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.

Subway brings vitality to northern Xi’an

Subway brings vitality to northern Xi'an
Photo taken on July 21 shows a magnificent view of Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Photo by Wang Jing, People’s Daily Online

I live in the northern part of Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Subway is a major way of transportation for me. It takes less than 10 minutes of walk for me to arrive at the nearest subway station, so it’s also convenient to go to the places along subway lines.

At present, Xi’an has opened four subway lines, and two of them pass through the northern part of the city. Zhangjiabu, on the northern outskirt of the city, is now a transfer hub where passengers can take the Line 2 to go to the Xi’an North railway station and get to an intercity rail for the airport after only one transfer.

I moved to the northern part of Xi’an 20 years ago from a small county outside Shaanxi province. I still remember that when I first arrived here, the residential complex that I lived in was surrounded by cropland and livestock farms. A rapeseed field was also near it.

Besides, there was a roundabout in Zhangjiabu, the “north gate” of Xi’an, where out-of-town truck rivers always lost their way. Therefore, guiding even became a business for some local residents.

Gradually I came to realize that the northern part of the city was usually not a choice for people to settle in due to its slow development. Even some stayed, but it was just temporary.

I remember going down town to watch my first movie in the city since I came here, but when the movie was over, many taxi drivers refused to pick me up when learning I lived in the north. They did so because they were afraid that their cabins might be left empty when going back, which was obviously a bad bargain.

The demand for transportation depends on economic vitality, passenger flow and gathering of people. When Xi’an gradually completed its gridded planning for the north, the region started to gain popularity. The increasingly prospering commerce there also promoted the improvement of infrastructure. A developed road network has been established, and three bus stations were around my residence.

Weiyang Road, which leads to the north, is a two-direction multi-lane arterial road that is always jammed today. To alleviate the traffic pressure, the use of private vehicles has been restricted based on even- and odd-numbered license plates. I used to sigh for the lack of vigor in the region, but now I’m pleased to see its prosperity.

Therefore, to build a transportation channel in the north under the ground became urgent, and the city’s decision to launch a subway project was sensational. I used to imagine that Xi’an might have its own subway one day when I was taking Beijing metro, so I was surprised as I learned a subway line was about to be constructed in the city, from Zhangjiabu. The construction of the subway line also became a hot topic for chinwags among friends and neighbors.

The subway line lies on the central axle of Xi’an and connects the northern and southern parts of the city. The stations along it are all places that I always go to. Thanks to the subway line, I don’t have to wait for buses any more.

The line started operation in 2011, and three new lines were later put into use in the city. Now, the city is planning to build more routes. As I learned, several new lines are expected to be opened before the end of the year. For instance, the Line 10 will stretch further north to the bank of the Weihe River.

Today, taking subway is not a fresh experience for me anymore, but the importance of subway has never been reduced in my life.

Zhangjiabu, where Xi’an’s subway project started, also has a “turnabout” under it that transfers passengers. With magnificent commercial complexes standing on it, the place has become a magnet for young people.

When the subway was constructed, an overpass was also newly added to the north. Today, the northern part of Xi’an has developed into a prosperous area that has a number of landmark sites, including Xi’an’s municipal stadium and library, as well as the Xi’an North railway station. Besides, the municipal government of the city has also moved to the region. The northern part is becoming another center of the city.

China, EU to bring ties to higher level

China, EU vow to bring bilateral ties up to a higher level
Photo taken on Sept. 8 shows a China-Europe freight train loaded with daily necessities departs from a station in the Urumqi International Land Port Area, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo by Cai Zengle/People’s Daily Online)

China and the European Union (EU) are going to bring the China-EU relations up to a higher level, according to a recent virtual meeting held among leaders of China, Germany and the EU.

During the meeting held via video link on the evening of Sept. 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had in-depth exchange of views, charted a course for the development of China-EU relations in the next stage, and set priorities for bilateral ties between China and the EU.

They agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation to ensure the success of the upcoming series of major political agenda between China and the EU, enhance mutual trust, seek mutual benefits on a win-win basis, uphold multilateralism and jointly tackle global challenges.

The meeting showed the determination of China and the EU to firmly grasp the general trend of mutual support and united cooperation, and unswervingly promote the sound and stable development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties. The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t blocked the high-level dialogues and exchanges between China and the EU.

