Dong ethnic woman helping to reduce poverty with traditional embroidery

A woman of the Dong ethnic group in Liping county, southwest China’s Guizhou province, is making a unique contribution to her local community. Thanks to her promotion of traditional Dong embroidery, the average monthly income of local artisans has increased by 1,600 yuan.

The 33-year-old woman learnt such embroidery techniques from her mother, a well-know expert in the local community. She started practicing stitch-work from a very young age.
However, an unfortunate accident left her disabled in one hand at the age of 6 or 7, which stopped her developing her embroidery techniques further.
After graduating from college in 2008, Lu decided to pick up the skill again. She said the traditional Dong embroidery techniques are of special significance to the Dong culture, and she has a responsibility to carry it on as a Dong woman. More importantly, as the oldest daughter of her family, Lu has an obligation to inherit the skills according to Dong tradition.
Though Lu partly lost the function of her left hand, she managed to overcome this difficulty and become an expert of the traditional techniques. She has since opened a workshop in Liping and won a number of national prizes.

To date, Lu has helped over 70 young people of the Dong ethnic group find jobs, and encouraged 200 rural women to learn traditional embroidery skills. In addition, she has established seven training centers to teach more than 600 people, including 80 who are disabled. This Dong woman is giving back to her society through philanthropy.
Her workshop was even visited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015, during his inspection tour of the county. Li told her that she wears Chinese culture, and encouraged her to strive for bigger and better achievements.
Now, with an expanding business, Lu’s products have been shipped to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and even overseas markets. She said traditional Dong embroidery is part of the Chinese culture, and she is confident that she will continue the traditions for future generations to enjoy.

School offers free ballet classes and new opportunities for rural girls

The girls in Duancun village of Xiong’an New Area, in north China’s Hebei province, have a new focus thanks to Duancun School, a local public elementary school that offers free ballet classes.

Guan Yu (front) and his students dance on a boat.

The school started the free teaching five years ago when an art education center was established by a Beijing foundation. The center has been well staffed, its teachers from renowned art institutes including Central Conservatory of Music, Central Academy of Drama, and Beijing Dance Academy, according to Li Jianxue, principal of Duancun School.
Guan Yu, who has been teaching ballet at the school together with his wife for the past five years, told People’s Daily that ballet offers life-changing opportunities for the girls in the village.
The girls originally had two options when planning for their future: become farmers or go to college, the latter obviously being more difficult for them as rural children, he explained.
Every week, Guan and his wife would travel to Duancun from Beijing, about 160 kilometers away, and spend four hours teaching the girls. It has become a routine for him over the past five years.
However, the classes haven’t always been as popular as they are today. To begin with, most of the villagers refused to send their children to the art school, as learning ballet was considered unpractical for rural girls.
It was Guan’s patience and explanation that has shown the benefits of practicing ballet to parents. Gradually, more and more villagers were persuaded to send their children to the school.

A woman sends her daughter to a ballet class.

According to Guan, before the classes the girls had no clear future goals, but ballet has changed them, helping them shake off their shyness and gain some confidence.
“Their changes also impact their parents,” Li said. The villagers now have a more profound understanding of the teachers’ dedication and social responsibilities, which in turn improves the conduct of the whole village, he explained.
Art education is a window for the girls to look into the world and their future, broadening their views, Li said, adding that some of them may even go on to be art professionals in the future.
Over the past five years, Guan has not only acted as a teacher, but has also become a father figure in the community with his love and care for the children. What he has achieved is now motivating the next generation. Students can often be heard saying “I want to be like Guan when I grow up and help others”.

Panda wanders into Sichuan village

A panda wandered to Jinbo village, Wenchuan county of southwestern China’s Sichuan province on May 31. Thanks to video footage recorded by the villagers, viewers can make out a radio tracker around the panda’s neck. Related departments later confirmed that this panda is in captivity for field studies.

Shanghai artist draws over 10,000 sketches of subway passengers in 5 years

An artist in Shanghai has drawn more than 10,000 sketches of subway passengers over the past five years during his daily commute between his home and office.

The artist, Jin Bowen, said he draws seven or eight sketches on his daily journey. Jin says he spends more than three hours on the subway each day, and drawing during rush hour has become part of his routine.

“I don’t want to waste my time, and instead do something meaningful,” Jin said. He believes that the subway is a miniature version of society, and he hopes to record it using his own expertise.

