Automated driving achievable by 2025: Industry insiders

Chinese automakers say the target of producing high-speed automated vehicles can be achieved by 2025. By then, mass production of such vehicles may be a reality, they believe. That vision was included in the government’s medium- and long-term development plan for automobiles, which aims to transform China into an innovative automotive nation.

Smart cars are a hit at the ongoing Shanghai Asian Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where science and technology companies gather to display products and ideas in areas such as the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, robotics and wearable devices.

With the inexorable growth of international cooperation, insiders say the auto industry faces significant changes. On May 31, German technology company Continental signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperation in the areas of automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services.

Elmar Degenhart, Continental’s chief executive, said collaboration with Baidu would enable his company to work on core technologies like batteries, machinery and electronic controls.

On June 1, German auto supplier Bosch announced a plan to team up with Baidu to strengthen cooperation on intelligent transportation. Dirk Hoheisel, a member of Bosch’s management board, said the two companies will make full use of their technologies and experience in order to promote smart mobility.

On the same day, China’s Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC Group) and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motor) signed a cooperative agreement with Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG. Volkswagen AG and JAC Motor announced that they will set up a joint venture to produce electric vehicles. Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC, said the partnership would combine the strategies of “Made in China 2025” and German Industrie 4.0.

34-year-old giant panda dies of disease in Chengdu

Susu, a 34-year-old giant panda, died from an illness on June 2. The eldest panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Susu’s age was equivalent to 100-plus for a human being.

Susu experienced a hard life, during which she gave birth to five baby pandas. In recent years, she suffered from many diseases including high blood pressure, deterioration of liver function and heart failure. Her condition gradually worsened beginning in late May, and she passed away on June 2.

An autopsy showed that Susu’s liver had hardened, and many of her organs, such as her spleen and lungs, had atrophied.

China contributes a lot to SCO: Secretary-General

By Xie Yahong from People’s Daily

China is an important contributor to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), its Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said in an interview with the People’s Daily, adding that the organization has maintained close cooperation with China.

Alimov’s remarks came after the 17th meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council held on June 8 and 9 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the SCO Charter and the 10th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States, Alimov said, adding that it is a historically significant year for the organization.

The official hailed that the SCO has made huge contributions to safeguarding the security and stability of its member states.

It has also further expanded its influence by strengthening contact and cooperation with international and regional organizations such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, ASEAN and the UN, he pointed out.

India and Pakistan will complete procedures in line with the SCO rules to become official members this year. Alimov believes it is a reflection of SCO’s increasing significance, saying it will prove to those people who sing the blues about the organization that the prospect of the SCO is worth looking forward to.

“The SCO has been seeking the agreement among its member states on the connectivity of infrastructure, and the Intergovernmental Agreement of the SCO Member States on the Facilitation of International Road Transport signed in September 2014 was one of the important achievements,” said the secretary-general.

There were only a few of flights between China and Central Asian countries a dozen of years ago, and the number has increased by at least 10 times nowadays, Alimov noted.
In addition, the number of the freight trains running between China and Europe is also on the rise, with Central Asia and Russia playing the role of bridging countries, which has boosted trade among the SCO member states, he added.

People-to-people exchanges, according to Alimov, is another focus of the SCO. The organization has always been enhancing the cooperation on higher education and youth communication.

“Young generation is the future of the SCO and its member states,” he said, adding that the organization has always attached great importance to youth development.

“For a long time we have been enhancing mutual understanding among the youth of each member state,” Alimov noted, illustrating that a youth debate competition was recently held by the organization, and the great performance of the debaters inspired him very much.

“We are fortunate to see the new generation growing under the ‘Shanghai spirit’,” he added.

The official also lauded the promising prospect for tourism cooperation among the SCO members. Statistics showed that 12% of the world natural heritage is located in the SCO member states, most of which remain unknown.

“We have the responsibility to advertise those tourist sites that the member states take pride in, and we are currently working on it,” Alimov said.

China will take over the rotating presidency of the SCO after the Astana Summit. Alimov praised the country’s huge contribution to the SCO in recent years, saying that the organization has kept close cooperation with China and held many activities under the country’s support.

“I believe the SCO summit to be held in Beijing next year will be another successful event,” he added.

The SCO head stressed that the cooperation with Chinese provinces and cities will be a major direction for the SCO.

“We hosted the SCO Kunming International Marathon last December which was participated by more than 10,000 athletes from 25 countries,” he said, adding that the event has indicated the huge potential of bilateral cooperation.

