All posts by Huanqiu.com

College students duplicate Mogao No. 3 Cave

College students duplicate Mogao No. 3 Cave

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

Three years of effort paid off for a team of college students, after they created a 1:1 scale replica of the No. 3 Cave of the Mogao Caves, a group of Buddhist and Taoist grottoes found in the desert landscape of northwest China’s Gansu province, Chinanews.com reported on Nov. 28.

The work was completed by a team from the School of Fine Arts at Gansu Institute of Political Science and Law, lead by Professor Xu Lin. Over the course of the past three years, both Professor Xu and his students devoted themselves to duplicating the No. 3 Cave to its original dimensions.

The No.3 cave, excavated in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), is one of many caves in the area full of frescoes and statues.

College students duplicate Mogao No. 3 Cave

College students duplicate Mogao No. 3 Cave

Old vs New: A glimpse of China’s university development at the school gates

The gate of Jiangxi University of Science and Technology (below) and that of the Jiangxi Metallurgical Institute (above) (Photo/youth.cn)

A group of old photos recently posted online showcase the infrastructural development of China’s universities between the 1900s and today, Youth.cn reported on Nov. 23.

Looking quite different from the current school gates, the old gates of colleges and universities, such as those of East China’s Jioatong University based in Nanchang, Jiangxi province and Hebei University in northern China, are a symbol of the universities’ past.

The comparison between old and new indicates the fast improvement of infrastructure in China over the past few decades.

To create new chapter of China-Portugal relations in the new era

By Cai Run

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to Portugal, the first state visit to the country by a Chinese leader in eight years, and that by President Xi since he took office as Chinese president, will mark a historical moment of China-Portugal ties, and will surely move the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership into a new era.

Located in the westernmost part of the Eurasian continent, Portugal is both a hotspot for outbound investment and an effective platform for trilateral cooperation for Chinese enterprises. It is also a good friend and partner of China in the European Union (EU) and on multilateral diplomacy.

With frequent high-level exchanges, constantly deepened political mutual trust, and rich fruits from bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields, the China-Portugal ties are at its best in history.

China is the largest Asian trading partner of Portugal, while Portugal is China’s fifth largest investment destination in Europe. According to incomplete statistics, Chinese investment in Portugal has exceeded 9 billion euros, covering various areas including energy, electricity, finance, insurance, health, and medical service, and achieving remarkable economic and social benefits.

Portuguese investment in China is also growing steadily. As the first country in the EU to establish the blue partnership with China, Portugal is about to be the first country in Europe to make concerted efforts with China to promote the Luban Workshops, and will probably be the first euro zone nation to issue yuan-dominated bonds in China.

As we have seen, the pragmatic cooperation between China and Portugal in various fields, while conveying sound development momentum, has become a model for state-to-state relations featuring mutual benefits and win-win results.

Portugal is an ancient seafaring nation as well as the European starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. People from all circles of the Portugal society have natural affinity and passion for taking part in the construction of the Belt and Road.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa have both expressed clearly that Portugal supports and is willing to participate actively in the construction of the Belt and Road and effectively coordinate Portuguese development strategies with the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to share with other countries the opportunities and benefits created by the construction of the Belt and Road.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, “Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states,” connectivity among people is a crucial part of the construction of the Belt and Road.

To this end, Portuguese people are actively learning Chinese. Since the year 2013, São João da Madeira, the Portuguese city that has long been called the “city of shoes”, has started to promote the education of the Chinese language.

Today, Chinese is a required course for approximately 800 students in the twelve public primary and secondary schools of São João da Madeira, a vivid example of the “Chinese fever” and “China fever” in the Portuguese society. And certainly, the number of Chinese students who are learning Portuguese is also growing significantly over the recent years.

During President Xi’s visit in Portugal, China and Portugal are going to issue a joint statement, and the two heads of state will also witness the signing of a series of agreements on important pragmatic cooperation in a wide range of areas.

China and Portugal should seize the historic opportunity brought by President Xi’s state visit, earnestly implement various results of this visit, and make the most of such historic opportunities as the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Portugal diplomatic ties.

I have every confidence that President Xi’s state visit to Portugal will make significant contributions to the development of the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era.

(Cai Run is the Chinese Ambassador to Portugal.) 

China-Panama ties have enormous potential

By Wei Qiang

Chinese President Xi Jinping is going to pay a state visit to Panama at the invitation of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela. It will be the first state visit by a Chinese president to Panama in history and a significant milestone in the development of the newly established China-Panama diplomatic relations.

