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China’s grain possession per capita surpasses world average by 47 kilograms

China’s grain possession per capita surpassed the world average by 47 kilograms in 2016, with its total grain output reaching 600 billion kilograms for four consecutive years, said Han Changfu, China’s Minister of Agriculture, on Sept. 21.

Han made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 15th China International Agricultural Trade Fair (CATF).

The minister hailed the great development of the country’s rural economy. The per-capita disposable income of farmers increased by 8% annually, reaching 12,000 RMB ($1,820) in 2016.

With the deepening structural adjustment of agriculture, the country cut nearly 2 million hectares of corn production in 2016 and scaled up 56% of the husbandry industry.

Green agriculture also saw a big leap over the last year, with zero growth of pesticide use and near-zero growth of fertilizer use.

In addition, the number of new-type agricultural entities has reached 2.8 million in 2016, with a rural e-commerce transaction volume of over 220 billion RMB, Han introduced, adding that the revenue of leisure agriculture and rural tourism totaled 570 billion RMB.

CAFT has been held for 15 years annually since 2003. The business volume of the fair increased to 69.9 billion RMB in 2015 from 15 billion RMB 15 years ago, making the event a significant symbol of China’s market-oriented agriculture.

Combustible ice discovered in South China Sea

Chinese scientists discovered combustible ice in the South China Sea for the first time during an expedition to the region conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s state television broadcaster CCTV reported on Sept. 22.

The natural gas hydrates, exposed at two points on the seabed 1,100 meters below the sea, were discovered by a deep-sea laser probe carried by the unmanned submersible “Faxian.”

Statistics show that the rapidly generated natural gas hydrates contain substantial amounts of free gas such as methane and hydrogen sulfide. It is also the first time for scientists to reach the conclusion through in-situ data of Raman spectra.

The scientific result has been published in the scientific journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems on Friday.

Mid-Autumn Food Expo opens in Chengdu

The 17th Mid-Autumn Food Expo kicked off in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, on Sept. 19. Major moon cake producers gathered at the event, trying to expand their market share.

Many time-honored and famous brands upgraded their ingredients with innovation on the basis of being loyal to the tradition.

Apart from moon cakes, various folk activities are also presented in the exhibition hall, bringing the joy of the festival to the people.

China’s urban bus transport system provided 70 billion passenger trips in 2016

File photo

China’s urban bus transportation system provided more than 70 billion passenger trips in 2016, said Wu Chungeng, spokesperson for the country’s transportation ministry at a press conference on Sept. 21.

A total of 16.15 billion passenger trips were made by rail transit, Wu added.

The spokesperson introduced that the number of electric buses in Chinese cities has reached 608,600 by the end of 2016, with a total length of the operating routes of 981,200 kilometers.

Currently, 165,000 clean-energy buses are in service, and 30 cities have introduced rail transit, Wu noted.

In addition, the country’s Internet Plus strategy has been well applied to public transportation. Mobile applications and electronic bus stops have been widely promoted.

Some cities launched customized bus services, express bus services, and community bus services in a bid to better meet the travel demands of the people.

Highway to China-Nepal border town is a deterrent against India: Indian expert

File photo of Qinghai-Tibet Railway

China’s newly constructed highway to a town bording Nepal is seen by Indian experts as a deterrent against their country. Chinese expert pointed out that India is always disgusted when neighboring countries try to get closer to China.

The Tibet highway between Xigaze Airport and central Xigaze City officially opened to the public on Sept. 15. It is the first real highway in Tibet, said Tibet’s news portal Tibet Daily.

According to the Global Times, the new road runs parallel with the Xigaze-Lhasa Railway and connects the border town of Zhangmu with Lhasa, the capital city of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Citing a Chinese expert, the Global Times said that the road will enable China to forge a route into South Asia.

“Although the infrastructure connectivity between China and Nepal is intended to boost regional development and not for military purposes, the move will still probably irritate India,” said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

India is always disgusted when neighboring countries attempt to get closer to China, Zhao explained.

However, Indian expert Srikanth Kondapalli, who teaches East Asian and Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Russian news agency Sputnik “the fact is that if China makes inroads into Nepal through road and rail links then it will come at an arms’ distance with India.”

“Nepal’s support for the Chinese One Belt One Road project has been one of the strategic failures for India as the government could not convince Nepal to opt out the Chinese initiative,” the expert added.

China has been stepping efforts to improve road connectivity between Tibet and Nepal while speeding up plans to build a railway line connecting to Nepal’s border after KP Sharma Oli, former Nepalese Prime Minister, signed a Transit Trade Treaty with Beijing last year during his tenure, Indian news channel NDTV reported on Monday.

Chinese mobile payment platforms benefit French people

China’s mobile payment service has benefited French people after expanding its reach to the continent of Europe in recent years, the Economic Daily reported Sept. 21.

Through diversified operations, online payment has gradually facilitated the local market, merchants, and consumers, offering them a more convenient way of payment.

