China, India on right track

China’s foreign minister said Wednesday there is great potential for Sino-Indian cooperation as the two countries strive to mend ties torn by the recent border standoff and return to the track of cooperation.

India announced on Tuesday that its Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend next week’s BRICS summit in Xiamen, East China’s Fujian Province, a day after India pulled back its troops from the Chinese territory of Doklam.

“As two big neighbors, it is natural for some problems to occur as interaction increases. What’s important is that [the two countries] should put these problems in suitable positions, respect each other, follow the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and

properly handle [these problems],” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

“We hope China and India could join hands to achieve mutual prosperity and make contributions to the peace and development of the world,” Wang added.

He did not confirm whether there will be a bilateral meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Modi at the BRICS Summit, but said such meetings depend on mutual intentions and whether there is enough time.

Xi will chair the BRICS Xiamen Summit from September 3 to 5. He will also chair the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries on mutually beneficial cooperation for common development.

“Despite the border standoff, which is a bilateral issue, China and India have many common interests in multilateral and international cooperation. The cooperation interests outweigh our differences,” Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China and India have cooperated in fighting unjust and unreasonable treatment toward developing nations and in winning a greater voice against developed countries. The two countries have also cooperated closely on global issues such as climate change, counter-piracy, food security and counterterrorism, Qian said.

“Not only at the BRICS Summit, at the G20 and many other platforms, China and India have jointly pushed for reforms and a new global economic order. In these issues, Beijing and New Delhi often voice similar opinions,” Qian noted.

BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is recognized as an important force in global governance. China holds the BRICS presidency this year.

Economic ties

China and India are two of the fastest-growing major economies. Even during the standoff, multilateral economic cooperation was not hindered.

On August 4, India signed a $329 million agreement with the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance the Gujarat Rural Roads Project. The project will reportedly improve rural road connectivity and accessibility to 1,060 villages in all 33 districts of Gujarat state, benefiting about 8 million people, the Economic Times reported.

“Although China and India have poor strategic mutual trust, domestic economic demands require cooperation. China needs India’s market, whereas India can see for itself that it cannot rely on the West on economic matters, such as infrastructure, which is China’s strong point,” Lu Yang, an assistant researcher at Tsinghua University’s Belt and Road Strategic Research Institute, told the Global Times.

She noted that economic demands were one of the reasons that drove the two countries to resolve the Doklam standoff.

In 2016, India’s exports to China dropped by 12.3 percent year-on-year to $11.75 billion, while India’s imports from China rose by 2 percent to $59.43 billion, according to information posted on the website of the Embassy of India in China. India’s trade deficit with China rose by 6.28 percent year-on-year to $47.68 billion last year.

In the first half of this year, India filed 12 cases against Chinese imports, sparking concern from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Lu said that India’s anti-dumping cases against China have existed for many years and recently came under the spotlight due to the Doklam tensions.

“The cases were not necessarily driven by populist sentiment in India. For example, China exports many statues of Hindu gods to India, which was a blow to local Indian artisans. However, India’s underdeveloped domestic industrial system realized that many Chinese products are more competitive by nature,” Lu told the Global Times.

Lu’s opinion was echoed by Qian, who said a better solution for the trade imbalance and the anti-dumping cases would be for the two countries to adjust their trade structure through negotiations.

Source: Global Times

How tight is Xi Jinping’s foreign schedule? Planned to the minute, a documentary reveals

President Xi Jinping took this plane to visit 56 countries and orgnizations in the past five years.

Five years, 28 tours, 193 days, 570,000 kilometers. These figures are a sketch of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign tours.

In the past five years, the President’s charter plane has carried him to 56 countries and major international and regional organizations in five continents. It is fair to say that there are few presidential planes in the world as busy as Xi’s plane.

The President’s tight schedule is often planned to the minute. “President Xi can be so busy he has no time to eat,” said Zhou Yu, a female translator for Xi.

“Once he had no time to have dinner. During a short transit between two bilateral meetings, his guard gave me a box of biscuits and told me to remind him to eat some so that he wouldn’t be too hungry,” Zhou recalled in the “Major-Country Diplomacy,” a six-episode political documentary series which hit Chinese screens starting Aug. 28.

