New theater showcase China Focus debuts at Edinburgh Fringe

China Focus marked the launch of its inaugural annual theater showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe over the weekend.

The event kicked off the run of seven top Chinese productions at the UK’s famous theater festival, including Luocha Land performed by the National Theatre of China, The Dreamer by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, musical China Goes Pop staged by the China Arts and Entertainment Group and The Boor, a traditional Peking Opera production by the Shanghai Theatre Academy.

These award-winning contemporary shows fuse traditional Chinese opera, dance, acrobatics, shadow art, as well as modern jazz and pop music.

Xiang Xiaowei, minister counselor of cultural affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the UK, said, “The collaborations between China and Edinburgh festivals can be seen as one of the wonderful movements in the symphony of China-UK cultural exchange.”

This celebration of excellence in Chinese theater and dramatic production coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Edinburgh Festival is an open platform with rich and colorful art styles that encourages new talents and promotes artistic quality.

Li Ming, vice president of the Center for the China Shanghai International Arts Festival as well as the organizer of China Focus, said at the launch ceremony for the event, “We will put on more than 60 performances for spectators, some of them professional artists themselves, from all around the world.”

“China Focus 2017 shines a light on the diversity of art from China, and the potential for Chinese performing arts in the future,” Li said.

“The openness and tolerance embodied by Edinburgh Festival Fringe represent a wonderful opportunity for us to make new friends, listen to more feedback, and begin future collaborations,” he explained.

China Focus is scheduled to end on August 28.

Source: Global Times


China World Hotel Beijing prepares for 2017 Beijing Marathon

On July 21, China World Hotel was given the honor of being the officially appointed hotel for 2017 Beijing Marathon.

The hotel has made a series of elaborate preparations to greet the contestants of 2017 Beijing Marathon.

The hotel will bring high-quality experiences to guests, including top-notch service. All guests will enjoy comfortable and spacious rooms and healthy and exquisite food and beverages.

Meanwhile, China World Hotel will bring the customers, guests and employees together to actively prepare for the marathon, spread healthy sports concepts and to create a fashionable, healthy life style.

Christopher Chia, the general manager of China World Hotel, expressed his feelings of honor to be the officially appointed hotel for Beijing Marathon once again and expressed his appreciation for the trust of Organizing Committee of Beijing Marathon and China World Trade Center in China World Hotel.

In his address, Chia also introduced briefly the series of activities that will take place during the marathon for the guests and invited them and people of all circles to participate and explore the joy of the marathon event.

To satisfy the needs of the contestants and runners participating in the Beijing Marathon who will be staying in China World Hotel, the hotel invited professional dietitians and chef teams to work together to prepare a series of healthy foods and energy-boosting beverages.

The coffee garden will be used as a marathon nutrition center and will offer a nutritious eight-week menu exclusively for the 2017 Beijing Marathon runners.

The hotel has prepared food such as lamb chops and beef rich in protein along with various carbohydrate beverages that help shape the body, increase speed, help muscle recovery and improve physical conditions.

Besides the sports beverages, the center also provides fruit juices such as orange and pineapple juice, which increases stamina and provides energy for the runners.

Inspired by the sports spirit, the chefs specially made nutrient-rich sports desserts, including cereal energy bars, oatmeal cakes, banana cakes and yogurt brownies. These nutritious and sweet treats will keep runners strong and full of energy.

“All the staff members are honored to be the only officially appointed hotel of Beijing Marathon once again,” said Chia.

“We will do our best to provide a high-class accommodation experience and hearty food and beverage service to the contestants.”

Source: Global Times

DoubleTree holds National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

In celebration of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 8, DoubleTree by Hilton Beijing invited 15 children from the surrounding community to participate in a cookie class and offered free chocolate chip cookies to anyone who visited the hotel, even if they did not have a reservation. National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day activities celebrate the cookie and offer travelers and the community residents a fun way to share their experiences with loved ones.

Since 1986, the DoubleTree by Hilton chocolate chip cookie has represented a warm, friendly welcome for travelers. Every guest who checks into one of the more than 494 DoubleTree by Hilton hotels and resorts in 41 countries across five continents receives this same signature, sweet treat at check-in.

