Chinese speaking activity contributes to China-Japan friendship

A professor from the University of Tokyo and her students attend the mandarin corner.

The 600th mandarin corner was held in Tokyo, Japan on July 14. Japanese people who are fond of Chinese language, overseas Chinese in Japan and Chinese students studying in Japan took part in the event.

The mandarin corner is a Japanese non-governmental platform for people from China and Japan to communicate in Chinese and have a better understanding of each other.

The activity has been held in the Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park in Tokyo every Sunday since Aug. 5, 2007. A total of nearly 30,000 people have participated in the event over the years.

It is hoped that people taking part in the mandarin corner will make good use of the platform and make new contributions to help enhance mutual understanding and friendly relations between the two countries, Chinese ambassador to Japan, Kong Xuanyou, said in a congratulatory letter.

Yuji Miyamoto, former Japanese ambassador to China, believes that the friendly relationship between China and Japan not only serves the interests of the two peoples, but also contributes to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.

A 53-year-old Japanese resident surnamed Ando, who takes an active part in the language corner, is determined to introduce Chinese history and culture to local people.

“The Chinese people are kind and enthusiastic and gave me a lot of help during my time in China,” he said. He hoped to help Japanese people learn more about China through his efforts.

China-developed smart bus trials in Qatar

(Photo/thepaper.cn)

A smart electric vehicle on the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit system began its first overseas trial in Qatar on July 10, thepaper.cn reported.

The trial was designed to test the vehicle’s performance under sweltering conditions in Qatar’s capital Doha, where the highest land surface temperature in recent days reached 70 degrees Celsius.

The test is being carried out on a 7 kilometer-long route, which is longer than previous system tests conducted in Chinese cities. The test is expected to last until July 24.

Officials with Qatar’s ministry of transportation ride the bus. (Photo/thepaper.cn)

An independent third party is supervising the test. Qatar’s ministry of transportation will decide whether to introduce the smart vehicle based on the test results.

Although the soaring temperatures are a challenge for the battery cooling and air conditioning systems, the Chinese company is confident that the car could survive the extreme environment, assured Peng Zhonghong with CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Institute, the developer of the car.

Officials with Qatar’s ministry of transportation ride the bus. (Photo/thepaper.cn)

The electric vehicle is equipped with sensors that can read the dimensions of a road, enabling it to plan its own route automatically.

So far, the test is going well. If the car goes into operation, it will improve national transportation and provide high-quality services for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

China assists foreign countries with relics restoration

A hall of the Ta Keo temple after restoration (Photo/Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage)

China has achieved some results in helping foreign countries restore cultural relics and has gradually gained recognition in the international community.

China has helped restore ruined temples in the complex of Angkor since 1998 by renovating the Chau Say Tevoda temple and the Ta Keo temple.

Chinese experts began to renovate the Chau Say Tevoda temple in 2000. Back then, their capabilities to complete the restorations were doubted by their European counterparts, who thought the Chinese lacked experience in restoring stone-featured buildings as ancient Chinese buildings are mostly wooden structures.

In 2008, the Chinese experts finished the task by restoring the temple to its original appearance and style. “The project won high praise from the Cambodian government, international organizations and international cultural relics restoration institutions,” said Chai Xiaoming, president of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage.

The Ta Keo temple is the grandest mountain temple of the Angkor site and a representative building of the 11th century. The Chinese team not only restored the Ta Keo temple based on the international restoration guidelines and previous experience, but also trained a group of relics preservation technicians for Cambodia.

Some experts commented that the Ta Keo project marked that China has gradually become one of the forerunners in the preservation of Angkor relics.

China has contributed a lot to the protection and development of Angkor heritage, which greatly enhanced the country’s international reputation and influence, said an official with the committee in charge of coordinating the restoration of the Angkor site.

The Angkor protection was just a beginning. According to statistics from the National Cultural Heritage Administration, China has carried out eight cultural relics preservation projects in six countries by the end of 2018.