In fact, Xi has kept in contact with leaders of EU institutions and member states via such means as phone calls and letters since the outbreak, even more frequently than before.

A series of meetings, including the 10th round of the China-EU high-level strategic dialogue, the 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting, the 8th China-EU high-level economic and trade dialogue, and the China-EU high-level dialogue in the digital area, have been held amid the pandemic, fully demonstrating the common aspiration of the two sides to push forward their comprehensive strategic partnership.

On June 22, Xi met with Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen via video link, during which Xi stressed that China and the EU should serve as two major forces to maintain global peace and stability, two huge markets that promote global development and prosperity, and two great civilizations that adhere to multilateralism and help improve global governance.

At the recent China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting, Xi further emphasized that the two sides should stick to four principles, namely peaceful coexistence, openness and cooperation, multilateralism, and dialogue and consultation.

Xi’s ideas about adhering to the four principles have pointed the way for joint efforts to push for a more stable and mature China-EU relationship in the post-pandemic era and lift their ties to a new height.

The meeting has injected fresh political impetus into the bilateral ties between China and the EU, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Over the past 45 years since the establishment of their diplomatic ties, China and the EU have maintained the keynote of cooperation and constantly improved the well-being of their people.

The history of the development of China-EU ties has fully demonstrated that the cooperation between China and the EU is never a choice of expediency made under certain situation, but a strategic one that both sides voluntarily stick to. It has also proven that the China-EU cooperation aims not for short-term interests and gains, but long-term mutually beneficial results.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and the EU have supported and helped each other. Meanwhile, the trade and economic exchanges between the two sides have not only withstood the impact of the pandemic, but shown great resilience and witnessed constant expansion of cooperation in many fields.

In August, the number of trips made by China-Europe freight trains reached a record high of 1,247, up 62 percent year on year. These trains transported 113,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of goods, up 66 percent from the same period of the previous year.

China-Europe freight trains maintained double-digit growth in the number of trips and goods for the sixth consecutive month.

All these facts have shown that cooperation between China and the EU enjoys huge potential for growth.

During the recent China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting, China and the EU announced the official signing of the China-EU agreement on geographical indications, stated their commitment to speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty to achieve the goal of concluding the negotiations within this year, and decided to establish a China-EU High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue and a China-EU High Level Digital Cooperation Dialogue and to forge China-EU green and digital partnerships.

These important cooperation achievements and consensuses reached between China and the EU have further expanded and deepened their bilateral cooperation, and enriched their relations.

As two major forces, huge markets and great civilizations in the world, what China and the EU advocate and oppose and in what areas they cooperate will have global significance.

The world is going through profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating such changes. Economic globalization has run up against headwinds; protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise; the world economy is in the doldrums; and international trade and investment have slumped. Such are the unprecedented challenges and tests in the work and life of mankind.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China and the EU have maintained close contacts in anti-pandemic and global health cooperation, demonstrating the significance and global impact of China-EU relations.

The two sides aim to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and cooperation, and maintain the stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain, jointly helping promote the recovery of the world economy.

During the recent meeting, China and the EU both showed willingness to strengthen cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism, resist unilateralism and protectionism, and respond more effectively to various global challenges, which has demonstrated both sides’ sense of responsibility for safeguarding the common interests of both Europe and China and the international community.

The more firm the strength underpinning China-EU peaceful coexistence, the more guaranteed the world peace and prosperity, Xi pointed out.

It’s certain that by remaining committed to promoting the sound and steady growth of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, China and the EU can inject more positive energy into COVID-19 response efforts, economic recovery and championing justice.

The year of 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. In such a special occasion, the efforts of China and the EU to strengthen political mutual trust, boost pragmatic cooperation, and forge a more influential comprehensive strategic partnership have infused valuable stability to the world full of uncertainties and are helpful for enhancing global governance and advancing the building of a community with shared future for mankind.

County uses stones to fight poverty

Xincheng county in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has been relying on its rich mineral resources in its mountainous areas to fight poverty in recent years.

Employees work at a marble processing plant in Xincheng county, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Photo/Zhu Xiaoling) 

“People couldn’t grow crops here as there were stones everywhere. We could only let cattle graze on the fields at the foot of the mountains,” said Wei Yongping, a native of the county, who is also deputy head of the stone processing plant of Xincheng Western Mining Co., Ltd.

