World Newsletter

10 January 2020


President Xi Jinping sent his condolences on Thursday to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the Wednesday crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran that killed all 176 people aboard. The flight was bound for Kiev.

In the message, Xi said he was shocked to learn about the crash of the airliner. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in his own name, Xi conveyed his deep sorrow and extended sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed in the outskirts of Teheran on Wednesday just minutes after its takeoff from Teheran's Imam Khomeini International Airport. Eighty-two Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British people were killed, according to Ukraine's Foreign Minister.

The plane was trying to return to the airport when it crashed, Iranian investigators said.



President Xi Jinping presented the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, China’s top scientific honor, to nuclear submarine designer Huang Xuhua and atmospheric physicist Zeng Qingcun at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday.

The two scientists would also each receive 8 million yuan ($1.14 million) in prize money, according to the National Office for Science and Technology Awards.

Huang, 94, spearheaded the design of China's first-generation nuclear submarine. For more than three decades, his work remained top secret. In December 1970, China launched Long March I, becoming the fifth nation to have a nuclear submarine.

Huang was also one of the eight recipients of the Medal of the Republic last year for his outstanding contributions to the nation. Other exemplary individuals who received the medal included agriculturalist Yuan Longping and Nobel laureate Tu Youyou.

Zeng, 85, is a renowned atmospheric physicist who helped modernize the world’s weather forecast systems and meteorological satellite remote sensing technologies. He won the International Meteorological Organization Prize in 2016 for his contributions.



The central government's new liaison office chief in Hong Kong pledged on Thursday to uphold the "one country, two systems" principle, fully respect and support Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the special administrative region government's law-based governance, and put the city back on track.

Luo Huining, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, who took office onSaturday, made the remarks during his first official meeting with the chief executive at Government House onThursday afternoon.

According to the news release issued by the liaison office, both Luo and Lam shared the objective of upholding the "one country, two systems" principle and maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability by safeguarding the city's rule of law, ending violence and restoring the city's order.

They also agreed to enhance communication and collaboration between the liaison office and the SAR government, to boost the city's economic development, enhance people's livelihoods and facilitate Hong Kong's integration into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Luo and Lam both said they believe Hong Kong can get back on track and embrace further development, with the country's unswerving care and support and the concerted efforts of various sectors in the city, the news release said.

In addition, the new liaison chief expressed his high regard for Lam's courage and commitment in leading the SAR government to end the violent protests that broke out last June, and her efforts to aid local enterprises and improve people's livelihoods during the difficult time.

In the meeting, Lam introduced Luo to the administration's work over the past two years.

The SAR government will continue to strive to end violence and safeguard the rule of law in accordance with the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle, and provide assistance to enterprises and residents when necessary, Lam pledged during the meeting.

On Wednesday, Luo also made his first official visit to Shenzhen as the new liaison chief, meeting Shenzhen Party Secretary Wang Weizhong, Shenzhen Mayor Chen Rugui, and other leaders of the city's administration, legislature and political advisory body.

During the meeting, both sides vowed to strictly uphold the "one country, two systems" principle, and jointly promote cooperation between the two cities in various sectors, including youth innovation and entrepreneurship, the economy and trade, and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.



China's top trade negotiator will visit Washington next week to sign the phase one deal with his counterparts in the United States, an encouraging sign for both sides to further reduce tensions.

At the invitation of the United States, Vice-Premier Liu He will visit the country from Monday to Wednesday to sign the economic and trade agreement with the US, Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday at a news briefing in Beijing.

Liu is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue.

The negotiating teams are in close contact about the specific arrangements for signing the agreement, Gao said.

Experts said the move has the potential to push both sides to conduct other meaningful talks in specific areas and to reset bilateral ties if the deal can be adequately carried out.

The phase one deal could end the costly trade dispute and economic uncertainties in many parts of the world, said Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges. He stressed that it is critical and necessary for both sides to seal the deal right, rather than in a rush.

Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation and former US ambassador to Cambodia told Xinhua News Agency, "Once they have successfully concluded part of an agreement, negotiators are often encouraged to work harder to find ways to put in place the terms for a second or third part."

China and the US together account for 40 percent of global GDP, nearly 40 percent of global manufacturing output and around 25 percent of the world's total trade volume, according to the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Affected by the 22-month-long trade tussle, China's trade with the US has dropped 11.1 percent year-on-year from January to November to 3.4 trillion yuan ($491.12 billion), while China's exports to the US declined 8.4 percent to 2.64 trillion yuan. China's imports from the US fell by 19.5 percent to about 763 billion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Alexa Dembek, senior vice-president of the Delaware-headquartered DuPont group, said cooperation is the best option for China and the US. If the two countries do that, the world can prosper, she said; otherwise, the global economy will slow down.



Entrepreneur Wu Yuli, who has been attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for several years as an exhibitor, noticed a strange phenomenon faced by her fellow Chinese attendees.

Representatives of ODMs, or original design manufacturers, would often come by an area where a bunch of Chinese companies were gathered, and asked if they wanted their services, said Wu, who heads WE.LOCK, a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of AI locks.

