China’s first homemade passenger jet C919 conducts test flights

China’s first domestically developed large passenger jet, the C919, is currently undergoing a series of test flights before becoming available for public use in 2021 as planned, said an expert at a summit on May 7.

The passenger jet, which made its maiden flight in 2017, is currently going through a number of test flights, Yang Zhigang, chief designer with Beijing Aeronautical Science & Technology Re-search Institute (BASTRI), said at the China Medium & Large Aircraft Development Summit 2018 recently held in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

Yang noted that the C919 is expected to gain the Chinese airworthiness certification and be deliv-ered to its customers in 2021 as planned.

In addition, the designer revealed that the Sino-Russian designed long haul, wide-bodied and two-aisle airliner CR929, based on research of the C919, has now entered the preliminary design phase and is expected to make its first flight in around 2025.

The designer admitted that there is still a big gap between China and its foreign competitors in developing civil aircrafts.

However, the C919’s involvement in the international aviation industry will not only help up-grade China’s manufacturing capabilities, but also push for the progress of its competitors, Yang added.

Belt and Road brings more Chinese tourists to Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism held a promotional fair in Fuzhou, south China’s Fujian province on May 9. It is one of the country’s many promotional events held in China in May.

Fuzhou is a potential source of outbound tourism, and people under the age of 25 are the main contributors of outbound tourism and overseas consumption, said Bora Shnitman, chief repre-sentative of Israeli Government Tourist Office in China.

“Fujian is at the core of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and Israel is on the route. I believe the two sides could conduct closer cooperation in tourism and share the benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he pointed out.

In 2017, about 114,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel, an increase of 41 percent from the previ-ous year, sources from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism said.

To meet the demands of a growing Chinese tourist market, the Israeli Tourism Ministry has ele-vated tourism infrastructure and services, such as increasing the training of tour guides and chefs who specialise in Chinese food, according to Shnitman.

World’s first driverless rapid bus begins trial run

A “smart bus” called the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit, or ART, started a three-month trial run in central China on May 8. It is the world’s first driverless rapid bus, National Business reported.

ART was developed by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co, a subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. The phase-one buses have three carriages, and can carry up to 100 people per carriage.

The vehicle runs without the need for rail and carries as heavy a load as a train, providing a new transportation model in large and medium-sized cities.

Furthermore, the cost to build one kilometer of standard ART is only one-fifth of that for traditional tram systems, which cost 150 million yuan ($22.6 million) to 200 million yuan per km.

ART has an advantage over traditional tram systems in small-and medium-sized cities because it’s cheaper and takes less time to build.

Yibin City in southwest China’s Sichuan province signed an agreement to introduce the smart vehicle in the city on May 8, according to the city mayor.

China’s first self-developed super-large hydraulic pile hammer passes test

China’s first independently developed super-large hydraulic pile hammer passed its testing stage in April, breaking the monopoly of foreign countries with such machines, reported on May 8.

The pile hammer, with a height of 22 meters and weight of 430 tons, was developed and produced by the Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Group Co., Ltd.

For a long time, super-large hydraulic pile hammers, which are indispensable in offshore operations, were monopolized by German and Dutch enterprises. However, after seven years of effort in research and overcoming technological difficulties, the monopoly has been broken by the Chinese enterprise.

The China-made pile hammer not only boasts outstanding performance, but also has an advantage in price and after service, according to the Chinese enterprise.

For example, in the past, China had to import such machines from foreign enterprises. If something went wrong, the maintenance usually took about half a year meaning the project progress was delayed.

However, the independently developed machine is not only conveniently maintained, but is also 30 percent cheaper than imported ones on the premise of meeting the international standard, said a client of the enterprise.

The enterprise got its first order of the pile hammer in 2016. In the same year, the machine of 1,900 kilojoules was listed as a demonstration project of marine economic innovation and development during the 13th Five-Year-Plan period (2016-2020) by experts with the State Oceanic Administration and the Tianjin Oceanic Administration.

Currently, the Chinese enterprise is stepping up efforts to develop a hydraulic pile hammer of 3,000 kilojoules in order to catch up with and surpass the advanced world level.

Chinese firms to remain in Iran with considerable potential, despite US sanctions

Chinese companies doing business in Iran will remain in the country, a Chinese expert said on Wednesday, after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran had been attracting the attention of worldwide investors after UN sanctions were lifted in 2016, but the recent change of policy by the US government is likely to affect foreign companies doing business in Iran, especially after Trump suggested that additional sanctions are on the way.

“The sanctions will drive most Western companies out of the country, while Chinese companies will remain, giving them a natural advantage,” said Ji Kaiyun, director of the Center for Iranian Studies at Southwest Normal University.