Before President Xi’s visit, the grand launching ceremony of the book The Silk Road and Panama, written by Panamanian economist Eddie Tapiero from the Panama Canal Administration, was held in Panama City.

The Silk Road and Panama is so far the first monograph in Latin America that systematically shows the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi.

In the book, Tapiero systematically describes and analyzes the historical origin, background, and essence of the Belt and Road Initiative, and scientifically expounds on how Latin American countries including Panama took part in the construction of the Belt and Road and the bright future these countries will harvest.

Panamanian mainstream media and various circles of the society have paid high attention to the book. In the days following the launching of the book, almost all the journalists and Panamanian think tank scholars I met were reading the book.

Moreover, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and foreign envoys to Panama asked to buy the book one after another.

Such enthusiasm for the book is a vivid evidence of the fact that though China and Panama just established diplomatic ties one and a half years ago, the Chinese experience, Chinese wisdom, and Chinese solutions have already generated strong attraction, appeal, and affinity in the Panamanian society.

On June 13, 2017, President Xi and President Varela resolutely made the historic decision on the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Panama, opening a new chapter of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Since then, China and Panama, with the common aspiration for jointly building the Belt and Road, have quickly turned their complementary advantages into fruits of pragmatic cooperation.

So far, the two countries have signed a dozen of agreements on cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, maritime transport, civil aviation, finance, agriculture, quality inspection, tourism, and infrastructure, demonstrating firm political willingness to seek win-win results and common development.

Besides, China and Panama have signed bilateral cooperation agreements on Belt and Road, steadily pushed ahead with bilateral negotiations on the China-Panama free trade agreement (FTA), and launched a direct flight from Beijing to Panama City.

It’s also worth mentioning that at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), Panamanian enterprises, for the first time, sold the national brand Panama Exporta, which included fruits and other high-quality featured agricultural products, as a national effort to promote agricultural development.

The brand Panama Exporta, created to help revitalize agriculture and realize the diversification of agricultural structure for Panama, finally entered the Chinese market with nearly 1.4 billion people.

In the mean time, the two peoples have shown increasing aspiration for enhancing bilateral exchanges and mutual understanding. The Confucius Institute at the University of Panama has begun providing classes for local students, while young Panamanian students have come to China in batches for study or training.

Scholars, think tanks, and media of the two countries have enjoyed close and dynamic exchanges, offering advice and suggestions for the development of China-Panama ties.

Additionally, a series of activities have brought excellent cultural feasts for the mind of people in Panama, including the 2018 National Day reception and concert held by the Chinese Embassy in Panama, the Chinese drama dance show “To Meet the Grand Canal”, and the story-sharing session on China-Panama friendship.

With its location advantages as a center of international transportation and a regional hub of aviation, logistics, and finance, Panama will play an important role in China-Latin America cooperation on joint construction of the Belt and Road.

Taking the historic state visit by President Xi as a starting point and under the guidance of the two leaders, the two countries will continuously consolidate political mutual trust, promote connectivity, accelerate integrated development, and make every effort to pursue common prosperity.

I believe they will make further contributions to the co-construction of an open, innovative, and inclusive world economy and the joint building of a community of common destiny for mankind, through jointly constructing the Belt and Road and building the China-Panama community of common destiny and the China- Latin-America community of common destiny.

(Wei Qiang is the Chinese Ambassador to Panama) 

Ever-growing economic and trade ties draw China and Spain closer

By Liu Xuxia, Jiang Bo, and Han Xiaoming  (People’s Daily)

Photo taken in a busy street of Madrid shows an advertisement of Alipay, Alibaba’s third-party mobile and online payment platform. (People’s Daily/Ye Qi)

China and Spain, located at the east and west corners of the Eurasia respectively, have enjoyed inseparable economic ties under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Spain is China’s sixth largest trading partner in the European Union (EU), and China is the largest trading partner of Spain outside the EU. Last year, the trade volume between the two countries reached $30.94 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent year on year.

The enhanced China-Spain economic and trade cooperation has strongly boosted economic development of the two countries.

Spain, who has long been referred to as the “vegetable basket” of Europe and ranks second in EU in terms of agricultural land, is the third largest exporter of vegetables and fruits in the world.

With high-quality agricultural products, such as pork, olive oil, wine, beer, Spain is undoubtly an important source of China’s imports of fresh food.

