Chinese university will be first to send microsatellites into lunar orbit

The Harbin Institute of Technology, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, is to become the world’s first university to send microsatellites into lunar orbit, China News reported on May 21.

“Longjiang-1” and “Longjiang-2,” two microsatellites developed by the university, were successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center together with a relay satellite for the Chang’e-4 lunar probe “Queqiao” on Monday morning.

The satellites are currently in the Earth-moon transfer orbit and will next enter the lunar orbit. At that time, the university will become the world’s first to send microsatellites into lunar orbit.

The microsatellites, carrying frequency spectrographs of the National Space Science Center under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be used for various astronomical observations, enabling people to learn more about the universe.

Commissioner of Agriculture promotes EU beef in China

China could shortly allow imports of beef from France, Germany and the Netherlands, which have been under embargo for almost 17 years, according to the EU Commissioner of Agriculture Phil Hogan, reported.

Shanghai Customs officials inspect imported beef from the EU

According to Chinese industry authorities, the country sees a supply shortage of 8 million tons of beef per year. That’s more than the total annual output of beef in the EU, Hogan said.

The commissioner recently came to China on his 5th visit of the year. He brought 70 EU companies with a total business value of 100 billion euros to the SIAL China International Trade Fair for Food, held in Shanghai earlier in May.

The main mission for Hogan’s Chinese visit was to seek out opportunities to lower the trading barrier through face-to-face negotiations with Chinese commerce officials.

China recently opened its market to beef from Ireland, the first EU country to benefit. So far, three Irish beef factories have been approved to enter the Chinese market, and five others are awaiting approval.

Hogan said he came to China with high expectations from EU meat dealers, who regard the Chinese market as a great potential. Statistics indicate that there is much room for per-person consumption growth in China, Hogan explained.

In 2017, meat consumption in China was 71 million tons, more than the total of the EU and the US. However, consumption per person in China was 50.3 kilograms, less than the US consumption of 98.6 kg and the EU consumption of 69.6kg, Hogan disclosed.

EU exports of agricultural products to China have doubled over the last five years, he said, believing the growth rate will be maintained and even doubled in the years to come.

China announced a ban of beef imports from European countries due to the outbreak of “mad cow disease” in 2001. Over the past 17 years, the country has grown to become the second largest beef importer in the world.

Last year, China imported 700,000 tons of beef worth $3.3 billion, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The EU has been working for years to ensure its meat is safe. The commissioner emphasized that EU beef is safe and the cattle are traceable to their birth farm.

No cases of mad caw disease have been reported since 2005, Hogan said. The EU has carried out reform on food security, worked to ensure that the products are highly traceable, and built individual identification and country of origin labeling.

He disclosed that health and verification checks were being carried out by the Chinese side to finalize the lifting of the embargo and advances will be seen shortly.

Over 5 million poor disabled people in China have shaken off poverty

Over 5 million disabled people in China have shaken off poverty in the last 5 years, China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) said on Thursday.
According to the federation, the country’s subsidy system for the disabled has achieved full coverage, benefiting 21 million disabled people.
By the end of last year, China had ensured the minimum living standard for more than 9 million people, and brought over 26.1 million physically challenged urban and rural residents into the social endowment insurance system.
96.8% of the endowment insurance premium of the severely disabled under the age of 60 is now shouldered by the government. On top of that, the country has also offered nursery and care services for over 4 million disabled people in the past half decade.
By the end of last year, 9.4 million disabled people were employed, the CDPF noted.
In addition, the rehabilitation services of the country have also been enhanced. So far, 29 medical rehabilitation treatments for the disabled have been included in the scope of medical insurance reimbursement.
8,334 rehabilitation centers have been established throughout the country, providing 8.5 million disabled adults and children with basic rehabilitation services and offering assistive devices for 2.4 million people.
Furthermore, measures have been taken to guarantee access to education for the disabled. In 2017, 10,808 disabled students were enrolled at universities as well as 1,845 at special educational colleges.
To build a barrier-free society for disabled people, the Chinese government has issued 12 policies and made 9 national and industrial standards. In addition, over the past 5 years, the country has conducted barrier-free renovations for 2.1 million households with a disabled member.

Train attendants on China-built rail in Kenya

Train attendants pose for pictures at Nairobi station of the China-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in May 2018. Two of them, Mwaka and Sharon, were invited to perform in the 2018 CCTV Spring Festival Gala. Construction of the 480-km railway linking Kenya’s largest port city Mombasa and capital Nairobi started in September 2014, and it was officially launched on May 31, 2017.

Chinese peacekeepers clear mines in Lebanon

A total of 9,719 landmines and duds have so far been discovered and removed by Chinese peacekeepers in Lebanon.
Demining operations conducted by United Nations peacekeeping troops have a 40-year history in southern Lebanon. China has been involved in sending troops since 2006, and over the past 12 years the country has sent a total of 5,300 peacekeepers to the area.


White tiger quintuplets greet the public


A set of adorable white tiger quintuplets met the public for the first time at a zoo in Jinan, east China’s Shandong province on May 20. The siblings are named Xue Tai, Xue Heng I, Xue Hua, Xue Heng II and Xue Song – after the Five Sacred Mountains of China.

