August 2019

Localities and road shows provide more drivers for growth

More cities in China are set to host major international diplomatic conferences, with three of the four events to be held in the country this year located outside Beijing.

Boao, a coastal town in the southernmost province of Hainan, has provided a permanent venue for the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia since 2001. Meanwhile, senior officials have highlighted this year’s meeting, which will be held next month, as the first major diplomatic event to be hosted by China this year.

Qingdao, a coastal city in the eastern province of Shandong, is home to one of the world’s busiest ports, and in June it will for the first time host a high-level multilateral event-the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Meanwhile, after hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2001 and the World Expo in 2010, Shanghai, in East China, will host the first China International Import Expo in November.

Selecting localities as venues for major international events has “become a constant choice”, said Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong, a veteran diplomat in charge of multilateral diplomacy.

China’s diplomacy also involves the public, as the country seeks to make a greater contribution to global development and world peace, he added.

Li noted that a growing number of Chinese are traveling abroad or conducting exchanges in areas such as academic research.

“So, diplomacy is not just a mission for the diplomatic authorities or academic institutions. Every Chinese person has a duty to boost publicity for the country,” he said.

China is also reinforcing publicity overseas as it sends official delegations to campaign for the country to be chosen as the host of major events, such as the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

The first stop of the global road show for the expo was in Spain on Jan 19, where China’s ambassador to the country and officials from the Ministry of Commerce spoke to their Spanish counterparts and businesspeople about the highlights of, and favorable conditions for, the event.

Later, the road show moved on to countries on various continents, such as Singapore, Tajikistan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Gabon and Canada.

“In Belgium, great interest was displayed by the government, business circles and individuals,” said Qu Xing, ambassador to Belgium.

The Belgian government has assigned a department to oversee liaisons in this regard, a number of major business councils and associations have held campaigns, and businesses have asked how they can take part in the expo, he added.

He advised them that rather than concentrating on imports and exports, the Shanghai expo will focus solely on imports, adding that the event will provide a great opportunity for those looking for greater mutually beneficial cooperation with China, and will also allow the Chinese market to gain better knowledge of their goods.

‘Beautiful’ river beach in Wuhan taking shape

Work finished on the second phase of the Qingshan river beach project in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, on June 1, according to the city government.

The beach along the Yangtze River stretches 7.5 kilometers from Luojia Port near the Erqi River Bridge to Fenwu Dam near the Tianxingzhou River Bridge.

Fu Minggui, general manager of Wuhan Bishui Group, which is involved in constructing the beach, described the river beach as beautiful because the original landscape has largely been preserved.

The Qingshan district government has spent 10 years renovating the river beach, gradually developing it into an urban landscape with flood defenses.

A levee made of reinforced concrete, measuring 14 meters high and 0.6 meters wide, was built as part of the project to prevent flooding.

According to the Wuhan land and resources bureau, the city will improve the beach along the Yangtze by integrating transport and tourism services.

The authority said a beautiful scenic belt along the river in Wuhan will be nearing completion by the end of 2019.

Ex-spokesman is new discipline chief in Zhejiang

Liu Jianchao, a former Foreign Ministry spokesman and senior official in charge of hunting China’s corrupt fugitives, has been appointed discipline chief of Zhejiang province.

He became head of the province’s commission for discipline inspection and a member of the province’s core leadership – the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Committee – in late April, according to an official report posted on Thursday on Zhejiang Online.

Ren Zemin will leave his post as commission chief, the report said, without disclosing details. Ren, 63, has surpassed the routine retirement age of vice-ministerial officials in China.

Liu, 53, will take charge of investigating graft issues involving Party and government officials in the province, and also supervise them to ensure compliance with Party rules to build a clean government, according to the Zhejiang Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection website.

Liu joined the Foreign Ministry in 1987 and acquired extensive experience at the information department. He became assistant minister of foreign affairs in 2013.

In 2015, Liu was appointed deputy director of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention, a vice-ministerial-level post. He also became head of the International Cooperation Department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, the country’s top anti-graft watchdog.

The commission is the Party’s anti-corruption agency, while the bureau is a government department. A commission deputy director will usually also be head of the bureau, and some other officials from the two agencies also will overlap.

The appointment took many people by surprise because it opened a new career path for senior diplomats. It was widely believed that Liu’s long diplomatic experience would be used to help China better communicate with other countries during the hunt for corrupt fugitives abroad.

In late 2012, China launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign after the new leadership was elected. To capture economic fugitives who had fled abroad, China set up the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group, led by the CCDI, and launched Sky Net, an operation targeting corrupt fugitives.

In April 2015, Interpol issued red notices – requests to locate and detain an individual pending repatriation – for the 100 most-wanted Chinese corrupt former officials. Forty have been returned to date from more than 16 countries and regions, according to the CCDI.

“Liu is very professional and an innovative official. He’s especially good at advancing new ideas and taking effective measures to improve work efficiency,” said an anti-graft officer who worked closely with Liu at the CCDI but declined to be named.

Vehicle testing centers face tests

Beijing’s vehicle testing centers have been warned that they could lose their licenses if they fail a new annual inspection, part of an improved supervisory system to be rolled out on Thursday.

