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Grape wine industry vitalizes barren land

Grape wine industry turns Ningxia’s barren land into prosperity
The first high-speed rail in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region starts operation on Dec. 29, 2019, reducing the travel time between major cities in the autonomous region, Wuzhong to less than an hour. The high-speed rail positively contributes to Ningxia’s poverty alleviation. Photo by Yuan Hongyan/People’s Daily Online

The eastern foot of Helan Mountain, on the outskirts of Yinchuan, capital of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is a contiguous area of wine production, which is hailed as a “purple business card” of the Hui autonomous region.

From the first grape seedling planted some 20 years ago, to building a complete industrial chain and influence, the grape wine industry is thriving on this once barren land.

Since 1996, China made the collaboration on poverty alleviation between the eastern and western regions a major national strategy. Xi Jinping, who then served as the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Fujian Provincial Committee, was in charge of Fujian’s effort to assist Ningxia. Fujian-Ningxia collaboration officially set off since then.

Ningxia’s Xihaigu region was once listed as the “most unfit place for human settlement” by the United Nations for its barren land and lack of water resource. Fortunately, a resettlement township was founded on the sands of a Gobi desert south to Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia in 1997, absorbing over 40,000 residents from Xihaigu. To commemorate the close bond of collaboration between Fujian (also known as Min for short) and Ningxia (also known as Ning for short), the township was named Minning.

Poverty alleviation was carried out simultaneously as Minning started construction and resettlement work, and the grape wine industry was an important pillar for the town to shake off poverty. Entrepreneurs from Fujian believe that the Gobi desert where Minning locates is not an average one. Situated 38.5 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane, Minning sees low precipitation, long sunshine hours, and high diurnal temperature variation. Besides, the rich minerals in its high-permeable sandy soil offer great growth conditions for wine grapes.

With capital and technical input, the Gobi desert of Minning was soon covered by green leaves and filled with the aroma of wine. Thanks to the grape wine industry, the relocated residents from Xihaigu have had stable jobs and increasing income. As a result, they stayed in Minning.

Yang Cheng resettled in Minning after living in the mountains for decades, where he planted potatoes and wheat and worried all day for irrigation. Since he moved to the new town, his family all started working in a vineyard. Yang became an electrician after training, and his wife a sanitation worker. Plus, his son drives excavators for the vineyard. The family of three earns over 10,000 yuan ($1,435) per month.

The vineyard where Yang’s family work is operated by Fujian businessman Chen Qide. Starting on a 6667-hectare wasteland, Chen vows to make the best wine in Ningxia. Now, the wine he makes wins international awards almost every year.

As of the end of 2019, the eastern foot of Helan Mountain had a total of 38,000 hectares of vineyards, offering around 120,000 jobs for relocated residents.

Poverty alleviation of Minning started from wine making, but never ends with it. Fujian-Ningxia collaboration also includes constructing reliable sales channels and marketing methods.

Lai Youwei is a cadre from Dehua, Fujian designated to serve temporary position in Minning. After arriving in Ningxia, he has invited many business people from his hometown to the vineyards in Minning, recommending products to them to expand the sales channel. He also joined a livestream marketing show this May to help sell the wine during which he finished orders of nearly 300,000 yuan.

Zhu Wenzhang, from Jinjiang, Fujian, is a wine dealer now working in the eastern foot of Helan Mountain. He introduced an innovative method of “shared winery” based on his connection with wine dealers who prefer high-quality grape wines. The method helped more than 50 enterprises “claim” a total of 200 hectares of vineyards as the origin of their production, so that the quality is better controlled. Besides, grape growers don’t have to worry about the sales.

The grape wine industry witnessed the efforts and results of Fujian-Ningxia collaboration over the past 20 years, and helped many families realize their dream of getting rich. Today, Fujian-Ningxia collaboration is still upgrading, aiming to achieve more splendid targets.

Chinese firm brings clean water to Nigeria

“This is an important project for Kuali township and its surrounding areas, putting an end to the issue of water shortage,” said Estu Shaban Audu Nyizazo III, chief of the Nigerian township.

He made the remarks when introducing a water supply system donated by Chinese enterprise CGC Overseas Construction Group (CGCOC) that started operation two years ago.

Children play around a well in Kwali, Nigeria when CGCOC employees clean the well. Photo: courtesy of the CGCOC

“Everything about the system has been going well and the clean water will give us a great Corban this year,” Dogo Kwali Gambo, the chief geologist of Kwali Area Council recently told the CGCOC Nigeria Company over the phone.