The UN placed sanctions on Iran in 2006, and in 2010 the US imposed further harsh sanctions, cutting Iran off from the international financial system and banning companies from dealing with its chemical and oil industries. The Iranian nuclear deal of 2015 led to the lifting of UN sanctions in 2016, leading many to expect an increase in Western trade with Iran. This will all change with the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, experts say.

Trade potential

Even while complying with UN sanctions, China has maintained friendly relations with Iran. During a trip to Iran in 2016 after the nuclear deal was signed, Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a wide-ranging plan to increase bilateral trade with Iran more than tenfold to $600 billion in the next decade, according to media reports.

China’s trade with Iran grew to $37.2 billion in 2017, a 19 percent increase over 2016, according to Chinese customs data. Trade between the two countries is likely to continue growing, said Ji. “Some big companies that have dealings with the US will likely avoid the Iranian market, but overall, Chinese businesses will continue to deal with Iran,” said Ji, adding that there is a lot of potential for growth in trade.

“Iran is rich in resources, but it is not self-sufficient in many daily-use products. Iran will continue to import Chinese products, especially if Western markets are closed off, and China will buy Iranian oil and minerals. The Iranian and Chinese economies are very complementary,” he said.

However, renewed economic sanctions are likely to affect Iran’s general economic situation. Iran saw massive street protests in 2018, and the Iranian currency, the rial, has depreciated heavily, falling by nearly half its value in the last six months, according to a Reuters report.

Some Chinese traders in Iran have noticed that business in the country is slowing. “Business is quite bad these days. Many orders are being canceled because the currency has depreciated so much. Big clients are also not making many orders. The shipments we do manage to send get stopped in customs in Iran with no way to clear them,” said Tan, a trader in small goods from the Chinese city of Yiwu, who only gave her surname.

Many Chinese companies have been investing heavily in Iran as part of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative. A Chinese railway company signed a contract in 2017 to build a rail line in Iran. China is also the destination for 90 percent of Iran’s iron ore exports, according to Iranian paper Financial Tribune.

Source: Global Times


Female welders contributing to China’s bridge building success

A group of Chinese female welders are protecting the “lives” of China’s high bridges with their diligence, expertise and innovation.

The Siduhe Bridge

An interesting website called “the highest bridges” that ranks bridges from all over the world recently went viral on Chinese social media. According to the website, by the end of April, eight of the world’s top 10 and 82 of the top 100 bridges were located in China. Most of these high bridges are built in mountainous areas with a previous lack of transportation and access, serving as arteries for local economies and contributing to the well-being of the people.

It is impossible to assemble these bridges in advance or stack the parts like Lego blocks. As a result, welding is necessary to connect the huge metal pieces during construction.

What lies behind China’s success of bridge construction, apart from the country’s technological advances, is a group of female welders who are plain but magical.

Wang Zhongmei

Wang Zhongmei, a senior female welder with 17 years of experience, is one of them. She has participated in more than 40 bridge projects in the past 17 years, including 13 on the Yangtze River, 8 on the Yellow River and 9 on the Gan River, tackling a series of challenges with her team. She has worked for China Railway Jiujiang Bridge Engineering Co. Ltd. as a welder since she completed her academic studies in bridge construction at a vocational school in 2002.

In 2005, after only 3 years of work, Wang made her name during the construction of the world’s former highest Siduhe Bridge, which has a high demand of welding skills. After studying the details, Wang volunteered to finish the task, and all of her welding joints were proven to be excellent at the first quality inspection.

She also came up with an innovative and easy method to increase the efficiency of welding steel plates after finding the traditional practice consumed a lot of time and energy. The method was later named after Wang in recognition of her contribution and she was promoted within the firm.

Wang Zhongmei at work

“There’s no difference between male and female welders, we can also carry the welding materials that weigh tens of kilograms,” Wang said. “Not only me, but everyone in my team will be able to become an expert after training,” she added.

Wang inherited her spirit and skills from her father, who was also an excellent welder. This explains why she chose the arduous position and has persisted for so many years. As a woman, Wang is also image-conscious and enjoys dressing up. It is a love for the skills and responsibility that has made her stick to her position.

“The old generation of workers, just like my father, have created the country’s glory, and the torch is in our hands now and we should do better,” she noted.

Wang Zhongmei and her colleagues

Sea creatures aren’t the only things recorded by China’s submersible…

China’s unmanned submersible Qianlong 3 made its first dive into the sea recently, snapping photos at a depth of more than 3,900 meters.

However, in addition to beautiful deep-sea creatures such as fish, shrimp, starfish and trepangs, plastic waste was also snapped by the submersible’s camera.