He believed that the “Belt and Road” initiative proposed by China provides a major opportunity for SCO member states and will bring broad prospects.

The SCO supported and participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing last month, Alimov said, adding that the organization will accelerate the docking of the “Belt and Road” initiative with the development strategies of its member states for the sake of common prosperity.

5,000-acre lotus pond stretches to edge of sky in Guangxi

A demonstration area of modern agriculture in the Liujiang district of southwestern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has attracted visitors in droves, as the green leaves in the area’s huge lotus pond seem to stretch all the way to the edge of the sky. Baipeng Township in Liujiang is one of the largest production zones of double-cropping lotus roots in China. The township’s lotus pond occupies an area of 5,271 acres.

South China Sea combustible ice rig unaffected after typhoon

Mining of combustible ice in the South China Sea was unaffected after a drilling rig encountered a full-blown typhoon that stirred tides up to 6.5 meters on June 12.

As Typhoon Merbok blew past the area, all workers and equipment on board the rig remained safe. The project was not affected, according to the operator of the rig. Prior to the typhoon, authorities decided not to move the vessel, but to shut down its outdoor activities.

The rig is located 320 kilometers southeast of Zhuhai, Guangdong province. It has been in operation since May 10. Currently, Chinese researchers are exploring between 4,000 and 5,000 cubic meters of combustible ice per day, and tests are proceeding smoothly.

Expert: McCain calling China a ‘bully’ shows strong Cold War mentality

Republican U.S. Senator John McCain’s labeling China as a “bully” and calling on its allies to confront China demonstrates a strong Cold War mentality, an American Studiesprofessor said.

As a guest of the U.S. Studies Center at the University of Sydney on May 30, McCain said China has grown wealthier and stronger, and it seems to be acting more and more like abully.

McCain’s thinking still lingers on in last century. Lots of his remarks are very harsh andunreliable, Xin Qiang, professor and Deputy Director of the Center for American Studies atFudan University, noted on May 31.

In his speech, McCain also blasted China for refusing to open more of its economy,stealing other peoples’ intellectual property, asserting vast territorial claims that have nobasis in international law, and using its trade and investment as tools to coerce itsneighbors.

Xin dismissed McCain’s remarks as ideology, saying the U.S. politician has repeatedly lashed out at Russia and China. As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee,McCain represents the powerful interests of the military-industrial complex, which feedson manufacturing massive amounts of military weapons in a world of war. For that reason, fabricating enemies and breaking world peace can help maximize the group’s interest, hecontinued.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop hasn’t responded directly to McCain’s invitationto join the U.S.-led freedom-of-navigation exercises as of press time.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Chinese woman drives through 25 countries in 290 days

Zhao Juyang, a woman from eastern China’s city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has finally completed a 290-day road trip. She drove a car by herself for 37,000 kilometers, crossing 25 countries.

Zhao Juyang and her car

Some professional hikers sneered at Zhao when she announced her plan, skeptical that the trip would even be possible without a clear plan. But Zhao ignored them, noting that travel is a personal experience in which the exploration of the unknown is the best part.

Nevertheless, Zhao did consider various dangerous scenarios that might occur on the trip, such as engine failure, robbery and even terrorist attacks. Her limited budget was another factor that planted a seed of doubt. However, these concerns never shook her determination, because Zhao was confident that fresh memories from the trip would not fade with age.

Zhao’s route on map

After three years of preparation, Zhao finally set off from Hangzhou on June 26, 2016, driving an off-road vehicle she had bought specially for the trip. In addition to maps, her passport and a camera, she also brought a wedding dress, simply because she loves the sense of ceremony it imparts. Zhao has taken photos in the wedding dress at many famous tourist sites such as Baikal Lake and the Red Square.

She has seen the beautiful stars above the sky of Inner Mongolia, and experienced fairytale-like pre-dawn scenery after waking up in a Siberian gas station. However, not all her experiences were pleasant. She once encountered a man with a machete after her car rolled into a ditch in Gabon’s rain forest. Fortunately, she escaped safely.

Though Zhao believes that adventures can be the highlight of people’s lives, she doesn’t recommend that everyone follow her risky behavior. For her, the trip – dangerous at times – was very much a personal decision.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Bitcoin mining companies face shutdown in southwest China

Bitcoin mining companies have been shut down or relocated in Mabian Yi AutonomousCounty, home to a prosperous mining industry in southwest China’s Sichuan province,and the reason for the phenomenon is unclear.

