Hangzhou’s first cloud urban management system begins trial operation

Trials for the first cloud urban management system have officially started in Xiacheng District of Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, Qianjiang Evening News reported.

Hangzhou government has implemented an urban management version of the “City Brain” project, an artificial intelligence (AI) hub to build the city into a smart one.

The system aims to ensure better urban management. It applies the latest technologies such as AI, satellite positioning and cloud data, and now connects more than 50 monitoring cameras. All 3,712 cameras in Xiacheng District will be connected in 2019.

It offers 24-hour automatic identification of urban management problems such as rubbish on roads and illegally parked vehicles or shared bikes. Once a problem is confirmed, the platform will assign relevant staff to deal with it.

The system is expected to cover the whole city, according to Hangzhou Municipal Commission of City Administration.

Coordination in the Greater Bay Area sure to bring success

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (Photo/Xinhua)

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is entering a new era of deepened coordination and integration, becoming a brighter spot on the map of world economy, Xinhua reported on Jan. 10.

The bay area is home to more than 170 universities, 40 national key laboratories and partnership labs. It also nurtures emerging industries such as electronic communications, the Internet, biomedicine, as well as innovative enterprises such as Huawei and Tencent.

The efficient flow of capital, technologies, talents, and information indicates that the bay area has entered a new era of coordination. It also releases strong impetus for the creation of a world-class industrial cluster in the area.

Chinese commercial drone manufacturer DJI is a perfect example of connectivity and integration in the bay area. Incubated in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and started in Shenzhen, today, the company makes up half of global drone production.

The bay area also extends the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen corridor of technological innovation to Hong Kong and Macao. Medprin Regenerative Medical Technologies Co., Ltd. in Guangzhou is fast growing into a leader in 3D biological printing.

The growth of the company is in line with the development trend of the Guangzhou Development District, where Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, Guangzhou Science City, and Guangzhou International Bio Island are situated.

Dongguan’s Songshan Lake area is another important spot along the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao technological innovation corridor. The area, which has been called the “global factory,” is now the birthplace of countless innovations.

According to the annual Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking published by Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 7, 2018, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Cluster ranks second in global innovation clusters.

American community director assistant helps foreigners settle in Chengdu

Caption: John O’Connell (left) takes part in community management. (Photo/Courtesy of Tongzilin Community)

Deeply attracted to Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, 71-year-old American John O’Connell decided to settle in the city. Since then, he has become a community director assistant, offering help to foreigners in Tongzilin Community, Wuhou District of Chengdu, Chinanews.com reported on Jan. 10.

Public-spirited O’Connell was named a community director assistant of Tongzilin Community about three months after he settled in the community, where he now lives alongside 4,300 foreigners from over 30 countries and regions including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

As a community director assistant, O’Connell’s primary role is to help foreigners solve problems they come up against in everyday life, like how to take a bus or use apps such as WeChat and Alipay. Furthermore, O’Connell also explains Chinese law to foreigners in the community, to help them adapt to life in China as quickly as possible.

People can call him anytime, whether they need to find a new apartment, find a school for their children, or figure out legal issues, said O’Connell.

Keen on causes for the public good, O’Connell voluntarily donates blood every month, picks up litter, and actively takes part in various public benefit activities in his spare time. He explained that as this city has given him so much, he wants to repay it in his own way.

“We often see him taking part in public benefit activities,” said Zhang Jiarong, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tongzilin Community Committee, noting that warm-hearted O’Connell has deeply impressed people in the community, and that his interest in volunteering was an important factor in naming him a community director assistant.

Since O’Connell currently doesn’t know Chinese, he asks his Chinese friends to translate for him. Now, he says that he is trying hard to learn the language, and hopes to master it as soon as possible.

According to Chengdu Economic Daily, O’Connell and his wife came to Chengdu in August 2016, at which point Chengdu was meant to be their first stop on a tour of the whole country. However, the couple fell in love with the city, and quickly decided to settle in Tongzilin Community.

O’Connell found a part-time job not long after they settled in Chengdu, teaching English at an international school, while his wife became a physics teacher in another international school.