“I had no idea that our ham could be so popular in China that our booth was crowded by people who are interested. We have every confidence in the Chinese market, and we believe that many companies will benefit from China’s development,” said Daniel de Miguel, international manager of Spanish pork association InterPorc Spain, at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE).

The CIIE offered an excellent opportunity for Spanish companies to showcase themselves, he said, adding that the Spanish brands had attached great importance to the Chinese market while pursuing internationalization.

Spain was the first European country to confirm its attendance at the first CIIE, said Lyu Fan, Chinese Ambassador to Spain.

In January, the China International Import Expo Bureau under the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, jointly held a road show with Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations in Madrid, and many Spanish firms signed up for the event at the official website of CIIE immediately after the show, the ambassador disclosed.

Comprised of 49 companies, the Spanish team of exhibitors at the first CIIE was fully equipped. Covering an exhibition area of 1,250 square meters, these companies showcased a variety of goods including food, garments, consumer goods, intelligent and high-end equipment, emerging technologies and logistics services.

The first CIIE was an important opportunity for Spain to expand exports to China, expressed Enrique Fanjul, former Commercial Counselor of Spain in China, saying that expo increased Spain’s attention to the Chinese market, and helped Chinese consumers know the high-quality products and services of Spain better.

In the “Double 11” shopping festival in China, Spain ranked the second, following Russia, among all countries in terms of the number of orders made by foreign consumers via AliExpress, a Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba’s online global retail platform.

Compared with those of the previous year, the categories of products sold to the Spanish market rose by 250 percent, with hot sellers expanding from luxury fashion brands to furniture, 3C products, and home appliances. Meanwhile, the amount of online shops owned by local people in Spain doubled during the event.

Chinese e-commerce platforms have taken root and developed vigorously in Spain, enjoying continuous growth in market share. Today, with over 7.7 million registered users in Spain, AliPress is the biggest cross-border e-commerce platform.

The rapid development of Chinese e-commerce platforms in Spain has created more and more opportunities for Spanish products to be exported to Chinese market.

Inditex, a Spanish multinational fashion group, has seen an accumulative total of around 10 billion yuan (about $1.44 billion) in volume of business since the opening of flagship stores for its seven brands at Alibaba’s B-C online shopping website Tmall.com in 2014.

In 2016, JD.com, a well-known Chinese e-commerce company, signed a cooperation agreement with Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (or ICEX), bringing Spanish enterprises selling agricultural products to the online market of China.

From 2015 to 2017, Spanish fresh products have created an annual growth of 120 percent in sales at Tmall.com.

If a mother in Madrid wants to surprise her children during holidays, she could just place an order with a mobile phone, and then get fine toys delivered from China in a few days, said Juan Pablo Lázaro, vice president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations.

China’s e-commerce development was amazing, Lázaro expressed, adding that Chinese e-commerce platforms helped to bring more Spanish products to Chinese market faster, and at the same time madeSpanish consumers buy goods from China and around the globe conveniently.

The rapid development of Chinese e-commerce platforms meant huge market and benefits to both Spanish people and Chinese People, said Lázaro.

Highlights of the upcoming G20 summit

The 13th Group of 20 (G20) summit is scheduled to be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina under the theme of “building consensus for fair and sustainable development.” At a time when global protectionism and unilateralism is on the rise, many are highly anticipating the summit’s outcomes concerning major issues such as safeguarding multilateralism and building consensus.

Safeguarding multilateralism

Various parties have reiterated their position on safeguarding multilateralism ahead of the summit.

As a strong supporter of multilateralism and trade liberalization, Argentina firmly believes that only multilateral cooperation can promote the prosperity of world economy, and will unswervingly safeguard the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, said Pedro Villagra Delgado, G20 Sherpa of Argentina.

Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) pointed out that the 13th G20 summit will be an opportunity to find solutions to such challenges as the surge in protectionism and trade frictions, adding that she expects all G20 members to signal strong support for multilateralism during the summit.

Building consensus

Broad consensus is a prerequisite of cooperation. At a time when international economy is facing challenges and increasing uncertainties, safeguarding the multilateral coordination mechanism is especially important, said Ronaldo Costa Filho, undersecretary for Economic and Financial Affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Brazil and Sherpa of Brazil to the G20.

Costa explained that Brazil has high expectations for the upcoming summit and hopes to see a consensus reached during the meeting.

Marina Larionova, head of the Center for International Institutions Research at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, said she hopes issues including regulation of the international financial market, reform of the global financial system, investment in the construction of infrastructure, and innovative development projects will be examined during the summit and that leaders can reach a consensus.

