World Newsletter

CHINA NEWS
31 December 2019

XI MAKES COUNTRY'S VOICE HEARD

Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China remained committed to multilateralism and championed justice worldwide this year as it strove to push forward major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, according to officials and analysts.

Over the year, Xi traveled to 12 countries in Asia, Europe and South America during seven overseas trips.

The president has taken a lead in safeguarding multilateralism, promoting equality around the world and firmly opposing unilateralism and hegemony.

Xi also presided over four major events hosted by China during the year: the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition and the second China International Import Expo.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: "Wherever he traveled in 2019, President Xi Jinping made China's voice heard. It is a voice of justice that rejects unilateralism, hegemony and power politics in favor of multilateralism, the authority of the United Nations and the norms of international relations."

As a responsible member of the international community, China has been a strong champion of multilateralism, Wang said late this month while summing up the country's diplomatic efforts over the year.

Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China remained committed to multilateralism and championed justice worldwide this year as it strove to push forward major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, according to officials and analysts.

Over the year, Xi traveled to 12 countries in Asia, Europe and South America during seven overseas trips.

The president has taken a lead in safeguarding multilateralism, promoting equality around the world and firmly opposing unilateralism and hegemony.

Xi also presided over four major events hosted by China during the year: the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition and the second China International Import Expo.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: "Wherever he traveled in 2019, President Xi Jinping made China's voice heard. It is a voice of justice that rejects unilateralism, hegemony and power politics in favor of multilateralism, the authority of the United Nations and the norms of international relations."

As a responsible member of the international community, China has been a strong champion of multilateralism, Wang said late this month while summing up the country's diplomatic efforts over the year.

In his speech at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum in November in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, Xi called for active participation by businesses in BRICS cooperation to promote economic growth and job creation amid a global economic slowdown arising from growing protectionism.

The BRICS nations are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Xi said a new round of the technological and industrial revolution is driving socioeconomic development amid mounting protectionism and economic tensions, which are eroding global trade and investment and weighing down the world economy.

"At present, economic globalization is encountering setbacks," Xi warned, adding that the BRICS countries need to stand firm against protectionism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system and increase the voice and influence of developing countries in international affairs.

The president's stance on safeguarding multilateralism and promoting economic globalization was evident in his key speeches delivered on a number of other important occasions.

At the opening ceremony for the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai early last month, Xi pledged that China would continue to deepen multilateral cooperation amid the country's efforts to achieve opening-up at a higher level.

"China is a champion for international cooperation and a supporter of multilateralism," Xi said.

 

SERVICE SECTOR TO GROW AS WORKFORCE DROPS, STUDY SAYS

The size of China's labor force is projected to see a continuous decrease, according to a green book released by the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Monday. A green book is a type of academic study.

The workforcepeople between 15 and 64 years oldwill decline to around 970 million in 2025, 30 million fewer than at the end of 2020, the study projects.

Despite the drop, the study said workers will remain in short supply as the job landscape continues to change during the next decade.

In one trend, the service industry will continue to expand, providing more jobs, while those engaged in agriculture will continue to decrease.

The study said that by 2050, the workforce will have continued to drop nationally, while the flow of workers among such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing and services will intensify. Farmworkers are expected to continue to flow into the services sector.

In the near future, the job market will stay in relative balance in workforce supply and demand, according to projections for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the study said. However, by 2030, the situation will have changed due to such factors as a slowdown in economic development.

The number of people who lose their jobs is expected to rise starting in 2030, as new technological and economic trends deepen, according to the study's projections.

Feng Xiliang, director of the School of Labor and Economics at the Capital University of Economics, said at the news conference that high-quality employment is a long-term target as the nation's economic development goes through a transformation.

The demand for employees "changes with the emergence of new industries and professions", he said, citing the example of food delivery workers, who have more flexible work hours and higher wages than most migrant workers. "It's really important in order to improve working conditions to encourage more people to take jobs in new industries," Feng said.

 

BEIJING'S CORE AREA PLAN FOR NEXT 15 YEARS UNVEILED

On Monday, Beijing's municipal government published its plan for the city's core area through 2035 for the first time. The area will function as the nation's political and cultural hub and as an international communications center. It will also focus on preservation of historical sites.

The city released details of the plan online and is presenting it at an exhibition center for public comment until Jan 28. The municipal government started to draft the plan in 2017.

Yang Baojun, head of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, said the new plan for the core area is well-positioned to reach clear goals.

"Unlike other cities, Beijing, as the capital, should be China's calling card," he said. "I was excited after reading the plan, which combines the area's three functions to better serve the country and people and to better preserve history."

Under the plan, Beijing's Dongcheng and Xicheng districts, with a total area of 92.5 square kilometers, will be divided into 183 blocks for optimal functionality to protect the environment and to better serve residents.

The land area for urban public facilities will increase from the current 11.1 percent to 12.2 percent of the total. Public spaces, both indoor and outdoor, will be raised from 34.4 percent currently to 38.9 percent.

The core area will follow a sustainable development model that balances environmental capacity with city resources to create better living conditions.

Shi Xiaodong, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Institution of City Planning and Design, said it's crucial for Beijing to function as the political center of the central government and to plan for the needs of the many citizens living in Dongcheng and Xicheng districts. The total population in the core area was around 2 million last year.