Over the past five years, Jin has witnessed not only the rapid development of the subway, but also the heartwarming stories that happen on board. He recorded an old lady bowing to a passenger who offers her a seat, and a construction worker sitting on the floor to avoid getting the seat dirty.

Jin says that it’s these ordinary but respectable people that have touched his heart.

Lengthened Fuxing bullet train to debut on July 1

An elongated version of the Fuxing bullet train will begin operation on July 1, China Railway Shanghai Group announced on Thursday.

A Fuxing bullet train (File photo)

The new model of the bullet train has 16 carriages, eight more than the current Fuxing bullet trains in operation. It is 415 meters in length, and is able to carry 1,193 passengers at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

The rail department has been known to connect two 8-carriage bullet trains on special occasions such as during the Spring Festival rush, to ease pressure on the transport system. However, by connecting the two locomotives in the middle, the total capacity is lowered.

The lengthened Fuxing bullet train will replace the connection of the two locomotives with carriages, thus further increasing its capacity.

China’s J-20 stealth jets conduct combat training

China’s self-developed J-20 stealth fighter jets recently conducted cooperative combat training with J-16 and J-10c among other fighter jets, boosting the air force’s combat strength, reported on June 1.

A J-20 fighter jet (File photo)

During the training, the J-20 jets first took control of the airspace while the J-16 and J-10c jets conducted long-range precision strikes against ground targets.

He Xing, an air force pilot, noted that they aim to give full play to the strengths of different fighter jets throughout the training.

“The training will help the air force better fulfill its sacred duty of safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

China’s catering industry revenue up 700 times since reform

Over the past 40 years, revenue of China’s catering industry has climbed from 5.48 billion yuan ($854 million) to 4 trillion yuan, over 700 times, since the start of the country’s reform and opening-up policy, China News reported.

The data was released by the China Cuisine Association at a conference held in Beijing on May 29.

Data by the association indicates that industry revenue reached 3.96 trillion yuan in 2017, accounting for 10.8 percent of the country’s total retail sales of consumer goods and contributing 11.3 percent to the overall consumer market growth.

In 1978, there were less than 120,000 catering enterprises across the country. However, by 2017 that figure had surged to 4.65 million. The number of catering employees in China also saw a dramatic rise from 1.04 million to 30 million during the same period, says the association.

Today, the scale of China’s catering industry ranks second in the world following the U.S., which has a yearly revenue of about 5.2 trillion yuan.

Senior ragpicker teaches people to play musical instruments for free

A 66-year-old man surnamed Wu has taught nearly 40 people to play musical instruments without charging them a penny.

Wu originally taught himself to play music. Though he only received a primary school education, he now teaches university students and engineers.

Before earning money as a ragpicker, Wu had worked at a bus station in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He moved into the city two decades ago from Yunnan in southwest China.

Wu learnt how to play the bamboo flute when he was a boy. However, as he grew older his teeth fell out, forcing him to stop his childhood hobby. He decided to teach himself how to play the mandolin, and in 2011 Wu used his life savings to buy himself one.

Wu has his own playing style after years of practice, and many people enjoy seeing him perform. A music professor from a local college once came to his home, simply to listen to him play a song.

Wu treats people with respect and has earned mutual respect because of his musical abilities but also humble nature. His students try to show their gratitude through gifts, which he didn’t reject at first, but he now says he will not meet those who arrive at his home with gifts.

Though living alone, Wu said he’s happy to have his hobby and be surrounded by students. In addition to being a teacher, he is also a talented street singer.

China lags far behind US in digital economy: analysts

China lags far behind the US in the digital economy, mainly due to its weaknesses in industry integration and innovation abilities, an expert said on Thursday.

The comment came after the release of the Global Connecting Index (GCI) report by telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Inc on Tuesday, saying that China ranked No.27 in terms of the digital economy among 79 countries and regions assessed, a stark contrast to the US’ No.1 place.

“China lags far behind the US in terms of industry integration and the research and development [R&D] of new technologies backing the digital economy… It would take several decades for China to catch up with the US,” said Gu Wenbin, an expert at CCID Consulting.

Though China’s information-based services sector is booming, the application of the internet in industrial and agricultural fields, including internet Plus and industrial upgrading, still lags behind developed countries, Gu told the Global Times Thursday.

