Senior citizens viral imitating classic art

Seniors at the Shanghai Yangpu Community Nursing Home in Yangpu district, east China’s Shanghai, recently went viral by dressing up as characters in some of the world’s most famous paintings.

A 92-year-old woman at the social welfare home in Yangpu district, east China’s Shanghai, dresses up as “Child Braiding A Crown” by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguerea.

In their 70s, 80s and 90s, these senior citizens imitated classic images such as “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and “Child Braiding A Crown” by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguerea.

The nursing home made a short video of the event and released it on popular short-video platform Douyin, on Sept. 24.

An 85-year-old woman at the social welfare home in Yangpu district, east China’s Shanghai, dresses up as “Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr Eloesser” by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

“The original intention of the event was to display different sides of seniors at our home,” said Huang Rongyan, deputy director of the home, adding that they still adopt a positive attitude toward their life at the home.

A senior woman at the social welfare home in Yangpu district, east China’s Shanghai dresses up as “Lady with an Ermine” by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.

Many netizens have applauded these seniors’ reenactments of the famous paintings, hoping they can continue to have a happy and healthy life.

First line for new energy trams completed

The construction of the Huangpu tram line 1 for new energy trams, the first of its kind in China, was completed on Sept. 26, according to China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC), the country’s largest rolling-stock manufacturer.

A tram goes for a test run on the Huangpu tram line 1 in Huangpu district, Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province. (Photo/Meng Fanrui)

The 14.4-km tram track in Huangpu district, Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province was undertook by China Railway 22nd Bureau Group Co., Ltd., a CRCC subsidiary.

With super-capacitor energy storage and lithium-titanate batteries, the trams can be charged in less than 30 seconds at each stop, using the time passengers get on and off, and can operate without external wires on the line.

Making it easy for passengers, the trams also use a low-floor design.

A tram goes for a test run on the Huangpu tram line 1 in Huangpu district, Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province. (Photo/Meng Fanrui)

China issues first stamp with NFC chip

The China Post has issued a stamp in commemoration of the 40th National Stamp Popularity Poll, the first stamp with a near-field communication (NFC) chip in the country and the first of its kind in the world.

The data stored in the chip can be read through China Post’s app thanks to the NFC technology, which is widely used in fields such as commodity anti-counterfeiting, electronic price tags in new retail and smart dinner plates.

The technology provides a new interactive experience for stamp collectors. With an embedded 120um chip, consumers can activate their mobile phone’s NFC function, open the China Post’s app, and place the phone close to the number “40” on the stamp to read data, including the chip’s identity and serial number.

The chip can record each time of information reading and features functions such as anti-counterfeiting traceability and electronic anti-counterfeiting through data record analysis.

The combination of internet technologies and traditional stamps not only reflects the advantages of high-end anti-counterfeiting technology, but also meets the needs of anti-counterfeiting traceability, and the application of information technologies, a major innovation in China Post’s issuance of stamps.

China firmly supports multilateralism

A series of activities were held recently to remark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) with the theme of “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, at invitation, attended high-level meetings to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN via videoconference and delivered important remarks.

Major changes unseen in a century, plus the global COVID-19 pandemic, are posing barriers for international exchanges and cooperation. Meanwhile, certain countries are taking faster steps of unilateralism and protectionism. At such a special moment of history, the world must contemplate what a future it wants and what a UN it needs.

The international community has to see humanity as one community with a shared future, look out for one another, and join hands to tackle risks and challenges and build a beautiful planet, said Xi in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this year. Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, the Chinese President said China supports the international community in taking that as an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to multilateralism, and reinforce and improve the global governance system with the UN at the core.

Today’s world is still composed of sovereign countries. As long as countries adhere to the principle of sovereign equality, international order can enjoy a solid foundation. However, certain countries going against this principle are making troubles for the world. They made frequent movements to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, bully other countries and neglect rules. Their practices made many doubt that whether economic globalization has come to an end, whether multilateralism has become invalid, and whether a new round of Cold War is emerging.

