The Philippines makes efforts to popularize Mandarin

The Philippine Department of Education has recently signed agreements with the Confucius Institute Headquarters, specifying that they will work together to train a batch of professional Mandarin teachers to promote Mandarin teaching and learning in the Philippines.

According to the agreements, the Philippine Department of Education will select 300 local Mandarin teachers from middle schools and send them to the Angeles University Foundation in the Philippines to take postgraduate courses in Mandarin.

Altogether, they will study for two years, with two semesters in the Fujian Normal University in southeast China’s Fujian province and the other four at the Angeles University Foundation. After that, they will continue to teach Mandarin in their former schools.

With the development of Philippines-China relations, more young people in the Philippines have realized that it is important to learn Mandarin, said Leonor Magtolis Briones, Secretary of the Department of Education.

Tian Shanting, the cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines, pointed out that the training program will promote the development of Mandarin teaching and learning in public middle schools and provide more opportunities for locals to learn Chinese language and culture.

Since 2011, Mandarin has been included as an elective language course in public middle schools in the Philippines. At present, about 11,000 students from 93 public middle schools across the country are learning Mandarin.

China launches first real-time digital “person”

China’s first independently developed real-time digital “person” was launched in Chongqing on December 16, Chongqing Daily reported.

The virtual model, introduced by Dawaweilai video technology company, can make the same gestures and facial expressions as a real person, straight from a specially designed studio.

Equipped with 42 camera lenses, the studio will capture the body movements of a person for the digital model. The helmet-like facial recognition instrument worn by the real person will convey his facial expressions to the digital one.

The digital hologram can make the same gestures and facial expressions thanks to the real-time frame rendering system independently designed by the company, said Lu Qi, CEO of Dawaweilai.

The real-time rendering system could simulate 120 frames of 4K-resolution videos per second, 1,500 times faster than the traditional video production method.

Only several companies in the world can make real-time digital persons right now, Lu added.

Real-time digital person technology can be widely used in digital film and television, virtual idols, virtual studios and etc. It can greatly increase the mass-production capacity of industries such as film and television and significantly reduce production costs.

Professional courses taught in Mandarin on the rise

Thai students who learn railway Mandarin study in Wuhan, China. (Photo provided by the Khon Kaen University)

The China-Thailand high-speed railway Mandarin training course, an excellent example of Mandarin teaching combined with professional expertise, has so far trained a total of nearly 200 talents for Thailand, who know both Mandarin and railway-related technologies.

Specifically, the students will learn railway Mandarin for one month at the Confucius Institute of the Khon Kaen University in Thailand and then receive professional training for a year at the Wuhan Railway Vocational College of Technology in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province.

Learning railway Mandarin is helpful for the students to become experts in rail, said Hu Lin, director of the Confucius Institute of the Khon Kaen University.

The high-speed rail Mandarin training project originated from Thailand’s increasing demand for talents in Mandarin and railway technology along with further cooperation between China and Thailand.

Thailand is not the only country demanding inter-disciplinary talents. Statistics show that more than 100 Confucius Institutes in over 40 countries such as Thailand and Malaysia have provided Mandarin courses in various fields, including high-speed rail, trade and economics, tourism, law and aviation.

In an attempt to sustain the development of Mandarin education, the Confucius Institute of the Khon Kaen University has also cooperated with vocational schools and designed online professional Mandarin courses such as railway Mandarin, logistics and e-commerce and electronic information technology.

Media professionals at the CPEC Media Forum hail China’s BRI

Media representatives from China, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and other countries praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the 5th China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Media Forum held recently in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

As an open and inclusive global initiative, the BRI has created a new type of international cooperation platform based on mutual benefit and win-win for all countries, said Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting.

CPEC, a flagship project under the BRI, has brought economic and social benefits to Pakistan and will maintain momentum and continue to benefit people from the two countries, said Pang Chunxue, minister counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan.

A Pakistani media professional at the forum noted that the CPEC has improved the business environment in Pakistan, eased its power supply crisis and supported the development of industrial production.

