Rare migratory birds cared for in Hebei

Staff members treat an oriental white stork at a wild animal rescue center in Cangzhou, north China’s Hebei province, Jan. 14, 2019. A number of wounded birds that are unable to fly back to southern China have been brought here for treatment. In the last three months, vets have rescued and treated more than 20 birds, including oriental white storks, which are under first-class state protection. (Xinhua/Fu Xinchun)

Chinese people participate in online charity 3.6 billion times in first half of 2018

Chinese people donated to charity almost 3.6 billion times through online services in the first half of 2018, a senior official said at a meeting in Beijing on Monday.

Online donations to some charity organizations accounted for over 80 percent of their total collections, Gao Xiaobing, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said during his speech at the meeting.

By Jan. 11, 2019, China has registered over 810,000 social organizations and more than 400 foreign non-government organizations, and approved the registration of 5,355 charity organizations, Gao added.

China received donations of both money and goods worth more than 149.9 billion yuan in 2017, up 7.68 percent from the previous year, according to the China Charity Federation, one of the country’s most influential charity organizations.

Reform and innovation boost Hainan FTZ

The Hainan Island (Chinanews.com/Luo Yunfei)

China’s 12th FTZ in Hainan will explore new horizons of opening up through institutional innovation on the basis of experiences from other FTZs in the country, as well as the province’s own distinguished features, said a senior official from Hainan province.

In 2018, China unveiled a detailed plan to establish Southern China’s Hainan province as a free trade zone (FTZ), and ultimately, a free trade port.

A significant feature of the Hainan FTZ is that the zone is an island spanning more than 35,000 square kilometers, including both developed and less developed areas, while the other 11 FTZs are each around 120 square kilometers in size. This demonstrates China’s resolution to further open up, said Sun Dahai, Deputy Secretary General of the Communist Party of China Hainan Provincial Committee.

Focusing on institutional innovation, the Hainan FTZ has stepped up efforts to provide a law-based, international and efficient business environment, and build it into a pilot zone for comprehensively deepened reform and opening up since April 2018.

The province has basically established a “single window” administrative system to facilitate international trade, by which business entities can operate the customs declaration of seven basic businesses for free as of Dec. 1, 2018, thus lowering customs clearance costs. A free trade account system was also implemented on Jan. 1, 2019, providing enterprises a cheaper overseas financing channel.

Another of the Zone’s priorities is to break new ground in opening up through industrial innovation. Hainan will focus on the development of tourism, modern services and high-tech products to build the island into a pilot zone for China’s ecological progress, and also an international tourism and consumption center, noted Sun.

China’s first international medical tourism hub, Hainan Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, was also launched. Nine preferential policies lowered import tariffs on medical equipment and drugs.

On May 1, 2018, Hainan waived visa requirements for tourists from 59 countries. Total inbound arrivals had exceeded one million by the end of November 2018, a year-on-year increase of 16.6 percent.

Thanks to the recently implemented duty-free policy in the province, both tourists and local residents now enjoy the average annual duty-free spending of 30,000 yuan per person. Consumption during the new year holiday in 2019 reached 129 million yuan, a growth of 19.44 percent year on year.

China continues to put forward policies and institutions to help build a free trade port in Hainan in a phased manner, so as to speed up exploration of the development of free trade ports with distinct Chinese features. It’s expected that Hainan will become a key gateway to the Pacific and India Oceans in the future.

NPC deputy suggests legislative ban on cosmetic surgery for minors

(Photo/Xinhua)

A deputy of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China suggested adding new terms to the country’s law on the protection of minors, to prohibit people and organizations from performing unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on children, Legal Daily reported on Jan. 15.

The NPC deputy, Wang Jiajuan, suggested that lawmakers should add relevant provisions to explicitly stipulate that all cosmetic surgeries for minors, except for necessary medical reasons, are prohibited. She also suggested that they should define the legal responsibilities of guardians, companies and organizations that provide cosmetic surgery, and state severe penalties for those caught violating the new provisions.

Wang is a teacher at Liaoyang No.1 Senior High School in Liaoyang City, northeast China’s Liaoning Province. She was distraught to hear that a 19-year-old girl had recently died during a rhinoplasty procedure.

“A girl, so young and lively, died only because of cosmetic surgery. It’s such a pity,” Wang said during an interview with Legal Daily, stating that though it was an accident, it shows the risks posed by such procedures.

Over recent years, the age of those contemplating cosmetic surgery has got younger and younger, said Wang, adding that the dangers associated with going under the knife are often neglected by this age group.

