Banning official’s visit while asking for money from China reveals India’s ‘double standards’

(Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran)

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reportedly denied permission to Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran to attend a global tourism event in China. What the ministry did was criticized as “double standards,” since on the one hand it banned official’s Chinese visit, while on the other asked for money from China.

The UN World Tourism Organization will hold its 22nd General Assembly in Chengdu, China, on September 11, an event which will be attended by tourism ministers and officials from 160 countries.

Surendran said the denial was more like a political decision, and the MEA has not cited any reason for it, the Hindustan Times reported on September 9. According to the report, the tourism minister received an invitation letter to attend the event in early June and started to prepare for the visit thereafter.

In a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Kerala said his state is disappointed at the denial of opportunity in promoting its tourism at an international forum. Participation at the conference would have given Kerala an opportunity to present its achievements before a global audience, he wrote, according to Times of India.

Though maintaining high alertness toward China, India seems to want more from the latter. During a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan on the sidelines of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Manila, Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu called for greater Chinese investments in India, according to The Hindu on September 9.

The investments, according to the Indian minister, will be aimed at reducing India’s bilateral trade deficit with China, which, in the last fiscal year, was $51 billion. The India side also wanted to seek greater investments from Chinese firms, including in India’s export-focused special economic zones, The Hindu said.

China to ban traditional fuel cars: industry authority

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is formulating a timetable to end the production and sales of traditional fuel cars in a bid to promote the development of electric vehicles, according to a MIIT official.

The move is seen as a step to join France, Britain, and other countries to announce plans to end sales of petrol and diesel cars, Xin Guobin, deputy minister of the MIIT, said at an auto industry forum held from September 8 to 10 in north China’s Tianjin.

Xin said the MIIT is currently working with other departments to formulate administrative guidelines, which will be released soon.

The Netherlands was the first country to set a clear timetable to ban the sales of petrol and diesel automobiles. Britain recently announced it will end sales of traditional fuel cars by 2040, mainly to reduce air pollution.

State Grid starts first cross-border online mall

The State Grid Corporation of China, the country’s largest utility company, launched a cross-border online mall in Beijing on Sept. 6, in an effort to secure a spot in global e-commerce market. The platform completed its first transaction with a purchaser from Dubai on the first day of opening.

The online mall, which sells equipment and construction resources manufactured by state-owned companies, aims to become an export platform for Chinese products, including electrical equipment, photovoltaic and new energy products, and electronic messaging services.

It will also serve as an import platform for high-quality commodities from Belt and Road countries, as well as a purchasing platform for China’s foreign investment projects and construction.

The platform features three business modules—docking demand and supply, online trade, and value-added services, as well as 12 business functions, including information publishing, trade promotion, online customs clearances, logistics, overseas storage, financial services, credit rating, and big data analysis.

The launch of the platform is an important step forward in the implementation of the national “Internet Plus” campaign, according to an official with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, who encouraged state-owned enterprises to develop global e-commerce.

‘Father of hybrid rice’ proposes to develop sea-rice for world food security

Yuan Longping, China’s “father of hybrid rice,” proposed to develop sea-rice to protect food security of China and the world, during the 2017 East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong province, Sept 7.

Yuan said raising the unit production of rice is a tough issue. “It is expected that 60 percent more rice will need to be produced in 2030 compared to 1995. Currently, one hectare for rice production provides food for 27 people. By 2050, one hectare will have to support 43 people.”

Yuan expects the yield of sea-rice to reach at least 300 kilograms per mu (0.07 hectares) by 2020. China would gain another 30 billion kilograms of grains if the country gains 100 million mu of fertile land on mud flats, which could feed the whole Hunan province in central China for one year, he said.

Growing rice is the first choice to improve the quality of saline-alkaline soil, which equals 950 million hectares worldwide, Yuan said. China has 100 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil, of which 18.7 million hectares are explorable land.

“If 50 percent of the world’s rice paddies were hybrids, rice production would increase by another 150 million tons, and 400 to 500 million more people could be fed,” Yuan said.

