Efforts underway to include mind sports at Beijing Winter Olympics

Chen Zelan, president of the International Mind Sport Association (IMSA) says the organization is working hard to include mahjong and other mind sports at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Bridge and chess have already been recognized by the International Olympic Committee and IMSA is making more efforts to promote other mind sports, including mahjong, Chen explained.

This April, Mahjong was approved by IMSA to become the sixth international mind sport after bridge, chess, draughts, go and Chinese chess.

The decision was announced at the Global Mind Sports Innovative and Development Forum, which just ended in Beijing. During the forum, IMSA officials proposed new rules for mahjong competitions in order for the game to be more widely recognized.

Chen is the first person to put forward the concept of a “global mind sports index,” with the aim of introducing mahjong and other mind sports outside China.

“Mind sports is growing fast in China, but not so well in other countries. We therefore hope to use the index to boost the development of the sports worldwide,” Chen explained.

The index model in the making will be released by the end of this year. Afterwards, the index will be announced once a year to inform the public which country is the best in mind sports.

Making the index public will enable more countries pay attention to mind sports, Chen said, adding that the practice of mind sports in China, Russia and U.S. will soon take a leading position in the world.

World’s largest biomass power plant produces electricity by consuming agricultural residue

The Zhanjiang Biomass Power Plant in China’s Guangdong province, the largest biomass power plant in the world, produces electricity by consuming local biomass fuels, including mallet bark and bagasse, Guangzhou Daily reported.

According to insiders, the power plant can supply over 650 million kilowatt-hours on a yearly basis. Biomass power generation is able to help the plant save more than 280,000 tons of coal, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 480,000 tons in a year, and achieve zero emission of sulfur dioxide.

In addition, the plant director stressed that the plant spends 250 million RMB ($37.2 million) to 300 million RMB ($44.6 million) annually on local biomass fuels such as bark, saw dust, and chaff. This has boosted local farmers’ income, as a large amount of the capital returns to the farmers who offer the fuels to the plant.

Night view of the plant

Like many biomass power plants in China, development of the Zhanjiang Power Plant is also affected by the quality, stock, and supply of fuels.

At present, the plant is researching second-generation pure biomass fuels like bamboo reed with relatively low emissions of sulfur dioxide during burning, as well as short growth cycles of only four months. If the fuel could be put into use, it will significantly ease the plight of the plant in terms of securing a stable supply of biomass fuels.

First expressway built in permafrost region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

China’s first expressway in the permafrost region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau opened to traffic on August 1, linking Gonghe county to Yushu city in western China’s Qinghai province, Xinhuanet.com reported.

The expressway, which cost 26.96 billion RMB ($4 billion), spans 634.8 kilometers, among which the permafrost region occupies almost 36 percent.

The road was built at an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters in just over 6 years. Advanced technology was used to keep the ground surface stable. Similarly, many challenges were overcomed to ensure smooth construction and operation of the expressway, said Niu Jiangzhong, a project manager with the Electrical Engineering Company Ltd of China Railway 12th Bureau Group.

In order to avoid damaging the local environment, the vegetation was removed and replanted along the roadside during construction. The expressway will shorten travel time between Xining, capital city of Qianghai province and Yushu city by four hours from 12 hours to only 8 hours.

Chengdu resident constructs vast swimming pool for dogs

A dog lover in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu has built a swimming pool for his dogs after one of them died of heat stroke.

Wu Fangzhou’s dog “Qiuqiu,” a Bichon Frise, died in the summer of 2015 of kidney failure caused by heat stroke. Wu mourned the dog for a very long time, causing his wife eventually to leave him because his grieving had become unbearable.

One day, Wu made up his mind to do something to commemorate “Qiuqiu.” In 2016, he found a piece of land measuring 2,000 square meters and decided to turn it into a swimming pool.

Wu now teaches his dogs how to swim in the pool and over 100 dogs have so far received such training. “Swimming can help build up their muscles, lessen anxiety and stimulate appetite,” Wu said.

