vitality and - unlike capitalism - continuous self-improvement and a strong, efficient governance system.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[Forever the bully, US never gets tired of playing the 'Taiwan card']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/10/content_37521904.htm Twenty departments including the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office and the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled"26 measures" on Monday to further enhance cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges. That the new measures follow the"31 measures" introduced last year shows the Chinese mainland is making increasing efforts to share the fruits of its development with Taiwan compatriots.

Since the new measures, which accord the same treatment to Taiwan and mainland compatriots, are aimed at promoting the interests of the island's residents, the Tsai Ing-wen administration should welcome them instead of intensifying tensions across the Straits by pushing forward its "independence" agenda or seeking the help of external forces to confront Beijing.

The United States has always tried to meddle in China's internal affairs. From the "Taiwan Relations Act" in 1979 to the "Taiwan Travel Act" in 2018, the US has used its domestic laws to hold cross-Straits relations to ransom and support separatist forces on the island, in order to fulfill its own narrow political goals.

The latest example of the US poking its dirty nose into cross-Straits affairs is the "Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act of 2019" (or "Taipei Act") passed by the US Congress recently. The main purpose of the so-called act is to coerce Taiwan's existing 15"diplomatic partners" to not sever their ties with the island, as six countries have switched their diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing since Tsai took office in 2016.

The "Taipei Act" once again proves the US supports "the pro-independence" Democratic Progressive Party administration on the island, as it says Washington will downgrade diplomatic relations with and suspend assistance, including military and financial assistance, to any of the 15 countries that cut off ties with the island.

With the US-instigated trade war dealing a blow to Sino-US relations, Washington intends to use Taiwan-related legislation to not only help the DPP to hold on to power and further strain cross-Straits ties but also put increasing pressure on Beijing to accept its unacceptable demands in the Sino-US trade talks.

No wonder the ruling DPP celebrated the passing of the "Taipei Act" by the US Congress recently, with Tsai thanking the US in the hope that the legislation would stop the 15 countries from severing ties with the island.

But the US will extract its pound of flesh from Taiwan in exchange for making it feel secure, howsoever temporarily. The US will make sure the Tsai administration adheres to US diktats in return and more resolutely promotes Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy to harm Beijing's interests. Of course, by passing the act, the Congress has also ensured that the island leans more toward the US while seeking more security protection.

Thanks to the renewed US support, the ruling DPP could feel more emboldened to push ahead with its separatist agenda and further harm cross-Straits ties.

To please the US in return for some political gains, the Tsai administration is willing to serve as a lackey of Washington to contain Beijing. And under the pretext of defending the island, the US can bleed Taiwan dry by forcing it to purchase more and more expensive but outdated weapons.

Despite all this, however, the "Taipei Act" may not be able to stop the 15 countries from severing their ties with Taiwan, because mutual benefits, not the empty promises of the US, will serve their national interests. Besides, it is getting increasingly difficult for the US to influence the decision-makers of small countries to toe its line.

A total of 180 of the about 200 countries in the world, including the US, recognize the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government that represents China, acknowledge that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and adhere to the one-China principle. The US act can never change these facts.

Hence, it is time the Tsai administration understood that it could get a wider space to promote the island's international activities only when it returns to the right track and acknowledges the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China, not by counting on US support.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-10 09:36:03
<![CDATA[CIIE acts as top platform to show global cultures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/09/content_37521832.htm International import expo bringing countries together for common good

SHANGHAI - Sports, food, music, dance, high tech, trade deals and business opportunities - all these and more add up to create the diverse atmosphere at the ongoing second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

At Hungary's national booth, two performers played teqball, a new sport which is a modern twist on soccer. Their outstanding skills and stamina attracted many to take photos and videos and even try the new sport themselves.

Invented in Hungary, teqball requires players to use a soccer ball along with a curved table that is similar to a ping-pong table. Players try to volley the ball back and forth using any and all appendages that are legal to use in soccer.

"Teqball is a challenging and fun game. We brought it here just to introduce another side of our country - a nation of sports lovers," said project coordinator Katalin Sogor.

At the world's first import-themed national-level expo, Hungary is not the only country trying to expand its influence through culture.

At the Cuba booth, visitors waved and danced to Latin music. "People are our main treasure, and Cuban people's passion for life and music can be found in our exhibition," said Nestor Enrique Torres Olivera, consul general of Cuba in Shanghai.

Rum, cigars, coffee and other Cuban products are showcased in the country's booth.

"We want to attract as many people as possible and show them the potential of trade between Cuba and China," he said.

As one of the most popular country exhibitions, the China pavilion saw visitors lining up to try a cockpit simulator of China's homegrown C919 commercial airliner and experience life under the ocean in a manned submersible using virtual reality.

Visitors can also learn about the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu Ancient City, a testament to the more than 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization.

Besides the progress of development in China over the past 70 years, the exhibitions demonstrate the beautiful landscape of the country as well as the inclusiveness and openness of the Chinese culture, said Wu Zhengping, head of the trade development bureau of China's Ministry of Commerce.

"It is the second time for many countries to come here, and some of them have not only expanded the exhibition area but also brought more diversified facilities and exhibitions to give us a better experience," said Sun Jiwen, a visitor who also came to the expo for the second time.

The CIIE is designed to trade goods and services, exchange culture and ideas, welcome visitors from across the globe, benefit the whole world and respond to the aspirations of people from various countries to live a better life, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a banquet on Monday to welcome guests from around the world to the CIIE.

]]>
2019-11-09 07:35:19
<![CDATA[St. Regis hotel opens ballroom like no other in the heart of Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/09/content_37521831.htm Tian'anmen Gate on Chang'an Avenue is at the heart of downtown Beijing and has played host to historic events including the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

Located in the central part of the avenue, St. Regis Beijing was the first St. Regis branded hotel in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been the first choice for foreign dignitaries and every president of the United States has stayed there when visiting Beijing.

With upgraded facilities, a culture of enriched service, a design concept integrating East and West, the hotel recently unveiled its Astor Ballroom, a high-end venue for gatherings in the capital, executives said.

Inspired by the landscape design of Chinese courtyards, the ballroom features a binary compound surrounded by two corridors, which showcases views from a small spot to expanding sceneries in a combination of artistic Eastern and Western concepts.

As a luxury hotel brand, St. Regis provides considerate services and entertainment with a sense of ritual, according to the hotel.

Upon arrival, the first thing visitors see are the wall lamps designed to represent St. Regis. The contrast between graceful screens at the entrance and the surrounding lights brings a dreamy yet earthy effect.

Along the entrance, natural marble and soft lighting create a feeling of space - "an oasis for our guests to retreat and revive from their bustling lives," according to the hotel's statement.

In the foyer, the ceiling is inspired by the decorative crowns Peking Opera artists wear. It is a glass art installation, which reflects an imaginary figure born in a family of opera artists, who travels overseas and comes back to promote a combination of "East meets West" culture, the hotel said.

Three chandeliers are hung in harmony with the shape and height of the ceiling, which is derived from traditional Chinese architecture to enhance iconic elements of the St. Regis brand: timeless elegance, consistency of tradition and bespoke service, according to the hotel.

The VIP room, an indispensable part of the Astor Ballroom, is equipped with a huge glass wall featuring a picture of a traditional pavilion, representing historic Beijing. Against the glass wall sit two armchairs for honored guests and hosts, surrounded by seats for other attendees. Wooden walls, a chandelier and the floor-to-ceiling glass picture, paired with an array of Chinese-style sofas and a modern carpet, create an air of elegance and simplicity.

The bridal room in the ballroom features a leather-covered wall with embossed flower patterns. The use of warm-colored wall decor contributes to making the room a light yet cozy space for new couples. Graceful floral arrangements, a leather-trimmed dresser and luxurious wall lamp create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in the room. A three-dimensional mirror is perfect for wedding gown fitting experiences.

 

]]>
2019-11-09 07:35:19
<![CDATA[Village a picturesque offering for students]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/09/content_37521830.htm

HEFEI - Despite his early arrival in the morning, Deng Wei, a freshman majoring in art, was surprised to find the river banks already crowded with students.

Holding their palettes and brushes, they were trying to re-create the vision in front of them - unique historic buildings and an idyllic landscape. "The picturesque scenery is perfect for us to draw," Deng said, who will stay in Hongcun village in East China's Anhui province for 10 days.

Deng is among 400,000 students who rush to Yixian county which administers Hongcun each year, an ideal spot for plein air painting.

The county is home to two villages, Xidi and Hongcun, which have been listed as World Heritage sites. With exquisite homes, ancestral halls and memorial archways, Anhui-style dwellings built during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) are widely found.

Most students like Deng live in special art bases, which can provide accommodation and transportation for those who come to paint outdoors. Hu Wanchun, 57, is among the pioneers who opened the first such bases in Yixian county. He has cooperated with around 100 art colleges and receives some 7,000 students each year, earning more than 2 million yuan ($285,900) annually. Hu also opened a museum to showcase the paintings of the students and Hui-style wood carvings. "I hope to create a platform for young painters to display their works," he said.

]]>
2019-11-09 07:35:19
<![CDATA[Xi's trip to Greece and Brazil highlights China's championing of multilateralism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521621.htm

China's Belt and Road Initiative has received a lot of criticism from the United States and some of its allies, which have tried to denigrate it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for instance, has alleged it amounts to China peddling "corrupt infrastructure deals in exchange for political influence".

Yet for participating economies, such claims could not be further from the truth. For these economies the initiative is a practical development booster and an important vehicle for multilateralism in the face of the damaging unilateralism of the world's largest economy.

Greece is one of the countries that is frequently held up as an example by those trying to besmirch the Belt and Road. But President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Greece at the invitation of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos highlights the hollowness of such allegations.

Greece is a country that is enthusiastically participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and it is one of the guest countries of honor at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

President Xi's visit this time, which is the latest in a series of frequent meetings between leaders of the two countries in the last couple of years, will undoubtedly further strengthen the momentum of bilateral cooperation, which will set a good example for other countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The world is indeed a big place, but trade, cooperation and exchanges shrink the distance of different circumstances, approaches and viewpoints. As shown by Xi traveling from Greece to Brazil where he will attend the 11th summit of the BRICS countries to be held from Nov 13 to 15.

The economic output of the five members of BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - has accounted for one-third of the world total in the past more than a decade and the economic growth of these five countries is expected to account for half in the coming several decades.

Greater coordination among the five largest emerging economies would provide a strong antidote to the dictatorial tendencies of the developed countries, whose sway over the institutions of global economic governance has enabled them to bend the rules in their favor.

With balanced trade among themselves and a coordinated stance on issues of common concern, the BRICS countries can play a bigger role in promoting openness and common development and push for reform of the multilateral trading regime and economic governance system to make them more authoritative, effective and fairer.

In doing so they would set a good example for greater cooperation worldwide.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[British hypocrisy evident in HK report]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521620.htm

A parliamentary report released on Monday once again exposed Britain's inclination to interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by professing concern about the rule of law being undermined in the SAR by the "dangerous erosion" of the "one country, two systems" framework and the independence of the judiciary.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern that continuing participation by British judges in Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal could lead the United Kingdom to "inadvertently appear complicit in supporting and participating in a system that is undermining the rule of law".

In response, the HKSAR government issued a statement on Wednesday vehemently rejecting the allegations, pointing out that Hong Kong has its own legal system and exercises independent judicial power, including the power of final adjudication, through its own courts.

Stressing that the principle of "one country, two systems" is being fully and successfully implemented, the statement said that the SAR's judicial independence is constitutionally protected, as are the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including freedom of speech and the right of peaceful assembly, "which are routinely exercised".

This is not the first time that Britain has made unwarranted remarks about Hong Kong affairs since the protests erupted in Hong Kong in June. It should remember that it no longer has sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of "supervision" over Hong Kong. Its remarks are at best discourteous, worse malicious.

It is such encouragement, overt and covert, from foreign countries that has to a large extent emboldened the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong to resort to the violent acts that have brought chaos and disorder to this Chinese city.

If the violence continues, Hong Kong's reputation as a good place to do business will be irrevocably damaged, which will serve no one's interests, including those of Western countries.

It is high time that those who are lending their backing to the protesters in Hong Kong under the excuse of democracy and freedom of speech listened to mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong and lent their voices to calls for an end to the violence and the restoring of law and order in the city.

Britain should accept that Hong Kong is not its "responsibility" anymore. If it wants to fulfill what it calls its "moral obligation" to the city, it should make it clear that independence is not a realistic option for Hong Kong and that the "one country, two systems" framework is the guarantee for the high degree of autonomy it enjoys.

And if, as it says, it is deeply concerned by the events in Hong Kong over the last six months, it should be backing the SAR government's efforts to end the storm of unrest. Instead, Britain continues to incite the violence that is undermining confidence in Hong Kong's rule of law, which has been the foundation for its status as a world city.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[High anxiety exposed in TikTok probe]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521619.htm

The seat left empty by TikTok in a congressional hearing on "how corporations and big tech leave our data exposed to criminal, China and other bad actors" in Washington on Tuesday showed the company's attitude to US legislators' seemingly thoughtful exercising of their duties, which, however, is nothing but a politically motivated abuse of public power.

With all its US customers' data stored in the United States and backed up in Singapore, and a US auditing company watching over its data security practices, the social media video app operator, whose parent company is headquartered in Beijing, has a clean record of operation in the US and more than 150 other countries.

But it has had a meteoric rise. Within two years, TikTok has become one of the most popular apps of its kind.

Over the past 12 months, it has been downloaded nearly 800 million times around the world, among which it has been downloaded 100 million times in the US, where it has more than 23 million active users, compared with Facebook's 715 million times, Instagram's 415 million times and YouTube's 300 million times.

With such popularity it was only a matter of time before it would eat someone's cheese - even most of its US competitors have spoken highly of its technological edge and effective localization strategy.

Which is no doubt what prompted Tuesday's hearing and the investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US of its purchasing of Musical.ly, a short video app, in August last year, although both cited data security and national security concerns as an excuse.

Like Huawei, another Chinese tech leader, TikTok faces a handful of powerful US competitors which eye its success - not least in attracting talent - covetously. And in the current climate, a few suggestive words in a senator's ear is undoubtedly all it takes to set alarm bells ringing.

Now, even though it plans to set up an independent external committee to guarantee oversight over the transparency of its operations, TikTok is sure to find the going tougher than before. That is if it is not restricted or banned by the US.

The targeting of TikTok is another sign of the mounting technological anxiety of the US, which fears China's emerging prowess in technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, genomics and quantum security might make it impotent.

Invoking national security concerns is the silver bullet it is using to allay its fears of dysfunction.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Court takes short shrift with fraudulent donation seeking]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521618.htm A COURT HAS ORDERED AN online help seeker who raised money for his son's medical treatment to fully refund all the donations he received because he misrepresented his circumstances. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

In April, last year, the help seeker had asked for donations on online crowd-funding platform Shuidichou to pay for his seriously ill son's medical fees. The man claimed his family had run out of money and was more than 200,000 yuan ($28,585) in debt due to the cost of his son's medical treatment, and the boy still needed about 400,000 yuan for future treatment.

The man received 153,136 yuan in donations via the platform. But on being informed that he had falsified his economic situation, Shuidichou sent a letter from its lawyer requiring him to fully refund the donations. When he failed to do so, Shuidichou took him to court to recover the money.

Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court ruled that the help seeker had concealed property under his name and other social assistance he received, and ordered him to fully refund the donations he had received plus interest.

This case is of great significance to regulate online help seeking. As a newly emerging charity channel, online platforms such as Shuidichou can help people suffering from serious diseases get donations to help pay for medical fees that they would otherwise be unable to afford. The services are a convenient and efficient way to help those families in need.

But in recent years, there have been several scandals about help seekers misusing the platforms by falsifying their financial circumstances to defraud those wanting to help others, which has dented public trust in online donating.

This case serves as a warning to fraudulent help seekers that their false claims violate the crowd-funding donation agreements and they will face legal sanctions for their wrongdoing.

After the trial, the court also sent a legal suggestion to the Ministry of Civil Affairs suggesting it should accelerate legislation to better regulate online donation seeking. This along with an effective supervision mechanism would better ensure that online donations are used for their intended purposes.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Hitch faces tough battle to win back trust]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521617.htm CHINESE RIDE-HAILING COMPANY DIDI CHUXING HAS ANNOUNCED a trial relaunch of its Hitch carpooling service, which was suspended one and a half years ago after two young women were raped and murdered by Didi drivers. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Didi has a tough fight on its hands to win back public trust. There was a huge outcry after two young women who used the service were murdered by their drivers.

Didi was severely criticized by the authorities for the lapses in offline management of the service that had resulted in the company losing control of its drivers.

Didi is now testing the revamped Hitch service in Beijing, Harbin, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Shenyang and Nantong with what it claims are improved safety features.

According to the company, its system can identify high-risk scenarios and trip anomalies, and make effective intervention when necessary.

Additionally, during the trial, Hitch will only allow users to make trips of less than 50 kilometers in metro areas between 5 am and 8 pm.

But to convince women that its Hitch service is now safe to use, the company will have to prove that it really does have effective emergency procedures in place, so that when someone calls for assistance, they will get real help, instead of an automated voice saying: "Please wait."

That means they need to know the exact location of the vehicles and establish better coordination with the police.

It also requires the company to strengthen the vetting and registration process of its drivers so as to screen out those with criminal records. There have been reports about people convicted of criminal offenses registering as Didi drivers under false names and false identities.

Time will tell if the company has done enough to win back public trust.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Internationalization of yuan must serve real economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521616.htm Editor's Note: At a forum on Wednesday during the 2nd China International Import Expo, Chen Yulu, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said the yuan's internationalization is a natural market-driven process. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Over the past 10 years, the yuan's internationalization has made great progress, with its international use extending from trade settlement to all current accounts, and then to capital accounts.

At present, the yuan's internationalization enjoys a good foundation and broad prospects and it will play a greater role in the construction of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. The pilot free trade zone is the frontier of China's opening-up to the outside world and it should play an important role in the internationalization of the yuan. At the same time, it will also benefit from the internationalization of the yuan.

According to a report published by the central bank, China's yuan cross-border receipts and payments volume totaled 15.85 trillion yuan ($2.27 trillion) in 2018, accounting for 32.6 percent of the total amount of its domestic and foreign currency cross-border receipts and payments in the same period, making the yuan China's second-largest international payment currency for eight consecutive years. And SWIFT data show that by the end of 2018, the yuan had become the world's fifth largest payment currency, accounting for 2.07 percent of the world's total payments in all currencies, behind only the dollar, euro, pound and yen.

Why the yuan's international use has become more and more extensive with an ever-increasing scale is that China has an expanding economic and investment scale, and its development prospects have become increasingly promising. The yuan's basically stable exchange rate is also a source of confidence for people to hold it. Some financial liberalization initiatives taken by China, such as "Bond Connect" and Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong "Stock Connect" have also expanded the scope of the yuan's overseas investment and increased the yuan's attractiveness to foreign investors.

However, when we think about the internationalization of the yuan, we should not just think of the financial market, but also consider how it can serve the real economy. In the process of internationalization of the yuan, there are three principles that need to be followed: servicing the real economy, controlling risks, and orderly promotion.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[RCEP a positive signal for global trade]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521615.htm The 35th ASEAN meeting held in Bangkok declared on Monday that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations had concluded after six years of negotiations.

The RCEP is a 16-member economic grouping, comprising 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and six of ASEAN's free trade agreement partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

India has decided to stay away from the RCEP, as some of its outstanding issues could not be resolved. Yet other RCEP members are expected to work with India in an effort to resolve these issues, and if it is satisfied that its concerns have been addressed, it could join the regional partnership at a later date.

However, even without India, the RCEP is a large free trade agreement, as it will bring 15 economies under a set of common trade rules that would comprise common tariffs, rules of origin, investment provisions and other trade issues including intellectual property management, competition policy and e-commerce.

Both big and small economies in group

The RCEP is unique as an FTA as it includes some of the world's largest economies (China and Japan), high per capita income economies (Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Australia), major industrialized economies (Japan, the ROK, Singapore and China), middle-income economies with vast natural resources (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam) and less-developed, low-income economies (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar). Indeed, the RCEP is a heterogeneous grouping allowing lots of scope for economic synergies and complementary economic opportunities.

An interesting aspect of the RCEP is its ASEAN-centrality. All non-ASEAN members of the RCEP are connected to ASEAN through existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, and the RCEP is expected to supersede all these FTAs over time. In the process, it is expected to encourage and enlarge economic relations between ASEAN and the other RCEP members.

The prospects are particularly strong with respect to ASEAN and China. ASEAN is already the second-largest trading partner of China, and the implementation of the RCEP from 2022 should see much greater trade and investment between China and ASEAN with a positive influence on regional value chains that connect both of them.

Another interesting aspect of the RCEP is its much wider scope. Compared with the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, the RCEP reflects much greater access. This will be made possible by the elimination of tariffs on almost 90 percent of traded goods; updated rules of origin allowing the scope of value addition through the entire RCEP geography; stronger provisions on trade in services and cross-border foreign investment; and new rules on facilitating trade in e-commerce.

A versatile, modern and new-generation pact

By acquiring a greater scope and including many more new issues, the RCEP promises to be a more versatile, modern and new-generation trade agreement. It reflects the more modern developments in global trade and would encourage member states to take part in such trade on the basis of their respective comparative advantages. For instance, the RCEP is expected to contribute to the growth of digital trade, as well as financial, telecommunications, transport and tourism sectors.

The RCEP was conceptualized at a time when the US was leading negotiations among a group of Asia-Pacific economies on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. However, the US withdrew from the TPP after Donald Trump became president. And although the remaining TPP members came together to revive the agreement as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership, it lost a lot of its economic and strategic importance following the exit of the US.

The decline in the importance of the TPP turned the Asia-Pacific's attention to the RCEP. And compared with the CPTPP, the RCEP is much larger in that has as its members bigger economies with larger populations.

It is also a more "inclusive" FTA as it includes less-developed, low-income as well as high-income and middle-income economies.

In fact, the RCEP's importance is evident from the fact that CPTPP members such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand also worked actively to conclude the RCEP negotiations. Clearly, these countries visualize new opportunities through the RCEP, ones they didn't or don't see in the CPTPP.

Yet another notable feature of the RCEP is the ability of its members to conclude the agreement at a time when trade frictions are visible across the world. Even among RCEP members, Japan and the ROK have recently had serious problems leading to some export restrictions. And in the recent past, the South China Sea issue had raised tensions between China and some ASEAN member states, which has since defused.

But the RCEP members overcame these challenges and concluded the RCEP negotiations. Which sends a positive signal for global trade at a time when several countries are looking to use trade to fulfill their narrow geopolitical objectives.

The author is a senior research fellow and research lead (trade and economic policy) at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Session ushers in new era of governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521614.htm Editor's Note: The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which concluded last week, called for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as modernizing the national governance system and governance capability. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Party leadership biggest asset of socialist China

The Fourth Plenary Session's decision has three outstanding characteristics.

First, it made clear that upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the Party is the biggest advantage of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which covers the Party leadership, and the economic, political, cultural, ecological, military and diplomatic systems, is a scientific system established by the Party and the people after long-term explorations. It has 13 notable advantages, among which adhering to the Party's centralized and unified leadership and scientific theories, maintaining political stability and ensuring the country marches forward on the path of socialism is the primary one.

Therefore, the plenary session decided to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability in 13 aspects. It also gave priority to improving the Party leadership system and enhancing the Party's capability of promoting scientific, democratic and law-based governance.

Emphasizing the leading role of the Party's leadership in the national governance system, the session reflected on the necessity of adhering to the Party's leadership by following its guiding theories and specific measures. The plenary session's decision is also an important step toward implementing the spirit of the Constitution, which stipulates that the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental system of the People's Republic of China, and the Party leadership is the most essential characteristic of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Second, the decision shows the strategic focus and governance capability of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core. The plenary session and its decisions are designed to implement the development goals proposed in the 19th National Congress of the CPC report, which says that by the 100th anniversary of the founding of New China (that is, 2049), the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability would be complete, the socialist system consolidated and its advantages fully demonstrated.

Such strategic focus, systemic advantage and capability to implement have been rarely seen across the world. And that is exactly where the secret of China's and the Party's success lies.

And third, remaining true to its original goal and keeping its mission firmly in mind are part of the Party's self-reform. That the Party's self-reform drives the Chinese people forward is an important characteristic of the new era. A comparative study of the development path of other countries would help the Party and China see clearly the path ahead and ensure the Party always stays ahead of the curve.

Boost to modernization of national governance

The plenary session's decision summarizes China's experiences over the past 70 years in building a socialist system, and establishes the theoretical and discourse systems to promote socialism with Chinese characteristics, providing strong theoretical support for enhancing confidence in the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and opening a new chapter in national governance modernization.

Since leading the Chinese people to establish New China, the Party has been taking measures to improve the national governance system and governance capability, and has thus laid the basic political and systemic foundation for modern China's progress. Yet thanks to some left-leaning mistakes in its guiding theory, the Party, in the past, struggled to build a national governance system that conforms to China's real condition.

After the launch of reform and opening-up, however, it reflected on the national governance system from a new perspective and gradually recognized that the leadership system and organizational issues are of fundamental and overall importance and long-term relevance to the progress of the Party and the country.

The practice and achievements of four decades of reform and opening-up have proved the potential, advantage and vitality of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as exposed certain deficiencies in the construction of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the CPC Central Committee has been vigorously promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability. The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee focused on comprehensively deepening reform, the Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee drew up the blueprint for deepening Party and State organ reform, and the Fourth Plenary Session has made strategic arrangements for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing the national governance system.

This progressive approach shows the Party's understanding of national governance and capability has reached a new high. The major political question of "what is to be adhered to and consolidated and what is to be improved and developed" has been answered. Which is essential for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, and a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the middle of this century, by adhering to the Party's leadership.

The decision also shows the world that socialism with Chinese characteristics and China's national governance system enjoy not only the advantages of having Marxism as a guiding force, being rooted in China's rich culture and supported by the Chinese people, but also stronger vitality and - unlike capitalism - continuous self-improvement and a strong, efficient governance system.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Forever the bully, US never gets tired of playing the 'Taiwan card']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/08/content_37521613.htm Twenty departments including the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office and the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled"26 measures" on Monday to further enhance cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges. That the new measures follow the"31 measures" introduced last year shows the Chinese mainland is making increasing efforts to share the fruits of its development with Taiwan compatriots.

Since the new measures, which accord the same treatment to Taiwan and mainland compatriots, are aimed at promoting the interests of the island's residents, the Tsai Ing-wen administration should welcome them instead of intensifying tensions across the Straits by pushing forward its "independence" agenda or seeking the help of external forces to confront Beijing.

The United States has always tried to meddle in China's internal affairs. From the "Taiwan Relations Act" in 1979 to the "Taiwan Travel Act" in 2018, the US has used its domestic laws to hold cross-Straits relations to ransom and support separatist forces on the island, in order to fulfill its own narrow political goals.

The latest example of the US poking its dirty nose into cross-Straits affairs is the "Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act of 2019" (or "Taipei Act") passed by the US Congress recently. The main purpose of the so-called act is to coerce Taiwan's existing 15"diplomatic partners" to not sever their ties with the island, as six countries have switched their diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing since Tsai took office in 2016.

The "Taipei Act" once again proves the US supports "the pro-independence" Democratic Progressive Party administration on the island, as it says Washington will downgrade diplomatic relations with and suspend assistance, including military and financial assistance, to any of the 15 countries that cut off ties with the island.

With the US-instigated trade war dealing a blow to Sino-US relations, Washington intends to use Taiwan-related legislation to not only help the DPP to hold on to power and further strain cross-Straits ties but also put increasing pressure on Beijing to accept its unacceptable demands in the Sino-US trade talks.

No wonder the ruling DPP celebrated the passing of the "Taipei Act" by the US Congress recently, with Tsai thanking the US in the hope that the legislation would stop the 15 countries from severing ties with the island.

But the US will extract its pound of flesh from Taiwan in exchange for making it feel secure, howsoever temporarily. The US will make sure the Tsai administration adheres to US diktats in return and more resolutely promotes Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy to harm Beijing's interests. Of course, by passing the act, the Congress has also ensured that the island leans more toward the US while seeking more security protection.

Thanks to the renewed US support, the ruling DPP could feel more emboldened to push ahead with its separatist agenda and further harm cross-Straits ties.

To please the US in return for some political gains, the Tsai administration is willing to serve as a lackey of Washington to contain Beijing. And under the pretext of defending the island, the US can bleed Taiwan dry by forcing it to purchase more and more expensive but outdated weapons.

Despite all this, however, the "Taipei Act" may not be able to stop the 15 countries from severing their ties with Taiwan, because mutual benefits, not the empty promises of the US, will serve their national interests. Besides, it is getting increasingly difficult for the US to influence the decision-makers of small countries to toe its line.

A total of 180 of the about 200 countries in the world, including the US, recognize the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government that represents China, acknowledge that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and adhere to the one-China principle. The US act can never change these facts.

Hence, it is time the Tsai administration understood that it could get a wider space to promote the island's international activities only when it returns to the right track and acknowledges the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China, not by counting on US support.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-08 07:48:15
<![CDATA[Time for Washington to scale back tariffs to guarantee a done deal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521407.htm

Guess the place has become popular speculation since Chile suddenly withdrew as host for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting it was due to host in Santiago later this month. Yet the conjecture is not about where that meeting will now be held, but about where the presidents of China and the United States will put pen to paper on what the two countries have agreed to so far in their trade negotiations.

The fallout from the two countries' explosive trade exchanges has been evident worldwide. The International Monetary Fund has concluded that 90 percent of economies are in a synchronized slowdown because of the world's two largest economies' trade war. And the guessing game stems from the appreciable anxiety worldwide that the hard-won detente between the two sides might go into meltdown if they delay too long in getting their deal confirmed in contractual form.

Which is not surprising given what happened when the two parties seemed close to agreeing a much broader deal earlier in their negotiations - The feel-good optimism engendered by that apparent reconcilement was swiftly rendered premature when the two sides abruptly backed away from it.

There is certainly the possibility that a similar scenario might happen again. Particularly since the US is persisting with its tariffs pending. As well as still imposing additional tariffs on about $250 billion worth of imports from China, it insists that the tariffs announced on the rest of the $300 billion worth of imports from China are only "postponed".

An important reason why the two sides quickly resumed talking after their previous accommodation proved to have been built on sand is that both subsequently demonstrated goodwill by not only postponing new tariffs, but also suspending parts of the former tariffs that had been implemented.

Using tariffs as a means of intimidation has never been part of China's art of a deal. Instead, it has been its consistent stance that the negotiations must be conducted with mutual respect and on an equal footing - Washington's tariffs are politically expedient but not conducive to engineering a rapprochement.

If Washington were to weigh the possible gains and losses of wasting the window of opportunity in the balance, such a reckoning, done without prejudice, would persuade it that canceling its punitive tariffs on Chinese imports would be in its best interests. Especially since it could be done proportionally in light of the progress of their negotiations.

That the White House is reportedly considering rolling back levies on $112 billion of Chinese imports suggests it might already have done its accounting. Certainly the move, if it materializes, would not only oil the progress of the first deal, but also lubricate the proposed next phase of talks. In which case, the guessing game of where the two leaders might meet could no doubt be brought to an end with official confirmation of a venue.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[United stand puts common interests first]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521406.htm

The Chinese government issued 4 billion euro-denominated sovereign bonds on Tuesday in Paris, the first time since 2004, to help the latter pursue its dream of becoming an international financial center.

On Wednesday, China and France signed contracts totaling $15 billion, covering such fields as aeronautics, energy and agriculture.

French President Emmanuel Macron's threeday state visit to China, during which he attended the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai and had two meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, has certainly proved fruitful.

Yet the significance of the French leader's visit as a policy statement far outweighs the trade deals.

As China and France commemorate the 55th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship, which has risen to the level of a "comprehensive strategic partnership", Macron's visit was a timely reminder of the bonds of friendship and an opportunity to deliver a statement of joint intent.

As the first leader of any major Western country to present himself at the Shanghai Expo, Macron offered invaluable personal endorsement to a brand new platform for China to open its door wider to the outside world.

But both guest and host knew this visit was about more than just cementing their historical friendship and promoting bilateral trade.

In the words of Xi, it was a strong signal to the world that they would steadfastly uphold multilateralism.

It showed that the two countries would build a stable partnership on the big questions facing the world that is becoming increasingly destabilized, Macron said.

Not least on the challenge of climate change. The scale of which was highlighted on Tuesday by the results of a study of the past 40 years that concluded the world is confronting a "climate emergency". The United States officially began its withdrawal from the Paris climate pact the same day, hammering home the message that it has become lost in the delusion that it has some kind of magical ability to stand apart from the global predicament. It seemingly believes that American ingenuity will allow it to somehow save the day.

In a joint written statement, Xi and Macron offered a healthier dose of reality, reaffirming "their firm support" for the Paris accord which they consider to be both "an irreversible process and a compass" for strong action to address climate change.

Beijing cherishes the memory of president Charles de Gaulle, who, despite the opposition of France's allies, developed diplomatic relations with China, and positioned his country as a bridge for East-West communication.

Beijing views Macron as again putting his country in that role, and his personal commitment to engagement led to President's Xi's proposal to keep the partnership at the forefront of major-country relations.

From the space industry to climate change, the two countries have found a broad spectrum of opportunities for collaboration, and their standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of global challenges has reinforced the fact that by trying to push itself to the front the US risks ending up on the margin.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[HK judges must do duty, uphold the law]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521405.htm

There was no missing the underlying message when Han Zheng, the top State leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs, categorically urged the executive, legislative and judicial organs of the special administrative region to shoulder their common responsibility to bring the current unrest to an end and restore order in the SAR as soon as possible.

Indeed, Han's remarks at an official meeting with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuetngor in Beijing on Wednesday, will have struck a chord with the majority of Hong Kong people, who have had to put up with the seemingly endless suffering caused by the months-long campaign of disruption being waged by anti-government protesters.

That lenient sentences have been handed down to those found guilty of various offenses related to that campaign has served to fuel rather than end the unrest, as it has sent the wrong message, giving the impression that people can say or do whatever they like - no matter how illegal or violent - as long as they are driven by political cause.

More than 2,700 people have so far been arrested for various offenses during the turbulence over the past four months. But none of the arrestees has been jailed, with most released on bail on easy terms. In fact, many of the arrestees are repeat offenders.

That has raised questions about the neutrality and integrity of the judges and Hong Kong's legal system, which are tasked with providing a legal guarantee for the implementation of the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" framework, as well as Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance.

Judges should bear in mind that it is their duty to uphold the law. And that as such, it is their duty to ensure any offenders get their just deserts for any illegal behavior.

The central government has always provided strong backing for Hong Kong to maintain prosperity and stability, and it is reportedly considering ways to ensure a sound legal system and law enforcement mechanism to support the SAR government's efforts to restore stability, and let the city return to normal life.

Being firm and punishing the perpetrators of violence, vandalism and other offenses in accordance with the law will safeguard the wellbeing of all law-abiders in Hong Kong, and set the stage for the city recovering its reputation as a city of law and order.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[New flexible ticket prices will put high-speed trains back on the rails]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521404.htm

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN TICKET PRICES will change on Dec 1 with a flexible multi-tier pricing system being introduced based on different seasons, different time periods, different ticket classes and different operating regions. China Daily's Wang Yiqing comments:

According to media reports, the price adjustment this time involves more than 400 train services in seven major South-Eastern coastal railway bureaus.

The published ticket price will be the maximum ticket price with the lowest discounted by 55 percent. The price adjustments are based on the changing demand for tickets at different times, and aimed at encouraging passengers to travel during non-rush periods. It is a significant reform to improve the transport capacity and efficiency of high-speed railways through preferential prices.

The high-speed train ticket price adjustment this time mainly involves short-distance intercity high-speed trains, which shows the railway department's intention to lure short-distance passengers from their cars to trains. With a preferential ticket prices, the short-distance high-speed railway's other advantages such as convenience, safety, and no traffic jams, may make traveling by train more appealing to those making short intercity journeys.

Since the Department of Railway was canceled in 2013, China Railway has made great efforts to explore market-oriented development and it has made great achievements in recent years. But with the country's rapid economic development and the subsequent improvement in people's livelihoods, the railways face stiff competition. For long journeys, trains compete with planes. For shorter journeys they compete with coaches and cars.

A flexible ticket pricing mechanism has been applied by airlines for decades, which has increased the number of people choosing to travel by plane, and boosted the industry. The flexible price system for high-speed railway tickets shows that China Railway is clearly aware of the market competition and is taking a positive step to enhance market-oriented operations of the high-speed railways.

The flexible pricing mechanism will reportedly be extended to more trains next year, which will better serve the public and improve the efficiency of the high-speed railways nationwide.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Adverts are not why we buy TVs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521403.htm MANY SMART TV manufacturers reportedly preinstall advertisements that consumers must watch for about one minute after switching on their TV. Having asked the enterprises to give viewers the option of whether to watch the adverts or not, Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Association announced on Tuesday that none of the seven manufacturers it had talked to had complied with its request, while LeTV lagged even further behind by putting preinstalled advertisements in mandatory consumer agreements. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Why does a person buy a TV? To watch dramas, sports and other programs - not to watch advertisements.

Some adverts may be entertaining, but it should be the consumers' choice whether to view them or not.

The TV manufacturers are violating consumers' rights when they compel those who purchase their products to watch advertisements.

Yet as the Nanjing case shows, the TV manufacturers seem rather reluctant to put an end to what must be a lucrative revenue stream. According to reports, the Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Association even did not require them to totally stop installing the adverts. All it asked of the enterprises was they offer the TV user a virtual button that the latter could click and close any advertisement immediately.

In other words, the JPCA still allowed the existence of the preinstalled ads, and all it asked of the companies was that they offer the consumer the choice of whether to watch the adverts or not.

Yet the TV manufacturers did not respond positively to even this request. Anybody with even the most basic knowledge knows how easy it is to set up such a switch, but none of the seven enterprises did so. Worse, LeTV even openly challenged consumers' rights by hiding switch-on advertisements in its consumer agreements.

JCPA is only a consumer association and it has no power to punish the enterprises. It is time the relevant authorities stepped in to protect consumers' rights and put an end to the practice.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Fresh incentive for trilateral trade deal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521402.htm

Editor's Note: This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-Japan-Republic of Korea cooperation and China will host the eighth trilateral cooperation meeting later this year, which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reportedly attend. Columnist Niutanqin comments in a WeChat post:

Premier Li Keqiang met with Abe in Bangkok, Thailand, a day earlier during the 22nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and ROK leaders' meeting. Since last year, high-level meetings between Japan and China have strongly promoted the positive development of bilateral relations in the new era, and Japan is ready to strengthen dialogue and communication with China, deepen pragmatic cooperation and keep closer coordination in international and regional affairs, Abe said.

At a time when relations between Japan and the ROK are worsening, the holding of the trilateral leaders' meeting between the three Asian neighbors is inspiring and it will hopefully promote trilateral cooperation and jointly safeguard regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Despite being neighbors, China-Japan-ROK relations seem to be the most complicated in the world and every now and then they quarrel with each other, and even shut off diplomatic contact for some time. But finally, all are changing significantly. Abe paid a historic visit to China last year and China's top leader went to Japan for the G20 Summit in the summer. After hitting a historical low, the relationship between Japan and the ROK also shows signs of thawing as the two countries' leaders met for talks in Bangkok.

If handled well, China-Japan-ROK cooperation will usher in a new spring and have a far-reaching impact on the situation in Northeast Asia and the world economy. That the ties between China and Japan have walked out of their low point is inseparable from the wisdom of their decision-makers, and the smooth advancement of China-Japan-ROK relations also hinges on the wisdom of the three countries' leaders.

For healthy and lasting development of their ties, the three countries should properly handle the sensitive issues among them.

With the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership having basically taken shape, it should provide some momentum for the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Zone negotiations. There will be twists and turns in the process, and it will test the courage and vision of the decision-makers of the three countries, but it would be beneficial for all three countries.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[From world's factory to world market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521401.htm The rise of the China International Import Expo reflects China's huge transformation from world producer to world consumer and innovator. Speaking at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping pledged China will increase its imports, continue to broaden market access, foster a world-class business environment, explore new horizons of opening-up and promote cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels.

In order to safeguard and promote economic globalization, Xi said at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that "efforts to reduce tariff barriers and open up wider will lead to interconnectivity in economic cooperation and global trade". In contrast, "the practices of beggaring thy neighbor, isolation and seclusion will only result in trade stagnation and an unhealthy world economy".

Today, that message is critical. The World Bank has forecast only 2.6 percent global growth in 2019. That's the lowest since the global financial crisis. And the collateral damage of trade protectionism is spreading worldwide.

China shifts from exports to imports

In the past, the best known trade event in China was the Canton Fair in the southern Guangdong province. In October, even amid the US tariff wars, it attracted more than 210 countries and regions, 25,000 companies and some 200,000 potential buyers, most of which were from Belt and Road countries.

China is now promoting the CIIE as the world's first international import expo. Its partners include the World Trade Organization and key United Nations trade organizations, which understand well that the CIIE reflects China's structural rebalancing from investment and net exports toward innovation and consumption.

Shanghai, the most international Chinese city, is the natural host of the import expo. While the Canton Fair built its clout over decades, the Shanghai CIIE could become globally influential in a matter of years.

Despite international tensions, it has attracted foreign leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, diamonds from Belgium, Cambodian fragrant rice, and Kenyan farm products, along with US automaker Ford's cutting-edge Ford and Lincoln brands.

Despite the US-instigated trade war against China, almost 200 United States-based companies - from GE to Qualcomm - are participating in the CIIE and US companies have the largest exhibition space at the expo.

While the Canton Fair has morphed from traditional manufacturing exports to advanced technology, the CIIE is focused on imports. It's a massive shift in a country of more than 1.3 billion people. As China has prospered, its companies have invested increasingly abroad, while Chinese consumers can afford foreign imports thanks to reform and opening-up, and Chinese innovation in e-commerce.

Middle-income groups drive import growth

Recently, the European Union said its companies had provided positive feedback on the CIIE last year, registered increased sales or met new potential buyers.

Yet the EU wants China to do more vis��-vis EU-China investment agreement. Obviously, the US, the EU and Japan would like to see China implementing the kind of reforms that support their exporters in the near term. But such reforms cannot happen disruptively. Even the advanced countries fought two world wars and were engaged in a Cold War before import growth truly picked up internationally.

While the middle class is shrinking in the West, China's gradual reforms will ensure a rapidly expanding middle-income consumer base, the new precondition of international trade. As the "world's factory" is morphing into the world's largest market, rising numbers of consumers fuel import growth.

With China's intensive industrialization shift toward a post-industrial society, GDP growth is decelerating, but living standards, as measured by per capita income, are rising.

Which is vital for import growth over time and provides a blueprint for middle-income groups in other large emerging countries, such as India.

Consumers spend less after US launched tariff war

As long as globalization advances in both rich and middle-income economies, imports to China will increase. For instance, as the world economy was still recovering in early 2018, Chinese imports reached an all-time high. But after the US began imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, businesses invested more cautiously and consumers became more cost-conscious. After all, China's per capita income remains only 15-25 percent of that in the US and Western Europe.

Some US research firms expect China to become the world's top retail market this year itself, surpassing the US. The forecast may be optimistic, but the trend is clear.

Today, China's imports of goods and services are estimated to be about 10 percent of the global total and, given that the country is peaceful and stable, they will continue to expand.

China's focus is on economic development that shuns trade protectionism and seeks to balance the needs of the global economy and its own economy. That's why, instead of promoting "China First" nationalism and imposing excessive tariffs on imports, China is helping the Canton Fair to expand international trade and the CIIE to increase imports and that's why President Xi promotes globalization.

That's very much in the long-term interest of both the advanced and developing economies.

The author is the founder of Difference Group. He has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Belt and Road bolsters common development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521400.htm Editor's Note: At the Third International Forum on Belt and Road Initiative and Global Governance co-hosted by Fudan University and the Silk Road Think Tank Association recently, scholars, entrepreneurs and officials shared their views on how to transform the Belt and Road from an initiative to a successful shared endeavor. Following are excerpts from the speeches delivered by three experts:

Belt and Road bolsters economic globalization

Economic globalization has mainly benefited coastal economies from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Belt and Road Initiative, however, has prompted landlocked economies in Asia to further integrate into the world economy by connecting them to the coastal economies, and thus raised globalization to a new level.

To be sure, the Belt and Road Initiative has helped boost landlocked economies' development and improved the welfare of the people there. For example, the development of container shipping, air transportation, highways, high-speed railways and online financial tools has connected the landlocked economies with the coastal economies.

Besides, the rapid progress of the digital economy, and the emergence of new forms of industries and business models have helped digitalize the Belt and Road Initiative, by integrating online and offline business activities.

The Belt and Road Initiative will further boost globalization, and inject new impetus into developing countries while helping them share the fruits of globalization with developed countries.

Li Junru, former vice-president of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC

New Zealand the southern link in Belt and Road

The Belt and Road Initiative provides an opportunity for looking at the world differently. Or perhaps not so differently - after all it seeks to build on the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and Eurasia.

Another not-so-new idea which we believe the Belt and Road Initiative can help bring into reality is the "Southern Link". We have an opportunity before us to make New Zealand a major and natural connection or conduit for trade, travel and tourism between China and South America.

It's a simple fact: the quickest air route between Asia and South America is via New Zealand. This is a concept directly related to the Maritime Silk Road.

The Southern Link would involve routing passengers and multi-modal freight between China and South America via New Zealand, providing and facilitating a more seamless and convenient flow of goods and people compared with alternative hubs in the northern hemisphere.

The Belt and Road Initiative provides a new framework for future cooperation which will be enhanced through deeper understanding and improved governance. And the Southern Link is an idea whose time has come, but it is up to us to develop the partnership that can transform the route from vision to reality.

Visions are great, but turning them into reality requires hard work: we know that to build the Southern Link a number of changes will need to be made to both commercial strategy and public policy including transit visas, air service agreements and trade facilitation mechanisms.

But by being willing to work closely together, despite our differences and whether or not we might agree on all issues, China and New Zealand can demonstrate to the rest of the world that there is value to be created through openness and cooperation.

Don McKinnon, chairman of New Zealand China Council and former New Zealand foreign minister

A new style of global governance

Culture is destiny; this is the belief that led Asian countries to take the gradual community building process after World War II in their own way. They began by holding the first Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955, two years after the Korean War (1950-53), followed by the establishment of the Association of South East Asian Nations in 1976, one year after the end of the Vietnam War, and the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, five years after the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

Like the Bandung Conference and ASEAN, the Belt and Road Initiative also is the result of the failure of the United States-style of global governance.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are rooted in the political experience of Asian countries being the victims of Western military expansionism and global governance.

The Belt and Road Initiative rejects Western-style global governance both in the political and economic spheres. In this sense, one could conclude that the Belt and Road Initiative signals the beginning of the end of modernity, as we know it. This process has four core components.

First, in its form, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to establish a partnership system based on socio-economic win-win relations rather than politico-military alliance, which is founded on politico-military win-lose relations.

Second, as part of its objective, the initiative covers multi-dimensional fields - from infrastructural investment and development, and trade and transportation to energy and ecology, and socio-cultural interactions.

Third, in its method, the initiative is aimed at creating and strengthening connectivity beyond the borders to maximize the "bonus" of a huge population, more than 4 billion in Eurasia, as well as the "bonus" of a huge expanse of space, more than half of the globe from the East coast of China through the Eurasian continent to West Africa and Latin America.

And fourth, as part of its goals, the Belt and Road Initiative intends to promote green and sustainable development to combat climate change, as well as to create inclusive growth in contrast to the neo-liberal "casino" financial capitalism, so as to alleviate poverty, fight terrorism and mitigate deprivation in developing countries.

Eiichi Shindo, professor emeritus of the University of Tsukuba and director general of Belt and Road Initiative Japan Research Center

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Laws needed to regulate sales via live streaming]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/07/content_37521399.htm With the Singles Day sales on Nov 11 around the corner, it's time to reflect on "live streaming", which has boosted e-commerce in recent years.

He has been hailed as China's "best live streaming salesman". Yet he met his waterloo in a nonstick pan. This is the story of Li Jiaqi.

When Li was promoting a nonstick pan during a recent live streaming to show it is "really a nonstick pan", the egg his assistant fried stuck to the pan and got burned. Li's "live streaming accident "immediately went viral on the internet. Although he explained later that the egg stuck to the pan due to his assistant's "mistake", not because of any quality problems with the pan, public doubt over the product's quality persists.

A member of the post-1990 generation and a former cosmetics salesman and current male beauty blogger, Li became famous overnight on China's social media. Known as "the king of lipstick" thanks to his vast knowledge about cosmetics and excellent sales techniques, Li once sold more than 15,000 lipsticks in five minutes during a live streaming promotion, and reportedly earned more than 10 million yuan ($1.43 million) in one year.

After becoming one of the top social media influencers with a huge following, Li formed a team of several assistants and marketing personnel, who took charge of different aspects of live streaming sales including contacting enterprises, selecting products and promoting daily live streaming. And the products he now sells are no longer limited to cosmetics, but all kinds of daily use commodities including nonstick pans.

Li's quick success is nothing new. In the past, some TV shopping program anchors, too, performed sales miracles. Each era has its "best salesman", and Li is more like an "internet-updated version" of a salesman thanks to the livestreaming technology. For any good salesman in any era, the secret of success lies in winning consumers' hearts. And like many of his successful predecessors, Li seems to have mastered the "back-fence principle": he always talks like a friend or neighbor with his female audience, the main decision-makers when it comes to purchasing commodities for daily use, during live streaming.

What made Li "more successful" than his predecessors is social media, which can easily create a conversation-like scene in a live streaming room and provide a low-cost and convenient access to a huge audience. Live streaming overcomes the limitations of bricks and mortar stores and TV shopping programs thanks to the instant messaging technology, as well as the e-commerce and logistics system. To some extent, the success of Li is the success of a new retail promotion channel in the age of social media. Yet his meteoric rise as a social media influencer was also the cause of the blow he received following the "live-streaming accident", for his success made him confident of selling products which he didn't have any knowledge about.

Although we cannot be sure whether Li's "nonstick pan" accident was due to poor product quality, we are pretty sure that being a beauty blogger, Li has little knowledge about the nonstick pan he tried to promote. Many consumers purchase the products Li promotes because they trust him. And a salesman that customers trust should not promote any products before carefully reading their instructions and/or being familiar with them.

Controversies and problems about the products sold by online influencers, such as false quality claims, substandard goods and poor post-sales service, have been frequently reported by media outlets. Still, the lure of making a quick buck is irresistible to not only Li, but the entire industry.

The live streaming market has grown rapidly thanks to advanced internet technology and a huge and rising consumer population. Yet laws and regulations on live streaming sales lag far behind the development of the live streaming technology, leaving many loopholes and "gray zone" which could undermine consumers' interests. For instance, the laws and regulations don't specify clearly the responsibilities of a livestreaming salesperson or advertiser if the products he or she is promoting undermine consumers' interests. Therefore, regulators should enact specific laws to supervise live streaming sales.

In fact, keeping the Singles Day sales gala in mind, the National Radio and Television Administration has issued a document forbidding e-commerce platforms and live streaming programs from exaggerating claims about the products they promote, and swindling or misleading consumers. Hopefully, more laws and regulations on live streaming would be enacted to safeguard consumers' rights and guarantee the healthy development of this new industry.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-07 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Opening wider - that's good for both China and the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521113.htm

President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Tuesday indicated China wants the event to be a new platform to synergize global efforts to promote the irreversible trend of economic globalization for the benefit of all countries.

By reporting that most of the 98 initiatives that were agreed with foreign leaders at the first expo have been completed or going well, Xi was telling the world that China takes its words seriously, and it always matches its words with deeds.

Which should instill confidence in other countries that China will fulfill its pledge to deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation, and that it will continue to open its door wider to the world.

As Xi said, the country stands at a new historical starting point, and it is improving its governance system so that it can better promote reform, development and innovation to realize a higher level of opening-up. Which is a two-way street: Not only is the world big and full of opportunities for China, so too is China for the world - see for yourselves, he exhorted.

