Multiple Chinese cities testing autopilot technology

Multiple Chinese cities are testing autopilot technology, generating public interest in developing the technology, Chinanews.com reported Friday.

Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai have all paved roads for autonomous vehicles, and related policies at regional and national levels have also been rolled out to guide the development of this industry.

Beijing opened its first road for autonomous test driving on Jan. 3 in Yizhuang, a town in the capital’s southern district of Daxing.

In addition to the test roads, the capital will also improve its traffic facilities to promote autopilot technology. The city is also planning to renovate its traffic lights, signs, and markings so that they can be recognized by autonomous vehicles.

Beijing is not the only city to test the technology. Autonomous buses were rolled out in Shenzhen on December 2, 2017. For the test runs, the route is about 1.2 kilometers, with three stations on a public road in a section of Futian District.

Some legal experts once considered autopilot technology dangerous since it is beyond the regulation of laws. However, some cities have issued specifications to guide the development.

Beijing released China’s first guidelines on the testing of self-driving autonomous vehicles last December, requiring test vehicles to operate in both auto and manual modes. In addition, drivers are essential to test whether the vehicles can be truly self-driving.

Autopilot has become a hot term at a recent national work conference on transportation. The conference stressed that the country should prepare in advance for the possible impact of autopilot technology and should build a strongly educated and innovative labor force.

10 heart-warming pictures during days of heavy snowfall in China

Heavy snowfall has recently hit the central, northern, and eastern regions of China. Here are the ten most heart-warming pictures during these days, according to the official WeChat account of China News on Jan. 4.

Sanitation workers started work at 3 a.m. to clear snow from the streets in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province, Jan. 4.

Xiong Chen, an auxiliary policeman, held up fallen communication cables for over ten minutes to relieve a traffic jam in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui Province.

Traffic policemen patrolled the streets to ensure traffic safety from the evening of Jan. 3 to the wee hours on Jan. 4 in Yichang, central China’s Hubei Province.

Employees with the Xi’an Railway Bureau removed snow on the tracks to ensure safe operations.

Employees delivered emergency supplies including drinking water, instant noodles, and bread on foot to people stranded on a highway in central China’s Hubei Province, Jan. 4.

Electric service employees in Baoji, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, worked overnight to ensure railway traffic safety, Jan. 3.

Water suddenly leaked from a water meter well in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, on a snowy day. Zhang Wei, an employee with the city water supply company, didn’t hesitate to take off his coat and push his arm into the freezing water to fix it.

Two policemen helped to push a tricycle up a snow-covered slope covered in Baishui County, Weinan, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

Policemen made every effort to help rescue people from a vegetable market which collapsed due to heavy snow in Anlu, Hubei Province.

Workers braved the snow to replace old electric wires with new ones for residents to ensure the safe use of electricity in Xiping County, Henan Province.

China leads the world in new energy industry development

China has become a leader in the global development of new energy, owing to rapid growth of new energies, improved industrialized level, and decreased costs for generating new energies, Economic Daily reported on Jan. 5.

China’s installed generating capacity reached 1.77 billion kilowatts by 2017, among which non-fossil energy’s capacity reached 38.1 percent, up 9.6 percent since 2012, according to China’s National Energy Administration (NEA).

Renewable energies also increased remarkably, according to NEA. For example, China’s PV installed capacity saw a year-on-year increase of 65.4 percent to hit 120 million kilowatts by late September 2017.

Meanwhile, the utilization level of new energies increased. Energy generated by renewable energies amounted to 1.17 trillion kilowatts in the first three quarters of last year. Wind power, solar energy, and biomass energy rose by 26 percent, 70 percent, and 25 percent on a year-on year basis, respectively.

Also, the costs for generating energies decreased, as China is now able to produce solar photovoltaic power generation equipment itself, said Wang Bohua, secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association.

In addition, the wind power curtailment and solar power curtailment was estimated to respectively drop by 6.7 percent and 3.8 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year thanks to favorable policies and measures, NEA said.

Sun Qiang, a director at China Three Gorges Corporation, also said that China will take advantage of its natural advantages and focus on developing offshore wind power in the future.

Chinese rapper apologizes for lewd lyrics, blames ‘Black music’

China’s iconic rapper PG One apologized on Thursday for lewd lyrics, claiming he made the mistake because of “deep influence of Black music” and his misunderstanding of the core values of hip hop culture.

PG One rose to fame in 2017 after appearing in The Rap of China, a Chinese rap reality show. Netizens reported his song “Christmas Eve” to the authorities, accusing him of derogating women and promoting drug use as the lyrics contain words “f…,” “bitch” and “white powder.”

“I was deeply influenced by Black music in the early days when I was exposed to hip-hop culture, and I didn’t have a correct understanding of core values of hip hop culture,” the singer said on his Twitter-like social media service Sina Weibo account, adding that hip-hop should be about peace and love.

The singer said he has voluntarily removed his song online and will boost positive energy in the future.

The apology apparently wasn’t accepted by the outraged netizens as a lot of them asked him to reflect on himself rather than pass the bucket to African American musicians.

