Avalanches in Tibet trigger worries about climate change

Another large-scale glacier avalanche occurred in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region in September, two months after the last big one. In a research paper published by the Journal of Glaciology, which is jointly run by the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University, scientists argue that the increasing frequency of avalanches may be caused by rising temperatures brought about by climate change. If this is true, the two big avalanches may be just the beginning.

On July 17, a major glacier avalanche occurred in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet. Though over 100 rescuers rushed to the disaster-stricken area, the death toll was still nine, with more than 100 yaks gone.

There are 5,862 glaciers in the region, covering 4,900 square kilometers. These glaciers provide stable water resources, but also pose great risks. Previous monitoring showed that the glaciers in the region are stable, meaning that the two disasters triggered extra concern, with data showing that temperatures have risen.

Satellite images show that the glacier in question first began to form from a snowmelt in September 2015. The surface of the collapse resulting from the glacier avalanche was over 10 square kilometers, equal in size to 1,400 football fields. Some experts believe this disaster is the result of local temperature increases and heightened precipitation, in turn caused by climate change. If this is the case, then still-higher temperatures may lead to a series of glacier avalanches in the future. Others think the disaster was caused by the normal cyclical movement of glaciers.

It is neither easy nor cost-efficient to conduct continuous monitoring over such a vast region. What’s more, certain meteorological phenomena restrict the emergency alert system.

This disaster underscores the insufficient progress human beings have made to stop climate change. However, it could serve to urge scientists and local government that now is the time for new solutions, suggested Tian Lide, a glacier expert with the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

Commentary: 21st century belongs to strivers

“The 21st century is the time for the Chinese,” said the CEO of a Chinese mobile phone company at the recent launch of a new product. The CEO remarked that Western bigwigs will finally be surpassed by Chinese strivers who are determined to change their lives through hard work.

He further explained that, although some companies in developed countries are leading the world in many aspects, their bureaucracy, laziness, arrogance and ego will hinder their development.

To some extent, all Chinese people in the past 100 years are strivers who have managed to change their own fates and the fate of their country through sheer diligence; this trend is vividly illustrated by the process of reform and opening-up. After keeping their noses to the grindstone despite hardships and difficulties, Chinese people have finally succeeded in ushering in a new era.

Those who have doubted China over the years were not aware of the strivers’ true personalities. The strivers desperately thirst for better lives. They are able to bear unbearable hardships and endure unendurable suffering. Such morale and pluck can never be defeated.

The struggle of a software company in Guangdong, which has grown from a small enterprise into an industry titan, offers an inspiring story. During a trip to Germany for an exhibition shortly after the company’s founding, both boss and employees slept on park benches in order to save money. More importantly, none of them complained about having to do so.

In 2009, China needed to build a large exhibition area, as the guest of honor of that year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. However, shortly before the opening of the event, construction was not yet complete because of German workers’ fixed schedule. Therefore, the Chinese exhibitor invited workers from China to complete the work, and that team was able to finish before the opening ceremony.

It is the effort, hard work and sweat of these strivers that have contributed to China’s current development. Their willingness to struggle came from a thirst to change their fate.

In recent years, many Chinese enterprises are expanding their business in Africa. Instead of spending money on entertainment, Chinese employees there save money to make phone calls to their families back home. This priority was not received well by some locals, who believe that one should enjoy life with one’s money. As a result, people cooked up stories that Chinese employees in Africa were prisoners sent by the Chinese government. Believing these rumors, some Western media outlets even slammed China for human rights violations. Finally, a media outlet from the U.K. discovered the truth. These Chinese workers are just the same as their Western counterparts: they love their families and hope to change their lives through hard work. They consider it their life purpose to improve the quality of life of their families, especially their children. The U.K. outlet ultimately concluded that the unyielding spirit of Chinese people is unrivalled, and they will certainly change the world.

Hard work pays. This is the basis for social function. Any society will collapse without such faith.

