China-Arab States Tour Operators Conference 2017 held in Yinchuan

The China-Arab States Tour Operators Conference 2017 was held in Yinchuan, northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, on Sept. 4.

In addition to an opening ceremony, activities included tourism resources promotion, a panel on China-Arab tourism cooperation, signed investments in projects, and field trips to tourism routes and projects.

Ten cross-border tourism routes in Ningxia and neighboring provinces were issued at the conference.

It’s the second time for Yinchuan to hold the conference, which serves as an important platform for tourism cooperation among China, Arab states, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the U.S., ushering in an unprecedented golden time for Yinchuan’s tourism industry.

Chinese scientists artificially breed rare snake species

A research team in China has artificially bred a rare snake species, elaphe perlacea, for the first time, thepaper.cn reported.

Elaphe perlacea, hailed as the most beautiful snake in the world, is a mild and non venomous snake species.

It was first spotted by the U.S. scholar Leonhard Stejneger in southwestern China’s Sichuan province 98 years ago. It remained undiscovered for the next couple of decades. Some people even doubted its existence.

The snake was later spotted in 1980, 1987, and 1988. Ding Li, the leader of the Chinese research team, who is also a researcher with the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the snake as a unique species in 2017.

According to Ding, less than 30 elaphe perlacea have been found in the recent century. Even pictures of the mysterious snake are very precious, let alone artificial breeding, Ding added.

Ding captured the snake three years ago, and he finally made a breakthrough in the artificial breeding of the species after three years of hard work. The first batch of snake eggs was hatched recently.

Ding believes the snakes could make good pets for reptile lovers, but people should not capture them from the wild, since they might face extinction once their habitats are destroyed.

Scientists usually omit the location of such discoveries in media reports and scientific literature, because poachers can trace the rare animals through such documents. The practice has become an unwritten norm in academia.

Currently, elaphe perlacea is not a protected species in China. But fortunately, it has been locally protected by Sichuan province. Ding hopes the country will make further efforts in this regard and add this species of snake to the list of animals protected by the nationwide Wildlife Protection Law this year.

Japan busy preparing to cash in on China’s national holiday

Japan’s local governments and tourism industry are currently preparing for the coming Chinese “Golden Week,” a 7-day-long vacation that starts on Oct. 1, in a bid to attract more tourists from the world’s second largest economy.

Chinese travel agencies predict that Japan is likely to become one of the hottest destinations for Chinese tourists during the Golden Week. According to Ctrip, a major travel service provider in China, Japan will be a top-3 destination for Chinese tourists during the vacation.

A total of 506,000 Chinese tourists visited Japan during the Golden Week last year, and Japan is expecting a new high this year.

Japan’s tourism industry is busy preparing for the rush days to attract more Chinese tourists.

Recently, a number of the country’s local governments have carried out promotion activities in China.

On Sept. 6, a government delegation from Fukuoka came to Shanghai to promote a shopping festival of the city. It is noteworthy that Fukuoka government has taken Oct. 1 as the first day of the month-long festival, with an obvious intention to attract Chinese tourists.

Japanese merchants have also racked their brains to find ways to attract Chinese tourists. Some cosmetic shops have started recruiting Chinese students as part-time employees and more local merchants are using Chinese e-payment systems for convenience.

World’s largest radio telescope in China receives 240,000 visitors

The world’s largest radio telescope has been visited by 240,000 people since it opened to the public on September 25, 2016, said the local tourism department of Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, where the telescope located.

The 500-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), nicknamed the “Eye of Heaven,” has received 169,022 visitors in the first 8 months of this year.

Most people visit the telescope on weekends and holidays, said Shi Bangze, director of the local tourism department.

No device that produces electromagnetic waves is allowed in the core area, which is a quiet zone. Visitors’ phones and cameras must be stored outside the zone.

The county has instigated a daily cap of 2,000 visitors within the core area, in a bid to reduce disturbances that could affect the weak signals from outer space.

