World Newsletter

28 December 2019


China plans to complete construction of its third-generation Beidou Navigation Satellite System network by June, including the launch of two new satellites into geostationary orbit by that time, the China Satellite Navigation Office said on Friday.

Ran Chengqi, the office's director, said 10 satellites were launched into space this year, resulting in a key 24-satellite constellation being placed in medium Earth orbit, forming the bedrock of the system's ability to provide a variety of services worldwide.

"Though Beidou began providing global services at the end of 2018 based on an 18-satellite constellation, the expanded network has enabled the space-based navigation system to operate more reliably and accurately," Ran said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

As construction draws to a close, the office will increase its stocks of backup satellites and schedule them for liftoff to retire older satellites that have been in service for 10 to 12 years, he said.

Management at ground stations will also be improved to ensure smooth operation.

Chen Jinping, a chief engineer with Beidou, said that in 2019 the maintenance team managed to address nearly 20 satellite problems and nearly 100 issues related to ground-based facilities.

"With the service expansion of the third-generation of Beidou next year, we will strive to rectify issues discovered during risk analysis, improve regulations and enhance training to further boost the reliability of the system," Chen said.

The rapid growth of Beidou has also prompted the homegrown system to seek collaboration with three other celestial navigation networks around the globe, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office. They are the United States' GPS, Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo.

Ran said a cooperation agreement between the satellite authorities of China and Russia, which took effect recently, will provide organizational and legal support as the two countries join forces to build ground stations. China is also working with the EU to synchronize the frequencies of each other's satellite systems so global users will have access to more than one service provider.

The office has also expedited efforts to incorporate Beidou into international standardization systems. "Beidou is expected to be officially adopted by the standardization system of the International Civil Aviation Organization next year. Meanwhile, preparatory work including drafting documents and running tests is being carried out to facilitate Beidou's incorporation into the global search and rescue network," he said.

Ran added that Beidou is making significant inroads into countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.



Young workers are being lured to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province cluster with golden opportunities in the industries that have relocated there, experts said.

A study released by the Beijing Municipal Party School recently found that the permanent populationpeople who lived in a place for more than six monthsof the region exceeded 112 million in 2018, up 1.28 million over 2015, even though the number of permanent residents of the capital dropped in 2017 and 2018.

Under the regional development plan, some manufacturing industries like automotives have moved from the capital to Hebei province, attracting a large group of migrants and benefiting from becoming an industrial cluster, said Lu Jiehua, a professor of sociology at Peking University.

Wang Guangzhou, a population and labor economy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that as the national technology and science hub, Beijing attracts more high-tech talent to the city and many professionals also came for the educational and cultural resources.

At the same time, neighboring Hebei province took over some of the factories and wholesale markets from the capital, bringing together a large number of labor-intensive industries, he said, adding that Beijing also transferred part of its economic development role to Tianjin, which started to boost its service industry in 2014.

"It's one result of the regional economy. The transformation of industrial structures gradually filled the revenue gap between Beijing and Hebei and brought more job opportunities to residents of the region," Wang said.

To some degree, regional economic development shifts the population structure in the capital.

Increasing numbers of migrants have relocated to the neighboring area from the central city over the past years, he said.

China's regional development blueprint changes with local situations, and development trajectories vary from region to region.

"Thus, targeted regional development plans are necessary to facilitate overall development in a more efficient way," he said.



China's biggest, heaviest and most advanced satellite has blasted into space to carry out demonstrations and verifications for advanced satellite and communications technologies.

Shijian 20, a technology demonstration satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing, achieved liftoff using the Long March 5 carrier rocket at Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on Friday night.

It was the second satellite based on China's new-generation satellite platform, DFH-5, after the Shijian 18 was lost during Long March 5's failed second flight in July 2017.

The satellite has a liftoff weight of more than 8 metric tons, carries over 10 world-class technological payloads and is equipped with the country's largest, longest and most sophisticated solar arrays. It is expected to work at least 16 years in a geosynchronous orbit about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth.

The spacecraft's major tasks are to test the overall design and reliability of the DFH-5 platform as well as to verify several key space-based technologies and new equipment, according to Zhou Zhicheng, chief engineer at China Academy of Space Technology and project manager of the Shijian 20.

Hao Yanyan, a supervisor in the Shijian 20 program, said that DFH-5 can be the basis of a wide range of satellite models for different operations ranging from high-orbiting communication and microwave remote sensing to space-based scientific exploration as well as technological experiment.

"DFH-5 is our new-generation satellite platform with an ultrahigh capacity. Its overall capability is world-class," Hao said on Friday in Wenchang. "Its research and development began in 2010 to meet increasing demand for high-performance communication satellites. Each DFH-5-based satellite is three times stronger than those developed on its predecessor, DFH-4, when it comes to operational capacity."

She added that DFH-5 is suitable for all types of large-capacity satellites in the coming two decades.



The daughter of Bruce Lee is suing a Chinese restaurant chain over its use of the kung fu legend's image in its logo.

