Chinese Hawking! Boy with muscular dystrophy admitted to university

A Chinese boy with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy has been admitted to Hangzhou Dianzi University for his excellent performance in the college entrance examination.

Weighing less than 25 kilograms, Shao Zhenwei is not even able to hold a book, and he needs his mother for his daily life. After years of hard work, Shao has finally been admitted to university.

Now the boy is acquainting himself with AI and quantum mechanics, laying a foundation for his college life.

China has three trump cards to counter Trump administration’s trade probe: experts

China could take three countermeasures against the recent “Section 301” investigation initiated by the U.S. government, experts told Chinanews.com.

With growing trade friction between the two largest economies, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce made a strong response on Monday, saying China strongly opposes unilateral and trade protectionism acts conducted by the U.S., and will take all appropriate measures to safeguard its legitimate interests.

According to the report, limiting imports from the U.S., reducing exports to the U.S., and unloading dollar assets would be the most effective countermeasures.

China is America’s largest export market behind the North America region, and also one of the fastest-growing export markets of the U.S. Uncle Sam relies heavily on China for trade.

Statistics show that the annual growth in exports from the U.S. to China averaged 11% in the past decade, almost twice the figure of Chinese exports to the U.S. Sixty-two percent of soybean, 14% of cotton, 25% of Boeing aircraft, 17% of automobiles, and 15% of integrated circuits produced by the U.S. have been shipped to China.

In addition, China is the second-largest export market of American agricultural products, buying 15% of the total export volume, according to U.S. government data.

Against such a backdrop, restricting imports of agricultural products and high-end goods would be a trump card for China as a counter action.

Marcus Noland, executive vice president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, once said during an interview that it would be destructive if China limits the imports of American soybean and aircraft.

In addition, being the largest export market of China, the U.S. enjoys the benefits of cost-effective “made-in-China” products.

According to data released by the US-China Business Council, trade with China has saved American families $850 in 2015 on average. Oxford Economics estimates that China’s low-price goods have resulted in a 1-1.5% lower price level in the U.S.

At a time when Americans are expecting Donald Trump’s new trade policy to improve the current situation, the bilateral trade conflict would be damaging, said Lian Ping, chief economist of the Bank of Communications. Even small losses are unacceptable, he added.

Besides, China regained the title of Uncle Sam’s largest creditor in June. America’s financial stability would be impacted if China unloads its dollar assets on a large scale.

However, these three countermeasures would also harm China. As Chinese officials have stressed, there is no winner or future in a trade war.

Because of the resilience and huge potential of the Chinese economy, the U.S. would be worse hit in the long run, said Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

With a complete industrial system, China is the only country in the world that owns all industrial sectors listed in the United Nations industrial classification of all economic activities.

Once conflict deepens, America’s losses may not necessarily be less than China’s losses, noted Bai Ming, executive director of the Institute of International Trade of Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.

Mutual benefit leads to win-win results. Only by the joint efforts of both parties can trade relations between the two countries be pushed forward in a healthy manner.

Homegrown aircraft carrier ahead of schedule

China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier is very likely to start its first sea trials in autumn, as its manufacturer announced that it will present key achievements as a tribute to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Corp (DSIC) of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the manufacturer of the Type 001A, posted details of a meeting on its website on August 18.

Hu Wenming, the head and Party chief of the CSIC who visited the DSIC in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, praised the DSIC’s work, saying the “key project” team has completed tasks ahead of schedule, according to the DSIC. Although the website didn’t mention the aircraft carrier, the photo shows that the meeting is of “the Party Committee Working Conference of 002 Aircraft Carrier” (002 is the code of the project).

“The DSIC will greet the 19th CPC National Congress by delivering key achievements on a special product in this special time,” said DSIC Chairman Liu Zheng, during a DSIC meeting on August 15 in Dalian, according to the company’s website.

Liu said all personnel working on the key project led by the CSIC will stick to the directions of Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, to provide world-class naval equipment for a world-leading navy.

The Type 001A is located in the DSIC’s shipyard in Liaoning Province.

The “special time” refers to the 19th CPC National Congress, which marks the opening of a new phase of China’s reforms. And the enhancement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy’s combat capabilities is an important part of the country’s military reforms, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Chinese experts believe the project’s next achievement will most likely be the sea trials phase.

Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the PLA Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times that if the Type 001A can start its sea trials before the event, which is the last stage prior to turning the warship over to the navy, it would mark a huge step forward in China’s development of a stronger navy.

China has successfully tested the Type 001A’s power system and the carrier will undergo a mooring test in September ahead of schedule, meaning that the ship’s power system is all set, and Zhang said he believed part of the mooring test has already started even during the power test, so the mooring test period could be shorter than expected.

More comprehensive test

The schedule for the sea trials will depend on how long the mooring test takes, Zhang noted.

The sea trials will include an even more comprehensive performance test, which would cover the propelling and communications systems under different maritime conditions, which would usually take two years, Zhang said. He added the trials would not be limited to a specific weather condition.

“The gap between the launch and sea trials of an aircraft carrier can take years. Progress depends on many factors, including funding, technological obstacles and the needs of clients. A new class of vessel normally requires more time, just like the Type 002 which is currently under construction in Shanghai, and will be very different from the Type 001 and 001A, but much more advanced,” said Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the Rocket Force.

“The Type 001A is an improved version of the Type 001 Liaoning, so the similarity and experience can largely speed things up,” Song said.

China has started testing the power system of its first domestically-built aircraft carrier, and hopes to begin a mooring test in September ahead of schedule, Hu Wenming, the CSIC Chairman who has chaired the research and development of the Type 001A, was quoted as saying on a China Central Television report. The Type 001A was launched in Dalian on April 26.

Source: Global Times

Total fertility rate in China hits over 1.7 in 2016: watchdog

(Chinanews.com/Liu Mengxuan)

The number of newborns in 2016 hit 18.46 million and the total fertility rate reached over 1.7 as the country’s two-child policy took effect, according to a statistics bulletin released by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission on Aug. 21, China News reported.

Statistics shows that 18.46 million babies were born in China in 2016, up 2 million from 2013 numbers, and the total fertility rate rose to 1.7 births per woman.

The mortality rate of children less than 5 years old dropped from 10.7 per million in 2015 to 10.2 per million in 2016, and the infant mortality rate decreased from 8.1 per million to 7.5 per million during the same period. China’s leading health indicators remained above the average level of middle and high-income countries in that year.

In addition, health resources allocation in China was further optimized, which can be evidenced by lower out-of-pocket medical costs and better trained health professionals.

Lawyers say AI will not replace them but assist their work

(Chinanews.com/Zhong Xin)

A senior lawyer in Kunming of southwest China’s Yunnan province says the emergence of artificial intelligent (AI) will enhance their work.

An intelligent legal services platform was launched in Kunming on Aug. 20, and the system has provided legal services for over 10,000 people since it was put into trial operation in April.

According to statistics, the AI system outperformed human lawyers in terms of the quantity and quality of the cases solved and in the number of good reviews.

It takes a lawyer three days to write a legal report, which could cost 3,000 yuan ($450), while AI can do it in only 3 minutes for free.

Will diligent, tireless AI replace human lawyers? Wu Xia, a senior lawyer in Kunming and the man who developed the technology three years ago, said his intention was not to replace human lawyers but to make them more competitive.

Wu said there are not enough lawyers in China to satisfy rising demand for professional legal services, and many people cannot afford the high price of legal services.

In addition, most of the country’s resources for legal services are concentrated in big cities, leaving people in smaller cities and rural areas with little access to high-quality legal assistance.

Since its trial operation, the AI system has been used by over 530,000 times, and more than 80 percent of the people think the reports are professional and useful and more than 91 percent say its consulting services are helpful.

People can use the online service for free as long as they are online, Wu said. The system is built on a massive database of cases and legal knowledge, covering fields such as criminal, labor, marriage, and traffic.

The AI lawyer is installed with an experience store, the more it works, the smarter it will become. “At the beginning, the AI lawyer was not so experienced, but after three months of operation and practice, it becomes a senior lawyer,” Wu said. The legal advice the AI lawyer provided for clients has been recognized and praised by many human lawyers.

Although the “AI lawyer” has proved useful, other tasks, such as advising clients, writing legal briefs, negotiating deals, and appearing in court are beyond the reach of computers, said Zhao Yao, chairman of the Kunming Lawyers’ Association.

