Elderly care services strengthened to cope with China’s aging population

According to statistics issued by the National Working Commission on Aging (NWCA), by the end of 2017, the population in China aged 60 and above hit 240 million, meaning that nearly four working people now have to support one senior. By 2020, that figure is projected to exceed 255 million, cctv.com reported.

That puts the traditional family-based support system for the elderly under enormous pressure. Normally, Chinese couples born after the 1970s who are the only child in their family have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting four seniors and raising a child.

The Chinese society is aging alongside societal changes such as urbanization, informatization and agricultural modernization, which adds to the fact that more children are financially unable or have little time to take care of their parents.

To cope with the aging population and implement a family-based support system, China is adopting new policies and fostering a social environment in which senior citizens are respected, cared for and can live happily throughout their golden years.

Li Zhihong, deputy head of NWCA’s policy research office, said the commission is working toward a number of targets, firstly that 30 percent of all nursing care beds should be for the elderly, a proposed 90 percent of elderly people will be covered by basic pension schemes and more than 95 percent of the elderly population are to be covered by basic medical insurance.

East China’s Shandong province has created a model that launches medical care at elderly care centers and opens old-age care centers within hospitals. Wu Lian, a county in Shandong, plans to build more than 120 health centers which will help around 150,000 people.

Taking care of a disabled senior costs a considerable amount of money for a family. Since 2016, China has piloted long-term elderly care insurance in 15 cities, covering 48 million people.

In Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province, disabled seniors who are covered by social insurance are able to receive an allowance whether they live at a care center or at home.

Long-term elderly care insurance has already been introduced in Shanghai, Chongqing and Changchun, where 50,000 people are currently covered, with the reimbursement rate reaching 70 percent.

Set sail on a new journey with “Shanghai Spirit”

By Xiao Qinghua (People’s Daily)

The two-day-long 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is scheduled to open on Saturday in Qingdao, the renowned “capital of sailing” in east China’s Shandong province.

The Qingdao Summit is the first summit held by the SCO after its membership expansion. The great event marks a milestone in the history of the SCO as it sets the direction and goals for the organization and looks forward to its future.

Heads of state from the SCO members will gather in this beautiful coastal city to draw a new blueprint and set the SCO on a new journey.

Over the past 17 years, the SCO member states have followed the trend of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and turned the two wheels of security and economy to move together.

They’ve also worked together to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism, safeguarded regional security and stability and boosted regional economic cooperation. The concrete efforts have produced fruitful achievements, benefiting all the member states and their peoples.

India and Pakistan’s accession to the SCO has broadened the organization’s development space, given it a wider stage to play its role and made it more influential.

The SCO has always kept the original aspiration in mind and advanced with the times with the “Shanghai Spirit” as a beacon.

The Shanghai Spirit, featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting diverse civilizations and seeking common development, remains the foundation and soul of the organization.

The set of values evolving with the times, which is upheld by the member states, has injected inexhaustible impetus into their development and provided useful practice for the construction of a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind.

Standing at the new historical starting point, the SCO member states will continue to uphold the “Shanghai Spirit”, consolidate solidarity and mutual trust, deepen cooperation in various fields, work together to bring the SCO into a new era, make new achievements and contribute more to maintaining common security and promoting common development.

China and Kyrgyzstan, linked by mountains and rivers, enjoy time-honored friendship. They began friendly exchanges as early as 2,000 years ago along the ancient Silk Road.

As the SCO founding members, the two countries have conducted productive cooperation in many key fields, including politics, economy and trade, security, people-to-people exchanges and infrastructure construction, making due contributions to the organization’s overall development.

As important strategic partners, the two countries, in recent years, have been deepening political mutual trust, strengthening pragmatic cooperation, and joining hands on the construction of the Belt and Road.

They’ve also been advancing connectivity, beefing up cultural exchanges, and sharing development achievements to benefit the two peoples.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov will pay a state visit to China before attending the Qingdao summit.

It is hoped that under the strategic guidance of both leaders and with joint efforts, the good neighborly relations and cooperation between China and Kyrgyzstan will reach a new high and the bilateral relations will turn to a new page.