China has worked with Uzbekistan and Nepal to restore historical relics in these countries. Chinese experts were also invited to discuss the restoration of the Notre Dame de Paris after a fire ravaged the cathedral in April.

The international community needs China’s participation to protect cultural relics, which indicates that the country’s efforts to preserve cultural relics have been recognized, said Chai, adding that as an ancient civilization hosting numerous antiques, China could set an example for the world in cultural relics protection.

China leads the world in watermelon production and consumption

(Photo/Chinanews.cn)

With a planting area of over 30 million mu (about 2 million hectares) and an annual output value of more than 2 trillion yuan (about $290.8 billion), China tops the world in both watermelon production and consumption, Worker’s Daily reported Wednesday.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), China’s watermelon output was more than 79 million tons in 2018, while its imports and exports of the juicy fruit stood at 234,724 and 30,968 tons, respectively.

China consumed over 70 million tons of watermelon last year, with the per capita watermelon consumption exceeding 50 kilograms (kg), as indicated by the FAO figures.

By the year 2020, China’s watermelon output will reach 81.8 million tons, predicted market consultancy Askci Consulting.

Watermelon has long been a wallet-friendly fruit in China. Since June, watermelon prices have dropped to be the lowest among five major fruits consumed in China, according to data from the Information Center of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. This is thanks to the abundance of melons in the summer months, when most ripen.

As watermelon is cheap, delicious, and refreshing on hot days, it is the most popular fruit in China during the summer months.

Statistics from the China Agriculture Wholesale Market Association showed that the top 10 fruits last year in China in terms of sales volume were watermelon, apple, grape, orange, banana, kiwifruit, pear, pineapple, and mango.

“With the arrival of summer, air conditioning and watermelon have become lifesavers for many people. It is a great pleasure to lie on the couch, enjoying iced watermelon with the air conditioner on after a day of work or study,” said Liu Hong, a citizen in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.

The popularity of the fruit has created an enormous watermelon industry in the region, with a significant number of watermelon-themed events held each year.

A melon-themed competition was held recently in Panggezhuang Town, Daxing District of Beijing. During the event, an 80.1 kg watermelon won this year’s “watermelon king” title.

The competition has been held 31 times, in an area where the watermelon and muskmelon industry is now on a modern development path. With a planting area of 25,000 mu, Panggezhuang’s combined output of watermelon and muskmelon is 90,000 tons per year, bringing local melon farmers 210 million yuan in sales revenue.

Today, watermelon and muskmelon have been included in the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products of Daxing District, becoming a great business card of the district.

It’s estimated that by 2020, Panggezhuang’s annual watermelon output will reach 110,000 tons and yield 600 million yuan in revenue. The total output value of the watermelon industrial parks in the town is tipped to reach 1 billion yuan.

Recently a new type of watermelon, called the ice cream watermelon, has proven successful after it was planted in Fuling District of Chongqing.

Unlike regular watermelons, this ice cream watermelon does not grow on the ground but hangs from the tree, similar to grapes. Moreover, the pulp of the ice cream watermelon is creamy yellow and tastes like shaved ice if served after being kept in cold storage.

“My family used to be one of the impoverished families on the list of the anti-poverty campaign. After the fight against poverty was launched across the country, some poverty relief officials inspected my home and suggested that we plant watermelons. Over the past three years, I planted 5 to 6 mu of watermelons every year. I make more money now,” said Fu Huaquan, a villager of Yongxing Village, Shetan Town, Fengdu County of Chongqing.

By growing watermelons and raising pigs, Jinjiaping Village, which used to be one of the 95 poor villages in Fengdu County, lifted itself out of poverty in the scheduled time.

To consolidate the results and ensure that the villagers don’t fall back into poverty, locals have planted more than 1,500 mu of watermelon this year.

Ambassador Naghmana A. Hashmi arrives in Beijing

In her first official meeting upon arrival in Beijing, Ms. Naghmana A. Hashmi, Ambassador-designate of Pakistan to China, presented a copy of her credentials to Mr. Hong Lei, Director General of the Protocol Department, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.