The “AI lawyer” makes lawyers more productive, efficient, and aware about their domain of expertise, Zhao said. The system can provide consulting services, while human lawyers will do more complex tasks.

The coordination of AI technology and human lawyers will greatly improve the quality of legal services and provide the public with more sound, timely, and accurate services, said Sun Yuewen, director of the Kunming Judicial Bureau.

China’s first self-developed ultra-low temperature tuna transport ship registered

(Chinanews.com/provided by Zhoushan Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau)

China’s first self-developed ultra-low temperature transport ship has been registered and is ready to be put into use, according to the Zhoushan Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau on Aug. 21, China News reported.

The transport ship is 108 meters long, 15.6 meters wide, and 9.2 meters deep, with 6,000 deadweight tonnage and ultra-low temperature refrigeration technology of negative 60 degrees centigrade.

The ship belongs to the Zhejiang Ping Tai Rong Ocean Fishery Group. Established in 2007, the Group owns 28 ultra-low temperature long-distance ocean-going fishing vessels working in waters including the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Group Chairman Ni Jianbo said that they used to transport tuna back to China by keeping fish in containers or refrigerated cargo ships rented from foreign companies, which is expensive and inconvenient. This self-developed ship is able to address that issue.

The Bureau now plans to help the Group that owns the transport ship register in the EU.

Tech firms make smart moves to bridge AI gap

There’s no phrase hotter in the tech world than artificial intelligence (AI), and this is especially true in China, where the craze for AI has even sparked concerns about an investment bubble.

Amid the AI excitement, smart investors have not lost sight of the fact that China’s capabilities still lag behind those of other countries, especially the US. Many have pointed to a talent gap as the main hurdle China will have to overcome to turn itself into a global AI leader.

“I spent some time in Stanford and Berkeley last month, and just like 20 years ago [when I was] pursuing a doctorate, [I] asked them to talk about what they were doing. Overall, I felt fairly enlightened. The doctoral candidates there are more competent and their research is more pioneering and creative than the work of their peers in China,” said Zhang Hongjiang, head of Technical Strategy Research Center at ByteDance, the parent company of highflying news app Toutiao.

Zhang, the former managing director of the Microsoft Advanced Technology Center, made the remarks at a mid-August launch event for the AI Challenger, a new global AI programming contest.

Lacking learners

The AI Challenger was jointly launched by venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures, search engine Sogou and Toutiao in an attempt to build one of the world’s largest open AI databases as well as sharpening the nation’s AI skills.

The winners of the various categories in the 2017 AI Challenger competition, such as translation, will receive cash rewards totaling 2 million yuan ($299,818). The firms involved will also offer jobs to the winners.

The companies have also promised tens of millions of yuan to help establish the AI database, which will be accessible to all researchers and developers.

The completion is set to improve China’s AI talent pool, said Kai-Fu Lee, whose Sinovation Ventures has invested heavily in AI startups.

A July report by professional networking site LinkedIn claimed that China ranks seventh in global AI talent rankings. Of the 1.9 million AI talents spotted by LinkedIn, China boasts only 50,000. The US led the rankings with a talent pool of 850,000.

Off course

The lack of specific AI courses has been blamed for the talent shortfall.

“AI covers a wide range of fields including audio, visual, motion perception and computerized algorithms. No specific programs or courses about AI are now on offer in China for undergraduates, graduates or doctoral students,” Cui Yan, president of the Zhuhai AI and IM Research Institute, told the Global Times.

But the country enjoys late-comer advantages and is in a good position to catch up, according to Cui. But today, Chinese students looking to enter AI prefer to head to US universities.

“I’m currently writing my thesis and if all goes smoothly I will apply for doctorate studies at one of the top universities in the US,” 25-year-old Zhang Ruyi, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in automation at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

Zhao Ruihui, a 23-year-old now studying a master’s degree in information engineering at Japan’s Waseda University, said he will apply to schools in Europe or the US if he decides to continue his studies.

Running first

That said, the AI Challenger has piqued the interest of both Zhang and Zhao. The contest and the other efforts by domestic firms to incubate AI talent have somewhat eased the worries about the talent gap.

DeeCamp, a six-week-long summer camp hosted by Sinovation Ventures to turn AI ideas into a reality, is seen exemplifying the recent push by industry heavyweights to address the talent problem.

