China helps Kazakhstan city modernize local oil refinery

The Shymkent oil refinery (Photo via PetroKazakhstan Oil Products LLP)

Shymkent, a city in southern Kazakhstan, has thrived thanks to the concerted efforts of China and Kazakhstan to upgrade the local oil factory into a modern and environmentally-friendly refinery.

Originally built in the 1970s, the Shymkent oil refinery has failed to produce high-quality oil in recent years due to backward manufacturing techniques and old equipment.

In February 2014, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) officially started to help Shymkent modernize the refinery.

The first and second phase of the project were completed and put into production in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The refinery was then able to produce 6 million tons of crude oil per year.

Before the first phase was completed, Kazakhstan needed to import 800,000 to 1 million tons of high-grade oil every year, said Jiang Shi, President of PetroKazakhstan Oil Products LLP.

Last year when the refinery started to produce quality oil, the Kazakhstan government announced that the country was able to produce enough high-quality fuel to satisfy domestic demand and was even preparing to export petroleum to neighboring Central Asian countries.

More than 10 percent of the funds for the project were used to dispose of waste water, gas and solids. By adopting the world’s most advanced sulfur removal technology and sulfur recovery technique developed by the CNPC, the oil factory could reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 15,100 tons per year.

Besides creating thousands of jobs for the local people, the refinery strictly complied with the relevant laws in Kazakhstan and ensured that Kazakhstan and Chinese employees got the same salaries for the same amount of work, according to Gulnaz Ashirbayeva, Director for Administrative and Legal Matters and Human Resources, PKOP LLP.

The Chinese company has also shouldered social responsibilities such as funding local orphanages, hospitals, primary and secondary schools and poor families.

A review of major Chinese scientific and technological breakthroughs in 2019

China made remarkable achievements in science and technology in 2019, ranging from virtual cyberspace to real life, and from the ocean to space.

China’s largest carrier rocket Long March-5 makes new flight

(Photo/Xinhua)

China launched the third Long March-5, its largest carrier rocket, from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province on Dec. 27.

The rocket, codenamed Long March-5 Y3, carried the Shijian-20 technological experiment satellite weighing over 8 tons, the heaviest and most advanced communications satellite in the country, into its planned orbit.

Huawei launches world’s first flagship 5G Soc chipset

Huawei’s chipset subsidiary HiSilicon said in May that it will use backup chips it has independently developed for years to cope with the ban from the US.

Since then, Huawei has continued marching forward on the road of innovation. On Sept. 6, it even unveiled the world’s first flagship 5G system-on-chip (Soc) chipset, namely the Kirin 990 5G.

Data from the company suggests that its sales revenue exceeded 610 billion yuan in the first three quarters of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 24.5 percent, which signified the resilience and momentum of the company in the face of challenges.

China grants 5G licenses for commercial use

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted 5G licenses for commercial use on June 6, marking the beginning of a new era in the country’s telecommunications industry.

China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network are the first batch of companies to obtain the licenses.

Blockchain technology gathers momentum

Blockchain technology, a decentralized, distributed ledger that records the provenance of a digital asset, is believed to bring major reforms to various industries as it has done to the Internet. It has even been incorporated into the national strategy in 2019.

In the first half of 2019, China announced a total of 3,547 patents on blockchain technologies, much more than in the whole year of 2018, according to the CCID Academy for Industry and Information Technology. Meanwhile, Chinese patents on blockchain account for over half of the world’s total, said the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier delivered

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was delivered to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and placed in active service on Dec. 17 at a naval port in Sanya, south China’s Hainan Province.

Approved by the Central Military Commission of China, the Shandong was given the hull number 17.

Xuelong 2 makes its debut in Antarctic expedition

(Photo/Xinhua)

Xuelong 2, China’s polar icebreaker, made its maiden voyage in the country’s 36th Antarctic expedition in October.

While breaking ice in the waters in Antarctica, Xuelong 2 led the other icebreaker Xuelong toward the designated unloading area near the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica.

Beijing’s new airport begins operation

(Photo/Xinhua)

Beijing’s brand new Daxing International Airport, located 46 km south of downtown Beijing, opened to flights on Sept. 25.