China’s first seven months of foreign trade volume with BRICS countries up 32.9 pct

According to customs statistics, China’s total foreign trade volume with other BRICS countries, including Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa, reached 1.15 trillion yuan ($174.7 billion) in the first seven months of this year, up 32.9 percent year-on-year.

That figure was 14.4 percent higher than the country’s overall foreign trade growth in the same period. In the first seven months of the year, China’s foreign trade volume with Russia hit 321.88 billion yuan, up 32.5 percent year-on-year.

In the same period, foreign trade with India reached 326.66 billion yuan, a rise of 28.3 percent year-on-year, while foreign trade with South Africa reached 156.23 billion yuan, up 33.7 percent year-on-year. The country’s foreign trade volume with Brazil hit 343.69 billion yuan, a 37.7 percent rise on a year-on-year basis.

China’s food delivery market to hit $31 billion this year

China’s online food delivery market is estimated to hit 204.56 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) this year, marking a 23.1% annual growth rate, said the latest report by iiMedia Research Group.

China’s online food delivery market has grown rapidly since 2011, and is now one of the largest online-to-offline (O2O) commerce trends, together with online car-hailing services.

iiMedia said the market in China will see more than 300 million users in this year, a 17.6% year-on-year growth.

Analysts believe that online food ordering platforms will keep improving service quality and explore the demands of their existing customers in a bid to increase customer loyalty.

The report said that food delivery has become the third major style of dining, following cooking at home and dining out. Over 30% of the interviewees said they prefer to order food online on weekends even if they have time to cook. Forty percent said they use the service at least three times a week.

The report predicted that people who buy afternoon tea, late night snacks, and other high-priced non-dinner items will become an important sector due to their comparatively strong purchasing power.

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

Chinese government debt risks are controllable: report

The total assets of the Chinese government far exceeded the debt level from 2010 to 2015, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Aug. 24.

The report states that total assets stayed above 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) and total indebtedness increased from 40 trillion to 70 trillion yuan from 2010 to 2015, with social security insurance’s funding gap included. In 2015, total assets exceeded 125 trillion yuan, accounting for 180 percent of the year’s GDP.

The net assets of the Chinese government, with social security insurance’s funding gap included, was between 40 trillion and 50 trillion yuan in the same period, accounting for an average of over 80 percent of GDP, the report said.

Based on a conservative estimate, the report found the debt risks to be generally controllable. It also indicated that total indebtedness was growing fast and warned about accumulated debt risks.

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

China sees consumption upgrade on Chinese Valentine’s Day

China’s diversified consumer demand reflects upgrading of domestic consumption on Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as Qixi Festival, which is held every year on seventh day of the seventh lunar month, reported on Aug. 28.

As personal income rises, Chinese people now prefer to make purchases based on actual need rather than to show off their economic power as in the past on Chinese Valentine’s Day, said Zhao Ping, director at the International Trade Research Department under China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Apart from must-have gifts such as preserved flowers, prepaid gift cards for crabs, or fresh flowers, many people prepared customized red packets of gold launched by Tencent Group for their lovers, which can be used to exchange for gold products.

Statistics show that on Chinese Valentine’s Day popular restaurants were booked in cities across China. And people aged 25 to 35 accounted for more than half of the total who contributed to a significant rise of hotel bookings on a year-on-year basis.

In addition, data released by Jingdong Group shows that Guangdong, Beijing, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Shandong, Hebei, Hubei, and Henan ranked highest in cosmetics, clothes, watches, and jewelry purchases.

Publishers expand worldwide readership of books on President Xi Jinping

A reader takes a look at a book in front of a wall of books about President Xi Jinping and national policies. Photo: Li Qian/GT

Walking through the busy booths at the latest Beijing book fair, one cannot miss the various books about Chinese President Xi Jinping and his grand policies.

Publications about President Xi and his strategies took center stage at the Beijing International Book Fair 2017, which just concluded at the colossal China international exhibition center.

This year, more than 2,200 exhibitors from both China and overseas seized the opportunity to showcase their books to potential commercial partners and about 200,000 visitors.