As one of the few countries to have a comparatively complete industrial system, fast expanding innovation ambition and ability, and first-class manufacturing capacity, China is in a good position to transform its championing of inclusive development into substantial forces to boost the global flow of production elements - which the world economy is in a dire need of - to deepen the integration of technologies, industries and market to better serve the whole of humanity.

With more than 90 percent of the world's economies in a synchronized slowdown, China has stepped forward to marshal efforts to realize better balanced globalization and a more efficient and responsive global economic governance system.

That's why the pro-globalization suggestions Xi proposed in his speech were warmly welcomed by his audience in the auditorium as they provided concrete actions on which countries and international organizations can concentrate their collective efforts.

True, few governments have the executive power and mobilizing capacity as their counterpart in China in translating vision into reality in a predictable manner. But that should not stop them from making their contributions to realize more inclusive and mutually beneficial development.

However, as Xi said, one country alone cannot solve all the problems confronting the global economy. China is playing its part in reaching out to other countries and offering them more market, investment and growth opportunities. Others should look toward the future and join hands to build a community of shared endeavor rather than letting go to pick up a trowel and mortar to build walls.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[Tougher restrictions required to stop online selling of e-cigarettes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521112.htm

DESPITE THE AUTHORITIES ISSUING a statement that all websites and apps selling e-cigarettes should be shut down and all online marketing campaigns halted, e-cigarettes are still being sold and advertized on the major domestic e-commerce platforms. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

On Nov 1, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration jointly issued a document aimed at strengthening the management of e-cigarettes to better protect minors.

The document called for e-cigarette producers to shut down their internet sales channels and withdraw online advertisements for e-cigarettes. The e-commerce platforms were urged to stop selling e-cigarettes online due to the high health risks posed by e-cigarettes and the vulnerability of minors.

While several e-cigarette producers quickly responded to the document and expressed their support, the major e-commerce platforms, including Taobao, T-mall, JD.com and Pinduoduo, have failed to respond and e-cigarettes can still be easily purchased on these e-commerce platforms. Some e-cigarette brands are even being used in their promotions for the Singles Day annual sales bonanza on Nov 11. In addition, these e-commerce platforms had no response to the media asking why they haven't implemented the ban on the online selling of e-cigarettes.

The reason that the e-cigarettes online sales ban has failed to be effective is because the document only "calls for" the producers to put a stop to their online selling, and it gives no specific deadline for stopping the sale of e-cigarettes online. And with e-commerce platforms being only "urged" to stop selling e-cigarettes, those e-commerce platforms without a sense of social responsibility have chosen to sell e-cigarettes as long as possible before a strict legislative ban is introduced.

On the other hand, many online retailers have taken advantage of the unclear definition of e-cigarettes to continue selling them. As an e-cigarette consists of cartomizer and e-cigarette atomizer, some retailers sell ecigarette atomizers claiming what they are selling are only digital products.

National standards should clearly define e-cigarettes and stricter regulations on e-cigarettes should be introduced at the earliest date to curb their online sale.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[US intimidating meddling to no avail]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521111.htm

The United States has developed a penchant for stoking tensions in the South China Sea on the occasion of the annual series of Southeast Asia meetings in recent years. And when the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their regional partners met in Bangkok over the past few days to discuss important issues concerning regional development, this year proved to be no exception.

Although the US president was absent from the meetings for the third consecutive year, which has been widely interpreted as showing the White House's indifference to the regional bloc, US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien stepped up to the plate and seized the occasion to lash out at China over the South China Sea issue.

Apart from the now habitual attempt of the US to make something out of nothing, by hyping up the issue of freedom of navigation, O'Brien also accused Beijing of using "intimidation" to try and stop ASEAN member states from exploiting their offshore resources.

A remark that shows the US is provocatively choosing to ignore the efforts China and ASEAN have made to ensure the waters remain calm.

Since last year, China and ASEAN members have been negotiating the text of a Code of Conduct, which aims to build lasting peace and stability in the South China Sea, with an eye on concluding the negotiations in three years.

At present, tension over the maritime disputes has greatly abated while regional enthusiasm for deepening maritime cooperation has increased.

In his meeting with leaders from ASEAN countries on Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said the first reading of the single draft negotiating text of the Code of Conduct had been completed ahead of schedule last year, and a second reading has begun.

Under such circumstances, ASEAN should guard against the meddling of the US in regional affairs, so as to protect the hard-won results that have been achieved so far.

As a force from outside the region, the US has been playing a disgraceful role in the South China Sea, usurping the maritime disputes between China and some of the ASEAN countries to fish for its own strategic gains in the region.

With China and the Southeast Asian countries resolved to conclude the Code of Conduct negotiations on schedule, the attempts by the US to interfere in regional affairs and sow the seeds of discord will only damage its own interests and status in the region.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[British democracy has become a farce]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521110.htm

Editor's Note: The United Kingdom will hold an early election on Dec 12 to try and get a breakthrough in the Brexit impasse. Xiakedao, a WeChat account owned by People's Daily Overseas Edition, comments:

The new prime minister is expected to be chosen between Boris Johnson, the leader of the ruling Conservative Party who is an avid supporter of Brexit, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of opposition Labour Party, who has said he will hold a second referendum on whether to remain in the European Union if he wins.

From the referendum which voted for the United Kingdom to leave the EU on June 23, 2016, to the first postponement of Brexit to Oct 31, 2019, and the second postponement to Jan 31, 2020, Britain has experienced endless political wrangling. Under the prism of "Brexit", the struggles between government and Parliament, between political parties, within political parties, among the public, between elites and grassroots, and between central and local governments have been amplified. There has been one farce after another in which various political forces are intertwined and even the queen has not been immune to this seemingly endless political game.

Everyone knows that the early election is a gamble, given that it will bring great risks to the ruling Conservative Party. If Johnson loses, that will give the Labour Party a chance to come into power and also provide other small parties with a chance to form a coalition government. The internal rifts among the main political parties caused by Brexit also make it impossible for the government to control Parliament through internal control of the ruling party. At the same time, Brexit has led to rising approval rating and support for other radical small parties, whose weight is expected to increase in future elections.

Meanwhile, a growing number of people in Scotland wish to acquire immunity from the English disease by putting an end to the Union and regaining Scotland's independence.

It is expected that, if British politicians fail to resolve the unfinished business of Brexit, the UK will continue to be trapped in the double predicament of political chaos and economic turmoil.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[No flying in the face of safety regulations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521109.htm ON SUNDAY, A YOUNG WOMAN POSTED ON her micro blog a photo taken in the cockpit of a commercial airline during a flight, which aroused public anger. On Monday, Air Guilin, the airline concerned, banned the pilot of the flight from flying for life and suspended all the crew members involved. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Some have defended the pilot and the crew by saying that the young woman might not pose any harm to the flight, but that defense is rather pale. An average commercial airliner usually carries more than a hundred passengers, and any distracting of the pilots or accidental knocking of the controls might cause the plane to crash.

The cockpit of any commercial airline is given the highest security and the woman's behavior and that of the flight crew were against domestic flight regulations. The pilot has got the penalty he deserves and there is nothing for him to complain about.

Yet the incident has raised public concerns. According to a news release of Air Guilin and the photos posted by the young woman herself, the incident occurred in January. Yet the disciplinary process did not start until November. If the young woman had not posted the selfie via micro blog, the incident might have never been revealed. If the young woman's photo had not created such a media fuss, what kind of action would the airline have taken. Worse, the incident has raised worries that such risky behavior might be taking place on other flights without anybody ever knowing about it.

Intrusion into the cockpit is a major risk to flight security and there should be no exceptions. The possibility must be eliminated. We cannot rely on public opinion for our security in the air. It is time to strengthen the regulatory mechanism of airlines and increase the punishments for anyone who dares break the rules and ignores passengers' safety. Flight security can never be compromised and there is no excuse for anyone doing so.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[Sage counsel for HK's future well-being]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521108.htm

Speaking publicly for the first time about the turmoil in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, President Xi Jinping said that ending the violence and chaos and restoring order are the most important tasks for the SAR government at present.

His remarks came after he was updated on the situation in the SAR by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, when they met on the sidelines of the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Monday.

Countering rumors that the central authorities have lost confidence in her government's ability to quell the unrest, he said they had a "high degree of trust" in her administration being able to stabilize the situation in the SAR. Urging her to be firm, he said that stopping the violence and punishing the perpetrators in accordance with the law is the way to safeguard the well-being of ordinary people in Hong Kong; the majority who just want to get on with their lives.

What the SAR is facing is an unprecedented challenge not only to its government, but also to the rule of law, its social and economic stability, as well as the implementation of the "one country, two systems" framework.

Xi's remarks were a signal, loud and clear, to the forces behind the current crisis that despite their persistence their destabilization campaign is doomed to fail.

His remarks served as a great morale booster for ordinary residents in the city, whose daily lives have been thrown into disarray and whose livelihoods damaged by the selfish attention seeking of some.

They were also a slap in the face for local and foreign forces that have been pandering to the disruptive and destructive exhibitionism of the rioters; hoping to discredit the SAR government and force Beijing into taking a hard line response that would see it being ostracized by foreign investors and the international community.

His words showed their ploy has failed.

To help the SAR find a way out of the current crisis, he indicated the way forward for the city, as well as his expectations of the SAR government - stop the storm of unrest, encourage dialogue among all sectors of society, and improve people's livelihoods.

And the SAR government is making headway in these directions. The introduction of the anti-mask law has effectively reduced the size of protests, a community dialogue has been held and more are being planned, and bold measures to tackle deep-seated problems, especially land and housing shortages, were announced in Lam's recent policy address.

Now, those Hong Kong residents who have the city's best interests at heart must render their full support to these efforts so they can have the desired effects.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[Expo aims to build an open world economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521107.htm The ongoing second China International Import Expo in Shanghai proves China remains committed to further opening up in order to build an open world economy in the new era. This is in line with China's pursuit of a new round of high-level opening-up and to further widen market access to the rest of the world.

As President Xi Jinping said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, China would open up wider and wider. He announced five measures to further promote high-level opening-up, including further opening up of the market, improving the structure of opening-up and the business environment, and continuously deepening bilateral cooperation and promoting shared development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Since the launch of reform and opening-up four decades ago, the international division of labor has brought China huge development opportunities and benefits. But despite export-oriented and high-speed growth helping China to become the world's second-largest economy, this mode of development is not sustainable in the long run.

True, after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, its exports grew at unprecedented speed - owing to its technological prowess, and low labor and production cost advantage - transforming it into the biggest trading country. But the model of quantitative economic growth also created many problems, for example, overcapacity that led to low efficiency of the resource distribution system, technical bottlenecks and environmental pollution.

Moreover, thanks to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, global consumer demand continues to be depressed, seriously compromising the efficiency and debt ratio of enterprises. Also, the fact that a large percentage of Chinese goods, according to the laws of economics, have gained larger shares in many markets could lead to trade disputes with other countries. Which would not be conducive to creating China's image as a responsible great power.

With the aim to solve these problems, the Chinese government has put forward a series of targeted measures to increase imports and reduce its trade surplus with other countries. In particular, the Central Economic Work Conference in December 2017 decided to balance foreign trade, by improving the quality of export products, increasing imports and reducing tariffs on some imports. These policy adjustments mean China is shifting from an export-oriented, high-speed growth model to an innovation-driven qualitative development model.

By further opening up its market, China wants to not only share its huge development fruits with other countries but also lower the possibility of trade frictions with other countries and improve the global trade system. Which in turn will help Chinese enterprises to further integrate with the global market and give China greater say in international governance.

As such, the expo is both a major initiative conforming to the development trend and the result of a strategic judgment based on China's development stage. The transformation from high-speed to high-quality development, however, necessitates a higher level of opening-up, in order to build a vigorous system, propel industrial upgrade and raise the development potential.

And the CIIE serves as a perfect channel to further open up the Chinese economy by increasing China's imports, reducing its trade surplus with other economies, helping developing countries to engage in and promote economic globalization, and bringing benefits to all countries. The expo thus sets a good example of China's efforts to deepen trade and economic cooperation with the rest of world.

In more ways than one, the expo meets the expectation of various countries to seek wider access to the Chinese market, so its spillover effects will not only create new development opportunities for China but also facilitate the free multilateral trade system, helping establish an innovative and inclusive global economic system. The expo will also better promote interconnectivity and be beneficial to negotiations on new rules for governing global trade.

The development strategy of the expo is to balance relations between China and other countries, by offering Chinese consumers access to newer and better products from different countries, and providing other developing countries with capital support and employment opportunities by creating new avenues to increase their exports.

To ensure that China meets its goals, it should continue to develop productive forces, expand effective supply and improve total factor productivity, as the expo is expected to contribute more on a systemic level, propel supply-side structural reform and lay a solid foundation for balancing global trade.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a researcher at Shanghai Academy. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[Ignoring HK riots, US uses human rights to maintain hegemony]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/06/content_37521106.htm What the United States can truly lecture other countries on is how to master the art of using double standard. On Friday night, several hundred protesters took to the streets in New York City to protest alleged police brutality. Yet on the same day, President Donald Trump tweeted: "NYC is getting dirty & unsafe again, as our great police are being disrespected, even with water dumped on them ..."

So what makes the New York demonstration different from the Hong Kong riots for Trump? Why are the violent demonstrations in Hong Kong a pursuit of democracy and human rights, and Hong Kong police's efforts to restore order and protect Hong Kong residents' rights a suppression of democracy? And why do Western media outlets keep distorting facts about the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region while justifying police action in the US, the United Kingdom and Spain to deal with protesters?

Even more ridiculously, the US House of Representatives passed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Oct 15, linking Hong Kong's human rights and democratic conditions with the US' trade policy toward Hong Kong. Now the Senate is reviewing the act, through which the US Congress wants to interfere in China's Hong Kong affairs.

According to the act, if the US doesn't find the human rights and democratic conditions in the SAR to its liking during its periodical reviews, it could suspend its free trade agreement with Hong Kong.

The act is a ludicrous attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. But then the US has always excelled in finding excuses to impose sanctions on other countries.

First, respect for each others' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in other countries' international affairs are two of the basic principles of international law, which should be abided by all countries. But the US has always ignored international law as it considers itself the world police and self-appropriated the right to judge other countries using its own standards. Which makes the US an ugly global bully.

Hong Kong belongs to China. And the central government sticks to the promise of upholding the "one country, two systems" and providing space for "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and granting it a "high degree of autonomy". So, as an outsider, the US has no right to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs, and the passing of the act is a blatant interference by the US in China's domestic affairs.

Second, although the House passed the act in the name of human rights and democracy, the US doesn't really care about those values. Instead, it is using so-called human rights as a diplomatic tool to impose increasing pressure on China. The human rights advocated by the US is not the same as stipulated in United Nation's Universal Declaration on Human Rights and widely recognized by international community, but a set of its own principles. And since nobody knows what the standards of the US' human rights are, it could interpret them to suit its own purpose.

Third, the US act confuses right with wrong, and encourages the rioters in Hong Kong to commit even more heinous acts. The US legislation wrongly describes the rioters' violent acts as a pursuit of democracy and human rights, and Hong Kong police's attempt to restore peace and order in the city as suppression.

For several months, the demonstrators have run riot in the SAR, damaging public facilities, impeding public services, attacking Hong Kong residents and police officers and disturbing people's normal life, which in simple terms are an infringement on people's human rights and freedom.

The so-called Hong Kong act is another example of the US trying to impose its hegemony. No wonder the Foreign Ministry spokesman has said China will resolutely oppose US hegemony and make more efforts, along with other developing countries, to maintain a fair world order.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of International Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-06 07:53:26
<![CDATA[Shared intent to improve bilateral relations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520821.htm

China and Australia vowed to improve bilateral ties on Sunday during a high-level meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on the sidelines of a series of Southeast Asia meetings in Bangkok, a message that is badly needed for both sides to steer their damaged relationship out of troubled waters and onto a more stable and healthy terrain.

Li said China and Australia should step up joint efforts to enhance mutual understanding and trust, properly handle differences, and return bilateral ties to the normal track. These remarks show Beijing still attaches great importance to ties with Canberra despite the fact that the latter was responsible for souring relations.

Judging by Morrison's remarks, Canberra seems ready to work with Beijing to repair the much damaged ties. Stressing the Australia-China relationship is not a bargain, Morrison said Australia looks forward to resuming exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

Morrison also said Australia, as a sovereign state, does not need to choose between Australia-China relations and Australia-US relations. This can be interpreted as a reassurance from Canberra that it may steer its China policy clear of any potentially disruptive influence from Washington.

The latest Australian stance shows Canberra has realized anchoring bilateral relations onto the normal track, instead of harming them, serves its interests best. It is also commendable that Morrison, since winning the election in May, has emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries on several occasions.

Yet for bilateral cooperation to fully leverage the benefits of the more pleasant climate, Australia needs to step forward and meet China halfway and work hard to maintain the correct and steady direction for bilateral cooperation. It should reflect on the lessons to be learned from the recent turbulence in bilateral ties and avoid the scenario of "making one step forward, two steps back".

One reason that bilateral ties have plummeted to such a low level is because Canberra has allowed the outdated "China threat" theory to dominate its policy toward China.

But with no historical grievance or conflict of fundamental interests standing between them, China and Australia should be able to forge friendly relations and they both have everything to gain from continuing to inject new vitality into bilateral cooperation.

Australia should view China's development as an opportunity, not a threat, and stop crying wolf in the face of normal people-to-people interactions between the two sides.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Innovation board drives stock market reform]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520820.htm

Editor's Note: In a recent interview with the media, Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission Yi Huiman said the pilot registration system marks the biggest institutional breakthrough in the reform of the science and technology innovation board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the direction for the reform of the entire capital market. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

On Nov 5 last year, President Xi Jinping announced at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo that the science and technology innovation board would be set up and a registration system piloted. Over the past year, the smooth establishment of the science and technology innovation board with its pilot registration system has been the top priority for the reform of China's capital market.

Replacing administrative review and approval with the pilot registration system is the biggest institutional breakthrough of the science and technology board. After more than 100 days since its launch, the trial of the registration system has advanced in a smooth and orderly manner, with all procedures open and transparent.

After withstanding market tests, the science and technology innovation board now shoulders two major missions. The first is to promote China's economic innovation transformation through the force of the capital market, that is to say, forming an effective system to cultivate excellent scientific innovation enterprises. The second is to promote the reform of China's capital market through this "experimental field".

The difficulties involved in listing and delisting have long been chronic diseases in China's capital market. The establishment of the science and technology innovation board and its pilot registration system mark an important breakthrough in comprehensively deepening reform of China's capital market and the board is the main "prescription" to treat the chronic diseases.

The science and technology innovation board and its registration system represent the future of China's capital market reform and this "experimental field" shoulders the important task of leading the country's innovation so that the Chinese stock market can better serve the Chinese economy.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Biometric data collection faces public backlash]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520819.htm GUO BING, AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR of law at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, has sued a local safari park because it requires members to mandatorily enter via a facial recognition lane. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Guo sued the park for compulsorily collecting biological information after it upgraded its system to use facial recognition for admission, arguing that it was violating China's consumer protection law by compulsorily collecting individual facial characteristics of visitors. The lawsuit has already been accepted by a local court, becoming the first court case involving the use of facial recognition in China.

Yet the safari park is neither the first commercial company to collect facial information nor is Guo the first person to have his facial information collected. For years, many gyms, office buildings, even zoos have installed facial recognition devices at their entrances.

The advantage they list is always the same: convenience. With facial recognition, each member can easily pass within one second. With facial recognition, the organization can easily store the information of members and match them with its database to know who is who, and provide tailored services if they want.

However, there are also disadvantages and risks. Where is all the facial information stored? Is it secure? Is the organization collecting the information trustworthy or is there the possibility it may sell facial information to an illegal profit chain? All these questions are there, waiting for an answer.

That does not mean that facial recognition technology should be forbidden, as like any technology, whether it is harmful or not depends on how it is used.

However, proper rules are needed on who can collect facial information and what constitutes proper use. While it is reasonable for law enforcement purposes, facial features are sensitive personal information, as Guo said, and can jeopardize consumers' safety if leaked.

The organizations that collect and store human facial information must be regulated. It goes too far to allow commercial companies, such as the zoo in this instance, to freely collect facial information and use it at will.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Tsai stranded on wrong side of history]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520818.htm

It remains unknown how discomfited the Tsai Ing-wen administration felt the moment it learned of the latest basket of measures the Chinese mainland has unveiled to further economic and cultural exchanges across the Straits. However, while it is predictable that Tsai and her colleagues will heap scorn on the new measures, the warm response Wang Yang, head of the mainland's top political advisory body, received from Taiwan entrepreneurs when he announced the measures speaks volumes about the measures' pertinence.

Speaking to hundreds of Taiwan entrepreneurs at a cordial face-to-face meeting in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Monday, he unveiled 26 measures that encompass not only trade and investment, but also culture and sports.

This is the second batch of Taiwan measures Beijing has rolled out, after a package of 31 measures was announced in February last year. Although Tsai called those nothing but "bait" to lure Taiwan people to support reunification of the island with the motherland, they have had evident effects.

Cross-Straits trade hit a record $226.2 billion last year, up 13.2 percent year-on-year, and capital from Taiwan was invested in 4,911 projects on the mainland, an increase of 41.8 percent year-on-year. The accumulated effects of the two batches of measures will predictably be even more substantial, and therefore more provocative to Tsai and her like-minded secessionists, because when they are put into place people from almost all walks of life on the island will find it easier to live, work, invest and travel on the mainland.

It is noteworthy that the 26 measures are effective from the moment they are promulgated, which is remarkable for both the efficiency and intensity, as through the new measures Beijing is opening up many so-called sensitive industries, research fields and mainland markets to Taiwan, such as advanced equipment manufacturing, transportation, 5G telecommunications, culture, agriculture and finance, which presents many new opportunities for Taiwan entrepreneurs.

An opening-up of such a scale and depth was almost unimaginable a few years ago, as many of the fields are considered to be of strategic importance to financial, food and cultural security. Granting Taiwan entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and travelers with the same treatment in these key sectors, even including consulate protection around the world, has unequivocally demonstrated Beijing's confidence in its judgment that cross-Straits integration and finally reunification is an irreversible historical trend that will benefit compatriots on both sides of the Straits.

No doubt Tsai and those with a similar predilection for independence will beg to differ. But their isolation from reality means history will simply pass them by.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Legislation must be stringent to keep youngsters safe online]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520817.htm

THE LEGISLATION PROCESS should be accelerated to better protect children from unhealthy information online. Gmw.cn comments:

According to a national juvenile internet usage report released last year, 30.3 percent of the juvenile internet users have encountered illegal or unhealthy information during their internet surfing. New Era Underage Female and Family Internet Literacy provides more shocking data: about 29.3 percent of girls have been harassed online.

The internet provides more convenient access to information, but youngsters are more likely to be exposed to unhealthy information, as the social "living room culture" has changed to an isolated "bedroom culture". During the "living room" era, television was the main medium of information, which means that parents could more easily supervise what information their children could access. But in the era of the internet, it is difficult for the parents to establish an information firewall when children browse the internet using their smartphones on their own in their bedrooms. Youngsters today are therefore more vulnerable to unhealthy information, internet addiction, internet bullying, sexual predators and disclosure of their personal information.

To protect young internet users, the internet platforms must be gatekeepers and guardians. Many internet companies nowadays have mature algorithms to precisely recognize their targeted customers, which means it should be possible for them to recognize juvenile internet users and establish grading system to protect them. But many of them lack the urge to do so, because youths are a huge and profitable market.

However commercial interests must be placed below the legitimate rights and interests of minors.

At present China lacks necessary legislation to protect children online, which makes the internet a gray zone of juvenile protection.

The Juvenile Internet Protection Regulation will be introduced later this year, and there will also be specific articles on juveniles' internet protection in the newly revised Law on Protection of Minors. It is to be hoped that this law and the new regulation will prompt the internet companies to better protect minors online.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[ASEAN meetings herald new era for East Asia's economic integration]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520816.htm

The just-concluded series of meetings in Bangkok will go down in the history as a critical milestone for the economic integration of East Asia and broader regional development.

The successful conclusion of the seven years of negotiations on the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which is set to be signed next year, is on its own an historic achievement.

Leveling trade barriers between the 10 ASEAN member countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, the RCEP would emerge as the world's largest trading bloc. One accounting for one-third of global GDP and trade, and covering nearly half the world's population.

This is East Asia and the broader region's collective answer to the rampant unilateralism and protectionism coming from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. There is no better illustration of the countries' unshakable commitment to multilateralism and free trade. There is no better way to help the region overcome the tide of troubles originating from the trade war between China and the United States.

As the US-instigated trade war seeks to demolish multilateral trading regimes worldwide, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations attending the 22nd China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, the 22nd ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting and the 14th East Asia Summit, expressed their shared conviction that the consensus that has been reached "will significantly contribute to an open, inclusive and rules-based international trading system and expansion of value chains". A belief that is obviously shared by all prospective RCEP members.

For China, in particular, this comes as a timely boost to the international campaign it is spearheading for the preservation of economic globalization against the threats of protectionism and unilateralism.

This, along with the envisioned China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area, on which negotiations may accelerate in the wake of the RCEP's progress, will substantially upgrade economic and trade relations across the Asia-Pacific, injecting fresh vitality into local economies.

The China-ASEAN joint declaration on synergizing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, issued on Sunday, is an ambitious road map that will further substantiate and catalyze the already strong and rewarding China-ASEAN partnership.

ASEAN has become China's second-largest trade partner since January, and trade with ASEAN has shown the fastest growth among China's top three trading partners. So fast that Chinese and ASEAN leaders are talking about raising bilateral trade to an annual $1 trillion soon.

With the RCEP and various other cooperation mechanisms in place, things will surely get better and better for all countries in the regional community.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Committed to promoting globalization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520815.htm The recent Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee stressed the importance of further opening-up. In fact, China has always been committed to further opening-up, as its hosting of the 2nd China International Import Expo demonstrates. And it has chosen to do so not out of pressure from the outside world, but to achieve its goal of qualitative economic development and to share its development fruits with its trade partners.

True, the world economy has, to a certain extent, recovered from the global financial crisis. However, it still lacks a strong driving force which, together with differentiated growth, is impeding economic globalization. Affected by this in no small measure, the Chinese economy has gradually entered a period of medium-speed growth.

In the face of multiple pressures and challenges at home and abroad in the new era, China is taking measures to offset the effects of the protectionist and exclusionist policies adopted by some developed economies. Upholding the banner of openness, cooperation, development and mutual benefit, China has become the most important supporter of the multilateral trading system and an open world economy.

China has maintained medium-high-speed growth in the new era, and by gradually realizing supply-side structural reform and upgrading its industries, it is transforming its economic structure. A more open Chinese economy is not only the main stabilizing force and driver for global growth; it can also provide stronger support to the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as the core, and help build a more open world economy.

As the biggest developing country and most important emerging economy, China has adopted the most sincere and inclusive approach to global growth and firmly stands with the emerging and developing countries, becoming their friend and partner, as well as the most avid representative and defender of the multilateral trading and global economic systems.

Amid rising unilateralism and protectionism, China's role in upholding the multilateral trading system and helping build an open world economy has become increasingly prominent. This has made it the focus of international attention, a source of confidence and a driver for the global economy.

First, China remains a firm advocator and defender of the multilateral trading system and an open world economy. Even when some countries have adopted unilateral trade, investment and financial policies in pursuit of self-interests, China continues to promote cooperation and openness, safeguard multilateralism and the global economic governance, and further open up to help build an open world economy.

Second, China remains a main driver of the multilateral trading system and an open world economy. It has also become the biggest trading partner to more than 120 countries and an important member of several major economic forums and trade and economic cooperation mechanisms. And the opening up of the Chinese economy to the outside world has created innumerable opportunities for other countries to share its development dividend, and injected new vitality into the world economy since the global financial crisis.

Third, China remains a constructive force for the reform of the world economic order. Its advocates necessary reforms to the WTO - while ensuring it maintains its core role in the multilateral trading system - by calling for a new round of quota adjustment and governance structure reform of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and works with other developing countries to promote constructive reform in the global economic order.

In the process of safeguarding globalization and promoting constructive reform of the global economic governance system, China has helped protect the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and their development space.

China and other developing countries have similar experiences, and pursue independent economic development policies. Especially, since the beginning of the new era, China has embarked on a development path according to its actual condition in order to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and provided its development experience for other developing countries to explore and, if found suitable, implement.

China will always be a natural partner of developing countries. In the new era, it has offered more and better public goods to the international community, developing countries in particular, through the Belt and Road Initiative. And its continuous efforts to further open up, as the two import expos show, have helped developing countries to enter the Chinese market and share the dividends of economic development with China.

China will continue to represent developing countries in the international arena. And under the framework of global organizations such as the United Nations, G20, WTO, World Bank and the IMF, it will continue to help consolidate the unity among developing countries, back the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by promoting the BRICS group and other cooperation mechanisms for emerging economies, and protecting the rights and interests of developing countries and their development space.

The author is an associate professor at the School of Government and director of the BRICS Cooperation Research Center, Beijing Normal University.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[How to modernize national governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520814.htm

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which concluded last week, summarized 13 advantages that China's national governance system enjoys, and proposed 13"insists and improves", laying down the timetable and road map for the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability. Specifically, three points should be underlined to implement the decision of the Fourth Plenary Session.

First, the concept of national governance should be modernized, as development ideas determine actions, and the pioneering role of ideas should be given full play in order to improve the national governance system and governance capability. The ideas of comprehensively promoting law-based governance, people-centered governance, scientific governance, comprehensive governance and putting equal emphasis on innovation, and reducing risks should be integrated into the process of modernizing the national governance system and governance capability.

Second, the modernization of the national governance mechanism should be expedited in accordance with the principles of socialism with Chinese characteristics. And the key to improve governance capability lies in adhering to the Party's leadership. CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping's status as the core of the Party, as well as the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee should be firmly safeguarded to improve the mechanisms for the Party's leadership in major initiatives, and the institutional advantage of accomplishing major tasks fully leveraged.

Besides, the reform of the Party and government organs should be deepened to maintain the comprehensive and coordinated leadership of the Party. An efficient legal system should be built, during which legal authority should be valued, fairness and justice upheld, judiciary reform must be deepened and the rule of law promoted. Also, the national governance system should be constantly improved, for instance, by transforming and standardizing the government functions and governance procedures.

There is also a need to build a governance system that stresses clear-cut and law-based responsibilities. As far as the economy is concerned, the relationship between the market and the government should be made clearer, with the government more vigorously promoting high-quality development and building a modern economic system. The government should also strengthen its role in transforming the economy, supervising the market and society, providing public services, and protecting the environment and ecology, so as to promote good governance.

While the construction of a social governance model based on collaboration, participation and common interests should be accelerated, social governance must be made law-based, smart and professional. And social forces and resources, along with the government, should work under the guiding principle that the Party leads, the government shoulders responsibilities, society collaborates, the public participates, and the law protects.

Moreover, the capability of foreseeing, preventing and resolving social contradictions and the three-dimensional security network should be improved to ensure orderly social development and promote social governance. To strengthen and improve the mechanism that promotes the leading role of the Party in improving grassroots-level governance is the key to build an extensive and solid community-level governance system. It is also important to improve social governance construction by using Internet Plus in order to build a community-level governance system that combines autonomy, rule of law and rule of virtue.

Third, the national governance system should be modernized with the help of innovation and by making full use of modern technologies, while democratic governance methods have to be put into practice. Among which the most essential for fully leveraging democracy are improving the people's congress mechanism, the Party-led multi-party cooperation and political consultation system, regional ethnic autonomy system, and the community level self-governance system, consolidating and developing an extensive patriotic front, and improving the socialist consultative mechanism.

Furthermore, cultural governance methods with Chinese characteristics should be used to improve governance by, for example, building a cultural public service system and cultural supervision system, while technological governance means must be made full use of, so as to ensure scientific innovation promotes the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability, reduces governance costs and makes governance more efficient.

The use of technology in national governance could guarantee more accurate monitoring and evaluation of the governance system, and improve risk predictability in national governance, as high-tech including big data and blockchain could significantly improve public service and governance.

And the barriers impeding data flow and data sharing should be removed, public data platform opened to the public, and personal information better protected.

Wang Xiaoguang is deputy director of and a professor at the Department of Economics, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, and Liu Ying is a PhD at the Graduate School of Party School of the Central Committee of CPC. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[UNDP will strengthen partnership with China to achieve SDGs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/05/content_37520813.htm The 2019 China International Import Expo being held in Shanghai this week coincides with the United Nations Development Programme's four-decade development partnership with China. About 1 million people are expected to see new products and technologies being showcased by more than 150 countries from different industries all around the world. The expo, in its second year, is in many ways representative of China's increasingly important role in international trade and global engagement.

Indeed, China's trade volume is the largest in the world, and the country has become one of the world's leading export markets. This rise has also created an opportunity for China to be an important international financing and development partner. In 2017, China's total foreign direct investment was more than $100 billion. And China's official development assistance is helping partner countries around the globe in reducing poverty and improving people's livelihoods, while supporting advancement in areas such as agriculture, health, education and energy.

China's own development journey has been truly unprecedented. Just over 40 years ago, its economy was smaller than that of the Netherlands, now it is the world's second largest. More than 750 million people have been lifted out of poverty and per capita income has increased over 20 fold.

China is also the only country to have progressed from the low to high category on the human development index since the UNDP introduced it in 1990.

Over the course of four decades, the UNDP has been a privileged partner supporting China's development. From introducing the overall concept of sustainable development to China and fostering its acceptance and integration into governmental policies, to working for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and now the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNDP has made important contributions to the country's transformation.

As China launched economic reform and opening-up, the UNDP was the first international organization to establish an office in China (in 1979) and assisted China with the transfer of global technologies, ideas and knowledge. This contributed, perhaps most notably, to the piloting of the first special economic zone in Shenzhen. Throughout the 1990s, we helped foster talents and strengthen capacities of the country by drawing on international experience and mobilized international financing.

The UNDP also supported China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 by working with the State Intellectual Property Office to increase the government's capacity to handle intellectual property issues on global standards. Great emphasis was placed on energy and the environment, with the UNDP working on multiple initiatives to lower carbon emissions including the development of a national emissions trading system.

Today, the SDGs lie at the heart of the UNDP-China relationship. The 17 SDGs represent a global promise: to end poverty, reduce inequality and ensure the future of life on earth. These goals align with the Chinese government's goals of ending poverty and pursuing "open, innovative and inclusive development that benefits everyone".

Although some advances have been made toward achieving the SDGs, many obstacles still remain. Globally, progress is insufficient to reach the zero-poverty goal by 2030 and inequality within countries is rapidly rising. While China is on track to eradicate extreme rural poverty by next year with currently only 1.7 percent of the population living below the national poverty line of 2,800 yuan ($398) a year, inequality in China is on the rise. The urban rural divide remains high, so does the inequality within cities with migrant populations often belonging to the unregulated part of the economy who do not have the same access to social security and services.

Climate change is also an impediment to the pursuit of sustainable development everywhere. The past five years have been, collectively, the warmest on record with carbon dioxide emissions relentlessly rising. The world is not on track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. China, given the size of its economy, is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions despite massive investments in renewable energy.

Moving into 2020 and beyond, the next focus for China will be on reducing multidimensional poverty, taking into account education, health and living standards, and protecting the ecological balance to make the SDGs real for everyone, everywhere.

In addition to partnering with China to address development challenges at home, the UNDP's goal will increasingly also be to support China in helping other countries to pursue their sustainable development ambitions. With ambitious visions such as the Belt and Road Initiative, China has already become a significant driver of growth in many developing countries, particularly through South-South cooperation.

The "future is not what it used to be". Our New Era is increasingly complex and interconnected. Changes in all respects - economic, social and environmental - have accelerated much faster than change in institutions.

Meeting the UN's 2030 Agenda calls for integrated approaches to sustainable development and strengthened cooperation among all stakeholders. We need coordinated efforts and accelerated actions by countries, cities, civil society, academics, innovators and companies, to turn the SDGs into a shared reality.

The world has come a long way over the last 40 years, but there is more work to be done. In the future, sustainable development can be an integral part of life, in every city and every village. A planet that can sustain everyone, and a society that can include everyone: that is our next destination.

And China is key to reaching it.

The author is the resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-05 07:42:03
<![CDATA[Intensifying violence in Hong Kong calls for tougher line to restore order]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520529.htm

Radical protesters in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region went on the rampage again on the weekend, blocking thoroughfares, vandalizing shops and buildings, setting fire to subway stations, beating up passers-by, planting nails on roads, and attacking police officers with petrol bombs, bricks and other objects.

Such acts, which serve no other purpose than to vent the anger of some young people at grievances real and imagined and give them a frission of daredeviled lawbreaking, have seemingly become weekend amusement for some in Hong Kong.

As has now become the norm, businesses affiliated with the mainland are considered fair game for vandalism, presumably under the mistaken belief that is less harmful to the rioters' livelihoods and will have less public blowback. This time Xinhua News Agency's Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau office building in Wan Chai was targeted by the rioters, who destroyed the building's security facilities, spray-painted insulting words on the walls and smashed the front gate and some of its windows before throwing firebombs and paint bombs into the lobby.

Saturday's assault on the Xinhua News Agency offices and the previous verbal and physical attacks on journalists and reporting crews from other news outlets such as TVB and Taikungpao are strategically consistent. The radical protesters have been trying hard to convince the world they are championing a noble cause in a peaceful manner rather than engaging in wanton violence. To this end, they court the indulgence extended to them by friendly local and Western media outlets, while seeking to silence those trying to put the protests in the spotlight of truth-revealing them to be nothing more than adolescent hormones pumped up and primed by those willing to exploit them for their own purposes.

Any media outlets or individual journalists who adhere to professionalism and tell the world the truth about Hong Kong's so-called uprising, who refuse to glorify anarchism or the demonizing of the Hong Kong police have automatically become a thorn in the flesh of the radicals and a target for their vigilante retribution.

The black-clad rioters' obsession with umbrellas and masks is an extension of their strategy to hide their shocking criminal acts and the truth about their violent campaign. But they are naive to think that they can fool the world and win the support they want with such clumsy tactics. They are doomed to fail simply because their violence will encounter the full weight of the law.

The central authorities indicated on Friday that they intend to establish and strengthen the legal system and enforcement mechanism in the SAR to safeguard social order and national security. Those Hong Kong residents whose lives have been disrupted by the intensifying violence of intimidation - instigated and organized by those hoping to use Hong Kong as a means to destabilize the nation - will be glad when life returns to normal.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[West devious human rights standard bearer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520528.htm

Last week at a United Nations conference, 23 countries, led by the United Kingdom and the United States, criticized China's anti-terrorism and counter-extremism policies in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. That their allegations were ill-founded and ill-intentioned is indubitable, as evidenced by the more than 60 other countries which gave short shrift to their accusations. They praised China for its achievements in restoring peace and stability in the region and upholding the human rights of all who live there.

These 60-plus countries, which have a more objective view of the challenges that China faces in the region, denounced the bid by the US and its allies to defame China's de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang, and opposed their use of human rights as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs.

The international support China has gained for its anti-extremism measures in Xinjiang underscores the failure of some Western countries to employ a double standard on terrorism, in which they try to portray their actions as laudable contributions to the fight against terrorism while defaming those who are not in their good books as violating human rights.

Over the years, Western countries have habitually used their so-called human rights concerns as justification for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. The US has even used human rights as a means to engineer regime change.

But the attempts by the US and its allies to smear China's anti-extremism initiatives in Xinjiang expose how politically motivated their banner waving is.

Thanks to the effective measures introduced by the central government and the solidarity of all ethnic groups, Xinjiang is now a much safer place. There has not been a single violent terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years.

During the same period, there have been terrorist attacks in many countries around the world, indicating how valuable China's exploration of counter-extremism initiatives in Xinjiang may be for other countries to emulate. The peace, stability and prosperity that Xinjiang enjoys today, are testament to the effectiveness of the measures it has introduced, which include the vocational training and education centers that are being much maligned by Western countries.

By effectively safeguarding the right of people of all ethnic groups to participate in development and share the fruits of development, China is actually making new progress in human rights protection not just for Xinjiang, but also for other places plagued by pernicious extremism.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[CNN's presumption shows its true colors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520527.htm

Contrary to its original statement that the 39 people found dead in a lorry in Essex, Britain, were "believed to be Chinese nationals", the Essex Police now "believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals".

This is not unusual for an investigation into illegal migration across borders of multiple countries.

Even at this point, the latest police statement on the identities of the victims remains an assumption awaiting confirmation, and any conclusion will be premature until the identity of each and every victim is established without a shadow of a doubt.

That it is the worst mass death of illegal migrants in the United Kingdom since 2000, and that the misleading statement on their nationality was at a time when any means to misrepresent China is being warmly welcomed by some, it should come as no surprise the incident has made headlines worldwide.

That dozens of youthful lives perished on their way toward a destination that they believed offered them a better future calls for reflection on the development gaps that nurtured their dreams.

For media outlets covering the tragic incident, however, there is a more immediate lesson to be learned.

Some Western media reports about the incident left a lot to be desired, at least from the Chinese perspective, as they deviated from their longstanding claim to professionalism, impartiality, and loyalty to the truth.

CNN has been singled out because, taking Essex Police's preliminary assumption for granted, one of its reporters presumptuously asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson why are people risking their lives to leave it at a time when the country is proudly proclaiming what it has achieved over the past 70 years.

The latest Essex Police statement is a slap in CNN's face.

CNN's attempt at humiliating China has merely heaped humiliation on itself.

It must be profoundly awkward for CNN and mainstream Western media to have the truth inconveniently pull the rug out from under them; to have their proclaimed impartiality so mortifyingly exposed as arrogant prejudice.

Looking back on Western media reports on the case, almost all mainstream Western media outlets said Essex Police "confirmed" the 39 were Chinese nationals on Oct 24, with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation being one of the very few who bothered to state they were "believed to be Chinese".

In their haste, the others were caught red-handed in their true intent.

At the end of the day, it should be the facts that matter to journalists and the media organizations they work for, not what they would like the story to be.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Chinese-developed drug treatment holds promise of cure for Alzheimer's]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520526.htm ON SATURDAY, the National Medical Products Administration approved a new medicine co-developed by several Chinese teams, which will provide new treatment options for Alzheimer's disease patients. Tu Ewen and Zhou Jian, two senior doctors on brain science at the Brain Hospital of Hunan province, comment:

Previously, Alzheimer's disease used to be called senile dementia but that practice has been given up. One of the main reasons for that is to avoid insulting the patients, while another is that senile dementia is far from enough to properly describe and cover all the people suffering from the disease.

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, the patient may simply seem to be forgetful. He/she might forget to close the door, or forget to switch off the gas after cooking. But as the disease progresses, he or she even forgets where his/her home is after walking in the park, and some patients even gradually lose the ability to speak, with his/her character being altered and mental state turning abnormal.

If untreated, in the end the patient might even be unable to take care of him/herself. For the family, that is a tragedy because other family members have to watch their beloved changing day by day. And for society, Alzheimer's is a heavy medical and financial burden because each patient needs several caretakers and heavy medical resources.

The total number of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease worldwide might be as high as 46.8 million, of which 6 million are in China. Unless the situation is controlled, by 2050 the total number of patients in China might exceed 20 million, making it the highest in the world.

Yet the cause of Alzheimer's disease has been unclear, as medical researchers we only know it is associated with abnormal deposits of a kind of amylum protein, which kills the neurons in human brains.

For a long time, the main treatments for Alzheimer's in the early stage concentrated on such things as boosting the action of several different neurotransmitter systems. However, the treatment this time has hit a new point by balancing the intestinal flora of the human body to curb the amylum protein from depositing too fast in human cells.

That new thinking has already got support from clinical tests and it will be put into use now it has received approval from the National Medical Products Administration.

Of course, gaining the approval is only one key step for the new medicine's march forward. It is too early to say that it is a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Whether Alzheimer's can be cured will depend on the performance of the new medicine in actual use.

But the new medicine does offer hope.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Old heating rules should be changed]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520525.htm ON NOV 1, North China's Tianjin began delivering its annual central heating service to its residents, two weeks ahead of the national schedule. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

According to the national schedule, heating companies are required to provide central heating services to residents no later than Nov 15. For decades, residents in the northern provinces, cities, and autonomous regions had to wait until that day to get warm indoors.

However, the weather varies from year to year, and the cold days may come before that date. Especially in recent years, the temperature in Beijing and neighboring Hebei province often falls to only a few degrees centigrade in early November.

Thus people are already feeling the cold, but they have to wait another two weeks to get warm. People even jokingly say that the coldest days in Beijing and Hebei do not fall in December when temperatures often fall below 0 C, but in early November when the temperature can be 8 C.

Tianjin has set a good example by starting the heating supply early. In fact its formal heating is not only half a month ahead of schedule but also extended half a month, as instead of ending on March 15 it will continue to March 31. Other places should follow its example and provide their heating services ahead of schedule and extend the supply period if necessary. At present in Beijing, for example, the heating can be started before Nov 15 when the temperature falls below 5 C for five successive days. However, that prerequisite might be too high and a more convenient measure is to follow Tianjin's example by setting the date earlier, which can better meet people's needs.

With modern forecasting and climate modeling techniques it should be possible to modify the heating calendar according to the actual conditions, and advance and extend the heating period as necessary.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Three key areas for next wave of innovation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520524.htm Editor's Note: In a recent interview with 21st Century Business Herald, Yossi Vardi, a renowned Israeli high-tech entrepreneur, spoke highly of China's endogenous technologies. China Daily summarizes his main ideas from the Chinese-language report:

In the past, the general impression of China was it was a highly efficient producer that manufactured many products, but now that has changed. People believe it is an innovator that can create many high-tech products. For example, its popular real-time communication app for smartphones is highly competitive.

I think we can compare China's innovation to a wheel that's going forward at great speed. In 2017, China had 1.5 million engineers, the highest in the world and three times that of the runner-up.

If any advice is needed, I advise China to strengthen construction of its ecological system for business startups. Business startups require support at first, because many struggle in the early stages.

About the internet, I think we are at a new starting point. When it comes to innovation, each generation has its own ideas and each generation stands on the shoulders of its predecessors. The seeds we sow today will grow within three to five years, not three to five decades.

The internet has changed the world, and a new round of new technologies will change our world, too.

Innovation has changed traditional sectors such as manufacturing and electronics, and we believe new innovations will emerge.

There are three key areas in the future. First, quantum computing, which will greatly lower the cost of the computing sector, make computers much smaller in size, and enable us to deal with data in real time. Now we can only diagnose diseases when people already have them or are about to have them. In the future, with the help of big data and artificial intelligence, we will do better in early-stage diagnoses.

Third, intelligent manufacturing. With the help of AI and faster communication, intelligent manufacturing will do better.

Besides the above-mentioned, all sectors will become better with the progress of 5G and AI, which will help them cut their manufacturing costs and improve their efficiency.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Foreign trade vital to boosting economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520523.htm That China is holding the 2nd China International Import Expo shows it is committed to promoting shared prosperity and mutual benefit. The five-day expo in Shanghai from Tuesday also shows China's resolve to become a trading power which, among other things, will inevitably benefit its trade partners.

The 2019 Global Competitiveness Report released on Oct 9 ranked China 28th. The country has retained its position from last year while improving its comprehensive score by 1.3 to remain ahead of the other BRICS countries.

Since China aims to enhance its global economic competitiveness, it is important for it to promote qualitative development of its foreign trade, and take all the necessary measures to develop into a global trading power.

As far as relevant indicators of competitiveness are concerned, China has outperformed many countries in terms of market size, adoption of information and communications technology (ICT), innovation capability, infrastructure construction and macro-economic stability. Still, China is relatively weak when it comes to institutions, skills, and the product and labor markets.

However, a comparison of the indicators of competitiveness over the past several years shows China's global competitiveness has increased; in particular, its market size has ranked first for two consecutive years.

Also, despite the slowing world economy and trade frictions, China has maintained its development momentum. As the world's second-largest economy and the largest trading country, China has been evolving from a major trading country to a global trading power. To maintain the momentum, therefore, China should further open up its economy to the outside world and increase its interactions with other economies, so as to promote high-quality economic growth.

According to China's customs department, the combined value of China's import and export of goods in 2018 was $4.62 trillion, the highest in the world. Yet China's export sector still faces some challenges.

Since processing products account for more than half of China's total exports, it is apparent that a large percentage of China's exports comprises low-priced goods, and few of those goods are the result of Chinese enterprises acquiring independent intellectual property rights or brand patents.

Although the share of high-tech products in China's exports has increased, the core components of such products are largely made by foreign companies. And since some local governments also face problems in improving their business environment, it is essential that the enterprises optimize their management, strengthen their competitiveness, and more actively participate in global competition. Which in turn can provide valuable experience for foreign trade reform.

To solve the issues that hamper the development of foreign trade, China needs to put emphasis on optimizing innovation and improving the open economic environment. First, China should improve the different sectors engaged in exports in line with international rules. In recent years, China has put more emphasis on evolving from a major trading country to a global trading power by 2030. To achieve that goal, it has announced plans such as Made in China 2025 and released documents including the Outline of the National Strategy of Innovation-Driven Development.

By learning from the experiences of countries that enjoy a sharper competitive edge, China ought to advance the reform of the foreign trade system in order to realize trade liberalization and reform foreign trade.

Second, to upgrade its foreign trade, China needs to continuously increase its innovation capability, paying special attention to products that use cutting-edge technology, and facilitate the transformation of the processing trade sector. It should also improve quality and brand consciousness.

Since China is more competitive in information and communications technology, and innovation capability, it should take advantage of high-tech to upgrade the manufacturing sector, so it can produce more cutting-edge and high-tech products.

And third, China should vigorously promote the Belt and Road Initiative to create a more open economic environment. In order to balance domestic development and multilateral and regional cooperation, it should deepen economic reform, optimize the foreign trade structure, curb restrictions on foreign investments and encourage foreign capital to enter the manufacturing sector.

Furthermore, China should also expand the financial service industry and stabilize the currency exchange rate, while seeking potential advantage in global economic cooperation and competition to further deepen reform and boost development.

The author is a professor of economics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Setting tech standards comes with rewards]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520522.htm The commercial use of 5G technology started in China on Friday with mobile carriers offering 5G mobile services. And now that it has entered the 5G era, China should make greater efforts to set the global standards for 5G technology, because by doing so, it will not only guide the industry's development but also be seen as the norm maker to further develop the technology.

The standards for information and communications technology are of great importance to the development of the technology, and facilitate mass communication and exchange of information worldwide. Actually, in the age of globalization, it is necessary to set international standards for electronic equipment and telecommunications technology to ensure their sustained development.

The establishment of international standards for 5G will take at least two years, from proposal to final approval, and require the approval of about 200 countries, 600 industrial enterprises and innumerable manufacturers. It will take another three to five years to promote and improve 5G technology.

Information and communications technology standards involve a wide range of factors including technological innovation, intellectual property and the market, with states, technology owners and market players interacting with each other to shape the international standards for telecom services.

A country can set global standards by using its national policies that encourage scientific and technological input, strengthen technological innovation, improve the business environment, and promote international cooperation.

Owing to its hold over advanced technology, the United States became the leading player in setting global information technology standards in the 1980s; it still plays the leading role in setting global standards for ICT. As such, the US is an apt example of how a country can have a big say in setting global standards for new technology.

By developing advanced technology, a country also lays the foundation for setting global standards for its use. As a saying goes, first-class companies set standards, second-class companies advertise brands, and third-class companies make products. So only companies that own leading technologies can help determine their standards, such as Intel for central processing units and Apple for mobile application.

Established only in 1985, US high-tech giant Qualcomm has applied for more than 4,000 patents, many of which have been acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union as being path-breaking. And by selling many of these patents to more than 100 telecommunications equipment manufacturers around the world, Qualcomm has earned huge profits.

As for the European Union, it has set its telecom standards based on the advanced technologies owned by European giants such as Ericsson and Nokia. Thanks to their advanced telecom technologies, the US and the EU have played the leading role in setting ICT standards.

Also, companies with a large share in the global market are more likely to turn their widely acknowledged standards into global standards, and thus play an important role in the development of enterprises and in market competition. Therefore, participating and having a say in setting global standards can give a company access to a larger market and the opportunity to make more profits.