Source: Global Times

Bay areas expected to boom

The landscape of Tianjin’s Binhai New Area, a key part of the Bohai Sea Rim Photo: IC

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has urged further development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Initiative highlighted in the 2017 Government Work Report. This reflects the central government’s firm support of pushing forward this top-designed and ambitious plan. The initiative, which was first discussed in 2008, now intends to emphasize the region’s role in global economic supply chains and is often compared to other bay areas such as those in San Francisco and Tokyo. Some experts have suggested that, after the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is established, more bay areas could also be considered in other Chinese regions. However, not every expert specializing in urbanization and city development agrees with the idea.

When the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area began to take shape, some experts looked beyond this region and suggested that China, like the US and Japan, could have more than one bay area serving as the engines of regional economic growth.

“The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area covers nine cities in the Chinese mainland and two special administrative regions [SARs]. If they can be integrated in spite of different systems, why not unite other regions in the mainland that have more in common [with regard to governance]?” Xu Hongcai, deputy chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), asked recently.

This newly established bay area in South China is considered a pioneer, where adjacent metropolitan areas can share and exchange resources, Xu told the Global Times on Monday.

“The bay area’s economic growth will outpace other regions, similar to how bay areas in the US and Japan have performed,” he said.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area encompasses a total population of 100 million, with a GDP volume of over $1.34 trillion, equal roughly to the GDP of South Korea or that of Spain in 2016, China Central Television reported in April.

But bay areas in the US and Japan have different characteristics.

For example, the Tokyo Bay Area is a cluster of industries, which add up to only 3.5 percent of Japan’s total land. Nonetheless, it generates one-third of the economy’s total GDP, news site reported in April.

Bay areas are growth linchpins and drivers of innovation and can contribute to up to 60 percent of the global economy, according to media reports citing data from the World Bank.

The economic growth of the bay areas in the US outpaced that of the rest of the states for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, San Francisco Chronicle reported in September 2016, citing data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Particularly, Silicon Valley, the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, has attracted companies from around the world and become a hub of technological innovation.

As these two bay areas are the exemplars of the world, similar Chinese regions could follow suit, such as the Bohai Sea Rim – which encompasses provinces surrounding the Bohai Sea, including North China’s Hebei, Northeast China’s Liaoning and East China’s Shandong provinces – and the Yangtze River Delta Region.

In fact, some related transportation projects, which are seen as first steps in improving connectivity in potential bay areas, have already taken place.


Mega-city cluster

The construction of a high-speed railway line connecting Beijing and Binhai New Area in North China’s Tianjin is scheduled to kick off in September. Meanwhile, the feasibility report of another line linking Binhai to Weifang, a city in East China’s Shandong Province, has been filed with the authorities, the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported on August 3.

Recently, local authorities also launched a study on a railway line between Weifang and Yantai, another city in Shandong. The rail transport planning is considered as significant progress in finalizing the Bohai Sea Rim railway, the report noted.

When the transportation network is completed, it will take less than two hours to travel from Tianjin to Qingdao, a port city in Shandong. Meanwhile, a tunnel more than twice the length of the Channel Tunnel underneath Bohai Bay is expected to connect Yantai and Dalian, another port city in Liaoning.

Moreover, another convenient transportation initiative will connect two major economic regions: Jing-Jin-Ji – which stands for “Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei” and is located along the coast of the Bohai Sea – and Shandong.

“It’s not the first time that Bohai Sea Rim Bay Area has been pursued. Back in the 1980s, [former top politician] Li Ruihuan advocated for the building of a cooperative system among provinces along the Bohai Sea coast, but nothing ever came of it,” Cong Yi, a professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Hard to unify

Unlike in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – which is also the biggest Cantonese-speaking region and a place where Guangdong Province and the two SARs have fostered close business ties over the years – provinces in the Bohai Sea Rim have less in common and less of a relationship, Song Ding, a Shenzhen-based expert from the China Development Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Besides Bohai, another possible bay area is located in the Yangtze Delta Region, also known as the Hangzhou Bay Area initiative, Song noted.

