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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to bring major changes to Pakistan: Pakistani scholar

Pakistani workers work at the Peshawar-Karachi highway, the largest infrastructure project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. (Xinhua photo)

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring major changes to Pakistan, said Muhammad Iqbal Chawla, Dean of Faculty of Arts & Humanities at the University of Punjab, Pakistan, on the 7th World Forum on China Studies held in Shanghai from Dec. 10 to 11.

Chawla said the corridor will not only improve local infrastructure, but also create abundant jobs. In addition, it will expand power supply and promote the development of local agriculture, industry, and services.

Security has been a major concern during the construction of the economic corridor. For instance, as a vital province along the CPEC, Baluchistan has long been suffering from separatism and extremism.

Chawla admitted the existence of unstable political and economic factors in the country, adding that external factors also pose a threat, because some countries in the Indian Ocean and Middle East worry that the economic corridor might infringe upon their interests.

However, he believes that solutions to security issues will be found after the completion of the corridor, since it will boost the local economy and create lots of jobs.

As a result, Pakistan will develop into a completely different country that is free from the threat of terrorism and extremism.

According to Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, more than 30,000 Chinese are working in the country. He said security issues threaten the whole region are not exclusive to Pakistan, adding that both governments are closely working together to tackle the problem.

In response to Western criticism on the CPEC, Yao said in an interview with Pakistani media that the project has no hidden agenda and there is nothing to hide.

He explained that the corridor is a bilateral project between Beijing and Islamabad that aims to benefit South Asia and whole world.

Chawla noted at a forum roundtable on Monday that some neighboring countries of Pakistan have been fanning that China will colonize the country, but he believes that China’s investment will not only benefit Pakistan, but also the whole region.

“I believe the whole region would be glad to see India and the US not interfering with our internal affairs and making troubles for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Chawla told ThePaper.cn.

TCM doctor from Mali promotes health care development in rural China for 17 years

A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor from Mali has been practicing medicine in rural China for 17 years, Chinese newspaper Guangzhou Daily reported. According to the newspaper, the man surnamed Diarra has trained more than 5,000 village doctors in southwest China.

“To save people is the responsibility of every doctor, and it has nothing to do with nationality, ethnicity, or status,” Diarra said, adding that doctors should go to the places where people need them.

The 53-year-old doctor works as a TCM specialist at a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and he also uses half of his time doing public service in Yunnan.

Born in a family of medicine tradition, Diarra came to China for study in 1984 after graduating from a medical college in his motherland.

Hoping to learn stuff with Chinese characteristics, Diarra chose TCM as his major, saying it is a broad and profound discipline with unique charm.

After learning Chinese in Beijing for one and a half years, Diarra entered Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine for systematic study. He spent almost all of his time on the study of Chinese culture, in a bid to have a better understanding of TCM.

Diarra became the first foreigner in China to acquire doctoral degree of TCM in 1994 and the first foreign post-doctor of TCM in 2015.

Apart from being a qualified student, Diarra has made his own contribution to the promotion of rural medical services.

In 2001, he visited Yunnan’s Honghe prefecture as a volunteer, a place in extreme lack of medical resources. It was this experience that inspired him to push for the development of rural medical care in China.

Over the past 17 years, Diarra has visited numerous villages and trained more than 5,000 village doctors. To improve his public services, he has settled down in Yunnan. Under his effort, 90% of the six poverty-stricken counties in Honghe prefecture now have their own doctors.

According to Diarra, he will try to promote TCM in Africa. He plans to establish a comprehensive medical center that integrates research, education, and medical services, together with local TCM doctors.

AIIB approves $250 million loan for natural gas pipelines project in Beijing

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Dec. 11 announced the approval of a $250-million loan for a natural gas pipelines project in Beijing, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The project will serve 216,750 households in 510 villages. As the first investment by AIIB in China, it is estimated to reduce Beijing’s coal consumption by 650,000 tons.

In addition, it will cut emissions of carbon dioxide, particulate matters, sulfur dioxide, and nitric oxide by 595,700 tons, 3,700 tons, 1,488 tons, and 4,442 tons, respectively. The project is expected to be finished in 2021.

According to AIIB President Jin Liqun, the bank is committed to helping its members achieve their environment and development goals, especially those promised in the Paris Agreement.

“It is only fitting that our first investment in China will introduce sustainable infrastructure that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help invigorate one of the most important economic hubs in Asia,” Jin said.

