China’s newest bullet train Hexie makes first public debut

China’s latest high-speed train model Hexie, type CRH5G, arrived at Xi’an, western China’s Shaanxi province, on July 6, making its first public debut.

The train will mostly be used for the newly constructed high-speed rail from Baoji to Lanzhou, which will start service on July 9.

Running between two western provinces, the train was developed to resist both cold and sand. The more modern and roomy train will also provide a better riding experience for passengers.

The dolphin-shaped train has a lower center of gravity and less wind noise. In addition, the body of the train has been widened by 10 centimeters. The train is also equipped with onboard Wi-Fi, enabling passengers to remain connected.

According to the Xi’an Railway Bureau, the new model is equipped with China’s first domestically-developed network control system, as well as an independently developed traction system. Over 90 percent of the train’s parts are manufactured China.

Long March rockets to provide commercial satellite-carrying service next year

More of China’s Long March rockets will be put into commercial use to meet the country’s increasing space launch demand.

The rockets will be used to shoot up small satellites to Sun-synchronous, Earth-synchronous, near-Earth orbits and other distances in space. According to China Aerospace Science and Technology Cooperation (CASC), the service will become available in 2018.

China’s colleges and universities, scientific research institutions as well as private enterprises are sending more small satellites to space, giving rise to the demand for carrier rockets.

CASC offers fast, stable and reliable shooting services for customers via constellation networks, exclusive, carrier and regular orbit launches.

Scientists Reveal Secret Formula That Keeps Roman Buildings From Collapsing

The mystery behind the outstanding strength of the ancient Roman aqueducts and other concrete buildings that have survived several millennia has finally been resolved.

The explanation lies in the unusual “chemistry” of its two main components — volcanic ash and sea water, an article published in the American Mineralogist journal says.

“The Pozzolanic reaction of volcanic ash with hydrated lime is thought to have dominated the cementing fabric and durability of 2,000-year-old Roman harbor concrete,” the study says.

Ancient Roman roads, aqueducts, the Pantheon, cathedrals and other constructions have survived several thousand years and are still in use.

Author of the publication Marie D. Jackson and her team found out that the main explanation of this phenomenon lies in a special type of concrete called “opus caementicium,” which was used during the construction of many buildings of that time.

In contrast to the modern concrete, which is made up of cement and crushed stone, its Roman ancestor is noticeably stronger. It did not fall apart, but on the contrary only grew stronger after contact with water, a phenomenon that remained a mystery to scientists for a long time. However, Jackson and other scientists found an extremely unusual component inside the concrete, namely Tobermorite group minerals.

These minerals consist of water, calcium, aluminum, silicon and oxygen and are usually formed in hydrothermal springs or within a volcano at ultrahigh temperatures.

According to the research team, the minerals formed inside the concrete as a result of the penetration of sea water and its interaction with an alkaline environment. The growing crystals of the tobermorite then interlocked with each other, which made the concrete stronger and prevented it from falling apart under the influence of chemically aggressive sea water.

This process, as scientists noted, can last several thousand years, during which the concrete not only does not collapse, but becomes increasingly stronger.

Now Jackson and several other geologists are trying to recreate the “formula” for the ancient Roman concrete, mixing different types of volcanic ash with sea water.

(Source: sputniknews)

Russia to Support China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative by All Means – Putin

Russia will fully support China’s “One Belt, One Road” project, because it will benefit economy, industry and trade of the both countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy was launched in 2013 and is aimed at developing infrastructure and strengthening ties between the Eurasian countries, focusing on the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. In May 2015, Russia and China signed an agreement aimed at combination of integration efforts of both the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road project.

“We see a big potential in the joint use of the Northern Sea Route, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline. It matches the initiative of the Chinese partners, which has been discussed recently at ‘One Belt, One Road’ forum in China. The initiative of the Chinese leader deserves special attention and will be supported by Russia by all means,” Putin said after the talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow.

Putin expressed the belief that the large-scale projects would intensify trade, enhance modernization of industry, create new jobs and prompt the development of regions in China and Russia.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the China Development Bank (CDB) agreed to establish a joint 68-billion-yuan (some $10 billion) investment fund, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

The agreement implies that the new fund would contribute to direct investments, including within the framework of the China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy.

The agreement was signed by the chiefs of the RDIF and the CDB within the framework of Xi’s visit.

Moreover, Russian oil giant Rosneft and China CEFC Energy Company Limited signed a strategic cooperation agreement on Tuesday.

The agreement was signed by the heads of the two energy companies during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia and the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin said after talks with Xi Jinping that Russian energy giant Gazprom and China’s CNPC continue coordinating the parameters of Russian gas supplies to China along the western route.