The dogs have left more than 10 scars on his right arm but Wu said compared to his love for them, all the injuries and efforts are worthwhile.

Courageous policeman saves traffic incident by holding up optical fiber cables

Online video clips of a policeman standing on a car and holding up optical cables to create space for passing vehicles have gone viral. Chinese net users applauded the policeman, saying he did the coolest thing in the dog days of summer.

On July 25, a handful of optical fiber cables sagged to only one meter above ground after being hit by a tall vehicle, causing serious traffic congestion on a road in Fuoshan, in southern China’s Guangdong province.

Upon receiving the incident report, policeman Yuan Jialin and his colleagues immediately rushed to the scene. They used a long stick to hold one end of the cables, but the other was still hanging close to the ground.

To enable more vehicles drive through, Yuan climbed on the top of the police car and raised the cables high above his head while other policemen guided cars below.

The outdoor temperature on that day was 40 degrees Celsius, but Yuan remained on the car for 30 minutes before maintenance workers arrived to fix the problem. At times, he had to stand on his toes to create more space for very tall vehicles. However, smooth traffic resumed on the road after an hour.

National high-speed rail will facilitate Hong Kong’s development, experts say

(File photo)

Industry insiders think that Hong Kong’s connection to the national high-speed railway network will boost its economy and promote people-to-people exchanges with the Chinese mainland.

It will take about 14 minutes to travel the 26 kilometers between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Transit passengers are expected to reach Beijing in nine hours and Shanghai in eight hours after Hong Kong joins the national transport network.

Frank Chan Fan, director of Hong Kong’s housing and transport bureau, said the 26-kilometer rail will play an important role in pushing forward Hong Kong’s medium- and long-term prosperity and consolidate its strategic position as a regional transport pivot.

The opening of the rail line will also bring enormous economic and social benefits to Hong Kong such as saving travel time and cost, strengthening trade cooperation, culture and human resources, Chan added.

According to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, the high-speed railway will save an estimated 39 million travel hours per year in 50 years of operation.

David Fong Man-hung, Chairman of a think-tank, the Hong Kong Strategy, said high-speed railway has brought tremendous changes to the Chinese mainland. “Hong Kong should catch up with the country by joining the national high-speed network.”

Hong Kong will take the opportunity offered by the high-speed railway to participate in the construction of the Belt and Road and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, said Terence Tai-Leung Chong, an associate professor at the Institute of Global Economics and Finance with the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Currently, about 90 million visits from Hong Kong to the mainland take place each year, and the number is likely to increase by over 10 percent annually, David Fong Man-hung said. The railway will further boost Hong Kong’s tourism, local industry insiders said.

Dongfeng-26 can strike large moving targets within 4,000 kilometers: expert

Dongfeng-26 (DF-26), a ballistic missile with medium to long range, led the armament formations of the Rocket Force’s parade debut to mark the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The missile can strike large moving targets within 4,000 kilometers, a military expert told the Global Times.

Five models of China’s homemade conventional and nuclear missiles, including the DF-26, the DF-21D, the short-range DF-16, and two intercontinental missiles, were shown at the parade held on July 30.

The sequence of the formations was based on assessed military threats and real combat simulations, Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times.

DF-26 is China’s only missile fitted with nuclear and conventional warheads, and it can preciously strike medium-to-long range targets, providing deterrence and counterattack capabilities. It is of great importance in modern warfare because it can strike large-sized static targets on land and even moving targets on water as far as 4,000 kilometers, Yang said.

The DF-21D land-based anti-ship ballistic missile, described as the “carrier killer,” followed the DF-26. The missile can sink a carrier and is difficult to intercept. It is also of strategic importance, Yang said, adding that the improved DF-16 missile has even greater range and better precision.

Two DF-31A intercontinental missiles ended the Rocket Force’s parade. The improved DF-31A is more adaptive and suitable for combat in complex terrain and future wars, the expert said.