More than 30 Chinese students from elite universities from both home and abroad headed to the camp and showcased their AI projects, including an unmanned supermarket, a delivery robot and an AI chatbot that gives romantic advice.

Zhang and Zhao, who both attended the camp, said that such initiatives have encouraged them to eventually pursue their AI careers in China even if they do study abroad first.

As Wang Xiaochuan, chief executive of Sogou, said in his speech at the AI Challenger launch event, Chinese firms are running fast in the global AI race and their investment in AI startups and talent-nurturing will keep pace with the country’s AI ambitions and probably push the country ahead of the US within five years.

Source: Global Times

‘Comfort women’ film indicates bright future for Chinese documentary films

Chinese documentary films are likely to embrace a brighter future, as the recent documentary film “Twenty Two,” following “Return to the Wolves” and “Earth: One Amazing Day,” both of which were box office successes and got strong reviews, Guangzhou Daily reported on Aug. 21.

The film “Twenty Two,” which tells the story of surviving Chinese “comfort women” hit 120 million yuan ($18 million) at the box office by Aug. 21, topping the list of Chinese documentary films.

The 90-minute documentary featured 22 “comfort women” in China, who peacefully shared their eyewitness accounts of history.

“It is not a movie that sells pain and tears. It is just enough to bring the audience to them, to see them, and to get to know them. Understanding them is the biggest help. They have their own way to take in the pain,” said Guo, adding that in order to survive, they seldom recall those bitter memories.

Due to lack of capital for shooting and promoting the film, as well as the sensitivity of the topic, the film was not viewed with a promising future. Director Guo Ke even had to raise money through crowd funding to finish production.

However, many famous Chinese actors and directors have called on the public to watch the film at cinemas to show support for Guo and to pay tribute to the women who are now in their 90s. Some online celebrities also bought tickets and invited their followers to watch the film for free.

The film was a success and got strong reviews, signifying that documentary films in China are increasingly recognized by audiences.

In addition, Chinese documentary films have achieved success for their premium and pure content, which move audiences and arouse their emotions, as well as increasing demand for different types of films.

Family planning policy not root cause of China’s population aging: experts

(Photo/China.com.cn)

China’s population aging was not caused by the country’s family planning policy, but an inevitable result of the process of modernization, the People’s Daily reported on Aug. 20.

In an opinion piece coauthored by Zhai Zhenwu and Chen Jiaju, scholars with the Renmin University, the two experts said family planning policy is not the root cause of China’s population aging. Although it did speed up the pace, to some extent, it reduced the overall size of the population and shortened the duration of the phenomenon in China.

Population ageing is an inevitable universal phenomenon, as decreased fertility and prolonged human longevity are the results of modernization.

Developed countries confronted the phenomenon after World War II and it later intensified. Some developing countries have experienced the phenomenon in the 21st century and the population has grown at a rapid pace.

The United Nations predicts that the countries with the youngest populations will also age by the end of the century.

Statistics show that China’s population of 60 or older hit 220 million by the end of 2015, topping the world list and accounting for a quarter of the world’s total elderly population.

The huge aging population in China poses great pressure on the construction of the old-age security system and the development of health care.

The next generation of elderly in two or three decades from now will be more educated, have better self-care ability, and have higher socio-economic development.

Against such a backdrop, Zhai and Chen said China should actively address the issue by improving the quality of elderly care services, establishing a long-term care insurance system, and promoting family care, as well as explore new ways.

Refined digital mapping employed to preserve Potala Palace

(CNS/Li Lin)

The use of refined digital mapping to protect Potala Palace was recently exhibited at the Heritage Preservation International-Shanghai 2017, China News reported on August 17.

Potala Palace management said the mapping project was launched in June 2016 and it is about to be completed in three months. They stressed the urgency of the project to protect cultural heritage, given that the palace is built on a mountain with a complicated structure. So far, 90 percent of the project has been completed.

Many advanced technologies, including three-dimensional laser scanning and UAV aerial photography, were used to collect precise information on the architectural complex and surrounding areas. The information will help in monitoring and controlling the palace’s networks, the Beijing Digsur Science and Technology Company Ltd in charge of the project, disclosed.

Potala Palace, built 1,300 years ago in Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, is one of the world cultural heritage sites in the region.