China’s per capita disposable income up 9.0 percent in 2017

China’s per capita disposable income surged 9.0 percent year on year in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, China News reported on Feb. 24.

China’s per capita disposable income stood at 25,974 yuan ($4,102.4) in 2017, up 7.3 percent in real terms after deducting price factors, the bureau said.

Per capita disposable income of 10 provinces and regions in China exceeded the national level last year, including Shanghai, Beijing, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Fujian, Liaoning, Shandong and Inner Mongolia.

Shanghai topped the list by 58,987.96 yuan, followed by Beijing and Zhejiang of 57,229.83 yuan and 42,045.69 yuan, respectively.

Higher income is often accompanied by higher consumption level. Data from the bureau revealed that per capita consumption expenditure of Shanghai and Beijing also topped the national list by 39791.85 yuan and 37,425.34 yuan.

In addition, it is noticeable that Chinese residents’ per capita disposable income growth in 2017 surpassed the country’s economic growth, 1.0 percentage point higher than the per capita GDP growth during the period.

Su Hainan, vice president of the China Association for Labor Studies pointed out that the growth is attributed to China’s stable economic growth and enhanced supervision on income distribution system.

999 prisoners on new year family visits return to prison

The 999 prisoners in China approved of family visits during the Spring Festival have all returned to prison, according to the Ministry of Justice, thepaper.cn reported on Feb. 22.

An employee at the ministry disclosed that 1,300 persons serving sentences in about 300 prisons in China were approved to leave prison and make family visits during the festival. The number dropped to 999 as some postponed the time they would like to visit or because they failed to complete relevant formalities.

Prisoners on good behavior were approved to return home to visit their families during the holiday, which manifests humanization as well as effectivity in China’s judicial and correctional system as it also helps prepare them for re-entry to society by staying in touch with society.

‘Chinese hypersonic heavy bomber’ is groundless speculation of the West: Experts

Chinese experts pointed out that the recent “Chinese ultra-fast plane” hype reflects the West’s “China threat” mindset, and emphasizes that the US’s leading role in global development of ultra-fast planes is currently unshakable.

An article on Express.co.uk said on Feb.21 that a Chinese science team led by Cui Kai is developing an ultra-fast plane that will be capable of travel between Beijing and New York at hypersonic speeds in just a few short hours.

The article said the hypersonic vehicle would move so fast that it could bypass the missile defense systems of other nations, adding to fears that this kind of technology could start World War III. The vehicle was described as a hypersonic heavy bomber in the article.

However, according to the Global Times, the “ultra-fast plane” is found to be a theoretical aircraft which is still under research and development by Cui and his team with the Institute of Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The team has proposed a new type of aircraft that can travel at hypersonic speeds. But the new technology is not intended for usage as a hypersonic heavy bomber.

Though Cui is currently unavailable, his research results released on the CAS website displays the design of a new plane that will open new possibilities for future ultra-speed airplane design by breaking through many technological difficulties.

Hypersonic airplanes will be a fast and convenient way of transportation for future intercontinental travel, and many companies, institutes as well as organizations are working on this kind of airplane, such as NASA.

Experts point out that to fly at hypersonic speeds, there are many issues that need to be tackled, such as suited engines and advanced materials as well as technologically addressing and solving the difficult issue of sonic booms produced when such aircrafts exceed the speed of sound which can cause damage and injury on the ground over large areas. In these areas, the US’s leading role is unshakable.

Full-size Titanic replica built in SW China

The world’s first full-size replica of the doomed luxury Titanic ocean liner, with an investment of 1 billion yuan, is under construction in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and the ship body has been built.

The replica, 269 meters long and 28 meters wide, which will be permanently docked at a reservoir in Daying County of Sichuan, is a fixed tourist attraction as opposed to a moveable ship.

As there is not much water in the reservoir, the replica will also be giving the slogan “Titanic that will really never sink”.

Despite some doubts about the project, and criticisms such as it is only a cheap copy of the original, the project manager explained that the replica is being built to reproduce the elements of luxury found in the original Titanic, including a ballroom, theater, swimming pool and premium first class rooms.

In addition, the manager disclosed that they selected Sichuan as the project site because it was hard to obtain usage rights for such a large area of land in one of China’s big cities such as Shanghai.

China set to improve reclamation rate of construction waste

China is producing about 1.8 billion tons of construction waste annually as the volume of solid waste continues to expand in the country, said a report delivered at the 30th plenary session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee last year.

With rapid urban development, construction waste has become a severe problem in today’s Chinese society. It is estimated that the country will produce 2.6 billion tons of construction waste each year from 2020.

However, the reclamation rate of construction waste is less than 10% in China, far lower than the average level of developed countries which normally goes above 90%.

According to Pan Gong, a researcher with E20 Institute of Environment Industry, China now sees a smaller demand in garbage landfill and restoration, which is the major way of waste disposal in the country, especially as it has entered a state of saturation in infrastructure construction.

He said that in-situ dismantling to improve recycling rate will be the major approach for construction waste disposal in the future.

The first fixed disposing station for construction waste of Chaoyang district, Beijing will be completed this year. It is able to process as much as 1 million tons of construction waste.

In addition, northern province of Shanxi also proposed to establish at least one recycling facility of construction waste for each city before 2020, improving reclamation rate to above 30%. The figure will be further lifted to 60% in 2025.

89-year-old man in SW China becomes nude model

An 89-year-old man from southwestern China’s Sichuan province began working as a “nude model” in 2012, Chinese news site ThePaper.cn reported.

