World Newsletter

23 Oct 2020



A key Party meeting on Thursday called for unrelenting efforts in poverty alleviation, pollution control and prevention, defusing major risks and improving people's livelihoods to ensure the accomplishment of targets and tasks set out in the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).


The meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee urged an all-out drive to wrap up the 13th Five-Year Plan and ensure that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be reached.


Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting, which heard a report that summarized and evaluated the implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan.


The meeting came as the 19th Central Committee of the CPC is set to hold its Fifth Plenary Session next week, which will deliberate on proposals for the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and longer-term targets for 2035.


Xi noted at the meeting that the whole Party, military and people of all ethnic groups, led by the CPC Central Committee, unwaveringly carried out a new development philosophy, adhered to the main task of pursuing supply-side structural reform and promoted high-quality development during the 13th Five-Year Plan period.


The country has dealt with the issue of unbalanced and inadequate development in a forceful and orderly manner, coped with a complex situation that features a surge in external challenges and resolutely fought against the severe shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.


He noted that the 13th Five-Year Plan has been smoothly implemented, with its main performance indicators reaching targeted levels and its major tasks, as well as 165 major projects, now bearing fruit.


China's economic strength, competitiveness in science and technology and national strength have reached a new level, he said.


More importantly, the strength of the Party's leadership and China's socialist system has become more prominent, and the new development philosophy is gaining more ground, he added.


The meeting called for a deeper understanding of the new problems and challenges arising from the complicated international environment and recognition that the country will enter a new phase of development in the next five years.





China will make a legitimate and necessary response to the United States after it designated another six Chinese media outlets as "foreign missions", Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.


He said it was Washington's "latest step of political suppression and stigmatization of Chinese media and journalists stationed in the US".


"China firmly rejects and strongly condemns the US' senseless moves," Zhao said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.


Since February, 15 Chinese media outlets have been designated as "foreign missions" by the US.


The spokesman said that actions by the US that target Chinese media are based on a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice. These actions have severely undermined the reputation and image of Chinese media, disrupted their normal operations in the US and obstructed cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, he said.


"It reveals the hypocrisy of the US' self-proclaimed 'freedom of the press'," Zhao said.


In recent years, the US has intensified its discrimination and suppression of Chinese media by putting arbitrary restrictions on its normal reporting activities.


Since 2018, the US has delayed and even denied the visas of 30 US-based Chinese journalists. In March, the US in effect expelled 60 Chinese journalists.


On May 11, the US announced its decision to limit visas for all Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay. The visas of these journalists expired on Aug 6 and the US has not granted visa extensions to any of them so far.


"China urges the US to immediately change course, correct its mistakes, and stop the political oppression and senseless restrictions against Chinese media outlets," Zhao said.


Responding to the US approval on Wednesday of a potential $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, Zhao said that China will make a legitimate and necessary reaction as the situation develops, urging the US to withdraw its sales plan to prevent further damage to China-US relations.


Zhao noted that, by selling arms to Taiwan, the US seriously violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the Aug 17 communique.


The sale seriously interferes with China's internal affairs, seriously damages China's sovereignty and security interests, sends a seriously wrong signal to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and severely undermines China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, he said.


The latest US arms package includes sensors, missiles and artillery, according to Reuters.





China is confident that it will continue its current robust industrial growth momentum, with notable improvements in production recovery and key technology upgrading, the country's top industry regulator and experts said on Thursday.


Their confidence came from the fact that the country has outperformed most global economies, with its industrial output, a key gauge of industrial activity, achieving positive growth in the first three quarters of this year.


According to Huang Libin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the country's industrial output rose by 1.2 percent on a yearly basis during the first three quarters of this year, reversing the decline of 1.3 percent seen in the first six months.


"Multiple factors are expected to help sustain the momentum (into the fourth quarter), including a more balanced resumption of production," Huang said at a news conference on Thursday.


The information and communications technology sector, in particular, has played a key role in supporting the economic recovery, he said. The sector's production index grew 10.1 percent on a yearly basis during the first nine months, while the total business volume of the telecom industry rose sharply by 18.6 percent year-on-year.


Wen Ku, head of the information and telecommunications development department at the ministry, said on Thursday that despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, China finished 5G construction ahead of schedule this year.


"As of September, the country had already built a total of 690,000 5G base stations, which was earlier than scheduled, and basically achieved 5G coverage in prefecture-level cities," he said, adding that more than 160 million terminals had been connected to the 5G network by Monday.


"With major indicators continuing to improve, 5G is expected to have a more apparent role in stabilizing investment, promoting consumption, driving industrial upgrading and cultivating new drivers of future economic development," he added.


Industry insiders pointed out that the good performance of the industrial economy was thanks to China's efforts to shore up economic growth amid the pandemic. With such momentum, China is likely to lead the global industrial recovery in the coming quarters.


It also comes after China's GDP growth turned positive in the first three quarters by hitting 0.7 percent year-on-year, after a 1.6 percent slide in the first half, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.


"The industrial indicators showed that the recovery on the production side was the most obvious, which was beyond market expectations," said Wang Jun, a senior researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.


"The sound performance on the production side means that the production constraints caused by the pandemic gradually disappeared, as COVID-19 was brought under control in the country," he said.





An anti-submarine aircraft operated by the PLA Navy has received a lot of publicity recently after a series of patrols along the Taiwan Straits.


The PLA Eastern Theater Command has published three posts on its WeChat account over the past month about recent training and live-fire exercises carried out by the Y-8 anti-submarine patrol plane.


The posts contained pictures and video clips of the fixed-wing aircraft and said pilots have been conducting intensive combat training recently. Among its missions, the Eastern Theater Command is believed to be responsible for operations in the Taiwan Straits.


