Descent of China’s Tiangong-1 will not cause damage to earth: expert

The descent of China’s first space lab Tiangong-1 will not cause damage to the ground, a Chinese scientist assured the public in a recent interview.

A schematic drawing of the Tiangong-1 space lab. (Photo: official website of China Manned Space)

The space lab is expected to fall into the Earth’s atmosphere in the first half of 2018 after it stopped sending data back to Earth in March 2016, officially ending its mission, according to Zhu Congpeng, a top engineer at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Zhu’s statement came as an article to bid farewell and pay tribute to the space lab drew the aerospace fans’ attention to the veteran.

Tiangong-1 was considered as a mark of China’s entry to the second phase of three-step strategy for manned space program when it was sent to orbit on Sept. 29, 2011.

In other words, the launch of the Tiangong-1 signified China’s ability to establish space lab and realize short-term unattended operation of the space station.

In the three years after its launch, the orbiting space lab docked with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, verifying key technologies such as automated and manually controlled rendezvous and docking. It marked China as the world’s third country to complete space rendezvous and docking procedures.

Many international aerospace organizations have predicted the time of the lab’s fall. European Space Agency estimated that the station will likely come down sometime between Mar. 29 and Apr. 9.

Tiangong-1 space lab is launched on Sept. 29, 2011. (Photo: People’s Daily Online)

According to the latest information issued by China’s manned space engineering office, since Feb. 25 to Mar. 4, 2018, Tiangong-1 was orbiting in stable condition and good shape at an average height of about 251.5 kilometers (perigee height: 238.6 km; apogee height: 264.4 km; orbital inclination: 42.79 degrees).

China has been monitoring Tiangong-1, Zhu said, adding that the space lab will burn up after entering the atmosphere and the remaining wreckage will fall into a designated area of the sea, without endangering the Earth’s surface.

Aerospace expert Pang Zhihao explained that an international tradition to handle retired large spacecrafts operated at near-earth orbits is to let them fall to an abyssal zone in southern Pacific Ocean far away from the continents.

Being called the “graveyard of spacecraft”, the water was the falling location for Mir space station and Progress spacecraft of Russia, and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory of the US, Pang added.

Children experience a simulated cabin of Tiangong-1 space lab at a virtual reality education base of military science in Qinhuangdao, northern China’s Hebei province on Aug. 15, 2017. (Photo: CFP)

Plan to develop Greater Bay Area to be unveiled: official

A national-level development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will be unveiled soon, putting infrastructure interconnectivity on top of the agenda, Ma Xingrui, governor of southern China’s Guangdong province disclosed at a panel discussion during the ongoing first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 6.

Photo shows the Humen Bridge II which is under construction. The Humen Bridge II, which spans 12.89 kilometers, is a world-class suspension bridge built in southern China’s Guangdong province. Scheduled to be completed in 2019, it links the western and eastern banks of the Pearl River. (Photo from Huanqiu.com)

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, a key part of the transport network in the area, is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2018. It will slash the travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong to 48 minutes and between Shenzhen and Hong Kong to 14 minutes.

The main construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has been completed. The bridge will cut the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from four hours to just 30 minutes.

The sea tunnel linking Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen is under accelerated construction, and the Humen Bridge II connecting Guangzhou and Dongguan will open to traffic in 2019.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a cluster of cities, including Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Jiangmen. It is the fourth largest bay area in the world after the metropolitan area in New York, San Francisco Bay Area and the metropolitan area in Tokyo.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that the economic aggregate of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao area is comparable with that of Canada, the 10th largest economy in the world.

Decks of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge were linked together on September 27, 2016, indicating the main construction of the bridge entered into the final phase. Connecting Hong Kong with Macao and Zhuhai, the world’s largest sea-crossing span consists of a series of bridges and one undersea tunnel, as well as 3 artificial islands. (Photo by Ji Shunli from People’s Daily Online)

With a total population of 120 million, it is home to many advantageous industries and competitive companies that stand out in domestic and global market. The finance, science and technology sectors in the cluster also stand in the front row.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is one of China’s regions that are called for coordinated development. Others include the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and the Yangtze Economic Belt.

