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More partners on board CCI Southern Transport Corridor

More partners have agreed to jointly develop the China-Singapore Connectivity Initiative (CCI) Southern Transport Corridor, which is expected to offer a shorter and more direct trading route between western China and Southeast Asia, China News reported.

Chinese provinces such as Sichuan, Henan and Hunan, alongside countries such as Poland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all expressed their wishes to help build the corridor at the 10th Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum & the 2nd China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor Development Forum, held in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on May 24.

An ambassador of the UAE to China noted that the UAE, with its superior geological position, hopes to connect Asian, African and Mediterranean countries with European countries as a logistics hub.

Building the corridor will bring major opportunities to both western China and ASEAN countries, said Ma Biao, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Wei Ran, an official of Guangxi, introduced that cargo is now transported through the trade route to 58 ports of 35 countries. The corridor has saved freights a distance of 1,000 kilometers and reduced the average travel time of cargo by 12 days.

Wei disclosed that 660 sea-railway trains, 100 freight trains and 500 cross-border highway transport vehicles will operate through the route this year, which is believed to bring huge market potential.

The corridor was designed to link western China to Southeast Asia through Chongqing, a municipality in western China and Singapore, and to connect the overland Silk Road Economic Belt with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Its construction has made substantial progress since the initiative was launched in 2017.

From poor to rich: A visit to a fishing village in southeast China

“In the past we lived on boats floating on the sea; now we live on land, working in peace and contentment.” The couplet hung above a square of Xipi village, Fu’an City of southeast China’s Fujian province is a showcase of the dramatic changes the locals have undergone over the past years.

Photo shows a shabby boat placed on the Xipi Village square. Photo by Liu Lingling

For a long time, the villagers had been living on boats throughout their life, which is why they were called the “Gypsies on sea”.

Without fixed residence, it was common at that time for a family of three generations to live on a same shabby boat that frequently needed repairs.

For the village secretary Liu Mingfu who spent his entire childhood on the boat, the deck was both his home and workshop. It was a place where he did almost everything.

“We had eight family members on the boat, and it was always rocking on the waves, so it was a dream of us to have a good sleep on land,” Liu recalled. “Having no fixed place to live, no insurance for the elderly, no school for the young and no easy access to medical care was what we had experienced.”

It was not until the 1960s that Liu and his fellow villagers started to move onshore. Great efforts have been made by the provincial government to implement welfare projects and relocate the fishermen since late 1990s.

The government took strong measures in the process, including offering free land for relocation, opening roads, electricity, water, communication and radio and television signals, and providing subsidies for relocated villagers.

Photo shows Liu Deren’s three-storey house. Like Liu, most villagers have moved into such houses. Photo by Liu Lingling

In a few years, 1,425 people from 349 households had been relocated. At the end of 2013, the fishermen finally bid farewell to their floating life after the relocation of the rest 137 households.

What followed the relocation was the urgent need to improve livelihood. To achieve that, Xipi Village forged a unique path of sea economy featuring aquaculture, seafood business and maritime transportation. In 2017, villagers’ per capita income reached 18,756 yuan ($2,936) from 850 yuan in the 1990s.

“Living in bigger houses with electronic appliances, we are contented with our life. The government organizes training on production techniques every year. We now live a totally different life,” villager Liu Deren said while showing the reporter around his house.

New focus on coastal FTZs

The Chinese government is re-shifting the focus of free trade zones (FTZs) back to coastal areas, which experts said can maximize the effects and influence of FTZs by taking advantage of the regions’ developed economies.

The government will further deepen the opening-up and reform plan for FTZs in South China’s Guangdong Province, North China’s Tianjin and East China’s Fujian Province, the State Council, the country’s cabinet, announced on Thursday.

According to several separate statements published on gov.cn, the central government website, the authorities will further develop the negative list mechanism for foreign investors, further ease market access and increase the opening-up scale in the services sector.

Tang Wenhong, head of the Department of Foreign Investment Administration under the Ministry of Commerce, said during a State Council press conference on Thursday that the government is now drafting two foreign investment negative lists, one for foreign investment into FTZs and the other for foreign investment in regions outside FTZs.

The FTZs will be granted more decision-making power in reforms, and a convenient, international business environment will be set up in the zones, according to the statements.

Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said that the central government is using the FTZs as “experimental areas” for domestic policies, particularly in terms of opening-up.

