Chengdu might be next Chinese city to bid for summer Olympics

Southwestern China’s city of Chengdu might be the next Chinese city to bid for the summer Olympics, according to the ongoing local “two sessions”, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress.

A member of the CPPCC Chengdu Committee just submitted a proposal, advising the city to bid for the 2036 Olympic Games.

“Many Chinese cities will be capable of the bid after 20 years, which suggests fiercer competition,” CPPCC member Pu Hu said, believing that whoever takes the lead will enjoy the most benefits.

None of the cities in central and western China have hosted large-scale comprehensive international games, he added.

As a national central city in western China, Chengdu holds comprehensive advantages over many fields such as economy, population, infrastructure, and transportation, Hu noted. According to him, to bid for the Olympic Games will be an unprecedented opportunity for the city, and it also complies with Chengdu’s aim of development.

Organizations have predicted that Chengdu will enter the list of top-30 cities of the world economy around 2035. Therefore 2036 would be the best time for the city to host the games, Hu said.

Hu’s point was agreed on by many CPPCC members. Deng Juqiu, a member of the CPPCC Chengdu Committee said that hosting the Olympic Games would definitely bring benefits to the city. However, it calls for further study regarding feasibility, she added.

Chinese social media application sticker pack exhibited in Tokyo

A Chinese sticker pack for social media app WeChat was recently exhibited on a 3-day promotion in Tokyo, as a showcase of China’s “new culture”, reported.

Created in 2015 by Chinese cultural company Block 12, the sticker pack has been used over 10 million times by Chinese netizens. Because of its cute and positive design and the sticker pack centered on cartoon figure Tuanzi, it has become extremely popular among Chinese internet users.

Tokyo was the first stop during the company’s global promotion of the sticker pack.

The promotion was held by Japanese company Miniature Factory, a partner of Block 12 in Japan. The two signed an agreement in 2017 to promote products for each other in their respective countries.

“Tuanzi conveys positive energy, and it has been a great friend of mine in my life and work,” said Zhang Yuchen, a journalist from China Central Television who participated in the promotion of Tuanzi in Tokyo.

“I’m so proud that the figure designed by a Chinese company could have its overseas exhibition,” she added.

According to Takuro Tsunekawa, chairman of the board at the Miniature Factory, more consumers and merchants will be interested in the sticker pack as the promotion continues. “I believe that Tuanzi will be a new icon for Japanese to recognize China and its young generation,” he said.

“We hope to expand our international business and improve the influence of Tuanzi,” said Li Chao, chief of Block 12’s international division.

PD Online Editorial: Keeping up with the times vitalizes the Constitution

The current Constitution of China is a good one based on actual national conditions, and is in line with the progress of the times.

The Constitution, with its supreme position in the legal system and its strong legal momentum, has strongly upheld the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), powerfully guaranteed that the people are the masters of their own affairs, powerfully stimulated reform, opening up and socialist modernization construction, promoted the process of socialist rule of law, as well as safeguarded national unity, ethnic unity and social stability.

The Constitution is the fundamental legal document that ensures that even though China and the Chinese people undergo all sorts of difficulties, dangers and trials, will continue to advance along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics from beginning to end, and realize great national rejuvenation.

Only by constantly adjusting to new circumstances, learning from new experiences, confirming new results, and setting new standards can the Constitution keep its long-lasting vitality.

One prominent feature of the Constitution is that it must evolve alongside the advances made during the process of realizing socialism with Chinese characteristics led by the CPC. This is an inevitable demand brought about by achieving progress in practice and a basic principle in the realization of the Constitution.

Only by constantly and timely summarizing the great achievements and precious experiences accumulated by the CPC and the people, and furthermore reflecting new circumstances and demands following the development of practice and the times, can the Constitution’s roles to regulate, guide, drive and guarantee all activities be fully realized.

Apple to store data keys in China, move won’t undermine protection: insider

A source close to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co (GCBD), the new operator of Apple’s iCloud service in China, said there is no reason to worry about users’ data becoming vulnerable because of the encryption keys being moved to China.

“Though the encryption keys are stored in China, they still belong to Apple, which is in charge of technical issues,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Global Times on Sunday. “GCBD will be more like a moderator between Apple and the Chinese authorities,” he said.