China’s Jiuzhaigou scenic area partially reopens after earthquake

Jiuzhaigou, a scenic area in southwest China’s Sichuan province, partially reopened for the first time on March 8 since the devastating earthquake last year. On the first day of reopening, it received more than 700 tourists.

The Jiuzhaigou scenic area welcomes the first group of tourists on March 8, 2018. (Photo from CFP)

The scenic area was closed the second day after a magnitude-7.0 quake hit Jiuzhaigou County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in the province on Aug. 8, 2017, causing five deaths. It remained closed to tourists during the 7 months of renovation.

Since some of the scenic spots are still under reconstruction, only part of the spots is opened and the number of tourists is limited to 2,000 each day, according to the administrative bureau of Jiuzhaigou.

The bureau disclosed that the scenic area is only open to tourist groups instead of individual tourists for the moment, and the tourist areas, number of tourist, travel time and travel modes will continue to be limited in the next period to come.

Arial view of the Jiuzhaigou scenic area after the magnitude-7.0 quake hit the area. (Photo from CFP)

The Jiuzhaigou scenic area is located in the northwest of Sichuan province and about 400 kilometers away from Chengdu, capital city of the province.

As a national 5A-class tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jiuzhaigou scenic area is home to spectacular natural sceneries of lakes, mountains, waterfalls and verdant forests, and Tibetan customs, attracting a large number of tourists from home and abroad every year. Statistics show the scenic area received over 5 million travelers in 2016.

A lake at the Jiuzhaigou scenic area. (Photo from the official website of the Jiuzhaigou scenic area)

The scenery of the Wuhuahai of the Jiuzhaigou scenic area. (Photo from the official website of the Jiuzhaigou scenic area)

China’s BeiDou navigation application expected to be launched this May

A navigation application based on China’s home-grown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is expected to be launched on May 1, Chinese media reported.

Design sketch on global constellation of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. (Photo: beidou.gov.cn)

The application will provide users with explicit route guidance system, clear voice prompt, and a notification system that reports real-time information including road signs of major or side lanes, roundabouts and expressways even in complex road conditions.

It can also help improve traffic efficiency by offering smart suggestions based on real-time traffic conditions.

With lane-level accuracy, the error of the BeiDou application is reduced to within 1 meter, while that of the traditional navigation applications depending on GPS is about 10 meters.

In addition, the BeiDou map will offer more accurate location-based services for unmanned driving in future.

It is reported that the world’s first Internet of Things module based on BeiDou communication technology has been developed by a branch company of the BeiDou Aerospace Group, narrowing the accuracy of positioning services to centimeter-level.

A BeiDou navigation satellite was launching. (Photo: beidou.gov.cn)

The construction of the BeiDou system has, up to now, come to the third stage. By the end of this year, a total of 18 BeiDou-3 satellites are expected to be put into space to complete basic constellation deployment.

The system will be made up of 35 satellites by the end of 2020, forming an orbiting satellite network that can offer navigation and positioning services to users worldwide.

China’s constitutional revision accords with the people’s will

China’s constitutional revision is of significance for ensuring prosperity and lasting security of the Party and the country, and better embodies the aspirations of the people, said delegates to the ongoing national legislative and political advisory sessions when deliberating and discussing the draft amendment to the Constitution.

Representatives of overseas Chinese nationals discuss the draft constitutional amendment at the first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), March 7, 2018. (Photo by Lei Sheng from People’s Daily)

It is a major decision made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core from the overall and strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, they stressed.

As an important event in the country’s political life, the constitutional amendment is also a major move to advance law-based governance and modernize China’s system and capacity for governance, the delegates added.