Thanks to its continuous efforts and advancement in new technology, China has played an increasingly active role in global telecom standardization. In the 1980s, China was home to downstream industries in ICT. But over the past two decades, it has made great achievements in ICT and become a leading innovator in this field.

China has also been part of several important ICT committees and provided Chinese standards for advanced technologies. Chinese scientists, researchers and telecom companies, too, have joined key institutes such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. China applied for 3G standard in 1998, developed TD-SCDMA technology in 2013, and is one of the leaders.

Thanks to its advanced 5G technology, smarter telecom products and better standards, China has won the approval of the global market. Now, it should do more to play a leading role in setting global standards for advanced technology so as to offer better services to people across the world.

The author is a research fellow at the Belt and Road Research Institute, Hainan University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[China and France set to strengthen cooperation and boost economies]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/04/content_37520521.htm French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a state visit to China from Monday to Thursday and attend the opening ceremony of the 2nd China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Tuesday.

During Macron's visit, China and France will discuss how to push forward pragmatic cooperation based on their common interest in maintaining the post-World War II world order and promoting shared economic development.

France established diplomatic ties with China in 1964, which helped improve relations between China and other Western countries.

As a major power in Europe, France has played an important role in regional and global affairs. And Macron seems determined to revive France's leadership in international relations. In line with Macron's vision, France and Germany cooperated to push forward the European integration plan after it suffered a setback in 2016 when people in Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.

In fact, to play a bigger role in global governance, France has been taking a more active part in resolving major global issues such as the Iran nuclear deal - from which the United States has withdrawn - the Syrian civil war and climate change.

With the world witnessing the rise of unilateralism and protectionism in several countries, China and France have shouldered the responsibility to safeguard multilateralism, the existing world order and the United Nations mechanisms.

Besides, since China supports the European integration project, it has vowed to promote Sino-French cooperation, which in turn will help promote European integration.

On the trade front, Sino-French trade has yielded rich fruits since Macron took office. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, in 2018 the China-France trade volume reached a record high of $62.9 billion, up 15.5 percent year-on-year. While trade between China and France maintained a healthy momentum, French exports to China - especially agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and medium-and high-end clothing - increased rapidly.

Among the EU member states, France is the fourth-largest investor in China and the third-largest recipient of Chinese investment. In 2018, French direct investment in China grew 28 percent and Chinese direct investment in France 12 percent. Which means two-way investment, too, has maintained a sound momentum.

France's slowing economic growth rate and relatively high unemployment rate have led to social unrest, public demonstrations and rising populism, which have impeded France's economic reform. This means France needs to take immediate measures to boost its economy.

And given that China seeks to promote development by further opening up its economy, the two countries should deepen cooperation, in order to boost bilateral trade and achieve win-win results, which will give a shot in the arm to both countries' economies.

The common stance of Paris and Beijing on many global issues and their shared interest in global governance and economic development are important factors that can promote pragmatic cooperation between the two sides. In fact, China and France have already reached a cooperation agreement that will strengthen bilateral ties.

The two countries have also agreed to bolster the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership and deepen cooperation in both traditional and emerging fields including agriculture, finance, trade, nuclear energy for civilian use, aerospace, scientific and technological innovation, and eldercare.

Besides, the broad consensuses between China and France are likely to intensify bilateral cooperation in the future. And by deciding to attend the opening ceremony of China International Import Expo, Macron has indicated he is confident of China-France cooperation furthering common development and promoting globalization.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-04 08:05:10
<![CDATA[Plenum displays CPC's resolve to strengthen law-based governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520360.htm Like each of its kind in the past, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee came crowned with a series of fresh intra-Party consensuses on the identified priorities for the Party and the country.

This time, these consensuses centered on modernizing the regime and capacities for national governance, a primary concern of Xi Jinping as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. And what was set out in the communique released at the conclusion of the plenum on Thursday was not only logical follow-ups to the previous three plenary sessions of the current CPC Central Committee, but also operational guidelines as well as specific moves to put into practice improved governance in a new era of "big changes not seen in 100 years". Further proof that the CPC is preparing to carry on its original mission by ensuring it has a broader, stronger, more effective presence in "all affairs".

In its past three plenums, the 19th CPC Central Committee respectively elected its top leaders, proposed amendments to the country's Constitution, and decided to deepen reforms of Party and State organs.

The Party's decisions are clearly meant to make sure it will not find itself fettered in pursuit of its clear series of goals: to build a moderately well-off society in an all-around way, to establish a modernized socialist country that is rich, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious, and to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

If the CPC's 19th National Congress adopted the governance philosophy expressed in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era, the fourth plenum has produced well-thought-out steps to put flesh on the bones of that thought with scientific and democratic governance under the rule of law.

The plenum also provided fresh proof that the CPC will not allow outside influences to distract it from its mission. The communique being testament to the Party's conviction that its constantly reforming and innovating leadership is the key to the country's future and self-confidence.

Such an approach to governance may not find much sympathy outside the country by those who believe they have an axe to grind with China - as shown by the recent remarks of some US politicians.

Yet the fourth plenum showed that the CPC is prepared to demonstrate the faith it has in its own convictions and that it remains undaunted in its pursuit of reform and opening-up to achieve high quality development.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[Fed move reflects concern at uncertainties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520359.htm The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its decision to cut its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a target range of between 1.50 percent and 1.75 percent. The reduction is a sign of caution by the US monetary policymakers given the continuing economic uncertainties both in the United States and worldwide.

"We took this step to help keep the US economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a news conference.

Although the US economy has fared largely well in recent years, the country's manufacturing activities have weakened in recent months. And the latest data show that GDP growth in the third quarter had slowed to 1.9 percent, down from 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent in the first and second quarter, respectively.

And looking beyond the US, to the world as a whole, the International Monetary Fund said in the economic outlook it released this month that the global economy may expand by 3 percent this year, the weakest in a decade, with 90 percent of the world experiencing a growth downshift.

The World Bank is even more pessimistic, downgrading its growth forecast of the world economy this year to 2.5 percent in October from 2.6 percent in its previous forecast.

With growth slowing, trade weakening, and manufacturing production softening, it is evident that the world economy is facing its biggest challenge since the global financial crisis. Especially, since policymakers around the world seem to have run out of effective tools to boost growth.

Many countries resorted to quantitative easing and other measures to prop up their economies in the wake of the global financial crisis. Although the crisis was contained, the crisis-combating measures have led to unwanted side effects such as soaring debt levels, meaning the room for further fiscal and monetary maneuvers has become limited.

There is therefore no choice, and economies worldwide should bite the bullet of daunting but necessary domestic reforms, while joining hands to support free trade and economic cooperation.

Powell said in his news conference that a potential trade agreement between the US and China, if signed and put into effect, would reduce the risk and "bode well" for business confidence and activity over time.

So it is to be hoped that the deal is still going ahead as anticipated and that the cancellation of the APEC meeting in Chile, where a "phase one" deal was due to be signed, is merely a hiccup and not a harbinger of hopes being dashed that something would finally be set down in black and white.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[US firms attending expo shows how hard decoupling would be]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520358.htm THE 2ND CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO will open soon, and according to the Ministry of Commerce, 192 US companies will participate in the exhibition, ranking first among participating countries. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Despite the headwinds of the trade frictions between China and the United States, the enthusiasm of US companies to attend the event shows that the deep integration between China and the United States is irreversible.

Over the 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade in goods has grown 252 times and the two countries have become each other's largest trading partner and important source of investment. Between 2009 and 2018, US exports to China supported more than 11 million jobs in the US. In 2017, US companies registered annual sales of $700 billion in China, generating a profit of more than $50 billion, and 97 percent of the surveyed US companies said they were profitable in China.

That so many US companies are participating in the expo shows that despite the uncertainties, they are still confident about the prospects of the Chinese market.

After decades of operations in the Chinese market, many US companies are deeply integrated into China's development and they are sharing China's development fruits. At the same time, China continues to take the initiative to open its market to foreign companies including US companies, adding new impetus to Sino-US cooperation.

As the world's two largest economies, cooperation between China and the US has obvious spillover effects, which is of great significance to the prosperity and steady development of the world economy. Facts have proved time and again that the essence of Sino-US economic and trade ties is mutual benefit and win-win results, and strengthening bilateral cooperation not only remains an inevitable choice based on market behavior, but is also an objective requirement for maintaining stable global economic growth.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[No black mark for officials when poverty a choice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520357.htm Editor's Note: A short video clip showing a grassroots civil servant in charge of the local poverty alleviation work addressing a group of poverty-stricken villagers in Zhenyuan county of Yunnan province, went viral on the internet, as she admonishes her listeners not to pin all their hopes on government subsidies for improving their lives. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

If the speaker, as many other grassroots civil servants in her shoes have done, had comforted the poor villagers by reaffirming the government's resolve to lift them out of poverty by the end of next year - when China vows to build a moderately well-off society nationwide - the video clip would not have stirred a heated discussion.

To fulfill the compulsory goal set by the central authority of eliminating abject rural poverty by 2020, civil servants working in some impoverished areas, where the natural and living environments are invariably harsh, have left no stones unturned to help improve local residents' livelihoods.

That more than 100 civil servants have reportedly died for doing poverty alleviation work in recent years, mainly because of natural disasters, traffic accidents and the demands of the job, has laid bare the dangers and pressures related to the work, if not the heavy financial cost of the marked achievement - China has lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty each year since 2012.

Also, their people-first workplace culture does not encourage civil servants to complain about the difficulties they face, which not only stem from the harsh natural conditions and deadline pressure of their superiors, but more directly from the poor villagers they are duty-bound to help, particularly those whose poverty is actually not caused by their inability to pursue a better life, but their laziness and counting on easy money from the government.

Li's passionate words, which were frank, yet cordial, struck a chord with many. Which should spur policymakers to improve the evaluation system for local officials' performance in poverty relief work, as it is not uncommon to see some who just refuse to have their names removed from welfare rolls, and it is unfair to attribute these people's "voluntary poverty" to local civil servants' dereliction of duty, as these impoverished people simply want to take a free ride on the country's poverty alleviation campaign.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[Chile's move highlights urgency of action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520356.htm In a surprise move, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Wednesday that his country would withdraw as the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and the Cop 25 climate change conference scheduled for November and December.

He made the "painful" decision to cancel the key events after weeks of riots over inequality in Chile that have left at least 23 people dead. "I must always put the problems and interests of Chileans, their needs, their desires and their hopes first," he said.

This is a major setback for all APEC members, and the world at large given the issues to be discussed at the meeting and conference have global ramifications.

It was also expected that the "phase one" deal agreed between China and the United States would be signed, sealed and delivered on the sidelines of the APEC meeting that was due to be held on Nov 16-17.

With "alternative hosting options" being explored for the meeting, including in the US and Macao, it seems likely that the much desired meeting between the leaders of the two countries - which is widely expected to take some of the heat out of the two countries' falling out - will take place at some point next month.

But while an agreement of some description between the world's two largest economies would be a welcome shot in the arm for the global economy, given the underlying reasons for Chile pulling out as host of the APEC meeting and climate conference, the government leaders attending the meetings wherever and whenever they are held must do their utmost to ensure they are not just empty talk and come up with concrete actions to forge a better future for people around the world.

While Chile's abrupt pullout has ruined all the meticulously devised plans and arrangements, its decision cannot be used as a convenient excuse to put on hold the difficult trade and climate discussions that were on the agenda.

Rather what has happened in Chile underscores the urgency for those leaders that were due to gather in Santiago to work more closely to tackle some of the most pressing issues the world is facing, among them the most important is to address the rapidly increasing wealth gap globally by promoting inclusive growth.

An Oxfam report revealed early this year that the 26 richest billionaires are worth as much as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world's population. The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging the economies and fueling public anger around the world, which has been evidenced by the unrest in many places around the world, not just Chile.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[Bullying is by no means a children's game]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520355.htm THE MOVIE, BETTER DAYS, which tells the story of a female high school student who is bullied on campus, has been a box office success since it was released on Oct 25. The movie highlights a serious issue. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

People should treat bullying seriously and not dismiss it as a joke or something harmless. Campus bullying involves hurtful words, physical attacks, even sexual violence.

Sometimes bullying can arise out of a quarrel or conflict, but often it arises out of nothing. In quite a few cases, a child is bullied merely because another sees him/her as being weak in strength or character, and he or she is singled out for violence.

That the offenders are just children does not mean bullying is simply high spirits or that the children are just being naughty. Whether verbal or physical, violence is violence, and it does not matter how old the perpetrator of the violence is or what form it takes.

It is not helpful for parents and teachers to try and wash their hands of the matter by saying it is a private affair between the children and they can sort it out among themselves. That doesn't happen; instead the bullying becomes worse. All violence should be curbed, and the most effective way of curbing bullying on campus is to call the police and let the professionals deal with it.

Especially, in China the role of the police is not only to enforce the law, but also to educate the public about the law so people are aware of the punishments for violations.

Bullying is a serious offense. While there may be no visible harm, it can leave invisible scars and wounds that can prove fatal over time. According to data from the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization, over 32 percent of male pupils and 28 percent of female pupils suffer from campus violence with many suffering serious emotional and psychological problems as a result. People even in their 50s or 60s may still suffer the hurt of childhood bullying.

Campuses should be safe places for children to learn and develop. It is necessary for all parties - parents, teachers, schools, education departments and the police - to treat any instance of bullying as a serious issue.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[Improving the governance system]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520354.htm The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee released a communique on Thursday highlighting the importance of modern governance. Which shows advancing modern governance is essential for not only facilitating China's modernization but also enhancing the country's capability to meet internal and external challenges.

Modernization is the fundamental theme of the country's development. As Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said, China's modernization is unique, unprecedented and unparalleled. And that the second-largest economy has chosen the path of modernization testifies to its commitment to promoting the development of civilizations.

In the process of realizing modernization, the continuous improvement of the national governance system and governance capacity will remain the arch goal of reform and development. The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee stipulated that the overall aim of comprehensively deepening reform is upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.

The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics was established by the Party combining the basic principles of Marxism and China's concrete practices. And the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity will help develop a modern model of governance based on this system.

To promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, we should stick to the Party's leadership, which is the most basic characteristic and the biggest advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as the choice of the Chinese people.

Even to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we need to uphold the leadership of the Party, which has already established the basic national system laying a solid foundation for the comprehensive modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity. The Party has also devised a road map and timetable for modernizing the national governance system and governance capacity in the new era in line with the changing times.

The modernization of the national governance system is a project that involves interaction among multiple parties. Hence the shift from traditional one-dimensional administration to modern multi-dimensional and multichannel governance.

The Party has also developed people-centric concepts and programs to keep close to the people, and set up a system to receive feedbacks including criticisms and encourage self-criticism in order to modernize the national governance system and governance capacity.

Also, to improve the national governance system and governance capacity, we have to synchronize the construction of the theoretical system of socialist governance with Chinese characteristics. From practice comes understanding, and practice is key to enhance understanding.

As such, China's efforts to improve the national governance system and governance capacity should help form a new theory of governance system with Chinese characteristics. Which is not only an essential component of the "four confidences" (having confidence in China's path, guiding theories, political system and culture), but also essential for continuously testing and developing the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Party's measures for and experience of guiding the Chinese people to explore the socialist path provide Chinese wisdom and the Chinese approach for the world to improve governance. Despite improving modern governance being a challenge confronting all countries, the CPC has made three important breakthroughs in the localization of Marxism in the process of improving national governance. In particular, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which the 19th CPC Central Committee endorsed, has advanced the localization of Marxism and become a new guide for turning China into a major socialist country.

Moreover, to modernize the national governance system and governance capacity, emphasis should be laid upon innovation while maintaining the right balance between innovation and risk control, especially because national governance is aimed at boosting China's development and improving people's welfare, as well as boosting the development of the global community.

In other words, we should dare to make innovation the driving force of economic development while solving the problems left over by history, removing vested interests and pursuing higher goals in the process of deepening reform. But, at the same time, we should also reduce the risks so as to improve national governance and deepen reform.

The author is an associate professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[US cannot shame anti-extremism efforts in Xinjiang]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520353.htm Certain Western countries represented by the United States have concocted a human rights issue in Xinjiang by disregarding the truth and employing the media and what they call "experts" to distort the reality in the region. Some of them have even tried to sow discord between Islamic states and China, albeit to no avail.

Peace and stability are the common aspirations of people worldwide, as well as the starting point for a good life. Establishing peace and stability worldwide requires the concerted efforts of all countries and peoples. Terrorism and extremism, in any form and to any end, should be firmly opposed. The fight against them should not be turned into a political tool with which to attack another country.

However, it seems that the US cannot quit the habit of using terrorists and extremists to pursue its political agenda. In this sense, what it does in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is no different from its interference in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The alleged support for freedom and human rights only masks its desire to create chaos in China and thus hamper China's peaceful rise.

What the US has deliberately concealed or downplayed is that from 1990s to 2016, terrorists and secessionist conducted thousands of violent attacks, in which a large number of innocent people were killed. When ordinary people's right to life is seriously threatened, their rights to health and development are also at risk.

President Xi Jinping once pointed out that the key to assess the government's performance in Xinjiang is how well it wages the fight against separatism and whether stability, unity and harmony are maintained in the political and social spheres. As of now, there has not been a terrorist attack in Xinjiang for 33 consecutive months and people of all ethnic groups are benefiting from the region's newfound peace and stability.

While 1,127 terrorist attacks were conducted globally last year, resulting in the deaths of more than 13,000 people. The effectiveness of China's fight against terrorism and extremism is crystal clear. Local people in Xinjiang, not politicians and experts who have never visited the region, are the most qualified to talk about Xinjiang's development. Now they say that they do not fear for their lives when going out at night like they did a few years ago. And this is evidenced by large numbers of people that can be seen dancing outside in the evenings and people walking on the streets even in the early hours of the morning. Interactions among people of different ethnic groups have also become more evident. In 2018 alone, marriages between Han Chinese and minorities in Hotan prefecture exceeded 80. Which was unimaginable in the past. All these have shown the progress and achievements made in unifying the people and improving people's livelihoods.

Xinjiang's fight against terrorism and radicalization has effectively safeguarded people's right to life and development. With the introduction of a series of deradicalization measures targeting illegal religious activities, Xinjiang, especially its southern part, has undergone enormous changes. The illegal religious shackles put on the minorities have been removed. Now Uygurs can engage in normal business activities without dreading the pressure and exploitation of religious extremists. Uygur women can wear what they like, Uygur men can lead a normal life and Uygur children can play with children of other ethnicities without fearing the retribution and restrictions of religious extremists.

As a country troubled deeply with all kinds of human rights issues such as gun violence, racism and white supremacy, the US should stop pointing fingers at others and reflect more on its internal problems.

After all, it is the least qualified to criticize others in terms of human rights. The US had about 246 gun cases that have resulted in 8,758 deaths by August this year. China is never fond of lecturing other countries like the US. But perhaps, the US is crying for a lesson from China since Xinjiang's innovative measures in countering terrorism and extremism are conducive to the global fight against terrorism.

The author is an associate researcher at the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[US should stop meddling in HK affairs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/03/content_37520352.htm In his speech on US-China relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center on Oct 24, US Vice-President Mike Pence cited the 1984 China-United Kingdom joint declaration to justify the US' interference in China's Hong Kong affairs.

A week earlier, on Oct 16 to be precise, the United States House of Representatives passed the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act", accusing the Chinese central government and Hong Kong government of violating the China-UK joint declaration and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Basic Law by restricting the SAR's autonomy and violating the democratic rights of Hong Kong residents.

The US act not only supports rioters in Hong Kong but is also aimed at preventing the central government from exercising sovereignty over the SAR and interfering in China's internal affairs by imposing sanctions on it.

The aim of the China-UK joint declaration is to restore China's sovereignty over the SAR, not to prevent China from governing the city. More than 20 years after Hong Kong's return to China, even the UK has no right to question Beijing's governance. So what right does the US, as a third party, have to question China's sovereign authority to rule Hong Kong? And why does Washington expect Beijing to follow US norms in governing the SAR?

The US House cannot force the central and SAR governments to grant "universal suffrage" to Hong Kong residents at the time of its choosing.

Still, while introducing the act to the House, US Congressman Chris Smith claimed "the leadership of the Hong Kong SAR government does not represent Hong Kong people, but is affiliated to the Chinese central government", adding that the failure of the Hong Kong government and all the members of the city's Legislative Council to implement universal suffrage for the chief executive's election is to blame for the "Umbrella Movement" in 2014 and the demonstrations and riots in Hong Kong in recent months. Smith even urged Beijing to "honor" the commitments it made in the China-UK joint declaration and the Basic Law to implement "double universal suffrage" in the SAR.

However, Item 4 of Clause 3 of the Sino-British joint declaration states that the Hong Kong SAR chief executive shall be locally elected or selected through consultations and appointed by the central government. And Annex 1 of the declaration says the Legislative Council shall be elected. So where does the question of "double universal suffrage" arise?

Electing Hong Kong's chief executive and Leg-Co members through universal suffrage is the ultimate goal of the SAR's Basic Law. But this "double universal suffrage" can be implemented only under the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, and in accordance with the relevant decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. More importantly, determining the form and procedure of "double universal suffrage" is part of China's internal affairs, which brooks no interference by other countries.

The US' so-called human rights and democracy act, on the pretext of supporting democracy in Hong Kong, provides visa facilities for Hong Kong rioters, imposes sanctions on those who it claims have violated the provisions of the Sino-British joint declaration and the Basic Law as well as those who have allegedly infringed on SAR residents' human rights, thus seriously compromising the central government's exercise of sovereignty over the SAR.

True, the Sino-British joint declaration, Basic Law, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights grant Hong Kong residents freedom of speech, press, assembly and procession. But they do not give rioters, whom the US supports, the freedom to do whatever they want. Besides, detaining, arresting and punishing those who disturb the social order or commit violent crimes is within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state, especially if they are aimed at safeguarding national security and territorial integrity.

Respecting state sovereignty and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs are the basic principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. And while formulating its domestic laws, a state should not violate the basic principles of the international law. The US administration would do good to abide by these principles, fulfill its obligations under the UN Charter, respect China's sovereignty over the Hong Kong SAR, and stop passing acts related to Hong Kong and meddling in China's internal affairs.

The author is a lecturer at the School of International Law, Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-11-03 15:09:57
<![CDATA[SCO meeting to promote new approach to cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/02/content_37520292.htm

Premier Li Keqiang is visiting Uzbekistan to attend the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent from Friday to Saturday. Aimed at enhancing and extending multilateral cooperation to promote regional development and stability, the meeting will also focus on promoting multilateral trade in the long term.

The SCO has made strenuous efforts to counter the rising wave of protectionism, and boost the global economy. And the SCO economic ministers' meeting on Sept 26 vowed to deepen cooperation in fields such as information, communication, scientific and technological innovation, and environmental protection.

The Sept 26 meeting also drafted a document on multilateral trade and economic cooperation among the SCO member states for the period up to 2035, which will be discussed at the Tashkent SCO meeting. The meeting will also discuss the draft of SCO cooperation and how the development can improve people's living standards in remote and rural areas.

China is committed to promoting economic cooperation among the SCO states, and has transformed some of the proposals into action, including the China-SCO local economic cooperation demonstration zone in Qingdao, Shandong province, the 2019 SCO Heads of Region Meeting in Chongqing, and the 26th China (Yangling) Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair in Shaanxi province. In fact, China has vowed to continuously help the SCO use new approaches to boost regional cooperation.

Security has long been an important item on the SCO agenda. And the Tashkent meeting will accord priority to the stability of Central Asia, because rising terrorism, extremism and separatism have caused turbulence in SCO states in Central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

The geopolitical game being played by major powers, the information war among them and the political chaos in the Middle East have created more challenges for the SCO in its endeavor to deepen cooperation and maintain peace in the region.

Therefore, the SCO states should work more closely to eliminate the security risks, ensure cybersecurity, combat organized crime, strengthen joint enforcement of programs and improve the security mechanisms.

Stability in Central Asia is critical to economic cooperation among SCO members. As such, the heads of government of SCO countries will try to find ways to not only combat extremism but also defuse social tensions, generate more jobs and improve infrastructure.

China has proposed to establish a new type of major country relationship, improve international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind, which has been lauded by the international community as an innovative way to create new opportunities for international cooperation.

Besides, most of the SCO member and observer states that attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April agreed to strengthen cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative, transforming the initiative into a platform through which they can coordinate and connect their development programs.

The document on cooperation, too, will be discussed at the Tashkent SCO meeting. Uzbekistan, for example, has shown interest in the "economic corridor" proposal, a project which would enable China to deepen cooperation with Central Asian countries. The Tashkent meeting is also expected to help the SCO member states to reach more agreements on regional cooperation through the Belt and Road mechanism.

Moreover, to offset the harms caused by the United States' unilateral and protectionist policies to the world economy, the SCO has vowed to follow the principle of open and inclusive cooperation, promote multilateralism, deepen cooperation in global governance, and protect free trade with the aim of meeting the needs of developing as well as developed countries. And by adapting to the changing times and adopting appropriate programs, the SCO will make more contributions to global growth and international relation.

The author is executive director of the China Center for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies. The views don't necessarily represent that of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-02 06:19:22
<![CDATA[Good governance revitalizes society]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/02/content_37520291.htm The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which concluded on Thursday, conducted a special study on modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, which is important for improving national governance.

Good governance helps establish harmony and order in, and injects vitality, into society. It also helps strikes a balance between order and vitality, thus maximizing public interests. With the rapid development of economies and societies, good governance has become the common aspiration worldwide. Way back in 2014, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee highlighted the importance of good governance while stressing the rule of law is a prerequisite for good governance.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, the CPC leadership has been taking measures to improve the national governance system in accordance with China's actual condition. The most important of those measures was the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978, which played a significant role in helping develop the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and establish a modern governance system.

To meet the demands of development in the new era, we have to further develop the socialist system so as to make it a more complete, stable and effective governance system. In this regard, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee made clear that the arch goal of comprehensively deepening reform is to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, which has been called the "fifth modernization", after the industrial, agricultural, defense and technological modernization.

But the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity is not simply the modernization of a specific field, rather it means comprehensive modernization.

To realize the grand objective of modernizing the national governance system and governance capacity, China is expected to go through two phases. In the first phase, that is, up to 2035, China will have achieved the basic modernization of socialism. With the improvement of different systems, the elementary modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity will also have been fulfilled by the middle of next decade.

And in the second phase, which lasts up to the middle of the century, China would become a major, modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful.

By 2050, China would also achieve the goal of comprehensive modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, and the advancement of political, spiritual, social and ecological civilization.

The Party's study on the major issues concerning governance is part of the measures to improve the national governance system and governance capacity through comprehensive, systematic and targeted use of resources, ideas and manpower.

Broadly speaking, there are three parts to national governance modernization: making governance scientific, legalized and effective. First, the systemic arrangement for and functions of modernization should be scientific and in accordance with the rules of society and the market, and must reflect the people's will. Modern governance should be an organic whole that fully integrates multiple forces, because governance in China includes governance of the Party and governments at all levels.

Second, the rule of law lays the foundation for national governance, apart from being a basic means of governance. Modern governance practices show that governing according to law is the most reliable and stable kind of governance. In China, improving governance requires the upholding of the rule of law and building a complete inter-Party system of law.

Third, to make governance effective, especially to stimulate the vitality of the market and society, and maintain the social order, China has to use modern governance methods. Under the guidance of the Party, public institutions, governments, social organizations and individuals should participate in governance or become the subjects of governance.

There is also a need to establish channels through which social organizations and other elements could help modernize governance, and to make those channels easy to access and convenient to use. Besides, a platform should be established to enable those engaged in improving governance to communicate and cooperate.

Moreover, the government should upgrade its management methods and means, laying equal emphasis on punishment and incentive. Also, the government should use modern technologies and means to make national governance more efficient.

The author is deputy director of and a professor at the Department of Politics and Law of Party School of the Central Committee of CPC. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-02 06:19:22
<![CDATA[How China can boost trade in East Asia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/02/content_37520290.htm

Premier Li Keqiang will pay a four-day visit to Thailand from Saturday to attend the 22nd China-ASEAN leaders' meeting, 22nd ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (ASEAN+3) leaders' meeting and the 14th East Asia Summit. Amid rising nationalism and protectionism, and anti-globalization sentiments, the series of meetings offer an opportunity to East Asian countries, especially the ASEAN +3 countries to discuss regional development and cooperation.

East Asian economies have different political and economic systems, and cultures. Southeast Asian countries formed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to overcome these differences and resolve their territorial and political disputes through negotiations and without interfering in each other's internal affairs.

The principles laid out by ASEAN developed into "open regionalism" in the process of ASEAN's cooperation with China, Japan, the ROK and other economies. Which provided the basis for cooperation among most East Asian economies with ASEAN and facilitated the formation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the East Asian Community and ASEAN+3.

Despite promoting agreements among different economies, the "open regionalism" mechanism has been criticized for limiting the institutionalization of regional cooperation. This means regional cooperation faces external challenges because of the fast-changing economic relations among different countries, and internal challenges due to development impediments.

Given these facts, what should China do to promote East Asian cooperation?

Considering the complicated East Asian cooperation process, the principle of negotiation to reach a consensus must be adhered to, and established institutions should not aim to achieve high-level regional cooperation alone, as by trying to establish a supranational organization like the European Union, the East Asian economies would only intensify their internal disputes.

Cooperation in East Asia needs to progress in a way that would allow China to promote the economic integration with ASEAN and help upgrade the ASEAN-China free trade zone. Since its establishment in 2010, the free trade zone has not only boosted China-ASEAN trade - which reached $587.8 billion last year - but also helped ASEAN overtake the United States to become China's second-largest trade partner this year.

The integration of ASEAN and China, too, faces challenges, not least because the transfer of industrial units from China to some Southeast Asian states has affected China-ASEAN trade. So China and ASEAN should deepen cooperation in service trade, cultural exchanges and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. They should also push forward negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and expand cooperation on global issues such as combating climate change, terrorism and transnational crimes.

The ASEAN+3 mechanism was initiated in 1997 and institutionalized in 1999 thanks to the cooperation among the East Asian economies following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which affected Southeast Asian countries in particular.

Given the strong economies of China, Japan and the ROK, and ASEAN's leading role, ASEAN+3 is the most promising cooperation mechanism for East Asia's development.

Yet ASEAN+3 has not developed to its full potential, as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the East Asian Community cover similar areas. For instance, the goal of ASEAN+3 to establish a free trade zone consisting of the four sides has not been realized. And so far, only ASEAN has free trade deals with the other three parties - and China and Japan, and the ROK and Japan are yet to sign a free trade deal.

Which calls for ASEAN+3 to deepen cooperation in the financial, agricultural, political and security sectors so they can establish mechanisms to deal with maritime emergencies, better protect the environment and preempt conflicts in East Asia.

In addition, China, ASEAN and India should finalize the terms of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is an inclusive mechanism that can balance the interests of developing countries. And the RCEP's goal should be to develop a high-level free trade zone, instead of seeking high standards for regional trade. But once the RCEP is established, it can offset the negative impacts of unilateralism and protectionism.

The author is a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy and professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-02 06:19:22
<![CDATA[Cooperation binds China and Sweden]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520267.htm

Beijing aspires to build on past achievements and push for stable development of ties with Stockholm

More than 270 years ago, the Swedish merchant ship East Indiaman Gotheborg set sail for China, heralding Sino-Swedish maritime Silk Road cooperation. The Gotheborg returned with Chinese products such as silk, porcelain and tea that the Swedes fell in love with. It triggered a "China fever", as evident from the construction of a Chinese pavilion at the Drottningholm Palace on Lovon Island, a summer palace built in Chinese style, and the rise of sinology in Sweden.

Almost two centuries later, on May 9, 1950, Sweden became the first Western country to establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China. Since then, Sweden has supported restoration of China's lawful seat at the United Nations, conducted friendly exchanges and cooperation with China in various fields and made positive contributions to China's economic development, reform, opening-up and modernization. China has always regarded Sweden as a friend and an important trade partner. Sweden became one of the first Western countries to sign intergovernmental agreements on economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation with China.

The two countries are now each other's largest trading partners in northern Europe and Asia. In 2018, bilateral trade reached $17.15 billion, a record year-on-year rise of 15 percent. China is also Sweden's largest trading partner outside of the European Union. In recent years, China-Sweden cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative has made positive progress, with the introduction of more direct China-Sweden flights and freight trains.

Exchanges in the education, science and technology and cultural fields between the two countries are expanding. Inter-governmental mechanisms such as the joint commission on science and technology and the dialogue on education policies are working well. And more than 9,000 Chinese students are studying in Sweden.

The nearly 70-year development of Sino-Swedish ties proves that China and Sweden have no past enmity, nor problems left over by history or conflict of interests. Instead, mutual interests have enabled the countries to cooperate for mutual development.

During my two years as ambassador to Sweden, many friends told me that the vast majority of Swedish people admire China's development, view China positively and are willing to expand friendly cooperation with China.

One cannot miss the friendly feeling ordinary Swedish people have for China and the Swedish business community's enthusiasm to expand cooperation.

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, China is ready to work with its Swedish friends to achieve the original goal of building on past achievements and pushing for the stable development of bilateral ties. Here are four principles they can adhere to.

First, mutual respect, equality and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The nearly 70-year history of Sino-Swedish ties tells us that as long as we follow this principle, our relations will develop smoothly and cooperation will be fruitful.

China values objectivity, justice, respect and equality, and for it the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are the cornerstone of bilateral relations. It is also committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind while firmly defending its legitimate rights and interests and resolutely opposing any outside force's interference in China's internal affairs or infringement on its interests.

China thus hopes that some disruptive forces, media and personages in Sweden would abandon the Cold War mentality and view China objectively, while also respecting the independent choice of the Chinese people.

China hopes Sweden will join it in practicing the principle of mutual respect, equality and noninterference in each other's internal affairs, and resolving long-term differences in a constructive way so as to strengthen the foundation for steady development of bilateral ties.

Second, understanding is a prerequisite for cooperation. It is easy to trigger misunderstandings, prejudices and even estrangement, so only by deepening mutual understanding can we move forward together. China is a big country with population of more than 1.3 billion, 5,000-year history, 9.6 million square kilometers of land area, and 56 ethnic groups. To enhance mutual understanding, we need to engage in contact, dialogue, communication and mutual learning. China is ready to strengthen friendly exchanges with Sweden in various fields, conduct visits at various levels and open more communication channels to create more favorable conditions for mutual understanding.

Third, win-win cooperation should be the goal. China and Sweden share the same development philosophy and have huge cooperation potential. China is vigorously pursuing innovative, coordinated, green and open development to promote high-quality economic development to people's demand for a better life. Sweden, the "country of innovation", was the first to put forward the concept of sustainable development and has developed advanced ideas, technologies and experience in innovation, environmental protection and sustainable development.

Cooperation between the two sides can achieve the effect of "1+1> 2". The two sides should actively engage their enterprises to pursue opening-up, identify areas of interests, expand cooperation in energy conservation, emission reduction, environmental protection, smart cities, biotechnology and high-end manufacturing to achieve a win-win situation.

Adhering to the principles of open, green and inclusive development, the Belt and Road Initiative meets the needs of the countries, thus providing broad space for bilateral, tripartite and multi-party cooperation. China welcomes Sweden's active participation and shared cooperation opportunities.

Fourth, joint efforts should be made to boost multilateral cooperation. Both China and Sweden are peace-loving countries firmly committed to maintaining world peace and stability. Both stand for resolving hotspot issues through political dialogue while firmly opposing war. They support multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and actively participate in international programs to address climate change and other global challenges. Both countries advocate free trade and open development, oppose protectionism and firmly uphold the multilateral trading system.

In the background of increasing uncertainties in the world, China and Sweden should strengthen cooperation, support the UN to play a leading role in international affairs, support an open world economy, oppose all forms of unilateral and bullying behavior, and actively contribute to maintaining world peace, stability and prosperity.

China looks forward to deepening cooperation with Sweden. We will stay true to our original aspiration and jointly usher in a better future.

The author is China's ambassador to Sweden. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page13)

]]>
2019-11-01 08:29:44
<![CDATA[China-Slovakia friendship at one's fingertips]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520266.htm

Here's counting the various reasons that have strengthened bilateral ties and benefited people in the two countries

The erstwhile Czechoslovakia was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China when they established diplomatic ties on Oct 6, 1949. Over the past 70 years, friendship between the two countries has withstood fluctuating international situations and yet thrived, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples. The development of China-Slovakia relations can actually be explained with the help of numbers.

"One" farm door to friendship

In the early days, when China was underdeveloped, erstwhile Czechoslovakia sent a large number of experts to China and also provided it with a lot of economic and technical assistance. In early 1956, Czechoslovakia gifted a farm in China 677 sets of agricultural machines capable of cultivating 6,667 hectares and also sent experts to teach them mechanical and agricultural technology.

To commemorate the friendship, former premier Zhou Enlai named the farm China-Czechoslovakia Friendship Farm. Today, the farm is a strategic area for Hebei province to further open up to the outside world. It has five major sectors: high-tech zone, modern agricultural zone, urban construction zone, petrochemical industrial zone and coastal economic zone. After the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the farm funded the relocation of the Slovak Pavilion to the farm. Since then, the farm has developed into the Slovak-China Business Center, the China-Slovak flight simulation training center, the Nitra Winery, and the China-Central and Eastern European Countries SME Cooperation Zone, injecting new impetus into China-Slovakia ties.

Agricultural cooperation has always been important to the two countries. Guided by a memorandum of understanding inked between the two ministries of agriculture and the Agricultural Cooperation Working Group, agricultural cooperation between the two countries continues to advance.

This April, China and Slovakia signed the Protocol on Veterinary and Public Health Requirements for Dairy Products Exported from Slovakia to China during the China-CEEC leaders' meeting. This has opened the door for Slovakia to export high-quality dairy products to Chinese.

"Two" way investments

Slovakia is one of Europe's automobile manufacturing hubs. Shanghai Yanfeng Automotive Interiors attaches great importance to the Slovak automobile industry and was among the earliest Chinese companies to invest in Slovakia. In 12 years, the factory has generated over 1,000 jobs for the local people. In 2015, Yanfeng established a research and development center in Slovakia's Tren ��n region to enhance its innovation capabilities.

In 2017, focusing on the superior geographical location and the strong demand of the logistics market in Central and Eastern Europe, CNIC Corporation Limited acquired the second-largest logistics park in Galanta, Slovakia. The park has now developed into the largest logistics and storage distribution center of many world-renowned retail and manufacturing companies in Central and Eastern Europe. When Jaguar Land Rover opened a new factory in Slovakia, the CNIC took the opportunity to invest in a logistics park in a national strategic industrial area to provide services for Jaguar Land Rover.

Slovak tech companies are now vigorously exploring the Chinese market. ESET Anti-Virus, Sygic Navigation and Pixel Federation have performed well in the Chinese market. Scientific and technological cooperation has become a new growth point for pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.

"Three" generations benefit

People-to-people exchanges between the two countries have a long history. In the 1920s and 1930s, Ladislav Hudec, the famous Slovak architect, had made outstanding contributions to Shanghai's urban construction. Nearly one-third of his works were mentioned in the Shanghai Excellent Historical Building Protection List. Then there is Marina Carnogurska, a famous Slovak sinologist, who dedicated her life to Chinese culture, and translated numerous Chinese classics - such as The Dream of Red Mansions, The Analects of Confucius, Tao Te Ching and Xunzi - into Slovak.

After Slovakia gained independence, supporters of China-Slovakia friendship began actively promoting exchanges between the two countries in various fields. Jan Riapos, the 2008 Beijing Paralympics Games table tennis gold medal winner and president of Slovakia's Paralympics Committee, is committed to promoting sports cooperation between the two countries. A group of Chinese sportspersons also visited Slovakia to make important contributions for the development of sports. Li Yan, chairman of the China Skating Association, coached the Slovak team in the late 1990s. In just two years, she helped the Slovak national short track speed skating team become a strong European force.

Currently, learning Chinese is becoming trendy among young Slovak students. Three Confucius Institutes and a traditional Chinese medicine Confucius classroom have been opened in Slovakia. A Slovak-Chinese bilingual school in a central city of Slovakia has enrolled students for three consecutive years.

"Four" big platforms

Slovakia is one of the first European countries to sign a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road Initiative cooperation and is also an active participant in China-CEEC cooperation. Slovakia remains China's fourth largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2018, the trade volume between the two countries touched $7.78 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 46.4 percent, a record high. With the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative and 17+1 Cooperation, China-Slovakia economic and trade investment has been continuously upgraded.

In July, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an official visit to Slovakia, boosting the development of China-Slovakia ties. Now, China and Slovakia should take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative, China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, China-CEEC cooperation and bilateral exchange and cooperation mechanisms in various fields to promote their common development and push China-Slovakia relations to a new high.

The author is China's ambassador to Slovakia. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page13)

]]>
2019-11-01 08:29:44
<![CDATA[Plenum displays CPC's resolve to strengthen law-based governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520265.htm

Like each of its kind in the past, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee came crowned with a series of fresh intra-Party consensuses on the identified priorities for the Party and the country.

This time, these consensuses centered on modernizing the regime and capacities for national governance, a primary concern of Xi Jinping as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. And what was set out in the communique released at the conclusion of the plenum on Thursday was not only logical follow-ups to the previous three plenary sessions of the current CPC Central Committee, but also operational guidelines as well as specific moves to put into practice improved governance in a new era of "big changes not seen in 100 years". Further proof that the CPC is preparing to carry on its original mission by ensuring it has a broader, stronger, more effective presence in "all affairs".

In its past three plenums, the 19th CPC Central Committee respectively elected its top leaders, proposed amendments to the country's Constitution, and decided to deepen reforms of Party and State organs.

The Party's decisions are clearly meant to make sure it will not find itself fettered in pursuit of its clear series of goals: to build a moderately well-off society in an all-around way, to establish a modernized socialist country that is rich, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious, and to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

If the CPC's 19th National Congress adopted the governance philosophy expressed in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era, the fourth plenum has produced well-thought-out steps to put flesh on the bones of that thought with scientific and democratic governance under the rule of law.

The plenum also provided fresh proof that the CPC will not allow outside influences to distract it from its mission. The communique being testament to the Party's conviction that its constantly reforming and innovating leadership is the key to the country's future and self-confidence.

Such an approach to governance may not find much sympathy outside the country by those who believe they have an axe to grind with China - as shown by the recent remarks of some US politicians.

Yet the fourth plenum showed that the CPC is prepared to demonstrate the faith it has in its own convictions and that it remains undaunted in its pursuit of reform and opening-up to achieve high quality development.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Fed move reflects concern at uncertainties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520264.htm

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its decision to cut its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a target range of between 1.50 percent and 1.75 percent. The reduction is a sign of caution by the US monetary policymakers given the continuing economic uncertainties both in the United States and worldwide.

"We took this step to help keep the US economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a news conference.

Although the US economy has fared largely well in recent years, the country's manufacturing activities have weakened in recent months. And the latest data show that GDP growth in the third quarter had slowed to 1.9 percent, down from 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent in the first and second quarter, respectively.

And looking beyond the US, to the world as a whole, the International Monetary Fund said in the economic outlook it released this month that the global economy may expand by 3 percent this year, the weakest in a decade, with 90 percent of the world experiencing a growth downshift.

The World Bank is even more pessimistic, downgrading its growth forecast of the world economy this year to 2.5 percent in October from 2.6 percent in its previous forecast.

With growth slowing, trade weakening, and manufacturing production softening, it is evident that the world economy is facing its biggest challenge since the global financial crisis. Especially, since policymakers around the world seem to have run out of effective tools to boost growth.

Many countries resorted to quantitative easing and other measures to prop up their economies in the wake of the global financial crisis. Although the crisis was contained, the crisis-combating measures have led to unwanted side effects such as soaring debt levels, meaning the room for further fiscal and monetary maneuvers has become limited.

There is therefore no choice, and economies worldwide should bite the bullet of daunting but necessary domestic reforms, while joining hands to support free trade and economic cooperation.

Powell said in his news conference that a potential trade agreement between the US and China, if signed and put into effect, would reduce the risk and "bode well" for business confidence and activity over time.

So it is to be hoped that the deal is still going ahead as anticipated and that the cancellation of the APEC meeting in Chile, where a "phase one" deal was due to be signed, is merely a hiccup and not a harbinger of hopes being dashed that something would finally be set down in black and white.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[US firms attending expo shows how hard decoupling would be]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520263.htm

THE 2ND CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO will open soon, and according to the Ministry of Commerce, 192 US companies will participate in the exhibition, ranking first among participating countries. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Despite the headwinds of the trade frictions between China and the United States, the enthusiasm of US companies to attend the event shows that the deep integration between China and the United States is irreversible.

Over the 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade in goods has grown 252 times and the two countries have become each other's largest trading partner and important source of investment. Between 2009 and 2018, US exports to China supported more than 11 million jobs in the US. In 2017, US companies registered annual sales of $700 billion in China, generating a profit of more than $50 billion, and 97 percent of the surveyed US companies said they were profitable in China.

That so many US companies are participating in the expo shows that despite the uncertainties, they are still confident about the prospects of the Chinese market.

After decades of operations in the Chinese market, many US companies are deeply integrated into China's development and they are sharing China's development fruits. At the same time, China continues to take the initiative to open its market to foreign companies including US companies, adding new impetus to Sino-US cooperation.

As the world's two largest economies, cooperation between China and the US has obvious spillover effects, which is of great significance to the prosperity and steady development of the world economy. Facts have proved time and again that the essence of Sino-US economic and trade ties is mutual benefit and win-win results, and strengthening bilateral cooperation not only remains an inevitable choice based on market behavior, but is also an objective requirement for maintaining stable global economic growth.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[No black mark for officials when poverty a choice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520262.htm

Editor's Note: A short video clip showing a grassroots civil servant in charge of the local poverty alleviation work addressing a group of poverty-stricken villagers in Zhenyuan county of Yunnan province, went viral on the internet, as she admonishes her listeners not to pin all their hopes on government subsidies for improving their lives. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

If the speaker, as many other grassroots civil servants in her shoes have done, had comforted the poor villagers by reaffirming the government's resolve to lift them out of poverty by the end of next year - when China vows to build a moderately well-off society nationwide - the video clip would not have stirred a heated discussion.

To fulfill the compulsory goal set by the central authority of eliminating abject rural poverty by 2020, civil servants working in some impoverished areas, where the natural and living environments are invariably harsh, have left no stones unturned to help improve local residents' livelihoods.

That more than 100 civil servants have reportedly died for doing poverty alleviation work in recent years, mainly because of natural disasters, traffic accidents and the demands of the job, has laid bare the dangers and pressures related to the work, if not the heavy financial cost of the marked achievement - China has lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty each year since 2012.

Also, their people-first workplace culture does not encourage civil servants to complain about the difficulties they face, which not only stem from the harsh natural conditions and deadline pressure of their superiors, but more directly from the poor villagers they are duty-bound to help, particularly those whose poverty is actually not caused by their inability to pursue a better life, but their laziness and counting on easy money from the government.

Li's passionate words, which were frank, yet cordial, struck a chord with many. Which should spur policymakers to improve the evaluation system for local officials' performance in poverty relief work, as it is not uncommon to see some who just refuse to have their names removed from welfare rolls, and it is unfair to attribute these people's "voluntary poverty" to local civil servants' dereliction of duty, as these impoverished people simply want to take a free ride on the country's poverty alleviation campaign.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Chile's move highlights urgency of action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520261.htm

In a surprise move, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Wednesday that his country would withdraw as the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and the Cop 25 climate change conference scheduled for November and December.

He made the "painful" decision to cancel the key events after weeks of riots over inequality in Chile that have left at least 23 people dead. "I must always put the problems and interests of Chileans, their needs, their desires and their hopes first," he said.

This is a major setback for all APEC members, and the world at large given the issues to be discussed at the meeting and conference have global ramifications.

It was also expected that the "phase one" deal agreed between China and the United States would be signed, sealed and delivered on the sidelines of the APEC meeting that was due to be held on Nov 16-17.

With "alternative hosting options" being explored for the meeting, including in the US and Macao, it seems likely that the much desired meeting between the leaders of the two countries - which is widely expected to take some of the heat out of the two countries' falling out - will take place at some point next month.

But while an agreement of some description between the world's two largest economies would be a welcome shot in the arm for the global economy, given the underlying reasons for Chile pulling out as host of the APEC meeting and climate conference, the government leaders attending the meetings wherever and whenever they are held must do their utmost to ensure they are not just empty talk and come up with concrete actions to forge a better future for people around the world.

While Chile's abrupt pullout has ruined all the meticulously devised plans and arrangements, its decision cannot be used as a convenient excuse to put on hold the difficult trade and climate discussions that were on the agenda.

Rather what has happened in Chile underscores the urgency for those leaders that were due to gather in Santiago to work more closely to tackle some of the most pressing issues the world is facing, among them the most important is to address the rapidly increasing wealth gap globally by promoting inclusive growth.

An Oxfam report revealed early this year that the 26 richest billionaires are worth as much as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world's population. The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging the economies and fueling public anger around the world, which has been evidenced by the unrest in many places around the world, not just Chile.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Bullying is by no means a children's game]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520260.htm THE MOVIE, BETTER DAYS, which tells the story of a female high school student who is bullied on campus, has been a box office success since it was released on Oct 25. The movie highlights a serious issue. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

People should treat bullying seriously and not dismiss it as a joke or something harmless. Campus bullying involves hurtful words, physical attacks, even sexual violence.

Sometimes bullying can arise out of a quarrel or conflict, but often it arises out of nothing. In quite a few cases, a child is bullied merely because another sees him/her as being weak in strength or character, and he or she is singled out for violence.

That the offenders are just children does not mean bullying is simply high spirits or that the children are just being naughty. Whether verbal or physical, violence is violence, and it does not matter how old the perpetrator of the violence is or what form it takes.

It is not helpful for parents and teachers to try and wash their hands of the matter by saying it is a private affair between the children and they can sort it out among themselves. That doesn't happen; instead the bullying becomes worse. All violence should be curbed, and the most effective way of curbing bullying on campus is to call the police and let the professionals deal with it.

Especially, in China the role of the police is not only to enforce the law, but also to educate the public about the law so people are aware of the punishments for violations.

Bullying is a serious offense. While there may be no visible harm, it can leave invisible scars and wounds that can prove fatal over time. According to data from the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization, over 32 percent of male pupils and 28 percent of female pupils suffer from campus violence with many suffering serious emotional and psychological problems as a result. People even in their 50s or 60s may still suffer the hurt of childhood bullying.

Campuses should be safe places for children to learn and develop. It is necessary for all parties - parents, teachers, schools, education departments and the police - to treat any instance of bullying as a serious issue.

(China Daily Global 11/01/2019 page11)

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Plenum displays CPC's resolve to strengthen law-based governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520113.htm

Like each of its kind in the past, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee came crowned with a series of fresh intra-Party consensuses on the identified priorities for the Party and the country.

This time, these consensuses centered on modernizing the regime and capacities for national governance, a primary concern of Xi Jinping as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. And what was set out in the communique released at the conclusion of the plenum on Thursday was not only logical follow-ups to the previous three plenary sessions of the current CPC Central Committee, but also operational guidelines as well as specific moves to put into practice improved governance in a new era of "big changes not seen in 100 years". Further proof that the CPC is preparing to carry on its original mission by ensuring it has a broader, stronger, more effective presence in "all affairs".

In its past three plenums, the 19th CPC Central Committee respectively elected its top leaders, proposed amendments to the country's Constitution, and decided to deepen reforms of Party and State organs.

The Party's decisions are clearly meant to make sure it will not find itself fettered in pursuit of its clear series of goals: to build a moderately well-off society in an all-around way, to establish a modernized socialist country that is rich, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious, and to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

If the CPC's 19th National Congress adopted the governance philosophy expressed in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era, the fourth plenum has produced well-thought-out steps to put flesh on the bones of that thought with scientific and democratic governance under the rule of law.