Professor Graham Allison from Harvard University warned the possibility of a failing international order, saying no country is able to detach itself from the interconnected world, which has been proved by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world needs to understand that “we have shared interest as well as competing interest,” he added. Professor John Ikenberry from Princeton University noted that infrastructure for global multilateral cooperation must be established to maintain the operation of the post-war order.

Multilateralism is an important principle that the UN relies on. It represents the due rights enjoyed by countries to participate in global governance equally and pursue the democratization of international relations. In the era of globalization, no one shall dominate or oppose others. On the contrary, everyone shall benefit the others. Volkan Bozkir, who has just been elected as the president of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly noted that unilateralism will move us further away from our shared goal, and “it is our responsibility to strengthen people’s faith in multilateral cooperation and international institutions, with the UN at their center.”

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a tragedy, said Jared Diamond, author of the book Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. But the crisis also offers an opportunity for the world to get better, a start for countries to cooperate and solve global issues.

How to turn crises into opportunities tests the wisdom and capability of politicians. At the critical moment of history, and with the special international situation, the meetings to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN received global attention. “It is time for unity. Member States have never had a more compelling reason to work closely together for the common good,” said Bozkir.

“The world today is undergoing unprecedented changes unseen in the past century. We must see the essence clearly from each kind of chaos, and grasp the rule from the historical dimension. The trend of economic globalization is irreversible, and win-win cooperation is the right path for the world. China firmly upholds multilateralism, the international system with the UN at its core, and the international order based on international law, and promotes the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” Xi’s remarks well explained China’s attitude and stance.

To support the UN and multilateralism conforms to the value that the Chinese have inherited for thousands of years. The Chinese civilization has always championed harmony with other countries, and such philosophy is flowing in the blood of the Chinese nation and infused in the DNA of the Chinese people. After over 40 years of reform and opening-up, such global view and great mind have become a pursuit of the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

So far, China has joined almost all universal international inter-governmental organizations and more than 500 international treaties. It has faithfully fulfilled its international obligations and kept its promises made to the international community.

As the world is entering a period of turbulence and change, China will continue to place its own development in the coordinate system of human development, seeing that its future is closely connected with that of the rest of the world and the interests of the Chinese people are integrated with the common interests of the peoples of other countries. China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a guardian of global order.

It is expected that the UN will gather a magnificent strength to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and write a brighter chapter for human society.

China’s online literature popular abroad

The number of overseas readers of Chinese online literary works has exceeded 31.9 million, according to a recent report on the overseas presence of the Chinese online literature by iResearch, a market research company.

The report said the overseas market value of Chinese online literature has hit 460 million yuan (roughly $67.5 million).

A screenshot of Webnovel

According to Webnovel, an online literature platform featuring English novels under China Literature, the country’s leading online publisher owned by Tencent, over 40,000 comments on novels by foreign readers appear on the platform each day.

Established in 2017, Webnovel has uploaded over 900 translated Chinese literary works, attracting more than 70 million visitors to its site.

Thanks to the country’s push to help Chinese culture go overseas, many Chinese online literature companies have been boosting overseas efforts in recent years through publishing authorization and the establishment of online platforms.

With the number of overseas readers increasing significantly, in 2020 new overseas readers grew by more than 73.7 percent from a year ago, according to the report.

Ninety-one percent of overseas readers read Chinese online literary works almost every day, reaching an average daily reading time of 117 minutes, the report said, noting that 87.1 percent of overseas readers are willing to pay to read these works.

Many overseas readers even write online novels by imitating Chinese internet literary works. Logan, a young man living in the U.S. state of Texas, is a big fan of China’s online literature. Inspired by Chinese online literary works, such as Battle Through the Heavens, he began to write his own online novels.

“I draw inspiration from Chinese online novels. Classic Chinese literary works, including Journey to the West, are also the inspiration of some of the characters in my novels,” he said.

