China still appeals to foreign enterprises

Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce indicate a steady growth of the scale of foreign investment the country has used in the first 10 months of this year.

During this 10 month period, the actual use of foreign investment nationwide reached 800.7 billion yuan, up 6.4 percent year-on-year. In October alone, the actual use of foreign capital nationwide stood at 81.9 billion yuan, up 18.3 percent year-on-year, registering a positive year-on-year growth for the seventh consecutive month.

A worker is busy on the production line at the weaving workshop in an economic development zone in Lianyungang, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Oct. 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Geng Yuhe)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreign firms have scaled up investment and optimized their layout in China, a rational decision based on market rules.

China has an ultra-large market, complete industrial supporting capacity, sufficient human resources and good infrastructure. These advantages are an important reason for foreign enterprises to invest and establish a foothold in the country.

The steady growth of foreign investment in China is also attributed to the country’s measures to broaden opening-up and optimize the business environment. Such measures enable foreign-funded enterprises to benefit from China’s development dividends and boost their determination and confidence to develop in the country.

The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the world economy, having negative impacts on many multinational companies’ business performance. However, China is the first country to implement regular epidemic control measures in the world, injecting stability and certainty into its economy.

For foreign enterprises, China’s work and production resumption in an orderly manner has demonstrated the resilience of the country as an important global production base. The country’s efforts to expand domestic demand and energize the domestic market have shown the potential of the country as one of the world’s largest consumer markets.

According to an article published on the website of The Wall Street Journal, China became a vital refuge for many U.S. companies as China’s rebounding consumer economy helped offset the damage from tumbling sales back home.

China to ban all imports of solid waste

Customs officers in Zhoushan, east China’s Zhejiang province, seal a container that carry 2,920 kg of banned foreign solid waste, Sept. 16. (People’s Daily Online/Yao Feng)

China will ban all forms of imports of solid waste starting from Jan. 1, 2021, said Chinese authorities.

The dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from overseas on Chinese territory will also be banned, according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

Those who violate relevant regulations and import foreign solid waste into China will be ordered by the customs to return the waste and face fines in accordance with the Law on Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste and other laws. Those who are convicted of a crime will also be held criminally liable.

Waste carriers will be jointly and severally liable with the importers for the return and disposal of solid waste.

The import licenses for restricted solid waste that can be used as raw materials approved and issued by the MEE remain valid only before 2021.

The newly revised Law on Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste, which took effect on Sept. 1, specifies the identification of suspected foreign solid waste as well as the return and disposal of illegally imported solid waste, and has substantially enhanced penalties for violations, said Liu Youbin, a spokesperson of the MEE.

As China starts banning all solid waste imports the next year, the MEE will no longer accept and approve applications related to the import of solid waste, Liu added.

Solid waste refers to solid or semi-solid materials produced in the course of production, daily life and other activities that have lost their original use value or have not lost their use value but have been abandoned or discarded.

Solid waste were smuggled from overseas into China at first, so it’s called “foreign garbage.” It mainly includes waste plastics, paper, rubber products, as well as waste from rare metal smelting, slag and other types.

China’s economy has flourished since the 1980s, and many industries including manufacturing have generated huge demands for raw materials. Due to the shortage of domestic resources, China started to import solid waste that could be used as raw materials.

For a certain period of time, imported solid waste replaced primary resources and facilitated the supply of secondary resources. It to some extent drove the country’s economic growth.

As China’s economy expands rapidly, the country has seen continuously growing volume of solid waste imports, which once peaked at nearly 60 million tonnes.

The pollution caused by the decomposition, treatment, and piling of such a large amount of solid waste has directly threatened the safety of the atmosphere, water, and soil, increasingly exerting negative impacts on the ecological environment and damaging people’s health.

Prohibiting the entry of foreign waste not only suits the need to improve the quality of the environment and maintain the safety of China’s ecological environment, but also is a necessary move to stimulate high-quality development.

In 2017, the General Office of the State Council in China launched a plan for banning foreign waste imports and advancing the reform of solid waste management system. Since then, China has started to significantly cut the types and total amount of solid waste imports.