China builds hydraulic engineering project in Nepal to help utilize local water resources

A local worker workers in the tunnel.

Effectively utilizing local water resources has long been a dream for Nepalese and now Chinese construction workers are helping them realize it by building a spectacular hydraulic engineering project.

The Babai River located in the Bardiyā, Surkhet, is one of Nepal’s most important water resources, and hailed as “the river of life” by locals. However, the seasonal changes in stream discharge are a headache for local residents: draughts in dry seasons and floods in rainy seasons.

Bheri River is another river in the region with 10 times the flow of the Babai. Diverting water from Bheri to Babai in dry seasons has always been a dream for local residents.

According to an official with Nepal’s Ministry of Irrigation, the country is currently trying to solve the issue with an inter-basin water transfer project called the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project.

The project, contracted by China Overseas Engineering Group (COVEC), started in June 2015, with a total value of $107 million and a construction period of 58 months.

The official said that the project is designed to divert the water through a 12.2-kilometer tunnel at a velocity of 40 cubic meters per second. The diverted water will be used to irrigate about 51,000 hectares of farmland.

Thanks to the 152-meter difference in water levels between the two rivers, a 48 MW hydraulic power plant will also be constructed.

For the first time in Nepal’s history, a tunnel boring machine is being used to excavate the tunnel through fragile rocks. Normally, it would take three months to drill 500 meters, but the Chinese company shortened the period by one month.

The official from Irrigation Ministry told People’s Daily that such engineering equipment would enjoy a broad application in mountainous countries like Nepal.

The project director of the Nepalese side, surnamed Cerf, said that Nepal, as an agricultural country, is highly dependent on water resources.

The country will enjoy an extra income of $29 million from irrigation and $42 million from power generation annually upon the completion of the project, he added.

5-year-old girl completes 6-day hiking trip in no-man’s land with parents

A 5-year-old girl from eastern China’s Zhejiang province recently took a 6-day hiking journey with her parents in a no-man’s land in November, finishing an unimaginable challenge, West China City News reported.

“We learned a lot from the trip, though it was short,” said the girl’s father, Pan Tufeng, in an interview with West China City News on Dec. 7.

Having decided not to send his daughter to kindergarten, Pan hopes to build up her willpower through such challenges.

The girl named Wenwen started hiking in Lop Nur, also called the “sea of death,” in late October, together with her parents, elder brother, and an 11-year-old friend who is a boy.

Pan had planned to cross the desert before, but was later persuaded by his friends that the kids are too young for such activity.

After discussion with his wife, he hired a local guide and decided to spend 10 days in the desert.

The trip was not a touring experience, in that all of the three kids had to carry water with them: three liters for the boys and one liter for the girl. After two days of excitement, they began to feel exhausted with the ceaseless walking each day.

Based on this situation, Pan and his wife decided to call a halt and pull back. However, the couple still had tough requirement on the three children, that is, every one of them must act independently no matter how tired they were. On the sixth day, the five of them made it out of the desert.

According to Pan, the lack of water was also a reason for him to stop the plan. “It was not a successful challenge, but we learned a lot,” Pan said.

People always feel desperate in the boundless desert even with a local guide. Such experience would help the children understand the significance of persistence, Pan noted, adding that they have also learned to cherish things.

Now, Pan has a new plan for Wenwen before she goes to elementary school in September 2018: to hike along the Qinghai-Tibet highway, one of the four national highways that stretches into Tibet. Wenwen has already completed hiking challenges on the other three of them.

Mandarin Chinese introduced as Ireland’s Leaving Certificate subject

Students of Confucius Institute at University College Dublin show their Chinese calligraphy. (File photo)

Mandarin Chinese has been introduced as a subject in Ireland’s Leaving Certificate exam, the final examination in the Irish middle school system, according to a 10-year foreign language teaching strategy released by the Irish government on Dec. 4.

The strategy, said a government official, is an important measure to cope with the rise of non-English speaking countries and the Brexit issue. Starting in 2020, Mandarin Chinese will be an optional course for middle school students in the country, and it will become an exam subject in 2022.

The plan sets out a roadmap to put Ireland in the top ten countries in Europe for the teaching and learning of foreign languages.

The plan states that Ireland should be fully prepared for the upcoming challenges, given the ever-changing situations in the global context and Europe.