“Human beings love stories, and some values of heroes in stories are shared by people around the world,” an executive of China Literature said, adding that heart-warming stories with aspiring characters and Chinese traditional cultural elements are attractive to overseas readers.

Meanwhile, film and television series, like Ashes of Love adapted from Chinese online literary works, have won awards abroad, helping China’s online literature reach a broader base of overseas audiences.

Who is stoking the fire of Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S.?

By Himmel Pan

In 2020, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 completely broke people’s illusion about the United States – a nation with“manifest destiny” and a“city on a hill”.

Claiming COVID-19 is a hoax, drinking bleach to kill the virus, suspecting the metal strip in medical masks serves as a 5G antenna, executing judgement on the pandemic by a priest on a TV show… Since the outbreak, a series of anti-intellectual chaos in the U.S. has gone beyondpeople’s imagination. One can hardly believe all this happens in a country, which has Ivy League schools, ranked first in the number of Nobel Prize winners worldwide, and was able to send people to the moon over 50 years ago!

If it had not been for the raging epidemic, U.S. Leaderswould still shamelessly insist that “they did a very good job” and people would still think that the U.S. has a superior system and elite governance. If the “whistleblowers” such as Dr. Helen were not dismissed one after another, people would still believe that the U.S. sincerely respects freedom of speech and the supremacy of human rights. If it were not for the “captains of the coronavirus crisis” such as Dr.Fauci and Birx who were targeted by blame-shiftingor even threatened with death, people would still yearn for the “lighthouse” of science and rationality.

Obviously, it is the “political elites” who promote anti-intellectualism in this country. President Trump himself has proposed various anti-intellectual remarks to please supporters and voters. He once said that he “loves poorly educated people”. Statistics show that during the past three years, he spoke against science more than 150 times. He said “Nobody knows more about the coronavirus than I do” and “everything is fine” no matter how severe the situation was. The U.S. government turned the deaf ear to the professional advice of disease control experts, deliberately downplayed theseriousnessof the virus, and even asserted that COVID-19 is just a “regular flu”.

U.S. politicians have been slow in action. In March 2020, they discussed isolation policies. In April, they debated wearing masks. In May, they finally decided to track close contacts, but precious time and innocent lives had gone with the wind due to endless bickering. At the same time, a group of conservative groups such as the “freedom movement” supported street demonstrations to oppose strict “stay at home” policies. In order to conceal their failure, certain politicians fabricated conspiracies such as “virus leaked from Wuhan laboratory”. They ever adopted a publicity mechanism in which senior diplomats like Pompeo put forward fake statements first, then the right-wing media followed up to spread the lies to the public.

Under the dual pressure of the pandemic and the election, it becomesobvious that U.S. politicians put private interests above science. They are the spokespeople of private capital and regard saving the market, pursuing interests and winning votes as their lifeline. They care the least about lives of ordinary people, and all they consider is capital and commercial returns. As TIME’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, wrote in his famous “American failure” feature article, this is a failure of leadership at many levels and across parties; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general, all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response.

In sharp contrast to the chaotic conditions facing the COVID-19, the CPC and the Chinese government have insisted on making people’s lives and health the first priority, noting that all-out efforts were made to ensure that no single patient was left unattended to. China has adopted the most thorough, rigorous and comprehensive prevention and control measures and reached a cure rate of 94.3 percent. With these measures in place, China has prevented a wider spread.

China has implemented a combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine, carried out large-scale nucleic acid detection, and supported vaccine research and development in multiple routes, making science an irreplaceable “brain” in the anti-epidemic war.While fighting against the virus, science and technology also play an important role in ensuring day-to-day business, including working from home, seeking medical advice and intensive E-learning. All kinds of technologies, software and platforms are springing up.