In 2018 and 2019, China’s total solid waste imports witnessed an average annual decline of more than 40 percent.

China builds largest pool of MOOCs

A teacher from Nantong Vocational College of Science & Technology, east China’s Jiangsu province, records an online course for MOOC platform, Feb. 20. (People’s Daily Online/Feng Kaimin)
 China has established the world’s largest pool of massive open online courses (MOOCs), according to statistics released at the Global MOOC Conference.

The country now has over 34,000 MOOCs that have received 540 million views and gained credits for students 150 million times. It now ranks first in the world in the numbers of MOOCS and viewers, as well as the scale of application.

The conference was held at Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, in Beijing from Dec. 9 to 11. With the theme of “Learning Revolution and Higher Education Transformation,” it was the first international meeting on MOOCs.

During the conference, an alliance for global MOOC cooperation was initiated by Tsinghua University, which has been joined by 20 renowned universities and MOOC platforms from 14 countries.

Deng Yulin, academician of the International Academy of Astronautics and professor with Beijing Institute of Technology, also launched an online course at the conference on Dec. 9. The course was viewed by students from South Korea’s Woosong University and China’s Yunnan University, seniors from a nursing home in Beijing’s Daxing district, as well as guests attending the conference in person and remotely.

MOOCs were firstly launched in 2012 and became popular in China a year later. Since 2017, China’s Ministry of Education has launched 1,875 online courses, 728 virtual experimental courses, and 868 courses calling for both online and offline attendance, which set an example for the construction and application of MOOCs.

Online education proved its value when COVID-19 ravaged the world earlier this year. All regular institutions of higher education in China launched online courses during the pandemic. A total of 1.1 million courses were offered online by 1.08 million teachers, and were viewed 3.5 billion times by 22.59 million college students.

“China’s education has entered a new stage of high-quality development,” said Chen Baosheng, China’s Education Minister. MOOCs can help build a lifelong learning system for the people that is more flexible, resource-rich, and convenient, so that citizens can learn anytime and anywhere, he added.

Shenzhen issues masks for smoke control

(Photo/official WeChat account of Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission)

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has decided to hand out 400,000 masks through a lottery system to its citizens in order to promote smoking control, the city’s health commission announced on its WeChat account recently.

(Photo/official WeChat account of Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission)

Tailored for adults and children, the phrase “Dude, please stop smoking!” is written on the masks for adults, and printed on the children’s masks is the image of a small elephant trampling on a cigarette.

With meltblown nonwoven fabric as an essential raw material, the masks could filtrate 98 percent of bacteria and reduce exposure to saliva.

The masks will be delivered to citizens living in designated districts in the city for free.

China helps elderly adapt to digital era

An elderly villager sings with her fellows via WeChat on a smartphone in Palian Village of Tengchong, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Aug. 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

China is taking steps to help senior people deal with inconveniences they may encounter in their daily life, including using the internet and making a payment on a smartphone, skills they need to learn in order to better adapt to the digital era.

Since many do not know how to use a health QR code, a way to indicate their health status, some elderly people without these codes were rejected by public transportation when the country was in a fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

To help senior people bridge the “digital gap”, the General Office of the State Council released the Implementation Plan on Effectively Solving the Difficulties of the Elderly Using Smart Technology in November.

The plan requires the retaining of a traditional way of services for senior people in fields including transportation, medical services, cultural and sport activities, consumption and payment. It also bans the practice of rejecting cash.

The measures reflect a people-centered development philosophy, said Li Zhihong, deputy head of the policy research office of the National Working Commission on Aging (NWCA).

Official statistics indicated that by the end of 2019, the population in China aged 60 and above hit 254 million, but only 6.7 percent of the netizens were aged 60 or above by the end of March.

Gao Xiaojun, spokesperson for the municipal health commission of Beijing, disclosed that all medical institutions in the city will open a green passage to senior people for making an appointment and seeing a doctor by the end of the year. Currently, a QR code is still needed to prove one’s health status.