The draft constitutional revision, proposed by the CPC Central Committee, was adopted by the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee at its 32nd session convened from January 29 to 30, and was submitted to the first session of 13th NPC for deliberation on March 5.

The draft amendment reads that 11 of the 21 proposals are about supervisory commissions.

The bill suggests giving Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era constitutional authority by enshrining it as a new guiding theory for the country.

Facts have proven that the timely translation of the Party’s guiding ideology into that of the country by amending Constitution is of great significance for the development of the Party and the country, said Xu Wenguang, a deputy to the 13th NPC.

The move is able to ensure a high-level unity of the Party and the country as well as the aspiration of the people, added Xu, also Secretary of the CPC Quzhou Municipal Committee from east China’s Zhejiang province.

It is a must to incorporate Xi Jinping thought, which is CPC’s secret to success in governance, into the revised Constitution, Xu stressed.

Making the Party’s guiding thought that of the country through constitutional revision also accords with the requirement of improving the Constitution to adapt to new situations, agreed Chen Jiadong, a deputy to the 13th NPC and also director of the Standing Committee of the Xiamen Municipal People’s Congress from southeast China’s Fujian province.

The revisions include a series of clauses concerning the CPC leadership, the system of people’s congresses and united front, oath of allegiance to the Constitution, the presidential term of office, function and power of the State Council, legislative power as well as supervisory commissions.

A sentence reading “The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics” was also added into the Constitution.

“The addition, an important finding of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, represents a portrayal of both the historic facts and reality,” noted Li Baoping, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The inclusion, which accords with the basic principles of the Constitution, also embodies the laws that underlie governance by the Party and the development of socialism, added Li, who is also director of the Institute of Law and Social Sciences at the Ningxia Academy of Social Sciences.

The revision to the President’s term of office is an institutional arrangement aiming to improve the leadership system of the Party and the country, commented Zhang Hongzhi, a member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.

“Such a revision doesn’t mean there will be a change in the retirement system of the Party and state leaders or a lifelong tenure for these officials,” explained Zhang, also vice director of the Party Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee.

The lawmakers and political advisors pointed out that the constitutional revision has pooled public opinions and wisdom, fully represented the aspiration of people and won the support of the people.

The wide participation of the public always matters in the Constitution formulation and amendments, said delegate Zhang Tianren, who is also Party secretary of a village in east China’s Zhejiang province.

The amendment was proposed after soliciting opinions of all walks of life, he said, adding that it reflects the wisdom and wishes of Chinese people of all ethnic groups, gathers consensus of all social sectors and demonstrates the features of socialist democracy.

Ancient Afghan treasures gain popularity in Southwest China

Cultural relics from Afghanistan are on display in Chengdu City, southwest China’s Sichuan province. The exhibition showcasing Afghanistan’s ancient civilization has been well received by local residents since it started last month.

A poster of the theme exhibition “The echo of civilization”. (Photo from the official website of Chengdu Museum)

The exhibition, titled “The Echo of the Civilization”, is held at Chengdu Museum. Starting from February 1, the exhibition is free for public visits until May 6th. A total of 231 precious cultural items from the National Museum of Afghanistan are on show.

The exhibited pieces were unearthed at four archeological sites in Tepe Fullol, Ai-Khanum, Tilla Tepe, and Begram, revealing the historic course of ancient Afghanistan from Neolithic Age, Greek civilization, grassland civilization to Kushan civilization.

Gold antelope-shaped bracelet unearthed from No.2 tomb in Tilla Tepe. (Photo from the official website of Chengdu Museum)

In addition to the exhibition, the museum also provided opportunities for visitors to learn about ancient Afghan civilization through a series of themed lectures.

In the first lecture of the series on Feb. 11, archaeology professor Luo Erhu from Sichuan University briefed the history of Afghanistan from ancient times to the 2nd century AD, illustrating the country’s brilliant civilizations under the clash and fusion of eastern and western cultures.