The water supply system was proposed by Ye Shuijin, general manager of CGCOC’s Nigerian branch, when the Minister of the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration Muhammad Bello inspected the CGCOC Water Co., Ltd. three years ago.

The town of Kwali had two small water plants built in the late 1980s. However, they weren’t able to offer constant water supply due to poor maintenance and became abandoned because of sand production and tube breakage.

The 600,000 residents in Kwali had lost their fixed source of drinking water ever since, and the water shortage was even more severe in summer, said a Nigerian employee of the CGCOC in charge of public relations, adding that water supply became the most pressing problem for the town.

Nyizazo III introduced that most of the privately drilled wells were shallow, so the water was always easily contaminated in the rainy season. Besides, the high maintenance and diesel price for generators were also a problem, he added.

To offer clean water for local residents as soon as possible, the CGCOC decided to transform the two existing water plants and upgraded them with an automatic solar-power system. The company also installed new tubes to connect villages and opened more stations for residents to fetch water.

In just 45 days, the project, commencing in early October, 2017, installed 4,400 meters of tubes, drilled 5 wells, built 5 automatic solar-power impounding reservoir, and established 29 water-fetching stations in major places and main roads.

The new system supplies 160 cubic meters of water each day, which is able to meet the demand of 10,000 people. It needs no manual operation and consumes no material, even in regular intensity of sunlight, which is both environmentally friendly and energy-saving.

“This is a special gift to Kwali by the CGCOC,” said Bello during the completion ceremony of the project, after taking a sip of the water that ran out of the system.

“We had to pay at least 300 naira ($0.78) for a bucket of water before, which made it 50,000 naira a year for a thrift family of seven, or my monthly salary,” said a man surnamed Emmenuel from Kwali. “Now we all have clean and healthy water,” he added.

Umar in his fifties is disabled due to polio, which makes it hard for him to fetch water from afar. “We never thought we could have clean water in the past, and now we are helped by the Chinese company. What runs in the water is the friendship from the Chinese people,” he told the People’s Daily.

“We came to Nigeria in 1983, and our development here could not have been achieved without the assistance from the Nigerian people. Therefore, we shall give back to them today,” said Ye, saying donating the water plant is a way for the Chinese enterprise to repay the local people.

Qinghai strives to develop clean energy

Light blue solar panels gleaming in the sun, water pouring in from the Yellow River to generate electricity in hydropower plants and wind turbines rotating in deserts producing power day and night make for a gorgeous view in northwest China’s Qinghai province.

A photovoltaic power plant located on the grassland in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Clean electricity from renewable energy resources, such as water, wind and solar power, in the plateau province’s Sanjiangyuan area, the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang Rivers, has helped promote the transformation and upgrading of the province’s industrial structure.

Qinghai has unique advantages in developing clean energy. It has more than 100,000 square kilometers of desertified land that can be used for the construction of photovoltaic power stations and wind farms, as well as more than 3 billion kW of exploitable solar energy and 75 million kW of wind energy.

The Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) Qinghai branch in the province’s capital city Xining is one of the country’s largest electrolytic aluminum enterprises and a major consumer of electricity in the province. Now, clean electricity is being used in the company’s production workshops.

In the past, the electrolytic aluminum industry was labeled a high-pollution sector due to its high energy consumption resulting from the use of thermal power. Extensive production and its negative environmental impact became the main obstacles to the Chinalco Qinghai branch’s development.

“Clean energy has effectively solved these problems, and the traditional industry has embraced green production and operation modes,” said Gong Haijun, a manager at the company, adding that its products have come into high demand after being labeled as products manufactured by green electricity.

In June alone, the company reduced its thermal power consumption by 38 million kWh, which is equivalent to cutting over 4,000 tons of standard coal consumption and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 11,000 tons, Gong noted.

With its reserves of lithium resources currently hitting 22.5 million tons, which accounts for over 70 percent of the total in China, Qinghai has also rolled out measures to accelerate the development of the lithium battery sector in recent years.

The province is approaching its target of setting a new record – over 200,000 families and enterprises in the Sanjiangyuan area consisting of 16 counties and one township using only clean electricity for 100 consecutive days from May 9 to August 16. The trial is a testament to Qinghai’s efforts to boost the development of clean energy in recent years.

Elderly video uploader becomes sensation

Jiang Minci, an 89-year-old content curator who uploads and shares her videos online, has become a viral sensation on the Internet.