Stepping inside the main exhibition hall for Chinese exhibitors, it was impossible to miss a wall of books featuring President Xi and China’s development strategies sitting at the center of a giant booth beside the entrance. The booth, in its conspicuous position, displayed a wide collection of “excellent books” published in the past five years, including traditional Chinese culture and those aimed at spreading Chinese perspectives to foreign readers.

The wall of books, with a giant banner reading “Five Years of Hard Work,” was dedicated to books about Xi and national policies, published by companies from both Beijing and other provinces and regions.

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, a book of 79 articles based on President Xi’s speeches, was no doubt the biggest star at the exhibit, and occupied the most prominent position. The book was compiled and edited by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and other State organs.

According to Foreign Languages Press, the publisher of the book, Xi Jinping: The Governance of China has sold more than 6.42 million copies in 160 countries and regions, and has been made available in 21 different languages since it was first published in September 2014.

The Foreign Languages Press dedicated a special exhibition to the book at another booth in the same exhibit hall, showcasing all the different versions.

A lot of visitors stopped at the booth to read a passage or two from the book.

Zou Haidong, a magazine editor, said he had read the whole book. “If anyone wants to understand China, this is a must read,” he said. He also recommended the book to his girlfriend, who was browsing through the multilingual copies.

Foreign Languages Press editor Liu Yuhong told the Global Times that they are still trying to expand the readership of the book around the world. Currently the publisher is working on translating the book into 16 other languages, including Czech, Ukrainian and the Myanmar language, targeting readers in specific countries. The new language versions are expected to be available in 2018.

Telling stories

Some of the latest books about Xi made their book fair debut at the festival. Xi Jinping’s Seven Years as an Educated Youth was one of them.

The book is a compilation of interviews conducted by the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, which sent their staff to Liangjiahe, a small village of only about 300 residents in Yan’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, to conduct interviews with local villagers about the time when Xi lived with them.

Starting in 1969, Xi lived in Liangjiahe for seven years as an “educated youth.” The Party school staff held interviews with the villagers who worked with Xi at the time and a number of Xi’s fellow educated youths, to reveal what they remember about Xi amid that hardship. Xi’s connection with ordinary people, ability to undertake difficulties and his perseverance won applause from the interviewees in the book.

“Even during his personal hardship, Xi offered to help an elderly beggar with food and clothing. His personality and generosity is admirable,” the book quoted Lei Pingsheng, who shared the same cave house with Xi in Liangjiahe, as saying.

Another book about President Xi that garnered wide attention even before the book fair is Anecdotes and Sayings of Xi Jinping, produced by the People’s Daily. The book quotes vivid stories from Xi’s speeches, including references to Chinese classics and Xi’s personal experiences, and explains and elaborates on the stories so readers can better understand what the tales have to say about the Chinese government’s practical work.

In one of the chapters, Xi talks about his personal experience of being deeply touched by Russian writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky’s works when he was young, and how one of his fellow educated youths 40 years ago walked 15 kilometers to borrow a copy of German classic Faust.

In the commentary that follows the story, the book editors explained the importance of the works by the classic writers and stressed Xi’s advocacy of reading literary works that can act a world language for communications between different cultures.

History of effort

After the educated youth era and before taking office as president, Xi worked as a local official at different levels of the CPC hierarchy, from a grass-roots county official up to a provincial and national leader. Many books on exhibit at the Beijing book fair followed Xi’s work experience and political life, featuring his ideas for the development of local economies over the decades.

Publishers in provinces where Xi used to work have relished the opportunity to compile and print books about Xi’s experience and achievements in their respective regions since Xi was elected the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee in November 2012.

Starting in 1982, Xi was an official with the CPC committee in Zhengding county, North China’s Hebei Province. The Party committees of Zhengding and Shijiazhuang, Hebei’s provincial capital, collected and compiled materials about Xi’s work in Zhengding from 1982 and 1985, including his speeches, articles and letters, and published them in a book. Most of the pieces in the book were made public for the first time.

Fujian People’s Publishing House, of East China’s Fujian Province where Xi used to be the Party chief of the city of Ningde, published a book titled Out of Poverty, which includes 29 extracts from Xi’s public speeches and written materials, all focused on how to lift the region out of poverty at that time, reflecting Xi’s focus during the period.