The East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform is expected to boost cooperation in marine sectors among China, Japan, South Korea, and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The forum will last two days.

Commodity traders hit by price rise

Traders across China have expressed mixed reactions to an ongoing environmental compliance crackdown in East China’s Zhejiang Province, a major manufacturing base for wholesale commodities.

The Economic Observer newspaper reported on Saturday that a whirlwind of environmental compliance crackdowns has caused “a tide of closures” of shops in massive commodity shopping complexes at Zhejiang’s Yiwu city.

Yiwu is one of the biggest wholesale commodity centers in the world, serving customers from home and abroad.

Multiple sources reached by the Global Times confirmed on Sunday that there have been shop closures in the commodity centers, but they said the scale has been quite limited so far.

However, commodities traders have expressed rising concerns about the effect of the environmental inspections in Zhejiang and many other parts of China on the cost of goods, and how the move will affect foreign trade.

The ongoing fourth round of national environmental inspections dispatched by the central government has been more strict and efficient than ever, and violators are facing fines, factory closures, and even custodial sentences, according to media reports.

Nationwide, authorities have imposed fines worth a total of 280 million yuan ($43.2 million).

A consultant, who did not wish to be named, at yiwugou.com, the online platform of Yiwu’s commodity center, told the Global Times on Sunday that shop closures inside the market were related to the environmental crackdown.

A local merchant trader surnamed He, whose shop sells gift bags and paper to Europe and South America, said a small number of shops had closed due to a shortage of stock.

Chen Xiaoping, a trader who sells textile products, told the Global Times on Sunday that inspections of this magnitude are rare, and this one has caused suppliers to raise the price of cloth products sold to her by 0.1 to 0.2 yuan per meter.

Beyond Yiwu

Experts said that if a crackdown is causing small factories in Zhejiang to close en masse, it could affect related products’ prices and disrupt the supply chain, with possible effects on small commodity exports, particularly as Zhejiang is the major production base for many types of commodities.

A trader surnamed Yang at the Nansantiao wholesale market in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China’s Hebei Province, said he was keeping a close watch on the impact of the environmental crackdown.

Nansantiao has traditionally served as a relay station to send commodities from Yiwu to northern markets.

Yang also owns a small plant, and he sells protective gloves.

“Small-scale factories and plants usually face the brunt of crackdowns of this kind. In turn, downstream wholesalers are affected when factory-gate prices rise. If they have sufficient stock, then they are less exposed,” Yang told the Global Times on Sunday.

“Export merchants are less affected than those who do domestic business only. Their higher profit margin and time-nurtured clients mean they are better able to absorb the impact of supply chain disruptions,” Yang noted.

A merchant surnamed Ma in Erenhot, North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, told the Global Times on Sunday that he was feeling the pinch from the effects of environmental inspections.

Ma buys bicycles from Chinese manufacturers and sells them to Mongolian customers visiting his shop in Erenhot.

“Environmental protection checkups, factory closures, stock price hikes, higher prices of end products – these things happen like dominos,” Ma noted.

He added that bike producers in East China’s Shandong Province, North China’s Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality have all raised their prices starting from September.

“Added to the fact that the Mongolian currency is depreciating, it will mean reduced purchasing power for my Mongolian customers,” Ma said.

“When I sell things with a slightly higher price tag due to the cost of environmental protection efforts, I can take it peacefully. It is usually my clients who cannot take it, as they are very sensitive about prices,” Yang said.

“Producing goods in an environmentally friendly fashion will cost more, inevitably,” Yang added.

In the long-term, his customers will accept this and live with it, but it takes time to change people’s attitudes, the merchant noted.

Source: Global Times

Chinese scientists offer new possibilities for locust plague prevention

Chinese scientists at the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have provided a new idea for the prevention and control of locust plagues by using genetic modification technology, Sichuan Daily reported on Sept. 8.

Locust plagues are usually caused by swarm mentality and their ability to fly for a long time. Two genes related to sense of smell in their heads make them respond to chemical signals released by others and help them decide whether to move or not. The genes are influenced by dopamine.