(Photo/cctv.com)

By Aug. 3, Jiang had been followed by 297,000 netizens on Bilibili, a Chinese video sharing website.

This April, Jiang was turned on to the website by her grandchild Dou Dou, also an uploader, and then asked her grandchild to register an account for her.

Later in the month, Jiang uploaded her first video on Bilibili and said “Hello” to netizens. Her very first video had been played over 4.56 million times by Aug. 3.

Jiang has always had an interest in the Internet. “I think it can help elderly people like me keep up with the times and improve my quality of life,” she said.

(Photo/cctv.com)

Basically, Jiang tells stories of her life in the videos, such as how she got out of a marriage that was arranged against her will and then entered college. “I’m glad that my stories can help young people understand better how life was in the past and how the country has developed,” she said.

Before filming a video, Jiang draws up an outline and makes notes, then selects topics and discusses the details with her grandchild.

Jiang still needs her grandchild’s help when it comes to filming and editing. She has studied video editing and hopes that one day she will be able to produce videos all by herself.

For the elderly uploader, video production is a hobby that she intends to stick to. “I’m just happy to do something at this point in my life, and it’s also interesting to communicate with netizens,” Jiang noted.

Retired moms teach knitting online

“What young people can do, we older people can do too. We should keep up with the trend of the times. With the help of information technology, we can adapt to the information age and bring more color into our lives,” said Liu Hongwei, a 53-year-old live-streaming host who teaches people how to knit, Chinanews.com reported Thursday.

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

Liu is a member of a live-streaming team made up of six hosts in China. These hosts, who are retired women with an average age of 50, take turns to host live-streaming shows every day.

The team was established more than a year ago by Zhang Ka, the owner of an online shop selling knitting wool and tools on an e-commerce platform.

These hosts are all moms who are knitting enthusiasts and fans of Zhang’s shop, according to Zhang, who invited them to teach young people knitting via live-streaming.

Many young people don’t know where to start after buying knitting wool, so these hosts can show them how to do it, Zhang said, adding that some of these moms have 30 to 40 years of experience knitting and can solve any problems that a green hand might encounter.

These moms-turned-hosts are very friendly and patient with viewers, and have plenty of time on their hands to host the shows, Zhang said.

Age is not a problem for her at all, said Liu, noting that anything is possible.

As the first member of the team, Liu has been praised by many viewers for her gentle and cultivated hosting style.

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

Zhao Yaqin, another member of the team, said the shows have enriched her retired life and given her a greater sense of self-worth.

“I feel a great sense of achievement doing this job. I think it’s also a new stage for me after retirement,” Zhao said.

“One of the good changes it has brought them is that they have all become more beautiful since they started doing the shows. They put on light make-up and pay more attention to their clothes and accessories before the show. Also, we use beauty filters during the show, which makes them feel younger,” Zhang revealed.

These moms host at least four shows a day, and can draw nearly 30,000 viewers daily.

The sales volume of Zhang’s online shop during the first half of the year reached 10 million yuan ($1.4 million), 10 times that of the same period in the past year, thanks to the hosts’ efforts.

But for these moms, strong sales and an income are just a bonus of the job. The reason they enjoy spending time on these shows is that it helps them realize their personal value and gives them a sense of achievement.

Chinese man makes vegetables to animals

Chinese man transforms vegetables into vivid animals, goes viral on Internet

Yu Yuejun, a 58-year-old Chinese man in Kaifeng, central China’s Henan province, has recently gone viral on the Internet, as he “creates” vivid animals with nothing more than vegetables.

“It’s very pleasant to find the joy of life from vegetables,” Yu said.

Carving the 12 Chinese zodiac animals on eight watermelons in five days, Yu shared these finished works, which cannot be kept for a long time, with net users, saying that he felt happy when they gave him a thumbs-up.

Social media users in China have applauded him for his skills and ideas. “You’re really something,” said a user of the country’s social media giant Weibo.

Food delivery giants dabble in services

Chinese food delivery giants, including Eleme and Meituan, have been exploring the local services market, delivering a variety of retail goods and offering door-to-door services such as manicures, hairdressing and domestic services to customers.

A courier from Eleme, an online food delivery platform, picks up books ordered by a client from a Xinhua Bookstore outlet in Shanghai. (Photo by Ding Ting/Xinhua)

As a result, in addition to food delivery, Chinese couriers are now also running all kinds of errands from buying bottled water or vegetables for customers, to queuing up and delivering medicine.