Under the BRI, Azerbaijan is becoming a significant international transportation hub connecting Asia and Europe, which suits its ambition to develop modern transportation infrastructure, said one media representative from Azerbaijan.

China, as an important trade partner to Sri Lanka, has supported the country with funds and technologies under the BRI and helped its economic development, according to the associate editor of the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.

First held in 2015, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Media Forum has been held successfully for five consecutive years, which aims to deepen media exchanges between China and Pakistan.

Nature reserve uses facial recognition on pandas

(Xinhua file photo)

In October, the Baishuijiang Nature Reserve, in northwest China’s Gansu province, built a dynamic monitoring system to carry out automatic panda facial recognition.

Under the new system, six monitoring devices have been set up to allow workers to monitor pandas without having to go out into the forest areas.

According to China’s Fourth National Giant Panda Survey, the Baishuijiang Nature Reserve is home to 110 giant pandas. To allow the public access to more panda photos and videos, the nature reserve started to employ infrared cameras several years ago.

The problem with infrared cameras is that the rangers need to change the batteries and memory cards regularly, which is why the new monitoring system was designed.

According to He Liwen, director of the giant panda management office at the nature reserve bureau, the system will automatically identify and take pictures of any wild animal within the monitoring area.

Facial recognition for people only needs to capture their facial features. However, the panda cameras need to capture the animals in many different positions, which makes it all the more difficult, said He, adding that they began working with other institutions to improve the accuracy of the system through mass archiving of photos.

Data show that the system first captured wild pandas around 5 p.m. on November 21. The equipment has taken more pictures of mother and baby pandas together in recent years, which suggests the population is relatively stable, said He.

More young people dive into homemaking industry

(Photo/Nanfang Daily)

Nowadays, more people born in the 80s or 90s are choosing jobs in the homemaking industry, a sector which was previously considered only for the elderly or those with a poor educational background.

As society progresses, more young people now choose a job that they like and find meaningful, said Xu Weihua, COO of 51 Home Service, a Guangzhou-based housekeeping service provider.

Employees who were born in the 80s and 90s account for 84 percent of front line workers in the company and 88 percent of the logistics support staff, according to Xu.

Xu said the company established a relatively sound promotion system to attract young people. Eighty percent of the company’s management personnel, such as training directors and product managers, are selected from front line employees.

New technologies have promoted the industry towards high-end development that features specialization, skills, and professionalism, noted Zhang Qinling, manager of the homemaking company Mamalaile in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Many young people now take orders on the apps on their mobile phones and provide door-to-door services with professional tools.

The homemaking industry has potential, and practitioners are usually well-paid, said Sun Jingtao, chairman of the Shenzhen Domestic Economy Association, adding that emerging intelligent tools and standardized procedures have helped reduce the workload and improve efficiency.

Sun also pointed out that the homemaking industry is being developed and subdivided, which has generated new professions. For example, services for new mothers and babies range from post-birth recovery to tutoring and health management.

China mobile sci-tech museum holds exhibitions in Myanmar

Burmese students have an interactive learning experience in the museum. (People’s Daily/Sun Guangyong)

The China Mobile Science and Technology Museum held exhibitions in Mandalay, the largest city in northern Myanmar, starting in November, to promote scientific education among local people.

Co-hosted by China Science and Technology Museum and the Ministry of Education in Myanmar, the mobile exhibition is scheduled to be held in Mandalay for two years.

Covering an area of over 800 square meters, the exhibition includes more than 60 items such as 3D printing technology, intelligent robots, and Naked Eye 3D televisions, ranging from such fields as basic science and life science to information technology and health.

After it opened to the public, 12 universities and several high schools and primary schools expressed their intention to visit the museum. About half a month after it was open, thousands of people had already visited the mobile museum.

This exhibition will open a window to science for Burmese teenagers and cultivate their interest, innovation and curiosity in science, said Thein Win, Director-General of the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education, Myanmar.

Mandalay boasts a number of science and arts colleges, normal universities, and technical schools, but these schools are not equipped with advanced devices for their science courses.