In addition, China has low usage efficiency when it comes to digital resources, especially in industrial and agricultural fields, Gu noted.

“As China used to focus on pursuing rapid economic growth, it put inadequate emphasis on digital resources. Insufficient accumulation of big data, together with the inadequate internet infrastructure in the two sectors, limits the fluidity of big data,” he said.

In terms of the key technology enablers for the digital economy, the areas in which there is the biggest gap between China and the US are data center networks and big data analytics, said the report.

Despite its disadvantages, China’s digital economy has entered a phase of fast development, said a report from ChinaInfo100, a non-government information research platform, in March.

China’s digital economy grew at a rate of 18.9 percent in 2016, compared with the US’ 6.1 percent, Japan’s 17 percent and the UK’s 11.5 percent, it said.

However, Chris Dong, global research director at technology advisory firm IDC China, told the Global Times that the fast growth is largely driven by the government’s industry and innovation policies, and helped by a few giant IT firms that have developed leading-edge capabilities in big data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT).

Innovation required

China needs to accelerate the building of a self-sufficient innovation ecosystem, accompanied by a more innovation-friendly open market, Dong said.

Compared to the US, China has had much less time to develop fundamental and emerging technologies, along with the right environment, talent and the corresponding innovation ecosystems. In China, digital transformation only began to pick up momentum in recent years, with IT spending being mostly hardware and infrastructure-driven.

But in the US, major industries have long been immersed in digital transformation, and have devoted a lot of investment to software, services and disruptive technologies, Dong noted.

Now China is making up for its weakness in innovation. Chinese ministries and commissions have organized special campaigns to promote innovation in cloud computing and big data, and domestic internet giants have been investing in more than 80 segments of the digital economy, domestic news site reported on Tuesday.

By the end of June 2017, there were 592 AI firms in China, representing 23.3 percent of the global total, said the report.

Source: Global Times


Fujian village innovates tea planting model to reduce poverty

An innovative model of tea planting in Xiadang village of Ningde, southeastern China’s Fujian province, is working wonders for poverty reduction and bringing dramatic changes to the local community.

The 72-year-old farmer Wang Guangchao is one of the shining examples. The old days of hardships when his tea was sold at only 4 yuan ($0.6) per kilogram have gone, and what he owns now is a teahouse and prosperous business.

Xiadang village, with perfect conditions for growing high-mountain tea, has 600 mu, or 40 hectares of tea gardens. However, the quality tea produced by the village used to have no access to the market due to underdeveloped transportation conditions.

Faced with this issue, the village launched a poverty-reduction oriented tea garden in 2014, the first of its kind in China. The innovative model of tea planting has promoted local agritainment industry, and brought huge changes to the local community.

Under the innovative model, a professional cooperative was established, to integrate individual tea growers and organize the planting based on standard and scientific process.

Local enterprises and entrepreneurs are encouraged by the village to sign 5-year subscription agreements with the tea gardens for 20,000 yuan per mu. The tea produced within the contract term belongs to the subscriber.

The innovative tea garden not only finds a market for the planters, but also enables the cooperative to gain sufficient capital to buy organic fertilizers and pesticides.

Xiadang village attracts huge number of tourists by its beautiful scenery and improved transportation. Photo by Liu Lingling

The contractor can track everything of the tea garden through mobile applications, including the growing, processing, packaging and shipping. It is a method that guarantees the quality.

Now 260 mu of the tea garden has been contracted, involving 128 planters of the village. The project has raised unit price of the tea from 4 to 20 yuan per kilogram, helping increase the per mu income of the planters by 4,000 yuan annually.

Since 2017, this innovative model has been expanded to grape, rice and kiwifruit planting. The village’s agriculture products are reaching out to 30 cities, benefiting 185 impoverished households and making a profit of 400,000 yuan each year.

Photo shows the tea garden of Xiadang village. Photo by Liu Lingling

So far the annual income per capita of the village has hit 11,000 yuan, and the fiscal revenue of the village has grown to 223,000 yuan from 0.

31 impoverished households have been lifted out of poverty, and 26 of them have built new houses.

“We will finally shake off poverty as long as we keep an innovative mind,” said Wang Mingzu, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of Xiadang village. “We will keep making new models and finding new markets for agriculture products, and finally remain free of poverty.