“Apart from buying vegetables and cigarettes for customers, I’ve also put out the trash and delivered fresh flowers for them,” said a courier surnamed Ding, who is over 60 years old and has more than five years of experience working in the food delivery sector.

“I mainly take orders for takeout food at noon and in the evening, and also errand-running orders during the off-peak period for food delivery,” Ding noted, adding that he has received more errand-running orders in recent years, mainly for delivering medicine and buying vegetables and daily necessities for customers.

Eleme recently updated its app and announced its expansion to local services. According to an executive from the company, the move is underpinned by growing demand for these services from consumers.

In 2019, the total trade volume of China’s internet-based consumer services market exceeded 2 trillion yuan, an increase of 45.3 percent year on year, according to an industrial report.

“Local services are very lucrative,” said Chen Liteng, an analyst from the China E-Commerce Research Center.

The recent expansion by China’s food delivery behemoths has intensified the fierce competition in the country’s local services market.

Snack sales see spike in China

The “homebody economy” has been spurring sales of snacks in China amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

(Photo/Pixabay)

Wang Ziwen, a big fan of snacks, spent an average of 1,000 yuan on them every month this year. “Due to the outbreak, I stayed at home to attend online classes for half a year and went out less, so I tended to buy snacks online,” said the 23-year-old student from a university in east China’s Shanghai.

“In addition to lower prices and having them delivered to my doorstep, the most important thing is that online sales channels can offer me a rich variety of products to choose from,” Wang said.

Wang is just one of the many customers who have boosted the sales of snacks due to being stuck at home. Some consumers prefer healthy snacks such as homemade biscuits with less oil and sugar, and nuts with no extra processing.

The Chinese snack industry is expected to maintain a compound growth rate of over 6 percent, with an estimated sales volume of 3 trillion yuan in 2020, which may exceed 4 trillion yuan in 2025, according to a recent industry report.

The sector registered a compound growth rate of 6.7 percent from 2013 to 2019, the report said.

Industry insiders said that the boom in snack consumption, which has become a distinctive feature of the homebody economy, was attributed to surging consumer demand underpinned by the Chinese economy.

They added that the increasing popularity of snacks, also a result of the changes in lifestyle during the epidemic period, indicate a long-term trend of upgraded consumption.

The growth in snack consumption reflects the huge domestic demand in the Chinese economy, according to Wan Zhe, a visiting research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies under the Renmin University of China.

Consumers’ growing demand for a greater variety of quality snacks demonstrates their boosted capacity for consumption, while the upgrading of the snack sector is resulting in more quality products being available, Wan explained, adding that special snacks from all over the world are also available thanks to more sophisticated packing technology and logistics channels. All these contribute to the growing snack consumption market, Wan noted.

Looking to the future trend of the snack industry, Wan believed that the sector will enjoy broad space for development due to the impact of the epidemic, consumers’ growing demand, as well as the role of e-commerce and livestream platforms and advanced logistics in promoting sales of snacks. However, the expert emphasized that it’s more important to build snack brands amid fierce competition in the future.

To carry forward Beidou spirit in new era

To carry forward Beidou spirit in new era
A carrier rocket carrying the last satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, June 23, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Liu Huaiyu)

A completion and commissioning ceremony for China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS-3) was held in Beijing on July 31. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee attended the ceremony and officially announced the commissioning of the system.

It marked the completion of China’s independent, open and compatible global navigation satellite system, and the BDS-3 has entered a new stage of global services to benefit all human beings.

Global navigation satellite system is a vital spatial infrastructure that concerns both national strategies and people’s livelihood. To build an independent global navigation satellite system is an important major strategic decision made by the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission. General Secretary Xi has attached high importance on the construction of the system and made important instructions.

The completion and operation of the BDS-3 mark a significant milestone in China’s efforts to boost science and technology and advance the country as a major power in space. The system is a major contribution to the global public-service infrastructure as well as a remarkable strategic achievement of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Carrying generations of efforts of Chinese aerospace experts, and the persevering spirit of the Chinese nation, it has a profound and far-reaching significance for promoting the building of a modern socialist China and a community with a shared future for mankind.

The system is developed by a massive science force that has overcome tremendous difficulties and made painstaking contributions, and will serve the innumerable people and benefit generation after generation.