The plenum also provided fresh proof that the CPC will not allow outside influences to distract it from its mission. The communique being testament to the Party's conviction that its constantly reforming and innovating leadership is the key to the country's future and self-confidence.

Such an approach to governance may not find much sympathy outside the country by those who believe they have an axe to grind with China - as shown by the recent remarks of some US politicians.

Yet the fourth plenum showed that the CPC is prepared to demonstrate the faith it has in its own convictions and that it remains undaunted in its pursuit of reform and opening-up to achieve high quality development.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Fed move reflects concern at uncertainties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520112.htm

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its decision to cut its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a target range of between 1.50 percent and 1.75 percent. The reduction is a sign of caution by the US monetary policymakers given the continuing economic uncertainties both in the United States and worldwide.

"We took this step to help keep the US economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a news conference.

Although the US economy has fared largely well in recent years, the country's manufacturing activities have weakened in recent months. And the latest data show that GDP growth in the third quarter had slowed to 1.9 percent, down from 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent in the first and second quarter, respectively.

And looking beyond the US, to the world as a whole, the International Monetary Fund said in the economic outlook it released this month that the global economy may expand by 3 percent this year, the weakest in a decade, with 90 percent of the world experiencing a growth downshift.

The World Bank is even more pessimistic, downgrading its growth forecast of the world economy this year to 2.5 percent in October from 2.6 percent in its previous forecast.

With growth slowing, trade weakening, and manufacturing production softening, it is evident that the world economy is facing its biggest challenge since the global financial crisis. Especially, since policymakers around the world seem to have run out of effective tools to boost growth.

Many countries resorted to quantitative easing and other measures to prop up their economies in the wake of the global financial crisis. Although the crisis was contained, the crisis-combating measures have led to unwanted side effects such as soaring debt levels, meaning the room for further fiscal and monetary maneuvers has become limited.

There is therefore no choice, and economies worldwide should bite the bullet of daunting but necessary domestic reforms, while joining hands to support free trade and economic cooperation.

Powell said in his news conference that a potential trade agreement between the US and China, if signed and put into effect, would reduce the risk and "bode well" for business confidence and activity over time.

So it is to be hoped that the deal is still going ahead as anticipated and that the cancellation of the APEC meeting in Chile, where a "phase one" deal was due to be signed, is merely a hiccup and not a harbinger of hopes being dashed that something would finally be set down in black and white.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[US firms attending expo shows how hard decoupling would be]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520111.htm

THE 2ND CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO will open soon, and according to the Ministry of Commerce, 192 US companies will participate in the exhibition, ranking first among participating countries. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Despite the headwinds of the trade frictions between China and the United States, the enthusiasm of US companies to attend the event shows that the deep integration between China and the United States is irreversible.

Over the 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade in goods has grown 252 times and the two countries have become each other's largest trading partner and important source of investment. Between 2009 and 2018, US exports to China supported more than 11 million jobs in the US. In 2017, US companies registered annual sales of $700 billion in China, generating a profit of more than $50 billion, and 97 percent of the surveyed US companies said they were profitable in China.

That so many US companies are participating in the expo shows that despite the uncertainties, they are still confident about the prospects of the Chinese market.

After decades of operations in the Chinese market, many US companies are deeply integrated into China's development and they are sharing China's development fruits. At the same time, China continues to take the initiative to open its market to foreign companies including US companies, adding new impetus to Sino-US cooperation.

As the world's two largest economies, cooperation between China and the US has obvious spillover effects, which is of great significance to the prosperity and steady development of the world economy. Facts have proved time and again that the essence of Sino-US economic and trade ties is mutual benefit and win-win results, and strengthening bilateral cooperation not only remains an inevitable choice based on market behavior, but is also an objective requirement for maintaining stable global economic growth.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[No black mark for officials when poverty a choice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520110.htm

Editor's Note: A short video clip showing a grassroots civil servant in charge of the local poverty alleviation work addressing a group of poverty-stricken villagers in Zhenyuan county of Yunnan province, went viral on the internet, as she admonishes her listeners not to pin all their hopes on government subsidies for improving their lives. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

If the speaker, as many other grassroots civil servants in her shoes have done, had comforted the poor villagers by reaffirming the government's resolve to lift them out of poverty by the end of next year - when China vows to build a moderately well-off society nationwide - the video clip would not have stirred a heated discussion.

To fulfill the compulsory goal set by the central authority of eliminating abject rural poverty by 2020, civil servants working in some impoverished areas, where the natural and living environments are invariably harsh, have left no stones unturned to help improve local residents' livelihoods.

That more than 100 civil servants have reportedly died for doing poverty alleviation work in recent years, mainly because of natural disasters, traffic accidents and the demands of the job, has laid bare the dangers and pressures related to the work, if not the heavy financial cost of the marked achievement - China has lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty each year since 2012.

Also, their people-first workplace culture does not encourage civil servants to complain about the difficulties they face, which not only stem from the harsh natural conditions and deadline pressure of their superiors, but more directly from the poor villagers they are duty-bound to help, particularly those whose poverty is actually not caused by their inability to pursue a better life, but their laziness and counting on easy money from the government.

Li's passionate words, which were frank, yet cordial, struck a chord with many. Which should spur policymakers to improve the evaluation system for local officials' performance in poverty relief work, as it is not uncommon to see some who just refuse to have their names removed from welfare rolls, and it is unfair to attribute these people's "voluntary poverty" to local civil servants' dereliction of duty, as these impoverished people simply want to take a free ride on the country's poverty alleviation campaign.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Chile's move highlights urgency of action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520109.htm

In a surprise move, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Wednesday that his country would withdraw as the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and the Cop 25 climate change conference scheduled for November and December.

He made the "painful" decision to cancel the key events after weeks of riots over inequality in Chile that have left at least 23 people dead. "I must always put the problems and interests of Chileans, their needs, their desires and their hopes first," he said.

This is a major setback for all APEC members, and the world at large given the issues to be discussed at the meeting and conference have global ramifications.

It was also expected that the "phase one" deal agreed between China and the United States would be signed, sealed and delivered on the sidelines of the APEC meeting that was due to be held on Nov 16-17.

With "alternative hosting options" being explored for the meeting, including in the US and Macao, it seems likely that the much desired meeting between the leaders of the two countries - which is widely expected to take some of the heat out of the two countries' falling out - will take place at some point next month.

But while an agreement of some description between the world's two largest economies would be a welcome shot in the arm for the global economy, given the underlying reasons for Chile pulling out as host of the APEC meeting and climate conference, the government leaders attending the meetings wherever and whenever they are held must do their utmost to ensure they are not just empty talk and come up with concrete actions to forge a better future for people around the world.

While Chile's abrupt pullout has ruined all the meticulously devised plans and arrangements, its decision cannot be used as a convenient excuse to put on hold the difficult trade and climate discussions that were on the agenda.

Rather what has happened in Chile underscores the urgency for those leaders that were due to gather in Santiago to work more closely to tackle some of the most pressing issues the world is facing, among them the most important is to address the rapidly increasing wealth gap globally by promoting inclusive growth.

An Oxfam report revealed early this year that the 26 richest billionaires are worth as much as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world's population. The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging the economies and fueling public anger around the world, which has been evidenced by the unrest in many places around the world, not just Chile.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Bullying is by no means a children's game]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520108.htm THE MOVIE, BETTER DAYS, which tells the story of a female high school student who is bullied on campus, has been a box office success since it was released on Oct 25. The movie highlights a serious issue. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

People should treat bullying seriously and not dismiss it as a joke or something harmless. Campus bullying involves hurtful words, physical attacks, even sexual violence.

Sometimes bullying can arise out of a quarrel or conflict, but often it arises out of nothing. In quite a few cases, a child is bullied merely because another sees him/her as being weak in strength or character, and he or she is singled out for violence.

That the offenders are just children does not mean bullying is simply high spirits or that the children are just being naughty. Whether verbal or physical, violence is violence, and it does not matter how old the perpetrator of the violence is or what form it takes.

It is not helpful for parents and teachers to try and wash their hands of the matter by saying it is a private affair between the children and they can sort it out among themselves. That doesn't happen; instead the bullying becomes worse. All violence should be curbed, and the most effective way of curbing bullying on campus is to call the police and let the professionals deal with it.

Especially, in China the role of the police is not only to enforce the law, but also to educate the public about the law so people are aware of the punishments for violations.

Bullying is a serious offense. While there may be no visible harm, it can leave invisible scars and wounds that can prove fatal over time. According to data from the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization, over 32 percent of male pupils and 28 percent of female pupils suffer from campus violence with many suffering serious emotional and psychological problems as a result. People even in their 50s or 60s may still suffer the hurt of childhood bullying.

Campuses should be safe places for children to learn and develop. It is necessary for all parties - parents, teachers, schools, education departments and the police - to treat any instance of bullying as a serious issue.

 

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Improving the governance system]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520107.htm The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee released a communique on Thursday highlighting the importance of modern governance. Which shows advancing modern governance is essential for not only facilitating China's modernization but also enhancing the country's capability to meet internal and external challenges.

Modernization is the fundamental theme of the country's development. As Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said, China's modernization is unique, unprecedented and unparalleled. And that the second-largest economy has chosen the path of modernization testifies to its commitment to promoting the development of civilizations.

In the process of realizing modernization, the continuous improvement of the national governance system and governance capacity will remain the arch goal of reform and development. The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee stipulated that the overall aim of comprehensively deepening reform is upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.

The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics was established by the Party combining the basic principles of Marxism and China's concrete practices. And the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity will help develop a modern model of governance based on this system.

To promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, we should stick to the Party's leadership, which is the most basic characteristic and the biggest advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as the choice of the Chinese people.

Even to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we need to uphold the leadership of the Party, which has already established the basic national system laying a solid foundation for the comprehensive modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity. The Party has also devised a road map and timetable for modernizing the national governance system and governance capacity in the new era in line with the changing times.

The modernization of the national governance system is a project that involves interaction among multiple parties. Hence the shift from traditional one-dimensional administration to modern multi-dimensional and multichannel governance.

The Party has also developed people-centric concepts and programs to keep close to the people, and set up a system to receive feedbacks including criticisms and encourage self-criticism in order to modernize the national governance system and governance capacity.

Also, to improve the national governance system and governance capacity, we have to synchronize the construction of the theoretical system of socialist governance with Chinese characteristics. From practice comes understanding, and practice is key to enhance understanding.

As such, China's efforts to improve the national governance system and governance capacity should help form a new theory of governance system with Chinese characteristics. Which is not only an essential component of the "four confidences" (having confidence in China's path, guiding theories, political system and culture), but also essential for continuously testing and developing the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Party's measures for and experience of guiding the Chinese people to explore the socialist path provide Chinese wisdom and the Chinese approach for the world to improve governance. Despite improving modern governance being a challenge confronting all countries, the CPC has made three important breakthroughs in the localization of Marxism in the process of improving national governance. In particular, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which the 19th CPC Central Committee endorsed, has advanced the localization of Marxism and become a new guide for turning China into a major socialist country.

Moreover, to modernize the national governance system and governance capacity, emphasis should be laid upon innovation while maintaining the right balance between innovation and risk control, especially because national governance is aimed at boosting China's development and improving people's welfare, as well as boosting the development of the global community.

In other words, we should dare to make innovation the driving force of economic development while solving the problems left over by history, removing vested interests and pursuing higher goals in the process of deepening reform. But, at the same time, we should also reduce the risks so as to improve national governance and deepen reform.

The author is an associate professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[US cannot shame anti-extremism efforts in Xinjiang]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520106.htm Certain Western countries represented by the United States have concocted a human rights issue in Xinjiang by disregarding the truth and employing the media and what they call "experts" to distort the reality in the region. Some of them have even tried to sow discord between Islamic states and China, albeit to no avail.

Peace and stability are the common aspirations of people worldwide, as well as the starting point for a good life. Establishing peace and stability worldwide requires the concerted efforts of all countries and peoples. Terrorism and extremism, in any form and to any end, should be firmly opposed. The fight against them should not be turned into a political tool with which to attack another country.

However, it seems that the US cannot quit the habit of using terrorists and extremists to pursue its political agenda. In this sense, what it does in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is no different from its interference in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The alleged support for freedom and human rights only masks its desire to create chaos in China and thus hamper China's peaceful rise.

What the US has deliberately concealed or downplayed is that from 1990s to 2016, terrorists and secessionist conducted thousands of violent attacks, in which a large number of innocent people were killed. When ordinary people's right to life is seriously threatened, their rights to health and development are also at risk.

President Xi Jinping once pointed out that the key to assess the government's performance in Xinjiang is how well it wages the fight against separatism and whether stability, unity and harmony are maintained in the political and social spheres. As of now, there has not been a terrorist attack in Xinjiang for 33 consecutive months and people of all ethnic groups are benefiting from the region's newfound peace and stability.

While 1,127 terrorist attacks were conducted globally last year, resulting in the deaths of more than 13,000 people. The effectiveness of China's fight against terrorism and extremism is crystal clear. Local people in Xinjiang, not politicians and experts who have never visited the region, are the most qualified to talk about Xinjiang's development. Now they say that they do not fear for their lives when going out at night like they did a few years ago. And this is evidenced by large numbers of people that can be seen dancing outside in the evenings and people walking on the streets even in the early hours of the morning. Interactions among people of different ethnic groups have also become more evident. In 2018 alone, marriages between Han Chinese and minorities in Hotan prefecture exceeded 80. Which was unimaginable in the past. All these have shown the progress and achievements made in unifying the people and improving people's livelihoods.

Xinjiang's fight against terrorism and radicalization has effectively safeguarded people's right to life and development. With the introduction of a series of deradicalization measures targeting illegal religious activities, Xinjiang, especially its southern part, has undergone enormous changes. The illegal religious shackles put on the minorities have been removed. Now Uygurs can engage in normal business activities without dreading the pressure and exploitation of religious extremists. Uygur women can wear what they like, Uygur men can lead a normal life and Uygur children can play with children of other ethnicities without fearing the retribution and restrictions of religious extremists.

As a country troubled deeply with all kinds of human rights issues such as gun violence, racism and white supremacy, the US should stop pointing fingers at others and reflect more on its internal problems.

After all, it is the least qualified to criticize others in terms of human rights. The US had about 246 gun cases that have resulted in 8,758 deaths by August this year. China is never fond of lecturing other countries like the US. But perhaps, the US is crying for a lesson from China since Xinjiang's innovative measures in countering terrorism and extremism are conducive to the global fight against terrorism.

The author is an associate researcher at the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[US should stop meddling in HK affairs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-11/01/content_37520105.htm In his speech on US-China relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center on Oct 24, US Vice-President Mike Pence cited the 1984 China-United Kingdom joint declaration to justify the US' interference in China's Hong Kong affairs.

A week earlier, on Oct 16 to be precise, the United States House of Representatives passed the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act", accusing the Chinese central government and Hong Kong government of violating the China-UK joint declaration and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Basic Law by restricting the SAR's autonomy and violating the democratic rights of Hong Kong residents.

The US act not only supports rioters in Hong Kong but is also aimed at preventing the central government from exercising sovereignty over the SAR and interfering in China's internal affairs by imposing sanctions on it.

The aim of the China-UK joint declaration is to restore China's sovereignty over the SAR, not to prevent China from governing the city. More than 20 years after Hong Kong's return to China, even the UK has no right to question Beijing's governance. So what right does the US, as a third party, have to question China's sovereign authority to rule Hong Kong? And why does Washington expect Beijing to follow US norms in governing the SAR?

The US House cannot force the central and SAR governments to grant "universal suffrage" to Hong Kong residents at the time of its choosing.

Still, while introducing the act to the House, US Congressman Chris Smith claimed "the leadership of the Hong Kong SAR government does not represent Hong Kong people, but is affiliated to the Chinese central government", adding that the failure of the Hong Kong government and all the members of the city's Legislative Council to implement universal suffrage for the chief executive's election is to blame for the "Umbrella Movement" in 2014 and the demonstrations and riots in Hong Kong in recent months. Smith even urged Beijing to "honor" the commitments it made in the China-UK joint declaration and the Basic Law to implement "double universal suffrage" in the SAR.

However, Item 4 of Clause 3 of the Sino-British joint declaration states that the Hong Kong SAR chief executive shall be locally elected or selected through consultations and appointed by the central government. And Annex 1 of the declaration says the Legislative Council shall be elected. So where does the question of "double universal suffrage" arise?

Electing Hong Kong's chief executive and Leg-Co members through universal suffrage is the ultimate goal of the SAR's Basic Law. But this "double universal suffrage" can be implemented only under the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, and in accordance with the relevant decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. More importantly, determining the form and procedure of "double universal suffrage" is part of China's internal affairs, which brooks no interference by other countries.

The US' so-called human rights and democracy act, on the pretext of supporting democracy in Hong Kong, provides visa facilities for Hong Kong rioters, imposes sanctions on those who it claims have violated the provisions of the Sino-British joint declaration and the Basic Law as well as those who have allegedly infringed on SAR residents' human rights, thus seriously compromising the central government's exercise of sovereignty over the SAR.

True, the Sino-British joint declaration, Basic Law, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights grant Hong Kong residents freedom of speech, press, assembly and procession. But they do not give rioters, whom the US supports, the freedom to do whatever they want. Besides, detaining, arresting and punishing those who disturb the social order or commit violent crimes is within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state, especially if they are aimed at safeguarding national security and territorial integrity.

Respecting state sovereignty and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs are the basic principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. And while formulating its domestic laws, a state should not violate the basic principles of the international law. The US administration would do good to abide by these principles, fulfill its obligations under the UN Charter, respect China's sovereignty over the Hong Kong SAR, and stop passing acts related to Hong Kong and meddling in China's internal affairs.

The author is a lecturer at the School of International Law, Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-11-01 07:45:52
<![CDATA[Unfounded, unwarranted and ill-willed]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519799.htm

Maintaining peace and stability in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is in the interests of the people of all the 47 ethnic groups who live there. Which is why that is the government's bottom line. And why it has introduced measures, with vocational education and training centers as the core, to prevent vulnerable Uygurs living in remote areas from being brainwashed by secessionists and terrorists.

The US criticism of these stabilizers in Xinjiang is politically motivated, as indicated by its open endorsement of the so-called World Uygur Congress, and other secessionist organizations and figures related to Xinjiang.

When thousands of terrorist attacks happened in Xinjiang, before the establishment of the current comprehensive anti-terrorist mechanism, Washington lauded the terrorists as freedom fighters. Now that Xinjiang has restored its long-lost peace and prosperity - no violent incidents have happened in the past three years, and the local economy has grown by 40 percent over the past five years - Washington is using the anti-terrorism initiatives in Xinjiang as another excuse to censure Beijing.

The latest case in point being the campaign it instigated at a conference of the UN human rights committee on Tuesday, in which the US and 22 other countries criticized China's anti-terrorist practices in Xinjiang as being violations of human rights.

This charge was firmly refuted by more than 60 other countries, which commended China for its counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in the region and for upholding people's rights to life, health and development.

But Washington will no doubt belittle their words, as it always speaks ill of those having different views from it. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was fiercely criticized by the US after it acknowledged China's efforts to care for Muslims in March.

Nor will it send representatives to Xinjiang to see what is really happening in the region, preferring instead to cite hearsay as justification of its criticism of Beijing.

Considering the criticism UN Under Secretary-General for Counterterrorism Vladimir Voronkov received from Washington after he visited Xinjiang in June, part of China's normal anti-terrorist cooperation with the United Nations, it is no surprise that Washington has been pressuring UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet not to visit Xinjiang, despite China cordially and repeatedly inviting her to do so, to see for herself what is happening in the region.

Washington's attempts to impede any visit by Bachelet stem from its fear that she may find a totally different picture in Xinjiang to one it is painting - for example the number of mosques, about 25,000, is 10 times the number in the US and local people's religious freedom is strictly protected.

Instead of trying to blackwash China's efforts to ensure Xinjiang is stable and prosperous, the chaos and humanitarian crises left by the US' anti-terrorist campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, which have produced damaging regional spillover effects, are what the US and its human rights allies should be focusing their attention on and trying to address.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[UK goes to polls to try and sort out Brexit]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519798.htm

After more than three years of political bickering and wrangling over Brexit that have deeply divided the country, the United Kingdom has arrived at what is once again being called a defining moment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared it was time to unite the country and get Brexit done after he won a vote in the House of Commons to call an early general election by a convincing vote of 438 to 20.

To be held on Dec 12, two and a half years ahead of the next scheduled election in 2022, it will be the first December election in the country for nearly 100 years, and it is being taken as another sign heralding that the Brexit impasse is about to be broken.

Johnson returned from Brussels earlier this month with a new deal, and surprised everyone by ushering the bill past its first hurdle in Parliament. And with polls showing people are becoming increasingly fed up with the whole sorry mess, it is being predicted that his Conservative Party will win the election convincingly, as many voters believe he will finally bring to an end the unedifying squabbling over how, or indeed whether or not, to leave the European Union.

Businesses and much of the public alike are at their wits end with the divorce stuck in limbo. But even with popular sentiment now predominantly swinging toward let's move on after three years that have cast a shadow over the country's economic prospects and left the nation deeply divided, it remains to be seen whether Johnson can secure a majority in Parliament.

After all, ditches have been dug all over the country after he failed to meet the Oct 31 deadline, having declared he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than have to accept an EU extension, showing that there are many he needs to win over.

Also getting fed up with the Brexit uncertainty is the EU. Now that the bloc has agreed to delay Brexit for another three months - already the third postponement - European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted on Tuesday he hopes this extension will be the last, imploring Britain to "Please make the best use of this time".

The rest of the world, too, would like Britain to use the time well. For as well as inflicting irreparable damage on Britain's claim to be the cradle of democracy, the will-it won't-it drama has been another weight dragging on the global economy, which needs all the buoyancy it can muster given the ongoing altercation between the two largest economies.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[Refusing invalid candidate upholds law in Hong Kong]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519797.htm

THE NOMINATION OF JOSHUA WONG, a diehard secessionist from Hong Kong, as a candidate for the South Horizons West Constituency in the general election of the Southern District Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Nov 24, was deemed invalid by the constituency's election regulators on Tuesday in accordance with the Electoral Procedure Regulation of the SAR. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

Only those sharing similar secessionist stance with Wong, and those nodding to the violence incited by people like Wong, would hype up the decision of the local election regulators.

Wong claimed the reason for his disqualification was a subjective judgment by the returning officer questioning his willingness to uphold the Basic Law, declaring that everyone knows "that the true reason is my identity - loshua Wong".

In fact, the decision complies with the relevant stipulations of the SAR's Basic Law and election regulation, and the returning officer rightly disqualified Wong, because anyone questioning the People's Republic of China's sovereignty over Hong Kong or promoting self-determination is not permitted by law to stand as a candidate in the elections.

But Wong's words about his "identity" are revealing, as they show that his desire is simply to be in the spotlight so he can be feted by those wanting a figurehead for their "Hong Kong Spring".

It therefore comes as no surprise that some US senators jumped on the incident as fresh impetus for their attempts to meddle in Hong Kong affairs, claiming the decision goes against the rule of law, even though the law unequivocally makes clear that Wong's actions had already barred him from being a candidate.

It is the relentless efforts of the US to fuel the unrest in Hong Kong by whatever means it can in order to put maximum pressure on China that have helped to sustain the months of chaos in the SAR. And the US media's insistence on only allowing a minority of blowhards like Wong to air their opinions gives a distorted view of what's happening in the SAR.

The authority of the Basic Law is paramount in the SAR, which means it is a prerequisite that all candidates applying to be nominated for elections to the SAR legislature and administrative organs at various levels must comply with it. Given what he has done, Wong would be well aware that he would be disqualified as a candidate for the district council election. That he put himself forward anyway shows how calculating he is in manufacturing an identity to his own benefit and how amenable he is to satisfying the desires of those willing to use him as a friend for their benefit.

It is hoped that returning officers in other districts will be just as scrupulous in upholding the law when determining the suitability of candidates, so as to prevent others with self-serving ambitions from hijacking public power.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[Not security concerns, but worries about China's rise trigger US angst]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519796.htm

Security concerns are nothing other than a subterfuge some Western politicians use to demonize Chinese companies in a bid to realize their goal of containing China's development.

The US administration, which has been the ringleader behind this witch hunt, is willing to go to extreme lengths in this endeavor, with its senior officials even pleading with the US' European allies not to buy communications equipment from Huawei and not to cooperate with the Chinese company when building their new 5G networks. Since those pleas have fallen on deaf ears, they have even sought to coerce them with threats.

In the latest move, the Federal Communications Commission will vote in November on whether to bar cellular providers from using government subsidies to buy equipment from Huawei and ZTE because of security concerns.

At a meeting scheduled for Nov 19, the FCC reportedly plans to ask carriers how much it would cost to remove and replace Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp from existing networks and to establish a reimbursement program to offset the costs of removing the equipment.

This is ridiculous.

As a spokesman for Huawei said: "In 30 years of business, Huawei has never had a major security-related incident in any of the 170 countries where we operate." That points to the fact that the US' claim about security concerns regarding Chinese companies is anything but the truth.

What the US is doing with Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies is creating a conspiracy theory with which it can tarnish their reputation in its attempt to strangle the world's largest telecommunications equipment provider and other competitors to death.

Should Huawei have not done such a good job as it has, it would not have triggered alarm in the US.

In other words, what the US worries about most is Huawei's development as a world giant in telecommunications technology and its functioning as the spearhead of China's high-tech development.

It is their obstinate Cold War mentality that has agitated these US politicians, who are always afraid of China overtaking the US as another superpower despite China's reiteration on many occasions that its rise is peaceful.

What the US is doing to Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies will be detrimental to the healthy development of telecommunications technology and to the progress of China-US relations and thereby to the development of the world economy.

The US cannot reverse the arrow of time no matter how much it wants to, or how hard it tries. It should try to act fairly toward Chinese companies while it is at the top because they will meet again when it's on the way down.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[All study, no play, that's not healthy for kids]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519795.htm THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF ZHEJIANG PROVINCE in East China has sparked a hot debate after soliciting public opinions on a draft regulation that would reduce the workload for pupils and allow them to refuse to do any homework after 9:00 pm. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

It's a move that will no doubt be welcomed by children in the province. The regulation would give primary school pupils the right to refuse to do any homework after 9:00 pm, while middle school students would be able to down tools after 10:00 pm. And for the happy, healthy development of pupils, it seems to be a good idea to stop kids sitting at a desk all evening doing homework.

Yet on domestic social networks, the draft has met fierce opposition from parents. There is a very practical reason for that - the national college entrance exam. As long as pupils have to compete on points to enter colleges, all such moves to ease the academic burden on children will be in vain.

A diploma from a good college is still one of the most important prerequisites for getting a good job. In order to enter a good college, one has to get high marks in the entrance exam. But in order to get high points, students must repeatedly practice and do their homework.

So pupils and their parents have little choice but to work hard. If the academic workload in schools is cut, they will just turn to extracurricular training agencies.

Worse, that will disadvantage the children of poorer families, because market demand will push up the already high prices so that only rich families will be able to afford to send their children to good training institutions or hire professional home teachers. In that way, the regulation will be unfair.

Of course, the real question is how to reform the college entrance system so that the national entrance exam is not the be-all and end-all for children's future.

Instead of addressing a symptom, comprehensive education reform is needed to treat the illness and ensure children have well-rounded childhoods, rather than just study.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[Use, manage, develop internet well for all]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519794.htm

Editor's Note: Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the birth of the internet. People half a century ago would never have imagined that the world would become interconnected as it is today. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Since its creation 50 years ago, the internet has never stopped motivating innovation. According to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization, among the top 30 companies in the world in terms of patent applications over the past 20 years, 80 percent are internet-related companies. Due to its wide application, the internet has played a big role in driving innovation in sectors such as industry, agriculture, medical care and education.

The internet has endlessly driven economic and social development. The digital revolution marked by computers and the internet at the end of the 20th century has brought great prosperity, and it has helped the United States consolidate its economic and technological superpower status. Today, the data revolution represented by the internet of things and big data is booming and becoming an engine of global economy. A report on digital economy released by the United Nations in September showed the global digital economy is worth $11.5 trillion, accounting for 15.5 percent of the total global economic output.

The internet has increasingly shortened the distance between people and countries, changed their traditional view of time and space, and enabled more and more people to enjoy the development fruits of information technology. In addition to its "role of connection", the internet has also profoundly changed everyone's daily life, with the convenience of online shopping, shared travel, mobile payments and online learning.

The development dynamism of the internet will become stronger and its development space broader with the momentum of the new scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. However, cyberspace, like the real world, also faces problems and challenges, such as abuse of information technology, an arms race in cyberspace, hacker attacks and cyber surveillance, which pose major threats to internet security and order. Governance of international cyberspace, protection of minors, security of network data, and sound development of the digital economy are still areas where the internet governance system urgently needs to be improved.

People must bid farewell to unilateralism and protectionism and embrace connectivity, sharing and open cooperation as the driving force for prosperity and progress.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[Reform can help modernize governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519793.htm Upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity is the theme of the four-day Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee in Beijing that concludes on Thursday.

The national governance system and governance capacity are the embodiment of a country's overall governance system and policy implementation capability. The institutional functions of the CPC and the government should be channelized to build a moderately well-off society in an all-round way by 2020, and solve the long-term institutional and systemic problems in the future.

Promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity requires scientific, comprehensive and well-functioning systems in different fields, in order to achieve standardized management of the Party and the country. The country should be governed in accordance with the rule of law, and the Party's scientific, democratic and law-based governance capability should be increased.

In the seven decades since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially in the four decades since the launch of reform and opening-up, the country has explored new ways of enhancing the Party's governance capacity and promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.

China has built up its political system, which includes people's congresses, multiparty cooperation and political consultation mechanisms led by the CPC, and regional autonomy and grass-roots autonomy systems, and it has helped enhance China's governance capacity and improve the national governance system.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the Party has strengthened its leadership, deepened Party's and government's institutional reform as well as judicial system reform, and incorporated the rule of law into the "four comprehensives" strategy.

The Party has emphasized that the rule of law is its basic governance method, and reform should be carried out in accordance with the rule of law. The Party has also improved the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, developed the socialist democratic political system, and continuously raised its scientific governance level.

Moreover, the Party has enhanced the national governance system and governance capacity against the background of China's rapid economic and social development, people's ever-increasing demands, and intensifying international competition. To meet people's need for a better life and cope with the new challenges in the new era, it is necessary that we learn from the successful experiences of national governance.

However, China's social and economic development faces some problems, including low quality development, relatively low innovation capacity, inadequate environmental protection, as well as loopholes in the rules to improve people's livelihoods. These problems are directly or indirectly related to the national governance system and governance capacity.

To fundamentally solve these problems, China should improve the governance system and institutions, establish a scientific and more efficient institutional system for the Party, and deepen reform in the social, economic, political, cultural and ecological.

The Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee has already advocated deepening the institutional reform of the Party and government, in order to improve the Party's governance capacity and leadership. Yet China has to make more efforts to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.

A country's governance system and governance capacity are closely related to its history and tradition. So China has to find a way based on its actual situation to solve its problems.

Also, promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity is a systemic project that requires unified and coordinated reform in various fields.

And to improve the national governance system and governance capacity, China has to defeat the vested interests, and remove the systemic and institutional obstacles. Since reform is critical to China's future, the country has to continuously deepen reform and take measures to eliminate the obstacles impeding productivity, development and social progress, and promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.

The author is a researcher at the National Academy of Governance. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[Blockchain technology a boon for trade?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519792.htm The development of new technology has benefited trade and commerce, and blockchain technology seems set to improve the multinational trade system, especially customs operations. As different countries release their quarterly and annual data at different times, it is difficult to compare them simultaneously. But the application of blockchain technology will turn every country's customs record into a "ledger" connected to those of other countries, and every shipment can be recorded and filed at the same time.

First, blockchain technology is good for business. One of its technological merits is recording transactions and/or movements at the same time. With instant trade numbers being available, businesspeople can better monitor the global market and make more informed decisions. Which will increase their ability to maintain sectoral trade balance, and reduce the chances of short supply or oversupply in the market.

Second, the technology is transparent, and can help solve disputes over methods of calculation. It would also allow preemptive measures to be taken to address contentious issues and thus reduce the possibility of a trade war. For instance, some of the goods China exports to the United States come from other economies, the US included. They are only assembled in China to be exported to the US, and the majority of the profits on those goods are pocketed by foreign enterprises, including US companies. By tracing the real sources of such goods, blockchain technology can help the two parties to settle their disputes.

Third, blockchain technology simplifies the authentication issue by linking the different economies' customs departments, which are government bodies. And government appointment and authorization of customs officials are in line with the "proof of work" rule set by Bitcoin to form the "genesis block" of the customs' blockchain network. accordingly, identities of business entities and individuals are then verified by the customs.

Fourth, the technology is cost-efficient. Since customs departments are not commercial organizations, they don't need to implement a financial incentive program to expand their "business". Which makes the blockchain mechanism simple and cost-efficient, in particular because it doesn't consume a lot of resources to get data from different "ledgers".

Fifth, it is an effective weapon against counterfeit goods. Since every merchandise is given a customs code, the manufacturer and supplier of a particular merchandise can track its shipments and destinations to determine that those numbers and destinations match their own records. Since there are many counterfeits in the market - of, say, famous wines - it is not easy to trace them. But blockchain technology can help wine exporters to monitor the flow of their products and take precise actions to protect their brands and the value of their products.

Cross-border e-commerce has developed rapidly, yet there is a lack of new regulations. Which is depriving many governments of valuable tax revenue. Governments are scratching their heads to figure out how to prevent this loss of revenue. Blockchain technology will help them to record each shipment and trace its origin. And since the sales of all goods are taxable subject to relevant regulations, the governments could be the first to apply the technology to secure their tax revenues.

The World Trade Organization is facing a challenge as its rules are being flouted and mandates scorned by some major trade powers. Blockchain technology can help increase transparency in trade, and strengthen the WTO by helping it more authoritatively arbitrate trade disputes between different economies.

Although it may be difficult in the beginning to reach a broad consensus on the inclusion of the technology in the customs system, there is no harm in starting consultations on the issue, and perhaps launching a pilot program with a few other countries, even if it encompasses a few sectors at first.

For long, China has been emphasizing that the modernization of the global customs system using new technology will serve all economies' interests - including that of the largest economy which is desperate to rewrite global rules - and boost the development of developing as well developed countries.

China has the resources, expertise and incentive to develop a new technological platform to make global trade more transparent and promote fairness. This is the right time to assemble a group of experts from different regions, economies and sectors to start consultations on blockchain technology. Less-developed and small trading economies may not be as enthusiastic as the major economies to do so, but the cost of modernizing the global customs system is insignificant compared with the loss of energy and market value due to the lack of efficiency.

International organizations should play a special role in this regard, by giving less-developed economies a helping hand. In fact, China has been stressing the importance of international organizations including the United Nations and the WTO in global political and economic relations, especially because its ultimate goal is to help build a community with a shared future for mankind.

The author is a council member of the Center for China and Globalization. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[US must match Pence's positive remarks with the right deeds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/31/content_37519791.htm In his speech on China-US relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center on Thursday, US Vice-President Mike Pence repeated much of the criticism he had leveled at China in his first such speech at the Hudson Institute on Oct 4 last year. In particular, he criticized China's handling of the "one country, two systems" policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Pence has positioned himself as a moral preacher for and behavior examiner of other countries, which is not conducive to improving bilateral relations. This is not to say the United States has no right to comment on other countries' behaviors. But a country should look at its own record before criticizing others.

Take for instance the US' invasion of Iraq. The US' military offensive not only led to a massive humanitarian crisis in Iraq but also caused unprecedented upheaval in the Middle East, including the refugee crisis and the disappearance of some 300,000 Iraqis. So before speaking on China or any other country, Pence and his fellow US officials should analyze what the US has done in the Middle East.

In fact, the US' "war on terror" has given rise to new terrorist outfits, which has increasingly exposed China and other countries to the threat of terrorism, extremism and separatism. In contrast, China has been fighting terrorism by educating people and offering them training to learn job skills.

The US needs to ponder on how its "war on terror" in the past almost two decades has exposed other countries to more security risks.

Rebalancing Sino-US trade relations has been a recurring theme of Pence's speeches. And unlike last year, when he signaled the US economy could be "decoupled" with the Chinese economy, on Thursday he ruled out "decoupling".

What prompted the US vice-president to change his stance? Perhaps the US has started feeling the pain of the trade war it has launched against China. Although the GDP growth rate under the US administration soared to 3.1 percent in 2017, it dropped to 2.9 percent last year, declining further to 2.1 percent in the first half of this year. Possibly, Pence has learned a vital lesson from the US' economic development graph - that a trade war leaves no country unscathed.

China has benefitted from reform and opening-up and its cooperation with the US and other countries, so it will be regrettable if Washington refuses to continue its economic partnership with Beijing. Still, China welcomes a broad deal that can enable the two sides to continue to benefit from bilateral trade in the future.

Moreover, if Pence indeed spoke for his president when he said the US would not "decouple" with China, there are enough reasons to welcome his remarks, because the "decoupling" of the two economies will cause losses to not only Beijing but also Washington.

Pence's late awareness of the mutual benefits of continuing to engage with China sends a message that despite mounting challenges facing the two countries, they ought to resolve their differences through dialogue. Beijing has always been ready to talk, provided Washington is also willing to do so. But like their American counterparts, the Chinese side, too, wants to have a fair deal instead of a one-sided one as sought by many US politicians.

In his speech on Thursday, Pence also urged Beijing and Washington to continue cooperating on cultural exchanges, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and some urgent issues in the Persian Gulf, which is welcome. And we hope his appeal for peace in Hong Kong and peaceful engagement with Taiwan was genuine. But it should be made clear that Beijing is strongly against any US arms sale to Taiwan, because by doing so, Washington is interfering in the country's internal affairs and violating the Three Joint Communiques.

The author is a professor at and former executive dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-31 07:10:50
<![CDATA[All medical waste requires proper disposal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519467.htm JJ LIN, a Singaporean singer popular in China, caught a cold after a concert in Zhenjiang, East China's Jiangsu province, and sought help at a local hospital. After he left, a hospital staff member posted photos of Lin's perfusion tubes on the social media platform WeChat, and said he was auctioning them. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

After the incident happened, the hospital issued a news release, saying it is "a misdeed committed by the hospital staff who are Lin's fans". The latest reports say that 11 members of staff were involved and they have all been suspended.

It should be noted that the involved staff have committed at least two wrongs: First, by posting photos of Lin's medical treatment on social media without his consent, they have violated his privacy. Everybody has the right to keep secret that he/she has seen a doctor, a celebrity is no exception.

Some might argue that Lin is a public figure and therefore his affairs are all public, but that is not the case, everyone has the right to privacy.

Second, by taking photos of Lin's used perfusion tubes, the involved hospital staff members have violated the regulation on medical disposables, which was passed by the State Council, China's Cabinet, in 2003. According to the regulation, all used medical disposables must be collected by professional agencies and destroyed in ways that do not contaminate the environment or harm other people's health.

Complying with the regulation is essential, because medical waste, if not properly disposed of, might pose a health risk. Especially, as the photo shows, the perfusion tubes collected by the involved medical staff contained the needle and even some blood from Lin.

In its news release, the involved hospital said that they had recovered all the related medical waste, which is good to know. Let's hope all medical staff learn a lesson from the incident, and prevent anything similar happening in the future.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[People smugglers exploit development gaps]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519466.htm

Six days after the bodies of 39 migrants were found in a truck container in Essex, Britain, it is still a mystery how they were cheated into taking on such a tragic and fatal journey.

While our sympathy goes to the relatives of these dead migrants and we share their grief for the loss of their loved ones, we call for the world's attention to unbalanced development. It is deprivation caused by underdevelopment that drives poverty-stricken people to risk their lives in their pursuit of a new life elsewhere.

China has made great efforts in the past several decades to realize its goal of lifting all people out of poverty by the end of 2020, mobilizing people from all walks of life in a bid to make it unnecessary for any Chinese to risk their lives in pursuit of a better life in such a way.

China has set an example for the rest of the world in its poverty alleviation efforts. The more endeavors all countries make in improving the life of the impoverished, the fewer people will likely take the risk of putting themselves in the hands of people smugglers.

But balanced development is relative. There will always be those who are not satisfied with their current life, which leaves opportunities for snakeheads or people smugglers to swindle some people into paying for the promise of a better future.

To prevent a similar tragedy from happening again, there must be concerted efforts to curb people smuggling. Not only should those countries from which the migrants begin their journeys crack down on the underground networks of human traffickers, but European countries that are the destination should do so too.

As Interpol says, people smuggling syndicates are run like businesses, with extensive and complex networks. By providing fake identification documents, organizing transport and bypassing official border controls, criminals can make huge profits by promising to actualize the dreams of the desperate or naive.

In general, those who pay a smuggler in order to gain illegal entry into a country do so voluntarily, and the relationship ends on arrival, unlike those who are trafficked, nonetheless they may well be subject to fraud, force or other coercion.

An investigation into the Essex truck tragedy is underway. Hopefully, the investigation will find out how the underground network of human smuggling works and what kind of deficiencies in border control have facilitated the criminals' illegal activities. Which will hopefully help more countries put an end to the inhuman business.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Blockchain-plus will give fresh momentum to economic upgrading]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519465.htm

AT THE 18TH COLLECTIVE STUDY SESSION of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Thursday, General Secretary Xi Jinping identified blockchain as "a crucial breakthrough point for the indigenous innovation of core technologies". The top leader's forward-looking approach has made blockchain the focus of financial capital, the real economy and public opinion. People's Daily comments:

Cutting-edge technologies have always been an important content in the collective study sessions of the Political Bureau, from cyber power to big data, from media integration to blockchain. Learning forefront technological changes at such sessions reflects the forward-looking judgment of China's leaders and their sharp insight into emerging trends and their capability to lead the country's industrial reform and economic transformation.

Blockchain involves many challenges, but from an applied point of view, it goes beyond specific technical problems, and uses fundamental principles to think about complex phenomena. To put it simply, blockchain is a distributed shared ledger and database that is decentralized, falsification-free and traceable, thus guaranteeing its "honesty" and laying a foundation for the creation of trust.

As long as the authenticity of information and data on blockchain are ensured, blockchain can solve the "storage" and "verification" problems of information. The distribution features of blockchain mean it can break down "data barriers" between departments and realize information and data sharing.

Besides, blockchain can form a "consensus mechanism" that can solve the problem of information asymmetry, helping enhance trust as the cornerstone of the market economy. At the same time, blockchain can boost the trust needed for cooperation between multiple subjects.

But we should hold a rational approach to its development. Blockchain technologies are accompanied by cryptocurrency, although innovation of blockchain technologies is not equal to virtual currency speculation, we should take precautionary measures to prevent the prevalence of such kind of speculation. This means we should make further improvements in terms of safety, standards and regulation.

Blockchain greatly expands the breadth and depth of human trust and cooperation. However, it should not be the next-generation internet technology only, but become a next-generation cooperation mechanism and organizational form.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Gansu's greening sign of global warming]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519464.htm

Editor's Note: Halaqi, a lake in the Gobi Desert in the west of Gansu province, dried up nearly 300 years ago, but it has reappeared and has been expanding since a national natural reserve was founded in the region. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:

Located to the north of the glacier-capped Qilian Mountain Range on the northern border of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the lake covers 5 square kilometers now, and is still growing. The lake used to be as large as 200 square kilometers. But the growth of the local population over the past three centuries accelerated the drying up of the 540-km long Shule River - which started from Qilian Mountain and flowed into Halaqi Lake - and thus the disappearance of the lake.

The reappearing of Halaqi Lake is an example of the seemingly delightful improvement of the ecology in the drought-prone areas of Northwest China, particularly in Gansu, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces, and the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, where rainfall and river discharge have dramatically increased since 2000, resurrecting many dead rivers, lakes and wetlands.

Thanks to the world's largest reforestation project conducted by the Chinese government, the forest coverage rate in the region, which is home to the world's largest loess plateau and several deserts, has doubled.

However, it would be too hasty to attribute the ecological betterment to changes brought about by local residents becoming more environmentally conscious.

Data of the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicate the increase of the water flow to the region is mainly from the melting of the glaciers on the Qilian Mountain Range, where about one-sixth of the 3,000 sq km of glaciers have disappeared over the past 50 years, and it is predicted the remaining 2,000 some sq km of glaciers will vanish before the middle of this century, because of global warming, a process that seems almost irreversible.

So the flourishing greenery in the region will just be a flash in the pan in the long run, and the dramatic expansion of reforested area will only speed up the desertification of the area after the natural water supply starts to fall.

It is urgent for the government to divert more attention from planting trees to preparing for the foreseeable changes. Otherwise, it would only be a matter of time before local towns are deserted just like the hundreds of ancient towns that now lie buried in sands in the region as a testimony to the region's water shortage.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Import expo shows China is further opening for business with the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519463.htm

That President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the 2nd China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov 5, as he did the first last year, indicates the great significance the world's second-largest economy attaches to the events, which are part of its efforts to develop an open trading network.

Although the overall exhibition area this year has enlarged to 360,000 square meters from 300,000 sq m last year, it remains difficult for the more than 3,000 exhibitors from more than 150 countries and regions registered for the expo to grab a booth each, demonstrating the strong desire of foreign companies to elbow into the Chinese market by means of the expo.

So far, half a million purchasing agents and individual visitors have registered for the expo. And 18 provincial-level regions and municipalities will showcase their businesses, industries and intangible cultural heritage through more than 140 activities held during the expo. That will provide the foreign companies with direct access to local markets in the vast country.

The expo, the largest of its kind worldwide, is substantiation of China's decision to further open up its economy and testimony to its promotion of more inclusive economic globalization.

Through actively integrating into the world economy, China has not only been a beneficiary of economic globalization, it has also been an essential contributor to it, and the import expo not only promotes the flow of advanced and high-quality products and services into China, it is also a concrete move to counter the trade barriers implemented by some countries.

According to official statistics, the attendees at the first expo agreed deals in sectors such as smart manufacturing, food and agricultural products, automotives, consumer electronics and home appliances and services.

But apart from establishing it as a platform for enterprises to tap the Chinese market, China is committed to turning the expo into a means to synergize global efforts to uphold and advance free trade.

It is notable that 64 countries and three international organizations will take part in an exhibition organized specifically to introduce their development achievements, business environments, characteristic industries and their policies, and that more than 300 activities related to trade and investment facilitation will be held on the sidelines of the expo.

Among these, the second Hongqiao International Economic Forum is a major one, with more than 4,000 people from around the world registered to attend the forum, which has the theme of opening-up innovation.

The first expo demonstrated its potential to provide new channels for countries and regions to do business, strengthen cooperation and promote common prosperity, the second expo can further deliver on this promise.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Closed skies not conducive to peace]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519462.htm

Like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 34-signatory "Open Skies" treaty has been a crucial part of a Cold War-era strategic architecture serving global peace long past that superpower standoff.

By allowing designated airplanes of signatory countries to conduct short-notice, unarmed surveillance flights over specific areas in each other's territory, the treaty has been a significant instrument of mutual assurance, if not confidence building, between suspicious rivals, the United States and Russia in particular.

Since US President Dwight Eisenhower proposed the idea in 1955, particularly since the "Open Skies" treaty took effect in 2002, the mechanism has proven instrumental in avoiding misjudgments and mitigating an arms race.

After scrapping the INF Treaty, however, the White House is now reportedly considering withdrawing from the "Open Skies" treaty, sparking worries at home and throughout Europe.

Ukraine, the biggest potential victim of a possible US withdrawal, voiced its strong political will to preserve the treaty, insisting it is one of the fundamental international treaties guaranteeing European security and arms control.

Moscow said Washington is seeking a one-sided military advantage, and even accused it of wanting to conceal the development and tests of new weapons.

While opponents at home are primarily concerned about losing access to some of Russia's best-hidden secrets, or further damaging the image of the US in the eyes of its European allies, the biggest victim, as it was in the case of the INF Treaty, would be the post World War II arms control regime.

Since there has been little tangible change to either US-Russia relations, or the bilateral military equilibrium, or global security conditions at large since the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, if the Donald Trump administration finally puts the "Open Skies" treaty to rest, no significant differences may be felt right away.

The White House will no doubt continue declaring everything is going as well as it can. Yet if the Trump administration does remove another cornerstone of the post-WWII arms control regime, actually that of present-day global peace, the consequences could be dire and long-lasting.

Such a move will subject many, if not indirectly all, countries including both Russia and the US to serious security threats from superpower confrontation, whose disappearance has generally been taken for granted for decades worldwide.

At least till now much of the world rested assured that the world's two most lethal militaries would not easily engage in a confrontation triggered by strategic misjudgment.

The consequences may be minimal and incremental at present. But over time, accumulated and combined, those consequences may lead to an outcome far beyond anticipation.

In the meantime, the international image of the US certainly looks uglier. Both Russia and the European allies of the US have once again censured Washington for considering a reckless and irresponsible action.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[New methods to improve governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519461.htm A main theme of the on-going Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee is: How to promote modern national governance. It was at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November 2013 that the Party put forward that "the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform is to improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernize the country's governance system and governance capacity".

It was the first time the Party explicitly set "promoting modernization of the country's governance system and governance capacity" as the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform. Elevating governance to the level of national policy is an important theoretical innovation that will help improve China's governance practice.

To begin with, this marks a major change in the Party's governance philosophy, showing the Party now has a new understanding of the development laws of socialist society, because the modernization of national governance system and governance capacity is an inevitable requirement for China to improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.

Specific path, timetable for deepening reform

In the 19th Party Congress report in October 2017, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping re-emphasized that the modernization of China's governance system and governance capacity was the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform, and pointed out the specific path and timetable for the process, as well as the problems that need to be addressed.

With the realization of socialist modernization, the country's governance system and governance capacity will be basically modernized by 2035, and the building of China into a great modern socialist country will help realize the modernization of its governance system and governance capacity by the middle of this century, Xi said.

All this shows the Party has made the modernization of the country's governance system and governance capacity an important policy agenda and regards it as an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

Important guarantee for socialist modernization

The modernization of China's governance system and governance capacity, which is not only the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform but also an important guarantee for socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics, symbolizes a major change in the Party's governance philosophy.

The formulation of this general goal can help the Party and government to update their governance concepts and realize institutionalized and scientific governance in various fields, by constantly perfecting the socialist economic, political, cultural, social and ecological civilizations with Chinese characteristics and Party building.

This suggests the CPC has shifted from the traditional mindset of implementing rules focused on unitary management to the "governance" approach which focuses on multi-party interaction and cooperation between the Party, government, market, society and citizens.

China must take steps to prevent social disorder

Second, this is a new concept for realizing socialist modernization. To modernize China's governance system and government capacity is an inevitable requirement for the socialist modernization drive. The modernization, however, will have an impact on traditional social concepts, social structures and the social order, and increase social risks and unstable social and political factors. As such, China should take appropriate measures to prevent such risks.

Improving the governance system to promote the modernization of China's governance capacity offers the CPC a key answer to how to maintain social and political stability in its socialist modernization drive.

And by strengthening top-level design and overall layout of national governance through the modernization of governance capacity, China can overcome possible conceptual and institutional obstacles in the process of comprehensively deepening reform, and thus facilitate the coordinated advancement of reforms in different fields. At the same time, in all the areas where China has launched reforms, it wants to advance governance capacity building.

Third, this is a new development of the Marxist theory of the state. The Party's vow to modernize China's governance system and governance capacity, shift from "rule" to "governance", and increase in the social functions of the State are a manifestation of the Party's effort to promote the development of the Marxist theory of the state and its new understanding of the functions of the Chinese State.

Political and economic functions not to weaken

Putting greater emphasis on social functions of the State does not mean China intends to weaken its political, economic and cultural functions. The changing situations in China and the world require China to pay closer attention to social issues and social governance.

So China should strengthen the functions of public administration and social services, as well as other fields. In other words, the modernization of the governance system and governance capacity will help China safeguard the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, realizing maximum positive interaction between national governance and social autonomy, maintaining social stability and promoting social development.

China's efforts to promote the modernization of its governance system and governance capacity also mean the country has to change its past governance methods, and give full play to the respective advantages of other actors. Aside from introducing other players in accordance with market mechanisms to promote better governance, the complicated problems and challenges China currently faces also demand that it have a strong leading force to coordinate the interests of different parties to advance overall reforms.