Some websites and apps closely related to senior people have been encouraged to upgrade for the convenience of senior people, said Sui Jing, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The plan also requires relevant parties to help senior people identify and stay vigilant on Internet security risks, enhancing their awareness of protecting personal information.

China’s economy enjoys strong resilience

Photo taken on June 7 shows a busy port and ships on the Huangpu River, Baoshan district in east China’s Shanghai. (Photo by Wang Yuning/People’s Daily Online)

The year 2020 has been a very unusual year of special significance in the history of New China. Not only is the country about to conclude its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020), but it has started to sprint for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

This year, the whole country has been united as one to win the critical battle against poverty and achieve the goal of finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its centenary in 2021.

In 2020, China faced all sorts of challenges. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has dealt an unprecedented blow to China’s economic and social development.

Facing complex and grim internal and external environment, China withstood an arduous test of history and scored a major strategic achievement in controlling COVID-19. It has become the first major economy to return to growth since the pandemic and has taken the lead in the world in both coronavirus control and economic recovery.

Multiple facts illustrate that the fundamentals sustaining China’s steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged.

Economic indexes of China saw positive growth. Its service sector achieved positive growth in May, and both imports and exports registered positive growth in June. China’s retail sales of consumer goods recovered growth in July. The country’s economy expanded 0.7 percent in the first three quarters.

China has also gained an increasingly stronger momentum of economic development. It has stepped up efforts to increase investment. Projects such as the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Yangtze River Bridge were completed, and major projects including the Sichuan-Tibet railway were advanced. China has sped up the construction of new infrastructure including 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). Its fixed-asset investment went up 0.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters.

China’s consumption has been gradually picking up. During the eight-day National Day holiday, overlapping the Mid-Autumn Festival, the number of visitors was about 80 percent of the number during the same holiday last year. Hundreds of millions of consumers participated in this year’s Double 11 shopping festival.

In October, the country’s catering revenue increased 0.8 percent from the same period last year, marking positive growth for the first time this year.

China’s foreign trade also registered steady growth. The country saw its foreign trade rise by 0.7 percent year on year in the first nine months of 2020.

China’s steady economic growth is also underlined by its high-quality development with new features. New business models such as telecommuting and online education, and new technologies including cloud computing and AI, have grown rapidly. Besides, more growth poles have been fostered in new sectors such as the digital economy and smart manufacturing. Since the beginning of this year, China’s new growth drivers have thrived.

People’s well-being has also been effectively protected. Between January and October, China created 10.09 million new jobs in its urban areas, meeting its annual target ahead of schedule.

The country’s per capita disposable income stood at 23,781 yuan (about $3,549) in the first three quarters of the year, up 3.9 percent from the same period last year in nominal terms.

China has accomplished its poverty alleviation target of the new era as scheduled and lifted all rural poor population under the current standard and impoverished counties out of poverty.

China’s steady economic growth can be attributed to the strong leadership of the central government and the concerted efforts of the whole country.

In the face of challenges, China has implemented timely and effective macro policies. By rolling out policies to assist enterprises, it is expected to cut taxes and fees for corporations by over 2.5 trillion yuan in 2020. The country’s financial system will help businesses save 1.5 trillion yuan for the whole year.

Targeted policies and measures have been launched promptly, reducing the corporate burden in the real economy and helping them overcome challenges.

All the targeted measures have boosted the resumption of work, production, and business activities, kept industrial and supply chains stable, and ensured unimpeded flows in the economy. The Chinese economy has demonstrated strong ability of recovery and enormous vitality.

Looking back on 2020, we can confidently say that China has sufficient confidence, ability and wisdom to overcome all kinds of risks and tests.

We are also full of expectations for the year 2021. After traveling a journey through tests and challenges, China will steadily move forward by riding the waves and braving the storms to mark a good beginning for fully building a modern socialist country.