Since getting official approval in 1994, generations of aerospace scientists have made unremitted efforts to complete their mission of making China stronger through aerospace and scientific technology, with a sense of responsibility to put national interests, the cause of the CPC and loyalty to Chinese people above everything. They have overcome unimaginable difficulties, making a new exploration in an unfamiliar area and starting from scratch to develop high-end technology. They illuminated the BDS-3 with their conviction, and made the constellation shine in the universe and serve both China and the rest of the world. From the three-step strategy to adopting a technological development path different from other countries, and to launching a total of 30 satellites with 18 rockets, the BDS-3 demonstrates the ambition of the Chinese nation to develop independently and manifests the political advantages of the country’s socialist system to concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings.

Beidou is so far China’s largest complicated space-based system that covers the widest area, features the best services, and has the closest relation with people’s daily lives. More than 300,000 scientists, engineers and technicians from over 400 domestic institutes, universities and enterprises have been involved in Beidou’s development and construction. They have always been carrying forward the BeiDou spirit of the “independent innovations, unity and collaboration, overcoming difficulties, and the pursuit of excellence.” It is another spiritual milestone on the journey of the Chinese aerospace scientists to make China a scientific power, a legacy of the manned spaceflight spirit. The BDS-3 is also a valuable spiritual treasure that features distinctive characteristics of the times, spurring Chinese scientific workers to keep making efforts and building a magnificent power for the Chinese people to realize the Chinese dream.

General Secretary Xi pointed out that China is willing to share the achievements of the BeiDou system with other countries, and promote the development of global satellite navigation systems. The BDS-3 is now providing services for over a hundred million users in Belt and Road countries and regions, and its products have been exported to more than 120 countries and regions.

As long as China carries forward the Beidou spirit in the new era, stay true to its original aspiration, keep its mission in mind, make unremitted efforts and keep moving forward, it will be able to make greater contribution to realizing its two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, as well as offer better service for global satellite navigation systems and contribute wisdom and power for benefiting the mankind.

Chinese wrestling gains new vitality

Chinese wrestling gains new vitality
Two athletes compete in a Chinese wrestling game held in Handan, north China’s Hebei province. People’s Daily Online/Hao Qunying

Shi Xue’en is a 21-year-old wrestling enthusiast working in Beijing. Born in Xilinhot of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, one of the cradles of Chinese wrestling, Shi’s love for the sport started when he was a little boy.

“Wrestling is a local culture in my hometown, and all the physical education teachers there can wrestle. We all learned it at school more or less,” Shi told People’s Daily.

Though Shi left Xilinhot for Beijing to study and work, his love for wrestling never fades. Now he is learning wrestling at a club in Beijing, attending classes once or twice every week after riding the bus for nearly two hours.

Shi joined the club five years ago. He said it’s a place where he can learn Chinese wrestling from professionals in a systematic way, as many of the trainers there used to be members or coaches of the Chinese national wrestling team.

Chinese wrestling has simple rules. The wrestlers lose points once their body parts other than their feet touch ground. “Banzi,” which literally means to trip someone, is a special term for Chinese wresting skills. The traditional Chinese sport generally has 36 major moves to throw down opponents, deriving countless trivial moves, due to different body angles and directions of strength. That’s why it is attractive for the fans.

Shi made his name in a game back in 2017, during which he “knocked off” an opponent much bigger than him with a “finishing move”. Liu Changhai, head coach of Shi’s club, explained that with the move, Shi set up his opponents to move toward a certain direction that he wanted, and then tripped the opponents in a blink of eye. “It was a trivial move, but the timing was perfect. It demonstrated the characteristic of Chinese wresting which stresses the importance of tactics in facing heavyweights. “The move astonished all the crowds in the venue, and was still a hot topic a couple of years later,” Liu said.

Chinese wrestling, seemingly simple and easy, contains profound philosophy, Liu introduced, adding that it’s not a sport that people would love at first sight, and its beauty is only revealed as they learn more about it.

Chinese wrestling combines toughness with flexibility and carries the essence of the Chinese culture. It has always been a popular entertaining activity and athletic sport. In recent years, as Chinese wrestling gradually regained vitality among the public and became an official game in national sports events, it once again embraced an opportunity for development. There are nearly 20 Chinese wrestling clubs in Beijing.

Liu’s wrestling club has established cooperation with two primary schools, and a textbook is now being compiled. “Wrestling builds the whole body, and helps improve adolescents’ flexibility and sensitivity. Besides, it also helps prevent sport injury,” Liu said, adding that he hopes Chinese wrestling can be promoted better.