Larionova also said that she expects G20 members to express their joint determination to follow WTO rules and regulations.

Expectations of China’s role

As the world’s second largest economy, an emerging economy, and a developing country, China has always committed itself to the safeguarding of multilateralism and free trade, while pushing forward with economic globalization that features fairness and sustainability, so its role in this summit is of great significance.

China hosted the 11th G20 summit in 2016, in Hangzhou, where the G20 members reached the “Hangzhou Consensus,” noted Larionova.

The fruits of the G20 Hangzhou summit, including China’s contributions to consolidating the multilateral mechanism under the framework of G20 and advancing the development of multipolarity, were confirmed by various state leaders during the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg, said Larionova, adding that she hopes this consensus will be reaffirmed and continued in Buenos Aires.

China is willing to cooperate with other countries and seek common development while pursuing its own progress. Latin American countries have seen this, and hope to strengthen economic and trade ties with China, noted Barcena.

Investment from China’s basic pension funds yields about $1.26 billion in 2017

By People’s Daily

China had seen a rate of return on investment of 5.23 percent from its investment of basic pension funds in 2017, and earned an income of about 8.78 billion yuan (about $1.26 billion), the China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

Seniors practice Yoga in Haikou, Hainan province. (Hainan Daily/Zhang Jie)

Investments by pension funds had yielded an accumulative total of 8.82 billion yuan by the end of 2017. The country started to use its basic pension funds for investment in December 2016, according to China’s National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF).

By the end of 2017, nine provincial-level regions including Beijing, Henan Province and Shanxi Province had signed contracts with the NCSSF, entrusting a total of 430 billion yuan of basic pension funds for investment.

China’s basic pension funds totaled about 315.5 billion yuan by the end of 2017, among which 29.62 percent of the funds were used for direct investment, while 70.38 percent were entrusted for investment.

According to Lu Aihong, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, by this September, China had seen 15 provincial-level regions entrust basic pension funds to the NCSSF for investment, with a contract value amounting to 715 billion yuan.

The funds entrusted to the NCSSF have been used for direct investment and entrusted investment, said an executive of the NCSSF, explaining that direct investment mainly comprises bank deposit and equity investment handled directly by the NCSSF, while entrusted investment is run by investment managers entrusted by the NCSSF and usually consists of investment in such areas as domestic stocks, bonds, stock index futures, and treasury bond futures.

“The present market-oriented investment of pension funds in China has shown a tendency for short-term products, both in assessment and investment concepts, which is not good for the preservation and appreciation of funds,” said Dong Keyong, secretary-general of the China Aging Finance Forum, suggesting that the country should seek long-term investment via innovation of financial products for old-age care management and pension funds.

China should gradually allow pension funds to be invested in ports and encourage the research and development of various types of financial products for pension funds such as asset securitization products and real restate investment trusts when conditions permit, said Feng Liying, president of CCB Pension Management Company, China’s first professional pension management company.

Feng also advised that relevant organizations should create more diversified financial products for pension funds, so as to attract customers of different ages and preferences.

China, Panama to cultivate more envoys of friendship

By Zhu Dongjun, Chen Xiaowei (People’s Daily)

  Students at the Instituto Cultural are learning Chinese at a class offered by the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama. (Photo by Zhu Dongjun from People’s Daily)

Instituto Cultural, a school in Panama established nearly 60 years ago, is the first school in the country adopting bi-lingual education in Spanish and English, and also the first one introducing computers and internet. Now, it is taking lead again in Chinese language teaching.

“We planned to launch Mandarin course three years ago. Due to the rising international influence of China, students need to learn Chinese for better development,” said the Katyae Cheverria, principal of the school.

She introduced that the school was distressed since it was hard to find Chinese teachers at the beginning, but the situation was relieved by the building of Confucius Institute after the China and Panama established diplomatic relations.

“Thank all Chinese teachers,” said Cheverria. “We finally had Mandarin classes.”

It is quite surprising that students at the school can speak good Chinese. “At the beginning, some concerned that Chinese language would be too difficult that it might discourage students from learning it. Therefore, we decided to arouse students’ interest by not including the scores of Chinese in their school report,” explained the principal.

Preschool students at the Instituto Cultural play diabolos. (Photo by Zhu Dongjun from People’s Daily)

“But now, students are all fond of Chinese classes and are making outstanding performances,” she added.

“We not only teach Chinese but also Chinese culture. Cultural exchanges will build a heart-to-heart bridge for people from Panama and China. We hope to cultivate more envoys of bilateral friendship,” said Cheverria.