Ambassador Hashmi said that Pakistan and China were close friends, partners and brotherly countries. This relationship had developed with the continuous efforts of successive generations of leaders and diplomats from both countries. The Ambassador expressed her desire to working closely with counterparts in China to further develop this deep-rooted friendship.

Hong welcomed Ambassador Hashmi, and conveyed China’s commitment to the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership for Shared Future in the New Era with Pakistan. He said “Pakistan and China are old friends and iron brothers. This is a special relationship.” Hong offered the full support of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ambassador in her new role.

A career diplomat, Ambassador Hashmi arrived in Beijing on 12 July 2019 after serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union since 2014. Past appointments included Additional Foreign Secretary for the Americas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador to Ireland. She has also served previously as Deputy Head of Mission in China.

China’s express delivery industry witnesses rapid growth

(Photo/Xinhua)

China’s express delivery business exceeded that of the U.S., Japan and European economies combined in 2018, accounting for more than half of the global express delivery market, according to a report on the industry released by the State Post Bureau on July 10.

Chinese delivery firms handled a total of 50.7 billion parcels in 2018, up 26.6 percent from the previous year.

The industry developed at a rapid pace in some regions. Twelve provinces handled a total of 44.66 billion parcels, accounting for 88.1 percent of the nation’s total.

The express delivery industry has also accelerated international business. Chinese companies have built 78 warehouses in countries along Belt and Road routes. Eighteen key provinces along the Belt and Road delivered 920 million parcels to overseas countries in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 39.4 percent.

It is predicted that China’s express delivery industry will maintain rapid growth in 2019. The annual business volume will exceed 60 billion items, with a revenue of 715 billion yuan.

China’s efforts to protect wet land repaid

(Photo/Xinhua)

The Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf (Phase I) in Yancheng, east China’s Jiangsu province, were inscribed on the World Heritage List as a natural site at the just-concluded 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

With a total area of 186,400 hectares, the Yellow Sea wet land is home to 680 vertebrate species, including 400 species of birds and 200 species of fish, amphibians and reptiles. It is also an important migration station along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

From 1983 the wet land was protected as a provincial nature reserve. Since then, people in the reserve have tried to protect the natural habitat of migrant birds.

Lyu Shicheng, a 59-year-old researcher, began working in the nature reserve since 1984. Lyu and his colleagues have researched for decades to domesticate, raise and multiply red-crowned cranes in the reserve and brought about many breakthroughs in these fields.

The land was upgraded as a national nature reserve in 1992 and was later recognized as an essential wet land globally.

The Tiaozini area wasn’t included into the Yellow Sea wet land until 2018. Before that, the area was developed for ecological breeding. In 2018, the Yancheng government hauled back the exploitation to better conserve the natural habitat for migrant birds.

Lei Guangchun, dean of the School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, said that the inscription of the wet land on the World Heritage List indicates that Yancheng has done a great job in protecting the wet land.

Being listed as a World Heritage Site not only helps protect the wet land, but also facilitates industrial transformation, enabling human beings to live in harmony with nature, said Wu Qijiang, director of Yancheng heritage application office.

Chinese university “secretly” puts subsidy into students’ meal cards

The short message notify a student of the subsidy

“Recently we found that your campus card consumption was relatively low during your mealtime in the campus canteen, so we put 200 yuan (about $29.07) into your account. Hope it helps.”

Many students in China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) received the above short message and found an extra 200 yuan in their campus card account lately. Confused about what has happened, a lot of the students thought they were targeted by some kind of scam.

The money turned out to be a subsidy from the university, which was endeavoring to help impoverished students secretly based on big data samples retrieved from students’ campus card consumption.

The practice has won praise from many students and teachers of the university as it was intended to help students, whilst also protecting their privacy.