The lawsuit, alleging infringement of personality rights of the late martial arts star by Real Kungfu Catering Management, was filed by Bruce Lee Enterprise LLC, a California-based company run by Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee.

A Shanghai court accepted the case earlier this month.

The Chinese fast-food chain said on Thursday the series of trademarks were registered and approved by the State trademark bureau, which now is under the State Intellectual Property Office, and have been used for 15 years.

"There were disputes years ago over whether our trademarks infringe other's rights, but no verdict was given by authorities or courts. We feel confused by this lawsuit, and are preparing for court," the company said.

Many netizens said they have long dined at the fast-food restaurant and thought the logo was Bruce Lee.

"The company has been playing on the edge to attract customers," said Zhang Ran, a music producer. "Many foreign music bands that I receive in China demand to dine at Real Kungfu, and ask me if that restaurant chain was opened by Bruce Lee."

However, experts on trademarks and intellectual property said this case is complicated.

Hu Gang, a trademark lawyer at the Patent and Trademark Law Office of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said whether the trademark infringes personality rights should be left for court to judge.

"After all, the image is not a photo of Lee, and there was a similar case a few years ago of Michael Jordan suing a Chinese company that was using the image of his slam dunk posture. However, the Supreme People's Court didn't support Jordan's claim," he said.

A search in the trademark database of the State Intellectual Property Office showed that the company registered the logo with a cartoon image resembling Bruce Lee in 2004.

According to China's trademark law, an interested party may only apply for invalidation of the registered trademark within five years of the trademark's registration.



China's top legislature on Saturday voted to adopt the law on the promotion of basic medical and health care in Beijing.

The law is the country's first fundamental and comprehensive law on basic medical and health care.

In a bid to deter illegal acts targeting medical staff and institutions, the law stipulates that the personal safety and dignity of medical workers shall not be infringed upon and that their legal rights are protected by law. It bans any organization or individual from threatening or harming the personal safety or dignity of medical staff.

The national legislature and health commission condemned a fatal stabbing of a doctor at a Beijing hospital on Saturday while adopting the law on the promotion of basic medical and health care.

Lawmakers approved the law at the end of a six-day bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

The law will take effect on June 1, 2020.



China's top legislature adopted the revised Securities Law on Dec 28, which is due to take effect from March 1, 2020.

The revision was adopted via a vote at the end of the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress held from Dec 23 to 28, after the fourth review of the draft revision during the session.

The revised law has set the legal basis for registration-based reform across the whole A-share market and considerably intensified the crackdown on illegal behavior in the securities markets, according to the NPC Standing Committee.



The popularization of the automatic payment service nationwide will greatly improve the efficiency of road transport during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, the country's transportation authority said on Friday.

The country has more than 197 million electronic toll collection (ETC) users, an addition of 120 million from last year, said Wu Dejin, director of the highway department of the Ministry of Transport.

The change is expected to facilitate travelers who drive home on freeways during the upcoming 40-day Spring Festival travel rush starting Jan 10, a period when some 2.43 billion road trips are expected.

The service enables drivers to automatically pay tolls without stopping, which will reduce emissions and logistics costs and relieve traffic congestion, he said.

Ministry statistics show that a vehicle with an ETC device only needs 3 seconds to pass a toll booth, compared with 14 seconds for a manned booth.

However, the service triggered controversy recently after a few local transport authorities removed all staffed toll booths on freeways, inconveniencing drivers without ETC devices.

The local authorities made such moves to meet a target set earlier this year when the ministry issued a circular saying that it aimed to install at least 190 million ETC devices by year-end, but only some 80 million drivers had signed up for electronic toll collection by March.

In Tianjin, all staffed toll booths at its six provincial borders were closed to force drivers to install the devices. In Xiamen, Fujian province, banners were hung saying "Drivers without ETC are not welcome on the freeway", which were later taken down after being criticized.

Wu said that it's forbidden to force drivers to install ETC devices or set up obstacles for drivers without ETC.

"We will make sure there are lanes with staff to collect tolls at every toll station," he said.

China has modified 487 physical tollgates on provincial borders into ones that can offer the ETC service and has 48,211 lanes for ETC service so far, according to the ministry.



The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee in October highlighted the importance of modernizing the national governance system and governance capacity. In fact, regional and global challenges have also made it necessary to strengthen the national governance system and governance capacity.

The rapidly changing global situation poses new challenges to national security. With some major countries hankering for more power, non-state actors such as international organizations, multinational companies, civil society, religious groups and power brokers have become increasingly active in global affairs.

On the security front, mainly non-traditional and quite often cross-border issues such as the flow of refugees from crisis-hit areas together with the rapid development of social media networks, pose the main challenge.

The refugee crisis many European Union member states face today can be attributed to the prolonged political, religious and humanitarian crises plaguing the Middle East. The chaotic socio-political situation and the mishandling of the refugee issue in and beyond the Middle East have also created new challenges for China, including the threat of terrorists and separatists in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.


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