(The author is Chinese Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan)

SCO makes remarkable achievements in economic and trade cooperation

By Wang Junling (People’s Daily)

Economic and trade cooperation between Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states has reaped eye-catching fruits since the SCO was established 17 years ago, a Chinese official told a recent press conference.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng summarized the SCO’s highlights in propelling regional economic cooperation ahead of the two-day-long 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is expected to kick off on Saturday in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province.

At the first summit after a SCO membership expansion, economic and trade issues are projected to be high on the meeting agenda.

In 17 years after the establishment of the SCO, its member states have realized comprehensive development in politics, security, economy, people-to-people exchanges, foreign affairs and instituational construction.

The SCO member states enjoy closer trade ties, said Gao, elaborating that China’s total trade volume with other members rose to $217.6 billion in 2017, a 19 percent surge from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2018, trade continued to maintain good momentum with an increase of 20.7 percent.

The structure of China’s trade with other SCO member states has been optimized step by step to include a growing proportion of mechanical and electrical products as well as mechanical equipment.

Development of the SCO has also brought fruitful investment and contracting projects, according to the spokesman. By the end of this March, Chinese investment to SCO member countries amounted to approximately $84 billion, with sound progress in many large-scale energy, mineral and industrial projects.

The turnover of China’s contracting projects in other SCO member states has amounted to $156.9 billion, and a number of highways, power stations, and pipeline projects have become demonstration projects.

Gao said positive progress has been made in interconnection and interoperability, such as the completion of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan road, the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, the construction of the China-Kazakhstan and China-Russia crude oil pipelines, and the regular and efficient operation of the China-Europe freight train routes.

The SCO has initially formed a complex infrastructure network including roads, railways, oil and gas, and communications within the SCO region, further strengthening ties among member states, Gao added.

At the upcoming Summit in Qingdao, China will join other SCO members to reach consensus, seek common development, and underpin the importance of improving global governance and enhancing the multilateral trade system, Gao said while talkng about the future of the SCO cooperation.

The country will also push forward a trade facilitation process, improve the mechanism and legal basis for trade facilitation, and inject new impetus into SCO cooperation, he added.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a major development opportunity for SCO’s member countries and has broad prospects. The SCO will promote positive docking of the initiative and development strategies of the member countries for common prosperity, SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov said.

The SCO is successful in consideration of its wide coverage, large population, economic volume of its member countries, and various mechanisms and platforms it has built, said professor Swaran Singh of the School of International Studies at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

If the SCO continues consolidating and strengthening the achievements and goals, it will sure to achieve important results at this summit, the professor added.

The “Shanghai Spirit” and the philosophy of the Belt and Road Initiative are highly consistent with each other, said Quan Heng, Director of the Research Institute of World Economy of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

In the future, the SCO will play an increasingly important role in promoting regional economic cooperation, economic globalization and peaceful development of the world, Quan noted.

China’s X-men actress at center of tax-evasion allegations

China’s X-men actress Fan Bingbing has recently found herself at the receiving end of tax-evasion allegations. It has triggered fury among netizens and has now prompted an investigation into tax evasion in the film and television industry by the Chinese tax authorities.

Last week, former anchor of China Central Television (CCTV) Cui Yongyuan posted several photos on social media of different contracts signed by a Chinese film star for the same job. In one of the documents, the contract was for 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) and in the other, Cui said the contract was signed for 50 million yuan. In the post, he did not name Fan directly.

Cui questioned what Fan had done with the 50 million yuan left unaccounted for, and said later that he had a drawer of such contracts that may involve multiple big screen stars.

“The State Administration of Taxation (SAT) has ordered local tax bureaus in Jiangsu to investigate and verify online allegations that certain television and movie actors evaded taxes by signing two contracts,” CCTV reported.

Last Sunday, Fan’s studio denied the accusation, saying it would fully cooperate with the relevant authorities. Whether Fan has evaded tax or has any connection to the highlighted contracts still needs further investigation, but “duplicate contracts” have already become an unspoken rule in the film industry.

A producer told national Chinese-language daily newspaper Guangming Daily in 2011 that almost every film house would prepare such contracts for the actors. One of them is presented to the tax authorities while the other is a private agreement between the investor and actors, the producer said, adding that the value difference between the duplicate contracts may be tenfold.

It is a basic social responsibility for every citizen to pay taxes, and as high-income earners with social attention, celebrities should never escape their obligation of rate payment, said People’s Daily in an article published on June 3. Those celebrities who violate the related laws and avoid taxes should not only be condemned by society, but also punished, the article added.