The quintuplets are Bengal tigers, but their fur is white due to a genetic anomaly.

An increased export of U.S. agricultural products would benefit China

Increasing the export of U.S. agricultural products will improve China’s effective supply in its domestic market and broaden consumption choices, an expert told People’s Daily during a recent interview.

China and the U.S. issued a joint statement last Saturday in Washington after economic and trade talks, agreeing to meaningfully increase the export of U.S. agricultural and energy products. The U.S. will send a delegation to China for further consultations.

Food holds a significant position in the lives of Chinese people, said Yu Lu, vice president of China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA). She added that increasing the export of agricultural products is also an important way to enhance bonds between people.

According to Yu, the agreed export increase is based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and will diversify choices.

Statistics issued by Chinese customs show that China imported over $120 billion of agricultural products in 2017, 12 percent more than the previous year. The compound growth of China’s agricultural imports has been kept at 8.8 percent over the past decade.

Given the growing demand for quality foreign agricultural products, it’s vitally important to further advance imports.

In addition, expanding imports of U.S. agricultural products will also promote the structural adjustment of China’s domestic agricultural industry, said Li Guoxiang, researcher with the Rural Development Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China still has space for improvement in agricultural industrialization and processing these products, Li noted, adding that to introduce more foreign products will in turn accelerate China’s pace of innovation and improve the overall competitiveness of the country’s agriculture.

China to get coffee boost

China is poised to have a say in the pricing of coffee, the world’s second-most traded commodity after crude oil, in five years, an executive at a key coffee exchange in China said on Monday.

“Among the global markets, China is the last gold mine left to be tapped, and it will likely have a meaningful say in the global pricing of the commodity,” Zheng Zhi, chairman of the board of supervisors with the Chongqing Coffee Exchange, told the Global Times on Monday.

As the Chinese economy develops and living standards improve, the country will have a growing say in the prices of a range of global commodities. In 2018, the country rolled out crude oil and iron ore futures based on its yuan currency.

Coffee, the world’s second-largest commodity category after crude oil, is also becoming more important in China, as domestic demand for coffee is growing.

In one sign of this, Seattle-based US coffee chain Starbucks Corp said in May that it hopes to almost double its store count to 6,000 in China over the next five years.

The Chongqing Coffee Exchange currently handles via spot trading annual turnover of 50,000 tons, or about one-third of what is consumed in the domestic market.

However, despite the growing domestic demand for coffee, China has little say in the pricing of the commodity.

Global food conglomerate Nestle told the Global Times in an email statement on Monday that buying price for coffee beans in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province [where most of Chinese homegrown coffee is produced] is based on international coffee bean prices at the Intercontinental Coffee Exchange in New York, which is the global benchmark.

“Local prices are adjusted frequently to reflect the futures closing prices, which are in the public domain and accessible to farmers,” the company said.

Besides the Chongqing Coffee Exchange, there are also two coffee exchanges, in Yunnan and Shanghai, respectively. All three are based on spot trading, offering no futures trading and with no pricing influence.

Future potential

Coffee consumption in China is still very low compared with neighboring markets, according to Nestle.

The US, in comparison, anchors its pricing power in its annual consumption of 1 million tons of coffee beans and reserve storage of half that amount. In all, the US controls about one-sixth of global coffee production and consumption, experts said.

“Given the low domestic consumption, the timing for offering futures trading is not yet ripe. If we do, the market will not be able to accommodate the large volume of capital it would attract,” Zheng said.

“However, in five years’ time, domestic coffee consumption is expected to reach 300,000 tons a year, and China will become a major world coffee market in terms of absolute demand. We might then consider launching futures trading and giving the exchange a price finding function, thereby becoming a factor in the global coffee pricing system,” Zheng said.

Zheng noted that consumer education is important.

“Currently, the number of people in China who drink coffee is about 30 million. In 10 years’ time, with the promotion of coffee culture, the number could grow to 300 million. At the same time, the per capita coffee consumption is expected to grow from the current 4 cups a year to 40 cups a year… What an immense market it will be!” Zheng said.

Source: Global Times


Asia’s largest dredging vessel to start trial voyage

Asia’s largest and most advanced dredging vessel Tian Kun Hao is about to set off on its trial voyage.

The tremendous “island-making” ship was designed by China’s Tianjin Dredging Co. Ltd., associated with China Communication Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) and built by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co. Ltd.

With 6,600-kilowatt dredging equipment, the vessel can mince and relocate around 6,000 cubic meters of hard rocks, silt, and mixture from the seabed within one hour. The vessel’s working method will minimize damage to the surrounding sea environment and thus limit distress to marine animals in the area.

Four types of drifts are equipped on board to cope with different geological conditions, enabling the vessel to excavate rocks with a confined compression resistance strength within 50 MPa.

Tian Kun Hao is fully reliant on electricity, with a dual positioning system and unlimited global navigation. It can be used to dredge channels and make islands in both coastal and deep-sea regions.