When the authorities ask for information to be provided for public safety reasons, the US company will be the one to provide technical support, and its Chinese partner will help Apple to fulfill this role, the source noted.

The response came after media reports saying Apple’s encryption keys will be stored in China when its iCloud services are officially operated by GCBD, starting from Wednesday. Encryption keys are used to unlock iCloud accounts, and such keys have always been stored in the US, Reuters reported on Saturday.

It also means that Chinese authorities will no longer have to use US courts to seek information on iCloud users. Before, any government or law enforcement authority seeking access to a Chinese iCloud account needed to go through the US legal system, according to Reuters.

Apple emphasized in a public letter in February 2016 that the company is deeply committed to safeguarding users’ personal information.

To comply with China’s Cyber Security Law, which took effect in June 2017, Apple teamed up with GCBD a month later. While Apple provides technical support, GCBD takes charge of management, and both parties have pledged to strictly follow the rules and regulations, and protect users’ privacy and data security, the Chinese company told the Global Times in January.

Legal requirement

Before Apple handed its cloud services in China to a local company, other foreign companies had already formed alliances with Chinese partners to better tap into the huge market, said Li Yi, a senior research fellow at the Internet Research Center under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

“For example, US firm GE teamed up with China Telecom to expand the use of its software platform for industrial internet uses. Amazon founded a Chinese company to operate its cloud services. Companies should respect the law before doing business,” he told the Global Times on Sunday.

Foreign enterprises and organizations normally need to transfer information outside China, while the new cyber law stipulates that sensitive data must be stored domestically.

Apple’s latest move aims to comply with recently introduced Chinese laws that require cloud services offered to Chinese citizens to be operated by Chinese companies and be stored in the country, Reuters said. However, some users may have concerns over alleged easier access for Chinese authorities to text messages, emails and other data.

Apple will still be the owner of its $1 billion data center in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, and its operating structure and safety standards will be the same as they are in the US, Li noted. “Storing the data in the country will also help improve public safety,” he said.

For example, if a terrorist used an iPhone, the Chinese authorities previously had to spend days negotiating with US law enforcement authorities to unlock the phone, Li noted. “Now, it is much more convenient and efficient to go through legal procedures in China to track down any terrorist act,” he said.

Further expansion

Apple’s recent move, in line with its localization strategy for the Chinese market, will serve as a boon for its further expansion domestically, once its level of data security is recognized by the Chinese government, Xiang Yang, industry analyst at Beijing-based CCID Consulting, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Apple has been overtaken in sales by its Chinese rivals including Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi, and was ranked fifth among smartphone vendors in China according to an annual report released by industry consultancy IDC on February 6. The company’s total domestic shipment volume reached 41.1 million units in 2017, down 8.3 percent year-on-year, the report said.

“To win in China, Apple is unlikely to change its strategy in spite of rising criticism over this change of its data management,” the analyst said.

Source: Global Times

AI to add flavor to Chinese elements in Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games closing show

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be utilized at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, which will take place in a few days, famous Chinese movie director Zhang Yimou told a press conference on Feb. 24, reported.

Zhang said the AI technology will collaborate with human actors in the show “Eight minutes of Beijing” which will be staged during the closing ceremony. The AI technology will also interact with Chinese net users online, said the director.

Another feature of the show is the interaction between people and the internet, Zhang said, adding that so far they have received pictures of 60 million people, and these pictures will appear during the show.

The primary function of the show is to send a welcome message to the world about the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which will be held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Zhang said.

“Chinese” Graffiti at Japanese national park sprayed by Burmese

Chinese tourists were finally relieved of the false accusation of the graffiti sprayed in Chinese and English that read “Happy Birthday” at a Japanese national park, after local police arrested the true violator from Myanmar on Feb. 22.

The graffiti was found last month around the iconic snow-covered trees and ground on the slopes of Aomori Prefecture’s Hakkoda mountain range in Towada-Hachimantai National Park.

Some netizens accused Chinese tourists, explaining that the graffiti was probably sprayed by Chinese tourists since a significant amount of it was in Chinese characters.

At the same time, some of them held that the Chinese characters weren’t enough to prove that the graffiti was indeed painted by Chinese.