“Chengdu is as modern as New York, and it is a pleasant city to live in just like where I’m from in California. More importantly, the people here are very friendly and generous,” said O’Connell, adding that instead of seeing the city as tourists, they wanted to enjoy real Chengdu life.

China’s support for rural startups yields positive results

A man delivers goods to villagers in Houba village in the city of Longnan, Gansu province.(Photo/Xinhua)

Measures implemented across China to support rural startups, in order to promote rural revitalization, have begun to yield positive results, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Supported by policy incentives, more migrant workers and college students have chosen to start businesses in rural areas in recent years. They enable more resources, including talent, technology and capital, to flow to rural areas, thus injecting new impetus into the development of agriculture and rural areas in general.

Online sales in rural areas exceeded 1.3 trillion yuan in 2018, creating jobs for 28 million farmers, ministry spokesman Guang Defu said, adding that leisure agriculture and rural tourism accounted for 3 billion trips, generating revenue of 800 billion yuan for rural areas.

Migrant workers and college students moving back to the countryside also create more channels for rural residents to increase their income. Thanks to entities established by returning entrepreneurs, operating income of farmers increased by an average of 67 percent in 2018. These entities also returned or distributed an average profit of over 500 yuan to farmers in the same year.

Rural entrepreneurship and innovation have become the primary contributors to China’s rural revitalization in the new era, Guang added.

China adopts bilateral visa-exemption policies with 14 countries


China has now adopted two-way visa-exemption policies with 14 countries, said Guo Shaochun, Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs for China’s Foreign Ministry, during a briefing held on Jan. 9.

Additionally, 15 countries and regions have implemented unilateral visa waiver schemes for Chinese citizens. Chinese citizens also enjoy visa-on-arrival in 44 countries and regions.

Now, Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports can go to 72 countries and regions visa-free or by obtaining a visa-on-arrival. Moreover, China has also reached 71 agreements on the simplification of visa procedures with 42 countries.

Visa exemption is vital for the promotion of personnel exchanges among countries. Guo noted that four countries adopted visa exemption policies with China in 2018, including the United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and Qatar, the highest in history.

“The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar, and I hope the visa-free policy can better facilitate Chinese football fans,” Guo said.

To further improve the “value” of the Chinese passport is a target of China’s consular work, Guo introduced.

Authorities to release 2018 birth figures soon

A spokesperson from China’s top health authority said that fluctuations in the country’s population are being closely monitored and the 2018 birth figures will soon be released, Chinanews.com reported on Jan. 10.

Some population experts have predicted that the number of births in China will fall by two million this year compared with 2018.

Song Shuli, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, said multiple factors affect birth rates in China, including the number of women of childbearing age, the average age of women getting married and giving birth, and social and economic factors.

Tao Tao, a population researcher with the Renmin University of China, explained that one major reason for the slump in births is a decreasing number of women of childbearing age.

Statistics indicate that in 2015, more than half of all women of childbearing age were over 40 years old. Tao noted that the number of women between 15 and 49 in China peaked in 2011, and has been falling ever since.

Another reason for the drop in population figures is that the average age of women bearing their first and second children have both increased by a year over the past three years. This may be partially caused by the fact that people are getting married later, meaning they are also having children later in life. In 2017, the number of couples getting married dropped by 7 percent year-on-year to 10.63 million.

Reverse Spring Festival travel becomes popular in China

Passengers waiting to board trains in a railway station during the Spring Festival travel rush. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

This year, a growing number of China’s post-80s and post-90s generations will ask their parents to travel to the cities where they work for a family reunion, rather than pouring out of China’s cities to visit their hometowns during the Spring Festival, in a new trend called reverse Spring Festival travel.

The reason behind this trend is simple. It’s difficult to acquire a train ticket or an expensive plane ticket out of major cities during the Spring Festival travel rush, which is known as the largest annual human migration on earth.

Statistics from China’s online ticket booking services including its largest, Ctrip, show that 10 big cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the most popular destinations. The number of air ticket bookings one week before Lunar New Year’s Eve to these cities is expected to increase by more than 40 percent year-on-year, with the price of some airfare tickets currently showing as lower than many high-speed trains.