Young people power up rural areas

Zhang Yueqiao, an Internet celebrity, sells hawthorn berries via livestreaming in an e-commerce industrial park in Tangdiyu village, Shuiquan township, Shanting district, Zaozhuang city, east China’s Shandong province, Nov. 9. (Photo by Liu Mingxiang/People’s Daily Online)
 Young people are the beneficiaries of and important contributors to rural revitalization. Since 2018, east China’s Shandong province has launched and implemented a program to help young people make innovations and start their own businesses in rural areas.

So far, the province has selected and trained 128,000 young role models in villages, inspiring a great number of young people to actively contribute to rural revitalization in the front line.

In Yanmapo village, Huacun township, Sishui county, Jining, Shandong province, greenhouses are arrayed neatly in rows.

Experts can provide guidance online via video link on when to water the crops and fertilize the soil, according to Wang Fei, Party branch secretary of Yanmapo village. He is excited about the intelligent planting technologies supported by Internet of Things (IoT).

After retiring from military service, he has served as auxiliary police officer, run steamed-bun business and sold mobile phones. Eventually, he decided to return to his hometown and pick up farm work.

Wang is grateful that Huacun township organized an agricultural investigation group back then, and he was a member of the group.

It was through the investigation that he gained more knowledge of the planting techniques of fruits such as yellow peaches and watermelons, said Wang.

After the investigation trip, he started to grow fruits in greenhouses during the day and learn related scientific and technological knowledge at night.

His hard work paid off. In 2014, the villager witnessed a bumper crop of fruits for the first time and earned nearly 100,000 yuan (about $15,303).

As his greenhouses continue to yield rich fruits, Wang has also hired poverty-stricken residents in the surrounding areas and taught villagers planting technologies for free.

Meanwhile, the local Party committee and government have supported Wang’s poverty alleviation efforts through the combination of government funds and social capital.

Up till now, Wang has provided over 150 jobs and helped more than 500 poor households.

Wang Minggang, a 31-year-old villager in Shimenzikou village, Jiaolai neighborhood, Jiaozhou city, Shandong province, has also helped his fellow villagers become rich by running fruits greenhouses.

Wang is the person in charge of a family farm in Shimenzikou village. After he retired from the army and came back to his hometown in 2014, he has actively learned planting technologies and tried to grow cherries in greenhouses.

When the cherries matured that year, over 3,000 tourists came to the greenhouses for cherry-picking experience.

Through repeated trials and continuous learning, Wang’s business has got bigger and bigger, with the number of his greenhouses rising from one to nine.

He has also shared the knowledge and techniques he knew with local villagers to help more people become better off.

As the COVID-19 epidemic has affected offline sales of his fruits this year, Wang learned to promote fruits via online channels. By filming the fruits in greenhouses and releasing short videos on short video sharing platforms, Wang has effectively boosted the online sales of his fruits day by day.

“I couldn’t have made it without the help of the Jiaozhou municipal committee of the Communist Youth League of China,” said Wang, adding that the committee has not only offered people information about the market, but provided support and guidance through relevant policies, effectively helping young entrepreneurs in rural areas with problems concerning platforms, technologies and sales channels.

While running his own business in the past few years, Wang has received the guidance and help from the local government personally, according to him, who said he has the confidence and determination to run the family farm well.

Since last year, Wang has inspired over 100 villagers in Jiaolai neighborhood to start their own businesses.

China digs more benefits of AI to society

An electrician installs facial recognition equipment at Yunyang Road in Shiyan, central China’s Hubei province, June 15. (Photo by Zhou Jiashan/People’s Daily Online)
 Facial recognition technology has been applied in more and more scenarios, including payment, entering railway stations, and unlocking intelligent terminals.

Thanks to technological progress, facial recognition is deeply integrated into the fields of public services, urban governance and security. For example, extensively used in government services, facial recognition has saved the time needed for handling government affairs.

Local governments in China use road safety cameras to detect traffic violations by scanning people’s faces. The facial recognition technology is also applied to highly crowded places such as airports and shopping malls for the sake of security.

In the fight against COVID-19, thermometers supported by facial recognition have been widely applied, greatly improving the efficiency of body temperature measurement.