“However, how to distinguish the functions and positions of different cities involved [in the Hangzhou Bay Area initiative] is a tough question to tackle,” he said.

Furthermore, East China’s Zhejiang Province is piloting a bay area partnership with Shanghai in an aim to build an innovation hub, according to the 21st Century Business Herald. The sea bridge between Shanghai and Ningbo, a port city in Zhejiang, is already improving economic activities in this region.

“To further develop other bay areas in the country, top-designed guidelines are a must-have,” Song said.

He also noted that bureaucratic administration, which is reportedly most commonly seen in northern China, would impede the further integration of different regions.

“In the Pearl River Delta region, industries are closely related to each other. For example, electronics manufacturing has a full supply chain in this region,” he said, adding that regional integration should be more market-driven rather than an administrative order.

To foster a new bay area, industries should be complementary, Xu, the CCIEE economist, noted. “Some existing projects in Tianjin should not be promoted again in Caofeidian [an industrial zone in Tangshan, Hebei] to avoid wasting time and money,” he said.

Source: Global Times

Businesses play big role in Sichuan quake rescue

Dozens of domestic companies said on Wednesday that they are actively participating in rescue and relief missions while assessing their business operations in a remote region of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which was struck by a severe earthquake.

Most of the firms said that so far there has been no impact on their assets in Jianzhaigou, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the region on Tuesday night. The death toll was 19 and more than 200 people were reported injured as of press time on Wednesday.

But Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination, has been closed for travelers, as rescue efforts are still underway. It remains unclear how the shutdown would weigh on the economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenue.

More than 30 centrally administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs), including State Grid Corp, China State Construction Engineering Corp, China Railway Construction Corp and Power Construction Corp of China, are assisting the ongoing rescue and relief efforts in Aba, according to a statement from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) on Wednesday. SASAC overses these SOEs.

State Grid’s Sichuan unit set up a team of 181 power emergency workers and dozens of pieces of equipment for rescue missions in the quake-stricken regions to ensure a power supply, according to the statement.

State Construction workers at a construction site in the region responded to the quake, rescuing more than 60 people and providing shelter for more than 260, it said.

The SASAC added that other companies, including Sichuan SOEs, also offered assistance in their respective areas, such as communication and road building.

In a statement on Wednesday, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission also responded to the earthquake by ordering insurance institutions to quickly assess damage and open a fast track for insurances claims resulting from the quake.

“All sectors are actively responding to the earthquake and offering their assistance in the rescue work,” a soldier surnamed Hu of the Aba unit of the Sichuan Armed Police General Corps, which is at the forefront of the rescue mission, told the Global Times on Wednesday. “So far, the rescue work is going very well… we’ve got sufficient resources,” Hu said.

Business impact

While assisting the rescue mission, companies are also assessing their business operations in the region, though no major impact has been reported as of Wednesday.

China Railway Construction told the Global Times that the company is currently conducting an assessment of its assets and operations in and around the region and so far, there have been no casualties or property loss.

China Three Gorges Group and China Communications Construction Co also told the Global Times that its business operations in Sichuan have not been affected by the deadly quake.

Travelers take pictures at the Jiuzhaigou tourist attraction in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province on July 29. Photo: IC

At least three publicly traded companies, which are located or have assets in the region, also said their business operations have not been affected.

Sichuan Minjiang Hydropower Co, which is said to be the only company in Aba that is listed on China’s A-share market, Sichuan Datong Gas Development Co and Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group said their business operations have not been affected, according to media reports and company statements.

Share prices of the three companies saw a mixed reaction to the news on Wednesday, with Minjiang Hydropower seeing a 1.76 percent drop at market close, and Sichuan Datong and Sichuan Yahua both seeing an over 2 percent rise.

However, some hotels and local businesses sustained minor damage to their properties, according to media reports. Nevertheless, most businesses in less-affected areas remained open, also offering assistance to local people, according to Hu, the Armed Police solider.

Meanwhile, China Central Television reported on Wednesday afternoon that Jiuzhaigou’s tourist sites has been closed without a reopening day and travelers have been told to change their visiting plans.