The shutdown is made more puzzling by the fact that the value of Bitcoins has exceeded10,000 RMB ($1,469.6), and many exchange platforms are battling for mining resourcesafter the Central Bank of China banned the deposit and withdrawal of Bitcoins.

Local Bitcoin miners say they were not forced to relocate, but they are reluctant to talkmore about the shutdown. The Bajiaoxi Mining Factory located in Bajiaoxi HydropowerStation is one of them.

Due to the shutdown of the mining company, the hydropower station is set to lose someone million RMB ($147,000) in electricity charges per month. A mining company ownersaid they too will suffer big losses from the shutdown, as well as from the costs ofrelocation and construction as they look for another suitable location.

Mining Bitcoins is a global effort, so even if mining is banned somewhere, the totalamount of Bitcoins does not change, and so the global price will not fluctuate, an industryinsider said.

Another industry insider reluctant to reveal his name said China is home to the largestamount of Bitcoin factories in the world, but the industry is under loose supervision.

A staff member from the information office of the State Gird Sichuan Electric PowerCompany said managing the electricity consumption of the Bitcoin mining companies isbeyond their supervision, as those companies directly use electricity generated by thehydropower stations.

A local official said the closure of the Bajiaoxi Mining Company aims at cracking down onillegal cash operations and on controlling systemic risks. But documents show that themining company is not involved in any illegal activities.

Zhang Jun, a senior researcher with the Taiyiyun Strategic Research Center, said if themysterious closure of the mining companies forced them to conceal their mining activities,it would harm supervision efforts and would not improve the livelihood of mining workers.Bitcoin miners want the industry to be regulated so that they do not have to hide, headded.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

‘Belt and Road’ initiative facilitates healthy economic globalization: scholar

By Liu Junguo, Zhou Hanbo and Xie Yahong (People’s Daily)

About 14.5 percent of Chinese children suffer from hypertension, according to a nationalsurvey on Chinese students’ physical health in 2010. Hypertension afflicted 16.9 percent ofthe boys surveyed and 12.9 percent of the girls.

Another survey on national health and nutrition suggested that the prevalence ofhypertension among children ages 6 to 17 in seven Chinese provinces increased to 13.8percent in 2009, from 7.1 percent in 1991.

After a four-year investigation on the salt intake of Chinese children and adolescents,which started in 2012, researchers found out that the daily salt intake of Chinese youthbetween 6 and 17 is 2.4 times the amount recommended by the World HealthOrganization (WHO), which is 5 grams per day. Salt intake is a crucial factor leading tohypertension.

Statistics showed that a predisposition for hypertension can be inherited. If both parentshave hypertension, children may face a 46 percent chance of suffering from the disorderthemselves. The figure drops to 28 percent if only one parent suffers from hypertension.The occurrence is only 3 percent for those with no family history.

Obesity is another cause of the disorder. The automation prevalent in modern society hasreduced people’s physical activity, leading to widespread obesity. Obesity and excessweight can result in metabolic disorders and angiosclerosis, contributing to an increase inblood pressure. In addition, habits such as smoking, drinking, poor sleep patterns andstress also increase the occurrence of hypertension among young people.

Huang Hui, director of the cardiology department of Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital,suggested that hypertension patients control their calories, fat and protein intake, alongwith increasing their consumption of foods containing potassium and calcium. Potatoes,eggplant, milk, sesame and green vegetables all fall into the latter category.

In addition, Huang said that reducing salt intake also helps to lower blood pressure, andone’s daily intake of salt should be below 5 grams.

Outcry arises over haphazard transport of China’s national table tennis trophies

A picture on Sina Weibo recently went viral, showing the four trophies won by China’snational table tennis team in the just-concluded 2017 World Table Tennis Championshipbeing transported on a shabby pallet truck.

The photo was posted by the doctor for the national team after they returned from thechampionship, held in Düsseldorf, Germany. The trophies are a symbol of the highesthonor in the sport. Though the Chinese players easily won the cups, many speculated thatit could embarrass athletes from other countries to see the trophies on the pallet.

Winners of the trophies do not get to keep the prizes indefinitely – only until the nextchampionship. If a player wins gold three times in a row, he or she is awarded a smallduplicate of the real trophy.

Some people joked on social media that the Chinese table tennis team just rotates thetrophies to the championship and back out because of their consistently strongperformance. Although the national team seemed to win without the slightest effort, theydo train hard for their victories.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)