China is no longer the impoverished country it was 30 years ago. Even so, the enterprising spirit of its citizens has endured. The country needs to stay confident, especially during the “new normal” of slower economic growth. As long as its people have the faith to change fate through hard work, they should fear no difficulty.

One dare not say that the 21st century is destined to be the era of China, but it certainly belongs to the strivers who are determined to change their lives through work.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

Emperor Qinshihuang mausoleum reveals preserved ‘zoo’

Over 400 funeral pits and a massive quantity of other goods were recently excavated from the Emperor Qinshihuang (the first Emperor of Qin) in Shaanxi province. Most of the burial objects were animal remains or animal-shaped pottery and copperware.

Most of the objects were related to horses – either horse remains or horse-shaped goods. In addition, the remains of a number of other species, including deer, muntjac, cranes and swans, were also among the excavated objects. Historians believe that the number of harnessed or domesticated animals in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) was 12, with horses being the most important due to their strategic value.

The discovery also proves that, dating back to 2,000 years ago, animals were not only hunted for meat, but were also used more widely in art and society.

The mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang is five kilometers east of Lintong County, 35 kilometers from Xi’an City in Shaanxi Province.

In the spring of I974, when peasants sank a well in a village near the Mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang, burial terracotta warriors and horses were found.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

17 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions issue support for anti-domestic violence law

A total of 17 provinces and autonomous regions in China have issued supporting policies for the country’s first ever anti-domestic violence law, after it officially came into force on March 1, 2016. The news came during a symposium on domestic violence held by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) on Nov. 24, one day before the 17th International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The Supreme People’s Court has given the judicial explanation that personal safety intervention orders can be an independent cause of action, and such orders have already been issued in many places. Meanwhile, regional procuratorates have initiated public prosecution of domestic abusers. In addition, neighborhood committees and relief organizations will provide shelter for the victims of domestic violence. In order to raise awareness of domestic violence, the ACWF and Ministry of Justice are jointly offering online courses.

Song Xiuyan, vice president of the Secretariat of the ACWF, hailed the positive progress, saying that women at all levels of society should keep promoting the efforts and providing support for those in need, so as to better protect the legal interests of women and children.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

80 percent of Chinese remain optimistic about economy: survey

Chinese people are largely confident in the country’s economic condition and prospects, according to a survey conducted by the China Economic Times.

Of the 2,166 people polled, a total of 82.8 percent expressed an optimistic attitude toward personal income, consumption capability and the employment rate in China. They also regarded policies intended to deepen reform and combat corruption as good.

The result showed that 4.4 percent believe the current Chinese economy is “very good,” while 33.2 percent rated it as “good overall.” Another 45.2 percent believe the economy is basically stable.

Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed are bullish on the mid- to long-term prospects of the Chinese economy. What’s more, 73.4 percent harbor confidence in China’s influence on the world economy.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

Traditional Chinese villages losing vitality and original flavor

An international summit about traditional villages was held in China on Nov. 22. Experts who attended the summit discussed better ways of protecting traditional Chinese villages, which many worry are losing their vitality and original characteristics.

About 2,555 villages were included on a list for national protection. However, so far, protection efforts haven’t slowed the pace of extinction of traditional villages. The biggest problems facing these holdovers are a decrease in residents and an increase in tourism.

Many village leaders are taking advantage of protection measures, but oftentimes these measures do little to preserve a village’s original charm, noted Feng Jicai, the deputy chairman of China Federation of Literary and Artistic Circles and professor at Tianjin University. Another problem is that residents haven’t come up a comprehensive method to protect their own homes, Feng added.

Feng also listed the top 10 similarities among all original villages under official protection, including their drive for tourism, the flight of original residents, the desire to attract businesses, the provision of so-called intangible cultural heritage shows and more. He called on people to preserve the true cultural value of villages, which Feng believes does not preclude quality tourism. However, historical and research value should always come first, he emphasized.