As the largest English-speaking country in the European Union after the Brexit, Ireland said it must take the teaching of foreign language as a major strategy, in order to maintain its status in the international community.

Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills (DES) believes that these challenges also suggest opportunities. “Ireland positions itself as a small but open economy in the global economic center,” the department said, adding that the new strategy will ensure the maximum utilization of resources and the ability of the education system to cope with the ever-changing global environment.

Mandarin Chinese has been listed as one of the eight languages that will have a major impact on the country’s future. The DES noted that the number of dual-language middle schools will be increased by a quarter, and the country will see 25% more students taking bilingual tests in the Leaving Certificate.

According to Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Ireland has witnessed an increase in the number of people learning Chinese and studying in China in recent years.

There are two successfully operated Confucius Institutes in Ireland, with one at University College Dublin and the other at University College Cork. Through the efforts of the two institutes, more and more Irish graduates have mastered basic knowledge of Chinese language and culture.

The new foreign language strategy released by Ireland indicates a larger demand for Chinese language teachers of the country in the future, an overseas expert said.

Firms warned over Australia tension

Chinese enterprises should prepare for possible changes in policy and the business environment in Australia in order to manage potential investment risks in the market, an expert said on Monday.

The comments came after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used unusually sharp language to reject China’s complaints after he raised concerns about Chinese influence in domestic politics last week, according to media reports.

Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said Friday at a regular press conference that he was shocked by Turnbull’s remarks, saying “these groundless and unfounded remarks can sabotage China-Australia relations and are detrimental to the foundation of mutual trust and cooperation.”

A shift in Australia’s political attitude toward China would bring a negative impact for Chinese companies operating in the Australian market, noted Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Wang told the Global Times on Monday that Chinese companies may not feel the tension in their business in the short term, but after some time they might start to see certain changes in the local business environment and policies.

“The recent political tension between China and Australia is unlikely to change my company’s plan to enter the Australian market,” said a senior employee surnamed Luan from a garment producer in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province.

“Business is just business, and if there are many orders, we are willing to take them,” Luan told the Global Times on Monday.

A property developer in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, also told the Global Times on Monday that investment in Australia has not been hindered for now, but the situation will need further observation.

Wang said that Chinese enterprises should enhance their competitive competence and make preparations for potential changes of policy and laws in Australia.

“Domestic firms should watch out for risks when investing in the Australian market,” he said.

“It is not easy for Australia to keep a distance from China because the country depends on economic and trade cooperation with China,” Wang noted.

Australia is the second-largest recipient of Chinese outbound direct investment after the US, according to a report released in May by KPMG and the University of Sydney.

Australia received $90 billion in new Chinese investment from 2007 to 2016, it said, noting that Chinese investment in Australia rose 11.7 percent in 2016 to $11.49 billion thanks to growing interest in the country’s commercial real estate, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

China was Australia’s largest trade partner by the end of September this year. The trade in goods between China and Australia reached $92.07 billion from January to September, up 25.4 percent year-on-year, according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Impact on travel

The political tension between China and Australia has not yet affected the tourism sector as trips to Australia are still popular among Chinese people this winter, industry insiders said.

“The tourism sector has not felt the tension so far… Domestic travelers often book trips one or two months in advance and trips to Australia in December 2017 and January 2018 have already sold out,” Shanghai-based tourism company Lvmama told the Global Times on Monday.

The number of Chinese tourists to Australia rose more than 100 percent year-on-year from January to November, according to data from Lvmama.

Vicky Wang Zhuo, co-founder and CEO of online travel platform pinchain.com, told the Global Times on Monday that the tourism sector has been unaffected so far because now is the busy season for traveling to Australia as it is currently summer in the country.

“My choice hasn’t been affected because the tension is just like a normal political game between China and Australia, which should not be overstated or become a cause of public outrage,” Tang Tang, a 20-something Beijing resident, told the Global Times Monday.

But a 30-something white-collar worker in Beijing who only gave his name as Robin said that he would not choose to travel to Australia if the bilateral situation becomes worse, because of concerns that “Chinese tourists may not be welcomed or get good service in the country.”

Source: Global Times

 

China rises to key role in WTO

As China marks the 16th anniversary of joining the WTO on Monday, it has found itself in a complex situation with regard to its position in the global trade organization, with the country playing an increasingly important role but also facing a tough battle with the EU and US.