The author is a professor at the School of International Relations, University of International Business and Economics. The views do not necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[IS leader's death doesn't reduce terror threat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519460.htm Editor's Note: The United States announced on Sunday that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in Syria on Saturday. How will this affect US politics and the security situation in the Middle East? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

US leader grasps at the proverbial straw

The somewhat dramatic killing of al-Baghdadi is nothing less than the proverbial straw the US leader has grasped at a time when Democrats and some Republicans have opposed his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and the process to impeach him is gathering pace.

The killing of al-Baghdadi has given the US leader an opportunity to showcase his achievements against the background of US domestic political struggle becoming increasing fierce. But despite the death of al-Baghdadi dealing a blow to the IS outfit, terrorist groups are still active even as the Taliban are engaged in talks with multiple parties including the US.

More disconcertingly, the fact that the IS group had its own "territory", financial resources, oil fields and even its own currency during its heyday means the threat from the remaining IS terrorists is not over. And this threat must not be treated lightly.

It would be fair to say the Middle East policies of both Barack Obama and his successor in the White House have not been effective to the extent needed, although the incumbent US president is receiving more criticism. This is mainly because contradictions abound in the Middle East, although the White House's more audacious and risky approach to regional conflicts, including its obvious favoritism toward Israel and moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is certain to be rejected by people in the Middle East and beyond.

Nonetheless, the death of the IS leader has given the US leader much to taunt about. And given his high profile publicity of the incident, we know the opportunity to promote himself is not lost on him.

Development key to fight terrorism

It is hard to say how heavy a blow the death of al-Baghdadi will deal to the IS, especially because it has withered as a terrorist outfit since its heyday and its morale is already low. Some claim al-Baghdadi's death could create a division in the group, which seems unlikely as the priority for the IS now is to survive, and internal conflicts would put the survival of the outfit at risk.

And although the IS leader's killing will boost counter-terrorism efforts in the region, the key to contain terrorism in the Middle East is to take precautionary measures and reduce the factors that give rise to terrorism, such as poverty, social ills, political unrest and lack of development.

That the emergence of the IS coincided with the renewed social upheaval in Iraq and Syria and the unrest in Iraq and Egypt due to unsatisfactory reform should prompt those countries to make extensive efforts to ensure social stability, improve governance and let people enjoy the fruits of economic development. Which means development should be made the first priority to effectively root out terrorism.

It is encouraging to see some Middle East countries realizing the futility and harm of engaging in regional conflicts such as the civil war in Yemen that was instigated by major countries, including the US, with ill intentions, and understanding that development should be eventually made the first priority.

In fact, the US' Middle East policy, to some extent, is responsible for creating the current chaos. By supporting anti-government forces in some countries, apparently to initiate regime change, the US has sowed the seed of turbulence in those countries. Many observers even say that the US' interference in Iraq and Syria is squarely to blame for the establishment and rise of IS. So, if the US wants to contribute to regional peace and stability, it should correct its wrongs and change its policies.

Still, its achievements in countering terrorism including taking out Osama bin Laden and al-Baghdadi should be applauded.

The views do not necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Handle juvenile delinquents' cases with utmost caution]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/30/content_37519459.htm Editor's Note: A 13-year-old boy who killed a 10-year-old girl after failing to rape her in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, early this month, may not face trial because minors below the age of 14 are exempted from criminal charges. The case has sparked a heated debate on whether the criminal accountability age should be lowered. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Educating minors in law should be first priority

A few extreme cases have given rise to the view among some that juvenile offenders are over-protected and don't get due punishment even if they commit a serious crime. Such a view has its roots in the Chinese tradition of "a life for a life".

Juveniles get special protection under the law in almost all countries, so the resultant contradiction between protection and justice should be treated with caution.

Many have appealed that the age for criminal accountability should be lowered on the basis of the physiology, psychology and social maturity of the juveniles. But it is uncertain whether lowering the age of minors for criminal responsibility would lower the rate of juvenile crimes.

Also, apart from the difficulty of measuring the cognitive standards of a juvenile in a country with a population of about 300 million minors aged below 18, the lowering of the age by, say, one year will put much more juveniles behind bars and cost much more resources to the State.

Actually, the number of juvenile cases adjudicated in courts fell, not increased, for nine consecutive years, from 2009 to 2017. It's never wise to take a few extreme cases to lower the age of criminal accountability.

Correcting the wrongs committed by juveniles by teaching them social and moral norms, and educating them in law, rather than lowering the age for criminal responsibility, should be the first priority.

Pi Yijun, a professor of law at China University of Political Science and Law

Juveniles delinquents shouldn't get uniform protection

The law tilts toward giving lenient sentence to juveniles for even serious offenses. Also, the authorities are short of effective support systems to reform juvenile delinquents. Which means judicial leniency could sometimes lead to indulgence, because some juveniles might exploit the loopholes in the law to escape legal punishment, and therefore unwittingly encourage others to commit offenses in the belief they would not be punished.

The over-emphasis on lighter penalties may undermine the power of the law to prevent juveniles from committing crimes. Such over-protection doesn't serve the interest of juveniles, as they may fail to tell right from wrong if they are not duly punished even for serious wrongdoings.

Thus, a set of systems should be established on the basis of international practices. For example, the introduction of accessory punishment in the form of community services may prevent "cross-infection of misconduct" among juvenile delinquents in reform homes, which can be more effective as a warning than probation for educating minor offenders.

Besides, a mechanism should be established to expunge the criminal records of juveniles after they serve their "sentence" so they can get another chance to start a new life. Due to the lack of elasticity, the judiciary cannot punish even those juvenile who have committed a serious crime knowing full well its consequences.

Measures should also be taken to plug the loopholes in the law, meaning juveniles aged below 14 but relatively mature should be held accountable for felony, and convicted for committing a crime such as homicide and rape.

It's necessary to change the mechanism of unilateral protection for juvenile delinquents, as the interests of the victims and their families should also be protected.

Qin Tao, an associate professor at the law school, East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai

The views do not necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-30 07:56:07
<![CDATA[Death of Baghdadi does not mean end of fight against terrorism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519200.htm

There is no doubt the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a significant contribution to the international efforts to fight terrorism. Or that the US president's announcement of the US operation which led to his death will boost his own reelection chances.

Since July 2014, when the IS terrorist group seized large tracts of land in Syria and Iraq following the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in 2011, the world has seen the opening of a Pandora's box of terrorism and extremism across five continents. The terrorist group not only committed atrocities in the territory it seized but also claimed responsibility for instigating terrorist attacks in dozens of cities including Paris, Nice, Orlando, Manchester, London, Berlin, and most recently in Colombo.

In its heyday, the IS group ruled over millions of people in areas extending from northern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad. Its declaration of a caliphate and ideology propagating violent religious extremism lured thousands of people from around the world to join its jihadist movement, which has posed the biggest security threat to the world in recent years.

With the IS being defeated in Syria and Iraq by international anti-terror efforts led by the United States and other forces in the region including the Syrian government backed by Russia and Kurdish fighters, the death of Baghdadi in a US special forces operation is being heralded as sounding the death knell for the terrorist group.

But the demise of IS in the Middle East and the killing of its leader should not slacken the vigilance against terrorism as the world has not yet completely wiped out its evil ideology. Neither will this necessarily guarantee that peace and stability will finally prevail in the Middle East.

The US decision to pull its troops out of Syria and allow Turkey to launch a military operation in Syria to push Kurds from the border area has triggered worldwide concern about the worsening of the situation in Syria and the possible revival of the IS group.

Over the years, the Middle East has had to dance to the tunes of both US policy successes and failures in the region. True, the US has both contributed and made sacrifices in the fight against the IS group. But its policy inconsistency and greed in pursuing its own interests in the region have also made it a disruptive force in the region. It was the destabilizing of the region by the US that was largely responsible for the rise of the IS and the establishing of its caliphate five years ago.

Its double standard in fighting various groups of terrorists with different backgrounds has also hindered international cooperation and coordination against terrorism and done a disservice to the world community in reaching a consensus on rooting out all extremist elements wherever they may be.

The Middle East is at a crossroad in the post-IS era. As an important player in the region, the US should play a more constructive role in the region's peace and stability.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Hong Kong society is fed up with rioters]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519199.htm

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government strongly condemned the criminal acts by rioters at a number of locations in Kowloon, including arson and vandalism and the now habitual gas-bombing of police, after hardcore rioters went on a rampage again on Sunday.

But it is notable that the scale of the rioting had shrunk significantly in comparison to those on previous weekends over the past four months, with much fewer people taking part in Sunday's disturbances than previously.

The fall in the number of participants tallies with another new development: Not only were there fewer hardcore rioters, there were also fewer onlookers acting as cheerleaders and human shields for the rioters when the police arrived. It seems that more and more previously misguided people are realizing that the violence is not in Hong Kong's best interests.

The rising voice of those condemning the violence, which had previously been muted, has also played a role in taking some of the steam out of the anti-establishment campaign.

More and more Hong Kong residents fed up with the abusive behavior of the rioters are now standing up to make their voices heard as it has become evident the anarchy is propelling the city ever closer to the brink of an abyss. As the five-month mark approaches more people are joining volunteers in tearing down anti-government banners and posters in their neighborhoods, a move they had refrained from taking until very recently for fear of retaliation from the radicals.

Aside from the threat to Hong Kong's rule of law - a key pillar of the city's prosperity - another obvious reason for growing public objection to the illegal acts of rioters is the serious damage their agitational acts are doing to many people's livelihoods.

Hong Kong has already entered recession, with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The number of tourists has fallen precipitously, with visitor numbers down 50 percent, according to the SAR's financial secretary. Unemployment in some sectors is surging, and is threatening to spread.

The ravaging of the economy by the constant riots is the main reason why the insurgency is faltering and losing whatever support it may have had among the public. It is clear that the excessive zeal of some in making their discontent known to the government is causing material distress throughout the SAR.

Those evidently acting against the well-being of a society will never succeed in attracting it to their side no matter how hard they try. It is time for the masterminds of the riots and the remaining hardcore rioters to wake up from their illusion that they speak for everyone in Hong Kong.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[New rules promise better subway etiquette]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519198.htm

The new regulation of dos and don'ts for people using urban rail transit services, which was issued by the Ministry of Transport recently, may seem a no-brainer for anyone who is aware of some basic social etiquette. But its publication - and implementation starting April 1 next year - is timely and necessary given the rising number of complaints about uncivilized and sometimes unruly behavior on the subway and light rail services and the inefficiency in dealing with such problems because of the lack of national unified norms.

By the end of 2018, 35 cities in 24 provinces on the Chinese mainland had started running their own urban rail transit systems that altogether extended 5,300 kilometers, with 21.28 billion trips recorded annually. While those cities have enacted their own rules of conduct for passengers, they sometimes are too simplistic or even contradictory making the rules hard to enforce. For example, eating on subways is not allowed in Shanghai, but the rule is not legally binding, basically making any punishment for violating the ban impossible.

Now the national regulation explicitly puts such behavior as eating, littering, urinating, and graffitiing on the must-not-do list for passengers. Other offenses include smoking, forcing open train doors, lying on seats, making loud noises and using electronic instruments without headphones. Violators will be dealt with by relevant departments according to the law, the new regulation states, although no specific penalties have been listed, obviously giving local authorities free reign to work out their own punishments based on their actual conditions.

Whether the officials in charge can add real teeth to the regulation to deter unpleasant conduct remains to be seen. But they could at least look to their counterparts elsewhere for some inspiration. For example, fare evasion on the New York subways entails a $100 fine, and in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, eating and drinking on the subway could result in a fine of up to HK$2,000 ($255). Although the penalties are rarely meted out, they serve to make the public transport system safe and clean through education. Only when verbal warnings are met with deaf ears are tickets issued.

While the new regulation targets only the urban rail transit services, experiences gained from its implementation should be learned and extended to all public transport systems including buses and even railways to benefit more people on their journey.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Spending can be boosted by easing housing, healthcare, education burden]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519197.htm

THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND REFORM COMMISSION, the country's top economic policy planner, hosted a pro-consumption meeting last week to translate the State Council's two documents on stimulating cultural, tourism and goods consumption into workable policies. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

That 31 ministerial-level departments sent representatives to the meeting indicates the government is pinning great hopes on further exploring consumption's potential to inject fresh impetus into the economy.

To what extent these to-be-made pro-consumption policies can realize their desired effect depends on whether the factors that curtail people's spending behavior can be effectively addressed.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the personal average disposable income increased 6.1 percent in the first three quarters year-on-year, and the personal consumption expenditure by 5.7 percent, compared with last year's 6.5 percent and 6.2 percent respectively. Which is a natural fallout of the slower economic growth this year, and makes consumption difficult to be stimulated.

Chinese families' consumption has shown a falling tendency from 2015 when the fast rise of housing prices nationwide began aggravating families' debt burden, and containing their consumption capacity.

A research report published by the School of Economics of Renmin University of China last year indicated that the ratio of household debt to household disposable income was 110.9 percent by the end of 2017, higher than the 108.1 percent of families in the United States.

Statistics show that the expenditure on housing, medical care, transportation and education accounts for more than half of Chinese families' overall consumption.

Last year, consumption contributed 76.2 percent of China's economic growth, and the service sector's added value, including housing, medical care and education, accounted for 52.16 percent of the gross domestic product, both nearing the level of developed economies.

In other words, consumption has almost reached its upper limit as a growth engine for China unless further structural reforms are carried out in the key service industries.

Therefore, it is advisable for the government to think of taking some concrete actions to relieve the debt pressure on families by increasing its spending on housing, education, and healthcare.

Reducing the amount families have to spend on these will encourage them to spend on goods and cultural activities.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Do not let memories of martyrs fade away]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519196.htm A CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION PROGRAM broadcast on Sunday told the story of Yang Zirong, a People's Liberation Army hero, whose family was unaware that he had died a martyr until 27 years after his death in 1947. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

The novel Tracks in the Snow Forest tells how Yang outwitted a group of gangsters in northeastern China in 1946 before dying in a battle a few days later.

The novel was so popular from the 1950s to the 1980s that almost every person born in those decades has read it. However, many people did not know that the character in the novel was the true identity of the hero. Even his son did not know his father was the hero he read in the book until 27 years later, because he carried a name different from the one formally registered with the army.

The CCTV program sparked a hot discussion about martyrs on domestic social media networks.

Every nation pays respect to the martyrs and heroes who die for their country, because it is their sacrifices that make each nation's survival possible. It is common practice to pay tribute to the these fallen heroes so their deeds will be remembered.

Yet there are many who died without leaving any information for us to memorize, especially during the upheavals in the first half of the last century. According to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, about 20 million people died for the cause of national independence, but the names of only 1.93 million are known.

For decades, China has been collecting information about those who died during that period, so as to pay them the tribute they deserve. By doing so, it is hoped future generations will know the stories of these heroes, who they are, what they did and why, and how they died.

In a recent tragedy, three members of a PLA Air Force flying team, who had participated in the celebratory fly-by for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, died when the pilot deliberately flew their plane, which had developed technical problems, into a mountain on Oct 11 to avoid crashing into a village. It is to be hoped their names will be remembered and they too will be honored as martyrs. Everyone who gives his or her life for the public good should be remembered.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Japan should treasure historic change in relations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519195.htm Editor's Note: At the 15th opening ceremony of the Beijing-Tokyo Forum, held in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech, saying China and Japan are shouldering increasingly important joint responsibilities and common missions, as both have become key regional influencers. Columnist Niutanqin comments in a WeChat post:

In his speech, Wang said the interests of China and Japan have never been so widely and deeply integrated, and the development of the two countries has never been so directly and closely linked as today.

The data back this up. China and Japan now have a bilateral trade volume exceeding $300 billion, 12 million person-times of personnel exchanges every year, more than 1,000 direct flights per week and more than 250 pairs of sister cities.

At a time when China-Japan relations are undergoing important and positive changes, the international situation is undergoing major and profound adjustments and the world is once again at a crossroad, the two countries should establish a higher level of political mutual trust.

As Wang said, they should carry out higher-quality, mutually beneficial cooperation, promote more cultural exchanges, play a more active and leading role in the region, build more constructive security relations, and strengthen their strategic coordination.

The ups and downs Sino-Japanese relations have undergone in the past decades are inseparable from Japan's stance on history and Taiwan. Relations between the two have finally come out of their low point, but the possibility cannot be ruled out that one day relations will once again sour sharply due to provocative moves from Japan. This requires the two countries, especially Japan, to be mindful of the sensitivity of these issues.

Wang thus urged Japan to comply with the principles enshrined in the four political documents between the two countries, especially Tokyo's commitment to the correct understanding of history and Taiwan.

As the most important event in Sino-Japanese relations in 2020, President Xi Jinping is due to pay a state visit to Japan next spring, which, if smoothly realized, will mark the first official visit by a Chinese head of state to Japan in 12 years. This is a reflection of the two countries' determination to push bilateral relations forward. So the two countries should make joint efforts to create a positive atmosphere for the visit.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Building an ecological civilization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519194.htm The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee is expected to study several important issues on upholding and perfecting socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing the national governance system and governance capability. The plenum is also likely to propose policies to ensure the CPC is governed "in accordance with law".

For decades, China has been following the principles of market economy in which the State sector has played an important role.

The importance of State governance

Since 2012, the Chinese leadership has consistently accorded top priority to reforming the governance system, especially because the world is becoming increasingly complex and events outside the country, on which the leadership has no say or control, are increasingly likely to affect China's economic and social development.

Unexpected events are hard to predict; and it is even harder to mitigate the risks stemming from them. China is dealing with these complex problems in a way that would allow the political leadership to take timely and appropriate actions and delegate economic management to local levels to deal with them.

The central leadership has emphasized the importance of making the governance system even more efficient. It has stressed that good governance requires the timely exercise of economic, political and administrative instruments to manage both expected and unexpected events. This effectively means the leaders have to rely heavily on functional institutions and appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks that have to be implemented in a proper and timely manner.

In 1994, China introduced performance-based systems to assess and promote local leaders, which have two distinct advantages. First, since the local leaders are promoted to the national level, they come with a good understanding and appreciation of local conditions, perceptions and aspirations. Second, the practice has given rise to healthy competition between local leaders, which has contributed to local social and economic improvements.

Ecological civilization with Chinese characteristics

The identification and promotion of good leaders helps improve the performance of institutions, which in turn results in good governance and boosts China's development. At the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, when Xi Jinping was elected as the general secretary of the Party Central Committee, the importance of building an ecological civilization with Chinese characteristics was elevated to a high political level.

That gave a clear signal that the Chinese leadership accords high priority to economic development consistent with environmental protection and conservation.

In order to achieve this ambitious objective of building an ecological civilization, a comprehensive "master plan" for institutional and systemic reform was announced in 2015, which listed a series of principles and objectives, and declared that by 2020, China would "complete the institutional set-up" to achieve ecological civilization. It also noted, correctly in our view, that "natural resources should be properly valued" and "holistically managed".

Toward an eco-friendly and green development

Since 2012, China has made remarkable progress in formulating and implementing plans to improve the environment and ecology of the country, along with its stellar economic progress.

For example, the "Air Pollution Action Plan" announced in September 2013 was a major milestone in China's march to build an ecological civilization. It was a most ambitious program, the type of which was not witnessed in the history of any country. The objective was to reduce air pollution at the national level in only five years. The standards for PM2.5(particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) were set in different regions. These targets required 33 percent reduction for Beijing and 15 percent for the Pearl River Delta region by the end of the plan in 2017. When these targets were set, very few Chinese, even fewer international experts, thought they were achievable.

The targets meant Beijing had to reduce its PM2.5 level from 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013 to 60 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017. Beijing thus closed its coal-fired power stations, prohibited people in surrounding areas from burning coal for heating in winter, banned old cars, ensured new cars were fuel-efficient and used other policy measures to reduce the PM2.5 level. By 2017, Beijing's PM2.5 level had come down to 58 micrograms per cubic meter, a 35 percent reduction. The Pearl and Yangtze river delta regions, too, beat their targets.

Beating the PM2.5 target

Not surprisingly, when French President Emmanuel Macron visited China in January 2018, he remarked: "I have never seen China like this." The same week, Greenpeace East Asia, an environmental NGO, noted that Beijing's PM2.5 level was 54 percent lower in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016. Greenpeace also noted that the levels of PM 2.5 in 26 cities of northern China were one-third lower.

China has followed up its 2013 Air Pollution Action Plan with a new, even more ambitious, 2018-20 Action Plan for winning the "blue sky war", which is much wider in scope and has stricter targets.

In 2018, following a major institutional reform, climate change and carbon emission responsibilities were moved from the National Development and Reform Commission to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, which is also in charge of the three-year Action Plan. The objective is to achieve "large reductions in total emissions of major pollutants in coordination with reduction of greenhouse gases".

As such, China is on route to winning its "war on pollution". The reforms and improvements in governance practices mean the country has not only become an economic superpower in four decades but also will reduce its air and water pollution within an even shorter period. No other country has managed to achieve these two difficult tasks in such a short period.

Asit K. Biswas is a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Glasgow and chairman, Water Management International Pte Ltd., Singapore, and Cecilia Tortajada is a senior research fellow at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

 

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[How to smoothen path for further opening-up]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519193.htm

Over the last four decades, China has integrated into global networks in trade, finance, data and culture. But, as the United States has embraced protectionism, continued progress on global integration will require China to adjust its approach.

In the 20 years since China's State-owned enterprises began listing shares and raising funds in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the city - known for its low tax rates and rule of law - has become a global financial center. The SAR has served as a catalyst and intermediary for broader financial-market liberalization in China, offering a kind of buffer zone for experimenting with the interactions between the Chinese mainland and offshore renminbi financial markets.

Thanks to this approach, China's share of global debt and equity markets has increased sharply. In 2004, China accounted for 1.2 percent of the world bond market, compared with 42.2 percent for the US, 26.5 percent for the European Union, and 18.7 percent for Japan. By the end of 2018, China's bond market had expanded to account for 12.6 percent of world total, while the US' had shrunk to 40.2 percent, the EU's to 20.9 percent, and Japan's to 12.2 percent.

Similarly, the mainland's share of global equity market capitalization rose from 1.2 percent in 2004 to 8.5 percent in 2018; add to that Hong Kong's share, and China's total rises to 13.6 percent. Over the same period, the US' share of global equity market capitalization fell from 45.4 percent to 40.8 percent, the EU's from 16.3 percent to 10.8 percent, and Japan's from 16.3 percent to 7.1 percent.

Yet China still has a lot of work to do on integration. As a recent McKinsey report showed, more than 80 percent of the revenues of China's 110 global Fortune 500 companies are domestic, and foreign ownership in China's banking, securities and bond markets remains below 6 percent.

Also, the barriers to continued progress are significant. To continue China's integration into global networks, the authorities need to overcome at least four major strategic challenges.

First, they have to rein in debt which has increased more than fivefold economy-wide over the last decade. While China can afford to consume and invest more, given its domestic savings rate, it will also need to deepen its equity markets, in order to lower long-term debt risks.

Second, China must find ways to advance the internationalization of the renminbi. Since 2009, the Chinese government has been taking measures to expand the renminbi's international use. But, according to the Bank for International Settlements, the renminbi accounted for just 2.1 percent of total daily foreign-exchange trading in April 2019-far behind the US dollar (44 percent), the euro (16 percent) and the Japanese yen (8.5 percent).

Third, China will also need to adjust to having a broadly balanced current account, after decades as a major surplus country. To maintain a healthy balance of payments and avoid taking on too much risk, China must now ensure that its capital outflows are roughly balanced with inflows of foreign funds.

The fourth challenge China faces lies in the unfriendly external environment, shaped by anxieties over excessive or uneven flows of goods, capital, data, people and culture. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the US administration and its assault on the global trading system, including a trade war with China.

China has broadened its two-tier approach to integration in recent years, incorporating a growing number of mainland provinces into pilot projects such as the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. China hopes that, much like the Hong Kong SAR, these pilot cities can sustain its integration momentum, helping it gradually align its legal and regulatory regime with global frameworks for trade, finance and taxation.

But China will need to expand and augment these efforts if it is to protect its linkages to global finance, data, and knowledge networks. Only with bold, smart and innovative action can policymakers ensure that China's pilot cities continue to lead the way toward a more open, integrated, peaceful and prosperous future.

Andrew Sheng is a distinguished fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance. And Xiao Geng, president of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, is a professor at and director of the Research Institute of Maritime Silk Road at Peking University HSBC Business School.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Pence must abandon Cold War mind-set to show he really means what he says]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/29/content_37519192.htm In his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center on Thursday, US Vice-President Mike Pence repeated most of the anti-China clich��s he used last year. But his renewed "declaration of cold war" against China contained some new accusations, ranging from the central governments' efforts to combat terrorism in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and Hong Kong's efforts to quell violent protests in the special administrative region, to false charges of surveillance against China.

Referring, in US-style, to "the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world", Pence claimed the US "built China over the last 25 years", and US workers grew "more disheartened" with the closure of every factory in the US to the benefit of China.

Pence's description of the US as China's "benefactor" has only exposed his ignorance of the economic law of the international division of labor. China has made great developments through reform and opening-up, not by seeking favors from the US.

Talking about the US administration's largest tax cuts to benefit domestic companies and imposition of heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, Pence said: "America has added trillions of dollars to our economy while China's economy continues to fall behind." To use Pence's logic, if the US accumulated massive wealth in the past year, does it mean China was robbed by the "benevolent" US?

Pence even said the US imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials because of China's "treatment of Muslim minorities". But issuing a travel ban on officials is an old trick the US employs to force other countries to toe its line. For example, in January 2017, the US administration banned people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. Many Muslim citizens of the US opposed the ban, saying the move would divide US society by further discriminating against Muslims.

More importantly, the US vice-president turned a blind eye to the development in Xinjiang and the improvement in people's lives there, as well as the US ill-treatment of Muslims in the US and the rest of the world.

Worse, Pence criticized "Beijing's growing intervention of Hong Kong", forgetting that Hong Kong is an integral part of China and enjoys a high degree of autonomy only under the "one country, two systems" framework. Pence also cited the China-United Kingdom joint declaration in 1984 to justify his interference in China's Hong Kong affairs, forgetting that the US is irrelevant to the declaration. And to refresh Pence's memory, the declaration does not endorse any violence in the SAR.

If Pence believes the rioters, who vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council building, attacked police stations and civilians, and paralyzed the traffic in the city, were holding "peaceful protests", then he and his fellow politicians should encourage more such "peaceful protests" in the US.

Further, Pence's accusation that China carries out "surveillance" against foreign countries and politicians is more of a slap in the face of the US, as the world knows that it is Washington that spies on politicians from not only countries that it considers "rivals", as he indicated in his address, but also from countries which are US allies, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The "Prism" scandal exposed by former US National Security Agency official Edward Snowden in 2013 showed how the US used its powerful surveillance network to spy on the whole world. Ironically, the US vice-president flaunted the US surveillance network while trying to tarnish China's image by accusing it of taking unnecessarily harsh security measures.

In fact, in his attempt to accuse China of running a surveillance network, Pence has actually admitted the US runs the most powerful surveillance network in the world.

Indeed, if, as Pence claimed, the US does not intend to contain China's rise or "decouple" with China, it has to match its words with actions. Or else, his speech would mean US politicians have not given up their attempts to force China on the political front to boost their domestic political agenda.

China wants to maintain a new type of major country relationship with the US, which benefits both countries and the world. But for that, US politicians like Pence need to abandon their Cold War mind-set.

The author is a writer with China Daily. The views are personal and don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-29 07:36:14
<![CDATA[Wisdom and solutions will keep country on road to rejuvenation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518912.htm

It is a challenge faced by all countries: How to adapt their governance to changes, without going adrift. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, convened in Beijing from Monday to Thursday, will show how China's ruling party is addressing the challenges the country faces in the new era.

In the meeting, the Political Bureau is expected to deliver a work report to the Central Committee and a document will be discussed on the Party's decisions on issues related to the consolidation of the socialism with Chinese characteristics, the modernization of the State governance system and improving governing ability.

Given the complicated and fast-changing backdrop of the interwoven internal and external situations, against which China will forge ahead toward a key milestone in its development journey - that marking the realization of the Party's vow to build a moderately well-off society nationwide, which it has been striving over the past more than four decades to accomplish on time - the document will necessarily be a historic one, as it will serve as not only a summary of the Party's past experience, but also a guideline directing its future work.

According to the Party's plan, it has pledged to make institutions of all aspects regarding the State governance system more settled and mature by 2021, the centenary anniversary of the founding of the Party, and they will be further developed by 2035, and modernized by 2049 at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The State institutional reform plan carried out last year cut eight ministerial departments and seven vice-ministerial departments under the State Council. It also reshuffled their affiliates in local governments, despite considerable resistance from the vested interests. Given the magnitude and efficiency of the reform, the document to be released by the meeting will surely carry forward that momentum to further advance the painful, yet long-awaited, institutional reforms on various levels to improve the performance and pertinence of the governance system.

Yet, no matter how extensive and deep the reforms will be, all the measures, along with the changes they are desired to bring about, must be in accordance with the latest requirements and conform to the direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It is a path rooted in China's historical logic of modernization, as well as a path that has proved effective in seeing the nation through all kinds of tests. Therefore, we have enough reasons to anticipate the leadership of the Party will demonstrate more hard-won wisdom, and propose more new plans for the betterment of the State governing system so the country can overcome the present challenges.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Be a forerunner of blockchain application]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518911.htm

Overnight, it seems blockchain has skyrocketed in China from being a concept limited mostly to industry insiders into a promising new territory of opportunities.

All because General Secretary Xi Jinping identified blockchain as "a crucial breakthrough point for indigenous innovation of core technologies" at the 18th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Thursday.

The CPC obviously regards blockchain as a commanding point of next-generation technologies that it cannot afford not to grasp. "A contest has officially started," as one official media outlet declared. "And China's goal is certain and singular: to be No 1."

Each of the Political Bureau's study sessions focuses on an issue that the Party leadership has identified as being among the most outstanding challenges facing the country, and thus they are credible sources of clues to changes in national policy orientation.

Themed "Status Quo And Development Trends of Blockchain Technologies", the 18th study session's embrace of blockchain was not only a reflection of the CPC's resolve to be "a political party committed to learning", but also a practical step to be competitive in the new technological revolution and update and refine its governance regime and capacities.

Blockchain has been surrounded by suspicion and controversy since its inception. Yet it has been widely acclaimed for having the properties of decentralization, transparency and immutability.

A number of domestic internet and financial service providers have come up with their own blockchain platforms in such fields as financing, public welfare, and commodity source-tracking. And, as illustrated by the upsurge of blockchain-related stocks, the new technology is likely to witness an immediate increase in its use in China.

But it will be interesting to see how things evolve when it comes to governance. At the study session, Xi highlighted the necessity to explore the use of blockchain data sharing models in enabling joint use and maintenance of administrative data between different departments and areas, with the aim of deepening reform to cut red tape and offering better public services.

He also called for the emerging technology to be applied to all aspects of the country's priority projects, such as education, employment, old-age care, targeted poverty alleviation, public health, food safety and social relief.

Considering the CPC's capability for implementing key national action programs, the resources at its disposal, its unique approach to governance, and especially what China is accomplishing in such fields as big data and artificial intelligence, there is no reason to doubt that the country can position itself at the forefront of blockchain technologies and their application.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Mud-slinging is not decent journalism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518910.htm

The death of 39 people whose bodies were found in the back of a lorry in Essex, Britain, last week was shocking. No matter which country these people are from, the way they were crammed into a refrigerated container to be smuggled into Britain was horrendous.

We feel sorry for the dead wherever they are from, and condemn those who put them into such a risky condition without ever taking into consideration their safety.

What is worrisome in this case is how the facts about where these people are from were verified by both the local police and the media. Not long after the bodies were found, there were reports that they were Chinese nationals. How did the local police know they were Chinese?

Even The Guardian said that they were Chinese nationals in its editorial on Thursday. It was true that 58 Chinese were found dead of suffocation in a container in Dover in the year 2000. The local police may have taken for granted that these 39 people must be also Chinese. The media, without questioning whether they had enough evidence to verify the identities of these dead people, believed what they were told.

What is even more ridiculous and absurd is that a CNN reporter asked the spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry on Friday a provocative question on the basis of the hearsay. His far-fetched association between the death of the 39 "Chinese nationals" and the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China was obviously intended to humiliate China: Why did these Chinese take such a risky way to leave China while the country was celebrating its National Day?

With investigation continuing and more suspects being arrested, many of the victims are now believed to have come from Vietnam, which is dirt on the face of those Western media which chose to portray these victims as Chinese.

Little wonder that some media in the West take a post-truth strategy in collecting news and airing their views, putting political mud-slinging before the pursuit of truth.

Some Western reporters in China are too preoccupied with any opportunity to speak ill of this country to think about whether what they are talking about is the truth or not. Their political bias has led them astray from the rules a decent reporter is supposed to abide by.

Don't try to pick up bad news about China just in order to please those who are hoping China will collapse.

How many times did China watchers predict the collapse of China? How many times were their predictions proved to be wrong? Please, look at China through objective prism. That is the way decent journalism is practiced.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Regions should seek to exploit their comparative advantages]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518909.htm BY SUNDAY, 24 provincial-level regions had disclosed their economic growth statistics over the first three quarters. The polarization tendency of local growth is evident, with Yunnan and Guizhou provinces registering the fastest growth of 8.8 percent and 8.7 percent respectively, and Heilongjiang province the slowest at 4.3 percent. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Of the 24 regions 17 had seen declines in their growth rates to various degrees from January to September year-on-year. It is fair to say that local development has entered a new stage, which calls for the formation of a national unified commodity and production factor market so that resources can be effectively distributed nationwide and inter-regional competition intensified.

In this process, it is no surprise that different provinces and cities have assumed different positions in the national division of labor, which is reflected in their increasingly differentiated rates of growth and economic structures.

The city clusters, such as those in the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, will serve as national growth poles. The central government has recognized 19 national-level city clusters across the country, and they will compete with each other on the basis of the integrated national market.

The other regions should take advantage of their comparative advantages to ensure food security, ecological security and border security, and use their advantage to develop the local economy.

In the meantime, the central government needs to divert more attention to keeping the development gap between regions, and rural and urban areas staying within a rational range, and tilting more funds and favorable policies to the backward regions to ensure local public services can meet the basic needs of the population.

Despite different roles to be played by different regions, the people, irrespective of where they are from, deserve equitable access to the means of pursuing personal development, the legal guarantee to protect their property rights, and the freedom to move around the country to seek a better life.

So the competition among local governments, which drives national reform and opening-up, should focus more on improving their public services, business environment, and living and natural environment to attract talents, rather than simply seeking to attract investment or artificially beefing up the fast growth of a certain industry for the sake of making local economic growth look good.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[UK politicians abducting Brexit for own benefit]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518908.htm WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION agreeing to grant the United Kingdom another Brexit delay, more operations of politicians are believed to be brewing in London. Xiang Changhe, a researcher of international relations, comments in a column of Beijing Youth Daily:

Throughout the more than three years of Brexit, uncertainty has been the only certainty, which provides many with the chance to update their knowledge of British politics, allegedly a model of Western democracy.

Using a referendum to decide Brexit was in itself a risky political gamble from the very beginning. The prime minster at the time David Cameron set the stage for the confusion that followed out of his own need for his government to win more support. He was unprepared for the government being abducted by public opinion through the referendum. Which, thanks to the characteristics of the British political system, means the government has not only lost its dominance and control over the incident, but also its own fate, so that the whole nation was put on a train heading for derailment without a brake.

There is no doubt that Theresa May will be remembered by history as the first British prime minister to be elected for Brexit only, and so will Boris Johnson solely for his stance on Brexit.

With a downhearted European Union and a doomed divorce around the corner, the only unsettled question now is how the British politicians will continue to try and take advantage of the chaos for their own personal and partisan interests.

The Conservative government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is intent on stepping on accelerator of Brexit, as it seems it does not want anybody to think about how much damage Brexit will do to the country, as a growing number have started to regret their impulsive vote to leave the EU.

 

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Russia now playing three roles in Syria]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518907.htm Editor's Note: Turkey suspended its military action in the north of Syria last week. Ma Xiaolin, a researcher in Middle East studies of Zhejiang International Studies University, commented in his column for Beijing Youth Daily:

The Syrian government's support of the agreement reached by Turkey and Russia has endowed the Russian military's entering and control of the north border zone in Syria with legitimacy.

Ironically, the Kurds immediately lost their land after its anti-terrorism "ally", the United States, withdrew its troops from the region, and it is Turkey, a NATO ally of the US, along with the Syrian government army that has quickly filled the vacancy left by the US through a controversial military action in a sovereign state.

The agreement between Ankara and Moscow has introduced Russia to the region, which means not only has the Syrian government regained control over some of the land it lost nearly seven years ago, but also Turkey and Russia have now got footholds in places that they have never controlled before.

Making use of it being trusted by Turkey, Syria and the Kurds, Russia will play at least three roles in the north of Syria, as a protector of Kurds from further attack, a coordinator of Turkey in its building of a safe zone, and a supporter of the Syrian government to resume its sovereignty.

In the meantime, the US administration has also found itself a decent excuse to bring its army home to avoid it being implicated in any further humanitarian crises that are likely to happen in the region.

The Kurds should draw the lesson from their defeat that power and interests remain the foundation for international games.

Although it is too early to predict that the Syrian war will come to an end, one thing is certain as the fate of Kurds indicates that all small powers and fractions that took the initiative to start the civil war in the country eight years ago, with the US' backing, will have to swallow a bitter failure now the US has withdrawn its forces.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Xi's thought to help modernize governance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518906.htm The Communist Party of China has to improve the national governance system and enhance its governance capability, because they are critical to meeting people's expectations and ensuring the country's long-term peace and stability.

Xi Jinping's thought on governance of China is the summary of the historical tasks undertaken by the CPC since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and an incisive summation of the Party's top-level design for comprehensively deepening reform in the 21st century. It is also a scientific summary of the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Under the guidance of Xi's thought, the modernization of the governance system has entered a new stage of all-round innovation and advancement.

The new concepts, new ideas and new strategies embodied in Xi's thought on governance are a combination of the innovation in the field of national governance, creating a new realm for the governance of a socialist country and providing theoretical guidance for China's governance and reform.

The framework of Xi's thought on governance has formed for the modernization of the governance system can be summarized as "one dream", "two goals", "three main lines", "four confidences" and "a five-pronged approach".

One dream, which refers to the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, shows the Party has stayed true to its colors. And that's why it has been advancing the modernization of China's governance system and governance capability in order to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The Chinese Dream is, in the final analysis, the dream of the Chinese people and we have to believe that the people can achieve this goal. Only by following a people-oriented principle can we build a people-centric institutional system, coordinate the interests of various groups, build consensuses, gather all the forces to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, make people participate in the modernization of the governance system, and help them feel a greater sense of gain by sharing the fruits of economic development.

Two goals refer to the "two centenary goals" of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020, and a great, modern, socialist country by 2050. Direction determines the road, and the road determines the destination. Practice has proved that China can continue on its prosperous path only by adhering to socialism with Chinese characteristics.

In this regard, the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC gave a clear road map for the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability, while proposing that this goal be realized in two steps. Promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capability is an inevitable choice for the realization of the two centenary goals.

Three main lines refer to reforming the governance of the Party, the country and armed forces. By promoting clean governance within the CPC, we will help forge a strong leadership core for the modernization of China's governance system.

Deepening reform and innovation of government institutions, optimizing self-governance of governments at all levels and legalizing their functions, procedures, powers and responsibilities will help build a law-based and service-oriented government and consolidate the political foundation for the modernization of the national governance system. And the implementation of the strategy to strengthen the armed forces with Chinese characteristics and integrate military-civilian development through reform will provide strong support for the modernization of the national governance system.

Four confidences refer to the confidence in the path, theory, system and culture in the new era. To promote the modernization of China's governance system and capability, we must strengthen the four confidences. We should also learn from achievements of other countries and adopt their practices if they suit China's conditions and adhere to Chinese values while promoting the modernization of the governance system and governance capability.

Lastly, the five-pronged approach refers to promoting coordinated development of the economy, politics, society, culture and ecology. The national governance system is a set of closely intertwined mechanisms that cover the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields. In fact, the five-pronged approach calls for maintaining proper balance between economic, political, social, cultural and ecological development.

The new era calls for new actions. Xi's thought on governance is a scientific system with rich ideological connotations and logic, and provides the ideal guidance for the modernization of the governance system and governance capability, which in turn would help China realize sustainable, high-quality development.

The author is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy& Management, Tsinghua University.The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Poverty alleviation core of development economics]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518905.htm After Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer were awarded the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for their outstanding contributions to "experimental research" into the "daunting issue" of global poverty, many have questioned the Nobel Committee's choice, with some saying China's poverty alleviation efforts have been the most effective in the world and are more worthy of study. Quite a few have even said China deserves the Nobel Prize for economics for successfully lifting about 800 million people out of poverty over the past four decades.

But since the three winners are experts in development economics, this year's Nobel Prize for economics is seen as highlighting the global need for eradicating poverty and achieving common economic growth.

Since the end of World War II, the gap between developing and developed countries, in general, has widened, instead of narrowing. Around the world, 600-700 million people still live below the subsistence level, and 100 million children are stunted by malnutrition. At a time when the global economy is facing tremendous downward pressure and the gap between the rich and poor is widening, the awarding of the Nobel Prize for economics to the three development economists is of great practical significance.

In order to help free less-developed countries from the shackles of poverty, development economists in the past have often put forward overall development strategies, such as industrialization, developing an export-oriented economy or resorting to an import-substitution strategy, but no one knows how effective these strategies would be for those countries.

For nearly 20 years, development economists have focused on more specific and constructive poverty alleviation programs, as well as policies on education, healthcare, micro-finance and governance. These smaller, more accurate, more manageable problems, according to the three Nobel Prize winners, can be best assessed by carefully designed experiments involving the most affected people.

The core method the three have used is "randomized field trials". To understand the effects of a policy on the economy, the economists, similar to natural scientists, randomly divided the subjects into experimental and control groups to find the differences between two groups through experimental intervention over a given period of time.

This scientific approach can quantify the results of thousands of poverty-alleviation policies, greatly affecting other disciplines as well as the governments and anti-poverty institutions in developing countries, and has thus received extensive endorsement. The approach is likely to produce more fruitful results in the future, and could further improve the lives of the world's poorest people, transform the economies of developing countries for the better, and help boost global growth.

But after Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer were awarded the Nobel economics prize, many have said China's policy to lift people out of poverty deserves an in-depth study and its achievements in reducing poverty are more worthy of praise.

China has made remarkable achievements in eradicating poverty over the past four decades, lifting out of poverty about 800 million people - more than the total population of Latin America or the European Union. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the central government has made winning the battle against poverty a goal to be realized by 2020. The problem of absolute poverty that plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years is expected to be solved once for all.

China's miraculous poverty alleviation story shows, that to eradicate poverty, developing countries must have sustained economic growth. Which in essence is China's "poverty alleviation story".

The studies of Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer don't contradict China's poverty alleviation policy. Of course, had China adopted more targeted policies, especially for special areas and intensely impoverished people, and extended them more quantitative support by conducting randomized field experiments, it might have achieved greater results.

The experiences of China and, to a certain extent, India show the importance of economic development to poverty alleviation. Yet to sustain a high growth rate is not easy for a country. Strong government leadership, a stable social order and a productive market economy guarantee sustained economic growth, which in turn ensures all the people in a country take part in economic development and share the fruits of development.

For developing countries, the three Nobel economics prize winners' randomized field experiments can help them adopt better and more specific poverty reduction policies. At the same time, less-developed countries could learn from China's experience and carry out institutional reform to ensure economic growth. For example, they can seize the opportunities provided by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to solve their infrastructure and technological problems and achieve sustained economic growth.

The author is a professor at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[Turkey-Syria conflict triggers new political changes in Middle East]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/28/content_37518904.htm

After striking a deal with Russia on Tuesday to ensure Kurdish forces in Syria withdraw from areas close to the Turkish border in 150 hours, Turkey extended the ceasefire along the Turkish-Syrian border. Ankara launched "Operation Peace Spring" on Oct 9 in a bid to create a "safe zone" on the Syrian side of the Turkey-Syria border by freeing it of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which it claims are terrorists.

Ankara may heave a sigh of relief now, but in the aftermath of Operation Peace Spring, the situation in the Middle East could change drastically, not least because relations among the major players in the region have been changing constantly.

Turkey's military action inside Syrian territory evoked strong opposition from Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Israel, as well as the European Union. And many say Turkey's expansionist policy could change the power balance in the Middle East, because its offensive has further complicated the situation in the region.

However, Qatar's support for Turkey's action has blurred the diplomatic lines in the Middle East, making its reconciliation with other Arab countries even more difficult.

Yet a most surprising part of the Middle East riddle is the United States' stance. Despite being a close ally of the Kurds, particularly in the fight against terrorism, it withdrew its forces from northeast Syria leaving the Kurds in the lurch, for which it drew widespread criticism. Actually, it was the agreement on a "safe zone" between Washington and Ankara that prompted the latter to launch Operation Peace Spring.

The US has strived to ease the tensions with Turkey, its ally in NATO. US Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Ankara on Oct 17 and signed a deal with Turkey, which forced the Kurdish forces to leave the "safe zone" in 120 hours. Also, the US has agreed to lift sanctions against Turkey in exchange for Turkey declaring a "permanent ceasefire" after the Kurds withdraw from the "safe zone". However, the US-Turkey deal has widened the rift between Washington and the Kurdish forces.

Following the US troops' withdrawal from Syria that sullied the reputation of Washington in the Middle East and beyond, Russia decided to strengthen its presence in the region. As an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia mediated between Damascus and the Kurdish-led militia to allow Syrian government forces to enter Kurdish-controlled territories such as Manbij and Raqqa in order to resist any Turkish invasion.

And when Washington lowered the tone of its criticism against Iran and Russia for the attack on its ally Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss Syria's problems and the Saudi-Iranian dispute.

At the end of the 120-hour US-Turkey deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Putin in Sochi, Russia, and struck a new deal, which includes Turkey maintaining control over the areas between north Syria's Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, the Kurdish forces withdrawing from the designated "safe zone" in 150 hours, Russian and the Syrian forces patrolling the Syrian side of the Turkey-Syria border, and Russian and Turkish forces jointly patrolling the Turkish-controlled areas.

The situation in the Middle East is still turbulent and unpredictable, though, as Syrian and Russian forces' presence in Manbij and Kobane in north Syria could create problems between Turkey and Russia.

And although the Kurds were forced to make concessions and leave northeast Syria, they refused to hand over control of the oil fields there to the Syrian and Russian forces, while the US plans to send troops to "protect the oil fields". Importantly, the Kurds, despite criticizing the US for withdrawing its troops from Syria, have not severed their ties with Washington, which means US-Kurd ties could be revived.

Moreover, thanks to the intensified conflict between Turkey and Syria, hundreds of Islamic State terrorists managed to flee Kurdish-controlled areas, raising worries that if the situation in the region spirals out of control, terrorist forces could reunite, even expand, and wreak more havoc in the Middle East and beyond.

The author is an assistant researcher of the Institute of World Economy and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Science. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-28 07:56:41
<![CDATA[More global connectivity needed, less confusion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518665.htm The figures are staggering, the rewards tantalizing and the competition tough. Resurrecting the dream of an interconnected Eurasia is enticingly strategic and fiercely geopolitical. It's also very complicated.

The world needs new, sustainable, clean and green infrastructure, but building infrastructure and transportation links, digital and energy networks and people-to-people connections requires money. Lots of it.

Assessments of global infrastructure investment needs vary. Asia alone needs to invest $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030, or $1.7 trillion per year, to maintain growth momentum, eradicate poverty and respond to climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Quality infrastructure is indispensable for the achievement of the United Nations' Agenda 2030, which aims to ensure global justice, peace, prosperity, well-being, health and global cooperation for the benefit of each and every animal and human being. It improves people's lives, boosts mobility, makes countries competitive, and enhances trade and investment. Connectivity can help to build peace and resolve conflicts.

Connectivity is also the new geopolitical "Great Game", pitting nations with competing visions of Eurasia against each other, prompting fears of connectivity conflicts caused by new rivalries or the reemergence of old ones. The Great Game was a political and diplomatic confrontation that existed between the British and the Russian empires for most of the 19th century.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has captured headlines since it was launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013. But Beijing is not alone in its connectivity ambitions. The Association of Southeast Nations' Master Plan on Connectivity was launched in 2010. Japan, India and Europe, as well as Russia and the United States, are working hard to further their own connectivity agendas at home and in Asia and Africa.

The focus on linking continents, regions, nations and communities is welcome and long overdue. But instead of encouraging synergies and cooperation, competing initiatives are introducing additional strains on an already tense geopolitical environment.

That's why it's time to multilateralize connectivity. Infrastructure is a vital public good that requires responsible connectivity actors, strong governance and a rules-based multilateral framework.

Infrastructure networks should be coherent and interoperable, as well as financially and environmentally sustainable. Calls for tender should be open and transparent. There is a need for better governance, more coordination and increased exchanges and agreements on norms and standards.

The current lack of clear communication between connectivity actors is leading to a wasteful duplication of initiatives. The exclusion of civil society from connectivity discussions results in projects that are not designed with the needs of people and communities in mind.

And private businesses must be part of the conversation and the decision-making on establishing rules for projects.

The European Union, in cooperation with China, Japan and key member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, should look at three options.

First, it should create a multilateral connectivity code of conduct that lays out the rules for engaging in connectivity projects.

Second, the EU needs to reinforce and expand the recently established Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance, which brings together several key European, Asian and Chinese financial institutions involved in the BRI.

The center already includes eight multilateral financial institutions, including the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank.

Finally, an international connectivity forum should be set up to allow for the participation of the private sector and civil society in conversations about connectivity.

The Eurasian landscape is already littered with an expanding, overflowing noodle bowl of bilateral and regional trade agreements. The connectivity agenda is turning into an equally chaotic and tangled web. It doesn't have to go that route.

The world certainly needs more connectivity, not more connectivity confusion.

The author is director of policy at Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based think tank. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Public State-owned assets good for people]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518641.htm Editor's Note: The State Council recently released a special report on national administrative and public State-owned assets, which shows that at the end of 2018 the scale of national administrative and public State-owned assets was 33.5 trillion yuan ($4.74 trillion), among which the scale of administrative organizations' State-owned assets was 10.1 trillion yuan, and that of public institutions' State-owned assets was 23.4 trillion yuan. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

The total scale of China's State-owned assets has been released to the public, which not only satisfies the public's right to know, it also gives them more confidence in social development.

State-owned assets management departments at various levels are responsible for preventing the loss, depreciation and waste of State-owned assets, and should make efforts to increase the value of State-owned assets as much as possible.

China's State-owned assets include not only the assets of State-owned enterprises, but also the assets of administrative bodies and public institutions. Assets such as government buildings, office facilities and government vehicles are administrative State-owned assets, while assets such as medical facilities and hospital beds are public State-owned assets.

With the country's rapid social and economic development in recent years, more and more public funds and resources have been invested in public infrastructure, housing, education, culture and medical care. This rapid growth of administrative and public State-owned assets has improved the quality of public services.

But while increasing the scale of public State-owned assets in medical treatment, education and public culture should be encouraged, and the growth of administrative State-owned assets, such as government buildings, should be curbed, in order to reduce local governments' fiscal burden.

The larger the scale of China's State-owned assets, the greater the responsibility of State-owned asset management departments at all levels to ensure that they help improve public services and enhance people's sense of well-being.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Something to be desired in Facebook's values]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518640.htm Being unable to enter the Chinese market seems to have given Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, a messiah complex.

The result of his company not being allowed into China, which he admitted for the first time in a speech he delivered at Georgetown University last week, is he has "more freedom to speak out and stand up for the values we believe in".

He said in an interview with the NBC News on Monday that his company had found China was trying to interfere with the 2020 presidential election in the United States. And testifying to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, he claimed China poses a risk to fundamental American values.