Shaped like a phoenix spreading its wings, the new aviation hub allows a passenger to walk from the center of the terminal building to the furthest departure gate within eight minutes.

Its passenger throughput is expected to reach 100 million by 2040, with 800,000 takeoffs and landings.

Chinese scientists discover 99-million-year-old beetle species

(The Beijing News/Tao Ran)

Chinese scientists announced that they discovered a rare species of beetle from the age of dinosaurs in an amber on Dec. 21, the Beijing News reported.

Known as Notocupes denticollis, the beetle was proven to have come from Myanmar 99 million years ago in the cretaceous period.

Experts pointed out that only six kinds of beetles under this particular family exist in the world, and this discovery will help scientists learn about the classifications of the beetle family and the evolutionary changes of beetles.

The specimen is so well preserved that the male genitalia of the insect can be seen under the microscope, allowing scientists to discover its identity and its ties with other similar species.

The discovery was first made by Song Chengjun, then 14 years old, when he was helping Liu Ye, his instructor as well as a researcher at the Institute of Zoology with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, polishing ambers last year.

According to Liu, Song started to learn about animals and plants from him and other scientists two years before that and even began to participate in the scientific research and project under the guidance of his instructors.

The amber is now being exhibited at the Paleodiary Natural History Museum, located on the fourth floor of the Zhongguancun Book Building.

Conducted by Jiang Zhuoyin and Li Yingge, both undergraduates at the Beijing Forestry University, Doctor Shi Hongliang at the university, Song Chengjun, Liu Ye among others, the research was published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

China aims to connect prefecture-level cities with high-speed railways

(Photo/Xinhua)

With more high-speed railway lines being open and operated in China, many provinces have built high-speed railway networks between their prefecture-level cities.

As a pioneer region in this drive, the Yangtze River Delta in east China, which includes Shanghai municipality, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, has speeded up the construction of high-speed railways in recent years.

On December 1, 2019, Fuyang and Bozhou, both prefecture-level cities in northwestern Anhui province, opened high-speed railway lines, marking a milestone of all 16 prefecture-level cities being connected by high-speed railways.

Following that, all 13 prefecture-level cities in Jiangsu province have also opened high-speed railway lines.

To date, a total of 22 high-speed railway lines are in operation in the Yangtze River Delta, covering Shanghai municipality and 40 prefecture-level cities in the area.

While southeast China’s provinces seem to be taking the lead in building a more comprehensive high-speed railway network, northern and western provinces, such as Shaanxi, are striving to connect all prefecture-level cities with high-speed railways in the near future.

China boasts the world’s longest high-speed railway network, which accounts for two-thirds of the world’s total high-speed railways, said Wei Houkai, head of the Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The growth of high-speed railways has not only made it more convenient for people to get around, but also promoted the exchanges of economy, culture, and technology and facilitated harmonious development among various areas, Wei added.

China’s film market maintains momentum in 2019

People walk past a poster of The Wandering Earth in Shanghai on Feb. 20, 2019. (Photo/sipaphoto.com)

China’s box office haul totaled 64.3 billion yuan in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 5.4 percent.

With higher quality and more diverse themes, a batch of domestic films proved popular with film-goers, with home-made products contributing to 64.1 percent of the total box office takings.

Films celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, represented by My People, My Country, The Captain, and The Climbers, gained general recognition.

To date, My People, My Country has grossed over 3.1 billion yuan, the highest among its genre in Chinese history.

Consumers believe that films in 2019 celebrating the founding of the New China have been the best ones in recent years, according to a survey conducted by the China Film Art Research Center and the research company EntGroup.

Meanwhile, The Wandering Earth and Ne Zha, which both topped box office rankings, signify that China has greatly improved the industrialization of its film industry. While the former is considered to have opened a new chapter in Chinese sci-fi films, the latter shows how traditional cultural elements can be developed in a creative way.

Consumers’ affection for domestic films has supported the development of film making, promoting the more mature development of the market.

On the one hand, the market drives more movie makers to focus on content and produce more quality products; on the other hand, movie makers are required to make products of varying types to meet demand from consumers of different age groups.