When Yu Xin, a Chinese teacher from the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama brought two diabolos to the classroom, students all showed great enthusiasm. Over 10 children soon crowded around Yu, wearing high expectations and excitement on their faces.

In June 2017, China established diplomatic relations with Panama. Three months after that, the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama was inaugurated. Currently, the institute educates nearly 400 students.

Panama was celebrating two important festivals in early November. But the students maintained high enthusiasm for learning Chinese and requested to continue Chinese classes during the holiday leaves, Wu Junhui, Panamanian Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama, told People’s Daily proudly.

Gamboa, a 65-year-old architectural engineer, is the eldest student at the class for beginners at the Confucius Institute. He felt pressured because he was busy with work and learnt slowly, but he never gave up learning Chinese.

“China is developing so fast. I want to go there and have a look. That’s the direct driver of learning Chinese,” said the engineer, who also helped his wife, a Chinese culture lover, with her Chinese.

“I’ve made up my mind that no matter how hard it will be, I’ll always try my best to learn Chinese well,” said Gamboa.

An increasing number of Panamanians from all sectors have started learning Chinese since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

“Departments of the Panamanian government, such as tourism, foreign affairs, and commerce, have contacted the Confucius Institute and expressed their hope of starting Chinese classes with the help of the Institute”, Dong Yang, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama.

Highlights of this year’s Singles Day shopping festival in China

A staff member works at the distribution center of an express company in Yinchuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Nov. 12, 2018. (Photo/Xinhua)

The recently concluded Chinese shopping spree known as “Singles Day” or “Double 11″, which takes place on Nov. 11 each year, created record sales of 300 billion yuan (about $43.2 billion), signaled new trends within China’s consumption market.

Besides verifying the fact that consumption is replacing investment and export as the primary driving force of China’s economic growth, the record-breaking sales volume also signaled consumption upgrading across the country.

Statistics show that although products such as clothing, shoes, and bags have always been primary categories of spending, their proportion in the total figure declined from 2013 to 2017, while during the same period more money was spent on digital products, home improvement, beauty and skin care products.

Intelligent technology was popular during this year’s shopping spree, with a cleaning robot, selling for a minimum of 2,000 yuan, seeing a sales growth of 420 percent year-on-year, and products such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and noise-canceling headphones appearing on the shopping lists of younger people, as shown in data released by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com.

With various companies deepening the integration of their online and offline channels, new retail has provided consumers from across the country with a more accessible shopping experience, boosting development and attracting more consumers from small cities and rural areas.

As indicated by data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, this year, new online users were predominantly young people and residents of China’s third and fourth-tier cities. Statistics also indicate that the post-90s generation has outnumbered the post-80s to become the leading commercial force for the first time.

New retail was put into full-scale operation this year for the first time, according to Tmall.com, initiator of the Double 11 shopping festival, and a B-C shopping website run by the Alibaba Group.

All of Alibaba’s channels and outlets took part in this year’s shopping spree. JD.com also helped get 600,000 offline retail stores involved in the event, whereas Suning, one of the largest retailers in China, made sure that all online and offline outlets fully engaged in the festival.

The Double 11 shopping festival has been transformed from a low price promotion into a shopping spree driven by quality since it began in 2009, and has developed into an experience-driven and service-driven shopping festival, said Hong Kai, vice president of e-commerce research at the global marketing research company Nielsen Corporation.

China’s new economy value increases 13 trillion yuan in 2017

By Lu Ya’nan (People’s Daily)

The value-added output of new industries, new types of business and new business models was about 12.96 trillion yuan (about $1.87 trillion) in 2017, accounting for 15.7 percent of China’s GDP, up 0.4 percentage points from 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.

In current prices, China’s new economy grew 14.1 percent in 2017, outpacing the GDP growth in current price by 2.9 percentage points, according to the NBS.

New economy refers to new industries, new types of business and new business models emerged in the economic activities. And the value-added output of new economy is the final result of the new economy-related activities of all resident units in a certain period of time in a country (or region).

Last year, the output of new industries, business types, and models in the primary and secondary industries reached 599.8 billion yuan and 5.43 trillion yuan, accounting for 0.7 percent and 6.6 percent of the country’s GDP respectively.

The value-added output of the service sector was 6.93 trillion yuan, accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s GDP last year, up 0.4 percentage points from 2016. New economic output in the service sector expanded 17 percent in current prices in 2017.