But he gave his game away by telling US regulators if they don't give the green light to Libra, Facebook's nascent cryptocurrency initiative, China will become the leader in the field of virtual money.

In Zuckerberg's world, it is a binary choice - the Facebook way, or the wrong way.

Rather than hypocritically speaking out, Zuckerberg could better spend the time thinking of how to reduce the hate speech that proliferates on Facebook. Although since he was a student at Harvard, which incidentally was recently found to be systematically rating Asian-American candidates lower on personality traits including "likability, courage and kindness", it is perhaps asking too much for him to rid Facebook of its anti-China bias.

Facebook's endorsement of the unrest in Hong Kong is the latest example of this prejudice and means that Zuckerberg has not got a leg to stand on when trying to claim the moral high ground.

Along with its support of US actions to destabilize different countries and regions, Facebook has also admitted to exploiting its users' personal information for profit.

And to be frank, the fast rise of TikTok, one of the most popular short video apps around the world, is no doubt a cause for concern to Zuckerberg. It seems only a matter of time before the social media video app, whose parent company ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, directly challenges Facebook's status in the market.

Zuckerberg's warning of a China threat to US values was not on his lips three years ago while jogging in Tian'anmen Square. At that time he was trying to elbow his way into the lucrative Chinese market.

His talk of values is merely an attempt to divert attention from the dirt on his face, because all he is saying is money talk.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Paralympian puts spotlight on euthanasia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518639.htm MARIEKE VERVOORT, a paralympic gold medalist from Belgium, died by euthanasia on Tuesday at the age of 40, which aroused fierce discussion on both domestic and overseas social networks. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Discussing euthanasia is a tricky subject because suicide itself is a very polarizing topic. There are people who believe it is "wrong" to commit suicide under any circumstances, and there are people who believe that everyone should have the freedom to commit suicide, especially if a person is living in constant pain and suffering. A self-willed death for those suffering from constant torment is often regarded as different from suicide.

In most cases, people commit suicide because of untreated depression. In the majority of assisted-suicide cases, people simply try to help a person close to them to end the chronic suffering caused by a terminal illness.

However, when the question is "Should the law allow one person to take the life of another?", it becomes an even more sensitive issue. Because it requires the law to set out the conditions in which a person can be helped to end his or her life by another.

When it becomes a legal issue, there are many more things to consider. Is there ample consensus to make that into a law? How will the law be implemented? How to judge whether the applicant has an incurable and painful disease? What kinds of diseases and at what stage can they be called "incurable" and "painful"? How to make sure the person seeking to end his/her life is doing so in a rational frame of mind and of his/her own volition? What to do if the applicant changes his/her mind during the process?

When it comes to legislation about euthanasia, all the above questions, and more, need to be answered.

That's partly why legalizing euthanasia has been discussed in China for at least a decade, but there is still not enough social consensus to make it permissible by law. Some people advocate passing such a law, but at least within the foreseeable future that seems unlikely.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Business environment rises to higher level]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518638.htm Washington has tried to justify its trade war against China as a noble crusade to better improve the latter's business practices and business environment. But it has been unable to pull the wool over people's eyes, since it is clear that its tariffs are simply intended to blow China's doors open for a smash-and-grab.

While its geligniting of trade has failed in that larcenous endeavor, it has served Washington's purported purpose since it has accelerated the upgrading of China's economy and the accompanying improvement of its business environment that was already under way.

In the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2020 study, an annual project evaluating countries' business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises, China for a second year found itself among the top 10 countries where the business climate has improved the most.

The country's position on the report's "Ease of Doing Business Ranking", as a result, moved up to 31 - from 46th the previous year. This is the first time the country has made it into the top 40.

Amid the unfolding trade tit-for-tat between China and the United States, particularly the gloomy Chinese business environment Washington officials keep pedaling to the rest of the world, the World Bank report came in sharp contrast.

Although the study is preoccupied with business environments for countries' domestic private sectors, it does lend credit to Beijing's claim of making every effort to make doing business easier.

China implemented reforms in eight of the 10 areas the study monitors, said the report. Obtaining a company seal, construction permits, electricity connection, paying taxes, exporting and importing, and commercial litigation have all been made easier in the last year, it found, and protections for minority investors and creditors in insolvency cases have been enhanced.

Although the report does not encompass everything it takes for creating a fine business climate, especially when players and factors from beyond the private sector or overseas entities are taken into account, it is generally consistent with what people see.

The pro-business measures introduced lately have been more targeted than before. And, aside from pledges of better IPR protection and a ban on forced technology transfers, the government has gone the extra mile to address foreign investor concerns about operating in China.

Premier Li Keqiang, for one, has reiterated on many occasions the country's continuous commitment to opening-up, and repeatedly invited foreign companies to come and enjoy the government's new offers, because the improved business-friendly policy framework is not rhetorical.

The World Bank's report is evidence of that.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Pompeo in his glass house should stop throwing stones]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518637.htm In traditional Chinese culture, a man of integrity is not supposed to speak ill of other people behind their backs. Only a mean person does that.

In international relations, a senior diplomat is expected to demonstrate such integrity when talking about other countries.

The remarks Mike Pompeo, secretary of state of the United States, made about China at the Heritage Foundation Annual President's Meeting discredited him and his country. He said that China is a strategic competitor that uses coercion and corruption as its tools of statecraft.

When it comes to the nature of China-US relations, there is competition in some areas but there is also cooperation in a wide range of areas. China has long been one of the major trade partners of the US and vice versa. The definition of strategic competitors is far from enough to encompass the overall relations between the two countries.

And Pompeo's claim of coercion and corruption being used as tools of statecraft better befits the US. The US is the country that resorts to the coercion of economic sanctions most frequently when it has economic or other disputes with other countries.

The US also uses military means against other countries whenever it feels the target country is a thorn in its flesh. Which is also coercion.

The US is also the country that has most often used tariffs against its trade partners in recent years. Another form of coercion.

As the sole superpower, the US is accustomed to taking it for granted that it has the mandate to use coercion against any country that it is not pleased with.

The slogan "America first" makes it blatantly obvious that it pursues hegemony and that it believes might makes right.

In sharp contrast, mutual interest and win-win cooperation are policies China has always emphasized in international relations. It has never been the first to use economic sanctions and neither has it ever used military means against any country. Dialogue is the means China employs to settle disputes and differences with other countries. Common development is the goal China is pursuing in its cooperation with other countries, which finds expression in its Belt and Road Initiative.

Corruption was indeed a serious concern for China thanks to its economic boom and a lack of systematic countermeasures against the abuse of power in the early years of its economic reform and opening-up. But it has made a lot of efforts in this regard in recent years and has achieved a great deal. No country has ever attached such importance to the fight against corruption as China does now. Its zero tolerance for corruption leaves as little room as possible for abuse of power.

And there is corruption in every country; the US is no exception. The dishonest and fraudulent conduct of many of its key figures has seen the US administration lurch from one domestic crisis to another since taking office.

Pompeo should take a good look at his own country before bad-mouthing others.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[US corporate debt a threat to global financial stability]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518636.htm AT A RECENT FORUM HE ATTENDED, former deputy finance minister Zhu Guangyao said that negative interest rates around the world should be taken seriously, since bonds priced at negative interest rates pose a major challenge to global financial stability. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Many economists now believe that if there is a new economic crisis, it will probably be caused by corporate bonds. Indeed, some insiders, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, believe the rapid growth of corporate debt in the US could pose a threat to financial stability.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has carried out rounds of quantitative easing policies, which have resulted in long-term low interest rates and encouraged the market to borrow more money, eventually leading to a debt flood. However, a large portion of these debts have not been invested in production but used to pay dividends, share buybacks and acquisitions. Debt-financed share buybacks have also been a major driver of record highs in the US stock market in recent years. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund warned of the risk high asset prices pose to financial stability.

Low interest rates have not only encouraged businesses to borrow, but also fueled the rise of consumer debt, which means the consumer demand that fueled the US economic boom is running out of steam. The policy of long-term low interest rates is intended to stimulate growth through more debts, but it has increased vulnerabilities, as financial policy has been hijacked by debt. Once monetary policy tightens, it will put pressure on asset prices and huge debts and worsen credit quality.

For a long time, because of lower interest rates in developed economies, capital has flowed from the developed to emerging economies, leading to a continuous rise in the latter's external debt. Under this situation, if financial policies are significantly tightened, it would lead to higher borrowing costs and make these economies hard to service their debts. That means a decade after the global financial crisis, the fragility of the global economy has increased not decreased.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[The absolutely impossible made possible]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518635.htm China's venture into what was once Turkmenistan's drilling exclusion zone has created an energy Silk Road

Turkmenistan, China's neighbor in southwest Central Asia, is spread across 500,000 square kilometers, most of it desert. It also has nearly 50 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, the fourth largest in the world. Someone once joked that one can't just throw cigarette butts in Turkmenistan. It could ignite the natural gas underground.

Because of the complex geological conditions, gas exploration and development in Turkmenistan is not easy. Somewhere inside the vast desert is the world famous Gates of Hell, a fiery crater burning since 1971 when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in. To avoid polluting the environment with toxic gases, the mission was abandoned. There are other fire, water and mud pits in Turkmenistan, illustrating the difficult process of natural gas development.

In 2007, China launched an exploration and development project on the right bank of the Amu Darya, breathing new life into this "drilling exclusion zone". An annual production capacity of 5 billion cubic meters of commercial gas was built within 18 months. The success rate of drilling has since been 100 percent. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov praised the Chinese workers as "heroic builders" and personally named the contract area as the "Land of Happiness".

From Turkmenistan, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Khorgos in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, China has built the first and the world's longest transnational natural gas pipeline in what can be called the "energy Silk Road" of the new century.

Construction started in August 2007 and ended in 2009 - a remarkable achievement in the history of pipeline construction. The builders overcame difficulties such as large project volume, tight construction period, difficult construction conditions and the need for efficient coordination to achieve what western experts had asserted was "absolutely impossible".

The China-Turkmenistan natural gas pipeline has achieved win-win cooperation and shared benefits for gas producing, transit and consuming countries, and played an important role in promoting the development and stability of countries along the route and the region as well as building a community of shared future for countries in the region.

China is the world's largest energy consumer and Turkmenistan an important natural gas producer. Since the opening of the China-Turkmenistan natural gas pipeline, China has purchased more than 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The gas purchase and sale contract is valid for 30 years, giving China a steady supply of natural gas.

Such cooperation has also provided Turkmenistan a new channel to diversify its natural gas exports and obtain an important foreign exchange source. It has directly created tens of thousands of jobs for the locals and promoted the development of local construction, logistics, transportation, service and other related industries.

Over the years, the China National Petroleum Corporation has also invested $3.59 million to build a water treatment plant in Migan village in the heart of the desert, providing drinking water to over 5,000 people. President Berdymukhamedov attended the opening ceremony of the water plant.

The corporation has also built over 1,000 kilometers of roads and 11 bridges along the Amu Darya right bank contract zone, greatly facilitating travel by residents, who affectionately call it the "China road".

It has also sponsored the 5th Asian Indoor Sports and Wushu Games in 2017, the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship, and the First Caspian Economic Forum in 2019.

But natural gas cooperation is only a microcosm of the development of China-Turkmenistan ties. In recent years, bilateral cooperation in transportation, economy, trade, culture and other areas has achieved remarkable results. The opening of the container train between China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran has shortened transportation distance between China and the Persian Gulf by more than 600 km and reduced travel time from 28 to 14 days, facilitating trade.

Locomotives, coaches and other railway equipment made in China account for more than 80 percent of Turkmenistan's market and more than 90 percent of its railway capacity. Huawei, Lenovo and other Chinese telecommunications and electronic products are well known in Turkmenistan. The two sides have explored the potential of trade cooperation through "Made in China" comprehensive commodities exhibition in Turkmenistan and International Import Expo in China.

Cultural and people-to-people exchanges have also become increasingly frequent. China and Turkmenistan successfully hold the Scientific Innovation Forum on rotation and hold a "Culture Day" in both countries. The number of Turkmenistan students studying Chinese has more than tripled since 2016, with about 3,000 studying in China. The two countries have also actively expanded cooperation in the historical research of the ancient Silk Road and the protection of Silk Road sites.

More than 2,000 years ago, starting from China's ancient capital of Xi'an, the Silk Road, which spanned thousands of kilometers and extended to Europe through ancient Turkmenistan cities such as Mary and Nisa, took Chinese silk, tea, porcelain, technology and culture to Turkmenistan while introducing Turkmenistan's national treasure - the Akhal-Teke or Ferghana Horse, also called the "Horse from Heaven" - to China.

On January 6, 1992, shortly after Turkmenistan's independence, China and Turkmenistan signed a joint communiqu�� establishing diplomatic ties. During President Xi Jinping's state visit to Turkmenistan in September 2013, the two heads of state signed the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Strategic Partnership.

China was the first country in the world to establish diplomatic ties with Turkmenistan, and among the first to support Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality. Turkmenistan is the first central Asian country President Xi visited after taking office. From 2011 to 2018, China has become Turkmenistan's largest trading partner for eight consecutive years.

President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative and Turkmenistan President Berdymukhamedov proposed the "revival of the Ancient Silk Road". The two heads of state have put forward highly compatible proposals, aimed at strengthening mutual beneficial cooperation and promoting common development. Under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership will surely contribute more to the well-being of the two peoples and regional peace, stability and development.

The author is China's ambassador to Turkmenistan. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Bosom friend afar brings a distant land near]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/27/content_37518634.htm Montevideo is the most distant capital from Beijing, but Uruguay and China have set a good example for South-South cooperation.

Sixty years ago, no country in the entire Americas had diplomatic contact with the People's Republic of China. Then, in October 1959, a delegation from Uruguay led by its House of Representatives Speaker Francisco Rodriguez Camusso visited Beijing.

Then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai cordially greeted the Uruguayan guests and the two peoples ushered in a new chapter of friendly exchanges.

Montevideo is the most distant capital from Beijing, but that has not stopped Uruguay being a good friend of China. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1988, the two sides have always adhered to the principle of mutual respect, equality, and win-win cooperation and stability is the biggest feature of China-Uruguay relations.

Uruguay's area can be compared to that of China's Guizhou province, but its population is only one-tenth of the latter. It is one of the countries with the largest per capita cultivated land in the world. Land is mostly rolling plains with exuberant grass and pleasant climate, ideal for developing animal husbandry.

The country also has abundant fisheries and water resources. Uruguay is located at the mouth of the La Plata River, the world's widest, and its capital, Montevideo, is endowed with a 13-meter deep port, favorable for trade with the Mercosur (Southern Common Market) members.

In October 2016, President Tabare Ramon Vazquez Rosas paid a state visit to China and together with Chinese President Xi Jinping, announced the establishment of the China-Uruguay strategic partnership. Bilateral relations have since entered the best period in history and the two countries have created a good example for South-South cooperation.

During the Spring Festival this year, President Vazquez recorded a video sending blessings to President Xi and the Chinese people. Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa has visited China three times in eight months, making some people joke that he has visited China more frequently than his hometown of Cerro Largo.

The trade structure of the two countries is highly complementary. In the early days, China-Uruguay relations hinged on wool. Thirty-one years later, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has expanded from wool to include commodities such as beef, soybeans and pulp.

Since 2012, China has been Uruguay's largest trading partner and its largest export market.

In 2018, the trade volume between China and Uruguay reached $4.62 billion, of which China's exports to Uruguay were $2.07 billion and imports $2.56 billion. Overall, the absolute trade volume with China was not high, but given that it is a country with only 3.5 million people, the per capita trade volume with China ranks high.

Its per capita exports to China and imports from China even exceeded those of Mexico and Argentina. This also reflects the friendly relations between China and Uruguay and the openness of Uruguay's market.

As President Xi said, civilizations can become richer and more colorful with exchanges and mutual learning. Over the past year or so, various forms of people-to-people exchanges have taken place under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese embassy in Uruguay has held monthly cultural events.

Several art troupes came to Uruguay to present wonderful performances. Chinese artists brought their Chinese style artworks to the famous Torres Garcia Museum. Qingdao Peking Opera company and Gannan Normal University Art Troupe has visited Uruguay. And Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe is also due to visit in the coming days. These are great opportunities to promote Chinese culture through art forms such as music, dance, opera, painting and calligraphy.

At the end of 2017, the first Confucius Institute was unveiled at the University of the Republic of Uruguay. At present, two Chinese teachers and some Chinese volunteers are teaching Chinese at two secondary schools in Uruguay. The People's Republic of China Primary School in Uruguay has sent a group of teachers and students to visit China for two consecutive years.

The increasingly active bilateral cultural exchanges have enhanced mutual understanding between the two peoples and brought the hearts of the peoples closer.

In Latin America, Uruguay took the lead in supporting the Belt and Road Initiative. Last year, on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Uruguay, it became the first Mercosur country to sign a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road cooperation with China. This demonstrates its willingness to comprehensively deepen ties with China.

The close relations will further strengthen policy communication between the two governments and give play to the role of the political consultation between the two foreign ministries, the bilateral joint economic and trade committee, and the joint science and technology committee.

Thanks to its geographical position, Uruguay has the potential to become an important logistics hub in the region. Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China, with its large-scale infrastructure construction experience, can offer it technical and financial support to develop its infrastructure.

The first things that come to mind whenever Chinese people talk about Uruguay, are football and the famous GATT Uruguay Round negotiation. Uruguay is a small country in South America, but it is a world football power. People are fanatical about football.

Uruguay also boasts a world heritage of Spanish and Portuguese architecture - Colonia del Sacramento, the famous seaside resort of Punta del Este, the heroic high-heeled cowboy and the carnival which is listed by UNESCO as a human intangible cultural heritage.

Uruguay welcomes everyone to enjoy barbecue, tango, mate and red wine Tannat and experience slow-paced and high-quality poetic idyllic life.

A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near. Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Uruguay will carry out more extensive and in-depth cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture, infrastructure, culture and sports.

With joint efforts on both sides, China-Uruguay relations in the new era will surely be stable and far-reaching and continue to write a glorious chapter of friendship between the two countries!

The author is China's ambassador to Uruguay. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-27 07:35:39
<![CDATA[Fatal mix of errors doomed Max flight]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/26/content_37518614.htm JAKARTA - An Indonesian investigation found a Lion Air flight that crashed and killed 189 people a year ago was doomed by a combination of aircraft design flaws, inadequate training and maintenance problems.

]]>
Lion Air crash report details design flaws and training, maintenance issues

JAKARTA - An Indonesian investigation found a Lion Air flight that crashed and killed 189 people a year ago was doomed by a combination of aircraft design flaws, inadequate training and maintenance problems.

A final accident report released on Friday said Lion Air flight 610, from Indonesia's capital Jakarta to the island of Sumatra, crashed because the pilots were never told how to quickly respond to malfunctions of the Boeing 737 Max jet's automated flight-control system.

The jet plunged into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after its takeoff on Oct 29, 2018.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee said the automated system, known as MCAS, relied on a single "angle of attack" sensor that provided erroneous information, automatically shoving the nose of the Max jet down.

"The design and certification of the MCAS did not adequately consider the likelihood of loss of control of the aircraft," the report said.

The report also said "deficiencies" in the flight crew's communication and manual control of the aircraft contributed to the crash, as did alerts and distractions in the cockpit.

The accident had been caused by a complex chain of events, Indonesian air accident investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told reporters on Friday.

"From what we know, there are nine things that contributed to this accident," he said. "If one of the nine hadn't occurred, maybe the accident wouldn't have occurred."

During the flight, the first officer was unable to quickly identify a checklist in a handbook or perform tasks he should have had memorized, it said, adding that he had also performed poorly in training exercises.

The captain did not properly brief the first officer when handing over control just before the plane entered a fatal dive, it also said.

The report noted that, according to the cockpit voice recorder, the first officer told the captain the flight was not in his initial schedule and he had been called at 4 am to be informed of the revision, while the captain said he had the flu.

A critical angle of attack sensor providing data to the MCAS had been miscalibrated by a company in Florida and that there were strong indications that it was not tested during installation by Lion Air maintenance staff, the report said.

Lion Air should have grounded the jet following faults on earlier flights, it said, and added that 31 pages were missing from the airline's October maintenance logs.

Lion Air declined to comment.

Boeing's President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said later on Friday that the company is addressing the committee's safety recommendations and working to enhance the safety of the 737 Max jet "to prevent the flight control conditions that occurred in the accident from ever happening again".

The Indonesian report followed another last month from United States federal accident investigators who concluded that Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration underestimated how a blizzard of visual and auditory warnings would slow pilots' ability to respond quickly enough to avert crashes.

The FAA said it welcomed the report's recommendations and would carefully consider them and all others as it continued to review Boeing's proposed changes to the 737 Max.

Just five months after the Indonesian crash, the same kind of malfunction caused a Max jet to crash in Ethiopia, killing 157 people.

That led to the grounding of all 737 Max jets and put Boeing under intense pressure to explain problems associated with the MCAS system. The aircraft still has not resumed flying.

Muhammad Asdori, 55, whose brother and nephew were killed in the Lion Air crash, said: "We are very angry (at Boeing) because their negligence has caused our loved ones to die.

"They should have anticipated any kind of problems. ...We were even more angry when we learned that they had only admitted their mistake when the second Max plane crashed in Ethiopia."

Agencies

 

]]>
2019-10-26 06:38:08
<![CDATA[Anniversary celebrated with a sense of style]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/26/content_37518613.htm Leading Chinese hotel group Wanda Hotels and Resorts' luxury brand Wanda Reign celebrated its fifth anniversary with a fashion show at Wanda Reign on the Bund in Shanghai on Oct 18.

]]>
Luxury brand enlists help of top fashion designers to offer wedding services

Leading Chinese hotel group Wanda Hotels and Resorts' luxury brand Wanda Reign celebrated its fifth anniversary with a fashion show at Wanda Reign on the Bund in Shanghai on Oct 18.

The Lawrence Xu White - 2020 Flore Show featured a selection of haute couture wedding dresses, as well as new staff uniforms for Wanda Reign. The show marks the debut of the brand of Laurence Xu White, created by designer Laurence Xu. More than 200 Wanda Club members and celebrities attended.

"Wanda Reign is at the core of our group. As a homegrown luxury hotel brand, Wanda Reign has always been rooted in Chinese culture and providing personalized and intimate services to guests," said Ning Qifeng, president of Wanda Hotels and Resorts.

"Over the past five years, Wanda Reign has expanded its reach to Chengdu in Sichuan province, Wuhan in Hubei province and the Bund, close to the Huangpu River in Shanghai," Ning said.

"Each of Wanda Reign hotels is just like an awe-inspiring museum," he noted.

They feature art deco - a style from the 1920s and 1930s in furniture, decorative arts and architecture with bold geometric shapes and bright colors - paired with local cultural and art elements.

Additionally, they exhibit an extensive Chinese contemporary art collection. Guests to Wanda Reign on the Bund will be fascinated by the wall-sized abstract painting of Shanghai by master of traditional Chinese painting Shi Qi.

The centerpiece of Wanda Reign Chengdu is a set of giant lacquer paintings depicting the city's scenery. A jade wall painting in the Wanda Reign Wuhan achieved a Guinness World Record as the largest of its kind in China.

"Countless artworks reflecting the city's life in the past line the hotel's lobby, rooms and hallways. They entice guests to join the immersive artistic experiences created and curated by Wanda Reign," Ning said.

Designed by Xu, who is a regular at fashion weeks, the new uniform for Wanda Reign's staff is another draw, together with the limited edition of men's pocket square and women's kerchief to mark the brand's fifth anniversary.

Patterns of Shanghai's city flower, white magnolia, and pastel colors were integrated into the uniforms' design. Luxury fabrics and cutting-edge sewing and tailoring skills make the uniforms elegant but easy to wear.

The show was also Xu's attempt to rewrite Chinese narratives in the fashion world.

"The creation of this wedding dress series was inspired by the beautiful Chinese mythologies of the 12 goddesses of flowers," he said. "This release also marks the beginning of our partnership with Wanda Hotels and Resorts that will make 2020 the year of hosting a wedding ceremony for Wanda Group."

Besides Wanda Reign, Xu will cooperate with other members of Wanda Hotels and Resorts' family - luxury hotel brand Wanda Vista and premium hotel brand Wanda Realm.

Couples who choose to hold wedding banquets at Wanda hotels will soon have a customized wedding dress designer service named after the combined name of Wanda Hotel and Laurence Xu White, event organizers said.

yinruowei@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Models participate in a fashion show during the hotel brand's anniversary celebration earlier this month.Photos Provided To China Daily

 

]]>
2019-10-26 06:37:39
<![CDATA[Wanda Moments unveils new property in Shanghai]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/26/content_37518612.htm Wanda Hotels and Resorts' midrange brand Wanda Moments launched a new hotel in Shanghai's Qingpu district last week.

With the brand's values - sweet, social, style and smart - Wanda Moments Hotel Qingpu, Shanghai will integrate business trips with leisure and provide high-quality services for business travelers.

The new property is the first directly-operated hotel of Wanda Moments.

Designed by the Wanda Hotel Design Institute, the hotel is decorated with gray and metal tones and filled with sculptures and artworks by up-and-coming contemporary artists, which lends a creative atmosphere.

Guests can check-in and out by themselves using a self-help system on the reception desk. Intelligent robots in public areas can guide guests and deliver items accurately and quickly.

There are 261 guest rooms in the hotel, including marine-themed rooms and parent-child rooms.

Since the Wanda Moments brand was founded in November 2018, it has attracted attention of many real estate owners and hotel investors.

To provide cooperation opportunities and enable more people to learn about the brand, the new hotel in Shanghai held an opening party and an investment salon.

More than 100 representatives of capital companies attended and shared their opinions on brand investment and hotel management of Wanda Moments.

Guests from Meadin, a domestic hotel information provider; Horwath HTL, a global hotel, tourism and leisure consulting firm; social platform Tencent WeChat; and Wanda Kids, an entertainment division for children, discussed hotel investment, crossover and innovation.

To attract guests, the new hotel is offering a 20 percent discount on room rates for reservations made between Oct 18 and the end of this year.

The Wanda Moments brand has expanded its branches to Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Shanxi provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.

More Wanda Moments hotels near Nanjing South railway station, Nanchang West railway station and Nanjing East railway station are expected to open in the near future, according to the group.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

]]>
2019-10-26 06:37:39
<![CDATA[Red Farm toasts bright future in wine market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/26/content_37518611.htm

RABAT - As Chinese consumers constantly seek high-quality imported goods, the China International Import Expo is a rare opportunity for Moroccan companies interested in expanding their exports, said Mamoun Sayah, general manager of agricultural company Red Farm.

Confirming that Red Farm will attend the second CIIE, which is scheduled for early November in Shanghai, Sayah said the participation "will expand the popularity of their winery in China and help develop the brand image of Red Farm wine in the Chinese market".

The company participated in the first CIIE last year and introduced its wines from the small Moroccan town of Rommani.

"After participating in the expo, our winery received a lot of cooperation offers," Sayah said. "After rounds of visits and negotiations, we finally signed an agreement with a Chinese distributor to sell our wines in the Chinese market."

Impressed at the first CIIE, Sayah said his company enjoyed "a beautiful stand", which was in "an ideal place at the entrance of the exhibition".

"People were asking for explanations about our different wines," he added.

Among the first bottles shipped to China were some white wines called Penelope. It is a new product developed by the winery this year, which has a soft and sweet taste, Sayah revealed.

"This wine is currently not available in Morocco and Chinese guests will be the first consumers to taste Penelope," he noted.

Red Farm has more than 300 hectares of vineyards and produces 3 million bottles of wine annually. Its chief winemaker, Jacques Poulain, said that after years of hard work, the winery was authorized to call itself "Chateau Red Farm" in 2019.

Poulain explained that the word "chateau" was given to wineries that have achieved a high standard in both production capabilities and wine quality.

Valuing the huge consumer market in China, Sayah said that his winery has a lot of room for growth in the Chinese market. The initial feedback from their Chinese distributor is positive.

"The first container of Red Farm wine arrived in Shanghai in early October. Our Chinese partners are now dealing with the process of customs clearance," Sayah noted.

Statistics from the General Administration of Customs show that wine worth 2.86 billion yuan ($404.38 million) was imported. This accounted for nearly half of the total liquor and alcoholic beverages imported into China last year.

Imported wine tops all liquor and alcoholic beverages imported last year, said Chen Ping, from the department of market operation at China's Ministry of Commerce, earlier this month.

Total wine consumption reached 1.8 million kiloliters in China last year. This made it the fifth-largest wine consumer in the world, Chen said.

"In recent years, with the deepening of structural reform and changes in people's consumption structure, wine has entered daily life and is not just for business occasions," Chen said.

 

]]>
2019-10-26 06:37:39
<![CDATA[Hotel room growth outstrips demand]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/26/content_37518610.htm The growth in the number of hotel rooms in the Chinese mainland exceeded that of demand in May, the first time since 2016, which led to a decline in the overall hotel occupancy rate, according to a report.

The report released by lodging industry data provider STR in August shows that the increase in demand for hotel rooms has slowed in recent years. Year-on-year growth in occupancy stood at 7.9 percent in 2017, 4.6 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in May.

During the period, the growth in the hotel room number moderately slowed, reporting a 3.9 percent year-on-year increase in May, still outpacing that of demand, which made occupancy growth negative, it said.

According to another report released by STR and Chinese online travel agency Ctrip in Tianjin in early September, the average occupancy rate of hotel rooms in the Chinese mainland reached 65.35 percent from January to July, down 0.8 percentage points year-on-year.

In the first seven months of this year, the increase in average daily rate - known as ADR in the industry - dropped by 2.7 percent year-on-year to 451 yuan ($60). The revenue per available room also fell 3.5 percent year-on-year to 294 yuan.

The positive market performance in 2018 didn't continue, said Liu Bo, manager of the northern Asian area of STR, when releasing the report at a forum.

The consumption upgrades and uncertainty in the economy have led to polarization of the market. Revenue per available room in luxury hotels grew 1.2 percent year-on-year in July. For midscale and economy hotels, year-on-year growth stood at 0.8 percent during the period, while that of upper upscale, upscale and upper midscale hotels saw a decline, according to the report.

Tan Ling Wei, vice-president of hotels and hospitality business at property consultancy firm JLL, said due to the imbalance of supply and demand, the hotel market in the Chinese mainland faced some challenges in the last decade. However, the market has warmed in recent years driven by booming domestic tourism, with hotel businesses embracing unprecedented growth in 2018.

She added that although hotels in some Chinese cities witnessed a downward trend this year, it would only be short-term. As growth in supply slows to a reasonable pace, hotels are expected to enter a phase of ADR growth.

"In addition to increasing occupancy and ADR, hotels also need to optimize operation and improve profitability," she said. "Owners and operators can look into reinventing the underutilized hotel space to drive revenue, such as the recent trends of converting banquet halls into multifunctional coworking spaces, as well as reducing labor cost by introducing new technologies that can help improve staff productivity."

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

 

]]>
2019-10-26 06:37:39
<![CDATA[Public State-owned assets good for people]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518438.htm

Editor's Note: The State Council recently released a special report on national administrative and public State-owned assets, which shows that at the end of 2018 the scale of national administrative and public State-owned assets was 33.5 trillion yuan ($4.74 trillion), among which the scale of administrative organizations' State-owned assets was 10.1 trillion yuan, and that of public institutions' State-owned assets was 23.4 trillion yuan. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

The total scale of China's State-owned assets has been released to the public, which not only satisfies the public's right to know, it also gives them more confidence in social development.

State-owned assets management departments at various levels are responsible for preventing the loss, depreciation and waste of State-owned assets, and should make efforts to increase the value of State-owned assets as much as possible.

China's State-owned assets include not only the assets of State-owned enterprises, but also the assets of administrative bodies and public institutions. Assets such as government buildings, office facilities and government vehicles are administrative State-owned assets, while assets such as medical facilities and hospital beds are public State-owned assets.

With the country's rapid social and economic development in recent years, more and more public funds and resources have been invested in public infrastructure, housing, education, culture and medical care. This rapid growth of administrative and public State-owned assets has improved the quality of public services.

But while increasing the scale of public State-owned assets in medical treatment, education and public culture should be encouraged, and the growth of administrative State-owned assets, such as government buildings, should be curbed, in order to reduce local governments' fiscal burden.

The larger the scale of China's State-owned assets, the greater the responsibility of State-owned asset management departments at all levels to ensure that they help improve public services and enhance people's sense of well-being.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Something to be desired in Facebook's values]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518437.htm

Being unable to enter the Chinese market seems to have given Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, a messiah complex.

The result of his company not being allowed into China, which he admitted for the first time in a speech he delivered at Georgetown University last week, is he has "more freedom to speak out and stand up for the values we believe in".

He said in an interview with the NBC News on Monday that his company had found China was trying to interfere with the 2020 presidential election in the United States. And testifying to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, he claimed China poses a risk to fundamental American values.

But he gave his game away by telling US regulators if they don't give the green light to Libra, Facebook's nascent cryptocurrency initiative, China will become the leader in the field of virtual money.

In Zuckerberg's world, it is a binary choice - the Facebook way, or the wrong way.

Rather than hypocritically speaking out, Zuckerberg could better spend the time thinking of how to reduce the hate speech that proliferates on Facebook. Although since he was a student at Harvard, which incidentally was recently found to be systematically rating Asian-American candidates lower on personality traits including "likability, courage and kindness", it is perhaps asking too much for him to rid Facebook of its anti-China bias.

Facebook's endorsement of the unrest in Hong Kong is the latest example of this prejudice and means that Zuckerberg has not got a leg to stand on when trying to claim the moral high ground.

Along with its support of US actions to destabilize different countries and regions, Facebook has also admitted to exploiting its users' personal information for profit.

And to be frank, the fast rise of TikTok, one of the most popular short video apps around the world, is no doubt a cause for concern to Zuckerberg. It seems only a matter of time before the social media video app, whose parent company ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, directly challenges Facebook's status in the market.

Zuckerberg's warning of a China threat to US values was not on his lips three years ago while jogging in Tian'anmen Square. At that time he was trying to elbow his way into the lucrative Chinese market.

His talk of values is merely an attempt to divert attention from the dirt on his face, because all he is saying is money talk.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Paralympian puts spotlight on euthanasia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518436.htm MARIEKE VERVOORT, a paralympic gold medalist from Belgium, died by euthanasia on Tuesday at the age of 40, which aroused fierce discussion on both domestic and overseas social networks. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Discussing euthanasia is a tricky subject because suicide itself is a very polarizing topic. There are people who believe it is "wrong" to commit suicide under any circumstances, and there are people who believe that everyone should have the freedom to commit suicide, especially if a person is living in constant pain and suffering. A self-willed death for those suffering from constant torment is often regarded as different from suicide.

In most cases, people commit suicide because of untreated depression. In the majority of assisted-suicide cases, people simply try to help a person close to them to end the chronic suffering caused by a terminal illness.

However, when the question is "Should the law allow one person to take the life of another?", it becomes an even more sensitive issue. Because it requires the law to set out the conditions in which a person can be helped to end his or her life by another.

When it becomes a legal issue, there are many more things to consider. Is there ample consensus to make that into a law? How will the law be implemented? How to judge whether the applicant has an incurable and painful disease? What kinds of diseases and at what stage can they be called "incurable" and "painful"? How to make sure the person seeking to end his/her life is doing so in a rational frame of mind and of his/her own volition? What to do if the applicant changes his/her mind during the process?

When it comes to legislation about euthanasia, all the above questions, and more, need to be answered.

That's partly why legalizing euthanasia has been discussed in China for at least a decade, but there is still not enough social consensus to make it permissible by law. Some people advocate passing such a law, but at least within the foreseeable future that seems unlikely.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Business environment rises to higher level]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518435.htm

Washington has tried to justify its trade war against China as a noble crusade to better improve the latter's business practices and business environment. But it has been unable to pull the wool over people's eyes, since it is clear that its tariffs are simply intended to blow China's doors open for a smash-and-grab.

While its geligniting of trade has failed in that larcenous endeavor, it has served Washington's purported purpose since it has accelerated the upgrading of China's economy and the accompanying improvement of its business environment that was already under way.

In the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2020 study, an annual project evaluating countries' business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises, China for a second year found itself among the top 10 countries where the business climate has improved the most.

The country's position on the report's "Ease of Doing Business Ranking", as a result, moved up to 31 - from 46th the previous year. This is the first time the country has made it into the top 40.

Amid the unfolding trade tit-for-tat between China and the United States, particularly the gloomy Chinese business environment Washington officials keep pedaling to the rest of the world, the World Bank report came in sharp contrast.

Although the study is preoccupied with business environments for countries' domestic private sectors, it does lend credit to Beijing's claim of making every effort to make doing business easier.

China implemented reforms in eight of the 10 areas the study monitors, said the report. Obtaining a company seal, construction permits, electricity connection, paying taxes, exporting and importing, and commercial litigation have all been made easier in the last year, it found, and protections for minority investors and creditors in insolvency cases have been enhanced.

Although the report does not encompass everything it takes for creating a fine business climate, especially when players and factors from beyond the private sector or overseas entities are taken into account, it is generally consistent with what people see.

The pro-business measures introduced lately have been more targeted than before. And, aside from pledges of better IPR protection and a ban on forced technology transfers, the government has gone the extra mile to address foreign investor concerns about operating in China.

Premier Li Keqiang, for one, has reiterated on many occasions the country's continuous commitment to opening-up, and repeatedly invited foreign companies to come and enjoy the government's new offers, because the improved business-friendly policy framework is not rhetorical.

The World Bank's report is evidence of that.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Pompeo in his glass house should stop throwing stones]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518434.htm

In traditional Chinese culture, a man of integrity is not supposed to speak ill of other people behind their backs. Only a mean person does that.

In international relations, a senior diplomat is expected to demonstrate such integrity when talking about other countries.

The remarks Mike Pompeo, secretary of state of the United States, made about China at the Heritage Foundation Annual President's Meeting discredited him and his country. He said that China is a strategic competitor that uses coercion and corruption as its tools of statecraft.

When it comes to the nature of China-US relations, there is competition in some areas but there is also cooperation in a wide range of areas. China has long been one of the major trade partners of the US and vice versa. The definition of strategic competitors is far from enough to encompass the overall relations between the two countries.

And Pompeo's claim of coercion and corruption being used as tools of statecraft better befits the US. The US is the country that resorts to the coercion of economic sanctions most frequently when it has economic or other disputes with other countries.

The US also uses military means against other countries whenever it feels the target country is a thorn in its flesh. Which is also coercion.

The US is also the country that has most often used tariffs against its trade partners in recent years. Another form of coercion.

As the sole superpower, the US is accustomed to taking it for granted that it has the mandate to use coercion against any country that it is not pleased with.

The slogan "America first" makes it blatantly obvious that it pursues hegemony and that it believes might makes right.

In sharp contrast, mutual interest and win-win cooperation are policies China has always emphasized in international relations. It has never been the first to use economic sanctions and neither has it ever used military means against any country. Dialogue is the means China employs to settle disputes and differences with other countries. Common development is the goal China is pursuing in its cooperation with other countries, which finds expression in its Belt and Road Initiative.

Corruption was indeed a serious concern for China thanks to its economic boom and a lack of systematic countermeasures against the abuse of power in the early years of its economic reform and opening-up. But it has made a lot of efforts in this regard in recent years and has achieved a great deal. No country has ever attached such importance to the fight against corruption as China does now. Its zero tolerance for corruption leaves as little room as possible for abuse of power.

And there is corruption in every country; the US is no exception. The dishonest and fraudulent conduct of many of its key figures has seen the US administration lurch from one domestic crisis to another since taking office.

Pompeo should take a good look at his own country before bad-mouthing others.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[US corporate debt a threat to global financial stability]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518433.htm

AT A RECENT FORUM HE ATTENDED, former deputy finance minister Zhu Guangyao said that negative interest rates around the world should be taken seriously, since bonds priced at negative interest rates pose a major challenge to global financial stability. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Many economists now believe that if there is a new economic crisis, it will probably be caused by corporate bonds. Indeed, some insiders, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, believe the rapid growth of corporate debt in the US could pose a threat to financial stability.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has carried out rounds of quantitative easing policies, which have resulted in long-term low interest rates and encouraged the market to borrow more money, eventually leading to a debt flood. However, a large portion of these debts have not been invested in production but used to pay dividends, share buybacks and acquisitions. Debt-financed share buybacks have also been a major driver of record highs in the US stock market in recent years. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund warned of the risk high asset prices pose to financial stability.

Low interest rates have not only encouraged businesses to borrow, but also fueled the rise of consumer debt, which means the consumer demand that fueled the US economic boom is running out of steam. The policy of long-term low interest rates is intended to stimulate growth through more debts, but it has increased vulnerabilities, as financial policy has been hijacked by debt. Once monetary policy tightens, it will put pressure on asset prices and huge debts and worsen credit quality.

For a long time, because of lower interest rates in developed economies, capital has flowed from the developed to emerging economies, leading to a continuous rise in the latter's external debt. Under this situation, if financial policies are significantly tightened, it would lead to higher borrowing costs and make these economies hard to service their debts. That means a decade after the global financial crisis, the fragility of the global economy has increased not decreased.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Economy resilient despite trade war]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518432.htm After China released its third-quarter data, The Wall Street Journal headline sounded a warning: "China's economic growth slowest in decades." CNN seconded: "China's economic growth drops to lowest level since 1992." Reuters extended the timeline: "China's GDP growth grinds to near 30-year low as tariffs hit production."

The fallacy in these headlines is that they mistake business cycles for secular trends and vice versa. When countries industrialize, they enjoy relatively high growth. After industrialization, growth rates decelerate. China is no exception.

In reality, much of the recent quarterly data in China and other major economies has been penalized for the same reason: the US-launched trade wars and geopolitics, which foster diminished global economic prospects.

Only 0.1% behind quarterly expectations

In secular terms, China's economic growth has been gradually decelerating since the early 2010s, as it should after years of high-growth industrialization. Yet per capita income will almost double in the on-going decade. In other words, economic growth is decelerating, but living standards continue to rise.

That's very different from major advanced economies in which economic prospects continue to stagnate, in both secular and cyclical terms. In the United States, the living standards of the middle class and working people have lingered since the 1980s, contributing to steep income polarization. In the eurozone, polarization is not as bad, but it is deepening. In contrast, China's middle-income group continues to expand.

In terms of cyclical data, China's economic growth slowed to 6.0 percent from 6.2 percent in the second quarter. But seriously, how much did the actual result differ from the expected one? Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a GDP growth of 6.1 percent in the July-September quarter from a year earlier. So the difference was a mere 0.1 percent.

Such a slight deviation does not warrant panicky headlines. Nor do such reports provide appropriate guidance to US investors. Unlike the media, institutional investors see economic resilience in China, even amid trade wars and geopolitical pressures. That's why almost half of fixed income institutional investors outside China plan to increase their exposure to China-issued debt in the coming year, according to FinanceAsia.

Cyclical resilience, secular potential

On the Chinese mainland, positive signs include growth in industrial production, which picked up in September, despite reduced export growth. And while months of trade wars have made consumers more cost-conscious, retail sales climbed to 7.8 percent thanks to the slate of policy support by the State Council, China's Cabinet. The latter are warranted because wage growth remains restrained.

Property prices have stayed relatively strong, which has left a substantial burden on households' shoulders. Since household debt to disposable income climbed to nearly 140 percent in 2018, household spending will be more cautious, as evidenced by lingering car sales. Yet the big picture is more nuanced. For example, education and medical expenditures remain solid.

Indeed, China's secular potential remains strong. The growth rate is still three-to-four times faster than in major advanced economies. The rebalancing of the Chinese economy toward innovation and consumption remains on track. And while the contribution of investment rose to 19.8 percent of the GDP, that of consumption climbed to 60.5 percent.

The International Monetary Fund has projected China's GDP growth to slow to 5.8 percent by 2020. That scenario presumes weakened consumption, coupled with cautious private investment and shrinking exports. But the final figure is more likely to hover around 5.8-6.2 percent in 2020, depending on the severity of the headwinds in trade - thich will result in further fiscal and monetary accommodation and thus slower deleveraging.

Although this is not the policy the Chinese authorities would normally prefer, we do not live in normal times.

Policy mistakes and global uncertainty

When the US administration adopted a trade protectionist policy two years ago, it not only committed the worst policy mistake in the postwar era but also undermined the nascent global recovery.

Before the US launched the trade war against China, its annual GDP growth rate peaked at 3.2 percent in mid-2018. Now it has almost halved to 1.8 percent. As for the eurozone, after peaking at 3 percent in January 2018, its growth tumbled to about 1 percent, even before the German economy contracted and uncertainties over Brexit rose. In Japan, too, growth has plunged to below 1 percent after climbing to 2.4 percent in early 2018.

In 2017, global economic growth was as high as 3.8 percent. Given the right policies, it might have exceeded 4 percent in 2018 and this year.

Instead, thanks to US protectionism and geopolitical frictions, global integration has stalled. World trade is at pre-2008 levels, and the same goes for world investment. And as migration flows have plunged, the number of globally displaced has exceeded 71 million...5 million more than at the end of World War II.

If misguided policies are permitted to prevail, these adverse trends are likely to further intensify, compounded by potential divisions over the president's impeachment in the US, recessionary landscape in the eurozone and stagnation in Japan.

Guided by US policy mistakes, the global economy is now amid a "synchronized slowdown", as the IMF has warned. But there is much worse ahead, if these mistakes are permitted to prevail.

The author is the founder of Difference Group and has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Traders step into sneakers to make money]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518431.htm Throughout the ages, few stories have been as thrilling and appealing as rags-to-riches tales. The reason: people across the social divide have since times immemorial wanted to ameliorate their condition, sooner rather than better. And such stories have rarely been in short supply.

One such story has gone viral in this age of information, although it is in an area not so well known even to finance experts: sneaker trading. The wealth-creation myth surrounds an undergraduate, who is said to have supported himself, even achieved economic independence by trading in limited-edition sneakers.

People have even been urged to take a share in this business boom: You have missed out on the opportunity to get rich by buying houses in a bid to cash in on the property market boom, or trading in stocks in the bullish stock market or hoarding bitcoins as part of the cryptocurrency craze; to become rich, therefore, capitalize on the "sneaker craze".

Sneakers, by definition, are a type of casual shoes, more precisely, designed for outdoor activities; they are made of canvas or synthetic material with rubber of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) soles.

Indeed, the sneaker trading business has maintained "explosive growth" over the past few years. A dozen of sneaker trading platforms have emerged, registering robust daily transactions of shoes sold at astonishingly high prices. Among which, the trading volume of Du APP, an industry leader, is forecast to reach 6 billion yuan ($847 million) this year. In fact, a pair of highly craved limited-edition sneakers could easily fetch many times more than the official sale price.

Lured by the large profit margin, capital has poured into the sneaker trading sector. As a result, the sneaker reselling market is increasingly becoming a speculation hotspot - no different to the stock market. Various trading indexes such as Air Jordan index, Nike index, and Adidas index are created for buyers to track the rise and fall in prices. And traders could buy or sell without even seeing and securing the footwear in the first place.

Most probably, the traders cashing in on the sneaker trading boom have no idea of the sneaker culture or craze. Nor do they care that the real fans of the casual shoes could be deprived of the chance to get hold of a pair that they so earnestly crave for.

Seemingly, sneaker manufacturers' hunger marketing is the root cause of the emerging problem, and trading platforms and the few first-comers are the only ones that profit from this booming market while the real sneaker fans are made "victims" along the way.

As even those more ignorant of the inherent risks in the business have been drawn to the sector, the risk of the business being turned into a ponzi scheme rises every day and someone will have to eventually pay the price.

Fortunately, the authorities have recognized the heightened risks in the industry. The Shanghai office of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, recently warned against the risks of the hot sneaker trading business and called on institutions to pay special attention to risks and adopt effective measures to avoid them.

Indeed, we can never pin hope on the self-discipline of institutions. Hence, it is essential that the authorities impose strict regulations to prevent the sneaker trading business from going astray and causing a financial earthquake. To this end, the authorities need to introduce more detailed and targeted supervision - so as to ensure the healthy development of the business.

After all, even after nearly 300 years, the lessons from the Dutch tulip mania still ring true, not least because human nature hasn't changed much. And lest we forget, greed could be the death of humans.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Germany sets good example by embracing Huawei 5G]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/25/content_37518430.htm With its decision on Oct 15 to not ban Huawei from building its 5G network, the German government has shown admirable courage and independence under mounting pressure and intimidation from the United States administration.

US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been visiting countries in Europe over the past two years threatening to end the US' partnerships and intelligence sharing with European allies if they allow Huawei into their 5G networks. The US embassy in Belgium and US Mission to the European Union, on their part, have repeatedly sent tweets defaming Huawei in a coordinated smear campaign.

But their purely speculative accusation of Huawei has failed to convince most European leaders. Most have rejected an outright ban of Huawei and Chinese tech companies. European leaders are wary of cybersecurity. That is why the European Union released its 5G network risk assessment on Oct 9, providing cybersecurity recommendation but leaving individual member states to make their own decisions.

The EU's approach is to mitigate the risks, in sharp contrast to the US' outright ban of Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications companies as part of Washington's paranoid and vicious geopolitical strategy to curtail China's rise in the technology field.

Huawei, which has a strong presence in Europe, has welcomed the EU's risk assessment. It said that cybersecurity is a top priority and its end-to-end cybersecurity assurance system covers all process areas and its solid track record proves that it works. Huawei hopes that the EU's work on a common security framework required to manage and mitigate the risks will continue to be guided by the same facts-based approach.

For many European leaders, the bitter experience of being spied on is still fresh. A 2014 report by German news magazine Der Spiegel showed that the US National Security Agency spied on 122 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

When I recently interviewed a former senior EU official who had also served as head of an international organization, he criticized the US agencies for spying on world leaders.

As the US tries to distract the global attention by framing Huawei, Permanent Record, a book by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden serves as a reminder of the rampant US global surveillance activities. And it would be naeve to assume the mighty NSA has quit spying on the world. Instead of Huawei, it was Silicon Valley's technology giants from Microsoft to Facebook that had willingly and unwillingly cooperated with the NSA in intercepting people's communications, according to the revelations by both Snowden and WikiLeaks.

Adopting Huawei's 5G technology and equipment would actually make it more difficult for the NSA to find a collaborator for its global surveillance, as it did before. Germany's decision has set a good example for other EU countries to pursue fair and win-win cooperation instead of surrendering to US coercion and believing in Cold War-type rhetoric. After all, Washington sees not just everything from China but also European cars and steel as national security threats.

Despite its advanced industrial base, Germany's mobile network is not so impressive among EU member states, which I realized while traveling through beautiful Rhine Gorge Valley cities this year. In this sense, there are so many win-win opportunities between Germany and Chinese 5G technology and equipment providers.

The future will show that the US persecution of Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese tech companies is not only misconstrued but also a crime of historical proportions in terms of world peace, global rules and multilateralism. In this sense, Germany's refusal to play by US rules is laudable.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

]]>
2019-10-25 07:42:02
<![CDATA[Herders revel in tradition and tourism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/24/content_37518078.htm An influx of visitors has resulted in rising living standards on the Narat grassland. Cui Jia and Wang Keju report from Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Editor's note: This is the eighth story in a series focusing on the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, looking at developments in the economy, the cultural and business sectors and poverty alleviation measures.

On Oct 8, Bahargul Asat packed up her yurts on the Narat, the fertile grassland of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and moved to her winter settlement as the vast expanse was transformed into an autumnal golden blanket at the foot of the snow-capped Tianshan Mountains.

Like her nomadic Kazak ancestors, Bahargul and her family spent the summer grazing more than 100 sheep and horses on the grassland that the ethic group has called home for thousands of years. However, unlike her forebears, as head of a yurt hotel that houses tourists on the grassland, she had an extra-busy summer.

Dubbed the "grassland in the sky" for its average altitude of 1,800 meters, the Narat, in Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, is surrounded by mountains on three sides. To view the Narat, visitors have to climb a mountain before the vast grassland suddenly opens up at the end of the winding mountain roads.

Most of the people in Bestobe, Bahargul's home village, retain the nomadic lifestyle, and members of the Kazak ethnic group are among the last nomads in China.

As the grassland is located at high altitude, the herders have to move their livestock and their yurts to low-lying pastures when the weather turns cold, before returning to higher ground for spring and summer. Although there are no boundary markers, each family knows exactly which part of the grassland is theirs for raising livestock.