“Science has no national boundaries. It is the wealth of all mankind and the torch to light up the world.” Facing the fierce pandemic situation, global cooperation and joint response is the only solution. We hope that the American politicians could stop inciting anti-intellectualism, and shoulder the international responsibility as a major power. All countries should carry outmultilateral cooperation, share experience and participate in pandemic prevention and control, economic recovery and other fields. Only in this way can the torch of science shine on a brighter future. Let’s pray for intelligence.

200,000 lives, “an American failure”

“200,000, an American failure.”

Nineteen years after the September 11 attacks, Time magazine is once again using black as its cover.

Written across the cover themed “An American Failure,” are the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. over the course of 193 days from the first death of the country on Feb. 29 to Sept. 8. Currently, the number has reached 200,000.

Eight months have passed since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. on Jan. 20. During this period, the number of infected persons increased from 1 to more than 6.8 million, with the death toll crossing the threshold from 100,000 now to 200,000.

The U.S. media attributes this to the “failure of a nation:” a failure of political leadership at all levels, and a distrust of scientists, the media, and most experts in general, along with deeply ingrained cultural attitudes regarding individuality and the “values placed on life.”

For more than eight months, these judgments have been confirmed.

At the beginning of the outbreak, American politicians proclaimed that “this is no different from the flu,” and there was a lack of testing and tracking of close contacts and an encouragement for states to reopen as soon as possible; scientists’ voices were suppressed.

Some lawmakers and corporate executives acted swiftly — but instead of preventing impending disaster, they profited from it.

Bob Woodward, a prominent American investigative journalist, reveals in a new book, Rage, that while Donald Trump downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus last winter, he knew full well how dangerous, fast-spreading and deadly the illness actually could be. The book clarifies just how much Trump knew about the disease long before the first recorded U.S. death.

The chaos caused by a lack of leadership has thrown America’s epidemic prevention into disarray. George Packer, a staff writer for the Atlantic, wrote: Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan — no coherent instructions at all — families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. The United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power — a beggar nation in utter chaos.

History will record the absurdity of reality, but the absurdity of reality continues. More recently, U.S. President Donald Trump has referred to “herd immunity” once again; the U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is caught in the middle of a new Cold War of his own making.

According to an Associated Press poll released Sept.20, the approval rating for the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak was 39 percent. Over the past eight months, the White House has not changed its approach to the epidemic: being inactive at home and active abroad; what has changed is the ever-growing death toll.

But they are not merely numbers. They are lives lost. They were older people without protection, children whose lives had not yet begun, young people with ambitions for the future… More often, they are African-Americans and other ethnic minorities who hoped to embrace the American Dream.

When lives are gone, where do dreams lie?

Human life is the most precious. The right to life and the right to health are the first human rights. Will the loss of 200,000 lives serve as a wake-up call to those in power who have a “disregard for life?”

China always puts people first

People’s safety is the cornerstone of national security, and human health is the foundation of the progress in the civilization of a society.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in the face of the unexpected COVID-19 epidemic, took the overall situation into account, made resolute decisions, and insisted on putting people’s lives and health first.

Thanks to the concerted, all-out efforts made by the Chinese people, China has achieved another heroic feat in humankind’s fight against disease by securing major strategic achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

At present, China has basically resumed the normal work and living order and realized regular epidemic prevention and control, which is a miracle.

Looking back at the arduous struggle of the Chinese people against the novel coronavirus, a lot of heart-touching facts and details have demonstrated China’s people-first philosophy and sense of mission and responsibility that makes it always put people’s lives first.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC, has stressed, “We are willing to protect people’s lives and health at all costs”.

No efforts were spared when it came to saving lives, be it a 30-hour-old baby or a centenarian.

China has made all-out efforts to pool the best medical workers, urgently needed resources, and advanced equipment to save lives.

All possible diagnosis and treatment plans were employed to cure as many COVID-19 patients as possible, and the cost was fully covered by the state.

It has been a general consensus among the Chinese people that we do everything possible to save every single life in this battle against the COVID-19.