"At present, China's development in 'smart manufacturing', production process and software technology are no less progressive than any other countries, but some Chinese companies still could not gain global recognition. I think the biggest factor has to do with our lack of brand awareness, or expertise in brand communication," she said.

While Chinese innovations serving as a beacon for the country's role as an emerging tech leader, many Chinese companies, especially smaller firms, still find it hard to compete with global rivals due to subpar marketing strategies, some attendees told China Daily at the show.

The world's largest technology show draws tens of thousands of spectators every year. This year, over 175,000 industry professionals, including more than 61,000 from outside the US, have convened on the Las Vegas Strip to showcase their latest products.

CES attendees from China have made their presence known in various fields such as 5G, smartphones, the internet of things, autonomous vehicles, robotics, home appliances and digital health.

Representatives from around 1,100 Chinese mainland companies made the trip to CES. The Chinese vendors account for more than a quarter of the show's exhibitors.

They include well-known Chinese household names such as TCL, Huawei, Lenovo and Haier, as well as startups.

"Forty years after China's reform and opening-up, China's supply chain, manufacturing chain, as well as its talent pool, have probably grown to the top position in the world," said Wu Peng, general manager of marketing and sales at Dreame Technology, a Tianjin-based company that specializes in smart household appliances. "Along with the development of these basic infrastructures, Chinese brands have become very competitive in the world."

Citing the fast domestic growth of the vacuum cleaner sector in China as an example, Wu said he is confident about the future development of Chinese innovations.



Authorities will step up supervision this year over the quality of traditional Chinese medicine to ensure the quality of the drugs improves, a top health official said on Thursday.

Traditional Chinese medicine regulators across the country will intensify supervision over TCM to be sold at hospitals and clinics, covering the whole chain including purchasing, inspection and storage of the drugs, to prevent fake or substandard medicine being used, said Yu Wenming, head of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

As a major measure to improve quality at the source, the administration will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to establish 150 production bases for raw materials in their native areas across China and promote standardized production of raw materials such as herbs, he said at a national conference on TCM in Beijing.

The administration will try to work with other government departments to set up a mechanism to jointly supervise enterprises that grow herbs for TCM, and make progress in establishing a tracing system for 50 kinds of raw materials grown in their native places, so the sources and flow of major products can be traceable, and perpetrators involved can be held accountable, Yu said.

TCM produced with raw materials from their native places normally have better medicinal effects.

On Thursday, Ma Xiaowei, minister of the National Health Commission, also urged TCM authorities across China to improve product quality. A multidepartmental cooperative mechanism will be set up for the purpose, he said.

According to a guideline released by the central government last year on promoting the development and innovation of TCM, authorities will establish a trace system that covers production, distribution and use of raw materials and drugs to ensure quality. Local governments should also take more efforts to protect the environment around production areas and to intensify supervision over the use of pesticides and fertilizers, the guideline said.

Wei Feng, a TCM researcher at the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control, said although the general quality of TCM drugs in China has been rising in recent years due to improved supervision, problems still exist such as using raw materials polluted by pesticides or other chemicals, and improper storage, which affect the safety of TCM drugs.

"Ensuring quality and safety of traditional Chinese medicine is of great significance to the sustainable development of the sector, and emphasis should be put on the sources of TCM production," he said.



Courts across the country will continue to hand down harsher punishments to enhance legal awareness and improve environmental and ecological protection of the Yangtze River, China's top court pledged on Thursday.

Since 2016, Chinese courts at all levels, especially those in provinces along the river, have intensified criminal penalties for polluters who seriously damage environmental safety and harm people's health, said Jiang Bixin, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court.

Such acts include individuals and enterprises that discharge pollutants into the river's main streams or branches, illegally transfer dangerous objects or illegally mine sand.

"Tougher criminal punishment as a bigger threat to polluters is a key judicial step to implementing requirements for concerted efforts in river protection," he added.

As of December, courts nationwide had heard 42,230 criminal cases relating to the environmental and ecological protection of the river, offering effective legal services for regional sustainable development, according to Wang Xuguang, presiding judge of the court's environment division.

In a case heard by Sucheng District People's Court in Suqian, Jiangsu province, for example, Yao Duoyou was sentenced to five years and six months in prison and fined 100,000 yuan ($14,400) for polluting the environment, a statement from the top court said.

Thirteen others were given fines and sentences ranging from one year with an 18-month reprieve to 42 months, it said.

The Jiangsu court said that Yao illegally opened a company in Zhejiang to provide technological services for environmental protection and, along with the other defendants, poured and discarded a total of 5,540 metric tons of industrial sludge into ponds in Jiangsu.

"The disposal was done without antipollution measures, and they had no permission to transfer the sludge across provincial borders," Wang said.

"The worst was that the sludge contained lots of heavy metals, including mercury, chromium and arsenic, seriously damaging the environment and ecology."

Although courts have helped fight river pollution in recent years, Wang said legal protections should be strengthened.

He suggested government departments play a stronger role in punishing polluters.

He added that those who turn themselves in or repair the polluted areas could be leniently punished.


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