One goal is for 85 percent of residents to use public transportation with an upgrade in facilities. Commute times will be reduced to an average 45 minutes during rush hour.

Medical care and cultural facilities will be within 10 to 15 minutes' travel for all residents in the area.

Qiu Yue, president of the Urban Planning Society of Beijing, said people will be able to study the plan and imagine what the capital's future will look like.

 

HUAWEI PROJECTS 18% ANNUAL REVENUE GROWTH IN 2019

Huawei Technologies Co said on Tuesday that its annual revenue for 2019 is forecast to exceed 850 billion yuan ($122 billion), marking a year-on-year growth of 18 percent despite the US government "crackdown" on the Chinese tech major.

Xu Zhijun, rotating chairman of Huawei, said in a public letter that though the revenue growth did not meet the target Huawei set at the early of 2019, it reflected that "the company has managed to maintain a relatively stable operation amid the US government crackdown, and Huawei has basically withstood the test."

Xu said the company has shipped more than 240 million units of smartphones in 2019, also keeping a steady momentum.

He did not disclose the profit figures.

Looking ahead, the senior executive added that 2020 will be a difficult year for Huawei. The Chinese company will have to continue striving for survival as it remains at the US government's "Entity List", which bans Huawei from accessing any US technologies without special government approval.

Without the help of the rapid growth in the first half of 2019 and the market inertia in the second half of the year, Huawei has to rely on its own endeavor in 2020, Xu said.

"Apart from our own efforts, the only thing we can rely on is our customers and partners' trust and support. Survival is our first priority," Xu added.

According to him, the company will step up push to build an ecosystem to promote the sales of smartphones in overseas markets next year and work hard to take advantage of the large-scale construction boom of 5G next year to grow its telecom equipment business.

 

BRIDGE TOWER AS TALL AS 110-STORY SKYSCRAPER

A super-tall bridge inaugurated in Southwest China's Guizhou province on Monday will connect the province's industrialized north and mountainous, less developed south and halve travel time between the impoverished counties of Pingtang and Luodian.

The 2,135-meter-long Pingtang Grand Bridge, supported by three towers and numerous cables, will be fully open to the public on Jan 1, the provincial transport authorities said.

It will allow drivers to travel between the two counties in about an hour via a newly completed highway with a speed limit of 80 kilometers an hour.

Construction of the cable-stayed bridge started in April 2016 and the provincial government said it cost 1.5 billion yuan ($214 million) to build.

Its tallest tower is 332 meters tall, equivalent to a 110-story skyscraper, and is the world's tallest reinforced concrete bridge tower, while the deck of the bridge is about 190 meters above the ground, authorities said.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, provincial transport official Long Pingjiang said that with the completion of the bridge, Guizhou's highway network has reached a length of 7,000 km.

Figures provided by the provincial government show it had 6,453 km of highway last year, the seventh-longest nationwide.

Guizhou, once one of China's most isolated regions, has been charging ahead with infrastructure development in recent decades.

Provincial government figures show that by August, Guizhou was home to 47 of the world's highest 100 bridges, earning it the title of "global center of bridges".

The bridges soaring over the mountains and hills that account for more than 90 percent of Guizhou's landscape have been boosting tourism and investment in the province and turning it into a gateway in southwestern China, said Sun Zhigang, the province's Party secretary.

He said the improvements had led to surges in flows of people, goods and information.

 

PASSENGERS FLOCK TO EXPERIENCE FIRST TRIP

Excitement is what most people familiar with a century-old rail line would feel when the trains complete a transition from the 35 kilometers per hour of the early days to the current 350 km/h.

On Monday morning, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway opened, the world's first on which automated trains can reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour. It's a new version of the same rail line built from 1905 to 1909.

The old Beijing-Zhangjiakou rail line was China's first rail artery fully designed and built by Chinese. Zhan Tianyou, its chief engineer, overcame a series of difficulties in building it, the best-known of which is a Y-shaped switchback rail he designed near Qinglongqiao Station to reduce the line's slope and length of a tunnel through mountains, according to the Zhan Tianyou Memorial Museum in Beijing.

Zhan's rail line opened in 1909, greatly boosting the nation's confidence and setting off a wave of railway building across the country, according to the museum.

"He spent four years on the railway, insisting on finishing it without foreign assistance," said Zhan Yong, 48, great grandson of Zhan Tianyou, who also rode the high-speed train on Monday.

"I am very excited and even kind of emotional, because the railway is not only a glorious part of my family's history, but most importantly a great achievement for our country," Zhan Yong said.

Zhangjiakou, located about 160 km northwest of Beijing, played a key role in military and economic areas during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which is why the late Qing government decided to build the old Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway.

 

COLLAPSED TUNNEL KILLS 4 IN NORTH CHINA

Four people have been confirmed dead and two others are still trapped as of Tuesday morning after a tunnel under construction collapsed in North China's Shanxi province, local authorities said Tuesday.

The accident occurred at around 4 pm Monday at a tunnel on a highway in the city of Jincheng, trapping six people who were working on the site, according to the city's publicity authorities.

One of them was rescued and sent to a nearby hospital but died later Monday, while rescuers retrieved the bodies of another three victims from the collapsed tunnel as of 7:50 am Tuesday.

An estimated 200 cubic meters of debris was blocking the tunnel. The search and rescue efforts are under way.

 

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