“I’ve noticed that many students have undergone cosmetic surgeries such as double eyelid surgery, eyebrow tattooing, and lip lightening. Some of these kids get eyebrows tattooed while they are still in their teens,” said Wang.

Wang noted that plastic surgery and medical treatments for children with congenital disabilities like cheilopalatognathus should still be allowed, so that these children can live with better health and dignity. However, she added, this is not the same as getting surgery for superficial reasons.

“Legislation on cosmetic surgeries for minors should be introduced to ensure the strict implementation of medical plastic surgeries and outline provisions on cosmetic surgeries,” said Shu Rui, an assistant to the president of the Financial Street People’s Court of Beijing.

Plastic surgery can pose an enormous risk for minors who are still developing, explained Shu, adding that the risks are even higher when the quality of providers varies so much.

Early in 2015, the proportion of consumer complaints received by the China Consumer’s Association regarding quality issues in medical plastic surgeries and cosmetic surgeries had grown by 6 percent compared with the previous year.

In June 2017, seven major Chinese government departments, including the then National Health and Family Planning Commission, had issued an official document detailing an action plan to crack down on illegal medical cosmetic procedures, which started a strict crackdown on illegal plastic surgery. So far, over 2,700 cases have been handled.

However, to date, there’s no specific provision dealing with medical and cosmetic surgeries for minors in the country’s law regarding the protection of children.

China’s first insurance museum opened in east China’s Ningbo

(Photo/Ningbo Daily)

China’s first insurance themed museum, the China Insurance Museum, opened in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province on Jan. 12, Ningbo Daily reported on Jan. 14.

With a total area of over 4,000 square meters, the China Insurance Museum is a four-story building located at No. 126 Baishalu Road, Jiangbei District, Ningbo City. It is free to the public, and provides visitors with an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of the insurance industry by using collections, display boards, and interactive devices.

The museum tells visitors the history of the world’s insurance industry and the development path of insurance in China using historical materials, cultural relics, recorded history and cultural exchanges.

The museum is not only a platform for the exchange of insurance cultures between domestic and overseas insurance industries, but also a platform for research on the history, culture, and development strategies of China’s insurance field. It’s also a foundation for publicity and education on insurance-related risk management and innovations in insurance, according to Ningbo Daily.

Co-hosted by the Ningbo Municipal People’s Government and the Insurance Society of China, and run by the Chinese Museum of Finance, the China Insurance Museum is anticipated to become a cultural landmark of China’s insurance field and is expected to have a global influence on insurance culture within the next three years.

Ningbo is among the first batch of Chinese cities where the country’s earliest insurance deals were born. Ningbo merchants are meant to have signed the first marine insurance contract in China’s history and set up China’s first batch of insurance companies, which had dominated the development of China’s insurance field for nearly half a century.

“Cardboard restaurant” in northwest China’s Xi’an

(Sanqin.com/Chen Feibo)

With tables, chairs, a cashier desk, ornaments, and wall sculptures all made from corrugated cardboard, a bookstore restaurant in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, has recently gained widespread public attention, sanqin.com reported.

Opened at the beginning of 2018, the “cardboard restaurant” provides customers with Shaanxi style cuisine after 5 p.m. every day. With its unique location and style, the restaurant is now a firm favorite with those who visit the bookstore to peruse the shelves, as well as customers who want to try out a restaurant with a difference.

“It’s nice to put down your mobile phone and read a book, and then enjoy a dish you like. It’s reminiscent of my middle school days,” said Liu Jing, a restaurant customer.

“The cardboard furniture not only helps to create a brand-new experience for customers, but also conveys the idea of environmental protection and a simple style of dining,” Liu added.

(Sanqin.com/Chen Feibo)

The tables, made of corrugated card, are all one square meter in size, and come with four chairs, in three different adult-sized styles and one highchair for children.

All the cardboard used in the restaurant was transported from Taiwan, China, according to restaurant owner Zhang Qiang, who disclosed that after learning about the properties and sturdiness of corrugated card, he created various pieces now used in the restaurant.

Zhang explained that the adult chairs could each hold the weight of a person under 150 kilograms. He added that as the cost of cardboard furniture is higher than regular furniture, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to replace too many damaged chairs or tables. Therefore, maintaining the unique furniture is his biggest concern.

(Sanqin.com/Chen Feibo)

Chinese post-90s emerge as major consumer group of cross-border commerce

Chinese people born after the year 1990 are gradually replacing the post-80s generation as the major force of cross-border consumption.

A report jointly issued by Tmall Global and CBNData recently revealed that in 2018, the post-90s generation accounted for nearly half of the total sales volume on Tmall Global, a cross-border e-commerce platform under Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba.