Putting people first and giving top priority to people’s lives has been the distinctive feature of China’s fight against the pandemic.

People have entrusted their lives and health to medical workers. The responsibility has not only become medical workers’ driving force for marching forward bravely in response to sudden public health crises, but constantly reminded them that they are the last line of defense in humanity’s fight against diseases as well as the most important guards of lives.

The fight against the COVID-19 has made it clearer that the top priority of public health and medical workers is always ensuring the health and safety of all people across the country whether in front of acute infectious diseases or frequently encountered and common chronic diseases as well as chronic diseases that do great harm to people.

Life is precious, and we only live once.

“Putting people’s lives first” serves as a crucial principle that helps China secure major strategic achievements in the fight against the epidemic. It is mirrored in the fact that China has focused efforts on epidemic prevention nationwide and prevented the virus from spreading across the country.

In this way, China has managed to keep the scope of the spread of the virus and the number of confirmed cases under control. Had the virus been allowed to spread, China wouldn’t have successfully brought the pandemic under control later, no matter what good treatment methods may be available.

Of course, China’s success in preventing the spread of the epidemic came at a price. China imposed outbound travel restrictions in Wuhan, capital city of central China’s Hubei province and once the epicenter of the pandemic, and other parts of the province, and implemented unprecedentedly strict traffic control to curb the spread of the virus.

In an effort to effectively bring the pandemic under control in a country with 1.4 billion people, China pressed the “pause button” in its megacity Wuhan and paid a heavy price.

It is a price China must pay and a price worth paying, for people’s lives are always the top priority. We can always make up for economic losses but can never bring lives back.

Science and technology should play a big role in our efforts to adhere to the “people first, life first” principle.

Science and technology are sharp weapons in humanity’s battle against diseases, Xi pointed out, saying that humanity can’t defeat a major disaster or epidemic without scientific development and technological innovation.

Innovation is the primary driving force for development, and science and technologies are powerful tools to overcome difficulties.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has secured steady growth in medical and health services.

Driven by scientific and technological innovation, the country has made remarkable achievements in various aspects of relevant fields, such as basic medicine, clinical medicine, preventive medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. It is such achievements that have become powerful tools in combating the virus.

At present, China is giving full play to its new strategy of pooling nationwide resources for breakthroughs in core technologies, such as the research and development of COVID-19 vaccine, in which China is at the forefront globally.

We are confident of making progress in such fields as the research and development of testing methods, clinical treatment, and effective vaccines and drugs through our own efforts and international cooperation.

We will continue overcoming difficulties and solving problems along the way through scientific and technological progress to provide strong sci-tech support for our practice of “people first, life first” principle.

(The author Zhong Nanshan is head of the high-level expert group of the National Health Commission of China, academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and respiratory professor at Guangzhou Medical University.) 

On the rise: China’s online pet economy

With the rise of China’s urban pet economy, especially the online pet economy, consumption related to pets is increasingly prosperous, with business models becoming increasingly more diverse.

A girl livestreams cats in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province. (Xinhua/Zhang Haoran)

In 2019 China’s urban pet (dog and cat) consumer market exceeded 200 billion yuan, with the overall consumption reaching 202.4 billion yuan, an increase of 18.5 percent over 2018, according to the “2019 Chinese Pet Industry White Paper” (consumption report).

Chen, who works in Beijing, said “getting one’s pet fix online” — watching videos of pets taken by others — can help people to relax and pass the time in a fast-paced, stressful and unaccompanied life.

“Watching a cute Shiba Inu guessing in which hand the owner holds a snack, or watching a feisty cat fight dozens of rounds of balls from an automatic server, can be a great stress reliever,” Chen said.

Pet-related short videos on Kuaishou, a video platform in China, have been viewed by a maximum of 700 million people in a single day, according to a recent pet ecological report in 2020.