According to the elderly model Wang Suzhong, one of the millions of empty nesters in China, he loves being a nude model since it frees his mind and relieves his pain of loneliness.

5 years ago, he was by chance invited by a modeling agent at a studio of a local college to be a nude model. As a fan of body art, he accepted the invitation and officially entered the business of nude modeling.

“I was not shy about exposing myself for the first time since I’ve seen such scenes,” Wang said, adding that he would hold still as possible as he can during the painting.

During the past 5 years, he has modeled for students of nearly 20 colleges in Sichuan province.

“I could earn 70 yuan ($11) with my clothes on, and 100 yuan naked,” he said, adding that he got a 10-yuan raise over the last year.

“I used to live on low income benefits, and now I earn extra money,” he noted.

However, Wang has never been understood by his son who believes that nude modeling is a shameful job. His son even cut off ties with him for this.

Fortunately, his granddaughter Wang Xin showed her support. “It’s great for him to find what he loves,” said the 19-year-old girl who’s currently studying at college.

“I want to set an example for all empty nesters like me by having fun in life and making contribution to society,” Wang explained.

According to him, modeling not only improves his life materially, but also has become a spiritual dependence.

He believes that nude modeling is not a shame but art, and what he does will push forward the development of culture.

“I know the miseries of the old days, and being a nude model in this freer society is a good choice for me,” he said.

Small town in Germany celebrating Chinese New Year

A carnival was held in the small German town of Dietfurt to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The event, established in 1928, has become the most important festival of this area since then.

The residents in the town identify themselves as “Bavarian Chinese”. A stele in the town says that the distance between itself and Tiananmen is 7,698 kilometers.

The “Bavarian Chinese” even want to make Chinese as their official language.

Xiongan surveys cultural heritage items amid construction

The administrative committee of Xiongan New Area is carrying out a survey of tangible and immovable intangible cultural heritage items that its residents think are worth protecting, Xinhua reported on Feb. 21.

So far, the committee has documented 592 immovable cultural items and 345 sites that are feasible to relocate, including old houses, old wells, old trees, rural health centers, cemeteries of revolutionary martyrs and ancient craftsmanship.

These items carrying the common memory of the Xiongan people were collected in the three counties which are part of the new area, said a researcher on the project with the Cultural Relics Bureau of Hebei province, where the Xiongan New Area is located.

The project, a scientific move to protect and inherit cultural elements, will win the support of more people for the establishment of the new area.

Li Wei with Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute said clear measures are being taken to protect the time-honored sites.

“The project will be a regular provision conducted for the purposes of encouraging people to both discover and report new cultural items they think are worth protecting to us,” said an official with the administrative committee.

UK-educated girl passes new technologies on to farmers in Xinjiang

From May to October every year, 26-year-old Rong Mengya will receive hundreds of calls from cotton farmers in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, asking her team to protect their crops from weeds and pests.

The girl who has studied in UK has a team of 10 people flying six plant protection drones. The team has finished protection of nearly 150,000 mu, or 10,000 hectares of cotton fields since its establishment.

New technologies such as the use of drones, are replacing labor force to plant crops in her hometown in Hami.

Rong’s parents grow 4,000 mu of cotton, and during the harvest season, they had to spend four million yuan to hire 400 workers to pick up cotton, making the business less lucrative.

They were the first to use machines to replace human workers. A machine could finish the same amount of work that human workers have to spend two months on, and it costs only 200 yuan, which is much less than human labor.

Rong first knew about plant protection drones at an agricultural machinery fair in 2015. Before that, she used tractors to protect crops. In 2016, Rong bought her first drone and started to use it on cotton protection.

Cotton fields have to be taken care of for at least 6 times in a year. At the beginning, Rong used the drone to test on her family’s cotton fields. Pesticides sprayed by drones turned out to be more effective than by tractors.

In addition to the high efficacy, a drone uses 100 kilograms of water to protect each mu of cotton field, but a tractor uses 500 kilograms. The advantage is especially important in Xinjiang, a region with scare water resources.

The advantages of drones attracted more cotton growers and brought more orders to Rong. In June 2016, Rong bought the second drone, and by September, she had 4 drones. By the end of that year, they earned the money that could buy four drones and a pickup truck.

Rong says Xinjiang has a great market potential for plant protection drones. Last year, the total coverage of cotton fields in Xinjiang was 28.96 million mu, the protection of which could generate one billion yuan by using drones.

Rong now runs a shop to sell plant protection drones in her hometown. In 2017, they sold 30 drones. She has also become an instructor, teaching more people how to better fly drones.

China tops world in growth of mobile phone shipments

China topped the world in terms of growth of mobile phone shipments, despite the first shrink of the domestic market in nine years that happened in the fourth quarter of 2017, said a report recently issued by market research firm Counterpoint Research.

The report attributed the growth to the expanding business of Chinese phone manufacturers in India, Southeast Asia, and Europe, which balanced the sluggish domestic sales.

According to analyst Shobhit Srivastava, the fall of shipments in China and Europe impacted the global smartphone market, which resulted in an unprecedented 5% slip of the global shipments.

Thanks to the strong momentum in the first half of 2017 and the prosperous overseas market, China’s largest smartphone maker, Huawei, shipped 10% more units over the last year.

However, the shipments of the company fell by 9% in the fourth quarter because of its unsatisfying performance in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Another Chinese brand, Xiaomi, experienced a reviving year due to its rapid development in the Indian market. Surpassing Samsung, it became the largest phone maker in India.

The report further pointed out that Huawei, Xiaomi, together with other two Chinese brands, VIVO and OPPO, were still the fastest-growing brands.