(Source: sputniknews)

Russian bookstore serves as window to learn Chinese culture

By Xing Xue, Qu Song from People’s Daily

The Moscow-based Chance Bookuu, a bookstore that sells China-related books in the city center, now acts as a window for Russian public to learn about Chinese culture. It enhances China-Russia cultural exchanges, mutual understanding as well as friendship between the two peoples.

The China Culture Week and a China-related book exhibition were opened on Monday at the store, during which a total of 492 Russian-language books about China and Chinese culture, as well as more than 5,000 books in Chinese were on display.

The Chance Bookuu, established one year ago against the shrinking number of entity bookstores, has risen to popularity.

Last Saturday, Russian readers came to buy the Stories Told by President Xi Jinping, a book compiled by the People’s Daily, which hit the store shelves last Friday, said Mu Ping, the Chairman of the Board of Russia Chance International Publishing Corp, which owns the Chance Bookuu bookstore in Moscow.

He added that the book was available to Russian readers in less than one month after it was published.

“We are pleased to see the book related to President Xi Jinping in Moscow, which enables Russian citizens to learn about China’s political and economic direction and the prospect for China-Russia cooperation through reading the books,” Vladimir Sakohalovi, professor at the School of Asian Studies of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, told the People’s Daily.

There are many young people in the bookstore, the bookstore manager Victoria disclosed.

More Russian residents are learning Chinese due to multiple reasons like strong interest in Chinese culture, better job opportunities after mastering Chinese and willingness to involve in works related to China, said Victoria, adding that the rising number is also attributed to the increasingly closer China–Russia ties.

The Russians’ stronger interest in China and bullish bet on China-Russia friendship will take the bookstore towards a better prospect, the manager added.

More than 160 events related to Chinese culture have been hosted by the bookstore on a weekly basis, with the themes covering tea-making demonstrations, exhibition of Chinese paintings, reading and listening course on Chinese and appreciation of Chinese poetry.

Those activities, open to the public for free, attracted over 7,000 participants each year.

The Chance Bookuu, just like a book Silk Road, transits Chinese ideas to Russia, said Svetlana Anikeyeva, director of the Oriental Literature Publisher.

The director added that there are reasons to believe that this road will greatly promote the China-Russia cultural exchanges and will contribute to mutual understanding as well as friendship between the two peoples.

Pic:
A Russian man is reading works related to Chinese President Xi Jinping at Chance Bookuu, a bookstore that sells Chinese books in central Moscow. (Photo by Wang Siyu from People’s Daily Online)

Xi’s Russian, German trips to facilitate global governance

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trips to Russia and Germany, against the complicated international arena, will not only upgrade China’s relations with the two countries, but also facilitate global governance, propel world’s economic growth and promote world’s peace and stability, an expert said on Tuesday.

Xi started his state visit to Russia on Monday, after which he will fly to Germany for a state visit and attend the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg.

The ties between China and Russia, the biggest neighbor to each other, are best-ever in history, which can be demonstrated by their frequent high-level mutual visits, wrote Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), in a signed article published on People’s Daily Overseas Edition.

The two are both major countries with great influence in global agendas, added Ruan, also a senior research fellow at CIIS.

Both countries, guided by the strategic plans made by the two heads of state, have made active efforts to dovetail the “Belt and Road” initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, pushed forward the all-round cooperation and tightened the bonds of their common interests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his annual “direct line” call-in session on June 15, vowed that Russia would undoubtedly launch effective cooperation with China as they not only have strategic ties, but also many overlapping goals and complementary opportunities.

Both nations, according to the visiting schedule, would sign a series of important cooperation documents on economy, trade, energy, investment, connectivity, media and education, so that the high-level political mutual trust will be translated into outcomes and the public will benefit from such collaboration.

China and Germany are now striving to build their ties into an upgraded version characterized by mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, Ruan stressed.

In the past three years after both countries upgraded their ties to an all-round strategic partnership during Xi’s visit to Germany in 2014, the two nations have made remarkable achievements.

So far, more than 70 dialogue mechanisms have been established between China and Germany, covering multiple fields including economy, security, disarmament and culture. In addition, China has become Germany’s largest trading partner last year.

In today’s world filled with uncertainties, China carries a weight in the diplomacy of Germany and Europe, said Ruan, adding that against such backdrop, China-Germany ties will not only boost cooperation between China and Europe, but also accelerate the growth of global economy.

The researcher admitted that as the host of this year’s G20 Summit, Germany is facing an extremely complicated situation, but China and Germany will join efforts to reap positive results from the meeting.

As members of the G20 troika, China and Germany voice the same appeal on agendas including anti-protectionism, protection of free trade system and economic globalization, which will help establish an open global economy and guarantee the success of the Hamburg Summit.

Themed with “Shaping an Interconnected World”, the Hamburg Summit follows the spirits of the Hangzhou Summit hosted by China last year.

Xi will, during this year’s meeting, explain China’s proposition on world economy and international economic cooperation, in a bid to promote policy coordination, push for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of world economy, and build confidence for international community, said the article.