Chinese scientists have put forward the idea to alter the gene sequence related to dopamine and the sense of smell in locusts so that they cannot respond to the messages, thus preventing large-scale threats to crops.

This breakthrough thinking has become a new thought for the pest control world.

Chinese man earns 100K RMB a month by cooking Chinese dishes in Morocco

Wang Luping, a post-80s man from Zhejiang province, China, earns 100,000 RMB (about $15,000) a month by running a Chinese restaurant in Morocco to offer Sichuan cuisines to Chinese tourists in the country, China News reported on Sept. 7.

There were less than 1,000 Chinese tourists in Morocco when Wang first came to the country. However, the number has skyrocketed by a factor of six since Morocco started letting Chinese tourists enter the country without a visa in June 2016.

Wang opened the restaurant to offer Sichuan cuisines to Chinese visitors, as they usually have a hard time getting used to the local food. He decorated it with Chinese elements, including lanterns, couplets, and old-fashioned wooden armchairs, and named it the “Great Wall.” The restaurant provides him a monthly income of 100,000 RMB.

In addition, with more exchanges between China and Africa, people in Morocco are excited about learning Chinese. Wang said that sometimes people ask him questions about China, which makes him feel valued.

Rural migrant worker gives lecture at China’s top university

Huang Jiusheng, a rural migrant worker who obtained an Executive MBA degree from Peking University and has contributed a lot to the society, recently shared his life experience in a speech at the university, winning a big round of applause, Workers’ Daily reported on Sept. 7.

Huang had to drop out of school at the age of 18 due to family poverty. He worked at a construction site as a rural migrant worker, but never gave up learning. He has said that one must study for a lifetime to stay current.

He self-studied college and university lessons on architecture before he was admitted to the top university in 2013. Many of the projects designed by Huang won the Luban Prize, the highest prize in China for construction projects.

Despite his success, Huang never forgot to give back to society.

Huang donated more than 13 million yuan ($2 million) to help build schools, roads, and elderly homes and purchase medical equipment for society.

In addition, Huang established a Party branch for rural migrant workers to help safeguard their legal rights, recovering unpaid wages of over 30 million yuan ($4.6 million) in the past years, and helped lead more than 10,000 rural people out of poverty.

Due to his unremitting efforts and great contributions to society, Huang was awarded several prizes by the country, including National Outstanding Party Member, National Moral Model, and National Model Worker.

3 pct of college grads start own business, twice that of developed countries

College graduates who choose to start own businesses account for 3 percent in China, almost twice that of developed countries, said Wu Yan from China’s Ministry of Education at a press conference on Sept. 8 in Beijing, China News reported.

The national final of the 3rd China College Students’ “Internet Plus” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition is to be held at Xidian University in Xi’an, northwestern China’s Shaanxi province, from Sept. 16 to 18.

About 1.5 million college students with 370,000 projects from 2,241 universities and colleges took part in the competition, according to Wu, a sharp increase due to China’s vigorous promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education in recent years.

In addition, 116 college teams from 25 other countries and regions, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Australia also joined the competition, signifying that China’s efforts to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in education is having international repercussions.

Infectious disease monitoring system in Sierra Leone built with aid of Chinese medical experts

An infectious disease monitoring system has been successfully established in Sierra Leone with the aid of medical experts from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, China News reported on Sept. 7.

The monitoring system, based on 22 monitoring sites across the country, has handled over 8,000 reported infection cases since it was first put into use in August 2016, reporting on and monitoring more than 30 infectious diseases involving 40 symptoms in the country in real time.

Sierra Leone suffers from malaria, typhus, monkeypox, Ebola, and other infectious diseases, and has had difficulty in dealing with the diseases due to inadequate medical infrastructure.

Zhang Shitao, director of the academy, said the system is able to provide Sierra Leone with direct access to data on the monitoring and early warning of diseases, epidemic analysis, and timely scientific decision-making.

In order to safeguard the operation of the system, experts from the academy also travel to monitoring sites in Sierra Leone to offer professional training to medical staff to ensure accuracy, timeliness, and reliability of data.