Three city departments, including the Environmental Protection Bureau, issued regulations earlier this month to increase oversight of the centers and remove more polluting cars from roads to help improve air quality.

Inspections will now be carried out annually at 35 centers in Beijing, with each center receiving a score based on the number of rule violations it discovers. The best score is zero, while the worst allowable is 12.

“We will not let vehicles that exceed emissions standards to go on the road,” Ma Li, director of meteorology for the Beijing Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision, said on Monday. “The new grading system gives clear direction to the testing centers about the major issues.”

The regulation says any center that falsifies data will receive a score of 12 points, which will lead directly to the suspension of its business license.

The testing centers will also be scrutinized for how stringent and consistent they are in checking vehicles for environmental compliance, among other areas of concern.

“The supervision and inspection institutions will need to conduct self-inspection and improvement for recorded points,” Ma said. “During one period, an institution that accumulates up to 12 points also needs to do a self-inspection.”

In 2017, the capital had made significant progress in improving its air quality by reducing major airborne pollutants and achieving national air quality goals.

Last year, Beijing had 226 days with excellent or good air quality (an air quality index reading of 100 or lower) 50 days more than in 2013, according to the environmental protection bureau.

“Environmental inspection is an important way to make sure vehicles in Beijing meet emissions standards to reduce the city’s air pollution,” said Lian Aiping, deputy director of the motor vehicle emission management department at the bureau.

“The regulation is also to make certain that the emissions of vehicles in daily life maintain factory standards.”

The local government also curbed car emissions to reduce pollution, and implemented a new license plate lottery policy at the end of last year to reduce the number of new plates available to car buyers.

The first vehicle plate lottery result in 2018 that was released on Monday showed the winning rate was only 0.05 percent – a record low that demonstrates the difficulty of owning and operating a vehicle in Beijing.

The quota for vehicles using new energy in 2018 is 54,000, with about 150,000 applicants awaiting their notifications.

xinwen@chinadaily.com.cn

High-speed rail opens in Inner Mongolia

An attendant serves a passenger on a high-speed train at Hohhot East Train Station in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Thursday morning. WU YUNSHENG/CHINA DAILY

The first high-speed railway in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region was opened on Thursday.

According to China Railway Corp, the national railway operator, the new line has reduced the fastest rail journey between Ulanqab and Hohhot, the capital, from 56 minutes to 39 minutes. The cheapest ticket costs 44 yuan ($6.7).

The bullet train runs at 250 kilometers per hour. Ten bullet train services are scheduled daily.

The new 126-km line will be part of a 286.8-km high-speed railway that will connect Hohhot with Zhangjiakou, co-host of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, in Hebei province.

The finished railway, with a designed speed of 250 km/h, will be a major artery in North China upon its completion.

It is expected to be finished and put into service next year. At that time, the Zhangjiakou-Hohhot high-speed rail will be connected to the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway, which is currently under construction. Travel time from Hohhot to Beijing will be reduced from an average nine hours to less than three hours.

Last year, China’s high-speed network reached 22,000 km, accounting for 65 percent of the world’s total high-speed rail.

According to a plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission in July last year, China will expand high-speed rail to 30,000 km by 2020, linking 80 percent of its major cities. By 2030, the network is planned to link all cities with populations of more than 500,000.

Jiuzhaigou scenic area to reopen next week

Jiuzhaigou, a scenic area on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list in Sichuan province, will partially reopen on March 8 after a devastating earthquake in August.

Admission fees will be reduced in March to 40 yuan ($6.30) each. After March, admission will rise to 110 yuan, per person, according to the administrative bureau of Jiuzhaigou.

Before the earthquake, the entry fee at Jiuzhaigou was 220 yuan during the peak season (April 1 to Nov 15), and 80 yuan during the offseason (Nov 16 to March 31).

The discounted admission led Liu Wei, a resident of Chengdu, Sichuan, to enter his name to win a tour of Jiuzhaigou for March 8. But he was told that the offer was sold out.

In 2018, only 2,000 visitors will be admitted to Jiuzhaigou daily, as it is being rebuilt. But transportation will be available to view the sites.

Before the August earthquake, a visitor could get off a vehicle at any desired site to linger or take pictures. Another vehicle would then carry the person elsewhere, said Yang Qingrong, a tour guide in Chengdu.

Located in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, Jiuzhaigou means “nine-settlement valley”.

It is named after the nine Tibetan settlements on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Visitors are drawn by its 108 alpine lakes and by the Tibetan and Qiang culture.

Twenty-five people died in the magnitude-7.0 earthquake on Aug 8, and 493 were injured. Some of Jiuzhaigou’s scenic wonders were damaged.

Two days after the quake, the Nuorilang Waterfall collapsed. Standing 24.5 meters tall, it was China’s widest waterfall at 270 meters and had been chosen by netizens as one of the country’s most spectacular natural sights.

Post-quake reconstruction will be completed by 2020, but some sites will reopen earlier, including Changhai Lake in March, said Liu Zuoming, Party chief of Aba.