"It's how we Kazaks achieve harmony with the environment. Each pasture will have time to recover from grazing. Also, only strong, healthy animals can survive the tough migration, which can sometimes take a week. The system has made the Kazaks strong, and it still works," said Bahargul proudly.

Her family's winter pasture is only 50 kilometers from the Narat, and she will return to the grassland in June.

Xinjiang is possibly the only place in China where vehicles on the highway are required to give way to flocks of sheep escorted by traffic police and herdsmen on horseback during the migratory period. After all, many roads in the region were built on ancient livestock migration routes.

Attracted by the grand beauty of the grassland that was once a hidden jewel, a growing number of tourists have flocked to the Narat in recent years. The influx of visitors has changed the herders' lives.

Cooperative living

In addition to continuing their tradition of raising livestock on the grassland, many residents, including Bahargul, have started tourism-related businesses.

In 2014, Bahargul and some of her peers founded a cooperative to provide yurts as guesthouses, offering standardized, quality services to tourists. The group owns 40 yurts, each of which can accommodate eight to 10 people, she said.

She got the idea in July 2008, when a family of three from Beijing asked to stay overnight in her spare yurt because they didn't want to miss the sun rising and setting over the grassland. Those sights are commonplace to the herders, who, unlike the family, never regard them as "breathtaking", Bahargul said.

As a result, she discussed establishing a yurt hotel with the other residents as a means of earning extra income. "It's a win-win situation," she said.

The following year, nine other families followed in Bahargul's footsteps and started renting yurts to tourists.

Initially, the yurts were scattered haphazardly across the grassland, and the quality of food and other services provided by the families varied greatly.

Gradually, problems started to surface, such as guests expressing concerns about hygiene in the yurts.

Even more worrisome was the tourists' habit of dumping rubbish, such as plastic bags and cutlery, on the grassland because the waste disposal facilities were too far away.

"As Kazaks, it is our duty to protect the grassland. So when the Narat is hurt, we are hurt," Bahargul said.

In response, the herders discussed the situation and decided to establish the cooperative. Their first action was to move all the yurt guesthouses much closer to the waste-disposal facilities.

"Learning to serve guests at the professional level is never easy for herders. You can leave the sheep out all day and shout at them all you want, but you cannot do that to guests who need regular quality services," said Bahargul, who is head of the cooperative.

The members have drawn up standards for services and hygiene, and even held a competition to see who had the best taste in interior decoration for the yurts.

"People brought all the most-precious traditional decorations from their homes so the guests can be submerged in Kazak culture as soon as they step into a yurt," Bahargul said.

Upgraded services

This summer was Maliwat's first as an employee of the yurt hotel. The 29-year-old university graduate was determined to upgrade services to meet the tourists' demands, and also came up the idea of serving traditional milk tea in the afternoon along with a range of Kazak pastries.

"Kazak afternoon tea can be just as posh as afternoon tea in England," she said as she capped a cup of freshly made milk tea with butter, impressing the guests who could not stop taking photos and videos on their cellphones.

Since the Narat was listed as one of China's top scenic sites in 2011, tensions have arisen between tourism development and environmental protection.

To address the issue and protect the grassland, the local government introduced new guidelines in 2015 that imposed tougher waste-disposal requirements and banned unlicensed permanent structures. It also encouraged local herders to take part in tourism development.

From January to last month, the grassland received 871,000 tourists, a rise of 43.7 percent year-onyear.

"When I am serving tea, I love to talk about how important the grassland is to us, so the tourists will leave their rubbish at the right places," Maliwat said. "I want them to understand that while they see the Narat as a tourist site, it is home to us."

Every day, the herders take all the waste generated by the yurt hotel to a new disposal site outside the grassland. Maliwat calls the process "the daily migration".

According to Bahargul, every family in the cooperative receives an average 20,000 yuan ($2,817) during the summer season, while also grazing their animals.

"Besides earning extra income, we all believe that running the yurt hotel is a good way to spread the Kazak culture," she said.

Horseback riding

Bahargul has much to do before she returns to the Narat in June. She plans to buy an eco-shower system for the yurts and list the hotel on travel websites. "I wish I had time to rest, like the grassland," she said.

Next to the hotel, the herders have established another cooperative, which allows tourists to experience the feeling of roaming the grassland on horseback like true Kazaks.

Before the horse herd cooperative was set up in 2012, the herders randomly picked up tourists who wanted to ride horses, which sometimes led to fights over customers. Also, some herders allowed tourists to ride the horses on their own without providing any protection, said Arken Meyir, who is the head of the cooperative.

The number of families involved has risen to 150 from the original 40, and each household provides two horses. "The herdsmen need to wait in line for tourists like taxi drivers. There are no more fights," Arken said.

To ensure safety and environmental protection, tourists are only allowed to ride on designated horse lanes and they must be accompanied by experienced riders.

Before the herders return to their yurts at the end of each day, they are required to clean up the horse lanes and take away all the rubbish, he added.

"Actually, the tourists don't disturb the herders' normal lives, because most of us live quite far from the tourist area, which is only a very small part of the Narat," Arken said.

Bahetnur Sutanhaz was born on the Narat grassland and was first put on a horse when he was 3. The tourism boom has allowed the 37-year-old to open three restaurants offering authentic Kazak cuisine in Narat township.

"No matter how busy I am, I drive up to the family's pasture on the grassland almost every day during summer to check on the livestock. I would feel uncomfortable if my feet didn't touch the grassland for a day. I think that's caused by my Kazak blood," he said, adding that he has recently started teaching his 7-year-old son to ride.

"He needs to be a real Kazak man, no matter what he does when he grows up. Also, he should always remember that our roots lie in the grassland."

 

A herder grazes cattle on the Narat, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, last month.Zou Yu/xinhua
]]>
2019-10-24 07:31:19
<![CDATA[I know all the best places to take stunning photos]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/24/content_37518077.htm Though I'm not a local, I know all the best spots to take perfect pictures of Tianchi Lake, as a result of coming here for eight straight years.

With tourism becoming more popular in Xinjiang over the past decade, a growing number of visitors have poured into the region.

In 2011, I saw reports that tour guides and management staff members were in great demand. So, in the firm belief that I could earn good money in Xinjiang, I decided to work in the region during the peak season and return home when winter brings low temperatures and heavy snow.

Then, I live with my wife and 7-year-old daughter in Jiangsu province, East China.

Every day, I bring tourists to the lake. The buses are always full with people from across China. Last year, I met a 63-year-old grandmother who had traveled alone in Xinjiang for nearly six months. She said she had started out with 100,000 yuan ($14,140), but only had 8,000 yuan left, and when that was gone she would head home to Tianjin.

In response to the tens of thousands of tourists, convenience stores and restaurants began springing up around the lake, which sits at an altitude of about 2,000 meters on Bogda Peak in the Tianshan Mountains. After a three-hour drive from Urumqi, the regional capital, people flocked to the stores and restaurants for refreshments.

However, the different shapes and colors of the buildings did not match the beautiful scenery, and the waste harmed the environment.

To improve the situation, most of the facilities have been torn down by the local government in recent years.

Therefore, I tell the visitors to bring some bread and water with them, as we are only able to have our "lunch" at about 7 pm after getting down from the mountain.

I often bring a piece of naan bread and a bottle of water, which keeps me full for a whole afternoon.

Though the trip is often not as easy as the tourists expect, I hardly have any complaints, because they really enjoy the breathtaking views.

As an "apology", I always prepare a small gift for every visitor at the end of the tour. It's a postcard with a photo of the first snow falling on the lake each year, which expresses my desire to share the unpolluted beauty with more people.

Wang Hao spoke with Wang Keju.

]]>
2019-10-24 07:31:19
<![CDATA['Sea gypsies' find their feet and prosper]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/23/content_37517771.htm Jiang Chengcai can still remember the discomfort he experienced when he slept on a real bed in a real home for the first time.

]]>
The once-impoverished Tanka people have found new livelihoods and opportunities after moving ashore

Jiang Chengcai can still remember the discomfort he experienced when he slept on a real bed in a real home for the first time.

He was accustomed to resting on planks under a bamboo cover on his boat home.

It was 1999, and he had lived on a boat for 32 years. Growing up, he shared a 10-square-meter sampan with his parents and siblings.

He was married on another small sampan, a wedding present from his parents, where his wife later gave birth to their three children.

"Even today, I cannot bear to recall those memories," said the 52-year-old resident of Xiaqi village in Fu'an, Fujian province.

Jiang is one of the Tanka people, or boat dwellers, who traditionally lived on sampans and made a living by fishing and ferrying on the coastal waters of southern China.

Also known as "sea gypsies", they were not only born on the fishing boats, but also grew up, worked and died there. Though all discriminatory policies against the Tanka have been eliminated since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, few of them could afford to build a house on land.

As a child, Jiang recalled that going ashore with his father was almost like an adventure and he would hide behind him to avoid people's stares.

Modern facilities are impossible in floating homes, with no tap water, no electricity and no access to education and healthcare. The bamboo cover at the stern of the vessel shelters the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, and is sometimes used for keeping poultry.

"We worked in the prow, and lived in the stern. Our life was like this for as long as I can remember," Jiang said.

He remembers a feeling of desperation when his children contracted high fevers, and there were no doctors available.

Life on shore

In 1997, a report about the plight of the Tanka people caught the attention of President Xi Jinping, who was then the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China Fujian Provincial Committee.

There were 18,466 Tanka people from 4,125 households living on boats at the end of that year, local media reported.

Xi visited the boats and chaired a meeting in Fu'an, and called for efforts to resettle the Tanka people ashore as soon as possible.

He oversaw the resettlement program in person, and visited Xiaqi village in 1998 and 2000.

With a total investment of over 7 million yuan, authorities offered free land and a 1,300 yuan housebuilding subsidy for each person as part of the resettlement program in Xiaqi village.

A total of 2,310 people were able to leave their boat homes and move to resettlements, where tap water, electricity, cable television, medical facilities and schools were also provided.

In 2013, the government relocated another 642 people from 120 households to new homes as the old resettlements became overcrowded.

The resettlement program was a life-changer for Jiang and his family who were among the first group of villagers to secure a house and move ashore in 1999.

The initial period took some getting used to, he said. Jiang's father, like him, missed the sampan rocking them to sleep, and the family did not know how to use gas cookers given to them by the authorities.

"But it was warm, and we no longer had to withstand the freezing cold snaps during winter and worry about our boat being broken into pieces by typhoons," he said.

However, the fact that they were uneducated made it difficult for them to find jobs.

"Schooling was impossible for us because we had nowhere to go after school," he said, explaining that the Tanka people had to fish for their livelihoods.

To make a new living, Jiang learned from other fishermen how to raise razor clams in coastal waters.

Within a few years, he had guaranteed annual income of 70,000 yuan from the clams.

Jiang remembered his nervousness when Xi, when he was the governor of Fujian province, visited his family in November 2000.

"I almost trembled when I met with him. He was smiling, and greeted me with a handshake. It warmed my heart," he said.

"He said that 'You should continue the hard work now that you have resettled ashore'. I have been inspired by these words all my life," he said.

The Tanka people have good stamina and the difficult life on boats helps them endure hardships, Jiang said.

Secure future

After years of raising razor clams, Jiang has saved enough money to launch a private business as a building project contractor, with a pile driver he bought for about 1.1 million yuan.

He has also been able to afford to expand his home from a bungalow to a four-story house.

"I was virtually homeless before, and now I am building homes for others," he said.

Last year, the income generated by Xiaqi village reached 117 million yuan ($16.5 million), with per capita income of over 12,000 yuan.

The success of the Tanka people's resettlement program in Fujian province has also attracted international attention, including from Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, also general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee, who visited Xiaqi village on April 29.

"The local successful practices reflect General Secretary Xi Jinping's idea of targeted poverty reduction and the CPC Central Committee's purpose to benefit the people. There is still a large poverty-stricken population in Laos, so we will bring China's poverty-alleviation experiences and measures back to our country," Bounnhang was quoted by China Central Television as saying during the visit.

Among the prestigious visitors were lawmakers from seven countries in Central America.

Zheng Yue'e, Party chief of the village, said dramatic change is most evident in the number of college graduates it has produced.

"We did not have a single child entering college before we moved here. Now we have 260. They left their boats and went ashore and across the nation," she said.

"Being Tanka made us feel inferior to others when I was a child. Now we can take pride in that," she said.

 

A resident of Xiaqi village in Fu'an, Fujian province, sweeps a street in August. Xiaqi village is one of the resettlements of boat dwellers.Hu Meidong/china Daily

]]>
2019-10-23 08:03:50
<![CDATA[SMEs thrive as new momentum to economic growth in Guangzhou]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/23/content_37517770.htm Yuan Jianhua will never forget the subsidy from the local government in 2002 to help his company survive. It has now become a domestic leader in the development and production of laboratory consumable products.

"My experience tells me that a startup needs at least 10 years of survival and another 10 years to develop and succeed. Unfortunately, a big number of startups died in the first 10 years, as fund shortages were a major problem," said Yuan, president of Guangzhou Jet Bio-Filtration based in South China's Guangdong province.

He founded the company in Guangzhou Development District in 2001, which is under the administration of Huangpu district.

Two years later, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. "I received a 200,000 yuan ($28,247) subsidy from the municipal department with the help of the district government at a critical point, which was big enough to pay 20 months of salaries to my 12 employees then," he said.

In 2018 the company earned more than 200 million yuan and sold its products to about 50 countries and regions. These include the United States, Japan, Canada and Germany. Overseas markets contributed nearly 80 percent of annual revenue, according to the company's figures.

In a sector that was once dominated by foreign companies, Yuan said the company now possesses 86 patents, including 23 invention patents. It aims to break the technical and market monopoly of the foreign competition and cut the prices of laboratory consumable products in the domestic market by 30-40 percent.

"We will take root in the district because the local government is highly efficient. It has carried out quite a few incentive policies to support the development of private companies and small and medium-sized enterprises. The subsidies and benefits the companies can apply for are clearly stipulated," Yuan said.

The second phase of its industrial park, taking up an area of 160,000 square meters in GDD, started construction in March.

It is expected to become Asia's largest manufacturing base for bio-laboratory consumable products, he added.

Located in eastern Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, GDD ranked first in terms of technological innovation. This was among all 219 State-level economic and technological development districts in China for 2018, according to an evaluation by the Ministry of Commerce.

The official figures indicate that the district has more than 20,000 innovative companies, of which at least 2,000 were credited as high-tech companies.

More than 80 percent of these high-tech companies are private companies and SMEs, and more than 80 percent of the invention patents, new technological achievements and new products in GDD are coming from private companies and SMEs, which have already been the major force for the district's development.

GDD's strength in innovation should be attributed to its strategy of emphasizing the development of private companies and SMEs, which the local government believes are flexible, dynamic capable of propping up the local economy. "The private companies and SMEs have served as new momentum to enhance the economic development quality of the district," said Zhao Birong, deputy director of the industry and information technology bureau of Huangpu district.

In 2018, 93.4 percent of the 903 industrial companies in Huangpu with an annual industrial output of more than 20 million yuan each were private companies and SMEs, according to government statistics. They contributed 47 percent to the district's total industrial output, up from 41.1 percent in 2017 and 37.2 percent in 2016.

They are mainly scattered in the strategic emerging industries in the district. They include automobile, electronic, energy, chemistry, electronic machinery, new-generation information technology, smart equipment, biomedicine and new materials. To energize private companies and SMEs, the district government issued 18 incentive measures in November 2018 to help with fund shortages, development transition and market exploration.

As one of the measures, the local government will coordinate an industry investment fund of 30 billion yuan. It will invite the participation of State-owned enterprises and support the growth of advanced manufacturing, modern service and strategic emerging industries.

The venture capital institutions that invest in private and SMEs in the seed stage and initial stage can get ample rewards, according to the new policy.

The local government will also set up a development fund with 10 billion yuan for private companies to solve their stock pledge and loan problems.

According to the measures, the government will help private companies and SMEs access a 30 billion yuan fund.

In it, the district government will subsidize companies for bank interests, guarantee costs and the interests of finance leasing.

The government also pledged to cut administrative costs, optimize customs' clearance procedures, lower industrial land and housing costs and build more incubators.

Huayin Health Group, a third-party medical laboratory that focuses on medical examinations and diagnosis in GDD, got a fund of 23 million yuan due to its intellectual property recently.

In a trial move supported by the local government, Industrial Securities issued an asset-backed securitization bond in September. It aims to raise 301 million yuan for 11 private high-tech SMEs in GDD, including Huayin, based on their patent license fees.

"The faster a company develops, the bigger fund demands it will have," said Huang Chunbo, founder and general manager of Huayin Health. "Besides equity and bond financing, banks are our major channel but intellectual property usually doesn't work. They need fixed assets."

The innovative funding attempt is a boon to high-tech SMEs with patents, which can solve financial problems and lower financing costs, he noted. Huang added that the government efforts should not be neglected.

 

Guangzhou Huangpu district has a good living environment and solid economic foundation.Jia Zihao/for China Daily
]]>
2019-10-23 08:03:50
<![CDATA[Foreign capital to spur upgrading]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517530.htm The State Council has renewed its pledge to further open up the Chinese market and level the business playing field, with measures to give domestic and foreign players equal access to the banking and auto sectors and the capital market.

]]>
Greater competition to increase vitality of domestic companies and benefit Chinese consumers

The State Council has renewed its pledge to further open up the Chinese market and level the business playing field, with measures to give domestic and foreign players equal access to the banking and auto sectors and the capital market.

Experts said more market access to foreign capital will spur the vitality of domestic companies through greater market competition, which could provide better services and products to consumers.

The Cabinet said in a statement following Wednesday's executive meeting that the government will continue to cut red tape and improve services to foster a more welcoming business environment for foreign investment.

More sectors will be open to foreign investment, and restrictions on the scope of business of foreign-invested banks, securities companies and fund management firms already established in China will be lifted across the board, the statement said.

It also called for better foreign investment policies in the auto industry, with steps to offer equal market access for domestic and foreign-invested new energy vehicles made in China.

Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting that foreign capital has played a unique and important role in China's economic growth, and the country must always attach great importance to the use of foreign capital to promote high-quality development and modernization.

Enabling fair competition between domestic and foreign businesses will offer consumers more choice and spur domestic businesses to improve their competitiveness and level of services, he said, adding that measures to attract foreign investment must be scaled up.

Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the Chinese economy is entering an era in which opening-up can pave the way for further reforms.

"Most of the sectors in China have been developed enough to no longer require a high degree of protection," he said. "Rather, they require more pressure from competition to ensure their vitality."

Mei said China's opening-up has covered measures including widened market access and the lifting of restrictions on equity caps, and the country has shared opportunities arising from its economic growth with its partners, helping them to better adapt to its market and its rules.

At the meeting, the State Council also came up with measures to make investment easier and ensure equal protection of the legitimate interests of foreign investors.

It pledged support to foreign-invested companies in independently choosing their model of borrowing from foreign lenders, saying foreign businesses will be encouraged to use their capital for equity investment in China.

Preliminary site selection and land use reviews for foreign-invested projects will be consolidated, and the requirements for permission to plan projects and use land for construction will be combined, it added.

The Cabinet also vowed to ban the forced transfer of technology, including transfers through requirements that are disguised.

Trade secrets will be protected in accordance with the law, and there should be no restrictions in government procurement based on the type of ownership of suppliers, the nationality of investors, or the brands of products and services, it added.

Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, said the newly opened up sectors were of crucial importance to the national economy, and their opening up showed that the sectors are strong enough to withstand risks and challenges.

More opening-up could level the playing field and promote the upgrading of Chinese industries, he said.

"For foreign businesses, the opening up of the market is only part of their concern. They care more about regulatory measures and the business environment," he said, adding that measures rolled out at Wednesday's meeting would help dispel their concerns.

Tu said China, with its stable political and social environment, sound infrastructure and sizable domestic market, remained one of the economies with the strongest appeal to foreign investors.

In the first nine months of this year, 30,871 foreign-invested businesses were established in China, with the inflow of foreign capital exceeding 683.2 billion yuan ($96.5 billion), up 6.9 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Better support for severely disabled poor people]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517529.htm Several ministry-level departments, including those responsible for education, health, water resources, and poverty alleviation, have responded recently to issues of public concern.

Forum focuses on relief for disabled living in poverty

China will address problems faced by services that care for impoverished people who are severely disabled, an official with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development said.

Measures and policies will be formulated to better support such people in areas including compulsory education, basic medical care, housing security and drinking water safety, Xia Gengsheng, the office's deputy director, said at a forum on poverty alleviation for disabled people in Beijing on Oct 14.

The forum, jointly held by the China Disabled Persons' Federation, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, discussed measures to promote caring services for impoverished people who are severely disabled.

Statistics from the China Disabled Persons' Federation show that China has about 1.69 million registered impoverished disabled people. Nearly half of them are severely disabled and 472,000 people need foster care services.

More monitoring for river basin water resources

The Ministry of Water Resources will take a series of measures to strengthen the management of river basin water resources, Water Resources Minister E Jingping said at a meeting in Dongying, in eastern China's Shandong province, on Oct 11.

E said flood control, high-quality water resources, a healthy aquatic ecosystem and a livable water environment should be the four goals of China's river management.

In order to protect water resources, E said efforts should be made to improve water quality and ease water loss and soil erosion. He also underlined the importance of curbing overexploitation of water resources and preventing water pollution.

Information technology should be used to monitor larger water resources in real time, E said.

Undergraduate education reforms to boost talent

China will reform undergraduate education to improve its cultivation of talent, according to a guideline published by the Ministry of Education on Oct 12.

The guideline listed four areas for further reform, related to education and teaching management, education and teaching systems, and teaching personnel.

To strictly control examinations and graduation, the guideline called for efforts to improve the country's academic assessment system by combining process-oriented and result-oriented assessments.

The proportion of process-oriented assessments, such as Q& As in class, research reports and periodic tests, should be more reasonable, it said.

The guideline said universities should motivate students to study hard, make their academic tasks more challenging, and give them more time for reading and sports.

It also asked universities to improve appraisal systems to punish academic misconduct and improve standards for the conferring of degrees.

Shorter hospital stays indicate improvement

The efficiency of China's medical services has increased, with the duration of the average hospital stay dropping for five years in a row in top-level hospitals, according to a report issued by the National Health Commission on Oct 9.

The report said the average hospital stay last year was 9.3 days, down 42.6 percent compared with 1992. The average hospital stay is one indicator used when assessing medical benefits and efficiency.

Shorter hospital stays show that China's medical service has become more efficient through the development of new medical service models and the promotion of integrated medical services, said Guo Yanhong, an official with the commission.

In recent years, the commission has been working to optimize service procedures in hospitals across the country and offer services such as outpatient surgery and early rehabilitation.

The amount, quality and capability of China's medical services have improved continuously in recent years, Guo said.

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Policy digest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517528.htm Tax and fee cuts should be fully implemented

The government must maintain a tight budget and make sure that tax-and fee-reduction policies are fully implemented, the State Council decided at an executive meeting on Wednesday.

A statement released after the meeting said tax and fee cuts exceeded 1.5 trillion yuan ($212.03 billion) in the first eight months of the year.

Tax and fee cuts have eased the burden on enterprises, increased residents' incomes and added jobs, which effectively stimulated market vitality, it said, and the cuts also played a significant role in counteracting downward pressure, stabilizing the country's economy and maintaining reasonable economic growth.

It is estimated that total tax and fee reductions will exceed 2 trillion yuan by the end of this year, the statement said.

The Cabinet called for efforts to further implement related policies, and study and solve problems faced by enterprises in a timely manner.

As a result, the tax burden on major industries such as manufacturing should be significantly reduced, the tax burden on the construction and transportation industries should be eased and the tax burden on other industries should not be increased, it said.

The collection of fees from enterprises that violate laws and regulations will be subject to further regulation, according to the statement.

The meeting decided that governments at all levels should strengthen their budget management by maintaining a tight budget and strictly controlling regular expenditures.

Provincial governments are responsible for supporting grassroots governments that are experiencing fiscal difficulties to guarantee their salaries, operation and basic livelihood needs, it said.

The Cabinet also called for further study of measures designed to promote reform, stimulate development and increase employment, with a focus on encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.

It also required efforts to study preferential policies to increase tax deductions in key industries such as manufacturing.

Amendments further open up finance sector

The State Council has amended some provisions in regulations that are related to the administration of foreign-funded insurance companies and banks in order to expand the opening-up of China's finance sector.

A State Council decree published on Oct 15 said amendments to the regulations on the administration of foreign-funded insurance companies and foreign-funded banks came into effect that day.

A new article in the regulations on the administration of foreign-funded insurance companies - article 40 - says that foreign insurance group companies are allowed to establish foreign-invested insurance companies in China.

Another new article - 41 - stipulates that overseas financial institutions are allowed to become shareholders of foreign-funded insurance companies.

A revised article 11 in the regulations on the administration of foreign-funded banks requires the foreign stakeholders of joint-venture banks to be financial institutions.

The only or major stakeholder should be a commercial bank and its capital adequacy ratio should meet the requirements specified by the financial supervisory authorities, it said.

According to a revised article 25 in the regulations on the administration of foreign-funded banks foreign banks are allowed to set up foreign-funded banks and foreign bank branches in China at the same time.

They are also allowed to establish joint-venture banks and foreign bank branches at the same time.

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Handmade and homemade for success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517527.htm "My dream is to build a high-end brand like Chanel, that's the goal of Panwallzer," said Pan Ruibin, the 34-year-old owner of an online knitwear shop known for its bold designs and handmade products.

]]>
Knitwear entrepreneur employs dozens of local villagers as his bold sweaters become an online hit

"My dream is to build a high-end brand like Chanel, that's the goal of Panwallzer," said Pan Ruibin, the 34-year-old owner of an online knitwear shop known for its bold designs and handmade products.

So far, Panwallzer Handmade Sweaters has done well knitting its way to success. On Douyin, a popular short video app, it has captivated 1.9 million followers and gained 13.7 million likes.

When he established Panwallzer in 2010, however, Pan went against the generational trend of leaving his hometown to work in a big city for a large company.

Pan quit his job as a Japanese translator for a foreign company in Shantou, Guangdong province, and returned to his home village in Fuyang, northern Shantou and decided to turn his hobby of knitting into a business.

"My parents firmly opposed my decision," Pan said. "My mom said it was horrible to think only of cooking for me when I returned, while my dad insisted that owning an online shop was the equivalent of unemployment."

Despite doubts about whether people would still wear handmade sweaters when machine-made ones are easier to produce and cheaper, Pan persisted with his business idea.

"The customers I accumulated during the part-time operation of the online shop encouraged me, but my major motivation was my passion to save the handmade knitwear industry."

It takes a village

Pan showed his talent for knitting from the age of 6. He was taught by his mother, and improved his skills by entering knitting competitions. By the time he was 10, he could knit a sweater as well as the middle-aged women in his village.

His knitting teachers later became his employees when Pan hired some retirees in his village to help him make the sweaters.

"Mothers in the region master knitting skills, but some of them had been unemployed for a long time, while others worked in toy factories or on farms," Pan said.

The workshop run from the family home provided them with jobs and enriched their lives. The number of employees grew from seven in 2010 to 60 this year.

Pan comes up with the designs and makes samples that are featured on Douyin, while orders are filled by the employees. The knitters make one sweater at a time, which can take seven to 20 days to finish. Customers usually order a month in advance so Pan's workshop can fill the order on time.

His family members also have jobs with Panwallzer. His father finds and prepares the materials for Pan's samples, his mother makes final adjustments to the orders and his sister helps arrange online deliveries.

Quality first

Pan has no intention of gearing up the workshop for mass production, even though new orders are flooding in to Panwallzer due mainly to its popularity on social media.

He believes producing a superior product is the right way to maintain sustainable grow. With a peak monthly sales volume of 100 to 200 sweaters, Pan wants to provide a customized service through his novel sweater designs.

"People don't buy your sweater just because it is handmade, they buy it because it is both stylish and handmade," he said.

Inspired by design brochures and fashion shows, Pan creates and upgrades his designs in summer when he is less occupied filling orders.

Yu Han, 40, a math teacher from Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, is one of Panwallzer's regular customers and has bought at least one sweater every year for the past eight years.

Yu said she initially started buying them as she liked the traditional handwork and Pan's bold designs. "Later the style improved from sweaters that just kept you warm to fashion," Yu said.

Pan said even though the bespoke sweaters were made from a design template, each was different.

"We will alter the knitting details based on a client's measurements and special needs. For instance, we sometimes change a round neck sweater into a turtleneck as it better fits one certain client," Pan explained.

Customized production isn't cheap, and the sweater prices range from 1,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan ($141 to $706) on Panwallzer's Taobao shop.

The employees are paid 200 yuan to 1,200 yuan a piece, depending on the complexity of the design and the knitting involved.

Willing to pay

A comment during one of Pan's livestreams on Douyin read: "It's so expensive and I can't afford a sweater like this." Several similar comments followed, complaining about the high price of a single woolen sweater.

However, Pan won't compromise on price to earn more sales.

"People value personalized products. They don't like their outfit clashing with others on the street, and handmade sweaters help them stand out from mass-production items," he said.

Another regular Panwallzer customer said people often asked her where they could buy a similar sweater. "I feel proud when friends and even strangers notice my handmade sweaters and ask me how I got it," said Tong Jing, a 36-year-old nurse from Shangqiu, Henan province.

"At first I also considered the price too high for ordinary buyers like me, so I tried knitting it myself. But it's too hard to finish a scarf, let alone a sweater. Then I realized the great effort in every customized work. It is really worth the price," Tong said.

In June, Pan Ruibin and his team traveled to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the country's northwest to shoot publicity photos for his Taobao shop. The trip, costing 200,000 yuan in total, resulted in beautiful photos and videos presenting his handmade sweaters in a bucolic setting.

In one of the photos, Pan models a sweater while cows graze in a pasture in the background. A short video of him sitting and knitting in the tranquil meadow earned 26,000 likes on Douyin.

"I hope users unpick the stereotype of knitting with needles by watching my videos. They don't have to buy one, but at least they can know Panwallzer is making exquisite handmade sweaters," Pan said.

Customer Yu Han said: "It's rare to see a man devote himself to traditional handwork today like knitting, and that's why I never hesitate to support him."

 

Pan Ruibin works at a workshop of Panwallzer Handmade Sweaters in Fuyang, Guangdong province. Provided to China Daily

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Relocated villagers move on to a brighter future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517526.htm SHIJIAZHUANG - An old water tank was the only keepsake that Tang Rongming brought with him when his family moved in July from their old adobe house deep in the mountains to their new two-story home.

Tang, 75, said his family had used the tank to store water for daily use when they lived in the Heilingou village in Fuping county, Hebei province. The village was in a remote backwater tucked away on Taihang Mountain.

"Heilingou village had only two water wells and faced severe water shortages," Tang said. "The water tank, which is even older than me, helped us through the most difficult times.

"Now that we've moved to our new home, we are keeping it as a reminder of the old days."

Heilingou village was once home to 208 people from 99 households, and over half of them lived under the national poverty line, due to the poor natural environment and lack of infrastructure.

But thanks to a poverty-relief relocation project launched by the local government in July, 74 of the households, including Tang's family, have resettled at a site in Longquanguan township, Fuping county, about 5 kilometers from Heilingou.

Each family was granted a house with flushing toilets, central heating, gas and tap water. The 25 households that chose to remain received compensation from the local government to resettle in other places.

Sun Shumei, Tang's wife, said when the family lived in Heilingou they barely made ends meet with annual income of about 3,000 yuan ($421) from growing potatoes and corn.

"Our old home was about 50 meters away from the public toilet in the village. It was really difficult to use the toilet during the freezing winters," Sun said. "I never imagined living in a big house like this."

Sun said she now buys food from stores near her community and her grandson studies at a nearby school. "And with natural gas, I no longer need to tolerate the smoke from the burning firewood," she added.

Heilingou Party chief Luo Siqing said before this year's relocation project no new house had been built in the poverty-stricken village for 40 years.

"Many young people left Heilingou to find jobs and to get married," Luo said.

However, with the resettlement project, some young people are considering going back and finding a job closer to their hometown.

Tang's son, who used to work in Baoding, Hebei, decided to return to his parents' new home in July along with his wife and two children. The family now earns about 30,000 yuan a year.

To fulfill the mission of eradicating absolute poverty by 2020, the government has been helping impoverished people move from mountainous regions to resettle in places with better natural environments and living conditions.

In Fuping county alone, a total of 41 poverty-relief relocation projects have been implemented in the past six years, with more than 50,000 people from more than 17,000 households relocated to their new homes.

The county's poverty head-count ratio has dropped to 6.93 percent, and the per capita disposable income of the county's rural residents has increased to 8,590 yuan, more than double the amount in 2012.

Like many of his neighbors, there is still a place in Tang's heart for his old home in Heilingou. He often gazes in the direction of his old home from the balcony of his new house.

"When I remember how hard life was in the past, it's then I can truly appreciate how sweet life is today," Tang said.

Xinhua

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Moms weave their way out of depression]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/22/content_37517525.htm SHANGHAI - Jinxiufang, a shopping street in Shanghai's Pudong District, was recently festooned with colorful new decorations.

Mao Wan and many new moms from her weaving group had spent months knitting cute animals and ornate patterns to decorate the shopping area to mark World Mental Health Day on Oct 10.

Mao, a 30-year-old mother of two, suffered postpartum depression after she had her first child in 2015.

Following the birth of the child, she had difficulty accepting the scar from her cesarean section. Meanwhile, pain during breastfeeding and high fever constantly bothered her, and urinary incontinence made her afraid to go outside.

"At the time, everyone was focused on the newborn baby, and because of the Chinese tradition of postpartum confinement, I hadn't washed my hair in a month, which made me feel dirty and gloomy," Mao said.

Overcome by these feelings, she would burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Because of anxiety and depression, she was even reluctant to look after her baby when he cried.

All this changed a few years ago because of a small ball of wool. Mao found herself a new goal: to weave a small hat and a few pairs of booties for her baby.

"I posted the photo of the baby hat on social media, and it got me so much praise from my friends. I felt that I had finally done something valuable," Mao said.

She then created a social network account to share her work and knitting skills, as well as parenting stories and insights. Now, Mao has three groups of knitting enthusiasts with about 1,000 members, most of whom are young mothers hoping to ease anxiety and pressure.

"Taking care of two boys has been stressful from time to time, but I always cheer up as soon as I pick up the crochet," said Tang Xiaorong, a 32-year-old full-time mother from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

At the end of last year, Mao copied the idea of "woven graffiti" from her overseas counterparts to attract more attention to the mental health issues behind the women's weaving works. Mao and her group crocheted the 500-meter-long iron railing covers in Jinxiufang with colorful wool and dolls.

Her postpartum depression experience helped make the first street show a success and more new moms with the condition joined her.

"I not only share my knitting skills, but also ask them about their working and living conditions and whether they have talked with their families, and recommend seeking a psychologist for serious symptoms," Mao said.

New moms in China are becoming increasingly vulnerable to postpartum depression, but their families and society often pay little attention to the problem.

Most women's reproductive age coincides with the peak of their careers and re-adapting to society after giving birth often leads to pressure and anxiety, said Guan Yutong, a psychological counselor in Beijing.

Chinese women often experience a significant gap in prenatal and postnatal attention, which can also lead to postpartum depression, said Guan.

"The good news is that more and more women are paying attention to their mental health and fighting postpartum depression also requires family efforts," Guan said.

"Mindfulness, meditation and group activities can help recovery, and weaving may play a similar role. Women can feel more external support and attention through these activities."

Mao said she will invite trained psychologists to provide counseling for those struggling mothers. "I will also explore ways to help the young moms turn their weaving works into income, alleviating pressure while creating a greater sense of accomplishment," she said.

Xinhua

]]>
2019-10-22 07:29:54
<![CDATA[Guards battle isolation, danger to protect border]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/21/content_37517249.htm Officers at a secluded post in the southwest patrol rugged terrain to stop smugglers. Zou Shuo reports from Nujiang, Yunnan.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of stories about China's border patrol guards, focusing on the challenges they face and their work to keep the country safe, prevent trafficking of drugs and people, and maintain friendly relations with their counterparts in neighboring countries.

For the past 19 years, Li Xiaojun has worked as a control officer on the China-Myanmar border in Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province.

Li, head of the Dulongjiang Border Control Police Station, and his colleagues drive down a rugged dirt road alongside the fast-flowing Dulong River to patrol the boundary several times a week.

Last month, flanked by the snowcapped mountains that form the border with Myanmar, the misty scenery resembled the classic heaven of Chinese myth as plants swayed in the sunlight under a clear azure sky.

However, Li and his colleagues had little opportunity to enjoy the sight; their eyes were firmly fixed on the rugged road that slices like a knife cutting through the mountainside.

"Rocks often tumble down the hillside, especially on rainy days. We need to pay full attention to the winding road, because one wrong turn will send everyone in the car into the river," the 38-year-old said.

As the only police station in Dulongjiang township, which borders Myanmar in the west and the Tibet autonomous region in the north, the small group of officers patrols about 115 kilometers.

Dulongjiang, named after the river that that winds through the township, was once one of the poorest areas of China. It is home to people of the Derung ethnic group, one of the smallest in the country in terms of numbers. Before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, they lived insular, primitive lives.

Li and his colleagues were heading to the 41st boundary marker. After arriving at Qinlangdang village, where the road ends, they had to make a path through the primitive forest to reach the marker.

Having arrived and checked the scene, they had to find their way further through the forest to the 40th marker, which took about an hour.

Leopards and snakes

"As it rains quite often, the road is very slippery and we also need to pay attention to all kinds of creatures along the way, including snakes, bugs, leopards, wild boar and leeches. We usually form a line, using a wooden stick to check for subsidence," Li said.

Difficult as it might sound, the journey is easier now than in previous years, when a routine patrol to the 41st marker took at least three days.

The journey is so dangerous that the two other border markers in the area, 42 and 43, haven't been visited since 1996.

Although the harsh environment means only a handful of people cross the border to and from Myanmar at the 41st marker, it is important that the officers provide security for the local people and display China's sovereignty over the land, according to Li.

"Although it is rare in Dulongjiang, we still need to make sure that there is no illegal smuggling of people or goods across the border. We cannot take any chances because no detail is insignificant along the border," he said.

In 2016, the police station built a post at Qinlangdang village, the nearest settlement to the border, to make it easier for the officers to patrol the boundary at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters.

Power outages

Niu Ming, deputy instructor at the Dulongjiang Border Control Police Station, said the long distances, frequent landslides and avalanches mean officers at Qinlangdang often experience power outages, some of which last for days.

A large proportion of the food at the post needs to be transported from the police station, and when landslides block the road, the officers have to carry the rations on their backs, he said.

The rolling hills and harsh climate once made the journey from Dulongjiang to the outside world as difficult as the trip to the border posts in the forest, and landslides, avalanches, wild animal attacks and traffic accidents still make the journey extremely arduous.

In years gone by, the journey from Dulongjiang to Gongshan Dulong and Nu autonomous county took several days. It was not until 1999 that a road was built to link the area with the outside world, making it one of the last townships in China to be connected to a major highway.

The road has cut the journey time from Dulongjiang to Gongshan to half a day, provided there are no traffic accidents or landslides. However, access to the township is still blocked by snow for almost six months every year.

Apart from conducting border patrols, the officers at the Qinlangdang post and Dulongjiang station help the locals deal with daily problems.

They frequently make home visits to collect information for ID cards, such as photos and fingerprints, and to teach the villagers to grow herbs, keep bees and raise cattle and chickens to diversify their sources of income.

They also deliver daily necessities and food to the villagers, and sometimes even cut their hair.

They have also built a primary school in Maku village, with officers acting as teachers.

Almost 500 students have graduated from the school, with 162 going on to graduate from high school and 10 graduating from college.

When Li first arrived at Dulongjiang in 2000, there was no restaurant or cellphone coverage.

His parents live in his hometown of Hengyang, Hunan province, and his wife and two children live in Liuku, capital of Nujiang.

Officers in Dulongjiang are allowed 40 days of paid leave annually, but the isolation and poor roads mean few manage to take their full allocation.

"One of my biggest regrets is being unable to be with my wife when she was giving birth to our two children. Unlike most couples, who can eat dinner together and be there for each other on 'rainy' days, we connect via a daily WeChat video and our reunions are always too short," Li said.

When he visited his wife and children in Liuku in June, his son was thrilled and proudly told his friends that his police officer dad had come home for a visit.

"My son and I weren't use to be so close, because I have spent little time with him. However, as he grows older, he can understand that I am doing something important. I can see that he is proud of me," Li said.

Sacrifice

"Although I have sacrificed time with my family, other officers and soldiers before me have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to help develop the rarely visited region," he added.

For example, in 1964, an officer named Zhang Pu was diagnosed with acute appendicitis.

Although the condition could easily be cured in the outside world, the township had no operating facilities or medicine. Premier Zhou Enlai arranged for a Chinese plane to fly through what was then Burmese airspace and drop medicine and equipment, but it was too late.

In 1977, Zhang Zhifan died at age 18 when he fell into a valley as he explored new routes for the villagers. His body was never found. In 1991, Zhuang Yun was killed when he fell from a cliff edge as he helped locals to cut firewood.

Ten years later, Yu Jianhui, 20, fell into the Dulong River and drowned while helping to build a new road.

The officers pay their respects to their lost comrades at the graveyard in Bapo village several times a year. Although the ceremony only consists of a cigarette, a cup of wine, some snacks and a formal bow of recognition, it's performed with due dignity.

Yang Ming, 34, has been a border control officer for 15 years and has worked at Dulongjiang for the past three.

"Initially, I was not so thrilled when I heard that I had been assigned to Dulongjiang because it is so isolated," he said.

His parents and 5-year-old daughter live in his hometown in Sichuan province. It takes about three to four days to travel there from Dulongjiang, so he only returns once a year.

The separation took its toll on his marriage, and he and his wife divorced in June.

"If I had chosen a different profession, perhaps we would still be married. But the job still has its perks; I can make around 10,000 yuan ($1,400) a month, almost double the amount for a job in my hometown. The money can offer my daughter better financial security than I had and possibly a better future," he said.

Yang plans to buy a house in Liuku and eventually bring his parents and daughter there because a new road linking Dulongjiang with Liuku is scheduled to open next year. It will cut the journey time of one to two days to six hours.

"If everything goes well, I will be able to go home and be with my daughter every weekend next year," he said.

 

]]>
2019-10-21 07:49:57
<![CDATA[Veteran shows peers tricks of the trade]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/21/content_37517248.htm Zheng Zhaorui, a veteran immigration inspection officer, may look ordinary at first sight, but his reputation for fighting drug trafficking has made him famous among his peers.

In his 16 years at the Mukang Border Inspection Station in Mangshi city, Yunnan province, Zheng has prevented more than 460 kilograms of drugs - mainly opium, heroin and methamphetamine - from being sold on China's streets.

His notes about drug detection techniques - including locating narcotics hidden in trucks and the human body - and identifying users are included as examples in Narcotics Control, a textbook used in police academies nationwide.

Yunnan, in China's far southwest, shares a more than 4,000-kilometer border with Myanmar to the west and Laos to the south, and as such, it is a gateway targeted by drug traffickers.

Located on National Highway 320, which links the border city of Ruili with Shanghai in the east, the station in Mukang is less than 100 km from the Golden Triangle, Asia's largest opium-producing area that straddles Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. It is the only major inspection station checking for contraband in the thousands of vehicles that pass through the border every day, heading for destinations nationwide.

Since the station was founded in 1981, its officers have checked more than 13 million vehicles and prevented 10.2 metric tons of drugs, 88 guns, 1,370 bullets and more than 27,100 protected animals from being brought into the country.

"Our daily work is challenging and life-threatening and we are required to wear bullet-and stab-proof vests to ward off attacks," Zheng said.

"Even wearing a full set of body armor, officers are still exposed to unpredictable dangers. Drug cases vary one from another and we often face life-and-death situations."

The officers usually question drivers and make preliminary examinations of vehicles when they are stopped at the checkpoint for inspection.

A decision must be made immediately whether to give drivers the green light or ask them to pull over for a thorough examination. That requires a high degree of experience and tact.

"We are aware of several hundreds of ways of hiding and smuggling drugs, but some can be very devious and surprising," Zheng said.

"The officers have to be vigilant with all the vehicles passing through our checkpoint because you can never predict the next new smuggling technique."

Traffickers are adept at using everyday objects to transport drugs. Soda cans, vehicle water tanks, tires, livestock, shoes, computers and handicraft items have all been used as hiding places, while children, pregnant women and disabled people are frequently employed to carry consignments, he said.

Some drug traffickers have tried to bribe officers, while others have attempted to seduce them, yet there has never been any corruption or collusion at the checkpoint because the officers are determined to prevent narcotics from passing through, Zheng said.

"One drug addict can ruin a whole family, and even taking a drug once can make people addicted. Our job is to ensure that fewer families fall victim to drugs," he said.

]]>
2019-10-21 07:49:57
<![CDATA[Putting pen to paper on partial deal would be confidence booster]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517041.htm

The 15-month trade frictions the United States instigated with China have been an appreciable drag on global economic and trade growth, and are a significant source of risk for the global economy, with "real spillover effects" for emerging markets.

These warning words from Tobias Adrian, director of the monetary and capital markets department of the International Monetary Fund, on Wednesday are right on the money, as the global economy and world trade are growing at 3 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, their slowest rates since the 2008 financial crisis.

Which is why the possibility of Washington and Beijing striking a deal, at least on some issues, has been met with huge sighs of relief around the world.

Intimations that agreements have been reached on specific issues that the two leaders can sign off on have been supported by the tangibles of China buying more agricultural products from the US, the US not imposing the tariffs on Chinese imports that were due to come into effect on Tuesday, and the announcement by the US side that the text is being prepared.

However, exactly what the text will be has remained behind closed doors, which has led to doubts that it is forthcoming because of differing paraphrases from the two sides. So far all that we have with any certainty is the oral consensus that some things have been agreed on and some things are still subject to discussion.

Which, of course, in itself is something. As that is certainly more than there was going into last week's talks.

Yet until the details are down on paper accompanied by the signatures of the two leaders, it remains a compromise that will be widely perceived as precarious, considering what has happened before.

That is why the prospective meeting between the Chinese and US presidents at the APEC meeting in Chile in November is being so eagerly counted down as it is anticipated that it is there that they will put their pens to paper.

The blotting of the ink can't come fast enough for those who eye the intervening days with anxiety, feeling they hold the potential for the pending pact to go splat on the banana skin of actions unrelated to trade. Pressure-intended endeavors which do not conform to the congeniality required for a workable understanding.

Those with a more positive disposition offer the bonhomie on display at the news conference after the conclusion of last week's talks as evidence that this time a breakthrough has been made and a practical understanding arrived at that will enable the two sides to discuss and eventually resolve other issues of contention.

It remains to be seen what actually happens, but certainly it is to be hoped that those who believe an understanding has been reached are proved right with something laid out in black and white.

Because if not, the trade war will only escalate, inflicting more harm on both economies and further dragging on global growth.

Washington and Beijing should make every effort to materialize what they have agreed so far as quickly as possible, as that will inject some much needed confidence that a turning point has been reached.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Succession amnesties fail to find favor with Japanese public]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517040.htm

EMPEROR NARUHITO will officially take over the throne from his father Emperor Akihito in a ceremony to be held next week. The Beijing News comments:

Although the emperor is only a national symbol and does not have real power, representatives of 190 countries and regions, including Vice-President Wang Qishan, will attend Prince Naruhito's coronation ceremony as emperor of Japan on Wednesday.

It is Emperor Naruhito's official enthronement after he succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, a day after his father stepped down, having abdicated.

Naruhito will proclaim his enthronement at the ceremony at Seiden State Hall, and receive the felicitations of those attending. After the ceremony the new emperor will meet the people and receive their good wishes as he makes his way from the palace to his residence.

The next day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to host a dinner party in Tokyo to express Japan's gratitude for the foreign guests' attendance at the celebratory events.

To mark his enthronement, the Japanese government announced on Tuesday it had revived the tradition of Japan's royal family to grant pardons to petty criminals on the enthronement ceremony day. The amnesties granted to 550,000 offenders will be the first in Japan since the start of the 21st century. In 1989 more than 10 million people received amnesties to mark the death of Japan's Emperor Hirohito, and in 1990 about 2.5 million people received amnesties to celebrate the ascension to the throne of his son Emperor Akihito.

The Japanese government wants to ease the social contradictions, economic pressures and controversy of Constitution revision by means of the amnesties. But many Japanese people believe absolving the criminals of their felonry is unfair to society, and the law should not be at the whim of administrative instruction. That's why Japan's government stressed that the pardon only involves those criminals found guilty of minor infractions, and the amount of criminals being pardoned is less compared with previous amnesties.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Good that Tokyo, Seoul still willing to talk]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517039.htm

Editor's Note: Japan and the Republic of Korea recently held talks at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Switzerland, but as expected they failed to reach an agreement on easing Japan's tightened controls on exports of semiconductor materials to the ROK. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Seoul accuses Tokyo of violating WTO regulations by imposing an export ban on semiconductor materials to the ROK, saying it is politically motivated, while Japan insists that the ban is only a modification of its trade system without any political motive and it does not violate WTO regulations. However, as revealed by the Japanese media, when Japan decided to impose such sanctions, its minister of economy, trade and industry said that the ROK did not give Japan a satisfactory answer on the issue of forced labor compensation, which he said harms the trust between the two countries. No wonder not only the ROK but also the Japanese business circle does not buy the Japanese government's excuses for the tightened controls on exports of semiconductor materials to the ROK.

If the Japanese government insists on cutting off the supply of materials to ROK semiconductor enterprises, it will cause a crisis for ROK enterprises' production and endanger the ROK's economy. However, supply cuts could also bring difficulties for Japanese companies that make these materials. That's because since the semiconductor production in Japan was replaced by ROK companies after 2000, Japanese and ROK companies have formed a close supply chain relationship. That means stopping such supplies would also harm Japanese companies.

The Japanese government has not fully implemented sanction measures but such an apparent threat has prompted ROK companies to actively seek substitutes for Japanese products. The ROK is Japan's third-largest trading partner, thus Japan's trade sanctions against the ROK will surely reduce the trade volume between them, which may further expand Japan's trade deficit.

No matter what the motives are for the export controls, Japan's threat of sanctions has fueled public anger in the ROK and also produced a tough response from the ROK government, which has not only tightened trade controls on Japan but also prompted it to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement it signed with Japan. Trade sanctions cannot solve the problems between Japan and the ROK, they will only give rise to more economic problems. Finding solutions to the differences between the two requires them to demonstrate their political wisdom. Such trade dispute talks are usually held at the WTO headquarters only once, but Tokyo has accepted Seoul's proposal to talk about the issue again, which offers a glimmer of hope that they will be able to come to an agreement.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Contribution to global fight against poverty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517038.htm

Thursday is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which was introduced to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide. As countries reflect on what has been achieved and what needs to be done, China has enough reason to be proud of what it has contributed to the global efforts in this regard.

Compared with 2012 when China had a population of 98.99 million living in poverty, the figure was 16.6 million by the end of 2018. From the year 1978 when the reform and opening-up policy was launched, China has enabled 770 million rural villagers to cast off poverty in the past four decades.

In accordance with the United Nations' poverty line of $1.9 per person per day, China's contribution to the global poverty eradication efforts is more than 70 percent. China is also the first country to have fulfilled the UN's poverty eradication goal ahead of schedule.

By the end of 2020, China will realize its own goal of lifting all of its population out of poverty under its current poverty standard of 2,300 yuan ($324) per person a year.

In reality, by the year 2018, rural villagers in poverty-stricken areas had an annual disposable income of 10,371 yuan, 1.7 percentage points higher than the national average increase for rural areas.

Every 100 rural households have 257 mobile phones, 26.9 computers, 22.3 cars, 65.2 air conditioners, 68.7 water heaters and 17.7 microwave ovens, according to statistics from the National Statistics Bureau.

And in 2018 alone, 135 million rural students had received aid of different kinds for their education at different levels.