“This waste poses a threat to the survival of sea creatures and sabotages the marine eco-system,” said Sun Dong, a senior expert responsible for section B of the sea trial of the Dayang Yihao, the carrier of the Qianlong 3.

According to Sun, such waste hardly degrades at all in this deep sea environment, as it lacks light and sufficient microorganism activity.

In addition, the survival of deep-sea creatures may be threatened after these life forms accidentally ingest the fractured plastic, Sun added.

Statistics indicate that over 8 million tons of plastic waste is being dumped into the sea every year, and accounts for 80% of the marine litter found today.

According to Sun, controlling the waste source from land is essential for marine litter management. In addition, staff on marine vessels must obey related rules and regulations, and take garbage back to the land for its correct disposal.

66 Chinese enterprises now in world’s 500 most valuable brands

66 Chinese enterprises have been ranked in the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, up by 11 from 2017, said a report issued by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent branded business valuation and strategy consultancy.

According to the report, Global 500 2018, 22 of the 66 Chinese brands are placed in the top 100.

The number of China’s trademark registration applications has grown 83% year on year, up to 1.5 million during the first quarter of 2018 which hits a historic high, said the country’s State Administration of Market Regulation.

China ranks first in the world when it comes to number of trademark registrations. The country had 16 million registered trademarks by the end of this March, holding an average of 1,596.3 trademarks per 10,000 market entities.

In addition, China has also witnessed enhanced awareness of innovation and patent application. A total of 391,000 applications for invention patents were handled in China over the first three months of 2018, up 36.4% from the same period in 2017.

The number of patents held per 10,000 people in China stood at 10.2 at the end of March, signalling the first time that this figure has hit double digits.

Name list of covert Japanese human experimentation unit released

A name list of a covert Japanese unit for human experimentation during the anti-Japanese war was released for the first time by a Chinese exhibition hall in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

Recently released for the first time, the list reveals the names, birth dates, nationalities, residences and immediate families of the members of Unit 1855, another biological and chemical warfare research base established in Harbin besides the notorious Unit 731.

It is so far the most complete name list of Unit 1855 to have ever been released.

The name list, compiled on Aug. 29, 1945, was collected by the National Archives of Japan, before being handed over to the Exhibition Hall of Evidences of Crime Committed by Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army.

According to the curator of the exhibition hall, Jin Chengmin, Unit 1855 originally belonged to the central Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the North China Army of the Imperial Japanese Army.

It was established on Feb. 9, 1940 in Beijing, when the Japanese Emperor officially signed an organizational scheme of the unit, submitted by the General Staff Office of the Imperial Japanese Army.

The scheme suggested an 810-staff establishment for the unit. However, the size of its personnel expanded to 1,242, which indicated its high demand of human resources, hence the mass of activities it conducted in China.

Through research and studies of substantial historical data, experts found that Unit 1855 was supported by Unit 731 on both personnel and technological levels.

Unit 731 consisted of 3,497 staff members, including large numbers of doctors and elites from well-known medical institutions. It was a command center of Japan’s biological and chemical warfare in China, Jin explained.

He said that human experimentation and bacteriological studies were Unit 1855’s two main areas of research during the war.

Using human experimentation to strive for a quick win during warfare is a practice shared by all biological and chemical warfare research bases, Jin noted, adding that such practices are the largest provocation against humanity.

Information on an experiment into frostbite was also released this time, along with pictures of the unit’s research and experiments conducted in Beijing. These valuable materials will be of great importance in the study of the unit’s crimes and personnel structure.

Teenage hero in Wenchuan earthquake becomes fireman

A teenager known for his heroics in the massive Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 has now become an experienced fireman who has served his country for 9 years.

The fireman, named Jia Xiaolong, saved three of his classmates and one of his teachers 10 years ago as a 16-year-old student, when an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Wenchuan county, southwestern China’s Sichuan province.

Jia was in a class when the quake occurred. When the earthquake hit, he was stunned by the falling debris, but he still managed to save the lives of the others in his class, driven by an inexplicable power after waking up.

“It is indeed scary when I recall this experience, but there was no time left for me to feel the fear back then,” Jia said.

In the ruins, Jia was impressed by the servicemen in camouflage who never stopped saving lives despite their fatigue. It was because of this that he made his choice to join the army in 2009.

Jia said it was cool to be a serviceman at that time, but now he is fully aware of the responsibility that he shoulders.

From 2009 to 2016, he has attended over 4,000 disaster and rescue relief missions, and has won the third-class Meritorious Service Medal four times. He even came close to losing his own life during a rescue mission of a gas explosion accident in Beijing.

In September 2016, Jia was recommended to the Public Security Fire Force College by his unit. After two years of study, he will once again be on the front line, embarking on a new journey in June this year.