He never expected that the barren mountains that blighted agriculture would one day become invaluable assets.

“Xincheng contains over 1 billion cubic meters of many varieties of marble, and they are easy to exploit,” Wei said, explaining that the county’s marble has been sold domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, the county is accelerating the construction of a special engineering new material innovation industrial park invested by East Group Co., Ltd. on the bank of the Hongshui River.

“We mainly produce special materials needed for high-speed railways, tunnels, underground projects and roads, with an estimated annual output of up to 2 million tons,” said Huang Yong, a manager of the company.

Xincheng has large deposits of rocks that contain up to 56 percent of calcium carbonate, giving it broad prospects for exploitation, Huang said, adding that the company finally decided to launch the project in the county after three years of surveying work.

Photo shows the construction site of a project in Xincheng county, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Photo/Yan Lizheng)

The company will also build five cargo berths with a capacity of 500 tons each, with an estimated annual throughput of 100,000 containers and 5 million tons of bulk cargo.

“Only by protecting our lucid waters and green mountains can we have invaluable assets,” said Li Lizhi, head of the project’s first tunnel team.

With 28 years of experience in tunnel construction, Li said that the company has placed great importance on environmental protection from the very beginning and on safeguarding the interests of local villagers.

The project has also been delivering benefits to local residents. “We can earn money near our homes and take care of our families, so we are willing to work for the project,” said Lan Danghua, a resident of Mati village in the county’s Hongdu town. Lan began working in the industrial park along with several other villagers soon after the project started.

“Except for core technicians, we give priority to hiring local villagers, especially poor households and people who have been lifted out of poverty,” Huang said.

He added that the company will also work with local vocational schools on poverty alleviation through education by providing funds to train industrial workers, which is expected to create over 600 job opportunities.

Universities push Clean Your Plate drive

At the beginning of the new semester, canteens from colleges and universities in Beijing came up with new ways to encourage students to prevent wasting food and “clean their plates.

Students buy “small fried dish” in a canteen in the Capital University of Economics and Business (Photo/Cao Haipeng)

In order to encourage teachers and students to empty their plates, in addition to providing half servings of rice, canteens at Beihang University have begun to produce and sell handmade “mini-sized steamed buns” at a low price.

One of the canteens has also provided a half-price “small fried dish”, while some other canteens allow customers to take food themselves and pay according to the weight of the meals.

“Finally, there is no need to worry about having meals with inappropriate servings. It’s perfect, as I can buy one and a half servings now,” said a girl at the canteen.

Meals suitable for sale by weight can be counted in tael at canteens of Tsinghua University.

Rice can also be bought in tael, and a large steamed bun can be sold in halves. Furthermore, the canteens also provide takeaway packaging to encourage students to pack up their leftovers.

Canteens at the Capital University of Economics and Business have provided windows for small servings of food. “It’s hard not to have an empty plate,” said Feng Boyi, a sophomore, adding that “it’s very scientifically designed.”

At a canteen of the university, teachers and students can get rewards such as paper tissues and fruits with their emptied plates. The school also plans to upgrade the intelligent settlement system to help make the Clean Your Plate campaign a normal part of canteen procedure.

Students from the China Agricultural University can be rewarded with customized university-themed tableware if they post photos of their emptied plates on their social media.

Ma Ziwei, organizer of the activity and deputy secretary of the university’s Youth League Committee, said that the purpose of this activity is to teach freshmen the first lesson on not wasting food and to create a strong campus atmosphere of cherishing food.

Manufacturing sector sees rapid recovery

During the COVID-19 epidemic, China’s manufacturing sector withstood the test posed by the virus, and helped ensure stable global industrial and supply chains.

In August, the country’s exports totaled nearly 1.7 trillion yuan, up 11.6 percent, an increase that has been attributed to the rapid recovery of China’s manufacturing sector.

(Photo/Xinhua)

China has taken the lead in resuming work and production as the pandemic continues to disrupt global industrial and supply chains, said Han Jianfei, a researcher at CCID, a think tank under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, adding that the sharp rebound in China’s export growth reflects the resilience of the country’s manufacturing sector.