During his tenure as the Party head of East China’s Zhejiang Province between 2003 and 2007, Xi published 232 short commentaries in his column in the province’s official newspaper that discussed a variety of topics including cadres welcoming public supervision, the importance of improving knowledge, and the protection of the province’s famous West Lake. The Zhejiang People’s Publishing House then compiled all the pieces into a book, which was also available at the Beijing book fair.

Spreading the dream

In addition to the various language versions of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, there are also other books about Xi that target readers in foreign countries.

The book The Xi Jinping Era: His Comprehensive Strategy Toward the China Dream is produced and printed in the US by CN Times Books, a privately-owned publisher based in Beijing. In order to resonate with readers outside of China, the book was completely produced by the publisher’s New York bureau. The book is available on various platforms including eBay, though the publisher’s manager Ning Binghui said no specific sales information is available.

Besides works about President Xi, books about broader subjects like the Belt and Road initiative and the Chinese Dream were all abundant at the book fair.

A grey-hair reader, who said she is a retired ministry civil servant, browsing through the book shelves, said these books are essential for telling Chinese stories. “We opened the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, so many countries want to join in, why? You’ll have to read these books to understand. I have,” she said.

Source: Global Times


Smart microgrid-based desalination systems installed in Sansha

Smart microgrid-based desalination systems have been installed in Sansha, China’s southernmost city. The system, employing wind power and solar energy, can produce high-quality drinking water out of sea water.

Desalination used to be a high energy-consuming industry. Statistics show that by using conventional energy, it would take 46,600 kilowatt hours to desalinate 10,000 tons of sea water, the equivalent to 18.8 tons of coal and 46.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In order to have an economical and stable desalination system off the national grid, Jiangsu Fenghai New Energy Seawater Desalination Development Co., Ltd. explored a unique technology that combines a large-capacity generator and small-capacity energy storage system, successfully breaking the energy bottleneck.

The company established China’s first 10,000-ton wind-power demonstration project of sea water desalination in Jiangsu province in May 2014, applying an advanced energy management system and a series of storage converters to adjust the load. By doing this, the company found an effective solution to desalinate sea water using new energy.

“Now the demonstration project can desalinate 10,000 tons of sea water per day, including 1,000 tons of vessel water, 8,200 tons of municipal water, and 800 tons of purified water,” said Wang Jiafu, research and development manager of the company.

Later, the company upgraded the 10,000-ton device, transforming the mega project into one that could be applied on small islands.

According to Wang, the company reduced the size of the device and packed it into a container which could be operated off the national power grid. “It’s like a computer, ready for use once connected with wires and tubes,” Wang explained.

In addition, the container-style system’s anti-corrosion and high-temperature resistance technologies make it typhoon proof. The device could enable people to survive on any isolated island.

Chinese quality papers account for a third of total at major AI conference

Chinese scientific results accounted for one third of the exhibits at the 26th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) held from Aug. 19 to Aug. 25 in Melbourne, Australia, exceeding the total of the U.S. and Europe.

The conference’s chairman said that it signifies China’s progress in AI in recent years and the country’s ambition to play a leading role in AI industry in the future.

The chairman noted that a total of 2,540 papers were received at the conference, among which only 26 percent were accepted, and China accounted for a third of the total accepted papers.

In addition, Professor Yang Qiang from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was appointed to be the elected president of the conference, which is a milestone that signifies that China has started to play a leading role in the research and development of AI in the world, and its voice in the field has been greatly raised, said Song Zheng, an AI expert from RMIT University.

Apart from scientific institutions, Chinese leading enterprises in AI, including Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent also participated in the conference.

“We should value and grasp this opportunity, as we are competing with the world’s top technology companies at the same starting line,” said Yu Dong, vice director of the AI laboratory at Tencent.

Yu introduced that although their lab has been established for only a year, many of their papers have been recorded by the world’s top AI meetings, and that they are mainly focused on strengthening technical capacities, including machine learning, computer vision, phonetic recognition, and natural language processing.

Australia also showed its willingness to cooperate with China in AI research in terms of agricultural automation, medicine, and health.