6 Chinese smartphone brands listed in world’s top ten

Six Chinese smart phone brands are listed in the top ten in the global smartphone market in the first quarter of 2017 due to relatively low price and high quality, according to a analysis by IDC, an market research institute in China.

Chinese domestic mobile phone makers Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo ranked among the top three in the domestic market, with a market share of 20.0 percent, 18.2 percent, and 14.1 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2017.

Global smartphone shipments of Huawei totaled 34.55 million during the period, up 21.6 percent on year-on-year basis, with a market share increase to 9.8 percent. Oppo and Vivo saw growth in shipments of 93 percent and 82 percent, respectively, reaching 25.5 million and 22.7 million during the corresponding period.

Analysts noted that the high performance and reliability of Chinese smartphones have brought enormous pressure to Samsung and Apple. Although global shipments of Samsung and Apple’s smart phones made the top two in the first quarter of the year, their growth rate of 1 percent and minus 1 percent, respectively, is unimpressive.

Analysts also pointed out that breakthroughs made in global standards for mobile communications in recent years and long-term investments in product research and development have contributed to the rapid development of China-made smartphone brands.

Taking Huawei as an example, its smartphones nowadays are attracting more users due to relatively low price, beautiful appearance, long life battery, dual cameras, and crash-proof cases.

China tests its first intercity train powered by new energy

(Yuan Dan/Changchun Daily)

China’s first intercity train that is powered by new energy is being tested in Inner Mongolia, said the developer, CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd.

Able to shift its power source between the grid and batteries, the train can cover a range of over 200 kilometers using its off-grid power source. The technology allows the train to run on tracks of different standards.

The train will be powered by the grid and will use its batteries in areas where power is unavailable. Its top speed could reach 160 kilometers per hour.

The development of the train is significant because it can play a role in China’s accelerating urbanization and regional integration, according to experts.

Not only does the new train combine the functions of high-speed and light-rail trains, but experts think it will give China greater voice in terms of international standards.

China’s electric railway network has grown in recent years. But natural reserves and tourist sites also limit that expansion because of possible damage to the natural landscape and even regional ecologies. Using its off-grid power source, the new-energy train can cross those areas.

Thanks to new sound-proof materials and optimized sound insulation, the train noise is reduced. In addition, the train offers an onboard wireless networks.

The new-energy train could also play an important role in countries along the Belt and Road, experts said. Some of these countries are still using single track railways with complicated signal systems for both passengers and freights. New-energy trains would improve transportation efficiency and quality without constructing new railways or changing signal systems.

3D zebra crossings painted on Beijing roads to reduce accidents

Recently, 3D zebra crossings have been painted on some of Beijing’s busiest crossroads. These zebra crossings have a three-dimensional effect in both day and night, reminding drivers to slow down when approaching them.

From the drivers’ view, the 3D effect is obvious. According to Liu Shupeng, who works at the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, the innovative crossings are an improved version of the standard ones.

The white, blue, and yellow colors side by side tricks drivers into slow downing before they find out it is nothing but a zebra crossing.

A coordinator on duty at a crossroad said that the 3D zebra lines have worked well, forcing vehicles to slow down.

They have also received applause from pedestrians. A woman said accidents frequently happen at crossroads between right-turning drivers and pedestrians. She believes the new crossings will help reduce the frequency of such accidents.

However, some drivers wonder if they will lose their function after people get used to them.

The traffic management bureau said they will evaluate their effects and promote them citywide if positive.

Odd translation of Chinese dishes’ names likely to disappear, thanks to national translation guidance

(file photo)

The odd translation of Chinese dishes’ names into English will disappear soon, as a policy released by Chinese authorities on June 20 will take effect on December 1st. The policy will guide English translations for food and other services.

Translations of Chinese dishes with names that are odd, such as “Chicken without Sex,” “Four Glad Meat Balls,” and “Tofu Made by Woman with Freckles,” have created misunderstandings for years.

In fact, there is a lot of variety in Chinese cuisine, and their names have a lot of cultural meaning. Dishes are named according to appearance, taste, cooking methods, and ingredients, but their names also come from cultural elements, including the historical allusions and folk customs behind them.

Taking “Dongpo Pork” as an example, it implies the life story of Su Dongpo, a famous litterateur of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.). The “Four-Joy Meatballs (Meat Balls Braised with Brown Sauce)” contains people’s expectations for “happiness,” “affluence,” “longevity,” and “joy.” Research into their translation is as interesting as tasting the delicacies.

As a matter of fact, the ungrounded translations reflect a lack of service awareness, as names can influence foreign diners’ understanding of both Chinese delicacies and Chinese culture.

The new guidelines will standardize translation of dishes’ names, so that diners will not be puzzled by odd translations while enjoying the many delicacies in Chinese restaurants, both in China and overseas.