France conducted a large mobile payment promotion back in 2013, making attempts to use the service for taxis, parking, and supermarkets. However, domestic competition patterns, traditional views, and the promotion methods all restricted the development of the service.

In 2016, Chinese mobile payment service provider AliPay started cooperation with BNP Paribas in a bid to facilitate financial services. The cooperation further expanded the customer base of mobile payment in the country through apps and collaboration with local merchants.

“We’re delighted with this partnership with Alipay. It will enable us to continue providing our clients with innovative solutions so as to help them grow their sales,” said Pierre Fersztand, Global Head of Cash Management at BNP Paribas.

In Nov. 2016, Printemps Paris Haussmann became the first department store in France to accept mobile payment via Alipay. The service has expanded to 18 Printemps stores in the country by the end of 2016.

Statistics show that a total of 1.6 million Chinese tourists visited France in 2016. Attracting more Chinese tourists is a priority for France’s tourism development, an official with France Tourism Development Agency once noted.

Since last summer, the agency has been encouraging domestic stores including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to offer mobile payment services for Chinese customers.

Chinese mobile payment services are not only benefiting Chinese tourists, but also gradually changing the consumption pattern, payment methods, and even lifestyles of locals.

“China’s AliPay and WeChat Pay have expanded their business to France, and many of my friends have already started using them,” said a student surnamed Catalina, who once studied in China, adding that more payment organizations will be introduced to the country.

In addition, more and more local merchants are depending on Chinese mobile payment services to boost sales. An owner of a restaurant near the Louvre told Economic Daily that the comments left by his customers on AliPay are a free promotion for him, saying such platforms have brought tangible benefits to merchants.

Famous French economist Jean-Marc Daniel pointed out that the international expansion of Chinese mobile payment platforms is a symbol of China’s “soft power” export. He believes China’s advanced way of life and views on consumption will have a bigger positive impact on the world with its increasing global influence.

2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road opens in northwest China

The 2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road kicked off today in Dunhuang, northwestern China’s Gansu province.

A total of 126 countries and international organizations and representatives from 265 media outlets are participating in the forum. The form is themed as, “New Cooperation Prospect: Towards a Community of Common Destiny,” and is being co-hosted by the People’s Daily and the Gansu Government.

Zhang Ping, National People’s Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairperson, Yang Zhenwu, President of the People’s Daily, and Gansu Provincial Party Committee Secretary Lin Duo all attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches.

Zhang pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, conforms to the trend of development. The media cooperation forum serves as a platform for communication and mutual learning among journalists, politicians, business people, and scholars from around the world.

Yang pointed out that the People’s Daily started the annual media forum in 2014 to build an information highway, expand “circle of friends,” and enlarge “concentric circles” of cultures through media cooperation.

Media plays an important role in enhancing people-to-people communication, Yang said, adding that news sharing, policy studies, information integration, and business exchanges should be strengthened to build bridges between cultures and embrace a brighter future.

Lin remarked that Gansu was a strategic channel with commercial importance on the ancient Silk Road. As one of the earliest regions in Chinese history to conduct economic and cultural exchanges, the province has contributed greatly to the cooperation between China and the Western world.

Lin recognized the efforts made by Gansu during the construction of the Belt and Road, saying that fruitful results have been reaped. He hopes that media from each country could place more importance on the Belt and Road, and gather positive energy to create a community of shared future for mankind.

Participated by 600 business representatives, scholars, and journalists, the 2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road is the largest media forum held by Chinese mainstream media in recent years.

China to build world’s largest clean coal power system in 2020

China will complete the world’s largest clean and efficient coal power system before 2020, according to a seminar on the development of clean coal power and its environmental impact held in Beijing on Sept. 19.

Statistics from China Electricity Council showed that installed power-generating capacity of the country has reached 1,650 GW by the end of 2016, 57.3% of which is from coal-fired plants.

According to Liu Bingjiang, head of the pollutants emission department at China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, emissions of pollutants by the coal-power industry accounted for about half of the country’s total emissions 10 years ago.

Now, sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide emissions have been lowered to the million-ton level from its peak ten-million-ton level after a dozen years of endeavors, making the coal-power industry a sector with the highest emissions compliance.

The coal-fired industry is the first industry in China to carry out renovations to achieve ultra-low emissions. By the end of first half of 2017, the country has finished renovation for 570 GW of installed coal-fired capacity, which accounted for 60% of the total amount, said Liu, adding that the world’s largest clean and efficient coal power system will be established in China in 2020.

It is learnt that non-power industries now have a bigger share in terms of emissions of pollutants, while the coal-fired industry cut its emissions.

The management of non-power sectors still lags behind the power industry, and emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, as well as smoke and dust, accounted for more than 3/4 of the national total, Liu introduced.

In addition, the emission of volatile organic compounds, which mostly come from petrochemicals, chemical engineering, industrial coatings, and packaging industries, has not been controlled effectively.

“We will take air pollution control in non-power industries as a major task, and accelerate the treatment of pollutants from industrial furnaces and coal-fired boilers,” Liu stressed.

