World Newsletter

CHINA NEWS
21 January 2020

XI URGES MILITARY TO FOCUS ON IMPROVING CAPABILITIES

President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese military on Monday to strive this year to realize its goals and missions given by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people.

"We are determined to build a moderately prosperous society and eradicate absolute poverty before the end of this year. We also aim to achieve the goals set for our national defense system and the People's Liberation Army this year. There are numerous tough tasks for us to do," said Xi, who also is general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

"I hope you stick to the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, uphold the Party's thought on strengthening the military, and implement military strategies in the new era. … You must enhance the sense of mission, be focused on improving your capabilities, make sure all of your jobs are fully done, and unswervingly complete the goals set by the Party and the people."

The president made the remarks on Monday in Kunming, capital of southwestern China's Yunnan province, as he met with officers from military units in the province.

He said troops in Yunnan performed well in terms of implementing the instructions from the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, and he praised them for steadily moving forward toward their goals and completing their tasks with outstanding results.

The troops made remarkable contributions to the protection of sovereignty, national security and development interests as well as to economic and social development in Yunnan, according to Xi.

When addressing the officers during the meeting, Xi offered his best wishes for the coming Spring Festival to all members of the PLA, the People's Armed Police Force, the reserve forces and the militia.

On Sunday, Xi inspected a border defense battalion in Yunnan. He checked the troops' living conditions and chatted with soldiers.

Video clips broadcast by China Central Television showed that Xi visited a squad's dorm, the battalion's medical room and its kitchen. He checked the cooked meals and examined the freshness of vegetables.

During the tour, the president also held a teleconference with soldiers from a landmine clearance unit and a border patrol squad and encouraged them to honor their duties.

Also, on Sunday, the president visited a village of the Wa ethnic group in Tengchong, a city in Yunnan.

He stressed the need to promote rural vitalization and address problems including the imbalance between urban and rural development after China constructs a moderately prosperous society.

Xi told the villagers that efforts should be made to develop rural industries, improve the rural economy, increase incomes and improve people's livelihoods.

He also extended Lunar New Year greetings to the villagers, and beat a wooden drum three times, in accordance with local customs, to wish favorable weather for bumper harvests, peace for the country and the people, and peace for the whole world.

In Heshun, Xi also visited a local library and museum on the ancient Southern Silk Road as well as the memorial hall of Ai Siqi, a Chinese philosopher who made contributions to promoting the Party's theories, popularizing Marxism in China and adapting it with Chinese characteristics.

On Monday, Xi visited a wetland near Dianchi Lake in Kunming and learned of the efforts to protect the environment of the lake.

 

XI INSPECTS SPRING FESTIVAL SHOPPING FAIR IN KUNMING

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Monday visited the Kunming international convention and exhibition center in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

Xi visited the center to learn about the supply of necessities and the sale of domestic and foreign commodities ahead of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year.

Xi talked warmly with the crowd and extended his Chinese New Year's greetings to people of all ethnic groups in the country.

 

IMPORTS OF GARBAGE CONTINUE TO DECLINE

China imported almost 13.5 million metric tons of garbage in 2019, down about 40 percent year-on-year, and the country expects to realize zero imports by the end of this year, an environmental official said.

The country has banned the import of 56 types of waste since it decided to phase out garbage imports in 2017. So far, imports have declined by 71 percent, said Liu Youbin, spokesman for the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Liu said the country has continued to crack down on waste smuggling.

While the General Administration of Customs rolled out its third special campaign on garbage smuggling in 2019, the ministry launched a campaign to crack down on environmental violations of companies that recycle imported waste, he said.

Referring to the ban as a landmark measure for the country's ecological progress, Liu said the ministry will promote the work with other government bodies and "make all-out efforts to realize zero imports by the end of 2020".

The ministry and the State Administration for Market Regulation has issued three national standards to guide companies in their import of raw metal, he said.

Thanks to these policies, "many of China's major recycling companies that used to rely on imports have shifted their focus to the domestic market", he said.

These companies are now building channels for waste paper across the country. The initiatives are expected to force many small, polluting companies to turn to large scale development that adheres to high quality development, he said.

China has been increasingly under pressure from its rapidly growing generation of waste.