Tax evasion is never unilateral, and the “duplicate contracts” involve multiple parties including the actors, production companies, and investors, People’s Daily said, adding that every party should be held accountable. Therefore, to probe into this individual case and begin an all-round investigation is the anticipated next step.

China’s J-20 fighter jets will be serialized

J-20 fighter

China’s stealth fighter J-20 will be serialized to increase capabilities, said Yang Wei, chief designer of the warcraft.

J-20 is only the beginning, and it will bring more change and innovation in the future, Yang continued. The aircraft is not only a reliable weapon in war, but also a product that promotes the development of China’s electronics industry. Yang added that it indicates a path of China’s independent innovation, which is critical for the country’s future progress.

After the stealth fighter was commissioned as part of the country’s air force combat service, a number of excellent pilots, commanders, and combat support personnel have been trained.

According to Yang, older generations of the warcraft require a great deal of effort from the pilots to control, while the latest generations, with improved performance, allow the pilots to focus more on combat.

Chinese-made bamboo bikes to be exhibited at Paris Fashion Week

Bamboo bikes made by a Chinese man’s team will be exhibited at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, to be held from June 19 to 24, Chengdu Business Daily reported.

Abu, a local in Sichuan province whose real name is Ren Yao, introduced that the bamboo bikes have outstanding shock absorption and are strong enough to easily support an adult’s weight.

The bikes have already reached the European bicycle industry standard, Abu noted. In fact, he spent 30 days riding 2,500 kilometers on his bamboo bike from Chengdu to Lhasa.

“Compared with bamboo bikes seen before, nothing is as amazing as yours,” commented a global fashion expert who recommended the bikes be exhibited at the global fashion event.

“Through this exhibition, I hope to make more and more people around the world see Chinese-made and Chengdu-made products,” said Abu, adding that this exhibition is just the beginning.

Bamboo bikes made by the team have already been exported to many countries including the U.S., Britain, Singapore, Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Chinese people willing to buy more imported goods

With an increase of income, Chinese people now show a growing willingness to buy imported quality goods, the People’s Daily Overseas Edition reported on June 5.

A businessman from New Zealand introduces his dairy products to a Chinese buyer at an imported products expo held in Yiwu, China in 2018.

About 86.6 percent of Chinese consumers with a monthly household income of over 20,000 yuan ($3,121) say they have either already bought or plan to buy imported goods within the coming year, according to a survey recently conducted by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

Consumers show most interest in imported goods including food, clothing, shoes and cosmetics. The growing demand for imported goods reflects the insufficient domestic supply, the survey points out.

The survey also shows that consumers usually care more about safety, price and quality of imported products.

“Some imported goods are of better quality than domestic ones, and at a reasonable price,” said Li Xiao, an employee at a Beijing-based technology company.

Li added that consumers can occasionally buy fake products from purchasing agents, so they hope China will further expand its import of overseas high-end cosmetics.

Statistics indicate that China’s total retail sales of consumer goods reached 36.6 trillion yuan last year, making China the world’s second largest consumer market. It’s therefore necessary to expand imports to meet domestic personalized and high-end consumer demand.

Moderately expanding China’s imports will benefit more countries by improving total trade volume and optimizing trade structure, said Zhao Ping, director at the International Trade Research Department under China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

In addition, it will promote the industrial transformation and upgrade of consumption in relevant domestic industries, Zhao added.

Taking the household appliances industry as an example, China’s first ever color television, produced in 1970, was inferior to imported versions in terms of both quality and performance.

However, driven by imported products, the household appliance industry in China has seen rapid development over recent years, so much so that it is now a huge manufacturer and global supplier of household appliances.

The State Council recently said that China will further cut import tariffs for daily consumer goods starting July 1, involving products such as clothing, shoes, kitchenware, sports and fitness supplies.

China has 1,128 time-honored brands: MOFCOM

There are 1,128 time-honored brands in China with an average history of around 140 years, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

The brands, such as the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Tongrentang, Chinese medicine maker Yunnan Baiyao, roast duck restaurant chain Quanjude and alcohol retailer Moutai Liquor, imply both Chinese traditional business culture and national history.

Criteria for evaluation of the brands are strict. A company must have been created before 1956, inheriting unique products, techniques or services, and be widely recognized by society.