Besides, AI-related industries based on facial recognition are witnessing rapid growth, and creating opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.

According to statistics, China is now home to more than 10,000 facial recognition-related companies, with 1,161 enterprises registered in the first three quarters of this year.

The country’s facial recognition market size is expected to reach 10 billion yuan ($1.53 billion) by 2024.

However, some users worried about the rampant leakage and abuse of their information caused by facial recognition. As biometric information related to faces can be very unique, the wide application of facial recognition may lead to problems including excessive use of the technology, and lack of uniform standards and data security.

The China Consumers Association, the country’s consumer rights watchdog, said in a report that 10 out of 100 mobile apps that it reviewed were suspected of collecting excessive personal data about the users.

Such problems make it necessary to be more cautious about the storage, sharing and application of massive facial data.

Human face is key information in the era of big data due to its uniqueness and anti-counterfeiting performance, and the facial recognition technology enjoys broad prospects for development.

Therefore, China should approach relevant technologies with a rational attitude. It should not be afraid of adopting facial recognition, just as one must not give up eating for fear of choking on food, as a Chinese saying goes. Meanwhile, the country needs to specify rules, improve institutions, intensify regulation, and close loopholes such as personal information leakage in time.

According to a survey, people worrying about the security risks of facial recognition focus more on the opaqueness and uncertainty in the collection and use of information in some scenarios that are not clearly stipulated by the law. For example, many people have been concerned about whether the original facial information will be retained by the collector and how it will process such data.

For that matter, China needs to keep pace with the times to adjust laws and regulations, and clearly define the ownership of facial data and the right to use, manage and transact such data.

The country should also develop standards and regulatory rules commensurate with technological development in time so that the entire society can collect, use, and store facial data more rigorously. Only in this way can it effectively protect the rights and interests of individuals and promote the healthy development of related industries.

In fact, China has been making efforts to improve rules and address acute problems in facial recognition. It fully launched the development of national standards for facial recognition at the end of 2019.

In recent years, the country has stepped up efforts to protect personal information. China’s cyber security law, e-commerce law, civil code all include explicit provisions on the protection of personal information.

Currently, China is seeking public opinion on the draft version of a personal information protection law, which defines personal biometric features as sensitive personal information and intends to establish a series of personal information processing rules with the idea of seeking “informed consent” at the core.

Local governments are also actively making explorations in this regard. The revised draft of municipal property management regulations in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, stipulated that property service personnel should not force residents to use shared facilities and equipment through biometric methods such as fingerprints and facial recognition.

By taking holistic steps, ensuring refined governance, and closing loopholes in the abuse of biometric information in time, China can effectively avoid security risks and enable facial recognition to deliver greater benefits to society.

The digital economy is prospering and application scenarios of AI are constantly enriched. Only by building a reliable line of defense for facial recognition and realizing the safe application of new technologies can people feel more secure while enjoying the dividends of technologies.

Old village revitalized by green growth

Photo shows the dwellings of residents in Shatan village, Yutou township, Huangyan district, Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo/

Shatan village, an old village with a history of several hundred years in east China’s Zhejiang province, has become a prosperous village through green and eco-friendly development approaches.

As the village was rebuilt at and villagers moved to a different location, the old Shatan village was once at a low ebb in its development as its old streets and houses had gradually decayed.

However, the village, which is located at the upstream stretch of the Changtan reservoir in Huangyan district, Zhejiang province, has been revitalized in recent years.

An aerial view of Shatan village, Yutou township, Huangyan district, Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo/Yutou township)

Typical elements in the old village, such as roads paved with flagstones, ancient camphor trees, and old stage for performances of traditional Chinese opera, have attracted wide attention on the Internet, turning Shatan village into a popular village featuring a tranquil atmosphere and quaint charm.

The popular hotel transformed from an old granary at Shatan village is one of the reasons behind the growing fame of the village.

How popular is the special hotel named “Liang Su” (the name can be translated as “graintel”)?

“You can’t possibly get a room for weekends and holidays if you fail to make a reservation about one month in advance,” said local villagers.