(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)

Tiger mom crams 7 after-school courses into son’s schedule

Chengcheng, a 7-year-old boy in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, studies for seven different cram school courses every week, which cost the boy’s family almost 20,000 RMB each term. Such supplementary courses have once entered the spotlight, as early childhood education is an item of increasing concern to Chinese parents.

In addition to his regular school work, Chengcheng’s cram school courses take up an additional 14 hours each week after school lets out. The courses include painting, gymnastics, music, speech and calligraphy. Ten hours of Chengcheng’s weekends are spent in class.

Xie, Chengcheng’s mother, explained that she wants to give her son a strong start in life. She doesn’t want him to be left behind by his peers. Thus, with pressure from Xie and influence from his teachers and classmates, Chengcheng chose a packed schedule for himself, which Xie helped to arrange Chengcheng’s. Xie also made sure to combine courses that are good for the growing boy’s physical health and intellectual development.

Male teacher arrested for allegedly raping underage student

A middle school teacher has been arrested for allegedly raping one of his students in Aohan Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The teacher, surnamed Guo, reportedly forced a 14-year-old middle school student to have sexual intercourse with him eight times after the girl, surnamed Zhao, tried to end their two-year relationship in August. Guo threatened to release nude photos he had taken of Zhao if she did not obey. Sadly, Zhao lacked the life experience and legal awareness to understand the depth of Guo’s transgressions.

Aohan Banner Procuratorate has reportedly set up a line for underage youths and their parents to make confidential phone calls when they need legal advice and aid.

Yunnan school tackles severe teacher shortage

The municipal government of Zhaotong in Yunnan province recently made an announcement to address the severe teacher shortage at one rural primary school.

An Internet user wrote to People’s Daily Online, and explained that Xiao Zhai Primary School had a headmaster and just one teacher, who were together in charge of six classes with over 100 students. The netizen called on the provincial government of Yunnan to help deal with the situation.

According to the municipal government’s announcement, Xiao Zhai Primary School previously had six teachers. In September, two teachers asked for sick leave and two others were transferred to other schools. To address the shortage, the school recruited four new teachers, who started work on Sept. 30. On Oct.8, the original two teachers came back to school. The school’s staff has now resumed normal teaching duties.

Wang Yang, US Secretary of Commerce and US Trade Representative Co-chair the 27th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

On November 23, 2016 local time, the 27th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was held in Washington D.C.of the US from November 21 to 23. Vice Premier Wang Yang, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker of the US and Trade Representative Michael Froman of the US co-chaired the meeting. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack of the US attended the meeting.

Wang Yang expressed that during their meetings in Hangzhou and Lima, President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama reached important consensus on pushing forward the development of China-US economic and trade relations and charted the course for this year’s JCCT. China is willing to make joint efforts with the US to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, broaden areas of cooperation, push for more results from bilateral cooperation in various fields such as two-way investment, intellectual property right, innovation policy, competition policy, standard setting, digital economy and food safety, properly manage and control differences, and expound to the outside community the connotations of a new model of China-US major-country relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, so as to lay a solid foundation for the development of China-US economic and trade relations in the next year and beyond as well as show the effects and vitality of the China-US JCCT mechanism.

The US side said that since the establishment of the JCCT, it has played a positive role in promoting bilateral trade, expanding investment and resolving major concerns of the business circle. In recent years, both sides have reformed the JCCT mechanism and increased discussions on a series of cooperation activities and strategic issues, thus reaching a great deal of consensus. The US is willing to make use of the remaining time of the Obama administration to push for more practical results from bilateral economic and trade cooperation and lay a foundation for the smooth transition of US-China economic and trade relations after the change of administration in the US.

During the JCCT, China and the US held in-depth discussions on 12 key agendas concerning bilateral economic and trade relations, organized a series of cooperation activities including Business Luncheon, CEO Roundtable, Agriculture and Food Seminar and Digital Economy Seminar, held a strategic symposium on the digital economy, signed two cooperation documents, and reached a great deal of consensus. The two sides released the outcome list of the meeting.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)