According to the ministry's latest report on solid waste control, 162 million tons of domestic waste were generated in 261 large and medium-sized cities across China in 2013. Though only 202 of those cities were assessed in 2017, the amount of waste had jumped to 202 million tons, up 25 percent.

The country also plans to build more waste-to-energy plants. Initiatives by China's local governments, however, are frequently opposed by people who worry that these plants may discharge noxious chemical compounds known as dioxins, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Li Ganjie, minister of ecology and environment, said waste-to-energy plants have proved safe and environmentally friendly in many countries.

He said the ministry will strengthen environmental monitoring of these plants to rule out violations as the environmental watchdog makes efforts to avoid the "not-in-my-backyard mentality".

 

NEW VENUE SHOWCASES MARINE HERITAGE

Just outside the northern port city of Tianjin sits the latest addition to China's cultural heritage.

The National Maritime Museum of China is an imposing modern complex designed by the Australian company Cox Architecture and the Tianjin Architecture Design Institute, or TADI.

The museum joins a growing list of innovative, modern architecture across China – from Beijing Daxing International Airport, to the country's focus on "green" design in urban development.

Since the museum's soft opening in May, thousands have flocked to an institution that will highlight China's maritime history. No date has been announced for the official opening.

Philip Cox, whose company won the international design competition for the project in 2012, said the elegant, simple layout of the museum, which sits on a manmade bay, features white exhibition halls stretching out like the fingers of a hand, resembling brush strokes in calligraphy.

Liu Jingliang, honorary president of TADI, the local design partner for the project, said, "The main aim of the museum is to enhance people's awareness of the sea.

"As President Xi Jinping said during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy, 'The blue planet humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future'."

Liu said that China now has its first such national museum "and we are very proud to have participated in this project".

He said the world-class building combines elements of history, culture and art.

Covering 80,000 square meters, the building's four halls stretch out over the harbor and converge onto a central area.

Each hall is devoted to a different aspects of the country's marine heritage: nature and oceans; world maritime civilization; marine culture; and historic vessels. There is a temporary exhibition hall and space for public education, business, research and curatorial facilities.

This arrangement of the halls and the maritime plaza ensured the museum does not resemble one huge building.

The architecture is informed by aquatic references, such as anemones, coral and vessels in port — subtle enticements to explore its exhibits.

"This will encourage people to explore and discover (the building) themselves. While some say the exterior looks like a shoal of fish jumping toward the surface of the sea, others think it is like a boat lying on the sea, or a hand reaching toward the sea. Some even say it depicts various creatures under the water."

 

XINJIANG DENIES 'FORCED BOARDING' OF STUDENTS

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has never forced students from ethnic groups to go to boarding schools as claimed by some Western media outlets, and the promotion of standard spoken and written Chinese is not meant "to eradicate ethnic minority culture", "to replace Uygur with Chinese" or "to teach students to hate their parents and culture", Xinjiang officials said.

Xinjiang has stepped up the development of boarding schools, an important part of its efforts to push forward balanced development of compulsory education. The move has effectively solved the schooling problem for children in remote farming and herding areas, Elijan Anayit, a spokesman for the regional government, said during a news confernence held in the regional capital of Urumqi on Monday.

By the end of 2018, boarding students accounted for 12.9 percent of primary school pupils and 44.7 percent of junior middle school students in Xinjiang, with the boarding rate ranking in the middle among western provinces and autonomous regions and roughly the same as the national average, he added.

While helping students master standard spoken and written Chinese in accordance with the law so they can better integrate into modern society, the students' right to learn and use their mother tongues and written systems is fully protected, said Aniwar Abulimit, head of the Educational Bureau of Kashgar prefecture in southern Xinjiang.

"We provide subjects on ethnic languages in primary and middle schools, and teach Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Mongol, Xibe and so on, thus protecting the rights of students from ethnic groups to learn their own languages and effectively promoting the inheritance and development of ethnic minority languages and cultures," Aniwar said.

The curriculum design and examinations of primary and middle schools have also included subjects of ethnic languages. The schools are also encouraged to organize traditional cultural activities of ethnic groups. These efforts have effectively promoted the inheritance and development of ethnic languages and cultures, Elijan added.