“If the policies are successful in the FTZs, they will be replicated outside,” he told the Global Times on Thursday.

In April, the government also announced a plan to set up an FTZ in South China’s Hainan Province. China has set up 11 FTZs so far.

Focus on coastal areas

The government has tried to take a balanced approach to FTZs in China by setting up some of them in inland cities, Dong noted.

In April 2017, the government opened seven FTZs, several of which were in inland cities in Central China’s Hubei and Henan provinces.

“Of course those FTZs have some beneficial effects for the local economy, but their development scale and influence is much weaker as a result of their relative geographical isolation,” Dong told the Global Times on Thursday. “For example, we have heard a lot about the Wuhan FTZ, but there has been little action.”

Zhou Yu, director of the Research Center of International Finance at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said coastal areas usually have more developed economies and financial systems, and also have more business related to overseas trade, providing “ripe conditions” for FTZ development.

Different roles

The statements also listed some detailed plans for expanding trade-related business in the Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian FTZs.

For example, the government will speed up the construction of whole car importing ports in Fuzhou and Xiamen, while the Tianjin FTZ is expected to strengthen cooperation with international ship management firms.

The government wants to give different trade roles to different FTZs, Zhou said. “Geographical advantages could provide a good reference for this. For example, the Guangdong FTZ can focus on trade business with Hong Kong and Hainan can develop tourism,” Zhou noted.

Source: Global Times

 

Dome using Hualong One technology installed in south China

A dome has been installed on the containment building of unit three at the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, May 23.

The addition of the dome shows the construction project has now entered into a new phase of development in which the equipment is installed. Unit three uses Hualong One technology, a domestically developed third-generation reactor design concept.

Sources say the unit is almost 90 percent homemade, and showcases a combination of Chinese technologies in design, construction, testing and operation.

The dome was added eight days ahead of time, demonstrating China’s orderly abilities in building the domestically developed reactor, as well as the capability of its builder China General Nuclear (CGN), said chief director of the project.

CGN has built many projects using Hualong One technology in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia in recent years, and has also propelled mass construction of such projects within China.

Two units at the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant are already operational. They alone provide 15 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year for the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.

CGN chairman He Yu said exporting a Hualong One nuclear plant will help 5,400 Chinese manufacturing enterprises, which in turn will elevate the influence of Chinese manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing.

Fujian zookeepers help pandas deal with summer heat

Now the panda twins at Ling Ling Animal Kingdom, a zoo in China’s Fujian province, can really enjoy a chilled-out summer.

To help the pandas deal with a recent bout of scorching weather, feeders at the zoo have provided them with watermelons, ice and chrysanthemum tea, a beverage used to clear heat and inflammation in traditional Chinese medicine.
The panda house is also air-conditioned, keeping the average temperature at a pleasant 23 degrees Celsius. According to the feeders, 6 air-conditioners have been installed and are kept on 24 hours per day.

In addition, the zoo has built a pond around the panda house so that the twins can enjoy a refreshing dip in the water. The zoo added that if they are playing outside the panda house, ice and fruits will be offered to them.
Apart from the pandas, other animals at the zoo are also well protected from the summer heat by zookeepers. Giant ice plates that weigh more than 50 kilograms have been created for the resident brown bears, and special “ice creams” are fed to the chimpanzees.

China’s automatic agricultural machinery system now in use

China’s self-developed automatic driving system, based on the Beidou navigation system, has been widely put to use across the country, China News reported on May 23.

The automatic driving system, developed by the Beijing UniStrong Science & Technology Co., Ltd, has been put to work on several million mu of arable land in more than 10 provinces and regions in China, according to the Ninth China Satellite Navigation Conference recently held in northeast China.

Guo Xinping, president of the company, revealed that over the course of an average day an automatically operated machine can do 100 to 200 percent more farm work than a manually operated one. Not only is it efficient, but it can also save costs of up to 3,000 yuan ($470) during the farming season.

Guo believes that the need for precision agriculture will continue to grow with the advancement of land conversion, adding that based on development of the system, the company has accumulated mature technologies, equipment and market experience in the field.

The company also announced that it will launch a new scheme regarding the whole industry chain of precision agriculture, to serve the national rural revitalization strategy and targeted poverty relief strategy.

China tests new 160km/h maglev train prototype

A 160km/h maglev train prototype recently finished its first test run in China’s National University of Defense Technology, People’s Liberation Army Daily reported on Wednesday.