Commentary: Belt and Road brings new hopes and possibilities

The 2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road kicked off on Sept. 19 in Dunhuang, northwestern China’s Gansu province.

Dunhuang, which means tremendous prosperity in Chinese, is an important city along the Belt and Road. At the forum, where media collided with culture, the representatives witnessed the trend of development in the ancient city started by the ancient Silk Road.

Since 2014, the Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road has attracted worldwide attention for four consecutive years. Just like what People’s Daily President Yang Zhenwu said, the forum has formed a strong magnetic effect.

As a matter of fact, the 300 Chinese and foreign media outlets are not the only attraction at the forum. Pavel Negoitsa, director of Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, said people are fed up with fear, anxiety, wars, and terrorist attacks, and are in need of hope.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been actively supported and participated in by more than 100 countries and international organizations during the four years since it was proposed, and key solutions of the United Nations have also been incorporated into the scope of the initiative. This has created hope for people.

Large petroleum drills have been sent to Turkmenistan by international freight trains; Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway has halved the commute time between the two cities; and university students from Uzbekistan came to Shenzhen to study 4G base stations. The Belt and Road Initiative is a carrier of dreams and a torch of hope.

From ideas to actions and from visions to reality, the initiative has created $1.1 billion in tax revenue and more than 180,000 jobs for participating countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative came at the right moment, when economic globalization needed a guiding hand. “Economic globalization reaches from sea to land,” said Zheng Bijian, chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, adding that we are in an unprecedented phase of globalization in human history.

Numerous people have started their journey along the Belt and Road, which is a path of hope.

Gansu province used to be an important passage on the ancient Silk Road. From the dazzling exhibits at the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo, to the vegetables and fruits shipped to overseas destinations aboard China-Europe freight trains, this province in western China is striding toward the international arena.

Hainan, a province located on the maritime Silk Road, has opened 52 lanes to foreign destinations and signed more than 60 agreements with countries and regions along the Belt and Road, replaying the prosperity of the flourishing seaway.

Zheng noted that both maritime and inland economies will promote the overall development of China from east to west when explaining why the initiative has been welcomed by both coastal and inland regions. It is a new round of interactive development, he added.

The Belt and Road is not only about economy, it is also about culture. Dunhuang has always been a connecting point, serving as a link between the four major cultural systems in China, India, Greece, and the Islamic world. Different cultures collided and communicated with each other here for thousands of years, enriching the history of human civilization.

A scholar once proved that tiger hat, a traditional child wear in Chinese culture, indeed originated from the hat worn by the divine hero Heracles in Greek mythology.

José Vera, president of Spanish news agency Agencia EFE, said that Dunhuang served as a resting point for ancient caravans before they entered the desert, a place where eastern and western intelligences gathered. The media cooperation forum, with a vision on cultural communication based on the framework of the Belt and Road, aims to achieve more possibilities of human civilization through the collision of ideas between east and west, ancient and modern times.

Nowadays, people don’t have to cross thousands of miles to communicate with different cultures. All they need to do is to click their mouse. However, cultural communication is not as smooth as what people imagine.

Robin Li, the CEO of Chinese technology giant Baidu, shared his experience at the forum. When travelling along the Belt and Road, he has to bring socket converters, because of the different plug types and voltages in different countries. This seemingly minor technical matter is indeed a reflection of different histories and national conditions.

Compared with ancient cultural communication, modern cultural exchanges are much faster. In the age of information and globalization, civilization dialogues are the essence to bring closer the people with different cultural backgrounds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping summarized the Silk Road spirit as “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit,” in a bid to inherit the valuable legacy and pursue more achievements.

U Win Tin, a famous journalist in Myanmar, noted at the forum that the Belt and Road is both help and hope.

Our forefathers established friendships across continents and oceans, including Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian and Chinese diplomat Zheng He, who commanded expeditionary voyages around the world in Ming Dynasty, and Venetian merchant traveler Marco Polo. Nowadays, by promoting the construction of the Belt and Road, the world will definitely embrace new hopes and possibilities.

Chinese train producer makes Africa’s fastest trains

A batch of trains rolled off the production line of China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Nanjing Puzhen Co., Ltd., on Sept. 12, and will be shipped to the Port of Lagos in Nigeria a month later, news site reported.

These 10 standard-gauge trains were ordered by Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in May this year. They have adopted Chinese standards, and will be the fastest trains running in Africa, with a design speed of 160 km/h. Operation speed could be as high as 150 km/h.

Gbenga Ashafa, chairman of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Land Transport, believes that the Chinese trains will definitely improve the railway development of the country. He said Nigeria is a fertile land open to foreign direct investments with a high return rate.

According to the CRRC Nanjing Puzhen, it is the second order placed by the NRC. The first of five trains was ordered in 2015 and delivered in 2016.

CRRC Nanjing Puzhen has finished 10 orders for six African countries so far, including Nigeria, Sudan, Cameron, and Kenya.