The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index stood at 51 in August, above the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction. The sub-index for new orders stood at 52, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth, indicating the continuous recovery of market demand.

High-tech manufacturing has taken a marked turn for the better. In July, the value added by electronic and information manufacturing enterprises above designated size grew by 11.8 percent, up 5.7 percentage points year on year. Furthermore, the exported value by electronic and information manufacturing enterprises above designated size rose by 10.7 percent, an increase of 7.4 percentage points from a year ago.

Brothers tour China with old-aged parents

Two brothers in Shenyang, northeast China’s Liaoning province, were widely praised recently for spending the last few years travelling around the country with their octogenarian parents.

Photo shows Shan Zhongyu, his parents, his youngest brother and his brother’s daughter taking a group photo in front of a snow mountain.

Shan Zhongyu, 64 years old, came up with the plan when he retired four years ago. Before his retirement, he had frequently made short trips with his parents. In 2014, he bought a seven-seat car and transformed it into a “recreational vehicle” with an inverter and alternator so that they could cook during the trips.

Since then, Shan, his second younger brother, their wives and Shan’s parents have traveled 240,000 kilometers across China in the vehicle.

In September 2016, Shan and his brother drove south to Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province via Beijing and Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. They then decided to drive to southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region via Chengdu, a trip that their parents had long wanted to make.

Shan drew up detailed travel plans, including the locations of airports and hospitals along the way, to ensure that his parents could get timely treatment if they suffered altitude sickness and that the family could fly back home if they needed to.

In Chengdu, Shan’s youngest brother joined the team, and they bought portable oxygen bottles and first aid kits, which they needed for their trip to Tibet on National Highway 318.

When they arrived at the picturesque Xinduqiao town located at 3,000 meters above sea level in Sichuan’s Kangding county, Shan’s mother, who was 83 years old, felt dizzy. Fortunately, she recovered the next morning, allowing them to continue the trip. Ten days later, they arrived in Lhasa from Chengdu.

Shan’s parents were stunned by the scenery that they saw on the trip. The family enjoyed the beauty of the region’s glaciers and snow mountains.

Shan’s 85-year-old father recalled the dazzling sunlight at 8:30 p.m. when they arrived in Lhasa, Tibetan prayer flags flying on the mountains, Tibetan people, pilgrims and the large garden behind the Potala Palace, Lhasa’s most iconic building.

After staying in Lhasa for three days, they drove through the depopulated zones in Qinghai and Tibet via the Qinghai-Tibet highway and visited Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt lake in China. Finally, they drove home through north China’s Inner Mongolia.

In past years, the two brothers have also made road trips to Hainan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces with their parents.

The two brothers usually took two long journeys and several short trips in spring and autumn with their parents. Shan always made travel plans and avoided visiting places they had been to previously.

Youngsters snatch low-cost tour products

Young Chinese people are eagerly seeking out the best domestic travel deals, such as low-price air tickets and hotel fees, as many tourist platforms and local governments have provided subsidies to boost the tourist industry.

(Photo/Xinhua)

The proportion of young tourists travelling domestically is on the rise. According to data, 58 percent of tourists are post-90s, and the growth rate of post-00s tourists should not be underestimated either.

Young tourists are no longer travelling just for sightseeing: those born after 1995 want to bring their pets to stay in hotels, and for parent-child trips, young tourists prefer hotels that help look after their children, while guesthouses have become a popular choice for team-building exercises.

Furthermore, young tourists visiting Hainan love to shop for tax-free goods. When they were unable to go out because of the epidemic, they would travel virtually: live-streamed guides by curators from the British Museum and Versailles have also become a reality.

At the same time, the younger generation’s new travel preferences have also brought new challenges to domestic scenic spots and hotels. For example, hotels should not only be a place to stay, but also provide more comprehensive services such as parent-child activities, spas and group building activities.

These young tourists are also keen on getting the best deals for flight ticket price and hotels, in some cases as low as 66 yuan (about US $9.65) for a flight or 99 yuan for one night at a hotel. Sometimes, their destinations depend on where they can obtain a special “subsidy”.

In addition, more than 60 percent of consumers plan to increase their travel budgets by more than 2,000 yuan this year, the data showed. At the same time, the epidemic has made consumers pay greater attention to travel safety, with customized and small group tours becoming more popular than before.