In 2016, Aba received more than 37.61 million domestic and foreign visitors and drew 31.84 billion yuan ($4.77 billion) in revenue, up 11.7 percent from 2015, according to data from the Aba government released in February.

It still remains unclear how the earthquake will impact the local tourism sector and, in turn, the local economy.

Source: Global Times

Tourists not just travelers but ambassadors

Every time I land in a foreign country, I automatically receive several text messages reminding me that I need to “observe public order, respect local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs and abide by the norms of civilized tourist behaviors.”

Reports about two Chinese tourists arrested for making Nazi gestures outside the Reichstag building in Berlin and released on €500 ($590) bail came as no surprise. Chinese tourism, which has skyrocketed in recent years, is perhaps the biggest phenomenon to hit the international travel industry.

The UN World Tourism Organization predicted that Chinese will take more than 200 million trips by 2020. With more direct flights, relaxed restrictions and disposable income, this German incident is not the first time that Chinese have made headlines for acting wrongly when traveling. Whether it was the graffiti at a Luxor temple or brawls on international flights, the image of Chinese tourists has not been a positive one.

Thus, in response to media attention, guidelines on civilized travel have been released, campaigns for being a smart traveler have been launched and a blacklist system as well as laws relating to tourism have all been established by respective governmental bodies.

Traveling is a fun art form primarily because you are out of your normal comfort zone. It often leaves a wonderful and memorable impression on all of us since traveling is about being in the midst of an exciting clash of cultures, language and manners. Communication here is the key – nonverbal cues, which we often use to interact with locals, can easily become an unintentional cultural insult.

Even as a seasoned traveller, I have found myself on more than one occasion having to deal with misunderstandings because meaning was lost in translation and a simple gesture or action might be seen as offensive. After finishing dinner in Tehran, I gave the local restaurant owner and his family the thumbs up to express how delicious the meal was. Then, came an awkward pause. I remembered what I read earlier on, that the thumbs up gesture is extremely offensive in Iran. Instead, the OK sign is used. However, when I used the OK sign once in Spain, I was told that it is actually an offensive gesture.

Sometimes, out of fatigue, I also no longer act like myself and make very stupid obvious mistakes such as the time when at a hotel in Lahore, I took out the prayer mat, thinking that it was just an average mat. You see, we all make mistakes.

This particular sentence in Berlin is in no way targeting Chinese travelers since this is not the first time that the Hitler salute has landed people in trouble. In fact, exactly six years ago, outside the same historical Reichstag Building, a Canadian tourist was taken away by the police for doing the same thing. In November 2007, a German native was imprisoned for six months after performing the Hitler salute in response to an earlier sentencing. A month after that, a pensioner was sentenced to five months in prison after trying to train his dog Adolf to raise his right paw in a Nazi salute every time the phrase “Heil Hitler” was uttered. In 2009 and 2013 respectively, German artists Ottmar Hörl and Jonathan Meese got into trouble after their works at art shows featured the Nazi salute.

Although such displays would be protected under “the freedom of speech” in some countries, in Germany, this is a criminal offense which carries fines and/or imprisonment of up to three years.

For those who assume that all Chinese travelers are rude, noisy and lack common sense, this is a wrong and unfair generalization. One local tourism and research foundation in Berlin estimated that Germany could expect to host 2.2 million Chinese visitors a year. Two tourists who weren’t themselves and caused offense should not be the catalyst for launching any wrong assumptions about China or give rise to any racist attacks.

Regardless of our nationality, we need to act as a local and be respectful since we are all ambassadors for our countries when we travel abroad.

Source: Global Times

China must not overplay its strategic hand

From 2012 to 2014, Chinese diplomacy transformed from “hiding its capabilities and biding its time” to “striving for achievements.” During this process, China built up its efforts to safeguard its territorial integrity in the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea. China also proposed the Belt and Road initiative for surrounding countries and setting up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The achievements China made during this period prove that the diplomatic transformation was the right path.