The success of the test run marks China’s mastering of core technologies regarding medium-speed maglev transportation.

The technical design adopted by the train, which combines long-stator permanent magnet linear traction with hybrid suspension of electromagnets and permanent magnets, is the first of its kind in the world. The design features low energy consumption, high tractive efficiency and easy maintenance.

Compared with other Chinese maglev trains that are currently in service, this new locomotive can reduce energy consumption by 20 percent and improve traction by 10 percent.

According to experts, low-to-medium speed as well as high-speed maglev trains make up the majority of the world’s maglev transportation lines. Low-to-medium speed trains are easy to operate, but lack extensive tractive power. On the other hand, the high-speed locomotives have strong speed capabilities but are more costly and demanding of route selection.

The 160km/h maglev train prototype is a Chinese innovation that integrates the advantages of the above two types while avoiding their defects. It has laid a solid foundation for China to develop 200km/h medium-speed maglev trains.

Being convenient and green, the 160km/h maglev train can look forward to becoming an illustrious name in intercity transportation.

Chinese culture remains the most attractive factor for tourists

Chinese culture ranks as the leading attraction to tourists from overseas, said Hillary Nie, head of Market Insights for Google Greater China, at a seminar on Chinese inbound tourism on May 22.

The seminar was held by Google and China Tourism Academy (CTA) in Beijing.

“Compared with other countries, China has its own unique charm thanks to its history, tourist attractions, oriental features, best-offer commodities and food,” Nie introduced.

Based on a 2017 report issued together by Google and global market research and consulting firm Ipsos, 56% of inbound tourists to China consider the country’s long history as its unique and fundamental charm.

Mahjong, Chinese Zodiac, and Tai Chi were among the hottest words relating to Chinese culture that had been searched for on Google by foreigners over the past four years.

“Common Chinese dishes available in Chinatowns made up most of the Chinese food being searched for online,” Nie said, adding that foreigners also showed a growing interest in hot pot.

Overseas tourists also enjoy watching videos about Chinese food, as indicated by statistics from YouTube. It’s clear from comments on such videos that they are both amazed and enticed by the variety of street-side snacks in China.

So far, China has become the world’s largest outbound tourism market and the fourth largest tourism destination, said Li Chuangxin, associate researcher with the CTA.

Based on recent observation, he said, China will see more diverse sources of tourists, especially from Belt and Road countries.

China develops high performance imaging streak camera

China has successfully developed an imaging streak camera that can capture ultrafast phenomena that occur within the extremely short time period of one microsecond, or a millionth of a second.

The camera, which has independent property rights, passed acceptance on May 22 indicating that China’s high performance imaging streak camera has now entered its practical phase, according to the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Ultrafast phenomena exist widely in nature and scientific research, such as during the process of photosynthesis in plants, chemical reactions and even electrical pulses.

The study of such phenomena is of great significance in many fields, including natural science, energy, biology, optical physics, photo-chemistry and high-energy physics, said Zhao Wei, director of the institute.

Zhao added that the high performance imaging streak camera is the only high-end scientific instrument that has ultrahigh resolution in capturing phenomena in terms of both time and space.

For a long time, China had relied on other countries to develop this type of equipment. The country decided to develop its own device back in 2012, with support from CAS and the Ministry of Finance.

After overcoming various difficulties and making a series of breakthroughs since then, the institute has now developed eight camera sets.

Experts of the acceptance group say that development of the equipment has reached an internationally advanced level, with some of the core technologies reaching a leading level.

The equipment has now entered into small-scale production, and is expected to achieve significant growth by mid 2020 with an anticipated annual production of 200, Zhao noted.

Expert says China needs to build at least six aircraft carriers

At least six aircraft carriers need to be built by China to safeguard national security and protect interests overseas, said Chinese military expert Liang Fang, after China’s second aircraft carrier completed initial sea trials on May 18.

China’s second aircraft carrier in sea trials

The aircraft carrier, which is the first to be built domestically, returned to dock at Dalian Shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning Province on May 18 after the five day trial.

Liang disclosed that based on the development of the aircraft carrier, it won’t be long before another is developed by China.

Liang pointed out that as China has a long coastline, the country needs to build at least six aircraft carriers along with several aircraft carrier battle groups to safeguard national security and protect interests overseas.

Although there is still a long way for China to go in terms of building a world-class army, the country will spare no effort to complete modernization of national defense and armed forces by 2035, said the expert.