Changhai Lake, 3,100 meters above sea level, offers a unique perspective. The eye is irresistibly drawn across its calm, blue expanse, which contrasts against the nearby snowy peaks that mark the limit of one’s view.

huangzhiling@chinadaily.com.cn

Railway worker saves old lady, loses leg

Xu Qiankai saves an old woman from a train accident. [Photo/thepaper.cn]

A man who risked his own life to save an elderly lady crossing the railway tracks, has had his leg amputated.

When Xu Qiankai, a worker at Rongchang railway station in Chongqing municipality, shunted trains as usual on the afternoon of July 6, he found an old woman crossing the tracks.

Xu signaled the driver to stop the train while whistling to warn the old woman of the danger. However, the woman seemed oblivious to the looming danger and kept moving forward.

Just before the woman was about to be hit by the train, Xu jumped off the moving carriage and pulled her away from the danger. The woman suffered only minor bruise while Xu’s right leg was crushed by the train.

After being rushed to hospital, doctors amputated the 29-year-old’s injured leg.

Cai Benshan, who was saved from being hit by a moving train, kneels down to pay her gratitude to Xu Qiankai at hospital. [Photo/thepaper.cn]

According to thepaper.cn, Xu has been working in the railway system since 2008 after leaving the army. One of his co-workers described Xu as a humble and warmhearted man, who often uses his spare time to voluntarily work for the railway station.

After the incident, the old woman, Cai Benshan, and her family went to hospital to express their gratitude to Xu. According to local residents, Cai has difficulty in hearing.

Li Yi, the director of Rongchang railway station, said Xu’s medical bills will be paid by the station.

Xu is a former soldier. [Photo/thepaper.cn]

Nine-day-old infant donates kidneys, saving another

A 9-day-old infant died but before she passed away she donated her kidneys, saving another child’s life, in Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan province, on July 26, Kunming-based City Times reported.

The report said the infant donor became the youngest donor in the province’s history.

The infant’s mother, surnamed Zuo, suffered from placental abruption and gave birth to the female baby on July 17.

The newborn had severe asphyxia and was in deep coma. Despite rescue efforts, she was diagnosed as brain dead on the seventh day of her birth.

Parents decide to donate the baby’s organs

She was the second child of her family. Her parents were looking forward to her birth. Her grieving father asked whether the baby can leave something in this world.

“Though my child had a short life, I hope her organs can save other children’s life,” said the father. “If so, I and her mother will be grateful.”

Entrusted by the infant’s mother, the father signed documents to permit the donation.

“The family experienced such a blow but thought to help others. We are deeply moved,” said Li Ke, a staff member of the Red Cross Society of China, who witnessed the signing ceremony.

The organ harvest operation is difficult

After an evaluation, the infant’s kidneys were deemed qualified to be donated. The infant was sent to the operation room for kidney harvest at 10 am of July 26.

Medical staff removed the respirator from the infant after a moment of silence. Her heart stopped beating.

“The newborn’s organs were very small. Her blood vessel and ureter were very thin,” said Zhao Yongheng, the surgeon, adding that the thin blood vessels are easy to snap.

If the vessel breaks, the organ will be useless, Zhao said. Eventually, the operation harvested two kidneys.

An 8-month-old receives a kidney

Two kidneys were assigned to two patients in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province, via China Organ Transplant Response System and were transferred right after they were harvested.

One kidney was too small to be transplanted to the potential receiver.

Another kidney was transplanted to an 8-month-old patient. “The kidney matched the patient well and started to play its role,” said surgeon Zhao Yongheng,

China banned transplants of organs from executed prisoners in January 2015, so voluntary donations have been the only source of organs since then.

Data from China Organ Transplant Response System show that since China launched the system in 2010, about 10,000 people have donated vital organs upon their death as of the end of 2016.

One tiger kills another at Kunming Zoo

Siberian tigers are seen at Kunming Zoo in Yunnan province on Monday. WANG YUHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Kunming Zoo in Yunnan province has promised to improve the way it manages its tigers during mating season after a fatal fight between two males over the weekend.

Maomao, a Siberian tiger, suffocated on Saturday as a Bengal tiger named Xiaohu held him by the throat at about 10:40 am. Keepers separated the animals shortly after being alerted to the fight.

Footage of the incident uploaded online on Sunday shows Maomao lying on grass in the tiger enclosure’s nursery area. He does not react when tapped with a long pole.

The tigers were part of a mixed-breeding program and shared an enclosure with one female and another male, according to Yang Ge, head of the zoo’s administration office. Maomao was 18 years old; Xiaohu is 14.

“Small bites often occur, but not too serious,” he said. “However, this time, when one tiger attacked the other, something serious happened. In about one minute, one tiger was suffocated by another.

“We intervened. But it was too late,” Yang said.

Yang said fights over food and mates are normal among tigers. It’s possible that the two animals were fighting because it was mating season.

The two had fought before, but the altercations were minor and quickly resolved, Yang said. The zoo staff didn’t expect such a serious consequence this time.

“We planned to make some housing area adjustments according to the tigers’ ages during the mating season,” Yang said. “We can also make some adjustments based on the tigers’ sex.”

He said no such incidents had occurred before at the zoo.