The success of Chinese diplomacy comes as China prioritizes its national interests according to its current national strength. Economic interests are no longer the primary and overwhelming consideration in Chinese diplomacy. The primary interest shifts to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. That serves as the new principle guiding the relationship between China and the international community.

It is reasonable to make rejuvenation China’s primary diplomatic goal based on China’s overall strength. But concrete diplomatic strategies should be made in accordance with relevant strengths.

For example, the gap in military strength between China and the US is larger than the gap in economic strength, so China should not have to shoulder as much international security responsibility as it does in economic issues.

Currently, Chinese scholars hold divergent views on the Korean Peninsula issue, mainly because of their different judgments of China’s relative interests on the peninsula, especially regarding whether priority should be given to avoiding a war or realizing denuclearization.

The debate is about to what extent China’s military strength can support the security interests that China claims in North Korea. Therefore, China’s denuclearization policy should match its strength in this regard. Similarly, the core of the debate over the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea is also about China’s military capability.

When we have an inappropriate judgment of our strength in the international community, our definition of concrete national interests will be problematic. The policy of “hiding capabilities and biding time” proved less effective in its latter stage because our foreign policy did not adjust in accordance with the changes of China’s international status.

Before China became the world’s second-largest economy, its logic was to “hide its capabilities and bide its time.” When China lacked overall strength, this strategy proved effective as it provides strategic opportunities for its economic development.

However as China rises to the second largest economy, the world is urging it to undertake more responsibilities commensurate with its strength and status. After the world financial crisis of 2008, criticism that China is not a responsible power has brought unwarranted disturbances amid China’s rise.

Both the Chinese government and the international community view China as a rising power. It is reasonable for China to claim that it is a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and an upholder of international order.

Nevertheless, China’s overall strength is far less than that of the US, so China should undertake no more international responsibilities than the US. When it comes to concrete policymaking, what China should maintain and what it should reform should be made clear.

Sometimes China’s policy toward the international order is ambiguous, and one of the reasons is that China’s foreign policymaking process lacks an explicit definition of China’s strength and status. Some policymakers fail to understand what goals China’s relevant strength on in a specific issue can support or cannot do within the framework of the existing international system. This exerts a negative impact on China’s top-level design and implementation of policies.

At the global level, China cannot play the role of a superpower, as it goes beyond China’s overall strength. If China makes its foreign policy as if it were a global superpower, it will result in strategic precipitance.

China is situated in East Asia, which will become the center of the world in the future. East Asia’s strategic importance to China is greater than any other region. If China invests its limited strategic resources in East Asia, the strategic gains generated will be much more beneficial than from any other region.

If China looks beyond its own neighborhood and puts its strategic resources into regions such as Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, it will only reap a limited harvest.

If we define China’s strength as the second-largest economy in the world while highlighting the gap with the all-round power of the US, we can successfully handle relations with neighboring countries and other major powers.

The nature of China-US strategic relations is competition, which will not change in the forthcoming years. In the next decade, cooperation will not become the core part of this bilateral relationship like in the 1980s. There is a huge favorable strength gap between China and its neighboring countries, and the gap continues to expand. This means China can do a lot in the surrounding areas. Neighborhood diplomacy matters greatly to China’s rise and its national rejuvenation.

As a rising power, China’s policies should make an impact on its neighboring areas and then expand to further regions. The US has been the world’s most powerful country since the end of WWII. The US made too many international promises and invested too much in secondary regions, but it did not receive due returns. China, as the world’s second largest economy, should not repeat such strategies. That a country’s strategic objectives fit its national strength is the pillar of successful policymaking.

A rising power should try to grow stronger to become a dominant power. The issue concerning the foreign strategy of a rising country is not whether it should gain more international power, but about whether its expansion is too rapid. An appropriate strategy for a rising power is to make some breakthroughs, gain some power, and then stop to consolidate the power it obtained for a while. It should not recklessly seek power that is beyond its reach. A great power should rise steadily rather than at one go. The lesson of China’s Great Leap Forward should long be remembered.