A female visitor “tries on” a gold crown in a virtual mirror. (Photo from the official website of Chengdu Museum)

The exhibition amazed the visitors and gave them a new understanding of Afghanistan, a country frequently associated with war and poverty.

“It’s amazing that such a war-torn nation used to have such a brilliant civilization,” said a visitor. Some said they were planning for a second visit.

In order to satisfy those who can’t make it to the museum and those who want to “own” the relics, the museum offers over 300 types of creative cultural products for sales, including exotic gold decorations, rings, bracelets and earrings.

Creative cultural product offered by Chengdu Museum for sale. (Photo from the official website of Chengdu Museum)

Creative cultural products offered by Chengdu Museum for sale. (Photo from the official website of Chengdu Museum)

China developing smart, automated bullet trains for 2022 Winter Olympics

China is working on a new type of bullet trains with autopilot system to better facilitate the 2022 Winter Olympics, Zhao Hongwei, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) disclosed.

On-board machinists attend a training. (Photo from the official website of China Railway Corporation)

The new bullet trains are expected to be operated on the high speed rail between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, two host cities of the 2022 Winter Olympics, added Zhao, also chief researcher at the China Academy of Railway Sciences.

“From accelerating to stopping, everything can be done with only a pressclick on the button of the train,” the chief researcher noted on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee on March 3.

Apart from autonomous driving, energy-saving and environment-friendly technologies and materials will also be used, the researcher introducedsaid.

A high-speed train runs on a grand bridgeviaduct in Shangrao section of Hefei-Fuzhou high-speed railway. (Photo from the official website of China Railway Corporation)

Zhao disclosed that the research team is developing a new platform based on the 350 kph Fuxing model. Trains under the new platform will be able to run at speeds of 250 kph and 160 kph to suit differentmore operation environments and geological conditions.

“Fuxing” trains were first put into operation last year, making China the country that operates the world’s fastest train service.

Holding complete intellectual property rights of the Fuxing model, Chins has filed more than 4,000 patent applications for the train.

China calls for a fair, impartial global human rights governance system

A severely disabled woman learns how to work online at an entrepreneurship and employment base specialized for the disabled in Neijiang, southwest China’s Sichuan province, January 17, 2018. (Photo from CFP)

A senior Chinese diplomat called on concerted efforts from all sides to build a community of shared future for mankind and to promote establishment of a fair, impartial, open and inclusive global human rights governance system in Geneva.

Full enjoyment of human rights by all is a great ambition of human society and an important goal of building a community of shared future for mankind, a concept initiated by President Xi Jinping, said Yu Jianhua, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland.

China calls on all parties to work together for a new model of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and a community of shared future for mankind, the diplomat added when speaking at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

He stressed the importance of development, security, cooperation and fairness in the improvement of global human rights governance system.

The first South-South Human Rights Forum is convened in Beijing from December 7 to 8, 2017, during which more than 300 representatives from over 70 countries and international organizations discussed on human rights development in developing countries and the world at large. (Photo from china.org.cn)

The people’s interests are of overriding importance to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government and their aspirations for a better life are what the Party and nation ultimately fight for, emphasized Yu, adding that all the fundamental rights of Chinese people are being better respected and guaranteed.

China is always a builder and contributor to the international human rights governance, he stressed.

The CPC drew up a blueprint of China’s development at its 19th National Congress last October, Yu said, elaborating that the country has set 2020 as the target year to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicate poverty.

According to the blueprint, China will basically realize socialist modernization by 2035, and develop itself into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of this century.

Poverty-stricken residents at Chenxiaozhai village, Anqing, central China’s Anhui province, attended lesson to learn skills, April 12, 2017. China hits a record of lifting over 68 million people out of poverty in the past five years. (Photo from CFP)

China will further advance its human rights undertakings and contribute even more to the progress of human society with these goals gradually achieved, said Yu.