Since joining the multilateral trade body on December 11, 2001, China has been trying to make good on its promises to the WTO, carrying out massive reform and opening programs, but it has become clear that these efforts have not been fully recognized by some members of the organization who are failing to hold up their end of the bargain, experts noted on Sunday.

“It has become a really one-sided relationship between China and a few WTO members that have benefited massively from China’s accession to the WTO in the past 16 years. They still thwart China at every corner and refuse to keep their promises,” Jiang Yong, a research fellow at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.

China is currently in a legal battle with the EU and the US at the WTO regarding China’s market economy status, a key issue that has huge implications for trade between China and other WTO members.

Under the terms of China’s accession to the WTO, other members could levy anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods using the analogue country method, but that expired on December 11, 2016, at which point China should have been granted recognition as a market economy.

However, the EU and the US have refused to recognize China as a market economy and are continuing to use the analogue country method in determining anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods, prompting China to take the case to the WTO. Officials at the WTO conducted hearings on the case on Wednesday.

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that the EU and the US were being “irresponsible and irrational” in their refusal to recognize China’s market economy status.

“This is a promise they made and a responsibility they need to fulfill as members of the WTO. But they are completely ignoring the rules of the WTO,” Bai told the Global Times on Sunday.

Jiang said that China should reconsider how it approaches the WTO. “We can keep our heads down and work on the promises and make contributions to global trade, as we have been, but this has proven unfair to China. If you don’t fight back, they will continue to pick on you.”

The two experts noted that China has benefited a lot from the WTO but the world economy has also benefited massively from China’s contribution to global economic growth, foreign trade and investment.

Contribution to global trade

Since China joined the WTO, tens of thousands of foreign companies have entered the Chinese market and the country remains a very attractive destination for foreign investment, experts said.

In the first 10 months of the year, China attracted more than $9 billion in foreign direct investment, up 5 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce on November 14.

China’s trade continues to grow, helping to drive global demand. In the first 11 months of the year, China’s trade volume rose 15.6 percent from the previous year to 25.14 trillion yuan ($3.8 trillion), data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.

“China has become a main driving force for global trade and a strong defender of the multilateral trade system. China’s role has become more important than ever before,” Bai said.

“China will continue to carry out its reform and opening plans and continue to contribute to the global economy, regardless of what the EU and the US say or do,” he said.

China has kept opening up domestic industries to foreign investors, including the financial sector. And officials have signalled that this won’t stop.

In a speech at the 2017 Fortune Global Forum held in Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong Province last week, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said China will further ease market access for foreign investors, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Source: Global Times

 

 

Scientists succeed in developing non-transgenic rice that helps control weeds

Chinese scientists have developed a new kind of non-transgenic rice that grows well with weed control methods at a test field in Shenzhen, southern China’s Guangdong province, Science and Technology Daily reported.

Scientists say that the breakthrough is expected to increase the value of production of each mu, or 0.067 hectares of rice field, by 120 to 300 yuan ($45).

The Guangdong-based team is led by Deng Xingwang from Peking University and Dr. Tang Xiaoyan under China’s Thousand Talents Program, which aims at bringing Chinese-born experts back from abroad.

Weeds in rice fields can be removed once and for all after using herbicides, and the rice seedlings will not be harmed, Tang said.

The clean growing mode has proved successful at test fields in many places across the country, including Sichuan, Guangdong, and Anhui provinces. The breakthrough has also been applied to wheat, corn, and rape cultivation.

In addition, the develop team has formed a coalition with research institutions, seed companies, and agro-chemical companies to promote the clean growing mode.

In 2010, Tang returned to China from the US and started testing the new rice variety.

China’s elderly population to account for 40% of Asia’s total by 2050

China’s elderly population is estimated to hit 480 million by 2050, accounting for two-fifths of the total figure in Asia, said Zhu Yaoyin, vice president of China National Committee on Aging, Dec. 6.

China is currently the only country in the world with an elderly population of over 200 million, Zhu said, and that percentage is expected to increase by 24% from 2000 to 2050, twice that of the estimated world average.

In addition, Zhu noted, China has turned into an aging society as a developing economy, which constitutes a serious issue.

As a result, the country is faced with a huge task, especially with ongoing urbanization and a low-birth rate trend.

Zhu promised that the country will further enhance the social security system and basic public services for senior citizens, and find solutions to tackle major difficulties.

Meanwhile, the country will take measures based on comprehensive evaluations to improve the elderly care system, such as community-based and smart care services.