Source: Global Times

Foreign waste import ban leaves Western nations, Chinese manufacturers in a dilemma

For nearly three decades, China has been the world’s biggest importer of waste. Each year, Chinese manufacturers and recyclers import 8 million tons of foreign waste to China to be reused as raw materials for new products.

While the waste produces health and environmental problems, these issues have long been overshadowed by the economic interests of both China and the exporting nations, which are mostly in the West. While recycling raw materials has helped Chinese firms save money, it has also helped Western countries earn money and solve their garbage problem.

So when China recently told the WTO that it will ban 24 types of solid waste imports before the year’s end in order to protect its citizens’ health and safety, the global recycling industry was left wondering: If China will no longer accept the globe’s garbage, where will it all go?

Western countries devastated

The West’s plastic recycling is dependent on China. A total of 87 percent of Europe’s waste plastic, for example, ends up in China. Globally, 56 percent of waste plastic is exported to China, according to a report by the International Solid Waste Association. Even developing countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, re-export reprocessed imports and domestically collected plastic scrap to China, the reports says.

Dependence on a single importer can be risky, and that risk is now looming as China plans to shut its doors to foreign waste.

Customs officers check imported waste at the port of Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, on October 15, 2013. Photo: CFP

The 24 types of waste that are banned this time include plastic waste from living sources, toxic vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper and waste textile materials which are environmentally hazardous.

“Most of them used to be on the ‘restricted’ list of China’s import regulations, and this time they are banned,” said Liu Jianguo, a professor specializing in solid waste management at Tsinghua University.

Apart from environmentally hazardous solid waste, China will also ban imports of solid waste that can be replaced by domestic resources by the end of 2019, according to the State Council.

For the recycling industry overseas, it’s a nightmare scenario.

Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, a Washington-based trade association, said in a statement that China’s ban will be “catastrophic” to the US recycling industry, which transforms obsolete materials into secondary raw materials before they are exported to China.

“With more than $5.6 billion in scrap commodities exported from the United States to China last year alone, the trade in specification-grade commodities – metals, paper and plastics – between the United States and China is of critical importance to the health and success of the United States based recycling industry. If implemented, a ban on scrap imports will result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and closure of many recycling businesses throughout the United States,” he said.

Arnaud Brunet, director general of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), a Belgium-based NGO, expressed a similar concern, saying the impact of the ban will be “devastating.” In a letter to the WTO, BIR called for China to reconsider its decision.

“This ban, if implemented, will have a serious impact on the global recycling industry which has, in the last 25 years, supported China in its economic development and growth and met its manufacturing needs for secondary raw materials,” Brunet said in a statement. The flow of international scrap to China amount to tens of billions US dollars’ worth of goods, he said.

Chinese experts, however, say such a ban is inevitable as China’s industries upgrade and environmental protection is made a priority.

“Western countries will have to think of ways to digest their waste themselves, including through landfill or incineration,” Liu told the Global Times.

Liu said while part of the industry might move to countries in Southeast Asia, India and Pakistan following China’s ban, the relatively small capacity of these countries won’t be able to satisfy global demand.

Others think this is an opportunity, rather than disaster, for Western countries. Steve Wong, executive president of the China Scrap Plastic Association, said China’s ban might be an “opportunity for recycling” in the US, according to industry website Resource Recycling. Wong, also the chairman of a Hong Kong recycling company, said at a recent conference that he is planning to open a plant in the US.

The ban explained

China started to import solid waste in the 1980s, when its rapidly growing economy fueled gigantic demand for cheap raw materials.

“Solid waste is a resource and source of pollution at the same time. In the past, when China needed to develop the economy, it valued its economic value and ignored how it may also pollute the environment,” Wang Wang, secretary general of the China Scrap Plastic Association, told the Global Times.

“A lot of people thought the majority of foreign waste was smuggled into China. But actually, most of it enters China legally and only a small amount is smuggled,” Xu Haiyun, chief engineer of the China Urban Construction Design and Research Institute, told the Global Times.

But as China deepens its supply-side reforms, more attention is being paid to protecting the environment.