“I noticed the extra money in my campus card. It was so warm and considerate of our university to help us in this way,” said a student in School of Computer Science and Technology, CUMT, disclosing that before checking with the financial aid management center, he was surprised at the short message in his cell phone and thought it was a fraud.

“Privacy protection is also an important part of our job. The reason why we put money secretly into their account is that we want to help them without hurting their dignity,” said a staff member of the university’s financial aid management center, explaining that they didn’t release the name list in public, but sent short messages to remind those students who were offered the help.

According to the above center, this just revealed one of the university’s various measures to provide financial and material help for impoverished students. The university also sends out 800 special cards every year, with each card being worth 100 yuan. Impoverished students can use the cards to get school supplies.

Besides this, CUMT offers train tickets and winter clothes to poor students, helping them to return home during vacations and stay warm in winter.

Many other Chinese universities have also introduced similar low-profile ways of offering financial aid to impoverished students by putting money into students’ campus cards.

Xidian University, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, and Zhengzhou University have all provided aid for poor students in similar ways.

Chinese enterprise helps Myanmar solve electricity shortage

The control room in the Chipwi Nge hydropower station (People’s Daily/Sun Guangyong)

Thanks to the hydropower station built by a Chinese enterprise, Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State in northern Myanmar, is provided with a constant electricity supply.

In 2013, China’s State Power Investment Corporation (CSPIC), the contractor, delivered the hydropower station to the local client.

The Chipwi Nge hydropower station, with a total installed capacity of 99 megawatts, can generate 599 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. By the end of 2018, the hydropower station had supplied 783 million kWh of electricity to cities in Kachin.

The hydropower station also provides jobs for local people. 51 of its total 69 employees are from the local community. The CSPIC has held various training courses for local employees in order to help them master advanced technologies.

Currently, only 44 percent of Myanmar people have access to electricity and many places are frequently stricken by power failures in summer. However, the demand for electricity grows at an annual rate of 19 percent.

Even though the government has increased power supply by 12 percent per year, it still is not able to satisfy the soaring demand due to inefficient generation and poor transmission.

To solve this issue, the local government has launched a three-year plan, under which it will develop electricity infrastructure under the guidance of the Chinese company.

China helps restore Nepal’s earthquake-damaged palace

After two years’ work, the tower is now under effective protection. (People’s Daily/Yuan Jirong)

With the help of Chinese conservation experts, the earthquake-damaged Basantapur Tower and its affiliate architectures in Durbar Square, Kathmandu, is recovering day by day.

Basantapur Tower is a nine-story 18th century palace built by the king of Nepal’s Shah Dynasty. It was severely damaged by a devastating earthquake which hit Nepal in April 2015.

The Nepalese government places high importance on the reconstruction of the Basantapur Tower, a UNESCO world heritage site of great artistic and historical value. At the request of the Nepalese government, a Chinese assistance group officially started the restoration project in 2017.

At the beginning, the Chinese team held a different restoration concept from their Nepalese counterpart. They insisted on restoring the palace to its original appearance, but the Nepalese experts proposed that some damaged parts to be pulled down and rebuilt.

Chinese experts found the walls were strong and solid even though they hadn’t been repaired in nearly 40 years. To tear them down and replace them with new ones will not only destroy the structure of the building, but would also cut down its historical value.

The Chinese team then built a simulation wall to show the Nepalese experts that the restored wall based on the original design could retain both the artistic and historical value of the wall. The restoration plan was eventually agreed by the Nepalese side.

Whilst the Nepalese workers started to understand the merit in keeping the original flavor of the building, the Chinese technicians also learned the traditional restoration techniques from the experienced Nepalese workers. Gradually, the two parties worked together in greater harmony.

The Chinese team adopted some advanced technologies in palace restoration. For example, they dispatched special team to digitize the restoration process of the palace so that it could be shared with and taught to other countries.

During a recent inspection, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal, highly praised the restoration project and expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government and people for the contribution to Nepal’s post-quake reconstruction.