PG One’s song is contemptible, shameless and obscene, and would have a very bad influence on his fans who are mostly in their teens or 20s, said a commentary of the online edition of China Women’s News on Thursday.

The Communist Youth League said on its Weibo account that PG One did not give young people the proper guidance as a public figure and has already violated laws with the song.

Source: Global Times

Shelter Forest Program saw 666,000 hectares of trees planted per year in last 5 years

The Three-North Shelter Forest Program, built to improve the ecological environment in northwestern, northeastern and northern China, has saw an average of 10 million mu, or 666,000 hectares, of trees planted each year over the past five years, The Paper.cn reported on Jan 4.

The government has pledged to raise total coverage of shelter forest to 14 percent during the 2016-2020 period, and to 15 percent during the 2020-2035 period, said Zhang Jianlong, head of the State Forestry Administration, at a meeting held on Thursday.

By 2050, a national network of shelter forest will be constructed, Zhang disclosed. From 2012 to 2016, about 50.28 million mu, or 3.35 million hectares, of forest were built under the project, according to statistics.

The shelter forest project has combated nearly 60,000 square kilometers of desertified land over the past five years, and now it reduces 1,297 square kilometers of desertified land per year.

About 15 million farmers have shaken off poverty by planting fruit trees and other economic trees.

Timor-Leste minister poses for pictures with China-built expressway

A Chinese joint venture is building Timor-Leste’s first expressway, a project which has improved many local people’s lives, Xinhua reported on Jan 5.

Because of the expressway project, local constructors working on it are now considered as a high-income group, enjoying the right to buy goods on credit at stores.

Before the project kicked off, they were farmers living on low incomes. Now, their incomes are guaranteed, and through the construction, they’ve mastered driving, controlling vehicles, and engineering devices.

Antonio, a father of three, said his monthly income was a little more than $100, but is now double that.

“The Chinese enterprise has cultivated a group of skilled workers for the future construction of Timor-Leste,” said a translator with the project.

The expressway received a lot of attention after construction on it started. Yang Xiaohan, a project manager, said all kinds of people in Timor-Leste regard it as a national pride.

According to Yang, upon seeing the pier of the expressway, eight Timor-Leste officials, including a minister, posed for a picture joining hands to hold the big pillar to express their appreciation for the project.

“Timor-Leste is an important stop along the Belt and Road. By building the expressway well, we are demonstrating our devotion to the construction of the initiative,” said the project’s deputy general manager.

Beijing enjoys best winter air quality in five years

Beijing is enjoying its best winter air quality in five years, Beijing Youth Daily reported Thursday.

The yearly average concentrations of particulate matter with a length of 2.5 microns or less, known as PM2.5 and which damage the lungs when inhaled, dropped by 20.5% to 58 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017.

According to the local environment agency, the city has met the national standard of sulfur dioxide density. However, the concentrations of three other major pollutants: carbon dioxide, PM10, and PM2.5, are still out of limits. To improve Beijing’s air quality is still a long-term process.

The number of days during which the air quality was rated “excellent” or “good” was 226, up by 28 compared to 2016, while the number of days when the air was heavily polluted stood at 23, down by 16.

Over the last five years, the PM2.5 levels of each district in Beijing have experienced significant drops. Li Xiang, an official with Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said that Beijing will make more efforts to lower the PM2.5 concentration to 56 micrograms per cubic meter in 2020.

Driverless subway line put into service in Beijing

A driverless subway line was officially put into service in Beijing on Jan. 2, workercn.cn reported Wednesday.

The subway line, running between Yangshan and Fangshan districts of the capital, is China’s first fully domestically developed automated subway.

It is learnt that the train has a top speed of 80 km/h. It has four cars, including two locomotives and two carriages, with a maximum capacity of 1,262 passengers.

Automated driving has largely reduced safety risks caused by human factors, since the train is not dependent on manual operation. In addition, the driverless train can optimize its routes, traction, and braking during operation, greatly improving the smoothness. It not only saves energy, but also increases the comfort level for the passengers.

Driverless subway lines have been adopted by some of the world’s largest cities including Paris, Nuremberg, St Paul, and Barcelona.

Being the manufacturer of the subway cars, the CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. has achieved a world-class level on autopilot railway vehicles. Its products have been exported to more than 20 countries and regions including the US and Australia.

Apple violated good faith principle by slowing down devices: consumer association

Apple’s software updates that limit the performance of older iPhones violate the principle of good faith, China Consumer Association (CCA) told Chinanews.com on Jan. 3.

The tech giant has infringed upon users’ rights of information, choice, and fair trade, the organization noted.

According to Chen Jian, director of CCA’s legal and theoretical research department, consumers have the right to be informed about products and services, and the choice of whether to update their phones should be left to them.

He said Apple should have informed consumers of the battery performance issue before purchase. If not, the manufacturer should be responsible for the losses, he added.

In the statement of explanation issued by Apple on December 28, 2017, the company apologized to its users, promising a $29 battery replacement that will immediately return an iPhone 6 or later to its original performance. According to Apple, the service normally cost $79.

However, Chen said that the firm should give an integrated solution instead of a temporary discount of battery replacement. He suggested that Apple shoulder the responsibility and cover the cost of iPhone battery replacement.