The transformation from granary to a hotel considered not only on making it special and comfortable, but also focus on using green technological solutions, said some tourists.

A staff member of the hotel noted that the transformation project features typical low-energy, multi-function and environmentally-friendly buildings.

The green and waterproof coating material on the walls has helped effectively solved the problem of damp in old buildings, the staff member explained, adding that since the interior walls are made from high-performance thermal insulation materials, people staying in the hotel don’t need air conditioners in summer.

The yard of the hotel has been landscaped and equipped with permeable lawns, and the rainwater collection and utilization system installed on the roofs can purify and then recycle rainwater.

Photo shows a pond surrounded by dwellings in Shatan village, Yutou township, Huangyan district, Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo/College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University)

In 2013, at the invitation of Huangyan district, a team led by Yang Guiqing, a professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, established a village planning teaching and practice base to help map out a reconstruction plan for Shatan village.

Making the most of existing buildings in the village, Yang’s team turned abandoned veterinary station, granary, office building of village committee and other buildings into tourist center, special hotel, tea kiosk and wine workshop.

The renovated buildings have maintained a traditional style, giving local residents a sense of belonging while bringing memories of the past to many tourists.

The diners, bars, libraries, and square for theatrical performances in old times arrayed on both sides of the old street in Shatan village are in harmony.

The outdoor conference center in the village is equipped with facilities that could realize the simultaneous interpretation of multiple languages, reflecting the endeavor of Shatan village to open its door wide and actively explore its development paths.

By inviting Yang’s team to reconstruct Shatan village and other old villages, Huangyan district aims to improve the value and competitiveness of rural products through combination of research of universities with rural development while making full use of the projects and funds of the government.

Photo shows the special hotel transformed from granary in Shatan village, Yutou township, Huangyan district, Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo/Yutou township)

Since 2013, Shatan village has effectively combined traditional culture with modern technology in its transformation efforts according to the actual situation of the village and the needs of local villagers, trying to create a living environment that integrates the traditional features of the village and modern scientific and technological elements.

For example, it has comprehensively upgraded the water, electricity, gas, sewage, drainage facilities in the village, thus effectively satisfying residents’ needs for living, business and tourism and facilitating the revitalization of the old village.

As more and more visitors come to Shatan village, the income of local residents has also increased.

The per capita annual income of the village has exceeded 100,000 yuan (about $15,303), which makes people in Shatan village more confident and optimistic about the future.

While improving the living environment of old villages and attracting tourists, Huangyan district starts to explore a distinctive new path for rural revitalization. It intends to establish a pattern of rural development that integrates scientific research, education and training with the local culture and ecological environment.

Wild birds overwinter in Qinghai

Tens of thousands of wild birds overwinter in Dulan Lake National Wetland Park, Chaidamu Basin, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. ( Qutai)

Tens of thousands of wild birds, such as big swans, Eurasian coots, and brown-headed gulls, overwinter in Dulan Lake National Wetland Park, Chaidamu Basin, northwest China’s Qinghai Province, showing all the vitality during the season.

Dulan Lake National Wetland Park is located in Wulan County, Haixi Mongol and Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province, 2,937 meters above sea level.

Tens of thousands of wild birds overwinter in Dulan Lake National Wetland Park, Chaidamu Basin, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. ( Qutai)

With abundant water and lush grass, it is an ideal habitat for wild animals. Black-necked cranes, goitered gazelles and many other key state protective animals thrive here, forming a unique landscape of animals and plants.

“In the management and protection station, different birds can be seen all year round, with different beauties throughout the four seasons,” said Huo Deyun, a caretaker at the Dulan Lake National Wetland Park.

Tens of thousands of wild birds overwinter in Dulan Lake National Wetland Park, Chaidamu Basin, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. ( Qutai)

Huo added that at the end of November this year, winter migratory birds flew into the park one after another. Now there have been 35 big swans and tens of thousands of ruddy shelducks. Due to changes in the ecological environment, there have been a rising number of birds in the park.