Families will also be able to enjoy a different Spring Festival experience thanks to the reverse travel rush.

Three details indicate positive progress for China-U.S. trade talks

(Photo/CRI Online)

China-U.S. trade negotiations concluded on Jan. 9, and three details from the discussions can be seen as an indication that positive progress has been made, according to analysis of Niutanqin, a Wechat account associated with Xinhua.

The first noticeable detail is that the two-day vice-ministerial-level trade talks were extended by half a day.

More than 200 officials from over 10 departments from both sides took part in the talks. An insider disclosed that there was so much to be discussed that both sides agreed to continue discussions on Jan. 9 after talking on Jan. 7 and 8. It sent out a positive message that the two sides are willing to sit down, negotiate and reach a consensus.

The second detail worth noting is that Chinese Vice Premier, Liu He, unexpectedly appeared at the venue. A picture showing a smiling Liu at the meeting on Jan. 7 went viral online.

The extraordinary move, according to foreign media, reflected the attention and respect that China placed on the meeting.

On Jan. 8, US President Donald Trump tweeted that “Talks with China are going very well!” It showed that Washington was also keeping a close eye on the progress of the talks.

The third detail which shows progress is that the negotiations were candid, in-depth and practical.

According to information released by the United States, Washington expected to narrow its trade deficit with China, and Beijing agreed to import a sizeable amount of agricultural, energy and manufactured products and services from the U.S.

Undeniably, China’s trade surplus with the United States is significant. To increase high-quality imports from the U.S. will serve the Chinese aspiration for a better life. On the other hand, the U.S. did compromise on some of China’s concerns.

The U.S. side also raised some questions, including forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights protection, non-tariff trade barriers and theft of trade secrets.

China had been deepening reform and opening up in an orderly manner amid the escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions. Last year, the country rolled out four tariff reductions and invited enterprises from around the world to attend the first China International Import Expo. Its ranking leaped up 32 spots in a World Bank report on global business environment.

There is no winner in the trade war, and both China and the U.S. will suffer losses. The recent decline seen by the American stock market was clear proof of this.

The progress seen during these talks is sure to bring relief to both countries, and indeed the world. However, we should stay rational in the face of such progress, as this is only the beginning and there are still difficulties facing both sides going forward.

China enters local “two sessions” season

(Chinanews.com/Tong Yu)

Annual legislative sessions began in the Tibet Autonomous Region on Jan. 9, ushering in China’s local “two sessions” season. Other provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities are scheduled to start legislative sessions later this month.

The local “two sessions” are made up of annual meetings attended by provincial lawmakers and political advisors, who will discuss local economic and social development in the past year and make plans for the year to come.

Government work reports are always a primary focus during the sessions. This year is significant, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, as well as a decisive year in the building of a moderately prosperous society.

Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui, Henan, and Guangdong have gathered opinions on their government work reports, in areas such as economic development, urban and rural construction, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, business environment, and government construction.

Specifically, the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, education, medical care, employment, and housing are all included in these government work reports.

The preparatory work of the “two sessions” guarantees that the meetings will run smoothly and effectively.

China to speed up development of hydrogen economy

A hydrogen fueling station in Shanghai. (Photo/Xinhua)

Hydrogen energy, a clean source of fuel that does not release carbon dioxide, could soon replace traditional energy sources, said experts at a recent conference on hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology development in Beijing.

In recent years, hydrogen technology and products, especially hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have made significant progress in many countries such as the United States, Germany, Japan and South Korea. Large-scale commercialization of hydrogen energy is on the way.

Statistics show that by the end of 2017, China had about 10 hydrogen fueling stations in operation and 20 more under construction across the country.

China plans to speed up the development of its hydrogen economy, ready for a future age of hydrogen energy. The country has outlined plans to encourage the development of hydrogen energy and fuel cell vehicles. Commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been realized in many cities including Shanghai and Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province. The industry of hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology is attracting more investment from well-known automobile companies and traditional energy companies.

The industry rise in China will promote research and development of hydrogen energy and fuel cell vehicles around the world, and thus, China will achieve a hydrogen economy boom, said Zhang Weidong, a project manager at the United Nations Development Program.