The 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council kicked off in Geneva on February 26 and is expected to close on March 23.

A working group from Dongxiang District of Fuzhou, eastern China’s Jiangxi province, visit a prison for law education and a questionnaire on legitimate rights, April 14, 2017. (Photo from CFP)

China will help Africa soar to greater heights: Foreign Minister

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions on China’s foreign policies and relations at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, March 8, 2018. (Photo by Weng Qiyu from People’s Daily Online)

China will give wings to China-Africa cooperation to help it soar to greater heights by aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with development strategies of African countries, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised on March 8th, stressing that China will always attach particular importance to the needs and interests of African countries.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference on China’s foreign policies and relations held on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress last Thursday.

He assured the profound and unbreakable friendship between China and Africa, quoting President Xi Jinping’s statement that China and Africa are friends tested by adversity, and such friends must never be forgotten.

“No matter how the world may change or what others may say, the profound friendship between China and Africa will remain unbreakable, and China’s promise of sincerity, real results, friendship and good faith will remain true,” the minister added.

As Africa’s brother and partner, China will always attach particular importance to the needs and interests of African countries, he affirmed, stressing that Africa’s concerns are China’s concerns, and its priorities are China’s priorities.

A worker is assembling a bike at a factory based in Quzhou county, north China’s Hebei province on Jan. 24, 2018. A total of 15 enterprises in the county have been granted the right to self-manage imports and exports. Their products have been sold to Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe. (Photo by Hu Gaolei from CFP)

Africa faces the twin challenges of maintaining peace and security and of promoting development and revitalization, the minister said, vowing that China will, in response to its needs, step up mediation in regional flashpoints.

China will also enhance cooperation with African countries on unconventional security threats such as terrorism, piracy and natural disaster, and help them build capacity for ensuring their own peace and security, he added.

“In our new endeavor to build a global community with a shared future, Africa is an indispensable partner. China welcomes our African brothers and sisters to continue their ride on China’s fast train of development,” Wang highlighted.

When asked about his expectations on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit to be hosted by China this year, he said that the summit scheduled for September will bring together Chinese and African leaders again, 12 years after their last gathering in Beijing.

An inland container port constructed by China Communications Construction Company Limited in Nairobi, Kenya starts operation on Dec. 16, 2017. The port will help the Belt and Road Initiative reach the inland of Africa. (Photo by People’s Daily)

They will discuss China-Africa cooperation in the new era and focus on jointly advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and turning China and Africa into a community with a shared future, he expounded.

“By aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with the UN’s 2030 Agenda, the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of individual African countries, we will give wings to China-Africa cooperation to help it soar to greater heights,” Wang said.

African students studying at Xinyu University, Jiangxi province dance for the elderly at a local nursing home, Oct. 28, 2017. (Photo by Zhou Liang from People’s Daily Online)

China’s technology trade soars in January

A visitor walks by an exhibition booth of robots at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair. (Photo by Yicai.com)

China’s technology imports and exports respectively increased by 22.3% and 24.6% in January over the same period of last year, with contract values adding up to $2.8 billion and $2.1 billion , said the official website of the country’s Ministry of Commerce.

Of the total 1,341 contracts registered nationwide in January, 642 were for imports and 699 were for exports, the ministry said.

The month saw a rapid growth in transfer and licensing of intellectual property rights, including patents, proprietary technologies and software copyrights.

The 11,000-meter submersible “Rainbow Fish” is exhibited at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair. (Photo by Yicai.com)

Finland, Japan and the US rose to the three largest sources of imports, while the US, Hong Kong and Finland were the top three destination of exported technologies from Chinese mainland.

Communication equipment, computer and electronic manufacturing were preferred by both the technology importers and exporters, said the ministry.

Visitors experience virtual reality technology at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair. (Photo by Yicai.com)

Visitors experience virtual reality technology at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair. (Photo by Yicai.com)