By May 2020, there was a live stream concerning pets every 5.4 seconds, with an average duration of one hour each time and an average duration of 16,000 hours per day. There are more than 100 million pet viewers and 75,000 active pet-related content creators, with 80 percent of those born in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition to dogs and cats, pigeons, fish, hamsters, alpacas, reptiles, turtles and other pets are also favored pets for viewers. The video view count about alpacas reaches more than 1.2 million per day, while view counts of videos about chameleons exceed 600,000 per day.

In 2019, pet owners spent 6,082 yuan (about $896) for one dog and 4,755 yuan for one cat, an annual increase of 10.3 percent, according to “2019 Chinese Pet Industry White Paper.” Today much of the spending has been transferred to online platforms.

Other than pet food, pet consumption related to health, play, grooming and social activities are also on the rise. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the sale of intelligent cat litter boxes grew 879 percent, along with a 120 percent increase in automatic pet drinking bowls.

The pet-centered economy is on the rise. Insiders say that in terms of the age group of pet owners, the “post-80s” and “post-90s” generation have become the “main force” in China, with the younger consumer group promoting the prosperity of the online pet economy.

In addition to pet trading, the business models of subdivided markets, such as pet food, hosting, clothing, beauty, photography, medical treatment, funeral and insurance, have been constantly innovated and closely integrated with the industrial chain.

China forms modern grain storage system

China has established a modernized grain storage system based on information technologies to ensure food security across the country.

Last year, China Grain Reserves Group Ltd. Company (Sinograin) upgraded its grain procurement model by using internet technologies, developing an app through which farmers can make appointments to sell their grains, improving efficiency in grain procurement and helping farmers increase income.

An intelligent camera in a grain storehouse of Sinograin. (Photo/Xinhua)

Farmers can choose grain storehouses nearby and make appointments to sell their grains through the app, said Li Haijie, deputy head of the storage department of the Central Grain Reserves Shunyi Directly Managed Storehouse (Shunyi Storehouse), the storehouse unit of Sinograin in Beijing.

Thanks to the application of information technologies through the whole process, it takes about 40 minutes to store grains, including sampling, weight measurement and unloading, Li noted.

“In the inspection process, quality indicators such as moisture and impurities, as well as food safety indicators including heavy metals and mycotoxins, will be measured. Only quality grains can be stored,” Li added.

As of Aug. 14, the app has 650,000 registered users, who have sold 19 million tons of grains upon appointment, including 6.1 million tons during this year’s procurement period of summer grains, according to data from Sinograin.

Sinograin has also upgraded the science and technology of grain storage. “We now mainly adopt scientific grain storage technologies such as electronic temperature measurement, mechanical ventilation and internal temperature control, as well as daily inspection of grain conditions to ensure the safety of grain storage,” said Li Changliang, a storekeeper of a warehouse of wheat in the Shunyi Storehouse.

He can assess the situation of the grains through changes in grain temperature, thanks to more than 300 temperature measurement points in the warehouse storing over 6,000 tons of wheat.

In general, the average grain temperature of the whole warehouse is below 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

A smart integrated control platform can ensure real-time monitoring of grains, as each warehouse is equipped with a comprehensive monitoring system with high-definition monitors.

“We can check real-time situations inside and outside the warehouse through all-weather remote monitoring, ensuring intelligent prediction and early warning of changes in grain conditions through big data analysis and comparison, realizing scientific and green grain storage,” said an employee of the Shunyi Storehouse.

So far, over 98 percent of Sinograin’s more than 980 granaries have realized scientific grain storage, with the percentage of grains that met the required standards remaining above 95 percent.

Sinograin has also established a relatively stable rotation mechanism. It sells out the grains that are close to or just past the storage life, and purchases grains that meet the quality and food safety standards each year to ensure regular storage of fresh grains.

The company is investing more in scientific and technological research, deploying Internet of Things, big data and other technologies to ensure sound management and high quality of China’s grain reserves.