After thorough investigation, local police arrested a 29-year-old man from Myanmar who currently lives in Tokyo. The man admitted to committing the crime, saying he sprayed the graffiti for his girlfriend as a surprise.

“The graffiti has brought about a negative impact on the park,” the police noted.

After the case was publicized, some netizens commented that as Chinese language is becoming more and more popular around the world, China must be careful to not become the scapegoat of preference in such cases.

Trade between China, North Korea down 52 percent in January

Trade between China and North Korea reached $215.97 million in January, down 52.1 percent year-on-year, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed Friday.

China’s trade with North Korea in January dropped to its lowest level since at least June 2014 as the country kept up pressure on its isolated neighbor in line with UN trade sanctions, according to Reuters.

China’s exports to North Korea fell 30.4 percent on a yearly basis to $168.88 million in January and imports stood at $47.09 million, down 77.4 percent, the administration said.

China’s exports to North Korea totaled $257.73 million in December last year, while imports were $54.68 million, the data showed.

On August 6, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea banning exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

To implement sanctions, China banned North Korean imports effective August 15.

Source: Global Times


India’s abuse of trade remedies against Chinese products will end up entrapping itself

The first two months of 2018 have turned out to be a peak period for India to pursue trade remedy actions against China, its top trading partner, as the South Asian nation continues moving in a backward direction that’ll only end up hobbling its ambitions to rival China.

India has decided to launch a sunset or expiry review of the existing anti-dumping duty imposed on its flat base steel wheel imports from China, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement on its website on February 13.

With this latest “point” scored in its trade remedy game, India has initiated eight anti-dumping probes against China so far this year, taking aim at Chinese products ranging from coated paper and flax yarn to sun/dust control film and fluoroelastomers.

These actions seem to signal a continuation of India’s misguided trade remedy practices, which it has been relying on to reverse its trade deficit with China – a long-standing concern for New Delhi.

Bilateral trade increased by 21.2 percent to $39.59 billion in the first half of 2017, while India’s trade deficit with China jumped by 14 percent to $27.89 billion, according to India’s official statistics.

Instead of pushing for trade restructuring, which would entail a shift toward more higher-value added activities, India has become addicted to what it mistakenly deems a cure for its trade imbalance with China.

Beijing has tried to sober New Delhi up, with a MOFCOM spokesperson stressing at a press conference in August 2017 that India should avoid abuse of trade remedy measures.

India initiated 21 trade probes into Chinese products in 2016, unseating the US as the top complainant against Chinese products.

From 1994 to August 2017, India launched 212 anti-dumping probes into imports from China.

Source: Global Times

Spring Festival holiday picks up new ways of spending

The week-long Spring Festival holiday finished on Wednesday. The holiday not only has become a time for family gatherings and cultural activities, but also a boom time for businesses across the globe.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Commerce, during the Spring Festival holiday, catering enterprises experienced year-on-year growth of 10 percent in Liaoning, Shandong, Shanxi and Hubei provinces.

A booking rate higher than 95 percent for family reunion dinners on the New Year’s Eve was reported in old and famous restaurants in those provinces.

While many people choose to stay at home, others prefer to celebrate the holiday elsewhere.

According to the National Tourism Administration, the number of tourists during the holiday topped 386 million across the country, up 12.1 percent. Total tourism revenue also rose 12.6 percent to 475 billion yuan.

People from more than 200 Chinese cities booked outbound tours to over 700 cities in 68 countries and regions using online travel agencies. Southeast Asian countries received the largest number of outbound Chinese tourists.

During the Spring Festival holiday, Chinese tourists spent on average 6,000 yuan on travel, according to data jointly provided by two domestic travel agencies.

About 52 and 48 percent of the tourists joined outbound group tours or chose independent travel, respectively, and tourists born after 1985 became the main force of outbound tourists.

Consumption in culture and entertainment was also strong. China’s box office raked in more than 5.6 billion yuan during the Spring Festival holiday, breaking the sales record for the same period, according to Maoyan, a popular film database in China.

A lot of people spent the holiday at museums. For instance, Hunan Museum, the provincial museum of central China’s Hunan province, received 100,000 visitors during the holiday.