This is the debut of the newly formed Rocket Force in China’s grand military parade.

Chinese expert tells US to ‘calm down’ on North Korea

A crowd gathers to watch coverage of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) missile test on a giant screen in a public square in Pyongyang on Saturday. Kim Jong-un boasted of North Korea’s ability to strike any target in the US after a second ICBM test that weapons experts said could reach New York. Photo: AFP

The US said on Sunday that it successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile target with its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense program, ignoring China’s call for relevant parties to act prudently after North Korea’s latest missile test on Friday.

The US Missile Defense Agency said Sunday that the US has now successfully intercepted test targets 15 times for its THAAD weapon system, Reuters reported.

The THAAD system’s test is the US’ way of showing support to its ally in Northeast Asia, as it remains uncertain whether the system could successfully shoot down a medium-range missile from North Korea in the narrow landscape of the Korean Peninsula, Lü Chao, a researcher on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The US should calm down instead of irritating North Korea at this critical period as the North has frequently tested missiles in recent days with more mature technology, he added.

The US test, conducted over the Pacific Ocean, comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea, which on Saturday said it had conducted its own successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved it has the capacity to strike the US mainland.

The US also flew two B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, said Reuters.

Amid the tensions, US President Donald Trump tweeted twice on Saturday that he was “very disappointed” in China and that it had done nothing with regard to North Korea.

“…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” Trump tweeted.

Lü said that it is unreasonable for the US to blame China as China and North Korea are two sovereign states and no one has any power to “solve” the other’s problem.

Meanwhile, he added that China has made sufficient efforts to solve the problem, and it has strictly implemented resolutions of the UN Security Council.

China has banned imports of coal, iron ore, gold, rare earths, and several other raw minerals from North Korea, and has banned the sale of jet fuel to North Korea as well.

However, the US always wants China to take tougher action against North Korea, which means cut all imports, Lü said.

He said it is unreasonable and impossible because China has a humanitarian obligation to provide North Korean people with a livelihood.

Source: Global Times

Trade deficit with China makes U.S. better off: MOC official

U.S. income gap may have intensified in the absence of Chinese products because they greatly reduce the country’s consumption cost, officials said at a press conference by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on July 31.

Qian Keming, MOFCOM Vice Minister and Long Guoqiang, vice director of the Development Research Center of the State Council, presented China’s foreign trade situation in the first half of 2017 at the press conference. They said Sino-US trade benefits both countries despite a 6.5 percent year-on-year increase in trade surplus during the period.

Long noted that the U.S. has reduced consumption cost by importing huge amounts of labor-intensive products, especially Chinese consumer goods. Else, its income gap should have widened further.

According to the vice director, China is in the middle and lower reaches of the global value chain, it resells lots of products after processing inputs imported from the U.S. With these factors dealt with, the Sino-U.S. trade imbalance is likely to be cut by at least half, he underlined.

In addition, taking the U.S. macro economy and its status in the global economy into consideration, the country not only posts huge trade deficits with China, but also with other economic bodies as a result of its low savings and high-consumption rate. The U.S. dollar as an international currency is also a contributor to America’s trade deficit in its international circulation.

The official pointed out that the U.S. should consider loosening restrictions on exports to China as exports of high-tech American products accounted for only 8.2 percent of China’s imports of the same category, a sharp drop from 16.7 percent in 2001.

China imported integrated circuits totaling $227 billion in 2016, while chips imported from the U.S. only accounted for 4 percent of the whole.

Officials stressed that China and the U.S. should resolve bilateral trade challenges on the basis of openness, balance, mutual benefit, and win-win principles.

Given the significant role of Sino-US trade in the global economy, the two countries should better resolve their differences through negotiations, patience and perseverance rather than trade war, since the latter will negatively impact the development of bilateral trade relations and the global economy, the officials noted.