Announcements by military authorities in Taiwan show the Y-8 has been the Chinese mainland military hardware most photographed in the Taiwan Straits by Taiwan's military pilots over the past month.


Li Jie, a former researcher at the PLA Naval Research Academy, said the aircraft is tasked with detecting enemy submarines and sinking them if needed. He said it has significantly boosted the Navy's anti-submarine capability, which had been severely restricted for many years by poor equipment and a lack of experience.


"The United States Navy has frequently sent its carrier strike groups to China's coastal waters, including the Taiwan Straits, and such groups have advanced nuclear-powered attack submarines," Li said."The US Navy never reports developments of its submarines' tasks. In addition, Japanese submarines are often dispatched to waters near us. How could we know what they have done in our waters?"


Li said increasing Y-8 training and exercises in sensitive regions is necessary, adding that the plane is fast, has a long operational range and strong detection capabilities.


A Chinese defense industry insider who requested anonymity said the Y-8 can perform many operations that other types of aircraft cannot.


"It is the best choice when it comes to anti-submarine warfare because compared with other aircraft, say fighter jets, it can carry more instruments, fly farther and longer and can execute more kinds of tasks," he said.


The four-engine Y-8 anti-submarine model, previously known as the Gaoxin-6, was designed and manufactured by Aviation Industry Corp of China, based on the Y-8 transport plane.


It can easily be distinguished from other Y-8 variants by its large sea-search radar, mounted below the cockpit, and its magnetic anomaly detector boom, which looks like a metal tail.


The aircraft is China's first fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol plane. With multiple detection methods, it is capable of carrying out search, identification, reconnaissance and anti-submarine combat operations.





New drivers over the age of 70 will be able to apply for a driver's license starting next month after the Ministry of Public Security released a package of measures on Thursday that also expands exemptions from motor vehicle inspections.


There will be no age limit for applicants for driver's licenses for compact cars, compact automatic transmission cars and motorcycles as long as they meet physical and mental requirements under the new measures, which are aimed at better adapting to the needs of an aging society.


First-time driver's license applicants over 70 will have to pass tests of their memory, judgment, reaction time and other abilities to ensure they are capable of driving safely. They will also need to have a medical examination and submit a medical certificate each year.


"Lifting the age limit is one way of meeting the new needs of an aging society, and it is common practice in most countries," said Liu Yupeng, deputy director of the ministry's Traffic Management Bureau.


He said improvements to people's living conditions had seen the average life expectancy in China rise to 77.3 years last year, which had led to calls for the age limit on first-time driver's license applications to be lifted and for more convenient physical examinations.


Among other measures announced by the ministry, the minimum age for applying for a driver's license for a large coach will be reduced from 26 to 22, and that for a driver's license for a towing vehicle from 24 to 22. The upper age limit for applying for a driver's license for large or medium-sized passenger cars and trucks will be raised from 50 to 60.


The range of medical institutions authorized to give drivers physical examinations will be expanded. License applicants will be able to have the checkups in nearby medical institutions, including township hospitals, community health service centers and physical examination centers.


A total of 12 new measures will take effect on Nov 20, with other provisions aimed at making it more convenient to apply for a driver's license, arrange a vehicle inspection and manage license plates, among other things.





A network of more than 1.4 million kilometers of roads connecting rural areas is expected to be completed by the end of this year as an important means to eradicate poverty across China, Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng said on Thursday.


According to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), a 1 million-km network was scheduled to be built from 2016 to 2020. By September, nearly 1.39 million km of the network had been completed, exceeding the plan, Li said at a news conference.


During the plan period, the central government was expected to invest more than 950 billion yuan ($142 billion) to build roads in rural areas. The money accounts for about 68 percent of the revenue from the country's vehicle purchase tax, Li said.


"The rural road network has made accomplishments, bringing popularity and wealth to the countryside, especially the poor areas, and also building public support for the Party at the grassroots level," Li said.


He said 99.61 percent of villages have access to asphalt roads, and 99.38 percent of villages have access to buses.


In addition, postal services covering poor areas have also been built to help win the poverty-eradication battle. Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, said about 36,000 villages did not have direct access to postal services before 2016, with most of them in poor areas. Since August last year, postal services have covered all 556,000 villages in China.


China's transportation sector has made strides in the past, Li said, with the length of high-speed railways, freeways and urban rail networks all ranking top in the world.





Media professionals from China and Mongolia should work together to build mutual trust and boost friendship between the two countries, and to form a consensus that the two countries should join in fighting COVID-19, according to a senior information office official.


Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office, spoke at the 11th China-Mongolia Media Forum, which was held online simultaneously on Thursday in Beijing, Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia.


He also called on media workers from the two countries to make efforts to report what sensible voices say, produce good news reports and deepen press cooperation.


The forum was organized by the All-China Journalists Association and the Mongolian Journalists Association, and it was hosted by the Inner Mongolian Information Office under the guidance of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.


More than 100 media representatives from both countries attended the forum and shared reporting experiences and ideas on media cooperation and how to face the challenges created by COVID-19.


The annual forum was first set up in 2010 and has been an important platform of news communication and cooperation for the two countries, according to the All-China Journalists Association. It's also gradually becoming a bond to boost friendship and facilitate mutual understanding between China and Mongolia.


Damdin Tsogtbaatar, a member of Mongolia's parliament, said at the forum that Mongolia and China have reached the consensus that cooperation is the only way to win the battle against COVID-19.


The media outlets have played a key role in developing the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, he said, adding that he hopes they will continue communication and cooperation and deepen mutual understanding and trust.





No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. - Albert Einstein


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