In order to create a better tourism experience for the visitors, Pingtang County has built a number of facilities, including a planetarium, a commercial pedestrian street, and a full-dome cinema.

University paints dormitories in multicolors to encourage innovation

A university in China recently painted its dormitories in multicolors, in a bid to encourage innovation among students, thepaper.cn reported.

According to an employee of Central South University of Forestry and Technology in Hunan province, the interior walls of four dormitory buildings have been painted with 15 colors, and the walls in the public areas of the other 14 buildings have also been painted.

Each dormitory has a private bathroom and a balcony, and the colorful walls have endowed the rooms with a fresh and bright atmosphere.

Though the dormitories have been decorated in different colors, the accommodation fee remains the same.

Xu Wenli, a teacher from Swan College at CSUFT, thinks the colors will help the students remain joyful and protect their eyesight.

The idea originated from some students who believe dormitories should be painted with colors rather than plain white. The university finally decided to adopt their idea to encourage them to be innovative.

Xiong Bingqi, vice president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, told thepaper.cn on Sept. 4 that universities should listen more to students’ voices. To adopt democratic management, respect their opinions, and encourage them to express their ideas will nurture their awareness and ability to innovate, Xiong added.

China completes in-orbit test of its first carbon observatory satellite

In-orbit test of China’s first orbiting carbon observatory satellite has been successfully completed, according to China Meteorological Administration. The satellite transmits signals to the National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) every 1.5 hours from its preset orbit 700 kilometers above Earth.

The satellite, TanSat, was launched on December 22, 2016, and has been in space for more than eight months.

As China’s first mission to study carbon dioxide, the satellite examines carbon sources with extremely high precision, tracks the role of carbon dioxide in the carbon cycle, studies variability over time, and helps forecast long-term climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

Different from traditional meteorological satellites, TanSat detects the concentration of carbon dioxide by molecule absorption in the visible and near infrared, said NSMC Deputy Director Zhang Peng.

Equipped with a modularized satellite platform, a hyperspectral carbon monoxide detector, and a multispectral cloud and aerosol detector, the satellite offers very accurate measurements.

It has five modes of observation and is capable of examining from different angles. The results of the in-orbit test proved that every function of the craft is in good operation and each index of the satellite platform has met requirements, Zhang noted.

Scientists will convert the magnetic signals received from the satellite into visible spectral signals, and then calculate the concentration of the carbon dioxide, Zhang said, adding that the data will be available for all researchers.

Mobile payments penetration highest in China: survey

Mobile payments penetration is highest in China, according to a recent survey by global market and opinion research specialist Ipsos. According to the survey, 77% of Chinese use mobile payment services.

In addition, 14% of Chinese consumers said they will not take cash, and 26% of them said they only take cash if it is less than 100 RMB ($15.33).

The survey covered a total of 18,000 consumers. India is the second largest market for mobile payments followed by China, and 76% of Indians use mobile payment services while shopping.

Japan has the lowest penetration rate at 27%. The rate is not very high in developed countries, such as the United States and Germany.

Non-bank payment organizations handled a total of 97 billion mobile payment transactions from 2013 to 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of over 195 percent, according to China Payment and Clearing Association.

By the end of the first quarter of 2017, major mobile payment service provider WeChat Pay has gained over 938 million monthly active users.

Fast food franchises, convenience stores, cinemas, and taxis have the highest mobile payment activity.

Discarded ships in Hainan become ‘offshore library’

Three discarded ships in Xidao Island, southern China’s Hainan province, have been transformed into an “offshore library.” It has been hailed by the 4,000 residents on the island.

According to Qin Jiayi, the initiator of the library, it is the first public library on Xidao Island. Currently, it comprises about 2,000 books, and Qin plans to double the collection.

With a history of more than 400 years, Xidao Island covers an area of 2.86 square kilometers. The 4,000 residents on the island all make a living by fishing.

The island is a famous tourist attraction. In addition to enriching the spiritual life of the residents, the library will also attract more tourists.