This is not the first time China has restricted waste imports. In 2013, China launched the “Green Fence” campaign, a 10-month long initiative to prevent the import of unsorted shipments of recyclable waste from abroad. During the campaign, China prevented about 58,800 tons of foreign waste from entering the country, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Domestic impact

While the latest move has dealt a blow to overseas waste exporters, it will also push China’s domestic recycling industry to upgrade its technology and standards.

China launched a campaign to inspect all factories that hold import licenses for plastic waste recycling this July, when 420 officers from the Ministry of Environmental Protection conducted a special round of inspections in 22 regions involving 1,792 factories that deal with imported waste, checking their pollution controls and import permits. By July 29, the ministry had given suggestions or punishments to 1,074, or 60 percent, of these businesses.

The head of a chemical fiber factory in Jiaxing, East China’s Zhejiang Province told the Beijing Youth Daily that previously around 50 percent of the raw materials the factory used were scrap plastic from countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Tanzania. The factory has now stopped importing scrap plastic and vows to use only primary domestic raw materials in the future. “It takes months to import these materials and sometimes when they enter China, the price of domestic materials has dropped. This won’t be a problem in the future,” the factory head told Beijing Youth Daily.

But as the ban looms, this question is being posed – how to fill China’s demand gap, when as much as a quarter of the raw materials in some industries come from foreign recyclable waste.

Experts say one way to bridge this gap is for China to recycle more of its own waste, much of which now ends up in landfills. “It’s especially important to raise China’s safe recycling rate. China recycles a lot of things, but most of it is done by small family businesses which pay no attention to pollution,” Wang said.

One reason that Chinese businesses favor imported waste is that it is of better quality. A businessman in Shanghai who declined to be named told the Global Times that some imported plastic waste is both cheaper and of better quality than domestic waste.

The majority of Chinese recyclers which provide raw materials to manufacturers are small family-run affairs which use low-tech equipment and often ignore environmental protection rules.

The other way is to use more primary raw materials to replace foreign recycled waste, which may push up prices.

“I used to visit a fabric factory in Guangdong Province which manufactured fabric using imported second-hand clothes. The factory won many awards for its recycling efforts and even receives government subsidies. But it doesn’t dare tell the public what its fabrics are made of. Why doesn’t it use cotton from Xinjiang as its raw material?” Xu said.

Source: Global Times

North Korea’s threat against Guam makes US policy more ‘unpredictable’: expert

Chinese experts said China should not drop its guard on the missile capabilities of North Korea, who vowed on Wednesday to attack the US Pacific territory of Guam.

“The Korean People’s Army (KPA) Strategic Force is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire in areas around Guam with several medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic Hwasong-12 rockets to contain the major US military bases on Guam, including Anderson Air Force Base,” a spokesman for the KPA said in a statement carried by the North’s state-run KCNA news agency, Reuters reported.

The governor of Guam said on Wednesday North Korea’s warning of a possible missile strike on the US Pacific territory was no threat and the island was prepared for “any eventuality,” with defenses strategically placed to protect its people.

“North Korea’s claim goes against China’s mediation efforts and those of other countries to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue through talks,” Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told the Global Times.

“The statement on Wednesday would intensify tensions as well as make US policy on North Korea more unpredictable,” Da said.

“North Korea’s ability to strike at the US remains remote because North Korea’s missiles require extensive preparation, which would give the US time to react,” said Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force.

However, Da said that while information on North Korea’s missile program is limited, it’s clear the country has made substantial progress, especially in intercontinental ballistic missiles. Da added that China should not drop its guard on North Korea’s missile capabilities.

North Korea and the US are engaged in an increasingly heated “war of words,” and North Korea is the bigger loser, Lü Chao, a Korea expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

“However, the only way for North Korea to be free from US sanctions is to sit down and negotiate instead of expressing its anger through such statements,” Lü noted.

US President Donald Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric against North Korea on Tuesday, saying Pyongyang should not make any more threats against the US, Reuters reported. On Monday, two US B-1 bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula from Guam as part of its “continuous bomber presence,” a US official said, in a sign of Guam’s strategic importance, Reuters reported.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and the resumption of six-party talks are important and neither should be neglected, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Source: Global Times