China has always considered being able to make a decent living a fundamental human right. All the rhetoric about other human rights is meaningless when people do not have the basic necessities of life.

That explains why the country has mobilized all possible resources to help rural villagers shake off poverty.

Almost all State-owned enterprises have established links with specific poverty-stricken counties to extend as much help as they can. They send staff to guide local poverty alleviation work. Governments at all levels also send officials to villages to help villagers to tap their own potential and make the best use of local resources to increase their incomes.

What China has achieved in its poverty alleviation efforts sets a good example for the entire world, other developing countries in particular. This is also its contribution to the global fight against poverty.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Washington's missile plan reckless]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517037.htm

If there is still any doubt over China's resolve to safeguard its national security, especially when it is under direct threat on its doorstep, listen again to Fu Cong.

The director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry reiterated China's firm opposition to the announced plan by the United States to deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region during a seminar on international security in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. He also said China is willing to work with other countries to maintain global strategic stability and reduce the risks of nuclear conflicts.

Should the US go ahead with the provocative move, China "would have no choice but to take necessary countermeasures in defense of its national security", Fu said, while urging the US and other countries concerned "to exercise restraint and prudence on this matter".

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that he was in favor of deploying ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia in the near future, immediately after Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that previously banned such missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Two weeks later, the US tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile which can hit a target more than 500 km from the launch site, sparking worries that a new nuclear arms race reminiscent of the Cold War era is on the horizon.

The US has targeted China as its main adversary in the Asia-Pacific region. Esper has tried to justify his potentially adventurous plan by claiming that 80 percent of China's arsenal inventory comprises intermediate-range missiles and the US thus must have "a like capability".

But China has long made it clear that it pursues a defensive national defense policy, and it has adopted a policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons". Apart from the huge gap in the size of China's nuclear arsenal compared with those of the US and Russia, its medium-range missiles will not in any way be able to reach the main territory of the United States.

Exaggerating China's missile threat is nothing but a pretext for the US, which already has thousands of intercontinental missiles, to seek absolute military superiority at the expense of China's national security.

The US missile plan will undoubtedly disrupt the existing strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific, thus jeopardizing peace and security in the region.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Twitter reveals China-bashing orthodoxy in US]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517036.htm LEBRON JAMES said in an interview that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey "wasn't educated" before he sent his tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

"I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke," James said ahead of a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors.

Saying that the tweet could have harmed many people financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually, he called on people to be careful of what they tweet and say and do, "even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

His remarks have aroused quite a stir with many criticizing him on Twitter. Some even said that he "bowed to China for commercial interests", an accusation also made against Houston Rockets player James Harden, who tweeted an apology to China for Morey's ill-informed tweet. It seems that speaking against China has become a kind of political correctness among the US public.

Yet James and Harden have right on their side. Morey's tweet in support of those who wish to separate Hong Kong from China was endorsing an illegal act.

He should know that the majority of his colleagues, including the basketball players and the other managers, do not support the rioters, but they too are paying the price for his gung-ho approach to an issue he later admitted he had no knowledge of.

James and Harden are right to complain about Morey's rashness in not considering the consequences and ramifications of his tweet. As a commercial institution, the NBA's best interests lie in staying out of politics.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[70-year friendship growing stronger]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517035.htm This year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia and the 25th anniversary of the renewal of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between the two countries. Mongolia was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the People's Republic China, doing so on Oct 16, 1949. The two countries upgraded their bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2014.

At present, bilateral relations between Mongolia and China stand at a new historical starting point, and the friendly relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries have embarked on a faster track. Mongolian officials have stressed that it is the country's top priority to maintain friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with China. The Chinese government also attaches great importance to relations with Mongolia, pursuing a policy of "friendly, sincere, open and accessible relations and sharing the benefits of cooperation", which offers great opportunities for further development of bilateral relations.

Moreover, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed to create correlation between China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road, and to cooperate with Russia to develop China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor when they met at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April this year.

Strategic communication guarantee for good relations

Maintaining political coordination and strategic communication between China and Mongolia is a guarantee for consolidating cooperation between the two countries in various fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China and Mongolia upgraded their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Mongolia in 2014, and that has laid a solid political foundation for the further development of bilateral relations. Since then, bilateral cooperation between the two countries has embarked on a faster track.

Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, Mongolia, Russia and China signed the Outline of the Construction of the Mongolia-China-Russia Economic Corridor during their meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on June 23, 2016. This leads the cooperation between China and Mongolia in various fields today. Mongolia has an important geographical position, as it is located between China and Russia. Synergizing China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road can strengthen their cooperation in trade, economic, infrastructural, agricultural, transportation and humanitarian work.

Moreover, during Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan's visit to Mongolia on July 10-12, this year, both sides agreed to work together to host the third China-Mongolia Expo, strengthen border port exchanges and infrastructure construction, and promote the construction of a China-Mongolia border of lasting stability and common development and prosperity. In addition, Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed to further develop the partnership on all levels to increase the two countries' mutually beneficial cooperation during his meeting with Xi at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April.

In the future, China and Mongolia should enhance their strategic communication to build a strategic partnership of equality and mutual benefit. Therefore, both sides should organize regular bilateral visits to guarantee the fundamental interests of each other.

Consolidating ties with increased trade

China-Mongolia economic and trade cooperation will play a vital role in the joint construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and further consolidate the relationship between the two countries. Their mutual interests and the economic complementarities determine China-Mongolia's economic cooperation, and these will surely become the main theme of the two countries' economic and trade partnership in the 21st century. China has been Mongolia's largest foreign investor and trading partner for more than a decade. Chinese investment in Mongolia includes many sectors such as mining commodities, food industry, livestock products, small electrical equipment, wooden furniture, daily necessities, healthcare and the cosmetics industry and catering services, among others. Meanwhile, China is also the largest market for Mongolia's abundant raw materials and mineral resources such as coal, copper and iron ore.

Since the three countries agreed in June 2016 to build the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, relations between China and Mongolia have entered a new era of economic and trade cooperation that will be vital to Mongolia's economic recovery and long term stability. Currently, Mongolia is working to improve its infrastructure and trade structure, looking to increase exports of not only mining commodities, but also value-added products such as agricultural products. Mongolia's Development Road plan proposes boosting the Mongolian economy through trans-border transportation, in which the construction of transport infrastructure is a top priority. In order to gain access to the Northeast Asian market, Mongolia, a landlocked country, expects to improve its poor transport infrastructure with "five lines" - highways, railways, oil pipelines, gas pipelines and power lines - that will pass through its territory and link Russia and China.

Therefore, economic and trade cooperation between China and Mongolia is not only the main content of the correlation between China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road, it is also a key means to consolidate the relationship between China and Mongolia.

Humanitarian cooperation can enhance mutual trust

Bilateral humanitarian cooperation is an anchor for the joint construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor. Within the framework of the cooperation, both sides should strengthen their bilateral ties in culture, education, science, health, tourism and environmental protection. This is an effective way to strengthen mutual understanding between the peoples of Mongolia and China and reinforce the traditional friendly ties. For example, cultural events such as "Perceiving China" are an important way to promote cultural exchanges between China and Mongolia, offering a great chance for the peoples of both sides to learn more about each other.

Therefore, broader humanitarian exchanges and cooperation can help push forward the relationship between the two countries.

The author is an assistant researcher at the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[End to undergraduates' cushy lives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517034.htm Editor's Note: The Ministry of Education issued guidelines on reforming college education to improve the quality of graduates on Saturday. They include canceling qingkao, the make-up exams held right before graduation. Two experts share their views on this issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Saying goodbye to make-up exams will not be easy

It's a common practice in Chinese universities to give senior students who would otherwise fail to graduate another chance on the eve of graduation by letting them sit make-up exams.

To ensure the would-be students graduate smoothly, schools will usually lower the degree of difficulty of these make-up exams. Knowing that their commencements are bound to be held, students feel little pressure to study hard to graduate and instead idle away their time on campus.

Obviously, the existence of qingkao lowers the quality of China's higher education. But while the cancellation of qingkao has been frequently mentioned since last August, there are still challenges to be overcome to put an end to the practice.

Since their graduation and graduate employment rates are significant factors for the evaluation of a school's working performance by the education authorities, reducing the number of students who graduate is certainly not in line with the interests of colleges. Actually, some schools will request teachers give pupils higher marks in order to win an advantage over their competitors.

Thus, if the path to graduation is blocked by ending qingkao, it is possible that teachers will be required to make it easier for students in their finals, which will lower the standard of graduates entering the work force.

Besides, sweeping out undergraduates with failing grades would put the universities under enormous pressure from parents who would likely attribute their children's failure in exams to bad teaching instead of poor learning.

So to relieve the concerns about dismissing badly performing students and improve the quality of education, college enrolment should be reformed. For instance, a mechanism could be established so that students can change college. That would mean colleges would have no qualms about removing underperforming students as the latter would have a channel to transfer to another.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

Lecturers should do more teaching

The Ministry of Education has issued a guideline once again to further deepen reform of undergraduate education.

For a long time, students have found life on campus much easier compared to the hard work they were required to do in high school in order to win their place at a college, while universities have paid more attention to research, neglecting teaching and the cultivation of talents, this has led to a decline in the quality of college graduates.

The guidelines which are strict on the teaching process and graduation requirements, make it clear that enrollment in college does not automatically guarantee students a diploma. Students will need to change their mindset and realize that doing well in the college entrance exams is not the destination but a new start for their studies.

It is also critical to increase the proportion of teaching in lecturers' work performance evaluations, as at present the number of papers published still plays too large a part in promotion and career achievement. Giving teaching greater weight in their assessments would motivate more lecturers, especially excellent professors to work on the front line and teach basic courses for undergraduates.

In addition, the rules in the guideline involving giving zero tolerance to academic fraud will also help improve undergraduate education.

Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[US lawmakers make fools of themselves passing HK act]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517033.htm The passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday by the US House of Representatives is both dangerous and laughable.

The move is another manifestation of the United States' interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, while Washington itself is busy conducting a witch-hunt into foreign meddling in US politics.

No one should be misled by the bill's garnishing with words such as "human rights" and "democracy" since US politicians are experts in hijacking moral high ground. After all, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 and its instigation of regime change in Libya in 2011 were all to "spread freedom and democracy". And we all know what that means. The US supported and called Osama Bin Laden a "freedom fighter" in the 1980s when he was fighting the then Soviet Union instead of the US.

By passing the act, most US lawmakers clearly believe that as a superpower, the US can abuse its outsized might in bullying other nations, setting a bad precedent for international relations.

The passage of the bill in the House is also an endorsement of the appalling mob violence we have witnessed in Hong Kong in the past months when radicals wearing facial masks stormed the Legislative Council, blocked the airport, vandalized MTR stations, tied up and beat up a mainland journalist, threw petrol bombs at police and slashed a police officer in the neck.

While no US cities will tolerate such extreme violence, we haven't heard any US officials and lawmakers condemning the rampage. In that sense, they have chosen to side with the mobs and lawlessness.

There is no doubt that the move is part of the US geopolitical scheme to curtail China's rise since the US has turned a total blind eye to the widespread "yellow vest" protests entering their 12th month across French cities.

The Hong Kong police force, long regarded among the finest in Asia, has shown admirable restraint, compared with the controversial US police actions against protesters.

Hong Kong also ranks highly in various indices in the world, often beating the US which is now trying to lecture and punish Hong Kong.

In the 2019 Rule of Law Index, Washington-based World Justice Project ranked Hong Kong 16th of the 126 countries and jurisdictions for its overall rule of law performance. That is ahead of the US, ranked in the 20th place.

In the 2018 Human Freedom Index, a global measurement of personal, civil and economic freedom, Washington-based Cato Institute placed Hong Kong third in the world trailing only New Zealand and Switzerland. The US was ranked 17th.

In the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom announced by Washington-based Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong came top with a score of 90.2, with the US in the 12th place with a score of 76.8.

All these have shown that Hong Kong has been a very well-functioning society under the "one country, two systems" framework since its return to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

It is true that Hong Kong, like any society, has its problems, such as growing inequality, lack of job opportunities for the young and skyrocketing housing prices, but it is up to the Hong Kong SAR government to address these issues.

It is certainly not the business of the US Congress, whose approval rating hovers between 10-20 percent according to Gallup. The latest poll, conducted from Sept 3 to 15, shows a disapproval rate of 78 percent while the approval rate is only 18 percent.

So the question really is: Who should be lectured?

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

]]>
2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[China's economy still going strong despite headwinds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/19/content_37516974.htm

True, China's economic growth has seen a 26-year low in the latest quarter, as many warned.

Yet to interpret that as the country having slipped into an unavoidable recession simply does not hold water.

There is no denying the world's second-largest economy faces mounting pressures. The increase of 6.2 percent in the Chinese economy in the first three quarters was a hard-won result. But it is also an achievement that highlights its dynamism and the fact that its performance is fundamentally in its own hands.

That the gross domestic product of China this year is estimated to be about 27 times of that 26 years ago does not necessarily mean that the country now has that many favorable conditions and resources to realize a prefixed growth goal.

But although growth is indispensible, China is now paying more attention to the quality rather than the quantity, with the focus on creating jobs, upgrading industry, restructuring the economy, and protecting the ecology and environment, rather than simply pursuing a fast growth rate. As long as the growth rate stays within a reasonable range that is sufficient to help meet the aforementioned targets, it is appropriate growth.

And the growth of the Chinese economy remains remarkable when compared with that of other major economies, as the third quarter economic growth in Japan and Germany was below 0.5 percent, and the United States around 2 percent.

It is noteworthy that 10.97 million jobs were created in China in the first three quarters - the annual target of job creation this year is 11 million - and consumption, the most important growth driver since five years ago, has maintained a robust increase, up 8.2 percent in the third quarter from the same period last year.

And the operation revenue of the service sector grew 9.5 percent from January to August, with the emerging strategic service industries, high-tech service industries and science and technology service industries, up 12.1 percent, 11.9 percent and 11.6 percent, as the major growth points.

Which means the restructuring and upgrading of the national economy is being carried forward in an orderly way.

Also the added value of the emerging strategic industries in the third quarter was up 8.4 percent year-on-year, and the added value of high-tech manufacturing rose by 8.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points and 3.1 percentage points higher than that of the overall industries respectively, with the purchasing managers index up 0.3 percentage points in September from August, hitting 49.8 percent. Which shows both the demand and the supply sides are steadily expanding, and the confidence of enterprises is picking up thanks to the implementation of a series of well-targeted pro-industry policies.

With the Chinese authority's responsive policies and strategic composure, the expansion of one of the largest middle income groups in the world, the upgrading of the world's biggest consumer market, the transition of the globe's largest-scale industrial system, and the ongoing transformation, China can have confidence in the resilience of its economy, and the world can expect it to continue to be the largest contributor to global economic growth and common development.

Which, with the International Monetary Fund warning that 90 percent of economies are experiencing a "synchronized" slowdown, provides a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy outlook for the global economy in the coming months.

]]>
2019-10-19 06:31:50
<![CDATA[Poverty alleviation efforts must foster self-reliance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/19/content_37516973.htm The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recently announced that Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer have been awarded the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their outstanding contributions to the research into the "daunting issue" of global poverty.

In terms of poverty alleviation studies, I have always believed that economics is a "science that benefits the people", and China's practical achievements in poverty alleviation are unparalleled. Not to mention that the country has left behind the economic poverty and educational and cultural backwardness that existed in the early days after the people's republic was founded in 1949. Even in 1978, when the reform and opening-up policy was initiated, China's impoverished population in rural areas was about 250 million under the 1978 poverty threshold, with a poverty rate of 30.7 percent.

According to the 2008 standard, there were still 40.7 million rural people living in poverty in China in 2008, with the figure falling to 26.88 million by 2010. Based on the 2010 poverty standard, namely 2,300 yuan (2010 constant price) per person per year, by 2018 the number had dropped to 16.6 million.

It is based on the above achievements that as far as the contribution to poverty reduction by experimental methods is concerned, the Nobel prize for poverty alleviation should have been awarded to those Chinese people who have made much bigger contributions in this field.

For our poverty alleviation achievements to be sustainable, however, we need to make timely and steady adjustments to our poverty alleviation policies, in particular to the transfer payment practice.

Chinese and foreign practices both show that just like anything else, the social security and welfare system, while helping to lift people out of poverty and acting as a safety net to stop people sliding into poverty, also has a flip side. At both the micro and macro level, the implementation of an excessive social security and welfare system can seriously undermine the motive force for a country's economic and social development and even simmer social unrest.

Since the 1990s, China has practiced more and more transfer payments of various kinds, which have played a positive role in extending to people in economically underdeveloped regions a helping hand. But the practice has cultivated a habit of "laziness" among some people, making them lose the motivation to work harder. This trend needs to be reversed.

For some Chinese whose motivation for work has already gone beyond the "hunger discipline", higher taxes, as a byproduct of an excessive social security and welfare system, are bound to undermine their enthusiasm for work. Given that social security and welfare expenditures, including on poverty alleviation, are ultimately financed by current and future taxes on workers, such kind of spending, if excessively inflated, will inevitably lead to excessive taxation.

From the perspective of economic and fiscal growth prospects, the all-inclusive poverty alleviation model is already difficult to sustain. Poverty alleviation expenditures consist of a number of spending items, such as spending on infrastructure, education and other areas, and as one of these items, the spending on individual "social security and employment" has brought an increasingly heavy financial burden to the country. The ever-growing share of the country's total fiscal expenditures and social security expenditures in GDP has even caused some to believe that we are on the verge of strangling the nation's economic vitality.

At the time of national economic growth deceleration, if impoverished regions and people continue to rely on assistance from others, that will risk fueling contradictions among different regions and even ignite broader social contradictions.

While conducting their poverty alleviation work, non-poor areas should give priority to helping impoverished areas and impoverished individuals cultivate a sense of self-reliance and an aspiration to work for a better life. Poor areas receiving large-scale assistance should be alert to the undesirable side effects of excessive welfare. It is estimated that by the end of this year, more than 90 percent of poverty-stricken counties will take off their "cap of poverty", and the country will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.

This may offer a window of time for the country to adjust its poverty alleviation policies.

The author is a researcher at the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute of the Ministry of Commerce. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

 

]]>
2019-10-19 06:31:50
<![CDATA[First step toward personal bankruptcy system]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/19/content_37516972.htm

Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court and Pingyang County People's Court released details of China's first natural person bankruptcy case on Oct 9, and this has drawn a great deal of attention.

The Enterprise Bankruptcy Law and relevant judicial interpretations limit the scope of application of the bankruptcy system to enterprises with legal personality, and ignore natural persons. Personal bankruptcy is a legal procedure in which a natural person is declared insolvent and incapable of paying his/her debts. The case concerned involved a single shareholder in a company in Wenzhou that went bankrupt, the debtor whose surname is Cai shouldered a joint liability guarantee responsibility of 2.44 million yuan ($338,400).

Considering Cai did not have the actual solvency, four creditors agreed to give up the right of recourse on the condition that Cai repays about 32,000 yuan in 18 months. This case is the pilot exploration of a personal bankruptcy system and it will play a demonstration role in the establishment of China's natural person bankruptcy system.

With the development of a market economy, more and more natural persons are participating in economic activities as independent market players. How to regulate the market exit mechanism for people who become insolvent has thus become a pressing problem.

On June 13, central departments including the National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued a reform plan aimed at accelerating and improving the exit system for market players, which expands the bankruptcy system to cover natural persons.

A personal bankruptcy system will be a significant part of China's modern bankruptcy system, and it is imperative that it is built.

First, establishing such a system is conducive to improving China's bankruptcy system and safeguarding creditors' interests by providing a legal basis for creditors to orderly participate in the distribution of a debtor's property according to the law.

Second, a personal bankruptcy system is conducive to safeguarding the dignity of those honest people who encounter business failure. It will reduce their market exit costs, and enable them to take reasonable limited responsibility while leaving them with the chance to start a new business.

Third, a personal bankruptcy system would be conducive to easing the long-term difficulty of personal bankruptcy execution.

Fourth, the system is conducive to improving China's business environment, and it would provide a more comprehensive legal guarantee for the country to attract foreign investment. China ranked 61st globally in terms of dealing with bankruptcy in the World Bank's 2019 Business Environment Report. It is expected establishing a personal bankruptcy system would further improve China's business environment.

But there is the possibility that the system might be abused by the unscrupulous. It should protect individuals who are honest but suffer from business failure, rather than those looking for a way to avoid paying their debts. Therefore, China should also take measures to prevent this system from becoming a tool that dishonest debtors use to repudiate their debts.

The court's ruling in Cai's case provides some references for legislation in the future.

First, the court has appointed a qualified accounting firm as the custodian of Cai's property, in order to make sure there is no attempt at concealment.

Second, the court has issued a behavior restraining order on Cai, which restrains his high-end consumption and prohibits him from holding management posts in any enterprises.

Third, the court has set a 6-year bankruptcy transitional period for Cai, during which time 50 percent of Cai's household income that exceeds 120,000 yuan will be used to pay his creditors. It not only guarantees the basic requirements of Cai and his family, but also safeguards his creditors' interests.

Finally, the court also paid attention to Cai repairing his individual credit record, which stipulates that his personal credit can be recovered three years after the settlement plan is fulfilled.

Legislation in the future should pay attention to making clear the eligible subject of natural person and the scale and time limit of a debtor's repayment obligations, and the conditions for exception property.

In addition, personal property registration, and the credit reference system should be improved.

The author is a researcher at the School of International Law, Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-19 06:31:50
<![CDATA[Putting pen to paper on partial deal would be confidence booster]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516761.htm

The 15-month trade frictions the United States instigated with China have been an appreciable drag on global economic and trade growth, and are a significant source of risk for the global economy, with "real spillover effects" for emerging markets.

These warning words from Tobias Adrian, director of the monetary and capital markets department of the International Monetary Fund, on Wednesday are right on the money, as the global economy and world trade are growing at 3 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, their slowest rates since the 2008 financial crisis.

Which is why the possibility of Washington and Beijing striking a deal, at least on some issues, has been met with huge sighs of relief around the world.

Intimations that agreements have been reached on specific issues that the two leaders can sign off on have been supported by the tangibles of China buying more agricultural products from the US, the US not imposing the tariffs on Chinese imports that were due to come into effect on Tuesday, and the announcement by the US side that the text is being prepared.

However, exactly what the text will be has remained behind closed doors, which has led to doubts that it is forthcoming because of differing paraphrases from the two sides. So far all that we have with any certainty is the oral consensus that some things have been agreed on and some things are still subject to discussion.

Which, of course, in itself is something. As that is certainly more than there was going into last week's talks.

Yet until the details are down on paper accompanied by the signatures of the two leaders, it remains a compromise that will be widely perceived as precarious, considering what has happened before.

That is why the prospective meeting between the Chinese and US presidents at the APEC meeting in Chile in November is being so eagerly counted down as it is anticipated that it is there that they will put their pens to paper.

The blotting of the ink can't come fast enough for those who eye the intervening days with anxiety, feeling they hold the potential for the pending pact to go splat on the banana skin of actions unrelated to trade. Pressure-intended endeavors which do not conform to the congeniality required for a workable understanding.

Those with a more positive disposition offer the bonhomie on display at the news conference after the conclusion of last week's talks as evidence that this time a breakthrough has been made and a practical understanding arrived at that will enable the two sides to discuss and eventually resolve other issues of contention.

It remains to be seen what actually happens, but certainly it is to be hoped that those who believe an understanding has been reached are proved right with something laid out in black and white.

Because if not, the trade war will only escalate, inflicting more harm on both economies and further dragging on global growth.

Washington and Beijing should make every effort to materialize what they have agreed so far as quickly as possible, as that will inject some much needed confidence that a turning point has been reached.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Succession amnesties fail to find favor with Japanese public]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516760.htm

EMPEROR NARUHITO will officially take over the throne from his father Emperor Akihito in a ceremony to be held next week. The Beijing News comments:

Although the emperor is only a national symbol and does not have real power, representatives of 190 countries and regions, including Vice-President Wang Qishan, will attend Prince Naruhito's coronation ceremony as emperor of Japan on Wednesday.

It is Emperor Naruhito's official enthronement after he succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, a day after his father stepped down, having abdicated.

Naruhito will proclaim his enthronement at the ceremony at Seiden State Hall, and receive the felicitations of those attending. After the ceremony the new emperor will meet the people and receive their good wishes as he makes his way from the palace to his residence.

The next day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to host a dinner party in Tokyo to express Japan's gratitude for the foreign guests' attendance at the celebratory events.

To mark his enthronement, the Japanese government announced on Tuesday it had revived the tradition of Japan's royal family to grant pardons to petty criminals on the enthronement ceremony day. The amnesties granted to 550,000 offenders will be the first in Japan since the start of the 21st century. In 1989 more than 10 million people received amnesties to mark the death of Japan's Emperor Hirohito, and in 1990 about 2.5 million people received amnesties to celebrate the ascension to the throne of his son Emperor Akihito.

The Japanese government wants to ease the social contradictions, economic pressures and controversy of Constitution revision by means of the amnesties. But many Japanese people believe absolving the criminals of their felonry is unfair to society, and the law should not be at the whim of administrative instruction. That's why Japan's government stressed that the pardon only involves those criminals found guilty of minor infractions, and the amount of criminals being pardoned is less compared with previous amnesties.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Good that Tokyo, Seoul still willing to talk]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516759.htm

Editor's Note: Japan and the Republic of Korea recently held talks at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Switzerland, but as expected they failed to reach an agreement on easing Japan's tightened controls on exports of semiconductor materials to the ROK. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

Seoul accuses Tokyo of violating WTO regulations by imposing an export ban on semiconductor materials to the ROK, saying it is politically motivated, while Japan insists that the ban is only a modification of its trade system without any political motive and it does not violate WTO regulations. However, as revealed by the Japanese media, when Japan decided to impose such sanctions, its minister of economy, trade and industry said that the ROK did not give Japan a satisfactory answer on the issue of forced labor compensation, which he said harms the trust between the two countries. No wonder not only the ROK but also the Japanese business circle does not buy the Japanese government's excuses for the tightened controls on exports of semiconductor materials to the ROK.

If the Japanese government insists on cutting off the supply of materials to ROK semiconductor enterprises, it will cause a crisis for ROK enterprises' production and endanger the ROK's economy. However, supply cuts could also bring difficulties for Japanese companies that make these materials. That's because since the semiconductor production in Japan was replaced by ROK companies after 2000, Japanese and ROK companies have formed a close supply chain relationship. That means stopping such supplies would also harm Japanese companies.

The Japanese government has not fully implemented sanction measures but such an apparent threat has prompted ROK companies to actively seek substitutes for Japanese products. The ROK is Japan's third-largest trading partner, thus Japan's trade sanctions against the ROK will surely reduce the trade volume between them, which may further expand Japan's trade deficit.

No matter what the motives are for the export controls, Japan's threat of sanctions has fueled public anger in the ROK and also produced a tough response from the ROK government, which has not only tightened trade controls on Japan but also prompted it to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement it signed with Japan. Trade sanctions cannot solve the problems between Japan and the ROK, they will only give rise to more economic problems. Finding solutions to the differences between the two requires them to demonstrate their political wisdom. Such trade dispute talks are usually held at the WTO headquarters only once, but Tokyo has accepted Seoul's proposal to talk about the issue again, which offers a glimmer of hope that they will be able to come to an agreement.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Contribution to global fight against poverty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516758.htm

Thursday is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which was introduced to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide. As countries reflect on what has been achieved and what needs to be done, China has enough reason to be proud of what it has contributed to the global efforts in this regard.

Compared with 2012 when China had a population of 98.99 million living in poverty, the figure was 16.6 million by the end of 2018. From the year 1978 when the reform and opening-up policy was launched, China has enabled 770 million rural villagers to cast off poverty in the past four decades.

In accordance with the United Nations' poverty line of $1.9 per person per day, China's contribution to the global poverty eradication efforts is more than 70 percent. China is also the first country to have fulfilled the UN's poverty eradication goal ahead of schedule.

By the end of 2020, China will realize its own goal of lifting all of its population out of poverty under its current poverty standard of 2,300 yuan ($324) per person a year.

In reality, by the year 2018, rural villagers in poverty-stricken areas had an annual disposable income of 10,371 yuan, 1.7 percentage points higher than the national average increase for rural areas.

Every 100 rural households have 257 mobile phones, 26.9 computers, 22.3 cars, 65.2 air conditioners, 68.7 water heaters and 17.7 microwave ovens, according to statistics from the National Statistics Bureau.

And in 2018 alone, 135 million rural students had received aid of different kinds for their education at different levels.

China has always considered being able to make a decent living a fundamental human right. All the rhetoric about other human rights is meaningless when people do not have the basic necessities of life.

That explains why the country has mobilized all possible resources to help rural villagers shake off poverty.

Almost all State-owned enterprises have established links with specific poverty-stricken counties to extend as much help as they can. They send staff to guide local poverty alleviation work. Governments at all levels also send officials to villages to help villagers to tap their own potential and make the best use of local resources to increase their incomes.

What China has achieved in its poverty alleviation efforts sets a good example for the entire world, other developing countries in particular. This is also its contribution to the global fight against poverty.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Washington's missile plan reckless]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516757.htm

If there is still any doubt over China's resolve to safeguard its national security, especially when it is under direct threat on its doorstep, listen again to Fu Cong.

The director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry reiterated China's firm opposition to the announced plan by the United States to deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region during a seminar on international security in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. He also said China is willing to work with other countries to maintain global strategic stability and reduce the risks of nuclear conflicts.

Should the US go ahead with the provocative move, China "would have no choice but to take necessary countermeasures in defense of its national security", Fu said, while urging the US and other countries concerned "to exercise restraint and prudence on this matter".

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that he was in favor of deploying ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia in the near future, immediately after Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that previously banned such missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Two weeks later, the US tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile which can hit a target more than 500 km from the launch site, sparking worries that a new nuclear arms race reminiscent of the Cold War era is on the horizon.

The US has targeted China as its main adversary in the Asia-Pacific region. Esper has tried to justify his potentially adventurous plan by claiming that 80 percent of China's arsenal inventory comprises intermediate-range missiles and the US thus must have "a like capability".

But China has long made it clear that it pursues a defensive national defense policy, and it has adopted a policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons". Apart from the huge gap in the size of China's nuclear arsenal compared with those of the US and Russia, its medium-range missiles will not in any way be able to reach the main territory of the United States.

Exaggerating China's missile threat is nothing but a pretext for the US, which already has thousands of intercontinental missiles, to seek absolute military superiority at the expense of China's national security.

The US missile plan will undoubtedly disrupt the existing strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific, thus jeopardizing peace and security in the region.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Twitter reveals China-bashing orthodoxy in US]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516756.htm LEBRON JAMES said in an interview that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey "wasn't educated" before he sent his tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

"I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke," James said ahead of a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors.

Saying that the tweet could have harmed many people financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually, he called on people to be careful of what they tweet and say and do, "even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

His remarks have aroused quite a stir with many criticizing him on Twitter. Some even said that he "bowed to China for commercial interests", an accusation also made against Houston Rockets player James Harden, who tweeted an apology to China for Morey's ill-informed tweet. It seems that speaking against China has become a kind of political correctness among the US public.

Yet James and Harden have right on their side. Morey's tweet in support of those who wish to separate Hong Kong from China was endorsing an illegal act.

He should know that the majority of his colleagues, including the basketball players and the other managers, do not support the rioters, but they too are paying the price for his gung-ho approach to an issue he later admitted he had no knowledge of.

James and Harden are right to complain about Morey's rashness in not considering the consequences and ramifications of his tweet. As a commercial institution, the NBA's best interests lie in staying out of politics.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[70-year friendship growing stronger]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516755.htm This year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia and the 25th anniversary of the renewal of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between the two countries. Mongolia was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the People's Republic China, doing so on Oct 16, 1949. The two countries upgraded their bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2014.

At present, bilateral relations between Mongolia and China stand at a new historical starting point, and the friendly relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries have embarked on a faster track. Mongolian officials have stressed that it is the country's top priority to maintain friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with China. The Chinese government also attaches great importance to relations with Mongolia, pursuing a policy of "friendly, sincere, open and accessible relations and sharing the benefits of cooperation", which offers great opportunities for further development of bilateral relations.

Moreover, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed to create correlation between China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road, and to cooperate with Russia to develop China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor when they met at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April this year.

Strategic communication guarantee for good relations

Maintaining political coordination and strategic communication between China and Mongolia is a guarantee for consolidating cooperation between the two countries in various fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China and Mongolia upgraded their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Mongolia in 2014, and that has laid a solid political foundation for the further development of bilateral relations. Since then, bilateral cooperation between the two countries has embarked on a faster track.

Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, Mongolia, Russia and China signed the Outline of the Construction of the Mongolia-China-Russia Economic Corridor during their meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on June 23, 2016. This leads the cooperation between China and Mongolia in various fields today. Mongolia has an important geographical position, as it is located between China and Russia. Synergizing China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road can strengthen their cooperation in trade, economic, infrastructural, agricultural, transportation and humanitarian work.

Moreover, during Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan's visit to Mongolia on July 10-12, this year, both sides agreed to work together to host the third China-Mongolia Expo, strengthen border port exchanges and infrastructure construction, and promote the construction of a China-Mongolia border of lasting stability and common development and prosperity. In addition, Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed to further develop the partnership on all levels to increase the two countries' mutually beneficial cooperation during his meeting with Xi at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April.

In the future, China and Mongolia should enhance their strategic communication to build a strategic partnership of equality and mutual benefit. Therefore, both sides should organize regular bilateral visits to guarantee the fundamental interests of each other.

Consolidating ties with increased trade

China-Mongolia economic and trade cooperation will play a vital role in the joint construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and further consolidate the relationship between the two countries. Their mutual interests and the economic complementarities determine China-Mongolia's economic cooperation, and these will surely become the main theme of the two countries' economic and trade partnership in the 21st century. China has been Mongolia's largest foreign investor and trading partner for more than a decade. Chinese investment in Mongolia includes many sectors such as mining commodities, food industry, livestock products, small electrical equipment, wooden furniture, daily necessities, healthcare and the cosmetics industry and catering services, among others. Meanwhile, China is also the largest market for Mongolia's abundant raw materials and mineral resources such as coal, copper and iron ore.

Since the three countries agreed in June 2016 to build the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, relations between China and Mongolia have entered a new era of economic and trade cooperation that will be vital to Mongolia's economic recovery and long term stability. Currently, Mongolia is working to improve its infrastructure and trade structure, looking to increase exports of not only mining commodities, but also value-added products such as agricultural products. Mongolia's Development Road plan proposes boosting the Mongolian economy through trans-border transportation, in which the construction of transport infrastructure is a top priority. In order to gain access to the Northeast Asian market, Mongolia, a landlocked country, expects to improve its poor transport infrastructure with "five lines" - highways, railways, oil pipelines, gas pipelines and power lines - that will pass through its territory and link Russia and China.

Therefore, economic and trade cooperation between China and Mongolia is not only the main content of the correlation between China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road, it is also a key means to consolidate the relationship between China and Mongolia.

Humanitarian cooperation can enhance mutual trust

Bilateral humanitarian cooperation is an anchor for the joint construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor. Within the framework of the cooperation, both sides should strengthen their bilateral ties in culture, education, science, health, tourism and environmental protection. This is an effective way to strengthen mutual understanding between the peoples of Mongolia and China and reinforce the traditional friendly ties. For example, cultural events such as "Perceiving China" are an important way to promote cultural exchanges between China and Mongolia, offering a great chance for the peoples of both sides to learn more about each other.

Therefore, broader humanitarian exchanges and cooperation can help push forward the relationship between the two countries.

The author is an assistant researcher at the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[End to undergraduates' cushy lives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516754.htm Editor's Note: The Ministry of Education issued guidelines on reforming college education to improve the quality of graduates on Saturday. They include canceling qingkao, the make-up exams held right before graduation. Two experts share their views on this issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Saying goodbye to make-up exams will not be easy

It's a common practice in Chinese universities to give senior students who would otherwise fail to graduate another chance on the eve of graduation by letting them sit make-up exams.

To ensure the would-be students graduate smoothly, schools will usually lower the degree of difficulty of these make-up exams. Knowing that their commencements are bound to be held, students feel little pressure to study hard to graduate and instead idle away their time on campus.

Obviously, the existence of qingkao lowers the quality of China's higher education. But while the cancellation of qingkao has been frequently mentioned since last August, there are still challenges to be overcome to put an end to the practice.

Since their graduation and graduate employment rates are significant factors for the evaluation of a school's working performance by the education authorities, reducing the number of students who graduate is certainly not in line with the interests of colleges. Actually, some schools will request teachers give pupils higher marks in order to win an advantage over their competitors.

Thus, if the path to graduation is blocked by ending qingkao, it is possible that teachers will be required to make it easier for students in their finals, which will lower the standard of graduates entering the work force.

Besides, sweeping out undergraduates with failing grades would put the universities under enormous pressure from parents who would likely attribute their children's failure in exams to bad teaching instead of poor learning.

So to relieve the concerns about dismissing badly performing students and improve the quality of education, college enrolment should be reformed. For instance, a mechanism could be established so that students can change college. That would mean colleges would have no qualms about removing underperforming students as the latter would have a channel to transfer to another.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

Lecturers should do more teaching

The Ministry of Education has issued a guideline once again to further deepen reform of undergraduate education.

For a long time, students have found life on campus much easier compared to the hard work they were required to do in high school in order to win their place at a college, while universities have paid more attention to research, neglecting teaching and the cultivation of talents, this has led to a decline in the quality of college graduates.

The guidelines which are strict on the teaching process and graduation requirements, make it clear that enrollment in college does not automatically guarantee students a diploma. Students will need to change their mindset and realize that doing well in the college entrance exams is not the destination but a new start for their studies.

It is also critical to increase the proportion of teaching in lecturers' work performance evaluations, as at present the number of papers published still plays too large a part in promotion and career achievement. Giving teaching greater weight in their assessments would motivate more lecturers, especially excellent professors to work on the front line and teach basic courses for undergraduates.

In addition, the rules in the guideline involving giving zero tolerance to academic fraud will also help improve undergraduate education.

Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[US lawmakers make fools of themselves passing HK act]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516753.htm The passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday by the US House of Representatives is both dangerous and laughable.

The move is another manifestation of the United States' interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, while Washington itself is busy conducting a witch-hunt into foreign meddling in US politics.

No one should be misled by the bill's garnishing with words such as "human rights" and "democracy" since US politicians are experts in hijacking moral high ground. After all, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 and its instigation of regime change in Libya in 2011 were all to "spread freedom and democracy". And we all know what that means. The US supported and called Osama Bin Laden a "freedom fighter" in the 1980s when he was fighting the then Soviet Union instead of the US.

By passing the act, most US lawmakers clearly believe that as a superpower, the US can abuse its outsized might in bullying other nations, setting a bad precedent for international relations.

The passage of the bill in the House is also an endorsement of the appalling mob violence we have witnessed in Hong Kong in the past months when radicals wearing facial masks stormed the Legislative Council, blocked the airport, vandalized MTR stations, tied up and beat up a mainland journalist, threw petrol bombs at police and slashed a police officer in the neck.

While no US cities will tolerate such extreme violence, we haven't heard any US officials and lawmakers condemning the rampage. In that sense, they have chosen to side with the mobs and lawlessness.

There is no doubt that the move is part of the US geopolitical scheme to curtail China's rise since the US has turned a total blind eye to the widespread "yellow vest" protests entering their 12th month across French cities.

The Hong Kong police force, long regarded among the finest in Asia, has shown admirable restraint, compared with the controversial US police actions against protesters.

Hong Kong also ranks highly in various indices in the world, often beating the US which is now trying to lecture and punish Hong Kong.

In the 2019 Rule of Law Index, Washington-based World Justice Project ranked Hong Kong 16th of the 126 countries and jurisdictions for its overall rule of law performance. That is ahead of the US, ranked in the 20th place.

In the 2018 Human Freedom Index, a global measurement of personal, civil and economic freedom, Washington-based Cato Institute placed Hong Kong third in the world trailing only New Zealand and Switzerland. The US was ranked 17th.

In the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom announced by Washington-based Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong came top with a score of 90.2, with the US in the 12th place with a score of 76.8.

All these have shown that Hong Kong has been a very well-functioning society under the "one country, two systems" framework since its return to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

It is true that Hong Kong, like any society, has its problems, such as growing inequality, lack of job opportunities for the young and skyrocketing housing prices, but it is up to the Hong Kong SAR government to address these issues.

It is certainly not the business of the US Congress, whose approval rating hovers between 10-20 percent according to Gallup. The latest poll, conducted from Sept 3 to 15, shows a disapproval rate of 78 percent while the approval rate is only 18 percent.

So the question really is: Who should be lectured?

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

]]>
2019-10-18 07:51:33
<![CDATA[Samsung still has strong presence in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516327.htm

Editor's Note: This month, Samsung Electronics closed its last handset factory in Huizhou, Guangdong province, which was its first plant in China. 21st Century Business Herald comments:

The closure of the Huizhou plant means Samsung now has no handset manufacturing operation in China, prompting speculation about the underlying reasons, with some saying that Sino-US trade frictions have led to Samsung's withdrawal. This argument is untrue. Samsung had already shut down its cellphone factories in China before the Sino-US trade frictions and rebuilt its manufacturing base in Vietnam. Moreover, the Huizhou plant does not export to the United States and is thus not affected by the US tariff policy.

Unlike Apple, Samsung has a homegrown supply chain and makes its core components at home, its overseas factories are largely for assembly, so it remains particularly sensitive to overseas labor costs. As wages keep rising in China, it is natural for Samsung to move to other places with cheaper labor costs. Why Apple does not withdraw from China is not that it is attracted by China's low wages, but because it has formed a mature supply chain system in China, which means if it moves its manufacturing from China, the efficiency of its supply chain and innovation advantage will disappear.

Before its withdrawal from China, Samsung cellphones had less than 1 percent of the market in China, which meant its production in China was already meaningless. Therefore, the closure of Samsung's handset factories in China is actually a result of its failed development in the Chinese market against the backdrop of the fast rise of China's domestic cellphone brands, such as Huawei.

But Samsung is not a handset assembler only, but a whole industrial chain company with core technologies. Except for Huawei, most of the most expensive components of Chinese cellphones, from semiconductors to panels, are supplied by Samsung, reaping for Samsung more than 300 billion yuan ($42.26 billion) a year in China just by selling components. That means that even without a cellphone plant in China, Samsung still profits from the Chinese market.

Yet Samsung still maintains a strong presence in the supply chain of the Chinese handset industry, and it has invested heavily in China in recent years, with new investment of $22.8 billion between 2013 and 2018, mainly in semiconductors, batteries and multilayer ceramic capacitors. Its competitiveness has not been weakened by the loss of the Chinese market.

China can heed the lessons of Samsung, as China's production is still stuck in the stage of low-profit assembly. As the Chinese market becomes saturated, it is necessary to develop into upstream core technology fields, improve the country's core competitiveness, and enter the international market competition.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[Lam offers bold view for the future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516326.htm

As the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is striving to overcome its biggest challenge since its return to the motherland, all eyes were on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's third Policy Address on Wednesday, specifically on how the policy blueprint can help end the current turmoil.

What is happening in Hong Kong is an amalgam of past and present woes acerbated by local, regional, even international factors. It involves longstanding difficulties and dissatisfactions at individual and community levels, which entail careful, comprehensive assessment and handling.

By demonstrating a strong commitment to the betterment of society and taking a proactive approach to tackling the city's pressing problems, the chief executive has reassured people that Hong Kong can address the issues that are at the root of the unrest and usher in a better future for the city.

While the chief executive unveiled as many as 220 new policy initiatives, covering a broad range of areas in livelihood enhancement and economic development, she focused on addressing the key issue of public concern, namely housing.

She has rightly made housing and land supply the linchpin of her new policy blueprint, giving the issue a weight commensurate with its severity and urgency. After all, the housing shortage has been the key cause of the public anger that has fomented the city's current social turmoil.

It is safe to say that land scarcity is the mother of all problems in the SAR; and land development is the thorniest challenge for the government, given the nearly insurmountable obstruction of vested interests, particularly the big land owners.

Lam knows this very well, but she is still ready to proceed with the option of land resumption from private owners. By grasping the nettle, the chief executive has demonstrated the political courage necessary to set Hong Kong on the road to the future.

The key thread that loops through the whole host of policy initiatives proposed in the new policy blueprint is the practice of a people-oriented governing philosophy, underpinned by a proactive governance style and responsibility.

But for the chief executive's vision of a better society to become a reality, Hong Kong people must demonstrate similar astuteness by prioritizing common interests over individual interest. Something that was sadly lacking in the Legislative Council, where the antics of opposition lawmakers finally forced Lam to deliver her address by video.

Political differences will need to be put aside if a consensus is to be reached on pushing through the initiatives Lam has put forward.

That calls for everyone in Hong Kong to cherish the city's core values and the rule of law, so it can return to normality and set its sights on the future.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[US lawmakers should keep their color-hued noses out of Hong Kong]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516325.htm

The People's Republic of China makes no secret about its sensitivity to foreign intervention in its internal affairs.

And like those of Tibet and Taiwan, Hong Kong affairs fall into the category of being China's business and no one else's.

Since the onset of the current turbulence in the special administrative region, which now threatens to paralyze the international financial hub's governance and service functions, Beijing has time and again reiterated that bottom line.

And, while expressing its confidence in the local authorities' capabilities to restore order, it has repeatedly urged foreign powers to refrain from stoking the violence by word or deed.

That, on the first day after its two-week recess, the United States House of Representatives passed four resolutions regarding China, three of them on Hong Kong, has therefore naturally provoked a robust response from Beijing.

Expressing Beijing's strong indignation, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Wednesday condemned the measures, saying they were motivated by "gangster logic and a hegemonic mindset".

By passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the US representatives have turned a blind eye to the intensifying violence and sent a wrong message to the rioters.

Both the SAR government and the authorities in Beijing have indicated the present priority in Hong Kong is to stop the violence and restore order.

The resolutions passed by the House show that instead of trying to promote calm, US lawmakers have made an ideologically motivated misjudgment of the situation in Hong Kong that will only further damage its social order and economy - seemingly oblivious to the harm that will do US businesses, and the risks the violence poses to US interests and nationals in the SAR.

That the US representatives have chosen to wrongly judge the situation in Hong Kong and are seeking to dictate what happens by exacerbating the unrest reveals the desire of members of Congress, irrespective of their party, to foment a "color revolution" in Hong Kong.

In this, they are destined to be disappointed though. Hong Kong's status as an international financial, trading and shipping center is the result of the toil and perseverance of its people with the strong support of the mainland. It has never been a gift granted by foreign countries, and therefore it is not something that can be withheld or taken back.

Those US politicians holding high the banner of human rights in support of the chaos in Hong Kong, either willfully ignore or are ignorant of the truth that since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the people of Hong Kong enjoy more extensive democratic rights and freedoms than ever before. And that these rights and freedoms are being denied people in Hong Kong by the violence of the protesters they support.

But of course their banner is very amorphous.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[House's motion unprincipled jingoism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516324.htm

The US House of Representatives' Canada-related motion once again proves that the US has no equal when it comes to employing a double standard.

As well as passing three Hong Kong-related resolutions on Tuesday, the House adopted a fourth resolution, praising Canada for arresting Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in December, acting on a US request for her extradition.

At the same time, the resolution also condemns China for what it calls the "abusive" imprisonment of two Canadian men.

The request for Meng's extradition was politically motivated as it was part of the US campaign against Huawei.

As for China's detention and formal arrest of two Canadian citizens on suspicion of criminal acts, they have been handled according to the law.

China detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in December, a few days after Canada detained Meng in Vancouver. The two were formally arrested in May in accordance with the law on suspicion of prying into State secrets and providing intelligence for overseas forces. These were isolated cases based on the actions of Kovrig and Spavor and were not retaliation for the detaining of Meng.

Yet in the eyes of US lawmakers, China's detaining the two Canadians represents an arbitrary abuse of power, while the long-arm detention of Meng is commendable law enforcement.

The US House of Representatives deliberately putting the two sets of cases in one resolution with total disregard to their different nature, shows US lawmakers are willing to confound right with wrong if it serves what they believe to be the US' purpose.

The US administration has long made Huawei a bete noire in the US by unwarrantedly accusing it of being a security threat, and many Republican and Democratic members of Congress have clearly swallowed this claim without question.

Indeed it has become a cause celebre for some, having elicited a patriotic Pavlovian response.

When the US president signaled his intent to lift the outright ban on the sale of goods to the Chinese telecom giant that his administration had imposed, there was an immediate political backlash with a cross-party group of lawmakers proposing an act aimed at stopping the US Commerce Department removing Huawei from the "Entity List" and preventing it issuing licenses waiving the restrictions.

In bestowing on Huawei the black hat of the baddie, the US administration has made attacking it the go-to signifier of patriotism for those who have little else to offer voters, creating an unseemly competition among those trying to prove it is their hat that is the whitest. The motion praising Meng's detention shows how unprincipled this chauvinistic behavior has become.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[Macao's proposed 'Nasdaq' complementary exchange]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516323.htm

THE MONETARY AUTHORITY OF MACAO HAS ANNOUNCED that a feasibility study on building an offshore renminbi securities market in the special administrative region is being conducted by an international consultancy firm. The Beijing News comments:

He Xiaojun, director of the Guangdong Financial Supervision and Administration Bureau, said at the eighth Lingnan Forum on Saturday that a plan to build a Macao securities exchange has been submitted to the central government with the aim of establishing it as the Nasdaq of the renminbi offshore financial market.

Such a move would be complementary rather than competitive.

Building a renminbi offshore market in Macao would be conducive not only to the development of Macao, but also the internationalization process of the renminbi.

According to the Bank for International Settlements' statistics, the offshore renminbi's daily transaction volume is $284 billion, which ranks eighth among the global transaction currencies, and more than 60 countries and regions have incorporated the renminbi into their foreign exchange reserves.

Hong Kong is the world's largest renminbi offshore business center and has the world's biggest offshore renminbi capital pool that accounts for 70 percent of the total global offshore renminbi.

Macao's financial development still lags behind Hong Kong in terms of financial infrastructure, financial talent and capital scale. Therefore, Macao's renminbi offshore market construction should focus on differentiated development taking advantage of its own advantages.

The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area issued in February envisions Macao playing the role of a communication platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. If Macao establishes a renminbi offshore market, the renminbi's transaction scope will be expanded on a large-scale, which would further facilitate the renminbi's internationalization.

In the short term, Macao's proposed offshore renminbi stock exchange should focus on the renminbi bond market. In the future, it should concentrate on enterprises from Portuguese-speaking countries, which is remarkably different from the market positioning of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Market.

Macao's securities market and the financial markets in Hong Kong and the mainland will therefore not be competitors, but complementary and joint development partners.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[Law stands by women against sexual assaults]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516322.htm ON TUESDAY, a local court in Shanghai sentenced a man to six months in prison because he touched two women's breasts on the subway this July. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

This is the first time a Shanghai court has found someone guilty of public sexual indecency, and it is among the first cases nationwide. Many law experts have hailed the verdict, believing it will help victims of sexual assault better defend their rights.

There are two details that make the case special. First, one of the victims was under 18. Underage girls more easily fall prey to sexual assaults because of their inferior physical strength and lack of social experience, and many young girls dare not speak out after being sexually assaulted.

Second, the case sets a good example of collecting evidence in sexual assault cases. Although the offender tried to flee after committing his offenses, the police and the prosecutor were still able to collect enough evidence to send the man to court.

Just like the chief judge of the case said, it is very hard to collect evidence in such cases because the suspect might commit the assault in areas not covered by monitor cameras. In some past cases, victims have even had to video-record the whole process themselves to get enough evidence to take their assailants to court.

Sexual assaults refer to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim. But for a long time, women have been reluctant to take action against their assailants because they would lose face and feared suffering in shame. As a result sexual assaults have all too often gone unpunished. Hopefully, this case marks a turning point, and it encourages more women to stand up after being sexually assaulted so the perpetrators receive their due punishment.

The Shanghai court has told women nationwide that justice stands with them in such cases.

]]>
2019-10-17 08:08:59
<![CDATA[New round of trade talks offers hope]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516321.htm Editor's