 

QUALITY OF CHINA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH FURTHER IMPROVES

The quality of China's economic growth further improved last year, as the industrial structure continued to upgrade with high-technology manufacturing industries being a strong driver, the nation's top industry regulator said on Monday.

China's industrial output rose 5.7 percent year-on-year last year, hitting its annual growth target range of 5.5 to 6 percent. It showed that China has stabilized the economic fundamentals against growth pressure and external turbulence, said Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology.

According to Miao, the high-tech sector is playing a bigger role, as witnessed by the fact that the segment registered a year-on-year growth rate of 8.8 percent and outpaced the overall industrial output growth in the period.

Miao noted that emerging industries also maintained sound momentum. For instance, productions of urban mass transit vehicles and solar photovoltaic cells has increased 32.6 percent and 26.8 percent year-on-year respectively.

Last year, sales of vehicles were down by 8.2 percent year-on-year with new energy cars also experiencing a drop. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Monday it expected that the market will start to stabilize and recover this year.

In response to questions on whether China will cut subsidies for new energy vehicles in June and whether it will completely stop offering such subsidies by the end of 2020, Miao said the issue is still under discussion and the ministry "is likely to postpone the timeline".

"To build the 'mansion' of manufacturing next year, China will first ratchet up efforts in the research and development of core technologies. A group of State-level innovation centers on manufacturing will be built next year," said Miao.

He added that accelerated steps will also be made to transform traditional industries to boost the "resilience" of the construction.

"Efforts to transform traditional industries and nurture emerging sectors are of significance to China," said Wang Peng, deputy president of the China Center for Information Industry Development, a government think tank.

To maintain stable growth of the manufacturing industry, the first and foremost approach is to leverage advanced technologies to transform traditional industries, which accounted for 80 percent of the total sector, Wang said.

"Emerging industries, on the other hand, will decide China's position and competitiveness on the global stage. Sectors including 5G, artificial intelligence and the internet of vehicles will not only pull up manufacturing but will also stimulate investments in new infrastructure," he said.

 

FIRST PHASE OF MENG WANZHOU'S EXTRADITION HEARING BEGINS TODAY

More than a year after Meng Wanzhou's arrest at Vancouver International Airport, the first formal phase of the Huawei executive's extradition hearing begins today in B.C. Supreme Court.

Over five days this week, Meng's defence team and lawyers for Canada's attorney general will debate the question of so-called double criminality in front of Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes.

The arrest of Meng in 2018 fractured relations between Canada and China. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again called on Canadian authorities to immediately set free Meng on Monday.

We trust in Canada's judicial system, which will prove Meng's innocence, said in a Huawei's statement on Meng's hearing on Monday.

"We hope Ms. Meng will be able to be together with her family, colleagues and friends as soon as possible."

 

ACADEMY SUPPORTS MORE LABS FOR FRONTIER SCIENCE

The Chinese Academy of Sciences will support more labs and major projects in frontier sciences, expand international collaboration with other countries and share its data and solutions via more robust and open cloud-based platforms this year, senior scientists said on Friday.

CAS will spend more than 7.7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) to build four new major scientific instruments, including the world's largest high-energy synchrotron radiation light source, in Beijing's Huairou district, CAS President Bai Chunli said during an annual working meeting on Friday.

Moreover, it will spend another 2.7 billion yuan to build 11 scientific and educational facilities in the districts. All of these projects had been launched by the end of last year, Bai said. The academy will also build new labs in Shanghai, Hefei in Anhui province, the Xiongan New Area in Hebei province and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

"This year is a momentous year for China in eliminating poverty to build a moderately prosperous society," Bai said. "For CAS, this year marks the end of the first phase of the Pioneering Initiative, so it is a year to review the past and prepare for the future."

In 2013, President Xi Jinping asked the academy to be a pioneer in four major areas-making great scientific and technological progress, producing more innovative talent and becoming an influential scientific think tank for China as well as a world-class research institution. The Pioneering Initiative was launched a year later consisting of plans and reforms to meet Xi's four expectations by 2030.

"Our priorities this year will focus on further improving our research capabilities and producing original breakthroughs in basic research," Bai said, adding that more capable State laboratories, advanced research projects and open sharing platforms will be instrumental in fulfilling these goals.

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