“Based on the mobile sci-tech museum, we plan on building a Mandalay science and technology museum to popularize scientific knowledge among the local people,” said a docent with the museum.

A Belt and Road project, the China mobile sci-tech museum first landed in Myanmar at its capital Naypyidaw in June 2018. The 18-month exhibition has received a total of 50,000 visitors and organized training courses for 600 primary and high school principals and teachers.

Many post-90s open and rational in credit consumption

While credit services are popular among young people, it seems that the post-90s generation are remaining rational while spending their future money in advance, Workers’ Daily reported.

42.1 percent of young people only take out loans for personal consumption and will repay them in that same month, with many settling their bills within the interest-free period, a recent report said.

Instead of burdening young people with debt, credit services have actually made life easier for them, since they are interest-free within a certain period of time, said Wang Xiao, a post-90s person fond of credit cards and other financial products.

90 percent of the post-90s generation use Huabei, Alibaba’s micro-lending service, to save money, and are clear that they won’t buy things they don’t need.

A report on youth lifestyle showed that the young generation is not obsessed with purchasing luxuries. Instead, more and more young people are willing to pay for spiritual experiences, such as travel.

Young people are also extremely curious about individualized and new products. By paying for certain products and services, they are actually expressing their beliefs, ideas and lifestyles.

Young people in big cities or with higher incomes and educational backgrounds tend to run up more debts, which will drive them to work harder to make money.

In fact, many post-90s people pursue part-time jobs to broaden their sources of income. They are confident in their ability to earn money and feel more free to spend their potential income in advance.

Court judges dabble in webcasts for judicial auctions

It’s common to see Chinese stars or Internet celebrities advertise products including clothing and cosmetics via live video streaming on e-commerce platforms, but can you believe that someone bought a house with a sea view via a webcast hosted by court judges?

On December 12, more than 8,000 netizens watched a special live broadcast on China’s largest e-commerce platform Taobao, an online auction held by Jin Shou and Cui Zhiyong, two court judges from Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

More than 8,000 netizens watched a special live broadcast on Taobao, an online auction held by Jin Shou and Cui Zhiyong, two court judges from Ningbo, Zhejiang province. (Screenshot from Taobao)

Instead of selling clothes or cosmetics, Jin and Cui offered over 50 items from all over the country, including a house with a sea view located in Qingdao, Shandong province, a small forest in Anhui province, parking lots and cell phone numbers considered to bring good luck.

A total of 34 items were sold during the event, which lasted just over an hour, with transactions exceeding 100 million yuan.

While introducing the products, the judges also answered questions and simplified judicial knowledge for viewers. For example, the hosts said if a person bids for the items yet fails to make the final payment, the judicial organ will confiscate his deposit and forbid him from bidding on the item again in the future.

About 99 percent of courts in China have opened online shops for judicial auctions. By December 12, 2019, Chinese courts had sold 465,842 items through online platforms, with transactions reaching around 987.5 billion yuan.

China to maintain steady trade growth


China’s foreign trade volume reached 28.5 trillion yuan in the first 11 months of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 2.4 percent. The figure is expected to be around 30 trillion yuan for the whole year.

China has achieved better-than-expected trade growth against downward pressure so far, said Li Xingqian, director of the Ministry of Commerce’s foreign trade department.

China has confidence that it will maintain steady trade growth of improving quality in 2020 despite sluggish global demand, Li said, citing the country’s solid trade foundation and vitality of market players.

The Chinese economy is shifting gear from an extensive model that emphasized scale and speed to a more intensive one emphasizing quality and efficiency, from being driven by investment in production factors to being driven by innovation, from relying only on cost and price advantages to raising its overall competitive advantages such as technology, brand, quality and service.

The export of high-tech, high-quality, and high-value-added products has grown rapidly, with IC, medical device exports witnessing an increase higher than the overall average.

Exports of machinery and electronic products accounted for 58.4 percent of the country’s total exports and private companies continued to play an even bigger part, comprising 51.4 percent of China’s total trade volume.

China is also securing a more balanced international market. Trade with the Belt and Road countries accounts for 29.3 percent of the total trade.