The brands are distributed in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China, with most in coastal and inland developed areas. For instance, Shanghai has 180 time-honored brands, topping all areas across China, followed by Beijing with 117.

Some brands have been weeded out for reasons such as market competition, a backward marketing approach and lack of innovation, while others are actively adapting to cater for today’s market and consumers.

For example, many time-honored brands have already established their own websites or joined e-commerce platforms to promote and sell their products, which in turn help them attract lots of consumers, said brand expert Yin Jie.

In addition, the Chinese government released supporting policies to advance brand development.

A MOFCOM report indicated that China’s time-honored brands achieved a sales revenue of about 9.03 trillion yuan ($1.41 trillion) in 2016, a year-on-year growth of 6 percent, with a profit of 765.8 billion yuan.

Dong ethnic woman helping to reduce poverty with traditional embroidery

A woman of the Dong ethnic group in Liping county, southwest China’s Guizhou province, is making a unique contribution to her local community. Thanks to her promotion of traditional Dong embroidery, the average monthly income of local artisans has increased by 1,600 yuan.

The 33-year-old woman learnt such embroidery techniques from her mother, a well-know expert in the local community. She started practicing stitch-work from a very young age.
However, an unfortunate accident left her disabled in one hand at the age of 6 or 7, which stopped her developing her embroidery techniques further.
After graduating from college in 2008, Lu decided to pick up the skill again. She said the traditional Dong embroidery techniques are of special significance to the Dong culture, and she has a responsibility to carry it on as a Dong woman. More importantly, as the oldest daughter of her family, Lu has an obligation to inherit the skills according to Dong tradition.
Though Lu partly lost the function of her left hand, she managed to overcome this difficulty and become an expert of the traditional techniques. She has since opened a workshop in Liping and won a number of national prizes.

To date, Lu has helped over 70 young people of the Dong ethnic group find jobs, and encouraged 200 rural women to learn traditional embroidery skills. In addition, she has established seven training centers to teach more than 600 people, including 80 who are disabled. This Dong woman is giving back to her society through philanthropy.
Her workshop was even visited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015, during his inspection tour of the county. Li told her that she wears Chinese culture, and encouraged her to strive for bigger and better achievements.
Now, with an expanding business, Lu’s products have been shipped to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and even overseas markets. She said traditional Dong embroidery is part of the Chinese culture, and she is confident that she will continue the traditions for future generations to enjoy.

School offers free ballet classes and new opportunities for rural girls

The girls in Duancun village of Xiong’an New Area, in north China’s Hebei province, have a new focus thanks to Duancun School, a local public elementary school that offers free ballet classes.

Guan Yu (front) and his students dance on a boat.

The school started the free teaching five years ago when an art education center was established by a Beijing foundation. The center has been well staffed, its teachers from renowned art institutes including Central Conservatory of Music, Central Academy of Drama, and Beijing Dance Academy, according to Li Jianxue, principal of Duancun School.
Guan Yu, who has been teaching ballet at the school together with his wife for the past five years, told People’s Daily that ballet offers life-changing opportunities for the girls in the village.
The girls originally had two options when planning for their future: become farmers or go to college, the latter obviously being more difficult for them as rural children, he explained.
Every week, Guan and his wife would travel to Duancun from Beijing, about 160 kilometers away, and spend four hours teaching the girls. It has become a routine for him over the past five years.
However, the classes haven’t always been as popular as they are today. To begin with, most of the villagers refused to send their children to the art school, as learning ballet was considered unpractical for rural girls.
It was Guan’s patience and explanation that has shown the benefits of practicing ballet to parents. Gradually, more and more villagers were persuaded to send their children to the school.

A woman sends her daughter to a ballet class.

According to Guan, before the classes the girls had no clear future goals, but ballet has changed them, helping them shake off their shyness and gain some confidence.
“Their changes also impact their parents,” Li said. The villagers now have a more profound understanding of the teachers’ dedication and social responsibilities, which in turn improves the conduct of the whole village, he explained.
Art education is a window for the girls to look into the world and their future, broadening their views, Li said, adding that some of them may even go on to be art professionals in the future.
Over the past five years, Guan has not only acted as a teacher, but has also become a father figure in the community with his love and care for the children. What he has achieved is now motivating the next generation. Students can often be heard saying “I want to be like Guan when I grow up and help others”.