The per capita consumption made by this generation expanded by over 10 percent last year alone, the report noted.

These young consumers showed an interest in beauty and health-care products, with the report showing that sales of hair removal devices grew by 20 times.

Aside from personal care products, there was also strong growth in sales of healthy snacks, pet supplies, stylish overseas brands, and smart home appliances.

The report showed that this generation accounted for 40 percent of the sales of on-trend toys, and also seemed to favor household items that were more stylish.

Over the past four years, nearly 19,000 brands from 75 foreign countries have been introduced on Tmall Global. The year 2018 alone saw a rise of 122 percent, said the report.

Statistics indicate that by the end of October 2018, China’s total import of cross-border e-commerce exceeded 10 billion yuan, an increase of 53.7 percent from the previous year. The number of cross-border consumers in the country is expected to surpass 200 million by 2020.

China’s private sector sees foreign trade exceeding 12 trillion yuan in 2018

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

Foreign trade through China’s private enterprises totaled 12.1 trillion yuan in 2018, growing 12.9 percent year on year.

The figure accounted for 39.7 percent of the country’s total trade volume, up 1.1 percent from the previous year, said Li Kuiwen, spokesperson of China’s General Administration of Customs, at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Jan. 14.

In 2018, China’s private enterprises contributed over 50 percent of the country’s foreign trade growth.

The foreign trade growth of private enterprises in central, western and northeastern China respectively stood at 20.3, 18.9, and 16.7 percent last year, outpacing the eastern region, which secured a growth of 12.1 percent.

Mechanical and electrical products accounted for over 40 percent of the private sector’s total export and import, Li noted.

China grows fast in AI research: report

An AI robot displayed during the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) attracted much attention from many female visitors. The robot can do a makeup for someone in 5 minutes. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

China’s share of publications on global AI research has grown by 13 percent annually between 2013 and 2017, according to a report by Dutch publisher and analytics company Elsevier, Science and Technology Daily reported on Jan. 13.

The report found that China’s publications on AI ranked first in the world in 2017, after its number of AI publications overtook the United States in 2004. If this momentum continues, the country will pass Europe in AI research within four years.

In recent years, conference papers made up 44 percent of China’s overall AI publications, the reported indicated. The study on global AI trends also found that China is attracting more academic talents than it is losing.

With a focus on the three largest countries and regions contributing to the field of AI – China, the US, and Europe, the report showed that China’s AI research is more regional than global, and suffers from a low level of international cooperation and slow fluidity of researchers.

Chinese research institutes’ cooperation with global technology giants such as Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Microsoft is currently insufficient, said Sun Zhenan, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Automation.

The report pointed out that China’s AI research, which focuses on computer vision, is yet to publish papers on natural language processing and knowledge representation.

Farsighted Chinese companies such as Huawei, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have started to invest in basic AI research, Sun said, noting that it will take further efforts for them to catch up with their international peers.

China will take measures to create more employment opportunities

China will roll out more measures to help create employment opportunities and enhance social insurance in 2019, said officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS), Xinhua News Agency reported on Jan. 13.

Last year, the country saw a stable job market with 13.61 million newly-created jobs in urban areas, increasing by 100,000 from 2017. Newly-added urban jobs have now surpassed 13 million for six years in a row.

Urban unemployment stood at 3.8 percent at the end of 2018, while the number of jobs available outnumbered the number of job-seekers in China. During the 4th quarter of last year, there were, on average, 1.27 jobs for every job-seeker.

In 2019, China still faces considerable employment pressure, with more than 15 million new job-seekers in urban areas, including a record number of 8.34 million college graduates, said a senior official with the MHRSS.

The country will reduce the burden on enterprises to ensure employment, said MHRSS officials, noting that the ministry is accelerating research on plans to minimize enterprises’ social insurance premium.

Enterprises with fewer or zero layoffs can take back half of the unemployment insurance premium from the previous year, according to the MHRSS. Micro-credit for micro and small companies will also be raised from 2 million to 3 million yuan.

In addition to creating employment opportunities, the official said that the country would take targeted measures to help college graduates, migrant workers and veterans find employment and start their own businesses.

It will also strengthen skills training for job seekers and help those who have difficulties securing a job.

Currently, about 940 million Chinese are covered by the basic pension insurance. However, the country still faces difficulties regarding social security, including the accelerated aging of the population and growth of the elderly population.

In this regard, the country will act to see that everyone has access to social security. It will also bring pension schemes under unified national management and promote market-oriented, diversified and professional investment.